For me, this Tim Burton flick from 1988 is one of the best films of the era, as well as one of my all time favorite personal films. It's the first time Michael
Bryan Singer, the man who brought us Keyser Söze in 1995's The Usual Suspects, presents the real-life story of Claus von Stauffenberg and the 20 July plot in Valkyrie (2008). Tom Cruise stars as the quietly determined von Stauffenberg, trying to save Germany from certain destruction and devastation at the hands of his supreme commander Adolf Hitler (David Bamber). An ensemble cast (Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, and Tom Wilkinson) provide the support as German officers and politicians who are caught between saving their country, or saving themselves.
But what of the cast of characters in Valkyrie? These men who had taken arms to defend Germany's honor and pride, and now found themselves fighting a war they could not win for causes they had stopped believing in? Five of the cast of Valkyrie have appeared in other notable World War II movies - two in Der Untergang and three in 2001's Conspiracy (which provided some base of influence for Valkyrie). The one notable exception (who, to the best of my knowledge, has not appeared in a WWII movie) is Tom Cruise. And maybe, somehow, he suffers from this relative inexperience.
Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland (based on Giles Folden's novel of the same name) is a dramatic retelling of the reign of Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, told through the eyes of Amin's personal physician. While the movie falls short on some points, it is a powerful and haunting story of one man's insanity and inhumanity, and the hell he brought to a country that trusted and believed in him.
That said, when necessary, The Last King of Scotland does not hide the barbarity of Idi Amin. There are precisely two scenes in this movie that are not for the squeamish, and if they're the only visual takeaways of the utter depravity and bloodshed that Amin visited upon Uganda, then Kevin Macdonald's mission is accomplished.
The story is remarkable, and really shows the about of pain and suffering people have to withstand as they try to make it in this very tough world. The movie does not hold back, and there was a couple times during the movie that I had a real hard time looking at the screen, showcasing harsh realities.
It was a very interesting film in many ways. First, it wasn't really at all about his personal life or anything to do with anything outside of the rehearsal venue, but everything to do with the rehearsal and the process of putting on an incredible concert. The viewer got a chance to watch some of the dancer's auditions, and got to hear interviews by them, with many saying it was a life-long dream to dance with Michael Jackson.
Harvey "Two-Face" Dent is introduced to the new Batman universe in The Dark Knight as one of the few honest lawmen left in Gotham City. The dream doesn't last long. Aaron Eckhart taps into Dent's fall from grace into hatred, revenge and madness rivetingly well. It's the modern-day tragic hero, someone we look up to and respect, a man willing to take the fall for a greater good. Dent's pain and anguish shows through the CGI, and no matter what he does as Two-Face, you can't help but feel for him. Eckhart is that good.
I was probably one of the last few people in the Western Hemisphere to have seen Christopher Nolan's 2008 epic The Dark Knight. It was worth the wait. After years in development hell, the Batman franchise found a new home with Nolan's Batman Begins, in 2005. It re-introduced a grittier, darker Batman, miles away from the camp and clichés that had killed the Batman franchise dead in 1997, and set the scene for the invigorated, 21st century Batman to take off.
There's an endless run of classic scenes from Woody Allens formative years. This scene is one of them. What's better than an old man getting tied up?
Being a dystopian film set in England, V for Vendetta does carry its fair share of Big Brother clichés - secret police, ominous party symbolism, and an almost-literal "Big Brother is watching you" feel. I imagine that for viewers unfamiliar with films of this ilk, it will chill and terrify; for the rest of us, though, we smile knowingly (more so because John Hurt is Big Brother).
In 2005, James McTeigue and the Wachowski brothers brought us V for Vendetta, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It is a tale of freedom, of hope; of Natalie Portman with a shaved head, and Hugo Weaving delivering lines of pure poetry and charm from behind a Guy Fawkes mask. It's a polarizing film, for many reasons - timeless truths told against familiar and strange backdrops. In trying to widen the appeal (and the message) of the film, McTeigue and the brothers Wachowski make plenty of insinuations who they think the enemies are, which takes the edge of what is an otherwise sharp film.
I’ve not ever been weary of a film based solely on the fact that it wins awards. And I had no qualms about watching The Hurt Locker, until I got about twenty minutes into it at least.
The Hurt Locker seem just that much more interesting.