Tag Archives: movie reviews

Man of Steel (2013) Review

MAN OF STEEL

Man of Steel

Time: 143 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Michael Shannon as General Zod
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White
Russell Crowe as Jor-El
Director: Zack Snyder

A young boy, Clark learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man (Henry Cavill), he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

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Man of Steel is a reboot of Superman and that has divided a lot of people. Some people say that it’s a good movie that does well in executing the new take on Superman, while others say that it is Hollywood garbage and is disrespectful to the comics. As someone who doesn’t read comic books but a fan of superhero movies, I personally enjoyed it despite some flaws in the writing. It’s an entertaining, visually stunning movie and for the direction that it was going for, it was well executed.

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The writing in Man of Steel isn’t bad but it is the weakest element of the movie. I quite liked the beginning of the movie; it shows Krypton’s destruction and the events of what took place there. That scene was actually done better here than the original Superman; with the original, Krypton’s look was quite basic and we don’t really see much of it. Here though, it is exciting to watch all these events happening and was the best way to open the movie. This movie is a much different take on Superman; the tone is overall darker and it also seems to make Superman appear in this world as realistic as possible while keeping its serious tone. Also there doesn’t seem to be any romance between Clark and Lois. Another thing different in this movie is something that has been gathering controversy and unfortunately it’s a spoiler as it’s near the end of the movie; if you’ve watched the movie and looked at online forums you know what I’m talking about. All I will say about this moment is that I don’t really have much of a problem with it and I thought that it was actually well done.

MAN OF STEEL

Henry Cavill did a good job in portraying Superman; he had quite a Christopher Reeve vibe to him, which always helps when playing Superman.  Amy Adams was decent as Lois Lane and a good thing is that she does end up doing more to help Superman more than some previous Lois Lanes have. Michael Shannon did a great job as Zod; even though he wouldn’t have been the only person to be able to play that character he does well with what he’s got. One of the great things about this adaptation of Zod is the fact that you can really understand his motivations; so many supervillians in movies are just written to be evil but here you can see why he does what he’s doing. To be honest he is better than most of the villains in the Marvel movies. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El, Superman’s biological father; Crowe isn’t on screen for very long but makes use of what screen time he has.

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Zack Snyder directed this movie, so you can expect it to look good, as well as the special effects being well done. The fights that take place are also extremely satisfying; it’s also quite impossible to describe the amount of carnage that happens in this movie. It’s like the opposite of Superman Returns which had little to no conflict. The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer is as usual great here and it adds another layer of epicness to this movie.

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Man of Steel may not please everyone but for me it was an enjoyable watch. The acting was decent, the story was simple and it was fun to watch. It’s not a movie that I’d put among the great superhero movies but I think that it’s good. The follow up, Batman v Superman is something I am looking forward to and I’m interested how Zack Snyder will deliver.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

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E.T

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language
Cast:
Henry Thomas as Elliot
Robert MacNaughton as Michael
Drew Barrymore as Gertie
Dee Wallace as Mary
Peter Coyote as Keys
Director: Steven Spielberg

A group of aliens visit earth and one of them is lost and left behind stranded on this planet. The alien soon finds a friend and in 10-year-old Elliot (Henry Thomas). While E.T. slowly gets acquainted with Elliot’s brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), his sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) as well as with Earth customs, members of the task force work day and night to track down the whereabouts of him. After being able to communicate with Elliot and the others, E.T. starts building an improvised device to send a message home for his folks to come and pick him up.

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E.T. is often called one of the greatest movies of all time. Maybe for its time it was, but looking at it now, it doesn’t seem to have held up, at least for me. The film isn’t bad, it’s decently made; but its aging has created some flaws as well as revealing some flaws in the movie that were there to begin with. In my opinion, this isn’t among Spielberg’s best or the best movies that ever made.

