Top Ten Movie Performances

Sometimes in film there are performances that prove that performance isn’t just an aspect of the art form known as film, but also an art form on its own. This is a list dedicated to that art form. Its a list that perfectly exemplifies the idea of performance as an art form. These are the performances that will be remembered till the end of film itself. These are the performances that, just for a split second, make you forget you’re watching a movie because of how much raw emotion is encapsulated in a single movie character. Each and every one of them deserves endless amounts of praise.

10. Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List)

Ralph Fiennes doesn’t get nearly the praise he deserves. He’s one of the greatest actors and deserves to be held right up there with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. If you don’t believe me, take an in depth look into the antagonist of the masterpiece, Schindler’s List. Truly look at every choice Fiennes makes and you’ll see that the man became Amon Goeth, Ralph Fiennes take on nazi Amon Goeth is nothing short of the most realistic portrayal of evil and hatred ever put on screen.

9. Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)

Robert De Niro’s work in Raging Bull is the kind of performance you look at and say, “that’s not Robert De Niro, that’s Jake LaMotta”. There are so many moments where you’re watching Raging Bull and you just stop breathing at risk of missing a single line De Niro utters because everything is so real. Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors there ever was and this stands as his greatest performance. He threw every piece of talent he has into it and it shows.

8. Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)

It’s simply common knowledge that Kevin Spacey is a genius when it comes to acting. He’s brilliant in everything he’s in whether its a limping cripple in The Usual Suspects or the voice over of a villainous grass hopper in A Bug’s Life. You’ll find his greatest performance in the fascinating film, American Beauty. American Beauty studies one of the most interesting characters ever put on screen and in order to have an amazing film, which it was, it needed a brilliant performance. Spacey managed to give more than just that.

7. George C. Scott (Patton)

George C. Scott has had a very illustrious career and he’s very well known for the way he gives the middle finger to the award shows, but for some reason always still managed to win them. The reason is because no one, especially the academy, can deny that the man is one of the greatest actors known to film. You’ll find his greatest performance as american rebel and hero. General George S. Patton. Patton was a man who knew war and war alone. Patton extensively looks looks into this brilliant General and Scott plays the character incredibly.

6. F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)

Until the end of the art of performance you’ll see actors playing great artists, whether that be Beethoven, Shakespeare or even Michelangelo. Rarely will we see actors play mediocre artists and never will we see one played as well as F. Murray Abraham played Wolfgang Mozart’s rival, Composer Antonio Salieri. The movie touches on every spectrum of the character and Abraham relentlessly plays it with such spectacle that at times your heart skips a beat. What you’re watching when you watch Abraham in Amadeus is pure art in every way.

5. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

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Whether he’s Johnny Cash or a despicable emperor of Rome, it’s almost disturbing how gloriously Joaquin Phoenix is able to envelop the characters he portrays. Paul Thomas Anderson manages to get the career-best performance out of at least one of his actors and that’s the case with Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Freddie Quell. Quell is a very confused man, a drifter looking for his way after WWII. He knows drinking, fighting and sex. He’s lacking in purpose and compass and Joaquin Phoenix dives into the character with astounding results.

4. Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

At one point in auditioning for the character Col. Hans Landa, Quentin Tarantino literally thought that he might have written an unplayable character. He told himself that he wasn’t going to make the film if he wasn’t able to get the perfect actor for the part. Luckily he found Christoph Waltz who managed to give cinema one of the greatest performances of all time. What you get in the character Col. Hans Landa are so many intricate layers that its understandable that Tarantino had a hard time finding an actor to not only understand every aspect of the character, but also to perform it to perfection. Waltz did just that and more.

3. Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest)

After many trials, finally in 1975 one of literature’s most treasured books was finally put on screen. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is one of the greatest films ever made and one of the main reasons that is, is because in it you’ll find the greatest performance from one of the greatest actors known to cinema. Everything Nicholson does in the movie is so human and real. That makes the character all the more likable and relatable as he rivals my most hated character in cinema history. Nicholson holds nothing back and throws everything he had into a performance that desperately needed every single bit of talent an amazing actor could give. Jack Nicholson is always brilliant, but him as R. P. McMurphy is perfection in every sense.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

There Will Be Blood is arguably the most extensive character studies into the mind of one the most despicable basterd’s ever depicted on screen. Daniel Day-Lewis is not just one of the greatest actors known to cinema, he is the greatest actor known to cinema and his portrayal as oilman Daniel Plainview proved once and for all precisely what a performance can be. And what a performance can be, I would never be able to put into words, but the best way to put it in one word would be to say masterful.

