March 27, 2010
Bloomin ‘eck! I’ve been super busy with work so I haven’t had time to get all ten movie recommendations together for you this month… sorry about that. But don’t think for a minute that I’ve ran out of great movies for you guys. Hopefully next month I should be back on form. But anyway, here you go… 5 movies you need in your life.
American History X (1998)
Widely touted as a movie everyone should watch, American History X starrs Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. Active neo-nazi Derek Vinyard (Norton) is jailed for the manslaughter of a group of black gang members who were attempting to steal his car. During this time, his younger brother Danny (Furlong), begins to change his views and soon falls in with the same neo-Nazi crowd his brother was involved with. But life on the inside begins to open Derek’s eyes and he realises the error of his ways. When he is released does he have what it takes to convince Danny that the Nazi life is wrong… and does he have time?
Part present tense and part flashback (shot in beautiful black and white) American History X is about as powerful as a movie can be. Through to its shocking conclusion you’ll be hooked and then you’ll want to watch it again… and again.
Man on Fire (2004)
Starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, Man on Fire is the story of washed up former CIA agent John Creasy (Washington) who has been given a second chance working as a private bodyguard for Pita Ramos, the young daughter of a Mexican industrialist millionaire. Pita has a profound affect on Creasy, bringing him back from depression and the brink of suicide and all seems to be going well. Until Pita is violently kidnapped and Creasy is shot and nearly killed. After recovering from his injury, creasy vows to find and punish all involved with Pita’s abduction but he soon discovers that he’s up against more than a band of disorganised thugs.
Shot in the trademark Tony Scott style (a style I’m particularly fond of) Man on Fire is fast-paced brutal and thrilling. It’s clever enough to satisfy those who want more than action, action and more action but at the same time has a really well executed revenge movie at its core that will keep adrenaline junkies happy. Possibly Tony Scott’s finest film.
The prestige (2006)
Chris Nolan‘s period mystery thriller, The Prestige has more twists and turns than the collective attractions of Alton Towers and is about as slick as it gets. It tells the story to two rival magicians, Robert (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred (Christian Bale) who’s quest to out-do one another on stage leads to a deadly rivalry when Alfred makes a mistake which leads to the death of Robert’s wife in front of a live audience.
The story commands quite a lot of your attention, not only because of the complexities of the subject matter but also the way in which it is told. It is mostly told in flashback following Alfred being arrested and tried for Roberts murder. But believe me; nothing about this movie is what it seems. I watched the Blu-Ray recently and it really looks and feels great in HD but either way, you should see it.
A History of Violence (2005)
This movie sort of blindsided me, and I’m not alone. I don’t think any critics saw it coming and it bitch slapped them as much as it did me. A History of Violence tells the story of Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), a family man and diner owner in a small town who becomes a local celebrity after killing two violent intruders who took diner customers hostage in an attempted robbery. This minor fame is more curse than blessing for Tom though as he is soon visited by some unsavoury characters from a past he has worked too hard to escape to let ruin his new life.
If the title didn’t give this away, this movie is VIOLENT! Some of the death scenes are extremely gory and will make you cringe. The story isn’t subtle, the characters aren’t exactly nuanced (except maybe William Hurt’s character) but the film is massively enjoyable.
After the last 4 movies were more than a little dark and violent, I thought I’d end with what I believe was the sleeper hit of last year. Pixar’s Up didn’t have the usual massive launch of the usual Pixar fare partly because the story was so oddball the studios didn’t feel it warranted much of a marketing investment. It’s the story of Mr Fredricksen, a widower who, with the help of many thousands of helium balloons flies his and his late wife’s house to south America to live out the couple’s dream of living near Paradise Falls. Only when his house is in the air, though does he discover that he is accompanied by a young boy, Russell who stowed away on the front porch. When the pair arrive near the falls they need to walk the still just floating house the last few miles but encounter more than a few obstacles including Mr. Fredricksen’s former childhood hero.
Despite its limited release and weird story, Up is perhaps as perfect as a movie can be. The acting is superb, the animation is second to none. The appeal is ageless, anyone from 5 to 105 can watch and totally enjoy Up and I can’t recommend strongly enough that you do.
That’s all for this month folks. Hopefully normal service will resume next month. Ta ta!
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