Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Added by mhthehammer on 7 Jan 2021 10:25

Best Picture Nominees (in Ten Sentences)

Sort by: Showing 1-50 of 478
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 812 Average listal rating (511 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.9
To be honest, "My Left Foot" is without any doubt my favorite movie. The reason is because it changed my life and it spoke to me not just as a person with a disability, but a human who wanted to blend in socially and express his artist merit. The biopic is based on a memoir by Irish artist and writer Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), who suffered from cerebral palsy. The disorder has crippled his social skills and everything else in his body except his left foot. At first, everyone, apart from his mother (Brenda Fricker), made fun of him and treated him like the black sheep of Ireland. However, as soon as his artwork and his writing flourished, they respected him as a human being. As mentioned before, the reason why I relate to "My Left Foot" is that I lived through many of Christy’s experiences, whether getting private tutoring on the weekends, having temperamental outbursts, showcasing my artwork, attempting to form a romantic relationship and even contemplating suicide. In fact, it has gotten to a point where I thought I was reliving my past and sympathized with him and his quest for true love. In fact, most people with not just CP but with any disability can relate to Christy in some way. Some people may say it’s too long, others say it’s preachy, but, to me, no movie can faithfully capture the struggle of a disabled man than "My Left Foot." (5 Whiskey Bottles out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
As the first animated Best Picture nominee, "Beauty and the Beast" is about a cursed prince (Robbie Benson) trapped in an enchanted castle who must break his spell and regain his sense of humanity by earning Belle’s (Paige O’Hara) love. Meanwhile, the young woman’s romance isn’t shared by her provincial town as Gaston (Richard White) wants to kill the beast so he could marry her. When I was a kid, this was the movie I watched the most. I would pause the videotape in the prologue scene, take out a piece of paper, and hand draw every sun glare and stained glass shard in that scene. However, as an adult, I have grown to watch this movie more often, not just because of the story, but I fell in love with the designs of the beast’s castle, the seamless animation movements, the majestic transformation sequence, and other details I may have missed. To me, what made this movie so great is not just the beautiful animation and allusions to other Disney animated classics like "Snow White" and "Cinderella." Instead, "Beauty and the Beast" works because it perfectly balances between being faithful to the fairy tale and making modern interpretations of the timeless story. For instance, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise fleshed out Belle's arc and evolved her into a bookworm who desires for a life outside of her boring pedestrian village. On top of that, the broadway-style songs are catchy, done by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman and sung by giants like Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury. I could go on with the list of what’s excellent about "Beauty and the Beast," but instead I will say Disney has made a masterpiece once again. The special amount of love the animators put into glorifying every drawing, painted cel, and computer generated imagery makes the movie hard to top. (5 Pies and Puddings en Flambe out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
"L.A. Confidential" is not just a case study on hate crime, drug smuggling and high class pornography. Instead, Curtis Hansen’s 1997 neo-noir classic carries a theme of fiction and imagery over truth and realism. Every character in the movie and the James Ellroy novel is either involved in an undercover conspiracy or under a disguise. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell), Buzz Meeks (Darrell Sandeen), Dick Stenzland (Graham Beckel), and Pierce Patchett (David Straithairn) are part of a heroin smuggling group run by Mickey Cohen (Paul Guilfoyle). While Smith and Meeks were the perpetrators of the Nite Owl Cafe shootings and yet arrested a trio of African-American rapists, Stenz and Patchett were part of Fleur de Lis, a private pornographic company founded by Patchett that fixes women to look like movie stars. Meanwhile, Stenz, one of the victims of the cafe shootings, killed Meeks over heroin behind his colleague’s backs and hid the body under Susan Lefferts’s mother’s (Gwenda Deacon) house. That is also no coincidence that Lefferts (Amber Smith), one that looks like Rita Hayworth and another victim in the Nite Owl, is one of Patchett’s prostitutes along with Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), the Veronica Lake look-alike. Furthermore, Detective Bud White (Russell Crowe) has an intimate relationship with Bracken behind every one’s backs while also garnishing information out of her. To add more corruption to the Los Angeles Police Department, Smith and his posse murder actor Matt Reynolds (Simon Baker Denny), Hush-Hush tabloid journalist Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito), and Hollywood narcotics detective Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) and blackmail White with photographs of Bracken’s private affair with Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) to keep him out of the way. So, it’s up to White and Exley to uncrack the conspiracy and restore justice in the LAPD crime circuit. (5 Blood-Stained Christmas Ties out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 6237 Average listal rating (4236 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
One of the most fiercely dratted sinnies of the 20th century, "A Clockwork Orange" vareets a raskazz about a oozhassny malchik delinquent Alexander deLarge (Malcolm McDowell) who becomes a plenny and partakes in the Ludovico Technique. The experiment, my brothers, has shifted him into a societal shkura, taking away his jeezny and chances of the old in-out-in-out and a bit of krovvy work and ultra-violence. Once the results go haywire, Alex attempts suicide and Minister Fredirick (Anthony Sharp), who krysied him earlier, offers an appypolly loggy for the experiment and thus, he’s “cured”. Honestly, my droogs, no sinny moodge could have govoreeted Mr. Anthony Burgess’s slovos better than Stanley Kubrick, even if Burgess’s rabbit had stunk of mersky American fabrication. Even with how faithful "A Clockwork Orange" was to the Angliski writer’s goloss, Kubrick snuffed away one vital, conventional chapter, which kovated into Alex’s path to maturity. Maybe excluding the 21st chapter in “A Clockwork Orange” biblio made the ending in the film more open to interpretation. The final line Alex skazats during the fantasy orgy suggests that he was sarky because the Minister presented him with Ludwig Van’s 9th, causing his nirvanic trance once again. However, at the bolnitsa, The Minister offers a rabbit for Alex as long as the moloko plus-drinking prestoopnik kot controls his britva-sharp rookers and pan-handle. In case my Nadsat langy wasn’t clear enough, oh my brethren, "A Clockwork Orange" was a tremendously horrorshow adaptation of an already ultra-violent biblio. (5 Blue Yarbles out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1749 Average listal rating (1204 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Wes Anderson’s first Academy Award-winning output "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a film you want to cuddle with, it’s so warm, witty, and magical. The author (Tom Wilkinson) narrates about his journey to the Alpine luxury suite the Grand Budapest and his encounter with himself (Jude Law) and the elderly melancholic owner Zero Moustafa (F Murray Abraham). When he was a boy in 1932, he (Tony Revolori) worked there as a bellhop for Monsieur Gustav (Ralph Fiennes) and conspired a caper of the painting “Boy with Apple,” a gift inherited to Gustav by Madame Desgoffe und Taxis (Tilda Swinton), from her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) who hired his bodyguard Jopling (Willem Dafoe) to annihilate them. During these events, Zero developed a relationship with Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), a pastry chef who served as his alibi and was the trigger of his later torment, her death. Wes Anderson is one of the biggest artists in the 21st Century, combining artificiality and French New Wave crisp with quirky eye candy and whimsical irony. Nowhere has his fussy world-building been so showcased as "The Grand Budapest Hotel," although "Moonrise Kingdom" is a better movie. Every single adult is built up as a person of higher power, yet their actions are that of children. While ironically, the teens and children are intellectually superior to adults and always find ways to fix messy problems and resolve conflict. On the subject of mise en scene, he crafts subplots and descriptions in the background like a war taking place in Zubrowka, police warrant descriptions, the Society of the Crossed Keys, and the Desgoffe und Taxis family tree. These elements are what make Wes Anderson a prolific modern filmmaker and films like "The Grand Budapest Hotel" so imaginative and wonderful. (5 L’air de Panache Bottles out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 2649 Average listal rating (1666 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Mary Poppins (1964)
The film about the magical nanny (Julie Andrews) who improves the lifestyle of the dysfunctional Banks family with the use of music and adventure, "Mary Poppins" is one of the first Disney movies most children have seen over and over and cherished for the past fifty years. However, the adults can enjoy this movie as well either as a sociopolitical satire on greedy capitalism and liberal childlike hedonism or as a morality tale on letting out your inner child and happily embracing everything around you. For Walt Disney, "Mary Poppins," a story he promised his daughters he would adapt after the success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," was a fight and a piece of disguised autobiography. The struggle began in 1938 when he granted permission from P.L. Travers to adapt her book into one of his features. At least 20 years later, he met with Travers and she immediately disapproved of all the changes done to the movie, including the cheery songs and the animation. That battle may have served as inspiration for the character of George Banks (David Tomlinson) as a stern banker who neglects Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) and disapproves of Mary Poppins’s ideas. Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the omnipresent Cockney man of many jobs, could be seen as an allusion to Walt himself, the entertainment man who played to the child in everyone and had a huge respect for Poppins. In fact, the climactic confrontation between him and Mr. Banks could mirror Disney's final permission grant from Travers. Yet, only the powerful merriment of Mary, the cinematic magic conjured by the giant entertainment company from Burbank, can resolve the conflict. So, in the end, "Mary Poppins," the ultimate Disney masterpiece, is probably one of Walt’s most personal passion projects he has ever produced. (5 Hottentot Chimney Sweeps out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4668 Average listal rating (3157 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
