Category Archives: Movies

1990 Films

Best films of the year 1990

Here, in the order I saw them are my films of the year.

ARIA
Best combination of music and film since Bruno Bozzello’s film
“Allegro Non Troppo”.

Abyss
Since Aliens 2 I have waited for the next James Cameron film.
Although not as good as Aliens 2, still one of the best this year. I
think that the film could have been just as good without the alien
involvement at the end. As for the ending, a real let down. However if
it is re-released in it’s uncut form I will see it again. For me, this
film shows Cameron as currently the best director at the suspense-action genre.

Earth Girls are easy
Best comedy (American). Even if it is directed by a pom (Julien
Temple I think).

High Hopes
Best Comedy (British). At least I think I’m supposed to laugh at
the English class system being ripped into.

A Dry White Season
Best drama. A success in that it doesn’t give a rose-coloured end.
Sobering viewing.

Hunt for Red October
Best war film. Almost believable, suspense film.

Total Recall
Science Fiction film of the year. The boys at industrial light &
magic really pulled finger for the effects in this film. Probably cost
more to make than our national deficit.

Robocop 2 & Die Hard 2
Great cardboard cut-out characters fighting against all odds.
Die Hard wins the award for the most imaginative way to destroy an
aircraft. The end of Robocop has the best stop-motion animation work
done since Linda Hamilton survived the metal monster in Terminator.

Dick Tracy
If I was pressed for a film of the year it would be this
one. Much better than the over-rated Batman, the cinematography and design of this film is flawless. This film is a statement of the art of
the film maker.

Turkey of the year :
Navy Seals
Nothing but a vehicle for Tom Cruise. The action scenes contain
zilch in the way of suspense. By the half way mark I was bored and
had already guessed the end.

And while I am on the subject, I can still not see what anyone saw
in “sex, lies and videotape”. This was the most boring American “art”
film I have ever seen. Very self indulgent, the characters appear to come out of a psychology text.

 

O Brother Where Art Thou

This a very strange Cohen brothers film. The best thing about it is George Clooney. He’s smart, cocky and likeable as a criminal escaped from the chain gang. The story is ‘inspired’ loosely on Homer’s Odyssey even if the main protagonist is switched from a hero to anti-hero.   It’s difficult with the depictions of American southerners  to work out if they are supposed to be accurate or caricatures. More mildly amusing than  comedy or drama.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Charles Durning in supporting roles. Set in 1937 rural Mississippi during the Great Depression, the film’s story is a modern satire loosely based on Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey. The title of the film is a reference to the 1941 film Sullivan’s Travels, in which the protagonist (a director) wants to film a fictional book about the Great Depression called O Brother, Where Art Thou?

One of the notable features of the film is its use of digital color correction to give the film a sepia-tinted look. Joel stated that this was because the actual set was “greener than Ireland.” Cinematographer Roger Deakins stated, “Ethan and Joel favored a dry, dusty Delta look with golden sunsets. They wanted it to look like an old hand-tinted picture, with the intensity of colors dictated by the scene and natural skin tones that were all shades of the rainbow.” Initially the crew tried to perform the color correction using a physical process, however after several tries with various chemical processes proved unsatisfactory, it became necessary to perform the process digitally.

Warcraft: The Beginning

Warcraft (alternatively known as Warcraft: The Beginning)is a 2016 American fantasy film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It is based on the Warcraft video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. The film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series. The film was first announced in 2006 as a project partnership between Legendary Pictures and the game’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment.

It’s only got 29%  on rotten tomatoes, but it’s certainly not a bad film. Anyone looking for an old good vs evil plot will be disappointed. The Orcs are portrayed as equal to the Humans in deceit and heroism.  The CGI is outstanding, with large sweeping vistas and detailed city-scapes. The best thing about the film is the action, which has a real thump and intensity to it. The costume and art design is very faithful to the games. The story is about the Orcs leaving their land and invading the Human realm through a portal. It’s 2 hour length is well paced and the ending leaves space for a sequel. 

 

The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 American neo-noir crime comedy film, written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler. After he is assaulted as a result of mistaken identity, The Dude learns of a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski who was the intended victim. When the millionaire Lebowski’s trophy wife is kidnapped, he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release. The plan goes awry when the Dude’s friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the full ransom. Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi also star, with David Huddleston, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott and Tara Reid appearing in supporting roles.

It’s easy to see why this is a popular film. Jeff Daniels is great as the stoner chilled out duke. John Goodman rocks as the aggressive friend. It taps into many of the myths Americans have about themselves, from the car culture to the western end that Sam Elliot provides.

 

Bastille Day

Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July each year.

The French National Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789,an important event in Paris in a violent revolution that had begun two days earlier, as well as the Fete de la Federation which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Elysees in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.


Bastille Day is also a 2016 American action film directed by James Watkins and written by Andrew Baldwin. The film stars Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon, Eriq Ebouaney and José Garcia. A young con artist and former CIA agent embark on an anti-terrorist mission in France.


The films starts off with a naked woman diverting a crowd from a pickpocket. Of course he will steal the wrong thing and become involved in a terror plot. Idris Elba is the stoic CIA agent on the job at the time. Guess what.. they will get together to foil the plan. The first two-thirds of the film is a good spy thriller. However once we get to the final act, it’s a replay of John McClane (Die Hard) on the job to deal with the bad guys.

