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Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Dark Knight Rises

It's no understatement that Christopher Nolan's final entry into "The Dark Knight Trilogy" was immensely anticipated. "Batman Begins" successfully provided the iconic characters to a respectable manner while capturing the idiosyncrasies, quintessential and thematics that are embedded within this cultural figure. Additionally, Nolan continued his diagnosis of the caped-crusader with "The Dark Knight"; a comic-book adaption that accumulated integrity, a balance of moral distinctions; the first superhero film ground through a sense of reality, morbid atmosphere; and a film that has been embedded within pop-culture - contributed greatly by the late Heath Ledger. So, as previously stated, the anticipation for Nolan's final entry was unparalleled. After six months after its release, whether the film is considered 'great' or not is purely subjective and is a subject that is likely to be contentious. Basically there are people who love it, and obviously ones that depose it. Personally, "The Dark Knight Rises" is an ultimate success; a film that may not compare to its predecessor, but nevertheless accomplishes its sole purpose: a final entry that is grandeur, monumental and concludes Batman's and Bruce Wanye's story in equal measure. However, while the film succeeds on many fronts, there are glaring flaws: plot elements (not plot holes) that have evidently been rushed; sloppy sound-mixing - the score quite frequently engulfs the dialogue - characters that are brilliantly fleshed out, but at times seem superfluous; and dialogue that seems stage-bound. Like most final segments, Batman's finale contains an accumulation of notions, various sub-plots and too many characters. Nevertheless, Nolan juggles the various elements to present - at times messy but also attempting to be cohesive - a conclusion that succeeds on producing the big moments, but failing on the subtle ones.

The plot picks up eight years after the events of Harvey Dent's death. Gotham's climate has shifted from the reigning chaos of the Joker, to a time of peace and solace. After Batman took the fall for Dent's crime, he has been branded a criminal, which in turn sends Bruce Wayne to a reclusive status. When the evasive Selena Kyle comes out to play with accompany of a new mercenary, Bane. The people of Gotham must to turn to the man they once branded a criminal: The Batman.

While the plot may seem relatively simply, Nolan's ability as a story-teller allows it sprawl (similar to a novelistic technique) with continuous bends, turns and the demanding of the viewers attention - as previously stated, there are many characters that contribute to the plots perpetual motion. In regards to this train-of-thought, Nolan adopted the pacing of 'The Snowball-effect.' A technique used for a film to continuously gain momentum, upon momentum to the inevitable climax (think "North by Northwest"). The use of such an effect come with its merits, and its pitfalls. The first hour and a half fly's at brisk pace; action after action sequences with dosages on the relations between Bruce and Alfred within a substantial measure. However, with Nolan continually attempting to gain this perpetual momentum, many plot elements are rushed: John Blake's discovery of Batman's identity is paper thin, along with Bruce's return to Gotham; and within the space of 5 minutes, the time duration goes from twenty-three days to fourteen hours. And while this effect builds to a sensational climax, there are many subtle moments that you wish were taken with that extra care of delicacy.

As with adopting such a pace and aiming for them 'monumental moments,' the atmosphere and mood of "The Dark Knight Rises" tends to lend to the fantastical elements used within "Batman Begins" rather than the gritty realism of "The Dark Knight"; in fact, Nolan's latest entry could well be his most fantastical (comic-boo-key). Consider the various elements: there's the "The Bat," a new-toy from applied sciences which provides Batman with the ol' air-support; then there's the central mechanical antagonist - No, not Bane - a ticking time-bomb (obviously influenced from Nolan's love of "James Bond." Looking at you "Goldfinger"). And it's obvious that the action sequences have been given that extra little bit of juice for a grandeur outcome. Thankfully - and despite striding for such heights - Nolan doesn't substitute the authentic realism of his action sequences for the use of CGI. For example, the introduction is simply breathtaking. Watching Bane - with the introduction of his sinister voice - hijack a plane with the accompany of real props and searing Imax shots is an entity to behold. Furthermore, the climax consist of hundreds of extras with various vehicles engaging in a battle for Gotham's soul that turns the city in a full-blown battle-field. Nolan's craftsmanship towards the film's thrills evokes the aesthetic principles used within the classic studio-era blockbusters.

Despite its focus on action, "The Dark Knight Rises" still contains emotional resonance. At its core, the films sole focus is to conclude Batman and Bruce's story. Similar to the source material and after the events of Rachael; Bruce has become a recluse. His mansion has become a substitute for society, and ultimately, his tale is quite tragic. Living in a world that has rejected his sole purpose and burden, his passion and desires ultimately led to his downfall; continually rejecting Alfred's (Caine) advice, Bruce once again dons the cape and attempts to overt his ideals of liberty, autonomy, and bravery in a world that is obviously oppressed by evil. However, after being defeated by the juggernaut Bane, Nolan takes us back to where it all began, and takes us to a question that his father made him address "Why do we fall?" - as "Hell on earth" functions as a metaphor for Bruce's reemergence with the internal notion that began his crusade: fear.

With Bruce being a central figure (more than actual Batman), Bale provides his best performance yet as the old-crippled Bruce (especially the sequences within 'The Pit'). Besides Bale, the rest of essential Gotham are back; Freeman as Fox and Oldman as Gordon both provide substantial performances. However, above everyone, Michael Caine's efforts as Alfred are truly memorable. Two sequences come to mind that are profoundly melancholic and poignant. And of course there are the new-comers: Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.

Subjectively, if there is one entity that Nolan has perfected within these films, it's the villain - not only as an antagonist for Batman's actions, but rather a menace to societies hypocrisy. All motivated by ideological purposes: Ra's (Neeson) beliefs with destroying certain decaying societies for the next movements within western civilizations; Joker's (Ledger) nihilistic qualities that challenged the moralistic pillars established by the so-called 'Good-doers' of Gotham; and now there is Bane. And while he is motivated (well, initially) by a certain belief that reflects a Marxist extremist, he's a villain that contains eccentric attitudes within comparison to Batman's previous villains: physicality over mentality. With the accompany of some brilliant low-angle shots and Hardy's physical transformation, Bane's physicality is profoundly felt with each appearance. Furthermore, such a villain - a brute force - can drag the characters essential qualities to generic notions (Let's face it, many antagonist that are characterized with such fundamentals are influenced from some of cinema's most generic villains). Fortunately, and thanks to Tom Hardy's acting ability, Bane is provided with seminal actions (purely subjective and a extremely contentious subject), such as Hardy's accent (which is wholly welcomed). A voice that captures the classy, sardonic, sinister capabilities and humanized abilities in various (and interesting) ways. Basically, well it seems, Hardy can convey more emotion that most Hollywood actors with 80% of his face covered. Unfortunately, Anne Hathaway's performance works to an extent; her actual embodiment of the characters quintessentials are pitch perfect; encapsulating the desirable, evasiveness, sexiness and the Femme fatal qualities. However, overall her addition seems superfluous to the plot, and while she does to a degree represent the scathing thematic of social classes and functions as the catalyst to Bruce's happiness; her purpose is simply not fleshed-out enough.

Once again, "The Dark Knight Rises"is another Batman film that succeeds on most technical fronts. Wally Pfister's cinematography is richly beautiful; a montage of various Imax shots that are simply jaw-dropping to witness in Imax. In particular 'The Football' sequence and the vast cliff-dropping shots of Wall-Street. Additionally, the elegant grace of Gotham covered with the Snow-palette is a beautiful metaphor of entrapment. Once again Hans Zimmer score is monumental; basically functioning as another character, providing the morbid emotion, the anarchy of base, and at-times the continual lifting inspiration of liberty against evil. However, as previously stated, the sound-mixing is often sloppy - Bane's voice at times is difficult to understand (thank-god for subtitles), and when the characters engage in a minimalistic tone, Simmer's score often engulfs it.

Usually - especially within the superhero genre - I have established such an emotional investment within these characters that I love and care about, the third entry usually leaves me with bittersweet disappointment. Whether it be "The X-men series," "The Spiderman Trilogy" or "The Matrix"; each fail within their final entries. Thankfully I don't have to situate "The Dark Knight Rises" under the previously mentioned categories. A final entry that ultimately succeeds on many fronts, but still contains various flaws. But all in all, Nolan's final entry full-fills his motivations: a conclusion with monumental elements, while concluding Bruce Wayne and Batman's story in equal measure with an ending that leaves us wanting more. And while Nolan will not return, if every wants to, it will be immensely welcomed.

500 Days of Summer

"This isn't a love story, but a story about love." A quote from the ominous narrator that begins Marc Webb's refreshing and eccentric perception on the-now-generic Rom-Com sub-genre. Presenting a film that doesn't let itself be degraded by the popular clichés, but rather encapsulates the mythologies of the generic love story and rips it apart to present - most importantly - a refreshing, realistic and predominate tale of love.

The narrative follows two conflicting beliefs: first, we have the young Tom (Levitt) who believes in the generic notions of love. Secondly, we have Summer (Deschanel), a young woman who rejects the generic notions and claims that 'true love' does not exist. As you could imagine, Tom is the one who falls for Summer, and through their straining beliefs, both are perpetuated into a field of emotion. Upon immediate appearance, it's quite obvious to gather that "500 Days of Summer" is your above-average effort within the repetitive genre. Thankfully, through the films introduction (not mention Tom's hilarious/depressing state), there seems to be no genre blue-print; no archetypal state, but rather an innovative, and impressive aesthetics appreciation towards the films narrative structure - Within a non-linear structure, we are presented with a film that is told through the past, present and future (without losing itself within the middle).

As the story progresses, Tom and Summer divine interests come together at the workplace (A substantial card factory, and you know what they about work-based relations). It's quite impressive to watch a romance that attempts to accumulate plot elements that never seem superfluous, but rather contain meaning - and dare I say metaphorical resonance? Yes, this is what Webb's film has achieved. For instance, consider the previous mentioned workplace where the two central characters meet. In most Rom-Com's (well contemporary ones anyway), the natural or urbanized landscapes and activities that are performed in these locations are simply locations for the back-drop of the characters. However, in "500," the work-place contributes to characters central ideologies: Being a card-factory, it's obvious that Tom's notions of love have been contributed from the perceptions of Pop-culture, - the ideas of faith and 'Soul Mates' - while Summer's perception on love are grounded in realistic fashion rather than influenced by the clichés. As for my previous statement of " metaphorical resonance," Webb's efforts and Tom's job function as metaphor for all the love cliches that society continually absorbs (along with Tom's heartbreaking speech) and "500" stands as and realistic triumphant over the cliché ridden bull-shit.

As stated, with these two separate characters sharing different and various traits towards the notions of love, "500" creates a profound, brilliant and continuous juxtaposition between two separate perceptions of love: the idealistic and the realistic. For example, consider a sequence that occurs later on in the film after Summer and Tom have separated. After countless efforts at winning Summer back, Tom becomes a recluse; a life riddled with depression. Finally, Summer invites Tom to get-together at her new apartment, to which Tom assumes that the situation is the perfect opportunity to regain the love that Summer once shared. Upon Tom's arrival, the current frame is split into two separate parallel sequences (think any Tarantino film), one projecting a perception of reality, the other viewing idealistic
expectations. A juxtapositions that brilliantly captures a moment that contains internal resonance: hoping, and hoping greatly - with the accompany of divine intervention that seems to be contained in most Rom-Com's - that the women that you once loved ('Love' may be an abstract entity, but everyone has engaged with it, whatever the actual entity may be) will miraculously return to the comforts of your arms. But they don't and they won't, because Reality, or the eventuality of Reality will always win. Dare I say: many of the innovative techniques used within "500" evoke Woody Allen aesthetics.

Additionally, with containing as much style as substance, "500" displays the epitome of how execute direct homages. Namely, the use of "The Graduate" and Ingram Bergman to express Webb's thematics. Thankfully, Webb's homages do not only function as a gimmick or an expresses use of displaying the directors cinema-pedia, but further fuel and enhancement to characters internal perspectives and emotions. Consider the various scenes: Tom and Summer's are watching "The Graduate" in the theaters. Upon finishing and similar to the films ending, Summer is left in a melancholic state. Following in similar sweeps to "The Graduate" conclusion - as the film finale identified if the abstract emotions of love where worth to purse - Summer obviously identifies and shares a similar emotional state; she's realizes whatever her and Tom shared (with Tom still containing genuine emotion), has most certaintly became redundant for her. Secondly, the other homage consist of the great Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." A film that deals with notions that revolve around poignancy, great depression and the entity that all humans fear: death. While the notions of death may be an extremity, the films homage purpose still serves as an appropriate comparison to Tom's internal state.

Personally, the reason I regard "500" with such pride is because (subjectively) it captures the essence of the abstract notions that revolve around 'love.' A notion that has gained its existence through many artificial methods. Within Tom and Summer's final conversation, they highlight the evasiveness of love and it's unpredictably motives - which contemporary romances rarely achieve. Finally a Rom-Com that depicts love with a funny, but most importantly realistic fashion through its off-beat environment.

The Amazing Spider-Man

I guess the most satisfying aspect gained after finishing "The Amazing Spiderman," is that while spidey's latest adventure takes advantage of the familiar pillars established within Raimi's efforts, as a sole effort, the future of this beloved iconic character seems to contain a future that is worth revisiting. As you could gather from my sentence - and with being a reboot after only five years - the previous "Spiderman" and the contemporary one are obviously going to draw parallels. Thankfully, Marvel's latest efforts stick to the essential qualities of a Spiderman story: a plot that is fueled by emotional resonance and the troubles of being in your adolescence than the the generic accumulation of various action scenes. And in this regard, the emotional concepts are contributed marvelously (yes, pun intended) from the leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

As stated, whether you were a fan of the Raimi's previous trilogy or not, you'll notice many similarities and many subtle differences. Basically, a similar plot unfolds: we have Peter Parker, troubled and bullied teenager at school; then we have the archetypal 'radio-active spider-bite'; and then the Dr. Curt Connors who is incarnated into "The Lizard." And while the marketing suggested that the plot would contain an eccentric route that would focus on Peter's parents, the suggested element merely functions as a sub-plot and is obviously left for further investigation within the inevitable sequel. Despite such similarities, the various approaches to the characteristics of Peter Parker are evidently different. While Maguire contained an uncanny ability at capturing - quite effortlessly - the sense of innocence that inhabits the young teenage hero, he seemed have difficulties with other attributes; like the arrogant, smart-alec and naïve nature that parallels to the innocence (quite evident in "Spiderman 3"). This is where Garfield interpretation soars, a performance that creates the perfect balance of the essentials: emotional,arrogant and devilsh-humour in equal measure.

Emma Stone's efforts also deserve praise. An woman that has a pretty face but still contains an incredibly ability as an actor; she embodies the character of Gwen Stacey with expertly fashion. Conveying a character that demands attention rather than being constructed for the superfluous notions of 'Eye Candy'. Once again in comparison with Raimi's (which I do not want to degrade because I am quite fond of them), there's no denying Emma Stone's "Gwen Stacy" excels over Kirsten Dunst "Mary Jane."

Yes, there is also plenty of action sequences and some quite captivating set pieces. The battle between antagonist and protagonist within the High School (with, quite probable, Stan Lee's best cameo yet). However - thankfully - Webb has, in a sense, placed action sequences as an secondary importance; a concept that evidently works, as the entertainment aspects do not stem from the impressive action sequences, but rather the connecting chemistry shared between Garfield and Stone.

Webb has not necessarily created a film that doesn't seem completely superfluous, but nevertheless, it's still a Blockbuster were, as the audience, we share some quantities of emotion within the characters; and that - especially in this day-and-age - is an achievement within itself.

Singin' in the Rain

If you were situated within a position to describe "Singin' in the Rain" as minimalistic as possible, your answer would consist of the various adjectives: Magical, Spell-bounding, Elegant and Graceful. The reason for such a answer is due to the the glowing flamboyance and exhilarating energy that is on display; an essential entity that use to be within the Hollywood classics but is evidently lost within the majority of modern movies. Co-directed by Stanley Doden and the wondrous/hypnotizing dance choreographer Gene Kelly, "Singin' in the Rain" was a towering success on its release; a musical that functioned as the epitome at displaying an accumulation of essential elements of the mass audiences most cherished aspects; ranging from laughter, emotions, musical numbers with the accompany of a number of extravagant dance sequences that evoked a level of Chaplin's spellbinding comic efforts. Judging from these various elements, it's obvious why the film is considered a masterpiece within the musical genre: a monumental example of the organic nature that the musical displays; characters continually and beautiful expressing their emotions through the notions of singing and dancing with such energetic movements that it's quite impossible not to watch without having a big goofy smile on your face. Furthermore, it's not only considered a masterpiece within the musical genre, but rather in the broader context of the cinematic universe. With a current 10* ranking on the AFI list 100 years....100 movies, and while there are the minority - thank god only the minority - that question why does a musical hold such towering status against the likes of "Citizen Kane" or "Vertigo." Well, yes it doesn't consist of such lofty thematics as the previous mentioned masterpieces, but it does contain an entity that many, many films lack: Fun.

The story follows Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Cosmo Brown (O'Connor) rise to fame in Hollywood. They begin their careers together through performing duet musical numbers. After numerous attempts, Lockwood finally finds his big break as a stuntman (through a number of hilarious sequences). Eventually, Lockwood becomes a star along with Cosmo and the pretentious Lina Lamont (Hagen). However, trouble strikes as motion pictures begin to transits from silent films to the era of the 'talkies.' While struggling with such changes, Lockwood finds solace and love within Kathy Selden (Reynolds).

"Singin' in the Rain" offers a lighthearted portrait of Hollywood within the 1927's. Riddled with humorous tongue-and-cheek against a slight satirizing innuendo towards the artificial and superficiality nature that surrounds the Hollywood Star (don't worry we don't go into Sunset Boulevard territory, but it does draw parallels). Nevertheless, Tinsel town depiction is simply mesmerizing. The wondrous town contains flamboyance with the accompany of some truly spontaneous characters that makes for a beautiful journey, and while the journey is pure escapism, it's an invitation that's impossible to neglect.

No matter how idealistic Lockwood's life may seem, he cannot tolerate the relations he shares with the superficial, but the undeniably hilarious Lamont - their 'love' or 'relations' simply function as a community for the tabloids. After the premiere of Lockwood's most recent film - with the accompany of Lamont's irritating nature and his vexatious fans - the perplexed star looks for a place of solace. Exasperated, Lockwood comfortable and spontaneous hops, climbs and scatters over the various moving vehicles that eventuate within him meeting the love interest, Kathy (Reynolds.)

The choice of Debbie Reynolds as the femininity lead contains quite the peculiar history. Initially a gymnast before a genuine dancer (let alone an actor), Reynolds time behind production was a sense of hard-ship to say the least. Initially mocked by Kelly himself for her lack of dancing experience, and suffered to point of crying; studio worker Fred Astaire would eventually agree to help Reynolds against her subordinate methods. In later years, Reynolds would comment that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life." Surprisingly, - with all hiccups aside - Reynolds' performance as the emerging star is manifested with glowing elegancy and grace. From her beautiful smile to her illuminating eyes, Reynolds evokes a sense of beauty that parallels with likes of other 50's star Grace Kelly. Additionally, O'Connor's dancing ability and comic genius is simply astonishing. For instance, his musical number "Make 'Em Laugh" culminates in a numerous set of impressive back-flips of the bare walls without the use of wires - now that's talent folks. A sequence that contains (as do many more) a sense of dextrous ability and flamboyant energy that is unsurpassed within the musical genre.

As Lockwood's successes continue, the inevitable occurs, the introduction of the 'Talkie.' With "The Jazz Singer" popular success, R.F Simpson's (Mitchell) studio is sent into a frenzy, urgently pursuing Lockwood's next film to be a 'Talkie.' As previously stated, the film does display parallels with Wilder's masterpiece 'Sunset Boulevard.' However, rather than displaying the transition of the silents to the talkies in melancholic fashion, Kelly and the crew exploit the difficulties for some of their most hilarious gags. Such gags include the frustrated Roscoe Dexter (Fowley) hilarious attempts at capturing Lamont's voice into the microphone, the switching of Lamont's and the antagonist aural presentation at the films premiere, and Lamont's ridiculous pronunciation - "Can'ttttttt."

Furthermore, despite the obvious illumination to the difficulties that film-makers sustained during this grandeur transition, "Singing in the Rain" evidently wants to display the magical commodities that Hollywood offers. Through a brilliant sequence, Kelly displays Tinsel towns magical, dextrous and fantastical ability: using various stage props, Kelly creates an idealistic landscape to overt his love to Kathy. It's an enchantingly sequence that evokes the artificial escapism that celluloid craftsmanship can offer.

And of course there is Gene Kelly. Man, what a performance and what a Icon. His two most memorable dance numbers are an entity to behold: the iconic sequence of Kelly striding through the drowned streets with the accompany of the encapsulating tune "Singin' in the Rain," while Kelly dances, jumps and splashes in one exhilarating and perpetual momentum (with minimal use of editing, but rather tracking shots). A beautiful sequence that captures the essential nature and purpose of the film: delectation. Secondly, "Broadway Melody Ballet" is another sequence that consist of Kelly exuberantly dancing through a 'visualized' dream sequence (which contains loads of extras). Simultaneously a passage that displays Kelly's dextrous ability while providing some truly enchantingly visual imagery, e.g, the moments when Kelly is dancing with a sense grace through the thin, but evidently elegant clothing material. Truly magical.

Ironically, after finishing my first viewing of "Singin' in the Rain," it concluded on a melancholic note (not the actual film but rather a subjective emotion), as there simply isn't a sense of energy and flamboyance like this founded within modern films; I do realize that there is still modern musicals being made, but simply none compare to this, and that is why this film will remain an encapsulating masterpiece. It contains such exuberance, heart, emotion and laughter, that it will never fail to put a smile on your face.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Within my previous review (if you are familiar with it), you'll notice that my previous diagnosis of "2001: A Space Odyssey," is relatively short. A review that barely scratches the surface of its stirring secrets, anonymous mysteries and its unquantified imagination. My opinions are obviously not valid and purely subjective, but over the course of my years as a cinephile, I haven't interpreted a film with such profound effect like "2001." My first experience still contains resonance: Sitting in my lounge room, surround sound, slow but ultimately dextrous and hypnotizing pace, and left within a perplexing and bewildering state upon the films ambiguous ending - Yes, I knew upon soon as I had finished, that this film would require repetitive viewings. Ultimately, I have to thank "2001" for its internal power; a film that was solely responsible for illuminating the possibilities of production values while containing the ability of expressing, thematically and philosophically, views on such a grandeur scale.

