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No one stays at the top forever.

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 9 May 2010 04:52 (A review of Casino (1995))

''When you love someone, you've gotta trust them. There's no other way. You've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. Otherwise, what's the point? And for a while, I believed, that's the kind of love I had.''

A truly classic film telling the story of the rise and fall of a bookie. Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two mobster best friends and a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

Robert De Niro: Sam 'Ace' Rothstein

Sharon Stone: Ginger McKenna

Joe Pesci: Nicky Santoro

Casino released 1995, from movie maestro Martin Scorsese, compared to GoodFellas, stands on it's own, in terms of cult classic status.
A detailed, beautifully narrated 3 hour spectacle, containing no unnecessary scenes to slow it down, never failing at any opportunity to fascinate and entertain us.

Cue Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a brilliant sports handicapper who takes his talents to Las Vegas. Ace's uncommon expertise and success with making the world of gambling pay off naturally attracts the wrong type of people in the likes of old home-town friend, tied closely with the Mob, Nicky (Joe Pesci), and the romantic object of his affection Ginger (Sharon Stone). Sam unfortunately takes a gamble on these two and the results don't pay off as well as he would have liked. Neither Ace or Nicky are a match for Ginger, whom gets in between them and ultimately plays them both for a time.
Ultimately everyone loses...Or so Scorsese would have you believe.

''Running a casino is like robbing a bank with no cops around. For guys like me, Las Vegas washes away your sins. It's like a morality car wash. In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.''

One of the film's remarkable achievements is how expertly the story is told, and Scorsese's ability to cram so many rich details into such a short amount of screen time.
An example of this is where DeNiro's character catches on to a couple of card players using a sophisticated cheating technique so they can communicate with one another, morse-code style to inform each other of their opponents' playing cards which they can see from opposing tables. The way Scorsese can illustrate such rich details during a brief montage showing how the players are able to incorporate this scam to the beat of the Jeff Beck Group's "I Ain't Superstitious" is like watching a master teaching learners and amateurs, showing how it's done for budding film-makers. This is how you make a film and tell a story.

Casino also of course features fine performances from the cast - many of whom also actually happened to appear in GoodFellas. Watch for a clever nod to Frank Vincent's "Billy Batts" role in GoodFellas towards the film's conclusion.
A masterpiece in direction, film editing, and storytelling, Casino contains scenes which may be considered by some as excessively violent, and must also hold some sort of record for the amount of "F" words ever said in a film. Literally every line of dialogue contains the word or variations of swearing and cursing. The easily offended may want to steer clear but then again, you will be missing out.

Certainly one of the great films in the Scorsese canon which makes for a fine companion piece for his groundbreaking classic GoodFellas. I hope Scorsese makes one final mobster film with DeNiro and Pesci.
Casino proves that, as far these three are concerned, you can't get much better of a combination as far as films go. Should my wish come true, hopefully Mr. Scorsese can find another classic rock song to put on the soundtrack to fit the mood of the story besides "Gimme Shelter" - also featured prominently in GoodFellas and The Departed.
Taxi Driver and Raging Bull showed Scorsese is the master of film making, Casino, The Departed and Shutter Island show he still is.

''A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you're talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who's gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin' night.''

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Disneyland? Fuck, this is better than Disneyland.

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 5 May 2010 01:45 (A review of Apocalypse Now)

''I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like victory. Someday this war's gonna end...''

During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has set himself up as a God among a local tribe.

Marlon Brando: Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

Martin Sheen: Captain Benjamin L. Willard

Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now is one of the most controversial films that our world has been privileged to see. I have heard many rumours about what happened on the set of this film, causing many problems, but I believe that does not distract from how good a film I think it is. But I warn you, Apocalypse Now has a very long and confusing story that might make it hard for you to appreciate what Coppola attempts to share. There have been many war films made by Hollywood, but none quite as unique as this.

Nominated for 8 academy awards, Apocalypse Now, winning 2 for Cinematography and Sound, tracks the journey of Captain Willard, a US Army intelligence officer sent on a hazardous mission up river in Cambodia to terminate 'with extreme prejudice' an American renegade, a colonel named ‘Kurtz' whom has spun out of control and into madness, in a remote jungle compound.
Apocalypse Now was really well made by Francis Ford Coppola (as director, producer and screenwriter). Coppola had many moments in the film where he wanted to say something and that is the achievement made. I love the way he shot the war scenes in this film, as they were not only very dramatic, but also combined with humour and a realism. I am certain that he was trying to deliberately show the irony of war, a real highlight of the story.

