At first viewing, this Arthouse film may be challenging to sit through, but after careful analysis and reflection, it proves to be a fascinating and poignant work that offers insights into the contemporary art world of 2022. The film presents a searing drama that touches on various themes such as egos, sexual advances, and the impact of post-Covid on the society. With time, viewers can fully appreciate the complexities of the film’s narrative, and the tragedy that unfolds is a testament to the film’s depth and significance. Through its themes and imagery, the film paints a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of the contemporary art world, making it a valuable work of cinema.
The movie explores the notion of how excessive ego can lead to manipulation when a single individual receives disproportionate recognition in a collaborative field. Drawing parallels between an orchestra and a film set, the movie highlights how most collaborators are often relegated to the background, with their contributions receiving limited acknowledgement. Through its narrative, the movie delves into the dangers of unchecked egos, particularly in fields that require collective efforts to achieve success. The film’s message serves as a cautionary tale for individuals who may be prone to letting their egos get the better of them, reminding them of the importance of collaboration and mutual respect in achieving creative excellence.
Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Lydia Tár in the film is a tour de force. Blanchett, a Melbourne native, is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished actors of her generation. Her career has been characterized by a remarkable versatility, with performances that range from indie films to blockbuster productions and stage productions. Her extensive body of work has earned her a multitude of awards and accolades, including two Academy Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards.
Blanchett’s performances are consistently praised for their depth, nuance, and emotional resonance. Her commitment to her craft is evident in her ability to bring complex characters to life with an authenticity and depth that is unmatched. Her performances are marked by an unwavering dedication to her craft, a willingness to take risks, and an innate talent that shines through in every role.
Whether on stage or on screen, Blanchett’s performances are consistently captivating and transformative, earning her a reputation as one of the most respected and admired actors in the industry. Her contribution to the world of film and theater has been significant, and her legacy as an artist is one that will endure for generations to come.
Blanchett’s career began on the Australian stage after she graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art. However, it was her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the 1998 film Elizabeth that thrust her into the international spotlight. Her portrayal earned her the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Actress, as well as her first Academy Award nomination. Blanchett’s transformative ability to embody historical figures continued with her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004), which won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Blanchett’s acting range is vast and her talent is undeniable, as demonstrated by her Academy Award for Best Actress for Blue Jasmine (2013), where she portrayed a neurotic former socialite. Her numerous other Academy Award nominations include roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), I’m Not There (2007), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Carol (2015), making her the most-nominated Australian actor.
Blanchett’s success is not limited to critical acclaim, as she has also appeared in a number of commercial hits. These include The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Cinderella (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Ocean’s 8 (2018), and Don’t Look Up (2021). Her ability to captivate audiences with her performances in a variety of genres is a testament to her remarkable versatility and talent. Blanchett’s impressive body of work has solidified her status as one of the most accomplished actors of her generation, with a career that continues to inspire and impress.
In the film “Tár,” Cate Blanchett delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Lydia Tár, a world-renowned conductor and EGOT winner who also happens to be a lesbian. The movie opens with a scene on a private jet where someone is taking a live video of someone who looks like Lydia Tár in perfect 2020s fashion. The film then transitions to a voice-over biography of the extraordinary “Tár,” with snippets of the perfectionist herself going into suit fittings, looking at magazines, and writing music. Although it may seem that Lydia is a complex character who derives pleasure only through her heightened passion for composing and music, she is also highly charged with the need to be perceived as the best in front of those she cares for.
Throughout the film, Lydia’s complexity is portrayed through her manipulative actions and the consequences that follow. She is uptight, fierce, passionate, and intimidating, and she abuses her position of power, leading to her downfall. Lydia’s assistant, Francesca, sticks with her until the end, believing that Lydia would take her up the ladder indisputably. However, by the end of the movie, Francesca is left with nothing but being Lydia’s right-hand woman. Lydia’s downfall is triggered by Francesca’s absconding from her side, leaving Lydia vulnerable and alone.
Blanchett’s captivating performance keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, questioning their idea of good and bad. Lydia’s aura is almost narcotic in the manner in which it keeps the audience consuming more and more of her “innocence” until they start to question their perception of the character. Lydia is not a hero or an anti-hero; she is just an influential woman who ends up digging her own grave and losing everything she worked so hard to attain.
Overall, “Tár” is a character study that is watchable only because of Blanchett’s captivating performance. From the choices she makes to the clothes she wears and how quickly she switches from perfect to incredibly flawed, Blanchett keeps the audience hoping things will turn out alright for her character in the end, even when it may not be right. The film delves into the complexity of power and its abuse, leaving the audience with a lot to contemplate long after the devastating conclusion.
John Ford: When the horizon’s at the bottom, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s at the top, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s in the middle, it’s boring as shit. Now, good luck to you. And get the fuck out of my office!
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner
Starring: Michelle Williams, Gabriel LaBelle, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen
Synopsis: Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.
This is a heartfelt tribute to Steven Spielberg’s youth, his legacy, and his contribution to the world of cinema. It is rare to have a biographical film made by the actual biographer, and this one is both beautifully shot and directed. Spielberg has always been one of my favorite directors, and I remember him being one of the first directors I became aware of as a child. I saw E.T. in theaters (it must have been a re-release because I can’t imagine watching it when I was born), and I was in awe of its mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and pure entertainment. As a young boy, I could never have imagined such a story until I saw it on the big screen.
E.T. was a critical and financial success worldwide, and Spielberg was destined to become one of the most recognized film directors of all time. As I grew up, he continued to create incredible films such as the non-stop thrills of the Indiana Jones trilogy, the grand science-fiction majesty and awe of 1994’s Jurassic Park and the heartbreak of Schindler’s List, the fun and campy sequel of 1997’s The Lost World, the brutal violence of 1998’s Saving Private Ryan, the loneliness of youth in 2001’s A.I., the futuristic sensation of 2002’s Minority Report and the fun and heartbreak of Catch Me If You Can, the sobering 2005’s War of the Worlds and Munich, 2012’s historic Lincoln, and 2015’s spy drama Bridge of Spies. All of these films are classic examples of mainstream blockbuster entertainment, often with a focus on value and wide appeal, with excellent actors, cinematography, and editing.
I remember watching his earlier films on video to catch up on his oeuvre, such as 1971’s Duel, 1975’s Jaws, and 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, all of which blew me away as a child. Spielberg inspired me to become a filmmaker and a film critic, and he has consistently made iconic films throughout his career.