In watching There Will Be Blood, we’re not watching Daniel Day-Lewis, we’re watching Daniel Plainview. Its almost magical that someone can truly be as fully engrossed in a character as Daniel Day-Lewis is when he acts. We get to learn every aspect of character that is Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood and with Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting he makes almost all performances before it seem like child’s play in comparison. Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor known to cinema and what he achieves in There Will Be Blood is nothing short of one of the greatest performances of all time.

1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

The true art of performance was never truly as prevalent as it was when Heath Ledger played the villain in the greatest movie of all time. Never, and I mean never, was pure evil encapsulated as well as it was in the character The Joker in The Dark Knight. Every movement, gesture, nervous tic, and  line is calculated and made memorable by a truly brilliant performance. Heath Ledger deserves every bit of praise he gets for his portrayal as The Joker, not because of his unfortunate death, but because Heath Ledger played the greatest character ever put on screen to literal perfection.

Behind the masks and make-up of The Dark Knight, it is unquestionably the greatest example of good vs. evil that any story ever written or told has ever offered. Batman is good for the sake of being good and The Joker is evil for the sake of being evil. They need each because one is nothing without the other. Truly look into the stories of Batman and you’ll see that The Joker is just as important to the mythology as Batman is. The are the perfect example of enemies that other films aspire to have, but never will.

The Joker is a part played many times in the past, from Mark Hamill to even Jack Nicholson. He is the most important villain, not just in cinema, but in literature because he encapsulates the very idea of evil itself. Heath Ledger had a lot of work to do. In being asked to play The Joker, you’re being asked to give a truly magnificent performance or else its nothing we  haven’t seen before. Heath managed to give the greatest of all time due to the use of every single ounce of ability he had. Every emotion is the purest of all evil is felt due to a man showing as that performance is an truly an art form. All I can do is thank Heath Ledger and say that I undoubtedly feel that with The Joker, he gave us the greatest performance known to cinema.

Top Ten Awesome Villains in Bad/OK Movies

It’s a very unfortunate, but true fact that there are many cases where awesome movie villains worthy of great movies appear in god awful or just alright films. Sometimes those villains aren’t given the recognition they deserve based on the film they are in. So, this is my list dedicated to them, the villains that are downright beautifully written and performed, but because of the awful or alright movies they’re in, don’t get the same recognition and praise they sometimes deserve.

10. Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th series)

I will agree that the Friday the 13th movies are fun, but the series as a whole is truly awful filmmaking. What can you expect from a slasher series that grew into over ten films? What can’t be denied is how awesome the villain that it spawned is. Jason Voorhees is one of the most iconic characters known to the horror genre and this list wouldn’t be complete with out him. His trademark hockey mask has got to be one of the most well-known props in film.

9. The Sniper (Phone Booth)

The movie phone booth is awful from beginning to end, but for some reason I always need to watch it when it comes on. The reason is because Kiefer Sutherland is truly brilliant as the villain of the film. Basically the entire movie takes place in a phone booth with Colin Farrell in the starring role. On the other line we can hear the voice of a man whose point a large sniper rifle at our star. The Sniper is an awesome villain that never seems to get noticed. I suppose I can see why.

8. The Joker (Batman)

Before 2005 when the masterpiece Batman Begins came out, Batman movies weren’t that amazing. Batman Forever was alright, I wasn’t a fan of Batman Returns and Batman and Robin is one of the worst movies ever conceived. My third favorite Batman movie after Christopher Nolan’s two masterpieces would have to be Tim Burton’s original Batman. This is due in part to Jack Nicholson’s wild take on The Joker. It is nothing compared to Heath Ledger’s, but it still deserves lots of praise.

7. Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street series)

I know A Nightmare on Elm Street is considered a classic when it comes to the horror genre, but to tell you the truth, I’m not a big fan. I love the idea, but the execution wasn’t as great is its made out to be. I do however love the wickedly awesome villain Freddy Krueger. Even though he’s one of the most iconic and evil killers ever put on screen he still has brilliantly delivered dark humor. Its almost like he feels the need to not only kill his victims, but humiliate them and if that’s not villainy than what is?

