UK and Spain

UK and Spain

Providing information for the UK and Spain

UK and Spain

Great films

Great films - well, the best film for one person may not necessarily be the best for another, but as a result of collecting in all the votes from the visitors to this page over many years, the results for which films are the best films of all-time, are below.

There was many, many other films that the visitors to this page voted for, that came very close to being included in this list of best films, films such as Mrs Doubtfire with Robin Williams, Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan, or City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan or Sexy Beast with Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley or Good Morning Vietnam with Robin Williams or Face off with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage or Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment, all great films, but they didn't get enough votes to appear on this page.

If you have any viewpoints on any of these films, perhaps you might feel that a certain film below should be higher ranked, or lower ranked, or maybe you feel that a certain film hasn't been included below at all, but should have been, either way, just use the simple form near the bottom of this page. Please remember, only one vote per person!

Best films 81-100
Rank Title Details





Rear Window

Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Writers - John Michael Hayes (screenplay)

Released - 1955

Genre - Crime | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

Tagline - Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways...and Murder!

Plot - A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins and 5 nominations.

James Stewart ... L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly ... Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey ... Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter ... Stella
Raymond Burr ... Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn ... Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian ... Songwriter
Georgine Darcy ... Miss Torso
Sara Berner ... Wife living above Thorwalds
Frank Cady ... Husband living above Thorwalds
Jesslyn Fax ... Sculpting neighbor with hearing aid
Rand Harper ... Newlywed man
Irene Winston ... Mrs. Anna Thorwald
Havis Davenport ... Newlywed woman
Marla English ... Girl at songwriter's party

Also known as - Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (complete title)

James Stewart is L. B. Jeffries, a photographer who is currently recovering from an injury on assignment. With his broken leg he's stuck in his apartment, with nothing better to do than spy on his neighbours and be visited by his girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), his officer friend Wendell, and his nurse, Stella. Jeffries observes the coming and goings of the various apartments he can observe (from his rear apartment window) and it is one of these - a Raymond Burr - who draws his attention because. could it be that the man has committed some heinous crime?

One of the beautiful things about the film is its superb use of location. The whole film, bar a couple of brief scenes, is set in the apartment. This would seem claustrophobic but Hitchcock never inhibits us like this - he lets us escape through Jeffries binoculars and camera lenses, and his roving camera swoops down to let us see what the characters see (but never, thankfully, anything more than that - this is how you do suspense!). The set design is wonderful - the apartment is just the right size and is nicely laid out. However the real praise is for all the other apartments visible to Jeffries - an actual habitable set with multiple stories where characters can be observed only as they pass by their own windows (yeah, they don't care much for curtains). There's a sense of individuality gone in to each home, despite the fact we can only see barely elements of each. This is helped by a nice, differing range of characters inhabiting each and going about their daily lives - there's a mini soap-opera contained in the film, all observed at a distance. Excellent stuff.

Acting? It's great here. There's some nice depth to the characters here, with them feeling like actual real people rather than slick one-dimensional tags. Stewart is very proficient in this type of role - he was born to it. Even supporting characters like Stella are good (she has a wickedly black sense of thinking that's hilarious). What's so incredible is that the characters we observe from a distance in the other apartments (and with whom we never actually interact with) have as much depth as most main characters in films nowadays. Excellent script and acting in this film.

Hitchcock's set location and camera work, is as usual, perfect. He does a stellar job here and this is the best piece of work he's done (that I've seen). It's virtually flawless and you're never let down (or bored). Well done. It's a shame he lost out on an Oscar (although he did have tough competition that year with 'On the Waterfront').

'Rear Window' is a great example of how you can successfully have sharp acting, script, and directing and not feel the need for a slew of swear words and gratuitous violence. Regarded as a classic, and deservedly so.


Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb

Director - Stanley Kubrick
Writers - Stanley Kubrick (screenplay) and Terry Southern (screenplay)

Released - 1964

Genre - Comedy | Thriller

Tagline - The hot-line suspense comedy

Plot - An insane general starts a process for a nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 10 wins and 4 nominations.

Peter Sellers ... Group Captain Lionel Mandrake / President Merkin Muffley / Dr. Strangelove
George C. Scott ... General 'Buck' Turgidson
Sterling Hayden ... Brigadier General Jack Ripper
Keenan Wynn ... Colonel 'Bat' Guano
Slim Pickens ... Major 'King' Kong
Peter Bull ... Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
James Earl Jones ... Lieutenant Lothar Zogg
Tracy Reed ... Miss Scott
Jack Creley ... Mr. Staines
Frank Berry ... Lieutenant Dietrich
Robert O'Neil ... Admiral Randolph
Glenn Beck ... Lieutenant Kivel
Roy Stephens ... Frank
Shane Rimmer ... Captain 'Ace' Owens
Hal Galili ... Burpelson AFB Defense Team Member

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent content, sexual humour and mild language.

For more than a year, ominous rumours had been privately circulating among high-level Western leaders that the Soviet Union had been at work on what was darkly hinted to be the ultimate weapon, a doomsday device. Intelligence sources traced the site of the top secret Russian project to the perpetually fog-shrouded wasteland below the Arctic peaks of the Zhokhov Islands. What they were building or why it should be located in such a remote and desolate place no one could say.

One of the best films ever made, this remains timeless despite changes in technology, foreign policy and world politics; the military/political madness remains the same. Gets better all the time, with successive viewings and its lustre has not dimmed since its first release.

With three show-stopping performances from Sellers (amongst his best work, if not the best), and an unexpectedly hilarious turn by George C. Scott (if Sellers weren't so dead on-target, Scott would easily steal the show), Strangelove is filled with cartoonish, over-the-top characters that, despite the lunacy, still ring true. Special mention must be made for Sterling Heyden's controlled, brooding paranoia as General Jack D. Ripper. He's funny, he's scary.  All-in-all, a brilliant piece of work by all involved.



Director - Clint Eastwood
Writer (WGA) - David Webb Peoples

Released - 1992

Plot - Retired old wild west gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 30 wins and 15 nominations

Clint Eastwood ... William 'Bill' Munny
Gene Hackman ... Little Bill Daggett
Morgan Freeman ... Ned Logan
Richard Harris ... English Bob
Jaimz Woolvett ... The Schofield Kid
Saul Rubinek ... W.W. Beauchamp
Frances Fisher ... Strawberry Alice
Anna Levine ... Delilah Fitzgerald
David Mucci ... Quick Mike
Rob Campbell ... Davey Bunting
Anthony James ... Skinny Dubois
Tara Frederick ... Little Sue
Beverley Elliott ... Silky
Liisa Repo-Martell ... Faith
Josie Smith ... Crow Creek Kate

The transformation of Clint Eastwood's character throughout the film is excellent. In the beginning, he reluctantly becomes a gunfighter but as the film progresses you see how he slides down the slippery slope of wickedness to become the cold-blooded killer needed for the task. Morgan Freeman's reaction to the transformation is well played also. Richard Harris' character is colourful as Clint Eastwoods sidekick. Gene Hackman's sheriff is pleasantly typical of the role. All these actors and their characters effectively leave the viewer with a myriad of directions from which the film expertly entertains. If you are expecting anything like Clint's "spaghetti westerns" you will be disappointed. If you're looking for an excellent story with characters that all have varying degrees of wickedness, you will be satisfied when it's all said and done.


Forrest Gump

Director - Robert Zemeckis
Writers (WGA) - Winston Groom (novel), Eric Roth (screenplay)

Released - 1994

Tagline - The story of a lifetime.

Plot - Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.

Awards - Won 6 Oscars. Another 32 wins and 38 nominations.

Tom Hanks ... Forrest Gump
Robin Wright Penn ... Jenny Curran
Gary Sinise ... Lt. Dan Taylor
Mykelti Williamson ... Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue
Sally Field ... Mrs. Gump
Rebecca Williams ... Nurse at Park Bench
Michael Conner Humphreys ... Young Forrest Gump
Harold G. Herthum ... Doctor
George Kelly ... Barber
Bob Penny ... Crony
John Randall ... Crony
Sam Anderson ... Principal
Margo Moorer ... Louise, Mrs. Gump's Housekeeper
Ione M. Telech ... Elderly Woman
Christine Seabrook ... Elderly Woman's Daughter

Rated PG-13 for drug content, some sensuality and war violence.

This is a powerful, yet charming film; fun for its special effects and profound in how it keeps you thinking long after it's over. Forrest Gump's simplicity is almost zen-like,  i.e., living in the moment and not having expectations or particular cravings (other than his loving Jenny.) So he ends up just stumbling into all the major historical events of the time. Granted, he achieves this only because he doesn't have the brains to think otherwise and actually have expectations, but so many of our problems are because we do have higher intellect and desires, which ironically makes us unhappy because we know what we are missing. We love our cats and dogs for the same simplicity and always being in the moment. There's a line in the film wondering if everything is predestined or happens randomly or it's a combination of both. It is something to mull over for a long time.


Gone With The Wind

Director - Victor Fleming
Writers - Margaret Mitchell (novel). Sidney Howard (screenplay)

Released - 1950

Genre - Drama | Romance | War

Plot - American classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man carry on a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Awards - Won 8 Oscars. Another 6 wins and 5 nominations

Clark Gable ... Rhett Butler - Visitor from Charleston
Thomas Mitchell ... Gerald O'Hara
Barbara O'Neil ... Ellen O'Hara - His Wife
Vivien Leigh ... Scarlett - Their Daughter
Evelyn Keyes ... Suellen - Their Daughter
Ann Rutherford ... Carreen - Their Daughter
George Reeves ... Brent Tarleton - Scarlett's Beau
Fred Crane ... Stuart Tarleton - Scarlett's Beau
Hattie McDaniel ... Mammy - House Servant
Oscar Polk ... Pork - House Servant
Butterfly McQueen ... Prissy - House Servant
Victor Jory ... Jonas Wilkerson - Field Overseer
Everett Brown ... Big Sam - Field Foreman
Howard C. Hickman ... John Wilkes
Alicia Rhett ... India - His Daughter

Gerard O'Hara (Thomas Mitchell), an Irish immigrant, settles in North Georgia and becomes a prosperous plantation owner. By great luck he marries young Ellen Robillard (Barbara O'Neill) of Savannah, the daughter of one of the noblest Georgian families and becomes accepted by his aristocratic neighbours. They are blessed with three daughters, Scarlett (Vivien Leigh), Suellen (Evelyn Keyes), and Carreen (Ann Rutherford).

Scarlett, the eldest, worships her mother. Yet, under her beauty and Southern coquetry, she is charming, but proud, wilful and vain. She believes she is in love with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), a good-hearted young army captain. But Ashley loves his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland), a delicate, selfless woman. He is frightened by Scarlett's energy and animation. And although he admits his feelings for her, he is afraid to marry her and decides to take Melanie for his bride.

When Scarlett loses Ashley she is more certain than ever that she must have him. On their wedding day, she meets Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), a wealthy adventurer from an old Charleston family. Rhett, a gambler, who believes that self-interest is the motive of all human conduct, is attracted by Scarlett's beauty and realizes that they are equally merciless and conscienceless.

Vivien Leigh is magnificent as the spoiled, selfish southern belle... She carries the picture, and controls it... She reproduces the spirited character of Scarlett in all its fluent complexity...

Clark Gable, with a smile and great light in his eyes, is fascinating as the elegant, heroic gentleman ... He is perfect as the ladies man... His dramatic high point is his scene crying in Melanie's presence... His love scenes with Scarlett give the picture a vibrancy that is one of its great attractions... The film begins with their first stormy meeting in the library at Twelve Oaks and intensifies at the Atlanta bazaar, when he shocks the confederacy by bidding $l00 "in gold," to dance with the newly widowed Mrs. Hamilton who cares for nothing but herself.

Hattie McDaniel gives a rich characterization as Mammy, Scarlett's shrewd black servant who was never fooled by Scarlett's airs and tears.

With a memorable music score by Max Steiner, the film was an instant classic, winner of eight Academy Awards.


Murder In The First

Director - Marc Rocco
Writer (WGA) - Dan Gordon

Released - 1995

Genre - Drama | Thriller

Tagline - They locked him up. They crushed his spirit. But they couldn't hide the truth.  One was condemned. The other was determined. Two men whose friendship gave them the will to take on the system.

Plot - An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances are that his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.  Inspired by a true story. A petty criminal sent to Alcatraz in the 1930s is caught attempting to make an escape.

Awards - 2 wins and 2 nominations

Christian Slater ... James Stamphill
Kevin Bacon ... Henri Young
Gary Oldman ... Milton Glenn
Embeth Davidtz ... Mary McCasslin
William H. Macy ... D.A. William McNeil
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Mr. Henkin
Brad Dourif ... Byron Stamphill
R. Lee Ermey ... Judge Clawson
Mia Kirshner ... Adult Rosetta Young
Ben Slack ... Jerry Hoolihan
Stefan Gierasch ... Warden James Humson
Kyra Sedgwick ... Blanche, Hooker
Alex Bookston ... Alcatraz Doc
Richie Allan ... Jury Foreman
Herb Ritts ... Mike Kelly

The Trial That Brought Down the Alcatraz.  Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman star in this compelling, fact-based story of the trial that shut down the dungeons of Alcatraz. In a haunting performance, Bacon plays convict Henri Young. His crime is heisting $5 for his starving sister. His fate is worse than death. He's confined to the dungeons after a failed escape - an isolation lasting three mind-shattering years. When Henri at last emerges, he's confused, savage, barely human...and he quickly slays the stoolie who ratted on his escape. It's an open-and-shut case of Murder One. But a resolute attorney has another option. He and Henri will put Alcatraz and its sadistic associate warden on trial.

Inspired by a true story. A petty criminal sent to Alcatraz in the 1930s is caught attempting to make an escape. As punishment, he is put in solitary confinement. The maximum stay is supposed to be 19 days, but Henri spends years alone, cold and in complete darkness, only to emerge a madman and soon to be a murderer. The story follows a rookie lawyer attempting to prove that Alcatraz was to blame, and that Henri should not be executed.


Lion King

Directors - Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
Writers - Irene Mecchi (screenplay) and Jonathan Roberts (screenplay)

Released - 1994

Genre - Animation | Adventure | Drama | Family | Musical

Tagline - Life's greatest adventure is finding your place in the Circle of Life.

Plot - Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 22 wins and 22 nominations.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas ... Young Simba (voice)
Matthew Broderick ... Adult Simba (voice)
Jeremy Irons ... Scar (voice)
James Earl Jones ... Mufasa (voice)
Moira Kelly ... Adult Nala (voice)
Nathan Lane ... Timon (voice)
Niketa Calame ... Young Nala (voice)
Ernie Sabella ... Pumbaa (voice)
Robert Guillaume ... Rafiki (voice)
Rowan Atkinson ... Zazu (voice)
Whoopi Goldberg ... Shenzi (voice)
Cheech Marin ... Banzai (voice)
Jim Cummings ... Ed (voice)
Madge Sinclair ... Sarabi (voice)
Zoe Leader ... Sarafina, Nala's Mother

The Lion King is a great film. Along with a great story (inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet), terrific animation, and an all star cast of voices, there are the lessons that are learned from this film (despite being a little rough for the younger children). Like responsibility and honour.

Excellent title song by Elton John.

Lion King is one of the best animated films to ever been produced.


The Bourne Ultimatum

Director - Paul Greengrass
Writers (WGA) - Tony Gilroy (screenplay) and Scott Z. Burns (screenplay)

Released - 2007

Genre - Action | Adventure | Mystery | Thriller

Tagline - This Summer, Jason Bourne Comes Home

Plot - Bourne dodges new, superior assassins as he searches for his unknown past while a government agent tries to track him down.

Awards - Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins and 25 nominations

Matt Damon ... Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles ... Nicky Parsons
David Strathairn ... Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn ... Ezra Kramer
Paddy Considine ... Simon Ross
edgar Ramirez ... Paz
Albert Finney ... Dr. Albert Hirsch
Joan Allen ... Pam Landy
Tom Gallop ... Tom Cronin
Corey Johnson ... Wills
Daniel Bruhl ... Martin Kreutz
Joey Ansah ... Desh
Colin Stinton ... Neal Daniels
Dan Fredenburgh ... Jimmy
Lucy Liemann ... Lucy

Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action.

The Bourne Ultimatum is part of a trilogy. Furthermore, this trilogy has come together so nicely, that it's probably one of the greatest motion picture trilogies of our time. Though all three films could not be any more different from the Ludlum novels, they still stand as a powerful landmark in cinematic achievement.

From the moment that the opening title appears, you know you're in for a big ride. Paul Greengrass has done it again. Everything we love from the previous Bourne films is here once again, the action and the dynamic dialogue.

Bourne Ultimatum is pure genius. It is a perfectly satisfying conclusion, and should stand the test of time as a fantastic film, and altogether, an unforgettable trilogy.

Perhaps one of the greatest motion picture trilogies of our time


Good Will Hunting

Director - Gus Van Sant
Writers (WGA) - Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Released - 1998

Genre - Drama

Tagline - Some people can never believe in themselves, until someone believes in them.

Plot: - Will Hunting, a janitor at the local college, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins and 35 nominations.

Robin Williams ... Sean Maguire
Matt Damon ... Will Hunting
Ben Affleck ... Chuckie Sullivan
Stellan Skarsgård ... Prof. Gerald Lambeau
Minnie Driver ... Skylar
Casey Affleck ... Morgan O'Mally
Cole Hauser ... Billy McBride
John Mighton ... Tom - Lambeau's Teaching Assistant
Rachel Majorowski ... Krystyn
Colleen McCauley ... Cathy
Matt Mercier ... Barbershop Quartet 1
Ralph St. George ... Barbershop Quartet 2
Rob Lynds ... Barbershop Quartet 3
Dan Washington ... Barbershop Quartet 4
Alison Folland ... M.I.T. Student 1

Rated R for strong language, including some sex-related dialogue.

This is the best film since the Godfather. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck make a great team...not only as actors, but more impressively as co-writers. Add Robin Williams in perhaps his best role ever, and you have a wonderfully entertaining film.

Ben Affleck is convincing as the best friend to a genius, able to effectively play the joker and the friend who would "lay down in traffic for you". Matt Damon's portrayal of that genius realizing that life has something more to offer than batting cages and bars is equally stunning. And Robin Williams certainly leaves nothing to be desired (except maybe a beard trimmer...).

The most amazing thing about this film is the writing. It's captivating from beginning to end.


The Sting

Director - George Roy Hill
Writer (WGA) - David S. Ward

Released - 1974

Genre - Comedy | Crime | Drama

Plot - In 1930s Chicago, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker.

Awards - Won 7 Oscars. Another 9 wins and 6 nominations

Paul Newman ... Henry Gondorff
Robert Redford ... Johnny Hooker
Robert Shaw ... Doyle Lonnegan
Charles Durning ... Lt. Wm. Snyder
Ray Walston ... J.J. Singleton
Eileen Brennan ... Billie
Harold Gould ... Kid Twist
John Heffernan ... Eddie Niles
Dana Elcar ... F.B.I. Agent Polk
Jack Kehoe ... Erie Kid
Dimitra Arliss ... Loretta
Robert Earl Jones ... Luther Coleman
James Sloyan ... Mottola
Charles Dierkop ... Floyd the Bodyguard
Lee Paul ... Bodyguard

Trivia - It was just prior to Elizabeth Taylor's presentation of the Best Picture Oscar for this film that the streaker Robert Opel darted across the stage as David Niven was introducing her. It was this incident (among others) that inspired singer Ray Stevens to write the song "The Streak" that went to the top of the US charts the month after the awards. Incidentally, Opel was found murdered in his San Francisco gallery in 1979.

This film deserved every Oscar thrown at it. It looks good, it's funny, it's extremely complex but doesn't dwell on the fact for a moment: if you can spot the twists, you haven't got time to sit back smugly as they pop up - everything rushes on. The acting's good as is the story, one carrying the other. I can't think of a film where people so obviously had as much fun - maybe (Soderbergh's) Ocean's Eleven, or even Some Like It Hot? The soundtrack is brilliant too, contemporaneous Joplin rags evoking the time and its contradictions artlessly.

The bit that raises this film the one notch higher though is a short, central sequence, in which the music plays as high profile a part as any character or narrative aside. It's the night before the Sting and Redford is drawn to the drugstore girl who's trying to leave town. Perfectly framed by the bitter sweetest of the blues/rags he asks her out for a drink - revealing his vulnerability for the first time in a film where everybody's pretending to be someone else: 'It's 2 o'clock in the morning and I don't know nobody.' Despite all the caper and thrill of grifting all he wants is what we all want. It's a rich, compassionate heart to a virtuosic piece of film-making.


Sixth Sense

Director - M. Night Shyamalan
Writer (WGA) - M. Night Shyamalan

Released - 2000

Genre - Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Tagline - "I see dead people"

Plot - A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead, seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Awards - Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 31 wins and 37 nominations

Bruce Willis ... Dr. Malcolm Crowe
Haley Joel Osment ... Cole Sear
Toni Collette ... Lynn Sear
Olivia Williams ... Anna Crowe
Donnie Wahlberg ... Vincent Grey
Peter Anthony Tambakis ... Darren
Jeffrey Zubernis ... Bobby
Bruce Norris ... Stanley Cunningham
Glenn Fitzgerald ... Sean
Greg Wood ... Mr. Collins
Mischa Barton ... Kyra Collins
Trevor Morgan ... Tommy Tammisimo
Angelica Torn ... Mrs. Collins
Lisa Summerour ... Bridesmaid
Firdous Bamji ... Young Man Buying Ring

Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material and violent images.

A film that will not be outclassed in its genre for years to come.

When you first see The Sixth Sense, you may be sure on what to expect. Some people may not know what to expect. Some might be looking forward to a good scary horror flick. You may also be very surprised. The purpose for this film was far greater than just trying to scare the audience. The Sixth Sense shows not only the emotions of fear, but also faith, commitment, sadness of loss, and love. The end is very surprising, you may find yourself having to see it again. The second time you watch it, you will do it from a totally different perspective (this is a very rare quality for any film), and you will enjoy it just as much, or maybe even more.  In addition, for those that appreciate great soundtracks, the music only helps to heighten the experience of the film.

It's believed that a great film is one that helps the viewer perceive life and the world differently. The Sixth Sense is one of those extraordinary films that will do precisely that. This film reflects on some difficult subjects that will make the viewer walk away asking eternal questions. Questions about death, about letting go, about eternal love and commitment, about the love between parent and child, and between husband and wife.



Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Writers - Joseph Stefano (screenplay), Robert Bloch (novel)

Released - 1961

Genre - Horror | Thriller

Tagline - A new and altogether different screen excitement!!!

Plot - A young woman steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor who has been too long under the domination of his mother.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins and 3 nominations

Anthony Perkins ... Norman Bates
Vera Miles ... Lila Crane
John Gavin ... Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam ... Milton Arbogast
John McIntire ... Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland ... Dr. Fred Richmond
Vaughn Taylor ... George Lowery
Frank Albertson ... Tom Cassidy
Lurene Tuttle ... Mrs. Chambers
Patricia Hitchcock ... Caroline
John Anderson ... California Charlie
Mort Mills ... Highway Patrol Officer
Janet Leigh ... Marion Crane

Yes, everything you've heard is true. The score is a part of pop culture. The domestic conflict is well-known. But nothing shocks like the experience itself.

If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favour. Stop reading these comments, then go get this film. Buy it, don't rent. You will not regret it.

"Psycho" is easily the best horror-thriller of all time. Nothing even comes close...maybe "Les Diaboliques" (1955) but not really.

"Psycho" has one of the best scripts you'll ever find in a film. The film's only shortcoming is that one of the characters seems to have little motivation in the first act of the film but as the story progresses, you realize that Hitchcock (GENIUS! GENIUS! GENIUS!) in a stroke of genius has done this on purpose, because there is another character whose motivations are even more important. Vitally important. So important that you totally forget about anything else. The film has arguably the best mid-plot point and climactic twist in thriller history, and certainly the best-directed ending. The last few shots are chilling and leave a lingering horror in the viewer's mind.

Just as good as the writing is Hitchcock's direction, which is so outstanding that it defies explanation. Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humour. His brilliance is in making a climax that is at once both scary and hilarious. When I saw it in the theatre the audience was both gasping in disbelief while falling-on-the-floor laughing.

One more thing...  Tony Perkins. Janet Leigh got much-deserved accolades for this film, but it is Perkins who gives what remains the single best performance by an actor in a horror film. He is so understated that his brilliance passes you by. He becomes the character. The sheer brilliance of the role is evidenced by the ineptitude of the actors in Gus Van Sant's 1998 (dear God make it stop!) shot-for-shot "remake." Though the films are nearly identical, Hitchcock's is superior mostly because of the acting and the atmosphere (some of the creepiness is lost with color). This is made obvious by the initial conversation between Leigh's character and Perkins, a pivotal scene. The brilliance of Perkins in the original shines even brighter when compared with the ruination in the remake even though the words and the shots were exactly the same. The crucial chemistry in this scene lacking in the remake gives everything away and mars our understanding of upcoming events. The fact that Perkins could never escape this role - his star stopped rising, as it had done in the 50s - proves that he played the part perhaps too well.

"Psycho" is simple, well-crafted and just the right length. Two Words: Hitchcock's Best (...and you know that's no small feat!)


The Terminator

Director - James Cameron
Writers - James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd

Released - 1985

Genre - Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - In the Year of Darkness, 2029, the rulers of this planet devised the ultimate plan. They would reshape the Future by changing the Past. The plan required something that felt no pity. No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable. They created 'THE TERMINATOR'

Plot - A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor; Kyle Reese is sent to stop it.

Awards - 5 wins and 6 nominations

Arnold Schwarzenegger ... The Terminator
Michael Biehn ... Kyle Reese
Linda Hamilton ... Sarah Connor
Paul Winfield ... Lieutenant Ed Traxler
Lance Henriksen ... Detective Hal Vukovich
Bess Motta ... Ginger Ventura
Earl Boen ... Dr. Peter Silberman
Rick Rossovich ... Matt Buchanan
Dick Miller ... Pawnshop Clerk
Shawn Schepps ... Nancy
Bruce M. Kerner ... Desk Sergeant
Franco Columbu ... Future Terminator
Bill Paxton ... Punk Leader
Brad Rearden ... Punk
Brian Thompson ... Punk

Rarely has a film so frightened an audience as "The Terminator." After its release in 1984, this extremely low-budget sci-fi action film broke box office records, and gave audiences something more to fear. Through the years, there have been stories of nature's beasts, of creatures from another world, and so on and so forth. "Jaws" was terrifying because it seemed so possible. And if "Jaws" is terrifying, "The Terminator" is horrific. The realization of this hit-man machine dawned on everyone watching the film. In a time of exceeding technology, how long will it be before man is overtaken by the very things he created? And that is what is particularly scary about a film like "The Terminator."

In "The Terminator," Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg, Cyberdyne system model 101, a T800, whatever that means. He has been sent back in time to assassinate the soon-to-be-mother of the future world leader, John Connor (who battles the machines in the future and leads an uprising). If Connor is killed, then there will be no one to oppose the machines of the future, and they will triumph. This would be pretty bad. So the future John Connor has sent a protector back in time, to help save his mother. Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) tells Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) about the machine that is trying to kill her. "It can't be bargained with, it can't feel pain or mercy, and it will stop at absolutely nothing until you are dead!" Talk about a bad day!!

The Terminator hunts them down time after time, including the famous police station scene, where Arnie says, "I'll be back," and returns moments later, crashing through the wall in a car. He then takes on a whole squad of cops, but don't worry, Sarah and Reese escape slightly unscathed.

There are countless classic scenes in "The Terminator." You will see them spoofed your entire life. From the image of the Terminator, to the lines they speak, to the scenes they act out. Everything is spoofed. And the film is worthy of its fame.

On the special edition "T2" DVD (the second one), there is an on-set documentary for the making of the "Terminator 2" 3-D ride at Universal Studios. As the camera moves around, it shows Cameron detailing what he wants in this scene. Some guy suggests something else, and Cameron gets a tone. "No, no, that won't work. You do it like this - we come off here, he walks around..." etc. The point is, he's a perfectionist, and a demanding director. Some directors are a bit too easy, and don't really care where their films are going. But James Cameron seems to have a clear vision of what he wants, and he goes around making sure it gets done exactly the way he wants it to be done. And it shows in his work. It's hard to find any mistakes in a James Cameron film. And it's even harder to find plot holes.

Some people say "Terminator 2 - Judgment Day" is better than the original. It's hard to choose, because the two films are very different. "The Terminator" seems to be more of a deep, intellectually-consuming, dark thriller and "Judgment Day" as an action film, with a more or less recycled plot. (The plot is still good, but it's still the same, too.) It's hard to choose a favourite because they are so different. On "T2" the budget is ten times larger, probably even more than that. But if you want a horror/thriller, "The Terminator" is better for you. If you want special-effects and a really fun time, see "T2." They're both excellent films.

"The Terminator" is a great film. It is terrifying, horrifying, 100% entertaining, and has some thought put into its plot, and that is what separates it from the rest of its kind.


