Goodfellas – Movie Review

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Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

As far back as I could remember, I wanted to be a gangster…

Martin Scorsese is a master of his craft. His craft being making gangster films. Goodfellas is perfect in that respect; it is THE gangster movie. Its hard hitting, fast and stylish. Scorsese’s direction is inventive and upbeat, and never fails to amaze you. Whether its the continuous shots, quick editing, zoom in or the music cut-ins; you will be thrilled from the start.

The writing is sharp and witty, and every other line is quotable. The words that come out of these characters mouths are just simply genius. This matches with the typical Scorsese jumpy narrative. The film bounces along from point to point at a fast rate, but you couldn’t really call it fast paced. Plot wise, the film has its drawbacks because of the reality of it, but it still very enthralling.

What makes this movie special, is its acting. Ray Liotta is so diverse and lost, really becoming something different in this film. Robert De Niro is brilliantly flat in this movie, making him ice cool and so wonderful to watch. Joe Pesci is the highlight in any movie, but especially in this one, where he is hysterically mental. The rest of the cast are also very convincing, not to mention Lorraine Bracco, who is excellent and empathetic here.

There’s not much more I can say apart from that I could watch this movie all day every day. It is one of my favorites, and after watching it, it will be on of yours; probably because of the soundtrack.

Stylish and powerful, Scorsese and his acting team will amaze you with Goodfellas. – 5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1032176-goodfellas/

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Rush – Movie Review

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The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

When this movie came out, I was all like ‘Ew, ew ew, do not want to see that’. God, I was a fool.

Interesting and like-able would be an understatement here. It is such a fun and yet so emotionally complex. I have not spoke to a single person that doesn’t like this film. It just has that quality that very few films manage to get, where you just cannot hate it. Its the sort of film that if it was made in the 80’s my dad would say ‘Ahh, that’s a good un’.

Ron Howard has crafted some of the best car scenes we have ever scene. They are so brutally exhilarating and fast paced that they will literally speed up your heart rate. Away from the action, the direction is still good, Howard making an extremely slick movie. Mix that with the awesome soundtrack and you have the recipe for popcorn excitement.

The movie is far more than that though. The writing is excellent and the story behind it is also excellent. It tells a great morale about competition, friendship, personality flaws and of course rivalry. One of the few faults that I can give it is that like a lot of true stories, it feels pulled back because of that element. It focuses on some parts of this story that just aren’t as captivating as the rest of it.

Acting here is as good as it gets. Chris Hemsworth is wonderfully sexy and charismatic. Daniel Bruhl is much darker and arrogant when dealing his quite brilliant lines. The two actors are perfect when against each other; never has calling each other names been so good. The rest of the cast are sort of a comedy filler, but succeed in being very funny.

I was contemplating whether to give this film the top score, thinking that it won’t go down as one of the greats. However every element of it is masterfully crafted, and as far as movies go, this is right down my street.

Interesting narrative, genius direction and strong acting make Rush one of the most entertaining films you will ever see. – 5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1979320/

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Aliens – Movie Review

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The planet from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?

Alien is one of my favourite movies of all time, and I’ve always been skeptical about Aliens and on edge with it. It’s mostly due to me not being with the times; I’m afraid my judgement has been ruined by poor action films that this movie inspires. However, I can’t doubt the ferociousness and power that this film has.

This film essentially broke the boundaries of what anyone was expecting. In reality, it’s probably a far greater achievement than Alien ever was. Due to it going from generic Sci-Fi shoot em’ up sequel to a 7 time Oscar nominee. This is thanks to James Cameron, who is a master of his art with this area of film. He takes what is a quite boring idea into something much greater. His directing isn’t really the highlight, just more of how he’s presented the piece to the audience. Its big budget and exciting, but still very down to earth and gritty.