Similar to most of Kubrick's films, "2001" was annihilated on its initial release. One critic classifying Kubrick's efforts as "a monumental bore." Besides finding a connection with adolescence (who watched the film frequently with the accompany of marijuana), Kubrick Sci-Fi was lauded. However, the steeped irony of all Kubrick efforts is that, like "2001," many of his films, while disgraced on their release, have evolved in the future generations as classics. The probable reason that "2001" suffered on its initial release is that its final presentation contained such a level authenticity, that cinema-goers were left extremely perplexed; a monumental leap that was light-years ahead of its time; it defied a genre (the Sci-Fi genre usually contained the aesthetics of exploitation B-Movies); used the notions of the mysterious infinite to break the boundaries of imagination; displayed the insignificance of humanity to the anonymous divine; and contained an overt vision of space with a wholly realistic atmosphere. With a run-time of only 140 minutes - and with such lofty themes - it's quite amazing that Kubrick was able to cover a narrative structure - divided into four acts - that basically creates a subjective hypothesis and map of human existence.

Shortly after finishing the audacious "Dr. Strangelove," one thing was ultimately certain about the fearless director: the man contained an imagination unparalleled with. To no surprise, Kubrick become fascinated by the notions of extraterrestrial life (what better way to let your imagination run-wild within the untapped universe of the infinite?). Fixated on making "The proverbial good science fiction movie," Kubrick met with Sci-Fi author Arthur C. Clarke, to which he described as "a recluse, a nut who lives in a tree." Eventually, they met through a mutual acquittance that worked at the studio, and upon their first meeting they would engage on project that would take the next four years of their lives.

Kubrick begins his magnum opus with the first chapter: "The Dawn Of Man." Beginning with a Darwinist approach, Kubrick details genesis' civilization. Accompanied by beautifully shots detailing a natural landscape inhabited by Apes. Similar to various sequences throughout, Kubrick's direction and atmosphere is evidently subtle; with the applications of 'Silent Films' aesthetics, for the first 40-minutes, the auteur allows his narrative to unfold visually rather than verbally. Ultimately, the overall attenuated atmosphere and attention to bantam details forms an emergence of cinematic technicality and documentary presentation; a beautiful example of "Pure Cinema." As the passage continuous, the Apes actions are obviously still primitive; they are subordinate within comparison to the other Apes and miserably fail at defending their area, all due to their inferiority. Banished from their previous position, the Apes wake to a strange Black-facade-God-like-statue (with the accompany of a truly shattering score). The following day - the Monolith has now Vanished - one Ape begins to dismantle decaying skeletons in the vast terrain with the use of a bone. Perplexed, the Ape realizes that the bone could serve as a commodity for physical defense, to which he proves by killing the supposed superior Apes. Conclusively in the opening passage, Kubrick's thematics and personal beliefs accumulate for an audacious statement: the Monolith is symbolically situated with the connotations of a divine teacher, a God like figure if you will, and this teacher is a catalyst for these primitive creatures intelligence - the provider of civilizations first weapon.

Victorious, the Ape lodges the bone of out his palm and into the air with Kubrick following the bones transaction elegantly. Upon its return to earth, the sequence switches from a Bone to a spacecraft in the year "2001." A monumental editing sequence in its own right, but even more granduer as a monumental statement. In one shot, Kubrick transcends a four million spatial span, and with a juxtapostion of weapons (Bone to Spacecraft), Kubrick is suggesting the minimalistic differences over the course of humanity and that our motivations haven't changed from the beginnings of our intelligence. The human race is still manufacturing weapons for the purpose of power, the only difference is that our technological skills have dramatically improved.

The next segment is dubbed "TMA-1" and begins with an assemblage of various Spaceships gracefully orbiting with the accompany of classical music. As stated from the director himslef, the music chosen for "2001" would be vital to the films resonant atmosphere, and as I previously stated, Kubrick's most certainly gained inspiration from the aesthetics of 'Silent Cinema,' as his comments concur "he wanted the film to be a primarily non-verbal experience." Initially, Kubrick hired Alex North for an actual score, but Kubrick being as meticulous as he is, choose the triumphant melodies of classical music, most notably Johann Strauss II's waltz, "An der schönen blauen Donau." Triumphantly displayed within this chapter, and with the accompany of his visceral vision of space with the emergence of Strauss delicate waltz, Kubrick's aesthetics are astonishing; the following passage contains the presentation of a breathing painting, moving with profound elegancy and flamboyance. Furthermore, the special effects still contain contemporary resonance. As previously stated, Kubrick was extremely meticulous and one of his sole motivations for such a movie was to create a realistic projection of space. So as you could imagine, his final projection of the ships would most certainty have to replicate the real prototypes. Obviously, Kubrick most certainty succeeded with the richly detailed Spaceships that he provides. Eventually we meet our first humanistic character: Dr Heywood R. Floyd (Sylvester). Really only serving as the catalyst to the plot, Dr. Floyd is assigned to investigate a mysterious object that he has been assigned to investigate on another planet. Once Floyd arrives, himself and his teammates discover the Monolith as it begins to instigate a piercing sound-wave.

In the third chapter "Jupiter Mission" the audience finally gain their protagonists, Dr. David Bowman (Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Lockwood). Both have just wakened from hyper-sleep and begin engaging daily rituals to form a social routine (accompanied by some brilliant innovative shots that reflect a perpetual rotating motion within the interior of the ship). However (and more importantly), we are introduced to humanity most recent technological development: HAL 9000 - Artificial Intelligence. The most interesting aspect within this accumulation of characterss is Kubrick's humanity paradox, as we begin to gain the various traits of the central characters, HAL - with being simply a red dot within the wall - is the one that seems to contain the most humanistic characteristics and genuine emotion. Where Scott's "Blade Runner" would obviously gain inspiration from, Kubrick's view on humanity and technology displays an irony and a paradox: the irony is that (like the faith of Poole) the entities that we consider as our greatest achievements ultimately lead to a greatest downfall. And the paradox, well, the further humanity race delve into the extremities of technology, we are slowly losing the essential humanistic emotions by developing them in other forms of Artificial life - obviously displayed through the juxtaposition of Bowman and HAL.

Eventually, HAL detects a problem with the ships mechanical functions. To rectify such set-backs, Poole attempts to fix the exterior of the Spacecraft. Through this passage, Kubrick evidently displays his meticulous style. While the sequence is undeniably slow, the attention to detail is astonishing - Kubrick continually interplays between Poole breathing within the interior of his suit to the eerie silences of the cosmic atmosphere. As stated, it is sequences like these that give "2001" that realistic documentary environment. After their investigations, Bowman and Poole realize that there Artificial acquittance is wrong, and quirky enough, a battle of wits and mysterious emotions begins between the humans and technology. However, despite these growing problems, Bowman and Poole continue to the nonfunctional component, with HAL watching all the way. As Poole slowly descends upon his destination, the pod sinisterly begins to move on Poole's position to which Kubrick switches to a three-way interval edit-zoom while simultaneously we see Poole fly lifeless into the depths of space. Dealing with such a passive character (let's face it, he is just a red dot in the wall after all), it's quite astonishing the amount of life Kubrick is able to bring a character that contains very few characteristics: from his questioning of genuine emotions; from his lip-reading which obviously identifies that he is conscious of human deceit; and the final edit sequence previously mentioned, HAL is really a robotic character like no other. Similar to "Psycho," but also in completely different proportions and with HAL assuming the role as the antagonist, Kubrick ultimately leaves us to sympathize with the most recluse (in terms of humanistic) character. And HAL's electronic disposal hits like a poignant jack-hammer as Bowman proceeds in dissembling his functions in a apathetic manner while HAL pleads for humanity by singing "Daisy Bell." Truly melancholic. Through this process, Bowman learns the true nature of his mission: the capture of the Monolith.

Bowman proceeds in mission and eventually engages with the dark entity, and what follows is undeniably perplexing, transcendental, ambiguous, audacious and simply breathtaking. Upon his engagement, Bowman is shot through the"Star-Gate": an accumulation of a range of dazzling, flamboyant special effects and futuristic landscapes that suggest a transcending moment of space and time to another dimension. Eventually, Bowman finds himself within the interior of a lounge room. Slowly we watch Bowman travel through the various stages of his life; eventuating and descending to his death, Bowman is reborn as the "Star-Child" and is perpetuated gracefully over the inferior earth. Perplexing to say the least, Kubrick's conclusion to his monumental efforts is riddled with ambiguity; offering multiple interpretations that would be wholly acceptable. So within this case (and if you disagree that's fine), my perceptions are purely subjective. Ultimately, within this ending, "2001" thematically and wholesomely comes full circle. The projection of Star-Child is the signalization for the 'new'; the redefined species, the next step of civilization. From the genesis' of man, "2001" details the relevance of humans inferiority under the prowess power of the Monolith, and the year "2001" is a manifestation of humanities intelligence; we, as the human race have reached our capacity and the "Star-Child" is the next step within our evolution. Using this train-of-thought, the room that Bowman is situated in could be well argued to represent a laboratory (for the aliens); an area for them to utilize their capabilities on subordinate humans.

As previously noted, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is the epitome of the boundaries and profound effect that the cinema can contain. An authentic experience within its power of conveying such monumental thematics to a transcendental state. "2001" was not only an experience that made me question the concepts of my own beliefs, it provided one for me: there are most certainly outer beings within the depths of the unknown, and if we ever share contact with them, we are most certainty going to be primitive to their superiority. Riddled with sheer philosophical power, "2001" is not only a film you must see, but rather believe.

The definition of a masterpiece.

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver(1976)

Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" is long documented: winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, nominated for four academy awards, ranked 52 on AFI's 100 years....100 movies, and gained the preserved rights in the National Film Registry in 1994. Yes, Scorsese's second film most certainly gained critical attention for the young auteur. However, not only was it received as a critical success, Scorsese efforts struck a profound effect with the American public, and not only in the terms of 'Box-Office Profits' (to which it did succeed), but rather a transcendental resonance of certain citizens. So profound, that John Hickley Jr attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. His motivations stemmed from his trans-fixation for Jodie Fosters character "Iris," along with mimicking the cultural iconic 'Bickle Mohawk.' Within the final ramifications of his case, Hickley's solicitor concluded with presenting to the jury the actual film for evidence. Additionally, while delving into the special features, Paul Schrader was once greeted by a mysterious man at his hotel. The stranger began to question Schrader on how he knew him and why he made a movie about him. Perplexed, Schrader realized that this was a man that shared similar - maybe even identical - traits to likes of the central character "Travis Bickle." Releasing a film that utilized Americas anxieties - post-traumatic stress and psychological weakening after Vietnam; the existential anxieties within an urbanized landscape; and a vision of humanity that has gone to dogs (which still contains contemporary resonance) - to say that "Taxi Driver" is merely profound would be a monumental understatement. Undeniably the most powerful, disconcerting and poignant character study of the fragility of the human condition. To quote Roger Ebert "One of the best and most powerful of all films."

The plot is not....well not a plot, but rather an examination and character study of the psychotic Travis Bickle (De Niro). We follow Bickle and his isolation through his endless, mystic and depressing nights as a Cab-Driver - the effects of insomnia. His other affairs include the occupation of Porn-theaters and self-destruction towards self-preservation. As Travis delves into various affairs, he finds a profound interest in two women: a campaign volunteer named Betsy (Shepherd), and the young prostitute Iris (Foster).

Similar to most classics that have sustained a culturally and aesthetically impact on the cinematic world, "Taxi Driver" contains a historical noted production. Beginning with a number of short films displayed within his university studies, Scorsese first introduction into the Hollywood world began in the early 70's. Coming off the critical successful "Mean Streets," Scorsese next film would situate himself under the accumulation of the ever-growing "Movie Bratz"; a list of adolescence directors that included Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Among of his friends, it is cited that Brian De Palma was the catalyst for introducing Scorsese to the script-writer Paul Schrader, and his long term partner Robert De Niro. With any film containing subject matter revolving around subconscious and psychotic elements, much of the story stems from a subjective viewpoint. And while Schrader based the script of the diary of Arthur Bremer (a man who actually shot a presidential canidate), much of the influence for such story was instigated from Schrader's own personal experiences. Schrader suffered depression and was in general a lonesome person; the essential traits to Bickle. Scorsese inspiration stemmed from his favourite notions: sins, violence and salvation. And with both sharing similar interests, Scorsese created his central figure as a blood-soaked angel that cruises the streets of New York in search of redemption while filth, immorality, nihilistic, racism and complete desertification surrounds him.

As stated, "Taxi Driver" is a film where we follow a man. The ultimate anti-hero riddled with a sense of warped morality. However, even though the film contains explicit levels of violence (even for a Scorsese film), Bickle's journey is a poignant one, a man so desolated within his alienation that his social skills are extremely inferior to the norm. But even though his character is one who we do not want to meet, hes essential qualities are ones that everyone can share a connection with: who can say they never been surrounded by a sense of isolation or have troubles in developing the ideological social presentation? I know have, and that is why we ultimately question Bickle's situation: he's a man that makes continuous attempts at forming a social connection, but due to his 'inexperience,' he's obviously rejected because his efforts do not follow the norm. Is his predicament solely his fault? Or rather societies prejudice nature? Consider the various scenarios: Bickle spends much of his nights within the porn-theater. Initially, he attempts to have a friendly chat with the beverages worker but is rejected because 'the people' who go to the porn-theater are anonymous presences - in other words, a porn-theater is not a place of socializing.....but Travis doesn't know that. Secondly, Bickle's idealization of Betsy's presence against the back drop of the "filth and scum" warrants himself a date. Awkwardly, Travis takes Betsy to the porno-theater where, once again, his attempts at socializing are rejected. As stated, it's extremely poignant and melancholic in watching Bickle continuously fail while we are questioning the prejudice nature of society.

With attempt, after attempt, eventuating with a dismal outcome, Bickle's logical state becomes disturbing. Continually losing the fragments of his mind, Bickle's goes from a self destructive physical state, to a self-preservation state; he begins to write down his thoughts, diets with excellent nutrition, begins to exercise, and arms himself as a walking mercenary on the road to redemption (funny oxymoron, I know). He channels this notion of redemption at the young prostitute Iris. Bickle believes, with his twisted morality, that the saviour of this adolescence and the destruction of her pimps will full-fill his wonderment state. However, before the blood-soaked climax, there are many attempts at his disturbing fantasy. Initially, he kills an African American (there are continuous undercurrents of his racist nature); he begins talking to a presidential bodyguard in a psychotic manner; and then attempts to genuinely shoot Senator Charles Palantine. but, as previously mentioned, Bickle full-fills his destiny by annihilating the pimps in a seedy, bloody, and evidently gruesome rage that contains more blood than a blood-bank. Like many Scorsese films, a lot of characters, sets, locations, motivations and situations consist of allegoric and connotations of religious themes; and Bickle most certainly and paradoxically contains the connotations and allegoric qualities of a blood-soaked angel. Like the heroes of "Drive," Ethan in "The Searchers," Shane in "Shane," or even Deckard in "Blade Runner," Bickle was the first to instigate this sense of warped morality with the qualities of a guardian angel, well, for Isis sake anyway. And even though Bickle's actions may be unforgivable, they are evoked with the right intentions. And in a world riddled with cities that should be "just flushed down the fuckin' toilet," maybe his actions could be accepted.

With a film that spends most its time psychological examining an individual, a distinct clarification must be displayed to notify when we are dealing with the internal subject rather than the external, and in this regard, Scorsese's direction is effortlessly sublime. Scorsese establishes the camera as a window into Bickle's subconscious, allowing himself with the flexibility to convey Bickle's internal emotions visual rather than aurally. Consider the two sequences: As Bickle begins his war on a decaying society, he gains his arsenal though an arms dealer. The dealer allows Bickle to gain a feel of the various guns. As the scene continues, the camera switches from an establishing shot, to a POV view displaying Bickle's gaze as he positions the gun towards against the window and takes aim at the various pedestrians. Simultaneously harrowing and brilliant, Scorsese camera work maintains the ability to evoke Bickle's emotions without physical flamboyance, but through a passive state that is channeled internally - quite possible the epitome sequence that shares resonance with the protagonist comments "Some day a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets." Secondly, Wizard (Bickle's fellow Cab-Man) engages in various political mumbo-jumbo. Slowly, the camera once again switches to a POV shot on Bickle's gaze which is fixated on a glass of water bubbling and seemingly bursting at its seams. The message is obvious: Travis Bickle is a ticking time-bomb.

Additionally, for a film made within Hollywood's boundaries and the diminishing signs of 'The Auteur, Scorsese directional style contains audacious, innovative, authentic, profound shots and angles. After repetitive viewings, it's quite easy to see the impact of "The French New Wave." Directors that included Jean Luc Godard and François Truffaut. The various films created by these directors were efforts at destroying the cinematic language: authentic camera movements, films that were self-conscious, as in, you could tell a camera existed upon the frame as characters continually broke the forth-wall; paradoxically, immoral characters that are likable, and existential themes that revolved around the individual and the absurdity of human existence. And, sufficient to say, Scorsese "Taxi Driver" most certainly holds a candle to the French's innovation. For example, through the sequence where Travis is talking into an endless phone-line; rather than Scorsese staying on his position for dramatic effect, the camera begins to slowly move from the position of phone to the emptiness of the hallway. While it does represent Bickle's superfluous efforts with retaining a relationship with Betsy, the shot is simply more effective as an appreciation of audacious film-making. Scorsese breaks traditional camera movements to create an ambiguous sequence.

While on the aspects of technical fronts, Bernard Herrmann score is an entity to behold. His final score upon his death in 1975, his final efforts were dedicated to his lasting legacy. To say Herrman was an aural genius is simply an understatement; whether it be the psychotic strings of "Psycho," the anonymous errs of "Vertigo," or the idealistic thumps of "Citizen Kane," each musical composition performed by Herrmann was strikingly profound with the films mood, and "Taxi Driver" is no exception. The score simultaneously conveys two emotions: good and evil. One side manifested with the composition through a Saxophone that signifies the 'Scum' and integrity decay, then the other side perpetuated with a light melody representing the only light within this decaying world: Betsy. However, above all, the mood created from such efforts contributes greatly to Bickle's psychological state and the paradoxical emotions he seems to embody: a sense of poignancy and disturbing fantasies.

Of the course, the film power wouldn't of worked with simply one of the best actors that has ever existed: Robert De Niro. Like most of his efforts, De Niro poured his soul into his characters. Losing 17.5 kilo's and continually dedicating his time Arthur Bremer's diary entries for the role, all entities contributed to one riveting performance as the tormented Travis Bickle. Seemingly conveying effortlessly the parallel dimensions of a psychotic while still displaying the capability of demanding sympathy. After watching "Taxi Driver," you'll never forgot the ever-so quotable "You talkin' to me?" stint in front of his own reflection.

Now upon its ambiguous ending, many have interpreted the final segments as an ironic statement: the media's continual exploitation of a deranged killer celebrated as a hero because he killed the 'right people.' A logical interpretation that points to many of the elements that the anti-hero symbol embodies, while still offering a social commentary on the prejudices of society (which is an obvious undercurrent throughout the whole film). While this perception is the wholly accepted answer - which the director and writer have clearly clarified - many still contain eccentric, but undeniably valid directions. The other accepted interpretation is that the concluding moments are a death memoir of Bickle's desires, a dream-like state of his ultimate idealizations of solace: he has saved the Iris, and Betsy now admires him. Will we ever know the answers to such ambiguity? Doubt it. But whatever interpretation you choose to accept, one thing is certified: Travis Bickle has most certainly gained a sense of redemption - a therapeutic solace that many of Scorsese's characters stride for.

La Femme Nikita (Nikita)

The most illuminating problem with contemporary action films is that too many elements are evidently rushed. For instances, let's use the generic blueprint: usually, they begin with the opening action sequence to grab our attention; then we have the title credits with the introduction of the plot; then the minimal characterization of the central characters; then the film essentially relies on monumental action sequences to grab our attention, but the facts are that we simply do care about the characters. Prejudice? Well I do know my comments sound exactly like it, but the sad truth is that this is, fundamentally, what most action movies resort to. Initially seeing Luc Besson within his second outing "Leon: The Professional," it was obvious that he is was director that treats the action genre with its merits, and that he identifies the key elements that makes an action movie more rewarding: put characters before action, and in this respect, when the action occurs, the audience actually cares about the consequences of the characters. Where "Leon" was in told like a fantasy with glaring melodrama, "La Femme Nikita" hard edge immensely elevates the subject matter into a rewarding experience. An action film that displays a woman searching for an identity in a world that obviously rejects her.

The films central focus is the psychotic Nikita (Parrillaud). When we meet Nikita, she is a drug addict with a gang of dead-beats looking for their next hit. On initial appearance, Nikita contains animalistic qualities; she is psychotic, delusional and blatantly immoral as she shoots an innocent cop without hesitation. It's quite an interesting route that Besson utilizes, introducing his heroine as a monster, then within the next thirty minutes attempting to make us sympathize with her anti-social qualities. It's a tricky situation, but Besson seems to pull it off with ease as Nikita is sentenced to death and surrounded by isolation.

Of course, this is only twenty minutes into the film, so we know she isn't going to die. As Nikita awakes from her purposed death, she is greeted by Bob (Karyo), a government spy that explains Nikita has the choice to gain a occupation as a trained-elite assassin, along with learning societies commodities. As brutal as it may sound, "La Femme Nikita" is a poignant character study. We watch this women start at the rock-bottom - both physically and mentally - and slowly begins her internal and external transformation. She is a lost soul continually searching for an identity as she attempts (and eventually to great effect) to gain and understand the appearance and notions of femininity. Subjectively, the sole reason why this film contains such an emotional effect is solely due to Anne Parrillaud performance; an actor that conveys with raw ferocity Nikita struggles: from her beginnings as dead-beat, drop-kick inferior junkie; to her attempts and changes with the ropes of femininity; then to her life outside closed walls as she attempts to balance her new love while full-filling her occupation; Parrillaud is amazing as a heroine, and what more logical sequence that displays the essential struggles of a heroine than assassinating someone, while dressed in undies, conversely talking to her boyfriend (Anglade) about the struggles of their relations.

And of course there is action, but not normal action, but rather action injected with stylistic European flare. As stated, it's ever-so welcomed how Besson treats the subject matter; he allows plenty of time in exploring his central protagonist to point when the audience form an emotional investment, which in turn (similar to John Ford's "Stagecoach") develops an emotional response to the characters actions and challenges - we actually care of the consequences they may suffer during and action sequence. Furthermore, while the plot may sound fantastic and wholly unrealistic (which it is), Besson keeps the action grounded. Consider the following sequence: Nikita receives a call for her first job in the outside world. She arrives in room and dresses into a maid's outfit and is told to wait. Eventually she is given a plate with coffee that is riddled with poison (I think) and delivers it to the room acting as room service. After she completes the task, she comes back to the room and ask "what's next?" but there isn't a next, she gets to go home and that's the point. Ultimately, if referring back to that generic blue-print, the scenario I have just explained contains all elements to an action sequence, however, Besson is attempting to portray the occupation of an assassin in realistic terms; not every mission consist of a gun-fight or hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Missions at times can be subtle, and if I may be so bold, easy.