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The movie most of the time seems to focus on the relationship between E.T. and Elliot and while it wasn’t done badly; I didn’t really feel the connection between the two. As for how much emotion I felt, I didn’t really feel much when I watched it, even when I was 13 when I watched it for the first time I didn’t feel anything. Also I never really felt for any of the characters, none of them are unlikeable, they seem likable enough for a pass but I didn’t feel like we got to know them. Along with me not being attached to the characters, a lot of the scenes that had an impact on others didn’t make any impact on me for whatever reason; the bike scene is an example. Speaking of which (without spoiling anything), I am still wondering how E.T. managed to get those bikes to fly. This is also a problem, there are moments that just seem convenient that weren’t mentioned or explained previously. Another example is when (again I’m doing my best not to spoil anything) there is some deep connection between E.T. and Elliot but there is a point when something takes a toll on both of their conditions, which isn’t explained in the movie ever.

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The acting was okay by everyone. A lot of children are the main characters and they are well acted enough, they weren’t great performances but in comparison to some child actors of today, they are much better. However none of the performances made an impression or me and none of them stood out.

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This may just be a nitpick for me but I personally think that the filmmakers could have gone with a better design for E.T. I’m glad that it wasn’t of a small green alien (which a lot of representations of aliens are done like) but the look of E.T. really took me out of the movie; it looks like it came from the garbage compactor from Star Wars: A New Hope. The effects were good with the bike scene but there actually aren’t that many other moments with effects. The score for this by John Williams is pretty good but I wouldn’t say it is one of his best.

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E.T. isn’t a movie that I particularly love. I just wasn’t that attached to the characters and I had no emotional connection with anything in the movie. Despite this, countless people have been impacted by this movie; maybe they saw it in a critical part of their childhood; I will say that younger audiences will probably like it more than older people. If you haven’t watched it already, I recommend checking it out; even to just have an opinion on it. But keep in mind there is a chance that you may not like it as much as other people.

The Happening (2008) Review

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The Happening

Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror scenes and violence
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore
Zooey Deschanel as Alma Moore
John Leguizamo as Julian
Betty Buckley as Mrs Jones
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A strange, horrible and unprecedented crisis begins in Central Park. A high school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg), his wife (Zooey Deschenal) and a young girl do what they can to survive it.

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M. Night Shyamalon is a filmmaker that has taken a strange turn, he started off by making a few great movies but after that, his films have started decreasing in good reviews. The Happening promises to be his comeback, unfortunately if he does have a comeback, it’s not here. The writing is bad, the acting is wasted and sometimes hilarious and the story is not interesting, despite an initially interesting premise.

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In contradictory to the title of the film, I didn’t feel like much happened here. This film tries to be scary but fails; all the deaths are meant to be shocking and disturbing but because of how bluntly they are done, they come off as being hilarious; there is even a scene where someone turns on a lawnmower and lets it pass over him. The dialogue is also quite bad at times, so bad in fact that it is quite quotable, especially from Mark Wahlberg (“Come on guys, take an interest in science”). There are also some moments don’t add up to anything, such as when a guy is talking about hot dogs, and this is in a part of a movie where everybody is trying to survive and find out why all these events are happening. The characters aren’t very likable, the characters aren’t developed enough and any emotion they show is quite shallow; any sub plots with the characters go absolutely nowhere.

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This movie has some good actors but because of the script, they don’t have a lot to work with. Mark Wahlberg is completely miscast as a science teacher, he’s much better at tough guy roles and after watching his performance here you’ll understand why. He doesn’t seem to express much emotion here and to be honest, at times it looks like he’s a bit confused with the script; however that can lead to some unintentionally classic moments; check out the scene where he talks to a plant. Zooey Deschenal is a good actress but was unfortunately painful to watch here, she seemed to always have one blank expression on her face the whole time. There were no performances that lifted the film in being legitimately good; in fact the best performance is of a construction worker near the beginning that you see for less than 1 minute. I don’t blame the actors for the bad performances, I blame the script and the poor direction they were given.

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The cinematography is at times okay but there are some questionable moments; there is one painfully, painfully long close-up of Mark Wahlberg pleading with his group for time to think when trouble starts happening. Sometimes the camera is quite close to people’s faces that parts of their faces sometimes get cut off. There are also moments where the film literally tries to scare the audience with the wind, there are dramatic shots of people running and the grass around them is being blown by the wind. One thing I can say is legitimately good about this movie is the score.

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The Happening is not Shyamalon’s comeback and looking at his next two movies, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be happening for a while. Along with this movie at times being laughably bad, it just wasn’t that scary or very interesting. This movie is not very interesting and it’s a little boring at times. The Happening is called a movie that’s so bad it’s good; this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it’s quite bad. If you are going to watch this movie, don’t expect to be particularly scared or interested. However whatever you expect, don’t expect a great Shyamalon movie here.

