Francis Ford Coppola's landmark crime epic is one of the finest and… MoreFrancis Ford Coppola's landmark crime epic is one of the finest and most riveting American films ever made, which is based upon Mario Puzo best selling novel. It is set in 1945 on Long Island and tells the tale of a criminal dynasty, with an absolutely superlative Oscar winning performance by the late great Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, the aging head of the most powerful Mafia clan in the United States, his youngest son Michael, played brilliantly by Al Pacino in breakout Oscar nominated performance, has just returned from World War II and is attending the wedding of his sister Connie, played wonderfully by Talia Shire, the joyful family occasion is short lived because of a ruthless drug dealer named Virgil Sollozzo, impressively played by the late character actor Al Lettieri, who is looking for financial support as well as protection from the Corleone family, but when Don Vito refuses and turns down Sollozzo's request, Sollozzo tries to have Don Vito assassinated by two hit men who gun him down outside a fruit stand, but the Don survives the hit barely. This will set a series of deadly events into play and full scale Mob war will begin. Masterful direction by Coppola, with impeccable supporting performances by James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard Castellano, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton, and Abe Vigoda, breathtakingly filmed with beautiful on location sequences shot in Sicily by the late great master cinematographer Gordon Willis, Nino Rota's unforgettable musical score is powerfully haunting. This is one of the few rare times where the film is better than the book. "The Godfather" is a history-making cinematic masterpiece that is the winner of three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor: Marlon Brando, and Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Highly Recommended.
Martin Scorsese's grand sweeping epic with visceral cinematic… MoreMartin Scorsese's grand sweeping epic with visceral cinematic storytelling at its best in the tradition of the great Hollywood spectacles. A riveting tale of vengeance in the year 1863 that concerns a young Irish immigrant named Amsterdam Vallon, played marvelously by Leonardo DiCaprio in a powerhouse performance, who returns after years of incarceration to the lawless and crime infested section of lower Manhattan know as the Five Points, seeking revenge against the man who killed his father, the notorious self-appointed rival gang leader of the nationalistic "Native Americans," a murderous, ferocious rogue named William "The Butcher" Cutting, played magnificently by Daniel Day-Lewis in a unforgettable virtuoso performance, that deservedly earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Amsterdam's personal vendetta becomes part of the warring factions of gangs that erupt as he and his fellow Irishmen fight for the right to secured a place for themselves in the Five Points. Meticulously directed by Scorsese who gives us a film with engrossing human drama, and striking characterizations from the superb supporting cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reily, Liam Neeson, Henry Thomas, Brendan Geeson and Gary Lewis, but its Daniel Day-Lewis that steals this film hands down with his stunning portrayal of the deadly and fearless Bill "the Butcher." Magnificently photographed by Michael Ballhaus with extraordinary set design by Dante Freretti, which recreates the New York City of the 1800s flawlessly. A unique and poetic film that is easily one of Scorsese's finest it earned 10 Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture, Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Golden Globe Award Winner: Best Director: Martin Scorsese, and Best Song: "The Hands That Built America" by U2. Highly Recommended.
Richard Fleischer's gritty, forceful action drama, concerning a… MoreRichard Fleischer's gritty, forceful action drama, concerning a Vietnam veteran named Vince Majestyk, a Colorado watermelon framer, played sensationally by the late great Charles Bronson, in one of his best roles, he is wronged by a irritating, weasel-like, unscrupulous labor racketeer, Bobby Kopas, superbly played by Paul Koslo, who tries to force him to hired a worthless crew of bums and vagrants to pick his melons, instead of using his Mexican migrant workers he employed. Kopas pulls a shotgun on Majestyk, and ends up getting the shit kick out of him, for which Majestyk is arrested for and sent to the city jail, there he encounters a notorious Mob hitman, Frank Renda, played terrifically by the late character actor Al Lettieri, in a tremendous scene-stealing performance, who is waiting to be transferred to prison for murder. When Renda's mob associates stage a daring breakout during his prison transfer on a bus with Majestyk, but then Majestyk seizes Renda, and tries to make a deal with the police to exchange him for his freedom, the ruthless Renda escapes and is now hellbent on killing Majestyk personally, what follows is a rapid action thriller filled with shootouts, exciting car chases, and bare-fisted brawls. Astute direction by Fleischer, with a wonderful tongue-in-cheek script by Elmore Leonard, and a superb score by Charles Bernstein. Highly Recommended.
