Baby Driver is a film of absolute purity. While leaving I tried to think of a witty way to describe it. I settled on cocaine, thought it was good enough, wrote it down, posted it, moved on. I told my friends that I loved it, but I wouldn’t be able to watch it again any time soon. There was just something about it that stunk of a one-and-done affair, call it the come down? The next day I felt it calling in the back of my head as I told my family about it and discussed it with friends. The day after, I was longing for it even more. Watching the first five or so minutes online, trailer after trailer, seeking that same buzz again.
The Mafia is the most interesting crime organisation out there, and Martin Scorsese understands this as well as the Mafia itself all too well. He knows that the inner workings of the Italian crime family is fascinating to those who avidly pursue the knowledge of what goes on under the surface and even more so to those who blissfully ignore its ethereal presence. It is completely inappropriate that I am reminded of the vampire council in “Blade”, but regardless, I am. An organisation that is everywhere but never seen, and have their blood soaked tendrils in everything. The vampire council requires money to get blood, but the Mafia require blood to get money.
“Akira” is one of the most influential movies to come out in the last 30 years. It opened up anime to film-goers outside of Japan in a big way, and the animation style was unique and expensive — but still lauded to this day. “Akira” is one of the most intense films I have ever seen — not just in animation — and even though I am writing this review the day after I saw it, I am still thinking about it. “Akira” is memorable not just because of its brilliant plot but also its visual design, fantastic setting, and the phenomenal soundtrack. Some people are put off by anime, but if you are going to cut your teeth on some and need something to get you started, watch this movie.
Here it is. This is the definitive “Lord of the Rings” as cinema has decided to depict it. No, it still isn’t faithful to the books but we’ve established this. Taken on its own or with respect to the first two parts, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” is probably the most consistently entertaining picture that spans a length of 200 or so minutes that you are ever likely to see. You know how I said “The Two Towers” was better than “Fellowship of the Ring“? Well this one dwarfs both of them.
Something great about seeking out and watching so many movies just so that I can sit here and tell people what I thought of them, is that I can recommend and at the very least make people aware of small movies that many people otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. Small but no less great movies like “Marvellous” deserve to be held up on a podium above most of the millions of dollars of trash that we see every year. I refuse to make a joke about how the film’s title effortlessly ties into its quality, but just know that if I didn’t have a modicum of respect for you as a reader, I would.
I don’t really know if there will be any benefit to me telling you just how good “Back to the Future” is. You’ve probably seen it and almost certainly loved it. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve almost certainly been told at some point that you are missing something pretty special. Perhaps I can help those who have heard it’s good but don’t quite believe it, your friends are right. It’s one of the greatest family movies to have ever been released. Sometimes you might not feel like watching a “heavy” classic, sometimes an action movie just wont suit you and neither will a horror. “Back to the Future”? Everyday of the week.
Some might see the fact that a book relies somewhat on the readers ability to imagine the scenarios that are being written about as a flaw. Film is often seen as having an advantage in that it is able to portray visually what is happening without the limitations of certain peoples imagination. “The Blair Witch Project” relies on the human imagination much as a book does, and the fact that a lot of the movie involves what you can’t actually see — and often can’t hear — makes it an unbelievably effective horror film. It preys on our fear of the unknown, and does so throughout until the final gut wrenching moments of the film. The found footage horror genre truly began here, where the method was used to the greatest effect.
Horror as a genre is fortunate in that it is able to succeed in simply being a roller-coaster of emotions. The audience is played like a piano, and when we begin a horror film, we expect to be unsettled and terrified by what we are about to witness. Unfortunately, making a genuinely scary film is a lot tougher than one might anticipate, in a surprisingly similar way to how difficult it is to make a good comedy. “[Rec]” is a Spanish horror film that is able to get into the action fast and from then on, fully succeed in creating varying degrees of terror and false sanctuary. Even if “[Rec]” doesn’t scare you, it is nigh on impossible to be truly bored by the brief affair.
You hear it said almost every time a poorly received blockbuster comes out. “You need more than just action to make a movie” — but — do you? “Speed” is really special in that regard, it is able to make a film that is exciting to the extreme all the way through, and have the minimum of side plot and, in what is apparently a necessary part of today’s blockbuster strategy, side boob. Credit where credit’s due, this is the sort of film I can imagine a traditional critic being surprised to find himself actually enjoying a movie based off pure suspense and action. I can’t currently — bearing in mind it is fairly early in my film career — think of another film that does what “Speed” does as well as “Speed” does it, but I can think of a hundred that try.
Westerns haven’t died out as much as I thought they had, now I think about it. I mean, they did but they are still popping up around the place. I remember in “Argo” in a scene when they are trying to come up with a fake movie idea to cover up their plans to enter Iraq, they decided not to feature a horse because that would automatically make the film a western, and “nobody makes westerns anymore”. That was just after John Wayne had died, one of the kings of the genre back in its hay day. Now though, films like “3:10 to Yuma”, the “True Grit” remake from the Coen brothers, the overtly lengthily named “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and even “Rango” which is by all means a fine Western. These are all fine Westerns, but the beauty of “Django Unchained” is the way it truly brings us back to what a Western was and still can be. It’s not just about dusty brown backgrounds, small towns with saloons and a Sheriff with a star badge, though that is a big part of it. The nostalgia “Django” will bring to lovers of classic Westerns will be just one of the things that make the film truly great and in this day and age, unique.