Avatar (2009)

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Time: 162 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Sigourney Weaver as Grace
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch
Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon
Director: James Cameron

In the future, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na’vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers Intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back for the fate of Pandora.

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Avatar is one of the most successful movies and is loved by many people. Although I do think it is a good movie with excellent cinematography and CGI, I have issues with the script which is often predictable and could’ve been much better. Despite this, it is still an enjoyable movie.

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The writing for me is the weakest part of the movie; to clarify it’s not the world of Pandora I’m talking about, that was done okay, it’s the story. The story for me was predictable, even when I was 10 years old watching this in cinemas, most of the time I could see where this story was going, this type of story has been done before. This movie is very similar to Dances with Wolves; you may as well call this movie “Dances with Wolves with blue Indians”. Also another flaw in the writing is the characters, none of the characters really stood out to me and often there are certain characters that are only there to move a plot point along like the general who is quite clichéd. Another thing that should be added is that there were a lot of moments in the middle of the film that I felt wouldn’t make much of a difference if they were taken out. It shows Sam Worthington’s character learning how to become one of the Na’vi but at times it seems just like a montage. Overall the story is functional but still could’ve improved immensely. If you put this story in a place without big special effects, I think people would more likely notice the glaring issues with the script.

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The acting was decent enough from most people. Sam Worthington gives a pretty good performance and does what he can with the script, despite his character not being very interesting. Zoe Saldana gives the best performance in the movie and plays probably the character that’s closest to standing out the most. Stephen Lang plays the general as I mentioned above and like I said, his role just seems to just be the clichéd bad guy. No character information is given to him so as a result, his performance didn’t leave an impression on me. Other actors like Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver also do the best of what they have.

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The special effects elevated this movie and are probably the only reason I’ll overlook the writing’s flaws, at least a little. This movie really makes you feel like you are in the world of Pandora. The battle scenes are also well filmed and unlike some battle scenes in other Hollywood movies today, you can actually see them from a good distance. The CG and the motion captures of the Na’vi are done excellently.

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Avatar isn’t a great movie in my eyes, only when considering the special effects. I heard that there will be sequels to this movie and I have to say I don’t understand why. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, do so. Technically this film is well made with a great look; just don’t expect a great movie.

Death Proof (2007)

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Death Proof

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Offensive language, violence and content that may offend
Cast:
Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike
Rosario Dawson as Abernathy
Vanessa Ferlito as Arlene
Jordan Ladd as Shanna
Rose McGowan as Pam
Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Jungle Julia
Tracie Thoms as Kim
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lee
Zoë Bell as Herself
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman (Kurt Russell) who uses his “death proof” cars to execute his murderous plans.

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Death Proof is the second part of the Grindhouse movie pack which is paired with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Quentin Tarantino usually has something to impress me with, usually with the dialogue and the performances he can make the actors give. Unfortunately, with this movie he’s unsuccessful doing this. His tribute to the grindhouse (or exploitation) movies should entertain but it doesn’t do that. Instead we are left with a 113 Minute movie that only a few times had my interest.

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Tarantino’s movies are dialogue driven movies however people who know about exploitation movies know that the dialogue isn’t well written. Still, Tarantino makes the movie dialogue driven and it doesn’t work. The dialogue here is more cringe worthy than some real exploitation movie dialogue because unlike the exploitation movies which don’t focus on it (and therefore it’s easier to just look past it), this movie really focuses on it a lot. Nearly all of the dialogue has nothing to do with anything; Tarantino manages to make his other movies have people talking about irrelevant things while keeping the movie entertaining (like the tipping scene from Reservoir Dogs) but here it is just boring and makes this one of the most frustrating movie experiences to sit through. Despite the plot being about these women being stalked by Kurt Russell’s character, there is no presence of him being a threat; I wouldn’t even call this movie a thriller.

