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Christopher Nolan’s Films Ranked: From Worst to Best as ‘Interstellar’ Nears

Christopher Nolan’s Films Ranked: From Worst to Best as ‘Interstellar’ Nears

 Christopher Nolan’s Films Ranked: From Worst to Best as ‘Interstellar’ Nears

With the release of Interstellar soon to come, which is among the most highly anticipated films of the year, I figured it would be a good time to make a quick list looking into the filmography of Christopher Nolan. We’ll take a look at the rankings of his films to date, from “worst” (relatively speaking, for a guy with so few missteps) to best. Here goes:

8.  The Prestige

When this is your “worst” film, you are doing okay. The magician based tale didn’t quite captivate me the way that I had hoped, but Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson still do nice jobs in their respective roles. I should probably revisit this to see if maybe I am missing something, but considering the competition in the rest of Nolan’s oeuvre, unfortunately, something has to be last.

7. The Dark Knight Rises

The trilogy wrapper that became a global phenomenon is the least of the Caped Crusader’s films in the reboot pantheon, but that is not the end of the world. Perhaps it was the muffled Bane, perhaps the extended story (pushing a nearly 3 hour runtime), perhaps just the fact that it all had to end (or did it, based on the wink-wink finish), there was just something to nitpick about with this tale. No matter, it’s still eminently rewatchable. Nothing wrong with that.

6. Following

Humble beginnings. This was the start for the man that would become perhaps the best director in Hollywood. A little tale of a man who follows others around is creepy, comic and well done. All in black and white to boot. This film has earned its just praise over time, since the director has since blown up to legendary status. Check this if you’ve missed it to this point.

5. Insomnia

A remake of a foreign film of the same name, Nolan hits all the right notes with a strong cast (Robin Williams shout out), a snowy, wintery setting, and a thrilling plot that still maintains its power today. It’s been a while since I have taken this in, but I’ve always held it in high regard. A must see.

4. Batman Begins

The intro to Batman’s world aka “the origin story”, is one of the better of it’s kind around. It actually balances an indy sensibility with proper scope and deftly introduces a character that we have come to know and love over the years, filling in the blanks in a more dark manner. Liam Neeson and Christian Bale taking their talents to comic land? We’re all in.

3. The Dark Knight

Known for Heath Ledger’s sterling, Oscar winning turn, this is the film that made comic book movies a mainstay again for audiences (which in turn, we should all be pissed off for). Still, there is little to gripe about in this genre-flipper that forces its hero into a choice, shockingly killing off a main character near the end of the film. Powerful and haunting for any film, let alone one based on a comic book. Kudos.

2. Memento

The film that was his real breakthrough may be a bit gimmicky in that sense, but still captures the mind of audiences with a man who with a sparse memory and tattoos words on his body to keep his sanity in place. A lower level indy film that seizes the moment, playing with traditional narrative and weaving a tight thriller in the process. Bonus Note: The Special Edition DVD allows a front to back traditional playback option, something that was not ported over to the Blu-ray release sadly.

1. Inception

This sci-fi mind bender is still Nolan’s most complex (and perhaps divisive) work. The time jumping, intricate plot, interlaced with multiple stories and levels of meaning will confound willing audiences for years to come. With strong performances, amazing effects and one of the most inventive plots around, this film almost singlehandedly restored my waning faith in filmmaking at a time when Hollywood continues to lack creativity and originality. A must see (over and over again).

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Mini Movie Reviews: Fassbender in ‘Prometheus’, Luke Wilson in ‘Middle Men’ and the Indy ‘Humpday’

Mini Movie Reviews: Fassbender in ‘Prometheus’, Luke Wilson in ‘Middle Men’ and the Indy ‘Humpday’

Mini Movie Reviews From Recent Amazon Prime Film Viewings

Humpday (2009)

Humpday Movie Pic

The stars of ‘Humpday’ have nothing on ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ Silly stuff.

