Into the Wild

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

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Chris McCandless decides he’s not destined to live by proxy any longer. Disillusioned by a world of “things”, where people, he judges, are unnecessarily cruel to one another, he decides to leave for a destination of his own choosing – freedom. For 140 minutes, we’re along for the journey, although it’s anything but an adventure. Continue reading “Into the Wild”

12 Years a Slave

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

Knocking Schindler’s List from the top spot in the category, “Fantastic Films I Fucking Hate” is 12 Years a Slave. Before I’ve even put the film in my DVD player, it’s reminding me via an insert signed by director Steve McQueen that 21 million people are still in slavery today. Combined with the real-world racial tensions in certain areas of the United States, plus that whole Confederate flag thing that I can’t weigh in on because of my being English and out of touch, 12 Years a Slave is all the more poignant. Continue reading “12 Years a Slave”

The Big Sleep

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he’s seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

One of IMDb’s FAQs for The Big Sleep reads: “I’m hopelessly confused. Who killed whom and why?” I’ve no problem with films through which I have to be alert, but I certainly was hopelessly confused from the beginning – and I felt as though The Big Sleep didn’t want to give me a second chance to get on board. “Don’t get what’s going on? Tough shit – we ain’t waiting for you.” Continue reading “The Big Sleep”

The Silence of the Lambs

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

The Silence of the Lambs grabbed me by the balls at about the twenty minute mark – from our introduction to Hannibal Lecter, to ninety minutes later as he climactically and satisfyingly proclaims he is “having an old friend for dinner”, The Silence of the Lambs quickly ascended through my list of favourite thrillers. Not necessarily smashing the genre’s status quo, but intense, disturbing, and most importantly, thrilling, it’s two hours that simultaneously reel past, and creep by. Continue reading “The Silence of the Lambs”

Wild Strawberries

After living a life marked by coldness, an ageing professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

If, by the end of this short “review” – or any of my others, for that matter – you’re left asking yourself, “What the hell was that?” you may be close to my response to Wild Strawberries. Except that 250 rambling words will have a much harder time blunting your evening than ninety meandering minutes will. Continue reading “Wild Strawberries”

The Bourne Ultimatum

Jason Bourne dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer.

Jason Bourne is the American James Bond. Where England has its well-dressed, sophisticated, always-according-to-plan 007, America can rely on its rugged, improvisational, by-any-means-necessary Bourne to get the job done. And where they differ doesn’t stop at the personification of our two countries. You can also see our greatest fears in who we choose to demonise as our antagonist. Continue reading “The Bourne Ultimatum”

A Wednesday

A retiring police officer reminisces about the most astounding day of his career, a case that was never filed but continues to haunt him in his memories – the case of a man and a Wednesday.

At #235 in the Top 250 is The Road. This is not the adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel starring Viggo Mortensen. Mistakes, nonetheless, do happen, which is why, as the credits of A Wednesday rolled, my first thought was, “Shit. I bought the wrong film.” Nope. As confirmed by IMDb, A Wednesday is one of the best films of all time. Why? I have no fucking idea. Continue reading “A Wednesday”