Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

When an evil Mexican bandit named Calvera and his posse terrorize a little farming village and steal their food, the farmers won't put up with it anymore. So they search for and hire some gunmen, seven in all to keep Calvera out. However Calvera has over a hundred bandits with him, so he forces the gunmen to hand over their weapons and leave the town. But the seven refuse to run, so they decide to go back to the village for a final showdown. A remake of the Japanese film The Seven Samurai, with an all star cast and a excitingly catchy music score, this is a one of a kind treat, and a great classic film! Starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz 8/10

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Six criminals who are strangers are hired by a crime boss named Joe Cabot to rob a diamond warehouse. They are all given fake names so they won't be connected to anyone; Mister Orange, Mister Blonde, Mister Pink, Mister White, Mister Blue, and Mister Brown. But the plan ends up going terribly wrong when the police show up, killing one and injuring another. The strangers who are left begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop. With a great and immensely talented cast,this is a brutal, violent but sometimes funny film by the great director/writer Quentin Tarantino. Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Quentin Tarantino, Edward Bunker 9/10

Rounders (1998)

Damon plays law student Mike McDermott, who ends up losing all his life savings to a Russian mobster when playing the high stakes game of Texas Hold 'Em, winner takes all poker. So after that he wants to go straight and leaves the game to concentrate on becoming a lawyer. But when his buddy Worm gets out of prison, he ends up luring Mike back to the seductive world of card playing. It doesn't help that Worm owes a lot of money back to the same Russian mobster that Mike lost all his money to. Great acting in an underrated film; this film is mostly centered around Damon's character, but I think Norton really stole the show as Mike's sleazy, cheating pal. Starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Gretchen Mol, Famke Janssen, Martin Landau, Michael Rispoli, Melina Kanakaredes 7/10

Witness (1985)

A young Amish boy named Samuel Lap and his widow mother Rachel intend to go traveling to Philadelphia. But when they're waiting, the young Samuel walks into the train station restroom and ends up witnessing a murder. So Detective John Book gets assigned to the case of the murder, which it turns out that the man that was killed was an undercover cop. Samuel identifies that the man he saw is a narcotics officer. For the boy's safety and the mother's, Book wants them to go into hiding. But when Book ends up getting injured in a shoot-out, they go back to the Lap farm so they can help him. Book stays at the Lap home so the killers won't find him or the boy, and he and Rachel fall in love. But they both know that they're from different worlds and their love can't be. A suspenseful and unique story; Harrison Ford is sensational as the tough city cop who tries to learn the ways of the Amish. Starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Josef Sommer, Alexander Godunov, Danny Glover, Viggo Mortensen, Patti LuPone, Jan Rubes, Brent Jennings 8/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Amityville Horror (2005)

George and Kathy Lutz move into what they think is a nice house, but discover that it is haunted. Apparently in the seventies, six people were murdered in the house by the oldest son of the DeFeo family. But despite that they stay in the house for 28 days, in which the vengeful spirits of the house take George under their control and he begins to turn into a dangerous and harmful person. While Kathy seeks help from a priest to exorcise the demons that are destroying her family. A remake of the 1979 film and based on the real life story of the Lutz family, this film is very frightening and incredibly disturbing. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett, Chloe Moretz, Rachel Nichols, Philip Baker Hall 7/10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giant (1956)

Bick Benedict is a wealthy Texas rancher who visits a farm in Maryland one afternoon to buy a prized horse. While there he meets and falls in love with Leslie, the owner's daughter. They marry soon afterward and she travels back on the train with him to his ranch. But unfortunately Bick's sister Luz doesn't take to Leslie at all, thinking that she won't be able handle the hard life of a rancher's wife. But Leslie is a strong woman and she eventually adapts to it. Ranch hand Jett Rink who works for Bick wants to have his own ranch and takes a liking to Leslie. One unsuspecting day he strikes oil and becomes rich. An epic romantic drama; although the story is mostly centered around Rock and Elizabeth's characters, James Dean undoubtedly steals the show, in his last performance. Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Mercedes McCambridge, Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor, Earl Holliman 9/10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Shatner plays Doctor Robert "Rack" Hansen, a veterinarian living in Arizona who investigates about some farm animals who have recently become sick and died mysteriously. An arachnologist Diane Ashley arrives days later for Hansen and tells him that the animals have been bitten by a huge dose of spider venom. But Hansen is a skeptic, until the tarantula spiders start to attack the residents and take over the whole countryside. A strange and often comical low budget horror film. Starring William Shatner, Tiffany Bolling, Woody Strode 6/10

Flashdance (1983)

