Tag Archives: film

BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (2007)

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Bloodrayne 2

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Natassia Malthe as Rayne
Zack Ward as Billy the Kid
Michael Pare as Pat Garrett
Chris Coppola as Newton Piles
Michael Teigen as Slime Bag Franson
Michael Eklund as The Preacher
Director: Uwe Boll

A hundred years later, the dhampir Rayne (Natassia Malthe) has arrived in the town of Deliverance where a group of vampire cowboys led by Billy the Kid (Zack Ward) have emerged, who is hell-bent on creating his own kingdom. Rayne aligns herself with Pat Garret (Michael Pare), a member of the long-thought-dead Brimstone society, a dishonest preacher (Michael Eklund), and a lowlife named Franson (Michael Teigen) to stop him.

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Uwe Boll’s Bloodrayne was a terrible movie and I knew that before watching it. Still, nothing could prepare me for how awful its sequel could be. Bloodrayne 2 has bad acting, awful camera work and a plot easily summarised in 3 sentences drawn out to 90 minutes. Although the first movie had some entertaining moments (intentional or not), this movie has none at all.

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The story is very drawn out; whereas the first Bloodrayne’s plot flew by really fast, this movie has a straight forward plot that is drawn out to incredible lengths. The dialogue is even worse here than in the previous movie, I swear it’s like a 12 year old tried to write an episode of Deadwood and he threw in some vampires. It also contains probably the worst final lines to a movie I’ve seen so far. After a while I actually figured out that Uwe Boll didn’t really want a Bloodrayne movie, he just wanted a vampire movie set in the wild west; I don’t think that using it as an excuse was the best idea, for example, it doesn’t make much sense for Rayne to have her blades when most of the time she uses guns.

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Natassia Malthe replaces Kristanna Loken as Rayne and she did as well as the original actress, which is to say, not very good; however to be fair, none of these actors are given anything to work with. Zack Ward plays Billy the Kid, who’s a vampire and he’s not good either and he may be worse as a villain than Ben Kingsley in the first movie, topping it off with a strange unidentifiable accent. Chris Coppola plays a reporter and he was very annoying, he just made me wish that his character would be killed off. The acting was pretty much the same from everyone. The only over the top acting was in the first scene of Michael Eklund playing a preacher, that scene was hilarious, if only for how over the top he went, it makes Meat Loaf from the first movie look subtle. Unfortunately that’s the only hilarious acting moment; none of these actors leave an impression on you.

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The cinematography is very clunky; it looks like the camera man forgot to use a tripod as the camera was shaky, even in steady shots. Whereas the previous movie had buckets of blood that were very over the top, the blood has been reduced; although it at first sounds like Uwe Boll made the right call in reducing it, the first movie’s gore at least entertained. The action scenes aren’t good, and there are even less of them than in the first movie; it’s a shame because even if this was a bad movie, it could’ve been a bit entertaining, like the first movie from time to time. Even the locations were bad, throughout the movie; the weather keeps also kept changing, one moment it’s desert, next moment it’s snowy, you can clearly see that this was shot in Canada.

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This movie makes Bloodrayne actually look good, at least it had entertaining moments. This movie was just completely dull, with no redeeming qualities. In retrospect of my Bloodrayne review, there are actually some ‘so bad it’s good’ moments and if you look at the movie at a certain way, it can be entertaining. It’s not the same here, it’s just a bore.

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi (1983) Review

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Star Wars Episode 6- Return of the Jedi

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Carlrissian
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
David Prowse as Darth Vader
James Earl Jones as Darth Vader (Voice)
Ian McDiarmid as The Emperor
Frank Oz as Yoda
Director: Richard Marquand

The Empire is halfway through construction of a new Death Star; when completed, it will spell certain doom for Luke Skywalker and the Rebels. Meanwhile, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) has been imprisoned and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has sent R2-D2 and C-3PO to try and free him; Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) and Chewbacca go along as well. They regroup with the Rebel fleet, which is massing for an attack against the new satellite battle station at Endor. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is leading the Rebel fighter attack, while Han is put in charge of a group of soldiers to take out the shield generator protecting the Death Star.

