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#13 Apollo 13 1995

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

Ron Howard

William Broyles Jr. & Al Reinart

Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon

Based on the true story of the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. Astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), are on-board as an explosion hinders their oxygen supply and their electrical power. Back on the ground at NASA, flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), as well as Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise), who was supposed to be on-board the mission but had to be replaced by Swigert due to a case of measles, work as hard as they can to bring the crew back home safely.

Apollo 13 is one my favourite Ron Howard movies. Always being up to watch a real historical drama, I went in with high hopes. I came out more than satisfied; I was thrilled and moved by a great movie. This is without a doubt one of Howard's greatest movies. The honesty and balance between the crew in space, NASA headquarters, and their families back home made for an excellent pace and variety. I never felt too overwhelmed or exhausted because Howard makes sure that we get a little of everything in good increments.

Is there anything that Tom Hanks can't pull off? He was once again believable and authentic in a challenging role. His co-stars, Paxton and Bacon, more than held their own with Hanks. Their chemistry was evident throughout, making for a likeable and relatable group of all working together towards a single goal. Back down on Earth, Ed Harris and his team work relentlessly on a plan to bring the men home. I'm not sure what it is about Harris, but he always gives me a sense of reassurance and guidance when I watch him in this movie.

Having recently grown a real fascination with space exploration, I was looking for movies that would satisfy my interests. I remembered watching Apollo 13 a while back, but at the time I didn't have any deep interest in space, nor did I truly understand the actual story. After doing research on the actual mission, and then revisiting the movie, I was thoroughly enjoyed.

Being based on true events, the heightened realism and human drama makes for a spectacular ride.

[ J ] - [ S ] - [ F ]

Have you seen In The Shadow Of The Moon? It's on my 100, but don't let that put you off, it's an amazing film.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

I loved Apollo 13, it's such a non-Hollywood film. It made me feel like I knew the story of the astronaut from a personal level.

HK, thanks for mentioning The Shadow Of The Moon, I just requested that from my library. I'm excited to see that too. I see it's a documentary with the astronauts telling their personal stories. It's highly rated too. Looks good.

Has anybody seen From the Earth to the Moon (1998)...I just watched it and it was one of the best viewings I seen. I highly recommend it if you're interested in the Apollo moon missions.

Has anybody seen From the Earth to the Moon (1998)...I just watched it and it was one of the best viewings I seen. I highly recommend it if you're interested in the Apollo moon missions.
Just looked it up. Is it a miniseries based on the same events as the movie? Is Tom Hanks featured on screen?

It's a mini series produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tom Hanks. It's about all of the USA's space programs from the Mercury missions, to Gemini to Apollo. Tom Hanks is a totally space program buff, and very knowledgeable. This is incredible authentic.

Tom Hanks is the host and he introduces the different segments. 11 in all. Each segment is directed by a different director and told in docudrama format. Each segment has a different POV. This makes the story very unique.

It is a mini series produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tom Hanks. It's about all of the USAs space programs from Mercury missions, to Gemini to Apollo. Tom Hanks is a totally moon mission buff, and very knowledgeable. It's said this is the most authentic piece every done on the various missions.

Tom Hanks is the host, he introduces the different segments. Each segment is directed by a different director and told in docudrama format and with each segment having a different POV. This makes the story very unique and worth of a film buffs time.
Sounds interesting. I'm not sure where it is available to watch though. Thanks for the info, too.

It's a documentary about the Apollo missions. It includes the astronauts and interviews with them.
Thanks mate. I've watched many interviews with them, so I think I'll give this a go.

#14 Black Sea 2014

In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumoured to be loaded with gold.

Kevin Macdonald

Dennis Kelly

Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn

A veteran Captain of under-sea salvage, Robinson (Jude Law) has just received news that he has been laid off from his job. As a man who is divorced from his wife and doesn't see his son, Robinson is down on his luck. He decides to hit the pub for some beers with a couple buddies to ease some stress. After a couple beers, one of his friends reveals that he knows a way to get a ton of money.

His friend tells the story of a World War II submarine that sank off the coast of Georgia. Due his former employer being unable to salvage it, the sub is still there waiting to be found. Robinson immediately agrees to Captain the mission to the fallen sub. He recruits a team to bring along with him, half British and half Russian. After finding an investor to support the mission, the team is ready to go.

