Tag Archives: 1995

Assassins (1995) Review

1SoLOqfXjgk9u81lR3XMfpD6bL8lvNdsOSCt6T8YmdCrSSiHibQ70z74fzt8VA_G4RTO4MCb_GCmXfsCLkEbzuXliYkxtetcHmGrm1x6im0

Assassins

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] 
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone as Robert Rath
Antonio Banderas as Miguel Bain
Julianne Moore as Electra
Director: Richard Donner

Professional hitman Robert Rath seeks to retire peacefully. However, he teams up with hacker Electra when Bain, another killer, wants to murder him.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I knew very limited things about Assassins going into it, just that it starred Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas and it was directed by Richard Donner. Its not that great and I can see why it didn’t get the best of reviews, however I still think its fairly enjoyable.

assassins-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000

Script-wise, Assassins is nothing special. I heard that the Wachowskis (post Bound and pre Matrix) wrote it but then it was completely re-written by Brian Helgeland. The plot starts out pretty simple but adds some more complexity over the course of the movie, however this resulted in the movie being a bit convoluted in parts. It has an unexpectedly serious and sombre tone and I think it could’ve afforded to be a little sillier or over the top. I liked the idea of the cat and mouse game between the two lead assassins played by Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas, however the execution was just okay, and should’ve been much more considering that premise. Its also quite long at 132 minutes, and it probably could’ve afforded to be shorter than that. It doesn’t help that it takes a while for the movie to kick off. By the time Julianne Moore comes into the plot, I think Assassins really starts to pick up. The plot isn’t all that memorable and I wasn’t particularly invested, but I found it enjoyable to watch nonetheless.

a18049f604a8aae22c3c64c5e6ccd0a2

I generally like Sylvester Stallone as an actor, however as the protagonist of Assassins, his work is rather underwhelming. I get that he’s acting solemn because he’s a hitman who is tired of his work and wants to retire, but he seems bored and half asleep most of the time. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad performance, but he’s easily the weakest link of the main trio of actors. Julianne Moore was quite good. She actually gets a chance to be involved in the plot, and isn’t just relegated to the love interest role. However, the main reason to watch this movie is Antonio Banderas, playing the rival assassin that Stallone goes up against. He is clearly having a ball here from beginning to end, and is an absolute joy to watch. He provides the energy that the movie really needed.

assassins-513245106a3ee

The movie is directed by Richard Donner, its not some of his best work, but it is solid nonetheless. With films like Lethal Weapon movies under his belt already, he more than knows how to helm an action movie, and Assassins is no exception. Its not the mot visually interesting of movies, but its still well shot. The action scenes aren’t special or memorable, yet they are decent and fun to watch, as to be expected.

ec3bbf2c4f2806b70d39aacd99343b74

Assassins is generally forgettable and held back by the sloppy and generic script, and the overlong runtime, but its fine for what it is. The action is well shot and enjoyable, and some of the performances are decent, with Antonio Banderas stealing the scenes he’s in. Despite its faults, Assassins is an entertaining enough thriller that’s worth checking out.

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) Review

geweldige-actiefilm-die-hard-with-a-vengeance-dinsdag-te-zien-op-veronica

Die Hard With a Vengeance

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Bruce Willis as John McClane
Jeremy Irons as Simon Peter Gruber
Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus Carver
Graham Greene as Joe Lambert
Colleen Camp as Connie Kowalski
Larry Bryggman as Walter Cobb
Anthony Peck as Ricky Walsh
Nick Wyman as Mathias Targo
Sam Phillips as Katya
Director: John McTiernan

John McClane (Bruce Willis) must enlist the help of Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), a local shop owner, to stop Simon (Jeremy Irons), a former colonel from East Germany, from detonating bombs across New York.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I remember Die Hard with a Vengeance being one of the best Die Hard movies, my favourite just after the original. I recalled that it was on a much larger scale from the previous two movies, and it had Samuel L. Jackson as well as Jeremy Irons as the villain. On rewatching it I can say that it is the best Die Hard sequel despite a couple of issues.

