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Rating History

Boyhood (2014)
3 years ago via Flixster

Although I feel it's not as universal as his previous masterpiece, "Before Midnight", Richard Linklater's epic is ultimately the pinnacle film about the joys and complications of adolescent life in the western world.

Saving Private Ryan
3 years ago via Flixster

70 years ago today, in Normandy, France; the largest amphibious invasion in recorded history took place. Around 150 000 soldiers in total, 24 000 invaded by parachute at midnight, the remaining were sent by sea transports to five different beaches the following morning.

It's been said many times but I'll say it again, the opening 20 minutes of Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" is a masterpiece in movie-making and perhaps the finest, most realistic representation of the Normandy landings ever created. Using mostly hand-held cameras and saturated colouring, the sequence achieves a gritty, documentary-styled look that succeeds in creating empathy within the viewer towards the carnage onscreen. Experiencing this moment again still remains as daunting as ever.

Like any other great film, "Saving Private Ryan" will speak about different things to different people. For me at least, the film excels at reminding the viewer that these soldiers are just ordinary men under extraordinary circumstances. They each have their own lives back home, but the depravity of war changes them, probably forever. This theme is carried through the virtuosic performance of Tom Hanks, who plays a high-ranking officer in his company, but in his civilian life, is a high school English teacher. The transformation here is staggering--a man who once gave education to children, has become an instrument and a teacher of killing other human begins. He solemnly states: "...[with] every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel." We pity this man as he struggles to maintain a sense of decency in an environment that defies it. Even within all the bloodshed, there are still specks of humanity that shine through in "Saving Private Ryan." What an achievement that is.

The Shawshank Redemption
3 years ago via Flixster

"The Shawshank Redemption" has quite a legacy behind it. Before filming began, writer-director Frank Darabont was offered $2.5 million for his screenplay adaptation of Stephen King's novella, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"; an offer that most people would find difficult to refuse. Mr. Darabont however, declined saying that it was his "chance to do something great."

The film flunked at the box office, with an initial release that failed to meet its production cost by about $9 million. In the following year of 1995, it became one of the year's highest video rentals. Today, it remains as one of the most popular and beloved films of all time.

What's special about "Shawshank" is how patiently it deals with friendship. Its two central characters begin as complete strangers, who allow their curiosities toward one another to build into an enduring relationship. Because this friendship builds so slowly, we feel as if we are a part of their world. We see them as people rather than movie characters. We don't judge them, but rather, are engulfed in the same curiosity they have for each other. I don't think I've ever seen a friendship as involving in any other film.

I've probably seen "Shawshank" 8 times now, and each time the experience is better than the last; a sign of a truly great and important film. Many have considered it to be a spiritual experience because, in a way, it does speak to heart. Mr. Darabont made a film that has inspired so many and continues to do so. That is worth more than any sum of money.