In the town of Amity, Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) encounters a barrage of spontaneous shark attacks and is on the urge of closing the beaches for people’s safety. He recruits Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Bartholomew Quint (Robert Shaw) to hunt down the undersea eating machine once and for all. Hearing everyone talk about how incredibly scary "Jaws" was and its impact on modern cinema, I was expecting a movie somewhat entertaining with a ton of shark attacks and witty dialogue. To my surprise, the film turned out to be one of the most thrilling films I have seen. Part of that may have been that the majority of "Jaws" focuses on character interactions, the harpoon-sharp script, top-notch performances from the trio leads, clever editing and Hitchcockian suspense. One particular moment, twenty minutes in, is the sign of a tremendous landmark of film editing. Martin is at the beach investigating the ocean for proof of shark attacks that occurred the other night. A transition where beachgoers walk by in the foreground happens between him at the beach and Alex (Jeffrey Voorhees) splashing on an inflatable raft over water. As dated as it looks now, the artistry and the precision of how Steven Spielberg wanted the extra to walk practically in front of the camera in one shot and do the same on another was groundbreaking at the time. Even though it inspired a sea-full of mediocre direct-to-DVD shark movies, "Jaws" will always be the definitive and ultimate one of the bunch. (5 Bad Hats out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1142 Average listal rating (746 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Here’s another film I saw in college, "The Full Monty," a comedy about Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and his quintet of former Sheffield steel factory workers Dave (Mark Addy), Gerald (Tom Wilkinson), Horse (Paul Barber), Guy (Hugo Speer), and Lomper (Steve Huison), who choose a career as Chippendale strippers while also on line for the unemployment office. Gaz, meanwhile, is fighting with his ex-wife Mandy (Emily Woof) for custody money for their son Nathan (William Snape). This movie is by far one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen in years. Part of why "The Full Monty" works is because we have six unemployed tossers, who have had personal and financial troubles, are aiming toward a new job that requires physical agility and nudity, for which they have zero qualifications on. They do trial rehearsals and they end up flinging coins while swinging jackets, smacking each other with belts, running up the wall and falling, and botching up the choreography. I love great mistake moments in movies because these unintentionally awkward moments show the movie’s humor via rawness and honesty. Adding that, there’s a ton of visual, verbal, and physical humor that establish the low class Northern English aesthetic. The best scene is where they are in the employment queue quietly dancing to “Hot Stuff” behind confused onlookers. As soon as they pelvic thrust the Donna Summer song, I can’t help but bust laughing. "The Full Monty" is a brilliant comedy that garnishes a full amount of cheeky laughs. (5 Garden Gnomes with Steel Bars out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1231 Average listal rating (790 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
Tootsie (1982)
"Tootsie" is one of those comedies you have to love, whether you laugh with it or feel empowered by its feminist drive. Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), a talented but difficult method actor in New York City decides to land a role in a soap opera “Southwest General,” under the persona of Dorothy Michaels. Soon, during his soaring popularity, he makes a friendship with one of the actresses in the show, Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), while simultaneously producing a play written by his roommate Jeff Slater (Bill Murray) and trying to impress his student/girlfriend Sandy (Teri Garr), who’s worried sick for him. On top of "Tootsie" being the essence of the classic modern comedy, it’s also a fascinating study on a professional actor’s journey. Right from the start, Michael wants to play “different,” as he urges to play any part with no regard to age, or in this case sex. Struggling to find any career move in the city, he must go the extra mile to invent an identity, one that would make him the greatest actor alive. So, in order to be Dorothy Michaels, Michael Dorsey has to wander into new territories such as buying dresses, buying pantyhose, applying cosmetics, losing weight, teasing his wig, and finding the right fitting lingerie. However, earning a new persona or a new character also builds roadblocks, especially while landing on a new role on television. Sometimes, reality hits and interferes with his work, including Sandy impatiently waiting for a response to her phone calls, or someone like John Van Horn (George Gaynes) or Les Nichols (Charles Durning) could be serenading him or hitting on him. In the end, with all the effort and research built in, Michael has become a great actor and the film "Tootsie" has become one of the best comedies ever made. (5 Sitting Tomatoes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4971 Average listal rating (3323 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
When I was in high school, one of my first introductions to the quirky comedies of the 2000’s was "Little Miss Sunshine." In this road film, the Hoover family from Albuquerque have a dream or once had dreams that deteriorate during their trip to Redondo Beach. Richard (Greg Kinnear) wants to become a top-selling motivational life coach, but is turned down once his sales plummet. His wife Sheryl (Toni Collette) wants to live a better lifestyle, but is surrounded by her husband’s career impotence and her excessive workaholism. Their daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) wants to join a beauty pageant in California, but she loses thanks to her inappropriate dance of choice. Their son Dwayne (Paul Dano) wants to become an Air Force pilot, but breaks his Nietzschean vow of silence once he finds out he’s colorblind, therefore unqualified to fly. Sheryl’s brother Frank (Steve Carell) wants to reconnect with his boyfriend, but he got dumped, resulting in him losing his job as a Marcel Proust scholar and attempting suicide. Richard’s father Edwin (Alan Arkin) wants Olive to win the pageant so he can achieve some greatness in the family, but passes away due to a heroin overdose. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the dysfunctional lower class family win, lose or get expelled from beauty pageants. What counts is that the Hoovers relied on each other as a family whether others accept their talent or not. (5 Cherry Garcias out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1570 Average listal rating (1011 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.4
Here is a film that is destined to be a Hollywood classic, "Sunset Boulevard," one that studies and satirizes the horrible mindset of a fallen star. Screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden), on the run from debt, stumbles upon a mansion in ruins owned by Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), an aging, reclusive actress living in riches with her butler/ first husband Max (Erich Von Stroheim). In between fulfilling Desmond’s delusions as a ghost writer, Joe pitches a real story with a script reader Betty (Nancy Olsen), who soon suspects his mysterious background. As stated before, this thriller, one disguised as a film noir, explores the disturbing psychosis of a Golden Age actress. At a time where Hollywood is constantly changing and plenty of stories are pitched, the movie steers into the dark side of that era, a world where the film stars of yesteryear neglect these changes and play “movie star” in their homes. Oddly enough, in the 1950’s, there were fallen gems that likely inspired Norma Desmond, ones who lost their careers in the 1930’s but later lost touch due to mental illness. For instance, Clara Bow, the ‘It Girl’ of the silent era, retired from show business and moved to Nevada where she became a rancher and developed a psychotic illness. Another icon, Mary Pickford, a once-acclaimed Canadian starlet of the past, turned into a recluse in her mansion and eventually succumbed to alcoholism after her decline. On the subject of the silent era, Billy Wilder casted real-life silent-movie celebrities like Buster Keaton as one of Norma’s bridge players, Cecil B. DeMille as himself directing a movie, and Erich Von Stroheim as the butler and director of Norma’s next big movie, the murder of Joe Gillis. By incorporating real artists of yesterday into "Sunset Boulevard," Mr. Wilder crafts a fantasy around himself about a recluse who builds a fantasy around herself. (5 Dead Chimps out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1524 Average listal rating (987 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.4
Upon wrapping up his swan song to the Tramp character with the brilliant "Modern Times," Charles Chaplin wanted to stretch the boundaries of comedy even further than the humor from his silent features. So, he wrote, starred and directed his second talking movie, "The Great Dictator," as a dark satire of the rise of Adolf Hitler, a controversial topic in the 1940’s. In the nation of Tomainia, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin), his old ally from the army Schultz (Reginald Hardiner) and his neighbor Hannah (Paulette Goddard) plan an escape from the ghetto, having been occupied by the regime. Meanwhile, the party’s phooey, the dictator Adenoid Hynkel (Chaplin), madly driven by power lust, ties with the Digdutchie Benzino Napaloni (Jack Oakie) over an invasion and conquest of Osterlich. Chaplin being the iconic silent film figures in Hollywood, came from a background of vaudevillian slapstick. Because the medium was incapable of sound at the time, he used physical comedy and facial gestures to build the world around his films. However, with "The Great Dictator," he uses similar tactics with his Tramp character, particularly with the barber, but he makes a commentary about how the humor of the past would not translate well in 1940, at time of oppression. So, he balances his trademark humor with a handful of sound gags, satirical jabs to the Nazi party, and a life-changing speech from the barber that symbolizes Chaplin’s progression as an entertainer, artist, and a human being. As such, "The Great Dictator" is the first film that allows Chaplin to explore other comedic territories and evolve beyond his trademark onscreen mannerism. Oddly enough, this audacious project resulted in