Nine Review

This is a review that is long overdue, but that’s for the most part because it took me a while to actually see this film. Originally, when I heard about it a year ago I was very excited. It was a film about a film maker starring my favorite actor of all time, Daniel Day-Lewis. I was planning to see it the day it came out and not a second later. Then a week before its release, reviews started to poor in.

Almost every single one of them expressed that the movie was a waste of time or a movie that could’ve been great and unfortunately failed epically. I also read a minority of reviews saying that the movie was ok or sub-par, but not the great film it should’ve been. Needless to say, after reading these reviews I was quite saddened and much less excited to see Nine. No, I did not see it on its release date as I originally planned and as a result I kept putting off seeing it in order to see movies I thought I’d enjoy more. I eventually realized, a couple weeks ago actually, that this is a movie starring the one and only Daniel Day-Lewis. I can’t not see this movie.

So I finally sat in a theater and watched Nine expecting nothing more than to be disappointed. My expectations were surprisingly and fortunately exceeded. My opinion on this film actually matched my original expectations so I think the fact that I went in there not expecting much made the move that much better. I loved every moment of Nine.

The sound and style made every part interesting and appealing. The songs were catchy and memorable and the acting by all was fantastic. The real stand outs were Judi Dench, in a subtle, but great performance. Penelope was chirpy and fun in the role of the mistress. Cotillard was amazing as the wife. And of course Day-Lewis was doing what he does better than anyone else. Its impossible for him to let me down.

I got a huge amount of enjoyment out of Nine. It was fast-paced, light hearted and fun. It was the tale of a film director attempting to work on his ninth project, while juggling the many women in his life. I really can’t see what so many didn’t enjoy about this film. I seriously loved it and can’t wait to own it on DVD. Nine is a beautiful piece of entertainment complete with great performers and fun.

Grade: A

The Book of Eli Review

The Book of Eli is the perfect example that even some of the best actors out there performing admittedly pretty great can’t always save a movie from falling flat. I’m not gonna lie I think both Washington and Oldman gave pretty great performances, but I did not like the movie as a whole at all. Post-apocalyptic movies always have that same gritty and deserted style as does The Book of Eli and it works, but even that couldn’t save this corny story.

This was new territory for Denzel, he was still that tough kind of character that we’ve seen him in many times before, but it was played so differently hear. He played the role as if every action was necessary and at the same time morally straining. When it comes to Gary Oldman, I always love his work. He is so fantastically versatile and you know you have an ace in the hole when you put him in the role of the villain. Arguably his greatest screen presence is seen in The Professional as Norman Stansfield, which is another movie I’m not a huge fan of, but I absolutely love him in.

The movie as a whole was weighed down by a pretty awful script, an even worse supporting cast, and worse of all, effects that tried so desperately hard to be intriguing, but failed miserably. The Book of Eli is just another waste of time concerned more with its fight scenes and the money it will bring in than the actual art behind the tale they could be telling.

It’s always sad to see some of your favorite actors in a movie you don’t enjoy, but it doesn’t make me question them because they were still able to give good performances. Obviously it was their attached names that drew me to this film. They weren’t enough to save this project obviously. I don’t doubt for a second that they will be acting in masterpieces again soon.

Grade: C-

Top Ten Stanley Kubrick Movies

Stanley Kubrick is without a doubt one of the greatest minds ever to grace cinema and arguably the most important and influential. Kubrick has crafted masterpieces under almost every genre known to film; War, horror, romance, comedy, sci-fi, heist, sword and sandal epic, just to name a few. He made movies that no one else thought possible. He lived by his quote, “If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed.”

Obviously, with such an extensive resume, its an almost impossible task to pick out your favorites and order them. It really depends on your mood when it comes to Kubrick because he is probably the most versatile director there’s ever been. After much deliberation I’ve given it my best shot.

10. The Killing

One of Kubrick’s first films is his take on the often difficult story to tell. The story of the ins and outs of a heist. The film is fast-paced, thought out and complete with the involving characters and the twists you’d expect in a film such as this. The Killing is a great movie, but it was really just a baby step in the genius’ illustrious career.

9. Eyes Wide Shut

This oddity was certainly one to be remembered if only for the fact that it was his last film. Its the telling of one mans night of sex and madness after finding out his wife almost cheated on him. Eyes Wide Shut is arguably Kubrick’s strangest film and that is saying something, but despite that, it is rather enjoyable. Also deserves props for being one of the view movies to actually hold a decent performance by Tom Cruise.

8. Paths of Glory

Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war phenomena usually flies under the radar, but I love every engrossing moment. This is mostly due to the outstanding performance Kirk Douglas displays. Tells an almost tear-jerking tale of men who are sentenced to death, basically for refusing to commit suicide. It was a fantastic take on war and its destructive outcomes.

7. Barry Lyndon

The epic tragedy of one mans rise and fall is one you won’t want to miss. Kubrick, along with each performer, goes the extra mile in each moment of the film, making it one of the most realistic period pieces I’ve ever seen. Barry’s life is interesting, memorable, entertaining and above all else, real. Everything is so impeccably believable, you feel more as if your watching a documentary.

6. Spartacus

Stanley Kubrick’s sword and sandal epic is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story of the gladiator Spartacus who leads an army of slaves is a story needed to be told and told well. No one could have done it better than with the grace of Stanley Kubrick and the powerhouse actor that is Kirk Douglas. Has too many memorable sequences to even count.

5. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite comedies of all time. Its just one hilarious and memorable scene after another. Its packed with with some of the greatest comedic characters ever put on screen and a lot of them are played by the same person (Peter Sellers). George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden are also give stand out performances. And who could forget Major Kong and his ride of a lifetime. A fantastic achievement in film that should not be missed.

4. A Clockwork Orange

Its very difficult for me to put this masterpiece at number 4. A Clockwork Orange is the morbid and sensational look into society’s obsession with violence and moral choice. Who better to take us on this morbid, intense and above all else insane journey than the one of the most twisted characters ever put on screen, Alex DeLarge, expertly played by Malcolm McDowell. One of the most controversial films ever released and also one of the most enjoyable.

3. Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a fantastic achievement not only for being a full-fledged piece of entertainment, but also for being possibly the most realistic war movie ever made. From the terror of boot-camp to the hell of combat, Kubrick takes us on an amazing journey through the psychology of killing. I can also gurantee enjoyment from watching R. Lee Ermey in the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey

The greatest sci-fi movie of all time. Period. Star Wars doesn’t even come close to this monumental epic. What I wouldn’t give to be there for its release in 1968. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the story of the life and times of not just one of us, but all of us. It’s the character study of man himself. Its the monumental look into the past, present and future. An epic masterpiece, that will stand the test of time until the end of time itself.

1. The Shining

The Shining is one of the greatest movies ever created and by far the greatest horror films of all time. There are so many different ways you can look at this masterpiece and each of them are enjoyable. It can be viewed as a simple haunted house (actually in this case, secluded hotel) tale. You can look at it as one mans complex decent into insanity. Or you could look at from the point of view of a boy attempting to survive in a world of madness. Has the greatest setting known to film. The monumental and horrifying Overlook Hotel is just as memorable as Jack Nicholson’s transformation from good father to pure evil.

There’s always something more you can enjoy with each view; ¬†Torrance’s conversations with the eerie bartender, Lloyd, when we get to read the novel he’s been working on and of course arguably the most famous quote of all time, “Here’s Johnny!”, there’s so much enjoyment you can get out of this terrifying masterpiece. The Shining is nothing short of perfect.

 

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