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The original Star Wars trilogy has some of the best movies ever made and Return of the Jedi is no exception. There are some people who may have been disappointed with this movie, but for me, this was the perfect way to end the Star Wars trilogy. It has everything that the previous two films had: great characters, an epic score, excellent storytelling and well done action scenes. This final chapter brings everything full circle and concludes the trilogy in the best way possible.

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The film has everything good from the previous two films and this includes the writing. The tone of the movie isn’t as dark as its predecessor but doesn’t go overboard either in being light hearted (with maybe the exception of the Ewoks which I’ll get to later). The first act was really good, especially with Jabba the Hutt; it is very interesting to see what’s going on. The second act, while still enjoyable, slowed down a bit as we are introduced to some creatures called Ewoks; these creatures have some of the more negative attention from some people. They didn’t personally bother me, they are a little distracting, however they don’t detract from the experience altogether. The final act however picks up; it is great and is so well cut together, intercutting scenes from three different events and locations. There is also a plot point near the end of the movie which was just perfect and is unexpected as most movies wouldn’t usually go that route.

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The actors play their characters for a third time and we can see how far they have developed and matured. An example is Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, in the first movie he was a naive farm boy, here he is a wise and powerful Jedi. The same goes with Carrie Fischer’s Leia and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo; their relationship from Empire Strikes Back continues here and it’s done as well as it was in that movie. Darth Vader is intimating as always with James Earl Jones’s well suited voice. A stand out performance is by Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, like Vader, he has such a big screen presence.

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Like in the previous Star Wars movies, the special effects are as good as always. The action scenes, whether it may be in Jabba’s Palace, in space with the fighters or on the forest moon Endor, they are so well shot and are very exciting. John Williams’s score is great as well in adding so many emotions to the film.

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Return of the Jedi really ends on a high note. I still think that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie made but in my opinion it’s on par with Star Wars (Episode 4). After hearing about the next three sequels it’s hard to imagine them getting anywhere close to this trilogy, the prequels certainly didn’t. Whatever your thoughts are about the prequels and unless the new trilogy changes everything, at the moment, the original Star Wars trilogy will remain the best Star Wars movies and overall, some of the greatest movies of all time.

Planet Terror (2007)

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Planet Terror

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling
Freddy Rodriguez as Wray
Josh Brolin as Dr William Block
Marley Shelton as Dr Dakota Block
Jett Fahey as J.T.
Michael Biehn as Sheriff Hague
Naveen Andrews as Abby
Bruce Willis as Lieutenant Muldoon
Director: Robert Rodriguez

In Texas, a gang lead by a black market dealer Abby (Naveen Andrews) faces a group of renegade militaries leaded by Captain Muldoon (Bruce Willis). During their shootout, Abby shoots a recipient of biological weapon, which releases an experimental gas that turns humans to flesh-eating zombies. When the outbreak affects most of the local population, a group of people lead by the mechanic Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn), the stripper Cherry (Rose McGowan) and Dr. Dakota (Marley Shelton) fight to survive and become the last hope to save the world.

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Planet Terror is the first part in the Grindhouse pack, paired with Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. As I pointed out in my Death Proof review, Quentin Tarantino’s movie unfortunately failed to entertain or interest me in the slightest and ended up as a bore. Planet Terror however is very entertaining and knows exactly what it is supposed to be. It’s a blood and gore drenched ride that doesn’t have a dull moment that will be entertaining for those who will be able to stomach it.

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The movie can be cheesy but that adds to the style; nothing is played straight. To give you an idea of the level of how unrealistic it can be, Rose McGowan’s character’s character has her leg removed (not spoiling anything) and near the end of the movie has a gun attached to where it should be before shooting a whole lot of zombies without even pulling the trigger. It is also at times self aware, in fact that there is a moment in the film where the screen shows ‘Missing film reel’ in the middle of a scene. The dialogue in exploitation movies are often bad, but here it’s quite good, if a bit cheesy at times. The film isn’t just constant action and violence, it has explosive moments, hilarious moments, disgusting moments and occasionally, shocking moments. There were some scenes which I felt could’ve been cut out (most notably one with a child and a gun) which wouldn’t have really changed the movie but overall the writing is actually better than most exploitation movies.