The Wizard Of Oz

Director - Victor Fleming
Writers - Noel Langley (screenplay) and Florence Ryerson

Released - 1945

Genre - Adventure | Family | Fantasy | Musical

Plot - Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins and 8 nominations

Judy Garland ... Dorothy Gale
Frank Morgan ... Professor Marvel / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Doorman / The Wizard of Oz
Ray Bolger ... Hunk / The Scarecrow
Bert Lahr ... Zeke / The Cowardly Lion
Jack Haley ... Hickory / The Tin Man
Billie Burke ... Glinda
Margaret Hamilton ... Elmira Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West / The Wicked Witch of the East
Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Henry
Pat Walshe ... Nikko
Clara Blandick ... Auntie Em
Terry ... Toto
The Singer Midgets ... The Munchkins

A fantasy rooted in the landscape of your childhood.

There's a theory that this film has probably been seen by more people than any other film. The fact that it comes to us as children is probably the reason why. In the case of 'The Wizard of Oz' it's hard to imagine anyone who might not have seen it at some point in their lives. Almost everyone you talk to has a memory of their first experience of seeing The Wizard Of Oz. The reason this film remains the most beloved of Hollywood films even after six decades, is because 'The Wizard of Oz' is unique among motion pictures in that it mirrors our longings and imaginations as children.

The film, in front of and behind the scenes, has become film folklore. We love the legends about the rotating directors, from George Cukor to King Vidor to Victor Fleming. We know the legend of Buddy Ebsen who had to drop out due to an allergic reaction to the Tin Man makeup and Margaret Hamilton whose dress caught fire and nearly had her face burned off because of the copper-based make-up. We love stories about the problems on the set between personal feuds, sweltering costumes, partying munchkins and the costume designer who had to keep up with Judy Garland's developing bust line. There's even a spurious legend of a ghost on the set. All of these elements make 'The Wizard of Oz' a much bigger legend than it already it, but that's okay because this is the one film that deserves to be over-hyped. It occupies such a large part of our memories that we want to make it more than it is, to just have one more reason to make it more than a film, we want it to be a life experience.

That experience is brought to us because we are intimately familiar with its story elements. The dreams that Dorothy sings about and the adventure that follows seem to mirror our yearnings as children. She imagines a bigger place where her problems don't linger and she is free to explore them. She imagines a place where there isn't any trouble and people actually listen to what she has to say. She sees the rainbow as her golden gate to a better place because in her drab Kansas world, the rainbow is the only source of colour that she knows. She dreams of a bigger place and imagines a world where troubles melt like lemon drops. How many of us as kids sat in our room or in our yards and played, imagining a place to go and characters to interact with, a colourful world bigger than our small, confined worlds.

The Wizard Of Oz is meant to represent the colourful palette of our imagination but for Dorothy, it's also a place where she does some growing up. The three friends that she meets along the way, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Lion are emblematic of the lessons of bravery, love and devotion and the ability to think for ourselves. The Wicked Witch of the West certainly represents the real dangers along the way. For Dorothy, there is a matronly figure, Glinda the Good Witch who intends for Dorothy to discover for herself how to solve her problems, she knows that Dorothy must grow up along the way. In a way, she seems to represent the parent that Dorothy doesn't have back in Kansas. Her aunt and uncle love her but this was a film made during the depression and we imagine the climate that they live in, where work means keeping the farm. No work = no farm = no home.

For 1939, Dorothy was the perfect character for young girls. She echoes many of the small town country girls who, in the midst of the depression, packed their suitcases and ran to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune in the films. For them this film is a cautionary tale that they'd be better off if they just stayed at home. Judy Garland was perfect in the role, 17 at the time, but with wide-eyes and a beautiful, open face she carries that sense of wonderment of a child. Like most of us as children, her only true companion is a dog named Toto and the most frightening moment in the film is when she is nearly robbed of her best friend. When she sings 'Over the Rainbow' we know that it's to escape an unhappy childhood (she has apparently lost her parents) and for Garland we identify. She began in show business as a kiddie act with her sisters and began her long film career when she was only 13. She was already a familiar face from 'Love Finds Andy Hardy' and by the time of 'The Wizard Of Oz' she was already under contract to MGM. That she was familiar to audiences helped her in the role. That familiarity works well with her ability to project the vulnerability and melancholy that the character has to have.

If films are a time capsule then 'The Wizard of Oz' wonderfully captures a brief moment of happiness in Garland's life. We know of her problems with studio execs that put her through an exhausting schedule and used drugs to get her going in the morning then put her to sleep at night. We know the legends of her mental and physical problems that dogged her most of her life but 'The Wizard of Oz' sees her at a moment in her life when it all seemed perfect, just as her star was rising and before her problems really began. There's poignancy in that, and that's why the casting of Shirley Temple in the role would have been a mistake. By 1939, Temple was the biggest star in the world her presence in the film would have been too much, she would have stood out and we would have only seen Shirley Temple, not Dorothy Gale.

If Garland gives the film its centre than I think the production design, awe-inspiring in 1939, is the perfect backdrop. In these early musicals filmed on a soundstage it isn't hard to spot where the soundstage ends. Some have seen that as a flaw but I think it adds to the dreamlike quality of the film. The matte paintings behind the sets add to the storybook quality. The fact that we're in a dream makes it okay that the special effects look a little hasty. That was the genius of the screenplay, that and to establish The Wizard Of Oz characters as characters that Dorothy meets in Kansas. In our dreams we often see people and events that have recently occurred in our lives, but this is the first time we've ever seen it expressed in a film. In particular, is the notion that Professor Marvel keeps showing up as various characters in the dream.

What generosity the filmmakers had. What ingenuity to create this entire world that is colourful and beautiful and scary. What depth of character they created. What messages they send. This is a film constructed with loving care. We're told that those who worked on the film just thought of this as just another film, but when I watch the film I find that hard to believe. Certainly from the screenwriters. I wonder if they saw how brilliantly they were tapping our frustrations and our excitement, our dreams, our needs and our sense of wonderment. I wonder if they knew the impact of what they were working on, that the lovely sentiments that they created would still resonate many, many years later. I wonder if they knew that their heart's desires weren't that far from our own.


Duck Soup

Director - Leo McCarey
Writers - Bert Kalmar (story) and Harry Ruby (story)

Released - 1933

Genre - Comedy | Musical

Plot - Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighbouring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale

Awards - 1 win

Groucho Marx ... Rufus T. Firefly
Harpo Marx ... Pinky
Chico Marx ... Chicolini
Zeppo Marx ... Lt Bob Roland - Firefly's aide-de-camp
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Gloria Teasdale
Raquel Torres ... Vera Marcal
Louis Calhern ... Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania
Edmund Breese ... Zander
Leonid Kinskey ... Sylvanian Spy-Agitator 1
Charles Middleton ... Prosecutor
Edgar Kennedy ... Bald street vendor

Quotes -
Rufus T. Firefly: Chicolini, I need you badly right now. What'll you take to come back and work for me again?
Chicolini: I'll take a vacation.
Rufus T. Firefly: Good, you're hired.

It narrowly beats A Night at the Opera as the best all-round Marx Bros film, though I find the humour more bizarre in Monkey Business. At least the musical numbers in Duck Soup are actually worth sitting through.

The reasons it scores so highly are:

1) The mirror sequence. The finest comic sequence ever committed to film. Sure, it's old-hat vaudeville, but it's professional, beautifully timed and spirals into wonderful absurdity.

2) The one-liners, puns and other jokes. Pick of the crop are the peanut stall interchange, the telephone sequence, the riddles ('what has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?') and the final battle (especially the stock footage of monkeys and elephants running to save the army under siege - the kind of thing the Zucker Bros pinched for their comedies). Oh, yes, and the motorcycle routines.

3) The satire on politics and warmongering. The Brothers simply deflate the pomposity of the whole deal.

Top rate, one of the best comedy films ever made.


King Kong

Writers - James Ashmore Creelman (screenplay) and Ruth Rose (screenplay)

Released - 1933

Genre - Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi

Tagline - A Monster of Creation's Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today!

Plot - A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star.

Awards - 2 wins and 3 nominations

Fay Wray ... Ann Darrow
Robert Armstrong ... Carl Denham
Bruce Cabot ... John Driscoll
Frank Reicher ... Captain Englehorn
Sam Hardy ... Charles Weston
Noble Johnson ... Native Chief
Steve Clemente ... Witch King
James Flavin ... Second Mate Briggs
King Kong ... The Eighth Wonder of the World

First, the 1933 version of King Kong, is for me, the greatest fantasy film ever made. Sure, there are fantasy films with far better special effects (The Matrix, Jurassic Park) better acting (the acting here is of the period!) but King Kong is a film of tremendous excitement. The suspense, pacing, sensuality and violence all adds up to a blood pumping experience. We all read about the film's history, being made, released, censored, restored, and how it's been picked to itsy-bits by every armchair film "expert".

What very few film-makers have focused on is the film-making itself in King Kong. It has superb build-up. We are wondering what is on the island as we approach it. Then we wonder what is behind the wall on the island. Then we wonder what gigantic beast is sharing that frightening jungle with the rescuers, trying to save Fay Wray. The film is faultlessly edited. Many scenes begin or end with people running for their lives. Unneeded scenes just don't exist (we go from King Kong knocked out on Skull Island to his Broadway debut. We don't need to see what happens in between!) then there's Max Steiner's perfect music score. Before King Kong, most music scores were borrowed snippets of classical or popular themes, but Steiner's score follows the action to an inch! Also, he does a great number of abstract musical strokes (I.e the clash of drums when King Kong beats the giant snake to it's death. The lovely string piece that jumps to pulsating chase music in a milli-second.)  Long Live King Kong!


Citizen Kane

Director - Orson Welles
Writers - Herman J. Mankiewicz (screenplay) and Orson Welles (screenplay)

Released - 1946

Genre - Drama | Mystery

Plot - Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 4 wins and 9 nominations

Joseph Cotten ... Jedediah Leland
Orson Welles ... Charles Foster Kane
Dorothy Comingore ... Susan Alexander Kane
Agnes Moorehead ... Mary Kane
Ruth Warrick ... Emily Monroe Norton Kane
Ray Collins ... James W. Gettys
Erskine Sanford ... Herbert Carter
Everett Sloane ... Mr. Bernstein
William Alland ... Jerry Thompson
Paul Stewart ... Raymond
George Coulouris ... Walter Parks Thatcher
Fortunio Bonanova ... Signor Matiste
Gus Schilling ... The Headwaiter
Philip Van Zandt ... Mr. Rawlston
Georgia Backus ... Bertha Anderson

What do you say about a film more analysed than is enjoyed, more envied and despised than any other piece of cinema: well documented for its perceived portrayal of William Randolph Hearst, and his efforts to have it destroyed....It has survived and is still included on many lists of top films, for a film that didn't even win the Oscar for its year of release!

What can you say about the cinematography and direction and acting, that hasn't already been said? The lighting, the camera angles, the new visual techniques and trick photography used for the first time in an American film to great effect. Special mention has to go to the acting of a 25 year old Orson Welles.

The grand-daddy of the American soap opera, it tells the life of Charles Foster Kane, from his humble beginnings, his mother giving him up to a wealthy guardian, and his building of a newspaper/radio empire. It sees Kane go from an idealistic journalist to a powerful mogul able to manipulate history through his media empire.

Despite all his money and power, Kane is not immune to the hand of destiny. A married Kane is caught through pure "innocence" with a "singer" and a scandal erupts, costing Kane the state governorship; you can guess the instigator of the scandal-mongering: the incumbent governor.

In the first part of the film, we see a Kane adored by the public and employees but we don't see the reason why his relationship with his wife deteriorated, shown in a powerful film sequence of spouses drifting apart through the years. In the second part, we see his relationship with the "singer" whom he took as his second wife, and how he uses her to try and manipulate public opinion of himself, just as he had used the media empire previously. The only problem is that his second wife isn't as competent as the media empire was in gaining respect or adoration; she is just terrible as an opera singer. But Kane wants to prove to the public that the "singer" who he was caught with, was more than a "whore" and that he had the power to shape public opinion; she even told Kane that she didn't want to be a singer. It is the cruellest thing any man could have done to another human being; manipulated for his own ends. William Randolph Hearst was said to have been less angry about his own portrayal than that of his mistress, Marion Davies.

The film broke new grounds for cinema also, in its story-telling: we see first the death of a recluse Kane in his old age, and then there are flashbacks from newsreels and investigations and interviews of reporters piecing together the life of Charles Foster Kane and his dying word "rosebud".

The reporters never found out what his dying word meant, but the audience is shown what it "is". No single word can describe a man's life after all, so what does it mean??? lost childhood innocence and happiness??

This film bred a bunch of copycats like "The Carpetbaggers" and "Valley of the Dolls", and inspired the great TV soapies like Dallas and Dynasty. Many other films from different genres have copied and perhaps bettered the camera work and lighting and yet this film has stood up well through the many decades from its sheer brilliance and originality.

Despite its greatness, Citizen Kane seems to have taken some victims along the way. At age 25, Orson Welles starred, wrote and directed this masterpiece, but because of various reasons, political, envy, hatred, he was never able to match it. The other victim seems to have been Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander, mirroring the career of Marilyn Monroe who came after her.

A great film that's stood the test of time. See it for what it is, a fantastic piece of story-telling firstly, only then can you see its greatness.



Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Writers - Alec Coppel (screenplay) and Samuel A. Taylor (screenplay)

Released - 1958

Genre - Crime | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

Plot - A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins and 2 nominations

James Stewart ... John 'Scottie' Ferguson
Kim Novak ... Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Midge Wood
Tom Helmore ... Gavin Elster
Henry Jones ... Coroner
Raymond Bailey ... Scottie's Doctor
Ellen Corby ... Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne ... Pop Leibel
Lee Patrick ... Car Owner Mistaken for Madeleine

One of the many things that made Hitchcock such a great director is that he did not just stick to the same formula time after time; all of his best films have their own unique feel and characteristics. "Vertigo" is particularly distinctive, both as a complex story filled with suspense, and as a fascinating study in psychological tension. While it lacks the humour of some of Hitchcock's other masterpieces, and sometimes moves rather slowly, it is unforgettable, and a great achievement by the director and his cast.

If you have never seen it, you will enjoy it more if you do not know too much about the plot, although the actual story is somewhat secondary to the ways that the characters are tested and their weaknesses exposed by the various events. Hitchcock uses a complicated story, interesting characters, lavish visual detail, and deliberate pacing, plus a fine musical score by the incomparable Bernard Hermann, to produce a mysterious, almost unearthly, atmosphere. The tension rarely lets up, and the viewer is caught up completely in it. It's the kind of film that repays careful attention, as almost every moment is filled with significant detail.

There are also some great acting performances, Jimmy Stewart is outstanding in a role far different from his usual screen persona. He enables the viewer to sympathize completely with him, even as we cringe at many of his character's actions and decisions. Kim Novak is completely convincing in a difficult dual role, and the film would not have been as compelling without her fine performance. The rest of the cast all have much smaller roles, but are all quite good too, especially Barbara Bel Geddes as Scottie's (James Stewart's) old friend, who provides important insight into Scottie's character.

"Vertigo" is a classic by any standard. It's a must-see that remains just as impressive with each viewing.  A distinctive and unforgettable masterpiece.


Toy Story

Director - John Lasseter
Writers - John Lasseter (story) and Pete Docter (story)

Released - 1996

Genre - Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Plot - A cowboy toy is profoundly threatened and jealous when a fancy spaceman toy supplants him as top toy in a boy's bedroom.

Awards - Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins and 10 nominations

Tom Hanks ... Woody (voice)
Tim Allen ... Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Don Rickles ... Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Jim Varney ... Slinky Dog (voice)
Wallace Shawn ... Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger ... Hamm (voice)
Annie Potts ... Bo Peep (voice)
John Morris ... Andy (voice)
Erik von Detten ... Sid (voice)
Laurie Metcalf ... Andy's Mum (voice)
R. Lee Ermey ... Sergeant (voice)
Sarah Freeman ... Hannah (voice)
Penn Jillette ... TV Announcer (voice)
Jack Angel ... Additional Voice (voice)
Spencer Aste ... Additional Voice (voice)

Toy Story is not only the best Disney film because it has the best story and the best animation, but also because of the excellent actors chosen to provide the voices of the animals. The casting was perfect from top to bottom, and the film provides an excellent adventure story about friendship and loyalty that keeps you engrossed until the nail-biting climax. It's an excellent film for the family.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen provided excellent voices for Woody and Buzz Lightyear, their performances alone are one of the biggest things that made this such a spectacular film. Besides that, though, you have the excellent story that is not only noteworthy because it has never really been told from this perspective before, but also because it was just told so well. All of the characters in the film are very well developed and all have appropriate and effective actors chosen to provide their voices.

And of course, who could forget the revolutionary animation! The computer animation used for this film not only made it startlingly realistic but also opened up tons of possibilities, and thankfully the filmmakers chose to explore these possibilities. There are dozens of things that are hidden in the woodwork throughout the film, as well as in the songs - note, for example, the subtle playing of the Indiana Jones theme song in the scene where Woody knocks Buzz out the window with the desk lamp.

Toy Story is by far the best Disney film ever made, it's pretty much perfect. It's adventurous, it's exciting, it's entertaining, it's good for the whole family, it's got great characters, story, and plot, and above all, it's fun.

Best Disney film, ever.


Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Director - Quentin Tarantino
Writers - Quentin Tarantino (character The Bride) and Uma Thurman (character The Bride)

Released - 2004

Genre - Action | Thriller

Tagline - In the year 2003, Uma Thurman will kill Bill

Plot - The Bride wakes up after a long coma. The baby that she carried before entering the coma is gone. The only thing on her mind is to have revenge on the assassination team that betrayed her - a team she was once part of.

Awards - Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 12 wins and 41 nominations

Uma Thurman ... The Bride
Lucy Liu ... O-Ren Ishii
Vivica A. Fox ... Vernita Green
Daryl Hannah ... Elle Driver
David Carradine ... Bill
Michael Madsen ... Budd
Julie Dreyfus ... Sofie Fatale
Chiaki Kuriyama ... Gogo Yubari
Sonny Chiba ... Hattori Hanzo
Chia Hui Liu ... Johnny Mo
Michael Parks ... Earl McGraw
Michael Bowen ... Buck
Jun Kunimura ... Boss Tanaka
Kenji Ohba ... Bald Guy (Sushi Shop)
Yuki Kazamatsuri ... Proprietor

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is yet another quality film of Tarantino's short, but distinguished list.

Kill Bill involves a nameless woman (Uma Thurman) who is seeking revenge on her former hit squad the Viper Squad and her boss Bill (David Carradine) Her former hit squad wronged her by gunning down her closest friends and family during her wedding and putting her into a coma while being pregnant. A few years later she awakens in a hospital, without child, and tries to track down each member of the squad. As the story progresses (through this film and the sequel), you find out who she really is, why Bill wanted her dead and the fate of her daughter.

The film is really a combination of Tarantino's love for the 70's over-dramatized Kung-Fu film era and story of revenge with rich dialog. Yes, this film is violent, but in a cheesy way. This created some controversy and really had audiences stirred up, failing to realize it was supposed to be over the top without no sense of realism. It was supposed to be a tribute more so than a gruesome action flick. With all cheesiness aside, you can understand how some people could feel a little woozy after seeing someone lose an arm and having 4 gallons of Kool-Aid red blood shoot out of the body like a whale's blow hole. What really makes this film is Tarantino ability to make bad to mediocre actors seem like good ones, a smart and hilarious dialog and a good storyline. Of course, this is what he does in pretty much in all of his films.

Kill Bill also features a couple of classic Tarantino showdowns, including an unforgettable one with the Japanese infamous crime lord, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Lui.) Once again, Tarantino puts his imagination at work again in his story telling by using some of his old techniques like jumping timelines and some new ones like adding Japanese animation for character backgrounds.

Kill Bill is really just homage to flicks that frequently appear on Sunday Samurai Showcase, revenge and Tarantino's continuous fascination with Uma Thurman. This film contains extreme violence and sometimes strange dialog coupled with some pretty good acting and directing. If you're not a fan of Tarantino's films, you should pass on this one because it is doesn't stray too far from his other stuff. If you like his other works, this is a must see, due to its originality and quality and, if you just don't like Tarantino himself, and find him annoying like everybody else, I don't blame you but it's still worth your while seeing Kill Bill.

Tell others about this page - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998   Add to favorites - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998

Best films - 61-80
Rank Title Details





Saving Private Ryan

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writer (WGA) - Robert Rodat

Released - 1998

Genre - Action | Drama | War

Plot - Following the Normandy Landings, a group of US soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 52 wins and 53 nominations

Tom Hanks ... Capt. John H. Miller
Tom Sizemore ... Sgt. Mike Horvath
Edward Burns ... Pvt. Richard Reiben
Barry Pepper ... Pvt. Daniel Jackson
Adam Goldberg ... Pvt. Stanley Mellish
Vin Diesel ... Pvt. Adrian Caparzo
Giovanni Ribisi ... T-5 Medic Irwin Wade
Jeremy Davies ... Cpl. Timothy P. Upham
Matt Damon ... Pvt. James Francis Ryan
Ted Danson ... Capt. Fred Hamill
Paul Giamatti ... Sgt. Hill
Dennis Farina ... Lt. Col. Anderson
Joerg Stadler ... Steamboat Willie
Max Martini ... Cpl. Henderson
Dylan Bruno ... Toynbe

To think that Saving Private Ryan didn't win Best Picture is a crime. Director Steven Spielberg uses all of his talent and resources to give to the world the greatest war film ever made.

Though it's true that this is not the type of film you want to sit down with the family and eat popcorn, the emotional drive of the picture, the story's poignant messages, and the fantastic acting of the cast draws you into a world that is both dangerous and unpredictable.

Spielberg is able to take you into action and make you feel as if you are a participant in the film and not just a viewer. This is Tom Hanks' best film he ever did. Forget his performances in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump (though they were also good); he should have received another Oscar for the role of Capt. John Miller, a leader who must act strong in front of his men, and must also hide his emotions from them. It would have been well-deserved if he won again.

Saving Private Ryan is a film that makes you realize how life is precious and how honour and duty, though they are deep philosophical concepts that are praised in war, can put you in jeopardy of losing your life for something you may not believe in.

This is one of the greatest films ever made.



Director - Roman Polanski
Writer - Robert Towne

Released 1974

Jack Nicholson ... J.J. Gittes
Faye Dunaway ... Evelyn Mulwray
John Huston ... Noah Cross
Perry Lopez ... Escobar
John Hillerman ... Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling ... Hollis Mulwray
Diane Ladd ... Ida Sessions
Roy Jenson ... Mulvihill
Roman Polanski ... Man with Knife
Richard Bakalyan ... Loach
Joe Mantell ... Walsh
Bruce Glover ... Duffy
Nandu Hinds ... Sophie
James O'Rear ... Lawyer
James Hong ... Evelyn's Butler

Everything about the film Chinatown is right. Polanski never directed a better film. The performers, down to the lowest atmosphere person, are superb. The editing, the score, the sound, the decor, the dialog, all are just about flawless. The photography is peerless. The white garden apartments, the terra cotta roof tiles, the palms and desert sand are all painted with a faint gold, faintly ripe with false promise, like the oranges that bounce from Gittes' desperately speeding car in the northwest Valley.

Polanski deserves much of the credit. When Gittes surprises Evelyn Mulwray in her car, after he follows her to her daughter's house, her face slumps forward and beeps the horn briefly. Then, so faintly, we hear a few dogs bark in the background. Not only is the scene itself exquisitely done but it prefigures the ending, as does Gittes' remark earlier to Evelyn that she has a flaw in her iris. The film is too good to deserve much dissecting. It stands repeated watching. Everything came together on this film. It's not only the best detective film ever made; it's one of the best films ever made. A marvellous job by everyone concerned.



Director - Joel Coen
Writers (WGA) - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Released - 1996

Plot - Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 52 wins and 30 nominations.

William H. Macy ... Jerome 'Jerry' Lundegaard
Steve Buscemi ... Carl Showalter
Peter Stormare ... Gaear Grimsrud
Kristin Rudrud ... Jean Lundegaard
Harve Presnell ... Wade Gustafson
Tony Denman ... Scotty Lundegaard
Gary Houston ... Irate Customer
Sally Wingert ... Irate Customer's Wife
Kurt Schweickhardt ... Car Salesman
Larissa Kokernot ... Hooker 1
Melissa Peterman ... Hooker 2
Steve Reevis ... Shep Proudfoot
Warren Keith ... Reilly Diefenbach (voice)
Steve Edelman ... Morning Show Host
Sharon Anderson ... Morning Show Hostess

If you haven't seen Fargo, do yourself a favour and see this film. It's very well put together and the plot is constantly evolving into a deeper shade of creepiness. At times scary (not in the horror film sense) and quite rich in dark humour.

The camera work is usually quite basic but whoever directed the photography had the enjoyable habit of giving us interestingly artistic segues between scenes.

William H Macy is always excellent, but when he's in the same film as the brilliant Steve Buscemi, you can be sure it'll be a good film



Director - Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer (WGA) - Paul Thomas Anderson

Tagline - Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours.

Plot - An epic mosaic of several interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Awards - Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins and 35 nominations

Julianne Moore ... Linda Partridge
William H. Macy ... Donnie Smith
John C. Reilly ... Officer Jim Kurring
Tom Cruise ... Frank T.J. Mackey
Philip Baker Hall ... Jimmy Gator
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Phil Parma
Jason Robards ... Earl Partridge
Alfred Molina ... Solomon Solomon
Melora Walters ... Claudia Wilson Gator
Michael Bowen ... Rick Spector
Ricky Jay ... Burt Ramsey / Narrator
Jeremy Blackman ... Stanley Spector
Melinda Dillon ... Rose Gator
April Grace ... Gwenovier
Luis Guzman ... Luis

Rated R for strong language, drug use, sexuality and some violence.

'Magnolia' seems to divide audiences as much as it bewilders them. Some people see it as a brilliant exercise in creative, thought-provoking filmmaking, a film that challenges the notion that modern American cinema is comprised exclusively of formulaic retreads of earlier films or slick, mechanical displays of technical virtuosity, devoid of meaning and feeling. Others view 'Magnolia' as the film of pretentiousness and self-satisfied smugness. Which of the two assessments is the correct one, or does the truth lie somewhere in between?

Actually, there is much to admire and cherish in 'Magnolia'.  Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has done a commendable job in putting on the screen a relatively unique vision, a qualification which should be made, because it does seem patently derived from much of the trailblazing work of director Robert Altman. Like Altman, Anderson creates a vast canvas of barely-related and briefly overlapping storylines and characters that come together under the umbrella of a single major theme and a few minor ones as well. Anderson's concern is to explore the concept of forgiveness and to examine the part it plays in the redemption we all seek through the course of our lifetimes. In this film, dying characters struggle to make amends with the loved ones they will soon leave behind, while estranged characters grope tentatively to establish or re-establish the bonds that must link them to other members of the human race. Anderson presents a tremendously wide range of characters, though for a film set in the northern areas of Los Angeles, 'Magnolia' provides a surprisingly non-diverse sea of Caucasian faces. However, in terms of the ages of the characters, Anderson's crew seems more comprehensive, running the gamut from a pre-teen wiz kid to a terminally ill man in his mid-60's. Many of these characters seem to have created any number of facades to help them cope with the miseries and disappointments of life, and much of the redemption occurs only after those masks are stripped away revealing the emptiness and hurt that, in many cases, lurks so close to the surface.

The controversial ending, in which an event of literally biblical proportions occurs, feels generally right in the context of this film. It seems perfectly in tune with the quality of heightened realism that Anderson establishes and sustains throughout the picture.

Anderson has marshalled an array of first-rate performances from a talented, well-known cast. In 'Magnolia', Tom Cruise provides a wrenching case study of a shallow, charismatic shyster, who has parleyed his misogyny into a lucrative self-help industry. Yet, like many of the characters, he uses this facade as a shield to hide the hurt caused by a father who abandoned him and a mother whose slow, painful death he was forced to witness alone. The other actors, too numerous to mention, turn in equally worthy performances. Particularly interesting is the young boy who, in counterpoint to one of the other characters in the story, manages to save himself at an early age from the crippling effect of identity usurpation that it has taken so many others in this film a lifetime to overcome.

In many ways, 'Magnolia' is the kind of film that could easily serve as the basis for a lengthy doctoral dissertation for a student majoring in either filmmaking or sociology. The density of its vision would surely yield up many riches of character, symbolism and theme that a first time viewer of the film would undoubtedly miss. Thus, in many ways, 'Magnolia' is that rare film that seems to demand repeat exposure even for those audience members who may not 'get it' the first time. As a viewing experience, 'Magnolia' often seems rambling and purposeless, but it does manage to get under one's skin, and, unlike so many other, less ambitious works, this one grows in retrospect.