die-hard-3-2000

The story is suspenseful with a brisk and relentless pace, and it never lets up. It’s not the most original of stories for action movies, but it is well executed. The narrative is consistently engaging and really benefits from the central buddy dynamic with the main two characters. The initial plot having the lead characters racing around New York City trying to stop bombs going off was a great way to add tension. It is also quite funny, it’s probably the funniest of the Die Hard movies, mostly because of the dynamic between the two leads. Something about Die Hard with a Vengeance is that it isn’t a carbon copy to the first or second Die Hard movies. It scraps the idea of John McClane stuck in one location with terrorists or robbers running about and expands it to the entirety of New York City. It also abandons the Christmas setting of the first two Die Hard movies for Summer in the city. As a result, it definitely does more than just recycle the first film’s plot. The movie marked the biggest change of the series, for better and for worse. Even within this movie itself, the change does lose some things from the first movie, like it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic. Additionally, the third movie’s more expansive setting and complex plot does rob it of some of the simplicity of the predecessors. However, this change was necessary given that Die Hard 2 was already very similar to the first movie. There are a couple of changes that I wasn’t a fan of, some things were left off from the last two movies, mainly to do with John McClane. They explain what happened with him since Die Hard 2, but its all done in a rush. However, the biggest problem with Die Hard with a Vengeance is that the third act just doesn’t work as well as the previous two acts. It starts to lose steam when the mysterious villain is revealed even before his personal motivation becomes apparent. The ending feels especially rushed and tact on in a “here’s everything resolved now” way. It’s worth knowing that there was an alternative original ending which was much darker. While I usually would gravitate to it, that ending doesn’t work well either and would’ve needed a lot more work on it for it to be satisfying. Despite its issues, the disappointing theatrical ending is still fine and definitely an improvement over the alternate and more sombre ending that they abandoned.

Bruce-Willis-Die-Hard-with-a-Vengeance

There are some solid performances from the cast. Bruce Willis is once again ever reliable as John McClane. McClane in this movie is at a low point in his life, his wife left him again, he’s suspended and he’s an alcoholic. These additions are a double edged sword, it does make him more vulnerable and as a result more relatable, and again he’s really put through the wringer. However, there is also a sullenness to McClane here that can be off-putting, especially compared to his appearance in Die Hard 2. Samuel L. Jackson’s character of Zeus Carver is one of Die Hard’s best characters behind McClane, providing some great comic relief with his line deliveries. This movie wouldn’t have worked nearly as well without the chemistry between Willis and Jackson, they are a perfect on-screen duo, bouncing off each other so well. This movie also has the Die Hard movies’ second best villain in Jeremy Irons, who is thoroughly chewing the scenery, even when we don’t see him for most of the movie and only hear his voice. Unfortunately, the writing for Irons just wasn’t that great and the character in retrospect is a little lacklustre, especially when it reveals the character later in the movie. The rest of the villains are forgettable even by Die Hard standards.

Die-Hard-With-a-Vengeance-04

Original Die Hard director John McTiernan’s return to the director chair was more than welcome. As written earlier, Die Hard 3 takes a very different approach and is no longer the claustrophobic thriller the first one was, and I thought that change was handled well partially because of the direction. The action sequences are great as expected. I don’t think they come close to the first Die Hard’s action, but With a Vengeance comes closest to achieving this.

die-hard-with-a-vengeance

Die Hard with a Vengeance is a worthy third instalment in the franchise, and the best of the sequels by far. Despite some issues including the third act and some changes from the previous two movies, the fresh new direction in terms of scale and story really helped it. It is energetic, thrilling and entertaining to watch, and strongly benefits from the main duo of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

Crimson Tide (1995) Review

crimson_tide_1995_7

Crimson Tide

Time: 110 Minutes
Cast:
Denzel Washington as Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter
Gene Hackman as Captain Frank Ramsey
George Dzundza as Chief of the Boat Walters (COB)
Matt Craven as Lieutenant Roy Zimmer
Viggo Mortensen as Lieutenant Peter Ince
James Gandolfini as Lieutenant Bobby Dougherty
Director: Tony Scott

The Captain of a submarine (Gene Hackman) wants to launch an attack while his deputy (Denzel Washington) wants to wait for confirmation. Their conflict escalates into a mutiny with both of them fighting for the command of the ship.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I heard of Crimson Tide for a while, I knew of it as a submarine movie directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. It was on my list of movies to check out eventually but for whatever reason I hadn’t checked it out yet. Eventually I did watch it and I was quite surprised at how good it was.

tumblr_3a361924ec9712567259d8deea7bc58b_ac56f29c_2048

The plot is great, it is a predictable yet entertaining story. It is always so kinetic from beginning to end, tightly crafted, and just all around suspenseful, with never a dull moment here. The pacing is just right, it can feel a little slow in the beginning as it is setting the scene and characters, but once it gets going, it really gets going. The second and third acts are particularly intense, without a stopping point. One of the biggest surprises is that it places character and conflict ahead of the action. Usually you’d expect this type of film to constantly cut away to the action as the drama unfolds, however Tony Scott keeps the distractions to a minimum, and it’s generally a very contained movie. The majority of the movie focuses its attention on the colliding ideals of the weathered Lieutenant Commander (Gene Hackman), and his vigilant new XO Captain (Denzel Washington). The moral greyness of the dilemma at the forefront of the movie is well handled, with a surprising amount of depth given to the nature of military procedure in the case of an emergency launch, and the importance of following protocol. Much of the tension the movie wrings from the internal conflict between the two leads, particularly with the tense and heated dialogue. As everything slowly builds up within that clash of ideologies, it just only feels like you could expect it all to blow anytime soon. Scott really drives home the fact that these men are alone, with just as many questions as the audience. Something also great is that despite some of what Hackman’s character does, there’s no clear-cut villain here really, just two men who both firmly believe that they are doing the right thing. Quentin Tarantino actually did some script-doctoring on this movie, but his contributions were probably the weakest part of the movie, with the comic book and Star Trek references being very out of place with the rest of the movie. On the whole though, Crimson Tide is very entertaining and thrilling from beginning to end.