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Exploitation movies don’t really have great performances (they are in fact bad most of the time) but Planet Terror does have some decent performances. Rose McGowan does a pretty good job as the main character, even better when she’s in the action scenes with her gun-leg. Other actors like Freddy Rodriguez, Michael Biehn, Marley Shelton and Josh Brolin are also good in their roles.

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This is so far the bloodiest movie I’ve seen and I’ve seen Kill Bill and Django Unchained. All of the zombies are really designed with a lot of detail and are made as disgusting as possible. Like Death Proof, this does have a hazy camera filter but this time it stays throughout the whole movie and in my opinion, is used much better. The action scenes are well filmed, though keep in mind a lot of it is intentionally blown out of proportion, though you’ve probably figured that out already; they were never going for any realism (I once again draw attention to the gun for a leg).

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It is a better tribute to exploitation movies than Death Proof. The reason I give this film a higher score than most people would rate it is because of how it managed to entertain me. It’s not a movie that I think everyone should watch; if you hate these types of movies, nothing’s going to change your mind. However, if you are a fan of Grindhouse movies, it’s worth checking out, I haven’t watched any exploitation movies before and I had a great time with it. This movie isn’t great and isn’t going to win awards but it was never meant to; what makes it entertaining is the fact that it knows what it’s supposed to be and it delivers in that regard.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

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Natural Born Killers

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Woody Harrelson as Mickey Knox
Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox
Tom Sizemore as Jack Scagnetti
Robert Downey Jr. as Wayne Gale
Tommy Lee Jones as Dwight McClusky
Director: Oliver Stone

Delivery boy Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) falls in love with customer Mallory Wilson (Juliette Lewis). He helps her kill her parents and began their journey down Route 666. Every few miles, they attack everyone within their sight, sparing one person to tell the tale. They are made famous by reporter Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), while being pursued by the equally sadistic Jack Scagnetti.

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Oliver Stone is known for controversy in his films and Natural Born Killers is no exception. This film is quite polarizing; I don’t think everyone who watches this movie will like it. For me, it is a great showcase of acting, writing from Oliver Stone and satire. The style may be distracting but Natural Born Killers does have some elements that are great that are worth noting.

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This film is a satire of the media, public opinion, and the modern attitude toward violence (you really need to know that before watching it) and I think Oliver Stone did a pretty good job at delivering in that aspect. One of the elements of the satire is the fact that these serial killers are killing a lot of people and are being made famous by the media, so famous in fact, that they seem to be celebrities among some people. These two main characters are Bonnie and Clyde of the 90s if they were serial killers. This film also has an unconventional plot, along with it being about two serial killers; the plot mostly just follows them, whether that is the past or present. The first act of this movie was pretty good; it established these two characters and their relationship well. In the second act though my interest started decreasing, that point was when I started to find the style quite distracting as well, the film also slowed down quite a bit. The third act however picks up greatly, I won’t spoil what happens but it’s quite exciting and is even better than the first act. Another thing to mention is the fact that a lot of the characters aren’t that likable. Along with Mickey and Mallory (obviously) a lot of other characters are often quite despicable. Sometimes even some of the people that Mickey and Mallory aren’t that likable, with an exception to a few people. This isn’t a flaw with the movie; it’s just worth mentioning it.

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The acting is superb from everyone. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are really believable as these two serial killers who are in love and they really shine in their scenes. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie a lot but when he’s on screen is absolutely fantastic in his role. Tommy Lee Jones is also seen for a small part near the end of the movie and like Downey Jr., he really makes use of every second of screen time that he has.

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The style is very interesting to say the least. Sometimes the camera filters are a different colour, sometimes it is shot on an angle, and sometimes it cuts to some surreal images; it feels like you are on an acid trip. For the first half of the movie I accepted it and I was okay with it as it seemed to fit with the movie. But at the half way point, this style started to be quite distracting to me. I know that a lot of people loved the style: I thought it was good but for me, it got a little tiring after a while, you really need to prepare yourself for this type of movie.