As for the ending, it seems many have deemed Besson conclusion as underwhelming and anti-climatic. Once again, Besson ending displays that he a class above the rest. He doesn't want to use a generic climatic gun-fight, but rather tend to drama elements; leaving us with a world where Nikita has become anonymous, and two-males are (most likely) left in melancholic state over her love. Superb.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner(1982)

Each respected genre (when executed to its maximum potential), contains the power to represent a quintessential characteristics that is solely unique to its own capabilities. For instance, there is "Horror," a genre that has found a distinct resonance within its celluloid projection of the fragments and psychological state of the human mind. "Comedy" is quite possibly the most audacious of them all, containing the exclusive ability of satirizing and mocking societies idealized institutions while conversely containing the ability to put a smile on your face (cough, cough "Dr. Strangelove"). And to rattle one more out - the "War" genre, films that portray, like no other, the realism and fatalism between life and death. However, of all them genres (and the ones that I haven't mentioned), Sci-Fi contains the quintessential characteristic of being the most profound - subjective of course. I distinctly remember after finishing Kubrick's "2001," I was not simply stunned from its ambiguous and thematic brilliance, but rather left with an ever-lasting expansion of my imagination and illumination to the power that films can convey. Truly, there's only one of other Sci-fi that belongs in this category; and after my fifth viewing I am still stirred by Ridley Scott's masterpiece "Blade Runner." Each viewing gains a new level of appreciation for its layers: riddled with visual mastery, cryptic thematics, a philosophical of what constitutes to be human and what doesn't, religious symbolism and so many literate devices and references that if William Blake ever made a film, it would most likely contain the same feel as this.

In similar vain as "Star Wars," "Blade Runner" begins with an opening scroll, detailing the plot and the political climate in a futuristic Los Angeles. Within the future, human cloning has become rampant; the clones are referred to as a"Replicates," and with the embedded irony of all humans greatest technological achievements, the Replicates have become a problem to humanity. As a result of these strains, individuals known as "Blade Runners," have been designated to deal with these specific problems. Through Scott's narrative, we only meet one, Rick Deckard (Ford); a man who initially seems to portray distinct hard-boiled masculine values, but is only essentially a psychological wreck. His mission: find and kill the four Replicates that have returned from earth to meet their maker.

As important as it was back then, and as important as it is today and most likely forever within its genre; visual presentation is an essential component to Sci-Fi's. "Blade Runner," - with the accompany of the "Final Cut" and its new print presented in 1080p on Blu ray - contains the most beautiful visual images ever to grace the silver-screen. The opening shot displays a Los Angeles that resembles a hell on earth; obviously developed within manufacturing, the factories flames burn against the back-drop of the dark sky as a ship slowly descends upon the Tyrell corporation - a passage is truly breathtaking. Continuing with this visual prowess, it's not just the grandeur moments that display a richly detailed landscape (which most Sci-fi rely on), but also the subtle ones. Whether you are watching the sweeping shots of the juggernaut Bill-boards, or simply the monochromes of black whites with the accompany of hazy, noirish smoke, or even the interior of Sebastian's (Sanderson) apartment; each individual frame contains the utmost appreciation of visual presentation. Additionally, likewise to Lang's "Metropolis" and Kubrick's "2001," Scott's landscapes have obvious metaphoric resonance; Lang used the the manufactured to display a form of social oppression and a Marxist perspective of social classes, while Scott's world is one of wondrous technical achievements, but paradoxically, suffers the distraught of urban decay. Likewise to Kubrick, Scott obviously believes in the notions of irony embedded within the advancements of technology: our greatest achievements can eventuate in our greatest downfalls.

Ultimately, the world that Scott has created pays homage to previous opus', while still containing a sense of authenticity in equal measure. On the subject of homages, Scott's universe is draped with Film-Noir references; ranging from the silhouette projection of bars from the curtains, evoking "Double Indemity," and Deckard's core characteristics are influenced from "The Big Sleep" Phillip Marlowe.

Surprisingly, after my first viewing of "Blade Runner," the film situated within the "Action" genre. A quick warning: if you haven't seen "Blade Runner," do not expect upon initial viewing a Sci-Fi with space-operish qualities, but rather an adventure handled with elegance and subtly, as there is action (which occurs rarely often), but is often treated within the most elegant process; evoking the fine lines between life and death.

However, the most rewarding aspect that separates this film from the archetype action Sci-Fi is its enigmatic characterization; a world riddled with contradictions, emotional wrecks, morally ambiguous, isolation, and the old whiskey for comfort. To begin with, there is obviously Deckard: a man - as previously stated - that initially seems to represent masculine values, however. As we continually dig deeper, his story and life is quite tragic. Seemingly lost his love, Deckard is an alcoholic, suffers a sense of isolation, and morals are riddled with contradictions. Ultimately, this tragic story against the back-drop of a world engulfed in urban decay all equalize in an atmosphere that conveys a melancholic feel for the future. Once again in the same vain as Kubrick, the Replicates are the characters that seem to contain genuine emotions (H.A.L would fit right in!), especially Rachael (Young). Initially, Rachael seems human like, but after various test and utilization, she is a Replicate with one unique quality: the containment of implanted memories. Rachael is most definitely the emotional beacon; a woman that has come to terms with her existence and the fact that she is simply an exploitation of human use. Ultimately, due to their past and hopefully futures, the relationship developed between Rachael and Deckard is a love story with tragic (and Shakespearean) qualities.

Within the 'antagonist' side of Replicates, Rutger Hauer's portrayal of Roy Batty is mesmerizing. The leader of the fallen Replicates, Batty is a 'man' that glows with provenance. A character that contains an abundance of knowledge, a wealth of intelligence and genuine emotion. Deckard and Hauer existence within the same spatial space lends to a continuous juxtaposition of humans and Replicates and Scott's central, philosophical theme: what constitutes to be human? Consider the climatic sequence: Deckard and Batty begin within Sebastian's apartment and culminates upon the roof-top and in the purifying rain. Exasperated, and about to come to the end of his life span, Batty speaks a Shakespearean soliloquy that deserves quotations:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die." - Roy Batty

Simultaneously poignant and melancholic, Batty's final words contain profound resonance. They suggest and make the audience question: what does it mean to be human? Obviously Batty is a Replicate, but his final soliloquy displays non-Replicate qualities, but rather that of a human who is fond of his ever-lasting memories with the accompany of genuine emotion. Furthermore, throughout the whole movie Batty fears the one entity that all humans fear: death. And who are we to judge his life-span? Within "The Final Cut," Scott even goes a step further and suggest that (Spoiler alert!!!) maybe even Deckard is a Replicate.

Likewise to its ending, "Blade Runner" is riddled with literature innuendos and devices. And once again, Batty's final passage contains literary resonance. Batty embodies various forms of symbolism and allegoric characteristics. Beginning with the former, Batty's terminating poignancy on the nature of Replicates subordinate position culminates with Batty releasing a white dove into the air; a moment that is symbolically suggesting the internal emotions and essential characteristics that constitute for human existence is also resonant with Replicates. Furthermore, 'Eyes' are a continuous symbolic motif. Suggested to provide the internal perspective of human emotion ( Just watch "The Passion of Joan of Arc"), or rather the gateway to the soul, Scott's emphasis on such a human organ was due to the fact that he believed that eyes were humans most important component. His comments obviously concur:

"I was also trying to say that the eye is really the most important organ in the human body. It's like a two-way mirror; the eye doesn't only see a lot, the eye gives away a lot. A glowing human retina seemed one way of stating that". - Ridley Scott.

A paradoxical gateway if you will. On a subjective viewpoint and the relations of Eyes to "Blade Runner" and its overall thematics, is that the Eyes are the central organ to obtaining memories. And, drawing of the introductions of the Tyrell corporation with the juxtaposition of the retina absorbing the granduer imagery - the message is clear: Eyes function as another counterpart that Replicates share with humans that are not eccentric traits but rather ones that are cohesive with human nature. Within relation to allegoric qualities, the fugitive replicates share many allusions to Christianity traits. Consider the various elements, the Replicates are robotic cyborgs that have fallen from another planet - a notion that contains resonance with the concepts of 'Fallen Angles,' because with all respect, the target characters are really the only ones that seem morally justified. Furthermore, through the final shoot-out, we see Batty poking a silver peg through his hand; an obvious suggestion that Batty serves as an allegory for Christ himself and his final sacrifice, which is Deckard.

As stated, with each annually viewing of "Blade Runner," a new level of appreciation continues in accumulation; continuously excited that each viewing will reveal another secret, whether it be within terms of cinematic qualities, thematically or its conflicted and tragic characters, it's a film that needs the utmost attention from its audience to appreciate its ever-lasting qualities. This is the sole reason why I consider Ridley Scott's early effort a masterpiece; a continuous jig-saw puzzle, and after each viewing I gain various pieces but never obtain the whole image from initially appearance - it's a film that deserves to be analyzed from every frame corner. "Blade Runner" is not only a film that contains the most beautiful Sci-fi presentation, memorable characters, thematics that are studied upon days ends with the accompany of riddled literature references; but a film that deserves the title of masterpiece and even one of the best films ever made. As Rita Kempley would state:

"Grand enough in scale to carry its many Biblical and mythological references, Blade Runner never feels heavy or pretentious -- only more and more engrossing with each viewing. It helps, too, that it works as pure entertainment."

Solaris
Solaris(1976)
½

Whether you deem it a unique or eccentric virtue, many have condemned Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris" on initial viewing. It's a film that contains layers upon layers thematically, and features the auteur signature hypnotic direction (which - in some cases - is extremely tedious). Personally, I wasn't prejudice towards the subject matter, but - and no doubt about it - within this artistic merit, Tarkovsky's style can seem pretentious. However, it's obvious that the Russian film-maker is self indulgent (similar to the likes of Terrence Mallick), and simply strives for an artistic merit from a purely subjective perception rather than the pretentiousness of box-office profit. Demanding repetitive views to unlock its cryptic labyrinthine on love, human nature and the philosophical resonance on ideals; and riddled with provocative imagery and a unrelenting atmosphere, "Solaris" is - without a doubt - a surrealistic experience.

Frequently regarded as the Russian "2001," Tarkovsky's efforts shares one vital difference: his characters are genuinely humanized. However, the comparison is evidently plausible. Both Tarkovsky's and Kubrick share similar direction style; drawing sequences out to their essences, allowing the viewers to immerse themselves within the hypnotic style. Furthermore, both directors share an appreciation of aesthetics, as both films are riddled with vivid, haunting and visceral imagery that resemble a perpetual painting. Also in similar vain, the plot is based upon the novel Stanislaw Lem, which accounts the strange hallucinations suffered by several astronauts when orbiting the mysterious oceanic planet Solaris.

While "Solaris" is an accumulation of themes, its central focus reflects a philosophical diagnosis on the human condition; dealing with abstract emotions that we generally idealize but ultimately never full-fill, along with the slight question of the reality that we embody. However, these thematics are never spelled out, everything is suggested through allusions rather than verbally displayed - which, in turn, demands every ounce of the viewers attention (which is no easy challenge considering the hypnotic style). The central focus is channeled through Kris Kelvin (Banionis), a man who is introduced through a montage of beautiful and subtle images of nature (Mallick obviously gained inspiration from here). Eventually - after long passages of subtle direction - Burton (Dvorzhetsky), a family friend makes Kris watch a video that describes the hallucinatory events in attempts to persuade Kris to visit the mysterious island.

As stated, the first 45 minutes spent on 'earth' contains frames that are degraded to their essence. Tarkovsky continually draws passages to a tedious state; he deploys deliberate tracking shots and various zoom in's and zoom outs with minimal editing that effortlessly oblige to the anonymous atmosphere, along with the utmost appreciation of the quality and virtues of landscapes - displayed through a brilliant juxtaposition of the urbanized landscape towards an organic one. While Kelvin's introductory seems to convey a man that contains appreciation of nature's qualities, his treatment of people is quite impudent and cynical; in fact, many of the characters initially convey a sense of coldness. However, his moral justification is most certainly in for a bombardment.

After reluctantly questioning, Kelvin eventually decides to travel to the mysterious oceanic field. On his arrival, Kelvin meets the lasting survivors as one of the astronauts has committed suicide. Kelvin is greeted by the remaining astronauts, Dr. Snaut (Järvet) and Dr. Sartorius (Solonitsyn). Evidently, both suffers traumas and difficulties in interpreting the events that have occurred within their space station. The space shuttles interior is projected in a circular arc; Kelvin is literally surrounded by the forms of futuristic technology, mysterious adolescence and a midget - all surrealistic elements combine for an unforgettable atmosphere.

Becoming exasperated, Kelvin drifts to sleep. Upon his waking, a strange and mysterious girls appears before his eyes, a woman that he loved and has died a long time ago: Hari (Bondarchuk). After much bewilderment and attempts to get rid of her artificial presence, the remaining astronauts warn Kelvin that Hari's existence stems from the oceanic conceptualizing powers. Hari's presence is subject of contentiousness. Her existence stems form the subconscious of Kelvin's memories, a woman that has been deceased for decades. Being no stranger at representing his characters internally rather than externally, Tarkovsky's adored expressing such notions, but what really makes Hari the epitome of these notions, is that she is an illusion that develops a self-conscious; a woman that doesn't exist (but does anyone exist?) but has gained, fundamentally, genuine emotion - as I said, a contentious subject no doubt. Furthermore, Hari's presence is another striking contrast between Kubrick's 'Monolith': both are two entities that metaphorically represent the power of space against the fragility of humanity - while Tarkvosky may of disagreed with the humanization that Kubrick portrayed, they obviously believed in one thing: if life does exist upon space, then we, as the human race are surely not ready for the mysteries its dark canvas' contain.

As stated, "Solaris" on first appearance may seem perplexing; similar to all great films and their mysteries, it's viewing that deserves repetitive viewings to unlock its layers. And while I am only providing it with 70%, I dare say this initial score will change in the future. Nevertheless, Tarkvosky's entry into the Sci-Fi genre makes for an authentic experience; a world that is riddle with an unrelenting atmosphere (in the vain of Kubrick's other feature "The Shining"), philosophical questions that range from the questions of the human existence, the abstract notions of love, mans pursue of knowledge and ideals, the anonymous power of space, and existential experiences of the subconscious. Tarkvosky's thematics and subtle approach evoke the power of this genre, and along side Scott's "Blade Runner" and Kubrick's "2001," Tarkvosky's "Solaris" is another shining example of the power contained within Sci-Fi. If you're looking for a space opera, you will not find it here.

North by Northwest
½

Coming off the cinematic masterpiece - and quite arguably one of the most profound artistic achievement of the 20th century - "Vertigo," Alfred Hitchcock was situated at the height of Hollywood's prestige directors. A film that was so dextrous within its themes, that many cinema-goers where left in a perplexing state. It's no surprise after such audacious efforts, Hitchcock was willing to confine to a generic affair. Hitchcock's inspiration and comments for his next efforts concur: "something fun, light-hearted, and generally free of the symbolism permeating my other movies." After finishing "North By Northwest," it could most certainly be argued that this film is the epitome of Hitchcock quintessentials. An espionage thriller that contains an abundance of Hitchcockian elements: the elegant blond dynamite, mistaken identity, "Pure Cinema," pretentiousness of the maternal figure, sexual innuendos and the classic Hitchcock cameo; along with Hitchcock's typical blend of cinematic elements that range from the thriller, comedy, romance and action into one entity. It's no surprise that Ernest Lehman wanted to create "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures," to which - in relations to Hitchcock essentials - he most definitely succeeds. Within this train-of-thought, "North by Northwest" is not only classified - and succeeds - as a satisfying blockbuster, but works in equal measure as a celebration of Hitchcock's aesthetics, style and cinematic traits. And with the accompany of Gary Grant's intoxicating performance, the film is simply a tasteful treat.

What would be a celebration of quintessential Hitchcock without his favourite collaborators: Saul Bass and Bernard Herrmann. Saul Bass aesthetic style has obviously been a vital component to his credit sequences, and with trains being a central figure of North, Bass begins with an accumulation of parallel lines that reflect train-tracks. Along with the sweeping score contributed from Herrmann, the many lines manifest themselves into the facade of a building reflecting a busy New York. After a few seconds, the passage culminates with the classic Hitchcock cameo. Besides the obvious visual presumptuous, Bass' credit sequences were not passive affairs, but rather visual rituals that would reflect the fore-brooding thematics; in this case: mistaken identity - as the jungle of pedestrians reflects that the notions of mistaken identity are immensely possible and that anyone can be subjected to its anonymity power (think "Frenzy"). Ultimately, with the two technical genius' at the top of their game, the opening credits are brilliant in foreshadowing the perpetual motion and the tasteful events that are going to come.

Adopting a plot that revolves around mistaken identity - which he would use time and time again - Hitchcock channels these notions on Roger Thornhill (Grant). A Businessmen that consists of the typical 1960's characteristics found within all prestige men: cynical, impudent, pretentious, and charming (Thornhill would perfectly complement Mad Men's Donald Draper). Fortunately, Hitchcock plucks Thornhill out of his superficial environment and makes him a mistaken government agent by foreign spies which sends him on a wild-goose chase across America.

In relation to Hitchcock's appreciation of story-telling, pace and innuendos, each event consistently arrives organically rather than seemingly forced; and in this regard, the initial sequence when Thornhill first meets the antagonist Phillip Vandamm (Mason) is an entity of beauty. On initial appearance, both protagonist and antagonist share similar traits: charming but reasonable, accomplished but unsatisfied. To display personified labels, Hitchcock lets his beautiful pallet of lighting do the talking - Vandamm's face is unquantified by the brooding shadows, while Thornhill is face is eloquent from the glistering fore-ground projection. It's a beautiful palette juxtaposition that reflects Hitchcock's sensibilities. As the scene continues, Thornhill refuses Vandamm's cooperation which leads to his henchmen forcing Thornhill to consume unquantified amounts of Bourbon to effect his logic state - a scene that is played out with realistic qualities, to which a lesser film would subject Thornhill to a physical beating (or resort to more explicit methods). The continuous subtle approach - accompanied by innuendos - is resolutely more effective, to which no sequence suffers a sense of pretense or impudence. Furthermore, this approach allows the audience to absorb absurd situations (which there are many - most notable 'The Crop Duster sequence'). Consider when they attempt to kill Thornhill. The sequence evidently makes no sense, why would the villains want to attempt to frame a man when they could simply shoot him (obviously for it to look like suicide, but come on, these are soviet spies after all). However, Hitchcock's attention to detail and the characters reactions to the on-coming situations convey a wholly realistic atmosphere; to the point, that we as the audience accept whatever absurdity that Hitchcock continues to belt-out.

List most films in his oeuvre, whether dealing with suspense, thrills, action, horror or romance, Hitchcock always has time for a laugh with injections of tongue-and-cheek; and boy, does Gary Grant's performance perfectly encapsulates the tasteful tone. For instance, consider the passage where Thornhill is arrested for his drunken behavior. Grant's physicality and mentality towards his actions are pitch perfect, especially - considering that Thornhill admires himself greatly - when he resorts to his mother for help. Many of the laughs stem from this relationship, which doesn't unfold itself within the communal routine of a maternal and son bond, but rather that of a sisters and brothers; Grant bribes his mother with fifty-dollar bills, while the mother continuously mocks her sons questionable state (if you are a fan of Hitchcock and his traits, you'll notice the auteur sinisterly mocking the maternal figure).

After being framed for murder, Thornhill's world continuous to spiral out of control (accompanied by some truly beautiful shots of The United Nations). Eventually Thornhill finds diplomacy (we'll believes) with the mysterious, but utterly beautiful Eve Kendall (Saint). A combination of Gary Grant's natural characteristics (let's face it, he is gorgeous) and the auteurs fruitful Blond bombshell.....well, lets just say it's an equation that eventuates in erotic, sexy and simply perfect chemistry. Time and time again Hitchcock would situate two beautiful people together, and out this would stem one of his most dextrous and devilment abilities: sexual innuendos. Under the restrictions of the Hollywood juggernaut and its classification system, Hitchcock continuously pursued its boundaries - in the same vain as Wilder ("Some Like It Hot") and Hawks ("The Big Sleep"). The diner sequence shared between these two characters reflects this greatly. Their conservation is cryptically manifested with sexual evasiveness against the backdrop of a beautiful colour palette consisting of lush greens, blues and browns that remain visually stunning, and is obviously more rewarding than a modern, blatant sex scene.

Eventually, Thornhill gains the knowledge of Eve's discreet (another character that contains three separate identities; it's obvious that even though Hitchcock clearly stated that he didn't want to display thematics, North is clearly riddled with the notions of mistaken identity) through a sequence that is as iconic as it is irreplaceable. The scene I am referring is obviously the 'Crop Duster assault' (well what kind of "North by Northwest" review would it be without the iconic mention?). Hitchcock oeuvre is riddled with them: the "Psycho" shower sequence, the 'Vertigo' shot, "Rear Windows" iconic set, "The Birds" editing and the list goes on. These segments reflect the Hitchcock notion of "Pure Cinema:" moments and sequences that can only exist within the visual medium of cinema. Previous to his Blockbuster, Hitchcock was experimenting with the notion - to great effect - in "Vertigo," and has obviously perfected it with Grant's bewildering attack. The scene is set-up beautifully, beginning with an establishing shot that display the transitional movements from and urbanized landscape to the likes of a vast plain; threat and jeopardy are definite. As the scene continues, and Hitchcock being Hitchcock, anonymous cars continually pass - Hitchcock once again playing with audience expectations - which brilliantly adds to the sense of suspense and dread. As Thornhill becomes exasperated and confused, a mysterious plane begins to circle in fore-ground, and at that point, we, as the audience, know exactly what is going to happen. It's the brilliance of such moments that represent the epitome of this magnificent auteur capabilities. Additionally, consider the climax upon Mount Rushmore (what more logical climax to an espionage and political thriller). Besides the sequence reflecting the notions of "Pure Cinema." it's a climax that is ultimately conveyed organically; an entity that is evidently missing within modern blockbusters. For instance, within the final climax there is no pecking order of the characters status'. For example, within most modern blockbusters, the protagonist and antagonist would contain some sense of physical prowess compared to the inferior, or rather less important characters, e.g, the bewildering Policemen. To great effect, Hitchcock keeps it grounded; Thornhill faces the same struggles as Vandamm's henchmen, and with the accompany of typical Hitchcock editing, the perpetual motion is never halted.