6. Jigsaw (Saw series)

The “serial killer” who actually hasn’t technically killed anybody just had to be on this list. The ultimate guilty pleasure of mine is the Saw movies. Other than the first one, they are god awful, but I get unhealthy amounts of joy watching them. The joy doesn’t come from watching Jigsaw’s famous “traps” in which his victims are put to tests to see if they have the well to survive. The joy comes from the insane plot surrounding the main character and antagonist Jigsaw. He’s maniacal and sadistic, but he has good intentions in a way.

5. Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

Some might be surprised to see Hans Gruber on this list because most consider Die Hard to be an amazing movie. I do like Die Hard, it’s cool, but its not spectacular. It’s a certainly a fun movie, but its truly nothing special, just an entertaining action movie to me. It’s alright or as the title states “OK”. Hans Gruber however is a truly fantastic villain. A suave calculating thieve who might give his hostages some food, but won’t hesitate when he has to pull the trigger. Alan Rickman plays the character to a tee and the fact that he’s thrown off a building is made all the more pleasurable because of what basterd he truly is.

4. Stuntman Mike (Death Proof)

I absolutely love every minute of Death Proof, but I can’t deny that its not really a good movie because Tarantino didn’t want it to be a good movie. With Death Proof he’s paying homage B-movies with insane violence and car chases. The villain of the story is downright awesome. I don’t find nearly as much pleasure watching Kurt Russell in other roles than this one. Stuntman Mike is a sadistic, yet charming maniac who deliberately kills his victims with his “Death Proof” cars just because its a blast.

3. Agent Smith (The Matrix series)

I’ve seen The Matrix movies an unreasonable amount of time, but watching the first one recently was actually the inspiration to make this list. I just sat there as Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith interrogated Lawrence Fishburne’s Morpheus and thought, “Holy cow, this is amazing”. Then Keanu Reeves walked back into frame and I realized why I don’t consider this movie great. Agent Smith is such brilliantly crafted villain in one of the other films that I would consider a guilty pleasure of many. I love watching the Matrix movies, even the sequels, they’re pretty bad movies, but there’s a lot to enjoy and one of the main points is Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.

2. Norman Stansfield (The Professional)

I do not like The Professional. Its an over-the-top action movie surrounding a relationship between a hitman and a twelve-year-old that is so awkward and annoying to the point of the movie becoming unentertaining. The reason it is worth watching though is because one of my favorite actors, Gary Oldman, plays the only redeeming quality of this movie and he plays him spectacularly. The character isn’t nearly used to its full potential, but the scenes he is in are made fascinating. He trues throw the scene like the shark in Jaws and you just can’t wait to see him again. I would’ve much rather just seen an entire movie surrounding a character study of this character. That would’ve been a brilliant film.

1. Voldemort (Harry Potter series)

I don’t get very much enjoyment at all out of the Harry Potter films. Maybe its just me, but sub-par execution and awful acting from the main characters don’t make for entertaining movie experiences. The series did get one thing right though, they managed to cast the supporting characters to perfection. Gary Oldman was awesome and Sirius Black, Richard Harris and Michael Gambon both made enjoyable Dumbledore’s (even though Harris was obviously better), Helena Bonham Carter is brilliant, as always, as Belatrix and Alan Rickman plays a part that he was born to play. The real treat in Harry Potter though is one of the greatest actors known to cinema playing the main antagonist.

Ralph Fiennes is one of my favorite actors and like all his roles, he plays Voldemort so utterly brilliantly. Voldemort is such a dark presence on screen to the point of every other character, even his allies, feeling uncomfortable. This is because every single person he comes across knows where the true power lies. Voldemort is truthfully the only reason I go see the Harry Potter movies. If I can only catch a glimpse of Fiennes performing the character to literal perfection, than the price of admission was worth it. When I began writing my list of the Top Ten Awesome Villains in Bad/OK Movies I know right away deserves the top spot. Ralph Fiennes playing the villain Voldemort is simply breathtaking.