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Natural Born Killers isn’t a movie that everyone will enjoy. Its style may be distracting, the fact that it’s following characters that aren’t likable (even some of the side characters aren’t that good either) or it might be the violence might repel some people. If you feel like you may like this movie, check it out but be ready for what you are going to see. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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Star Wars Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
David Prowse as Darth Vader
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda
Director: Irvin Kershner

Fleeing the evil Galactic Empire, the Rebels abandon their new base in an assault with the Imperial AT-AT walkers on the ice world of Hoth. Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca and the droid C-3PO escape in the Millennium Falcon as the Imperials pursue them across the galaxy. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the droid R2-D2 travel to the swamp world of Dagobah to learn the ways of the force from the legendary Jedi Master Yoda after receiving a vision from Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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The Empire Strikes back is the best Star Wars movie ever made and also one of the best films of all time. It was a hard act to make a follow up to original, but Irvin Kershner more than manages it. Dark and powerful, it improves on everything that was great in the first movie – it’s overall a masterpiece.

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Tone-wise, The Empire Strikes Back is darker than Star Wars but not too dark. The story picks up after the events of the first movie and from start to finish, always interests the audience. The first act is really good and starts off on a great note, it is the invasion of Hoth; the battle is so well put together and filmed and is one of the best scenes in the franchise. There is a particular plot point near the end of the movie that no one could have predicted at the time – which I will not spoil for those few people who haven’t watched this movie yet. If that same thing was repeated in another movie today, it wouldn’t really work, not just because this movie used it; with this movie, it is appropriate and somehow strangely works. The ending also is a little bit of a cliff-hanger. It isn’t like the previous movie with them invading the Death Star but somehow ends up being more satisfying.

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Just about everyone from the previous film returns here. A lot of the characters go through changes – overall they are much stronger characters. Luke is starting to learn about becoming a Jedi. Darth Vader in this movie is also more of a threat than in the previous movie. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fischer have great banter and dialogue between them which are effective, fun to watch and further the characters. The new characters introduced are also well acted, such as Billy Dee Williams in the role as Lando Calrissian; although he doesn’t have that much screen time and not much information is given about him, he is definitely a great addition to the cast. However the supporting character who steals the show is Yoda, played by Frank Oz who is a scene stealer and makes the character so special. Oz actually manages to go beyond Yoda being a puppet, and has successfully made him a character that really lives and breathes.

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The special effects are similar to Star Wars but end up being slightly better. The film takes a variety of locations, from the ice planet of Hoth, the swamp planet Dagabah and many others. John Williams’s score here continues to impress. The song that stands out the most is the Imperial March which is mostly used for Darth Vader; it gives such a dark and powerful vibe and in my opinion it is actually better than the original main theme of Star Wars.

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The Empire Strikes Back isn’t just the best Star Wars movie; it’s also one of the greatest films of all time. It improves on every element, from the acting, to the effects, locations, art directions and even the writing. It is up there with movies like The Godfather Part 2, Aliens and Terminator 2 as brilliant sequels that are better than the original. Absolutely brilliant, the Empire Strikes Back is a fantastic film in every way.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
Paul Freeman as Rene Belloq
Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht
John Rhys-Davies as Sallah
Denholm Elliot as Satipo
Director: Steven Spielberg

Archaeologist professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired to find the Ark of the Covenant when two agents from US Army intelligence tell him of Nazi German activities in archaeology, including a gigantic excavation site in Egypt – a site that an intercepted cable indicates to Indy is the location of the, the powerful chest bearing the Ten Commandments, that the Nazis can use to obliterate any enemy.

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Every adventure movie ever made owes it to this movie. With great characters, a sense of adventure, many thrills and well filmed action scenes; it is easy to see it reflected in many adventure movies released after it. It held up 33 years ago and it holds up today, as it continues to entertain today.

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This film always has something entertaining going on and always has your curiosity and attention. The reason why it is so loved was because as a film, it gets everything right. For a simple premise, the film takes advantage of it and really makes it as entertaining as possible. The film also has many genres combined into it: action, adventure, romance, comedy, fantasy – and all of these genres are extremely well balanced. There aren’t that many flaws with this movie (despite Indy near the end of the movie knowing what to do despite not learning about it prior to the event), and most of the time you don’t even notice them as you are wrapped up in the adventure.