Personally, "North by Northwest" takes second stride against Hitchcock's monumental masterpieces. However, this is no degrading comment, second-class Hitchcock still contained the brilliance of influential power (looking at you James Bond) and a masterpiece within the action genre. A celebration of his aesthetic style, and while it may seem Hitchcock was confining to generics, it seems the trickster was once again executing a prank, as no one would be prepared for the diabolical "Psycho" released a year later.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
½

When the senator's chair becomes available, political members seek a man that is willing to (and naïve enough) to take the position without effecting the static quo or the generic regime. There are fitting comparisons between separate film-makers, and Capra and Wilder would most definitely fit quite well into that category. Similar to Wilder, Capra was a man that audaciously dethroned humanities idealized values, and boy, does he succeed with "Mr. Smith goes to Washington." Capra portrays a world with the continuous, prominent battle: the common man vs the big man (not physically but rather politically or economically). Capra obviously wanted to challenge Americas strong-hold of pride: Independence. Through a battle of liberty and democracy against the likes of cynicism and oppression, Capra's film hits with contemporary resonance like a sledgehammer. And the while the notions of liberty and oppression may seem tiresome (even for a person who doesn't watch movies), it's Jimmy Stewart's performance and his portrayal of simplicity characteristics found within the 'common man' that greatly elevates "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" to a great and profounding effect.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)

"Skyfall" succeeds as an amazing balancing act of the Bond essentials; a Craig outing that is treated as a celebration of the iconic character with the emergence of nostalgic elements without any recently added substitutions. Mendes' treats the subject matter with a level of maturity that provides a distinct vision and hope for the future of bond films, while simultaneously reminding all Bond fans why we love this culturally endorsed figure.

The Battle of Algiers (La Battaglia di Algeri)

Ultimately, the notions of War is considered by many a superfluous act. A act that stems from various ideological beliefs and political agendas; whether it be the fight for ones independence or the accumulation of power, each agenda seems to culminate to one entity: senseless killing. Besides its viewing of such notions embedded within war, "The Battle of Algiers" is quite possibly the epitome of the notion 'Pure Cinema.' It's a film that stands as a monumental technical achievement that only the power of cinema can display: it blends the two visual forums of documentary presentation and cinematic narrative - a presentation that only films can represent. While the themes of liberty against colonialism seem tiresome, Gillo Pontecorvo presents them through an authentic process. Usually with such a film, there is a clear moral distinction: the good people are the ones fighting for liberty, and the bad people are the ones attempting to oppose such efforts. However, Pontecorvo blurs such moral lines to suggest that any man who fights for their certain ideals are subjected to a continuation of senseless killing.

The narrative revolves around the reconstruction of the historical moment of Algerian natives fight for independence against the colonial French society. The main focus is situated between the years of 1954 and 1957; a fight against two groups: The FLN (National Liberation Front) and the French army paratroopers.

As stated, the films ability in its presentation of the notions of 'Pure Cinema' is definitely the films most interesting aspect. For the unfamiliar to the term 'Pure Cinema,' let be attempt to enlighten you: The concepts of 'Pure Cinema' refer to the power that films contain to accumulate various technical elements. For example, only the art of film-making can project a moving visual image with the accompany of music and a projection of involving characters. "Algiers" displays such a combination of elements, however, he adds an achievement that is quite possible unparalleled with: he combines the notions of cinematic narrative with the accompany of real documentary footage; an emergence that only films can represent. With such an approach, Pontecorvo efforts are immensely elevated as the film provides such an authentic and realistic experience that is undeniably powerful where nothing seems artificial.

Another authentic aspect is that it's quite difficult to find a moral distinction, especially within a film a that revolves around liberty against oppression. Rather than situate a typical anti-war film of good vs evil - well to be more precise liberty vs oppression - instead, the films plays on our morals; it's quite difficult to choose which group to sympathize for, as both engage in nefarious acts (similar to Mary Shelley's literate classic "Frankenstein"). Consider Brahim Haggiag (Hadjadi) initiation into the FLN: he is judged on the fact whether he would shoot a French police officer. It's a terrifying truth that plagues Algiers and ultimately question their actions.

Furthermore, there are various juxtapositions riddled throughout the film. Through one sequence, the political climate is obviously reaching boiling point as the French army continue to harass Algiers. To such problems, the Algiers execute a series of bombings on innocent pedestrians. In another sequence, Pontecorvo presents a montage of truly melancholic torture images, however, directly after this passage he presents a sequence where the Algiers are mindlessly killing a number of civilians; as stated, it's quite difficult to sympathize for a certain group, both engage in the same actions: senseless killing. Even consider the villain Col.Mathieu (Martin). Sure, he's a man that is most definitely the catalyst for the FLN demise, however, his actions are not necessarily as bad as you would you initially conceived; he's a man that respects his enemies actions - even respects their ideals - and gives the final survivors the chance to live through a diplomatic solutions.

Personally, the film evokes "The Dark knight" paradox "When an unstoppable force meets an immovable Object," a line that brilliantly sums up the opposing and mutual standing within any battle of two separate ideals. Additionally, like Nolan's efforts, "The Battle of Algiers" displays the destruction of civilians caught within the crossfire, and within the ending, they are the true victors. Through the final shot we are treated to a woman standing for her liberation as Pontecorvo takes us to the years were native Algiers finally gained their independence. The ending is suggesting that for ideological beliefs to succeed, they must not only depend on certain individual instigators, but rather the accumulation of a nation; and - most importantly - it will not happen overnight. The price for freedom is always long-term.

Subjectively, "The Battle of Algiers" is not as powerful as I initially expected and the notions of liberty seem ultimately tiresome, however, the film brilliantly succeeds due to its authentic presentation of 'Pure Cinema' and its variable moral distinction; but all in all, Pontecorvo efforts display that all conflicting ideologies will culminate into one outcome: senseless killing.

Manhattan
Manhattan(1979)

After finishing Allen's love-letter to the iconic island, it's quite evident to see the inspiration Allen shared for Charlie Chaplin. Similar to Chaplin's 'Tramp,' many of Allen's films - when he is the central star - seem to revolve around a central character with essential characteristics. From a subjective perspective: each time that I sit down for a Allen production, I know that I am going to be treated to a character that inhabits a nervous, uncertain, meticulous and hilarious nature. However, unlike Chaplin, Allen doesn't hide behind a certain persona; he bears it all to the point that it seems like we are simply not just watching a film created by Allen, but rather a film about Allen. If we judge Allen's films from this perspective, then his oeuvre is extremely personal, and his "Manhattan" seems to take a special place within that caliber. The films works as a personal love-letter to the city - similar to his efforts "Midnight in Paris" - that is draped within literature and film references that stretch from likes of Bergman and Fellini to Fitzgerald within a city riddled with intellectuals. Once again, "Manhattan" features typical Allen traits: a world draped within beautiful aesthetics, another script that is manifested with intelligence along with wit, and a continuation of Allen thematically exploring the notions of ambiguous love, rational against spontaneous thought, and existentialism.

Similar to previous Allen films, "Manhattan" is not over-blown with too many characters, but rather focuses its energy on only a few individuals. The central focus is Isaac (Allen), a man who earns his income by providing the writing for a comedic television show. His personal life seems to only consist of four central characters: his seventeen year old girlfriend Tracy (Hemingway - caused quite the stir upon the films release), Yale (Murphy) and his wife Emily (Hoffman), and the intellectual Mary (Keaton). Each separate life becomes inter-wined as Isaac begins developing relations for Mary, who was previously having an affair with Yale.

The films opens with a visual montage of the city itself. Through narration, we learn Isaac's activities; he is attempting to begin a book, however, he cannot decide, thematically, in which direction he wants to take it. Like most of Allen's characters, this beginning seems to function as a precursor to the uncertainty that plague's his nature. Just like the beginning of his book; he starts something, then questions it. Starts something, then questions it. Judging from Allen's continual use of these quintessential characteristics, it's hard not imagine this beginning stemming from a personal experience.

However, another promising function from the opening is that we know we are going to be treated- once again - to a brilliant script. While it doesn't contain the monumental consistence of wit displayed within "Annie Hall," it still contains a brilliant sense humor and abundance of quotable dialogue. When watching "Manhattan," it quite evident why Allen is considered one of the best screen writers of the 20th century. His dextrous ability at creating a balance between intellectual and colloquial gags pay-off perfectly. The chemistry shared between Allen and Keaton clarifies this balance; it's quite hilarious to watch the common-man - displayed in Isaac - furiously debate with the intelligent Mary over the appreciation of Art and film. It's a idealistic conversation that put's a smile on all Cinephiles faces. In one particular sequence, Isaac meets a bunch of Mary's friends - which he describes "Like the cast of a Fellini movie. " They engage through discourse over social affairs to the point that Isaac becomes involved in a argument over physical action vs the use of satirical deprivation against the notions of 'Nazism.' It's a hilarious conversation that solidifies the notions of spontaneous action against the likes of rational thinking - a notion that seems to be riddled within "Manhattan."

Besides the brilliant characteristics that the characters inhabit, the city itself is an individual entity to behold. Allen projects the city as a abyss to reflect the notions of existentialism. Allen captures such a atmosphere through his dextrous imagery. Consider two shots: one consists of Isaac walking into his lounge room to comfort Tracy. The composition of the shot is quite obtuse; Isaac and Tracy are located to the far left of the frame, leaving the interior of the room to cover most of the frame while the couple are barely visible. This particular shot immensely highlights the city and the emptiness the urbanized landscape contains. Following this train of thought, the relations embedded within "Manhattan" are riddled with uncertainty, and Allen's projection of the urbanized landscape add to this effect. Secondly, Isaac and Tracy's walk through the space-affair is a beautiful monochrome of contrasting black and whites. Once again, Allen utilizes wide-angle shots to project the landscape as a dominant figure compared to the characters. In this particular frame, Isaac and Tracy are situated in the far-right with, what seems to be meteorite as the dominant figure oppose to the individual characters. Once again, these notions on individuality and existentialism seem to have come from a internal perspective that Allen has experienced.

One of my favorite reasons for watching directors such as Woody Allen, alongside Godard and Bergman, is that they chip away at the cinematic language. They form they own form of celluloid grammar and project their films through a seminal rather than generic process. "Manhattan" is most definitely a seminal film; Allen projects shots that are quite bizarre; frames that don't consist of any character while they talk off-screen, interplays between silent aesthetics (with obvious references to Chaplin's "The Kid"), and eccentric shots of the city. All of these components accumulate into an audacious, but nevertheless poignant story.

Many consider "Manhattan" a classic. Unfortunately I do not agree. Within comparison to Allen's undisputed classic "Annie Hall," it just falls short on achieving, in similar regards, a diagonals of relations shared between women and men. Nevertheless, "Manhattan" is most definitely a great film and is essential viewing within Allen's caliber.

Casino Royale

One of cinema's most favorite iconic series is obviously in dubious hands when the protagonist is subjected to using the natural logic of riding a sixty-foot wave to infiltrate a North Korean military base. Yes, that was the introduction to Pierce Bronson's final vehicle "Die Another Day," and along with the invisible car (seriously?), his final outing obviously accelerated the self-parody and sardonic elements within the Bond universe to a ridiculous extent. Similar to Schumacher's antics with "Batman and Robin," Bronson's final film left the pop-culture icon within a facetious state. Despite its success at the Box-Office, MGM obviously wanted an authentic entry that would subject one of cinema's most beloved character to respectable proportions, and it's no understatement that "Casino Royale" is most definitely Bond's defibrillator. Director Martin Campbell's choice of creating the film as a prequel to Bond's beginnings evidently provides flexibility within handling the Idiosyncratic character with refreshing characteristics. A new bond that ditches the nostalgia elements of ridiculous gadgets and sex-obsessed characteristics, which in return provides a window to genuine emotion. Oppose to watching a ritual affair of generic and artificial characteristics, Campbell is willing to explore the essential components of what makes Bond, James Bond.

As stated, "Casino Royale" introduces us to Bond before his 007 status. After brutally and successfully stopping a terrorist attack, Bond first mission consist of stopping an international terrorist banker Le Chiffre (Mikkelson) through a high-stake poker game located at Casino Royale.

It's most definitely not an understatement to claim that many, many Bond films are either bloated or convoluted. The majority of entries are all formula; continuously attempting to cramp in too many essential characteristics: whether it be the ridiculous gadgets, beautiful woman or cringe-worthy dialogue, most entries fail to focus on a central story. Thankfully, Royale identifies this and simply focuses on the basics; it strips away the ridiculous and superfluous concepts that gives its narrative room to breath - thanks to the beautiful pacing of the screenplay. Furthermore, Royale really only consist of four essential action sequences - each one as breathtaking as the next. However, one of the most refreshing aspects within "Casino Royale" is that action seems to arrive organically rather than seeming forced (looking at you Quantum of Solace). Additionally, with a lesser focus on the action aspect, Campbell allows himself to tell a realistic, emotional and engaging story. And while some of the plot elements seem adventitious, it never stretches to the point of being ridiculed; in fact, this along side "Dr. No" and "From Russia With Love" could well be the epitome of a Bond that is grounded through a sense of reality.

Without an overload on action; "Casino Royale" actually has time to explore the emotional predicaments of its central character rather than walking away from a generic affair that only reuses its ritual characteristics (Well I guess it's difficult to create a continues character after twenty-two entries). This is quite possibly why Craig's first outing succeeds over other Bond films; Campbell is willing to explore Bond internally rather than keeping it external.

As always, Bond consist of a egotistical nature, simply doing what he wants and not giving a damn. However, a noticeable change within Royale universe is its handling of women; rather than being sexual objects -well to be fair there is one (only one!?)- and passive entertainments for Bond use, the woman contain a central focus to Bond's internal decisions. To begin with, there is obviously M played by the brilliant Judi Dench. An immensely welcomed relationship that is continually being developed over the course of Craig's outings (apparently this is resonant for "Skyfall"). M is very much Bond's auspice, a woman that ultimately keeps him grounded within his egotistical nature and the only woman that Bond seems to trust. Her actions resemble Alfred purposes within Nolan's Batman. However, the inclusion of Vesper (Green) is the most rewarding aspect within the woman department. Craig and Green's first sequence shared together obviously displays natural chemistry. On initial appearance, their relationship seems typical 007 formula: Vesper initial fights the urge of Bond's charms, but eventually gives into his irresistible nature. Ok, to be truly fair, their relations do play-out similar to the generic formula, but Bond - for the only second time since "On her majesty secret service"- actually shares genuine love for Vesper rather than being characterized as another sexual instrument. She stripes his pretentious, ignorant, and egotistical armor to provide an actual glimpse into Bond's emotional core; for the first time we learn why Bond is the way he is, why he functions and why he simply does not trust women.

Being an idiosyncratic character, there was obviously a up-roar from loyal Bond fans from the casting of Daniel Craig as the next bond - mainly due to his unorthodox appearance (Blond hair anyone?). However, Craig's performance defines expectations and he is most certainly the best Bond since Sean Connery. The reason for this is that Craig's interpretation of Bond is realistically grounded. Furthermore, Craig creates a great balance between the icons essential characteristics: Physical brutality and irresistible charm. Where others failed - Roger Moore conveyed the charm but lacked execution of the physical aspect, very similar to Pierce Bronson's efforts - Craig is brilliant at emerging these two components, especially his physical presence. Despite consisting of many death-defying stunts, Craig contains realism in his movements to point that the action ultimately feels real - just watch the opening 'Parkour' sequence.

Every Film-Buff has that certain cinematic catalyst - whether it be a series or an individual effort - that began their love for film. To be honest, my was James Bond. I remember my first viewing of "Dr. No" and simply being mesmerized from the coolest action-hero I have ever seen. However, it is quite annoying when you watch one of your favorite characters get dragged through the dirt. Their have been many great entries into the Bond canon, but the negative entries most definitely outweigh the positives. Thankfully, "Casino Royale" is a mature image of Bond that ultimately restores faith within the iconic character.

Big Trouble in Little China

A tongue-and-cheek blend of western and eastern action elements. Besides the accompany of Russell's impersonations of John Wayne; "Big trouble in Little China" is ultimately a forgettable B-movie affair.

Some Like It Hot
½

Wilder was obviously a man that loved to delve his hands into the notions of cynicism and it's relations to human nature - I guess that's the continuing effect of being situated under the superiority of a totalitarianism (Nazism) government like Wilder was. After watching a string of Wilder flicks, it was nice to see him take a step back from thematically sticking a pitch-fork into societies values and letting loose with his wondrous "Some like it Hot." However, Wilder simply taking a step back is still monumental, as many critics consider "Some like it Hot" as the best comedy film ever made. Even within the comedy genre, Wilder is stilling willing to push the boundaries within the conventions of Hollywood film-making by presenting a screwball that revolves around the alteration of gender ideologies that would of obviously caused an uproar within the late 1950's as such dominant ideologies were still rampant; sexual innuendo that ultimately pushes the censor boundaries but is grounded through another brilliant/witty script provided from Wilder himself; while providing the notions of homosexuality in slight tongue-and-cheek implications. Usually, Wilder would inject such themes with a sense of cynicism, but it's clear that Wilder simply wants to have fun - he shoots his gags just as easy as Monroe's hypnotizing ability.

The story follows two down-and-out musicians who are desperate to find a gig. After witnessing a mob execution, the two go on the run by dressing as women and finding solace within a female band heading to Miami. Out of all of Wilder's films, this would have to be his most extravagant. A narrative that accumulates a number genre elements that range from the musical, comedy, drama and a dose of the prohibition gangsters that all combine for one rip-roaring adventure.

Wilder contains an unrivaled string of hits featuring an amazing range; whether it be delving into the the genre of 'Film Noir' or reverting to the notions of the 'Romance-comedy,' Wilder always culminated amazing screenplays that there were riddled with memorable dialogue; from Desmond's (Swanson) "I am big. It's the pictures that got small," in "Sunset Boulevard," to Kubelik's (MacLaine) "Shut up and deal" in "The Apartment," Wilder was a man that obviously contained wit. However, "Some like it Hot" could well be the epitome of his effortless ability. Consider the brilliance within Joe's (Lemmon) comments for Sugar (Monroe) "Look how she moves. Like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it's a whole different sex." A comment that capsulizes and reflects Monroe's status as a bomb-shell goddess

While the film is conveyed to have a central focus on comedy; personally, the film unfolds like Marilyn's skimpy dress; a continues drip feed of sexual teasing and innuendo that beautifully highlights Wilder symbolically expanding the boundaries within evoking eroticism, oppose to the contemporary use of full-frontal nudity. Consider the sequence where Sugar hides in Daphne's cabin aboard the train. Joe -dressed as Daphne - cannot stop shaking from sexual tension as Sugar is obviously oblivious that he is a boy. A sequence similar to this within modern films would eventuate in simply Monroe revealing her assets' and Lemmon giving into his own sexual temptation. However, Wilder has faith within his writing and simply evokes the possibilities of eroticism from Monroe's comments "When I was a little girl on cold nights like this, I used to crawl into bed with my sister. We'd cuddle up under the covers and pretend we were lost in a dark " It's quite amazing to watch a man that came from Germany with little English and writing some of the best American screenplays committed to celluloid; and producing sexual allusions on par with Hawks' "The Big Sleep" horse race conversation.

To speak quite frankly: Monroe is simply hypnotizing. Funny enough (after delving into the films history), that apparently Monroe was notoriously difficult to work with. She continually forgot her lines to the point where Wilder secretly pasted dialogue that was hidden from the camera, and Curtis described her "Like kissing Hitler." Judging from these facts, it's surprising that the finished product contains such wondrous chemistry between the leads. Nevertheless, Monroe was a woman that obviously demanded authority, and boy does Wilder flaunt her seductiveness. From her mystic dresses portrayed from the reverse angle as she pours the "Whiskey," the skimpy dresses as she sings and sits upon the piano; and her enchantingly flamboyance all culminate into one entity: she is undeniably sexy. Consider the sequence where Wilder juxtaposes Daphne with his new 'lover' Osgood Fielding III (Brown) and Joe (Curtis) as his second alter-ego 'Junior,' with the accompany of mimicking Gary Crant's voice to woo Sugar. The sequence shared between Curtis and Monroe is Monroe at her most enchantress and seductiveness; Wilder seemingly switches between the moments with Lemmon for a comic injection; however, we can't concentrate due to the fact that we are simply transfixed from Monroe's teasing ability.

When you fight the ability of not being transfixed by Monroe, there are many other brilliant performances, in particular Jack Lemmon. Man, what a comic genius! After only previously seeing Lemmon in one of Wilder's finest hours "The Apartment," I was struck in awe from his flamboyance ability; eating the witty dialogue with ease - just watch the sequence 'Party in Upper Seven' and you'll know exactly what I mean. Furthermore, Lemmon and Curtis share such brilliant chemistry; from the moment we meet them within the illegal bar, we know that they are going to share some brilliant scenes. It's a laugh riot to watch them share an eccentric view of gender ideologies. For instance the conversation shared between Joe and Jerry reflects such gags:

Joe: You're a guy, and, why would a guy wanna marry a guy?
Jerry: Security!

I guess I have quoted a lot of dialogue from "Some like it Hot," but I guess that's its profound effect. A film that basically contains quotable dialogue each sequence, and as I previously stated, it's amazing to watch it come from a man that initially knew little English. The more I read, the more inspiration I share for Wilder. He has an amazing record of films and "Some like it Hot" could well be the wittiest and funniest of them all. In the end, while Wilder has crosses all gender boundaries and sexual innuendo into an entity that ultimately reflects a thematic brilliance, Wilder simply wants to inject a sense of tongue and cheek, because in the end "Nobody's perfect!"

Quantum of Solace
½

The most refreshing aspect of the Bond defibrillator "Casino Royale" was that it successfully accumulated Bond's essential characteristics and projected them through a refreshing vision with the accompany of a brutal, anchored performance provided from Daniel Craig. Bond fans rejoiced at the possibilities and the new sense of direction that Bond canon was taking as the next sequel would ultimately have an abundance of expectations. I guess Forster choose the audacious route for delivering a sequel (Yes; a sequel in the bond universe) that basically rejects the nostalgic elements of Bond and more or less endorsed the elements of the authentic, uncompromising action-hero - obviously influenced from the the previous Bourne installments. Unfortunately, "Quantum of Solace" only works to a certain degree; while the film does provide a unique injection within comparison to the previous Bond films, it seems Forster is too concerned with articulating such a frantic, kinetic and brutal energy, that only eventuates in a narrative that has limited room to breathe and a confused film that evidently has difficult in clarifying the exact story it wants to tell.

Sabrina
Sabrina(1954)

Hepburn is intoxicating, Holden is hilarious and Bogart is sublime. It seems Wilder was willing to take a break by giving into Hollywood's conventions - but boy does he give in well.

Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
½

Similar to Kubrick; Wilder was a man that pushed the limits, thematically, within the boundaries of mainstream entertainment and beyond the limitations of the audiences expectations. Familiar at taking a swipe at societies idealized institutions which is obviously reflected through his body of work: From the degrading of Hollywood's idealized commodities in "Sunset Boulevard," the dark side of human nature within "Double Indemnity" and the cynical characteristics of the business corporation in the fifties within "The Apartment," Wilder was most definitely a man that contained audacity. Besides such films, Wilder continued such wondrous efforts with the Kirk Douglas vehicle "Ace in the Hole." A film that continues Wilder's challenging efforts on exploring human nature - 'Human interest' - and its relations to the media.