''Disneyland? Fuck, man, this is better than Disneyland!''

Helping Coppola write the film's screenplay were Michael Herr and John Millus. They all did a fantastic job, incorporating the mind-boggling story of Hearts of Darkness, by adventurer Joseph Conrad. It is my view that this story, while being hard story to understand, is important for people to learn about. All the writers did with this story was replace the trip up the Congo Marlow has in the ‘HOD' story, with the river trip thorough Cambodia for Captain Willard and his crew. Some people could criticise this film's story, saying that Coppola used it for his own convenience. However I think it is good to try and learn about an old story, in a modern kind of way, in a story that has undoubtedly affected our world, for many years, to present day.

This film shows many characters that have gone mad or indeed in the process of being driven to insanity. It's main star is Willard (Martin Sheen), the captain that is given the unenviable task of trying to find the ex-army colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). While Sheen was good in certain parts of his role, I must say that I found Willard to be a very mysterious character. This makes a challenge for audiences to connect with the main protagonist.
Alot has been said about the small role taken on by legendary actor Marlon Brando. He might have been paid one million dollars for the performance, but he does show he was the right person for the role. I believe Brando comes across perfectly as this army colonel, gone insane. When Brando says ''The horror, the horror'', it induces nostalgia regarding the prior story we have just endured, the horrors of war.
It is also amusing to see the Photojournalist (Dennis Hopper), whom is the really strange guy, harassing Willard when he finally finds Kurtz at his jungle hideaway. This character is another man that could be considered 'crazy' or is it 'enlightened'?
The other cast members in the film take considerably less of the limelight in the film, as that is how the story regards them. Yet they are still necessary. At the beginning of the film we meet a few officials that give Willard his mission. One of them is a Colonel (a very young Harrison Ford). Then on the boat that is helping take Willard on his mission through the Cambodian river are Chef (Frederic Forrest), Chief (Albert Hall), the boat driver, Lance (Sam Bottoms) whom have very disturbing death scenes, and Clean (an almost unrecognisable Laurence Fishburne), whose death is much more dignified than that of the chief.

''Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.''

When we see the war zone in Vietnam for the first time, we meet a most unusual personality, Lt. Col. Kilgore (Robert Duvall). The scene with the Kilgore in it at the earlier stage of the film, is truly great, as we see the war going on around him, but what is even more amazing is that he tells his officers around him, ''it is ok to surf, get out there or fight''. Now in any normal war film, that would be the last thing on anyone's mind, let alone an order from a top ranking official. Kilgore is also in a way crazy in his own little way, he is in a little dream or bubble, oblivious at times, to the horrors of war. This is normal, everyday, life for him. His job yet also he acts as if he is still back home in the US at times.
What's beautiful is when Wagner is played by the soldiers in the choppers, Coppola combines a powerful, timeless piece of music with the powerful, confused War that was Vietnam. It's truly haunting yet fascinating.
However, the most disturbing scene in the film happens when the navy boat crew stops, suspicious about the occupants of a Vietnamese boat. The massacre that follows is very hard to watch, but it does show what can happen, when men are trained to fight and kill in war. Willard as Captain shows absolutely no compassion to these people at all. What's even more disturbing is that these people on this particular boat are innocent civilians.

I hope that in some way my review has given you an insight into what the film entails and involves. I must reiterate that this film has an historical story attached to it. If you are a fan of literature, I can only recommend you read the Hearts of darkness story, but be ready for considerable substantial reading. If this film gets a bit heavy for you, keep reminding yourself what it is trying to show: Captain Willard and his mission, which is to find this brilliant army colonel that has gone completely mad and kill him.
This is a brilliantly made film, with a remarkable story, cast and direction. I can only recommend you get out there and see this spectacle. After all, this is better than Disneyland.

''The horror... the horror...''

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A new power is rising.

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 4 May 2010 03:11 (A review of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)

''Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?''

Frodo and Sam continue on to Mordor in their mission to destroy the One Ring. Whilst their former companions make new allies and launch an assault on Isengard.