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Indiana Jones is now an iconic character thanks to Harrison Ford’s performance. He doesn’t just rehash his performance from Star Wars as Han Solo; he really brings this character to life. He is like John McClane from Die Hard; he felt relatable and vulnerable like other human beings who seemed like he could die at any moment, where a lot of action characters are always capable. Karen Allen also does a good job at being Marion Ravenwood who is Indy’s love interest throughout the movie. One of the best things about her is that unlike most female characters in action movies (who usually spend most of their time being rescued from danger), she can hold her own and handle herself in any situation All the other side characters that are in this movie are memorable, especially Davies, Elliott and Lacey who are effective as the antagonists in the movie.

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The action scenes in this movie are done incredibly well. The film is also perfectly edited, as is the cinematography shot. I know it goes without saying but the stunt work is incredible; there are a lot of them, unlike most movies of today which often use CGI for the big action scenes. That chase scene in the last act with the horses stands out most to me whenever I think about this movie; it so well shot and overall is the best car chase scene I’ve seen in a movie. The set pieces for each location are designed very well. Also the film uses a lot of practical effects that actually feel real, a perfect example is the boulder near the beginning of the movie. John William’s score is a triumph all the way through; it fits so well with the action scenes, the discovery scenes and many others.

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This film is a fun adventure, simple as that. It takes you on a ride. The film balances the action scenes, dialogue and mystery moments. If for some strange reason you haven’t seen this movie, see it now and see what you have been missing out on for years. Raiders of the Lost Ark are a special movie to action films and to films in general. Steven Spielberg perfectly captured the adventurous spirit with this movie.

Back to the Future (1985)

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Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly
Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown
Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines
Crispin Glover as George Mcfly
Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen
Director: Robert Zemeckis

Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox), a high-schooler helps his friend Dr Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) with a time machine built into a Delorean. Because of unfortunate circumstances, Marty is taken from 1985 to 1955 and is stuck there. He must find the doc and find a way for him to go back to the present while making sure that his parents fall in love after accidently interrupting an important meeting between the two.

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If I had to describe what watching this movie is like, I’d say that it is absolutely fun to watch; it has moments that are funny, entertaining and takes you on a wild ride and is a movie that everyone can enjoy. The movie has definitely aged well, despite it being released nearly 30 years ago; it is still a very enjoyable movie and a timeless classic.

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The script is nearly flawless. Despite the fact that time travel movies aren’t very original, it’s the execution that makes it so great; I think the thing that makes this film stand out from other time travel movies is the fact that they go back in time instead of going forward to the future, which is what most time travel movies did. The dialogue between people is entertaining and quotable. There are some plot holes in the movie but I didn’t really mind them that much, I was already having fun with the movie. The film is also quite clever by linking some events in the 50s (the time period that Marty went back to) and the 80s (where he came from), as well as showing how much has changed in 30 years.

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This movie has really entertaining and memorable performances, especially by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd; both actors play their roles very well and are very likable. Another performance that is great was by Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen, a bully. He was very entertaining and one of the best characters that you love to hate. All the other actors like Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover were also really good in their roles. The actors also share excellent chemistry with each other, especially Fox and Lloyd who share entertaining moments together as they are desperately trying to solve Fox’s character’s problem.

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The special effects are mostly kept to a minimum; most of them are used with the Delorean and are really good. It is also mostly used near the end of the movie, and the way they were used has made the final act of the movie very satisfying. The soundtrack is also really great and really added a lot to the movie. Alan Silvestri composed the score for the movie and it is absolutely mind-blowing; the main theme of the composed score is particularly one of the best movie themes, it gives off such an epic and adventurous vibe. The soundtrack also had good pre-existing songs as well, with songs from people like Huey Lewis and the News, Lindsey Buckingham and Eric Clapton. Those songs added some feeling to the time periods that the characters were in as well as setting the mood of the movie.

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Back to the Future is a timeless classic that deserves to be seen by anyone, movie buff or not. With the masterful script, memorable characters and constant fun, this movie never grows old. The film also has two sequels and I don’t know what movie I prefer, however in whatever case, Back to the Future came first and made such an impact on film. It is a magical adventure and is a film that everyone should at least watch once.