o1920108014280063422

The acting is great from everyone, but it mostly comes down to Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington in the lead roles, both of whom deliver really solid performances. It’s thrilling seeing the two go at each other. I do feel like Washington’s character could’ve been better developed or defined really, though he did the job alright. Hackman’s character of Ramsey (the commander) however is very well written, with a good character arc. The supporting cast all bring their A-games too including James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen.

viggo-mortensen-crimson-tide-t011-th

Tony Scott’s direction is great and handles everything well. He keeps everything so fittingly tense, especially given the claustrophobia of the film’s setting, as well as strain applied to the ticking clock elements. It’s a great looking movie too, it looks fantastic with the colours, the set designs are convincing, and even the early CGI special effects are used appropriately enough. Finally, Hans Zimmer composes a bombastic yet very effective score.

Багровый_прилив-14

Crimson Tide is an effective and claustrophobic submarine thriller, and much better than I thought it would be. The story is simple yet one that you get invested in, it’s directed incredibly well, tense throughout, and has some strong performances, especially from Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. One of Tony Scott’s best.

Heat (1995) Review

heat_still3_4028x2692

Heat

Time:  170 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Al Pacino as Lieutenant Vincent Hanna
Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley
Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis
Jon Voight as Nate
Tom Sizemore as Michael Cheritto
Diane Venora as Justine Hanna
Amy Brenneman as Eady
Ashley Judd as Charlene Shiherlis
Mykelti Williamson as Sergeant Bobby Drucker
Wes Studi as Lieutenant Sammy Casals
Ted Levine as Detective Mike Bosko
Director: Michael Mann

Lieutenant Hanna (Al Pacino), a detective, decides to catch a highly intelligent seasonal criminal (Robert de Niro) who has vowed to pull off one last robbery before he retires for good.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Michael Mann’s Heat is one of the most significant films of the 90s. I remember watching the movie for the first time many years ago, I remembered liking it quite a bit, but not much more beyond that. Having rewatched Heat now, it was actually way better than I remember. It’s a long yet fantastic crime thriller from beginning to end, directed excellently, and with an engrossing story and great performances.

77266c8ab88387e97fb01998e0159b8c

The screenplay for Heat is fantastic, the story is nothing short of intense, suspenseful and engrossing from its opening scene all the way to the end credits. The 2 hour and 50 minutes runtime is admittedly a bit daunting especially going into the movie for the first time, but the time flew by so fast and it never dragged because of its fast paced story. It’s really impressive how many small details about characters and the plot are really conveyed here. The movie also has a lot of subplots, but surprisingly they don’t feel overdone, instead they added quite a lot to the film. The dialogue is also amazing, there are so many stand out scenes of characters just talking. Looking at the premise, Heat could’ve easily fallen into the same category that other cops and robbers movies fall into. Despite the genre it is in, Heat makes an effort to stay clear of cliches. Michael Mann adds a great amount of humility and realism to the story and characters. Each character is fleshed out fantastically, even the smaller side characters. It may be a crime film, but it deals with a lot more than just the crime and robberies, it is very much a character driven movie. The story is especially great with how it treats its lead two characters. Heat is essentially the fascinating story of two men who are consumed with what they do and share striking similarities despite being on opposite sides of the law, playing a game of cat and mouse and utilising their talents to stay one step ahead. The movie itself is already very thrilling to watch as a crime thriller, but its also compelling watching their relationships to their occupations and personal lives. It really is a tale of lonely people within their own fields slowly touch with the world around them, it is more melancholy than you’d initially expect it to be. The final act is pretty much perfection, as the chase comes to an end in a satisfying climax.

heat2[1]

Heat is known for being the first movie where Al Pacino and Robert de Niro are in the same movie and share screentime together. The acting from the two is excellent, both fitting their characters very well. Al Pacino is explosive and magnetic as Hanna the cop, and Pacino really gives him such a depth that makes him one of the actor’s most fleshed out characters. Robert de Niro as McCauley the thief is thorough and collected, and he has such a great on-screen presence. These two legendary actors don’t share much screen time in the film, but the movie does a good job at making you really wait and anticipate it. The iconic café scene where the two finally meet face to face for the first time is spectacular, I won’t say much more beyond that as everything that can be said about that moment has been said already. From the basic setup of characters, it could be easy for any filmmaker to turn Hanna into a hero figure and McCauley into an antagonistic force, but Mann and the two actors never lets the film succumb to this, and they did a good job at not making it purely black and white all the way through with regard to their characters. The rest of the cast are great, in fact this movie is stacked to the roof with stars. The cast includes Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Ted Levine and more, all of them playing their parts very well.

