Tyler's Reviews

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Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
I'm not a big fan of Catch Me If You Can. Not Spielberg delivering his finest work, in my opinion.

At one point in my life, I was interested to see Munich. I saw the trailer and thought it looked pretty decent. But I've never gotten around to watching it.
"George, this is a little too much for me. Escaped convicts, fugitive sex... I've got a cockfight to focus on."

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The Godfather Part II (1974)

The only sequel ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, the debate still occurs between which Godfather film is the best; the widely iconic original, the more complex sequel or the much derided conclusion. While it's hard to distinguish which is the best, there's no denying that The Godfather Part II is a quality made drama, with striking performances and imagery.

The film tells the story of two Corleones: Michael, with his current reign of the Corleone empire and Vito, when he first came to America.

The much more complex themes make for much more compelling viewing than the first, with betrayal and power being major themes in Part II. The exploration of Michael's slow descent into loneliness, and Vito's rise to power, work beautifully, mainly thanks to some wonderful photography and two very capable actors portraying the characters. Each performance in this film is worth noting, but it's Robert De Niro, working at his Method best, who really shines. He brilliantly plays Corleone, making each smile and each line of dialogue delivered seem effortless. It's an attention capturing performance, made all the more impressive when you realise that most of De Niro's dialogue is spoken in Italian.

The film is expertly filmed, with a more intense approach than the first, with the aforementioned photography playing a major role in the film's story, using darker colouring in Michael's parts of the story, and sepia-toned for Vito's. The writing is very intellectual and compelling, with politics and business as grand factors.

But in the end, it's Al Pacino's Michael Corleone that is most impressive. His performance beautifully captures a man who initially wanted nothing to do with the "family business", but now is too deep into it to recapture the humaity he once had.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The Godfather Part III (1990)

The much derided threequel of Francis Ford Coppola's universally acclaimed trilogy on the saga of an American family comes at a hefty price. If you can forgive some of the heavy flaws the film is hated for, there is satisfaction to be salvaged. I've been a fan of Part III for a while, but I admit that the film is a deeply flawed work.

I used to believe that Part III was better than the first Godfather film. I now think otherwise, but there was plenty to like about the film. For one thing, Al Pacino's portrayal of Michael Corleone doesn't quite reach the masterful restrained performance of the earlier Godfather films, he is still solid as Corleone and delivers the best performance of the film. On the other hand, the dreadful Sofia Coppola is unforgiveable, as she gives a dreadful performance as Mary, Michael's daughter. She isn't talented enough to convey the emotion needed to make her character convincing.

Francis Ford Coppola's direction is full of grand shots and photography, but I always had issues with the slow pacing. Coppola still gives the film a sense of style, a more dramatic approach, as Michael seeks redemption for his pact sins, and a well-structured screenplay, which, religious aspects aside, is interesting and explores each character, Michael in particular.

It may be hated for Coppola's performance and the fact that the quality doesn't quite reach the standard of the first two installments, but look past that and enjoy the rest of the superb performances and Coppola's solid direction.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

Easily the weakest of the original Die Hard trilogy, this sequel still does have a lot to offer. If you're a fan of Bruce Willis' original wisecracking, foul mouthed hero, you won't be disappointed with Die Hard 2, as it ups the body count, the action and the irresistable humour of the first.

John McClane is stuck at Dulles International Airport, waiting for his wife's plane to land. McClane already has enough problems, including that his mother-in-law's car was towed, and if it wasn't enough for him, military trained terrorists seize control of the airport. Even though it isn't his duty, as pointed out to him by the airport police captain, McClane attempts to stop the terrorists from succeeding in their plan to free a government prisoner.

Plot problems, lacks credibility, whatever. This movie still kicks ass. While not having the freshness and originality of the first, or the chemistry between Willis and Samuel L. Jackson of the third, it has bucketloads to recommend it. Renny Harlin directs the film with substantial flair, especially in the film's awesome action sequences, including a drmatic plane crash, with a spectacular explosion.

