100 movies: Miller’s Crossing

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

Miller's CrossingMiller’s Crossing (18/07/12)

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Onto my third Coen Brothers film of the year. The others being The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona. You know what? I definitely prefer their earlier films. Not saying that their more recent ones aren’t as good. But there’s just something different about these flicks that I find myself really loving.

Miller’s Crossing is being added to the list of my favourite Coen Brothers films. I’ll be honest. I was lost in the beginning. And I’ll be even more honest. This is the second time I’ve tried to see this film. First time barely counts. I was asleep for most of it! (I did the same thing with The French Connection earlier this year.)

Second time is the charm for me. Still a bit lost in the beginning. But I stayed awake and alert enough to get past the confusion. Those Coen Brothers do like to just drop you into the action. So to speak. There’s no real introduction. You have to piece together a few things along the way. The dialogue was so very 1920s. Sometimes I had no clue what was being said. I understood more of what those wacky kids in Attack the Block were saying. All this “high hat” business. What the what?

It didn’t matter. The characters drew me into the film. I have missed seeing Gabriel Byrne in a decent film! He’s great here as Tommy. Weaving his way through the gangs to his ultimate goal. Very clever. I did not see that coming at all. Marcia Gay Harden just oozes sex appeal throughout the whole film. But through it all, Verna never loses her credibility. Incredibly strong female character.

A lot of the look and feel of this film reminded me of the brother’s remake of True Grit. Some of the visuals definitely felt familiar, from that film. Miller’s Crossing has a wonderful feeling to it. From the dialogue to the sets and the music. Sure some of the fight scenes might have been a little over the top, but wasn’t everything back then?

A great Coen Brothers film. And yes, I did catch Sam Raimi’s cameo!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: The Big Lebowski

100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

The Big LebowskiThe Big Lebowski (18/03/12)

“Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Dude. This was brilliant! Funny as hell. Ever so slightly out there. Expect nothing less from the Coen Brothers. Looking at some of the individual scenes from this film, you wouldn’t think they’re from the same feature. Yet they are. And they all work.

Jeff Bridges’ Dude is fantastic. He’s a bit of a stoner, yet by the end of the film he’s got it all figured out. As ludicrous as it all was. Guess it was all a series of unfortunate events. Or just events. Usually I don’t warm towards stoner dudes, but it’s hard not to love the Dude.

The great thing about this film is that it’s incredibly smart and clever. Hugely so. But … it’s a comedy. It’s a fun movie. Yet it goes a little deeper without making the audience film stupid. At all.

This film gave me more of a warm and fuzzy feeling by the end of it more than any of the recent romance or dramas I’ve seen. And for that, it should be commended. Loved it!
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Lagging behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I hit a dry-spell. Summer came along. I went on holiday. There is suddenly an epic amount of TV I have to watch on my list. Films just slipped away. Hopefully the next few weeks of film-age should change that.

Transformers: Dark of the MoonTransformers: Dark of the Moon (29/06/11)

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

Sometimes I think I’ve given this film a slightly higher rating than it truly deserves. It wasn’t a great film. It bordered on being a good film at the best of times. And yet I’ve given it a 4/5. Why? My childhood bias, I believe.

Dark of the Moon isn’t nearly as strong as the first film, a lot stronger than the second film but with plenty of hiccups. It’s literally a film of two halves. The first half being filled with some of the worst characters I have ever seen in a film. The second half filled with some of the best CG and most awesome robots ever seen.

Question – what on Earth did they do to Sam’s character? He’s gone from being a likeable and very relatable character in the first film to being the most annoying in the third. I just wanted him to stop complaining and whining about his poor pathetic life and just get on with things.

I have to admit – Alan Tudyk’s character, Dutch, did make me laugh. He was funny! Well, he brought some light relief.

What this Transformers film did better was focus on the robots. They’re in the title after all! But still not enough. The battle in Chicago was awesome to see. Grateful that I chose 2D over 3D. My retinas would have been dying after some of the battle sequences. It should all have been about the Transformers and less about Sam’s inability to get on with his life and the weak politics of the great US of A.

Steve Jablonsky has once again produced a very fitting score. While he did produce a theme for this film, I couldn’t help but thinking of the score from The Last Samurai, when I listen to it.

If there’s a plan to do a fourth, there’s still plenty to learn from this third film.
Rating: 4/5

PredatorsPredators (30/07/11)

A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators.

I was expecting something along the lines of the original Arnie Predator when I started watching this film. I was mightily disappointed.

There was just nothing special about the film. Sure we see a slightly more evolved predator and there’s some more story given to those ugly aliens, but everything else was just blah. Nothing unexpected, nothing new. Felt like a very by the numbers film.

I thought with a name like Robert Rodriguez onboard they’d be something more in the film. Sadly there was not. I’d happily take Predator and Predator 2 over this one.
Rating: 2/5

Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The First Avenger (31/07/11)

After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top-secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

The onslaught of summer comic book films continues. I did enjoy watching Captain America, but it just lacked that something extra that made Thor and X-Men: First Class great comic book films.

Chris Evans did a great job as Steve Rogers. He filled out the role I was expecting of Capt. America. Gave the film some heart. Good job! The villain of the piece – Red Skull… he was, well just didn’t convince. Who else does the great Captain America go up against but a Hitler-esque adversary?

Or maybe it was the whole plot of the film. The plot didn’t veer from going from A to B. There weren’t any surprises. A lot of the time I couldn’t help thinking the plot was very similar to that of GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.

I think it’s getting harder and harder for comic book films to really stand out from the crowd. There are just so many of them. Captain America does blend into the background a little bit, but as it’s part of The Avengers franchise, we’ll be seeing more of Cap. And I’m actually happy about that. I see potential, everything’s there. Just a better story.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: Into the 90s

100 movies of 2010

I’m hoping I’ll be able to go well over my target of 100 movies this year. I’m in the 90s already!

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (19/09/10)
Tony Scott films are a guilty pleasure of mine. More often than not the plot’s not the strongest point, but the film makes for good entertainment – Deja Vu, Man on Fire, Days of Thunder, Enemy of the State, Top Gun… Fun, fun, FUN action films. Pelham’s up there with them too. I’ve not seen the original, so I can’t make any educational comparisons. What I can say is that it’s a decent action/thriller movie with Travolta playing it up as the villain and Denzel doing his thing as the hapless good guy. Bring on Unstoppable!
Rating: 3/5

The Last Exorcism (20/09/10)
I love being scared in the cinema. The Last Exorcism did a good job of giving me some decent scares. A nice story about one man’s faith, or lack of with a twist at the end I definitely did not see coming. In fact the thing that I thought was a twist was definitely not one. Ashley Bell played a damn good possessed girl – I would not win in a staring competition against her.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the movies I’ve seen so far this year.