Tag Archives: Gary Oldman

20th Anniversary Film Review: The Fifth Element

Author’s note: I rewatched the 4k restauration of the original 1997 film “The Fifth Element” in a local theater. This review is meant as a revision and appreciation of the film, having had the benefit of time to inform the impact and cultural significance of the piece in the cinematic landscape. 

Very few films in the history of Hollywood offer as much popcorn-friendly entertainment with as much artistic flamboyance as The Fifth Element. Written and directed by Luc Besson, the film is, per the director’s own analysis, an European interpretation of an American sci-fi blockbuster: colorful, playful, effortlessly cool, and sometimes nonsensical yet always fun to watch.

Continue reading 20th Anniversary Film Review: The Fifth Element

Top 10 favorite male performances of the last 5 years

It has been over two weeks without a post from yours truly and I figured I needed to close the year in proper blogging fashion. Being that I will NOT be posting a best films of 2013 list before the end of the solar year, I thought I would gather my thoughts to share my favorite acting performances of the last five years.

First, I will give you my favorite 10 male performances in alphabetical order followed, in a couple of days, by my 10 favorite female roles of the half-decade from 2009 to 2013 (warning: blind spots in 2013 abound!)

As usual, I expect discerning tastes, and I would love to hear some recommendations as to whom should have made my list.

Continue reading Top 10 favorite male performances of the last 5 years

The Best Films of 2011 (updated)

It comes 10 months into 2012 but, for the first time, I am confident enough to make my own list of the “best” films of 2011.

Imagine how important it was for me to wait until now to publish this list, that the film that eventually ends up at the top is one that I only managed to watch 3 weeks ago. Without it, this list would have been a crime against my own taste.

Instead of giving you a top 10 or a top 20, I simply give you a run-down of all of the films that received, at the very least, a 4/5 (very good) in my rating system. The result is that there are 17 films out of the almost 100 films from 2011 that I managed to watch, 11 of which received a 4/5, five films received a 4.5/5 and only one received the very rare 5/5.

Despite still missing some highly praised films released the previous solar year (it is impossible to cover them all), I now give you my favorite films of 2011 (and why they are) when we are already in October 2012:

Continue reading The Best Films of 2011 (updated)

Film Round-up: May, June & July

During the past 3 slow months worth of blogging, I have seen many different films that have not enjoyed the benefit of a review. To try to catch up I offer a long collection of small reviews of most of the films I have watched in the last three months that did not get a review until now. A total of 24 films, a couple of which will get longer in-depth reviews. The highlights of the list are Weekend and Sunshine, both very different but very pleasant surprises.

I apologize in advance if this gets a little long. Enjoy:

The French Connection (1971)

Genre: Action/Thriller

Cast: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

Director: William Friedkin

Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Robin Moore (original novel), Howard Hanks

Rating: 3.5/5 (good)

Starring Gene Hackman in a now famous role as tough cop Jimmy Doyle, The French Connection is an intense thriller that takes place in the harsh New York winter of 1970.

Most of the success of the film is due to its intensity and realism, displaying some of the most exciting chase sequences ever put on film. These have surprisingly lost little of their power over time, feeling current even today (minus antiquated vehicles and fashion). The cast is also excellent, further enriching the well-crafted dynamic between cops, informants, low-lives and criminals. I just wish the film had focused less on the details and intricacies of case-solving and criminal chasing and more on character-building.

Continue reading Film Round-up: May, June & July

IMDB Top 250: Leon: The Professional

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Jean Reno (Leon), Natalie Portman (Mathilda), Gary Oldman (Stansfield)

Year: 1994

Before emotionally troubled hitmen were popularized once again by characters like Jason Bourne, director Luc Besson brought “Leon: The Professional” to the big screen. Played by the effortlessly cool and capable Jean Reno, the film has amassed a cult following ever since it was released in 1994, helping to cement its position close to the top of the IMDB Top 250 list.

Jean Reno plays Leon, a rather unremarkable middle aged hitman who has grown to become the ultimate expression of strategic and methodical violence. He works for a single client, local mob boss Tony (Danny Aiello), who has taken him under his wing ever since he landed as an illiterate immigrant in the New York harbor. Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Leon: The Professional

A few words about the Academy Awards nominations

As I managed to finally close a project at the firm I work in just this past weekend, the Academy Awards announced their nominations for the best in another year of film.

As always, the Academy surprises all of us, in positive and negative ways, unless you are at the ends of the spectrum of taste that is. For those who enjoy blockbusters or mainstream cinema, the Academy gave several nominations to “Bridesmaids”, “The Help” and “Puss in Boots”. If, on the other hand, you love smaller, modest films, the Academy gave space to “Albert Nobbs” or “A Better Life”. Even for those who enjoy the oddballs, art-house type films, the Academy managed to shine a light, even if it was a very dim one at that, to films like “The Tree of Life” and “Drive” (it was only nominated for technical awards).

Having said this, lets dig in deeper and talk about each category while I throw in my predictions:

Continue reading A few words about the Academy Awards nominations