Sunday, 1 April 2012

Cape Fear (1991)

Cape Fear

Cape Fear is a 1991 film directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert De Niro and Nick Nolt. The film is a remake of the 1962 film of the same name, and even has 3 of the stars from the original appearing in new roles. The film was nominated for 2 Academy Awards, but failed to win in either category.

The Plot

The story follows the tale of revenge of Max Cady, played by Robert De Niro, who feels his attorney Sam Bowden, played by Nick Nolt, did not represent him and could have presented evidence that would have led to a shorter sentence. Cady, a convicted rapist, stalks Bowden and his family, including his 15 year old daughter.

The plot is nothing too original but it is a solid story. However, the originality of the plot is not really what is key to this being a great movie.

The Performances

The performances in this film are fantastic. The supporting cast are all great, which includes Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Martin Balsam from the original version of the film. Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis are both good to watch and play their respective roles superbly. Nick Nolt is great as a father and husband, who has other troubles to contend with, trying to protect his family from Cady. The stand-out performance, however, comes from Robert De Niro as Max Cady. De Niro is truly frightening to watch and really experts the role of evil!


This film has some genuinely frightening and chilling moments, all of which are caused by Max Cady! Almost completely throughout the film there is a real eerie feeling and there always seems to be the potential for terror. The directing in this sense is amazing, and Scorsese deserves a lot of credit for the mood of the film. 


Overall this movie has genuinely frightening and shocking moments in it. The performances are great, particularly De Niro's, and there is a great feeling of terror and claustrophobia throughout.

Rating - 8/10

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Million Dollar Baby

Millian Dollar Baby

Millian Dollar Baby is a 2004 boxing film that directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman and won 4 Academy Awards.

The Plot

The story follows a tough boxing trainer/manager who relunctantly accepts to help an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional boxer. The film follows the rise of Maggie, played by Hilary Swank, as she is trained by Frankie Dunn, played by Clint Eastwood, and finds herself making waves in the professional boxing scene.

The story follows a fairly traditional underdog style up until the last 20 minutes, which is something I was not expecting. The ending of the movie, although it drags on a bit, is very touching and is something a bit different for this type of movie.

The Performances

The performances are all pretty solid in this movie. Morgan Freeman is as lovable as ever and he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and the support cast are all strong. Hilary Swank delivers a very assured performance, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Clint Eastwood is as solid as ever.

The Main Problem

The main problem for me with the film is the ending. Although the final scenes were not expected, it just seems to be dragged out a little too long and this is a shame because it ruins a perfectly good film. The film is still very strong but if the ending was a little more succinct then the overall film would earn an extra point or two with me!


Overall this is a very good film, with a nice underdog story but with a twist. The performances are all good at the very least but the film is only dragged down (slightly) by the ending dragging on. Overall a very enjoyable film with a lot of heart.

Rating - 7/10

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco is a crime drama film that was released in 1997 and was directed by Mike Newell. Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Michael Madsen star in this true story of an FBI undercover agent. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Plot

The story follows an FBI undercover agent that becomes Donnie Brasco, played by Johnny Depp, who goes undercover in order to infiltrate a mob family. Donnie manages to become friends with an aging hit-man, Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino), who helps get Donnie into the mob. Donnie gets deeper and deeper into the Mafia world and finds himself identifying more with the people he is attempting to expose than his regular life.

The plot is fantastic. Although the film is not completely accurate to the actual events, it is very close with only a few alterations. The story is gripping and is aided by fantastic performances and a brilliant script.

The Performances

This film provides one of Al Pacino's greatest performances. Pacino as Lefty is a flawless performance and it is criminally overlooked for an Oscar nomination. Johnny Depp is also fantastic in this film and the supporting cast are all great in the various roles.


Overall this is a really great film. The story is gripping and is supported by a fantastic script, with equally good performances from some top stars. The real tragedy of this movie is that it seems to be overlooked and has crept under the radar of the mainstream slightly. A truly great movie.

Rating - 8/10

Monday, 19 March 2012

As Good As It Gets

As Good As It Gets

As Good As It Gets is an American romantic comedy film that was released in 1997. The film was directed by James L. Brooks and was produced by Laura Ziskin. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear.

The Plot

As Good As It Gets sees single mother waitress Carol Connelly, played by Helen Hunt, form an unlikely friendship with gay artist Simon Bishop, played by Greg Kinnear, as well as author Melvin Udall who suffers from OCD, played by Jack Nicholson.

Melvin manages to alienate himself from most people but finds himself looking after Simon Bishops dog after Simon is hospitalised. On top of this, the only waitress who will serve Melvin is forced off work, leaving him unable to have breakfast.

It is an interesting plot, and does not follow a traditional romantic comedy storyline, although there are some of the usual cliches in there. The plot is interesting throughout, with dynamics changing constantly. 

The Performances

The performances are all strong in this performances, which is supported by the fact that both Nicholson and Hunt won Oscars for their roles in the movie.  Greg Kinnear is great in it as well and the support cast holds up strong, particularly Cuba Gooding Junior (who seems to pop up in every other film in the 90s).


I often watch romantic comedy films that have very little comedy (and often very little romance to be honest!) contained in them. As Good As It Gets has some genuinely funny moments in it that mainly come from Jack Nicholson and his behaviour! 


Overall As Good As It Gets has a lot going for it. It has a really strong cast that all put in fantastic performances. The story is strong, especially for a romantic comedy film, and has some funny moments in it. There is also a lot of heart in it and we really feel the characters.

Rating: 8/10

Monday, 20 February 2012



Sleepers is a 1996 legal drama film that stars Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. The film was written, produced and directed by Barry Levinson. The film is based on the novel Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra. 