Willis is still has that irresistable charm as John McClane, and the villians are very menacing. Die Hard 2 doesn't die as hard as the first or third installments, but remains a quotable action classic.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
L.A Confidential (1997)

And on my fourth viewing of this neo-noir classic, I realise I like it more and more on each viewing. On my first viewing, I thought it was meh and it didn't do much for me. The second viewing was better, and the third viewing cemented it as a true classic of the thriller genre. My fourth viewing of the film is possibly the best so far, as I watched it as a double feature with another favourite, Zodiac. L.A Confidential boasts some fine lead performances and a well-written screenplay, as a group of characters are explored against a 1950's Los Angeles backdrop.

The intriguing story is performed by actors at the top of their games, Guy Pearce especially. Pearce plays the prude detective very well, and could have easily won an Oscar in 1997, if the Academy had the sense to nominate a deserving talent, but I won't delve into that. The rest of the cast is extraordianry, as Kevin Spacey continued his remarkable '90s streak and Russell Crowe delivered what essentially was his breakout performance.

The wonderfully written screenplay explores what is behind the glamour of Hollywood and different ways of dealing justice. The script is pretty complex, with a few twists along the way of a fabulous filmic experience. It's no surprise that this won the 1997 Best Screenplay Oscar.

This, along with Chinatown, are my favourites of the noir genre, as both showcase great performances and incredible screenplays that make for indelible films.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Short Reviews

True Grit (2010)

Not The Coens at their best, but the performances are a treat and the film is well paced. Jeff Bridges was the standout as the drunken U.S Marshal Rooster Cogburn.

The Prestige (2006)

Wow. I still believe The Dark Knight is Christopher Nolan's best work so far, but this is very impressive, especially in the writing and acting areas. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are magnificent as the two rival magicians and Nolan's direction is very good. Easily the best film of 2006.

I love The Prestige too, but there is a plot hole i the movie that has been bugging me.

Julia dies in the underwater escape trick tank because the axe couldn't get her out in time. However, if she was able to open the lid from inside the tank, get up, over, and down, then close the lid (all quickly, silently, and without assistance) when the trick goes properly, then there is no reason that the four men standing around could not have simply lifted the lid, either acting a key in the fake padlock to preserve the trick, or using a key if it's real. At this point she could have gotten her head above water and draped her hands over the side of the tank to stay up. That done, the crisis is over, and she must only wait to calm down enough to get herself down, or be assisted. Cutter built the tank, so he knew how strong the glass was. The only explanation for using the axe was to allow Julia's death, thus advancing the plot.

This doesn't make me like the movie less though.
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i wasn't really a big fan of L.A Confidential, Prestige was a great movie tho.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The Backwoods (2007)

I remember seeing the trailer for this little Spanish-British film a few months back, and I was intrigued by the potential of this interesting thriller; two couples vacation at a small house in the North of Spain, when they happen to come across a little girl locked in an abandoned home. They rescue her, but it isn't before long that her captors come looking for her. You also have two very fine actors in Paddy Considine and Gary Oldman, who are usually very relaible to pull off solid performances. My expectations were high when I rented a copy of The Backwoods.

From the opening moments to the last frame, the film is very slow, tense and ultimately unsatisfying. It has a great first hour, but slowly begins to unravel from there onwards. It's a shame, because the first half is stylised and atmospheric and slowly builds it's characters.

The performances are decent, but unexceptional. Oldman is solid, which is expected, but Considine is very weak in the role of Norman. Being the main character of the film, I didn't connect with his character at all, and his character change near the end doesn't make any sense at all. But that's probably due to the writing moreso than the actor.

The ending is half-arsed and I could think of a thousand better ones. The Backwoods had so much potential, but fails to deliver. I wanted so much to at least like this.


Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
I may have a review of my first-time viewing of Memento tomorrow. I've watched half of it, and it's a pretty interesting thriller so far.

I may also watch The New World & The Fountain.

