Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor’s daughter, from Jack’s former pirate allies, who are now undead.

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The Tom of 2003 thought Pirates of the Caribbean was the coolest film ever made. He rented it from Blockbuster – one of the first DVD rentals our family made – and picked up this really annoying Jack Sparrow-esque flamboyance where everything he said was emphasised by limp hands and a pseudo-sunstroked wobble, like an Italian with Parkinson’s. He put on eyeliner with the help of some friends, and spend afternoons on the trampoline practising the Jack Sparrow swan dive – the one where your hands sort of flail around in the air on the way down. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”

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”

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”

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”

Die Hard

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Die Hard has jumped the list. It’s one of my favourite films, certainly my favourite action film, and I was saving the joy of talking about it. There seems to be no more appropriate time. Continue reading “Die Hard”

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

I have no memory of an edition of A New Hope when it was just called Star Wars. I also don’t recall ever seeing Han shoot first. Such are George Lucas’ revisions, which are not so damaging as the circlejerk loves to preach, but instead make me question my own experience of the film. Continue reading “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”

Rush

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

When Rush was first released, I remember seeing a series of gifs, comparing the critical moments of Niki Lauda’s infamous crash in 1976 to the cinematic recreation in the Ron Howard film. To say that it was near-identical is to sum up Rush – its dedication to accuracy is both one of its strongest qualities, and its only downfall. Continue reading “Rush”

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”

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”