“The Fabelmans” is a stunning tribute to the art of filmmaking, with every frame exquisitely shot. Watching this movie brings back memories of my own childhood, making home movies with my digital video camera. Spielberg was a true inspiration then, and watching this film reminds me of his influence on me.
The movie follows Steven Spielberg’s childhood as a Jewish boy growing up in America with a father who worked in engineering and loved to travel, and a mother who was passionate about the arts. Paul Dano and Michelle Williams play these roles perfectly. In the film, Spielberg changes his name to Sammy Fabelman, and the character is played brilliantly by both Gabriel LaBelle and Mateo Zoryan as the younger Sammy.
Sammy is a curious and wide-eyed boy who is fascinated by everything. When his parents take him to the cinema for the first time, he is scared, shocked, and inspired. Watching the trains violently collide in the Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Greatest Show on Earth,” he becomes inspired to film his toy trains and crash them. As he grows up, he discovers he has a real talent for making films with his sisters. His Uncle Bennie, played confidently by Seth Rogen, encourages him to make more movies. Sammy’s mother, Mitzi Fabelman, especially encourages him to pursue his love of the arts and believe in himself. Mitzi’s character is portrayed by Michelle Williams with a melancholy allure that is both heartbreaking and extraordinary to watch. She doesn’t want her son to experience the mundanity of life and have his artistic dreams go unrealized, like hers did.
As Sammy grows older, his family moves to a new town, leaving behind their friends and familiar surroundings. When Sammy learns a troubling secret, he decides to stop making films and focus on his studies, which pleases his father but causes inner turmoil for Sammy. Giving up on one’s dreams due to heartbreak is never worth it.
Throughout the film, Spielberg infuses his signature magical touch, with elements of drama, hope, excitement, and redemption.
Steven Spielberg is undeniably one of the greatest artists of my generation, and he is a true inspiration to me. I aspire to be like him in many ways. This film is a classic, and it is fascinating to see a living biographer tackle their own life story on screen. It is a beautiful and inspiring film, and without a doubt, my favorite movie of 2022.
I watched a lot of awesome movies in February. Most of them were catching up on the Oscar nominees. However I’m working on an Arnold Schwarznegger, Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone retrospective which is really fun. Here is a snapshot of all the films and television I’ve watched in February.
In The Cut(2003) 3 Stars In The Cut, a 2003 film directed by Jane Campion, initially garnered intense backlash due to Meg Ryan’s departure from her traditional romantic comedy roles into a more erotic thriller genre. However, the film itself is not a typical erotic thriller, such as Basic Instinct or Fatal Attraction. Instead, it uses sex realistically to drive character development and dramatic tension. Despite the initial reception, both Ryan and Mark Ruffalo deliver outstanding performances in this disturbing thriller, which defies conventional genre tropes of its time. It is a true Arthouse film with a unique style that captivates and intrigues its audience. The movie’s oddness and individuality make it an interesting and memorable cinematic experience.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever(2022) 4 Stars The late Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Black Panther/T’Challa receives a poignant and emotional tribute in this sequel, beautifully envisioned by the talented director Ryan Coogler. The movie’s stunning visuals and cinematic storytelling are comparable to James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. The lead women, portrayed excellently by Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett, step up to defend Wakanda following T’Challa’s death, delivering moving and powerful performances. The absence of Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan is felt deeply throughout the film, leaving a significant void to fill. While the movie may be somewhat overlong, its style and grace make it an essential viewing experience. Tenoch Huerta delivers an awesome performance as the villain Namor, posing a genuine threat to the powerful Wakandans.
Glass Onion (2022) 3.5 Stars Glass Onion is a hilarious sequel to the 2019 mystery classic, Knives Out. This time, Daniel Craig’s Detective Benoit Blanc is embroiled in a post-COVID mystery, involving a fresh set of selfish and money-hungry suspects. The film leans more towards comedy than its predecessor, and although not as strong, it still delivers laughs and entertainment. Daniel Craig delivers another brilliant performance as the detective, adding to his impressive filmography.
The Fabelmans (2022) 5 Stars Steven Spielberg’s youth, legacy, and contributions to cinema are honoured in a touching tribute with this film, The Fabelmans. It is a rare treat to have a biographer make a movie about their subject and do it so masterfully, with beautiful direction and cinematography. Gabriel LaBelle delivers an excellent performance as the teenage Steven Spielberg, aka Sammy Fabelman, a young Jewish boy who is passionate about making movies. Paul Dano and Michelle Williams portray his parents wonderfully, adding depth and emotion to the film. The movie is a perfect blend of beauty, heartbreak, humour, and inspiration, much like Spielberg’s best films. He truly is one of the greatest artists of our generation, and this movie celebrates his contributions to the industry. The supporting cast, including Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch as legendary director John Ford, also deliver excellent performances.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance(2023) 1.5 Stars Magic Mike’s return to the big screen, portrayed by the talented and attractive Channing Tatum, starts with a bang but quickly falters with a mediocre plot. The story revolves around directing a stage play for a wealthy divorcee, played excellently by Salma Hayek. However, the movie plods along and lacks the excitement and entertainment value that one would expect from a collaboration between Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh. The movie has the potential to be much more engaging and captivating, but unfortunately falls short of expectations.
Tar (2022) 4.5 Stars On first viewing, this Arthouse film can be challenging to sit through, but upon reflection, it reveals itself as a fascinating and tragic piece that reflects the current state of the art world in 2022. Cate Blanchett’s performance is masterful and adds depth to the story, which touches on themes such as ego, sexual advances, and the impact of the post-COVID world. The movie is a searing drama that delves into the complexities and struggles of the art world, and its characters are forced to confront the harsh realities of the industry. While it may be difficult to watch at times, the movie ultimately delivers a thought-provoking and engaging experience for its audience.
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) 4 Stars War films continue to be relevant in today’s society, exploring themes of brotherhood, sacrifice, and the futility of war. Despite the passage of time, the realities of war remain an ever-present aspect of human experience, and movies offer a powerful medium to explore its complexities. One of the most refreshing perspectives in recent years has been the portrayal of the German side, providing insight into the other side of the conflict. These films allow us to empathize with the soldiers and understand their motivations, hopes, and fears, humanizing both sides of the conflict. In short, war films remain a vital means of exploring human experiences and provide a crucial perspective on the realities of conflict.