him releasing one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. (5 Inflatable Globes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 3992 Average listal rating (2719 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Another Pixar animated feature enters the Best Picture nominees circle. This time, we have the third film of the Toy Story series, where we once again have Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang entering a new world. In "Toy Story 3," they are mistakenly transported to Sunnyside daycare center since their owner Andy is all grown up and going to college. It’s up to our favorite optimistic cowboy to escape the prison daycare and make it to Andy’s house before he moves away. Out of all the films in the Pixar library, "Toy Story 3" is probably the darkest, because the theme is about moving on toward adulthood. For many of the 90’s kids that grew up watching "Toy Story," myself included, this movie was a mystical elegy of nostalgic memories with old childhood toys. The heroes cherished by many get stashed away in the Goodwill donation box and shipped to other children. It tugs your heartstrings once your special action figure or stuffed toy slips away from your hands, but the only way to heal that bittersweetness is to treasure the memories and hope the best for the playthings. This especially compliments the ending scene where Andy gives Woody, Buzz, Jesse (Joan Cusack), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Slinky (Blake Clark), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), and Bullseye to Bonnie and he parts from them, having the toys start a new chapter. For that reason, "Toy Story 3" remains as not only one of the best threequels ever made, but one of the best films of 2010. (5 Totoro Dolls out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), a Philadelphia man with bipolar disorder, moves from a mental hospital back to his parents Pat, Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). To win back his ex-wife Nikki (Bree Bee), he meets a young widow Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who will offer his request, if he enters a dance competition with her. During their training session, they try to cope with each other’s problems and delve deeper into their relationships as they form a bond together. Watching this for the first time since 2013, I knew "Silver Linings Playbook" was one of those perfect romantic comedies. Pat and Tiffany make a fantastic, eccentric couple as they clearly care for each other, but are blinded by their disorders and personal hangups. Tiffany is in torment because her husband died, causing her to lose her job at the office and give up sexual affairs. Pat Jr suffers from a violent trauma after Nikki cheated on him and issued a restraining order against him, causing him to lose his job as a teacher. Meanwhile, Patrizio, who has OCD, is tugging them apart for his son to join in his gambling buddies over the Eagles NFL timeline in order to use the money to invest on a cheesesteak house. This makes it frustrating for both because Pat is trying to find his silver linings and heal his wound and Tiffany is helping him “read the signs” and snap him out of his woes. Touching, funny and intense, "Silver Linings Playbook" is easily one of the best films of 2012. (5 Mayonnaise Jars out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 3250 Average listal rating (2105 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.6
Back in the 1990’s, Miramax was on fire, especially in the international market when the studio distributed the most foreign language films. One giant example of this reputation comes from the Italian dramedy, "La Vita e Bella." In this film, Guido (Roberto Benigni), a Jewish waiter, falls in love with a genteel woman Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), who is arranged to be wed. After the two get married, Guido opens a bookstore and welcomes a new son Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini), not long before they get swept into the Holocaust. When I first saw this movie fifteen years ago, I loved it, but, seeing it today, "La Vita e Bella" meant more than I gave credit. Roberto Benigni’s father served in the Italian Army during World War II and served in Nazi labour after Italy sided with Allied Powers. He would tell stories about his experiences to his children in a humorous fashion to spare away the horrific details. Similarly, Guido uses his clownish charm to shield Giosue from the terror in the Holocaust, by pretending the Jews are part of a game. Using the knowledge his father used on him, Benigni incorporates humor and beauty as a defense mechanism in a film that takes place during Europe’s most terrible event. So, "La Vita e Bella" is as much a parable on a man’s regard for his family’s safety as it is Benigni's most personal film. (5 Emu Eggs out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 516 Average listal rating (300 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
The Red Shoes (1948)
If you haven’t seen the 1948 cinematic eyesore "The Red Shoes," watch it immediately. This film directed by the dynamic Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is a fantastical love letter to ballet done in Jean Cocteauean flourish. An aspiring ballerina Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) enlists in a contractual deal with producer Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) to star in a variety of ballets, particularly the one called “The Red Shoes”. However, her dreams, dedications and ambitions crumble once she marries the ballet’s composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring), causing emotional pressure to choose between career and love. The most magnificent moments in "The Red Shoes" are its balance between the agony and the ecstasy, a blend of fantasy and reality. Jack Cardiff, the pioneer of Technicolor accomplishes the vibrance without making the movie garish, mixing the earthly browns and pale tans in the real world with the blues, yellows and greens of fantasy. Moreover, the predominant color that stands out the most is the fiery red, which strikes out in the ballet shoes, the closing and opening curtain, and Vicky’s hair. Red, by definition, symbolizes emotional passion, so its abundance describes Vicky’s character in a nutshell. She is poised, heartfelt, and has a dream-like vision of her existence, even if it ends up costing her life. "The Red Shoes," on top of being a fairytale masterpiece of film, is a feast for every theater lover. (5 Chateau Grischa Bottles out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
The Patriot (1928)
"The Patriot" is one of those significantly ambitious pictures that must be seen once in a lifetime. In Ernst Lubitsch’s epic film, Russian Czar Paul I (Emil Jannings) goes insane thinking that a murder conspiracy is at large. His companion Count von der Pahlen (Lewis Stone), fearing the delusions of his ruler, dethrones him and plots the assassination for the good of the nation. Since the film is the only lost film to be nominated for Best Picture, I can only critique "The Patriot" via still images, the trailer, and whichever found footage I can access. Based on what I saw, the artistry on the production and costume design is one of the most gorgeous in silent film history. The cinematography is particularly interesting, mixing camera shots like the extreme wide shots with dolly tract and closeup zooms. For a black-and-white film from the Golden Age of Hollywood, these techniques were unique and groundbreaking for its time. Lubitsch even casts haunting German Expressionist silhouettes on the palace walls, giving a sense of suspicion and paranoia as it frightens the czar. Jannings does a great job at balancing between vengeful delusion, when fearfully smashing the mirror in his bedroom with a candle, and lusty joviality, when playing around with Countess Osterman’s jewels. Given how only one quarter of "The Patriot’s" reels survived today, I wish I could see this movie’s entirety because all the existing footage looks amazing even for a silent film. (5 Soldier Shadows out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 2846 Average listal rating (1760 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
One of the greatest and most influential cinematic masterpieces of all time, "Citizen Kane" explores the mindset of a corrupt man who gains everything and loses everything. “News on the March” journalist Jerry Thompson (William Alland) is covering the death of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), America’s most famous newspaper tycoon, businessman and politician, specifically the meaning of his last words, ‘Rosebud’. Meanwhile, we explore Kane's childhood, years running the New York Inquirer, marriages with Emily Norton (Ruth Warrick) and Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), his stint producing a failed opera starring Susan, building the Xanadu mansion and his reclusiveness from society. It turns out ‘Rosebud’ is the name of Kane’s boyhood sled that he abandoned when he got adopted by Walter Thatcher (George Coulouris). By throwing away his sled in the snow, Kane has symbolically lost his only true love and thus his true happiness. Likewise, his childhood is also gone once his parents Mary (Agnes Moorhead) and Jim (Harry Shannon) sign away their cabin, allowing Mr. Thatcher to build a gold mine over their home in Colorado. So, he grows into a tyrannical fat cat who treats his subjects as caged animals and turns away those who stab him in the back. As Kane’s second wife argues, “What's the difference between giving me a bracelet or giving somebody else a hundred thousand dollars for a statue you're gonna keep crated up and you'll never even look at?” Susan’s quote is the testament to how greedy he has become and how his power has alienated everyone around him. So, in each failed marriage and every expensive statue in his castle, he himself is an unhappy animal trapped in a cage of corporate manipulation and riches. (5 Jigsaw Pieces out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 342 Average listal rating (246 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
Roma (2018)
The first foreign-language Best Picture nominee since "Amour," "Roma" follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a maid working for a middle-class family in Colonia Roma in Mexico City. The film trails through her path to motherhood, support for the separating family, and witnessing the world change drastically. By making "Roma," Alfonso Cuaron wanted to create a film that allows us to appreciate the beauty of the scenery as well as look back at our nostalgia. Every shot is staged as a passage through time, a philosophy done in the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, whether from soapy water washing stony tiles, Cleo using the bathroom, or watching a movie in a theater. In fact, some shots in "Roma" are reminiscent of Roy Anderssen in which the passage of time theory takes place in one take while the camera remains still as the scene takes place. On the subject of time, the past and the future play a key role in the film as well. The past is indicated by the digitized black and white, the 1970’s set pieces of Mexico City, and the riots at the Corpus Christi Massacre. On top of that, the main storyline is a semi-autobiographical account on Cuaron’s childhood. Meanwhile, the future is interpreted by omens Cleo witnesses: her stillborn baby, Sofia’s (Marina de Tavira) struggling family, and Fermin (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) being part of Los Halcones. So, with all the themes and motifs being played at, "Roma" becomes a story about time and memories. (5 Taxidermy Dogs out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 378 Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