An above average thriller (3/5)

 

 

Man on Fire

Man on Fire is a 2004 American crime thriller film and the second adaptation of A. J. Quinnell’s 1980 fictional novel of the same name; the first film based on the novel was released in 1987. The 2004 film adaptation was directed by Tony Scott, from a screenplay written by Brian Helgeland.

Man on Fire stars Denzel Washington as John Creasy, a despondent, alcoholic former CIA operative/U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance officer turned mercenary and bodyguard, who goes on a revenge rampage after his charge, nine-year-old Lupita (“Pita”) Ramos (Dakota Fanning), is abducted in Mexico City. The supporting cast includes Christopher Walken, Radha Mitchell, Giancarlo Giannini, Marc Anthony, Rachel Ticotin and Mickey Rourke.

This is a very stylish and violent film by the brother of Ridley Scott.
It takes about a third of the film just to establish the characters and motivations. When the abduction takes place it soon becomes clear that Cressy is going to go further than a ‘hero protagonist’ on a normal hollywood movie. And it soon becomes clear what the ending will be. Other books and movies have similar themes, where the ‘hero’ becomes vigilante and everything ends in a big mess that few get out of. Despite the annoying fast and distracting cutting during the action scenes, this is one of the better films of this type (4/5)

The film earned a total of $130.3 million worldwide, with a budget of $70 million

A. J. Quinnell had a favorable reception to this adaptation, mainly because the film used many of the book’s lines. Quinnell said that usually screenwriters “like to leave their mark on the product.” Quinnell added that even though he usually dislikes film adaptations of books, the writers “did a good job with Man On Fire and I loved the chemistry between Creasy and the girl” and “When I first heard Denzel was playing the part of Creasy I missed a couple of heartbeats but he played the part brilliantly. The film is violent and if the anger is not portrayed properly, the result can be awful.” Kevin Freese of the Foreign Military Studies Office stated that “it appears that the allusion” of the fictional Sánchez brothers with the real Arizmendi brothers “escaped the comprehension of much of the audience.

Robots

Robots (2005 film)

Robots is a 2005 American computer-animated science fiction dystopian comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios for 20th Century Fox, and was released theatrically on March 11, 2005. The story was created by Chris Wedge and William Joyce, a children’s book author/illustrator. Originally developing a film version of Joyce’s book Santa Calls, Joyce and Wedge then decided to develop an original story about a world of robots. Joyce served as producer and production designer for the film. It features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey and Robin Williams. The film earned $260.7 million on a $75 million budget.

It’s Robin William that provides the spark to this film. If you think about the underlying mechanics and engineering of the world and robots, none of it makes sense. But really it’s a film about planned obsolescence in products. It’s fun, fast paced and good family entertainment (4/5)
.

Captain America

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is a 2016 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt and Daniel Bruhl.

In Captain America: Civil War, set one year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, disagreement over international oversight of the Avengers fractures them into opposing factions, one led by Steve Rogers / Captain America and another by Tony Stark / Iron Man.

Well, it’s a big explosion, running, hitting and falling then getting up and doing it all again type of film. The main problem is that there are too many plot threads that divert the main plot between Capt America and Iron Man. Despite it’s length (2.5 hours) there is never enough time to develop any sympathy for a character and their plight.
There is plenty of eye candy and effects to keep things interesting and mainly for the action I’m giving it a 3/5.

Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 comedy film written and directed by Wes Anderson, from a story by Anderson and Hugo Guinness, inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. It stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with one of his employees (Tony Revolori) to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. The narrative takes the form of a story within a story within a story within a story.

The film is an American-German-British co-production that was financed by German financial companies and film-funding organizations. It was filmed in Germany. The Grand Budapest Hotel was released to widespread acclaim from film critics, and many included it in their year-end top 10 lists. The film led the BAFTA nominations, with 11 nominations, more than any other film, including Best Film and Best Director for Anderson, and Best Actor for Fiennes. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and garnered three more Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Director for Anderson. It also garnered nine Academy Award nominations, the joint most (with Birdman) for the ceremony, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Original Score.

 

A very strange and stylish historical comedy. Not as funny as promised , but a good ripping yarn in the British style. Ralph Fiennes is great as the main character and there a surprising number of well-known actors in minor roles, including:

F. Murray Abraham
Adrien Brody
Willem Dafoe
Jeff Goldblum
Harvey Keitel
Jude Law
Bill Murray
Edward Norton
Jason Schwartzman
Tilda Swinton
Tom Wilkinson
Owen Wilson

(3/5)

 

Made in Dagenham

Made in Dagenham is a 2010 British film directed by Nigel Cole. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James, Rosamund Pike, Andrea Riseborough, Jaime Winstone, Daniel Mays and Richard Schiff. It dramatises the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968 that aimed for equal pay for women. The film’s theme song, with lyrics by Billy Bragg, is performed by Sandie Shaw, herself a native of the area and a former Ford Dagenham clerk.
A stage musical version of the film opened at London’s Adelphi theatre in 2014.

A straight forward telling of the story of the strike. Not much in the way of the unexpected, and it comes to a predictable conclusion.
(3/5)