Once in the water, tensions instantly rise between the two groups of men. The British believe that the Russians are being paid too much, while the Russians believe that one of the Brits onboard, a young 18 year old, is a bad omen and refuse to associate with them. On top of these rising tensions, a chilling question is brought forward to Robinson. What will happen once the crew realize that their share gets bigger when there are less people alive?

This movie went largely unknown from what I can tell. I only found out about it a few days ago and thought that it looked like an enjoyable time. The plot itself is perhaps too predictable, and there are the common twists and turns throughout. I'm a fan of Adventure/Thriller, so Black Sea ended up resonating pretty well with me.

I thought Jude Law was a formidable Captain. Struggling to keep the crew unified and running took a toll on him. We can see as the time at sea lengthens that he becomes slightly more nervous and restless with his circumstances. The rest of the crew performed well, particularly the Brits who I thought did a fine job.

We come across instances of betrayal and intense fights as the crew slowly accepts that fact that their chance to return to the surface is becoming less and less likely. I found that this movie was very hit and miss with other people. I guess you have to be a fan of this type of movie to accept its faults and enjoy it for what it is.

Watched almost all movies from the list , can say that you have great taste for sure .

I have to return some videotapes.
Just read up on your list and Ted, Slap Shot, and A Few Good Men are all great movies! Glad to see we have similar tastes for atleast the movies I watched

#15 The Truman Show 1998

An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a T.V. show.

Peter Weir

Andrew Niccol

Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) lives a good life. He has a nice job, a great wife, and many friends. The only problem is that Truman doesn't know that his whole life has been a fake one. From the moment Truman was born, he was placed into a giant isolated movie set. Everyone who lives in the town is an actor, including his wife and friends. The rest of the world watches every second of his life in the form of The Truman Show; a reality program that follows Truman around every step of the way.

When Truman starts slowly piecing together that his life is not what he thinks it is, how will he react? It is an interesting and sometimes emotional quest that has us rooting for Truman every step of the way. When Truman starts to realize what is really going on, it is up to Christof (Ed Harris), the show runner, to pull out all the stops.

Jim Carrey, like in much of his early roles, was fantastic. His charisma and humour carried the movie, but we also got to see a much more emotional and sympathetic side of him. His supporting cast was just alright. A personal favourite was Ed Harris up in the control room. His voice is able to command every scene and creates a strong authority figure over Truman even though we never see them actually meet in the flesh.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Truman Show. The concept is sort of relatable to current reality shows such as Big Brother. Weir & Niccol both definitely earned their Oscar nod. The viewer is fed everything they need to know right from the start. There is no need for exposition or time away from the plot to keep the audience informed and focused. This allows the audience to be steadily reeled in through a compelling journey carried by our main star, Truman Burbank.

Have you seen In The Shadow Of The Moon? It's on my 100, but don't let that put you off, it's an amazing film.
I just watched that last night, great choice for a documentary film....I seem to be watching lots of your recommendations lately, why?

#16 The Last of the Mohicans 1992

Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Michael Mann

Michael Mann & Christopher Crowe

Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

As war rages between British and French troops in colonial America, many local militia men are asked to enlist and help the cause. Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), an independent man taken in by Mohicans, reluctantly agrees to help transport the daughters of a British officer to a British fort after he intercepts them in an ambush. Accompanying Hawkeye on this journey is Uncas (Eric Schweig) his step brother, and Chingachgook (Russell Means) his step father.

Michael Mann does a nice job of mixing war, action, drama, romance, and adventure to create a beautiful and inspiring movie. The scenery and natural beauty showed throughout the movie is some of the best I've seen. Mann does an admirable job of depicting the different perspectives of each member in the company. They all come from different paths and desire different outcomes. Most of the times in situations like this, we get a generic mission where everyone involved is working towards the same goal with very little diversity or back story. This isn't the case in The Last of the Mohicans.

