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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

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***½

I know you’re a good guy… but you know why I have to kill you…

This 2002 Korean film is powerful and unpleasant.  It’s eerily quiet for much of the film because one of the characters is deaf.  Watching him sign during sex was actually one of the sweeter moments in this creepily realistic film.  Organ salesmen and revenge push the plot along.  I did not like this movie as much as I enjoyed Oldboy, but at least this did not have the gross out value that Oldboy has.  If you have not seen Oldboy and intend to see it, I would recommend watching this movie first.  If there’s a take home from this review, it’s that this film is really creepy and sad.

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Best of 2006

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1. United 93
2. The Lives of Others
3. Pan’s Labyrinth
4. The Illusionist
5. The Departed
6. V for Vendetta
7. Borat
8. Little Miss Sunshine
9. Casino Royale
10. Hollywoodland

Honorable mentions: Jackass Number Two, 300, The Last King of Scotland, Inside Man, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Days of Glory, Black Book & Seraphim Falls.

Not mentioned for a reason: Black Dahlia (good, complicated book, julienned into this), Smokin’ Aces (This guy made Narc…but then this…and now The A Team), X-Men: The Last Stand (thanks for giving this to Brett Ratner, ugg…), Lucky Number Slevin (wanted to be Snatch, but was not Snatch), and Mission: Impossible III (I heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman was good in this, but watching the movie proved that wrong).

I left United 93 off this list originally because I forgot what year is came out in.  Forgetting the #1 movie of the year is a big oy!

Best of 2007

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1. Zodiac
2. Hot Fuzz
3. Gone Baby Gone
4. The Assassination of Jesse James
5. The Bourne Ultimatum
6. No Country For Old Men
7. Eastern Promises
8. In The Valley of Elah
9. Letters From Iwo Jima
10. Juno

Honorable mentions:  Superbad, Lust, Caution, and Oceans 13.

Not mentioned for a reason:  There Will Be Blood (awful ending, awful music, not an awful movie), Knocked Up (not as good as Superbad), Ratatouille (cute, but not great), Grindhouse (I preferred Deathproof, but still…), and Sweeney Todd (the best musical of the year).

My 10 favorite movies from 2008

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1.The Dark Knight
2.In Bruges
3.Let The Right One In
4.The Bank Job
5.Role Models
6.Frost/Nixon
7.Be Kind, Rewind
8.Get Smart
9.Tropic Thunder
10.Defiance

My list from Spring 2009.  Unaltered, so yeah, it really reminds you of how weak 2008 was.

Hud

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****
I was married to Ed for six years. Only thing he was ever good for was to scratch my back where I couldn’t reach it.

Paul Newman plays a cad in this story of changing times. There was certainly more going on metaphorically than the film lays out on the surface. Both in the look, tone, and message this film appears to have greatly influenced There Will Be Blood. The score is more effective here though. My biggest objection comes from one scene where Paul Newman unconvincingly plays “drunk.” It should have been a very powerful and disturbing scene, but instead I thought about his performance and not the reality of the moment. On the other hand, the slick dialogue made me enjoy the film more, throughout the rest of the film.

Philadelphia

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****½

It’s that every now and again – not often, but occasionally – you get to be a part of justice being done. That really is quite a thrill when that happens.

This movie was so good, I checked to see what year it won the Oscar for Best Picture.  I was surprised to find that it had not even been nominated for Best Picture in 1993.  The film ends with a montage and I feel that that detracted from whole thing since I did not care about what I was seeing.  Maybe if better music had been used, like the opening title track, “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen, then it would have affected me more.

As a law student, I will say this, besides the lawyers failing to identify their objections (hearsay, badgering, asked and answered, etc…) the film portrayed our legal system very accurately.  And even if you do not care about such things, the film manages to provide both high drama and comedy, without hurting either.

Nosferatu the Vampyre

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***

Time is an abyss… profound as a thousand nights… Centuries come and go… To be unable to grow old is terrible… Death is not the worst… Can you imagine enduring centuries, experiencing each day the same futilities…

Werner Herzog’s version of Nosferatu clings to Dracula more closely than Nosferatu, except when it comes to Nosferatu’s look.  While Max Schreck’s Nosferatu still haunts and frightens 88 years later, Klaus Kinski portrays Dracula in such a way that I could not take my eyes off of him.  Both ancient and eternally youthful.  The music that the film employs enchants occasionally, which affected me even more because of the less perfect music employed at other points.  (Levi’s has taken the best music from the movie and used it in a new ad campaign)  On the whole, the acting leaves much to be desired, but any opportunity to see someone play Nosferatu is worth it.

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