In "Marriage Story," Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johannson) get involved in a coast-to-coast divorce. Charlie is struggling to keep his directing career in New York City while Nicole is trying to find herself while living with her family and expand her acting career in Los Angeles. Both are caught in a battle for custody for their son Henry (Azhy Robertson) and a war between their lawyers Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern) and Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta), who exaggerate their stories. On top of being one of the best films of 2019, "Marriage Story" is a combination of the modern saying “write what you know” and the more prefered saying “write what you want to know.” Noah Baumbach, who has touched on divorce in "The Squid and the Whale," wanted to authentically depict the marital struggle. For inspiration, he drew inspiration from his separation from Jennifer Jason Leigh and custodial battle over their son. As such, the drama in his personal life is reflected on the conflict between Charlie and Nicole. However, the project required Baumbach to explore the broader side of the material, speaking to his best friends, litigators, and judges. These outside resources and interviews helped him craft the courtroom rhetoric between Nora, Jay and Bert Spitz (Alan Alda) and the differences between New York and California lawyers. So for "Marriage Story," a melancholically beautiful love story about divorce, he experienced divorce, but he wanted to find out the legalities that go on during the procedure. (5 Ninja Costumes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4859 Average listal rating (3187 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
Let me be honest with you, "Taxi Driver" is my favorite Scorsese film because, unlike his future works, it gives us a series of uneasy answers. The movie follows a New York cab driver Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), who is suffering from depression and is slowly going insane. During his craze, he forms a failed relationship with Betsy (Cybil Shepherd), shapes his hair into a mohawk, encourages Iris (Jodie Foster) out of prostituting herself, and attempts to assassinate Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris). Travis, a lonely war veteran who sees all of New York City as a disgusting pithole full of political corruption, filthy porn movie theaters and sex workers, is struggling to keep his sanity with such a mundane task. It could be possible that the taxi driver is a weak individual consumed with post-war trauma and uses his occupation to maintain his sanity. Maybe Travis thinks he’s a lost wandering angel who’s trying to clean up the mess and rescue Iris from her job, but he ends up causing anarchy and destruction. Maybe all the crime Travis committed didn’t happen and the whole psychotic episode happened in his head. Afterall, the ending implies that he died in Sport’s (Harvey Keitel) apartment at the same day as his assassination attempt and is granted a hero the next day. Yet, in the next scene, everything’s back to normal and Betsy is riding in Travis’s cab, despite her being disgusted with him earlier. However you interpret this movie or Martin Scorcese and Paul Schrader intended to tell this story, "Taxi Driver" is the director’s true masterpiece. (4 ½ Mohawks out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
In his early years, Steven Spielberg wanted to direct a James Bond picture with permission from Ion Productions, but to no avail. Meanwhile, George Lucas pitched an idea for a Bond-esque action picture “The Adventures of Indiana Smith” before shifting focus on "Star Wars." So, years later, Spielberg and Lucas got together and gathered producer Frank Marshall and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to craft the Indiana Jones film series, starting with "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is assigned to search for the fabled Ark of the Covenant in the ancient city of Tanis near Cairo. With the help of Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott), he must retrieve the lost treasure before Belloq (Paul Freeman) and the other Nazis obtain its powers. I have to confess, as much I like the Star Wars franchise fine, I have a better affection toward the Indiana Jones series. I guess, I prefer the old fashioned action-adventure films with realistic stunts over science fiction explosions and lasers blasting Stormtroopers in outer space. Raiders of the Lost Ark has an attitude of the old-fashioned adventure serials, but makes modern twists like an awesome leading lady, brilliant special effects, and a kickass pomp soundtrack from John Williams. Adding to the fact that Ford performed a good chunk of the stunts himself, thousands of real and mechanical snakes were involved, and the injuries and difficulties happened onset makes the movie more exciting. In terms of riveting action adventure film franchises, you cannot find a greater example of this than Indiana Jones, especially with "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (4 ½ Melted Faces out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
The first Stephen King film to be nominated for Best Picture, "The Shawshank Redemption" follows Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a former banker who spends half of his life in Shawshank Penitentiary because of a crime he didn’t commit, the murder of his wife. There, he befriends several inmates, including Red (Morgan Freeman), opens a prison library, attempts to resume his innocence, and expose Warden Sam Norton (Bob Gunton) for his taxation loopholes, all while trying to escape with a rock hammer and Rita Hayworth. After reading King’s short novella in Different Seasons, I consider "The Shawshank Redemption" to be one of the incredibly great adaptations of his work, if not the best one. What Frank Darabont does differently is expand King’s universe to evoke the movie’s theme. In the book, Brooks gets paroled and leaves the prison crying, the last time we see him. The film, however, takes a dark and direct turn, as we watch Brooks' life deteriorate during his parole and hang himself because life in Shawshank has taken the best from him. Also, in the book, Norton, the last of the four wardens mentioned, retires from his job after Andy escapes. In the film, Andy exposes the incriminating evidence to the police and convinces Norton to commit suicide instead of turning himself over. If Darabont only made a word-for-word adaptation of the story with no stone unturned, I don’t think the message of hope and desire for freedom would come off as effective cinematically. But regardless with how well the movie did justice to the story, "The Shawshank Redemption" is the epitome of great filmmaking. (4 ½ Alabaster Chess Pieces out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 2040 Average listal rating (1396 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Fugitive (1993)
Andrew Davis’s "The Fugitive," based on the 1960’s TV series, is a suspenseful action film, as well as a complicated but riveting mystery picture. In order to fit the pieces of the murder and the Provasic story together, I had to research what happened because I was distracted by the brilliant “close call” moments. Dr. Nichols (Jeroen Krabbé) invented Provasic, an illegal drug that would potentially cause liver damage. His best friend and colleague Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) discovers this FDA loophole, which causes Nichols to hire his one-armed bodyguard, Frederick Sykes (Andreas Katsulas), to murder him in order to prevent him from exposing his plans. Finding him not at home, Sykes instead kills Kimble’s wife Helen (Sela Ward), not long before Kimble finally shows up and assaults him, and the doctor is tried and sentenced to death row. On top of that, Nichols’ other colleague Dr. Alec Lentz (David Darlow) also finds out about the drug, but dies in a car collision caused by Sykes. Once the two doctors are out of the picture, Nichols will manipulate the liver testings, swapping damaged samples with fresh and healthy ones, and sell it to consumers at conventions in Chicago. Unfortunately, Kimble escaped from the prison bus, on the run from U.S. Marshall Lt. Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), and can only find evidence himself to reverse his prison sentence. Gerard, while still one step ahead of his fugitive, also ends up solving the murder and Nichol’s conspiracy and presuming Kimble innocent. While the mystery was a mess to figure out in the end, "The Fugitive" is a really fun film, and one of the best adaptations of a TV show. (4 ½ Big Dogs out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1825 Average listal rating (1221 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.9
With the high-grossing success of Avatar, 20th Century Fox wanted to recapture that 3D experience with "Life of Pi." Based on one of my favorite books, "Life of Pi" follows Piscine Molitor Patel (Suraj Sharma), also known as Pi, an Indian boy from Pondicherry who gets shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat. Beforehand, Pi practiced Hinduism, Islamism and Christianity and was teased by his schoolmates for not only having a silly name, but also for being named after a swimming pool. For the majority of the book and movie he is accompanied by Orange Juice the orangutan, a nasty hyena, an injured zebra and Richard Parker, a tiger who becomes Pi’s greatest fear and spirit animal. Yann Martel makes it explicitly clear in his novel that the theme in the book is about finding your inner self and that self-belief will help you survive. Martel went through the same predicament during his early career and wanted to write a story that would help him find guidance. Honestly, I don’t think Ang Lee could have been more of a perfect choice to replicate Martel’s poetry. The Taiwanese director truly predominates the beautiful oriental imagery of the plankton waters, the Hindi cosmic starlight from Krishna, and the carnivorous Edenic island run by meerkats. The visionary world crafted by Martel and Lee churns up Pi’s spirituality, strength, and wisdom as he goes on his quest. Oddly enough, it’s those elements that help him thrive, connect with the Bengal tiger and cast away into safety. (4 ½ 3D Flying Fish out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 8599 Average listal rating (6196 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.9
Pulp Fiction (1994)