Evil Dead II (1987) 3 Stars Sam Raimi’s horror masterpiece is an immersive and terrifying experience that feels like a literal haunted house ride from start to finish. The movie is bold, shocking, and endlessly entertaining, with every scene designed to elicit a visceral reaction from the audience. Raimi’s skillful direction and attention to detail make every moment feel deliberate and purposeful, building tension and suspense with each passing minute. The film is unapologetically gross and disturbing, making it a must-see for horror enthusiasts. Despite its age, it remains a classic and a testament to Raimi’s mastery of the genre.
Darkman (1990) 2 Stars This 90s superhero movie is a delightful romp that draws inspiration from 1989’s Batman but allows director Sam Raimi to put his own spin on the genre without relying on existing properties. Raimi’s eccentric flair, honed to perfection in his Evil Dead films, is on full display, making the movie a fun and playful experience. The film is extremely campy and should not be taken too seriously, but that’s part of its charm. Raimi’s experimentation and willingness to take risks result in an entertaining superhero flick that stands out from the crowd.
The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) 4 Stars Imagine if your best friend told you that they no longer wanted to be friends. That’s the premise of this movie, which features terrific performances from Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and especially Barry Keoghan. The stunning Irish scenery and gorgeous cinematography add to the bittersweet and laid-back tone of the film, which captures the essence of friendship and its complexities. The movie is a testament to the power of friendship and the impact it can have on our lives, even when it comes to an end. It is a beautiful and poignant reflection on the human experience, with outstanding performances and breathtaking scenery that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Army of Darkness (1992) 2 Stars In the third instalment of the Evil Dead series, Ash is transported back in time, finding himself in a sword and sandals epic rather than a haunted house. Director Sam Raimi’s eccentric and playful style is still present, but some might argue that it goes a bit too far this time around. The movie is a fun and entertaining ride, but the tonal shift may not appeal to everyone. Despite this, the film still manages to capture the essence of the series, providing plenty of laughs, thrills, and action. If you’re a fan of the franchise or enjoy Raimi’s unique style, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Knock at the Cabin (2023) 4 Stars M. Night Shyamalan delivers a solid thriller, which centres around a gay couple and their adopted daughter who are held hostage by a group of people who believe they need to stop the apocalypse. Despite the couple’s love for each other and disbelief in the group’s claims, the ticking clock and a series of events cause tension to mount. As a natural disaster looms, Shyamalan’s masterful use of camera, sound, framing, and acting elevate the movie to another level. Dave Bautista delivers an excellent performance, proving himself to be a talented and interesting actor. The movie is a gripping and intense experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Triangle of Sadness (2022) 4 Stars Swedish writer and director, Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is a hilarious satire told in three acts, each one more ridiculous than the last. The movie’s witty and irreverent take on modern society is sure to have audiences laughing from start to finish. The film’s clever writing and absurd humour make it an utterly enjoyable experience. It’s a refreshing break from serious dramas and action-packed blockbusters, offering a light-hearted and entertaining escape. Triangle of Sadness is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you.
Women Talking (2022) 4 Stars Writer and Director, Sarah Polley, adapts Miriam Toews novel Women Talking. This movie is gorgeously shot, with near-black-and-white visuals that add to the film’s emotional impact. The excellent acting from Clare Foy and the entire cast draws you into the story, which is a heartbreaking tale of hope and loss. The movie explores the complexities of the human experience, showing how even in the darkest moments, there can be a glimmer of hope. It’s a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the resilience of the human spirit. The film’s striking visuals and outstanding performances make it a must-see for anyone who appreciates powerful storytelling and masterful filmmaking.
Spider-Man (2002) 4 Stars Back in 2002, I absolutely loved this movie. It was a thrill to see my childhood favorite superhero brought to life on the big screen and stay true to the source material. Sam Raimi did a fantastic job creating a vivid comic book-inspired version of New York City, and all the beloved characters from the comic book were faithfully brought to life, including Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Mary-Jane, J. Jonah Jameson, the Green Goblin, Harry Osborne, and of course, Peter Parker. The nostalgia factor is high for me with this film, and it’s easy to see how it changed the cinema landscape. Nowadays, only Marvel movies are guaranteed box office hits, but this film paved the way for the superhero genre and set the bar high for all that followed.
You People (2023) 2 Stars This movie can be best described as a cross between “Meet the Parents” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”. When I heard that Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were in it, I was excited and thought it would be the comedy of the year. Unfortunately, it falls short of expectations. The jokes are too obvious and the overall vibe doesn’t quite work. However, the movie is watchable thanks to excellent performances from Lauren London and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. While it may not be a laugh-out-loud comedy, it’s still worth watching for the talented cast and interesting premise.
Creed (2015) 4.5 Stars Ryan Coogler showcases his brilliance as a director in this film, transitioning seamlessly from indie projects to blockbuster hits. Michael B. Jordan delivers an excellent performance as the young boxer Adonis Creed, who is struggling to overcome the trauma of his childhood as well as his deceased father’s legacy and prove himself in the sport of Boxing. Sylvester Stallone returns as the iconic Rocky Balboa and is also outstanding as the old, grizzled boxer who has lost everyone he loves and is facing his own mortality with a cancer diagnosis. Despite the challenges, he proves that Rocky is always a fighter. The movie is well-directed, with excellent cinematography that captures many iconic scenes. Overall, it’s a powerful and emotionally charged film that showcases the talent of everyone involved.
The Terminator (1984) 4 Stars James Cameron’s legendary direction and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout performance make this sci-fi masterpiece a must-see for fans of the genre. The film expertly blends time travel, horror, and action set pieces, delivering a thrilling and captivating experience. Schwarzenegger’s performance helped turn him into a megastar, and the plot is nothing short of awesome. The special effects, direction, and acting are all top-notch, coming together to create a film that is truly outstanding. Simply put, this movie is so good!
Conan The Barbarian (1982) 3 Stars Before he became known for his iconic role in The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout performance was actually as the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan, originally created by Robert E. Howard in 1932 for a series of fantasy stories. Directed by John Milius, this film is a true epic that is brutal and savage in its tone and style, similar to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and an inspiration for the mature fantasy of Game of Thrones. Despite Schwarzenegger’s struggles with the English dialogue, Milius wisely gives him minimal dialogue and plenty of action to showcase his strength. The action set pieces are spectacular, and Schwarzenegger’s physique is simply unbelievable. James Earl Jones is also great as the villain, adding another layer of depth to the film’s already rich storytelling. Overall, Conan the Barbarian is a must-see for fans of the fantasy genre, showcasing Schwarzenegger’s early talent and Milius’ masterful direction.
