Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Mitch (Billy Crystal) is a middle aged New Yorker who winds up having a mid-life crisis along with his best friends Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby). Ed and Phil decide to give Mitch a two week holiday driving cattle. The three meet a cowboy named Curly (Jack Palance) who teaches them not only how to make good cattle drivers but also important life lessons.
I was pleasantly surprised with City Slickers. I will admit that my only real experience of Billy Crystal is Monsters Inc. and Howl's Moving Castle (excluding the Oscars) so this was a good film to see him at his best. City Slicker's sense of humour is very witty and relies on deadpan remarks that Billy Crystal naturally delivers perfectly. It's his movie and steals the scene. The co-stars also do a great job. Jack Palance won himself an Oscar for his performance and, while I can't say he was amazingly deserving of it, he still delivers a strong performance coupled with strong writing. Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby also deliver great performances.
What surprised me most was actually how it's more than just a silly comedy. It gets surprisingly suspenseful at times and gets pretty deep too. Considering that part of the plot dabbles in the secret of life, that's to be expected. The writing helps pull this through and proves that comedy films are allowed to get meaningful and sentimental. The rest of the characters seem kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The main characters are Mitch, Phil, Ed and Curly so no-one else really matters to the plot.
City Slickers is a satisfying feel good comedy. Billy Crystal nails the deadpan comedy that the script provides. The co-stars also do a good job even if Jack Palance's performance isn't exactly Oscar worthy. It mean, it's good but...Tommy Lee Jones or Ben Kingsley didn't do as good that year? It's more the writing that holds the film up, not necessarily the actors. Join me next time where I take a look a film that is often dubbed one of the best films ever...I doubt it...
A well-written, feel good comedy which is brought to life by it's strong cast.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
9. Homer at the Bat
8. Homer's Enemy
7. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
6. Homer The Great
5. Round Springfield
There had to be at least one emotional episode on this list and I had a hard time juggling which one to pick. From episodes such as 'Mother Simpson' and 'And Maggie Makes Three', I went with 'Round Simpson' because it's good to see The Simpsons tie together multiple episodes as this is a sequel to the Season 1 episode 'Moaning Lisa'. Seeing Bleeding Gums Murphy return is a welcome return and showing off the relationship between Bart and Lisa in a positive light is always a good thing to cherish. We also get some great music too and a well done way of bringing the two stories together at the end...something that is rarely done too well.
3. A Star is Burns
The Simpsons is a great show, no doubt about that, but another show that I love almost as much as it (if not more) is The Critic. The Critic is made some of the writers of The Simpsons in it's prime and with Season 2 on the way, they decided to do a crossover between The Simpsons and The Critic. Crossovers are normally cheap tie-ins (even this episode highlights that) but the crossover is done so flawlessly that, if you had never heard of The Critic, you'd barely know its a crossover. This gave us some unforgettable Simpsons moments such as 'Man Getting Hit By Football', the interactions between Homer and Jay Sherman and giving accidental depth to Barney. Plus an episode about movie making is always welcome!
2. Cape Feare
1. Last Exit To Springfield
Homer the Smithers
Deep Space Homer
Burns, Baby Burns
Brother From Another Series
Thank you for reading this as I was debating whether or not to start doing Top 10 Episodes of shows...I may need to with movie droughts that occur throughout the year or when I just can't think of any films to review (City Slickers and O' Brother, Where Art Thou are on the horizon).
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Now seen as a hero to New York under the guise of Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finds himself brought back into the mystery surrounding his father and his work with Oscorp. Harry Osborne (Dane DeHann) steps into take over Oscorp and begins to bond with Peter while Peter's relationship with Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) begins to get rocky. As Harry descends into darkness over a horrifying discovery, an Oscorp scientist named Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) gets caught in a catastrophe leaving as the electrified villain Electro. Now Spider-Man has new villains to face while juggling his quest for discovery.
First things first, my issues with The Amazing Spider-Man are resolved. The world was been expanded with the addition of new characters despite still revolving around Oscorp. Electro is a great new addition and leads to some brilliant action scenes. Heck, this is just a great year for action. First we have the flawless combat from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and now we have the spectacular special effects and explosive action of this film. I also have to congratulate the cast on some good acting. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone show signs of some excellent chemistry on screen and they become the centre of the film. I also love the tone that the film has settled on. This is the first time in any Spider-Man film that I felt like I was watching the real comic book Spider-Man on the big screen. Mixing a lot more humour into the mix brought the character to life and helped develop the world of the film.