Christopher Lee: Saruman the White

Brad Dourif: Grima Wormtongue

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is like Fellowship a triumph that any Tolkien fan, adventure/fantasy or war enthusiast should see.
J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Two Towers with the help of Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair and Peter Jackson's screenplay he brings the story to life upon the screen.
Director Peter Jackson admitted The Two Towers was the hardest part of the trilogy to achieve, at least in terms of narrative structure since, unlike The Fellowship of the Ring, it has no proper beginning and no emotionally packed climax. What does it have? It has the psychotic split personality Smeagol/Gollum brought to life with stunning visual effects, it has epic battles at Helm's Deep and three plot threads all happening simultaneously.

The Two Towers picks up exactly from where its predecessor ended: the Fellowship is broken into three separate groups, all with their own problems:
Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their journey to Mordor in order to destroy the One Ring, and find an unexpected guide in that item's previous owner, vicious creature Gollum (Andy Serkis); Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) reunite with the reborn Gandalf (Ian Mckellen) to save the dying kingdom of Rohan from Saruman's (Christopher Lee) evil clutch; Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) have a close encounter with the Ents, ancient creatures which have unfinished business with a certain bad wizard...
New cast members also join the fray and Middle Earth saga; The talented Brad Dourif, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, and David Wenham.

''A new power is rising. Its victory is at hand. This night the land will be stained with the blood of Rohan. March to Helm's Deep. Leave none alive. To war!''

The Two Towers does not follow the middle book in Tolkien's epic trilogy as closely as some would imagine, and does indeed take a few liberties here and there, but overall this is an epic, fantastical adaptation and, let's face it, probably among the greatest sequels in film history. Jackson once again successfully creates a believable yet fanciful vision of Middle Earth; His special effects, while not quite as seamless and earthy as in Fellowship are nonetheless impressive, and there's great magic in the cinematography, set design and music. The acting is also a level of magnitude above that seen in any Oscar contending picture this decade. Each actor and actress is able to make his or her character unique and believable within the terms of the story. This film probably comes the closest of any to resembling a perfect marriage between art, award winning drama and blockbuster entertainment.

Overall, The Two Towers brings new favourite characters from the books to life. Grima Wormtongue played by Brad Dourif, equals a parody of slimy villainy along with Saruman. Treebeard, leader of the Ents of the forest, voiced by John Rhys-Davies also makes another lovable, memorable character. I would say the most impressive newly studied and realized character would be Gollum. Andy Serkis lends his voice, his body to the creation of this layered creature. In fact the effects and artful poise owe alot to the man Serkis whom effortlessly helps bring the creature Gollum whom was once Smeagol to life.
The Two Towers is the middle part of one of the greatest trilogies ever realized in film. It was the hardest film to adapt to screen but Peter Jackson takes his best shot and effortlessly succeeds in again making an emotional and turbulent story packed with vibrant characters, he succeeds in bringing life to J.R.R. Tolkien's story upon film. Won 2 Oscars for Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

A Masterpiece.

''The battle of Helm's Deep is over; the battle for Middle Earth is about to begin.''

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God taking a photograph.

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 29 April 2010 08:44 (A review of Empire of the Sun)

''Learned a new word today. Atom bomb. It was like God taking a photograph.''

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Christian Bale: Jim 'Jamie' Graham

Steven Spielberg adapts and directs Empire of the Sun, the acclaimed, timeless best-seller by J.G. Ballard. Tom Stoppard acts as writer for the film production. Why is Empire of the Sun such a lucrative favourite for me? Simply because it touches the heart and mind with it's endearing bringing to life of Jim, succeeded by new comer, the young Christian Bale.
This is loosely based upon history and captures the feel and time regarding the era, but remember this is an adaptation, a story and artful gander at colours and characters in equal measure.

What's really lovely when watching a Spielberg film is the level of detail and energy he draws forth from the places and cast he directs.
Empire of the Sun draws it's strength from its story, setting and character and propels forth a film that acts as a rightful tribute to a gloriously addictive book.
Sun is a gem of movie-making. Visually arresting from start to finish, given a sumptuous musical score by John Williams and some of the finest cinematography ever seen, it is hard to understand why the film is not as highly acclaimed as it ought to be?...nor is it fitting that it was nominated for six Academy Awards but received none of them.

