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.

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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”

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”

American Beauty

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s best friend.

The title is also the name of a breed of roses that is prone to decay beneath the surface. That’s why American Beauty‘s tagline is: “Look closer.” Little thoughts like that, that just add some depth to a film, are why I love films. They’re the little bits of trivia you can spout off at any time, and people go, “Huh.” Continue reading “American Beauty”

Before Sunrise

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

If every film had a gimmicky sociology experiment agenda, the medium would be most unenjoyable. But Linklater’s ability to tell stories very much based in real life does not grow stale for me, especially against the backdrop of formulaic 21st century romance. Continue reading “Before Sunrise”

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”

The Sixth Sense

A boy who communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

M. Night Shyamalan’s debut is an excellent one that I’ve seen a handful of times – the first, as a terrified eleven-year-old subsequently deprived of sleep. The Sixth Sense‘s most chilling moments have been seared into my memory – but today, they don’t stand up as particularly scary, and I find myself re-categorising the film in my own mental IMDb. Continue reading “The Sixth Sense”

Jurassic Park

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Jurassic Park is the film that, for many of my generation’s film-lovers, can be identified as the start of their obsession. Unfortunately for this 1992-born film-lover, I didn’t see Jurassic Park until I was twenty-two, and films had already been cemented as something I love. What it did do for me, however, was act as a reminder: I love films. Continue reading “Jurassic Park”

Schindler’s List

In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

I dare not suggest that Schindler’s List isn’t a perfect film, for fear of being labeled insensitive. Fortunately, it’s absolutely one of the greatest films ever made, because unfortunately, it’s horrible and I fucking hate it. Continue reading “Schindler’s List”

Heat

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.

As the opening credits reel off a million now household names, I’m wondering how the hell there could be so many parts in this movie. And by the end, I was left wondering just what Hank Azaria and Natalie Portman’s characters brought to the table (nothing against their performances) beyond piling an extra half hour into an already long and unfocused film. Continue reading “Heat”