Aliens

The moon from Alien has been colonised, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?

Aliens ranks highly among both the best and worst things for movie sequels. The good is what you’ll already know, whether you’ve seen the movie or not: Aliens is a great sequel because it’s really quite different to its predecessor. The bad is what only occurred to me as I considered what came after it: James Cameron put the idea in the heads of Ridley Scott et al. that this was a world that needed to be exhaustively explored. Continue reading “Aliens”

Batman Begins

After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from the corruption that Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it.

Did you know that Batman was created by Bob Kane? Of course you did. Everybody does. So why does Batman of all superheroes need an origin story? You know the hero – a pop culture icon. But Batman Begins isn’t an origin story for a superhero. It’s an introduction to one of the most iconic mythologies of the twentieth century. Continue reading “Batman Begins”

Twelve Monkeys

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

I love time travel films, but until I saw Twelve Monkeys, I had started to wonder if maybe I’d seen it done every way there is. There’s the childhood adventure of Back to the Future, the sci-fi confusion-fest of Donnie Darko, and the loopy cycle of time in Looper. But in Twelve Monkeys, there’s a bleak doom and gloom that I both love for being brand new to me, and hate for making me feel dirty inside. Continue reading “Twelve Monkeys”

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Random thoughts for Valentine’s Day 2017. I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind today. Remember that you probably won’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Then again, if you let it go, did you really appreciate it in the first place? Continue reading “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

Stand By Me

After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

The first time I saw a dead body was, like the characters in Stand By Me, in the company of three friends. From the top of bales of hay stacked twenty feet high, Dan, Jacob, Joe and I saw a swarm of flies pestering the body of a sheep – its guts were hanging out. But for such a relatable story, Stand By Me falls a little short of my own childhood’s sense of adventure. Continue reading “Stand By Me”

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.

For so cruel and unforgiving a villain as Darth Vader, one doesn’t expect him to fail. And yet, that’s exactly what he does – letting Luke Skywalker (shock twist: his own son) slip through his fingers in the closing moments of The Empire Strikes Back. It’s far from a victory for the good guys, though. It’s proven to be a gruelling two hours, and as the credits roll, I’m still left wondering if A Fool’s Hope would have been a more accurate title for the trilogy’s opening instalment. Continue reading “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”

Psycho

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

For two consecutive Halloweens, I’ve watched a classic horror film that has become so ubiquitous in pop culture that its shocks, twists and scares surely shouldn’t surprise me. It came as no surprise when Jack Torrance went crazy and tried to kill his family. I knew from the opening titles that Norman Bates is dressing up as his mother and committing these murders. And yet Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Perkins make me doubt myself with every passing minute. Continue reading “Psycho”

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Late in 2015, having gone on and on about the importance of The Lord of the Rings films to me, I decided to read the books. I’ll be the first to admit I wouldn’t have picked them up, let alone finished them if it wasn’t for the films. But now that I’ve experienced both, it’s clear to see the differences between them. Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Cinema Paradiso

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theatre and formed a deep friendship with the theatre’s projectionist.

“An enchanted village. A wonderful friendship. Star-crossed lovers. And the magic of the movies.” Cinema Paradiso hits every one of these beats. I celebrated, laughed and cried in all the right places. But, as Tornatore’s obituary to classic movie theatresCinema Paradiso doesn’t capture what the movies mean to me – it’s a lamentation for a filmgoing generation I was never a part of. Continue reading “Cinema Paradiso”

La Haine

24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

As its title is spoken, La Haine reaches a turning point. Hubert warns Vinz: “La haine attire la haine.” Hatred breeds hatred. Moments later, Saïd and Hubert (Vinz is notably absent) are at the mercy of police officers abusing their power. And for letting the first act convince me otherwise, the rest of La Haine chastises me for believing things could ever be so black and white. Continue reading “La Haine”