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”

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”

Amadeus

The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri – now confined to an insane asylum.

Amadeus is the story of two creative geniuses whose overlapping passions forge one of the most interesting and engrossing cinematic rivalries I’ve ever seen – not a result of circumstance or even history, but rather the work of F. Murray Abraham’s Antonio Salieri and Tom Hulce’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Continue reading “Amadeus”

Inglourious Basterds

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.

Inglourious Basterds has its indulgences. But when Tarantino is described as masturbatory, I argue: this is a man who has loved movies all his life – a passionate authority on 20th century cinema. Countless homages across his entire filmography illustrate a love of film, and a love of sharing it. He’s not masturbating. If anything, he’s hosting an orgy, and we’re all invited. Continue reading “Inglourious Basterds”

Oldboy

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

A month ago, I started this film. It was a hungover Sunday evening. Normally I’m smarter than to expect comfort from an unfamiliar film. If you’ve seen Oldboy, you’ll understand why I got all claustrophobic and anxious and had to turn it off. Continue reading “Oldboy”

There Will Be Blood

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

There Will Be Blood was one of only 69 films I’d seen of the Top 250 before I started this project (one year ago today). It was not a prominent member of that exclusive club, and I am a fool for overlooking its brilliance the first time. There Will Be Blood is, upon second viewing, and without overstating it, this is just my opinion… Here we go… An absolute masterpiece of cinema. Continue reading “There Will Be Blood”

Rocky

Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

I thought Rocky was going to be the motivating pick-me-up that I needed on my hungover post-Superbowl Monday. Instead, it was a warning: don’t become a whiny little bitch like Rocky Balboa. Continue reading “Rocky”