Top Ten Movie Deaths

I pondered for a while about how to preface this list, but its pretty self-explanatory. Death is a pretty beautiful thing when it comes to cinema. There are deaths in film that, when due to great performances, direction and writing, you get unbearably powerful moments. This is a list of those deaths. This is a list dedicated to my favorite deaths in film because of their meaning and power, not necessarily the ones that are remembered in cinema history as classics, such as the shower scene in Psycho or King Kong falling off the Empire State Building. While those are amazing moments in film, they just didn’t affect me like the deaths in this list.

 

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

 

!!!IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ONE OF THE MOVIES LISTED, DON’T READ INTO IT!!!

 

 

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

10. John Doe (SE7EN)

There aren’t many moments that you can truly say, based on their content, leave you gasping for air. The death of the villain, John Doe, in SE7EN is undoubtedly one of those moments. We never see this character until the end of the movie, but nevertheless, we fear him. We get to know the detectives on the case and we keep guessing what the end could be. What we do get is fantastically dark and real. If you’re looking for a prime example of a villain winning, this is it.

9. Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins)

The death of Bruce Wayne’s mentor and eventual enemy is an undeniably memorable one. What makes this death such a spectacular one is in the way that the wise leader of the league of shadows attempts to gain dignity from his death with the line “Have you finally learned to do what is necessary?” He’s trying to show that he’s actually taught the man known as Batman very well. Batman shows the true colors of both characters with his reply, “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.”

8. Lester Burnhum (American Beauty)

What makes Lester Burnhum’s death so awesome isn’t the actual death itself. Lester’s death is made significant based on the events before and the magnificent final monologue of the movie. You find out right in the beginning that this character we’re being introduced to is going to die by the end. It’s not the “what” that we’re interested in because we know what’s going to happen, what we are concerned about are the “who” and the “why”. We get the answers we need and few things in film are as pleasing.

7. Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Fight Club is one of my favorite films in general so it was really a no-brainer when it came to putting the stunning death of one the greatest characters in film on this list. The relationship between the Narrator and Tyler Durden is one of the most special and interesting ever filmed. Throughout Fight Club we get to know these characters and know them well. By the end we know what has to happen and the death of the final scene which results in the death of Tyler Durden completely blows me away  every single time.

6. Frank (Once Upon a Time in the West)

It seems that because of Sergio Leone’s brilliant film, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, his other masterpiece, “Once Upon a Time in the West”, is often overlooked. I do slightly prefer “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, but there is one aspect of “Once Upon a Time in the West” that is better and that is in the black-hearted villain, Frank. He’s one of the most despicable villains ever filmed and there are few moments in film that are as satisfying as the realization of the extent of his wrath and his immediate death right afterwards. Truly breathtaking cinema.

5. Maximus Decimus Meridius (Gladiator)

At the heart of the epic film Gladiator is a tale of well-deserved revenge. We fall in love with the protagonist Maximus and we grow to hate the villainous basterd he’s aiming to kill. Now that begs the question, why wouldn’t I put the satisfying death of the villain Commodus on this list? The reason is because the more emotionally powerful death belongs to Maximus Decimus Meridius. Yes, Commodus needs to die and burn in hell, but now Maximus’ mission is complete. His death was necessary because now he can go live in peace with his son and daughter in the afterlife.

4. Little Bill Daggett (Unforgiven)

Unforgiven is a western centered on the two characters William Munny and Little Bill Daggett. Throughout this masterfully crafted film we learn the true natures of both characters and learn that the line between right and wrong isn’t always clear. Not till the very end of the film do the two characters finally meet and the better man is established. “I’ll see you in hell William Munny,” Little Bill says with pure honesty and hate in his eyes and before William Munny fires the final fatal bullet into Little Bill’s head, he replies with a sorrowful, “Yeah”. It’s one of those moments in film that make movies worth watching.

3. Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” is the start of one of the greatest movie quotes ever put one screen and the beginning of the final words of the character Roy Batty. Blade Runner is a film that asks many of life’s big questions, but those questions don’t come to true and beautiful light until the final encounter between protagonist Rick Deckard and philosophical replicant Roy Batty. It’s the most powerful scenes in film.