Conan The Destroyer (1984) 2 Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers plenty of horse and animal punches in this sequel that veers towards a more fantasy-based storyline than the original. The film is reminiscent of 80s cartoons like He-Man, with its abundance of monsters, castles, towers, and goblins. While it’s fun and visually interesting, it’s not as memorable as the original film. It’s more like Ridley Scott’s 1985 film Legend or George Lucas’s 1983 Return of the Jedi in terms of its fantastical elements and puppetry. The film was a hit and one thing’s for sure: Arnold is in peak physical form and delivers an impressive performance.
Red Sonja (1985) 2.5 Stars A really fun sword and sandals adventure with Arnold Schwarznegger’s Conan now taking a step back to let 80s female action star Brigitte Nielsen take the lead as Red Sonja. This is very similar to Conan The Destroyer in its style and campiness. However Brigitte Nielsen is really good in the role and it’s too bad we didn’t get more adventures. The He-Man and She-Ra comparisons are extremely visible and if I had discovered these films as a kid, I would have really been into them. However, in today’s film landscape the special effects and action scenes do not hold up as well as your latest Marvel blockbuster. I think this could be a great Netflix show with the right people behind the scenes and a Game of Thrones inspired brutal new vision. Bring back Schwarznegger’s Conan!
The Golden Child (1986) 2 Stars Eddie Murphy was at the peak of his popularity and was following up the hugely successful 1984 hit Beverly Hills Cop. Eddie followed the popular trend of the 80s and starred as a fish out of water Private Investigator who is tracking a missing child that leads him down a fantastical path. This is one of Eddie’s forgettable films and there isn’t anything memorable about it. Eddie is still funny but the hokey special effects and racist undertone of the film don’t hold up today.
Boomerang (1992) 4 Stars The 1992 film “Boomerang” marks Eddie Murphy’s return to the big screen after the underwhelming performances of his previous films, “Harlem Nights” (1989) and “Another 48 Hrs” (1990). In this movie, Murphy debuts a new persona as a sexy, suave leading man – a successful black man who effortlessly attracts women – in contrast to his earlier comedic roles. The film features a star-studded cast including Robin Givens and Halle Berry, whose performances add to the on-screen sizzle. Comedic greats Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Chris Rock, and John Witherspoon also feature, alongside Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones, and Tisha Campbell, who deliver hilarious performances.
“Boomerang” is a mix of laugh-out-loud humor, steamy romantic moments, and dramatic twists. It is an underrated hit from the 90s, with Eddie Murphy in top form. The film also boasts an awesome soundtrack featuring R&B greats such as Boyz II Men and Toni Braxton.
Rocky (1976) 4.5 Stars Despite its association with boxing, Sylvester Stallone’s iconic film, “Rocky,” is actually a heartwarming low-budget character drama. The film follows the story of a struggling boxer who is given the chance to prove himself in a city where he is seen as nothing more than a bum. “Rocky” is an inspiring and charming film that I find myself watching every year for a pick-me-up.
Stallone is joined by Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, and Burt Young, all of whom deliver excellent performances. The film is grittily directed by John G. Avildsen, who expertly captures the struggles and triumphs of the characters on screen. Overall, “Rocky” is a film that goes beyond its boxing theme to deliver a touching and uplifting story of perseverance and redemption.
Coming to America (1988) 5 Stars
During the late 1980s, the African American culture experienced a surge in popularity. Arsenio Hall hosted a highly acclaimed tonight show, Michael Jackson dominated the music industry, Whitney Houston was regarded as a pop princess, Prince’s album “Sign of the times” enjoyed great success, Michael Jordan dominated basketball, and Eddie Murphy released his biggest hit yet.
Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” features Prince Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy), a wealthy African prince who lacks nothing except a wife who loves him for who he is, rather than his title. In order to avoid an arranged marriage, Akeem and his fastidious sidekick, Semmi (played by Arsenio Hall), escape to America to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working at a fast-food restaurant, Akeem falls for Lisa (played by Shari Headley) but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his father, the king (played by James Earl Jones).
This film combines all of Eddie Murphy’s best elements, from his charm as a leading man to his comedic prowess, honed during his time on “Saturday Night Live,” showcased in his various characters. The sweet love story is hilarious throughout, making “Coming to America” a true comedy classic.
Seinfeld: Season 1(1989) 3 Stars The classic sitcom Seinfeld started with just five episodes, which were not its finest but not the worst either. Right from the beginning, the easygoing camaraderie between comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander’s iconic George Costanza was spot-on. Their banter about relationships, superheroes, and the mundane aspects of daily life in New York laid the groundwork for the show’s eventual success. Julia Louis-Dreyfus shines as Elaine Benes, Jerry’s ex-girlfriend who frequently joins them, and she makes a fantastic first impression in “The Stake Out,” which is the season’s best episode.
Seinfeld Season 2 (1991) 4 Stars Seinfeld returned for its second season with a larger amount of seventeen episodes which allowed the show to flesh its characters to become the iconic New York four. Jerry has a great return with his sarcastic and neurotic flair on showcase in the second episode ‘The Pony Remark.’ All four get episodes to shine in, Jason Alexander’s classic George Costanza shines in ‘The Phone Message’, ‘The Statue’, and ‘The Revenge’. Julia Louis-Dreyfus hilarious female lead shines in episodes such as ‘The Deal’, ‘The Apartment,’ and ‘The Chinese Restaurant.’ Michael Richard’s iconic Kramer begins to take form into the hipster doofus who would eventually dominate the comedy of the show in episodes such as ‘The Revenge’, ‘The Heart-Attack’ and ‘The Statue’. The series mix of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s neurotic vision of the world is becoming to take shape in this great season of the 90s classic sitcom. In its second season, Seinfeld returned with a larger episode count of seventeen, which allowed the show to further develop its characters into the iconic New York foursome. Jerry made a strong comeback with his signature sarcasm and neuroticism on full display in the second episode, “The Pony Remark.” Each of the four main characters had their moments to shine, with Jason Alexander’s unforgettable George Costanza delivering memorable performances in “The Phone Message,” “The Statue,” and “The Revenge.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s hilarious portrayal of Elaine Benes, the leading lady of comedy, also stood out in episodes like “The Deal,” “The Apartment,” and “The Chinese Restaurant.” Meanwhile, Michael Richards’s classic character, Kramer, began to take shape as the lovable goofball who would eventually dominate the show’s humour, particularly in episodes like “The Revenge,” “The Heart-Attack,” and “The Statue.” This great season of the ’90s classic sitcom saw the series’ signature mix of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s neurotic worldview beginning to take shape.