The story follows the cynical down-and-out journalist Chuck Tatum who finds a small-time job within Albuquerque. However, Tatum exploits the trapping of man (Benedict) to gain his way back to fortune through a journey of morality.

One of the most interesting aspects of Tatum's world is that it's filled with not one likable character. Each individual is motivated cynically rather than democratically. Wilder constructs it beautifully as we watch each individual gain a sense of luxury on the behalf of Tatum's exploitation of the trapped Leo (Benedict), which ultimately makes us question the nature of human morality. Tatum's comments highlights such themes "Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news." Besides Wilder's thematical brilliance, Douglas is mesmerizing. From his cynical nature and uncompromising motivations (slap sequence), it's quite astonishing after watching Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" to notice Douglas' chameleon ability in switching from the moral to the immoral.

Paradoxically, "Ace in the Hole" has aged beautifully within it's relation to the media and its cynical nature, but the theme ultimately seems tiresome. Nevertheless, I personally love directors that are willing to challenge the norm - especially within the conventions of the superior Hollywood - by making a film that succeeds as a moral statement towards the human condition.

Mulholland Drive

In my review of Lynch's previous "Blue Velvet," my frequent complaint was that while I considered the film a rewarding experience; Lynch's continual interplay between the levels of the artificial and the morbid undercurrents of what looms beneath situated his film, thematically, as being too obvious. Lynch's film was utterly compelling when he entered his internal surrealistic landscape - and by returning to the surface the film ultimately lost its momentum. However, Lynch successfully rectifies such problems with his surrealistic masterpiece "Mulholland Drive." A film that takes us into Lynch's realm of a L.A nightmarish landscape; and rather than continually giving the audiences room to exhale by traveling back to the surface of a normal reality; Lynch just keeps digging until, as an audience, we are stranded in an accumulation of surrealistic imagery with nowhere to go. As with a film that contains such ambiguity; there have been many hypothesis' created to explain its logic - but do films always need a sense of logic? If "Mulholland Drive" contained all the answers, would the experience be better? Would've you and your friends been left in such a bewildering, confused state that you spent the next three days trying to make sense of what you just seen if the answers were viable? The answer is: No. For that sole reason, Lynch's efforts are amazing. To watch such a film you must leave logic at the door and simply immerse yourself in the mesmerizing imagery and music to be treated by an experience like no other.

The story follows as so: A woman is involved in a car wreck. Seemingly delusional, she finds solace within the help of a hopeful Hollywood uprising star as they embark on journey for answers that takes them through the realms of reality/dreams and memories.

Lynch riddles his latest efforts with morbid visuals and humor that revolves around a number of core characters (if they actually exist or not it's difficult to tell). Obviously there is Betty (Watts), the protagonist, who has hopes in becoming the next Hollywood hopeful. Funny enough; Lynch characterizes Betty with peculiar characteristics: she inhabits wooden dialogue that resembles soap-opera principles and evokes the traits of the Hitchcock heroine. Then there's Rita (Harring), a woman who suffers amnesia from her car accident and seems to be constantly transfixed within a delusional/emotional state. Lynch portrays their relationship in an eroticism fashion of two seemingly obsessive persona's to the point where it's difficult to tell whether their relations actual exists or is simply a protection of Watts subconscious. In fact, this train-of-thought fits for many characters: the Cowboy (Montgomery), the director (Theroux), Coco (Miller) and Camilla (George) all seem to have a purpose - and while I do consider to have an answer to their inclusions, an answer would be superfluous due to the fact that the film is simply too ambiguous. Speaking of characters, Naomi Watts performance is simply amazing to watch with the transition of the two separate spheres within dreams and reality. She effortlessly portrays the soap-operish conventions for two-quarters of the film, and then dramatically/disturbingly switches to the emotional wreck that has lost her innocence (wink, wink).

Likewise to "Blue Velvet," it's quite astonishing just how much tension Lynch is able to create, as sense of dread looms around each corner of Hollywood's nightmarish landscape. With the brilliant use of continues POV shots, Lynch is able to create tension within the most subtle moments. Such an atmosphere lends to Lynch's commentary of the modern Hollywood climate: a world that has portrayed its initial values and has cemented individuals with limited autonomy. It sorta works as warped 'Sunset Boulevard."

However, the most impressive aspect of Lynch's latest efforts is that he portrays -quite possibly the most difficult aspect within all art aesthetics- the subconscious thoughts within the viewer's awareness. Similar to the likes of Bergman and William Faulkner's literature masterpiece "The Sound and Fury," Lynch displays macabre internal thoughts through a visual medium; beautifully displayed through the final forty minutes sequence; a sequence that cements a moment that Lynch's whole career has been moving towards. In relation to my previous statement, "Mulholland Drive" final segments accumulates a sense of surrealism and macabre visuals that simply hypnotizes you within a sequence that resembles the characteristics of a nightmare; and if you are willing to surrender yourself to such sequences, you'll be treated to a transcendent experience like no other.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane(1941)

'The Greatest Film Ever Made,' well, until the recent critic cronies knocked 'Citizen Kane' of its high horse to be replaced by Hitchcock's 'Vertigo,' many considered Welles' debut effort the greatest film ever made; in fact, before such eccentric choices, it seemed like the official answer. 'The Greatest Film Ever Made,' a prestige title that has immensely riddled Welles' picture with such declamatory, that it could be the most talked about film ever made. However, paradoxically, such cultural preeminence could possibly destroy the viewing for the common viewer. While I don't personally want to dethrone the pictures title, but to classify a film as the greatest of its kind is simply too ambiguous; in short, labeling anything under the classification of such ambiguity seems superfluous and only eventuates as catalyst for altercation. What I am saying is that unless you inhabit an abundance of cinema knowledge, do not feel threaten to watch 'Citizen Kane' in awe of its glory; in fact, I would suggest on initial viewing that it would be more rewarding to push the enthusiastic notions and discourse aside and simply judge the film from your own merits. Bitchin' aside - believe it or not - I do consider Kane as one of my favorites, and while I do not consist of the cinematic knowledge to justify if the film is the best ever made, I will provide a review that, in equal measure, displays the essential qualities on why the film is so damn great. Reasons include the monumental and grandeur cinematography, the richly mysterious narrative, uncanny visual imagery, writing and a central performance, actually, rather an embodiment by Welles that is one for the ages (similar to De Niro La Motta or Ledger's Joker). And after 70 years it's quite obvious why Kane is consider a masterpiece.

Similar to most cinematic masterpieces, 'Citizen Kane' contains a history that captures a sense of inspirational autonomy that many directors strided for within the clutches of Hollywood's confinement. The year is 1938 and 'apparently' New Jersey is panic-stricken while Welles' authoritative voice booms over local radio stations while recounting H.G wells fictional extraterrestrial tale 'The War of Worlds.' Yes, this is why the fellow locals were in agitation; Welles' voice contained such a level of dexterous, authoritative and realism that many people actually believed that an alien invasion was occurring. Besides the listening of his fellow colleges and locals, Hollywood was also witnessing the ability of a phenomenal auteur. Believe it or not by the audacity of such a stunt, Hollywood was so impressed that they hired Wells to make a movie for RKO studious. Surprisingly, Welles' was gifted with complete autonomy for his first production and rejected the notions of using relatively accepted actors within Hollywood, but rather accepted his fellow members within his 'Mercury Theater Company,' an accumulation of creative talent, to produce an epitome of sheer audacity that would permanently alter the cinematic landscape.

Besides my personal input and its history, let's get started with on what makes Kane so great. 'Citizen Kane' details the rise and fall of the egotistical newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane. Detailing his life from his beginning in publishing industry, to politics and then to 'Xanadu,' his fortitude of alienation.

To appreciate most masterpieces, we must consider everything that came before its release and everything after it. For 1941, Kane evidently consisted of narrative ingenuity. Interestingly, the sprawling tale of Charles Foster Kane begins at his death. As I previously mentioned in relation to judging Kane by everything that came before, with such an introduction, Welles' was obviously willing to challenge the senility conventions of movie-storytelling, as previous to Kane it seemed that the directorial credo was to provide film that consisted of a linear structure that would fit for its passive audiences. Hollywood wanted films for pure entertainment rather than artistic merit (like much has changed). Thankfully, Welles was undaunted by such notions. Now where we? Ah yes, narrative. As I previously mentioned Welles' begins his film with Kanes death and legacy, providing the pillars for the narrative as it does, in a sense, become chaotic. However, eventually we learn that the death of Kane and his legacy has become a monumental news story and journalist Jerry Thompson (Alland) is given the job to find the significance of Kanes final words "Rosebud." Through the memories of key witnesses, Thompson attempts to dig as deep as possible to find out just who exactly was Charles Foster Kane. A narrative through memories with no sense of chronological time in 1941! audacious to say the least. On a subjective viewpoint, I personally believe that this eccentric form of story-telling is why the film contains such a modern resonance and replay value; our views of Kane are all perceptions from unreliable narrators (drunk girl and old mans), which simply leaves us with the pieces of puzzle; we, like the journalist, have to construct our own view of Kane and judge what type of man he was. It could be argued that, with such perceptive views among various viewers, that Kane could be the most ambiguous character in film history.

Furthermore, 'Citizen Kane' is often cited as a monumental technical achievement. With the collaboration of Welles and his trusty cinematographer Gregg Toland, they successfully expanded the scope and horizons on the possibilities within technical film-making. One of the most celebrated aspects of their efforts is the use of 'Deep Focus.' A technique that would allow the foreground and background to have a clear distinct image in equal measure, opposed to the traditional use of only keeping the foreground within focus. In a much celebrated scene, Toland draws the camera back from the window into the living room while keeping Kane, located in the background, as a distinct visual image. It's an important shot that would not have succeeded in conveying symbolic resonance to Kane's future without the use of 'Deep focus.' Additionally to this sequence, the film is riddled with wondrous visual imagery; from the morbid descent onto Kanes Xanadu, the reflection of the broken glass, the beautiful monochrome images of contrasting black and whites, the low and wide angle shot of Kanes political speech, the many Kanes reflected through the mirror and the brilliant tracking shot that descends from the roof-top into the seedy diner. Each image is a marvel to behold.

However, we can't judge a film on its technical aspects as most of us (I know I was one) are not familiar with the revolutionary technical aspects within its time period. So, back to that question that seems to be looming over this review, what makes Kane great? Well, I think that's just it; Kane himself. He truly is the definition of enigmatic and the great mystery of cinema characters. A man that we only know through the perception of other characters, and while we may think that we gain the knowledge of Kanes essential characteristics, there always seems like there is still so much more to learn. In fact, after two days of previously watching the film I am still pro-founded by the protagonist stirring mysteries. In the end, the only aspects that seem certain is that Kane was idealistic and has had his innocence stolen, and as we realize the significance of 'Rosebud,' the more tragic the story becomes. Kanes comments "You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been rich I might have been a really great man" ring with profound resonance as we watch his innocence burn in the flames of his own egotistical absorption. We ultimately question what kind of man would Charles Foster Kane be if he had I choice? But as Thompson says "I don't think any word can explain a man's life."

Now all said and done, I can't label 'Citizen Kane' as the best film ever made solely due to the fact that I do not contain the wealth of cinema knowledge to even suggest an answer to such an ambiguous question. But what I can say is that 'Citizen Kane' displays, thematically, a notion and emotion that everyone has and will lose: Innocence. And besides my little sentimental input, it's impossible to fathom were modern films would be without the impact of this masterpiece.

Blood Simple
Blood Simple(1984)

The Coen Brothers first major film 'Blood Simple' is Neo-Noir that accumulates the initial indications of the Coen's eccentric characters and devilish humor. Thanks to the Coen's dextrous abilities; there pulpy narrative continually and insidiously beguiles the viewer into a world that contains a sense dread surrounding each corner, with some truly memorable suspense sequences that evoke a sense of nostalgia to Hitchcock's brilliance.

Weekend
Weekend(1967)

Quite possibly the most bizarre film I have ever seen, even for Godard standards. 'Week End' displays Godard's bleak, comedic view of the human condition; a condition that is filled with violence, destruction, cynicism and cannibalism. Furthermore, Godard continues his grandeur audacity, evoking a sense of direction that is unparalleled in its innovation. To name a few: the eight minute tracking shot that just continually films a bombastic highway of mechanical destruction and violence - a perfect shot of a confused race. Then there's the continual zooming-out-and-zooming-in with the accompany of a swiftly moving 360 tracking shot. Judging from this film and other Godard efforts such as 'Breathless' and 'My Life to Live,' his camera movements are the most innovative techniques to grace celluloid. Ultimately, 'Week End' is a confused assault on the senses. A left-wing black comedy from Godard's Marxist perspective. However, if the political agendas seem abstract and the extremely bleak/sensitive ending, 'Week End' still displays a vision and imagination of a film-God that is unrivaled with.

Marvel's The Avengers

Reflecting over the 'Blockbuster' season of 2012 - despite the release of the forthcoming 'The Hobbit' - it's safe to say that 'Marvel's The Avengers' will take the crown for the biggest and most successful film of the year. Besides the likes of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' the hype for the first assemble of Marvel's beloved heroes was unparalleled. Beginning with the success of 'Iron Man' and Nick Fury's final comments "I'm here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative," the hype began to build. With the additional efforts of 'Thor,' 'Captain America' and the continual drip feeding provided from the after credit sequences; all that was left to do was to assemble each individual into one juggernaut. In terms of 'Blockbuster,' the film ultimately succeeds in providing the balance of entertainment and laughter while still containing the essence of the Marvel universe. Despite such virtues, the film is all formula; not even attempting to challenge the generics and continually injecting comic relief to the point that the characters actions becomes tedious and robotic - Explosion, laughter, explosion, laughter. But maybe I am being too harsh? Well, what I mean say is that I don't think 'The Avengers' wants challenge the generics, and maybe it doesn't have to. The film simply wants to display a universe that does not crumble around the structure and accumulation of such grandeur characters. Thankfully, due to Joss Whedon's screenplay, the film juggles six separate superheroes with a sense of exhilarating ease, which is an achievement in itself.

Days of Heaven

There are films that stay within the perimeters of the visual screen, and there are others that contain the power to transcend such boundaries. 'Days of Heaven' evidently belongs with the latter category. A film, similar to Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey,' that moves with such swift elegance and grace that it very much resembles a moving painting of the tranquility that nature inhabits. From the opening to the final shot, I doubt that there isn't a single frame that couldn't qualify for a beautiful painting.

Breathless
Breathless(1961)
½

Godard. The epitome of audacity, a man that continually anatomized generic cinematic notions with his own personal blow-torch. Over the duration of his cinematic journey; Godard continually displayed a sense of innovation and authenticity that remains paramount since the depute of the influential 'Breathless.' Similar to most cinematic landmarks, the production of Godard's first feature contains quite the history. Godard previously worked as a critic for 'Cahiers du Cinema,' contained a wealth of knowledge in philosophy and was devoted to the medium of film. Evidently, all these factors are manifested throughout 'Breathless,' a moving statement that would destroy every convention before it, and influence countless film-makers after it. Furthermore, Godard's first feature was the catalyst for the 'French New Wave." Despite such history, and on a subjective viewpoint, doesn't 'Breathless' very much represent and capture the dream of everyone willing to make a film? Godard's contains complete autonomy. He isn't concerned with how to make a film according to the static quo, but simply making exactly what he wants (similar to Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane'). From the monumental jump-cuts, Michel and Patricia characteristics, the documentary vibe and it's unorthodox camera movements that were most likely more shocking than 'Citizen Kane,' Godard's first feature represented a new flavour of cinematic beauty that has, and will continue to be a entity of appreciation for countless generations, as the great American pundit Roger Ebert stated "Modern films began here."

The plot (like most Godard films) is relatively simply. Michel (Belmondo), a wannabe-tough guy-gangster kills a police officer and attempts to persuade an American exchange student, Patricia (Seaberg), to hide with him in Italy.

Sounds simply right? Oh but how wrong you are. To truly appreciate 'Breathless,' we must recognize everything that came before it. Through his criticizing career, Godard gained the generics of what certified a respected film: a run-time of three hours, literacy innuendo, political message or seemingly a purpose. However, Godard threw the rule book out of the window; displaying a film that wasn't concerned at illuminating a profound message or purpose, but rather simply displaying a place, moment or being within their social space (A reflection of Godard's influence from 'Italian Neorealism'). Consider the Bedroom scene; a 25 minute sequence that simply captures Michel and Patricia socializing. Godard isn't concerned with the plot moving but simply resembling a realistic conversation shared between two youths, a conversation that captures the essential of adolescence uncertainty. (Quite obvious to see where Mallick gained his inspiration for 'Badlands')

Furthermore, if Godard's brilliance through his reflective simplicity isn't doing it for you, his technical innovation is surely something to behold, namely the use of 'Jump Cuts.' Apparently, Godard filmed two-and-a-half-hours worth of footage oppose to the hour-and-a-half final cut. To oppose such problems, enter Godard's solution: cut out all the boring and superfluous pieces. By boring bits, Godard was obviously referring to the moments that other directors would cherish, the moments that consist of realistic movements that resemble the transition of characters, e.g, when he have to watch a character walking up a staircase. The use of such drastic editing provides the film with a life of it's own. Godard's continual midway cuts through certain shots and scenes provides 'Breathless' with such momentum that even a simple conversation has a sense of energetic power. Furthermore, it's quite astounding of the influence this editing process contains on modern films: view any action sequence made within the last ten years and just watch the continual use of Godard's pioneering technique and it's contributes to rapid montage.

Thankfully, despite the brilliance within it's technical achievements, Michel and Patricia are refreshingly profound characters. Before these two, cinematic characters were fleshed out with specific goals, determinations with their morals ultimately justified. However, Michel and Patricia were ultimately bizarre, they weren't concerned with their striding occupations and were immoral, especially Michel. Michel is a wannabe 'Humphrey Bogart rebel' and a man who kills a cop with ease. Besides the popularity of Belmondo, his characteristics represents the modern depiction of the 'cool-gangster' that would occur a decade later through the likes of Mallick's 'Badlands' and Penn's 'Bonnie and Clyde'.

As much as it was revolutionary, 'Breathless' very much displayed a personal painting of Godard's love for Cinema, Art and Literature. It's obvious through the influence of Bogart, Pierre Auguste Renoir (Jean Renoir's father) paintings and the likes of William Faulkner. Stemming from these influences, it's quite hilarious in a paradoxical way to watch Godard break every rule contributed from American cinema while simultaneously displaying his love for certain American individuals. Within this process of Godard displaying an accumulation of references to his favorite films, he would inspire a generation of film-makers to do the same, especially the likes of Quentin Tarantino.

The most rewarding aspect watching 'Breathless' fifty-two years later from it's original release, is that it ultimately still contains refreshing resonance. From Godard's guerilla like film-making with the employment of innovative camera shots that are still unrivaled in it's audacity, to the displacement of two adolescences who simply represent the essence of the confused youth; 'Breathless' will forever contain the power to breath life into the cinematic universe.

Prometheus
Prometheus(2012)
½

Being a general, but necessarily a devoted fan to the 'Alien franchise,' the notion of making a prequel regarding the explanation of the 'Space Jockeys' existence seemed to have an interesting premise. Furthermore, with the likes of Ridley Scott back on board to finish what he created with the accompany of an all-star cast; the inevitable hype began. 'Prometheus' was marketed as the beacon of hope for Sci-fi fans, as the Sci-fi genre has more or less gave into the generics of the action medium. However, the film was suppose to be the catalyst that would bring the genre back it's towering, philosophical heights that resembled the likes of '2001: A Space Odyssey' and Scott's own masterpiece 'Blade Runner.' Unfortunately, 'Prometheus' ultimately falls under the label of 'Another Blockbuster that has been disappointing.'

A notable, but evidently divided criticism towards the film is the writing: Some people complain that there are too many plot-holes, while others suggest that such unanswered questions contribute to the films ambiguous nature. For me, 'Prometheus' works a little bit from column A and a little bit from Column B, as the film does provide the questions that linger over humanity with shades of brilliance, but more or less fail to hit the mark. It seems the writers were thinking 'Hey, you know what? Let's make this film as ambiguous as possible so it looks like our movie seems smart!" Unfortunately, the writers don't know the answers to their own questions as we watch each plot hole continually accumulate on each other.

Despite these problems, there are many aspects that are evidently rushed. Consider the sequence when the two men are trapped within the citadel. In one passage they are scared of the 'Engineers' dead bodies, then the next scene they are playing with a different life form that eventually kills them. Sadly, the characters actions resemble the likes of 'Screaming Girl' within horror movies; something I wouldn't expect in a Ridley Scott film. Furthermore, the whole father thing under Meredith (Theron), and not to mention Janek (Elba) 'noble' sacrifice are extremely forced; and last, but certainty not least, while 'Prometheus' does provide some answers to the Jockeys existence; Scott and his team obviously want to drip feed the answers on the account of more money through a sequel, which personally I found offensive. But you know, it's just good ol' Hollywood adding there two cents.

Thankfully, besides such issues, Prometheus does contain some positive aspects, namely Michael Fassbender performance. Fassbender plays a Robot with such poignant ability that the irony begins to sink in: His Robot is the only the character that evidently seems real. His introduction on the learning the essentials of life is brilliant stuff. Furthermore, like-wise to the creation of the original Alien, the 'Engineers' look amazing. They resemble a formidable strength that leaves the humans in a subordinate position. In particular, the special effects and the visual representation of the creation of the life through the sacrifice of the Engineer is executed perfectly; I just wish they could of kept such brilliance throughout the entire movie.

As you could tell from my review and the majorities, 'Prometheus' has evidently developed a love/hate relationship, and it's quite obvious why. If you enjoy in attempting to create your own personal hypothesis to it's ambiguity, so be it. A second viewing was enough for me.

Wild Strawberries

It's embedded within human nature that eventually we have to pursue our certain ideals. Whatever these ideals are, it doesn't matter, all that matters is that we capture them because we believe that achieving such subjective desires will provide us with a sense of purpose. However, if we capture such ideals will that guaranteed our happiness? Maybe so, maybe not. 'Wild Strawberries' illuminates the occasion and the question that lingers over humanity, a question and a reflective state that everyone will eventually have to answer: Has the pursue of my personal ideals gave me a sense of satisfaction? Or have I only accomplished neglecting the moments of happiness that matter most? It's a question that I know I will have to face, and I hope I find an answer that contains resolution.

'Wild Strawberries' situates it's story around Dr. Isak Borg (Sjostrom), an aged professor who is near the end of his life. Bergman's choice to develop the narrative around an aged man obviously reflects the notion to what extent does an individuals life contain a sense of purpose; as when we reach such an age, we reflect over the regrets and decisions that we have contributed to the universe and wonder if our life was a failure or an achievement. Borg is man who has achieved such accomplishing ideals; he is regarded as an honorary scientist and is being rewarded a prestige honor for his contribution. However, despite such virtues, Borg is also a man surrounded by isolation and regrets. Through a self reflective journey and a number of typical, but always memorable dream sequences; Bergman ultimately question such ideals that humanity continually stride for and that they only end with a superfluous purpose.