While they ironed out the flaws with the original, it does bring some new ones into light. The major one I found was that, looking at the runtime of 2 and a half hours, the film comprises of 2 hours of set up for half an hour of amazing...ness. What I find ironic is that, with the trailers showing off Electro, The Green Goblin and Rhino, everyone though this film would be cluttered...because it's the opposite. Towards the second half, the film begins to lack something. An element seems to fade in the second act however the film picks up significantly for a spectaular climax that had my heart racing.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while having a few glaring flaws, still lives up to the Spider-Man name. The cast deliver improved performances with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone sharing strong chemistry and Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHann bringing strong performances along with them. Yes, it does take a while to set up the climax but it's a climax worth waiting for. The action alone is worth seeing. It's a spectacle to watch, especially on the big screen.
Topped with some amazing action scenes and great acting, this sequel delivers an enjoyable superhero flick.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Well, that hiatus came out of nowhere. I am aware it's been more than 10 days sine my review of Taken and, quite frankly, there is only so many excuses I can come up with (although, they are valid). But now I'm back to deliver some more reviews on the run up to my 300th review...which I promise will be a terrible, terrible film. Until then, let's take a look at a film widely considered to be one of the greats, The Matrix.
I finally decided to watch The Matrix after all the massive hype considering that it's often considered one of the best film ever, or at least one of the most innovative films ever. At first I wasn't certain because maybe it was just throwing special effect at us and running with the generic 'chosen one' story line. However, once it hit the last act...I realised I was completely wrong. The last act of The Matrix is phenomenal! The action, the music, the cinematography, the special effects, the suspense! All of it is done amazingly well. From the moment Neo steps into that lobby, the film was on track to perfection.
While I wouldn't consider the best film ever (it was one or two flaws), I can definitely see it being one of the most innovative films. The special effects alone make the film worth watching (it's no wonder it won that Oscar for best visual effects). I must also congratulate Keanu Reeves for providing a solid performance, especially since he hadn't branched out as a credible actor at his point. I also loved Lawrence Fishburne and especially Hugo Weaving (he's good in just about everything he's in). Honestly, the only real flaw is that it does take a bit too long to get any traction but when it does, it gets good.
I'm honestly a bit ashamed that I hadn't seen The Matrix earlier. It mostly lives up the hype (I say mostly because no-one warned me about the slow start) and delivers amazing special effects, good acting, great suspense and memorable and iconic characters. I will remember this film for as long as everyone else did when it first came out. Don't hold your breath about the sequels though. Haven't seen them and probably won't for a long time.
Ground-breaking special effects hold up this memorable action flick.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA agent who makes the effort to care for his daughter (Maggie Grace), having been forced to be distant from her as a result of a divorce with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). When his daughter travels to France with her friend, she winds up kidnapped while on the phone to Bryan. He pulls all of his resources to travel to France with one objective, find Kim and make it back alive.
I mentioned the split reception but I can confirm that, after watching Taken, I am on the positive side. Taken is an example of a film conveying a very strong sense of catharsis. Almost every scene in the latter half of the film is unbelievably satisfying. Maybe because there is a sense of connection between the audience and Bryan since I legitimately cared about his predicament and wanted to see a good outcome. Over the course of the film, I was willing to suspend my level of disbelief (how does he kill that many people at be allowed out of France?) and that let me enjoy the film.
Liam Neeson provides a fulfilling lead action role (at the time, this was surprising...probably) and the moment that he owns the role begins from that amazing monologue (you know the one). The action scenes also are fun to watch but you definitely have to suspend your level of disbelief. It's probably this element that caused the film to fall down for many people. I can see why people didn't like this film but, personally, I definitely consider this film a success...don't look forward to watching Taken 2, though.
I am glad that I decided to watch Taken. It's a film that runs on catharsis therefore I came away with a good feel of satisfaction based on the events of the film. It isn't perfect as you REALLY need to suspend your level of disbelief and this could lead to some questionable action but, following this, there is some strong action and memorable acting led by Liam Neeson. I will try to get more reviews out but...don't hold your breath.
If you suspend your level of disbelief, you'll find a satisying action film helmed by a memorable Liam Neeson performance.
Is it weird that I once had a nightmare based on Taken...before I even saw Taken?