Scenes that make the movie


I’ve been thinking about this idea for a post.  Ten memorable scenes from some of my favourite movies of all time, or simply great moments that make a particular movie going experience stick in my head.  This may become a continuing series as I recall other great moments…but for now, here are ten stand out moments from great movies:  Minor spoilers.

Akira

Teddy bears & hallucinations.

Akira Gif

As a telepathic Kaneda post-brush with an infected child of the Akira experiment, recovers in hospital, he begins to experience terrifying hallucinations where teddy bears and toys comes to life as his powers start to manifest in horrifying ways.  One of the defining moments of this complex and ground-breaking Anime.

An America Werewolf In London

Stick to the road

AAWIL Moores

Two back packers after stumbling into local watering hole The Slaughtered Lamb are ushered back out into the night, with simply the warning of ‘stay on the road, keep clear of the moores’ – which they subsequently ignore and are soon stalked by a blood thirsty werewolf in John Landis’ still superb 1984 horror classic.

Blue Velvet

In Dreams

Blue Dean

Amateur detective Kyle MacLachlan gets a little too close to nut-job mobster Dennis Hopper who takes him for a visit to his cross-dressing neighbourhood friend Dean Stockwell, who lip-syncs to Roy Orbinson’s timeless classic in possibly one of David Lynch’s most freaky and brilliant scenes.

Boogie Nights

Disco montage

Boogie Nights

As former nobody Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) rises to infamy in the seventies porn movie industry, we are treated to this fabulous disco montage, cut seamlessly with various shots of Dirk ‘in action’ or receiving awards and culminating in a wonderfully choreographed dance number with fellow stars Reed Rothchild (John C Reilly) and Roller-girl (Heather Graham).

Eyes Wide Shut

The secret sex party

eyes wide shut

Only in a Stanley Kubrick movie can a high society sex orgy come across as creepy and surreal.  The master film maker in probably his most misunderstood work, presents the viewer with a secret society that Tom Cruise manages to sneak inside of and witness the debauchery of most-likely high profile dignitaries with various high class call girls.  All to a haunting, incredibly eerie score.

Goodfellas

Paranoia, drugs and guns

goodfellas paranoid

In the final act of the movie an increasingly paranoid Ray Liotta, struggles to juggle family responsibilities with fencing guns for Robert DeNiro and avoiding what he thinks is an FBI helicopter during the day from hell.  Expertly edited for maximum tension and intensity by the grand master Martin Scorsese.

Monsters Inc.

A chase through the doors

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After discovering the main villain’s evil scheme, Billy Crystal’s motor-mouthed Mike and John Goodman’s lovable Sully are chased by Steve Buscemi’s dastardly Randall into the inner workings of the Monsters Inc. facility and through a plethora of doors into the human world.  Exciting, inventive and visually stunning.

Pulp Fiction

Jack Rabbit Slims

pulp gif

In a mob movie with pop-culture quoting wise guys and a soundtrack to die for, who’d have thought one of the best scenes would be a night out between John Travolta’s mob hitman and gangsters-mol Uma Thurman?  Culminating in the world famous Twist Contest.  Sharp dialogue, a highly memorable setting, and an after-math that segway’s into probably the other best scene in this movie.

Saving Private Ryan

Omaha Beach Landing

After visiting the final resting place of hundreds of soldiers, an elderly veteran recalls his experience with tears in his eyes – switch to the shocking beach onslaught in Omaha in 1944 as thousands of troops fight against impossible odds.  A stunning opening to one of the greatest WWII movies ever made, with star (Tom Hanks) and director (Steven Spielberg) on blistering form.

Trainspotting

Clubbing to Blondie.

transpotting

Taking a break from ripping people off and doing drugs, Ewan McGregor’s Renton finds himself on a night out with friends, hitting the clubs and listening to Heaven 17 and Blondie (or Sleeper doing a marvellous version of Atomic), where he meets Diane (Kelly MacDonald) and leads to a montage of sex, alcohol and pulse-pounding music in Danny Boyle’s break-out gem.

Do you agree with my list?  Have favourite scenes of your own?  Leave your comments below or link to your own lists…

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Monsters University


Viewed – 25 December 2013  Blu-ray

A daunting prospect … a sequel to possibly my favourite animated movie of all time.  I absolutely loved Monsters Inc. and consider it Pixar’s crowning achievement … funny, a perfect ‘buddy comedy’, charming, magical and with gorgeous animation and a brilliant concept.  This is more a prequel showing the early years, mainly during University of much loved characters Mike and Sully (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) as fledgling monsters who dream of nothing more than becoming Scarers one days and working at Monsters Incorporated.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Clearly a parody of every campus comedy you’ve ever seen, and seemingly closely resembling Revenge Of The Nerds … I loved the idea of Mike and Sully becoming part of the least popular frat house on campus and having to compete against the more skilled & scarier houses for a chance to learn to be a Scarer.  The banter between the wealth of imaginative creations is first rate, and again Goodman & Crystal work brilliantly together.  There are also plenty of cameos and appearances from other supporting Monsters Inc characters, including Steve Buscemi’s chameleon-like Randy.

With less interaction with the human world this time and more of a focus on the monster world, this does lose ‘something’ that the original movie had, and with a hectic storyline and sometimes too many characters, it fails to zip along like it did before … oh and the ending was anti-climactic.  But these are small gripes for a stunning looking movie (Pixar at the top of their game) and plenty of jokes and fun moments meaning it’s impossible not to come away with a big grin on your face.  Pixar’s best movie in a while.