Its a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver, who is as vigorous as ever, except the character of Ripley is so much more now. Yet she handles it perfectly, and for the first half hour of the film, its a top notch character driven story. Which is the same for each of the characters, opening the shells of the corrupt from the original. We have comradely from the marines in a genius role from Bill Paxton; a hero figure from Michael Biehn; a heartfelt depiction in Lance Henriksen as the cyborg and a corrupt role from Paul Reiser to name just a few.

In essence, it’s an excellent action film; and the perfect follow up to a classic. It’s just that its so much more than that, it’s not only deep and somehow meaningful but it created the cheesiness and stupidity that we see 4 times a year. It is the Sci-Fi movie; if you’ve seen this, you’ve seem them all.

Aliens is a punch of vigor and power to back up the tense predecessor. – 5/5 

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1000617-aliens/

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Alien – Movie Review

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The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.

It’s hard to think that melon of a man Ridley Scott has made good movies. This 1979 classic is probably his best.

Starting of slow and rather clunky, this 117 minute picture is nothing short of a masterpiece once it gets going. That does take its time, but thanks to a sturdy cast, it keeps you interested enough to keep watching. However, in this time, you can tell there’s something stirring; something waiting to jump out. Something waiting to grab you and drag you into the abyss of space.

It’s tense to say the least. The tension it built up by some handsome cinematography and slow directing. Everything feels like a step up, scene by scene as the camera moves. Scott makes you sit on the edge of the seat with a simple turn of the lens. Wonderful, wonderful stuff without even seeing the creature. Then it explodes, from nowhere it fires up, and get’s your heart pumping. It will scare you and disgust you in the most brilliant way.

Like I said, the cast is very very sturdy. Which for a late 70’s Sci-Fi movie or any Sci-Fi movie to be honest, is very very unusual. Sigourney Weaver does well as the lead, being the most brutal but relatable strong female character. Apart from her, no-one is really all that special, just fine for their roles. Except maybe John Hurt, who is now a legendary British actor, and rather eerie in this film.

I’m not saying this movie has issues; it has quite a lot. Such as a irrelevant convoluted plot-line about robots, which by the time it came around, you can’t really care about it. Also, there is a few classic overacted horror moments. It’s just you can’t understate the importance of this film, the inspiration it has led. Every other tense or scary or science-y movie has copied it in some way. It made the perfect path for any type of extra terrestrial film.

A bleakly brilliant direction style and tense from the very start; an absolute classic. – 5/5

IMDb:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/

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12 Years a Slave – Movie Review

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In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Oh, yay, another slavery movie. If your making a film on this topic, then you have to do it right, and go all out, something 12 Years a Slave certainly does.

This isn’t a pleasant viewing, not at all; but it’s a brilliant one. The fairly simple and formulaic tale is so inspirational and moving; and thrilling from start to finish. To be honest, for a while, you don’t really care for Northup, its what surrounds him and where he goes. It’s a vast story with many powerful moments; and it’s also about far much more than 19th century slavery. It’s about friendship, treachery, bravery and triumph to name a few.

It’s also incredibly brutal. There will be several moments that you will find hard to watch, and one that actually might make you chuckle (thanks to Paul Giamatti), even if it is horrid. This is credit to director Steve McQueen, who manages to make these moments not just there, he makes  point of them. The music, editing and the way its slowly shot is wonderfully done by McQueen. When those powerful moments arise, he makes you feel every bit of them.

Chiwetel Ejiofor leads from the front with a magnificent performance, that you can feel throughout the movie. He is then backed up as he goes along by a rich and interesting role played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Then, of course a greatly sickly evil note from Paul Dano. Only to be out-done, by what I think is an underrated performance from Michael Fassbender, who plays a deep and scary villain here. The film also has a very good underlining empathetic role played by Lupita Nyong’o; who lets just say faces the brunt of the uncomfortable scenes. Not to mention Brad Pitt of course, who undoubtedly will be your favourite character within two minutes.

The only problem that I can think of for this film is that towards the middle it does repeat itself slightly, and this subtle change of pace for the film, does knock it for me slightly. However, the movie is still excellent. Your gonna like this film, but your not gonna be happy about it.