The Third Man

Director - Carol Reed
Writers - Graham Greene (story), Graham Greene (screenplay)

Released - 1950

Genre - Mystery | Thriller

Plot - Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 2 wins and 4 nominations

Joseph Cotten ... Holly Martins
Alida Valli ... Anna Schmidt
Orson Welles ... Harry Lime
Trevor Howard ... Major Calloway
Bernard Lee ... Sergeant Paine
Paul Horbiger ... Karl - Harry's Porter
Ernst Deutsch ... 'Baron' Kurtz
Siegfried Breuer ... Popescu
Erich Ponto ... Dr. Winkel
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Crabbin
Hedwig Bleibtreu ... Anna's Old Landlady

"I never knew the Old Vienna, before the war, with its Strauss Music," opens Carol Reed's The Third Man, and we catch a glimpse of the New Vienna, with its Black Market and its Shady Deals. Joseph Cotten plays cheap novelette author Holly Martins, just arrived in Vienna to meet with long-time friend Harry Lime, who offered him a job. He instead meets with the mysterious facts surrounding the death of Lime, learned bit-by-bit from Lime's friends, a woman named Anna Schmidt, who has problems of her own (played excellently by Valli), and two British officers, Calloway and Paine. Learning, that there is more to the death of Lime than there seems to be, Martins begins his investigation for the truth. This film was shot with some of the greatest, most ahead-of-its-time cinematography ever, and it creates mystery and deceit. It is complimented by the excellent use of shadows. The soundtrack is essentially one long song, which plays throughout the film, changing and stopping as the emotion calls for. It is a zither composition by Anton Karas made for the film. This is all topped off by an engrossing storyline, and a great performance by Joseph Cotten, as the ordinary man mixed up in this web of mystery.


Lawrence Of Arabia

Director - Sir David Lean
Writers (WGA) - T.E. Lawrence (writings), Robert Bolt (screenplay)

Released - 1963

Genre - Adventure | Biography | Drama | War

Plot - Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.

Awards - Won 7 Oscars. Another 19 wins and 12 nominations

Peter O'Toole ... T.E. Lawrence
Alec Guinness ... Prince Feisal
Anthony Quinn ... Auda Abu Tayi
Jack Hawkins ... General Lord Edmund Allenby
Omar Sharif ... Sherif Ali
Jose Ferrer ... Turkish Bey
Anthony Quayle ... Colonel Brighton
Claude Rains ... Mr. Dryden
Arthur Kennedy ... Jackson Bentley
Donald Wolfit ... General Murray
I.S. Johar ... Gasim
Gamil Ratib ... Majid
Michel Ray ... Farraj
John Dimech ... Daud
Zia Mohyeddin ... Tafas

Stephen Spielberg has often said that "Lawrence Of Arabia" is one of his favourite films and it's easy to see why!

Sir David Lean has made a heck of a lot of good films, films like "Brief Encounter", "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Doctor Zhivago", "Ryan's Daughter", and the underrated, "A passage to India". "Lawrence Of Arabia" is intriguing from start to finish, from the starting credits, to the blowing of the match, the crossing of the Nefud dessert, finding Gassim and bringing him back to the camp, the invasion of Aqaba, his torture and rape (?), Lawrence's laugh after the slap by the "outrageous" guy, his being left alone, to the final gaze to the motorcycle. It will usually leave the viewer with the undoubted feeling that "Lawrence of Arabia" is the greatest film ever made.

If we are to classify the two complete different cinematic styles, it would be those of Hitchcock and Ford. Hitch was a very "confined" director. He captured his films from the point of view of one character. His films took place, most of the time, in closed spaces. In a sense, Hitchcock's films were a journey in people's emotions and a study in people's characters. On the other hand, Ford was an open director. He wasn't confined to one character, or one location, his films where actual journeys. His basis was mostly on theme, and his main ability was to amaze with his imagery. Thus, these are the two different shooting styles....Well, Sir David Lean combines both.  Which is basically why his best film, Lawrence, is the best film of all times. But not only in terms of style. Also, in terms of content. The intelligent script written by Robert Bolt, the powerhouse performances by Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif (a shame they didn't get the Oscar), but also, the ultimately heroic yet tragic figure of T.E. Lawrence, contribute in making this the most visually and emotionally sweeping film of the last 100 years.

Such a shame that Lean retired for 14 years after "Ryan's Daughter", there's no way to know where he would have gotten. The best film of all motion picture history.


Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writer - Steven Spielberg

Released - 1977

Genre - Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi

Plot - After an encounter with UFOs, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 11 wins and 30 nominations

Richard Dreyfuss ... Roy Neary
Francois Truffaut ... Claude Lacombe
Teri Garr ... Ronnie Neary
Melinda Dillon ... Jillian Guiler
Bob Balaban ... David Laughlin
J. Patrick McNamara ... Project Leader
Warren J. Kemmerling ... Wild Bill
Roberts Blossom ... Farmer
Philip Dodds ... Jean Claude
Cary Guffey ... Barry Guiler
Shawn Bishop ... Brad Neary
Adrienne Campbell ... Sylvia Neary
Justin Dreyfuss ... Toby Neary
Lance Henriksen ... Robert
Merrill Connally ... Team Leader

Steven Spielberg has made huge popcorn blockbusters that gross more money at the box office (i.e. "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," or "Jurassic Park") and are more exciting on a visceral level. As he has aged and matured as a director, he has also made films that are more important and will hold a more solid place in the chronicles of film as an artistic document of history (i.e. "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," and "Munich"). For my money, his best film will still always be "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." This film is Spielberg's humanistic and heartfelt answer to Kubrick's intellectual and cerebral look at man's first contact with life from elsewhere in the universe in his 1968 opus "2001: A Space Odyssey."

"Close Encounters" came early on in Spielberg's career, made in 1977, and has all the hallmarks of his later films played just right before he became so self-referential. Here we have his typical bag of tricks long before they became so typical: familial strife, coming to terms with something bigger than oneself that challenges the male protagonist's view of the world around him, little kids in jeopardy, superb build up of suspense, fantastic visual effects, and a memorable score from John Williams. From the first UFO sightings in Muncie, Indiana to the fantastic finale at Devil's Tower in Wyoming, this is grand entertainment. Lots of films have emulated this film to varying degrees of success, from Robert Zemeckis' earnest "Contact," to the shameful scam that was M. Night Shymalan's "Signs," and even Spielberg himself recently did the dark natured flip-side to benevolent alien encounters with his remake of "War of the Worlds" (which makes a fantastic double-feature with this). However, nothing compares to this true original.


Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl

Director - Gore Verbinski
Writers (WGA) - Ted Elliott (screen story) and Terry Rossio (screen story)

Released - 2003

Genre - Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Tagline - Prepare to be blown out of the water.

Plot - Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now 'undead'.

Awards - Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 26 wins and 68 nominations

Johnny Depp ... Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush ... Barbossa
Orlando Bloom ... Will Turner
Keira Knightley ... Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport ... Norrington
Jonathan Pryce ... Governor Weatherby Swann
Lee Arenberg ... Pintel
Mackenzie Crook ... Ragetti
Damian O'Hare ... Lt. Gillette
Giles New ... Murtogg
Angus Barnett ... Mullroy
David Bailie ... Cotton
Michael Berry Jr. ... Twigg
Isaac C. Singleton Jr. ... Bo'sun
Kevin McNally ... Joshamee Gibbs

Rated PG-13 for action/adventure violence.

Although there's expectations (from watching the trailers) that this might be a good film, it actually is a good film, in fact, one of the best films of it's type. The story is actually more complex than expected, involving cursed pirates and their quest to rid themselves of the curse. Best not to say more than that so as not to spoil it if you haven't seen "Pirates Of The Caribbean, Curse Of The Black Pearl".

There aren't as many action scenes as there usually is in a pirate film, but the ones that are in the film were very fun and enjoyable. It has a good balance of action and drama. There are also, of course, a lot of funny bits interspersed between the action and drama. Some really good special effects also add to the enjoyment of this film.

Johnny Depp deserved to win the Academy Award for best actor. It's largely because of his performance that the film was so good. Most of the supporting cast did well, mind you, it's just that Johnny Depp stood high above the rest. Some may find Orlando Bloom's performance a bit wooden, but other than that the acting was good.  Basically, it's a really fun film.


Shaun Of The Dead

Director - Edgar Wright
Writers - Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Released - 2004

Genre - Comedy | Horror

Plot - A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Awards - 6 wins and 16 nominations

Simon Pegg ... Shaun
Kate Ashfield ... Liz
Nick Frost ... Ed
Lucy Davis ... Dianne
Dylan Moran ... David
Nicola Cunningham ... Mary
Keir Mills ... Clubber 1
Matt Jaynes ... Clubber 2
Gavin Ferguson ... Football Kid
Peter Serafinowicz ... Pete
Horton Jupiter ... Homeless Man
Tim Baggaley ... The Usher
Arvind Doshi ... Nelson
Rafe Spall ... Noel
Sonnell Dadral ... Danny

Rated R for zombie violence/gore and language.

As far as English films go, Shaun Of The Dead is one of the best English films. Do you recall the popularity of the similar film, "28 Days Later"? Well, this film is even better - it's a hilarious combination of comedy, social parody, tragedy and drama, spiced with the references to every zombie flick ever made. Some references are pretty slim, though - for example "We're coming to get you, Barbara!" is a reference to "The Night of the Living Dead" - a reference that many people (including George Romero!) didn't get. I hope that films like "Shaun of the Dead" will make big wigs in Hollywood realize that there are many great English films, and that integrity is always better than crude remakes which the States are so notorious for... everybody should see SOTD - the best comedy of 2004.



Director - John Carpenter
Writers - John Carpenter (screenplay) and Debra Hill (screenplay)

Released - 1978

Genre - Horror | Thriller

Tagline - The trick was to stay alive.

Plot - A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood escapes on a mindless rampage while his doctor chases him through the streets.

Awards - 2 wins and 1 nomination

Donald Pleasence ... Dr. Sam Loomis
Jamie Lee Curtis ... Laurie Strode
Nancy Kyes ... Annie Brackett
P.J. Soles ... Lynda van der Klok
Charles Cyphers ... Sheriff Leigh Brackett
Kyle Richards ... Lindsey Wallace
Brian Andrews ... Tommy Doyle
John Michael Graham ... Bob Simms
Nancy Stephens ... Marion Chambers
Arthur Malet ... Graveyard Keeper
Mickey Yablans ... Richie
Brent Le Page ... Lonnie Elamb
Adam Hollander ... Keith
Robert Phalen ... Dr. Terence Wynn
Tony Moran ... Michael Myers (age 23)

Halloween is not only the godfather of all slasher films but the greatest horror film ever! John Carpenter and Debra Hill created the most suspenseful, creepy, and terrifying film of all time with this classic chiller. Michael Myers is such a phenomenal monster in this film that he inspired scores of imitators, such as Jason Vorhees (Friday the 13th), The Miner (My Bloody Valentine), and Charlie Puckett (The Night Brings Charlie). It just goes to show you the impact that this film had on the entire horror genre. No longer did a monster have to come from King Tut's tomb or from Dr. Frankenstein's lab. He could be created in the cozy little neighbourhoods of suburbia. And on The Night He Came Home...Haddonfield, Illinois and the viewers would never be the same.

There are many aspects of this film that make it the crowning jewel of horror films. First is the takes place in what appears to be a normal suburban neighbourhood. Many of us who grew up in an area such as this can easily identify with the characters. This is the type of neighbourhood where you feel safe, but if trouble starts to brew, nobody wants to lift a finger to get involved (especially when a heavy-breathing madman is trying to skewer our young heroine.) Along with the setting, the film takes place on Halloween!! The scariest night of the year! While most people are out celebrating Halloween, Michael Myers is looking to carve up some teenie-boppers. Besides the setting, there is some great acting. Jamie Lee Curtis does a serviceable job as our heroine, Laurie Strode, a goody-two-shoes high-schooler who can never seem to find a date. However, it is Donald Pleasance, as Dr. Sam Loomis, who really steals the show. His portrayal of the good doctor, who knows just what type of evil hides behind the black eyes of Michael Myers and feels compelled to send him to Hell once and for all, is the stuff of horror legend. However, it is the synthesizer score that really drives this picture as it seems to almost put the viewer into the film. Once you hear it, you will never forget it. The grainy feel to this film is good. Nowadays, they seem to sharpen up the image of every film, giving us every possible detail of the monster we are supposed to be afraid of. In Halloween, John Carpenter never really lets us get a complete look at Michael Myers. He always seems like he is a part of the shadows, and, this is what adds up to make him so terrifying. There are many scenes where Michael is partly visible as he spies on the young teens (unbeknownst to them), which adds to his creepiness.

Unfortunately for our teenagers (and fortunately for us horror fans), when they find Michael, he's not looking for candy on this Halloween night.. He's looking for blood. Finally, Michael Myers, himself, is a key element to this film's effectiveness. His relentless pursuit of Laurie Strode makes him seem like the killer who will never stop. He is the bogeyman that will haunt you for the rest of your life. So, if you have not seen this film (if there are still some of you out there who haven't, or even if you have), grab some popcorn, turn off every light, pop this into the old DVD and watch in fright. Trick or Treat!


2001: A Space Odyssey

Director - Stanley Kubrick
Writers - Stanley Kubrick (screenplay) and Arthur C. Clarke (screenplay)

Released - 1968

Genre - Adventure | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Tagline - Let the awe and mystery of a journey unlike any other begin

Plot - Mankind finds a mysterious, obviously artificial, artifact buried on the moon and, with the intelligent computer HAL, sets off on a quest.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 10 wins and 6 nominations

Keir Dullea ... Dr. Dave Bowman
Gary Lockwood ... Dr. Frank Poole
William Sylvester ... Dr. Heywood R. Floyd
Daniel Richter ... Moon-Watcher
Leonard Rossiter ... Dr. Andrei Smyslov
Margaret Tyzack ... Elena
Robert Beatty ... Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
Sean Sullivan ... Dr. Bill Michaels
Douglas Rain ... HAL 9000 (voice)
Frank Miller ... Mission controller (voice)
Bill Weston ... Astronaut
Ed Bishop ... Aries-1B Lunar shuttle captain
Glenn Beck ... Astronaut
Alan Gifford ... Poole's father
Ann Gillis ... Poole's mother

There's four good reasons why 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest cinema experience of all time:
1) It is a visual Odyssey that could only be told on the big screen. The special effects that won Kubrick his only Oscar are the most stunning effects before that age of Jurassic Park and T2. They allow Kubrick to give an accurate (or at least are the most accurate) depiction of space travel to date. The silence that fills the space scenes not only serves its purpose as accurate science, but also adds to the mood of the film (to be discussed in a later point with HAL). The fact that Kubrick shot the moon scenes before the Apollo landing is a gutsy yet fulfilling move. Many have said that upon its original release, it was a favourite "trip" film. I can think of no other film that has such amazing visuals for its time and even of all time (sorry Phantom Menace fans!)
2) Kubrick's directing style is terrific. As in all his films, Kubrick likes to use his camera as a means to delve into the psychology of his characters and plots. His camera is not as mobile as other greats, such as Scorsese, but instead sits and watches the narrative unfold. Faces are the key element of a Kubrick film. Like classic films, such as M and Touch of Evil, Kubrick focuses on the characters' faces to give the audience a psychological view-point. Even he uses extreme close-ups of HAL's glowing red "eye" to show the coldness and determination of the computerised villain. Stanley Kubrick is at the height of his style with 2001: A Space Odyssey.
3) HAL 9000 is one of the most villainous characters in film history. Most of this film takes place in space. Through the use of silence and the darkness of space itself, a mood of isolation is created. Dave and his crewmen are isolated between earth and Jupiter, with nowhere to escape. Combine this mood with the cold, calculated actions of HAL 9000 and you have the most fearful villain imaginable. If you haven't seen this film before, on first seeing it, you will probably find your chest tighten in a particular scene.
4) The controversial ending of 2001 always turns people away from this film, but, the ending serves to leave the film open-ended. Stanley Kubrick always stated that he intended to make 2001 open for discussion. He left its meaning in the hands of the viewer. By respecting the audience's intelligence, Kubrick allowed his film to be the beginning, not the end, of a meaningful discussion on man's past, present, and future. The beauty of 2001 is that the ending need not mean anything deep, it can just be a purely plot driven explanation and the entire film can be viewed as an entertaining journey through space. No other film, save the great Citizen Kane, leaves itself open to discussion like 2001. It is truly meant to be a surreal journey that involves not only the eye but the mind. Instead of waiting in long lines for the Phantom Menace, rent a widescreen edition of 2001 and enjoy the greatest cinematic experience.


Monty Python And The Holy Grail

Directors - Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Writers - Graham Chapman and John Cleese

Released - 1975

Genre - Adventure | Comedy

Plot - King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many very silly obstacles.

Awards - 2 nominations

Graham Chapman ... King Arthur / Voice of God / Middle Head / Hiccoughing Guard
John Cleese ... Second Swallow-Savvy Guard / The Black Knight / Peasant 3 / Sir Lancelot, the Brave / Taunting French Guard / Tim the Enchanter
Eric Idle ... Dead Collector / Peasant 1 / Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Launcelot / First Swamp Castle Guard / Concorde / Roger the Shrubber / Brother Maynard
Terry Gilliam ... Patsy / Green Knight / Old Man from scene 24 (Bridgekeeper) / Sir Bors / Animator / Gorrilla Hand
Terry Jones ... Dennis's Mother / Sir Bedevere / Left Head / Voice of Cartoon Scribe / Prince Herbert
Michael Palin ... First Swallow-Savvy Guard / Dennis / Peasant 2 / Right Head / Sir Galahad the Pure / Narrator / King of Swamp Castle / Brother Maynard's Brother / Leader of The Knights who say NI!
Connie Booth ... The Witch
Carol Cleveland ... Zoot / Dingo
Neil Innes ... First Monk / Singing Minstrel / Page Crushed by the Rabbit / Peasant 4
Bee Duffell ... Old Crone
John Young ... Dead Body / Historian Frank
Rita Davies ... Historian's Wife
Avril Stewart ... Dr. Piglet
Sally Kinghorn ... Dr. Winston
Mark Zycon ... Prisoner

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table set out on a quest to find the Holy told to do so by a cartoon God that lives in the clouds...

Easily the most hilarious and original comedy ever made, Monty Python and the Holy Grail claims it's undisputed throne through insanely ridiculous situations and characters that will very likely never be duplicated. Pure comedic genius that doesn't go stale with age or decades of competition having been released. Simply seeing the way comedy films are made today, this film will very likely have a long reign before anything can even hold a candle to it. An absolute belly-laugh fest that never lets up.

Only the cast of Monty Python could have pulled this film off, with each actor playing many different characters...all hilarious! The genius in the actors' lines themselves are truly to be admired. The comedic style of talking in circles is one technique that most comedies do not try to do, simply because they can't compete with the genius of this film, which uses it flawlessly. Those that do try usually fall flat on their faces. Two particularly excellent examples of this can be seen in the beginning scene, in which the characters discuss the origins of coconuts.....and the other when Lancelot breaks into the swamp castle to save the "damsel in distress." This is merely one technique that the cast has perfected to conjure up laughs consistently throughout the entire film.

Another hilarious technique used in the film is the use of comedy in the background. From people slamming cats against poles for no apparent reason, to people filling up baskets with mud in the fields....all very strange and hilarious at the same time. It's also simply amazing that all of the characters are played by the same group of actors, which shows the great range all of them have. Some are simply unrecognizable from one character to the other and it sometimes takes a good eye to pick them out, which makes it fun. This film takes some turns that no sane person could see coming.

Ridiculous characters in ridiculous situations equals ridiculous laughter.

The epitome of all-star comedy that will no doubt continue to stand the test of time. Kudos to Gilliam and the rest of the Python crew. If you haven't seen it yet, make it your first priority in life!


The Thing

Director - John Carpenter
Writers - John W. Campbell Jr. (story), Bill Lancaster (screenplay)

Released - 1982

Genre - Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - Man is The Warmest Place to Hide.

Plot - Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.

Awards - 3 nominations

Kurt Russell ... R.J. MacReady
Wilford Brimley ... Dr. Blair
T.K. Carter ... Nauls
David Clennon ... Palmer
Keith David ... Childs
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Copper
Charles Hallahan ... Vance Norris
Peter Maloney ... George Bennings
Richard Masur ... Clark
Donald Moffat ... Garry
Joel Polis ... Fuchs
Thomas G. Waites ... Windows
Norbert Weisser ... Norwegian
Larry J. Franco ... Norwegian Passenger with Rifle
Nate Irwin ... Helicopter Pilot

This is a great film, and stands as living proof that there were indeed realistic effects before CGI. Set on an isolated base in Antarctica, this version seems almost to pick up where the original version (The Thing From Another World) left off. The American scientists discover a decimated Norwegian base some miles away. Everyone is dead, and only the half charred remains of some unidentifiable thing left to smoulder outside the compound might offer any answers to what may have happened. The Thing is brought back to the American base and, too late, the scientists realize that it is alive and lethal. The Thing thaws out and is off, not only killing anyone and anything that crosses its path, but also absorbing them, making itself into whoever and whatever it wants. The film then turns into a brilliant paranoia piece. Everyone is suspect, anyone can be The Thing, and no one trusts anyone anymore. Gone is the strength and security found when human beings band together in spite of their differences to battle a monster. The group splinters and fear rules supreme. Who is the Thing?

The gore effects here are absolutely amazing and messily realistic. Sanity and reason disintegrate rapidly as, one by one, the humans are taken over by the shapeshifting alien. The power of this film lies in its paranoia, and although the original version of "The Thing" was good, I prefer this one; the real threat lies within, and is scarier for the fact that it cannot be seen or easily detected. When it is forced out of hiding, it's wrath is huge and the results are horrific.

This is one of Carpenters best films, right up there with The Fog and Halloween. All of the actors give strong, realistic performances and the special effects are so powerful that they stand as their own main character. This film has something for any lover of the horror genre. Don't miss it.


Magnificent Seven

Director - John Sturges
Writer - William Roberts

Tagline - They were seven - And they fought like seven hundred!

Plot - An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

Released - 1960

Yul Brynner ... Chris Adams
Eli Wallach ... Calvera
Steve McQueen ... Vin
Charles Bronson ... Bernardo O'Reilly
Robert Vaughn ... Lee
Brad Dexter ... Harry Luck
James Coburn ... Britt
Horst Buchholz ... Chico
Jorge Martinez de Hoyos ... Hilario
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Old man
Rosenda Monteros ... Petra
Rico Alaniz ... Sotero
Natividad Vacio ... Miguel
Mario Navarro ... Boy with O'Reilly

Based somewhat faithfully on the Akira Kurosawa classic Shichinin no samurai, The Magnificent Seven could be mistaken for just another of the many Westerns that were turned out in Hollywood during this era. But there is a certain something that keeps The Magnificent Seven unique. Part of it is the concept borrowed from the earlier Japanese film, but some of it lies in the attitude of the seven mercenaries referred to in the title.

Much is made here of the difference between fighting for money, fighting for justice, or fighting for a future. While this version of Kurosawa's epic contains all the philosophical leanings of the original, it isn't nearly as long-winded or languid. In fact, one can easily see the difference between American and foreign cinema simply by comparing Shichinin no samurai with The Magnificent Seven. One is incredibly dark and downbeat most of the time. The other mostly has a score that is so major it wouldn't sound out of place in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

Differences in feelings aside, the ultimate question is whether this version of the story manages to entertain. The hardest challenge any film faces is keeping the audience amused while all the exposition is laid out. Here, the exposition is kept to a minimum while carefully inserted between some fast-paced action sequences.

Sometimes, the dialogue ("We deal in lead, friend.") gets incredibly stilted. Sometimes, it seems incredibly wise. Well, since we have examples of films where it's all stilted, all the time, we can forgive this one. The film also includes several textbook examples of how to include a sudden plot element without seeming contrived. When we learn why Calvera's men just won't go away, it needs no setup simply because it is consistent with their behaviour throughout the rest of the film.

In the end, The Magnificent Seven comes off as one of the best western films of all time.


The Great Escape

Director - John Sturges
Writers - Paul Brickhill (book), James Clavell (screenplay)

Released - 1963

Tagline - Put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it

Plot - Allied POWs plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Steve McQueen ... Capt. Hilts "The Cooler King"
James Garner ... Flight Lt. Hendley "The Scrounger"
Richard Attenborough ... Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett "Big X"
James Donald ... Group Capt. Ramsey "The SBO"
Charles Bronson ... Flight Lt. Danny Velinski "The Tunnel King"
Donald Pleasance ... Flight Lt. Colin Blythe "The Forger"
James Coburn ... Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick "The Manufacturer"
Hannes Messemer ... Kommandant von Luger
David McCallum ... Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt "Dispersal"
Gordon Jackson ... Flight Lt. Sandy MacDonald "Intelligence"
John Leyton ... Flight Lt. William Dickes "The Tunneler"
Angus Lennie ... Flying Officer Archibald Ives "The Mole"
Nigel Stock ... Flight Lt. Denys Cavendish "The Surveyor"
Robert Graf ... Werner 'The Ferret'
Jud Taylor ... Goff

The film was shot entirely on location in Europe, with a complete camp resembling Stalag Luft III built near Munich, Germany. Exteriors for the escape sequences were shot in the Rhine Country and areas near the North Sea, and Steve McQueen's motorcycle scenes were filmed in Fussen (on the Austrian border) and the Alps. All interiors were filmed at the Bavaria Studio in Munich.

During World War Two the Germans build a new prison camp, Stalag Luft III, for the express purpose of housing many of their most troublesome captured Allied airmen. However, all this serves to do is to pool the resources of some of the most ingenious escape artists in captivity and fill them with a resolve to engineer a mass breakout from the camp.

Based largely on real events, this film has assumed classic status over the years and its easy to understand why. Quite simply, it excels in many departments. Director John Sturges was at the height of his creative powers and he keeps a firm grip on the proceedings. Although the film runs close to three hours it never feels sluggish, while at the same time winding up the tension gradually and developing the characters. The production design is first rate, to the point where Donald Pleasance (who had actually been a prisoner of war in real life) felt quite intimidated by the vast set on his arrival. Daniel Fapp's beautiful photography shows this and the picturesque German locations off to full effect. Put these virtues together with a good script, inspired casting and a classic score by Elmer Bernstein, and you have an object lesson in how to create an intelligent and exciting big budget adventure film.

On the subject of the cast; much is made of Steve McQueen's role and Steve McQueen deserves all the accolades given to him, he was, after all, one of the best actors of all time, but, some of the other actors in "The Great Escape" are excellent as well, actors such as, Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Donald Pleasance, Charles Bronson and Gordon Jackson are all brilliant. Good too are James Coburn, James Donald, David McCallum and Hannes Messemer as the sympathetic German Commandant.  A genuine timeless classic.


American Beauty

Director - Sam Mendes
Writer (WGA) - Alan Ball

Released - 2000

Genre - Drama

Tagline - Look closer . . . .

Plot: - Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter's attractive friend.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 83 wins and 74 nominations

Kevin Spacey ... Lester Burnham
Annette Bening ... Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch ... Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley ... Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari ... Angela Hayes
Chris Cooper ... Col. Frank Fitts, USMC
Peter Gallagher ... Buddy Kane
Allison Janney ... Barbara Fitts
Scott Bakula ... Jim Olmeyer
Sam Robards ... Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman ... Brad Dupree
Ara Celi ... Sale House Woman 1
John Cho ... Sale House Man 1
Fort Atkinson ... Sale House Man 2
Sue Casey ... Sale House Woman 2

American Beauty is a wonderful psychological drama, a satire about the American community and about the American life; dark, painful irony and cynicism in the descriptions of life and characters; deep sarcasm with different types of people in the community, habits of behaviour such as "...if you want to succeed, you always have to seem successful..." or "never stop smiling", parasites of the community, and, most importantly, the treatment of people who are "different", who are "freaky" to some extent; and eventually, there is no character in the film that is not odd in its way, although we have to wait for the very ending of the film, to discover this.

With very deep and accurate exaggeration, (most of) the characters in the film demonstrate the worst, the darkest sides of their personality, while still remaining very human, very touching and very involved with the observer. The tragic-comical events, the little pieces of funny, disturbing irony dripping from almost every episode, lead the observer to exploration of the American Beauty, the beauty in life, and the way that we fail to find it, for all our life; the way we hide our feelings and emotions, even behind sullen walls of our sepulchre.

The acting is truly brilliant, the episodes are built logically, coherently, the dialogues are deep, thrilling, intriguing; every sentence and every word is deeply constructed, containing profound irony and intelligent elements of humours. The plot is very intelligently built, constructing a true indication of the sad situation of the American society, and an excellent ground for the actors.

A deep, wonderful, penetrating film; extraordinary irony in a psychological drama about the American life.

An amazing film, strongly recommended


The Shining

Director - Stanley Kubrick
Writers - Stephen King (novel), Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)

Released - 1980

Genre - Horror | Thriller

Plot - A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Awards - 1 win and 5 nominations

Jack Nicholson ... Jack Torrance
Shelley Duvall ... Wendy Torrance
Danny Lloyd ... Danny Torrance
Scatman Crothers ... Dick Hallorann
Barry Nelson ... Stuart Ullman
Philip Stone ... Delbert Grady
Joe Turkel ... Lloyd the Bartender
Anne Jackson ... Doctor
Tony Burton ... Larry Durkin
Lia Beldam ... Young Woman in Bath
Billie Gibson ... Old Woman in Bath
Barry Dennen ... Bill Watson
David Baxt ... Forest Ranger 1
Manning Redwood ... Forest Ranger 2
Lisa Burns ... Grady Twin Daughter

The Shining is, without doubt, one of Stanley Kubrick's undisputed masterpieces and a true classic in horror cinema. It is a film that, over the course of the years, has managed to scare the living hell out of its audiences (and still does). The film is an adaptation of Stephen King's original novel, written in the late '70s, and although the film is not very loyal to the book, it still stands as a great film of it's kind.