''I can't remember what my parents look like.''

It's a sweeping epic, intent upon capturing your interest by showing us young Christian Bale whom certainly has one of the great child roles of a lifetime as Jim; Bale becomes the character so effortlessly that his final reunion with his parents brings a few tears to the eye. By that time, the viewer has been through so much with him, watching as he grows from spoiled rich kid to a wily boy who must fend for himself among the wolf-pack of prisoners interred by the Japanese.

It's the loving, touching story regarding one boy's survival during the outbreak of World War II when he is separated from his British parents during the evacuation of Shanghai. It is a spectacularly staged evacuation scene that is topped throughout by other scenes of visual splendour and poignant moments that stay in the memory long after the film finishes. The boy's fascination with the beauty of planes and the horrors of war are well documented, as is his strange fascination with the Japanese and his doomed friendship with a Japanese boy.

The film falls squarely on the shoulders of Christian Bale, so much so that the supporting players are never fully fleshed characters. However, all of them including John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson and Nigel Havers succeed in doing magnificently regarding their roles. Steven Spielberg's direction cannot be faulted. He has given us a close-up glimpse of war and its effect on people that was eclipsed by his later Schindler's List.
Technically, the film is a brilliant achievement in all of its World War II details. Christian Bale certainly deserved an Oscar for what has to be one of the strongest performances ever given by a child actor, with never a false step, results in being one word only. Perfect.

''I can bring everyone back. Everyone.''

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The greatest of these is love.

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 27 April 2010 02:25 (A review of The Mission (1986))

''Though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth and love is kind. Love envieth not. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. But now abideth faith, hope, love... these three. But the greatest of these is love.''

18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Robert De Niro: Rodrigo Mendoza

Jeremy Irons: Father Gabriel

Wind back the clocks to 1986, to an epic, original story and film being unleashed upon a World. An historical, rendition regarding an age of great injustice, confusion and slavery for an entire people. Roland Joffé's The Mission is the film concerned, with it's mightily moving score and music from Ennio Morricone and powerfully written screenplay by Robert Bolt. The Mission is an emotionally charged journey not just focusing upon it's heroes but an innocent people of the forest invaded by the religious peoples from the Old World. This is greatness.

The Mission conveys poignant points and storytelling threads upon appreciative audiences. In terms of appreciation, unfortunately the story and experience are mildly disregarded. Simply an under-rated gem which has a vigour, an essence, and poignant, breath-takingly sweeping cinematography.
In fact the Cinematography by Chris Menges, mixed with miraculous Costume Design by Enrico Sabbatini then polished off with Ennio Morricone's haunting music makes the film what it is; An effective experience, a soulful lesson and turbulently stormy story.
Robert De Niro as Rodrigo Mendoza and Jeremy Irons as Father Gabriel are obviously the performers whom stand out from this mastery canvas upon film.
The Mission even contains a young Liam Neeson playing Fielding in a relatively small yet essential role.
Such an admirable priest Jeremy Irons results in being in The Mission. Aided and abetted by Robert DeNiro playing a former slaver whom became a monk, renouncing civilization after killing his brother Aidan Quinn in a fight over a woman. The tribe they are working with and actually gaining trust and even some converts has been earmarked to be captured and used as slave labour over in Portuguese territory.

Christianity was duly a saviour and destroyer regarding animist Indian tribes back in 1758 and ongoing, concerning both American continents. The Mission works as a message towards Christianity as a whole, rendering their culture and beliefs as being altogether wrong and in desperate need of change.
Although there are also numerous recorded incidents where priests whom have been raised by The Catholic Church here put their lives and reputations on the line to defend these societies and peoples from the evils that The Old World civilizations were bringing and inflicting upon them.
The Mission received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and won the Oscar in 1986 for Best Cinematography. The performances are some of the best that all the principal players have ever given upon screen. The story is a tragic one, yet with a story capturing hope, that there are indeed people like Irons and DeNiro for whom the positive aspects regarding their religion is not just platitudes but honourable, pure freedoms. These men were ahead of their time.