First, Roy just toys with his advisory and when Rick tries to escape by hopping to another rooftop he isn’t able to make it and nearly dies. The true nature of the character Roy is shown when he is able to make the jump easily and save Rick, but not before he puts Deckard’s mission in life into perspective, with the line “Quite an experience to live in fear isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave. Then he utters his memorable final words and reaches the end of his time.

2. Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Apocalypse Now)

Apocalypse Now is, without a shred of doubt, a staple in the art of filmmaking. While, the death of Col. Walter E. Kurtz is a triumph all its own. The main character, Captain Willard, is sent on a mission deep into cambodia in order to find and terminate a renegade Colonel who has taken command over the locals. We are taken on a journey into the true meaning of madness and on the way our anticipation grows like Captain Willard and all we want to do is finally meet Col. Kurtz.

Because of a truly brilliant performance by Marlon Brando, every single line Kurtz utters is memorable and resonant. That goes especially for one of my favorite movie quotes, his powerful last words, “The horror, the horror.” On my first viewing of the film, right at that moment I thought to myself, “this is one of the greatest films ever made”. And it truly is. From the beginning, Apocalypse Now promises an amazing climax and gives you just that. It was difficult for me not to put this in the number one slot.

1. Bill (Kill Bill)

Look back at numbers 3 and 2 of this list and you’ll notice that they share something with number 1. All three movies have generally simple tales, sure like all great filmmakers they establish deeper meanings, but the structure is simple. Rick Deckard, a retired Blade Runner is sent on a mission to kill four replicants (androids) led by Roy Batty, Captain Benjamin Willard is sent into Cambodia to kill Col. Kurtz and Beatrix Kiddo is out for revenge against her former boss and lover Bill.

From the beginning, we know, if we are to be satisfied that is, that Roy Batty, Col. Kurtz and Bill will die. There are many examples of films where we know what might happen at the end, but we want to know how our hero will get there and how exactly they’ll do the deed, whether its Frodo throwing the ring of power into Mt. Doom or Batman saving Gotham from the evil clutches of the Joker. In this case, we’re talking about deaths in film and no death is as magnificent and significant as the death of Bill in the 4-hour-epic Kill Bill.

What makes Bill’s death profound, innovative and beautiful is the unconditional love shared between the two warriors. Their fight is inevitable and both, Bill and Beatrix, realize that one is going to die, while the other will live on, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t care for one another. And in the end, Bill isn’t stabbed or shot, no, that wouldn’t satisfy. Instead Beatrix perform’s something called the five point palm exploding heart technique, which makes your heart explode from the inside after you take five steps. This allows him to have a few words with the love of his life, take a deep breath, button his coat and walk with dignity to the greatest movie death in film history.

Top Ten Movies of 2010

Let me just start by saying that I really couldn’t ask for a better year in film. 2010 offered many beautiful works of art that I shall watch for years to come. That being said, it was all the more difficult to make this list based on that fact. It can always be pretty difficult making a top ten list because you always find yourself second guessing yourself and making my list of my favorite films from this year was a prime example of that occurring often. I finally was able to do it though and here it is:

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

In all good conscious I couldn’t make this list without putting Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on it. Of course this film isn’t a piece of cinematic artwork that can be considered a “masterpiece”. What it is though, is a blast. Its almost impossible not to just sit down with a couple of friends and have an awesome time watching this movie. Its absolutely hilarious with out the use of vulgarity and it never fails to entertain.

9. Shutter Island

I have a feeling that due to its release date, this film will be overlooked by the Academy, but that doesn’t change the fact that Shutter Island is a spectacular film. There’s not much else you can expect from Martin Scorsese, but this film truly blew me away. Quite honestly, this is one of the greatest depictions of mental instability ever put on screen. Shutter Island is a film that everyone seemed to forget about, but I was never able to.

8. The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is such a fascinating feel-good film that never lets up and always keeps your full-fledged attention. In a film that could easily fallen flat and felt dry, you get fantastic performances in order to entertain from beginning to heart-wrenching end. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush make a perfect pair and you find that both are performing to the absolute best of their abilities. The King’s Speech is simply a film that will please. I promise.

7. Toy Story 3

The films of pixar have never let me down. I love every last one of them, but I wasn’t sure what I should expect from Toy Story 3. Though I did love Toy Story 2, I would have to say that it was my least favorite of the pixar films so I wasn’t as excited for Toy Story 3 as I was for their future tales of originality. Needless to say, Toy Story 3 blew me away. It is my favorite of the series and one of the few films in history to actually bring me to tears.