The Plot

The film tells the story of four boys being sent to a detention camp after a prank goes wrong. While in the detention camp they are abused and violated. Years after their release there comes a chance for the boys to gain revenge.

The story is fantastic, it has to be said. It may be argued that the plot is fairly far fetched in a sense, but this does not make it any less enjoyable as a story.

The Performances

The performances are all fantastic in my opinion. Robert De Niro is as flawless as ever, but all the child actors are great as well. Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon show great range and the support is equally as impressive. However, the best performance in this film comes from Dustin Hoffman, who plays Danny Snyder. Snyder is an alcholic lawyer set to defend two of the boys in court. The performance is flawless from Hoffman, truely great.

The Drama

The film is very touching and heart wrenching at times, and quite heavy and sickening at others. The film deals with issues such as child abuse, rape and revenge, but it also questions a Priest's decision of what is right and wrong. There are a lot of major issues dealt with here, all of which are handled with care.The film carries a lot of suspense throughout.


The film is packed with drama, but also has a lot of heart in it. The plot is great and is backed up by some truly great performances. This film seems to have slipped under the radar slightly and this is a real shame. I highly recommend this film to everyone, but particularly fans of legal dramas.

Rating: 9/10

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Simpsons 500th Episode


I have been a fan of The Simpsons for years, for as long as I can remember! While many fans agree that the quality has declined since the first 9 or 10 years, it cannot really be argued that the show is one of the finest ever created. I am certainly one who prefers the earlier seasons (1-3 being my personal favourites) but I cannot say the show is still one of the top programmes being made. The fact that The Simpsons has been going for over 20 years only adds to how special a show it truly is, and although the quality is not quite as high, there are still some truly great moments being created. 

So I would like to congradulate everyone behind The Simpsons on achieving the 500th episode (which airs in the US on the 19th of February) on a great job and long may it continue!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Scarface (Remake)

Scarface (1983)

Scarface is a 1983 film that stars Al Pacino, Steven Bauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. The movie was directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone and is a remake of the 1932 film of the same name.

The Plot

Scarface tells the story of a Cuban refugee, Tony Montana (Pacino) who arrives in Miami and becomes a drug cartel kingping. The movie explores his rise to the top of the cocaine empire in Miami.

The Performances

I truly believe that all the performances in this film are really good. Al Pacino is obviously great in his role and the support is all just as strong. There are no poor performances here, in a very strong cast.

The Length

For me, the major problem with this film is the length. The film is definitely an hour too long in my eyes and many scenes can probably be left out.

The Climax

The climax scene is an historic one, and probably rightly so. It is really entertaining with the movie's most famous line! The is an iconic scene and one of the best I've seen.


Overall the film is not, in my eyes, as good as it is often made out to be. Scarface definitely goes on too long, and there is just something missing from it. The performances are all good, and the plot is strong. The climax scene certainly pulls the movie's score up as it really is a great scene, but the film just drags on in many places.

Rating 6/10

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a 2012 science fiction adventure film that stars Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine. The film is the sequel to the 2008 film Journey to the Center of the Earth. The story was written by Richard Outten, Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, and the screenplay by Brian and Mark Gunn.

Dwayne Johnson stars as Hank, the ex-marine stepfather to Sean Anderson (played by Josh Hutcherson), who team up to search for Sean's grandfather who is thought to be on 'The Mysterious Island'.

The Plot

Ok, so this is clearly aimed at a younger generation so it could be argued that the plot doesn't need to be that strong. Well.... it isn't. And if you see the film knowing this then you will be ok! The plot follows a journey to the Mysterious Island, and subsequently the journey from it. Expect tiny elephants, giant lizards and peck popping along the way.


The movie does fly by at a decent pace.  There are very few dull or boring moments in this film, it is almost completely action. Even when the movie does slow down, it is still entertaining enough.

The Performances

This movie does showcase some decent talent to be fair. Dwayne Johnson delivers a strong performance and we get to hear him sing too. Johnson is the stand out performer here. Michael Caine is also decent as the wacky explorer. Vanessa Hudgens stars as Khailan, Sean's love interest and delivers a solid performance. We also get a lot of laughs from Khailan's father, Gabato, played by Luiz Guzman. Overall a strong cast. 


Overall, this movie will please younger audiences but there is just enough in there to keep the adults happy as well. There is action, comedy and a lot of heart. A decent film.

Rating: 7/10

Friday, 20 January 2012

Films I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

I am a big fan of movies and love to watch them at the cinema and at home. There are a number of new films coming out this year that I can't wait to see. Here is a list of some of the films that I am looking forward to seeing this year and some reasons behind why I want to see them!

Being Flynn - Big fan of Robert De Niro and this looks like it could be a classic drama film. I have had mixed opinions on director Paul Weitz films, some good, some poor, but am hoping this one is a beauty.

Batman: Dark Knight Rises - The other Batman films from Christopher Nolan have been superb so let's hope this one matches up.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - The LOTR films were very well made and very enjoyable so I am hoping for something just as good here. Martin Freeman is a pretty decent actor too, so I am expecting big things from him.

The Expendables 2
- The first film was action packed, I loved it. Wanting this to match up. Always like Sylvester Stallone films, he's a bit of a hero of mine, so I expect this to match up to other classics of his.

Men In Black III - Not classics, but I really enjoyed the first two MIB films. Also, Will Smith is great fun to watch.

So these are the 5 films that I am really looking forward to this year. The majority of the films are sequels, or certainly part of the same stories and worlds! Hopefully they all live up to my expectations.