Christopher Nolan's mind-bending, metaphysical, spectacular sci-fi… MoreChristopher Nolan's mind-bending, metaphysical, spectacular sci-fi epic, with a great ensemble cast that is sensationally led by Leonardo DiCaprio in a beautifully calibrated performance, he brilliantly plays Dom Cobb the leader of a team of high-tech corporate espionage experts who can "steal" any secret from a target's mind by entering their dreams and extracting them. Marvelous supporting performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, the late Pete Postlethwaite and Sir Michael Caine. The film is bursting with fantastic surreal imagery and breathtaking Oscar winning visual effects that will have your eyes glued to the screen. Hans Zimmer's electronically haunting score is superb. Nolan brilliantly ratchets up the suspense with his technical virtuosity as he seamlessly shifts from dreams to reality. Special kudos must be given to Wally Pfister's spellbinding Oscar winning cinematography, and Lee Smith razor sharp editing. This captivating artistic movie masterpiece is an instead classic, that earned 8 Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan. Highly Recommended.
Steven Spielberg's spectacular UFO epic contains some of the most… MoreSteven Spielberg's spectacular UFO epic contains some of the most awe-inspiring visual effects ever committed to film, thanks to Douglas Trumbull, the FX genius behind Stanley Kubrick's landmark sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Sir Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner, Trumbull's Oscar nominated work on this motion picture is truly phenomenal. The story concerns Roy Neary, marvelously played by Richard Dreyfuss in a compelling performance, who is electrical lineman sent out for emergency repairs on the power-lines after a sudden massive blackout, he gets himself lost and while he is looking at a road map he witnesses an unidentified flying object that makes his truck go haywire, this will become a life-changing experience for Neary, for he will go on an obsessive crusade for the truth, losing his job, his family and almost his sanity in his pursuit of it, that will soon put him in contact with other people who have also witness the UFOs, that will include Jillian Guiler, endearingly played by Melinda Dillion, in an superlative Oscar nominated performance, as a single young mother who's little boy has been taken by the extraterrestrials. All of this will finally lead Neary and Jillian to "Devil's Tower" Wyoming where the military and government scientists are all led by a French researcher and project leader named Claude Lacombe, played nicely by the late great French director Francois Tuffaut, who is behind a gigantic cover-up involving mass landings and visitations by UFOs. The final encounter at the secret base at Devil's Tower is what it all about, and it is truly breathtaking with a magnificent display of visual effects wizardry, beginning with the UFO scout ships bursting from the rolling clouds in a stunning psychedelic light show, they buzz the secret base with aerial maneuvers that defy every known law of physics. It is almost a religious experience when the mountain-size alien Mothership descends from the night sky in a halo of bright multi-colored lights, the landing and the encounter with the small child-like extraterrestrial beings that enchant the humans is indeed quite moving and up-lifting. Brilliant direction by Spielberg, with exquisite Oscar winning cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, and John Williams's evocative Oscar nominated haunting score which is totally unforgettable. A landmark of its genre which was nominated for 8 Academy Awards Including Best Director: Steven Spielberg. Highly Recommended.