Borg introduces us into his life; he inhabits a world that revolves around a sense of isolation which has been contributed from his egotistical nature. After we learn Borg's nature, Bergman introduces his favorite motif: Dream sequences. Borg's first dream takes place within a mysterious street. The street consist of clock that has no handles, a 'man' with a seriously weird head with the accompany of a hearse. Each separate figure represents a form of deterioration: the clock has lost its ability to tell time, the man eventually losses his head and there is a dead body within the hearse that resembles Borg's figure. Through this dream, Bergman is suggesting that death is just around the corner for Borg. Similar to the other sequences, Bergman deploys dreams and memories as a self-reflective state to display Borg's past. Each separate sequence contains it's importance, whether it consist of moments of revelation or innocence, they are moments that Borg wishes he could correct.

If you are not a fan of Bergman's brilliant ability in conveying the subconscious, Don't be afraid! 'Wild Strawberries' is obviously one of Bergman's most accessible films, contributed greatly from Victor Sjostrom performance. With a film that focuses a substantial amount of it's plot around the actions of a single man, it's important for the audience that we share an emotional connection, to which Sjostrom excels brilliantly in conveying his characters isolation and the lost of his true love. Through a reflective state of his innocence, Borg reveals that his true love left him for another man. In one particular and truly poignant dream sequence, Borg's love holds a mirror to his face and proceeds in mocking and situating Borg to a subordinate position as she tells him "I'm going to marry your brother." We see Borg on the verge of tears as he whimpers "But it hurts so." Undeniably heartbreaking.

As I previously mentioned, 'Wild strawberries' functions as a self-reflective journey of an individual. Through typical Fashion, Bergman uses Borg's life as an examination of the human condition in relation to our obsession of pursuing ideals that will ultimately eventuate in reminiscing over the sacred moments that we have neglected. Bergman solidifies this through the final sequences. Borg receives his prestige honor through an empty ritual; his reward contains no purpose. However, through the ending many of characters seem to find a sense of resolution, consider Borg's and Sara's (Andersson) final conversation, "Good-bye, father Isak. Can't you see you're the one I love? Today, tomorrow and forever" to which Borg replies "I'll keep that in mind," and then for the final time we enter Borg's dreams to find that his mother and father are fishing by the river. Surprisingly, Borg's dream contains a sense of happiness rather than a sense of gloom. Borg now contains peace and tranquility, he can die in happiness.

Essential Bergman.

The Truman Show
½

To state the obvious: Humanity is continually moving into the future with rapid progression in technology. From the use of the spear to the sensation of global communication provided from the internet; technology is proving to be a valued commodity within society. A notable achievement within the technology realm is the Television; a device that has ultimately become popular within mass-culture with it's condescending and catechizing power. In the age of 'Big Brother' and 'Survivor', it's quite evident that 'Reality Television' has become an immensely popular aspect. 'The Truman Show' focuses as a satirization of such popularity, and while the idea of 'the media hiding the truth' seems tiresome and obvious, it's quite shocking to see that the film resembles an actual present representation of the power of contemporary television.

The film revolves around the man of the hour, Truman (Carrey). Truman occupies an idealistic world; he has the friendly neighbors, the great job, the beautiful wife and the best friend, the American Dream right? However, despite such virtues there are a few things that are missing within Truman's life. His father supposedly drowned when he was a kid, he wants to travel to Fiji but is constantly disallowed and he has lost his true love, which Truman poignantly attempts to recreate through magazine clippings. Truman's world is artificial. His life is idealistic because the world he inhabits is a reality TV show, dubbed 'The Truman show'. Truman focuses as a puppet for the creator of the show, Christof (Harris).

Just from a quick summary of the plot details, it's quite evident with such a concept that the film could of easily fell into the pits of a melodramatic affair with such an extremity example; thank god for Carrey. Gaining recognition from films such as 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Liar Liar', it's unfortunate to see that Carrey has fallen under his own personal stereotype of that 'Comic actor that plays dumb people well', and while his performance of such characters are memorable, it's so much more rewarding to watch Carrey play a character that creates a balance between the comedic and emotional aspects rather than a focus on his comedic ease. Similar to his performance in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', Carrey creates a character that is easy to sympathize with; Truman is a normal man who wants normal ideals rather than being the star of Televisions most popular show, and in the end, we are cheering for his freedom just as much as the audience.

As the plot unfolds, Carrey questions this 'Reality'. Initially, Truman is treated to number of clues that lend to his suspicion, however, the creators continual use their props to cease Truman's questioning. Eventually, Truman pushes the limits of his jurisdiction through a number of hilarious comedic sequence with Carrey and his 'Wife' (Linning). Truman is trapped within his own prison, his actions consist of no purpose when everything reacts to his personal response. Through these sequences, Weir is obviously providing the social commentary of modern technology restricting individuals liberation and privacy: To what point must an individuals life become a form of emotional exploitation for the audience benefits? 'The Truman show' explores these themes that contain evident resonance to modern media and it's obsession of obtaining every detail of individuals life's.

Despite these virtues, the film at times does become tedious, as the drama seems to arise from repetitive motivations; Truman gets a clue, challenges them and then finds himself back to normal due to the creators innovation. Thankfully, Truman goes the whole nine yards through the conclusion. Truman devises a plan that diverts the attention away from his actions and uses a boat to travel to the real world. One of the most brilliant aspects of the film's ending and Truman's triumphs is that we realize how much emotional investment we have within the protagonist; his final sequences are truly poignant. Through the ending Truman comes into contact with Christof, his maker. Christof offers him the choice of choosing between the idealistic or realistic world. In brilliant fashion, Truman simply replies "If i don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night." After this triumphant moment, Weir shows two of the audience who neglect this monumental moment and simply wonder what the next TV show is. Weir's final commentary focuses on the TV's brainwashing power; even after watching such a moment of a man displaying the problems with having a TV show that violates the ethics of an individuals right, there may be some who attempt to solve the problem, but most of the mass culture will continue to act as passive receivers to the TV's catechizing power. Weir is ultimately suggesting that we must question the power that the TV withholds on the world.


As a great artist once said "Television rules the nation."

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)
½

A difficult film to review, even for Bergman standards. 'The Hour of the Wolf' will most definitely not be a film for everyone's taste. If you are searching for answers, 'The Hour of the Wolf' will not provide them; the film stems from such a subjective viewpoint of Bergman demons that I believe only he obtains the key to unlocking its secrets. Besides the difficulties in explaining what Bergman is up to (the film is extremely ambiguous), the film works brilliantly as a disturbing/horrific portrait of a tormented artist. Bergman takes us deep; the depths of a tormented souls, he interplays between the conscious and the subconscious, blending the realms of reality, dreams and memories into a visual medium to the point where we, as the audience, have no idea which realm we are watching. As I previously noted, if your looking for answers do not even bother, but if your are willing to the leave the generics of logic at the door and allow yourself to become immersed in the films atmosphere and it's disconcerting images, you will be treated to a disturbing portrayal of the darkest depths of Bergman soul.

The film's opening subtitles are inter-played with the audio of Bergman and his crew setting up the opening shot; like so many French directors, the film is conscious that it is a film. The opening shot consist of Alma (Ullmann) directly addressing the audience, but more importantly, she is directing Bergman; signifying this is very much a Bergman story. Alma reflects on her husbands disappearance and reveal that the films narrative will unfold through the memories that are written in her husbands diary.

The artist Johan Borg (Von Sydow) and his pregnant Alma arrive arrive on the island. They initially seem extremely happy that they have now found seclusion from society. Beginning with their arrival and many other shots; Bergman deploys extremely long takes within each frame. Through this style, it seems that Bergman isn't concerned with the plot moving, but rather wants to strip each frame down to its essence to capture the emotional possibilities of each characters. This style perfectly captures the artists insomnia and personal demons, which many of the sequences focus on. One particular disturbing sequence consists of Borg revealing his tormentors through various sketches; the Bird-Man, the Insects and the Meat-Eaters. Borg also reveals the relevance of the title, 'The Hour of the Wolf' is a moment of time when most people die and most people are born. Quite a disturbing oxymoron to say the least. These sequences contain great power, as Bergman allows Borg to emerge his socially unacceptable thoughts onto a conscious level.

Speaking of disturbing, Alma meets a lady that who says that she is '215' years old. She warns Alma to read Borg's diary, which she reluctantly accepts. The reading of Borg's diary recreates the images of the past. One passage consist of a blond woman that Borg loved very much, to which Bergman reveals brilliantly. Another consist of Borg physically harming a man. After the old lady, many other characters begin to reveal themselves. Judging from the old lady's comments (215), it's hard to tell if these characters actual exist, but their main function seems to be to torment Borg; signified beautifully though the puppet sequence. It's not long before we enter Borg's memories again, and this time it's not pretty. We are taken to a sequence where Borg is fishing with a little boy. The little boy continues to follow and annoy Borg until the point he kills him by bashing his head into a rock then drops the body into the ocean. The image that is projected of the boy slowly floating to the surface is one I'll keep forever.

In relation to this sequence-like many others- we don't exactly know what Bergman is going for. However, if we reject the notions of attempting to figure out the obtuse, we are treated too many disturbing but always beautiful images that are projected from Bergman. While it's not his best or most accessible (as if many where), 'The Hour of the Wolf' contains a concept that many films lack; the ability to convey the depths of the subconscious, a notion that Bergman seemed to perfected.

Easy Rider
Easy Rider(1969)

Falling under the label of "Hollywood's most notorious drug addict", it's quite obvious why Dennis Hopper has previously been considered the "outcast" of Tinsel Town; a man who simply didn't follow the social norm. Likewise, and while he wasn't dubbed with such atrocious connotations, Peter Fonda more or less shared similar ideals, another man who didn't want to be chained as a sheep to the norm. Stemming from these ideals, came the birth of 'Easy Rider,' a film often categorized within the sub-genre of 'Bikey films', but more essentially a film that represents and works as a catalyst for the adolescence counter-culture and their needs for liberation and autonomy, with Hopper and Fonda on their motorbikes representing the essence of freedom. From it's brilliance in conveying a sense of freedom against the hypocrisy; 'Easy Rider' will not be only remembered as a film, but rather an embedded symbol that will forever contain resonance within culture.

We are introduced to the riders, Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) through 'Hippies' main stereotype: Drugs. Quite ironically too, for a movie that revolves around freedom, the Riders are introduced with a job prospect, it may be a drug deal, but nevertheless is considered a form of work. Through this opening sequence the characters actions consist of minimal dialogue, the drug deal unfolds visually rather than verbally. The use of visual storytelling beautifully reflects the films narrative, as Hopper isn't concerned with his plot devices to revolve verbal communication, but simply let's the film unfold without a sense of direction and sense of freedom. This concept is further enhanced through the action of Fonda throwing away his watch, and act that displays that his characters has no concern for the concepts of time, as time is the essence to structure, which is the very thing that 'hippies' neglect.

As stated, the film unfolds like it's endless roads (With beautiful cinematography and soundtrack), the riders simple drive and see new locations and meet many bizarre characters. Their first stop is a farm, where a rancher offers them a bite to eat. Wyatt seems envious of the rancher's traditional and free lifestyle, because like the rancher, Wyatt is a man who shares a simple taste. After departing the ranch, the riders agree to pick up a hitchhiker and take him to his commune, a civilization that lives outside of societies perimeters. The area is filled with people willing "to make a stand" against the commodities of living within a city. They are people who appreciate, very much like Wyatt, the simple and natural aspects of 'mother nature'. They plant "simple food, for our simple taste".

As they live in this 'Hippie Utopia', they begin to develop (well Wyatt anyway) a relationship with some of the locals. What follows is a beautiful sequence of swimming in a water-hole that very much displays the sensual experience that many humans seem to neglect. Furthermore, through these sequences and the previous ones, 'Easy Rider' contains some brilliant editing of it's scene transitions. Hopper displays two images overlapping each other that ultimately disrupts the generic norm of storytelling. Once again, Hopper is using this editing style to debunk the essence of time and structure, as the overlapping images portray the characters switching location with not necessarily knowing how they got there. Eventually, they leave and the hitchhiker provides Wyatt with LSD (Acid) and tells him to "Have it with the right people".

They are arrive in a new town, and due to their 'reckless' behavior they are jailed. Upon this point, while their actual life has been filled with energy, Wyatt's and Billy's characters have seemed dull. However, that all changes with the introduction of George (Nicholson). Nicholson brings such hilarious energy to the film, and thankfully joins Wyatt and Billy on their journey. Eventually a day of traveling they decide to camp within the bush, and George is introduced to his first marijuana experience, to which George enjoys. He begins a brilliant conversation with Billy about the possibilities of UFO's, and whether the sequence is a commentary on societies aristocracy, it still works beautifully as a hilarious conversation.

Their journey continues to a town where they suffer extreme prejudice from the local 'rednecks'. Due to this hostility, they leave town, however the 'rednecks' are not done with them yet. The trio once again takes camp in the bush. During the night they are physical bashed with baseball bats by the 'rednecks', eventuating in George being killed. While this scene is poignant, it's purpose is to display the destined fate for being different. Despite this misfortune, Wyatt and Billy continue their journey to a Brothel. They occupy two women and Wyatt sees an image of a burning body. The image of the body works on two levels: On one side the body may be the burning of George, which means that Wyatt is questioning his own morality. Secondly, the body may be his own, maybe Wyatt is envisioning his own death? His ultimate fate? As the previous 'rednecks' displayed, no matter what road you take for the freedom of being different, you will suffer the inevitable faith brought on by the majority. During this questioning, rather than having sex, Wyatt asks Billy and the prostitutes to come outside to the parade. After the parade Wyatt, Billy and the prostitutes take the LSD.

What follows is quite possibly one of the most beautiful/disturbing editing sequences to grace celluloid. Hopper or Fonda must of experienced such a drug, as they display a 'bad trip' with such raw intensity that the scene has been obviously developed from a subjective viewpoint. After leaving the brothel, the two riders contemplate about the 'dream'. Billy bloats that they succeeded with their dream, they have the money and they can retire and live in peace. However, Wyatt simple reply's " We blew it". This final conversation hits with deadly irony. The riders whole journey has been about a sense of freedom with spiritual existence and the rejection of the working class values. However, Wyatt's comments reveal that their whole journey has been motivated by the same values; namely money. In the end, their trip succeeded financially, but on a spiritual side, they have failed, and upon this failure, they suffer their inevitable fate.

'Easy Rider' will be forever encapsulated because it's a film that captures a moment of time that will forever represent the adolescence culture. The film will continue to find new fans because teenagers are still craving the needs for liberation and freedom. Furthermore, on a philosophical level, 'Easy Rider' questions the meaning of human existence. Within life there are two roads that you can take, but which do you choose? You can be motivated by your personal ideals and make money because society wants you to, or you can get on your bike and not give a damn about what people think and simple live the life you want. It's a question faced by all humans, because in the end, we are not here that long.

The Dark Knight

Nolan obviously identified the essential characteristic that separated Batman from other superheroes; he is not a fantastical figure that contains the luxuries of superpowers, but rather a man who uses luxuries contained within the perimeters of reality to fight crime. Thankfully, Nolan nailed this authenticity in his previous outing 'Batman Begins'. Successfully establishing the iconic figure as the serious and tormented character that he is. Despite it's virtues, the film still contained some generics of the superhero genre. However 'The Dark Knight' seems like a monumental expansion upon the qualities that were created within the latter. It removes the generics of the superhero genre to represent an alarming reality that is filled with psychopaths, terrorism, moral conflicts and the ultimate question that lingers over each superhero: 'What would happen if heroes existed in reality?' Through these lofty themes, Nolan creates the emergence of two separate boundaries (more so than Batman Begins) that initially seemed impossible; the emergence of comic imagination grounded through a sense of reality.

As stated, one of the most impressive aspects of 'The Dark knight' (Oppose to others within the same genre) is that it's universe very much resembles contemporary society. Stemming from this reality, we are confronted with the question 'What would it be like if Batman actually existed within the perimeters of reality?' With this concept subtly stirring in 'Begins', Nolan continues to explore this idealistic notion through the parallels of the Joker. The Joker's characteristics very much resemble the likes of a nihilist. He contains no moral principles and his motivations are set to destroy this sense of resolution that Batman has provided for Gotham City. He is the mirror for societies hypocrisy and focuses his energy on bringing people down to his level. As a villain, the Joker is unique. Where by most movie villains share some logic or specific motivation, the Joker isn't concerned with anything logical but simply does what he does because he can. Furthermore, due to a psychological edge, the relationship shared between the two characters is immensely elevated. They both share separate ideals, but are not necessarily different; they are both outcasts who both operate out of societies boundaries and are faced with the ultimate dilemma, they cannot remove each other due to their internal principles. The Joker's presence ultimately questions the presence of Batman's existence.

However, before the occupation of the Joker, Batman initially focuses his energy on stopping the Mob with Commissioner Gordon. However, another man wants to join their crusade, Harvey Dent. Thankfully, despite how riveting the Joker's actions are, Harvey doesn't take second stride. Nolan develops the relationship shared between Dent and Batman as the opposite to the Joker's, they are both men who share similar ideals and create the perfect emergence towards rendering crime. Rather than Batman's idealistic approach to crime, Dent very much represents the rational response; the real hero, the 'White knight' and the face for the society who works within the public domain. Whereas Batman works within the shadows, out of the public jurisdiction and functions as Dent's man for rectifying criminal activity, creating the perfect mutual balance. Through this relation, Nolan brilliantly explores the concepts of that ultimate question 'What would happen if heroes existed in reality?' Nolan suggest that the the presence of Batman within reality must focus as something more beyond societies perimeters. Batman actions must be expendable, suggested through the ultimate sacrifice Batman makes upon Harvey's half.

While these themes seem monumental for the comic-book genre, it's the injection of humanity that ultimately keeps the film grounded within a realistic presence. As an audience we are confronted with question and anxieties that very much resemble contemporary society. These questions are not only faced by the main characters, but rather Gotham society as a whole. They are forced between the battles of two idealistic freaks that ultimate questions the importance of Batman's presence.

Besides the philosophical exploration of societies realities, 'The Dark knight' is a thrilling action experience. One of the brilliant aspects within the trilogy, is that Nolan attempts as best as possible to create monumental actions sequences without the use of CGI. From the stunt-work on the Hong Kong sequence to the brilliance in flipping a truck on it's back, the action is very much rewarding. Furthermore, Zimmer and Newton's score is richly thrilling. The accompany of such a score ultimately elevates the action sequences to a level that is profound.

Ultimately, 'The Dark knight' succeeds because it focuses on what sequels should do: Take your character one step further, explore his dimensions and, most importantly, his morals. Furthermore, it explores Batman fears on a resembling reality. Stemming from this, Nolan lingers 'if Batman actually existed, is he the hero that a city actually needs? Or his presence responsible for a decaying society?" Thankfully, Cordon's final monologue provides the answers, we see the true essence of a Dark Knight, a man who is appointed to provide resolution for a city, because he, and him alone, is the only man that can.

Looper
Looper(2012)
½

How often are we treated to a stimulating experience within a commercial film? I'll tell you, not often. Fortunately, 'Looper' is one of them annual virtues that creates a thrilling story with a stimulating presence, despite the plot being evidently convoluted and the suffering of some serious pacing problems. 'Looper' is set in the 2044, however in the future, that is 2074, time travel exist but is illegal; that doesn't stop the mob from using it as a commodity for doing their dirty work, as the mob sends people back from the future to be killed in the past, erasing any form of existence within the future presence. This is where Joe (Levitt) comes into play, as he is the one who waits for the victim to arrive and shoots them upon their arrival. However, Joe suffers the problems when his future self returns and escapes from his execution. As you can tell, and like most time travel movies, 'Looper' does make you question the obvious paradoxes that consist within it's narratives, but it seems Johnson, to an extent, is able to handle such abstract notions. Furthermore, it seems Johnson isn't concerned with the entrapment of explaining such notions, obvious through the dialogue "this time-travel stuff will fry your brain", but focuses on a heart-felt story that neatly ties up it's complicated premise with a sense of ease.

As I previously noted, the film is set within 2044. Quite obviously, being a sci-fi, the film contains a futuristic landscape, with the rare future commodities such as the 'cool' bike and gun. However, the film still contains contemporary elements, such as the social climate that resembles modern society. Within this landscape, Looper's function a routine life of the clock, and are immoral. They sit, wait for their victim to arrive, blow the hell out of him and then indulge in the future of drugs, eye drops. They are paid well, and their actions very much resemble the society they live in. Initially, Joe's characteristics very much resemble his fellow colleges. One of the principles of being a Looper is that you can never let your loop run. If this occurs, you become a wanted target because you cannot allow the present self and the future self existing in the same spatial space.

Through this introduction, Johnson has created such a fascinating premise. It is simply riveting to watch the ethical principles that revolve around Looper's occupations. Johnson continues this brilliance through Joe's little hiccup. He starts his day like all others, comes to his destination and waits for his victim. However, this day is different; today his victim is his future self. Once older Joe arrives, young Joe succeeds in killing his future self. From this point, Johnson rapidly and brilliantly takes as through thirty years of Joe's life. He has grown old, filled with hatred and his girlfriend/wife has been killed by the 'Rainmaker'; a telekinetic dictator who is closing all the Loops. From his girlfriends death, older Joe uses time travel as a resource to rectify the possibilities of the 'Rainmaker' ever existing, thus allowing his girlfriend to live. As stated, upon older's Joe's return he successfully escapes. Throughout the film, Johnson creates many brilliant plot devices, however none are more impressive than the concept of the protagonist and antagonist being the same person; It is simply brilliant to watch, especially the diner sequence. Willis and Levitt sit there, across from each other simply observing. It's an astonishing premise, how many films consist of two characters that are consciously aware that their future self and their present self are existing in the same universe? Furthermore, there is such a delight in watching Levitt display his subtle gestures in attempting to resemble Willis' characteristics.

From the amazing introduction and upon this point, 'Looper' was riveting. However, after this diner sequence and when the characters go their separate ways, 'Looper' suffers from serious pacing problems. Willis becomes focused on eliminating potentially 'Rainmakers', while Levitt occupies a farm with the presence of the 'Rainmaker'. With such a entertaining and riveting beginning, the second half feels very much like a waiting game on the return of older Joe's presence. Furthermore, the whole concept of the 'Rainmaker ' inhabiting telekinetic powers is wholly underdeveloped. The concepts the telekinetic merely felt like a future gimmick, not a necessarily an important plot device. Eventually, the inevitable occurs and the younger Joe and the older Joe comes to ultimate showdown. Thankfully, Johnson incorporates an ending that neatly ties up it's existing problems, rather than letting the paradoxes accumulate. He sends a stimulating message, that literally defies the concepts of fate and allows Joe to rectify his own immorality.