Seinfeld Season 3 (1991) 4 Stars The third season of Seinfeld reached new heights of comedy. Jerry Seinfeld returned in top form in the opening episode “The Note,” where his inappropriate comment to a masseuse leads to hilarious consequences. George Costanza also shone in “The Note,” as he becomes uncomfortable with a male masseuse. Jason Alexander’s iconic performance continued to improve with episodes such as “The Truth,” “The Library,” and “The Nose Job.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus also delivered standout performances as Elaine Benes in episodes like “The Pen,” “The Dog,” and “The Suicide.” Michael Richards’s hilarious portrayal of Kramer stood out in episodes such as “The Letter,” “The Parking Garage,” and “The Keys,” where he travels to Los Angeles.
Furthermore, several episodes in the season were inspired by the writers’ personal experiences. For instance, “The Pen” drew inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld’s discomfort with his mother’s sofa bed, while “The Tape” was based on something Larry David had tried in New York. In “The Letter,” Larry David’s experience at a baseball game in Anaheim inspired Elaine’s story. Finally, the character Mr. West was named after one of the show’s executive producers, who had provided Larry David with access to the seats in the owners’ box.
Seinfeld’s third season solidified the show’s reputation as a comedy about nothing. The humour is derived from the everyday, mundane situations that the characters encounter. The comedy arises from their neuroses, quirks, and unique perspectives on the world. The dialogue is rapid-fire and clever, full of witty wordplay and puns.
The show’s creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, have a clear comedic vision that involves attention to detail and boundary-pushing. The show tackles taboo topics, like sex and death, in a humorous way that is both irreverent and insightful. The characters are flawed and often self-centered, but their antics are always entertaining. Overall, Seinfeld is a show that turns the ordinary into something extraordinary, a beloved classic that continues to captivate audiences today.
Overall, Seinfeld is a show that takes an unconventional approach to comedy, focusing on the humour in the mundane and elevating it to an art form. Its unique style and approach have made it a beloved classic that continues to be relevant to this day.
Breaking Bad Season 4 5 Stars The fourth season of Breaking Bad is the epitome of tense, action-packed television, elevating the show to classic status. The epic battle between Walt and Gus Fring is a game of cat and mouse like no other. Aaron Paul’s performance as Jesse Pinkman, suffering from PTSD after his fateful decision in season three, is exceptional. His shifting allegiances between Walter White, Mike, and Gus provide ample drama and unforgettable scenes throughout the season. Giancarlo Esposito shines as the ruthless drug kingpin Gustavo “Gus” Fring, blending brutal violence with a disarming friendly demeanor. Jonathan Banks also delivers a standout performance as the gruff but highly skilled hitman, Mike Ehrmantraut. Additionally, Bob Odenkirk’s comedic turn as Saul Goodman provides much-needed relief amidst the season’s relentless tension.
Watching this season back in 2011, I was convinced it was the best season of television, and more than a decade later, it still holds that distinction.
General Friedrichs: What is a soldier without war?
Director: Edward Berger
Writer(s): Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell and based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque
Starring: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Brühl
Synopsis: A young German soldier’s terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.
As a teen I remember watching ‘Saving Private Ryan‘ in theaters and the traumatic impact of its opening scene remains vivid. The film’s opening is permeated with shocking and disturbing imagery that further intensifies the experience. I was shocked at the brutality but also enthralled with Steven Spielberg’s vision. This was the first time I saw the war depicted on screen in such a horrific way. During my childhood, I was exposed to a variety of war movies that were equally disturbing. Films such as Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket provided a shocking portrayal of the brutalities of war. These movies instilled in me a deep sense of fear about the prospect of being drafted and experiencing a future as bleak as the protagonists in those films. As a child, I was drawn to war films, and Saving Private Ryan was the pinnacle of that genre for me. I loved the movie, but I don’t remember ever experiencing a war film as intense and immersive as that until now. The film’s visceral depiction of the brutality and chaos of war was unparalleled, and it left a lasting impression on me. The movie conveyed a sense of realism and authenticity that I had not seen before, and it was as if I was right there alongside the soldiers, experiencing their struggles and triumphs firsthand. Even now, as an adult, I continue to be captivated by the power of Saving Private Ryan, and it remains one of my all-time favorite war films. Over the years, there have been many great war films that have left a significant impact on me, including Downfall and Inglourious Basterds (more for it’s ambition). However, none of them had the same emotional impact as Saving Private Ryan, until now.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a new war film that was able to match the intensity and realism of Saving Private Ryan. The film depicted the horrors of war in a way that was both raw and authentic, and it was as if I was transported to the battlefield, experiencing the events alongside the soldiers. The movie was a stark reminder of the senselessness and tragedy of war, and it left me feeling shaken and reflective. Although Saving Private Ryan will always hold a special place in my heart, this new war film proved to be just as powerful and thought-provoking.
The film follows a German soldier named, Paul Bäumer, (played intensely by Felix Kammerer) in World War I, the experience of battle was both grueling and harrowing. He was part of a generation of young men who had been trained to believe that war was an honorable endeavor, a duty to one’s country. But the reality was far different from the patriotic propaganda they had been fed. The trenches were dark and damp, and the soldiers were constantly under the threat of bombardment from the enemy. The smell of death and decay was ever present, and disease was rampant. Paul will see comrades fall beside him, their bodies ripped apart by bullets or blown to pieces by explosives. The horrors of war are etched into his memory forever. Despite the hardships, however, there was a sense of camaraderie amongst his fellow soldiers, and a belief that they were fighting for something greater than themselves. But as the war dragged on, and the casualties mounted, it became increasingly difficult to maintain that sense of purpose and the film takes its time to vividly illustrate just how far a soldier can fall in the face of war. The audience is given a raw and unflinching glimpse into the harrowing experiences and emotional toll that combat takes on a soldier. The film exposes the physical and psychological trauma that soldiers endure, as well as the mental and emotional challenges of being away from loved ones for extended periods. It shows how the brutal realities of war can change a person, often leaving them feeling broken and disillusioned. The film’s attention to detail and commitment to realism make it a poignant and sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers in times of conflict.