There are many ways you can read Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction," either as a quirky tribute to these grim and often violent novels or a story about redemptive values expressed in two different stories. One side, we see Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules White (Samuel L. Jackson), two partners in crime in cahoots with Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhimes), who retrieve the mysterious briefcase. Another side, Vincent’s date with Wallace’s wife Mia (Uma Thurman) ends disastrously once she experiences an overdose. Third side, contender Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) kills his own ally in the ring and pays the price when he confronts Marsellus, a Southern pawn shop owner, and a sex gimp. Fourth, Vincent and Jules accidentally kill Marvin (Phil LaMarr) and seek help from Winston Wolf (Harvey Kietel) to clean everything up. Finally, the whole series is bookended with a coffee shop robbery from Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer). Aside from the hard-boiled dialogue and 50’s and 70’s nostalgia littered in every scene, the structure of "Pulp Fiction" is organized in a strange order. As the characters are introduced, they are shown to be involved in a gang of sorts in San Fernando Valley. As the story progresses, they are seen as angelic figures who commit wrongdoings and must take action to reverse their sins. While lengthy and weird, "Pulp Fiction" is a daring movie full of wit, charm, and plenty of tongue and cheek humor. (4 ½ Royales with Cheese out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 5462 Average listal rating (3763 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.6
After the critical praise of "The Shawshank Redemption," Frank Darabont was hired by Warner Brothers again to adapt another Stephen King prison thriller. This one, titled "The Green Mile," was based on King’s six-novel miniseries about the horrific events that take place in Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s death row. There, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) meets a new fish John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who despite being convicted for murder is more childish and gentle than dangerous. In fact, as the two gradually bond, Coffey has Christ-like healing powers, which make him the opportunity to cure Paul’s urinary tract infection, Mr. Jingles the mouse’s resurrection, and a brain tumor from Warden Moores’ (James Cromwell) wife (Patricia Clarkson). When I was younger, "The Green Mile" was one of my favorite movies of all time because, unlike "Shawshank," it was more action-packed. While some of that spark still holds up like the gruesome executions from Old Sparky, Duncan’s performance, and that tear-jerking ending, I have one issue with the film. Paul Edgecomb might be the least interesting character in this movie. Unlike Brutal (David Morse), Percy (Doug Hutchison), Wild Bill (Sam Rockwell) and other prisoners who have distinct personalities, Edgecomb is a blank slate, the one-shell leader who runs everything orderly, whispers his lines, and asks expository questions. I guess Tom Hanks intended to make him more like the everyman in the prison guard world, but he leaves little impression on me as King's main character. While it didn’t hold up as well as it did ten years ago, "The Green Mile" is one powerful emotional roller coaster. (4 ½ Dry Sponges out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 2795 Average listal rating (1758 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) from "There Will Be Blood" is probably one of the most horrible deadbeat dads in cinema. The middle-aged oil tycoon from early 20th Century California adopted H.W., after one of his oil rig men, the real father, is killed inside a wormhole. Ten years later, Daniel parades him around as a “family man” and enforces child labor for profit. Once his son becomes deaf from a rig explosion at Sunday Ranch, Daniel puts him aside in favor of checking on his black nectar, showing his true colors. H.W. retaliates Daniel’s charade, once his “brother” Henry (Kevin J. O’Connor) enters the picture, and is sent to an obedience school where he can be kept quiet. When he reunites with H.W, the wide shot implies that Daniel deceives his people, by fraudulent devotion, a scene that happens after the parent experienced a baptism at Eli Sunday’s (Paul Dano) church for more oil land purchase. However, his true colors emerge once H.W. grows up, marries Mary Sunday and asks Daniel for partnership in his own independent oil company. The drunken millionaire chews him out, mocking his deafness, and reveals his past exploitive intent and backstory. It is evident in this scene and throughout "There Will Be Blood" that Daniel favored shrill capitalism over his own bloodline. That statement says something for a man who worships oil as a second blood of Christ and declares himself as “the third revelation.” (4 ½ Milkshakes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
"Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" is considered to be one of the funniest political satires of all time. The obvious question is, how do you make a topic as cold and horrific as Cold War nuclear annihilation funny? Commander Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) at Burpelson Air Base orders a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union with the reluctant aid of RAF Colonel Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers). Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, US President Merkin Muffley (Sellers) tries to diffuse the situation with Ambassador Alexei Sadeski (Peter Bull), but is disrupted by General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) and scientist/ex-Nazi Dr. Strangelove (Sellers) with threats of retaliation and the doomsday machine. Unfortunately, all this commotion causes Major Kong (Slim Pickens) and his Air Force pilots at a B-52 to drop the bomb over Russian territory. Yet, all of this happened because of Ripper’s insane conspiracy that the Soviets will steal America’s precious bodily fluids. That may be why "Dr. Strangelove" gets that reputation as a comedic masterpiece because it proves that even one nutball could cause a deadly domino effect. On top of that, the sexual innuendos and imagery are littered all over the movie, like the “fluids” line, the phallic shaped bombs, the Playboy magazines in the cockpit, the intromission between two jets, and the massive retaliation described as “going all the way.” With all the wargy going on, it all boils down to a wargasm caused by mushroom clouds. Furthermore, "Dr. Strangelove" boils down to a brilliant piece of warnography disguised with tongue-in-cheek humor. (4 ½ Pie Fights out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1415 Average listal rating (815 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Barry Lyndon (1965)
In the early 1970’s, Stanley Kubrick was struggling to get his Napoleon Bonaparte biopic off the ground. After the controversial film "A Clockwork Orange," he would regather his resources and direct "Barry Lyndon," a historical epic about the grim rise and fall of 18th Century aristocracy. Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) is an Irish peasant who becomes a scapegoat from a duel with Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter) and soon drafted in the British and Prussian Armies during the Seven Years War. After the war ends, he becomes a servant to the itinerant gambler Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee), who is accused of espionage by the Prussian government. One night, feeling his riches are a sham, courts the melancholy Countess of Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), marries her and produces Bryan. During said wealthy marriage, Barry violently abuses Lord Bullingdon (Leon Vitali), Barry’s jealous stepson, Bryan dies from falling off a horse, Lady Lyndon attempts suicide, Barry loses his riches, Lord Bullingdon challenges to a duel, Barry gets his leg amputated, and he neglects the family forever. On top of the brilliant costumes, natural lighting, and impeccable production design, "Barry Lyndon" could also be a possible commentary on the rise and fall of high-profile celebrities. Using Ryan O’Neal as an example, the man became an A-lister after Love Story was released in the 1970’s, engaged in public affairs with other celebrity women despite his marriages, and was a terrible parent. Also like his titular character, O’Neal let fame get the better of him so much that his career and financial success took a drastic nosedive and became estranged from his family. Even though he never achieved his dream project, Kubrick made something not only ahead of its time, but visually compelling and beautifully shot. (4 ½ Flintlocks out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 441 Average listal rating (319 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
You know how Martin Scorsese’s movies allude to Catholic ideology as a gimmick to enforce sympathy on his anti-heroes? Well, his Netflix entry "The Irishman" proves to be the best one throughout his filmmaking career. Under the alternate title “I Hear You Paint Houses,” the film is about Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a truck driver and hitman who may have been responsible for the assassination of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and had ties with the Bufalino mafia family, led by Russell (Joe Pesci). Like most Scorsese films, "The Irishman" is about a protagonist's journey into the horrible crime syndicate. But, what makes this movie stand out is that it is told like a four-hour long confession. Frank Sheeran tells his story to the audience in a retirement community about how his “house painting job” has impacted very little. His acts of covering the murder over his families’ eyes left him in exile permanently. On top of that, his friends and colleagues die in prison, leaving him in complete solitude in the nursing home with a priest who can only reward him with forgiveness. With nowhere else to turn, he can only open the door to his room, hoping that one day he will merit the same gift from his family. Even though the plot is almost identical to "Goodfellas" and there have been other movies about Jimmy Hoffa, "The Irishman" proves to be more meaningful because the payoff is much stronger. (4 ½ Beer-Streamed Footlongs out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 558 Average listal rating (333 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Another masterpiece from Merchant Ivory, "The Remains of the Day" is a romance of nostalgia and emotional adriftness. A newly hired housekeeper Sarah Kenton (Emma Thompson) and dignified and orderly head butler James Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) aided the Earl of Darlington at Darlington Hall. Meanwhile, Lord Darlington has made a peace treaty with a party of Nazi and fascist sympathizing aristocrats, stirring up the ire of Mr. Stevens, Miss Kenton, and especially American Congressman Jack Lewis (Christopher Reeve). Mr. Stevens is so loyal to his master and married to his occupation that his moral instincts become trivial. While Miss Kenton strongly goes with her own voice and vows to clean up the mess in the manor. The relationship of the two servants starts to shake as Miss Kenton accuses the head butler of hiding his emotions, not speaking expressing opinion or anything gone awry, such as the firing of two Jewish maids, the death of his father. She even frustratingly calls him out for the lack of emotional support for her marriage proposal to Tom Benn (Tim Pigott-Smith). Even twenty years later, Mr. Steven takes pride in his orderliness, as he still serves in Darlington Hall and begs Miss Kenton back to work with him. However, because she has a new life of her own and her now-ex husband’s child is on the way, refuses his offer, leaving him in solitary with his true love, his lifelong job. "The Remains of the Day" is a melancholy cautionary tale about what happens when opposing voices and emotional connection are kept in shadow. (4 ½ Porcelain Chinamen out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4091 Average listal rating (2704 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.1
