Posted tagged ‘films’

Top 5 Biographical Films

August 24, 2011

Simply put, I am a fan of a well-made biographical film. It seems that they provide a sort of entertainment that isn’t necessarily available in a fictional film. I really can’t explain why this is, and it isn’t always necessarily the case – which is why I’ve decided to come up with a list of my top 5 biographical films.

5. Catch Me If You Can

Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks – what a captivating combination, and I believe they lived up to expectations with their film based on the life of Frank Abignale Jr, an incredibly successful (until the latter part of his “career”) conman. DiCaprio delivers a stellar performance as the swindler who undertakes several identities to obtain huge sums of money – and his performance is one that I believe allowed him to completely shed his “pretty-boy” stereotype once and for all.

4. Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man is a great film inspired by the life of heavyweight boxing champion, James J. Braddock. Ron Howard of such masterpieces as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Frost vs. Nixon, directed this excellent film, and Russell Crowe continuing his run of successful films (The Insider, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind and Master and Commander), gives a very moving performance as Braddock. Cinderella Man is a great film.

3. The Pianist

Roman Polanski created a heart wrenching, depressing film when he made The Pianist – yet he did it with what appeared to be such conviction that it can only be praised as an exceptional piece of work. It is an adaptation of an autobiography by the Polish musician, Władysław Szpilman. Adrien Brody gives a very moving performance as the lead role, and is the only actor in this list who won an Oscar for his respective film. This is a great piece of cinema.

2. The Aviator

When looking at his career, it appears Leonardo DiCaprio is as big of a fan of biographical films as myself (he also has another in production based on the life of J. Edgar Hoover coming out soon). This Martin Scorsese film is fascinating, in that it doesn’t necessarily have a flowing story line, but really only portrays significant events of Howard Hughes’ life – and the fact that Scorsese makes this film amazing speaks levels of genius to me. When thinking about this film, it’s crazy to think how many huge performers are in it, whether for a single scene, or all throughout. This film to me is a masterpiece.

1. Diving Bell and the Butterfly

There have been a few debates of the accuracy of this film, some stating it is 100% correct, and other’s stating it alters a few characters and events dramatically. Either way, it is a brilliant film. It follows the life of Jean-Dominique Bauby after he was left with “locked-in syndrome,” whereby he is paralysed from the neck down, with only the ability to blink his eyes. The way the director, Julian Schnabel handles the script and conveys what it could be like to be someone with this condition is remarkable, and for that reason alone, it could take the number one spot. But the film goes above and beyond with captivating performances, brilliant cinematography and a wonderfully written script. If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it.

There is no shortage of biographical films, so I’m sure that many of you would have other films you’d include on this list. If so, let me know what you’d put in instead in the comment section below.


Top 5 Most Confusing Films

August 17, 2011

Have you ever watched a movie where at the end of it you thought to yourself, “What the heck just happened?” I feel there’s a preconception with the word ‘confusing,’ in that it is generally related to something bad. When it comes to films, I do not necessarily think this is the case, in fact, most often I believe it’s the opposite. For a film to be confusing, it generally means it leaves you thinking long after you’ve left the cinema or pressed stop on the DVD remote. In my opinion, that is a real skill.

I must, of course, distinguish between a confusing film that makes you think, and a film that’s confusing just for the sake of it, the latter often being just a producer’s excuse for a poorly made film. Regardless, I’m sure you can all think of these types of films that either frustrate you, or amaze you. Here’s my top 5.

5. A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind is a wonderful film by Ron Howard, and Russell Crowe gives a fantastic performance as a brilliant but asocial mathematician. What starts as a seemingly standard drama, takes an extremely confusing turn of events partway through the film, no doubt causing many viewers to be confused for the majority of the rest of the film. This only adds to the excellence of the film, and proves there can be twists and turns in these types of dramas too.