Joe Dante's cleverly engaging horror film with a wicked sense of… MoreJoe Dante's cleverly engaging horror film with a wicked sense of humor, about an Inventor Randy Peltzer, played wonderfully by the late Hoyt Axton, who has bought a special gift from an old Chinese merchant in Chinatown for his son Billy, played superbly by Zack Galligan. The gift is an adorable small furry creature called a Mogwai, nicely voiced by Howie Mandall. The Mogwai is named Gizmo by Billy, now there are three important rules that Billy must be follow if he wants to keep the creature, such as keeping it away from bright light especially sunlight cause it will kill him, never get him wet, and the most important rule of them all, never feed him after midnight. Billy does what he can but he accidentally gets him wet one day and it makes him multiply into other Mogwai creatures like him, then Billy makes another big mistake and inadvertently feeds the others Mogwai creatures after midnight, the effect transforms them into extremely vicious, hideous reptilian little monsters known as Gremlins, who will soon cause pure deadly mayhem in the town of Kingston Falls. Astute direction by Dante, with a witty script by Chris Columbus, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Superlative practical special effects, with a terrific score by the late great Jerry Goldsmith, and solid supporting performances by Phoebe Cates, the late Keye Luke, Polly Holiday, Scott Brady, Cory Feldman, Harry Carey Jr., and Dick Miller. This movie became one of the biggest box-office hits of 1984, it has a great sense of charm and of course black humor thrown into it with serious gruesomeness. A fun ride all the way. Highly Recommended.
David Fincher's unique, claustrophobic thriller which is an engrossing… MoreDavid Fincher's unique, claustrophobic thriller which is an engrossing highly suspenseful slickly executed film. A mother named Meg Altman, played impressively by Jodie Foster in a superlative star performance, who is newly separated from her extremely rich older husband who is a pharmaceutical tycoon, she moves into a huge brownstone townhouse in Manhattan with her teenaged daughter Sarah, well-played by a very young Kristen Stewart, the residence has 3 floors, an elevator, 8 bedrooms, 6 working fireplaces and a "panic room," an impenetrable cement and steel encased safe-room which has 8 surveillance video monitors , a separate buried phone line and a motorized sliding reinforced steel door that is secured by solid core dead bolts and a motion sensitive closing system. That evening while Meg and Sarah are sleeping, a trio of intruders thinking that the place is still empty break in, Meg notices them on surveillance monitor and runs to Sarah's room and her and Sarah with the intruders chasing them manage to make it to the panic room locking themselves in, the trio of intruders are terrifically played by Forest Whitaker as Bumham, the security technician who helped build the panic room, Jared Leto as Junior, the manic leader of the group, and country singer Dwight Yoakam as Raoul, the nearly-silent sadistic sociopath with an itchy trigger finger, they have come to steal something specific unfortunately what they want is in the panic room, a cat and mouse game of wills ensues as Meg desperately tries to find a way to summon help as the intruders try to get her out. Masterful direction by Fincher, with unforgettable and extraordinary cinematography by the great Conrad Hall & Darius Khondji is truly breathtaking with amazing swooping shots down stairwell, up skylights and room to room, in air vents and through walls, Fincher has a grand-time creating an white-knuckle atmosphere of prolonged tension and dread, there is marvelous editing by James Haywood & Angus Wall, with a brilliant score by Howard Shore. A pulse-pounding thoroughly entertaining motion picture, a must-see. Highly Recommended.
