In the late 80s, Predator would have been the perfect film everyone was asking for. This movie has a few big names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger playing ‘Dutch’ and Carl Weathers playing ‘Dillon’, but even with them, the movie still feels compact in a good way. In a Guatemalan jungle, Dutch, an experienced soldier and his militia including Dillon, a long time friend, tear through soviet guerrillas to retrieve secret soviet documents. The scene that shows the team gunning down a ton of people is easy to follow and more exciting than many other film’s action scenes are. As this scene takes place, it creates a scene of invulnerability for the team, even though, they are about to be almost entirely wiped out by the predator, which further reinforces the power that the predator wields. Among the scenes of the team making their way through their mission, there are a few shots of the predators perspective from above with a thermal view that make us wonder what it is that has that ability. It’s in fact, quite a while until we even see the predator at a full body shot, and even that is just for a split-second. When there finally is a shot with a good look at the predator, it looks terrifying, the design is great and gets better the more you look at it. The kills done by the predator are great, especially the one where he kills Dillon with the iconic dismembered arm still shooting shot. There are a few surprising moments that no one expected. Of course, It wouldn’t be a film starring Schwarzenegger without memorable lines, and this film is no exception, from “Get to the chopper!” to “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” This film is great.
There is a rare time in cinema when a sequel is (arguably) better than the original, this film is not an exception. This time the crew had a whole lot of money, and they weren’t going to waste it on just making the film more flashy, they put it into every vital part of a film and it certainly shows. The liquid metal terminator 1000 played by Robert Patrick is a big creative step up from just another robot attacking, though the CGI on the liquid metal part of the terminator is a bit worse than modern standards, it isn’t very distracting. This is one of the few films with a child actor (John Connor played by Edward Furlong) that the character doesn’t annoy me, and him teaching the terminator (played by the returning Arnold Schwarzenegger) how to fit into society has some hilarious scenes that shine a bit of light on an otherwise dark movie. This movie is probably more iconic than the original, and it has some very cool scenes, like the flipping of the shotgun to reload it while on a motorbike which they actually had to modify the shotgun for. The film does sometimes feel a little long, but never boring, mostly because the T-1000 just doesn’t die. Everything has an understandable meaning, like when the T-800 wasn’t supposed to kill anybody but Arnold wanted him to not make that a choice from the terminator and so they made that John Connor’s choice, why does the terminator obey Connor? It was sent by Connor from the future. Everything has a sensible explanation, except for why miles (Joe Morton) would agree to destroy his life’s work just because some people told him that he needed to or else the world would end. Otherwise this movie is brilliant.
There aren’t many movie franchises quite as quotable as The Terminator Franchise and it all started with this film. Possibly Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most iconic role, the terminator is a cybernetic organism sent from the future to kill Sarah Conor (Linda Hamilton) because unbeknownst to her, she will give birth to the man to lead humans to victory in the upcoming war against machines. James Cameron was not given a whole lot of money to make this film, in fact, he used to have to eat day old Big Macs from McDonald’s on the set, but that is obviously not him today as he has made the world’s most profitable movie, twice. Since this movie had such a low budget, a scene that shows the terminator fixing his eye is very fake looking, but at least it wasn’t a mess of CGI and they actually used a real model for the head.The movie is a nice 80s action, sci-fi hit, and because it’s from the 80s, the soundtrack is a little annoting, but it’s not too bad. There is a scene in which Sarah Conor and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) are having sensual moment, kissing and what not, and it cuts almost directly to the terminator making his way over to kill them, which didn’t flow very well and took me out of the movie, but that’s pretty much the only part of the movie that bothered me really. Schwarzenegger was the perfect actor for this role, big, strong and intimidating, just as a terminator should be. He goes around shooting a bunch of people with shotguns and looks cool while doing it, and he originally wanted the part of Kyle Reese but decided being the bad guy in the film would be cooler, and it certainly was. This movie is fantastic.
North by Northwest is another film from the great director Alfred Hitchcock, and in this movie, he doesn’t disappoint. Long before seeing this, I used to think that this movie was a James Bond movie, and the opening title was visually pretty cool so one wouldn’t be blamed for making that mistake. This film is a lot like Vertigo in the sense that it’s about an innocent person dragged into a dramatic situation he had no part in. The story is about Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and his kidnapping that created his sudden identity crisis leading to him being convicted of drunk driving, lying to a judge, and eventually even murder. He evades authority across the country and meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) who isn’t who she seems to be at first. You never quite understand the reason for Roger’s kidnapping, but either way, you feel bad for him as he was just misunderstood for the entire first half of the movie. many of the sets looked very modern and you likely wouldn’t be surprised if the sets were used in a newer movie. This movie was more humorous than Hitchcock’s other movies but the jokes don’t ever seem out of place and they fit into the plot and characters well, as in, a certain joke would make sense with the certain character who said it. There are also a whole bunch of great shots such as the scene with the cop duster plane chasing Roger just as one example. The soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann, a Hitchcock favorite, was great, as expected from such a respected music producer in the film industry. This isn’t my favorite Hitchcock film, but it is definitely up there. This film is superb.