Right from the beginning, as we contemplate the car going to the hotel from those stunning aerial shots, deeply inside us we know that something in the film, somehow, sometime is going to go wrong. As we obtain that severe warning, an almost inaudible voice gently whispers to us 'sit tight', a sense of unexpectedness invades us all, and it is that very same feeling that makes our hair stand on end throughout the entire film.

The plot is simple, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel up in the secluded mountains of Colorado. Jack, being a family man, takes his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd) to the hotel to keep him company throughout the long, isolated nights. During their stay, strange things occur when Jack's son Danny sees gruesome images powered by a force called 'the shining' and Jack is heavily affected by this. Along with writer's block and the demons of the hotel haunting him, Jack has a complete mental breakdown and the situation takes a sinister turn for the worse.

The film, unlike many horror-oriented films nowadays, doesn't only rely on stomach-churning and gory images (which it does contain, anyway) but on the incredibly scary music based on the works of Bela Bartok and on the excellent cinematography (the Steadicam is superbly used, giving us a sense of ever-following evil), as well. The terrifying mood and atmosphere of the film is carefully and masterfully woven by Kubrick, who clearly knows how to really make a horror film.

Jack Nicholson's powerful performance as the mad father and husband is as over the top as it is brilliant. Shelley Duvall, who plays the worrying wife who tries to help her son, is also a stand out; she shows a kind of trembling fear in many scenes and is able to display weakness and vulnerability in a very convincing way. Undoubtedly, The Shining is full of memorable moments (the elevator scene or the 'Heeeeere's Johnny' one-liner for instance) and, simply put, it's flawlessly brilliant.

Stanley Kubrick's direction is pure excellence, giving the whole film a cold and atmospheric look, thus creating an unbearable sense of paranoia and terror. There are moments of sheer brilliance and exquisite perfection in this film; the horrifying maze chase is a perfect example. Every single shot is masterfully created and there are some genuinely scary scenes which will make you sit on the edge of your seat.

The Shining is a special landmark in horror cinema which will always be regarded as one of the scariest films in film history. Overall, The Shining is incomparably one of the scariest films ever produced.

It is one of the best, unforgettable, chilling, majestic and truly, profoundly scary films crafted by an eccentric genius who wants to show that the impossible can be done. The Shining is a sublime, hauntingly intriguing and endlessly watchable film that shows Kubrick at his best.   A truly brilliant and scary film from Stanley Kubrick.


Deer Hunter

Director - Michael Cimino
Writers - Michael Cimino and Deric Washburn

Released - 1979

Plot - An in-depth examination of the way that the Vietnam war affects the lives of people in a small industrial town in the USA.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 16 wins and 19 nominations

Robert De Niro ... Michael
John Cazale ... Stan
John Savage ... Steven
Christopher Walken ... Nick
Meryl Streep ... Linda
George Dzundza ... John
Chuck Aspegren ... Axel
Shirley Stoler ... Steven's Mother
Rutanya Alda ... Angela
Pierre Segui ... Julien
Mady Kaplan ... Axel's Girl
Amy Wright ... Bridesmaid
Mary Ann Haenel ... Stan's Girl
Richard Kuss ... Linda's Father
Joe Grifasi ... Bandleader

No, this is not the best film about the Vietnam War; it's hardly about Vietnam at all. The vets who don't like it have it wrong, as do the Vietnamese who found it racist. It could be any war, with any combatants. This is one of the very few post-war Hollywood films that shows a sincere reverence for the lives of small town Americans.

Even now, the Russian Roulette scene (in context, people, watch all that comes before it first) is the single most intense sequence I've seen; it makes the end of "Reservoir Dogs" seem like a cartoon. Best Walken performance, ever!!  Meryl Streep glows, DeNiro has seldom been more affecting. A unique classic.



Director - Oliver Stone
Writer - Oliver Stone

Released - 1987

Genre - Action | Drama | War

Tagline - The first casualty of war is innocence.

Plot - A young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 18 wins and 9 nominations

Charlie Sheen ... Chris Taylor
Tom Berenger ... Sgt. Barnes
Willem Dafoe ... Sgt. Elias
Keith David ... King
Forest Whitaker ... Big Harold
Francesco Quinn ... Rhah
Kevin Dillon ... Bunny
John C. McGinley ... Sgt. O'Neill
Reggie Johnson ... Junior
Mark Moses ... Lt. Wolfe
Corey Glover ... Francis
Johnny Depp ... Lerner
Chris Pedersen ... Crawford
Bob Orwig ... Gardner
Corkey Ford ... Manny
David Neidorf ... Tex

Platoon is generally regarded as one of the strongest anti-war films of all time. While this is certainly true, what's often overlooked, at least after only one run through the film,  is that it's chiefly a tale of God vs. Satan, and the war is there to set a perilous backdrop. No doubt, Platoon shows the Vietnam War was a big mistake, but being a fictional documentary on Vietnam is far from its purpose.

The story is told from the point of view of Chris Taylor (solidly played by Charlie Sheen), a middle class kid who goes to Vietnam to do what he thinks is his patriotic duty. In the first ten minutes, Chris is shown in the uncomfortable jungle, struggling just to survive in the natural environment, let alone do any actual damage to the enemy. Quickly we're introduced to the well-known facets of the Vietnam War: The lack of sense of purpose, the wraith-like enemies, the obvious prevalence of the uneducated and poor among the fighting grunts, and, soon, we see how these factors combine to cause widespread low morale and some actions of more than questionable ethical value.

Chris sees his platoon fragmented into two halves, each aligned with one of two men, Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe) and Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger). These two really are the driving force behind the film. They both have nominally the same enemy (the Viet Cong), but, really, it doesn't take long to realize that Elias is Good, and Barnes is Evil (the "enemy" does not enter into the moral equation of this film, at all, it's an outside threat, same as malaria-carrying mosquitoes or even friendly fire). It can't be denied that it is a very black-versus-white relationship, but this polarity does not feel contrived. Elias feels the futility of the war and has respect for life; Barnes fights the war doggedly and has no compassion, period. Both are efficient soldiers fighting the same enemy, but really, as is at one point aptly put by Chris Taylor himself, they are fighting for the souls of the platoon members, as the outcome of the war is never really in doubt.

Elias/Barnes' hold on the platoon, and the viewer, is developed through several war sequences. A chilling scene takes place in a village, where our soldiers find no VC, but they do find a cache of VC weapons. The inhumanity of certain soldiers, including of Sgt. Barnes, is unflinchingly shown here. It leaves the viewer with an empty feeling that is hard to shake, reminding of the similarly empty look on a woman's face after she sees her son killed in front her.

Elias doesn't take kindly to this kind of behaviour. Elias and Barnes come closer and closer to open conflict, as Taylor becomes a veteran, obviously siding with Elias. Meanwhile, the fate of the platoon comes closer and closer to them, culminating in an explosively shot action conclusion. The end is dark, but morally satisfying.

Don't watch this film for the action. That's not to say it's not well shot, or unrealistic. On the contrary. It's quite convincing. There will be no cheering for the "good guys" or anyone else in this one. Stone succeeds brilliantly at putting the viewer into the middle of it all, and it's not a pretty sight (and definitely not for the squeamish, either).

On the other hand, if you want great acting, it's here. Dafoe and Berenger do incredibly well, with the incredibly good (and seemingly authentically sounding) script. Barnes is horrific as he challenges three men to kill him, drinking hard liquor out of the bottle. They don't make a move, and neither will you, though you'll hate him just as much as them. Dafoe is a ray of light in the dark as Elias. The cast is rounded out with many characters, all well played, and adding another dimension to the film.

The technical aspects of the film are superb, though one never thinks about them much, as the film is completely engrossing. The production values seem quite good, as well. The most stunning peripheral aspect of this film, however, is the music. It's emotional and draining, and used to great effect, listen for the main theme as you watch the village burn.


Once Upon A Time In America

Director - Sergio Leone
Writers - Harry Grey (novel). Leonardo Benvenuti (writer)

Released - 1984

Genre - Crime | Drama

Tagline - Crime, passion and lust for power - Sergio Leone's explosive saga of gangland America.

Plot - A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to Brooklyn over 30 years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins and 3 nominations

Robert De Niro ... David 'Noodles' Aaronson
James Woods ... Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz
Elizabeth McGovern ... Deborah Gelly
Joe Pesci ... Frankie Manoldi
Burt Young ... Joe
Tuesday Weld ... Carol
Treat Williams ... James Conway O'Donnell
Danny Aiello ... Police Chief Vincent Aiello
Richard Bright ... Chicken Joe
James Hayden ... Patrick 'Patsy' Goldberg
William Forsythe ... Philip 'Cockeye' Stein
Darlanne Fluegel ... Eve
Larry Rapp ... 'Fat' Moe Gelly
Richard Foronjy ... Officer 'Fartface' Whitey
Robert Harper ... Sharkey

Rated R for strong violence, sexual content, language and some drug use.

This is one of the finest examples of cinematic art. It isn't a simple, cut-n-dried 90 minute little package that gets wrapped up with a pretty bow at the end. You get pulled in by the enigmatic opening that unwinds the threads of the story to be found later. Once Upon a Time in America is an excellent film, in the film you follow Noodles through the 'significant' part of his life - the times that formed him. When the story actually starts, we meet the girl that he always loved but could never have.

David 'Noodles' Aaronson (DeNiro) was a kid on the very mean streets of Brooklyn when organized crime was born in America and he grew into and out of it. That's the simplest synopsis of the plot. The reality is that this isn't a film about gangsters. Being a gangster is the easiest way for Noodles to survive and get ahead, but it also alienates and ruins his one love. Whenever he is close to giving himself to Deborah he always gets pulled back into the gang, in some form or another.

DeNiro's portrayal is of a gangster, through and through, who also has a conscience that, while not preventing him from being a ruthless killer, rules his life with regret, remorse and guilt. Leone takes a bit of poet/historic license by showing the Brooklyn Bridge being built in the background (the bridge had been built 40 years before), but it symbolizes Noodles' own growth. When the bridge is just pilings and incomplete towers, Noodles is just forming his future. By the time the bridge is complete, Noodles is nothing but a gangster and the bridge is majestic. When he returns 35 years later our view of the bridge is from under a freeway, the world has moved along, but the Brooklyn bridge and Noodles are just as they were.

The length: If you're looking for a brief distraction that you'll barely remember 30 minutes later, this isn't the film for you. However, if you are prepared and able to be undisturbed for the nearly 4 hours that this film uses to compress a lifetime, you will be rewarded with many facets of thought and examination.

Mesmerizing and haunting tale of love, greed, regret, betrayal and revenge.

Tell others about this page - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998   Add to favorites - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998

Best films - 41-60
Rank Title Details





Something About Mary

Directors - Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Writers (WGA) - Ed Decter (story) and John J. Strauss

Released - 1998

Genre - Comedy | Romance

Tagline - Warning: The guys who did 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Kingpin' bring you a love story.

Plot - A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from highschool, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 16 wins and 11 nominations

Cameron Diaz ... Mary
Matt Dillon ... Healy
Ben Stiller ... Ted
Lee Evans ... Tucker
Chris Elliott ... Dom
Lin Shaye ... Magda
Jeffrey Tambor ... Sully
Markie Post ... Mary's Mum
Keith David ... Mary's Dad
W. Earl Brown ... Warren
Sarah Silverman ... Brenda
Khandi Alexander ... Joanie
Marnie Alexenburg ... Lisa
Danny Murphy ... Boss' Brother
Richard Tyson ... Detective Krevoy

Rated R for strong comic sexual content and language.

This is the Farrelley Brothers at their funniest. The idea is simple, a guy (Ben Stiller) who had a crush on a woman (Cameron Diaz) he knew since high school and continued to yearn for her privately, finally getting an opportunity to try to reconnect what never got going in the first palce. This is something almost everyone can identify with.

What makes this it's a dead-on hard hitting comedy. The Farrelley Brothers spared no one, male or female, handicapped or able bodied, black or white, rich or poor, job or not, straight or gay, animal or vegetable, blonde or brunette, educated or not. It is NOT a cinematic masterpiece so don't look for one, it is not a punch line comedy or slapstick comedy, it is sophomore humour done very well because you're going to be laughing at what you think you shouldn't no matter how much you want to say you would never laugh at something like that.

Plus the Farrelley Brothers added in "some things" that...well... may have just happened to you at some point in your adolescence, and put a comedic/gross quality to it that shocks you into laughing at it. All through the film you might laugh because you're thinking, "Better them than me".....even if it was you!

Not for everyone's taste, even those who think they know comedy, but this is that kind of comedy that is hard to do once you've reached maturity and forgotten what it was like to laugh at simple things. This is as simple as it gets. Don't put too much into it, it is what it is, and it's a very funny film.


Cape Fear

Director - Martin Scorsese
Writers (WGA) - John D. MacDonald (novel), James R. Webb (earlier screenplay)

Released - 1992

Genre - Crime | Horror | Thriller

Tagline - There is nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. Except fear.

Plot - A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins and 8 nominations

Robert De Niro ... Max Cady
Nick Nolte ... Sam Bowden
Jessica Lange ... Leigh Bowden
Juliette Lewis ... Danielle Bowden
Joe Don Baker ... Claude Kersek
Robert Mitchum ... Lieutenant Elgart
Gregory Peck ... Lee Heller
Martin Balsam ... Judge
Illeana Douglas ... Lori Davis
Fred Dalton Thompson ... Tom Broadbent
Zully Montero ... Graciella
Craig Henne ... Prisoner
Forest Burton ... Prisoner
Edgar Allan Poe IV ... Prisoner
Rod Ball ... Prisoner

Rated R for strong violence, and for language.

The climaxes are emblematic of the differences between Scorsese's version and the original. In 1962, Robert Mitchum was ordinary, ironic, sneaky. Gregory Peck was, well, erm, Gregory Peck. And the climax was quiet. Crickets chirped. There was no wind. Bodies crept around in black shadows or splashed together in shallow water. In this one, Nolte is a lawyer who has broken the code and DeNiro is his nemesis, tattooed, obscene, half his face burned off, a raving maniac. Not sinister, just absolutely loco. And the confrontation is situated in a howling gale, earsplitting noise, rushing rapids, the groan of fibreglass hull splitting on rocks, blood all over the place.

One version of Cape Fear is not, in any objective sense better than the other, although the later version, is, in general terms, the better film, perhaps helped by the legendary actor Robert de Niro

There is one scene in which DeNiro outdoes Mitchum in terms of sheer impact. It's when the wrecked houseboat is being swept out into the raging river with DeNiro shackled to a stanchion about to be drowned. DeNiro launches into this fit of screaming nonsense and singing gibberish hymns, in a totally insane way. It's an explosive performance.

Juliette Lewis is remarkable too. Her "umms" and "ahhs" and other hesitations fit her barely nubile personality exactly. Her scene with DeNiro in the mock Schwarzwald of the high school auditorium is impossible not to admire. Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange turn in professional performances, as do the other principal actors.

There was good and there was evil. We all know the world doesn't work that way, but it's fascinating to watch a simple-minded tale being spun out like a well-told fairy story. This one invites us to think about things. Unlike Lori Martin in 1962, Juliette Lewis gets a temporary case of the hots for the well-read and manipulative ex-con. And unlike Peck in 1962, Nolte has committed sins. He held back information that might have helped his client, DeNiro, because he was convinced that DeNiro was guilty and should be put away.


Stand By Me

Director - Rob Reiner
Writers - Stephen King (novel), Raynold Gideon (screenplay)

Released - 1986

Genre - Adventure | Drama

Tagline - For some, it's the last real taste of innocence, and the first real taste of life. But for everyone, it's the time that memories are made of.

Plot - After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find a body of a missing boy

Awards - Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 wins and 9 nominations

Wil Wheaton ... Gordie Lachance
River Phoenix ... Chris Chambers
Corey Feldman ... Teddy Duchamp
Jerry O'Connell ... Vern Tessio
Kiefer Sutherland ... Ace Merrill
Casey Siemaszko ... Billy Tessio
Gary Riley ... Charlie Hogan
Bradley Gregg ... Eyeball Chambers
Jason Oliver ... Vince Desjardins
Marshall Bell ... Mr. Lachance
Frances Lee McCain ... Mrs. Lachance
Bruce Kirby ... Mr. Quidacioluo
William Bronder ... Milo Pressman
Scott Beach ... Mayor Grundy
Richard Dreyfuss ... The Writer

Emotional and poignant Stephen King adaptation, one of the most respectful and memorable films of its kind, about four pre-teen boys who set off on their town to view the body of a boy killed in the country, many miles away.

Allegorical story with an incredibly poised cast of youths (Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and the late, great River Phoenix) who perfectly fit their characters and deliver remarkable performances.

"Stand By Me" is alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, even sort of poetic at times. It may make you regret your own lost youth, as well. Although the settings are mostly rural, it does a decent job of taking the viewer back to a simpler, more innocent time.

Kiefer Sutherland is effective as the town bully - King fans will know that his character turns up as an adult in another King novel, "Needful Things".

Well-selected rock songs of the period, and Jack Nitzsche's music score, work as well.

The film doesn't meander at all, every scene worked. "Stand By Me" is simply a good, solid little drama.

Definitely belongs on this page for the 100 best films.


Silence Of The Lambs

Director - Jonathan Demme
Writers (WGA) - Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)

Released - 1991

Genre - Crime | Thriller

Tagline - Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer, Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer.

Plot - A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 39 wins and 27 nominations

Jodie Foster ... Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins ... Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Scott Glenn ... Jack Crawford
Anthony Heald ... Dr. Frederick Chilton
Ted Levine ... Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb
Frankie Faison ... Barney Matthews
Kasi Lemmons ... Ardelia Mapp
Brooke Smith ... Catherine Martin
Paul Lazar ... Pilcher
Dan Butler ... Roden
Lawrence T. Wrentz ... Agent Burroughs
Don Brockett ... Friendly Psychopath in Cell
Frank Seals Jr. ... Brooding Psychopath in Cell
Stuart Rudin ... Miggs
Maria Skorobogatov ... Young Clarice Starling

You can sometimes see way too many thrillers, "Identity", "Seven", "The Usual Suspects", etc., etc., etc. but "Silence of the Lambs" is always worth seeing. This is a great film. It is so well acted, and would recommend it to anyone. It's creepy and exciting.

"The Godfather" of all thrillers.



Directors - Jim Abrahams and David Zucker
Writers - Jim Abrahams and David Zucker

Released - 1980

Genre - Comedy | Romance

Plot - An airplane crew takes ill. Surely the only person capable of landing the plane is an ex-pilot afraid to fly. But don't call him Shirley!!

Awards - Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 1 win and 5 nominations

Lloyd Bridges ... McCroskey
Peter Graves ... Captain Oveur
Julie Hagerty ... Elaine
Robert Hays ... Ted Striker
Leslie Nielsen ... Dr. Rumack
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ... Roger Murdock
Lorna Patterson ... Randy
Robert Stack ... Rex Kramer
Stephen Stucker ... Johnny
Otto ... Himself
Jim Abrahams ... Religious Zealot 6
Frank Ashmore ... Victor Basta
Jonathan Banks ... Gunderson
Craig Berenson ... Paul Carey
Barbara Billingsley ... Jive Lady

It is understood that there are still a few people in the world that haven't seen "Airplane!" yet.  Those people are probably still waiting for electricity, indoor plumbing and all the other great advances in humanity, too.

To see "Airplane!" is to take part in the great move to subvert all self-importance in films, which this film does with great relish (and plenty of corn).

You get a chance to see such "serious" actors as Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen subvert themselves and their own persona into near oblivion thanks to the writing/directing team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. Not to mention visual and verbal send-ups of darn near every film that ever took place in the air, and a few that didn't, but should have.

Kudos to Leslie Nielsen, who with this film gave himself the greatest reinvention of any actor this century. At one time, he was the very model of stoic sensibility.

This would make a great in-flight film!!


Clockwork Orange

Director - Stanley Kubrick
Writers - Stanley Kubrick (screenplay) Anthony Burgess (novel)

Released - 1975

Genre - Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tagline - Being the adventures of a young man ... who couldn't resist pretty girls ... or a bit of the old ultra-violence ... went to jail, was re-conditioned ... and came out a different young man ... or was he ?

Plot - In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and later volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem... but not all goes to plan.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins and 12 nominations

Malcolm McDowell ... Alex
Patrick Magee ... Mr Alexander
Michael Bates ... Chief Guard
Warren Clarke ... Dim
John Clive ... Stage Actor
Adrienne Corri ... Mrs. Alexander
Carl Duering ... Dr. Brodsky
Paul Farrell ... Tramp
Clive Francis ... Lodger
Michael Gover ... Prison Governor
Miriam Karlin ... Catlady
James Marcus ... Georgie
Aubrey Morris ... Deltoid
Godfrey Quigley ... Prison Chaplain
Sheila Raynor ... Mum

Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" is one of the first films that proved that cinema can be the most enlightening and amazing art form around.

"A Clockwork Orange" shows how the world can be a weird and horrible place, and how this young man who goes around torturing people and being a wicked person ultimately doesn't have to pay for what he does. And it's funny too. So this film brilliantly satirises this world, showcasing pure evil and people who ordinarily do not perform such evil are forced to laugh and observe what we all hate to admit is the truth. It's sick, but at the same time brilliant. And when one gets down to the core, you can't really explain it. It just is what it is. It's real. No one really sees it very often, but it is out there and everyone knows. And no one does anything about it. In essence, "A Clockwork Orange" is the ultimate satire, and one of the ultimate film experiences. It's art, it's life, and in a funky way, it's entertaining.

Kubrick's best.



Director - Brian De Palma
Writer - Oliver Stone (screenplay)

Released - 1984

Genre - Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tagline - He was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name...SCARFACE.

Plot - In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug empire while succumbing to greed.

Awards - Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 nominations

Al Pacino ... Tony Montana
Steven Bauer ... Manny Ribera
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Elvira Hancock
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Gina Montana
Robert Loggia ... Frank Lopez
Miriam Colon ... Mama Montana
F. Murray Abraham ... Omar Suarez
Paul Shenar ... Alejandro Sosa
Harris Yulin ... Mel Bernstein
angel Salazar ... Chi Chi
Arnaldo Santana ... Ernie
Pepe Serna ... Angel
Michael P. Moran ... Nick The Pig
Al Israel ... Hector The Toad
Dennis Holahan ... Jerry The Banker

If the film has a flaw, it's that it comes at you like a raging bull. It doesn't so much engage the viewer as assault him. ''Scarface'' is as voracious and unyielding a production as Tony Montana himself. Nothing is left to the viewer's imagination.

Moroder's languorous synthpop fits the action to a tee. Like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, it wails and gnashes, broods and tugs, a constant reminder of Tony's inexorable fate.

Not so much a tale of caution as a disaster in progress, ''Scarface'' rips across the screen with the unstoppable force of a runaway train.


Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

Director - Guy Ritchie
Writer - Guy Ritchie

Released - 1999

Genre - Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Plot - Four London working class guys pool their money to put a bet on in a high stakes card game, but things go wrong and they end up owing half a million pounds and having one week to come up with the cash.

Awards - Nominated for BAFTA film award. Another 13 wins and 6 nominations

Jason Flemyng ... Tom
Dexter Fletcher ... Soap
Nick Moran ... Eddie
Jason Statham ... Bacon
Steven Mackintosh ... Winston
Nicholas Rowe ... J
Nick Marcq ... Charles
Charles Forbes ... Willie
Vinnie Jones ... Big Chris
Lenny McLean ... Barry The Baptist
Peter McNicholl ... Little Chris
P.H. Moriarty ... Hatchet Harry
Frank Harper ... Dog
Steve Sweeney ... Plank
Huggy Leaver ... Paul

Incredibly funny and entertaining story of four young "criminals" out for big money. This is one of the most intelligently written stories I've ever seen. Very fast paced film with great editing techniques and a hilarious cast and storyline that's sure to entertain. Great cinematography as well. This story will send you through a cork screw. See it once, then see it again to see what you missed.


Groundhog Day

Director - Harold Ramis
Writers (WGA) - Danny Rubin (screenplay) and Harold Ramis (screenplay)

Released - 1993

Genre - Comedy | Fantasy | Romance

Tagline - He's having the worst day of his life... over, and over and over ...

Plot - A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Awards - Won BAFTA film award. Another 5 wins and 7 nominations

Bill Murray ... Phil
Andie MacDowell ... Rita
Chris Elliott ... Larry
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Ned
Brian Doyle-Murray ... Buster
Marita Geraghty ... Nancy
Angela Paton ... Mrs. Lancaster
Rick Ducommun ... Gus
Rick Overton ... Ralph
Robin Duke ... Doris the Waitress
Carol Bivins ... Anchorwoman
Willie Garson ... Phil's Assistant Kenny
Ken Hudson Campbell ... Man in Hallway
Les Podewell ... Old Man
Rod Sell ... Groundhog Official

Bill Murray can be a very funny guy, especially when given roles where his character has a deliciously cruel edge. He has one of those faces, and a voice to go with it, which can make nastiness and sarcasm funny. Groundhog Day is a highly enjoyable vehicle for Murray's talents. It also has a very clever concept, neatly brought to the screen by actor-turned-director Harold Ramis (who starred alongside Murray in the Ghostbusters films).

Pittsburgh weather-man Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent on an assignment to Punxatawney, where on Groundhog Day each year the locals have a tradition of consulting the groundhog to find out if spring is imminent or if they should prepare for 6 more weeks of winter. Phil despises the job and the town, and can't wait to get it over with.... even though he has a soft spot for Rita (Andie MacDowell), the producer overseeing his broadcast. Phil's dislike of Punxatawney, its people and its traditions is set to get a hell of a lot worse though.... as when he awakens the next morning he finds himself reliving the same day. And so it goes - every time Phil gets up, it's still February 2nd and he seems destined to be stuck in the same day for the rest of eternity.

It seems early on in the proceedings that the film might run out of steam and inspiration. After all, how can a film about a day which repeats itself be anything but repetitive? Thankfully, Groundhog Day is full of ingenious ideas, and it successfully throws up new developments and delightful twists at every opportunity. The film is laced with memorable dialogue, and Murray gets to play one of the defining roles of his career as a facetious, sharp-tongued misanthrope who ultimately learns the error of his ways. Groundhog Day is a very good film indeed, and restores one's faith in the imagination still lurking beneath the dismayingly shallow surface of Hollywood.


Raging Bull

Director - Martin Scorsese
Writers - Jake LaMotta (book) and Joseph Carter

Released - 1980

Robert De Niro ... Jake La Motta
Cathy Moriarty ... Vickie La Motta
Joe Pesci ... Joey
Frank Vincent ... Salvy
Nicholas Colasanto ... Tommy Como
Theresa Saldana ... Lenore
Mario Gallo ... Mario
Frank Adonis ... Patsy
Joseph Bono ... Guido
Frank Topham ... Toppy
Lori Anne Flax ... Irma
Charles Scorsese ... Charlie - Man with Como
Don Dunphy ... Himself - Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan ... Eddie Eagan
Rita Bennett ... Emma - Miss 48's

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring, destroys his life outside it.

Robert De Niro teams with director Martin Scorsese in this extraordinarily compelling film that introduced unflinching realism to stunned audiences in 1980. An exceedingly violent as well as poetic fight picture that maps the landscape of the soul. Raging Bull garnered eight Oscar nominations and won two including Best Actor for De Niro.

De Niro gives the performance of his career as Jake La Motta, a boxer whose psychosexual complexities erupt into violence both in and out of the ring. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty are unforgettable as the brother who fall prey to Jakes mounting paranoia and jealousy and the fifteen year old girl who becomes his most prized trophy. A brilliantly photographed film of extraordinary power and rare distinction.


Say It Isn't So

Director - J.B. Rogers
Writers (WGA) - Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow

Released - 2001

Genre - Comedy | Romance

Plot - Young orphan Gilly (Klein) finds out his lover Jo (Graham) may actually be his biological sister!!

Awards - 1 nomination

Chris Klein ... Gilbert Noble
Heather Graham ... Josephine Wingfield
Orlando Jones ... Dig McCaffrey
Sally Field ... Valdine Wingfield
Richard Jenkins ... Walter Wingfield
John Rothman ... Larry Falwell
Jack Plotnick ... Leon Pitofsky
Eddie Cibrian ... Jack Mitchelson
Mark Pellegrino ... Jimmy Mitchelson
Brent Hinkley ... Streak
Henry Cho ... Freddy
Richard Riehle ... Sheriff Merle Hobbs
Brent Briscoe ... Detective Vic Vetter
Ezra Buzzington ... Stewart
Julie White ... Ruthie Falwell

Rated R for strong sexual content, crude humour and language.

Quotes - Dig McCaffrey: Jack Mitchelson got millions from his daddy. He's what we call a multi-millionaire. And in my experience, women like dead presidents more than broke boyfriends. No romance without finance, daddy.

This film is typical of the raunchy comedy you can expect from Bobby and Peter Farrelly.  There are a few surprises in it however, that could make you ask questions beginning with "Who Knew?":

Who knew Orlando Jones could be cool? If you saw his 7-Up commercials you wouldn't think he was. For the record, his character was not Jimi Hendrix, or his ghost, or some nut who thought he was Hendrix.