heat-1995-c2a9-warner-_-dr-08

Michael Mann’s direction is simply fantastic through and through. First of all, Dante Spinotti’s cinematography is mesmerising and gorgeous. Every scene is beautiful to watch, especially the scenes that take place at night. Heat is especially known for its heist sequences and for very good reason. They are spectacularly directed, tense, and full of adrenaline, and they also feel so realistic. The sound design is excellent, with the sounds of loud bullets and the clicks of the guns and more being almost deafening, in a good way. Additionally, Heat has a fantastic score from Elliot Goldenthal, which can be very tense but it also knows when to be calm and serene based off the moments its used in.

EyNhwlIXAAIezva

Michael Mann has directed many outstanding films but Heat really is his magnum opus, and it’s easy to see why its so iconic and had a massive influence on other movies made since then. It really is fantastic on all fronts with writing, directing and acting, all of it is pretty much perfection. Absolutely essential viewing.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Review

halloween-6-image-22

Halloween 6 The Curse of Michael Myers

Time:
88 minutes
(theatrical cut)
96 minutes
(producer’s cut)
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis
Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle
Marianne Hagan as Kara Strode
Mitch Ryan as Dr. Terence Wynn
Director: Joe Chappelle

Michael Myers (George P. Wilson), the notorious masked murderer, returns to haunt Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), a young man who has a history with the killer and the Strode family.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I heard some pretty negative things about Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers going into it, from what I can tell it’s one of the most negatively rated of the Halloween movies. After watching Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to what the next movie had to offer. Having seen the 6th movie, surprisingly I do like it more than The Revenge of Michael Myers but not by a whole lot, it’s still quite a mess.

halloween-6-splash

Halloween 6 had some big problems with filming, with plenty of reshoots, rewriting and many changes during production. It seems that no one from the director to the producers were on the same page and thus there was no cohesive vision. As a result, there are two versions of the movie, the theatrical cut, and the producer’s cut which emerged later. With the first viewing, I watched the Producer’s Cut which is meant to be quite different and my knowledge of the theatrical cut is just from what other people have said about it and some of the brief clips I’ve seen of it. In 5, there were little things introduced involving this thorn symbol and this mystery man in black, and the filmmakers of that movie didn’t know at the time what it was supposed to be, it was just to give something the filmmakers of the 6th movie something to work with. Now there’s the culmination of all that with The Curse of Michael Myers. The movie largely involves this cult called the Cult of Thorn, and it’s really nonsensical. The plot actually starts out interesting enough but by the end it’s just a mess. There are exposition dumps, and the more you think about it and the more characters talk about it, the more you recognise it doesn’t make sense and is very silly, and not even in the entertaining way. It even introduces aspects like runes and telepathy. It is a very weird movie with weird ideas and I’m not sure how I feel about most of them, and I’m saying that as one of the few people who does like Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2.

halloween6_4

If you don’t like the idea of Michael Myers being anyone other than his own person, this version is definitely going to not work with you. I heard that the Theatrical Cut might be a little more for you and it gives Myers more agency, but I also heard it has its own issues. Cult aside, I really liked the portrayal of Michael Myers otherwise. He’s quite menacing in his scenes and really feels like a threat unlike in most of the past couple of movies. With that said, without going into it, the way it ends for Michael Myers at the end is just bizarre and hilariously anticlimactic (at least in the Producer’s Cut). For fans of the Halloween series, there’s going be stuff that you’re not going to like. The portrayal of Michael Myers when it comes to the cult especially will be a problem for many. The cult storyline has an attempt to explain what Michael Myers is and why he does what he does, and for most people any attempt at doing this is quite unpopular. Another example is the treatment of the character of Jamie Lloyd, who was really the protagonist of the past two movies. She’s in a small role in this movie and this time she’s played by J.C. Brandy instead of Danielle Harris because she refused to reprise the role after being offered some rather poor pay for it. After looking at the handling of the character, I don’t really blame her. In both versions, Jamie isn’t treated well at all, even the offscreen death of Laurie Strode in Halloween 4 was more respectful. The ending does try to set up a sequel, but as we know the next movie Halloween H20 would be a sequel from Halloween 2, Halloween 6 didn’t get a follow up on its storyline and I’m glad. Halloween 5 indicated that there wasn’t much room left for potential with this storyline and the 6th movie proved it.