Alex Owens is a welder in a steel mill by day, and an exotic dancer in a bar by night. When her boss sees her on stage, he is fascinated by her and finds out that she works for him at the mill. Her one dream is to get accepted into a prestigious dance company, which her mentor Hanna Long, a retired professional dancer encourages her to audition for. But when she visits the actual place, she can't help but feel intimidated and out of place so she leaves. Despite a tragic loss in her life, she emerges from her sorrow and finally gets the courage to pursue her dream. A high energy dance film with a dynamite soundtrack. Starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala, Sunny Johnson, Kyle T. Heffner 6/10

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Joy Ride (2001)

Lewis Thomas is a college student who decides to drive cross-country to see his girl friend Venna. On the way, he bails out his brother Fuller from jail. When stopping for a pit stop, Fuller has a mechanic install a CB radio in the car. And being the troublemaker that he is he practically forces Lewis to play a practical joke and pretend he's a woman to excite one of the truck drivers on the other end. Unfortunately when Lewis reveals that he's a man, the driver known as Rusty Nail, gets insulted and stalks them on their trip. Even worse do things get when he kidnaps Venna and humiliate them for fun. A great thriller with terrific twists and turns. Starring Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski 7/10

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Happy Gilmore is a hockey player, but not a very good one and he can't skate. When he finds out his grandmother's house is in foreclosure because she didn't pay the back taxes, Happy tries to find a way to make some money. He discovers when he's at a driving range that he's got a great golf swing and can drive the ball a hundred feet. The range pro tells him he'd make an excellent golfer, but Happy is a hockey player. But realizing that he can make real money playing, he decides to try out for the golf tour so he can get his grandmother's house back. He ends up being in the tournament and instantly becomes a popular favorite. However the tournament leader Shooter McGavin thinks he's a disgrace and embarrassment to the game and will do anything to win the tournament away from Happy. A laugh your ass off comedy; Adam Sandler is a crazy and nutty character that you can't help but root for. Starring Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers, Frances Bay, Bob Barker, Dennis Dugan, Kevin Nealon 7/10

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heat (1995)

Neil McCauley is a bank robber who believes in never doing a job that you can't walk away from in thirty seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner. He and his buddies decide to hit one more bank so they can all retire and go their separate ways. Vincent Hanna is an L.A.P.D. detective who becomes obsessed with catching McCauley, so much so that he his personal life is falling apart; hardly ever spending time with his third wife and step-daughter. Neil meets a young woman named Eady, but lies to her about what he really does. Even so, he doesn't know if he can walk away from her. An intense and provocative crime drama; DeNiro and Pacino are absolutely dynamic. Starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman, Mykelti Williamson, Natalie Portman 8/10

Matilda (1996)

Matilda Wormwood is an incredibly smart girl, ever since she was a child she was able to fend for herself because her family is wrapped up in their own lives and don't appreciate her. She discovers she has an amazing gift of moving objects with her mind when she concentrates hard enough. She attends school and becomes best friends with a girl named Lavender, and has the most wonderful teacher; a sweet and caring woman named Miss Honey. But unfortunately Agatha Trenchbull, her principal is a cruel and mean woman who punishes her students by locking them in the chokey, an iron maiden like device with nails and jagged edges. Matilda and Miss Honey become good friends and Matilda tells her about her power. When Matilda's father, a crooked used car dealer sells Miss Trunchbull a lemon, she begins to hate the child more and more. To make things even more complicated, Matilda discovers two cops who are scoping out their house. From Roald Dahl's children's novel, this is a wonderful fantasy film; Mara Wilson is simply enchanting. Starring Danny Devito, Mara Wilson, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, Brian Levinson, Tracey Walter, Paul Reubens 8/10

The Great Outdoors (1988)

Chet Ripley and his family go on a vacation to a beautiful lake resort in Pechoggin, Wisconsin. But when his brother-in-law Roman Craig; an annoying, loudmouth investment broker, his wife and twin daughters drive out to surprise Chet and the gang, it is hardly what Chet had in mind. Especially when the kids don't want to do the activities Chet had planned, but instantly agree when Roman suggests something better to do. Chet's older son becomes smitten with a young waitress, and the family become under siege when a huge bear attacks their cabin, the same one that supposedly attacked Chet years before. A fun and underrated adventurous comedy. Starring John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Annette Bening, Stephanie Faracy, Chris Young, Ian Giatti, Rebecca Gordon, Hilary Gordon, Lucy Deakins 7/10

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stripes (1981)

John Winger is a cab driver who ends up losing his job, his apartment and his girlfriend dumps him. So when he and his friend Russell finally get fed up with their lives, they decide to join the army. But it's not easy, especially when John doesn't get along with the tough and strict Sergeant Hulka. Also while in boot camp, John and Russell meet and fall for two attractive young Military police officers when they get arrested one night for fighting in a strip club. After graduation, the boys take the recreational vehicle and have a good time with their girlfriends while their buddies are captured by Russian troops and taken to Czechoslovakia. So it's up to John, Russell, Stella and Louise to go there and rescue them. My favorite military spoof, Bill Murray is hilarious in this crazy comedy that can't be missed! Starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P.J. Soles, John Candy, Sean Young, John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold 7/10