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Easily the best performance of this movie is by Kurt Russell, he really relishes in the role that he has, apart from near the end where he seems to jump character. He is not in the movie a lot though; he pops up somewhere in the middle and twice near the end. Also, despite being advertised as the main star of this movie, he’s not really that; the women are; which consist of Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Zoë Bell as herself. Although they do the best they can with what they have, the script doesn’t really give them a chance to give the characters any personality. I know that exploitation movies don’t usually have characters that have much personality but if someone is going to write a dialogue driven movie, the characters should have at least some personality. It results in the audience not really caring for any of the characters.

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The movie for the first half of the movie uses the grainy grindhouse filter well; in that aspect it felt like a grindhouse movie. However halfway through the movie the film changes to a black and white look for no reason at all and halfway through that scene it changes to colour without the grainy look. The car scenes are well done and aren’t CGI, however (I’m not spoiling anything here) there are only two car chase scenes. The soundtrack is well chosen by Tarantino, as he usually does.

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Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is not a movie that I would recommend that people see but I wouldn’t say to avoid it. I’ve heard of people who absolutely love this movie, for whatever reason. What I will say is that if you are planning to watch this movie, be careful of what you expect. Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror seems to capture more successfully the style and enjoyment of a grindhouse movie much more than this movie. Death Proof isn’t a terrible movie but it isn’t really one that I’d say is good.

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Reservoir Dogs (1992)

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Reservoir Dogs

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Harvey Keitel as Mr White
Tim Roth as Mr Orange
Michael Madsen as Mr Blonde
Chris Penn as Nice Guy Eddie
Steve Buscemi as Mr Pink
Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot
Edward Bunker as Mr Blue
Quentin Tarantino as Mr Brown
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Six criminals, who are strangers to each other, are hired by a crime boss, Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), to carry out a diamond robbery. The six strangers are Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), a professional criminal; Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), a young newcomer; Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), a trigger-happy killer; Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), a paranoid neurotic; Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino); and Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker). Right at the outset, they are given false and are completely sure that the robbery is going to be a success. But, when the police show up right at the time and the site of the robbery, panic spreads amongst the group members, and one of them is killed in the subsequent shootout, along with a few policemen and civilians. When the remaining people assemble at the rendezvous point, they begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop.

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With Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino established himself as a director to keep an eye out for. His excellent dialogue with the well rounded cast and even the bloody violence makes this an absolute classic.

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Quentin Tarantino movies are often driven by dialogue. Sometimes, some of the dialogue doesn’t have much to do with the plot but it doesn’t feel forced; it actually makes the dialogue even better. In the first scene we don’t really hear anything about the heist; instead we hear the main characters talk about what Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is about and a debate about tipping. The only other writer I can think on the top of my head who has managed to do this is Martin McDonagh. It is also one of the best heist movies despite not even showing the heist. The film shows the events before and after the heist and are presented and written so well, the audience doesn’t need to see the heist in order to get a picture of what happened; the majority of what happened is conveyed through dialogue. It’s also not always placed in chronological order; some of the scenes are mixed around in time.

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The film has a huge cast which consists of Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Laurence Tierney and a cameo by Quentin Tarantino. All the actors are great but the two stand outs are Steve Buscemi and Michael Madsen; both of them were absolute show stealers. Michael Madsen in particular has a scene involving the song ‘Stuck in the middle with you’ by Stealers Wheel, which is probably the most famous (or infamous) scene in the movie; it was reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange’s use of “Singin’ in the Rain”. The actors really played off each other well and delivered the dialogue greatly.

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The film is well shot; the cinematography is often overlooked due to the excellent writing and dialogue. While not mind-blowing, the cinematography is good, same goes for the editing. This movie also showed another thing that Tarantino would be using for a lot of his movies; a lot of blood and gore. Some people have argued that the violence is unnecessary but I think it was well done and used. The music is absolutely great and is picked right for the moment; a great example is again “Stuck in the Middle with you”.

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Reservoir Dogs is one of Quentin Tarantino’s best movies. It isn’t for everyone; I can see that, mostly because of the level of violence. But if you think you might like it or if you are a Tarantino fan, who hasn’t seen this movie yet, go see it as soon as you can, you won’t be disappointed.