The main players all produce a stellar acting performance. Day-Lewis and Stowe were the two that stood out the most for me, but it would be unfair not to mention the work of Means, and Schweig, as well as Jodhi May and Steven Waddington. When I finished watching the movie, I realized that not once during the movie had I questioned the authenticity of what was on screen. Every actor fully grasped their role and looked so confident and comfortable that when I learned that Daniel Day-Lewis went to live in the wilderness where his character might have lived in order to prepare for the role, I wasn't surprised. I understand that this isn't out of the ordinary for Day-Lewis, but if any of the other actors claimed they did the same, I wouldn't question it for a second.

One of my favorite parts this movie is the magnificent score. The grand music brought wilderness to life. The epic, sweeping soundtrack puts the finishing touch on what is an inspiring journey.

#17 The Drop 2014

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.

MichaŽl R. Roskam

Dennis Lehane

Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini

Lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) and his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) run a bar that also substitutes as a money drop; money is dropped off for local gangsters to pick up without anyone noticing. As Bob begins to develop a connection with Nadia (Noomi Rapace), he becomes a major component in a robbery gone wrong and now must cautiously get himself out of the mess.

The Drop has a very calming feel to it. The weather outside is usually cool and gloomy, which compliments the tone of the movie wonderfully. It doesn't matter if we're in the bar or at Bob's house, the setting always feels very intimate while at the same time giving off an eery vibe.

The acting is impressive; no one tries to swing for the fences. The dialogue is subtle and minimal, which is exactly what you would expect if you were a fly on the wall in the real life situation. The cast works off each other very well, too. All the characters understand to focus on their part and not try to stand out. Tom Hardy as usual is able to convey what is thinking or doing through his attitude and actions. Always a treat to watch.

The slower pace may draw some people away, but I think it was necessary to tell the story. We see it all too often in movies like this where everything seems rushed and fixed towards a certain outcome. In The Drop, we are able to slowly watch things play out similar to how they would in real life. It's a shame this movie didn't get as much play as I thought it deserved.

#18 In Bruges 2008

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh

Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes

In the medieval city of Bruges, Ray and Ken are awaiting orders from their boss after a hit they were assigned to went wrong. Staying at a local bed & breakfast, the two hitmen almost immediately find themselves bored out of their skull. Ken isn't as frustrated as Ray, as he takes a liking to the various museums and monuments. Ray, on the other hand, is desperate to go home. In fact, Bruges is the last place in the world he wants to be.

Colin Farrell does a really good job with Ray. Maybe due to his natural accent and constant wanting to head to the pub or relaxed drug sessions, the character feels awfully like the real person. Brendan Gleeson, on the other hand, is a much more relaxed and steady character. Ken is a decent friend and mentor to the younger and less experienced Ray, and Gleeson portrays this admirably. My favourite character, however, is the extremely vulgar Harry (Ralph Fiennes). As the boss, Harry grows increasingly frustrated with everyone around him. His explicit humour and great one-liners provided a heck of a laugh.

The first portion of the movie quietly and steadily pulls you in to the mysterious city of Bruges. The movie makes sure to highlight all of the city's attractions in a way that doesn't seem like a blatant advertisement. I felt intrigued about a city that I would have never have even imagined feeling intrigued about. The movie gets more action oriented when Harry is forced to visit the guys in Bruges due to something happening earlier in the movie. Suffice to say, he isn't thrilled about it, and neither is his wife. From here we get an intense but comedic final third.

This movie shares a few obvious similarities with a Tarantino flick. The attempt to write a realistic dialog caught my ear right off the bat. You also have the dark humour and funny violent scenes that can be found in many of Tarantino's movies. This isn't really a problem for me since I'm such a big Tarantino fan. It's one thing if someone used some of his trademark styles and butchered them, but director Martin McDonagh did a very good job making this movie his own.

We finally get to the end of the movie, where everything climaxes into a series of foreshadowed events. Previous actions by characters ended up being their downfall, while others made life risking decisions to redeem their earlier mistakes. I couldn't help but smile at the end of the film as karma rears it's ugly head and someone is forced to live up and follow through with their own moral decisions.

In Bruges was under-promoted at the time of its release, and remains underrated to this day. Most of the people who have seen this come away pleasantly surprised by the superb script and strong acting. Definite re-watchability takes this movie one step further. I feel that this is something that repeat viewings will only enhance the experience and allow you to pick up and notice things you wouldn't have before. This movie was an unexpected fun ride.