Humpday is a film that was seemingly well received, by newcomer Lynn Shelton. She directs and has a small role in the film about two straight men who desire to make a porn art film. Yes, you read that right. These guys, one married and one drifter, decide that to better themselves they should fuck. Makes no sense. Unfortunately, the film collapses as a result. The guys don’t ultimately go through with the deed, I’ll spare you the suspense. Because, really, if you are straight, why in the fuck would you even seriously consider doing such a thing? No clue. The film is probably trying to get you to think about larger themes of openness and sexuality; of what is typical versus what is acceptable; things of that ilk. But you can’t present a premise, which is absurd in the first place, and then not have the characters conquer their deed. Stupid. Additionally, the in your face, low budget style of the film runs its course very soon. Sound crackles and the movie has absolutely no cinematic quality. It’s like watching a bad reality show, with smaller stars. I understand its attempt to try something deeper than what’s conventional, it just isn’t successful in this presentation.

Middle Men (2009)

Middle Men Movie Pic

Through luck, Luke Wilson’s Jack becomes an object of power in ‘Middle Men.’

Middle Men was made for $22mm and earned less than $1mm at the box office. That doesn’t add up to success. Strangely though, the film seemed to garner relatively positive reviews, so I was interested in seeing this for a few years. Unfortunately, quickly after watching, the movie lived down to expectations. The cast is notable in its heft, but the film, which is billed as a comedy, plays much more like a dark drama with voiceover. Loosely based on real people or events, Middle Men stars Luke Wilson as a business fixer who becomes involved in a billing company for porn sites on the Internet. The company shoots to great success and Wilson’s Jack Harris struggles with his relationships all around as a result. From his wife and kids to his business “partners” to the feds to just about anyone else, Jack teeters on getting in over his head throughout. The movie kept my interest, but only as a drama; the comedy aspect was next to non-existent. When Jack’s fate is wrapped up (along with his business partners) after cunning and double crossing, the end was met with a shrug of the shoulders. If this was billed as a drama, I would have enjoyed it more, but I was expecting some laughs and minutes into the movie I knew that they weren’t coming. Oh well, still an interesting enough of a tale to catch on a boring weekend I suppose.

Prometheus (2012)

Prometheus Fassbender pic

Fassbender’s David uncovers an ancient hologram in the jumbled sci-fi effort ‘Prometheus.’

Ridley Scott’s quasi-prequel to Alien has incredible production values and amazing visual effects work. There are some gorgeous vistas and set pieces in this film. The movie has a generally solid cast, including Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace. The film’s plot is even remotely interesting, about a group of scientists out to discover how mankind began – in the year 2089. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is kind of a mess. Fassbender is sterling as an Android named David with a sinister, chilling bent. Rapace is the true star of the film, as the story is really centered around her character. A bit of a surprise given the cast, which includes the heavily made up Guy Pearce as a very old Weyland. Prometheus, the name of the ship, lands on a rock in space and the story becomes jumbled and sophomoric too often. Its fun to see Theron kill someone by lighting him on fire; less so to see an alien birthed during a solo c-section procedure. The story is merely a loose string to attempt (poorly) to connect some beautiful scenery and sets. The film is worth seeing on spectacle and occasional fun, primarily from Fassbender’s David or Theron’s Vickers, but good luck trying to legitimately be moved by any of the events on screen. Too bad, in the end.

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Mini Movie Reviews: Jason Statham in ‘Safe’, Refn’s ‘Pusher II’ and 50 Cent’s ‘All Things Fall Apart’

Mini Movie Reviews: Jason Statham in ‘Safe’, Refn’s ‘Pusher II’ and 50 Cent’s ‘All Things Fall Apart’

Mini Movie Reviews From My Recent Movie Watching

Safe (2012)

Sexy Statham in Safe

Jason Statham’s character plays it anything but safe in Safe, despite this pic.