Based on a novel by William Peter Blatty, who also penned the screenplay, actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) discovers a demonic possession around her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) and attempts to rescue her by hiring Father Karras (Jason Miller) and Father Marrin (Max von Sydow) to extract the spirit out of the 12-year-old girl. At first, Chris sent Regan to a number of neurosurgeons and psychiatrists, but they suggested she reach the one priest in Washington DC who’s lost his faith. Part of what made "The Exorcist" one of the scariest films of all time is not the jumpscares, the flashing faces of Pazuzu or the demonic makeup on Linda Blair. Instead, William Friedkin’s film uses sound to evoke suspense and horror. Mixing the scary 1970’s medical technology with realistic child-like screams and the various animal calls for the demonic sounds craft an unsettling atmosphere. Not to mention, Mercedes McCambridge as Pazuzu’s crackly genderly undefinable voice mixed with archival sounds of Karras’s mother and even ones from a man also adds to the unnatural aspect of the demon. To add more the discomforting horrific tone of The Exorcist, Friedkin set up visual effects without consulting the actors to earn a genuine reaction on set. While this old-fashioned Hollywood technique would never be acceptable today and Blair and Burstyn suffered back injuries onset, it creates higher emotional stakes for them and makes the film all the more thrilling. Sadly, that authenticity to sound would and could never be replicated, especially with all the ripoff films circling around in the direct-to-video market. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t because the only horror film to get sound right is "The Exorcist." (4 ½ Pea Soups out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1385 Average listal rating (1049 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.5
I have a story to tell, when I took film classes I had an unpleasant encounter with a teacher who was extremely direct, explosive, and will let you know your projects were terrible. I bring this up because the similar event happened in Damian Chazelle’s "Whiplash," a film about inspiring jazz band drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) and his uneasy experience with his brutal tutor Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Likewise, the film, based on his own short, was loosely based on Chazelle’s experience in a competitive jazz group in his high school as well as his struggle to pitch "La La Land." Like "Black Swan," it’s about an artist in New York who wants to create something bigger than himself, but he must make sacrifices and face challenges to achieve that great success. Andrew’s challenges include his girlfriend Nicole (Melissa Benoist), his moderately successful father Jim (Paul Reiser) and another student who Fletcher intends to replace. On top of that, Andrew takes the physical and emotional abuse from his music mentor and must rationally grow from these experiences in order to grow into professionalism and perfection. As such, because of his mental torment, he crescendos into madness, resulting in him breaking up with Melissa, badmouthing his family, getting injured in a car collision, fighting his mentor, and getting himself expelled from Shaffer. To add more salt to his obsession in perfection, a former student committed suicide on behalf of Fletcher’s excessive impact. So, in a way, Andrew must have taught himself to continue his passion and face his biggest obstacle. Although uneasy to watch all the way, "Whiplash" is quite a harrowing film. (4 ½ Raisinets out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4633 Average listal rating (3029 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Darren Aronofsky is one of the most bold and prolific filmmakers in modern cinema, dealing with obsessively disturbed characters whose desires take dark turns. In this case, "Black Swan," he depicts a young ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) who wants the parts of Odette and Odile in “Swan Lake” and goes to extreme lengths to earn them. In fact, she wants the main parts so much that she starts to crescendo into madness and experience a collage of hallucinations and transformations. She envisions sprouting black feathers, doubles of herself walking by, her legs bending backwards, and stabbing her double (i.e. herself) during the ballet performance. In some aspects, Aronofsky seems to repeat the same themes from "Requiem for a Dream," except Nina’s weakness isn’t addiction and delusion, but instead competition and fear of mediocrity. Once Lily (Mila Kunis) enters the picture, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) seems to favor her over Nina because of Lily’s elaborate lusty grace. Behind the scenes, Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) is sheltering her away from her success in case her daughter’s big steps were to lead to her failure. Nina’s biggest obstacles overwhelm her and eventually cost her life, but they also help push herself into the role of the Swan Queen and give the performance of a lifetime. In real life, some of the most successful artists and actors, especially in New York City, make dire sacrifices to accomplish the best in their craft. "Black Swan" distorts this philosophy with melodramatic, disturbing, and psychological proportions, thus creating another one of Aronofsky’s best films. (4 ½ Webbed Toes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
Peter Jackson’s films may have ranged from mystical to over-the-top to downright silly, but the series that turned him into a Hollywood staple name was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first film, "The Fellowship of the Ring," introduces us to Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) who is asked by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) to make a lifelong quest to destroy The One Ring of Sauron, the most powerful ring of the twelve rings. They recruit with Elrond (Hugo Weaving), the other Fellowship members Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Boromir (Sean Bean), and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Maiden Arwen (Liv Tyler), and Queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) to travel to Mordor and complete their quest. Jackson’s first foray into fantasy-adventure is probably the most magnificent out of all his films. The New Zealand director has delved into fantasy before to a small extent with "Heavenly Creatures," but his version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved books is where he glows with the genre. "The Fellowship of the Ring" is also where his knowledge of visual effects has exceeded expectations. His biggest challenge was to find the various practical illusions to make the tiny Hobbits seem real. It is all accomplished with forced perspective, building small scale replicas of the set, hiring dwarf doubles, and filming composite shots on a blue screen. With all the visual effects taking place, this culminated into one of the most triumphant technical achievements of the 21st Century. Ultimately, combined with the terrific cast of characters and an intriguing story, "The Fellowship of the Ring" is a mystical start of an epic cinematic journey. (4 ½ Honey Cakes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 3701 Average listal rating (2438 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
I'll admit, it has been an extraordinary hot minute since I have seen "The Wizard of Oz," but it’s still a wonderful film even while witnessing it as an adult. Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) is a young girl from a farm in Kansas who gets whisked away by a tornado and lands on the land of Oz. There, she comes across colorful characters like Glinda the Good Witch (Billie Burke), the brainless Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Woodsman (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bart Lahr), a town full of Munchkins, and the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton). She and her newfound fantasy friends must fight the witch and visit The Wizard at Emerald City (Frank Morgan) to take her back home. According to many scholars and historians, this film and the books by L. Frank Baum allude to the American Dream and the people of lower social class desire to achieve it in the late 1890’s. The scarecrow resembles the American farmers and their crop discontent prior to the 20th Century. The tin man is a metaphor of American industry workers on the stepping stone to the highest steel-making country. The cowardly lion might be a satire on William Jennings Bryan, a Democrat politician who lost the 1896 presidential election to William McKinley. Finally, Dorothy is the sweetness or goodness in the heart of the common lower-class American. However, according to most families and children who have seen it for the first time, "The Wizard of Oz" is a timeless classic that has memorable songs, colorful characters and imaginative production design. (4 ½ Jitterbugs out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 413 Average listal rating (262 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