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Fugitive (1993)

Set in Chicago, Doctor Richard Kimble, a successful and greatly respected vascular surgeon is falsely accused of attacking and murdering his wife. He tells the police that when he came home after an emergency operation call he found a one-armed man in his house and that he fought with this man. But there isn't any evidence to back up his story, so Richard is convicted and sentenced to execution. He is transported by bus with other convicts to another prison but while on the way there, one of the prisoners fakes a seizure and as the prisoners try to take control, the driver is shot and the bus turns over, landing right on train tracks. Although injured, Richard saves one of the guards that has been stabbed and just narrowly escapes when the oncoming train crashes into the bus. Enter U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard, who takes over the search of hunting down Richard who's become a fugitive despite being innocent. With some help from his fellow colleagues, Richard is determined to find the one-armed man who killed his wife. A suspenseful and incredibly exciting film; Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are both fantastic. Starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore, Joe Pantaliano, Jeroen Krabbe 8/10

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scent of a Woman (1992)

In New Hampshire, Charlie Simms is a prep school student who witnesses some of his friends playing a prank on the headmaster. The headmaster finds out that he and his friend George know who did it, but doesn't admit anything. So they have until after the Thanksgiving holiday to confess if they saw anything. Charlie is torn because he doesn't want to rat out his fellow classmates but the headmaster tells him that he'll get him into an Ivy League school if he does. Charlie wants to go home to Oregon for Christmas break but doesn't have money for air-fare. So he gets a part-time job house-sitting for a blind ex-colonel named Frank Slade. But when he meets Frank, Charlie discovers the job is not at all what he expected; Frank is a tough, no-nonsense man who says what he means, no matter how blunt he may sound. And what Charlie doesn't realize until later is that the colonel has plans of his own. One of Pacino's best performances; a terrific, emotional, often comical drama. Starring Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, 7/10

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Primal Fear (1996)

A hotshot attorney named Martin Vail takes on a case of an altar boy who's been accused of murdering a priest. As he investigates the evidence and what happened, the case becomes even more complicated when Martin discovers that Aaron, the altar boy has two split personalities; the shy Aaron and the tough Roy. Then when a sex tape is found with the priest being involved in harassing a girl and two young altar boys, one being the accused it is considered that a motive has been found as well. A thrilling and chilling courtroom drama that will keep you guessing until its shocking climax. Norton, in his screen debut is simply astonishing. Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodward, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton,Terry O' Quinn, Steven Bauer, Maura Tierney 7/10

Empire of the Sun (1987)

It's 1941, and just at the beginning of World War 2. James "Jamie" Graham, a young British boy who lives with his rich family in Shanghai gets separated from his parents when there is a Japanese army invasion. He goes back to his house but his parents aren't there. He stays for a few months until the food runs out. But when he goes back to Shanghai on his bike, he is mugged by a Chinese boy. He's nearly run over by a truck, which the driver named Frank brings him back to where he and his friend Basie are staying. Not long after they are sent to the Soochow Interment prison camp, which is next to an airbase site. When the war ends, Jamie is eventually reunited with his parents but doesn't recognize them right away because of the long time that has passed since he's seen them. From the autobiography of J.G. Ballard, this is an emotional and exciting story. Christian Bale, only thirteen and in his film debut, is simply mesmerizing. Starring Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantaliano, Ben Stiller 8/10

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Papillon (1973)

Papillon is the true story of Henri Charriere, a criminal who's falsely accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The name Papillon is French for "butterfly" which he has a tattoo of on his chest. He is sent to the French penal colony in French Guiana, South America. There he becomes friends with another inmate, a counterfeiter named Louis Dega, and with his help plans to make an escape. But escaping isn't easy when he keeps getting captured and put into solitary confinement. However Papillon does not give up, because freedom is all that he wants. An amazing, unforgettable film that doesn't glamorize prison; it shows the harsh and brutal conditions of what penitentiary life is like. McQueen and Hoffman are both fantastic. Starring Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Don Gordon, Bill Mumy, Anthony Zerbe, William Smithers, Val Avery 8/10

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Machinist (2004)

Trevor Reznik is an industrial worker; emaciated and an insomniac who hasn't slept in a year. The only happiness in his life is spending time with his hooker girlfriend Stevie, and talking with a divorced waitress at the airport restaurant. But weird things start to happen; he keeps seeing a co-worker who everyone says doesn't exist, then he finds mysterious Post-It notes on his refrigerator. Then after there's an accident at work, Trevor claims that it was the non-existent co-worker who distracted him. When he begins to suspect that there's a revenge plot against him, he soon believes that he's slowly losing his mind. A strange and intriguing psychological drama; Bale is simply astounding and barely recognizable. Starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Larry Gillard Jr. 8/10