Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Haunting horror movie that gets better after every viewing, especially once you know what is going on. The cast is superb, with Tim Robbins giving one of his best lead performances as Jacob Singer, a man haunted by his experiences in Vietnam to nightmarish effect. Behind the camera, director Adrian Lyne makes a nightmarish vision, with freakish monsters and events that are kept just out of sight, making them even scarier, though some of the more realistic moments are just as effective (a bathtub scene in which Jacob is dosed with freezing water is literally chilling). Granted, its first viewing is a little disorienting, as you're not quite sure what is going on, but it gets better with each following one, making one of the best and most unique horror movies of the 1990's.
The place where the "Fast and Furious" franchise really began, reuniting the original cast while keeping on Justin Lin, who began this new trilogy of epic action movies. The returning cast reminds you what was missing from the last two films, particularly Dom & Brian's friendship, which provides a new heart to the film. Behind the camera, Justin Lin maintains the superb action he showed in "Tokyo Drift" while crafting a fun story of Dom & Brian taking down a drug cartel for personal reasons. Some plot-holes are glossed over, such as how Brian is now an FBI agent, but quickly forgotten for some brilliant car chases and action sequences. While its strange to say for the fourth film in a franchise, but this is where the series really began.
The strangest entry in the "Fast & Furious" franchise that tries a completely new cast and setting, only to abruptly connect to the previous films in the end. Th actors are okay, though Lucas Black is unintentionally as the American Sean, trying to fit into Japan and its drifting racing culture (you haven't lived until you heard him say 'Donkey Kong'). The one standout is Han, nicely played by Sung Kang, who brings a nice bit of gravitas as an underground street racer. The film's lasting appeal is that it brought director Justin Lin to the franchise, to date still its best director, delivering some killer action & racing sequences and showing, though the plot is pretty standard. Plus, that crazy cameo at the end throughs the continuity completely out of whack (to the point it took three more films to correct it). Overall, a fun watch but the weakest of the series.
Another superb addition to the Spider-Man franchise thanks to providing a focus on his personal life while also delivering another excellent villain. Tom Holland continues his brilliant performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, still the best live-action depiction to date, as he this time just wants to take a quiet vacation with his friends, only for his super hero life to keep getting in the way. The supporting cast remains wonderful, with Zendaya infinitely appealing as MJ while new addition Jake Gyenhall give a great take on Mysterio. Behind the camera, director Jon Watts crafts another fun adventure dealing with the classic balance of Peter Parker's personal and superhero life, while also adapting Mysterio for the modern age. While its hard to get into the character without spoilers, lets saw the film updates the character wonderfully while staying true to his nature. The action and effects remain top notch as well. Simply put, a great close out to Phase 3 of the MCU, and will definitely have you aching for Phase 4.
Another superb animated movie that, while not to the level of "Mask of the Phantasm", is another example that Batman may be best animated. The vocal cast remains superb, the standout being Michael Ansara's chilling performance as Mr. Freeze, notably in weaving in brief glimpses of humanity. Behind the camera, writer/director Boyd Kirkland crafts an action packed but emotional story, with some understandable motivations for the villains (Freeze is just trying to save his wife, after all). The mixing of the Bat family is nicely done as well, with Barbara Gordon being targeted with no one the wiser she is Batgirl, while the animation is gorgeous. Despite that, the film doesn't quite carry the punch of Batman films and sometimes feels like an overblown episode over an actual movie. Nevertheless, a great film to watch and another great edition in the Batman animated library.