Despite these negative aspects, 'Looper' most definitely compensates these setbacks through it's originality, and while I did not share the love for 'Looper' as many others, it is still a film that deserves appreciation; especially in this day an age. It's a film that compacts a innovative screenplay, a futuristic energy and heart-felt emotion, and you have to ask; how many films do you see that contains all three aspects of action, intelligence and emotion?...... Not many.

Drive
Drive(2011)
½

The action genre; in this day and age has obviously become generic. There seems to be a continues tendency to resort to the generics when it comes to action; the formulaic narrative, two dimensional characters and just the simple notions that fail to transcend the basic film principles. Thankfully, in this sea of generics, we are very rarely treated to films like 'Drive' that provides some sense of authenticity when it comes to this tiresome genre. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who's previous efforts such as the 'Pusher trilogy' and 'Bronson' created quite the noticeable beacon for himself. However, unlike these previous films, 'Drive' is Refn's most accessible to the wider audience, and while there will always be the obvious haters, Refn's latest flick has had a noticeable impact on pop-culture; due to Refn's brilliant ability in displaying a genre that that connects to the wider audience with the injection of his European flare that perfectly represents modern adolescence culture.

The story revolves around the Driver, played by the amazing Ryan Gosling. His life consist of two occupations, by day a stuntmen, by night a man who functions as the wheel-man for criminals getaways. Beginning with the latter, the Driver displays a set of strict ethical principles; he provides his clients with a certain amount of time to complete their robbery's, whatever happens after that doesn't concern him. These set of skills are displayed through the opening sequence, and through these actions we see that Refn isn't concerned with the generics that are manifested within the car chase sequences, such as the cops arrive and the chase begins. Refn removes these notions and focuses on the subtle moments, the precision needed for executing such a robbery. He navigates as through the dark alleys and the back streets that take the audience into unfamiliar territory; out of the generic blue-print if you will. Through this approach, as an audience we are treated to a more rewarding experience, we become involved with the tension rather than being removed from the generic explosions that many films and car chases generally resort to.

Eventually, The Driver begins a relationship with his next door neighbor (Mulligan), however their relationship is distraught by the return of her husband (Isaac). Upon his return, the husband is still in debt to the mob, the driver agrees to help the husband by acting as the getaway for a heist. Obviously, the heist goes wrong and now the driver must find himself a way out from the mob; Seems generic right? While the plot does consist of popular the route, this is just another beautiful aspect that Refn's takes, he displays these generics and executes them in such a refreshing way. This refreshing approach is most notable through Refn action sequences. Consider the Pawn-shop heist. Similar to opening sequence, Refn isn't concerned with how many cars he can explode or the use of rapid montage editing, but rather focuses on the subtle moments, creating a brilliant sense of tension that parallels with Hitchcock (yes I did say that). Secondly, the sequence within the hotel room displays Refn's brilliant ability at involving the audience within the action rather than passive passengers, we fear for the characters safety rather than simply not caring.
Beside the action, and thankfully, there is the human touch (Yay! real characters within an action film) This humanity is contributed largely from the brilliant chemistry shared between Gosling and Mulligan. Similar to the action, their relationship concentrates on the subtle moments. They share minimal dialogue towards each other but use the odd facial expression to convey the emotions, very much like a silent-film. The sequences shared between Gosling and Mulligan are the most rewarding aspects, and while 'Drive' consist of many fantastical elements, Refn portrays their relationship with such a majestic style. Furthermore, like all great all action films, Refn allows time for the audience to gain an emotional connection with the characters; which allows the action to be more thrilling because we actually care about the characters actions.

Basically, 'Drive' is simply refreshing. In the wake of 'Looper', I noticed a sad aspect; since 'Drive' there have been very few action films that are not generic, and this why 'Drive' deserves all the praise and the deserving status of a cult film. Refn has successfully displayed, where many other directors within this genre fail, an a emergence of the emotional and the thrilling. Refn destroys the logic concepts, he doesn't rely on huge explosions on how many cars he can destroys, but concentrates on the smaller moments that convey a more rewarding experience. He isn't concerned with two dimensional characters, but rather characters that you can share an emotional connection with. Besides this refreshing approach. But all in all, 'Drive' contains such a brilliant style and is just basically down-right awesome.

The Apartment
½

Living in a relatively small coastal area comes with its merits, as small areas, whether coastal of rural, share a common value of a connection between the town's people that share a form of diplomacy, in other words, coastal and rural people share a sense of comfort between themselves and are rarely threatened by the chances of alienation. While these small areas offer these comforts, it's quite hilarious that cities, with significantly more people, do not offer such rewarding values. This is the ironic struggle that is embedded in the city life, an area filled with thousands of people that, to a substantial degree, know limited information when it comes to it's surrounding members. From a subjective viewpoint, it's quite obvious that this alienation exist, as every time I travel to the city, I feel a sense of sorrow for it's inhabits, as they are continually struggling with the preoccupations of life and would be afraid to ask the person standing next to them for help. 'The Apartment' represents this through the city of new york and its forms of alienation and cynicism that is embedded in modern society. Directed by Billy Wilder, a man not afraid to debunk societies idealized values, displays a film that unfolds beautifully as he reconstructs societies image from the initially image of an lighthearted affair filled with comical characters, however as the film unfolds we realize the underlying pressures that are embedded in the characters life's.

The film begins with a narration over new york city from it's central character C.C Baxter (lemmon), who boasts a substantial amount of knowledge towards the statistics of the amount of people that live in new york. Through this narration we learn that Baxter is an officer worker for an insurance company that consist of thirty-two thousand workers. Furthermore, Baxter reveals that he stays at work longer than most employers, due to the fact that his bosses exploit Baxter apartment for the use of pleasure. This introduction highlights the tragic irony that follows Baxter's life, he is a man that contains a sense of knowledge about the amount of people that live in new york and his apartment is continually occupied with people, however his knowledge on his fellow inhabitants is useless without any genuine connection to a person, and his apartment is only occupied due to Baxter's bosses cynical purposes. Baxter returns home at night to find that his apartment is still in use, he hides in the shadows while his fellow worker leaves with his mistress. Through this process we are introduced to Baxter's neighbors, who continually assume that Baxter is a bachelor that is continually occupied with women. Baxter occupies the blame for the noise and drinking that his fellow workers create, as they have promised him a promotion due to all the 'help' he has contributed to the company, and obviously he doesn't want anything to jeopardize his chance to have his own office and to have an upper class status. However, Baxter night is not over as he decides to leave his apartment in the middle of the night for another fellow worker and his mistress. Once again Baxter hides in the shadows while the occupants arrive to his apartment. The shot of Baxter hiding in the shadows contains beautiful composition, as the shot conversely reflects Baxter's alienation while highlighting his subordinate status to the clutches of his bosses.

The next day, after Baxter spent the night sleeping on a street bench, we are introduced to Fran (maclaine) who works as the elevator hostess and who also becomes Baxter's love interest, furthermore Baxter is given the news from his boss sheldrake (macmurray) that he will well indeed receive the promotion, however on the grounds that he can use his apartment for the night, Baxter eventually accepts this proposition. Continuning to the end of the day, Baxter asks Fran is she would be his date for the night, she says yes, but little does Baxter know that she has a date with his boss, sheldrake. From this love triangle, Fran chooses sheldrake, and Baxter is left alone once again. At this point, when Baxter is left alone, I realized just how brilliant his performance was. As the scene is obviously conveying generic pathos, however lemmon displays a brilliant ability in conveying a man who just wants to share some sense of a connection to the people around him through a genuine medium, rather than for people's self interest. The next day, Baxter returns a mirror to sheldrake that he left in his apartment, while the company is celebrating the Christmas holidays. Baxter invites Fran into the workplace, as Fran makes this transition she becomes surrounded by the sardonic nature that is embedded in the business culture. The only person, in the whole office, who shares some sense of genuine emotion towards Fran is Baxter, however Baxter learns that Fran's relationship is with his boss, and at this stage, Baxter begins to develop a mistrust in Fran, as he evidently liked her. From this disappointment, Fran and Baxter go their separate ways for Christmas eve, Baxter finds himself drinking excessively at some bar with the occupation of an annoying women, while Fran finds herself once again in Baxter's apartment with sheldrake. Through this sequence, wilder interplays Baxter and Fran's relationship to displays how much they need each other, as Baxter wants a form of genuine love that he is willing to give to the right woman, and Fran wants someone that will provide her with a sense of genuine emotion, rather than a sense of egotism, which wilder brilliantly displays through Fran and sheldrake exchange of Christmas gifts, as sheldrake simply gives her a one-hundred dollar bill.

Once Baxter returns to his apartment, he realizes that Fran has attempted to commit suicide, however she is saved from the help of Baxter's next door neighbors, and once she awakes, they begin to develop an interest in each other, which evidently suggest that their love can only exist in a space that provides a sense of solitude from society surroundings, the apartment doesn't consist of any cynicism, egotism or sardonic nature, but just two simply human beings who want to feel a sense of genuine emotion from a society that rejects it. Eventually Fran's brother-in-law comes searching for her, and he eventually finds her at Baxter's apartment. Baxter, once again, assumes the blame for another character problems, in this case, he tells Fran's brother that she attempted suicide due to his incompetence. At this point, you realize that Baxter story is a melancholic one, as behind his Witty character lies a man who continually helps people in a decent manner but is never rewarded for his efforts, he is simply punished for them. From this moment, Baxter realizes his situation which leads him to quiting his job to become a 'better human being', furthermore Fran runs away from sheldrake back to Baxter's apartment. On her arrival, Baxter tells her that he loves her, Fran tells him to "shut up and deal", and the film ends with the new couple playing cards. Fran 's "shut up and deal" reply to Baxter's " I love you" perfectly highlights the relationship she desires, as she has been constantly told by men that they love her, however she obviously knows that the idea of 'love' is evasive and means nothing. She tells Baxter to shut up because she believes that Baxter offers something more than the heartless sayings of 'I love you'. She believes that Baxter can offer the genuine emotions that she has been craving.

Play It Again, Sam
½

From a general consensus of Allen's films, emphasis on the word general as I have not seen many, it's quite obvious that Allen creates such likable characters that are quite easy to share an emotional connection with. 'Play it again, Sam' inhabits such energetic and wonderful characters, especially the film critic Allan, who displays the underpinning questions that are constantly questioning cinephiles actions of "The watcher vs the doer". It's an obvious form of prejudice that cinema-goers suffer, well I know I do anyway, I am constantly bombarded by the derogatory comment "why would you want to watch a movie in this weather?". 'Play it again, Sam' expresses these views through the leading character of Allan, and his failings in attempting to share a connection to women.

Allan's introduction is a beautiful construction of all cinephile's habits and lust, as Allan is caught in a memorizing state while watching 'cassablanca', furthermore his house is decorated (like my room and I am sure many others would be the same) with all his favorite films, in particulate Humphrey Bogart ones. Allan's idealization of Bogart is obvious, as Bogart represented a man who could attract the opposite sex without the masculine traits. The incorporation of Bogart is displayed hilariously. Bogart, in a sense, works as Allan's doopelganger, continually appearing through Allan's consciousness to lend a hand in how to talk to women midway through a conversation. Furthermore, Allen displays Bogart in the typical fashion, similar to annie hall, of blurring the lines between a first person and third person perspective, as Bogart is simply a form of imagination in Allan, however he is displayed as a literal figure who can only be seen by Allan. While this view of Bogart is hilarious, it's also a characteristic embedded in all movie fans, as we constantly use our imagination to look for inspiration, particularly from our favorite movie characters and the nature they represent.

Besides Bogart, there is Allen, who is playing Allan (just had clarify the character name just in case you were questioning why I was spelling 'Allan' and 'Allen) Allen is seriously hilarious with his comedic perfection and physical timing. Consider each sequence when he meets women, the situations are brilliantly farce and displays hilarious anxious actions, especially when he meets Linda's friend at his apartment.

As I previously noted, I am displaying my views of Allen's movies from a general consensus, and from the view I have gathered, 'play it again, Sam' once again displays a innovative approach to the common love story that succeeds in providing the laughs, but also provides a brilliant insight and resonance into the cinephile's dilemma and nature.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)
½

A great disappointment, an while I forgive the production crew for some mistakes due to the inference of the studio, it simple does not compensate for the bloated narrative that attempts to cover to much in the space of 2 hours. I have always been fan of Spiderman, and quite fond of Raimi previous Spiderman films. His first outing broke cinematic ground in the superhero genre, along with singer's 'x-men, Raimi displayed 'Spiderman' as a film that created a sense of credibility for superheroes. Next, Raimi continued with his trilogy and made 'Spiderman 2', a film that truly highlighted the boundaries what superhero films can represent, however I have to ask what the hell Raimi was thinking with 'Spiderman 3' ?, I wanted to love it but I simply couldn't, it felt like I was watching the great pillars raimi created for the superhero genre come crashing down. 'Spiderman 3' succeeds in tarnishing everything Raimi created. My reason for this disappointment is that raimi previously treated the source material with a brilliant respectability, rather than the typical prejudice of comics being considered childish, however it seems raimi through this respectability out of the window for 'Spiderman 3'.

Previous to watching 'Spiderman 3', about two months before it's initial release, it seemed that the film would have a brilliant premise, as Spiderman battled new villains with the struggle against his inner demons and morals. When watching 'Spiderman 3', it's quite evident that the film fails in engaging this premise, in fact it fails on capturing any premise, there is no vocal point in it's narrative, which creates a difficulty in understanding what story Raimi wants to tell. The narrative is just to bloated, and attempts to focus on too many ideas. For example, consider how convoluted the plot is, firstly we have the continues romantic sub plots, displayed through the love triangle of Gwen Stacy and mj, secondly there are three villains, which are obviously too many. Thirdly, the inner demons that peter faces with the introduction of the black suit and the tie-in of flint marko being linked to Ben Parker's murder.

Obviously, with a film this bloated, it's leaves little room for character development. The villains are the obvious victims of this poor development, firstly we have harry. As everyone would know, 'Spiderman 2' ended with harry taking the mantle of the green goblin, however Raimi pulls out the 'deus ex machina' and solves the harry problem in the first 15 minutes. Secondly we have flint marko, aka sandman. I must admit, the casting of sandman was perfect in his physical appearance, however Raimi uses shallow pathos in attempting to establish an emotional connection to flint through this use of his daughter having cancer, and then, as fate would have it, flint miraculously falls into an scientist experiment in the middle of the desert to become sandman. If you want to see rushed character development, watch the creation of sandman. Thirdly, and the most disappointing, there is Venom. While Eddie Brock is present for most of the film, the creation of the venom only occurs in the last ten minutes. It's quite obvious that venom would be much more valuable in a future film if they were going to make one.

Finally there is Maguire. I have always loved Maguire's performance as spiderman, he has a brilliant ability in conveying a sense of innocence, and I guess it's not necessarily Maguire's fault, but his stage of being 'cool' is simply ridiculous. Especially the scene when he struts down the street. It's a scene that should only consist in a parody, and it destroys any form of credibility towards peter parker.

I'm sorry spidey, not this time.

The General
The General(1927)

Regarded as one of the cinema genius of comedy, and maybe even the father of slap-stick, after watching 'the general' it's hard to argue against buster Keaton's status, and it continues to astound me that Keaton suffered a general hardship through his career compared to most popular actors, such as Chaplin, of the silent era. Maybe it was due to Keaton's nature of being 'the great stone-face', as his appearance in most films conveyed, in a sense, a man with a passive nature compared to the joyful nature of most silent comedic actors. Keaton characters displayed men with serious attitudes in a world of clowns. Maybe this is why 'The general' was a film that suffered a poor reception on it's release, and similar to most classics, it became appreciated by a wider audiences later in Keaton's career. Watching 'the general' in the 21st century, you realize the perfection of Keaton's direction and the perfection needed to convey emotions through a silent film. 'The general' succeeds in both these categories, and represents Keaton as a brilliant perfectionist and craftsman. Just imagine attempting to create a grandeur film, like 'the general', with the limitation of special effects. Keaton also displays a brilliant ability in molding the elements of action, comedy and suspense into a film that progresses at a furious pace, which is just how the pace should be in a film where a train is the center of it's narrative.

Set during the civil war, the story follows johnnie gray (Keaton) who consist of sharing two loves, his Annabelle (mac) and his train. While visiting Annabelle, gray gains inspiration to fight for his nation, however his efforts are rejected as he is considered to be important as an engineer. From this rejection, his fellow men regard him as subordinate and cowardly figure that does not show any signs of a patriotic nature, furthermore his love Annabelle also rejects him, and tells him that she does not want to speak to him until he is in uniform. From a modern perspective and subjective, these opening sequences hit with a confronting anxiety of society prejudice towards individuals patriotism. If you are a man you must fight for country, but if not, you will be excluded from society from the mixture of masculine and war ideologies.

However, do not worry, Keaton will have the chance to prove himself as the enemy plans on stealing a train, unfortunately this train contains Annabelle, once Keaton learns that Annabelle has been kidnapped, he forms the courage to go after her. Through this first train/chase sequence, you realize the perfection of Keaton's stunt timing and the importance of music. In the version I watched, there were three main scores that displayed the various emotions of laughter, action and drama. Without the use of talking, music plays an important factor in conveying the emotions, which Keaton displays through a brilliant sweeping score that enhances the monument of the action beautifully. Furthermore the slap-stick stunts are amazing, while personally they do not make me laugh hysterically, but rather provide me with an appreciation of man who devotes his utmost attention and pride to his work. Consider the sequence with the wooden plank blocking the train's path. To remove this wooden plank, Keaton must perfect the timing of dropping a similar plank to remove the blocking plank in one momentum. In terms of execution, it's a brilliant stunt that provides an innovative approach to exploiting the limitations of a train. Another brilliant slap-stick stunt consist of Keaton using a military canon to shoot at the enemy, however on Keaton's third attempt, the canon begins to slowly decease from it's original position to take aim at gray himself! The reason for my enthusiasm over Keaton's stunts, is due to the fact that Keaton display this original ability, for the silent era, to blend the forms of comedy and action rather than comedy and pathos, and as the film continually unfolds, it's evident to see the influence this has had on the action/comedy genre. Personally it felt like 'Indiana Jones' has a lot to owe to this film.

Once the train stops, gray finds himself in enemy territory. After searching for shelter, gray unknowingly takes comfort in the enemies house and hides under the dinner table while the enemy discusses their plans. Once again, Keaton molds the elements of genres brilliantly, creating a sequence that displays a sense of tension and laughter. Stuck in this position, gray realizes that he is in the house of Annabelle's kidnappers. Gray notices her through an innovative iris shot displayed through the burnt hole of the table sheet. Once the enemy leaves, gray steals the enemies uniform and obtains Annabelle from the enemies camp. With Annabelle, gray steals a train from the enemies camp, which leads to the next train sequence.

The first train scene was brilliant for it's flow and momentum, however this following train sequence blows the latter out of the water. Keaton displays the use of tracking shots, and their importance of adding to the sweeping motion, as the tracking shots (which would be used by many directors later for the same reasons) create an atmosphere that envelops the audience in the trains momentum, followed by Keaton climbing all over the train while attempting to save Annabel with the good measure of slap-stick. As I previously noted, the stunt-work in 'the general' is amazing, however Keaton saves the best for the end, as he literally crashes a real train into a river. The scene is quite possibly the most audacious stunt work I have ever seen. Following the train wreck and battle, gray is rewarded with the soldier uniform he so desperately wanted, which leads to Annabelle loving him again. The film ends with gray attempting to kiss Annabelle, however with his new uniform he is forced to salute the passing soldiers. Funnily enough, gray acts in a process that allows him to simultaneously kiss Annabelle while saluting his fellow soldiers. While this last scene seems like a simply funny act, Keaton is also expressing the embedded theme of false idealizations in relation to patriotism. As Annabelle previously wanted gray to be in a uniform or she would not talk to him, and now that she has obtained that goal for her love to be accepted by society, there relation can hardly sustain it's true purpose, as gray is now obliged to his new military commandments. Keaton is displaying the emotional toll that wars create on relationships.

A must see for film buffs!

The Killing
The Killing(1956)

The Killing' was kubrick's first film that gained him a sense of credibility before the monumental leap of 'Spartacus' and 'Dr strangelove', however 'the killing' displays kubrick's influential narrative structure towards the crime genre, and after re-watching 'the killing', it's quite evident of the influence 'the killing' has had on modern crime films and modern directors, in particular Quentin Tarantino. Besides kubrick's influential narrative structure, the film displays brilliant noir traits, such as the beautiful low-key lighting, the cynical attitudes and the deadly femme fatale. In a sense, 'the killing' very much represents kubrick's meticulous behaviour, as for a robbery to work, everything must go 'according to plan', there cannot be any faults or the plan will fail. Similar to kubrick's films and his nature, he wanted his vision to be told as accurately as possible. Kubrick display this view of perfection through the final act, the robbery of the races. The robbery is told through an unchronological order that displays the essential meticulous needs to succeed in a robbery, furthermore this structure captures the perception and moments of each characters contribution to the robbery. However, through this ending kubrick displays the punishment of cynical attitudes and the faith of punishment that follows criminals, no matter how perfectly executed the crime is.

La Dolce Vita
½

For films that contain a three hour run-time, the viewer has to become immersed in it's atmosphere. 'La Dolce Vita' is completely aware of these factors, as the film evokes such an intoxicating premise over a subtle subject. Films with such a run-time are usually considered to contain 'epic' concepts, however 'La Dolce vita' simply films the moments of the protagonist life, portraying the parasites of the media, society hopes in false idealizations and a man searching for a sense of reason through the streets of Rome, we follow Marcello through his endless nights and his continues parties that displays a road to no where. Furthermore, Fellini imagination is amazing, continual presenting scene after scene that is forever encapsulated, in particular, the symbolic introduction of the statue of the Madonna being displayed over Rome from a helicopter.

A Clockwork Orange
½

From various intakes on Stanley Kubrick character, he is no doubt an enigma. Furthermore, he is possible the most audacious director that has ever lived. Kubrick films, considered by many, provided a morbid view on Human nature, which ultimately categorized his films as controversial. However Kubrick films displayed the hidden truth of societies and humans. He confronted his audience with the hidden torments of society, the fragility of humanity and the ridiculous nature of society idealized social institutions. 'Clockwork orange' is a full frontal attack on society. A dystopia that displays the cynical attitudes of politics, the commodities of religion, humanities morals and the disturbing nature of the youth. Similar to '2001', Kubrick envisioned a future that represents a disturbing, but no doubt a truthful view of society.

The film begins with Kubrick trademark close-up, featuring a powerful shot of the gaze of Alex. From this close-up, the camera moves into a reverse tracking shot that reveals Alex gangs habitat, a sexual surrealistic room, filled with symbolic importance of males youth dominance over women. This introduction follows Alex and his droogs through a night of 'ultra-violence and 'the old in and out.' They begin with assaulting a old man, then start a fight with another gang who where previously raping a young girl, and then they invade a house where they rape a man wife while singing 'I'm singing in the rain.' This introduction of Alex is evidently disturbing because it is a depiction that is not far from the truth of the present youth. After these events, Alex walks through the streets of a decaying London to his home. At his house, we learn that Alex is fond of Beethoven, and what follows, is truly a disturbing, but utterly a brilliant sequence of establishing the psychological presence of Alex, as Alex masturbates with the juxtaposition of violent images.