Who knew Sally Field could pass herself off as a villainess, and a comical one at that? Fans who like her best during her Gidget/Flying Nun years will be just as surprised as those who praise her for Sybil, Norma Rae, Places in the Heart, and similar TV-Films and tear-jerkers.

Who knew the Farrelly Brothers would make a woman suffer so much heartbreak? In There's Something About Mary, we have Ben Stiller sobbing it up over the presumed loss of his object of desire. Here we have Heather Graham doing the same thing over a man she loves, but still believes is her brother.

Who knew an otherwise sugar sweet poem would be used as a weapon on any pets spending their final moments on earth? There's the scene where Chris Kline recites the poem he uses for abandoned animals he's about to exterminate for Heather Graham.

Anyway, this film has a lot of sleaze, a lot of heart, and a lot of surprises. If you're not the uptight prim and proper-type, check it out.


The Apartment

Director - Billy Wilder
Writers - Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Released - 1960

Genre - Romance | Comedy | Drama

Plot - A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins and 8 nominations

Jack Lemmon ... C.C. Baxter
Shirley MacLaine ... Fran Kubelik
Fred MacMurray ... Jeff D. Sheldrake
Ray Walston ... Joe Dobisch
Jack Kruschen ... Dr. Dreyfuss
David Lewis ... Al Kirkeby
Hope Holiday ... Mrs. Margie MacDougall
Joan Shawlee ... Sylvia
Naomi Stevens ... Mrs. Mildred Dreyfuss
Johnny Seven ... Karl Matuschka
Joyce Jameson ... The Blonde
Willard Waterman ... Mr. Vanderhoff
David White ... Mr. Eichelberger
Edie Adams ... Miss Olsen

Written by the great film maker Billy Wilder, this is a serious, sardonic comedy for people who've known what's its like to feel the pressure of compromising your principles or your self- respect for the sake of getting ahead in life. And there are very few over the age of consent who haven't had to at one time or another. This isn't the laugh out loud comedy of Jim Carrey or the Farrelly brothers, but a subtle, nuanced comedy about two people who have both been jaded in love and yet continue to hope again and again that it will someday work out for them, mainly because despite the unlikeable things they do, they are both basically decent, nice people. Flawed and even weak at times, but good people. This is a film that doesn't just make it you laugh, it makes you think. A rare find indeed.

A rare gem, this is a blessedly adult comedy with great performances, great writing and the kind of depth hardly ever seen in the more vapid, formulaic romantic comedies of today.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Director - James Cameron
Writers (WGA) - James Cameron and William Wisher Jr.

Released - 1991

Genre - Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - It's nothing personal!!

Plot - The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenager son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced cyborg.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 20 wins and 18 nominations

Arnold Schwarzenegger ... The Terminator
Linda Hamilton ... Sarah Connor
Edward Furlong ... John Connor
Robert Patrick ... T-1000
Earl Boen ... Dr. Silberman
Joe Morton ... Miles Dyson
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Tarissa Dyson
Castulo Guerra ... Enrique Salceda
Danny Cooksey ... Tim
Jenette Goldstein ... Janelle Voight
Xander Berkeley ... Todd Voight
Leslie Hamilton Gearren ... Twin Sarah
Ken Gibbel ... Douglas
Robert Winley ... Cigar-Smoking Biker
Peter Schrum ... Lloyd

Rated R for strong sci-fi action and violence, and for language.

Who said sequels aren't any good? "Terminator 2" is the ultimate sequel, a big bad wolf ready to chomp the head off of anyone who crosses its path. It's dark, it's mean, and it's one tough film. It's not as bleak as the first film, at least in terms of visuals, but rather has a new kind of bluish-tint that supplies a great backdrop to the ongoing battle between man and machine.

If there was ever a contemporary mainstream visionary director, it is James Cameron. Here we've got Cameron's real thoughts on the series, those repressed by a low budget in the original film. He lets loose here, filling every frame with hard-boiled action and special effects. He introduces a liquid metal Terminator that he wanted to use in the first film, but graphic processors and CGI were not advanced enough in 1984, at least not advanced enough to work on the low means he had to film the original. So his original dream is finally unveiled, and good golly, it is truly wonderful.

Yeah, he's "back." Arnold (like he needs any introduction?) returns as The Terminator, Series T-101, Model T-800, an indestructible cyborg sent from the future to assassinate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the first film. Well, it's 1991. New film. New mission. He has to save the future resistance leader of mankind who will ultimately defeat the machines of the future, John Connor (Edward Furlong), Sarah's 11-year-old son.

Another model Terminator, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), has been sent back to 1991 programmed to annihilate John Connor. Which explains Arnold's appearance. Arnold, an undoubtedly lesser opponent compared to the T-1000, has to help save the day and learn to appreciate humanity. It won't be easy. First, he has to find John Connor, who is a rebellious angst-driven pre-teen living with foster parents. Then, together they have to break into the local loony hospital and release Sarah from the clutches of Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen), who believes Sarah is delusional. (You may remember Silberman as the psychiatrist from the first film, too.) Then, they have to stop a computer chip designer (Joe Morton) from creating the first version of a SkyNet computer, modelled after a destroyed chip his employment company discovered at a large mechanical warehouse. (Which is, of course, the chip from the destroyed T-800 of the first film.)

This isn't as fierce or brutal as the first film, but it's got plentiful action sequences, a large budget, great special effects (even compared to those gracing the screen nowadays), not to mention a great character study of the machine we loved to root against in the first film. Of course, this Terminator has no memory of the first film, since he wasn't in it, SkyNet creates hordes of the same version machines on a large conveyor belt and ships them off to fight in the war. Some are sent back through time. So, with that in mind, John Connor's resistance found an extra Arnold lying around in an abandoned warehouse, programmed him to keep John Connor out of harm, and sent him through the time portal.

The question on most interested viewers' minds is this: Is "T2: Judgment Day" better than its predecessor? Well, in some respects, yes. In others, no. It lacks the fierce brutality and darkness of the first film, but makes up for it with spectacular visual effects and action sequences. It lacks the horrific central focus of the first film (futuristic, indestructible cyborgs with no feelings being able to unemotionally kill), but it makes up for this with a new focus of humanity, coming to accept your future, and how it would look if two colossal killing machines entered into an arena together.


ET: The Extra-Terrestrial

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writer - Melissa Mathison

Released - 1982

Genre - Adventure | Drama | Family | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Tagline - He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home.

Plot - A group of Earth children help a stranded alien botanist return home.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 38 wins and 27 nominations

Henry Thomas ... Elliott
Dee Wallace ... Mary
Robert MacNaughton ... Michael
Drew Barrymore ... Gertie
Peter Coyote ... Keys
K.C. Martel ... Greg
Sean Frye ... Steve
C. Thomas Howell ... Tyler
David M. O'Dell ... Schoolboy
Richard Swingler ... Science Teacher
Frank Toth ... Policeman
Robert Barton ... Ultrasound Man
Michael Darrell ... Van Man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Berkson ... Medic
Susan Cameron ... Medic
David Carlberg ... Medic
Erika Eleniak ... Pretty Young Girl
Will Fowler Jr. ... Medic
Barbara Hartnett ... Medic
Milt Kogan ... Big Medic
Alexander Lampone ... Medic
Diane Lampone ... Medic
Rhoda Makoff ... Medic
Robert Murphy ... Medic
Richard Pesavento ... Medic
Tom Sherry ... Medic
Mary Stein ... Medic
Mitch Suskin ... Medic

Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements.

Everyone gets lost in nostalgia from time to time. Many of us vividly recall the days when the most important thing you had to do that afternoon was find a place to stay cool or to make sure that all of your friends were willing to go on whatever adventure you wanted to embark on. This was a time when some of the greatest films were ever made for a teenaged boy. The genesis of film was started with films like First Blood, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Back To The Future and of course ET.

What you don't expect of the film ET, is a film to manipulate your emotional realm the way that E.T. does. There have been some Oscar travesties but this (along with Annie Hall defeating Star Wars and Cuckoo's Nest beating Jaws) had to be up there as one of the most ridiculous snubs ever.But all of the cranky and derelict academy members seethed with contempt and jealousy because they couldn't accept the fact that a man this young could really be this much of a genius. In fact he made the rest of the folks in Hollywood look young compared to himself.

If you have not seen ET, then, whatever age you are, you should see it. It is a film experience that is unmatched. It is also a film that should be looked upon as a paradigm for which all films should try to emulate. There is a reason that films like ET and Star Wars and Raiders make the money they do. And there is also a reason they stay firmly planted in our memories. That is because they mean something and they stand for something. Those are the qualities in film that transcend time and they transcend the generations.  One of the best films ever made and experienced.


The Wild Bunch

Director - Sam Peckinpah
Writers - Walon Green (story) and Roy N. Sickner (story)

Released - 1969

Genre - Action | Western

Plot - A group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins and 2 nominations

William Holden ... Pike Bishop
Ernest Borgnine ... Dutch Engstrom
Robert Ryan ... Deke Thornton
Edmond O'Brien ... Freddie Sykes
Warren Oates ... Lyle Gorch
Jaime Sanchez ... Angel
Ben Johnson ... Tector Gorch
Emilio Fernandez ... Gen. Mapache
Strother Martin ... Coffer
L.Q. Jones ... T.C
Albert Dekker ... Pat Harrigan
Bo Hopkins ... Clarence 'Crazy' Lee
Dub Taylor ... Rev. Wainscoat
Paul Harper ... Ross
Jorge Russek ... Maj. Zamorra

An incredible performance by Bill Holden is the high point of this sensational, landmark film. Holden made a whole career out of laid-back, easy-going, what-the-hell sort of characters but here, at his zenith, he departs from type and plays a character so mean and so embittered that in some ways he even 'out-Bronsons' Charles Bronson himself.

The Wild Bunch is a group of disillusioned outlaws who are out of time and they know it. When Sykes says that they've got one of those things (a car) up north that can fly, they gloomily accept that this new-fangled 20th Century is not for them.

It is a film all about values and about a man's loyalty to his companions. Holden brilliantly declares that if you cannot stand by a man who rides with you, you are like some kind of animal. In the end, that is all these hunted men have, their loyalty to each other.

And so, they band together for one last walk to try and rescue their doomed Mexican comrade. The bloodbath that follows is an eloquent summary of their lives. They who live by the gun.....

Superb performances by Holden in particular and also by O'Brien, Ryan, Borgnine, Oates and Johnson. Peckinpah's finest hour. Definitely ten out of ten.


Midnight Express

Director:Alan Parker

Writers - Billy Hayes (book), William Hoffer (book), Oliver Stone (screenplay)

Released - 1978

Brad Davis ... Billy Hayes
Irene Miracle ... Susan
Bo Hopkins ... Tex
Paolo Bonacelli ... Rifki
Paul L. Smith ... Hamidou
Randy Quaid ... Jimmy Booth
Norbert Weisser ... Erich
John Hurt ... Max
Mike Kellin ... Mr. Hayes
Franco Diogene ... Yesil
Michael Ensign ... Stanley Daniels
Gigi Ballista ... Chief Judge
Kevork Malikyan ... Prosecutor
Peter Jeffrey ... Ahmet
Joe Zammit Cordina

Billy Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle drugs out of Turkey. The Turkish courts decide to make an example of him, sentencing him to more than 30 years in prison. Hayes has two opportunities for release, the appeals made by his lawyer, his family, and the American government, or the "Midnight Express".  Inspired from and dramatized upon a true event.



Director - John G. Avildsen
Writer - Sylvester Stallone

Released - 1977

Genre - Drama | Romance | Sport

Plot - A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Awards - Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins and 19 nominations

Sylvester Stallone ... Rocky Balboa
Talia Shire ... Adrian Pennino
Burt Young ... Paulie Pennino
Carl Weathers ... Apollo Creed
Burgess Meredith ... Mickey Goodmill
Thayer David ... George Jergens
Joe Spinell ... Tony Gazzo
Jimmy Gambina ... Mike
Bill Baldwin ... Fight Announcer
Al Silvani ... Cut Man
George Memmoli ... Ice Rink Attendant
Jodi Letizia ... Marie
Arnold Johnson
Diana Lewis ... TV Commentator
George O'Hanlon ... TV Commentator

Views differ a little, over which Rocky film was the best, some say Rocky 2, and a few say Rocky 3, but overwhelmingly, most say that Rocky 1 was the best. Rocky (and when we mention Rocky in this section, it's always referring to Rocky, the original, first Rocky!!  Rocky is genuinely one of the best films ever made. Rocky is very much more than just a boxing film. It's a film about the unbreakable human spirit, determination, and the will to "go the distance." Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is a second rate club-fighter and a debt collector for a loan shark (Joe Spinnell). He becomes involved with a shy girl working in a pet shop named Adrian (Talia Shire), and also becomes friends with her brother Paulie (Burt Young).

Rocky's life really isn't anything of interest - until the World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) gives him an unexpected shot at the title. An old boxer-turned-trainer named Mick (Burgess Meredith) offers to be Rocky's manager. Although the whole film is outstanding, what follows are some of the greatest and most memorable film moments of all time. Rocky striving to go the distance in the training scene, the final fight, and the closing moments of the film are so emotional and inspiring that they perfectly demonstrate the human spirit and can bring out the will to win in anybody. Add to this, an excellent music score and you have a classic and unforgettable film. Without a doubt, Rocky deserved the Best Picture award in 1976. Exceptional performances by all the cast members, notably Burgess Meredith and Sylvester Stallone.  One of the greatest films of all time.


The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Director - Sergio Leone
Writers - Luciano Vincenzoni (story) and Sergio Leone (story)

Released - 1967

Genre - Action | Adventure | Western

Plot - A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Awards - 1 win

Eli Wallach ... Tuco
Clint Eastwood ... Blondie
Lee Van Cleef ... Sentenza / Angel Eyes
Aldo Giuffrè ... Alcoholic Union Captain
Luigi Pistilli ... Father Pablo Ramirez
Rada Rassimov ... Maria
Enzo Petito ... Storekeeper
Claudio Scarchilli ... Mexican peon
John Bartha ... Sheriff
Livio Lorenzon ... Baker
Antonio Casale ... Jackson / Bill Carson
Sandro Scarchilli ... Mexican peon
Benito Stefanelli ... Member of Angel Eyes' Gang
Angelo Novi ... Monk
Antonio Casas ... Stevens

The beginning of the film is so memorable, with the young, rough good-looks of Eastwood being labeled "The Good", the absolutely evil look of Lee Van Cleef being labelled "The Bad", and a dirty, unkempt, desperado Eli Wallach with booze and food flying being labelled "The Ugly". The ending fight scene with its 3-way showdown is one of the most memorable pieces of film to have ever been produced.

Sergio Leone did a great job with the camera direction in this film and the acting is impressive. Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach are all absolutely fantastic.

The only thing that might scare some viewers off, is the length of the film. It is long, but you just don't seem to notice it when you are watching the film, you are just too damn busy watching the best classic western of all time.

If there was ever a perfect western, this is it. This is without doubt, one of the best westerns to have ever been made.


One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Director - Milos Forman
Writers - Lawrence Hauben (screenplay) and Bo Goldman (screenplay)

Released - 1976

Genre - Drama

Tagline - If he's crazy, what does that make you?

Plot - Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 28 wins and 11 nominations

Jack Nicholson ... Randle Patrick McMurphy
Michael Berryman ... Ellis
Peter Brocco ... Col. Matterson
Dean R. Brooks ... Dr. Spivey
Alonzo Brown ... Miller
Scatman Crothers ... Turkle
Mwako Cumbuka ... Warren
Danny DeVito ... Martini
William Duell ... Jim Sefelt
Josip Elic ... Bancini
Lan Fendors ... Nurse Itsu
Louise Fletcher ... Nurse Ratched
Nathan George ... Washington
Ken Kenny ... Beans Garfield
Mel Lambert ... Harbor Master
Sydney Lassick ... Charley Cheswick

The opening shot of 'One flew over the cuckoos nest' is a bleak glance at an Oregon morning. Stirring, haunting music plays gracefully on the soundtrack and a car approaches. Inside the car is one of film history's most remarkable characters. "Randle McMurphy" is about to bring hope, humour, and a glimmer of reality to some disturbed people in a mental hospital. Jack Nicholson as "McMurphy", is something of a paradox. Is this guy crazy or is he really the lazy, conniving criminal most believe him to be? That is the magical mystery and start to a journey into mental illness and the effect this man will have on some truly messed up men.

Milos Forman directs this all-time classic, which swept the Oscars deservedly, and holds up so well, many, many years later. It is a simplistic film about small people living in their own small worlds. Manic moments are mixed with poignant acting all leading to an astounding climax. Not before or since Cuckoos Nest has a collection of different characters had such an impact on audiences. You could write a book report about each of the patients in the ward. The two most important people here are, of course, Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher.

Nicholson has his greatest moments in this picture. One brilliant scene has him doing an imaginary play-by-play commentary of the 1963 World Series to the group, who are not allowed to watch the game on TV. It is a poetic sequence and Nicholson goes crazy with his delivery, describing baseball with colourful anecdotes and profanity. "McMurphy" immediately makes an impression on the crazies and shows them how they don't have to stick to the "normal routine". He knows their names right away, he sprays them with water, he makes impossible bets with them, he introduces them to fishing, and he even gets a suffering young kid (played well by Brad Dourif) a "date".

Louise Fletcher plays one of the more reprehensible human beings in film as "Nurse Mildred Ratched". She is a hardened woman, one who makes the daily meetings with the group a contest to see who will win. Her stubbornness and lack of compassion for the poor guys is rather one dimensional. That's perfect because that is exactly who she is. Her strong will to keep things monotonous leads to a final showdown with the free spirited "McMurphy" in what is easily one of the most shocking and disturbing climaxes in recent memory.

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest does not try to make a statement about mental illness or how the unstable should be treated. Rather, it is a very simple portrait of the long days and hilarious scenarios that can come about when a mixed bag of suffering people are thrown together. Mental illness is nothing to laugh about, but the fact that Nicholson is not really crazy (or at least, doesn't seem to be!!!) allows us to be amused. He seems to love his mates in the hospital. He is mislead, however, into thinking he can do as he pleases.

There is no denying the power of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. The two main powerhouse performances are golden, the cinematography is morbid and gritty like it should be, the "Chief" is great as Nicholson's right hand, ah, protagonist, and you care a lot about what will happen as the film moves on. The famous, final shot ironically happens to be an exit of a major character into that bleak, Oregon morning.


Cool Hand Luke

Director - Stuart Rosenberg
Writers - Donn Pearce (screenplay) and Frank Pierson (screenplay)

Released - 1967

Genre - Crime | Drama

Tagline - "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Plot - A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 4 wins and 6 nominations

Paul Newman ... 'Luke' - (Lucas Jackson)
George Kennedy ... Dragline
J.D. Cannon ... Society Red
Lou Antonio ... Koko
Robert Drivas ... Loudmouth Steve
Strother Martin ... Captain
Jo Van Fleet ... Arletta
Clifton James ... Carr
Morgan Woodward ... Boss Godfrey
Luke Askew ... Boss Paul
Marc Cavell ... Rabbitt
Richard Davalos ... Blind Dick
Robert Donner ... Boss Shorty
Warren Finnerty ... Tattoo
Dennis Hopper ... Babalugats

Cool Hand Luke is a great film that will last the ages. Newman's portrayal of the impulsive loner with the undying will is unforgettable, and Lucas Jackson may be one of the most memorable film characters of all time. Luke's unfaltering spirit in the face of a life that never seems to deal him a fair hand will probably win you over sooner than later. A superb supporting cast, including George Kennedy in his Oscar winning performance and Strother Martin, along with fine direction from Stuart Rosenberg catapult this timeless story, of an individual adrift in a vast and faceless world, towards classic status.

The basic plot line follows thus: Luke is arrested for the silliest of crimes and sent to prison (where the prisoners often work on a sort of chain gang, although largely without the chains). The atmosphere of the prison camp almost immediately begins to change after Luke's arrival, though not due to any conscious effort from his part. Just because he is who he is. At first, the other prisoners are hostile but they soon warm to him. They seem to begin feeling real camaraderie, perhaps even some unity.

Some of the most memorable scenes naturally stick in your mind: Luke's endless boxing match, the eggs (!), his escapes, and even when Luke is beaten by the prison captain...and, of course, the unforgettable smile. A legendary performance from Paul Newman and a true classic.

Tell others about this page - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998   Add to favorites - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998

Best films - 21-40
Rank Title Details






Director - Christopher Nolan
Writers - Jonathan Nolan ("Memento Mori"), Christopher Nolan

Released - 2001

Genre - Mystery | Thriller

Tagline - Some memories are best forgotten

Plot - A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 42 wins and 32 nominations

Guy Pearce ... Leonard
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Natalie
Joe Pantoliano ... Teddy Gammell
Mark Boone Junior ... Burt
Russ Fega ... Waiter
Jorja Fox ... Leonard's Wife
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Sammy
Harriet Sansom Harris ... Mrs. Jankis
Thomas Lennon ... Doctor
Callum Keith Rennie ... Dodd
Kimberly Campbell ... Blonde
Marianne Muellerleile ... Tattooist
Larry Holden ... Jimmy

Rated R for violence, language and some drug content.

Just after seeing Memento, you may find that you're questioning yourself, your memories, your truths. Nothing in this film is as it seems, and yet paradoxically everything is as it seems. We see everything through Guy Pearce's characters' (Lenny) eyes, unfortunately he has no short-term memory so cannot form new memories. He lives in snapshots of life; his only form of memory is his Polaroid camera, just like in the excellent German film Wintersleepers; also (partly) about a short-term memory disorder.

In this film, Lenny takes snapshots to remember who people are, where he now lives, his car, everything. As you can imagine this is perfect for paranoia, suspicion, uncertainty, confusion, and betrayal. And that's exactly what you get in extreme doses. The difference between this film and Wintersleepers however is that Memento is entirely from Lenny's perspective. This therefore creates an imaginative, creatively unsurpassable film. The film begins where it should end, so far so trite, but here's the beauty, we, like Guy Pearce, learn in fragments what's going on. It is therefore perfect for those who love to second guess what's going to happen, who did what, who's doing what and why. The beauty of this film though is that nothing is certain, nothing is clear. Another beauty of this film is the way it is filmed and edited. Pieces are shown a number of times with no real linear link between them, just like it would be if we ourselves had a memory disorder, and then they are cut up and edited next to things that happen either before or after it. It's just like holding ten different and linearly distinct Polaroids in your hand and having a short-term memory disorder. A truly excellent film.

So, go and see it:, be confused, acknowledge the frailty of all you know to be true, and then imagine the freedom of actually being Lenny, and then the horror of having nothing, nothing but the reliance of a pen and a Polaroid camera to know who you are!



Director - Ridley Scott
Writers (WGA) - Dan O'Bannon (story) and Ronald Shusett (story)

Released - 1979

Genre - Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - In space no one can hear you scream.

Plot - A mining ship, investigating a suspected SOS, lands on a distant planet. The crew discovers some strange creatures and investigates.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 11 wins and 18 nominations

Tom Skerritt ... Dallas
Sigourney Weaver ... Ripley
Veronica Cartwright ... Lambert
Harry Dean Stanton ... Brett
John Hurt ... Kane
Ian Holm ... Ash
Yaphet Kotto ... Parker
Bolaji Badejo ... Alien
Helen Horton ... Mother (voice)

Rated R for sci-fi violence/gore and language.

The further we go in special effects, the more people will return to dark horrors like this one.

It's hard to look at this film without considering the sequels and knowing the alien itself, however when made, the alien was mostly unseen and a mystery. It's difficult to forget what you've seen, but it's important to approach this film first, if possible, rather than joining the series late.

It's amazing that this is over 20 years old, apart from the actors looking so young, the film doesn't feel dated at all. The sci-fi visions here are still bleak and futuristic, as they were then, this is not the Star Trek vision of the future. The foreboding exists long before John Hurt spills his secret, Scott's direction is excellent throughout. Once the alien is "born" the tension is cranked up and the characters dispatched one by one (a formula we know oh-so well now!)

However, here the characters are not merely alien-food but have some dimension to them. Weaver is excellent, while the support cast is full of great support actors (Stanton, Kotto, Hurt, Skerritt, Holm), but of course, the real star is the one we see least of.

We barely see the alien in full detail, most of the time it is set in shadows, moving with deadly intent. The alien here is not simply a killing machine as seen in later films but is cruel with it. Witness the alien trap a female crew member and slowly rub up her leg, moving with slow seductive movements before moving with terrifying speed to kill another crew member sneaking up behind it. The slow movements betray the alien's pure cruelty.

The film is a study in terror. It may not be as action packed as the other films in the series, but it brings the claustrophobia of being hunted to a new level.


It's A Wonderful Life

Director - Frank Capra
Writers - Frances Goodrich (screenplay) and Albert Hackett (screenplay)

Released - 1948

Genre - Drama | Family | Fantasy | Romance

Tagline - They're making memories tonight!

Plot - An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

Awards - Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 4 wins

James Stewart ... George Bailey
Donna Reed ... Mary Hatch Bailey
Lionel Barrymore ... Henry F. Potter
Thomas Mitchell ... Uncle Billy
Henry Travers ... Clarence Oddbody
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Bailey
Frank Faylen ... Ernie Bishop
Ward Bond ... Bert the Cop
Gloria Grahame ... Violet Bick
H.B. Warner ... Mr. Gower
Frank Albertson ... Sam Wainwright
Todd Karns ... Harry Bailey
Samuel S. Hinds ... Peter 'Pa' Bailey
Mary Treen ... Cousin Tilly
Virginia Patton ... Ruth Dakin Bailey

Honestly, you will never see anything quite like It's A Wonderful Life.

Does it take you back to that place in your heart, that makes you long for everything that once was great and it could be again? Does it remind you of your childhood, Christmas in your home? Maybe it's just simply a wonderful philosophical tale, that everyone should see.

Everything about this film is well, for lack of better words, just perfect. No question to it any longer, the best performance by an actor I have ever seen. It's more than just beautiful, timeless or fair. All of Stewart is revealed. Everything coming together for Capra. Lionel Barrymore at his best, which seems to be his worst.

Sometimes, there is a reason why some things happen. This film is a life changing experience.

Makes you feel good to be alive.


Apocalypse Now

Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Writers - John Milius (screenplay) and Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay)

Released - 1979

Genre - Action | Drama | War

Plot - 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.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins and 32 nominations

Marlon Brando ... Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
Martin Sheen ... Captain Benjamin L. Willard
Robert Duvall ... Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Frederic Forrest ... Jay 'Chef' Hicks
Sam Bottoms ... Lance B. Johnson
Laurence Fishburne ... Tyrone 'Clean' Miller
Albert Hall ... Chief Phillips
Harrison Ford ... Colonel Lucas
Dennis Hopper ... Photojournalist
G.D. Spradlin ... General Corman
Jerry Ziesmer ... Jerry, Civilian
Scott Glenn ... Lieutenant Richard M. Colby
Bo Byers ... MP Sergeant 1
James Keane ... Kilgore's Gunner
Kerry Rossall ... Mike from San Diego

Rated R for disturbing violent images, language, sexual content and some drug use.

Forget the war, forget the brutality....This is a classic story of society protecting itself from those that refuse to fall in line with the status quo. Brando represents the individual that has his own way of getting the job done. They (Big Brother) sent him out to do the job, he does it too well, without adhering to the accepted "standards" of death and destruction, so they send the "Conformity Police" out to eliminate the individual.

With the deepest respect to Francis Coppola, whom is one of the best directors of all time, It's thought that he transcended his original intent of the film, and probably didn't even realize it until after the film was released. The subtle sub-text that permeates the entire film has way too much to it to have been planned and portrayed; instead, it seems to have 'grown' itself, like some wild flower in the middle of a vegetable garden.

Francis Coppola did an excellent job on this entire production, as did the cast and crew, but the sum of the film exceeds the individual efforts ten-fold. So if you haven't seen the film, rent it, watch it, then watch it again, and maybe a few more times, and look for all the generic parallels to everyday life. A brilliant masterpiece of a film


Full Metal Jacket

Director - Stanley Kubrick
Writers - Gustav Hasford (novel), Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)

Released - 1989

Genre - Action | Drama | War

Tagline - An Epic Story of the Vietnam War

Plot - A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow Marine recruits from their brutal basic training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 Hue, Vietnam.

Awards - Nominated for Oscar. Another 5 wins and 5 nominations

Matthew Modine ... Pvt. Joker
Adam Baldwin ... Animal Mother
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Pvt. Pyle
R. Lee Ermey ... Gny. Sgt. Hartman
Dorian Harewood ... Eightball
Kevyn Major Howard ... Rafterman
Arliss Howard ... Pvt. Cowboy
Ed O'Ross ... Lt. Touchdown
John Terry ... Lt. Lockhart
Kieron Jecchinis ... Crazy Earl
Kirk Taylor ... Payback
Tim Colceri ... Doorgunner
Jon Stafford ... Doc Jay
Bruce Boa ... Poge Colonel
Ian Tyler ... Lt. Cleves

Legendary Stanley Kubrick, probably the most ingenious film-maker of our time, directed only two films in the 80's. Someone could thoughtlessly claim that it was a very bad and a slow decade for him, but on the contrary, the films happened to be "The Shining" (1980), the darkest, the greatest and most frightening, superb and impressive horror film ever made, and "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) the finest war film in the history of motion picture. The fact that he directed the most beloved classics of two completely different genre is simply unbelievable.