6. A Prophet

Technically this film came out last year and was a huge hit at Cannes, but it wasn’t available for popular viewing until this year so I put it into consideration for my list this year. A Prophet is nothing short of a gritty masterpiece and a crime tale that can be held to the caliber of any before it. A Prophet actually finds a way to be perfectly epic, while sticking to the realism and brutality of prison life. The tale of Malik’s rise in a crime-driven french prison is one I will watch and enjoy for many years to come.

5. Black Swan

Black Swan is so brilliantly unique in its substance that it’s almost impossible not to draw interest from it. Black Swan is so relentless in its execution that you truly never want to take your eyes off the screen. While the film pushes the envelope for all the right reasons it still manages to find a way to be breathtakingly beautiful. A film of this caliber is the only thing you could expect when you combine Darren Aronofsky and the brilliant prowess of Natalie Portman. Black Swan is a film that, based on its content, cannot go unnoticed.

4. True Grit

It’s always a breath of fresh air to see good western come out nowadays, but True Grit is more than good. True Grit is a masterpiece and one that I feel should and will breath life into a dying genre. True Grit is a light-hearted and real look into the west. It was a simple enough tale, but a tale that was told to perfection. To put it simply, True Grit is a prime example of every piece of the puzzle that is film, fitting together perfectly. That might be due in part to the fact that it was reinforced by brilliant performances and directed by the greatest minds working in the industry.

3. Inception

I could write a short novel on what makes Inception one of the greatest movies, just in general, but I’ll keep this a little shorter. Inception isn’t a story that would’ve been nearly as good in book form, its not a tale I could’ve retained from a picture or a song. Inception is a movie made specifically for its artistic medium and it is a true example that my favorite art form is not only alive, but always will be because truly amazing films are still being made today. Inception is a gift that I accept with open arms.

Inception is a reminder to the James Cameron’s of the world, and the 3D generation they’re helping to create, that great films are based on soul and passion. They’re not based on how much money you can spend to make your action sequences. They’re based on love for the art of telling a story through a camera. Inception is an example of what an amazing film is. What else could you possibly expect from Christopher Nolan?

2. The Social Network

I know the King’s Speech won the Oscar, but if any one film is remembered from 2010, it will be the always spectacular The Social Network. Like The Godfather, which tells a beautiful tale of family and power while masking its themes beneath a tale of gangsters, The Social Network tells a beautiful tale of friendship, corruption and betrayal, while masking its reverent ideals with plot about facebook. The Social Network is not a film about facebook, it’s a film about humans and their nature and it is absolutely breath-taking.

What makes The Social Network so much greater than so many films before it, and keep in mind I’m not implying just this year, is that there is so much you can get out of this masterfully told tale. You’ve got the obviously topical and fascinating plot, but beneath that you’ve got a relentless character study of the protagonist, Mark Zuckerberg and on top of that, thematically you get a timeless morality tale that has been told many times in the past and will be told many times in the future. It was never this fantastic though and I have my doubts that it ever will.

1. 127 Hours

A common expression when commenting on a film is that “it’s hard to put into words why I love this film so much” or something along those lines. I’m fairly certain I’ve used it myself at some point, but it has never been more true when I say it here. It is hard to put into words, exactly what makes 127 Hours one of the greatest films in history and that’s mostly based solely on the fact that 127 Hours isn’t a film you watch, but one you experience.

Like The Lord of the Rings, which takes you on an incredible journey with Sam, Frodo and all kinds of memorable characters, 127 Hours also takes you on a journey, but a very different kind. 127 Hours takes you on an emotional journey, arguably the greatest ever, with climber Aron Ralston. There are few films in history that touch on an emotional level to the caliber that 127 hours is able to because it honestly makes you feel every emotion you could think of at all the right times. With brilliant direction by Danny Boyle and the greatest performance of the year by James Franco you get  a truly phenomenal look into sheer pain, imminent death and an eventual feeling of pure solace.