Jason Statham continues to churn out low budget yet bankable action movies that gross in the high #20’s to low 30’s million on average. Safe, the latest in his oeuvre banked only $17mm domestically and $40mm worldwide. The film might have deserved better as it features Statham in a no-nonsense role as an ex-cop turned middle of the road MMA fighter turned homeless man turned would-be father figure. The Stath’s Luke nears suicide when he sees Mei, a young Chinese math savant with a photographic memory, which keeps Luke from killing himself and propels him to find out more about her predicament. Mei is caught between rival Chinese and Russian gangs, because she knows the combination to a safe, which houses $30 million. The plot is convoluted to the umpteenth power, but the film gets props for having relentless villains that do more killing than quipping. Everyone shoots first and asks questions last, which enhances an otherwise average movie experience. Also, this one is a little slow to get moving, but once it gets there, the foot stays firmly pressed to the metal. A decent action movie.

Pusher II: With Blood On My Hands (2004)

Pusher II Mikkelsen

Tonny nabs a baby that is apparently his in Pusher II, the baby is not the “blood on his hands” though.

Pusher II, which was discussed in greater length years ago on The Film Nest, is director Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow up to his ’96 indie sensation. This film finds Tonny released from prison wanting to make himself a better man, but caught instantly getting involved with his disapproving father’s auto ring and a friend’s drug deal gone bad. To top it off, Tonny, ever the doofus, has a kid with the town whore, who loathes him. This film is slightly more mature than Pusher, with Tonny (Mads Mikkelssen) constantly trying to work things through in his mind, even while in a constant state of drug-induced stupor. The film crackles with a bit of humor and fire, even though the pacing is a bit more languid than the first film. When Tonny faces death or an opportunity to resolve himself in his father’s eyes, he chooses unfortunately. He thus, ends up with blood on his hands. Refn’s direction continually pushes intimacy with the characters and situations, which is a trademark of his style. The film leaves the viewer the option of ending the movie in their mind, which is a welcome solution in my mind. This is the best of Refn’s Pusher trilogy, even if it is a different film than the first.

All Things Fall Apart (2011)

Curtis 50 Cent Jackson Apart pic

50 Cent was denied his rightful Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a baller with cancer.

Former rap superstar turned quasi actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson stars as a college running back who succumbs to cancer. The film was notable for the lead’s dramatic weight loss, where he lost upwards of 50 lbs., transforming a typically imposing physique to a much more frail one. He deserves props for that – and for rocking genius dreads otherwise – but the film doesn’t have much else going for it. From the opening frame, you can tell this is a poorly put together film, which is kind of too bad, because it has the pieces to be something more. The execution is just “off.” Supporting players Mario Van Peebles, doing his best Ving Rhames in the superior Baby Boy; Ray Liotta, doing his worst and far too common iteration of a Ray Liotta character; and Lynn Whitfield – no comment, don’t help matters. The script has pieces and there are a few scenes here or there, but the unfortunate whole is simply not captivating. There is an element hard to pinpoint, which would make it all more palatable, but instead All Things Fall Apart feels like a film that fell apart. Its one that seems more suited to an afterschool special, sadly.

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Mini Movie Reviews: ‘The Grey’, Refn’s ‘Pusher’, & ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Mini Movie Reviews: ‘The Grey’, Refn’s ‘Pusher’, & ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Mini Movie Reviews Of Recently Watched Films: The Grey, Snow White & Huntsman and Pusher

The Grey (2012)

Liam Neeson The Grey pic

Once more into the fray, Neeson readies to dance with wolves.

Liam Neeson, Taken 2 star and the man with all the hype right now, powered The Grey to box office success early this year. It opened at #1 and more than doubled its budget domestically taking in $51 million. Neeson plays Ottway, a man with a troubled past who knows how to kill killer wolves. When Ottway and several others are part of a plane crash in the middle of the snow, they fight for survival against the killer wolves. The characters square off with the wolves, the conditions and themselves. Directed by Joe Carnahan (The A-Team), the film is a surprising success to me, because it has a very indy feel and is more emotional and dramatic than thrilling. The Grey also leaves you with a slightly open ending, which is rare in a Hollywood film, but maybe its less-Tinseltown than I thought it would be since it was distributed by Open Road. It’s a watchable movie, not quite the action-thriller I expected, but there is enough there with Neeson, Dermot Mulroney and the storyline to keep things interesting. When the film cuts to black, you aren’t eager to go back, but there are much worse things you can do with a 100 free minutes and a desire for a decent flick.

