Before The Devil Knows You're Dead - 2008 directed by Sidney Lumet
Due to Lumet's death last week, I decided I would watch at least one of his films in honour of his memory. I chose his last one, which has received much praise and features many excellent actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Albert Finney.
Despite the films tone, which can be best described as sombre, bleak and at times horrific yet always realistic, I really enjoyed it. Lumet went out on a very high note, which is something that can't be said for all great directors.
The Graduate - 1967 directed by Mike Nichols
Another classic I had never seen before. I had read the book before watchign the film and have to say it was very much like the book, a great adaptation. I was also surprised by how different this film was from the Classic Hollywood films that were being made just a few years before it, this film thankfully helped in triggering the New-Wave, along with Bonnie and Clyde which was released the same year, thus it was far more open in it's themes and far more controversial than one might have expected.
It's far from being a perfect film though, I thought the performances weren't particularly exceptional and a number of scenes were quite tedious.
Hard Eight AKA Sidney- 1996 directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Anderson is a very talented director, at times his work is reminiscent of Kubrick, at times of Scorsese as well as many other great director.
This was his first film, it features some of the actors he would go on to work with many times again such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly and Philip Baker Hall.
It also gives you a sense of just how great a director this man is.
Punch Drunk Love - 2002 directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
A good film, but possibly my least favourite of Anderson's. I like many aspects of it, such as the stunning directing, Emily Watson's performance and of course Philip Seymour Hoffman as the particularly nasty villain. But as a whole it just didn't interest me as much as Anderson's other films. Sandler was annoying and frankly not really up to the task when compared to all the other performances in the film, but that said I can understand why he was cast in the role and it surely was an interesting choice.
But overall, I'm just not a big fan of romantic films, but this one surely ranks among one of the best I've seen.
Match Point - 2005 directed by Woody Allen
In this film, Woody Allen really succeeded in making one of the most unlikeable characters in recent memory.
The film itself is very well made and definitely was a return to form for Woody Allen, but I thought the pacing was a bit of a problem, it also took me a while to get into the film, at first I wasn't impressed much, but by the end I realised that this is probably the best thing Allen has done for quite a while.
In my opinion it had quite a few problems though, it's view of the rich in England and their lives in London was far to romantic for much of the film, but as a whole it was a good film that I don't regret having watched, just nowhere near as great as some of Allen's other films such as Hannah and Her Sisters or Annie Hall.
Barking Dogs Never Bite - 2000 directed by Bong Joon Ho
Yet another excellent film from one of the best directors working today. This is his first film, which is far less known than his later works such as The Host, Mother and his best, Memories Of Murder. As always he deftly combines humour, tragedy, social critique, suspense and various eccentricities to make an excellent film that is slower than his later work but still very well put together from a narrative point of view.
Thelma And Louise - 1991 directed by Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley is often cited as one of the best directors. But I've just never been a fan of his work, of course he's done some good film and even some very good films, but I don't think any of them would be included in my all time favourites list. Thelma and Louise is another of his films which I wasn't overly impressed by. There are many good aspects, such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen and Susan Sarandon's performances as well as the unexpected ending, some great shots of the US landscape and a pretty goo d score. But there was an almost equal amount of aspects I didn't like, such as many of the characters, and the accents which I found particularly grating. I also felt it was a bit to long, and went over the top towards the end, with the explosion and the descent into some kind of "Blues Brothers" style chase scene.
I still think it's a good film, just a very flawed film. Ridley Scott is capable of much worse after all, one just has to look at Robin Hood to see that...
Another problem I had was the feminist aspect of the film, which is one of the main themes and was often glaringly obvious. I thought it wasn't really feminism, it was just female freedom scene from the point of view of men, for just because your "free" doesn't mean to have to go around robbing people and causing destruction. All this was handled in a fashion that was far to heavy handed.