4. Memento

Christopher Nolan (The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception) is the king of confusion of the best kind. His films are the definition of thought provoking, and almost every film of his that I’ve watched I’ve been thinking for days, even weeks later about every different aspect of the film. Not only is Nolan the king of thought provoking films, but he is also a master of time manipulation in his movies, as shown with his first fully funded film Memento. For those who haven’t seen it; this film progresses in reverse as a result of the lead character’s memory loss. No more needs to be said.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is another film that deals with memory loss, but rather with the concept of memory loss by choice. It is a brilliantly crafted film, and features the exceptional talents of Jim Carrey and the always-brilliant Kate Winslet – but that doesn’t make it an ‘easy-to-make-sense-of’ film. Brilliant nonetheless.

2. Persona

Perhaps not as well known as my other selections, is the 1966 film, Persona. This film is about a nurse and a mute patient, and how the nurse finds that her own personality becomes submerged into the patient’s persona. To give you an example of how confusing this film is; there is a scene in which the camera turns around to briefly focus on another cameraman on a crane – and apparently this was intentional. This is an extremely confusing film.

1. Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko has become a cult classic, mostly due to the extremely confusing nature of the film. There is honestly not much to say about this film, and I credit it’s confusing plot and ending as the reason for that. I recommend watching it, but know that this film comes up at number one on my top 5 confusing films.

I’d love to hear of your most confusing films, and whether or not you thought the film benefited from its confusion, or suffered as a result of its confusion.

Let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Scariest Films

August 7, 2011

It’s common knowledge that I am a lover of scary films. It’s like going on a scary ride, you struggle with most of the ordeal, but when its over, you know it was well worth it. Unfortunately, horror films don’t have the same affect on me as they used to. Perhaps it faded with age, or maybe I watched so many I became desensitised to them. I hope, for the benefit of my sanity, that it’s the age option. Regardless, I can specifically remember several films that had a lasting impact on me due to being scared, and here is the top five that I came up with.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

This film is a 1920’s masterpiece, and featured perhaps the very first twist ever seen in the history of cinema. Anyone knows that black and white makes even a comedy a little frightening, so when you combine black and white with a horror-thriller, you know you’re in for a treat.


Not only is this one of my favourite films, it’s also up there as one of the scariest I’ve watched. A film with very dark themes like this one is an easy way to setup a very scary environment for the viewer. A brilliant and thrilling film – perhaps not for the faint hearted.

Cabin Fever

Before Eli Roth brought you the messed up film Hostel and it’s sequel, he made this low budget horror, which proved to be a commercial hit. Basically a virus breaks loose amongst a group of friends who take up habitat in a remote shack in the middle of a forest, and as a result they became terribly disfigured. These images take a little while to be erased from your mind at the best of times, let alone after watching it on late night television with no else to keep you company after your brothers had already bailed.

House of Wax

As a lover of scary films, I am a little offended that the fairly abysmal House of Wax made the list, let alone in 2nd place. How is this so? Well, the way in which I watched this film is unique, in that I never watched the whole film in its entirety, just the scariest parts, as that was when I was called out to the room to watch along with a group of my brother’s mates. Hence, I remember nothing but frightening scenes from this movie and this one scene that has always stuck in my mind where a bloke suffering perhaps the worst fate I’ve ever seen for a character in a movie. I won’t give it away, but let me give you 3 words that will serve as a clue – Achilles, Thread, Wax. Have mercy!

Skeleton Key

When a film’s subject is based around supernatural themes such as ‘hoodoo’ or ‘voodoo,’ you know you’re in for a pretty scary film. Skeleton Key freaked my entire family out with it’s black and white flickering flash backs with some pretty disturbing images on screen. Not only is this a bloody scary film, it’s also brilliant; hence the honour of the number 1 position.

Please, do not be shy; let me know what films have scared you the most in the comment section below, and if you’re game enough to watch the films on my list, I’ll certainly be more than happy to watch the films you find the scariest.