The first 30 minutes of this film is primarily concerned with displaying the nature of youth, and in particular Alex view on sexuality. We see Alex take interest in two women and eventually they have sexual intercourse, however the sex scene is provided with a fast-forward motion that works as gimmick. The scene seems like a stylish innovation, however the fast-forward motion debunks any forms of romance shared between the characters, which reflects Alex emotions, he has no notions of love. After this moment we follow Alex on another fun-filled night, as Alex once again attempts to rape another women but eventually blugeons her with a artificial male penis. The blugeoning with the penis, symbolically and satirically displays what motivates male youth reckless behavior, male testosterone. From this act of violence, Alex is betrayed by his droogs and is captured by the police.

The first act of the film displayed Alex reckless nature, however the second act, once he is captured, displays Kubrick completely and audaciously changing the tone of the film and attempts to make the audience gain a sense of sympathy for Alex, rather then relish in his disgusting behavior. Notice how Alex breaks the fourth wall and directly addresses the viewer once he is captured?, he is alone and we begin to pity him. Through Alex stay at prison, he creates a fabrication that he has how found solace in religion, however he merely uses religion as a notion to display that he has found salvation, highlighting the commodity that religion has become for displaying an image that someone has changed to a better person, however Alex will not be comforted by this commodity as his sins will offer no forms of redemption. Alex desperation to get out of prison leads him to becoming a test subject for the governments experiment, the 'Ludovico treatment'.

The 'Ludovico' sequences are excruciating to watch. Alex is strapped to a chair with his eyes forcefully kept open, he cannot shut them as his watches a montage of violent images and begins to develop a sickening towards the notions of things considered as bad. Once Alex treatment is over, he is put on display in front of the british aristocracy to see if the treatment has worked. Alex is subjected to two tests, firstly with a man who assaults him, secondly with a half-naked women. Alex passes both test as he cannot react from the treatment. This scene hits with a confronting truth. Does society want to stop crime to the extent that is abolishes all forms of a democracy and leaves a man with no sense of morals?, what is a person without a form of choice?, without a decision to act. Kubrick displays that Alex has become a puppet of society, a social experiment for the cynical politics and there ideals.

Since the treatment has worked, Alex becomes free and is brought back to society. Through this next section we truly begin to sympathize with Alex, as he becomes a subject of punishment from his former sins. Firstly, Alex returns home to find that he has been replaced by another male who represents the son that parents have always wanted, which motivates Alex to leave, then Alex is punished in the street from the old man that he and his droogs assaulted. Furthermore Alex is assaulted by two of his former droogs that have become police, and finally Alex is subjected to excruciating pain from the husband of the wife that Alex raped and killed. This sequence of punishment displays the truth of a man and his sins and elaborates Kubrick view on religion offering no forms of salvation. After Alex attempt at killing himself, the media now blames the 'Ludovico' treatment. From this bad publicity, the minster meets Alex in hospital. The minster explains to Alex that they must become friends to display to society that the treatment was a simply mistake. Through this final sequence, Kubrick highlights everything wrong with society social structures and their abuse of the power they wield, as the innocent man who's wife was raped is apparently in jail and Alex is going to become a free man with a steady job, due to the minister attempts on conveying a joyful image that does not effect the results of his election. Kubrick reinforces this as Alex states "i was cured alright", and then we enter Alex subconscious of a sexual image, suggesting that Alex has returned to his sadistic characteristics.

The most disturbing aspect of Kubrick's 'clockwork orange' is that while it conveys a morbid outlook on human nature, it's outlook is a harsh truth on the characteristics of human nature.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

The more i watch, the more i realize the loss of silent cinema. Arr.....Silent cinema, the beginning of the developments towards the cinematic notions that define our movies presently. An era that contained the greats, such as Griffith, Chaplin, Keaton, Eisenstein and Murnau. Murnau 'Sunrise: a song of two humans' represents a monumental touchstone in cinema history, as the film practically defined the concepts of cinematography and displayed a grandeur vision of special effects that are still impressive presently. Once watching 'Sunrise', it's difficult to imagine the impression that cinema-goers felt in 1927, as the film must of been surrealistic on it's initial appearance, especially from it's ability to transcend the natural landscape due to the brilliant cinematography. 'Sunrise' elevated itself among other silent films due these innovative groundbreaking processes, representing the pinnacle of imagination, while conversely exploring the boundaries and power of cinema. Furthermore besides the cinematography, 'Sunrise' displays a poignant love tale about the fragility of love, reflects the nature of modern cynical emotions and displays the ability of humans to offer forgiveness.

The opening sequence, similar to Chaplin 'Modern Times', depicts the new world, the development of modernism through the rapid growth in cities areas and industrial innovation. Murnau uses modernism to reflect the the new characteristics that were becoming embedded in human nature, particularly cynical attitudes that replaced a true form of love. This is displayed through the 'man' and the 'wife' marriage, as the man is having an a affair with 'the woman from the city', who ask the husband to drown his wife so that he can live in the city with her. 'the women from the city' reflects these cynical attitudes found in the upper class, as she is dressed in black, obviously representing a sinful notion. Furthermore, the scene is juxtaposition with the grieving wife, who feels that her husband is unfaithful. Through this scene, we are treated to the first example of the astonishing cinematography, as the camera creates a transition of the natural landscape from nature to the city, which is simply amazing. It's quite obvious, through this introduction, that Murnau is highlighting the motivations of greed and avidity, as 'the woman from the city' wants 'the man' for self indulgence, not the true form of love that 'the wife' displays.

The husband agrees to the notion of killing his wife, however he is tormented buy such a decision, an once again Murnau beautifully reflects this through an amazing shot that presents 'the woman from the city' as a doppelganger of the man that represents a form of evil, a demon if you will, that clutches onto his soul, his heart and his love. The man tells his wife that will go on a outing across the river. The wife is filled with joy, as she believes that her husband shares a interest in her again, however the wife eventually realizes the man motivations, and becomes filled with sorrow. Once they arrive on the shore, the man pleads for redemption. This sequence highlights the motivations of greed and the regretful notions that it's causes. Furthermore, the ability of both the leads to create melancholic emotions through only their facial expressions is amazing.

As the husband pleads for salvation, the couple board a tramp that transcends from the natural landscape into the urbanized landscape. In the city, they go to a church where a couple are getting married. The sequence that follows is beautifully poignant, as the man breaks into tears as he is idealizing the true forms of love. Under the sacred forms of the church, the wife forgives the man. The couple rejoice in their new love and leave the church. Murnau next shot displays the pinnacle of cinematography, as the couple disperse into their own imagination of happiness, they become symbolically elevated, time and reality cannot touch them. However their moment of joy becomes short lived due to the inference of modernist aspects. Besides the technical brilliance in this shot, Murrain also displays, in a sense, his view of certain spheres, particular the on going battle between natural landscapes and urbanized landscapes. It seems that the natural represents a sense of purity, whereas the urbanized represents degrading notions. As the couple continue through the city they are treated to different characters.

As i previously noted, this film is truly where the camera itself gained a life of it's own. Munrau shots unhinged the boundaries of cinematic potential, which is at it's most evident during the carnival scene, particularly the opening shot the descends from a spinning wheel into a glorious tracking shot that is elevated above the natural human position, as the shot glides through the air, similar to a bird, and the shot that creates their love with religious connotations. After their adventures at the carnival, the couple board a trolley to come home, however a holy unnatural storm destroys their boat, which leads the man to concluding that his wife is now dead. Through the entire film there have been many hints at religious innuendo, particular on the concepts of sin and salvation. While this point is purely subjective, the storm represents God's intervention, his punishment on the man for attempting to act sinfully. From this intervention, the man nearly murders the woman from the city, however his wife is still alive and they rejoice in their happiness and the modernist leech, the woman from the city, leaves their town and the sun rises. Symbolically displaying that the natural landscape represents blissful aspects, whereas the urbanized does not.

F.W Murnau was simply a genius as a director. 'Sunrise' displays a film that was ahead of it's time and still presently encapsulating. Similar to 'Nosferatu', Munrau displays technical brilliance through his unnatural camera movements. Furthermore, 'sunrise' is a poignant tale of love, conveyed with brilliance from it''s two lead actors.

8 1/2
8 1/2(1963)
½

Fellini, i wish there were still a Fellini. After my second viewing of 8 1/2, I felt a sense of remorse and asked myself "Where has the imagination gone?". As i felt with re-watching Godard, modern movies are becoming a generic cycle with minimal forms of innovation, recycling popular concepts. 8 1/2 is simply a film that could only been completed with a director that consisted of such a grandeur vision and a brilliant imagination to produce such beautiful visual and authentic images. Fellini blurs the barriers between reality in imagination, reflecting a stream of conscious process that displays the importance of imagination offering a solace from the clutches of reality. As a form of art, it feels like a personally painting, as Fellini creates dazzling sequences through his personal dreams. Consider the opening sequence, which brilliantly displays the torments of society and a form of escapism from these torments. Fellini brilliance lies in these sequences, as he is able to create his inner thoughts into a visual forum.

Fight Club
Fight Club(1999)

Audacious, dangerous, socially important and wickedly awesome. 'Fight club' is a film that represents a solace from the generic values of society, especially consumerism, and once the film reveals these radical notions, it's quite impossible to not be immersed in it's imagination.

American Psycho

Now, more than ever, there seems to be continues films made from the adaptation of certain novels, the transition of literature to celluloid. Obviously, the transition can only be successful is the director shares a substantial vision of the source material. However there is a reason why many express themselves through words instead of visuals, largely due to the fact that a visual image contains more consternation than a word. So, similar to Kubrick 'A clockwork orange', the question was asked "how do you make a film out of the book 'American psycho' ?", as the AP is regarded as one of the most horrific books ever written. The answer to that question relied in Mary Harron, as her efforts display a great attempt in adapting such a difficult form of source material. Harron creates not only a great horrific film, but also a brilliant satirical social commentary on the cynical yuppie culture. Furthermore, Christian bale performance is exceptionally brilliant, and i don't mean that by the generic way of categorizing a christian bale performance due to his physical transformation, but rather his mental ability in conveying a hilarious psychotic.

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
½

If you are a fan of Stanley Kubrick, this documentary successfully provides a brilliant insight to his meticulous characteristics and most importantly, the sheer the imagination this great director contained.

The Birds
The Birds(1963)
½

If you look at the range of movies Hitchcock has completed, there is no denying that his favorite films revolved around the concepts of the thriller, with the occupation of a murder at the center of his stories. With this continuation of love for the perfect murder, it seemed only matter of time before Hitchcock delved into the genre of horror. Previous to the birds there was Psycho, a film that defined and influenced the concepts of modern horror and created the 'slasher' sub genre that is still presently popular. With the birds Hitchcock once again created another horror sub genre. Through the birds, Hitchcock displays his familiar aesthetics, particularly his ability to deceive the audience and his ability at establishing suspense. Being purely subjective, the birds display why Hitchcock gain the classification of 'the master of suspense'.

We meet the protagonist Melanie and Mitch through a pet shop, surrounded by caged birds. They both engage in a conversation that displays they share a interest in each other. This introduction highlights Hitchcock brilliance in deceiving the audience. I remember when i first watched this and asked myself "Isn't this a horror movie", as the conversation between the two characters evokes a sense of romance. Initially, the introduction sets the film up to be a romantic-comedy, the birds are caged, the humans are happy and the audience are comfortable...for now.

After Melanie and Mitch depart, Melanie feels reluctant to meet Mitch again, she uses Mitch sister as the motivation to meet him again as his sister wanted birds for her birthday, eventually Melanie drives to Mitch's house. The drive consist of some beautiful photography, as Hitchcock uses the landscape to evoke a sense beauty,romance and happiness,like wise 'to catch a thief', the landscape represents the mood of a romance. Furthermore Hitchcock adds some devilish humor, as Melanie drives around the bends, the birds in the car for Mitch begins to slowly shift right to left, the birds are given life hilariously...Wait is this a horror film?.

Eventually Melanie meets Mitch again. At this point, and as i previously noted the film has no traces or elements that consist in a horror film, it's basically become a romance between the two leads. However once we feel comfortable Hitchcock gives us little hints that remind us that this is indeed a horror film, such as when the 'gull' 'accidently' hits Melanie and the bird that hits Annie door. Hitchcock is slowly building the tension.

Through this next sequences, Hitchcock unleashes the horror. The scene of Mitch's sister, Cathy, birthday party. In this scene Mitch and Melanie relationship reaches an emotional climax and at this moment the birds attack, signifying the end of the romance and the beginning of the horror, and my god what horror it is, no one is safe not even the children.

As the violence begins, Hitchcock begins to display his genius in creating tension, as each sequence consist a minimal build to a sensational, horrific climax. For instance the sequence that consist of Mitch mother visiting the farmer. She arrives and everything is silent as she descends through the house, slowly she notices that cups are destroyed and the house is a mess. Once she gets to the room Hitchcock displays her view through a rotation of pov shots. The violence increases through each pov shot until it reaches it's climax, a man with his eyes missing and covered in blood. Furthermore the sequence when Melanie goes to pick up Cathy from school. Hitchcock once stated "The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: "You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!" this was his definition of suspense, which is on full display in this sequence. As Melanie is waiting a bird descends onto some playground equipment, as Melanie continues to wait more birds descend upon the same position, without her knowing. Once she turns around the playground equipment is engrossed in black from hundreds of birds, and as you would suspect they once again create havoc.

After the birds are well established as a public threat, the common people in the diner all suggest theories of why the birds are attacking humans. This scene brilliantly highlights the horrific essence of Hitchcock 'the birds', as these common people are attempting to explain the attack. They don't realize that the answer to their question has no answers. The birds have no goals or motives, they just attack because they can.

Eventually the character have to create their own fortress in their house for protection. Through this passage, Hitchcock creates another brilliant editing sequence that mirrors psycho shower sequence. The sequence consist of Melanie being attacked by the birds while trapped in a room. The editing creates brilliantly a bombardment of horrific images that provides no room to breathe. As an audience we are trapped with her. Eventually Melanie escapes and the family leave the house. Through this end sequence Melanie clings to Mitch mother for her comfort. This is an embedded theme running throughout the birds, the fragility of women and their dependence on men. The ending shot displays a natural landscape that mirrors a apocalyptic future. The shift in tone from the romance to a apocalyptic future is astonishing.

The birds is undeniably a Hitchcock classic that consist of his familiar traits. But the brilliance in the birds is that Hitchcock creates a figure of nature that is considered subordinate to humans, but eventually becomes a dominate figure, and through this process he outlines the fragility of humans and just subordinate we really are.

My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux)

We, as a modern day audience become overtly excited for blockbuster
films. With the use of modern day sources such as the internet, it
seems embedded in our culture to give films such hype, whether it be
action, comedy or romance, blockbuster films have become the only form
of cinema for the mass audience to look forward to. The cinema culture
is surrounded by remakes, sequels and prequels mostly motivated from
one reason, money and most blockbuster that we see, par some, are
underwhelming, due to the fact that these films consist of following
generic conventions to just please the modern audience. Imagine if
Godard films were the true excitement, imagine if the mass audience
lined up to be overtly excited for a Godard film, they would most
likely be treated to a highly stimulating and innovative experience.
'Vivre Sa Vie' is a film that highlights audacious filmmaking in every
sense. A film that is willing to break the barriers of the cinematic
universe. 'Vivre sa vie' can only be described as Purely authentic.

The story is divided into 12 episodes of a woman life, Nana, and
follows her descent into prostitution.

The opening minutes introduces the film's protagonist Nana through
three separate shots, portraying her face from the left, right and
front. From this opening sequence, we gain a sense of awareness to
Godard's innovation, presenting a simple presence that embodies a
complexity of emotion, and we hope the music will in some way convey a
sense of emotion, however the music abruptly seizes before we form a
connection, maybe Godard is simple telling the audience to let go.

The first episode consist of Nana wanting to breakup with her lover.
They engage in a simple conversation, however the way Godard presents
the conversation is simply audacious and astonishing. Firstly the
characters are facing backwards to the camera, they talk to each other
while not in the same frame and they only exist in their individual
frame. This scene, as i said, is extremely audacious, as Godard breaks
the rules of cinematic discourse, while brilliantly conveying the
stages of their relationship, as the separate frames highlights the
loss of connection and their love only exist through the reflection of
a mirror. It is most definitely one of my favourite scenes of all time.

Through the next episode, we see Nana at her work, i presume. The
episode is short and simple, however the camera movements are once
again brilliant, as the camera sweeps through the store continuously
following Nana, it's as if the film is conscious of itself being a
film. Furthermore, at the end of the episode the camera moves from Nana
position to a view of the street that consist of no characters, it is
simply a view, while a character speaks "You attach to much importance
to logic". Superb.

As the story unfolds we see Nana become more subordinate to men, as the
homage to 'the passion of Joan of arc' and the disturbing 'first man',
it seems inevitably of Nana descent into prostitution. As Nana is
talking to her pimp, the camera moves once again to present two faceless
faces, both in line with each other. The camera slowly pans left and
right to reveal Nana reaction to the pimp. Once again the camera takes
on a life of it's own, only concerned with the emotions of Nana rather
than other characters. Furthermore, the simply vision of Godard to
establish a shot like this, and the blocking of people is amazing to
watch.

Through this review i have simply interpret 'Vivre sa vie' as purely
subjective, my interpretations could be completely wrong or right, but
it doesn't matter, because that's the beauty of this film, it's
beautifully ambiguous, it offers multiple subjective views, and the
innovation is amazingly authentic. For the audience that appreciate the
cinematic boundaries Godard has created, you cannot miss this.

Blue Valentine
½

A showcase for Williams and Gosling, who provide such raw, realistic ferocity to their performance which most definitely elevates the film purpose, however 'Blue valentine' also exceeds in providing a brilliant view of romance and relationship through the interplay of the highs and lows relationship can offer. Blue valentine provides a experience that few modern romances can match, as the film is not a form of romantic escapism but rather a raw and powerful view of love through a realistic vision.

Bronson
Bronson(2009)

a exercise in style that is undoubtedly riveting and boats a brilliant raw performance from tom hardy, however the film at times can feel superfluous.

Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2(2004)
½

Spiderman 2 has become a fond memory of my movie experiences, mainly due to the fact that this was the first film that provided me with an emotional investment in the characters and also illuminated me to the power that films can present. Previous to this surreal experience i liked films as a form of entertainment, however the second viewing of this film, i believe, developed my love for cinema. Spiderman 2 is a superhero movie in the minimal sense, the film provides the dangers that a superhero faces but rather is concerned in developing a character study on the concepts of being a teenager and facing simple life problems. This is where the brilliance lies in spiderman 2, it's focus is on peter parker rather than spiderman.

The audience sees immediately, as we are introduced to peter parker, the challenges he's faces from the creation of parker/spiderman. As to the previous film, we are introduced to peter parker narrating his daily life problems such as trouble at work, failing at school, struggling with rent and his social inability for Mary Jane. Raimi takes the first 10 minutes to establish these problems, which is great because it provides a brilliant focus for the movie and creates amazing pathos for the audience to establish an emotional investment. These opening sequences also create raimi exploration into the superhero paradox, spiderman offers the opportunity to save people from danger and the chance to be classified as a hero, however why does peter risk his life and sacrifice his social life when he is unappreciated for his efforts. Peter realized that the personification of spiderman was a self sacrifical curse, however peter is beginning to question his obligations.

Furthermore there is a new villain in town 'doc ock' who is a scientist that has 4 mechanical arms welded to his body, sounds ridiculous doesn't it?, however raimi provides Octavius with a great sense of depth, a scientist tragical embedded into his own creation. Furthermore the birth of 'doc ock' brilliantly shows off raimi love for horror, as the scene encapsulates the villain while paying homage to horror classics.

Once again Maguire is great, his ability to convey a sense of innocence effortlessly compliments the pathos that are used. Consider the scene when peter confesses the truth about uncle Ben death to aunt may or when he tells uncle ben that he has to give up their promise, it's quite impossible for the audience to not share some kind of emotional investment into peter's character.

The previous spiderman was noted for the first use of CGI, which brought high and lows, however it seems raimi has improved dramatically at incorporating the use of this technology as the action sequences flow quite effortlessly. Particuly the train sequence, as the CGI allows the action to obtain an exhilarating level.

As i previously noted, where spiderman 2 brilliance lies, is in it's ability to create a superhero movie that draws it's attention to not the superhero but rather the individual, who makes the choice to protect humanity and the predicaments that are cursed with this choice. Spiderman 2 is a teenager character study, most notable a drama then an action film, IMO the first superhero film to break the concepts of what these 'genre' films can represent.

Inception
Inception(2010)

At heart a heist film, however only a director with such a strong and grandeur vision could capsulate the mechanics of a heist film and present an innovative, complex, ambiguous and original approach to this genre while still providing the epic concepts associated with blockbuster films.

Inception follows the story of Cobb, a man who specializes in the concepts of mind theft, however Cobb latest job requires 'inception', the method of planting a idea in someones mind.

The opening sequence of inception establishes, quite evidently, the brilliant concepts of where this film succeeds, from brilliant editing, masterful soundtrack, amazing set pieces while being interwoven with an innovative substance. All these concepts lead to a brilliant creation of a dream premise, which is presented as being quite complicated, however the film creates a balance between this complicated plot and also, in a sense, it's simplicity, which allows a story that is quite easily to follow.

Like most Nolan films, 'Inception consist' of some breathtaking set pieces. The reason why the set pieces are amazing is due to the fact that they are authentic. Rather than use CGI (besides one scene) Nolan incorporates his set pieces as real settings, which is astonishing, considering the example of one set piece which consist of a fight sequence in a revolving hallway. Furthermore the story has an emotional backbone in relation to the Cobb and his wife, who is downright scary!

As i noted before, the editing in this film is masterful and deserving of the Oscar. For instance, the last 40 minutes consist of four simultaneous action sequences which one would think has the potential to lose viewers in it's own momentum, however it does not, due to the fact of the film's brilliance in the editing compartment. Furthermore Hans zimmer once again provides a grandeur score, each sequence is heightened greatly in the spectacle department simply due to the music, from the opening sequence of 'the dream is collapsing' to the ending with the poignant 'time'.

The brilliance of this film is that it constructs a great parallel balance between the intellectual and spectacle, as the film provides complex concepts which mentally engage the viewer while also providing the action spectacle. The only criticism is that the film relies on it's complex ideas to conceal plot holes, nevertheless 'Inception' most definitely compensates these flaws from it's sheer ambition.

A very satisfying film that deserves appreciation.