michael

Donald Pleasence returns as Dr Loomis for the last time, he actually died during production, which makes his last performance bittersweet to watch. He’s really good here, he looks a little more worn down and tired, but it is very fitting given his character at this point. He’s also a much better version compared to the raving and crazy version of Loomis in the last Halloween movie. Paul Rudd is also in here in a bizarre early performance from him, playing Tommy Doyle who was a kid character from the first Halloween. If he was meant to be a bit creepy, Rudd kind of pulls it off but there’s something about him that’s feels hilariously off. I can’t tell whether the issue was him or if it was how he was directed but the best thing I can say about Paul Rudd here is that he delivered much better performances later in his career. The other major main character other than Myers is played by Marianne Hagan who is alright but nothing memorable. Nothing else to say about the other actors or characters really. The performance of Michael Myers is good, he’s menacing and it’s the best he’s been since Halloween 2.

Halloween 6 Loomins and Tommy

Joe Chapelle directs this, and some of the aspects are a bit of a mixed bag. Michael Myers does actually look good compared to the past couple of movies especially with the mask. The movie really makes him to be a force of nature and really intimidating. Some of the kills worked really well and Myers again is more violent and ruthless. The theatrical cut from what I heard does have even more bloody kills. For example there’s a scene where Michael Myers kills someone by shocking them, in the Theatrical Cut though it ends with the guy’s head suddenly exploding. The actual special effects are good. I found some of the music in the past two Halloween movies to be a bit underwhelming but I found the score here to be effective and worked well in their scenes.

H6

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is often known as one of the worst movies in the series, and while I’m not quite sure that I dislike it, I completely understand why. At least with its Producer’s Cut, the changes it tries to make to the Halloween mythos are silly and don’t make sense, the plot itself is nonsensical, and it’s weird in the worst ways possible. Maybe it’s just because I watched Halloween 5 right beforehand, but I still like 6 more. I liked Donald Pleasence, some aspects of the direction, and ignoring the cult aspect, the portrayal of Michael Myers. The only reason I’d recommend watching The Curse of Michael Myers given that you’ve watched the 5th movie is that you made it to this point, so you might as well reach the end of it. As for which version to watch, neither of the two versions seem to be good, so that’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.

Fallen Angels (1995) Review

tumblr_29b8d21728357d62dfe6c12dcbf18c11_4f5de783_2048

Fallen Angels

Time:  96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Leon Lai as Wong Chi-ming/Killer
Michelle Reis as Killer’s agent
Takeshi Kaneshiro as Ho Chi-mo/He Zhiwu
Charlie Yeung as Charlie/Cherry
Karen Mok as Punkie/Blondie/Baby
Director: Wong Kar-wai

An assassin, his boss, an entrepreneur and two women cross paths in Hong Kong as their professional and love lives collide and influence each other, mostly without their knowledge.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

I had heard of Fallen Angels, I was seeing images from the movie floating around online, and kept hearing that it’s a really good movie. I really didn’t know much about it going in, I just knew that it was a crime romance movie, it was set in Hong Kong, and the director also made plenty of other movies that focus on relationships. So I went in fairly blind and I was quite surprised by what I saw, it really did live up to all the love.

Fallen-Angels-004

Fallen Angels has a unique narrative structure, with the two stories in the forefront being loosely connected in some way. The plot is also bit loose, it is definitely more character centric, but that works strongly and thankfully the characters themselves are interesting and fleshed out. They have their own struggles, ambitions and ways to live. They are lonely, relatable and you get invested in their stories. Along with the movie following these characters, the movie really contemplates and meditates on loneliness, relationships, love and the search for partnership through these stories. The setting these stories exist in have this seedy and dark vibe, and the stories are fully of despair, hopeless romanticism and emotion. From beginning to end, the movie has this constant feeling of melancholy. At the same time, the movie can be also eccentric and surprisingly funny. I found myself being quite engaged with the characters and their stories, and seeing where they would go next.

MV5BM2ZjYzI0ODEtYmU4Ni00NDRmLThjMDgtNzNlYjE0MWNjZjIyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_

The acting is another strong point in the movie, the cast are all great, especially Leon Lai, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Michelle Reis. Each actor gives such a strong and powerful performance, and each character is so quirky and memorable, the way they each interact and the world they live in is just so human yet so surreal. They really portray their characters perfectly.