Overall, The Mission is one film I wouldn't mind watching again and again. At times some may find it slow, they may mumble and grumble about the level of detail and grace the film affords us. The truth is that this is a loving, truthful depiction based upon the realities of a non-siding historical front. It may not be entirely perfect but the film or story isn't trying to be.
The Cannes Festival garnered Awards to Director Roland Joffé's visionary film, and the Golden Globes respected and honoured a timeless score from Ennio Morricone while also awarding Robert Bolt for an effortless, incredible screenplay.
The Mission should be watched for it's emotional, vibrant story. It should be experienced for it's magical, absorbing score and it's intelligent strong cast.

''If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that, Rodrigo.''

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You have turned defeat into victory.

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 23 April 2010 06:49 (A review of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957))

''It is quite understandable; it's a very natural reaction. But one day - in a week, a month, a year - on that day when, God willing, we all return to our homes again, you're going to feel very proud of what you have achieved here in the face of great adversity. What you have done should be, and I think will be, an example to all our countrymen, soldier and civilian alike. You have survived with honour - that, and more - here in the wilderness. You have turned defeat into victory. I congratulate you. Well done.''

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

William Holden: Shears

Alec Guinness: Colonel Nicholson

A film from 1957 from David Lean whom would later helm Lawrence of Arabia, converts writer Pierre Boulle's novel Le pont de la rivière Kwaï to the big screen. Pierre also wrote the titan novel Planet of the Apes. His two biggest achievements of his life amongst an array of books he wrote.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a moralistic story with believable characters whom all serve a purpose and point in the wheel and scheme of matters.

David Lean succeeds in creating a breath-takingly layered film which is entertaining, thought provoking and assembles characters we can relate to and care for.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a colossus achievement which shows off and immerses us in a time from history and a novel that has twists then turns as each plot thread is divulged to us.
The Bridge on the River Kwai has many dimensions - all relatively reflective and powerful. It is one work for which the term spectacular and extravagant is awe inducing, and not some pipe dream forgettable creation. The relationship regarding the Hayakawa and Guinness characters, and the interaction thus between them is as compelling as anything ever presented on stage or screen previously.

The four leads were as perfect in their roles, individually and in combination, as heaven doth allow. In addition to their acting talents, their abilities to portray characters proper relative age are duly noted. At true age of 47, Jack Hawkins' character is about the equivalent in the film. William Holden, younger in the film, and Alec Guinness maturer Veteran, were believable, although only two years apart (41 and 43 respectively) in actuality. Most amazing is Sessue Hayakawa; He was 68 -essentially pushing 70- in 1957, yet one could imagine his character's being a contemporary of Guinness's colonel - even maybe a year or two younger.
Alec Guinness deservedly received the Oscar for Best Actor for his role of colonel Nicholson, whom he embodies in entirety, disappearing so utterly into the character that the actor is an after thought, leaving nothing but the real man in his stead. It's a superlative piece of acting from one of the truly great actors of our time.

Overall, The Bridge on the River Kwai from the beginning of the film to it's spectacular climax, Lean builds upon and maintains a subtle tension that underscores and lovingly strokes the drama, thus a compelling, unforgettable motion picture film is born from the results. David Lean is the definitive master regarding epic films such as this, filling them with sweeping visuals while integrating them with the emotional involvement of his characters. Lean knows what he wants and how to achieve results, and he takes an electrically charged story and glorifies it by using everything possible at his disposal; Visually vast, rich and potent and combined with use of sound and poignant musical prowess. Most importantly, he knows how to get the kind of performances from his actors to put it all across so convincingly and believably.

The Bridge on the River Kwai won 7 Oscars and rightly so because it achieves a timeless quality that is a sum of it's parts...and everytime you watch the qualities show. Later, Lawrence of Arabia from David Lean would achieve similar results and also 7 Oscars echoing the success of The Bridge on the River Kwai. This is a golden film, treasure and prize for audiences to cherish, and an epic adaptation utilizing a dramatically turbulent story.

''You make me sick with your heroics! There's a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills - they go well together, don't they? And with you it's just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you're two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman... how to die by the rules - when the only important thing is how to live like a human being.''

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Virtues and Vices. The life of Lawrence.

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 20 April 2010 10:01 (A review of Lawrence of Arabia (1962))

''Young men make wars, and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage, and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution.''

