Sully


Viewed – 18 April 2017  online rental

Tom Hanks is surely one of the most dependable and talented actors of his generation and for me, always an appealing prospect whenever he’s in a movie.  Something about him is just so likeable and relatable and he’s very much not your typical Hollywood star.  He’s like someone you feel you know.  So we come to his latest effort.  Overseen by the acclaimed directing talent of the legendary Clint Eastwood, this tells the true story of a freak accident that lead to a plane having to land in the Hudson River in the middle of New York City in 2009.

Sully

With an interesting, non-linear structure (the movie opens after the landing and flashes back to the day in question several times) Tom Hanks plays airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger (aka Sully) who is immediately faced with suspicion and attempts at being discredited for his actions by the airline and investigating parties, despite being heralded a hero by the public and media.  A very simple story at it’s heart held together by solid performances including Aaron Echhart and especially Hanks who’s plight I believed in and felt every emotion, doubt and uncertainty conveyed.  Eastwood builds tension and delivers a gently told but emotional story with great moments of drama from the actors and when we finally get to see how things occurred it’s pretty damn scary … especially for someone like me who’s never been on a plane.

It ends a little abruptly but that’s nit-picking for what is otherwise a well told, very well acted and powerful dramatisation of a remarkable incident.  A must for fans of Tom Hanks and anyone who enjoys gripping true stories.

Verdict:  4 /5

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…

The Green Mile


Viewed – 10 October 2014  Blu-ray

15th Anniversary Edition

I really have no clue as to why it has taken me so long to see this highly acclaimed movie.  Following in the wake of Frank Darabont’s industry defining Stephen King adaptation The Shawshank Redemption, the same director tackles another King story.  Originally published in a series of small novellas, The Green Mile was a sort of experiment and follows the story of an elderly man in a care home who recants his time as a prison officer in charge of the inmates on death row; specifically his time in the company of convicted double murderer John Coffey.  Tom Hanks plays prison warden Paul Edgecomb and is perfect casting in my opinion, as is the late Michael Clarke Duncan as the imposing but gentle-giant Coffey.

greenmile

This well shot and atmospheric movie gathers together several solid performances and a powerful, magical tale that certainly left it’s mark on me.  The fate of John Coffey, the mystery surrounding two dead girls and an unexplainable ‘gift’ kept me mesmerised.  Hanks is as complex and believable as always and in the closing moments truly excellent (seriously, I cant watch Hanks cry … I just can’t).  It’s one of the most emotional films I have seen in a long while and yes, brought a tear to my eye.  It also gets fairly disturbing in places, mainly surround the cruel character of Percy (you may recall him from his stint as ‘toobs’ in The X-Files …).  But don’t let that put you off as this is one of those stories that is tragic but also life-affirming and made with real passion for it’s source material.  Essential viewing.

The Blu-ray is mostly impressive.  The movie itself is in fairly good condition but for a slightly smudgy colour pallet (this may be intentional) and detail overall is good, with only occasional softness creeping in on distant and wide shots.  Close-up detail is often excellent.  Sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is pretty decent if a little lacking in the surrounds.  Yet the big plus here is the extras consisting of a feature-length documentary named ‘walking the green mile’ as well as a commentary by the director, several deleted scenes and a trailer.  Not too shabby for a modern classic.  Packaging could have been better though.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  4 /5

Captain Phillips


Viewed – 22 October 2013  Cinema

At one time, Tom Hanks was probably the finest actor in Hollywood.  Who can forget his two years in a row Oscar win for Philadelphia and Forest Gump?  Not to mention his stellar turn in Saving Private Ryan, among others.  Yet in recent years, and following luke-warm reactions to his Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons roles, he seemed to almost disappear … but now he’s back, ready to show everyone else how it’s meant to be done.

captain-phillips-trailer-tom-hanks

Hanks plays Richard Phillips, a Captain of a huge cargo ship heading into Somalia waters, when they get attacked by a group of pirates.  Based on a shocking true story, this is immediately gripping and very well acted by all involved.  Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) has delivered an utterly intense, nail-biting experience that barely lets up through its 2hrs + running time.  I did go into this a little bit cautious … just how interesting can a movie about an attack on a boat be?  Simple answer: very very interesting.  Greengrass drags out every moment for full nerve-shredding potential, from the gradual approach of the pirates heading to the ship aboard speed boats, to a tense search in the engine room where the rest of the crew are hiding.  It’s not exactly Die Hard on a boat, going for a more wholly realistic approach … but I was probably more gripped and excited than during the entire Die Hard franchise.  Surprisingly the movie also managed to show the pirates, as ruthless as they are, with some degree of sympathy and the actors playing them, all real-life Somalian’s did a very commendable job.

Yet this remains Hanks’ movie and his performance here is not big Hollywood star (he’s never been that sort of actor) but very human and heart-breaking.  I’ll even admit to feeling quite emotional at times watching such a layered, believable performance.  Hanks is back at the top of his game here, and I foresee another Oscar on the horizon.

A movie that questions your beliefs, makes you think and gives you plenty to talk about in the ride home afterwards.  A contender for movie of the year.

Verdict:  5 /5

Toy Story 3


Viewed – 25 December 2010  Blu-ray

I feel I have been waiting to see this movie for a long time.  Ever since I finished watching Toy Story 2, I was thirsty for more.  That movie built so much on what the first, classic movie delivered, playing on jokes that worked so well the first time round, and introducing new characters like Jessie the cow girl to my already feverish adoration of Buzz & Woody.  It also looked so much better.  So the anticipation began, just what could they do with a third Toy Story?  Oh the possibilities…

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