It’s unfortunate that the themes depicted in this film continue to be relevant today. As of 2023, conflicts and wars around the world are ongoing, and many people are experiencing the same harrowing situations depicted in these films. The ongoing Russian bombing of Ukraine and the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan are just a couple of examples of the continued violence and instability in many parts of the world. It’s important to remember that war and conflict have devastating consequences, affecting the lives of innocent civilians and causing long-lasting damage to communities and societies. It’s a sobering reminder of the ongoing need for peace and diplomacy, as well as the importance of supporting those who are affected by war and its aftermath.
As I jump back into completing my Masters in Media this year I want to update this blog more consistently. As I watch so many movies and television I often don’t have time to post about every single one so I will now make a monthly update of everything I’ve been watching from television to cinema.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody(2022)
Excellent performance from Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston. Unfortunately the film is just a greatest hits collection of her songs. All the real drama is fluffed over with hope being the main theme pushed throughout the film. Everyone comes out looking good from Stanley Gucci’s Clive Davis to Ashton Sanders Bobby Brown. Her gay past is glossed over and her fathers betrayal is also glossed over. This film could’ve been a lot stronger. Better off listening to the real Whitney’s greatest hits in your car or walking the dog on your AirPods.
Avatar: The Way of Water(2022)
James Cameron’s long awaited sequel to 2009’s biggest film ‘Avatar’. Cameron wisely doesn’t repeat the plot of the original but moves forward exploring the world of Pandora and beyond. Sixteen years after the Na’vi repelled the invasion of Pandora, Jake Sully (played again by gruff Australian Sam Worthington) lives as chief of the Omatikaya clan peacefully and prosperous, and raises a family with Neytiri (the beautiful and exotic Zoe Saldaña), which includes sons Neteyam and Lo’ak, daughter Tuk, and adopted children Kiri (born from Grace Augustine’s inert avatar) and Spider, the Pandora-born human son of the late Colonel Miles Quaritch.
Visually the film is amazing. I would recommend seeing it in IMAX 3D or Gold Class 3D if you can. This is a film where you are transported to another world and you just don’t want to leave. Every frame is a painting in Pandora. The luscious beauty of the Pandoran forest to the amazing water world of Awa’atlu, a Metkayina Clan village off the coast of the Eastern Sea. Every creature and landscape is beautifully realised and portrayed with Cameron’s eye for majesty. The film’s characters and dialogue can be clunky at times which is standard for a James Cameron film however with so much action and beauty you can overlook it. I think this film is better than the original and really expands the world to new possibilities and could be the new Star Wars or Lord of the Rings franchise for its science-fiction fantasy storytelling and as an amazing new world to watch on screen. I can’t wait for more.
Don’t Worry Darling(2022)
It’s classic Twilight Zone meets Mad Men in this disturbing commentary on post-covid lifestyles. The film has exciting performances from Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Kiki Layne and Gemma Chan who drive the film into a more interesting narrative. The film revolves around a 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community. Alice (get the reference?), played by Florence Pugh begins to worry that her husband’s glamorous company could be hiding disturbing secrets. Overall the film is fun to watch with the mysteries leaving you guessing however it could have been a lot better and the climax ultimately fails. Perhaps a different director could have pushed this into classic territory.
After enjoying Avatar so much I have gone back to check out James Cameron’s previous films. This popped up on Disney Plus and I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid. The film holds up as one of the better Arnold Schwarznegger 90’s action spectacles. Arnie stars as a James Bond-esque undercover spy who is lying to his wife and daughter about what he really does. Jamie Lee Curtis plays his wife who is tired of her boring life and seeks adventure. The middle-eastern villains don’t quite hold up in this post-9/11 world however if you enjoy it for it’s broad comedy and amazing set pieces this is a fun night at home.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile(2022)
As the school holidays come and go the cinemas need family fare to get the kids into their local Village or Hoyts cinema. This family film had potential with an interesting concept and great cast. However it seems the writers, producers and director all gave up halfway through and just went to collect their checks because the plot, character motivations, direction and overall narrative don’t make any sense and just jump from scene to scene with no coherent narrative. I was lost about ten minutes into it which is a shame because this could have been a fun musical for the children. Not recommended.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish(2022)
The other holiday family film is actually pretty great. A spin-off from the Shrek franchise, this film continues the parodied world of Fairytales, this one focusing on Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas). He is on a quest to get a wish for nine more lives as his adventurous life is about to run out. Other fairy tale characters included are Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Jack Horner (voiced hilariously by John Mulaney). The film is fun from beginning to end and works for both parents and children. Recommend.
Daddy Day Care(2003)
This family friendly feature is available on Netflix at the moment and is an easy watch for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin and Steve Zahn are fun as corporate business men who are forced to run a daycare when they are fired from their jobs. This film is fun for the family but isn’t memorable enough to rank with Eddie’s other better family features such as Shrek or The Nutty Professor.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre(2023)
A pretty average heist movie starring Jason Statham and directed by Guy Ritchie. Aubrey Plaza and Hugh Grant shine but Josh Hartnett is miscast as a Leonardo DiCaprio-esque movie star. The film would have been a lot better and funnier with a real movie star however overall it was still a fun time at the movies if you enjoy watching Statham kick ass!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory(1971)
The iconic family film based on Roald Dahl’s crazy book. Gene Wilder is fabulous as Willy Wonka the deranged candy store owner who allows five children to explore his factory of wonders. It has a 70s charm that the remake doesn’t have however I prefer Tim Burton’s vision.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
Who are you? What life could you have lived? In the possibility of multi-dimensions we can see what life could have brought us if we went down a different path. This is the main plot of Everything Everywhere All At Once and it is brilliant, innovative and completely different from any other film from the past few years. It reminds me of Being John Malkovich or The Matrix or Mad Max: Fury Road, the type of film so original and innovative that it will be studied in Media class and referred to for a long time. It is a really special film. It’s filled with fantastic performances and amazing visuals. The climax is a bit bloated and nearly crosses the line with the insanity but it’s still a powerful picture that will be remembered. Michelle Yeoh gives a tour de force performance as an ordinary Asian laundry manager who works with her husband Waymond (played by the excellent Ke Huy Quan) and needs to plan a birthday for her father (James Hong), deal with her daughter, Joy (another amazing performance from Stephanie Hsu) and negotiate with an angry tax accountant (hilariously portrayed by the great Jamie Lee Curtis). The film uses this simple scenario to jump into different universes and explore what life is all about. Dealing with relationships, marriage, parenthood and the road not taken. Amazing film that is already getting award buzz.