A grand classic from bygone days. Sweeping epic about the real life adventures of T.E. Lawrence, a British major who unified Arab tribes and led them in the fight for independence from the Ottoman Turks in the 1920s.
Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.

Peter O'Toole: T.E. Lawrence

Steven Spielberg states it as one of his great favourite films of all time, he boldly says, ''A Miracle of a film!'' and you can easily see and hear why when you witness the spectacle for yourself.
The life of T.E. Lawrence is brought to us in epic proportions from Director David Lean, in such a mind-blowingly spectacular way that defies, exceeds and fulfils expectations.
A biographical film concerning T.E. Lawrence, taken from the autobiography The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Revolving around a seemingly timid and politely garish British lieutenant whom is stationed in Cairo. He was sent into the deserts to report about the conflicts in Arabia concerning national movements from 1916-1918, but Lawrence returns holding a love and passion for the Arabs, he becomes one of them, and decides to help them fight for their freedom against the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Visually perfect with a score which is spine shuddery delicious. Even more impact where David Lean decides to have the music on its own with no visuals, where you can just close your eyes and immerse yourself within the melodies and haunting soothing tunes that embody the spirit of this age.
Lawrence of Arabia is the milestone slice of film ever to ever grace the screen. It borrows some structural elements from Citizen Kane and perfects the art of the biographical film.
Peter O'Toole embodies T.E. Lawrence so well you believe he really is the man from life he portrays.
Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle and Claude Rains all add to a spectacular array of casting.

''Truly, for some men nothing is written unless THEY write it.''

Lawrence of Arabia reminiscent of the equally epic and classic predecessor from David Lean, Bridge on the River Kwai(Which also won 7 Oscars) further backs up his skill and precision at bringing to life spectacular events upon film and the eye. This is timeless, memorable on-goings that deserve repeated viewings.
Cinematography by Freddie Young is vast and flows, showing the desert and city scapes in all the glory celluloid doth allow. To accompany these luscious visuals is the original breath taking score by Maurice Jarre whom composed a rainbow of sound to suit the Arabian settings and desert. Infinite and dazzling just like the desert itself would be a good way of describing the score and the beautiful stunning landscapes.

It must also be said that Lawrence of Arabia isn't just about showing the unifying of Arab tribes at the particular time of the turn of the Century, but it also shows the murky politics of the British Empire as well as Turkish Empire. It shows how they ''use'' Lawrence for their own advantages and ends. The leaders of the Arabs and the British know keeping power and their people aren't always in mind of their own agendas. The people in power, the politicians and kings are corrupt enough to be selfish, and Lawrence is the opposite: Selfless.
Another clever scene shown is when Lawrence is captured by Turkish Soldiers and taken to a commander in charge. It shows the Turkish are essentially the same as the British. The faces may be different but the game remains the same.
Earlier the film shows Lawrence rescue an Arab whom is left behind in the desert, his friend Sherif advises against it but Lawrence still goes. He states, ''It is not written.'' Thus he goes on to find the man, save him and ultimately later by a twist of fate the twist results in being the man he saves steals and he ends up having to execute him. What does this tell us? Sometimes however hard we try or think, destiny and fate are a real possibility and fear for us. We cannot contemplate not being in control of our lives. It's a clever notion to reflect upon.

Overall, 1962 saw the dawn of this epic colossus masterpiece to grace audiences and screens. It garnered critical acclaim and 7 Oscars in appreciation for it's illustrious, incredible journey and historical Hollywood coated greatness. Fortunately for me and others, the film was restored and kept in the same condition as when it was originally conceived, for a special edition release for today's fans and appreciators. This is epic cinema from a golden age. This is over three hours capturing historical wonder and escapism.
This is unforgettable.

''The best of them won't come for money; they'll come for me.''

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We have dragons.

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 19 April 2010 09:04 (A review of How to Train Your Dragon)

''While other places have ponies, or parrots... we have dragons.''

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.

Jay Baruchel: Hiccup (voice)

Dreamworks always has a sense of humour when it comes to animated projects. Shrek was hilariously truthful from the company while Kung Fu Panda had the same effect with me. This year 2010 brings to our attention the latest project: How to Train Your Dragon. Is it another feel good, heart warming comic hit? In a one word response, YES! Needlessly to say, in 3D the whole affair soars and sizzles as it strokes and tantalises the synapses. It will make you fall in love with animated films all over again.