127 Hours shows the power of truly flawless filmmaking and exactly what a movie can do to you. It’s a testament to human will and shows us that just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean that you’re living. It is able to establish perfectly, that life is fragile and precious, so live it up today because you never know what could happen tomorrow. 127 Hours is a true example of a masterpiece in every sense.

The King’s Speech Review

To put it as simply as possible, The King’s Speech is an art house feel-good film that was directed well and performed to literal perfection. On paper, the story of The King’s Speech doesn’t sound that moving. The tale of King George VI, his speech impediment and the friendship he acquires through working with a highly peculiar speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue. Put on the screen and what you get is nothing short of a fantastic movie.

The story is a fascinating one filled with fun moments and dramatic ones, but there are also times where its filled with bleak ones and in that way, the film becomes real and heart-warming and when times are good. Some may find the film slow, but its not an obnoxiously long film like some could be that center around a period like this. It tells exactly what needs to be told and tells it well. After watching, you’re not only happy because you just watched a good movie, you’re happy because of the outcome of the story.

The film deserves praise, as do the people who helped contribute to the making of it, but the real praise belongs to the performers. The only way a film like this could possibly work was if fantastic actors were performing in top form. That is exactly the case with King’s Speech. Just the supporting cast was fantastic. Helena Bonham Carter’s character wasn’t given much room to breath, but for what she was given she was breathtaking.

The real performances to note were the two main characters. Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. Both were absolutely brilliant. In The King’s Speech, what you get is two entirely different characters performed flawlessly. I loved every aspect of both performances, I truthfully can’t say whose performance I found more moving. Sure the character Lionel Logue might be more entertaining, but on a performance level both actors were nothing short of spectacular and a truly perfect pair that complimented each other to no end.

The King’s Speech is just an example of a great film. It tells a story that is both deep and inspirational , while at the same time never failing to entertain. Substance like this could’ve easily fallen flat, but it never once lets up. That might be in part based on the fact that we are watching two amazing performers give some of the greatest performances of their careers. The King’s Speech is a film I highly recommend if you’re planning to get some enjoyment out of going to the theater.

Grade: A

The Fighter Review

The Fighter was a pretty great film that brought you on an emotional ride to say the least. It was a film that I didn’t have much interest in because I’m not a huge fan of sports movies for the most part. The film kept getting hyped, as did Christian Bale’s performance so I felt the need to get out there and see for myself. The Fighter certainly got it right in the way that it focused not only on the main character’s triumphs in the ring, but also his intensely dramatic family life due to a mother who fails to let go of her children and his brother who can’t seem to stop screwing up.

So, yes, The Fighter did offer a little bit more than the average boxing movie, but at the end of the day. Its really nothing I haven’t seen before. The Fighter really just offered the same underdog story that’s been trampled over thousands of time. Don’t get me wrong, it was done well, but it’s definitely been done better in the past. Some might argue that its different because this movie delved into his personal life as well. It certainly did, but that’s also nothing new. That being said, The Fighter as I said before was a pretty great film. It just wasn’t amazing.

One thing that was amazing about it was Christian Bale’s performance. I’ve always been a Christian Bale fan, but his performance in this blew me away. He was phenomenal. Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest performances he’s ever given. The rest of the cast did a bang up job as well. I was never a big Wahlberg fan, but he did pretty decent and the supporting characters all held their own and very well for that matter. Christian Bale was the real treat though.

There were particular moments in this film where you were very moved on an emotional level by what was going on, on screen. Some would include the main character getting beaten by the cops for attempting to help his brother or when his sisters come to attack his “MTV” girlfriend. The parts that didn’t really move me were the actual fights. I was moved by the outcome and what was occurring during the fights, but not by the way the fights were shot.

A movie such as this one should capitalize on its fights, and shooting one should be an art form all its own. Just look at Scorsese’s work in Raging Bull. Thirty-years-old and those boxing matches are still just as breathtaking today. The fights in The Fighter however, were a bit dull. I want to feel more involved in a boxing movie and with this one I wasn’t really given that chance. I felt like the director was aiming to show the fights as if they were on T.V. and it didn’t work for me.

All and all, I could truly understand why people might fall in love with this film based on its content. Its just not the most enjoying thing for me to watch especially since I can be enjoyed in the same way with better movies. However, I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I’m not trying to trash The Fighter. It was a good movie, it just wasn’t spectacular.

Grade: B