George Miller's marvelously colorful and delightful dark horror comedy… MoreGeorge Miller's marvelously colorful and delightful dark horror comedy based upon the best selling novel by John Updike. Jack Nicholson is a total laugh riot in a brilliantly funny performance as the mysterious Daryl Van Horn; who is Satan on Earth disguised in human form, who arrives in town the very next night after three young modern-day witches, wonderfully played by Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Phfeiffer fantasize and yearn for Mr. Right; their unconscious sorcery summon him, extremely wealthy and irresistible, the ladies are seduced by him one by one. There is a priceless scene where Daryl tries to seduce Cher in his bedroom, she asks him who are you? And he replies; i am just your average horny little devil, then while lying on a gigantic bed, he tells her that he always likes a little pussy after lunch, she replies; you are the most unattractive man i have ever met; you are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, no sense of humor and you smell, you're not even interesting enough to make sick. Daryl replies; would you like to be on the top or the bottom; a classic Nicholson moment. Directed with great style by Miller, with excellent supporting performances by Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins, Jeith Jochim, and Carel Strulychen. But it is Nicholson's hilarious, scene-stealing turn that totally dominates this film, in a performance that won him the 1987 New York & Los Angeles Film Critics Awards for Best Actor. The film is buoyed by a wonderfully infectious score by John Williams, and gorgeous cinematography by the late great Vilmos Zsigmond. A literate, wickedly funny, scary entertainment. Highly Recommended.
Glen Morgan's atmospheric, well-crafted remake of the 1971… MoreGlen Morgan's atmospheric, well-crafted remake of the 1971 cult-classic horror film that starred Bruce Davidson. It's about a sociopathic misfit named Willard Stiles, impressively played by Crispin Glover, a thirty-something loner living at his rundown family mansion in suburban Westchester County in New York with his bedridden, possessive, belittling, elderly mother, well-played by Jackie Burroughs, he is still haunted by the death of his imposing manufacturer father. He owes his job to his late father, who because of bad debts was forced to sell his share of the business to Frank Martin, superbly played by R. Lee Ermey, but stipulated in the contract that Willard was never to be fired. The sadistic Frank hates the weak Willard and never misses a chance to humiliate and badger his old partner's son, making the younger man's life a living hell. But things about to change when one day Willard discovers rats in the basement of the mansion because of the old houses in the neighborhood being sold and the new owners remodeling them forcing the rats to move into his Willard's mansion basement, he therefore first tries getting rid of the rat infestation with the usual pest control traps but decides to befriend them after feeling sorry for a white rat he caught in a sticky glue trap, and in a change of heart he sets him free. He keeps the rats in his basement as pets, and the smart white rat becomes his best friend and is given the name Socrates, and is allowed to sleep with him. Another rat about as big as a small dog, which he names Big Ben, but looks upon him with disfavor because he doesn't obey his commands like Socrates. Willard fines that he possesses a strange gift in controlling the thousands of rats in his basement who understand him, for the exception of the fearsome Big Ben, for he is smart as well. Willard will use his lethal army of rats for some bloody revenge on his tormentors, especially his nasty boss. Astute direction by Morgan, with striking cinematography by Robert McLachian, and terrific CGI visual effects that make the 500 real rats use in the film seem like thousands. Entertaining and very creepy. Highly Recommended.
Quentin Tarantino's powerful ultra-violent three-hour western tale of… MoreQuentin Tarantino's powerful ultra-violent three-hour western tale of frontier justice, betrayal and deception. Which is beautifully filmed in glorious widescreen 70mm, and takes place in Wyoming a few years after the Civil War. Eight strangers trying to escape a fierce blizzard are forced to take shelter in an old snowed-in claustrophobic cabin, they include the cunning Major Marcus Warren, played terrifically by Samuel L. Jackson, an ex-slave turned Confederate war hero, John Ruth, a merciless bounty hunter know as "The Hangman," played brilliantly by Kurt Russell, and his high-bounty female prisoner, the treacherous outlaw Daisy Domergue, impressively played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is chained to him, also in the mix are the other nefarious characters superbly played by Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern. As the strangers try to figure each other out, tension sets in, and paranoia soars, which will lead to a bloody and murderous climax. Astute direction by Tarantino, who wrote the brilliant engrossing script that holds our attention throughout the film, with it's strong memorable dialogue. The film is also blessed with an evocative score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and stunning cinematography by Robert Richardson. Unexpected twists, vicious dark humor, and thrilling violence and gore which gives us a unique cinematic experience that is brutally captivating. One of this year's finest films. Highly Recommended.