First half of "Full Metal Jacket" is spectacular. Lee Ermey's Drill Instructor Hartman ("I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless") is probably the most hateful, forbidding and repulsive character in the history of Kubrick's films. Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" was like a kitten compared to him. The fact that he is so overdone and the dialogue written to him is so sarcastic, biting and clever makes him also the funniest part of "Full Metal Jacket". Even though this is one of the most pressuring Kubrick films, the first half can also be seen as an extremely dark comedy.

Rest of the cast is just as excellent, Matthew Modine in the leading role as Private Joker is simply fabulous but most of the sympathies will probably go to Vincent D'Onofrio's unforgettable Private Pyle. Audiences really feel sorry for him because he's the most regrettable victim of the training period that turns perfectly ordinary nice blokes into merciless killers. This is the greatest war film ever made, or possibly a joint second with Francis Ford Coppola's outstanding "Apocalypse Now." Both of these films show what war is really all about. War is never justified, war is never good. Therefore I think a war film should never glorify war, but rather show it as what it really is, nightmarish hell. Second half of "Full Metal Jacket" does it. That makes it probably the most pacifistic war film I've ever seen.

Interesting fact: at the end of "Full Metal Jacket" soldiers walk on the battlefield and sing an absurd and silly Mickey Mouse marching song. Childish and senseless marching songs of the first half were very comical. This one should be rather funny too but at this time the audience has already seen way too much. This kind of humour no longer amuses and makes you laugh. Song is the final crown of "Full Metal Jacket". It gives the last touch to all this irrationality and I'm positive that was also Kubrick's intention. I'm pretty sure that this is Stanley Kubrick's greatest film right after the excellent "A Clockwork Orange". Magnificent film.


The Departed

Director - Martin Scorsese
Writers (WGA) - William Monahan (screenplay), Alan Mak 

Released - 2006

Genre - Crime | Mystery

Tagline - Lies. Betrayal. Sacrifice. How far will you take it?

Plot - Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 49 wins and 53 nominations

Leonardo DiCaprio ... Billy Costigan
Matt Damon ... Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson ... Frank Costello
Mark Wahlberg ... Staff Sgt. Dignam
Martin Sheen ... Cpt. Queenan
Ray Winstone ... Mr. French
Vera Farmiga ... Madolyn
Anthony Anderson ... Brown
Alec Baldwin ... Cpt. Ellerby
Kevin Corrigan ... Cousin Sean
James Badge Dale ... Barrigan
David O'Hara ... Fitzy
Mark Rolston ... Delahunt
Robert Wahlberg ... Lazio - FBI
Kristen Dalton ... Gwen

Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.

Excellent. A great, great film. There hasn't been a film like "The Departed, with such an excellent story-line for a long time.

Even though Boston is not really a gritty town Scorsese was able to capture a darker side of the city. With pros like Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, they helped to make this a great film. The true stand out performance has to go to DiCaprio. He has really come into his own since hooking up with Scorsese, having scored a number of original performances, all of which have expanded his range. He really snagged onto a deep and tragic character and created something that will hopefully be recognized come awards season.

As for Scorsese's direction, he scored big with this one. While many have criticized that his films have become more commercial, I believe that he has just evolved. There were some classic Scorsese moments here, my favourite being a scene where DiCaprio is alone and packing his things in his apartment. Beautifully cut and stylistically directed. He has created a truly special film.


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Director - George Roy Hill
Writer - William Goldman

Released - 1969

Genre - Adventure | Crime | Drama | Western

Tagline - Just for the fun of it!

Plot - Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 17 wins and 11 nominations

Paul Newman ... Butch Cassidy
Robert Redford ... The Sundance Kid
Katharine Ross ... Etta Place
Strother Martin ... Percy Garris
Henry Jones ... Bike Salesman
Jeff Corey ... Sheriff Bledsoe
George Furth ... Woodcock
Cloris Leachman ... Agnes
Ted Cassidy ... Harvey Logan
Kenneth Mars ... Marshal
Donnelly Rhodes ... Macon
Jody Gilbert ... Large Woman Train Passenger
Timothy Scott ... News Carver
Don Keefer ... Fireman
Charles Dierkop ... Flat Nose Curry

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is rightfully hailed as one of the greatest westerns ever made. It is a great look at two likeable outlaws, full of witty dialogue and exciting action sequences.

Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and The Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are two bank robbers, chased by the law. The plot follows them as they travel to Bolivia after a railroad president hires a posse to hunt them down. The story is mostly composed of short pieces telling a little story about them. There is really no connection all the way through, for the most part.

The story isn't about the plot, however. It is about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is a close look at two criminals, the talented Sundance Kid, and Butch Cassidy, the one who does all the thinking. The charisma and screen presence of the two actors and the way they work together is what drives the film. Watching the two interact, with a superb script full of great dialogue, is what makes this film so exciting.

See this film if you are a fan of westerns, or just a fan of good films. It is exciting, superbly made (with lots of interesting silent scenes to music and montages of photographs), but it also has a lot of depth.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford at their best


Green Mile

Director - Frank Darabont
Writers (WGA) - Stephen King (novel), Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Released - 2000

Genre - Crime | Drama | Fantasy | Mystery

Tagline - Miracles do happen.

Plot - The story about the lives of guards on death row leading up to the execution of a black man accused of child murder and rape, who has the power of faith healing.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 13 wins and 23 nominations.

Tom Hanks ... Paul Edgecomb
David Morse ... Brutus "Brutal" Howell
Bonnie Hunt ... Jan Edgecomb
Michael Clarke Duncan ... John Coffey
James Cromwell ... Warden Hal Moores
Michael Jeter ... Eduard Delacroix
Graham Greene ... Arlen Bitterbuck
Doug Hutchison ... Percy Wetmore
Sam Rockwell ... 'Wild Bill' Wharton
Barry Pepper ... Dean Stanton
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Harry Terwilliger
Patricia Clarkson ... Melinda Moores
Harry Dean Stanton ... Toot-Toot
Dabbs Greer ... Old Paul Edgecomb
Eve Brent ... Elaine Connelly

Rated R for violence, language and some sex-related material.

Frank Darabont returns to the directors chair with another adaptation of Stephen Kings novel. The events take place at a death row, the guards call the green mile. The story is a layered, rather character-driven fantasy tale of the events that transpire at "the mile" after the arrival of a giant man, John Coffey (Michael Duncan), convicted of the murder of two small girls. Actually this is not one single story, but several tied together seamlessly.

A character-driven film requires a lot from the cast, and fortunately, when it comes to cast, The Green Mile delivers. The Green Mile stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, senior prison guard of the mile, and as always, he performs very well indeed. Yet the cast around him is even more spectacular, perhaps partially due to them being relatively unknown. With a face you know, one inevitably remembers previous performances, and the new role is coloured by this. Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore, a mean spirited prison guard was particularly impressive, yet his character could have been given more depth. The most captivating was the performance of Michael Duncan.

It is hard to find a flaw in this film. The camerawork is superb, cast wonderful and direction flawless. The film's considerable length, a bit over three hours, is something that had me worried. Yet the marvellous cast and the peaceful yet firm pace of the film held my attention progressively through the three hours right to the touching culmination.

All in all the, The Green Mile is a very touching film.


Blade Runner

Director - Ridley Scott
Writers - Hampton Fancher (screenplay) and David Webb Peoples (screenplay)

Released - 1982

Genre - Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - A Futuristic Vision Perfected

Plot - Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down and terminate 4 replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker.

Awards - Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins and 14 nominations

Harrison Ford ... Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer ... Roy Batty
Sean Young ... Rachael
Edward James Olmos ... Gaff
M. Emmet Walsh ... Bryant
Daryl Hannah ... Pris
William Sanderson ... J.F. Sebastian
Brion James ... Leon Kowalski
Joe Turkel ... Dr. Eldon Tyrell
Joanna Cassidy ... Zhora
James Hong ... Hannibal Chew
Morgan Paull ... Holden
Kevin Thompson ... Bear
John Edward Allen ... Kaiser
Hy Pyke ... Taffey Lewis

Rated R for violence and brief nudity; Rated R for violence.

Dark, deep, uncertain, unsettling - imagine the most beautiful nightmare you've ever had, this is Blade Runner.

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is a brilliantly crafted science fiction film that not only touches upon, but bravely plunges into deep philosophical questions, making it simply ten times more important than any film of its genre. It is timeless beauty with huge doses of emotion.

Set in 2019 Los Angeles, Blade Runner zooms in on the eerily-lit, urban streets of the city and follows Richard Deckard - superbly played by Harrison Ford who brings an exquisite moral ambiguity to his character - a special policeman who tracks down and terminates artificially-created humans called replicants, who have escaped from an Off-World colony and made their way to earth and need to be stopped. The things Deckard encounters on his detective journey raise many philosophical questions like: Who is really a replicant? Are replicants really bad? If replicants are bad, then why did we go to such lengths with our technology to create them? Are replicants really humans? Is Deckard a hero? This truly is a film that demands subsequent discussion and its ambiguous ending leave a haunting and eerie feeling.

In spite of a rich glaze of science fiction and futurism coating this adventure film, there are distinct film noir elements present, primarily in the bluish haze that the film is seen through and its gritty urban atmosphere. Whoever thought of this combination is a genius. Since it is all about technology, it fits then that Blade Runner features a ridiculous amount of product placement, especially from Atari. In any other film, this would have felt out-of-place but here it is simply perfect. The score by Vangelis is strangely gripping when combined with the striking cinematography of the film.

Blade Runner deserves credit, celebration and remembrance for it is simply an excellent film.


Back To The Future

Director - Robert Zemeckis
Writers - Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale

Released - 1985

Genre - Adventure | Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi

Tagline - He's the only kid ever to get into trouble before he was born.

Plot - In 1985, Doc Brown invents time travel; in 1955, Marty McFly accidentally prevents his parents from meeting, putting his own existence at stake.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 13 wins and 23 nominations

Michael J. Fox ... Marty McFly
Christopher Lloyd ... Dr. Emmett Brown
Lea Thompson ... Lorraine Baines McFly
Crispin Glover ... George McFly
Thomas F. Wilson ... Biff Tannen
Claudia Wells ... Jennifer Parker
Marc McClure ... Dave McFly
Wendie Jo Sperber ... Linda McFly
George DiCenzo ... Sam Baines
Frances Lee McCain ... Stella Baines
James Tolkan ... Mr. Strickland
J.J. Cohen ... Skinhead
Casey Siemaszko ... 3-D
Billy Zane ... Match
Harry Waters Jr. ... Marvin Berry

Back to the Future - It first off, has a terrific and memorable score. It also is very funny; humour is well-placed, witty, enjoyable, and appropriate. This film doesn't fall into large plot holes such as other time travel films do, and has a terrific end. The actors are all awesome; all parts are well-acted.

"Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan, and told me if I didn't ask Loraine to the dance, he'd melt my brain" - Quote from Back to the Future

Special effects are pretty good for the era as well, with a very engaging story-line.


Batman Begins

Director - Christopher Nolan
Writers (WGA) - Bob Kane (characters), David S. Goyer (story)

Released - 2005

Genre - Action | Crime | Thriller

Plot - The story of how Bruce Wayne became what he was destined to be: Batman.

Awards - Nominated for Oscar. Another 6 wins and 38 nominations

Christian Bale ... Bruce Wayne / Batman
Michael Caine ... Alfred
Liam Neeson ... Henri Ducard
Katie Holmes ... Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman ... Jim Gordon
Cillian Murphy ... Dr. Jonathan Crane
Tom Wilkinson ... Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hauer ... Earle
Ken Watanabe ... Ra's Al Ghul
Mark Boone Junior ... Flass
Linus Roache ... Thomas Wayne
Morgan Freeman ... Lucius Fox
Larry Holden ... Finch
Gerard Murphy ... Judge Faden
Colin McFarlane ... Loeb

Rated PG-13 for intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements.

Finally, after the previous 2 outings of the caped crusader, in 'Batman Forever' and 'Batman and Robin', which were quite good, the Batman franchise is back on track again.

Thankfully, Nolan has gone back to the roots of the character, portraying a confused and angry Bruce Wayne, who ultimately rises to become Gotham's greatest champion. Don't expect to see loads of shots of Batman in this film though. It is the story of Wayne and focuses mainly on his years of training and preparation for becoming Batman. You are almost teased throughout the first half of the film, waiting to see the excellent Christian Bale in the costume, as it keeps holding back to keep you in anticipation. When Batman does finally turn up on screen, it is well worth the wait. Christian Bale was born for the role of Batman.

One of the strongest features of the film, is the way that it manages to suck you in to believe that a 'Batman' could be a reality one day. The technology is current, with no use of silly OTT weapons and gadgets, again making the film work by today's standards. Plus, we are not allowed to forget that Batman is still just a man under the costume and there are times when he gets a bit of a kicking and shows that he can be vulnerable too, something we sometimes forget when watching a superhero flick. Gone too, are the silly villains!!! Jack Nicholson was the perfect Joker but from there it went downhill. Thankfully, in this film, the bad guys are actually fairly 'normal' and manage to be menacing at the same time.

Which finally brings me to the cast. I always had high expectations for this film when the cast was announced. Let's face it, what a line up! Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katy Holmes, Ken Watanabe and Tom Wilkinson are not to be sniffed at. Actors of this calibre would never have gotten involved in this project if they didn't have faith in Christoper Nolan's talents and thankfully they took the leap.

For the comic book fans out there, waiting to see this film, you can be assured that you won't be upset. This is the kind of Batman you can expect from Christian Bale, dark, brooding and tortured by his past, yet the hero we have come to love. For those of you who are not comic fans, then just look forward to seeing how Batman should be. This film is a credit to Bob Kane's original vision and a testament to all the talented artists and writers who keep the legend of the Dark Knight alive in the comic books today....

Thank you Mr. Nolan and thank you Mr. Bale. In fact thanks to everyone who worked on this film. Batman finally Begins from here....


Donnie Darko

Director - Richard Kelly
Writer - Richard Kelly

Released - 2002

Genre - Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions.

Plot - A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.

Awards - 11 wins and 10 nominations

Jake Gyllenhaal ... Donnie Darko
Holmes Osborne ... Eddie Darko
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Elizabeth Darko
Daveigh Chase ... Samantha Darko
Mary McDonnell ... Rose Darko
James Duval ... Frank
Arthur Taxier ... Dr. Fisher
Patrick Swayze ... Jim Cunningham
Mark Hoffman ... Police Officer
David St. James ... Bob Garland
Tom Tangen ... Man in Red Jogging Suit
Jazzie Mahannah ... Joanie James
Jolene Purdy ... Cherita Chen
Stuart Stone ... Ronald Fisher
Gary Lundy ... Sean Smith

Rated R for language, some underage drug and alcohol use, and violence.

The film has a beautiful aspect (especially the end), and there are a few chuckles as well. Contrary to the more critical commentary, there is depth and complexity to the story that kind of requires you to see it more than once. The basis of Donnie Darko is about our part in the deliberate design of our destiny, and you will catch more and more of that theme, every time you see it.

Regardless of anything, sincere thought and expression went in to the making of Donnie Darko. Mixed with skill and technical ability = Art.

A work of art! Fully deserves to be on this page for the top 100 films.


The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Director - Peter Jackson
Writers (WGA) - J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh (screenplay)

Released - 2002

Genre - Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Tagline - A New Power Is Rising.

Plot - 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.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 65 wins and 76 nominations

Bruce Allpress ... Aldor
Sean Astin ... Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee
John Bach ... Madril
Sala Baker ... Man Flesh Uruk
Cate Blanchett ... Galadriel
Orlando Bloom ... Legolas Greenleaf
Billy Boyd ... Peregrin 'Pippin' Took
Jed Brophy ... Sharku / Snaga
Sam Comery ... eothain
Brad Dourif ... Grima Wormtongue
Calum Gittins ... Haleth
Bernard Hill ... Theoden
Bruce Hopkins ... Gamling
Paris Howe Strewe ... Theodred - Prince of Rohan
Christopher Lee ... Saruman the White

Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and scary images.

Most people who've seen the original Fellowship of the Rings, probably thought that it couldn't get beaten, but it was by this.  The Lord of the rings: The two towers is rightfully in this list of top films of all time.  This film, as long as it was, is captivating from start to finish..

Elijah Wood put on a better performance than he did in the first film, as did Sean Astin. Ian McKellen, who captivated us in the last film, captivated us even more in this one. Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, and Orlando Bloom made a great trio. They laughed together, cried together, prospered together, and suffered together. This trio gave life to Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. Eowyn expressed her emotions clearly through Miranda Otto.

The music need not be discussed. Its greatness speaks for itself.

Favourite Scene: The Battle of Helms Deep.

The film, like its predecessor, fails to bring us closure, but that's ok. Closure will come next year. I look forward to the Return of the King.


Reservoir Dogs

Director - Quentin Tarantino
Writers - Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary (background radio dialog)

Released - 1992

Genre - Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Tagline - Seven Total Strangers Team Up For The Perfect Crime. They Don't Know Each Other's Name. But They Know Each Other's Color

Plot - After a simple jewellery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Awards - 8 wins and 6 nominations

Harvey Keitel ... Mr. White - Larry Dimmick
Tim Roth ... Mr. Orange - Freddy Newandyke
Michael Madsen ... Mr. Blonde - Vic Vega
Chris Penn ... Nice Guy Eddie Cabot
Steve Buscemi ... Mr. Pink
Lawrence Tierney ... Joe Cabot
Randy Brooks ... Holdaway
Kirk Baltz ... Ofcr. Marvin Nash
Edward Bunker ... Mr. Blue
Quentin Tarantino ... Mr. Brown
Steven Wright ... K-Billy DJ (voice)
Rich Turner ... Sheriff 1
David Steen ... Sheriff 2
Tony Cosmo ... Sheriff 3
Stevo Polyi ... Sheriff 4

Rated R for strong violence and language.

This is without a doubt, one of the best films of it's kind and definitely deserves its position on this list of best films. It's an acquired taste, but you will want to watch this again from the minute it ends. Every single actor was perfectly fitted for its character. Steve Buscemi as the squirrely Mr. Pink, Harvey Keitel as the veteran Mr. White, and of course, Michael Madsen as the psychotic Mr. Blonde. The list goes on and on.

Some people said that the violence was unnecessary and didn't move the plot forward as it did with Pulp Fiction. this may be true, but the violence was used to develop the character's personalities. It showed their disregard for human life and that our anti-heroes saw killing a cop as being as stepping on a cockroach .

I urge future viewers of this film not to instantly compare it to Pulp Fiction and enjoy the film in it's own right. An interesting thrill-ride crime drama from beginning to end.


The Big Lebowski

Director - Joel Coen
Writers (WGA) - Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Released - 1998

Genre - Comedy | Crime

Tagline - They figured he was a lazy time wasting slacker. They were right.

Plot - "Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Awards - 1 win and 7 nominations

Jeff Bridges ... Jeffrey Lebowski - The Dude
John Goodman ... Walter Sobchak
Julianne Moore ... Maude Lebowski
Steve Buscemi ... Theodore Donald 'Donny' Kerabatsos
David Huddleston ... Jeffrey Lebowski - The Big Lebowski
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Brandt
Tara Reid ... Bunny Lebowski
Philip Moon ... Woo, Treehorn Thug
Mark Pellegrino ... Blond Treehorn Thug
Peter Stormare ... Nihilist 1, Uli Kunkel / 'Karl Hungus'
Flea ... Nihilist 2, Kieffer
Torsten Voges ... Nihilist 3, Franz
Jimmie Dale Gilmore ... Smokey
Jack Kehler ... Marty
John Turturro ... Jesus Quintana

Rated R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence.

'The Big Lewboski' is an extremely smart film, but it doesn't shout "look at me! Aren't I clever?". It sucks you in from the get go, and bottom line it is funny, and as it is a comedy, that's what counts the most! Everything about the film is perfect, the script, the direction, set design, costumes, and the wonderful soundtrack (one of the most brilliant ever assembled, it includes lesser known Dylan and Elvis Costello numbers, Creedence classics, and songs from cult favourites like Yma Sumac, Captain Beefheart, Moondog, Esquivel and garage gods The Monks). Plus of course the actors, who are well cast and virtually flawless. Jeff Bridges ('Fat City', 'Starman') IS The Dude, and it's impossible to think of anyone else acting the role.

Coen regulars John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Peter Stomare, and Jon Polito are all on board, as well as Julianne Moore ('Boogie Nights'), David Huddleston ('Capricorn One'), Philip Seymour Hoffman ('Magnolia') and Sam Elliot ('Mask'), even surprise cameos from Ben Gazzara ('The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie') and singer Jimmie Ray Gilmore. It's hard to fault 'The Big Lebowski', it's one of the most original and entertaining comedies ever made and a genuine modern classic. If only every film in the box office Top Ten was as inspired and amusing as this one!

One of the best Coen brothers films and one of the most entertaining and original comedy films ever made!


Die Hard

Director - John McTiernan
Writers (WGA) - Roderick Thorp (novel), Jeb Stuart (screenplay)

Released - 1988

Genre - Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

Plot - New York cop John McClane gives terrorists a dose of their own medicine as they hold hostages in an LA office building.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins and 2 nominations

Bruce Willis ... Officer John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia ... Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson ... Sgt. Al Powell
Paul Gleason ... Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
De'voreaux White ... Argyle
William Atherton ... Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner ... Harry Ellis
James Shigeta ... Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman ... Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov ... Karl
Bruno Doyon ... Franco
Andreas Wisniewski ... Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. ... Theo
Joey Plewa ... Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza ... Marco

On the night that John McClane (Bruce Willis), an NYC cop, is visiting his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) in a 40-story skyscraper, terrorist thieves seize control of the building. McClane manages to slip away unnoticed and singlehandedly works to take out the terrorists and save 30 or so hostages.

Fantastic! This ought to get anybody out of their seat and make them take notice! Once it gets going, there is non-stop action and violence, and even entertaining exchanges between McClane and terrorist leader Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). The picture offers some good dialog, good thrills, some impressive special effects, and some good performances. I think this film and its equally macho sequels would be a must for any action fan's video/DVD library.

McClane does sort of turn out to be a one-man army, but he's not exactly superhuman. He suffers wounds and injuries just like any normal human being, and he talks quite a bit. McClane's efforts are not appreciated by either the L.A.P.D. *or* the F.B.I., and his only support outside the building is from weary street cop Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson). The relationship between McClane and Powell is a well-developed one, and Willis and VelJohnson have good dialog as Powell offers McClane words of encouragement.

It would be remiss to not mention the superb performances by Rickman and Russian ballet dancer Alexander Godunov as the primary bad guys. These are thoroughly entertaining action film villains, and Hans is actually more than one-dimensional. On the one hand, he's cold-blooded and cruel, yet he also enjoys dressing well and seems very cultured.

The only sour note is the abundance and over-use of the F-word and the variety of truly moronic supporting characters in the film (the self-serving, coke-snorting yuppie Ellis (Hart Bochner), the foolish and brain-dead deputy police chief Robinson (Paul Gleason), the equally self-serving and pompous TV news reporter Thornburg (William Atherton), and the ignorant and overconfident FBI men (Robert Davi, Grand L. Bush).

But what a film it is. Entertaining for over two hours. While on the surface, it seems like a real "Guy's" film, Bonnie Bedelia, as the estranged wife, has a decent role, although hers is the only prominent female role in the picture.


Sin City

Directors - Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Writer - Frank Miller (graphic novels)

Released - 2005

Genre - Action | Crime | Thriller

Tagline - Hell of a way to end a partnership.

Plot - A film that explores the dark and miserable town Basin City and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in the violent corruption of the city.

Awards - 16 wins and 29 nominations

Jessica Alba ... Nancy Callahan
Devon Aoki ... Miho
Alexis Bledel ... Becky
Powers Boothe ... Senator Roark
Cara D. Briggs ... Hearing Panel Person
Jude Ciccolella ... Liebowitz
Jeffrey J. Dashnaw ... Motorcycle Cop
Rosario Dawson ... Gail
Jesse De Luna ... Corporal Rivera
Benicio Del Toro ... Jackie Boy
Jason Douglas ... Hitman
Michael Clarke Duncan ... Manute
Tommy Flanagan ... Brian
Christina Frankenfield ... Judge
Rick Gomez ... Klump

Rated R for sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue.

Sin City deserves its hard R rating, right from the first five minutes and doesn't let up until the end credits roll. It has it all, bullets, boobs and be-headings, beautifully set in a grim atmosphere that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. All cast performances were excellent, especially Mickey Rourke's "Marv" character. Fans of the comic will not be disappointed in this film adaption. This film is definitely not for the squeamish or faint-of-heart.

Sin City grabs you from the opening credits of the film and doesn't let go till the end! A must see!



Director - James Cameron
Writers - James Cameron (story) and David Giler (story)

Released - 1986

Plot - The planet from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins and 21 nominations.

Sigourney Weaver ... Ellen Ripley
Carrie Henn ... Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden
Michael Biehn ... Cpl. Dwayne Hicks
Lance Henriksen ... Bishop
Paul Reiser ... Carter Burke
Bill Paxton ... Pvt. Hudson
William Hope ... Lt. Gorman
Jenette Goldstein ... Pvt. Vasquez
Al Matthews ... Sgt. Apone
Mark Rolston ... Pvt. Drake
Ricco Ross ... Pvt. Frost
Colette Hiller ... Cpl. Ferro
Daniel Kash ... Pvt. Spunkmeyer
Cynthia Dale Scott ... Cpl. Dietrich
Tip Tipping ... Pvt. Crowe

Note: It is strongly advised that you watch this film only after seeing Alien (1979). This is a direct continuation of that story.

57 years after the events of the first film, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is found and awakened from hyper sleep to discover that a terraforming colony has been set up on LV-426, the planet wherein she and her fellow crew of the mining cargo spaceship Nostromo first encountered the titular aliens. When Earth-based communications loses contact with LV-426, a band of marines are sent to investigate, taking Ripley and a representative from the company that financed the colony, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) along for the ride.

For the difficult job of following up Ridley Scott's excellent Alien, director James Cameron decided to go a completely different route, to make a fast moving, slightly tongue-in-cheek, boisterous action extravaganza. Remarkably, he was able to do that while still maintaining a stylistic and literary continuity that melds Aliens seamlessly with the first film.

Ripley is much more fully developed in this film, although unfortunately, some of the most significant scenes were deleted from the theatrical release (if at all possible, watch the 2-hour and 37-minute director's cut instead). Cameron fashioned Aliens into a grand arc where Ripley's actions at the end of the film have much more meaning as she's not only fighting monsters, but also fighting to retain a semblance of something she lost due to her 57-year hyper sleep. As in the first film, she is still the most intelligent, courageous and resourceful member of the crew, but she has much more colourful company.

The marines accompanying Ripley back to LV-426 may be too cartoonish for some tastes (as for viewers of that opinion, most of the action and the film overall is likely to be too cartoonish), but for anyone more agreeable to that kind of caricatured exaggeration, it's a joy to watch. Both Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen turn in wonderfully over-the-top performances, at their diametrically opposed ends of the emotional spectrum, Paxton as the spastic surfer/redneck and Henriksen as the intense, moody sage, with a surprising reality and an even more surprising conscience to go along with it. We also get a cigar-chomping Sergeant, a crazy, butch Private, and a complex, pensive Corporal as main characters, and a mysterious, bright young girl (played in a terrific performance by Carrie Henn). Much of the centre section of the film hinges on the interrelationships of these characters, despite the action trappings going on around them.

Cameron carries over the crypt/labyrinth motif of the first film, and adds a metaphorical descent into the bowels of hell in the climax. The action throughout is suspenseful. Aliens contains one of my favourite "cat fights" in any film. It's also worth noting the influence this film may have had on Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997), although admittedly, we could say that Cameron was influenced a bit by the Robert A. Heinlein book, as well. Throughout all of the varied action sequences, as well as the important early scenes of colonists on LV-426, Cameron is able to clearly convey the logistics of very complex sets, so that viewers remain on the edges of their seats.

Part of what makes the monsters so effective is that we're not told too much about them. We only get glimpses into their physiology's, their behavioural patterns and their intelligence. Cameron gives us just enough to become wrapped up in the film, but not so much that we become overly familiar with the aliens, or start to question the logic behind the film. He also smartly carries over some devices from the first film that were abandoned to an extent, such as the acidic blood of the aliens, and he supplies answers to the few questions that the first film raised, such as why the blood doesn't corrode instruments and objects when a dead alien is examined.

Aliens is yet another example of a sequel that is just as good as an original film in a series. Just make sure you watch both in order, and try to watch the director's cuts if you can.


Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Director - Michel Gondry
Writers (WGA) - Charlie Kaufman (story) and Michel Gondry (story)

Released - 2004

Genre - Drama | Romance

Plot - A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 37 wins and 50 nominations

Jim Carrey ... Joel Barish
Kate Winslet ... Clementine Kruczynski
Gerry Robert Byrne ... Train Conductor
Elijah Wood ... Patrick
Thomas Jay Ryan ... Frank
Mark Ruffalo ... Stan
Jane Adams ... Carrie
David Cross ... Rob
Kirsten Dunst ... Mary
Tom Wilkinson ... Dr. Howard Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney ... Young Joel
Debbon Ayer ... Joel's Mother
Amir Ali Said ... Young Bully
Brian Price ... Young Bully
Paulie Litt ... Young Bully

Rated R for language, some drug and sexual content.