Pusher (1996)

Pusher movie photo

Drug dealer Frank shows off his GTA pose in Refn’s ‘Pusher’.

With 2012’s release of a remake of Pusher for American audiences (though the film is set in London), I decided to look back again at director Nicolas Winding Refn’s (Drive) original version. I have seen the film before and was introduced to the trilogy by a past writer for our site, when he talked about Pusher II as a Film-U-Missed. Refn’s original film follows Frank, as a small time drug dealer in Copenhagen, who gets caught up in too deep with debt to guys like Milo and his henchman Radovan. Frank all but kills his best friend Tonny (played by Mads Mikkelsen and believe me, how his Tonny survives as long as he does is a mystery…he’s the ultimate shit-talker), gets arrested by the cops, jips his mom out of money, his sometimes girlfriend and still can’t get out of the debt he owes Milo, due to a bad deal he was offered by a former confidant. The film is interesting from start to finish and offers an intimacy that is palpable. Apparently the actors did real cocaine while filming to add to the realism. Still, the story does have some trip ups, particularly the in and out intensity in the slice of life moments and Frank’s underdeveloped relationship with Vic (his stripper would be girlfriend). Pusher has been hailed over time, but I’ve seen it twice and still can’t say it is an entirely moving piece, akin to Pulp Fiction let’s say. I think something gets lost in the translation and the lower-budget style. Still, Refn had worked his way out of my good graces and then delivered Drive, which hooked me again. Check Pusher out for an example of his earliest work and if you are a fan of gangster or drug films.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Charlize Theron sexy pic

A sip of a white russian (aka Caucasian) is not enough for Charlize’s evil queen.

Two Snow White movies were released this year. One starred Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror) and was a Disney film, the other starred Kristen Stewart and was darker. Which did better at the box office? Snow White and the Huntsman and it was no contest. I guess it is not the late 90’s anymore. K-Stew and Chris Hemsworth square off against evil, soul sucking queen Charlize Theron in Huntsman. The film is a visual spectacle, with some of the best effects I have seen in a movie. Additionally, while tonally not up my alley traditionally, the darker matter gave this one an element of watchability for me that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Hemsworth is underrated as an actor; he appears to be more than just muscle (although that is his specialty, still). Theron is strong as the queen, her power trips and beauty work wonders for the film. K-Stew is the weak link, not because she can’t act, though that is debatable, but more so because she pales in comparison to others of note here. A pack of dwarves add some pseudo comic relief, with Ian McShane and Ray Winstone among those that have their faces transported onto midget frames. This one ends a little weird, but is worth it for the effects and Theron’s strong performance. The film made almost $400 million worldwide so naturally, a sequel is in the works.

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Quick Movie Reviews of ‘Haywire’, ‘Contraband’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ From My Recent Viewings

Quick Movie Reviews of ‘Haywire’, ‘Contraband’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ From My Recent Viewings

The Latest Mini Movie Reviews From My Amazon Prime and Redbox Rentals

You can read past posts like this here, as always.

Contraband (2012)

Contraband movie pics

“Rib-eye” failed to receive Wahlberg’s congratulatory text regarding his latest tatt.