To be honest, I was afraid of Hannibal when I was younger. I think I had a nightmare about Hannibal writing on paper or something, and he turned around and looked at me. I was so creeped out by his red eyes.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
To be honest, I was afraid of Hannibal when I was younger. I think I had a nightmare about Hannibal writing on paper or something, and he turned around and looked at me. I was so creeped out by his red eyes.
My parents bought a copy of Hannibal (they both hated it) and I was pretty creeped out by his red eyes too. I actually thought it was about some sort of demon (which it is, in a way).

My parents bought a copy of Hannibal (they both hated it) and I was pretty creeped out by his red eyes too. I actually thought it was about some sort of demon (which it is, in a way).
Oh I didn't know he was a sort of demon. I thought he was a crazy guy that kills random people or something. I was so dumb back then!

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Memento (2000)

2000 was a remarkable year for film. Unbreakable, American Psycho, Traffic among others. I'm still convinced that it's the finest year for film in the noughties, and this is just another example of how excellent filmmaking was, before Hollywood started making empty blockbusters to satisfy the average action fan who gets off on the random explosion. And as much as I love them, I think that was caused by the mega success of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. People were hungry for another phenomenon and the studio's started churning out blockbusters, and leaving it up to chance whether they would be successful in their aims. And when I see crap like that, I look back on films like these to see that some filmmakers are interested in telling a good story, using technical skills and creativity. This is an example of why Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest filmmakers working today.

Nolan masterfully constructs a tale of Leonard, an insurance incestigator with a condition that doesn't allow him to make new memories. This is a tricky situation, as Leonard is investigating the murder of his wife. He doesn't who to trust or what to think.

The "movie filmed backwards" is an interesting aspect, but not the dominating one. Sure, Chris does direct this film superbly, never feeling too long or too tedious or too confusing in the way the story is told. But it's Nolan's ingenious screenplay that gives us a smug, likeable protagonist, an engaging plot that never bores, expert sequencing and some wonderful moments of humour. I do think that the film deserved the best screenplay oscar, as no other film of 2000 was as inventive, clever or original as this tremendous thriller.

Wally Pfister's photography is very interesting to look at, as I thought it had that "noir" feeling, and worked excellently with the film. Guy Pearce is compelling as Leonard, giving an astonishingly gripping, witty and nervy performance as the lead. Carrie Anne Moss is miles away from her nearly lifeless performance in The Matrix and has a great scene where she verbally taunts Pearce's character. Joe Pantoliano was the biggest surprise for me, as he delivers a outstanding performance in a role in which he brings subtlety and, like other aspects of the film, humour.

I've been giving a lot of films five stars lately, but I feel this one really deserves it. This is how a thriller should be; complex, engaging, fascinating and handled by a director who doesn't know how to tell good stories, but great ones.

^nice review.. I'd say this is Nolan's best...
And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
I think it's actually hard now to distinguish Nolan's best. I think Inception is his most creative, Memento is the greatest in technical terms and I just find The Dark Knight to be the definitive superhero film.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)

This definitely misses the mark on the Robin Hood tale. Costner speaks in a Californian accent, among other things. The direction is flawed, the writing is sometimes painfully bad and anyone wishing for a darker take on the Robin Hood story better steer clear. As much as I find this film deeply flawed, there's something about it that captures my attention everytime it's on T.V. It also happens to be in my mother's top 10 favourites, so I have seen quite a few times. Each central character has a certain likeability, and there is plenty of humour to be found. It may miss the mark, but so what? It's still glorious entertainment!

Kevin Costner plays Robin of Locksley, who returns to England with a Moorish companion (Morgan Freeman) who has vowed to save his life. When he returns to England, he finds the Sheriff Of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) has murdered his father and literally taken Nottingham in King Richard's absence. Robin decides to start an army to fight the Sheriff and take their land back.