A brilliantly powerful yet brutal movie, with an excellent direction and an awesome driving force of a cast. – 5/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2024544/

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The Wolf of Wall Street – Movie Review

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Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

I’m pretty sure Martin Scorsese is my favourite director, and I’m pretty sure Leonardo Di Caprio is my favourite actor. So, this could be the perfect film for me…

Scorsese is at his best here. It’s ingeniously directed and edited that you are entertained from start to finish. It’s so fast paced and sharp that you forget this movie is 3 hours long, and there wasn’t one point during the movie that the length bothered me. The film is repetitive but each scene is so masterfully put together that you don’t notice that you’ve probably seen a similar scene earlier in the film. At 71 years old, Scorsese’s still got it.

Terrence Winter as writer is also very very good. Like the scene, each word is masterfully put together and the dialogue has so much behind it. It’s the sort of screenplay I’d like to have a copy of; very sharp and quick witted. Not to mention that it’s absolutely hilarious; which might be down to the improvised stuff. It’s obvious that Jonah Hill is guiding these very dramatic actors to a comedic zone they’ve never been to before. Such as a moment when there discussing whether ‘Dwarfs have special powers or not’.

I’m not sure how much of the story is actually true; if it is, then good god these wall street guys are messed up. It revolves around one guy for the whole movie, and he’s a huge cunt. His job is to illegally screw people over, do an insane amount of drugs and have sex, a lot of sex. And that’s whats so brilliant, you really get the ‘Scarface’ feel of this guy over-doing everything, then having his comeuppance. It’s a really great story and deserves and needs that 3 hour length.

Di Caprio is phenomenal. If he doesn’t win an Oscar, then there’s something wrong with the world. He is the boss and master in every scene, being charismatic and powerful without over-acting. He’s incredibly physical in this movie and just as funny as idiot side characters. The supporting cast take a back seat to him, but are still very good. Jonah Hill is the fire power behind the comedy and is becoming the perfect movie sidekick. Other people to mention are Margot Robbie, who whilst being insanely beautiful also did a good job as the sort of morale high-ground? I could mention the countless other great small roles and I’ll quickly mention Matthew McConaughey who probably has the best scene in the whole movie.

I wish this movie was perfect for me, but it isn’t. The whole overloaded sex and drugs thing worked really well, but it’s not for me. That’s my only fault; that it won’t be my favourite movie of all time, which says a lot.

Ingeniously directed and acted, we find Scorsese and Di Caprio at there best to make a hilariously entertaining story. – 5/5

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993846/

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Good Will Hunting – Film Review

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Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

It took a while for me to get round to watching this, which is a shame because this is a film everyone has to see.

A movie co-scripted by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the writing here is wonderful. It’s so real and deep and honestly I wish we had more Damon/Affleck screenplays. The film goes along at a gentle pace, but the subject matter is certainly not gentle. Each character has so many issues and problems that they have to deal with, and all have moment when they just lose. The narrative is fairly predictable and fairly tries anything new, but it’s filled with enough hard hitting moments to keep you entertained. There’s also lots of quirks in the journey, such as the antics of the Hunting/Sullivan (Damon, Affleck) crew early on in the movie.

To say there’s powerful performances would be an understatement. Damon is marvelous as the screwed up young guy and steals most scenes when being quick witted or cocky. Robin Williams is a good counterpart to him, playing another messed up guy, but he’s far calmer until pushed to the edge. Williams is brilliant and honestly when he comes up against Damon, it’s some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. Affleck, like Damon is also charming and the rest of the cast do well to support the heavyweights up front.

I love this film. It’s so ingeniously written and acted that it’s hard to fault it. It does have a lot of filler, but you totally forget about that whenever the Doctor and patient are up against each other, or whenever the group of guys are making jokes. Its the perfect character drama, as it creates the most imperfect characters. You must watch this for just the completely improvised ‘idiosyncrasy’, which is superbly awesome.

A quirky tale, backed up with some powerful performances. – 5/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119217/

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