Mark Wahlberg is a guy I usually turn out to see. I missed Contraband in theaters but caught it on Blu-ray and came away with the knowledge that it is an above average thriller. Wahlberg plays Chris, a reformed smuggler married to Kate (Kate Beckinsale). When Kate’s little brother gets caught dumping drugs for baddie Tim (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris has to pay off the kid’s debt or pay the price. Needless to say, Chris re-enters the smuggling game, only to see all hell break loose while he is in Panama. Sebastian (Ben Foster), may or may not be the confidant Chris has always thought he was, and his alcoholism plays a role in drama back home in New Orleans while Chris is away. This one takes the usual twists and turns and can be difficult to follow, but the in your face direction and solid acting from a notable cast makes up for it. One downside, there’s not much to do here for Beckinsale, who is under utilized in the damsel in distress role. Additionally, is Ribisi becoming increasingly thrashed in roles or what? Nothing mind-blowing, but certainly a worthy rental for fans of the actors or heist movies.

Haywire (2012)

Haywire movie pic

Gina Carano gives Channing Tatum a beating for making her watch “Magic Mike.”

Steven Soderbergh’s low budget action movie in the minor vain of a Bourne film, pits MMA star Gina Carano in the female lead as an agent who is caught up in a plot to kill her. I stayed away from the film ‘til now, despite my interest in Soderbergh and a stellar supporting cast, including Michael’s Douglas and Fassbender, as well as Ewan McGregor. A bit of a mistake on my end, because I thought that Carano would be so bad as the lead that I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I was wrong. While she doesn’t blow you away with acting talent, her fighting skills are formidable and she is believable enough in the role as an agent who “doesn’t do dresses.” The direction is typically solid, the music by David Holmes is great and though the plot is not stellar, the film works. It mixes The Limey with Out of Sight in a way (two of Soderbergh’s previous efforts) to decent enough effect. Again, you won’t leave the viewing with your tongue wagging, but it’s quality enough for fans of Soderbergh or action fans who can handle something a bit different, since the action is more artfully done and less in your face. Not bad.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Hunger Games lovers

Despite the appearance of a love triangle, this is not from “Twilight.”

“I volunteer as tribute!” The same words that Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss says in the movie, I was saying to myself after being suckered in to watching another teen movie. I’d risk death rather than sit through this again. The reviews suggested that we had a better film than the Twilight’s of the world, and while I don’t have first hand knowledge of that franchise, I certainly hoped for better from the first film of this one. The film, based on the popular book, is essentially a code name for a game show where kids fight to the death and the winner is able to live. This film however, naturally (spoiler alert!) broke the typical rules by having two winners because they were willing to die for each other (supposedly). Josh Hutcherson, pequeno by a dwarfs standards, plays Katniss’ love interest and a love triangle of sorts (sounds like Twilight doesn’t it?) is formed since Katniss was in love with Gale back home (outside of the deadly game). It’s all so clever to set up the trilogy and I was let down yet again by sifting through the waste of the film, which features a The Running Man style game show in a futuristic woodsy (Twilight again!) setting. I’ll pass on the rest of the films from here on out. Shame.

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Movie Mini Reviews of The Game, Headhunters and Antichrist From Amazon Watchlist

Antichrist (2009)

Antichrist movie pic

"The Horror. The Horror." A lighter scene from von Trier's Antichrist.

Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is sure to confound most viewers. Consider myself among them. The film is a horror film sort of mash-up in an avant-garde, art house, independent style. The first few minutes are incredible, with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg engaged in porno style intercourse. The camera shows it all. They are so caught up in their activities, that their young child decides to bolt out of the window and fall to his death. Shocking and heady stuff. The rest of the film devolves into a moody game of cat and mouse between Dafoe’s doctor and Gainsbourg’s patient adding to their complex relationship. The horror begins to take place from there on out, with elements of Saw series mixed in. It’s a weird vibe that is difficult to recommend. The first five minutes are appointment viewing and may hook you, but the rest of the film will leave you feeling confused and disappointed if you are anything like me. Take that for what its worth.

Headhunters (Hodejegerne) (2011)

Headhunters movie pic

Roger Brown. Gettin' down.

Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters is a very strong film. I will get that out of the way up front. The Norwegian pic combines thrilling and dramatic elements to create its own very unique space. It’s a Fatal Attraction meets The Fugitive sort of combination, without me thinking too much about it. Headhunters is about headhunters, who are hiring specialists. Roger Brown is a headhunter who steals art and sells it on the black market to significant effect, fleecing his clients to support his statue-esque wife. A plot is hatched against Brown to infiltrate his company and everyone from his wife to lover to cops to reporters and the list goes on are involved. It’s a who knows what and who can you trust meets chase film. Fun stuff. The violence is in your face and hilarious (some scenes are too great to giveaway) and the tension is gripping. Strong direction, a cool plot and some unique circumstances make this a can’t miss film, assuming you can handle subtitles. Not an issue, this one is well worth your time.

The Game (1997)

The Game movie pic

Michael Douglas is unrivaled at portraying "power". See Gekko, Gordon and The Game.

The Game is Fincher’s newfound classic, which was recently released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD. The film is a fun one with Michael Douglas playing a man (Nicolas Van Orton) who has too much money, nobody to share his life with and needs the game to shake up his boring life. Douglas has never really been better than he is here. Sean Penn, strong in a supporting role as Douglas’ brother, gives Nicolas a birthday gift that is the last thing that he would want. But he needs it and the game begins in a wild manner with Nicolas’ life turned upside down. He tries to remind himself that the things that happen (his near drowning, being shot at, left for dead in Mexico, among them) are part of a game but they seem far too elaborate to be really setup. Truth is, they are and I think that’s why the film was not received to great effect upon its initial release. But Fincher’s brand is strong and the performances are epic, making this one gain a popularity now (its been among my favorite films since its release) that is past due. If you haven’t seen it, you must do so and if you have, it’s certainly worth reliving. The Game may not be one you want to play but its sure fun to watch.

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The Warriors, I’m Still Here, Elizabethtown – Mini Reviews Of Recently Seen Films

The Warriors, I’m Still Here, Elizabethtown – Mini Reviews Of Recently Seen Films

Here is the latest batch of mini reviews of The Movies I’ve Recently Seen From My Amazon Prime Video Account

As always, check here for other mini reviews columns tacking several movies of various years in time.

I’m Still Here (2010)

I'm Still Here movie pic

When JP rocks the mic, he rocks the mic right.

This is the second (or third) time I have seen this film in its entirety and it gets better upon repeat viewings. This remains an overlooked gem of a comedy, with Joaquin Phoenix playing an out of his mind Joaquin Phoenix in the mockumentary. Phoenix skewers the media and celebrity with his plan to quit acting and become a rapper. If the premise didn’t give it away, you will watch in awe at the events that transpire. One of the beautiful things about this hilarious film is that it is unrelentless and never gives in to viewers. We want answers but don’t get them. The joke is never up, but it is always on us. Phoenix hip-hop career fails and falls deeper into drugs, depression but so many celebs are in on the fun, yet never give us the satisfaction of knowing. You’ll enjoy the scene where he rails on Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire’s predicament by comparison to his. Or the moment where he orders some hookers on a drug fueled binge. Or his epic fight with a…you get it. If you appreciate this sort of thing, this is high art and epic acting at its finest.

Elizabethtown (2005)

Elizabethtown movie pics

Dunst and Bloom lack romantic fire in Cameron Crowe's off-kilter pic.

Orlando Bloom once had a failed attempt at becoming a mainstream lead, and this was his test to the market. Here, Bloom, opposite Kirsten Dunst, got his rom-com on in a Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) film. If you can’t hit here, you probably don’t deserve your spot in the lineup. Unfortunately, for Bloom, Dunst carries him in this pic. He shows little comic chops as a man down in the dumps from a failed shoe design that cost Nike-esque company billions of dollars. His Drew meets Dunst’s, Claire in middle America on his way to his father’s funeral. The film lacks a spark amongst the leads, despite Dunst’s best efforts and Crowe’s script fails to recapture the glory of some of his past successes. I think this one also stung his career, because with his struggling follow-up We Bought A Zoo, it’s been more than a decade since he’s had a hit. Hopefully, his career can rebound at some point, but this one is an unfortunate pass, due to a lack of laughs or romance for that matter. Too bad.

