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.

Advertisements

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”

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”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.

To use the tagline, “The Journey Continues”, is wrong. Because the second instalment of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy doesn’t just bridge a gap between stories, and it’s certainly not more of the same. While The Fellowship of the Ring may be my favourite of the threeThe Two Towers is hard to ignore, doing everything bigger, while simultaneously bringing everything closer. Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

Gran Torino

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski’s prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

With some films, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what it’s doing right. My knowledge of film theory is thin, so I normally end up judging films on the stories they tell – something which only makes up about 20% of the finished product, but explains why some of the greatest films of all time didn’t entertain me. Continue reading “Gran Torino”

The Prestige

Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion.

To describe a film as “formulaic” would normally be considered a great insult – but I think The Prestige earns it. The film follows its very own formula, established by Michael Caine in the opening moments: act one is “The Pledge”, in which the magician, or film-maker, shows us something ordinary. The Prestige seems, at first, ordinary. An entertainment-industry rivalry-thriller. But, similar to the tricks within its fiction, The Prestige quickly shows us “The Turn”, and ultimately, “The Prestige”. And we’re left, much like a 19th century crowd at a magic show, reeling. Continue reading “The Prestige”

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Film lovers can usually trace their interest in the medium back to a single event. Often a movie from their childhoodThe Lord of the Rings series is my genesis – the films that got me interested in films. Over a decade since their release, I still try to make time for them once a year. Sometimes to once again lose myself in the cinematic world that I fell in love with as a child, sometimes just to see how well they’ve aged (hint: they’ve aged really bloody well). Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”

Mary and Max

A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.

Mary and Max is a recipe for cult status. A unique and inherently funny animation style is the foundation for a story about two isolated, lost souls who become friends from different sides of the world. It ticks all the emotional boxes someone like me needs to love a film – it’s funny, bleak, uplifting, deflating… It’s a tough spectrum to experience in ninety minutes, but I managed. Continue reading “Mary and Max”

Memories of Murder

South Korea in 1986 under the military dictatorship: Two rural cops and a special detective from the capital investigate a series of brutal rape-murders.

I find it hard to judge Asian films, because so few are made for a Western audience. And yet, despite an ending that could be described as underwhelming to a viewer this side of the world, I found Memories of Murder intensely stylish and enjoyable. Continue reading “Memories of Murder”

WALL-E

In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

I was quite surprised to see WALL-E in the Top 250, let alone at number 62. With no idea what the film was about beyond its gimmick, I was naturally apprehensive. How would Pixar drag out a film with no dialogue into ninety-something minutes? While WALL-E relies heavily on physical comedy, it’s actually also its most beneficial element – there’s no unnecessary weight, and the story, like its characters, is always moving. Continue reading “WALL-E”