Drive (2011)

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Drive

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Director: Nicholas Winding-Refn
Cast:
Ryan Gosling as The Driver
Carey Mulligan as Irene
Bryan Cranston as Shannon
Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose
Oscar Isaac as Standard
Christina Hendricks as Blanche
Ron Perlman as Nino

A mysterious driver (Ryan Gosling) works as a garage mechanic, a Hollywood stuntman and a getaway driver. He helps his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is in prison and her son Benicio and he falls in love with her. Later on Standard (Oscar Isaac), Irene’s husband is released from prison but owes people some money. The driver decides to help him out by being the getaway driver to a heist but problems occur. This is based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis.

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Drive is one of the best directed films I’ve ever seen; it has some of the best cinematography, good performances and an engaging story. Although it will be polarizing to some people and not for everyone, for me, it is a masterpiece and is one of the most memorable movies I have ever seen.

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Drive is one of those movies that you have to be careful of what you expect; on the surface it looks like The Transporter but instead of having Jason Statham in the lead role, it’s Ryan Gosling; this is not like that. Also, don’t watch the trailer; it misrepresents what the movie is like, as well as spoiling a lot the plot. Despite the film being called ‘Drive’ there aren’t as many car scenes as you’d think, when they are there however, they are some of the best a film can have; the opening scene is a good example of this. This movie’s pacing does take its time, especially the first half after the intro. The film has a lot of themes which can lead to it being analyse-worthy; there are also some symbolism, for example with the scorpion on the back of Gosling’s jacket is often related with the story of the frog and the scorpion. The whole movie for me interested me from start to finish.

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Ryan Gosling was superb in this role; he has a very subtle performance which works best for his character. His character is mysterious and doesn’t speak that much in this movie. This is one of those performances where he is able to emote what the character is feeling even with just his eyes. Carey Mulligan is also really good in this movie and shares good chemistry with Gosling. The supporting cast was also really good like Oscar Isaac, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks who are also great. Albert Brooks is particularly good, presenting a villainous side of him that we really haven’t really seen before.

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This movie looks beautiful; the cinematography here is one of the best I’ve seen, I haven’t seen the city of L.A. filmed this well since Collateral. There aren’t many scenes of action but when they are, they are well filmed and are very tense. Also worth noting are the short bursts of sudden graphic bloody violence; it really contrasts in this movie from the calm tone it presented in the first half. It isn’t the Tarantino type of gore; it’s more of a David Cronenberg type of gore. There is also something retro about Drive, whether it would be the neon opening or the unique music. The music is also worth mentioning as it is nothing like I’ve heard before in a movie; it is an electronic pop synthesiser that somehow really fits in with this movie’s tone. The whole movie overall feels very dreamlike with the cinematography and music.

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Drive is a completely different movie than it would seem at first but it’s undeniably a masterpiece. A modern day Bullitt, it succeeds in being incredible to experience and to watch. The film’s slower pace after the intro may turn off some viewers, as well as the graphic violence, so I will say that this movie isn’t for everyone. However this is one of the best directed movies I’ve seen, and has stuck with me since I first saw it.

American Hustle (2013)

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American Hustle

Time: 138 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld
Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser
Bradley Cooper as Richie Dimaso
Jeremy Renner as Carmine Polito
Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Director: David O. Russell

In 1978, a brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). Richie makes a deal for them to help him nab four additional white collar criminals for their ultimate release without charges. Their initial target is Camden, New Jersey Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), who is trying to revitalize Atlantic City as a gambling mecca, which requires an influx of investments in the millions. DiMaso pushes Irving and Sydney into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

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David O. Russell has made another great movie. With a masterful script, great performances and the ability to transport the audience into the 1970s, American Hustle is a great movie. It is a movie that will entertain you, surprise you and overall, it’s a movie that is really enjoyable to watch.

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The script by David O. Russell is absolutely fantastic. The story goes from a range of tones, from being hilarious to being quite tense. There was never a moment where I could predict where the movie would go next. Not making a comparison here, but there were moments in the movie that were reminiscent of Goodfellas, especially with the narrations. The narrations are actually done by multiple people here, which is a risky move but David O. Russell managed to pull it off. There are some flashbacks for some characters and they are tied in and edited very well. Every scene seemed to be interesting and entertaining. All of the characters had layers and go to many places with many emotions, which is made even better with the fact that their actors really understand them.

