Starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybil Sheppard, and Ben Johnson, with director Peter Bogdanovich, the film revolves around young people in a small Texas town during the early 1950s. Although at first glance it seems simple and innocent, there is another side to the town, full of romantic entanglements, fights, and even deaths. Sonny (Bottoms) and Duane (Bridges) are best friends without any real parents, only each other and some of the town folk. They have a falling out over a girl (Sheppard) and then Sonny sees the girl go off to college while Duane returns shortly only to ship out to Korea. However, Sonny is able to make amends with his friend and they see the last picture show. In the absence of his friends, Sonny is left in need of someone to fill the void. This film is interesting because it is shot with black and white cinematography and it only uses period music. This effectively creates a setting that appears to be very realistic.
This autobiographical boxing film directed by Martin Scorsese, stars Robert De Niro, Kathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci. The film begins with a flashback to 1941 when Jake LaMotta (De Niro) lost a close fight. However, after that loss he begins his run for the middle weight title. Despite a difficult marriage, Jake’s brother and manager introduces him to the young and beautiful Vickie. He continues to fight and in 1947 he is married once again. LaMotta has his share of troubles in the ring but he eventually becomes champion. At the same time his personal life is in a shambles thanks to his constant jealousy and paranoia towards his wife and brother. First, he is estranged from Joey and his career declines. Then after his retirement, Vickie files for a divorce. His days are spent entertaining in nightclubs as a washed up boxer. I enjoyed the reference to On the Waterfront at the end and despite the coarse language, the film had good characters, cinematography, and directing. LaMotta’s life is one that I hope no one would have to experience because there is so much pain and anger in it.
In honor of these London games I thought I would review one of the best Olympic films in Chariots of Fire .
Telling the intertwining stories of two runners, Eric Liddel and Harold Abrams, the film leads up to their trials and triumphs in the 1924 Olympics. Liddel is a Christian Scot who believes he has been called to run and he takes his faith very seriously. Abrams on the other hand is a proud Jewish runner who wants to be the best. Liddel is faced with the prospect of running on the Sabbath which goes against his beliefs. Abrams is extremely afraid of failure because running is his life. With those problems they enter the Olympics and end up flourishing for Britain. After the two men are deceased two of their mates reflect on those great days that they experienced together. This film may seem simple but that does not make it any less powerful. The main theme reverberates through your head hours after wards. What more of a compliment do you need then a Mr. Bean parody at the London games?
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.
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:
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
1. Tokyo Story
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Citizen Kane
4. 8 1/2
5. Taxi Driver
6. Apocalypse Now
7. The Godfather
10. Bicycle Thieves
Please vote on the superhero movie poll if you have a chance . Leave a comment if there is another superhero film you like better. Thanks!
Starring 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.