Fallen-Angels-132

The direction from Wong Kar-wai is great, this is the first of his movies I’ve seen but I love his style even from this one movie alone. What’s immediately noticeable is the visual style, which is unique and nothing like any other movie I’ve seen. The movie is really atmospheric, being dream-like and detached, while having moments of tension and brutal violence. The cinematography from Christopher Doyle is unique; this movie is bursting with colour, and the use of neon and artificial lights and the setting of scenes at night gives the movie a gritty, harsh, dirty, and noir-esque feeling. Additionally, there’s a lot of kinetic and energetic large sweeping motions through, corridors, stairways, tunnels and more to deliver a dizzying experience (in a good way). The handheld shakiness brings a really exciting element to the film, especially during the scenes involving action. There isn’t a whole lot of action, but those scenes are filmed excellently. The stylish editing with seamless cuts really suits the overall vibe of the rest of the movie. I also loved the soundtrack, and the music choices were great, often having this soft jazzy vibe to it and it only added to the atmosphere.

MV5BYmY3MTc0N2YtNDYwMy00NGRlLTg2YWEtMzBlNWJiNmVmMGMxL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_

Fallen Angels is a visually gorgeous and energetic experience of a movie. The stylised direction is outstanding, and the storylines are engaging, with some interesting and memorable characters. It’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. I do want to come back to this movie sometime, even just to experience the atmosphere and general vibe of the movie again.

Goldeneye (1995) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond (007)
Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan (006)/Janus
Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova
Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp
Joe Don Baker as Jack Wade
Judi Dench as M
Gottfried John as General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov
Robbie Coltrane as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
Alan Cumming as Boris Grishenko
Director: Martin Campbell

When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan, AKA Agent 006 (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy, only James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) can save the world from an awesome space weapon that — in one short pulse — could destroy the earth! As Bond squares off against his former compatriot, he also battles Trevelyan’s stunning ally, Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), an assassin who uses pleasure as her ultimate weapon.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I have watched most of the James Bond films (even though I don’t seem to remember most of them) however there were a few I haven’t watched: From Russia with Love, Goldeneye and Never Say Never Again (and the Jerry Lewis Casino Royale if you want to count that as a Bond film). Goldeneye has been called one of the best James Bond movies and having finally seen it, I can see why that is. I’ll be honest, the James Bond films don’t really do much for me, even though I do like most of them. It’s only the Daniel Craig era that has great James Bond movies (and really only 2 of them are great). Goldeneye has the typical tropes, clichés and structure of typical Bond films but it does the best with those aspects. Martin Campbell does deliver an entertaining flick that works really well.

The movie is set after the Cold War era (with it being the first Bond movie made after the end of the Cold War) and the film fully embraces that time period. The opening scene starts off the movie well, it’s simple and straightforward and completely Bondlike. From that point onwards, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a Bond movie. The movie has much of the same structure and tropes as most Bond films. However, when it comes to James Bond movies this is one of the better ones and it does rather well with it. You don’t get very invested in the story plot but its straightforward and easy to follow, easy to be entertained by. The movie is 2 hours and 10 minutes and the pacing does work quite well, it’s always moving in some way and doesn’t give you a chance to draw bored at any point. You’re generally entertained throughout.

Goldeneye is Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as the new James Bond after Timothy Dalton’s two film run. His version is a lot more charismatic and charming than all the other James Bonds’ and Brosnan really excels at that aspect. I don’t really buy him as a spy as much as the other James Bonds but he’s still pretty entertaining to watch. The ‘Bond Girl’ of Goldeneye is played by Izabella Scorupco, and I can’t really tell if she’s a good actor or not because her character once again falls into the typical Bond girl category of not really having anything to them as a character. You never really buy the relationship between her and Bond, but I guess it’s kind of something to look past because it’s a Bond movie. Sean Bean plays the villain of Alec Trevelyan, a former double 00 agent gone rogue. Though the character really isn’t anything special (a rogue agent in a spy isn’t really anything special), he does serve the movie really well, and Bean does play up his villainous role and is entertaining. Famke Janssen also does well as Xenia Onatopp (yes, that’s the character’s name). However the character is a little too over the top, with her trademark kill being crushing people with her thighs and there are even times when she is literally moaning with pleasure after killing people. It just comes across as being really goofy more than anything, and that’s saying a lot considering the James Bond movies as a whole. While in a smaller role, M this time is played by Judi Dench, who would do a fantastic job in both the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig Bond eras. She’s only given a couple scenes here but she makes the most of these scenes to make a real impression. Alan Cumming is in this movie as a Russian hacker and while I get the feeling that his character is meant to be over the top, I think it was a little too over the top.

Martin Campbell starts off this new version of James Bond (not the first time he’d do this, see a decade later with Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale) and he does a great job. Campbell particularly does very well with the action scenes, with a lot of practical effects along with the digital effects. The fight scenes are great, especially the final confrontation between James and Alec, Bond actually seemed like he was somewhat in danger. There’s also some large scale and entertaining action sequences, including one with Bond chasing people in a tank. Some visual effects like blue lightning, satellites and some explosions look fake now but they probably worked greatly for 1995. The score by Éric Serra is different and stands apart from the other Bond scores, it really works.