How to Train Your Dragon is based on the novel by Cressida Cowell and the film uses William Davies screenplay. Direction comes from a joint effort in the guise of Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. Everyone does an excellent job with the visuals, the story and the simplicity of creativeness and entertainment striving hand in hand.
Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller...To name but a few all give voices and essentially bring the characters to life alongside the animation.

The story is a simple one yet it is ultimately very special and demands your attention yet never overly tries to. How to Train Your Dragon is a moral lesson revolving around ignorance and two species that strongly hate each other without ever knowing fully why. Hiccup is the reluctant hero Viking and if you will revolutionary for his people. Stoik is the father and leader of the village. Stoik and his people to begin with cannot understand Hiccup because he is different, he thinks and has creative tendencies. So as proceedings carry on and the film explains to us the situation thus he meets and captures a dragon. Thus it turns his World and his thoughts on dragons upside down. The two species dragons and humans both misunderstand each other, Hiccup and Toothless(The Black Dragon) forge a friendship and bond stronger than life itself.
The visuals, soundtrack, story are all larger than life. How to Train Your Dragon is fun for adult and child alike and has some of the best uses of 3D I've ever seen thus so far. The flying sequences even rival Avatar in terms of momentum and thrilling exhilaration.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best films this year in terms of animation and from Dreamworks. This is the loving, simple story of courage, friendship and overcoming ignorance. Peace and two very different yet very alike species coming together, overcoming misunderstanding and hatred. Everything probably has been done many times before in terms of story telling yet it's done in a way that is fresh and fun. No matter how many times creativity merges with entertainment and moral ambiguity, no matter the relevance or originality, projects like How to Train Your Dragon will always capture the imagination and minds of dreamy audiences everywhere. You go in feeling whatever your feeling, you finish the film with a happy glow. That's priceless.

''My village. In a word? Sturdy, and it's been here for seven generations, but every single building is new. We have fishing, hunting, and a charming view of the sunset. The only problems are the pests. You see, most places have mice or mosquitoes. We have... dragons.''

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The clash minus a plot equals a royal mess.

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 19 April 2010 07:29 (A review of Clash of the Titans)

''Neither god, nor man... you can change everything...''

The mortal son of the god Zeus embarks on a perilous journey to stop the underworld and its minions from spreading their evil to Earth as well as the heavens.

Sam Worthington: Perseus

Wow. Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans is the new summer blockbuster in 2D or 3D. Unfortunately despite pretty visuals, spades of CGI and a host of characters whom are miscast as is a Sam Worthington sporting a marine shortened hair cut amongst a Greek populace. What is this? The original Clash of the Titans mixed up the myths, legends and story in 1981. 2010 the remake goes one step further in tragically blowing apart the Greek God saga revolving around Perseus and Argos.

Let's just say it was painful to watch this. Ralph Fiennes as Hades was more like Gimli from LOTR and Liam Neeson playing Zeus was like a glowing power ranger character. In fact Olympus was like a big glowing light bulb with chocolate figures that the big man plays with.
Clash of the Titans is a confusing, confounding affair of frustration and effects.
There is a scene in a forest, then a desert with scorpions and a guy whom looks like something from Transformers. We have a black pegasus. I shit you not. We have a medusa who looks about as CGI as you can make something. I'm crying from the disappointment. The humiliation of a plotless adventure which discards the original myths and pythos to an extent that it no longer resembles books or indeed the true vision that aspiring Greek legends and stories are.

You know what I loved most about Clash of the Titans aside from the dislike for inconsistencies? Perving on the gorgeous Gemma Arterton as Io, she practically raped my eyeballs and made this ordeal bearable and exciting.
The ending was pretty feel good too if what slightly unbelievable and paradoxical in relation to events which aspired.
Mads Mikkelsen as Draco was pretty interesting yet I felt alot of characters were sewn and taken from 300 and Troy. The encounter with Medusa equals killing half the cast which was also pointless and demeaning.