The first noticeable thing about Prince Of Thieves is the rousing score through the opening credits. It sets the tone for an adventurous film, with a sinister undertone. Also noticeable in the opening credits is when it says Alan Rickman's name. As soon as I see his name, I think about all the good things about this film, as Kevin plays the lead very heroically and he's easy for the audience to cheer on and Rickman delightfully hams it up as the Sheriff Of Nottingham, as he enjoyably plays the Sheriff with a bad temper and wonderful personality. The other cast members don't distract and support the main players to the best of their ability.

The production design is beautiful and the story does have a nice flow. Even if the direction is flawed, it still creates a fun, playful atmosphere for the film. It truly is the guiltiest of all film pleasures; in a way, bad, predictable and totally devoid of originality, but still a wonderfully entertaining romp.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

Previously labelled unfilmable, one Kiwi had a go at making a trilogy of films out of the beloved books. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring established that Peter Jackson had what it takes to make a movie of these proportions. The Two Towers only heightened his success, by making everything a lot bigger and seemingly better. This was his hardest task yet; making a conclusion that maintained the wonder and excitement of the first two, close off the trilogy with a bang and create a nice send-off for the characters we know and love. Did he acheive all this?

Frodo Baggins is nearing the end of his journey towards Mordor, to be rid of the Ring Of Power. Alongside is his loyal companion Samwise Gamgee and skulking sneak Smeagol. Elsewhere, Sauron and his forces are invading Gondor, and Aragorn must embrace his destiny to defeat the forces of Mordor.

While I love Fellowship the most out of them all, The Return Of The King is the most emotional of the trilogy. Filled with poignant moments, the ones that resonate the most are between Frodo and Sam, and their bond of friendship. Even as Frodo becomes more of an a**hole as the Ring takes ahold of him, Sam sticks by his friend. There are not many movies that make me cry and certainly not any other fantasy films, but this one is a heartbreaker. Any one who has seen this movie knows which scene I'm talking about. The emotional finale.

The Lord Of The Rings is the greatest visual experience, with grand battle scenes and brilliant realisations of what lies in Middle Earth. The battles in Return Of The King nearly match Saving Private Ryan, and each moment of music is perfectly suited to it's scene. Each character is wonderfully realised, and the entire film is well-acted, but the performances in particular I want to mention are that of Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin and Andy Serkis. Mortensen is a very appealing, conflicted hero as Aragorn, and Sean Astin is excellent in a heroic turn as Samwise. He is the hero of this film. There's not much more to say about Serkis' performance, except that this shows that CGI can convey a character just as well as an actor in makeup.

If this is the finest the fantasy genre has to offer, then consider me a fan of the fantasy genre. The Return Of The King is at turns dramatic, emotional, funny, scary but at all times grand filmmaking.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

The trailer made me excited. I heard of this movie before, but never bothered with it, mostly because of my dislike for Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu. But the trailer cemented my interest, with hints at stylish filmmaking and at least an enjoyable experience. Not to mention Ben Kingsley in what seemed to be a villianous role, and the greatest actor of all time, Bruce Willis. The end result of the film itself was surprising. In a good way.

Josh Hartnett plays the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he is mistaken for his friend Nick Fisher, deals with two powerful gangsters (The Boss & The Rabbi), pursued by the police and builds a relationship with Fisher's neighbour, played by Lucy Liu.

The film is nothing like the trailer. Virtually laughless, Lucky Number Slevin plays out like a serious thriller, albeit with some light areas, especially in it's portrayal of the two gangsters. In what could've been an average action flick, there is a cleverly constructed minor masterpiece, with some great performances and solid direction.

Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu are both excellent in their pivotal roles, but the film belongs to the two veteran actors Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley. Morgan Freeman is great in an against-type performance, while Kingsley is subdued and gives a fairly straight performance that could've been played for laughs, but instead move towards a subtly menacing direction. Meanwhile, Bruce Willis is having fun as a cold, emotionless hitman.

It's easy to see that the film is heavily influenced by other great works (In particular, North By Northwest) and the film isn't very original, but it has several clever moments and a great screenplay. Nothing is as it seems in the world of Lucky Number Slevin.