The Dark Knight has been regarded as possibly the best movie of the 21st century so far and that may very well be true. Christopher Nolan’s 2008 classic is likely the peak of superhero films, let alone, DC comic films, especially when compared to recent ones. This movie stars Christian Bale as Batman, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and many more familiar faces. Many movies are a one time thing and a second viewing could only ruin the movie for yourself, but The Dark Knight is re-watchable multiple times without it becoming boring. An incredible feature about the film is the lack of CGI because Nolan doesn’t like it at all and prefers action scenes that aren’t made in a computer. This adds to the film because all of the crashes and bangs are real, and it doesn’t feel fake and it won’t look much faker in years to come. Not all of the credit for this great film belongs to Nolan though, I couldn’t talk about this movie without mentioning the spectacular performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker. Ledger had a short career, but a memorable one, when people hear his name they usually think of this film, and for good reason. He arguably had the best portrayal of the Joker of all time. The casting crew for this movie did a great job and all of the characters and faces work with their motives. This film also has an incredible score by Hans Zimmer and is now one of the most recognizable themes of a movie ever. This movie is engaging and exciting, anyone can watch it and be entertained by it. It simply is an amazing film.
Vertigo is personally my favorite film from Alfred Hitchcock, as it is with many other people. It’s a romantic thriller crime mystery movie. It can be so many categories at once, and yet, the movie perfects all of them. The movie starts with the origin of John “Scottie” Ferguson’s (James Stewart) fear of heights, and eventual diagnosis of vertigo. An officer falls and dies while trying to help Scottie up from the edge of a roof. John tries to rid of his vertigo head on yet fails at his attempts and instead, collapses into his ex-fiancée, Midge Wood’s (Barbara Bel Geddes) arms. Scottie is offered an assignment from an old college friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), to follow his wife because of her suspicious behavior in the past few days, Gavin believes she is possessed, at first skeptical, John accepts the offer. There are then scenes of John following Gavin’s wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), and they provide confusing scenarios and actions by Madeleine that confuse the audience just as much as they seem to confuse Scottie. Hitchcock has a use of colors which provide a state of madness and confusion that perfectly reflect Scottie’s state of mind. Hitchcock also uses color in this film to provide beautiful shots such as the one in the picture here, even without much lighting, you can still invision her expression. James Stewart, a Hitchcock favorite, does a great job in his acting of making you feel pretty bad for Scottie. He was just a nice, honest man dragged into a dramatic headache that would have left him scarred for the rest of his life. The twist around the ending was so unexpected that it would even have M. Night Shyamalan shocked, but the twist makes everything make sense in the film and it changes your perspective of the film completely on a second viewing. This film is a complete masterpiece.
Ben-Hur is a movie based of the story of the book by Lew Wallace about an upper class jew, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), in Jerusalem and his journey from there to being a slave in the galleys and eventually to a very successful chariot racer. It’s a film about a person’s life over many years after some dramatic changes, similar to movies like Doctor Zhivago or Forrest Gump. I personally enjoy movies like this as they haven’t failed to disappoint for me. David Lean is especially keen with these movies and I was surprised to find out that he hadn’t directed this one. More about the movie, It’s one of the longest movies I have ever seen at 3 hours and 42 minutes long, but I wasn’t bored for a second. William Wyler does a spectacular job of making a very visual story that a deaf man could follow along with. Charlton Heston’s character of Judah Ben-Hur is performed in a way so that you feel for him and understand him and his motives. Stephen Boyd who plays Messala does a great job of being dislikeable. The movie was also easy to understand plot-wise, you don’t need to be a major nerd on the movie to know what’s happening. The cinematography was amazing, almost every shot, especially shots from the chariot racing scene, were memorable. There was a scene in which Ben-Hur is a slave being dragged across miles and miles of land to be sent to the galleys and they eventually get to a small village where there is a person who gives him some water even though the Roman guards told people not to give water to Ben-Hur specifically. The way that the scene is shot makes you feel like this person is going to be a major character, and the camera is about to show their face, but it just doesn’t. The viewer is desperate to know who it is but the film refuses to let them know, and the movie is arranged so well that everything else in it distracts you from the mystery of who this person is so it doesn’t bother you for the entire movie, potentially ruining the experience for yourself. This movie is a masterpiece.