Amelie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who glides through the streets of Paris: observing. With wide eyes and a tiny grin, she sees the world in a magical light, discovering minor miracles every day. A shy girl whose favorite moments are spent alone skimming stones into the water, Amelie was raised by a pair of eccentrics who falsely diagnosed her with a heart problem at the age of six and so limited her exposure to the outside world. Now a free and independent woman, Amelie wears a bob that curls in every direction and dresses in red. With a job in a cafe and an aptitude for spying on her neighbors, Amelie entertains herself by enacting a series of homemade, kindhearted practical jokes.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who co-directed ‘Delicatessen’ and ‘The City Of Lost Children’ with Marc Caro) presents ‘Amelie’, a gorgeous and inventive film. I’m happy to write my english essay about this romantic comedy, the biggest international successes for a French movie.
Synopsis Director Francis Ford Coppola returns to the original source of the Dracula myth, and from that gothic romance, he creates a modern masterpiece. It follows the tortured journey of the devastatingly seductive Transylvanian Prince (Gary Oldman) as he moves from Eastern Europe to 19th century London in search of his long lost love Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), who is reincarnated as the beautiful Mina. Anthony Hopkins co-stars as the famed Doctor Van Helsing and Keanu Reeves is Jonathan Harker who is forced to fight the dark forces of Dracula for the love of Mina. Visually stunning, passionately seductive and utterly irresistible, this is Dracula as you’ve never seen him before – a powerful and poignant vampire whose yearning for human love ultimately proves his undoing.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a worthy adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel brought to the screen by Francis Ford Coppola. There are great performances from Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins, especially Oldman who as Dracula is brilliant at exuding menace and charisma. Tom Waits does a good job as a bug eating lunatic, Renfield, as does Richard E. Grant in his role as Jonathan Harker’s (Reeves) friend but unfortunately Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder lack the passion that the roles require. Reeves is especially wooden and struggles with the role and the British period accent, only to convey the persona of a lanky plank.
Coppola has tried to stay true to the story by Bram Stoker, while bringing in his own opinions of where Stoker originally based the character of Dracula. Coppola, like many, think Stoker based his character on the sadistic historical figure of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), a 15th century prince, but this is speculative. Also this adaptation of the story brings in more dark romanticism than is seen in the earlier Dracula films in the way it blurs the lines between good and evil, portraying Dracula more as a love forlorn victim than a monster. Although this version does not exactly follow the book, it is, as far as I know, the best rendition there is. Sumptuous, surreal and excessive, it is a feast for the eyes that does not rely on too much gore to hold the viewer’s attention; the atmosphere, direction, cinematography and some of the acting, achieve this magnificently.
Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula suffers from a small number of failings but I found it very enjoyable to watch despite of these shortcomings.
Synopsis Misery loves company as Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Plummer star in an atmospheric whodunit that’s part mystery, part human drama and wholly entertaining. A haunting adaptation of Stephen King’s novel from the director of “The Devil’s Year”.
Based on a book by Stephen King of the same title, Dolores Claiborne is set in the harsh, rugged, north eastern backdrop of Little Tall Island, Maine (filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada); Stephen King weaves an equally harsh tale of small town insularity, alcoholism, domestic violence and a mother and daughter’s estrangement.
In the opening scenes we see Dolores Claiborne standing over her former employer, Vera Donovan with a marble rolling pin raised to strike a mortal blow. From this we may assume that we are being presented with a very straightforward tale of murder, on the contrary, what we get is anything but straightforward. What we do know is that the finger of suspicion will point to Dolores as the murderer; she is going to have a hard time proving her innocence, especially since she was interrupted by a witness and was also suspected of the murder of her husband many years earlier.
The film is told in a series of flashbacks which is accomplished with great effect by the use of colour and creative scene transitions, the past being more vibrant whilst the present is depicted in a dreary tone. This movie is a challenging mix of many themes some of which have already been mentioned, yet it all works well together thanks to Taylor Hackford’s skillful direction. The cinematography is excellent; wide, sweeping landscapes, beautiful but remote and uninviting. This together with the portrayal of small town mentality and careful use of pace provide a poignant and realistic feel.
As you watch this film one is likely to be aware of echoes of other pieces by King namely, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery and the Green Mile. Fortunately King left this film well alone to the experts, the film makers, as he is apt to spoil things when he interferes, as in the Golden Years and Langoliers.
Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Plummer gave talented performances and Kathy Bates is utterly brilliant. The whole cast and well written movie plot kept me captivated from the very beginning to the end.
The chapter in the powerful and terrifying alien science fiction saga!
Alien is the first movie of one of the most popular sagas in science fiction history,, and introduces Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, the Iron-willed woman destined to battle the galaxy’s ultimate creature.
The terror begins when the crew of the spaceship Nostromo investigates a transmission from a desolate planet and makes a horrifying discovery – a life form that breeds within a human host. Now the crew must fight not only for its own survival, but for the survival of all mankind.
There are very few movies that get the heart beating from the first frames, Alien is one of the these exceptions. Back in ’79 this movie was really a film out of the ordinary, predominantly out of place with the films of its time and to this day it has stood the test of time making it a sci-fi horror classic. If you ever get the chance, see this on a cinema screen because this is the only way to do the film justice.
The story starts in deep space with the commercial Starship ‘Nostromo’ waking up systems ready for the crew who are in ‘hyper-sleep’. Slowly the camera pans through the ship with Jerry Goldsmith’s music setting the tone marvellously. The crew then awaken unknowingly to a nightmare scarier than their worst dreams, to become long life ready meals for an alien. The ships central computer ‘Mother’ has received a distress call of unknown origin from a planet and the crew must investigate this or forfeit their shares. Three of the crew negotiate a desolate unwelcoming planet towards the source of the signals, in the distance they first see the alien ship that looks unlike anything seen before, a ship that appears organic. Later, in the alien ship one of them discovers and investigates a massive area that contains a mysterious type of egg-like life forms. This is the start of a deadly cat and mouse game between the crew and the alien.
Much of the time the movie lets the viewer’s imagination do the work rather than ‘in your face’ see all and everything. In my view this selective use of gore and exposure of the creature works really well because your imagination can be more frightening than anything seen. This could be because back then they didn’t have the resources filmmakers have now, but whatever the reason it works splendidly. The tension between the crew and the claustrophobic nature of the spaceship help the overall feel of the film and, obviously, the fact they are dealing with an alien that is intent on killing them. Ridley Scott’s direction really ramps up the apprehension and fear aided by Jerry Goldsmith’s masterfully understated score, the extraordinary imagination of artist H.R. Giger and of course the acting, all make Alien an unique experience.
All in all Alien is an indispensable movie for any horror movie fans collection.
Nominated for seven Oscars®*, including Best Picture, and winner of two (Actress and Original Screenplay), this “darkly amusing” (Los Angeles Times) thriller combines a “first-rate cast” (Variety), “a dazzling mix of mirth and malice” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) and an unusual kidnapping plot that unravels the Midwest like never before.
Jerry (William H. Macy), a small Minnesota town car salesman, is bursting at the seams with debt … but he’s got a plan. He’s gonna hire two thugs (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It’s gonna be a snap and nobody’s gonna get hurt … until people start dying. Enter Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), a coffee-drinking, parka-wearing – and extremely pregnant – investigator who’ll stop at nothing to get her man. And if you think her small-time investigative skills will give the crooks a run for their ransom … you betcha!
This is a tale about an inept, hapless business man, fallen on extreme financial times. Knowing that neither his wife nor his wealthy father-in-law would offer him any help, he is desperate to find a way out of this particular hole so he hatches up a mad scheme. The plan is to arrange for his wife to be kidnapped and ransomed for money, his father-in-law will pay the ransom which would then be shared between the kidnappers and himself, thereby quickly solving all his problems. It is not surprising the plan inevitably fails, why does it fail? It fails because Jerry hires a couple of ill-fated, low-life, bungling losers to do the job. Jerry thought the kidnap would be an easy solution to his problems, but along the way his stupid idea results in the loss of many innocent lives.
Frances McDormand plays the police chief Marge Gundesun who is called in to investigate the murders.Even though she is pregnant she still manages to come across bright as a button and very sharp too. Her police skills never let her down, she never misses a clue in a crime scene, yet she conducts herself with a matter-of-fact approach which belies the sometimes gruesome nature of her job.
The Coen brothers cleverly infuse humour into this otherwise grim tale, it is this contrast of farce and tragedy and their keenness of observation that underpins the humour which makes the film so successful. The Coen brothers, having originated from Minnesota, are therefore aware of the quirks peculiar to the Minnesotans and so are able to convey these without being condescending. Yes the dialogue does crack you up, for example “yer darn tootin” is one of Jerry Lundegaard’s way of expressing agreement.
