The Godfather Part II (1974)

Starring a cast including Al Pacino and Robert De Niro with director Francis Ford Coppola, the film opens with a young Vito Corleone coming to America. The story switches gears to 1958 in Nevada where Michael Corleone has successfully moved the family. However, after a close call Michael goes to Miami and then Cuba to attend to some business having to do with a man named Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg). The story alternates off and on to Vito as a young man who begins making a life for himself. Upon returning to Michael, he is in a senate hearing where he narrowly avoids being indicted for his activities. From that point on Michael shows no mercy to anyone who is in his way and that includes his family. By the end of the film he is no longer the former idealistic Michael but a callous, cold mobster.

This film was a good installment of The Godfather, acting as both a sequel and prequel. However, at times the split story did seem unnecessary but it does show a contrast between Vito and Michael. The acting, the score, and the directing were all very good. I will let others decide which installment is superior but I will say that this film shows the darker side of Michael. Ironically, he worked so hard to be strong for his family but as he feared he ultimately lost them.

4.5/5 Stars

Sight & Sound List (2012)

 

The Sight & Sound poll for the top 10 greatest films came out recently because it is conducted every 10 years and the last polling was 2002 . The list is in and ranked #1 is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo! It has beaten out Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane which had held the title for a very long time.
Here are the lists:
Critics’ Poll
1. Vertigo
2. Citizen Kane
3. Tokyo Story
4. The Rules of the Game
5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. The Searchers
8. Man with a Movie Camera
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
10. 8 1/2
Directors’ Poll
1. Tokyo Story
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Citizen Kane
4. 8 1/2
5. Taxi Driver
6. Apocalypse Now
7. The Godfather
7. Vertigo
9. Mirror
10. Bicycle Thieves

 

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

68168-shawshankredemptionmovieposterStarring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the film begins with a young banker who is falsely accused of murdering his wife and her lover. He soon finds himself in Shawshank prison, the year 1947. When he arrives the resourceful “Red” (Freeman) believes the aloof man will be a pushover. However, after a major turning point Andy does many extraordinary things in the prison. Whether it is a nice deed for a friend, improving the prison library, carving chess pieces out of rock, or doing taxes for the guards, he keeps himself busy. The strict warden keeps him down but unlike others, Andy does not lose hope. He still has one miraculous trick up his sleeve. Fittingly he instills “Red” with hope and in the end they are reunited. I found this film intriguing because in such a corrupt and immoral place, Andy always seems to strive for good. His spirit is ultimately inextinguishable.

4.5/5 Stars