The Piano (1993)
New Zealand director Jane Campion’s visually stunning 90s art house and Oscar sensation is a great piece of Australian/New Zealand cinema history. Starring Holly Hunter as a mute lady with a daughter who translates for her, an amazing performance from Anna Pacquin. She arrives as a settler in New Zealand which has just been occupied by the English. It’s a period film which shows the struggle of the English settlement over New Zealand and the effect on the land and its indigenous natives. The film is beautiful visually with the ocean dominating the landscape. Sam Neil and Harvey Keitel also star.
The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Jane Campion’s follow up to The Piano is a slow period drama which isn’t as strong or interesting as The Piano. Another period drama with Nicole Kidman stars as an American heiress and free thinker who travels to Europe to find herself. Very slow paced and not as interesting as her other works.
A sweaty and crazy film from Jane Campion. Starring Kate Winslett as a cult follower who needs to be deprogramed by a specialist played by the awesome Harvey Keitel. The film becomes a battle of the sexes as Winslett’s character is not so easy to manipulate. An interesting and fun Australian film from the late 90s that is somewhat forgotten in the arthouse circle as 1999 was such a massive year for arthouse breakouts.
Avatar: The Extended Cut (2009)
Watching the original in Imax in 2009 I didn’t really get on board with this film. Everyone was blown away but I thought it was a pretty standard narrative with a basic plot and characters. However after watching the sequel and enjoying it so much I gave the extended edition on Blu Ray a shot. I’m glad I did because the film looks amazing in high definition and the added scenes add more to the world of Pandora and gives more pathos to the characters and ultimately tells a better story than the simple one I watched in 2009. This film builds on the lore and mythology that Cameron is creating and it now stands with George Lucas’s science-fiction fantasy world of Star Wars as one of the great fantasy worlds in pop culture.
Breaking Bad Season 1 (2008)
Our introduction to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman iconically played by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in this crime drama which would go on to become one of the best shows of the 21st century.
Breaking Bad Season 2 (2009)
The season that began building up to the show’s brilliance. Introducing Saul Goodman, Gus Fring, Jane Margolis and Mike Erhmantraut. The series leant into Walt’s battle between good and evil. Being a good husband and father or an evil drug kingpin. We know who wins but it’s great to see the fight. Jesse has an excellent arc with his relationship with Jane played by the excellent Krysten Ritter. All performances are top notch especially Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Bob Odenkirk.
Breaking Bad Season 3(2010)
The season starts off pretty slow with no real direction. Walt is abandoned by Skylar and living in a hotel not cooking. Jesse is in recovery and depressed over Jane. Gus and Saul try to get Walt back to cook and the twin Mexican brothers threaten to kill both Walt and Hank. It isn’t until episode seven; One Minute, that the tension begins to rise again up onto the incredible finale. Still one of the best acted, directed and shot television shows of the 2000s. Iconic television.
The White Lotus (2022)
The odd anthology drama which deals with identity, sex, relationships and families this season is set in Italy. Italy is amazingly shot and every frame looks beautiful. Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuaid is the only returning character from season one. As she was such a scene stealer she is a welcome presence in season two. Other characters include Dominic Di Grasso (played by the excellent Michael Imperioli) as an Italian-American father whose wife has left him due to his constant cheating. He is joined by his father (hilariously portrayed by F. Murray Abraham) and his son, Albie (played by Adam DiMarco in a great performance) as his shy, socially awkward but eager son. They all get involved with two hookers, Lucia and Mia. Also we have Cameron and Daphne Sullivan (played by Theo James and Meghann Fahy), a vain and rich white couple from America who have brought along their friends, Ethan and Harper Spiller (played by Will Sharpe and the superb Aubrey Plaza). We also have the returning Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (played by the irreplaceable Jennifer Coolidge) who is still struggling with her relationships, this time with her husband, Greg (played by the hapless Jon Gries) and her unfortunate assistant, Portia (played by the luminous, Haley Lu Richardson). All of them get entangled in another murder mystery.
Dante: Ok, I’ll trade my left foot for the flying car.
Randal: Why your left foot?
Dante: Oh, it’s got an ingrown toenail.
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Synopsis: Dante and Randal discuss the evolution of cars while stuck in traffic.
This short film is an unofficial sequel to Clerks. It finds Dante and Randal stuck in traffic and having a pop-culture laden conversation similar to the ones they had in Smith’s debut, Clerks. The whole film is set in Dante’s car and is reminiscent of the claustrophobic setting of the convenience store. Dante played by Brian O’Halloran and Randal played by Jeff Anderson, continue to have amazing chemistry and I could watch these guys chat all day. Kevin Smith’s sharp dialogue is intact with many theoretical tangents and hilarious nods to The Jetsons prediction of the future of flying cars.
Ghostface: Time for your last question: name the remake of the groundbreaking…
Kirby Reed: Halloween, Texas Chainsaw, Dawn of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, Amityville Horror, Black Christmas, House of Wax, Prom Night, My Bloody Valentine! It’s one of those, right?
Ghostface: None of the above!
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere
As the Scream trilogy ended in 2000 we have gotten the successful parody from the Wayan’s Brothers – Scary Movie (as well as four sequels) and the horror genre had evolved from the 90s to less original ideas and more remakes, reboots and sequels. By 2010 the most popular horror movies were the Saw films, Halloween reboot and Final Destination sequels. The cleverness of the original Scream trilogy was a hard task to top in 2011. The film had to address the new wave of horror while sticking to its slasher roots. The opening comes straight out of a parody Scary Movie with multiple twists which involve scenes from the films based on the film within a film, Stab V, Stab VI, etc. They feature the hottest television actresses of the 2010’s including Lucy Hale from televisions Pretty Little Liars, Shenae Grimes-Beech from televisions 90210 (reboot), Anna Paquin from televisions True Blood and Kristin Bell from televisions Veronica Mars all hits of the late 2000s. The opening isn’t scary though as the comedy Scary Movie had dulled our horror taste. Watching multiple girls get stabbed wasn’t as scary to watch as it was in the 90s. Also the staging and editing weren’t as strong as the previous entries.
