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

monsters-inc

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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Fargo


Viewed – 25 April 2014  Blu-ray

I would generally say, you can’t go wrong with a movie from sibling directing / writing duo Joel & Ethan Coen.  Their brand of often darkly comical thrillers, mysteries and just plain wacky comedies have earned them many accolades and have them standing tall as two of the best film makers around.  That’s not to say they don’t sometimes perplex me, with the underwhelming Intolerable Cruelty and the bizarre A Serious Man … but also like this Oscar winning effort from 1996 their movies deserve multiple viewings and like me, you may not necessarily ‘get it’ first time around.

Fargo

William H Macy plays a car sales man in money troubles, who thinks his only way out is to have his unassuming wife kidnapped so her rich father can pay the ransom.  Enter kidnappers Steve Buscemi (kinda funny lookin’) and Peter Stormare, who pretty much screw up the whole deal.  This snapshot of Minnesota, South Dakota life and their inhabitants pokes fun at their accents but also captures a good natured likability that despite the cold, the deep snow and the fact we have a murder or two (or three) … seems a nice place to visit.  In the Coen’s hands though this is that kind of uncomfortably funny, macabre tone they seem to nail so perfectly … is it a comedy?  is it serious? … neither question needs to be answered as you wallow in several excellent performances.  Macy is superb as the awkward, nervous sales man in over his head, and remains one of my favourite actors.  A special mention must of course go to Francis McDormand, another superb actor who pretty much steals the movie even though she doesn’t appear for the first half hour or so.  Buscemi is also great as is a dead-eyed, sinister Stormare to round out a great cast.

This should probably go on record as one of the Coen’s most satisfying and well played movies and if you haven’t seen it, I really think you should.

The Blu-ray is a re-release and remastered version of the earlier HD release and boasts a very detailed image, with plenty of clarity and detail to things such as cars, signs, close-ups and in door scenes.  Outside it gets a little softer but considering the amount of snow and distant shots this should be expected.  The sound in either DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 or Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 is more than acceptable but for a gentle, talky movie it’s not going to be a fully immersive showcase for your system.  Extras include an informative commentary by director of photography (and Coen regular) Roger Deakins and also a fun and interesting trivia track to play as you watch the movie.  As this gained a big cult following after release and plenty of talk about it’s apparent true story (it isn’t) – this makes for a worthwhile inclusion.  An archival documentary, a photo gallery, trailer and TV spot also round out this release, making for pretty decent treatment of a genuine modern classic.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  5 /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

Reservoir Dogs


Viewed – 07 Mar 2009  Blu-ray

Limited Collector’s Edition

You have to admit, thats a killer title.  There’s plenty of urban legends about how it came about, but for now lets just basque in what this film did for cinema in the early nineties – turning a tired crime genre on its head and introduced us to snappy dialogue, cool black suited gangsters and a new indie wonder kid by the name of Quentin Tarantino, who even today still makes a big impact with every new film he comes up with, regardless if like me you feel he hasn’t hit gold since Pulp Fiction, this film’s grand follow up, that cemented him as a real talent.

Four crooks sit in a coffee shop discussing everything from the real meaning of Like A Virgin to why Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) wont tip waitresses.  This plays out minutes before a diamond heist that we never see and goes terribly wrong, and the surviving crooks (Mr White – Harvey Keitel, a bloody and wounded Mr Orange – Tim Roth, Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) and the psychotic Mr Blonde – Michael Madsen) all try and figure out what went wrong.  A very simple premise is given much credence by a narrative that jumps all over the place very much like Pulp did but in a slightly more explained way (mostly in flashbacks as the protagonists discuss events), and with most of the film set in an abandoned warehouse – this could so easily have been boring – but in Tarantino’s hands its riveting.  Mostly because the cast is brilliantly put together.  Roth over-acts, granted but makes the opening ten minutes kick ass.  Then of course we have Madsen in a scene that has become something of cinematic legend (the ear cutting played out perversely to Steeler’s Wheel’s ‘Stuck In The Middle’).

For a debut film from a new director, this is exceptional work, and as a crime movie in its own right, it is clever and different enough to warrant repeated viewings.  Some may dislike the simplicity, but I say look beyond what you have been accustomed to and enjoy it for what it is, one of the most ballsy crime movies ever made.

This collector’s edition, housed wonderfully in a mock up petrol can, has a very nice (but not astonishing) picture and the sound in both DTS Master Audio and Dolby Digital EX has plenty of wallop, especially when the excellent soundtrack kicks in.  Most impressive though is the wealth of extras, including a round-the-table commentary, behind the scenes footage, interviews, character profiles of the Reservoir Dogs, a pop-up trivia track and plenty more.  A brilliant package for fans and newcomers alike.

Verdict:  4 /5