Fargo has been nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Director and Best Leading Actress it won two Oscars for Best Screenplay (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen), Best Actress for (Frances McDormand) and was the first film to bring the Coen brothers wide recognition as well as critical acclaim.
Synopsis Horror-meister John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape From New York) teams Kurt Russell’s outstanding performance with incredible visuals to build this chilling version of the classic The Thing.
In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Soon unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.
The inhabitants of United States National Science Institute Station 4 (Outpost #31) are happily doing whatever scientists and crew do in the Antarctic, until they hear shots and a helicopter approaching. Some crazy Norwegians enter the American’s camp shooting at and trying to blow-up a helpless dog, which is of coarse pretty much a no-no if you want to get along with your neighbours. One of the Norwegians accidentally blows himself up with a grenade, the other is shot by one of the Americans and the poor dog who survives its ordeal is welcomed into the camp.
The whole episode provides a great talking point for the team, namely what the heck was going on? Cabin fever maybe? Who knows? As the radio is not receiving signals, probably due to the weather or atmospheric conditions, they decide to fly over to the Norwegians base camp to see if they can clear up the mystery about why these Norwegians were going berserk shooting at a defenceless animal. MacReady is given the job of flying out with fellow comrade Dr. Copper in conditions that are less than favourable.
At the Norwegian’s base camp they find that everyone is dead and MacReady discovers they had dug something up out of the ice. It is getting late so they have to make a hasty exit but before they leave they manage to take some of the Norewegian’s research material and a portable video unit to see if this will shed some light on the matter. When outside they discover something has been burnt, an unknown organism that looks freaky to say the least, so along with the other items they take this back with them.
Dr. Blair performs an autopsy on the hideously mutated remains which does not yield anything conclusive. Later on that evening the dog they rescued starts to act rather strangely indeed…
Based on the short story Who Goes There? By John W. Campbell Jr. John Carpenter paints a vivid picture of paranoia and horror that after a slow start has gathered a deserving cult following. It was badly received by critics at the time of its initial release and so had poor reviews, some criticised its violence and gore to the point that one critic dubbed Carpenter a “pornographer of violence”. The overriding elements, for me, above the gore and violence are the good story, acting, and direction, but that’s not to say that the special effects aren’t stunning as well.
The location works really well also, the forbiddingness and restraining quality of their surroundings heightens the overall anxiety. You know that whatever happens to the inhabitants of the camp there’s no running away, the horror has to be faced whatever the cost. Many horror movies fall down on this point, ending up having to use leaps of the faith, as for example, why the assailant magically catches up with those on the run. In this case there is no place else to go. Because of this, MacReady ends up being an accidental hero and assumes leadership out of circumstance rather than desire.
John Carpenter’s The Thing is not the first incarnation of ‘Who Goes There?’ Howard Hawks (one of Carpenter’s favourite directors) directed an earlier attempt to follow the book in movie form called The Thing from Another World (1951). Although it follows on the same lines as Campbell’s book, it forgoes making the monster a shape-changing alien and settles for a man in a monster suit that looks very much like a left over from an early Universal Studios monster feature. Carpenter’s Thing is an all together different beast and this is what makes it a classic sci-fi horror film.
Brad Pitt (Seven, Snatch) and Edward Norton (American History X, Primal Fear) deliver knockout performances in this stunningly original, darkly comic film from David Fincher, the director of Seven.
Norton stars as Jack, a chronic insomniac desperate to escape his excruciatingly boring life. That’s when he meets Tyler Durden (Pitt), a charismatic soap salesman with a twisted philosophy. Tyler believes self-improvement is for the weak – it’s self-destruction that really makes life worth living. Before long, Jack and Tyler are beating each other to a pulp in a bar parking lot, a cathartic slugfest that delivers the ultimate high. To introduce other men to the simple joys of physical violence, Jack and Tyler form a secret Fight Club that becomes wildly successful. But there’s a shocking surprise waiting for Jack that will change everything…
Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. & Monarch Enterprises, BV
U.S.A. / Germany
133 Minutes Approx
Art Linson, Ceán Chaffin & Ross Grayson Bell
John S. Dorsey
The Dust Brothers, John King & Michael Simpson
Helena Bonham Carter
Sydney ‘Big Dawg’ Colston