Goldeneye is one of the best James Bond movies for sure. It’s very much a Bond film and has many of the familiar aspects and formula, but its really entertaining. Much of the success goes to Martin Campbell, who did a great job directing this movie and introducing a new James Bond with Pierce Brosnan. If you like the James Bond movies but haven’t gotten around to Goldeneye (which was me until recently), I’d suggest watching it, it’s a lot of fun.

Ghost in the Shell (1995) Review

8074a7ae-1194-11ea-82cd-148dc44829b8_image_hires_124128[1]

Ghost in the Shell 1995

Time: 83 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Atsuko Tanaka as Motoko Kusanagi (voice)
Akio Ōtsuka as Batou (voice)
Iemasa Kayumi as The Puppet Master (voice)
Director: Mamoru Oshii

In this Japanese animation, cyborg federal agent Maj. Motoko Kusanagi trails “The Puppet Master”, who illegally hacks into the computerized minds of cyborg-human hybrids. Her pursuit of a man who can modify the identity of strangers leaves Motoko pondering her own makeup and what life might be like if she had more human traits. With her partner, she corners the hacker, but her curiosity about her identity sends the case in an unforeseen direction.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Years ago I had watched the live action Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson, a movie that I actually liked even though I knew most people were a little mixed on it. However, I had been meaning to watch the original anime for some time, it’s widely acclaimed, it was incredibly influential, and it inspired filmmakers like The Wachowski Sisters and James Cameron. I’m glad I finally saw it, Ghost in the Shell is a great, immersive and revolutionary movie, exceptionally made on all fronts.

1_opC8ndIEWzVartwBG16Chg[1]

With so many anime movies out there, I decided to choose Ghost in the Shell as my first venture into them, and for me at least it worked out well. For those who’ve only seen the live action movie, although you can see some similarities in the plot, I can say it’s quite different from the original overall. The anime is a lot more complex and is less action based at the very least. We don’t really learn about Motoko as a character, in a conventional sense at the very least, like with her past and all that. The movie is only like an hour and 20 minutes long (and I actually do wish that it was considerably longer), but you really need to focus and absorb all of what was going on, because there’s a lot happening. As complicated as the plot can get, I was quite invested with everything that was going on. The only aspect of the plot I wasn’t really on board with was the bureaucratic and political side of the story, which was honestly rather hard to follow (maybe that part will improve on a rewatch). However, I was on board with the rest of the plot, with an intriguing central mystery. There are a lot of themes present in Ghost in the Shell, from what makes someone human, identity and belonging, and all of that is conveyed in both the story and visuals excellently. There was just so much to process in this one movie that I’m pretty sure that I’ll get even more out of it next time I watch it.

ghost-in-the-shell-main[1]

Mamoru Oshii directed Ghost in the Shell so greatly, the animation is fantastic with some great visuals and a lot of attention to detail (especially when it comes to the symbolism). He created a believable futuristic setting, you can get quite invested with it, and the movie takes the opportunity to showcase the cityscape quite often. It’s actually mesmerising and hypnotizing to watch. I wouldn’t call it an action filled movie, but the action scenes when present are fast paced, entertaining and absolutely stunning to watch. The score by Kenji Kawai is also excellent, and fits the rest of the movie really well.

maxresdefault-1[1]

Ghost in the Shell is a great movie for sure, beautifully animated, complex and thematic, and with an engaging story. You can see how it was an influence on many cyberpunk, futuristic and sci-fi fiction and film in general, from the animation and visuals to the story and setting. It holds up quite well to this day, and I do want to revisit it sometime. If you haven’t seen it already, it is worth watching for sure.

Toy Story (1995) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy
Erik von Detten as Sid
Director: John Lasseter

Woody, a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy names Andy, sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of a maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

As the 4th Toy Story movie is out now, I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy beforehand. The first Toy Story was such a massive hit upon its release, it was really revolutionary for its time, and all 4 of the movies are known as one of the best animated film series’. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll like the other Toy Story movies more, the first one is still really good. Dated animation aside, it still holds up well today.

The Toy Story movies are some of the best examples of animated kids movies that even adults can enjoy. They do much more than you think they could with a movie about toys, it’s pretty smart and creative. It is also genuinely funny. There’s even some well placed adult humour that only older people will pick up, and it’s not done in a way that feels forced or inappropriate (like The Cat in the Hat movie for instance), it’s concealed rather well. Then there’s also some way more mature story aspects that children wouldn’t pick up until they are adults. I mean it features a toy literally having an existential crisis after realising that he’s a toy. Toy Story is like an hour and 20 minutes long and works well with its runtime, the pacing is very effective, with not any scene feeling out of place or pointless. Storywise I can’t think of a single problem with it, they keep the story pretty straightforward and simple, and effective like that.