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Christian Bale is the best he has been in years, physically transformed himself by gaining a ton of weight. It’s not just the weight though; Bale gives really embodies the character that David O. Russell wrote completely. Amy Adams here is the best that I’ve seen her. Bradley Cooper is also really good here, and this just might be his best performance; it’s a tossup between this and Silver Linings Playbook. Jeremy Renner is also really good here giving one of his best performances. Jennifer Lawrence stole every scene she was in, despite her not being in the movie as much as the previously mentioned cast. There is also a surprise cameo that I won’t spoil, which is when the main characters are dealing with the mafia. The actors really played off each other really well and completely embody their characters, giving some of the best performances of their careers.

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The film really manages to make the setting feel like the 70s as well as L.A. Confidential managed to make its setting feel like it’s in the 50s. The hairstyles and costumes are really distinctive and fit the time period. The cinematography was in the style of Goodfellas, sometimes the film has longer takes, especially through narrations and it fitted the style they were going for. The soundtrack also really suits the time period and are perfect for every moment that the songs were put in.

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American Hustle is an entertaining and unpredictable movie that is at least worth a watch. There are many people who walked out of this movie, not understanding the hype that most people gave it, so I won’t guarantee that everyone will love it. However at least for me, this is an enjoyable movie, filled to the brim with great performances, excellent writing and overall ends up being a great movie.

Aliens (1986)

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Aliens

Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Carrie Hann as Rebecca ‘Newt’ Jordan
Michael Biehn as Corporal Dwayne Hicks
Lance Henriksen as Bishop
Jenette Goldstein as Private Vasquez
Paul Reiser as Carter Burke
Bill Paxton as Private Hudson
Director: James Cameron

The only survivor of the Nostromo, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) awakens half a century later (after the events of Alien) after her escape vessel is recovered and taken back to Earth she soon learns that the human colony of LV-426 which is on the planet the alien she found, lost contact with Earth. Ripley is called back to the planet as an adviser with space marines to investigate.

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The idea of having a sequel to a film which was a horror movie, which is now an action movie, seemed like a recipe for disaster. However, this movie is greatly directed by James Cameron and even manages to still contain some of the fear elements from Alien. It is always hugely entertaining and has led to many other sci-fi movies. Aliens is a thrill ride that never lets up at gaining your attention, scaring you or entertaining you.

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One thing noticeable is the pacing which isn’t as slow as its predecessor; it is slightly faster which is good for the type of movie it was going for. The ways the Xenomorphs (the aliens) work are shown so we get an idea about how powerful they are. However, Cameron doesn’t show all of it or explain it; he gives enough information necessary for the audience to understand. The film also manages to balance the action scenes with the suspense scenes. The film’s action scenes build up over time and are always satisfying. The final act is particularly enjoyable and entertaining and is Ellen Ripley being a pure badass.

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Ellen Ripley is more developed here than in Alien and therefore Sigourney Weaver’s performance here makes her character so great; her performance even being rewarded with an Oscar nomination, despite this mostly being a sci-fi movie. She is stronger in this movie and you can clearly see her develop as the plot goes on – like Sarah Conner in Terminator 2. The side characters have more personality than in the characters in Alien; however as there are more of them, this means that a lot of them die, which results in some being more developed than others. There are some stand out characters that are focussed on more such as Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henrikson, Jeanette Goldstein, Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton – and all of these actors were really good in their roles and carry the movie along with Sigourney Weaver.

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Aliens takes advantage of its higher budget and makes use of really good effects, especially for the aliens, though they aren’t CGI, which is great. As with Alien, this movie has really good cinematography and lighting, which were some of the things that made Alien so effective as a horror movie. As this now takes place on a colony, where as Alien took place on a ship, Aliens has a larger place to work with and therefore have a lot of impressive sets that were used. The sound design and editing are also good, like in Alien. The soundtrack composed by James Horner is also good, adding to the atmosphere the tension and the feeling of the unknown.

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Aliens proves that there are times where a horror movie can become an action movie – you just need the right people who can make it so. This is one of the rarest cases where a horror movie to action movie translation actually works, and in this case brilliant. You won’t get as many scares as you may have from the previous movie but this is still a great experience. This is my favourite movie in the Alien franchise. Aliens is a great action sci-fi movie that gives the audience exactly what they want, when they want it.
10/10