"Fiddler on the Roof" may be one of my favorite Broadway musicals ever made, probably in my top five. So, naturally with Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s show this popular in the 1960’s, a film version would be just as great. In the small town of Anatevka, Tevye (Chaim Topol) is a milkman who takes strong pride in Jewish tradition and wants to keep it balanced for his family. His daughters on the other hand, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), Hodel (Michele Marsh), and Chava (Neva Small) dream of an environment bigger than they’re used to and want to marry based on love rather than whoever Yente the matchmaker (Molly Picon) suggests. Tzeitel hooks up with Motel the tailor (Leonard Frey), then Hodel links with Perchik (Paul Michael Glaser) and Chava elopes with Fyedka (Raymond Lovelock), all defying Tevye’s orders. At first, he agrees for the sake of love for them, but as soon as Marxist ideas are spread, the constable raids Anatevka, and everyone evacuates the town, he loses hope, faith, and even Chava. What I love about this movie is that it starts with pure bliss and gradually descends into dreary melancholy. However, unlike "The Sound of Music" where the dramatic moments happen suddenly with very little hints in the beginning, "Fiddler’s" drama is foreshadowed even before the first song and the motifs of conflicting ideology occur throughout the stage show. As Tevye points out, “Every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck,” showing the audience that one day their tradition will be unbalanced, fall to the ground and turn the world upside down. However, even after his life is tarnished by religious injustice and prosecution, Tevye still has one small sliver of hope that tradition will always be with him. (4 ½ Sewing Machines out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 2208 Average listal rating (1413 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Raging Bull (1980)
Jake LaMotta, the Raging Bull, is not just a wild boar, he’s also a bad egg with a rotten yolk in the middle. In Martin Scorsese's biopic "Raging Bull," the former middleweight champion (Robert De Niro) goes on a path from his boxing career, to owning a nightclub in Miami, to losing everything due to his gluttony and greed. Much like Charles Foster Kane, he treats everyone around him, including his brother and manager Joey (Joe Pesci) and his second wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), as objects, and gains pride in his own self-worth. Even when he’s trying to make amends with his loved ones, Jake is still a fat pig with a heart like an ape. Yet, Scorsese builds a window for the audience to find pathos in Jake as he retires his winning title, unsuccessfully sells the jewels from his belt, and is sent to jail for introducing a teenage bar patron to other men. In terms of his career, Jake constantly aims for the prize to only make himself a god among all contenders. LaMotta’s love and passion for boxing is incorporated with excerpts from operas like “Cavalleria Rusticana,” “Silvano,” and “Guglielmo Ratcliff,” to give a nirvanic trance or existential enlightenment. Also, the explosive fight with Joey to the fight in the arena shows he’s just as much a monster on the ring as he is at home. At the end, Jake laments about his shattered dreams in front of the mirror, quoting the line from On The Waterfront to support his loss. So, with all the fragmented relationships, his larger-than-life shrewdness, or his passion for boxing, you get a difficult, yet another compelling entry into Marty’s masterpiece library. (4 ½ Overcooked Steaks out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
Mike Nichols is introduced to the film world with one of the greatest theatrical powerhouses in the past sixty years. In Edward Albee’s "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf," Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) and George (Richard Burton) are a middle-aged New England couple who go through a complicated path during the autumn years of their marriage. During a university faculty party in the evening, the dysfunctional duo rope a younger couple Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis) into their ongoing marital strife, humiliating them. As the party continues, we learn more and more about everyone’s secrets and how they hide them from each other. In fact, both husbands are hiding skeletons from their wives, who refuse to accept the grim reality. Nick is trying to shelter away his wife’s miscarriage and resentment toward his father-in-law. Honey spends the majority of her time drinking brandy, peeling labels off liquor bottles and solo dancing and gets queasy from hearing about her trauma. George buries the evidence of his son’s death from Martha by eating the telegram and distracting the guests with games and silly nursery rhymes. Martha, the Earth mother, flirts with Nick in a game of “Hump the Hostess” and is not afraid to show off her husband’s flops, including not being the head of the history department. With Albee’s circle of emotional turmoil, child-like fantasy, and traumatic delusion, "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf" turns into a classic milestone of 20th Century theater. (4 ½ Snapdragons out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 529 Average listal rating (309 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
Jean Renoir’s "La Grande Illusion," considered one of the greatest French films of all time, is an anti-war film about the hope the terrible years of World War I will come to an end. The film also alludes to the emotional realism of The Great Depression in Europe, akin to "All Quiet on the Western Front." French aviators Lieutenant Maréchal (Jean Gabin), Lieutenant Rosenthal (Marcel Dalio) and Captain de Boëldieu (Pierre Fresnay) are sent to a German prisoner-of-war camp, run by Captain von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim). There, they conspire an escape from the enemy barricade in order to return to their allies and put a stop to the war. Of course, "La Grande Illusion" was filmed during the rise of the Third Reich and the reign of Nazism and fascism. However, Renoir’s opus is as much an anti-war film as well as his disguised loose autobiography. The French filmmaker, prior to his career, served in the French cavalry during World War I. While never a prisoner of war, Renoir injured his leg while at combat causing his dismissal from his platoon as well as leaving him with a permanent limp. Also like Maréchal and Rosenthal, Renoir returned to war and finished his duty, only in Renoir's case he enlisted in a job as a photographer. Whether you think it is a war film, an anti-war film, or a loose exploration of the director’s personal life, "La Grande Illusion" is still a great film. (4 ½ Squirrels in Cages out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1344 Average listal rating (768 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival came Jane Campion's critically acclaimed feature called "The Piano." In the 19th Century, Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) travels from Scotland to New Zealand to be set for an arranged marriage by Alistar Stewart (Sam Neill) with her handcrafted piano and her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin). The relationship between him and the mute Ada is less than intimate as she cares more about her piano than her future-husband. However, her Maori-tattooed neighbor George Baines (Harvey Keitel) offers intimate favors in exchange for his land and eventually sparks fly and a love triangle ensues. Ada’s piano in "The Piano" is her only symbolic voice throughout the film, while Flora serves as her interpreter and Ada’s only method of communication is either British Sign Language or her notepad. As such, "The Piano" is about desire from the heart, as each character yearns for something and must follow their path to achieve it. Alistair’s dream is to spawn a family of his own while settling colonies in Maori territory. Ada’s wish is to find love without speaking as she lost her vocal ability when she was young and cannot understand why. George’s desire is to have a passionate connection with a woman and he does after “offering Ada piano lessons.” Alistair’s motivation is weak according to the Scottish woman, but George proves to be a perfect match for her because he speaks from the heart as opposed to the mind. (4 ½ Metal Fingers out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1901 Average listal rating (1133 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.3
Once upon a time, every freshmen including myself was assigned to read Harper Lee's “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a book that depicted Southern racial prejudice and maturity from a child’s point of view. Naturally, because her only full-length book was a major hit, it was turned into a film in 1962 by Richard Mulligan. The story is about Scout (Mary Bedham), a young daughter of poor lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in the town of Maycomb, Alabama. Meanwhile, Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of beating and raping Mayella (Collin Wilcox), the daughter of Bob Ewell (James Anderson). All the while, Scout and her brother Jem (Philip Alford) and her friend Dill (John Megna) play games and make up stories about a reclusive man named Boo Radley (Robert Duvall). One main lesson in the book and film is never understand someone else unless you fill in their shoes. Scout, being a roguish young girl who previously picked up wild ideas about who Boo Radley is, sees him rescue Jem from being attacked by Bob, they share powerful stares and she walks her back to the Radley house, having known him as a person. The other lesson in "To Kill a Mockingbird" is to fight for others or yourself even if you lose. After Atticus makes his fabulous speech about abandoning racial prejudice and supporting equality, everyone in court, including the jury, dismiss his claim and plead Tom guilty, thus killing the mockingbird. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is the cornerstone of great cinema as well as a well-done adaptation of an even better novel. (4 ½ Pocket Watches out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1505 Average listal rating (862 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Capote (2006)
Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is gathering resources to publish his latest novel “In Cold Blood,” a non-fictionalized account on the Clutter Family murders in Kansas. His main inspiration comes from his interviews with the murder suspects Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.), and Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), under permission from Detective Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) and accompanied by his best friend Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener). During his research, Capote develops a friendship with Perry and even tries to find a lawyer to defend his case before execution. Let me address the elephant in the room, Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the best versatile actors of all time, and his performance as Truman Capote exceeds beyond description. Whether through his anecdotes in a party or sharing a tragic backstory, the way he blends the New York author’s vocal articulation and mannerisms with raw emotion embodies the film as a whole. You really feel the dedication and the care that Truman puts out for his work and the people around him, especially Perry. He accomplishes “In Cold Blood,” his biggest career-breakout yet he must sacrifice self-acceptance in the end once he says goodbye to someone he may have betrayed. Bennett Miller’s directing is fascinating as well, combining the handheld camera with fragmented French New Wave editing and cold desaturated color scheme. This stylistic decision could possibly give a melancholic, if not raw, quality to Miller’s biopic. Poetic, brooding and witty, "Capote" explores the most sensational period in Truman Capote’s life, one that requires moral surrender and morale decay. (4 ½ Banana Baby Food Jars out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 291 Average listal rating (177 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Another Best Picture nominee around Henry II, "The Lion in Winter" explores the English king (Peter O’Toole) and his dynamic dilemma with his imprisoned wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), and his sons: Richard I (Anthony Hopkins), Geoffrey (John Castle), and John (Nigel Terry). All three sons quarrel over wanting the throne during Christmas and their father is in the middle of a tug of war between choosing his oldest son Richard or his personal favorite John. Also roped in is King Philip (Timothy Dalton) who wants to weave Alais (Jane Merrow), his sister, into Henry’s inheritance, while conspiring with the sons to craft war on England. Much like "Becket," "The Lion in Winter" is about power struggle and betrayal from the perspective of the royal family. However, this film feels almost like a rewrite of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” also a play about an elderly king choosing an heir, being backstabbed by his three children and accompanied by a partner who taunts him for his foolishness. In fact, there’s a line in the beginning where Henry compares himself to the legendary titular character. He says that the two are similar figures, except Lear divided his kingdom into three for his daughters. Also unlike Lear, Henry locks Richard, Geoffrey and John up in a wine cell and attempts to kill them, but fails, waking up from his violent trance and realizing that he’s not the vibrant monarch we was before. Lear, on the other hand, died holding Cordelia’s body after her execution, while Goneril and Regan met their makers after poisoning and suicide, having redemption swept away and leaving only grief to live with. Even though "Becket" works best on a story level, "The Lion in Winter" is an emotional powerhouse and pure quintessential cinema. (4 ½ Porks on Treetops out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 4787 Average listal rating (3134 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
After dropping out from college in her twenties, Sofia Coppola spent her time alone in a hotel in Japan unsure of what to do with her life, trying to balance her career in fashion, photography, and filmmaking. Thus, her crisis served as an inspiration for a sweet, funny, and harrowing feature "Lost in Translation." Here, Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are two alienated Americans living in a Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo. The two eventually meet and form an unlikely bond while pulling each other out of the darkness and finding a connection in each other. Of course, Bob and Charlotte are two depressed strangers secluded in a strange land and sheltered by their drab lives of marriage. Bob is a middle-aged actor whose career has taken a nosedive, is resorted to appearing in Suntory whiskey commercials and flashy interviews and is taking a vacation from his marriage to find himself during his midlife crisis. Also, being an American, he is removed from the Japanese environment because he can seldom interpret the language spoken there and comprehend the city’s flashy design. Charlotte, on the other hand, is a Yale graduate dragged in by her husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) and questions about her future inside her hotel room while he’s away. So, she resorts to exploring the rest of Japan and listening to self-help CDs as her only methods of escapism and quests for her inner self. Therefore, Bob and Charlotte prove to be a true match and one of the great modern film couples of the 21st Century. (4 ½ Black Toes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 1950 Average listal rating (1145 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Hours (2003)
Based on a novel by Michael Cunningham, "The Hours" covers the theme of depression and suicide within three stories set in different eras. One story, in 1920’s England, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), in the midst of writing “Mrs. Dalloway,” struggles with depression and envies her sister Vanessa Bell’s (Miranda Richardson) seemingly perfect life. Another story, in the 1950’s Los Angeles, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is suffering through an unhappy marriage with Dan (John C. Reilly) while bearing her unborn child and their son Richie (Jack Rovello) is worried about her. Final story, in present day New York, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), her lover Sally Lester (Allison Janney), and her daughter Julia (Claire Danes) are throwing a party for the now-grown up Richie (Ed Harris), who is stricken with depression and HIV. Aside from the movie being centered on the invisible web between characters, "The Hours" seems to be about the three trying to impress people while confining their emotional turmoil. Both Virginia, Laura and Richard are stuck in an unhappy lifestyle, but stay alive just to impress their loved ones. Ultimately, they also must choose whether to stay trapped in their horrible mental psychosis or leave their old homes and live under a brand new light. Unfortunately, Richard and Virginia commit suicide, still burden by fear of the hours that will occur after they die, while Laura abandons her family and “chooses life.” That was the decision after she gave birth and confessed at the end, yet it is the same decision that enforces the moral of "The Hours." You can either be cooped up in your miserable environment to please someone else, or you can start a new life and make yourself happy. (4 ½ Fake Noses out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 454 Average listal rating (237 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
"All That Jazz" follows Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a director and choreographer who’s struggling to simultaneously direct the Broadway musical “NY/LA” and the comedy film “The Stand Up.” He suffers from a cardiac arrest and is supported by his ex-wife Audrey (Leland Palmer), his teenage daughter Michelle (Erzsébet Földi), and his current girlfriend Katie Jagger (Ann Reinking). Meanwhile, in purgatory, Joe talks with the angel of death (Jessica Lange) about everything that has happened in his life and considers joining her. On top of the phantasmic sets and costumes, the impeccable metric editing, and the sublime choreography, Bob Fosse’s final musical film was based on his stressful experience directing the film Lenny and the Broadway musical ‘Chicago,’ hence the title "All That Jazz." Furthermore, most of the events in the film were based on either his personal loved ones, colleagues or his past experiences. Audrey, Angelique and Katie were based on Gwen Verdon, Joan McCracken and Ann Reinking, the directors’ third ex-wife, second late ex-wife, and partner at the time. Cliff Gorman, who played Lenny Bruce on Broadway and ironically was turned down for Fosse’s "Lenny" in favor of Dustin Hoffman, plays a Lenny Bruce-type comedian in the film-within-a-film. Joe’s childhood, told in flashbacks, reflects on Fosse’s youth training to dance and working professionally on stage and in variety shows. Finally, Joe’s obsession with death and time at the hospital is based on Fosse’s concern that at any moment he may lose his battle to cardiovascular problems. A visually dazzling spectacle about life, death and all that jazz, "All That Jazz" is Bob Fosse’s true masterpiece. (4 ½ Seltzer Water Glasses out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
People who added this item 3910 Average listal rating (2434 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Francis Ford Coppola’s war masterpiece "Apocalypse Now" is one of those movies that is about an experience, the journey into the mindset of a post-traumatic Vietnam soldier. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is hired to travel to Cambodia and kill Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has reportedly gone insane. Willard along with his crew Lance (Sam Bottoms), Chef (Frederic Forrest), Phillips (Albert Hall) and Clean (Laurence Fishbourne) hop on a patrol boat and head across the river and, on their way, encounter a duo of Playboy models, a surf-loving, napalm-smelling Lieutenant Kilgore (Robert Duvall), and a photojournalist (Dennis Hopper), who warns Willard of the horrors that Kurtz has in store. As this journey progresses, you’re witnessing a posse of errand boys sent by grocery clerks crescendo into madness. That same madness is the horror and mortal terror of the Vietnam War in which they have befriended. Willard, in particular, is constrained to the war so much that he fears doing disservice to the US Army would be suicidal, so he kills Kurtz, completing his mission. Oddly enough, Francis Ford Coppola himself experienced the insanity while filming Apocalypse Now witnessing the horror of everything going wrong during production. As documented in Hearts of Darkness, Coppola suffered from a mental breakdown because of a variety of delays, including a typhoon that destroyed most of the sets, Martin Sheen’s mid-production heart attack, Marlon Brando gaining weight, and all of them causing the film to go weeks behind schedule and the budget to balloon massively. On top of that, four editors assembled together the messy footage in post-production for two years. So, in a way both Coppola and Willard have met the faces of horror, the post-traumatic impact of war and the film "Apocalypse Now," and made friends with them. (4 ½ Heads in Spikes out of 5)
mhthehammer's rating:
Load more items (428 more in this list)

A while ago I did a Best Picture winners review list. However, I wanted to branch out and review the nominees to complete the whole retrospective. Plus, some of them were in some instinct better than the winners. As for the last countdown, I will be giving a short summary of each and rate them out of 5.

Keep in mind that this list is completely 100% opinion based, so don't take my thoughts so seriously if you don't agree with what you read. This is my take on all of the Best Picture nominees.

(P.S. Stay tuned for more reviews on this list. There will be at least four hundred entries.)

Added to

Related lists

Happy Birthday! - Louis Jourdan
21 item list by Moon River
18 votes 1 comment
Grammy Awards 2017
68 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
12 votes 1 comment
Grammy Awards 2016
94 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
13 votes 1 comment
Golden Globes 2016
125 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
15 votes 1 comment
Grammy Awards 2015
72 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
12 votes 2 comments
Critics' Choice Movie/TV Awards 2016
104 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
9 votes 1 comment
Critics Choice Movie/TV Awards 2017
90 item list by IsabellaSilentRose
7 votes 1 comment
Golden Globe 2012 nominations
65 item list by Mariana
4 votes 2 comments

View more top voted lists

People who voted for this also voted for