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.

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”

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”

My Neighbour Totoro

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.

I’m a reluctant member of the generation of Western cinephiles who have embraced Studio Ghibli’s exotic storytelling, characters, and fantasies. This reluctance in no way comes from the source material. It comes from not wanting to be misallocated to the kawaii Tumblr crowd who get the fucking Totoro tattooed on themselves because they’re just so unique. Continue reading “My Neighbour Totoro”

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”

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”

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”

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

As Miyazaki’s second feature film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was made two years before Studio Ghibli opened its doors in 1986 – but in all likeliness, it’s this film that made such a move possible. We have a lot to thank Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind for. Continue reading “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”