The Warriors (1979)

The Warriors movie pic

The Warriors bare the burden of their battles with bare chests in vests.

“Can you dig it?” If you are familiar with Shaq’s often used refrain, he is quoting this cult classic. The Warriors, which its been years since I have seen, is a gang/escape film about a gang trying to get back to their Coney Island turf, while dodging rival gangs and the cops. The acting is stale, but the plot surprisingly works and the tension is ratcheted up during several key scenes in Walter Hill’s directorial effort. The Warriors, the titular gang, are wrongfully pinned for a murder they didn’t commit which places them at the mercy of countless rival gangs, including guys with bats in baseball unis, girls that lure them with sex and guys that use roller skates to capture them. The classic sound of clanking bottles, which has reverberated over the years with me – “Warriors, come out to play!” is effectively used in a climactic scene. This is one to just revel in for its genre if you are chilling on a Friday night. Can you dig it? I did.

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Three Mini Movie Reviews From My Recent Amazon Prime Viewings & More

Three Mini Movie Reviews From My Recent Amazon Prime Viewings & More

Three Reviews of Movies I’ve Recently Seen From Amazon Prime Video & More

You can see previous versions of posts like this as well.

Shame (2011)

Fassebender Shame pics

Michael Fassbender’s Brandon shows little shame and pushes the issue.


Michael Fassbender stars in Shame, a film made with his frequent-collaborator-as-director Steve McQueen. Fassbender plays Brandon, a single playboy with a sex addiction and aversion to commitment. His phobia manifests itself in several ways throughout the film from excessive porn to playing the field to one-night stands to attempts at more with tragic consequences. His sister, Carrie Mulligan’s Sissy, invades his space, which only complicates matters. Sissy is a mess and challenges Brandon’s limits. Shame is insightful, thought-provoking, avant-garde and challenging.  The film likely demands repeat viewings for true enrichment. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and fans of McQueen will likely eat it up as well. It’d be a shame to miss it. There, I said it.

Bullitt (1968)

Bullitt movie pics

Steve McQueen’s cop Bullitt roasts ’em in his iconic ride.


Bullitt is a classic cop film, known for it’s groundbreaking and lengthy car chase scene. The scene is often referenced as an influence in Hollywood and in particular to action directors. That is the reason I saw the film, which stars another Steve McQueen, with his iconic blonde crop. Bullitt, the titular character played by McQueen, has an edge that goes against the grain to other San Francisco cops. This makes him hard to love at work or at home. Still, Bullitt manages to present genre conventions that might have seemed radical in its day. I can’t say that I gleaned much from Bullitt as even the thrilling car chase, while long and innovative, felt a bit underwhelming. That being said, I could definitely feel its influence in modern films, so I don’t want to sell the film short. Check it for the scene if you haven’t and perhaps you can feel more rounded as a result.

Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude movie pic

Harold and Maude make a connection in the film of the same name.


Another film set in San Francisco, Harold and Maude, which was recently released on Criterion Blu-ray, inspired my viewing through Amazon Prime. The film is about a loner boy (Harold) who is attention starved and privileged and therefore creates elaborate pranks, mostly surrounding death. He will hang himself; cover himself in blood; etc. – much to the chagrin of his mother. Harold meets Maude at a funeral and an unlikely friendship is thus struck, Maude getting Harold to explore himself more and find more joy in life. It’s a coming of age tale, oddly amusing, but nothing overly resonant. The film, which is now received as a cult classic, is worth seeing for Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort’s off-kilter chemistry that undeniably works on screen. See it if a fan of the era or curious as to what the hubbub is about, but temper your expectations accordingly. It’s funny in that peculiar sort of way.

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