Goodfellas (1990)

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Goodfellas

Time: 146 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence
Cast:
Ray Liotta as Henry Hill
Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway
Joe Pesci as Tommy Devito
Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill
Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero
Director: Martin Scorsese

This film views the mob lives of three pivotal figures in the 1960’s and 70’s New York. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a local boy turned gangster in a neighbourhood full of the roughest and toughest. Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci) is a pure bred gangster, who turns out to be Henry’s best friend. Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) puts the two of them together, and runs some of the biggest hijacks and burglaries the town has ever seen. As he makes his way from strapping young petty criminal, to big-time thief, to middle-aged cocaine addict and dealer, the film explores in detail the rules and traditions of organized crime.

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Goodfellas is one of Martin Scorsese’s masterpieces; from beginning to end, Goodfellas is compelling as it displays Henry Hill’s 3 decades in the life of the mob. Entertaining, interesting and fascinating, Goodfellas is a classic that draws the audience into watching the lives that these people lived.

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The narration in Goodfellas adds a lot to the movie, some movies use it as a gimmick but this is not the case here; we can almost understand Henry with these narrations. With the narrations that he gives throughout, it really feels like you are following Henry on his adventure as a gangster. The film is often compared with The Godfather but they have some differences, one being that this film doesn’t have many likable characters; despite the lifestyles that these gangsters lived, the film doesn’t condone them. Also while The Godfather seems to be about a dysfunctional family who happen to be in crime, Goodfellas presents the gangster characters more realistically and more raw. Despite there being brutal violence here, Martin Scorsese doesn’t glorify it; he puts it on screen and shows it in its’ true form. The differences between the two films are why I like Goodfellas more than The Godfather; the more realistic look on the characters made me more interested in the movie.

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Ray Liotta is really good in this movie; because he narrates throughout the movie, you really feel like you know him as you hear the details of how the mob works. The film mostly is around him and Liotta masterfully embodies Henry as we follow this man through his life as a gangster. Robert De Niro also brings a presence to this movie; Jimmy is someone who has been in the mob a while and you can really get that from De Niro’s performance. Stealing the show however is Joe Pesci, representing a hot tempered person who manages to be funny and intimating at the same time.

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This film is very stylistic, especially with the narration; sometimes the camera freezes and Hill explains something happening or maybe the background of a certain person. The cinematography is also excellent and fits in with the style; an example is the tracking shot from the outside to the inside of a club. (This is now often called the Copacabana shot). The shot lasted for around 3 minutes and is a very good example of the great cinematography that the film has. The soundtrack picked is excellent, especially the piano part of Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla, which is played over a montage. A lot of the style in this movie is used in a lot of great movies like Boogie Nights and American Hustle.

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Goodfellas is so many things; it compelling, engaging, interesting and results in it being one of the best movies of all time, one of the best gangster movies and is one of Martin Scorsese’s best movies. Even though I prefer Casino over Goodfellas, this movie is still undeniably a film for the ages. It’s one that you shouldn’t miss and you should see as soon as possible if you haven’t already.

Inception (2010)

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Inception

Time: 148 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur
Ellen Page as Ariadne
Marion Cotillard as Mal
Tom Hardy as Eames
Ken Watanabe as Saito
Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger as Browning
Michael Caine as Miles
Director: Christopher Nolan

Dominic Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio) is a skilled thief who for a living steals information and secrets from inside someone’s subconscious through their dreams. A businessman, Mr Saito (Ken Watanabe), hires him to do the impossible, plant an idea inside the head of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) who is about to inherent his father’s empire. In return, Cobb will be able to return home to his children. He assembles a team to do this. Cobb has to deal with his own emotions which may jeopardize the job.

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Inception is a film which combines an action blockbuster with a psychological thriller. The best person to take the idea of this movie and made it as best as they possibly could was Christopher Nolan, as shown by this movie. This movie is expertly put together and it an enthralling experience.

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Be careful of what you expect from this movie; some people hate this movie despite high reviews. Just know before watching that Inception demands your full attention; if you aren’t paying attention you may miss details on how the dreams work, Cobb’s past or very significant plot points. The film is quite complex and nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes long so you should really pay attention on your first viewing. The pacing also is slower than you might think; it isn’t just action scene after action scene. It’s also another one of those movies that does require multiple viewings. The only flaw I found in this movie is the lack of character development. Apart from Cobb, you don’t really learn that much of any of the other characters. The last hour or so for me is the best part of the movie. There is also an ambiguous ending that will either fascinate or anger you, there are many interpretations on what is may mean but overall, it was the perfect way to end this movie off.