Toy Story has a memorable cast of characters, and the voice cast work perfectly. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are the main lead characters and work so well, they embody their characters really well. Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and more make up the supporting voice cast and also play their roles well, even though their characters are featured much less than Woody and Buzz.

The animations are clearly decades old, and some aspects don’t look that great. But you can tell that with it being from 1995, that it was very revolutionary for its time. Thankfully most of the attention is focussed on the toys, which look better than everything else in the movie. Sure, some of the designs and looks can look very dated (Bo Peep amongst the worst cases, especially when compared to her design in Toy Story 4), but most of them work. When it comes to more familiar looking objects like cars it looks more fake, and the worst of it is when it comes to the human characters (as well as a dog who appears a few times), who really look unnatural, especially when they are close up to the screen. However, all of this is just something that you can come to accept within the first 10-20 minutes of the movie.

Toy Story 24 years later is still an animated classic. It’s great for both kids and adults, and grown ups will probably get more from it than children. If you haven’t seen Toy Story yet, you definitely need to check it out soon, and even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a revisit for sure. Even if some of the dated animation bothers you, the script, characters and voice work no doubt make up for it.

Mortal Kombat (1995) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christopher Lambert as Raiden
Robin Shou as Liu Kang
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung
Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage
Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade
Talisa Soto as Princess Kitana
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Lord Raiden (Christopher Lambert) handpicks three martial artists — federal agent Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson), Shaolin monk Lui Kang (Robin Shou) and action movie sensation Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) — and mentors them. After intense training, Rayden transports the trio to Outworld, the site of an inter-dimensional fighting tournament. There, the three humans must defeat the demonic warriors of the evil Shang Sung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) — or allow Sung to take over the Earth.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The Mortal Kombat games left such an impact on video games, mostly with the excessive gore and blood that other fighting games at the time didn’t have. In 1995, Mortal Kombat got its own movie adaptation by Paul W.S. Anderson and to this day it’s generally considered to be one of the better video game movies, but that’s not saying much. Looking at the movie as a whole, it’s not particularly good but its entertaining enough (intentionally or otherwise) that it doesn’t really matter.

Mortal Kombat’s story is basic and easy to follow, it follows a basic pattern, two people fight, Christopher Lambert’s Raiden drops exposition, repeat until the third act. There’s really not much to say about the plot, its simple and cliched and nothing new. It still is somewhat entertaining however. Mortal Kombat is very over the top. Having played two of the most recent Mortal Kombat games, I can say that the characters are somewhat similar, they are mostly 2 dimensional but they aren’t given much depth in the games either. The dialogue is laughably terrible a lot of the time as well, the writing isn’t good at all. It’s the entertainment factor that really makes the movie watchable. Mortal Kombat is not too long, with it being an hour and 40 minutes long. It doesn’t really get boring, as long as you know what you’re in for.

The actors aren’t the best and aren’t particularly good for the most part but they do their roles well enough. From the two Mortal Kombat games that I played, they seemed to suit the roles well, however that’s all I can really say about them with a couple exceptions. Christopher Lambert as Raiden is perfect casting and was the standout to me.

Paul W.S. Anderson isn’t that great of a director from what I can tell but he does enough here for Mortal Kombat to be entertaining. The stunts in the fight sequences are pretty standard and nothing special. Thankfully you can actually see what’s going on and its not edited so that they’re incomprehensible, and at times they are over the top enough that they are entertaining. Despite the fight scenes being very over the top however, there isn’t really any blood whatsoever. This is a little bit of a problem, as the reason that the Mortal Kombat games got noticed so much (at least in the 90s) was the blood and gore, so it feels like the movie is really lacking something. No doubt this was a studio mandated decision to increase the amount of viewers as Paul W.S. Anderson had directed some bloody and violent movies. Some of the visual effects are decent enough (for its time at least), other effects are pretty terrible. The character of Goro (who is a monsterlike character with 4 arms) is completely practical, and while I’m fully aware that it would look terrible had it been in CGI, it looks very clunky and fake. There is a lot of slow motion used, to the point of ridiculousness. The music was good and really add to the movies and scenes, especially the main theme.

Mortal Kombat is not that good but it is entertaining at least. The acting for the most part is subpar, the effects haven’t aged well, it’s really cheesy and while it’s not a huge problem, the lack of the blood and gore really feels out of place. Yet it has parts that really work, some of the chesesiness can be entertaining (intentional or not) and the action scenes are mostly enjoyable. If you like the Mortal Kombat games, you might enjoy this movie. When I first watched Mortal Kombat, I personally didn’t watch play the games myself (although I knew of some of the characters) and I still enjoyed the movie quite a bit. So if you’re willing to watch a simple and cliched yet entertaining action movie, Mortal Kombat might do it for you. I think there’s some potential for a modern day Mortal Kombat movie to really work, hopefully we get that one day.