Overall, Clash of the Titans is Sam Worthington the lost marine in Ancient Greece just popped off the set Avatar and even donning an Aussie accent which confuses and sets the film in realms of ridiculousness.
Where is Hera? Where is the cave in which the three witches live with the eye? Where is the order of the plot? Why is everything missing from Clash of the Titans? Because Louis Leterrier thought he was doing another plotless Transporter film void of soul and layered dimensional characters. Try again mate.

''You may not wish to be a god, but after what you've done hundreds will worship you. Look after them. Treat them better than we could. And if you insist on continuing this mundane human existence, I'll not have you do it alone. You're the son of Zeus, after all!''

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The way of truth and love has always won.

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 18 April 2010 12:28 (A review of Gandhi (1982))

''Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.''

Biography of Mahatma Gandhi, the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British through his philosophy of non-violent protest.

Ben Kingsley: Mohandas K. Gandhi

General George C. Marshall, the American Secretary of State said of Mahatma Gandhi, that he had become the spokesman for the conscience of mankind, a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires. This is Gandhi. Albert Einstein added, Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.
My thoughts? This is one of the greatest men to ever walk this Earth, the most selfless, deepest, philosophical, free thinking individuals to grace existence.

Thus with Richard Attenborough's film biopic account featuring Sir Ben Kingsley in the shoes of the great Gandhi. We see and are given a loving, emotional account and insight into the legendary man whom risked so much for a country and a people in need of freedom and independence.
Firstly we see the barbarism, racism and unjustness of the British Empire. ''We think it is time that you recognized that you are masters in someone else's home.'' Gandhi coolly expresses to officials and British Army officers at one point after a cold, brutal massacre. This is the truth of the matter. The British Empire was great of course but for all the wrong reasons. It capitalized on the suffering and labour of the people it exploited in far away regions, and even today we see the side effects it has had on modern times.
Imagine the British Empire is an old man with his feet soaking in a warm, dirty bowl of hot water. The bowl of water represents India, it represents the Countries under the thumb of this Empire. That is the only truth Gandhi teaches us about tyranny.

Later after many years of struggle, imprisonment and injustice. After many years of non-violent protest from himself and his allies, through fasting and prayer Gandhi succeeds in helping India gain independence and thus break away from domination from the British.
Then the next snag is the Hindus and the Muslims fighting and dying over the differences and eye for an eye revenge fighting which starts. Pakistan is created for the Muslims of India yet each side is persecuted for the other.
Gandhi boldly, affirmly, calmly says, ''I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.'' So we see, Gandhi is free from hate and anger. From the rage and chaos in which religion divides and causes wars and death to essentially brothers. In Gandhi's eyes Hindu and Muslim, Christian and Jew are brothers. They are his people. He is the embodiment of peace and prosperity. However this thinking and advanced higher resonance essentially caused his demise at the hands of narrow minded religious fanatics.
Fortunately Gandhi will always be remembered for changing not just India but changing the World and the way we think. A line of thinking free from racism, religious segregation and a mutual respect for human life and freedom.

Overall, Gandhi has a fascinating biopic structure which is intricately woven by Richard Attenborough whom gives it the love and delicate care it richly deserves. He assembles a knock out cast which prove performances and story go hand in hand.
Sir Ben Kingsley steals the film with his timeless portrayal of the Great Mahatma Gandhi: Mahatma was a name given to Gandhi by the people meaning ''Great Soul''. A name wholeheartedly earned and deserved.
Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Martin Sheen, Saeed Jaffrey, Geraldine James, Alyque Padamsee, Amrish Puri, and Roshan Seth to name but a few all pop up to add to such a magical casting and journey of a man transcending the mere material.
Gandhi is a myriad of biopic, history and Hollywood yet it never loses momentum over it's three hour span and every detail is necessary for such a huge undertaking. It's right up there right along side The Last Emperor, Schindler's List and Lawrence of Arabia; An age when film was so long and so informative, crammed with glorious loving detail, it was essentially two parts. The intermission designed for us to have a break. This is an educational, transportation to an age of our past. This is about love and truth, this is a tribute to the life of a prophet and visionary from yesterday whom made a better tomorrow. Watch this film and remember a great man.

''What do you want me not to do? Not to meet with Mr. Jinnah? I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew, and so are all of you. When you wave those flags and shout, you send fear into the hearts of your brothers. That is not the India I want! Stop it! For God's sake stop it!''

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