Verdict:  4 /5

The Princess Bride


Viewed – 01 April 2013  Blu-ray

25th Anniversary Edition

Director Rob Reiner has been responsible, in my opinion for classic after classic, especially during the eighties with movies like Stand By Me, Misery and When Harry Met Sally, but many will know him for this perfectly pitched fantasy fable that pokes fun whilst also offering a tribute to movies like Legend and LadyHawk.

princessbride

Starring Robin Wright (before she was Penn) as a farm girl named Buttercup, and Cary Elwes (everybody’s favorite comedy heart-throb) as her farm boy love-interest, this is a simple love story with added swashbuckling, masked avengers, a giant, miracles and perfect narration by Peter Falk (Columbo).  At it’s heart its a comedy, and a dry one at that, with some great lines (As You Wish, You Killed My Father … Prepare To Die, He’s Only Mostly Dead!) and some great talent throughout the cast (look out for cameos from Peter Cook, Billy Crystal and Mel Smith).  Reiner’s direction is perfectly paced, telling the story with a bunch of larger-than-life characters, including a great boo-hiss villain in the shape of Chris Sarandon’s Prince Humperdink …. and let’s not forget ‘that’ theme tune.

As a movie I grew up loving, watching it now with more mature eyes, it stands the test of time well.  The script is still sharp and quotable, the performances just right, without getting too silly, and overall I had a great time.  I think it lacks a bit of spectacle, some of the effects and scenery look fake as hell, and the climax lacks a bit of impact.  However this is one of those movies where the moments you loved, are still great and the characters are all as fun as you recall – even if by today’s standards it all seems a little corny and cheap.  I still say its a classic though.

This 25th Anniversary Blu-ray is pretty impressive.  The image is crisp and has much more detail than I could have expected, the colors especially popping (check out Prince Humperdink’s red outfit and gold crown), whilst the sound is clear and  punchy.  I noticed a few moments of slight lip-sync, but that could have been my player (PS3) and when I came to watch the disk on my second player (a Pioneer) it wouldn’t play at all (!).  Very odd.  Extra’s consist of all the special features from the DVD special edition (two commentaries, a documentary, 1987 featurette, photo galleries, Cary Elwes on set video diary etc) as well as all new features including a new documentary covering the movie’s cult appeal, as well as several other featurettes).  So despite a few technical hiccups I experienced, this is otherwise a home-run.

Verdict:

(the movie)  4 /5

(the Blu-ray)  4 /5

Howl’s Moving Castle


Viewed – 02 February 2013. Blu-ray

I am not sure why I’ve taken so long to see this acclaimed entry in famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli’s cannon.  Telling the story of a young woman who is cursed by a witch and turned into an elderly lady.  As a war ravages the city where she lives, she takes refuge in wizard Howl’s legendary moving castle.  Can she lift the curse, or are Howl’s own problems more pressing?

Howl-s-Moving-Castle-howls-moving-castle-4919316-853-480

Directed by studio head Hayao Myazaki (Ponyo, Princess Mononoke) and boasting quite boundless imagination and visual beauty, this is one of those movies that you can easily lose yourself in.  The story is utterly charming, told gracefully and packed with ideas.  Voice acting from Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer and Billy Crystal (as a lovable fire demon) amongst others is also enjoyable and although at nearly two hours it can feel a bit hard going, this remained classic fantasy storytelling that kept me glued throughout.

I think compared to similar Ghibli movie Spirited Away; being based on the children’s novel by British writer Diana Wynne Jones helps it break free from the studio’s otherwise very Japanese style.  Sometimes the bizarreness of Ghibli can leave me cold, but that wasn’t the case here.  Although, what was that war about? Never the less, an enchanting, very well made and totally gorgeous evening’s entertainment.

The blu-ray from Optimum is very pleasing. The image is vibrant and sharp. Some slight juddering during fast movement seems evident occasionally but not very noticeable. The soundtrack in DTS HD Master Audio is immersive and full of little details, with the music and quality voice acting all impressing. Extras consist of several featurettes, including Myazaki’s visit to Pixar as well as behind the scenes voice over footage. Sadly many are in 1:33:1 format so we get ugly black boarders either side of the screen.

Verdict:

(the movie) 5 /5

(the Blu-ray) 4 /5

Monsters Inc


Viewed – 14 August 2009  Blu-ray

In the ten-film career of famed Disney studio Pixar, this entry has long been my favourite.  Yes I love Toy Story and it’s sequel, have a soft spot for both Finding Nemo and Wall-E, but something about this one, sets it apart from the others.  I think it comes down to one word: imagination.  The concept here, playing on that old childhood fear of monsters in your closet, then re-imagined into a a story of working-class monsters who scare to create energy to power their city … is a touch of genius.  Now add to this the voice casting which is first class, the buddy duo of John Goodman & Billy Crystal, and excellent work from Steve Buscemi as the villain – everything comes together perfectly.

MonstersInc4

Now lets add to the menu the wonderful visuals, given even greater depth in high-definition and to not talk about the art direction and fluid animation would be to do the film an injustice, as this remains one of the best looking animated movies ever made – and not because it is technically impressive (which it is) or particularly realistic, as this shows off the joy of cartoon-world imagery like nothing else, and your eyes will be having orgasms throughout.  It then is a great achievement that the story is good enough to back up the visuals, never over-sentimental or too childish, funny without being silly, and cute where it needs to be and dark and sinister when necessary.  Director Pete Docter has crafted one of the finest family movies of all time, and this is above all else brilliant entertainment from start to finish.

My favourite animated movie.

Verdict: 5 /5