Thankfully as we move past the opening and are re-introduced to the core three, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers-Riley (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) things improve. Courtney Cox and David Arquette are clearly enjoying being back in the franchise and Neve Campbell brings more of her mopey schtick as she did in the original trilogy. The new set of characters are a real treat with a great supporting cast from the early 2010’s including Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Alison Brie, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin and Emma Roberts.
These new characters much like the original are all aware of horror conventions, meta language and are all possible suspects to be the new killer. This film could have been a great reboot or legasequel like Star Wars and Creed with new characters taking over however they decide to stick with the original cast and murder most of the new cast which is a shame because most of them really popped especially Hayden Panettiere. They could have developed a cool new trilogy which could have carried the franchise through the 2010s. However the film wasn’t very popular and the franchise had died until ten years later.
The film overall isn’t as scary as the original and even though it’s definitely more gruesome than the originals we aren’t as invested in the deaths as by the end we know the original characters will get through it. I think a more daring approach would’ve been to have Sidney or Gale as the killer or at least get murdered.
By the end it becomes overly convoluted and the ending drags on way too long. Some good ideas but definitely the weakest in the series.
Welcome back everyone. I’m rebooting my blog with some new reviews and movie lists for 2018. I haven’t used this blog in a long time due to other commitments. However I still love movies. Always have and always will. As a child I would read the newspaper reviews of movies and wish I could do that one day as a full time job. With the power of the internet I now can (even though I won’t be paid for it). I am a full time Media teacher and I need a little hobby on the side to improve my writing and film analysis skills. Also just to write about film in general. I’ve already got a few reviews and lists coming up. For those who follow me on Instagram and Twitter I’ve been posting mini snack bite reviews of films I’ve been seeing recently and also a retrospective on the Marvel Cinematic Universe leading up to Avengers: Infinity War. I’ll be posting my ranking of that series soon. For now my reviews will be short unlike my previous ones however in the future I may start delving into long form reviews. As I said this is just a hobby of mine to get my thoughts out on films I see and look back at films, film directors and film series I’ve enjoyed. Thanks to those who have asked what’s happened to my blog. I’m back. I’ve also decided to do a different rating system. I’ll be using a school grading system A+ – F- (although in Melbourne schools F is called UG – Ungraded) instead of the previous five star system. I feel this way I can judge films on a different level because a lot of films which I generally like can get 3 stars but a film I may enjoy more or less but is still general would get the same rating and that’s not fair. Anyway feels good to get the blog back up. One more thing I won’t be using the domain hqmoviereviews.com due to the high fees (and I may not post regularly) so I’ve opted for the free domain which includes wordpress.com at the end. If I keep up to date with the blog and post frequently I may change my mind. Thanks again for your support and I hope you enjoy my future film reviews and posts.
What a fantastic year to go to the cinema. We were had an awesome blockbuster season including superhero classics such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Science fiction blockbusters such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Lucy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. We also had brilliant films from my favourite directors such as David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. We also had outrageous comedies such as 22 Jump Street and Bad Neighbours. However there were some misses such as the disappointing Transformers: Age of Extinction, Hercules, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Let’s Be Cops. There was also a guilty pleasure for me in the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As I said it was a fantastic year for cinema and one that I will look back on fondly. Below are my top ten films of the year however please note I have not seen; Boyhood, Birdman, Whiplash, The Babadook, Foxcatcher, and many others. As I am still a full time teacher it does get hard to catch up on all the latest releases however I may update this list early next year. As of now I will be taking the summer break and won’t be updating this blog for the rest of 2014. In saying that thanks so much for reading it has been an absolute blast starting this blog and beginning my career as a film critic and blogger.
My Top Ten
A charming small film filled with wonderful performances, a charming script and beautiful cinematography (especially of the mouth watering food). A return to his indie roots for Jon Favreau and he reminds us of what made him such a talented filmmaker.
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Although we were inundated with superhero films this year we still had excellent entries into the genre including this time travel adventure reuniting the original cast of the X-Men trilogy with the First Class crew. An enjoyable scifi adventure with top knotch performances from Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Hugh Jackman.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy
“Marvel can do no wrong”. In 2014 this statement was definitely true. A comedy disguised as a science fiction space opera, Guardians was the biggest film of 2014 and much deserved with a great cast, special effects and a feel good air throughout. Guardians proved that Marvel are the kings of the summer blockbuster.
7. 22 Jump Street
The best comedy of 2014 and also an excellent entry into the buddy comedy sub genre. I love buddy comedy films and this one ranks with the best such as Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys, all while parodying the genre itself and providing real bro chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
After 2012’s brilliant Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson is on a roll. With the Budapest Hotel, Anderson has mixed his quirky visual style with an interesting caper filled with his usual band of eclectic characters and superb actors. Visually stunning throughout a true gem.
A breathtaking piece of work. Visually stunning with excellent acting from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. It is Christopher Nolan’s unique vision that ultimately shines through. This film is not as exciting as Nolan’s previous films such as Inception or The Dark Knight Trilogy however with this film he wears his heart on his sleeve and not only looks at space travel but also digs deep into the relationship of a father and his daughter. A personal piece of filmmaking which was amazing to watch.
4. Gone Girl
I always imagined what it would be like to sit in the theater in the 50s and 60s and discover one of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thrillers and being surprised and shocked throughout. Sitting in the cinema watching Gone Girl I believe I captured that feeling as I sat in suspense and shock throughout the entire film. Brilliant thriller which is up there with the classics of the genre. Watch it without any prior knowledge and you will have one hell of an experience.
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A brilliant science fiction epic delivering everything from amazing special effects to biting social commentary all disguised as a fun summer blockbuster.
2. Under the Skin
A brilliant piece of art from filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. Disturbing and hypnotic with a daring portrayal from Scarlett Johansson. This is unlike any film you’ve watched before and it will haunt your dreams.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Possibly not what you would expect on a top ten film list, let alone making it to number one. The sequel to a Marvel film. However Marvel have upped the game and produced the most fun spectacle of 2014. No other film I have seen this year left me so excited and in love with cinema as this film did. Excellent performances from Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan. Breathtaking action, fun twists and excellent direction from the Russo brothers. The most fun I had in the cinema all year and the most re-watched film of the year. I love this film! Bring on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.