It happens to both the best and worst of us at some time in our lives. Love. If you haven't experienced this yet just wait, you will. It is inevitable that at some time in our journey through life that we will come across someone that fascinates us so profoundly that we feel as though we could spend the rest of our lives with this magnetic individual. There is no exact science to the concept of love. Many believe that the idea of love goes beyond the reasonable or the logical to a more diverse level of the illogical, irrational, and the unreasonable. Why is it that we find ourselves attracted to people that, on the surface, seem as though they would never be compatible with our own lifestyle? Why is it that when we do fall in love with a certain individual and think at first that this is a perfect match, we find over time that less tolerable marks are more frequent on the surface? And why is it that we overlook some individuals that, although at first there is no real 'love connection' per say, we seem to have a somewhat pure liking for someone and that it takes us longer then it should to see that person for who they really are to us? Love is a complicated subject that can't be taught, it can only be experienced for what it is . utterly confusing and yet at the same time completely fulfilling.

The story is a twisted and complicated tale from the same man who brought film-going audiences such award-savvy features as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. Joel Barish seems like the average, normal guy who stays pretty isolated from communicating his true feelings to others and yet reveals spectacular insight only to the confines of his journal. He doesn't like going on impulses and gut feelings but rather relies more on common sense and the logical sense of self-direction. That is until he meets Clementine. They flirt with each other and eventually find themselves falling in love with one another . That is until one day Joel finds out that Clementine has undergone a radical procedure to have him erased from her memory because she was unhappy. So, in an act of self-gratification, Joel decides to undergo the procedure himself, erasing every argument, every embarrassment, every thought he has had involving Clementine. But as the procedure goes on, Joel begins to realize that beyond the quarrels and the less flattering incidents there were beautiful memories that he never wants to forget. So he does the unthinkable. Joel attempts to outrun the erasers through a dizzying chase through his mind. The story for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is hauntingly brilliant and, in some cases, personally gratifying. The concepts and the feelings expressed behind the script of this film hit so hard to home that it feels as though we our seeing our own love lives played out on screen. Granted Sunshine does tend to veer off into the ridiculously absurd but when evaluating what one takes away from this film, it is pure genius.

Quite amazingly, this low budgeted independent feature film showcases a surprising amount of A-list talent but manages to have those performers express well beyond their famous names. Jim Carrey, who has unsuccessfully attempted to make a mark in drama with lead performances in Man on the Moon and The Majestic, gives a thoroughly convincing and commanding performance in the role of Joel Barish and Carrey's performance is only complimented by his interaction with Kate Winslet, who acts opposite of him as Clementine. Though the two give dramatically different personas to their characters and look as if they would never be quite compatible with each other based on surface actions, which is the idea the filmmakers are trying to express. It's not what is right in front of us that should define a relationship; it is the memories themselves and the experiences of the two individuals. Elijah Wood, in his first role outside the Lord of the Rings franchise which recently wrapped up in December, gives an effective performance as a man one can't help but despise for his methods of obtaining someone's affection but at the same time feel pity for his plight, which is that he feels love eludes him. And Kirsten Dunst performs well within the film despite her appearance that protrudes a sense of innocence that feels off-base or awkward that distracts from the actions of her character. Not to say that she doesn't perform well or that the character is a pointless one, not in the least, but perhaps it is the fact that her innocence, based on her name and the characters she has played, carries a stigma with her role.

Overall, "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind", as awkward and thoroughly confusing at it may seem and is, manages to express, in the most informal of ways, the feelings and thoughts we should all have when examining a relationship, in that it is not the superficial features but the underlining memories that make it all worth while. When a relationship hits that unfortunate moment where it all seems to be breaking down, we, as human beings, seem to instantly draw ourselves to the negative aspects of that person, as Joel did early in the procedure, in an attempt of sorts to make everything right within our mind. What "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" successfully expresses is that when breaking down the relationship moment by moment, more often than not, the happier events outweigh the bad and that should be our determining factor to keep the relationship going. Too many moments are wasted on gut-instincts and logic, when it comes to love one must live every moment for what it is because we only have one shot in this world and we might as well make it worthwhile. What happens if that relationship doesn't work? You pick yourself up, let the relationship go, and, in time, move on. If you try your best and nothing seems to work in that relationship then perhaps it will never work and you shouldn't play out a fantasy that you know will never be. We have all experienced moments where we feel as though there is opportunity to ask someone out or express how one feels for a certain individual but have chickened out due to nerves, 'gut-instincts', or views of superficial matters. Eternal Sunshine promotes the ideology of living within the present and letting the course of the matter play out as it may. If we all relied on nerves and logic, would anyone really fall in love?



Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers - Peter Benchley (screenplay) and Carl Gottlieb (screenplay)

Released - 1975

Genre - Thriller

Tagline - The Nation's No.1 Best-Selling Book now the Screen's Super-Thriller

Plot - When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

Awards - Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins and 13 nominations

Roy Scheider ... Brody
Robert Shaw ... Sam Quint
Richard Dreyfuss ... Hooper
Lorraine Gary ... Ellen Brody
Murray Hamilton ... Vaughn
Carl Gottlieb ... Meadows
Jeffrey Kramer ... Hendricks
Susan Backlinie ... Chrissie
Jonathan Filley ... Cassidy
Ted Grossman ... Estuary Victim
Chris Rebello ... Michael Brody
Jay Mello ... Sean Brody
Lee Fierro ... Mrs. Kintner
Jeffrey Voorhees ... Alex Kintner
Craig Kingsbury ... Ben Gardner

Widely regarded as the film that began the "summer film blockbuster era", Jaws was also rightfully one of the year's most critically acclaimed films. It was also the recipient of an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture and a winner of Oscars for film editing (Verna Fields) and music score (John Williams). One of the reasons the film received no acting awards is that everyone involved is so good, how could one single out just one or two actors? (I personally feel Robert Shaw should have gotten a Best Actor nomination, however). Roy Scheider is wonderful as New York cop Martin Brody, who has relocated to a small coastal island town, only to have his bad case of "aquaphobia" put to the ultimate test. Richard Dreyfuss is perfectly cast as a shark expert and provides some truly funny comic bits along the way. Lorraine Gary (who director Steven Spielberg says was the first person to be cast for the film) does an excellent job of being the concerned wife and mother. Finally, there's Murray Hamilton, who gives one of the best performances of his career as Mayor Vaughn, who seems to be more concerned about the economy of the town than the safety of the residents. In a way, Vaughn is really the film's villain. Solid cast indeed. The screenplay (by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb) is tight and well-written, as is Spielberg's direction. Whether it was the mechanical shark's failure to operate correctly or Spielberg's decision to simply see less of the shark until the end of the film, the "less is more" idea works perfectly, particularly in the opening scene, which is chilling to this day.

One thing to add, if you choose to watch this film at home, do yourself a favour and rent or buy the WIDESCREEN version. The full-screen pan and scan version is a travesty that ruins the great camerawork that Spielberg and cameraman Bill Butler made. The widescreen versions of films are always recommended, but it is especially important for JAWS.

No offense to fans of One flew over the cuckoos nest, but this is the film that should have taken home the Oscar gold in that year!

Spielberg's first foray into the blockbuster he would end up defining, Jaws was a production beset by problems. Weather, water, film stock, failing animatronics and sinking sharks all contributed to the misery of the months-over long shoot.

Containing peerless performances from Scheider, Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw especially, Jaws has some of the most quotable dialogue, the scariest jumps and most thrilling sequences of all time. Not to mention terrifying several generations of filmgoers.

Tell others about this page - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998   Add to favorites - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998

Best films - 1-20
Rank Title Details






Director - Guy Ritchie
Writer - Guy Ritchie

Released - 2000

Genre - Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Tagline - Stealin' Stones and Breakin' Bones

Plot: - Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewellers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond

Awards - 4 wins and 5 nominations

Jason Statham ... Turkish
Benicio Del Toro ... Franky Four Fingers
Brad Pitt ... Mickey O'Neil
Alan Ford ... Brick Top
Stephen Graham ... Tommy
Dennis Farina ... 'Cousin' Avi Denovitz
Rade Serbedzija ... Boris 'The Blade' Yurinov
Mike Reid ... Doug 'The Head' Denovitz
Charles Cork ... MC
Robbie Gee ... Vinny
Lennie James ... Sol
Vinnie Jones ... Bullet Tooth Tony
Jason Flemyng ... Darren
Ade ... Tyrone
William Beck ... Neil

A film about boxing, diamonds, gangsters pretending to be Jews, a fat getaway driver, a rather vicious dog and man eating pigs. Guy Richie has followed the success of Lock, Stock with an equally stunning and ambitious return just as Tarantino did with Pulp Fiction. The characters are so colourful they jump right off the screen, the dialogue so snappy you want to learn it by heart and the acting simply wonderful. Vinnie Jones reveals he can act and Brad Pitt shows that he is far more than a pretty face and was excellent in his role as 'Irish Mickey'. See this film!!!!  Make no excuses, just see it!!!

Guy Richie's follow up to Lock Stock and Two Smoking barrels is every bit as astonishing as its predecessor. The humour is better and I have never seen people in a cinema laugh as loud and as frequently as they did here. Vinnie Jones plays a similar role as Big Chris, here as Bullet Tooth Tony. His appearance is limited but boy does he make an impact. Even when he is not on screen there is much to savour from Dennis Farina as Avi and a trio of pawnbrokers who are sent to rob a bookies. Brad Pitt sheds his film star persona and performs impressively as an Irish gypsy. Unlike lock stock and two smoking barrels, the humour will appeal to all nationalities. However some other nationalities might find some slang expressions such as Pikey and blag hard to understand. Good performances, fantastic characters, razor sharp dialogue, expert direction and camera work and brilliant humour, Snatch will make you laugh more than any other film this year. See it now!!


Schindler's List

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers (WGA) - Thomas Keneally (book), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)

Released - 1994

Genre - Biography | Drama | History | War

Plot - Oskar Schindler uses Jews to start a factory in Poland during the war. He witnesses the horrors endured by the Jews, and starts to save them.

Liam Neeson ... Oskar Schindler
Ben Kingsley ... Itzhak Stern
Ralph Fiennes ... Amon Goeth
Caroline Goodall ... Emilie Schindler
Jonathan Sagall ... Poldek Pfefferberg
Embeth Davidtz ... Helen Hirsch
Malgoscha Gebel ... Wiktoria Klonowska
Shmuel Levy ... Wilek Chilowicz
Mark Ivanir ... Marcel Goldberg
Beatrice Macola ... Ingrid
Andrzej Seweryn ... Julian Scherner
Friedrich von Thun ... Rolf Czurda
Krzysztof Luft ... Herman Toffel
Harry Nehring ... Leo John
Norbert Weisser ... Albert Hujar

Rated R for language, some sexuality and actuality violence.

Many films come out each year and we applaud them for their screen play, originality and whatever else we can say about a film. But only once in a long while does one come out and you say all those nice things, but one you will also never forget. This film is more than just something for us to watch for 3 hours and 17 minutes, it is something for us to never forget, to teach us a lesson and to remember those who died needlessly along with those who tried to help those same people survive.


Taxi Driver

Director - Martin Scorsese
Writer - Paul Schrader

Released - 1977

Genre - Drama | Thriller

Plot - A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night time taxi driver in a city whose perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge to violently lash out, attempting to save a teenage prostitute in the process.

Awards - Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 18 wins and 9 nominations

Robert De Niro ... Travis Bickle
Jodie Foster ... Iris
Albert Brooks ... Tom
Harvey Keitel ... Sport
Leonard Harris ... Charles Palantine
Peter Boyle ... Wizard
Cybill Shepherd ... Betsy
Diahnne Abbott ... Concession Girl
Frank Adu ... Angry Black Man
Gino Ardito ... Policeman at Rally
Victor Argo ... Melio
Garth Avery ... Iris' Friend
Harry Cohn ... Cabbie in Bellmore
Copper Cunningham ... Hooker in Cab
Brenda Dickson ... Soap Opera Woman

Despite what some might see as limited by technical flaws and/or as an overly simplistic plot, Taxi Driver deserves its critical reputation as a cinematic masterpiece. Some 23 years later, the existential plight of Travis Bickle, "God's lonely man," continues to pack a hard emotional punch. In fact, it's hard to know where to begin when praising the elements of this film - such elements as the dark location shots of a (now gone) seedy Times Square, the cinema verite settings of the cabbies and campaign workers, the magnificent Bernard Hermann score, Paul Schrader's fine script, the memorable performances of Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, and Peter Boyle all must be mentioned. However, the brilliance of this film is primarily a result of the brilliance of De Niro and Scorsese, one of the greatest actor-director teams in film history. This is an unforgettable film. Scorsese's dark masterpiece of urban alienation.



Director - Ridley Scott
Writers (WGA) - David Franzoni (story), David Franzoni (screenplay)

Released - 2000

Genre - Action | Adventure | Drama | History

Tagline - Father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and I shall have my vengeance in this life or the next

Plot - When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

Awards - Won 5 Oscars. Another 45 wins and 79 nominations

Russell Crowe ... Maximus
Joaquin Phoenix ... Commodus
Connie Nielsen ... Lucilla
Oliver Reed ... Proximo
Richard Harris ... Marcus Aurelius
Derek Jacobi ... Gracchus
Djimon Hounsou ... Juba
David Schofield ... Falco
John Shrapnel ... Gaius
Tomas Arana ... Quintus
Ralf Moeller ... Hagen
Spencer Treat Clark ... Lucius
David Hemmings ... Cassius
Tommy Flanagan ... Cicero
Sven-Ole Thorsen ... Tiger

Rated R for intense, graphic combat.

Once again, Director Ridley Scott proves to be as professional as one can be. The recreation of ancient Rome is splendid, with all its magnificent buildings and atmosphere and he is able to show with all brightness, the greatness of the Roman Empire, with its political problems and military discipline, and love and treason, of hate and jealousy, that still have a place in our world today. But the story has a glow of its own, to which all the beautiful scenery (which is utterly awesome!!!) and great cinematography are just balancing factors.

The plot is a rich one, that is as dynamic as it is present. He once again, after Blade Runner, 1492, and others helps us visit the depths of the human soul, which remains the same over all our historical and social experience. Even the fights, are displayed in such a way that all the blood is quite discrete, but still, making us feel like screaming and jumping out of our seats. I would also like to point out the performances of the cast, that is surprisingly good. We have some actors and actresses, who are not Hollywood icons, but are greatly able to move the audience among screams and tears.

In Gladiator, there's brilliant actors like Russell Crowe, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris and Joaquin Phoenix. If you haven't seen the film Gladiator, then you should see it as soon as possible, a truly great film.



Director - Michael Mann
Writer (WGA) - Michael Mann

Released - 1996

Genre - Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tagline - A Los Angeles crime saga.

Plot - A Los Angeles crime saga, "Heat" focuses on the lives of two men on opposite sides of the law - one a detective; the other a thief.

Awards - 6 nominations

Al Pacino ... Lt. Vincent Hanna
Robert De Niro ... Neil McCauley
Val Kilmer ... Chris Shiherlis
Jon Voight ... Nate
Tom Sizemore ... Michael Cheritto
Diane Venora ... Justine Hanna
Amy Brenneman ... Eady
Ashley Judd ... Charlene Shiherlis
Mykelti Williamson ... Sergeant Drucker
Wes Studi ... Detective Casals
Ted Levine ... Bosko
Dennis Haysbert ... Donald Breedan
William Fichtner ... Roger Van Zant
Natalie Portman ... Lauren Gustafson
Tom Noonan ... Kelso

Rated R for violence and language.

One of the most amazing things about Heat is the scale of the film; it is nearly three hours long and packed to bursting with mind-blowing visuals. It seems one of Michael Mann's main priorities was to make a film with a dreamlike feel to it, to portray LA as a dusty oil-painting on which complex characters could play out their lives. One of the main themes is the similarity of the career criminal and the street-wise cop. It's fascinating to find yourself really feeling for DeNiro's tragic bank-robber, a man of philosophical merit who realises he's stuck in a life of crime he doesn't want to lead. Pacino's cop is less easy to sympathise with, but he too leads an inescapable life of guns and crime. What really stands out is the climax. On the whole, Heat has to be the best cops and robbers film ever made, indeed, one of the best films. An epic, wonderful, sad, adrenaline-fuelled exercise in scale and grandeur.

'Heat' is a film of epic proportions on a common placed scale, provides all the essentials of a great crime drama and then some. With a fascinating storyline, involving characters, and Mann's sometimes poetic, sometimes gritty directing, 'Heat' is one of the best crime films of all time.


The Godfather: Part II

Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Writers - Mario Puzo (novel), Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay)

Released - 1974

Genre - Crime | Drama | Thriller

Plot - The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.

Awards - Won 6 Oscars. Another 7 wins and 15 nominations

Al Pacino ... Don Michael Corleone
Robert Duvall ... Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton ... Kay Corleone
Robert De Niro ... Vito Corleone
John Cazale ... Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire ... Connie Corleone
Lee Strasberg ... Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo ... Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin ... Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright ... Al Neri
Gastone Moschin ... Don Fanucci
Tom Rosqui ... Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby ... Young Peter Clemenza
Frank Sivero ... Genco Abbandando
Francesca De Sapio ... Young Mama Corleone

You can count on one hand the film sequels that measure up to the original; GODFATHER II makes the cut. This film is just as fine as GODFATHER I. Here the director goes back and forth between the early days of the young Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro, and the family after the action in GODFATHER I in the 1950's just before Castro came to power. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has moved the family and most of his business to Nevada. Once again, the acting is flawless. Diane Keaton as Michael's wife who quickly becomes disillusioned with her life with him and the lies he continues to tell her, assuring her that he is going legitimate soon; Robert Duvall as Michael's adopted brother and adviser; and Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth all give outstanding performances; but the film really is Al Pacino's. We see him become a ruthless, cold-blooded killer who alienates himself from his family in ways his father would never have done. He has come so far from the idealistic young man in "GODFATHER I, who joined the Marines in World War I to serve his country and die for it if necessary, to a lonely, paranoid tragic man. There are many poignant scenes concerning his wife and children, the drawing his son leaves for him in his bedroom, the gift that Tom buys the child because Michael is too busy, his wife Kay's being kept a virtual prisoner at his orders in the family compound, etc.

Once again, many acts of violence are interwoven with religion: Michael's son's first communion, the religious parade in New York, Fredo's repeating the Rosary in order to catch a fish, for example.

The cinematography is stunning; the footage from Sicily and New York around the turn of the century and the snow scenes from the American West are beautiful and rich in detail. Mr. Coppola has directed yet another masterpiece.

One of the best film sequels ever.


Seven, (also known as Se7en)

Director - David Fincher
Writer (WGA) - Andrew Kevin Walker

Released - 1996

Genre - Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Plot - Police drama about two cops, one new and one about to retire, after a serial killer using the seven deadly sins as his MO.

Awards - Nominated for Oscar. Another 19 wins and 17 nominations

Brad Pitt ... Detective David Mills
Morgan Freeman ... Detective Lt. William Somerset
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Tracy Mills
R. Lee Ermey ... Police Captain
Andrew Kevin Walker ... Dead Man
Daniel Zacapa ... Detective Taylor
John Cassini ... Officer Davis
Bob Mack ... Gluttony Victim
Peter Crombie ... Dr. O'Neill
Reg E. Cathey ... Coroner
George Christy ... Workman
Endre Hules ... Cab Driver
Hawthorne James ... George, Library Night Guard
William Davidson ... Library Guard
Bob Collins ... Library Guard

Rated R for grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language.

Gothic, shocking, suspenseful, disturbing and clever, 'Seven' marked a new beginning for director David Fincher's career. This dark tale of murder and crime revolves around two detectives in present New York city played by two brilliant actors 'Brad Pitt' and 'Morgan Freeman' who are paired together to solve a puzzle of murder that is at the hands of a man whose killings relates to the seven deadly sins. Both actors displayed striking performances that are so sharp and realistic, that sometimes you have to remind yourself that's its all acting.

David Fincher's masterpiece really gives us an opportunity of a lifetime, maybe it's one that we don't all wish to share.

Brad Pitt successfully proves to us that he's not just a pretty face on screen, and that he sinks into his character so well, that you can walk off after the film finishes classifying him as a pretty darn good actor.

You wouldn't expect anything else from Morgan Freeman because it's perfectly obvious that this guy was born to play the roles of the smart detective.

David Fincher's timeless directing and memorable filming captures all the goods that this film has to offer and will undoubtedly leave you shocked and begging for more films like this. Seven is a step into the harsh realities of life, a realistic portrayal of two detectives investigation into the un-describable horrific world murder, and the darkest realms of the human soul.

We can only pray for more classic memorable work from Mr. Fincher and for those future directors who are intent on making a gothic, psychological thriller, make sure you sit down and watch Seven with a pen and paper ready to take notes.

Modern Masterpiece!!


Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers - Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), George Lucas (story)

Released - 1981

Genre - Action | Adventure

Tagline - Indiana Jones - the new hero from the creators of Jaws and Star wars.

Plot - Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 24 wins and 21 nominations

Harrison Ford ... Indiana Jones
Karen Allen ... Marion
Paul Freeman ... Belloq
Ronald Lacey ... Toht
John Rhys-Davies ... Sallah
Denholm Elliott ... Brody
Alfred Molina ... Satipo
Wolf Kahler ... Dietrich
Anthony Higgins ... Gobler
Vic Tablian ... Barranca / Monkey Man
Don Fellows ... Col. Musgrove
William Hootkins ... Major Eaton
Bill Reimbold ... Bureaucrat
Fred Sorenson ... Jock
Patrick Durkin ... Australian Climber

Nowadays we keep forgetting how beautiful blockbusters can be. Too much special effects makes everything possible and therefore very often also arbitrary. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, you actually seem to feel the physical pain some of the actors/stuntmen had to go through to provide 2 hours of pure entertainment.

Spielberg, Lucas and most of all Harrison Ford created a hero that is nowadays iconic. With their attempt to make a homage to adventure comics of the 1930's they created their own legend.

It's funny, exciting, thrilling and romantic. What more can you ask for?

A blockbuster how it was meant to be.


The Matrix

Directors - Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writers (WGA) - Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski

Released - 1999

Genre - Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Tagline - Free your mind

Plot - A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 28 wins and 36 nominations

Keanu Reeves ... Neo
Laurence Fishburne ... Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Trinity
Hugo Weaving ... Agent Smith
Gloria Foster ... Oracle
Joe Pantoliano ... Cypher
Marcus Chong ... Tank
Julian Arahanga ... Apoc
Matt Doran ... Mouse
Belinda McClory ... Switch
Anthony Ray Parker ... Dozer
Paul Goddard ... Agent Brown
Robert Taylor ... Agent Jones
David Aston ... Rhineheart
Marc Aden ... Choi

Rated R for sci-fi violence and brief language.

"The Matrix" is an amazing film, with some of the greatest special effects ever seen. The camera angles really work for the action sequences and the choreographed fight scenes make you yearn for more. Say what you want about Keanu Reeves' acting. He may not deliver the best dialogue, but his look can carry a film. He was a great choice for the role of Neo. Carrie Anne Moss was great as was the underrated Laurence Fishburne. The Matrix is a highly recommended film for those who are a fan of visually stunning films. It will blow away your senses.  Stunning and wild.


Once Upon A Time In The West

Director - Sergio Leone
Writers - Dario Argento (story) and Bernardo Bertolucci (story)

Released - 1968

Genre - Western

Tagline - There were three men in her life. One to take her... one to love her... and one to kill her.

Plot - Epic story of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica who joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Awards - 4 wins and 1 nomination

Henry Fonda ... Frank
Claudia Cardinale ... Jill McBain
Jason Robards ... Cheyenne
Charles Bronson ... Harmonica
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Morton (railroad baron)
Paolo Stoppa ... Sam
Woody Strode ... Stony - Member of Frank's Gang
Jack Elam ... Snaky - Member of Frank's Gang
Keenan Wynn ... Sheriff (auctioneer)
Frank Wolff ... Brett McBain
Lionel Stander ... Barman

Rated PG-13 for western violence and brief sensuality.

Sergio Leone goes to Hollywood for this big-name, big-budget Spaghetti Western. Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale queue up and take Leone's choreographic direction in an epic tale of blood and revenge.

Frank is a bad guy who has killed a lot of people. He now works for a railroad entrepreneur whose ruthless sterile tracks are spreading ever westward. The time has come for the real Americans to confront both the railroad and Frank.

Leone sat down with film intellectuals Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento and watched dozens of Hollywood westerns. From this saturation-viewing emerged a 300-page treatment which was eventually distilled into the script, penned by Leone and Sergio Donati. There are conscious echoes of "Shane" and "High Noon" in the meticulously-plotted screenplay. Ennio Morricone apparently sat in on the planning stage and had composed the film music, before shooting began, the reverse of the usual process of fitting music to existing footage. The result is a tight matching of soundtrack and visuals. Robards, Bronson and Cardinale each have musical 'signatures' which play whenever their characters are onscreen. Bronson's is an eerily-wailing harmonica, Robards has the plonking banjo and Cardinale the lush strings. So intricately was everything structured that the themes were available to be played on set, so that the actors could co-ordinate every nuance of gesture to fit with the score.

The film is a grandiose lament to the death of the Wild West. Decay is everywhere to be seen. Streets, bars, buildings and people all have a beat-up, grungy look. When Cheyenne (Robards) pauses beside a rough-hewn wooden post, there is little difference in texture between his face and the post. Morton the cripple is killing the romantic West of open spaces with his "snail trail" of railroad tracks, leaving the fine adventurous men (Cheyenne and Harmonica) nowhere to go.

There can be few opening scenes with the visual and aural brilliance of this one. Three bad guys stake out Flagstone's railroad depot in a High Noon pastiche. Jack Elam (who was actually in "High Noon") leads the villains. The only spoken words throughout this long (but totally gripping) scene are uttered by the old station clerk. Haunting rhythms raise the tension to an unbearable pitch ... the squeaking windmill, the chattering tickertape, the creaking bench. This wonderful crescendo climaxes with the appearance of Bronson, a sequence as stylised and choreographed as a Shinto ceremony, all the more effective for the absence of spontaneity.

Equal to and counterbalancing this scene, is the very next one, the introduction of Frank. This time it is "Shane" that gets the treatment as the McBain boy spots five men in yellow duster topcoats. A growing sense of unease on the McBain homestead is beautifully conveyed (was the stopping of a cicada chirp ever so effective?) A cinematic multiple orgasm ensues, with the musical theme crashing in as the boy sees the devastation, and the camera swoops round to reveal the baddie to be none other than Henry Fonda as Morricone's trademark solitary tubular bell peals out.

Cheyenne's entrance is also a piece of impressive cinema. Inside Lionel Stander's strange labyrinthine tavern, quite unlike any saloon ever filmed before, the violence which hovers around Cheyenne like a dustcloud is heard but not seen, preparing us for his appearance in person. The sliding of the lamp towards Bronson works brilliantly, the film's two good men sharing the light of humour, the symbolic forging of a meaningful friendship.

By a slow accretion, the plot reveals itself. The leviathan of the railroad must be stopped, and there must be a reckoning with Frank. Gradually the fates of the main characters converge, and swim into sharp focus for the shoot-out.

It is not the story, excellent though that is, which lingers in the memory, but rather a hundred individual flashes of brilliance: Claudia Cardinale (are those eyes for real?) filmed on the bed, viewed vertically downward, through a lace canopy: Cheyenne's surprise method of concealing himself on the train: Morton ("when you're not on that train, you're like a turtle out of its shell") imprisoned by the armature that helps him walk: the 'heartbeat' of the train's engine during the card game: the tension of the ambush preparations against Frank: the eruption of guitar music as Bronson enters the frame: Bronson's stillness and self-possession, the emblem of his righteousness: Fonda's eyes flickering rapidly in his motionless head, denoting the waning of his self-confidence, the amazing super-close-ups of Bronson: and the weird brick arch, the only man-made intrusion into the entire terrain, and the focus of human depravity.


The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Director - Peter Jackson
Writers (WGA) - J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh (screenplay)

Released - 2001

Genre - Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Tagline - The Legend Comes to Life

Plot - In a small village in the Shire, a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient Ring. Now he must embark on an Epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it.

Awards - Won 4 Oscars. Another 75 wins and 84 nominations

Alan Howard ... The Ring (voice)
Noel Appleby ... Everard Proudfoot
Sean Astin ... Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee
Sala Baker ... Sauron
Sean Bean ... Boromir
Cate Blanchett ... Galadriel
Orlando Bloom ... Legolas Greenleaf
Billy Boyd ... Peregrin 'Pippin' Took
Marton Csokas ... Celeborn
Megan Edwards ... Mrs. Proudfoot
Michael Elsworth ... Gondorian Archivist
Mark Ferguson ... Gil-Galad
Ian Holm ... Bilbo Baggins
Christopher Lee ... Saruman
Lawrence Makoare ... Lurtz

Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and some scary images.

"The Fellowship of the Ring," is an excellent film of it's kind. The entire film is full of beautiful sets and landscapes. Hobbiton is cute and very whimsical. Mordor was frighteningly well done, extremely real. Rivendell had a little bit of a European-tourist-trap look, but was beautiful all the same. The entire backdrop of the film (the mountains, Moria, Isengard) was perfect; it's amazing that "Fellowship" was filmed in one country.