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The film has a huge cast and Christopher Nolan makes use of every actor. Leonardo Dicaprio is really good in this movie. He plays a complex character with many secrets and you slowly see them as the film progresses and DiCaprio really conveyed them. Also great, is the fact that he and the other actors seem to act that they really know about how the dreams work – adding an authenticity to the film. Other actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy also were really good. Despite most of them not having much character development, they really do work well with what they got.

INCEPTION

The dream sequences were incredibly filmed. Christopher Nolan is exceptional at filming action scenes because in most cases he doesn’t use CGI; he actually manages to make the action happen (Like the truck flip in The Dark Knight). One of the stand-out scenes is one where during a dream, a hallway is turning and the characters are in zero gravity; this scene didn’t used CGI and it looked so real. Hans Zimmer’s score in any movie instantly elevates it to a new level. This is no exception here and his haunting score worked best during the dream sequences and the action scenes.

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Inception is a masterpiece that was successfully crafted by Christopher Nolan. It took 10 years for him to write the story and I can really see that – the plot is so well written. This is a story that is very ambitious. Though I have really hyped it up, if you haven’t seen it, try not going in with high expectations as I heard that some people were expecting some things but didn’t get them. However I do recommend that everyone should go see this movie. It’s a fantastic representation of dreams and one of my favourite movies of all time.

The Godfather (1972)

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The Godfather

Time: 175 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence
Cast:
Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
James Caan as Sonny Corleone
Richard Castellano as Clemenza
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagan
Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey
John Marley as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte as Barzini
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams
Director: Francis Ford Coppola

“Don” Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the head of the Corleone Mafia Family. His younger son Michael (Al Pacino) has returned from the war and is the only family member not involved with the mafia. Things however change when the family is threatened by a rival. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Mario Puzo.

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The Godfather is one of cinemas all time classics but you’ve probably heard this many times before. It is a brilliant crime drama that doesn’t just focus on the crime business but also on the characters occupying it. It has great acting, well written dialogue, developed characters and an atmosphere that really invested me in the story.

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Pacing-wise, this movie does take its time, it took a second viewing for me to really like this movie because of how uninterested and slightly bored I was the first time I watched it – especially in the middle section. On the second viewing I noticed how the pacing is actually well set up; it starts out slow as the events unravel over time. Also great is the fact that the characters are contrasted and are really well developed. Interestingly, some of the characters are sympathetic and relatable, despite this technically being a gangster movie. There are so many characters that it is kind of hard keeping track of everyone; fortunately for most people including myself, I managed to keep track of the main characters.

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The best thing about the movie is the acting. Marlon Brando manages to personify Vito Corleone strongly and turns in one of those rare performances where they are a presence, even when they aren’t on screen. He is very subtle in his role as well as making him feel genuine and realistic. He also manages to act older than he does, which is helped with the great makeup. Al Pacino is also worth mentioning as he is the character that arguably goes through the most change throughout the story; his character’s transformation is so great because Pacino manages to make the changes very subtle. Other performances from actors like James Caan, and Robert Duvall are also great.

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The cinematography is also well done; it is beautifully photographed and is well suited to the era; a great example is the opening which is about a few minutes of a man – over those minutes the shot is being zoomed out. The lighting is also great; the opening again is a good example of this. The movie was also well edited, the best example of the scene is the baptism scene; while a baptism is happening a lot of events are happening at the same time and are fit in well – in my opinion it is the best scene in the movie. Another thing worth mentioning is the score by Nino Rota. Every time one of the songs from that core was playing I felt the presence of the godfather – that’s how the score is to me.

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If I was advising someone to watch the movie, the first thing I’d suggest that they should walk into the movie without the ‘greatest movie of all time’ hype as it may affect your first viewing – that happened with me. Just go into the movie expecting it to be good without expectations that would possibly end up disappointing the movie for you. For me, although it is a gangster movie I don’t usually view it as that – I view it as a complex family drama. Even as a gangster movie, I still prefer Goodfellas or Casino but there is no denying how much of an impact The Godfather has made on cinema. Overall the movie is a masterpiece and a great example of how great movies can be.

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.