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Ok, now for some real movies (not animation) (in two parts because of length of post):|
Air Force One
The American President's aircraft, Air Force One, is hijacked, but the hijackers don't know that the President (Harrison Ford) himself is on board. And with the Chief Executive taking personal charge, this is a tense thriller with lots of action.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
A funny story of a Greek girl growing up in the US, and her aspirations in life and in romance, as seen through her eyes. Her family provides a colourful and entertaining backdrop throughout.
The Bone Collector
A tense and superb detective thriller. A brilliant police detective (Denzel Washington) is injured seriously during an investigation. Confined to his bed as a quadriplegic, and contemplating suicide, he finds himself involved in unravelling a complex series of clues being laid out meticulously by a serial killer, while at the same time putting to rest the demons in another young detective's (Angelina Jolie) life.
A very old movie, set in Africa. An English couple (the Adamsons) adopts a young lioness cub. As the cub grows up, so does their relationship. Until the time comes for them to decide on the fate of the lioness who has become a good friend. Supposed to be a true story. The acting is natural to the point of being amateurish, adding to the appeal. Gentle, sweet and poignant.
Braveheart, and The Patriot
Both these movies are based in colonial times, and have lots of similarities, with Mel Gibson in the lead role in both. In Braveheart, he is defending Scotland against English aggression. In The Patriot, he is defending America against English aggression. In both these movies he starts off as a Man of Peace who is provoked into violence when his family is attacked. And once provoked, hell hath no fury like that of Mel Gibson. Quite entertaining, both these movies. And both produced accusations of distortion of history when released.
The bridges of Madison county
The woman is married, with grown children, and living the life of a housewife on a farm in Iowa. One day, when her family is away on a trip, along comes a photographer who's interested in the bridges in that neighbourhood. That interest progresses to romance, and the woman must decide between her family and herself. Her story reveals itself through her diaries after her death, and her children get to see a side of their mother that they had never known existed. I didn't care too much for the bedroom scene. Luckily not too graphic. Sensitively portrayed by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep in the main roles.
This is an unusual kind of musical, based in Chicago, that may not appeal to everyone. Narrated--and sung--in a flowing and light-hearted vein, it takes a cynical look at the hollowness of celebrity status and how easily it can be won and lost, the lies, pretensions and heartbreak that accompany it... Catherine Zeta-Jones got an Oscar for this movie. Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere also put in great performances. And there's a catchy song from Queen Latifah too. Like I said, really enjoyable only if you can vibe with it. It's all in the words, so a good understanding of the English language and western culture is a must.
Tensions rise within a nuclear submarine, and things seem headed for a catastrophe, as the Captain (Gene Hackman) and his deputy (Denzel Washington) are crossed over whether or not to launch a nuclear attack against the enemy, even as the radio fails and communication with HQ is not possible.
Dave happens to look just like the American President. So, when the President suddenly becomes seriously ill, Dave is called to take his place secretly so that it is "business as usual" while others run the country. But then he starts taking things into his own hands, deviating from the script being laid out for him in his new role... A feel-good humour with drama and some messages.
Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a successful architect just going through life minding his own business, when his life is shattered by a brutal and mindless attack on his family. And that brings out a side of him that he himself may not have been aware of. A nice thriller, rather slow paced, but well produced and totally absorbing.
Enemy at the Gates
War story around a Russian sniper (Jude Law) during the Second World War, when the Germans come calling.
Based on a true story, but with a number of changes. Erin is a jobless single mother with two children to support. She manages to find a clerical position at a lawyer's office. By chance she comes across a medico-legal case that intrigues her, and with no legal knowledge whatsoever she starts trying to unravel a growing puzzle using just her wits and perseverance. A very convincing performance from Julia Roberts.
The great and loyal General (Russell Crowe) has served the Roman emperor and the country faithfully, and the emperor wants him to take over the reins of the empire. But the emperor's own weak and unpopular son has other ideas, and the General finds himself reduced to a slave that has to fight like a gladiator to kill or be killed. Moving, thrilling, infuriating in turn.
Goal - Part 1 and 2
A young Mexican boy dreams of becoming a soccer star. The movies follow him in his search for his dream. Contains some nice soccer scenes, and enjoyable even if you don't play sports. (Just watch out: an Indian movie called "Goal" was also produced recently.)
Gone with the Wind
An old but evergreen romantic classic set in the turbulent times when the Old South still existed with its slaves and everything. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable turn in some unforgettable performances.
The young child of a well-known woman author drowns due to negligence. Taking a break from life in a remote seaside village, the woman starts running into a young man who apparently has been dead for years. As she and everyone around her begins to doubt her sanity, she also begins to realize that a deadly web of intrigue, lies and deceit is slowly but inexorably being wound around her.
The Heavenly Kid
The guy dies in a drag race over a girl, but his soul cannot move on because of unfinished business down on earth. So he comes back to earth unwillingly, but his dislike for the task set for him slowly transforms itself as he begins to realize how wrong he had been regarding many things in life. A rather unusual but nice and enjoyable story.
Based on real incidents in Africa, the movie follows the fates of a group of people as the Hutus go to genocidal war on the Tutsis. Has some shocking bloody and barbaric scenes, but at the same time, sensitively portrayed and well produced. A very fine performance from Don Cheadle.
The story of a magician (Edward Norton), intertwined with the love of his life and the political intrigues that threaten them both. Captivating.
A story of fantasy and magic, with creative and original ideas. Two kids (one of them Robin Williams) chance upon a magic game board, and as they begin to play, their lives as well as the world around them are transformed progressively, as they move from crisis to crisis, with everything depending on the throw of dice. The story drags slightly at a few points, but otherwise it's great entertainment all round. It's far better than another copycat movie called Zathura.
Great idea, re-creating dinosaurs from their DNA extracted from ancient mosquitoes trapped and preserved in amber. The story is well balanced and nicely told, without resorting to mindless "violence for violence's sake". The quality of 3-D animation made a huge impact at the time this movie was released. Parts 2 and 3 aren't particularly great, and you can give them a miss without losing much.
This is actually quite a hilarious movie, covering a mishmash of student life, sororities, law schools, beauty parlours and courtrooms. A young blonde beauty queen wants to make it to law school to win back her boyfriend who has ditched her because he feels she's not good enough for him. Part 2 is not too bad, though it gets a bit predictable. Good for whiling away a lazy afternoon.
Life is beautiful
This is almost like two separate movies. The first part is mostly about the happy-go-lucky young Italian Jewish guy who sings, dances and jokes his way through life, and his amorous dalliances with a young (non-Jewish) girl that leads to their marriage, interspersed with lots of really crazy humour (slightly overdone at times). And they settle down to a quiet life with their little boy, a totally adorable little thing. But then the Nazis invade Italy, and this family ends up in the concentration camp. The story is then about the guy's constant struggle to keep his wife and especially his child alive and sane, with nothing but his sense of humour and his quick thinking. A particularly noteworthy scene is the guy's "Italian" translation of the camp commander's instructions in German. Look past the absurdity and glimpse the underlying tragedy there. Makes you laugh and cry at the same time.
[ Last edited by changcheng at 2007-12-13 02:36 PM ]