Now to the characters. Elijah Wood, was very believable. You can tell from the first glimpse that Frodo was special; Wood's pale, sharp features contrast sharply with the more ruddy, robust look of the rest of the hobbits. He also cries like a little girl. But his weaknesses and strengths make his Frodo an apt choice for the starring character. The rest of the Hobbiton gang was well-chosen, too. Sean Astin was loyal and a bit bumbling, just like the Gamgee of Tolkien's telling. Pippin and Merry were congenial, slow-witted lads, but very brave nonetheless. Viggo Mortensen is outstanding. He has the ability to make Aragorn both menacing and kind. He physically represents Strider to the nines with his strength and virility; the action sequences of his are very passionate and exciting. Some may have complained about Arwen's character being slightly expanded; I thought it a good change.

In the books, you have to read the whole trilogy and then rifle through the appendix in "The Return of the King" to learn the history between Aragorn and Arwen. Liv Tyler is ethereal and breathtaking, but at the same time, displays the courage and magic that make the Elves the beings they are. Speaking of Elves, you can't help but gush over the handsome and ever-so-talented Orlando Bloom as noble Legolas. Bloom captured the archer's very movements; he treads lightly and fights fearlessly. Legolas's bowmanship was amazing; he looked so natural loosing his arrows machine-gun style, his essence transcends the film. Gimli was pompous and brave, as well. He is well-represented in the film. Boromir was hopelessly lost, but at the same time valiant and strong. Sean Bean gave an emotionally-charged performance as the tortured warrior. Hugo Weaving was very good as Elrond. He was noble and cold at the same time. And Gandalf. What more can be said of Ian McKellan's showcase portrayal of the wizard? He was magnificent. He could be Gandalf, the kind old conjuror who set off pyrotechnics for hobbit-children. Then he could turn around and stun the life out of you with Gandalf the powerful wizard, facing the balrog with defiance and an iron will. His Oscar nomination is well-deserved.

Peter Jackson is a brave soul to take on a project that could have backfired in so many places. Instead of bringing us uninspired kitsch, he serves up raw emotion, graphic battles of good and evil, chilling and wonderful characters, and enough special effects (realistic, mind you) to make John Cameron's mouth water.

The film that reignited the fantasy genre, launched the careers of several A-List stars and kick-started an obsession that has had an unfathomable effect on pop-culture, Fellowship is a massively important film in terms of 21st century cinema.  Middle Earth comes breathtaking detail.


War Of The Worlds

Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers - Josh Friedman (screenplay), David Koepp (screenplay)

Released - 2005

Genre - Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

Tagline - They're already here...

Plot - Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a divorced union container crane operator with few skills as a father. Ray's ex-wife (Miranda Otto) drops off their rebellious but coming of age teenage son Robbie (Justin Chatwin).

Awards - Nominated for 3 Oscars.

Tom Cruise ... Ray Ferrier
Dakota Fanning ... Rachel Ferrier
Miranda Otto ... Mary Ann
Justin Chatwin ... Robbie
Tim Robbins ... Harlan Ogilvy
Rick Gonzalez ... Vincent
Yul Vazquez ... Julio (as Yul Vázquez)
Lenny Venito ... Manny the Mechanic
Lisa Ann Walter ... Bartender
Ann Robinson ... Grandmother
Gene Barry ... Grandfather
David Alan Basche ... Tim
Roz Abrams ... Herself
Michael Brownlee ... TV Reporter, Osaka
Camillia Monet ... News Producer (as Camillia Sanes)

Rated PG for sci-fi action violence

A narrator explains how humans were unaware that a race of extraterrestrials was making plans to occupy Earth. Ray Ferrier is a divorced crane operator longshoreman who works at a dock in Brooklyn, New York and lives in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ray is estranged from his children. His former wife, Mary Ann, later drops off the children, 10-year-old daughter Rachel and teenage son Robbie, at Ray's house on her way to visit her parents in Boston. Unexplained changes in the weather occur, including lightning that strikes multiple times in the middle of an intersection and disrupts all electricity.

Ray joins the crowd at the scene of the lightning strikes, and witnesses a massive "Tripod" war machine emerge from the ground and use alien weaponry to incinerate most of the witnesses, zapping them out of existence, turning them to a grey dust and the remains of their clothes fluttering down. Ray collects his children, steals a car and drives to Mary Ann's home in suburban New Jersey to take refuge. The next morning, he discovers that a Boeing 747 has crashed in the street. A news team scavenging for food explain that there are multiple Tripods that have attacked major cities including New York City, Paris, Washington, D.C., and London, and have force shields to protect them from human weapons. They also explain that the lightning was how the aliens were able to enter the Tripods. Ray decides to take the kids to Boston to be with their mother. The three are forced to abandon the stolen car after a mob takes it by force. They later survive a Tripod attack which causes a Hudson River ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; he lets Robbie go with the Marines, who are overwhelmed. While escaping, Ray and Rachel are offered shelter by Harlan Ogilvy, who presumes that the aliens had buried their technology on Earth millions of years ago and has delusions that they can fight against the aliens themselves by observing their operations, as they are right next to their camp.

The three remain undetected for two days, even as a probe and a group of the aliens themselves explore the basement. The next morning, Ogilvy suffers a mental breakdown while witnessing a Tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize an alien vegetation. The tripod's inject a tube into the humans and drain out their blood, in a very vicious manner. Convinced that Ogilvy's mad shouting jeopardizes his daughter's life, Ray reluctantly kills him. The basement hideout is exposed when a second probe catches them sleeping. Rachel is soon abducted by a nearby Tripod; Ray immediately allows himself to be abducted, being placed in the same cage with Rachel and other prisoners. As the aliens select him for harvesting, Ray takes a belt of grenades into the machine, having pulled out the pins. The Tripod is destroyed and releases the cage, with Ray and Rachel, and a number of other prisoners, making it out alive.

Ray and Rachel arrive in a devastated Boston, where the vegetation is dying and most of the Tripods have collapsed. Ray notices birds landing on an active Tripod, indicating that its shields are off. Ray alerts the soldiers escorting his refugee group and they shoot it down. As the soldiers advance on the downed Tripod, a hatch opens releasing a liquid; a sickly alien struggles halfway out, and then dies immediately. Ray and Rachel reach Mary Ann's parents' house, where they are reunited with Mary Ann and, to their surprise, Robbie. The closing narration reveals that the aliens were immune to man's machines but they and their vegetation were not immune to the microbes present on Earth and that "from the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed," finally quoting Wells himself, that given mankind's birthright "neither do men live nor die in vain".


The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Director - Peter Jackson
Writers (WGA) - J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh (screenplay)

Released - 2003

Genre - Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Tagline - The eye of the enemy is moving.

Plot - The former Fellowship of the Ring prepare for the final battle for Middle Earth, while Frodo and Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.

Awards - Won 11 Oscars. Another 106 wins and 68 nominations

Noel Appleby ... Everard Proudfoot
Alexandra Astin ... Elanor Gamgee
Sean Astin ... Sam
David Aston ... Gondorian Soldier 3
John Bach ... Madril
Sean Bean ... Boromir
Kate Blanchett ... Galadriel
Orlando Bloom ... Legolas
Billy Boyd ... Pippin
Sadwyn Brophy ... Eldarion
Alistair Browning ... Damrod
Marton Csokas ... Celeborn
Richard Edge ... Gondorian Soldier 1
Jason Fitch ... Uruk 2
Bernard Hill ... Theoden

Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and frightening images.

The Lord of the Rings is an amazingly powerful visual experience. Not even just a visual experience. Peter Jackson has crafted one of the finest written pieces of our era into THE quintessential epic. He supplements the brilliant storytelling of JRR Tolkien with one of the most awe-inspiring collection of films ever created.

The 7 hours of film that leads up to the Return of the King is only precursor though, when you sit and watch this film. It's just plain brilliance. Everything about the film is wonderful. The manner in which Jackson has arranged the scenes, detracting slightly from the original flow of the novel really helps to keep the suspense strong in all three story branches. The Tolkien humour is intact perfectly and the gallantry and just plain coolness of these heroes is plain amazing. (Check out Legolas in the BIG battle).

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King - fantastic film in every respect.


The Usual Suspects

Director - Bryan Singer
Writer - Christopher McQuarrie

Released - 1995

Genre - Crime | Mystery | Thriller

Tagline - Five Criminals . One Line Up . No Coincidence

Plot - A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 22 wins and 7 nominations

Kevin Spacey ... Roger 'Verbal' Kint
Stephen Baldwin ... Michael McManus
Gabriel Byrne ... Dean Keaton
Benicio Del Toro ... Fred Fenster
Kevin Pollak ... Todd Hockney
Chazz Palminteri ... Dave Kujan, US Customs
Pete Postlethwaite ... Kobayashi
Giancarlo Esposito ... Jack Baer, FBI
Suzy Amis ... Edie Finneran
Dan Hedaya ... Sgt. Jeffrey 'Jeff' Rabin
Paul Bartel ... Smuggler
Carl Bressler ... Saul Berg
Phillipe Simon ... Fortier
Jack Shearer ... Renault
Christine Estabrook ... Dr. Plummer

Rated R for violence and a substantial amount of strong language.

Any film buff, any cinema critic must have considered the nineties a fruitful era for the American thriller. According to one's tastes, some will say that the best thriller of the nineties is "Silence of the Lambs" (1991). For others it will be "Pulp Fiction" (1994) while others will praise to the skies "Se7en" (1995). For many, the pinnacle is this present film, "the Usual Suspects" (1995) with its staggering story (to put it mildly). It's a sensational debut for Bryan Singer which enabled to put him on the map. With a little help from his accomplice Christopher McQuarrie, he signed an unparalleled gem in the landscape of the American thriller, even the whole cinema.

The average viewer who watches "the Usual Suspects" for the first time might think that the whole crew concocted him a meandering story as a leading thread, Kevin Spacey's convoluted story. At the end of the projection, he may feel puzzled and will probably wish to watch the film a second time. He won't regret it and Singer and McQuarrie will rejoice at it. Their masterwork gains by several repeated viewings to appreciate the subtleties of a rich film with a convoluted construction which will take its seemingly definitive form in the five last minutes.

To watch "the Usual Suspects" is like gathering the pieces of an intriguing puzzle, a little like any other suspenseful film but in the case of Singer's flick, one will never really be able to completely end it. So many things happen in less than two hours that we are never really sure of what we watch and this is reinforced by a breathtaking unexpected twist at the end which makes our assumptions falter. Singer and McQuarrie take a mischievous delight in taking the viewer in their nebulous scenario and to follow it according to Spacey's declarations and it's obvious that they raise more questions than answers. It's up to the viewer to make their imagination work and to bring their thoughts on the film. This is what inspires its pernicious charm.

From Spacey's story, the authors developed a top quality script, set with clockwork precision. Singer's directorial style virtually evolutes on the razor's edge and conveys an increasing tension. It is filled with ingenious visual ideas and served by fluid camera movements. Singer was in his early thirties when he shot his film but it presents the signs of a seasoned author. There's also a tight editing and a unsettling score which cement the film in its place of winner. More remarkable, the authors pull off with gusto to increase the audience's curiosity throughout the film in spite of a somewhat deliberate confusion and the interest won't weaken until the end which constitute the apex: an unexpected twist which will leave the audience speechless once they understood it. In Singer's flick, it doesn't disappoint because there are little but noticeable visual and verbal clues which justify it. However, it has something unsettling. We believe that we are at the end of the maze but there's more to the picture than meets the eye. Maybe this "coup de theatre" veils one more truth. Maybe also the shrewdest ones will have guessed it but the result is the same for any viewer: Singer puts a baffled spectator in his pocket.

Singer and Quarrie show a perfect master in the domain of the film noir: an ominous atmosphere, nocturnal scenes which stay rooted in the mind and a deep psychology of certain characters which give more substance to the film. Considering the last point, the character of Gabriel Byrne is the most interesting one: a former crooked cop who seemingly redeemed himself in catering but caught up by his past and forced to come back to work. I personally think that Byrne is the stand-out of the topflight cast the film boasts. But don't neglect the other members. Kevin Spacey pocketed a deservedly Oscar in 1996 and the rest of the cast doesn't stay on the bench. Maybe Singer grants a little shallow attention to the three other baddies in the gang but in a way, it's necessary to underscore the fact that they're lousy gangsters embroiled in a infernal spiral and unable to perceive what lies beneath all this. Pete Postlewhaite and Chazz Palminteri make their scenes count too.

A riveting storytelling, a painstaking flash-back, a tight and first-class directing, a thoughtful twist, a topnotch cast, "the Usual Suspects" includes almost everything a director would sell his soul for. Everything contributes to make it a stalwart model in the suspenseful film and the whole cinema. After the first vision, be prepared for mental gymnastics and for a second screening..

One of the best thriller films of all time.


Pulp Fiction

Director - Quentin Tarantino
Writers - Quentin Tarantino (stories) and Roger Avary (stories)

Released - 1995

Genre - Crime | Thriller

Tagline - Girls like me don't make invitations like this to just anyone!

Plot - The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 43 wins and 40 nominations

John Travolta ... Vincent Vega
Samuel L. Jackson ... Jules Winnfield
Tim Roth ... Pumpkin - Ringo
Amanda Plummer ... Honey Bunny - Yolanda
Eric Stoltz ... Lance
Bruce Willis ... Butch Coolidge
Ving Rhames ... Marsellus Wallace
Phil LaMarr ... Marvin
Maria de Medeiros ... Fabienne
Rosanna Arquette ... Jody
Peter Greene ... Zed
Uma Thurman ... Mia Wallace
Duane Whitaker ... Maynard
Paul Calderon ... Paul
Frank Whaley ... Brett

Rated R for strong graphic violence and drug use, pervasive strong language and some sexuality.

Viewers are taken on a ride through three different stories that intertwine together around the world of Marcellus Wallace. Quentin Tarantino proves that he is the master of witty dialogue and a fast plot that doesn't allow the viewer a moment of boredom or rest. From the story of two hit-men on a job, to a fixed boxing match to a date between a hit-man and the wife of a mob boss. There was definitely a lot of care put into the writing of the script, as everything no matter the order it is in, fits with the story. Many mysteries have been left, such as what is inside of the briefcase and why Marcellus Wallace has a band-aid on the back of his neck, which may be connected. The film redefined the action genre and reinvigorated the careers of both John Travolta and Bruce Willis. This film is required viewing for any fan of good films.

The film that redefined a genre.


Fight Club

Director - David Fincher
Writers (WGA) - Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay)

Released - 1999

Genre - Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tagline - How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?

Plot - An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.

Awards - Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins and 14 nominations

Edward Norton ... The Narrator
Brad Pitt ... Tyler Durden
Helena Bonham Carter ... Marla Singer
Meat Loaf ... Robert 'Bob' Paulson
Zach Grenier ... Richard Chesler
Richmond Arquette ... Intern
David Andrews ... Thomas
George Maguire ... Group Leader
Eugenie Bondurant ... Weeping Woman
Christina Cabot ... Group Leader
Sydney 'Big Dawg' Colston ... Speaker
Rachel Singer ... Chloe
Christie Cronenweth ... Airline Attendant
Tim De Zarn ... Inspector Bird
Ezra Buzzington ... Inspector Dent

Rated R for disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behaviour, sexuality and language.

After the copyright warning, there is another warning on the DVD. This warning is from Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), and is only there for a second. "If you are reading this, then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned... Tyler"

"Fight Club" an aggressive, confrontational, often brutal satire that is quite possibly a brilliant masterpiece. Taking the "Choose life," anti-consumerism rant at the beginning of "Trainspotting", and carrying it to its logical, albeit extreme conclusion.  This is a big budget, mainstream film that takes a lot of risks by biting the hand that feeds it. The film's narrator (Edward Norton) is an insignificant cog in the drab, corporate machine, dutifully doing his job and what he's told without question. He's an insomniac slave to his IKEA possessions and only finds joy in going to as many self-help groups, dealing with terminal diseases sessions as he can. It provides him with an escape from his sleepless nights. That is, until Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), a trashy chain-smoking poser, enters his life and upsets his routine. The narrator also meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a charismatic soap salesman whose straightforward honesty, candour and sleazy lounge-lizard outfits are a breath of fresh air.

One night, after the two men have bonded over beers, Tyler asks the narrator to hit him. At first, it seems like an absurd request but after they pound on each other for a bit, a strange feeling overcomes them. They feel a kind of release and satisfaction at inflicting pain on one another. In a world where people are desensitized to everything around them, the physical contact of fighting wakes them up and makes them feel truly alive. Others soon join in and pretty soon the Fight Club becomes an underground sensation. However, it becomes readily apparent that Tyler has more elaborate plans than just organizing brawls at the local bar.

David Fincher has taken the dark, pessimistic worldview of "Seven" and married it with the clever plot twists and turns of "The Game" and assembled his strongest effort to date. "Fight Club" is a $50+ million studio film that remains true to its anti-consumer, anti-society, anti-everything message, right up to the last, sneaky subliminal frame. What makes "Fight Club" a subversive delight is not only its refreshing anti-corporate message but how it delivers that message.

The structure of the Fight Club is extremely playful as it messes around with linear time to an incredible degree. The narrative bounces back and forth all over the place like a novel, or surfing on the Internet, even making a hilarious dead stop to draw attention to itself in a funny, interesting way that completely works. Yet Norton's deadpanned narration holds everything together and allows the viewer to get a handle on what's happening. This is the way films should be made. Why must we always have to go through the A+B+C formula? "Fight Club" openly rejects this tired, clearly outdated structure in favour of a stylized frenzy of jump cuts, freeze frames, slow motion and every other film technique in the book that only reinforces its anarchistic message.

A film like The Fight Club would have never been greenlighted by a major studio if Brad Pitt had not been attached to the project. Once you see the film, it becomes obvious that he was the only choice for Tyler Durden. Like he did with "Kalifornia" and "Twelve Monkeys", Pitt grunges himself down and disappears completely into his role to a frighteningly convincing degree. During many of the brutal fight scenes, he is transformed into a bloody, pulpy mess that'll surely have the "Legends of the Fall" fans running for the exits. It is an incredible performance, probably his best, for the simple fact that he becomes the character so completely. If Pitt has the flashy, gonzo role, Edward Norton is his perfect foil as the seemingly meek yet sardonic narrator. It's a deceptively understated performance as the last third of the film reveals but Norton nails it perfectly. He is clearly our surrogate, our introduction into this strange world and his wry observations on our consumer-obsessed culture are right on the money. They are the perfect setup for Tyler's introduction and his view on the world which is clearly a call to arms of sorts, a manifesto that rejects the notion that we are what we own. And ultimately, that is what "Fight Club" tries to do. The film is a cinematic punch to the head as it challenges the status quo and offers a wakeup call to people immersed in a materialistic world where those who have the most stuff, "win." I think that Fincher's film wants us to tear all that down, reject corporate monsters like Starbucks and Blockbuster, and try to figure out what we really want out of life. It's almost as if the film is suggesting salvation through self-destruction. And it is these thought-provoking ideas that makes "Fight Club" a dangerously brilliant film that entertains as well as enlightens.

A brilliant film that entertains as well as enlightens.



Director - Martin Scorsese
Writers (WGA) - Nicholas Pileggi (book), Nicholas Pileggi (screenplay)

Released - 1990

Genre - Biography | Crime | Drama

Plot - Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

Awards - Won Oscar. Another 34 wins and 18 nominations

Robert De Niro ... James 'Jimmy' Conway
Ray Liotta ... Henry Hill
Joe Pesci ... Tommy DeVito
Lorraine Bracco ... Karen Hill
Paul Sorvino ... Paul Cicero
Frank Sivero ... Frankie Carbone
Tony Darrow ... Sonny Bunz
Mike Starr ... Frenchy
Frank Vincent ... Billy Batts
Chuck Low ... Morris 'Morrie' Kessler
Frank DiLeo ... Tuddy Cicero
Henny Youngman ... Himself
Gina Mastrogiacomo ... Janice Rossi
Catherine Scorsese ... Tommy's Mother
Charles Scorsese ... Vinnie

"GoodFellas" may be the most important film of the 1990s in the fact that its incredible success led to some of the other great films of the decade. Films like "The Silence of the Lambs", "The Crying Game", "Pulp Fiction", "The Usual Suspects", "Fargo", and "L.A. Confidential" would have likely never been made as well as they were without the influence of Scorsese's "GoodFellas". The film is an intense study of a Mafia family over a 30-year stretch. Ray Liotta plays the half-Irish, half-Sicilian kid from Brooklyn whose only dream is to be a gangster. Although Liotta's story is at the heart of "GoodFellas", it is the supporting cast that is the film's calling card. Robert DeNiro gives one of his greatest performances, Paul Sorvino is quietly effective, and Lorraine Bracco (in an Oscar-nominated role) does the best work of her career. However, it is Joe Pesci (in his well-deserved Oscar-winning turn) who steals every scene as the one who does the "dirty work". This is probably the definitive film in a decade that produced many film-noir styled classics.  The Definitive Film of the 1990s.


The Godfather Part One

Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Writers - Mario Puzo (novel), Mario Puzo (screenplay)

Released - 1972

Genre - Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tagline - An offer you can't refuse.

Plot - The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Awards - Won 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins and 17 nominations

Marlon Brando ... Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino ... Michael Corleone
James Caan ... Santino 'Sonny' Corleone
Richard S. Castellano ... Peter Clemenza
Robert Duvall ... Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden ... Capt. McCluskey
John Marley ... Jack Woltz
Richard Conte ... Don Emilio Barzini
Al Lettieri ... Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo
Diane Keaton ... Kay Adams
Abe Vigoda ... Sal Tessio
Talia Shire ... Connie Corleone Rizzi
Gianni Russo ... Carlo Rizzi
John Cazale ... Fredo Corleone
Rudy Bond ... Don Carmine Cuneo

Quotes :
Bonasera: I believe in America. America has helped me to make my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonour her family. She found a "boyfriend," not an Italian!! She went to the films with him. She stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago he took her for a drive, with another boyfriend. They made her drink whiskey and then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honour. So they beat her. Like an animal. When I went to the hospital her nose was broken. Her jaw was shattered, held together by wire. She couldn't even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life. A beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again.
[He breaks down at this point, and the Don gestures to his son to get him a drink]
Bonasera: Sorry...
[He regains his composure and carries on]
Bonasera: I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison, and suspended the sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool, and those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, "For justice, we must go to Don Corleone."
Don Corleone: Why did you go to the police? Why didn't you come to me first?
Bonasera: What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But do what I beg you to do.
Don Corleone: What is that?
[Bonasera gets up from his seat and whispers into the Don's ear; for a long moment the Don is silent].......

Marlon Brando is Don Vito Corleone, head of perhaps the most powerful New York-area mafia family in the 1940s, in this well-respected film by director/writer Francis Ford Coppola. As the film begins, Vito is receiving "business" guests in his office at his home while his daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding and reception are taking place. The epic plot takes place over many years, telling the story of Vito, his family, including Michael (Al Pacino), Santino (James Caan) and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), his associates, and their interactions with other mob syndicates.

The Godfather is commonly considered to be one of the "greatest films of all time".  Shorn of its gangster trappings, The Godfather is sprawling and soap-operatic in tone. The sprawl is appropriate to its origins as a novel by Mario Puzo, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Coppola. At root, The Godfather is concerned with realistic depictions of a very dysfunctional family as they try to make it through life, including marriages, births, adultery, spats between family members, tiffs with others in their community, and so on.

Even though the gangster stuff has been far surpassed in graphic brutality in the intervening years, the dramatic context of the violence gives it tremendous impact.

To the extent that Coppola and Puzo just focus on the extended Corleone family, they create tremendous depth in their relationships. The whole film can be looked at as a fascinating depiction of "oscillating" dynamics in the family, with the pole pairs being interacting/distancing, control/lack of control, benevolence/malevolence. Most character stances and actions are some combination of those ranges of characteristics, and everyone dances around the poles, so to speak, throughout the film. From this angle, even the attractive surface violence (well, attractive to fans of that stuff in artworks) is mainly there for the purpose of pushing characters more to one pole or the other. There is an implication that underlying these mechanisms is some natural tendency towards achieving (a dynamic) equilibrium.

It's tough to go wrong when you have a cast including Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and so on. Another commonly mentioned element, which is fantastic and superbly integrated to create atmosphere, is Nino Rota's score.

Less often mentioned is the consistently intriguing cinematography by Gordon Willis. Most of Willis' unusual shots in the film are so subtle as to be barely noticeable unless you're looking for them. The opening, for example, consists of a long (it lasts a few minutes) "zoom out" from Amerigo Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto). The shot is beautifully lit, most of the frame is extremely dark, giving Bonasera a chiaroscuro effect (the opening is also unusual in that it's a long monologue from a minor character).

Willis and Coppola have a knack for placing their actors in the frame to create depth and interesting visual patterns. This is done so slyly that at first blush you wouldn't believe it's something they thought about, but if you keep this in mind while watching, you can see delightful visual paths that zigzag, wind to a focal point, and so on, all created by the confluence of actors and scenery in the frame.

If you haven't seen The Godfather before, the most important thing you can do before watching is to forget about all of the "greatest film of all time" hype. That's only likely to set up expectations that could never be met; more than likely you'll be disappointed. Just think of it as one of the better films from one of Hollywood's more admirable but relatively odder directors, featuring earlier performances from a very well known cast, and keep in mind that it's as much a "historical family saga" as a crime or gangster film.


LA Confidential

Director - Curtis Hanson
Writers (WGA) - James Ellroy (novel), Brian Helgeland (screenplay)

Released - 1997

Awards - Won 2 Oscars. Another 69 wins and 43 nominations

Kevin Spacey ... Jack Vincennes
Russell Crowe ... Bud White
Guy Pearce ... Ed Exley
James Cromwell ... Dudley Smith
Kim Basinger ... Lynn Bracken
Danny DeVito ... Sid Hudgens
David Strathairn ... Pierce Patchett
Ron Rifkin ... D.A. Ellis Loew
Matt McCoy ... 'Badge of Honour' Star Brett Chase
Paul Guilfoyle ... Mickey Cohen
Paolo Seganti ... Johnny Stompanato
Elisabeth Granli ... Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Sandra Taylor ... Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Steve Rankin ... Officer Arresting Mickey Cohen
Graham Beckel ... Dick Stensland

Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality.

Tagline - Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush

Plot - A shooting at an all night diner is investigated by three LA policemen in their own unique ways.

L.A. Confidential really has something for everyone. The best aspect of L.A. Confidential is the way that not everything is as it seems, and then, in an instant, all of the plots are sprung like a trap and come together for a grand finale. Overall L.A. Confidential is an exceptional film that contains something for everyone

A shooting at an all night diner is investigated by three LA policemen in their own unique ways.  Three detectives in the corrupt and brutal L.A. police force of the 1950s use differing methods to uncover a conspiracy behind the shotgun slayings of the patrons at an all-night diner in this lush tribute to tough film noir crime films.

Director of LA Confidential, Curtis Hanson, captures the duality of 1950s Los Angeles in this striking film noir adaptation of James Ellroy's novel. The city of angels might be sunny, inviting, and glamorous to the rest of the world, but it's also filled with corrupt cops, elegant hookers, murder cover-ups, and manipulative paparazzi, all of which are just the tip of the iceberg.  It's impossible to know exactly who's trustworthy and who's not as three detectives (Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce) each use their own tactics to investigate a coffee-shop massacre.

1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime. LA Confidential is one of the best films to have ever been produced


Shawshank Redemption

Director - Frank Darabont

Writers (WGA) - Stephen King (short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption), Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Released - 1994

Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 11 wins and 13 nominations

Tim Robbins ... Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman ... Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding
Bob Gunton ... Warden Norton
William Sadler ... Heywood
Clancy Brown ... Captain Hadley
Gil Bellows ... Tommy

Rated R for language and prison violence.

Tagline - Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner. Written by Martin Lewison

After the murder of his wife, hotshot banker Andrew Dufresne is sent to Shawshank Prison, where the usual unpleasantness occurs. Over the years, he retains hope and eventually gains the respect of his fellow inmates, especially longtime convict "Red" Redding, a black marketeer, and becomes influential within the prison. Eventually, Andrew achieves his ends on his own terms.

Andy Dufresne, is sent to Shawshank Prison for the murder of his wife and secret lover. He is very isolated and lonely at first, but realises there is something deep inside your body, that people can't touch and get to....'HOPE'. Andy becomes friends with prison 'fixer' Red (Morgan Freeman), and Andy epitomises why it is crucial to have dreams. His spirit and determination, leads us into a world full of imagination, filled with courage and desire. Will Andy ever realise his dreams..?

Becoming friends with Red, Andy tries to adapt to prison life, and goes on an unforgettable journey with Red inside the prison walls.

Excellent twist in the story at the end.

Tell others about this page - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998   Add to favorites - giving information for the UK and Spain since 1998

The top 100 films, as listed above, are solely as a result of people emailing their opinions on their favourite film. Have we heard from you yet ?  What's your favourite film ?

Please enter your favourite film below and what number ranking you feel it should have in the above list.

Please remember, only one vote per person!

  Name of the film  
What rank do you feel it should
have on this page?
Comments about the film
First name
Last name
Email address

Site map for the UK and Spain website  -  Hosted by ForwardWebsites