Favorite Movies

  1. juliomendez19941
  2. Caesar

It's self explanatory by the title. I also want to make it clear that these films are in no particular order. These are the films that I judge a certain film genre by and give you an idea of my standards for them. Also let it be noted that I'll continue to update this list since I'll keep watching and find new experience that remind why I adore cinema.

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  juliomendez19941's Rating My Rating
Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) 1988,  Unrated)
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) 1999,  PG-13)
Citizen Kane 1941,  PG)
Casablanca 1942,  PG)
Casablanca, do I need to say more great things about one of the greatest love story ever told that hasn't already said. It's a movie that has a place in my heart as well as others for being one of the best movie experience ever.

We all know the classic story, Casablanca is set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II, as an American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. It's not a simple love story, it's complicated and passionate like in real life. You feel the passion, motivation, and the feeling only Casablanca can provide when watching a movie this perfect. I've yet to see another Romance story that gets better with age and I doubt Hollywood will ever match the memorable story, memorable characters, memorable dialogue, and one of the best ending to ever be filmed.

Casablanca is often considered to be one of the greatest movie of all time, and I agree. Not only do you have an iconic story, you also have iconic performances. These performances are meant to be watch, these performances are so great that you don't want the movie to end. There's so many things I could reach on like the score, the settings, direction, but other reviewers have done it already. The reason there so many people that love this movie is that it's one the few movies that's completely perfect and gets nothing wrong.

It doesn't matter if it's Valentine's Day or the fourth of July, you will be drawn into an unforgettable experience that you will carry into your heart. A love story as perfect as this should seen by everyone.
Mysterious Skin 2004,  NC-17)
Mysterious Skin
Mysterious Skin is one of the very few dramas capable of making us feel emotionally invested in fictional characters and boldly showing us a trouble subject matter how it is. It's a difficult film to sit through for child sexual abuse and the long-terms effect are difficult to shallow for these events will and have occurred in our society. It's not a pleasant or entertaining film of any sorts, but it is one that is very powerful both emotionally and how we view our society.

Mysterious Skin tells the story of two pre-adolescent boys who are sexually abused by their baseball coach, and how it affects their lives in different ways into their young adulthood. One boy becomes a reckless, sexually adventurous male prostitute, while the other retreats into a fantasy of alien abduction. Mysterious Skin biggest strength in it story is it realism. Sure it tells a fictional story, but the events that unfold throughout the film can happen. It contains several unpleasant scenes; some are as difficult as seeing 8 year old getting sexually abuse and a young adult prostituting himself for money. Events like these are cold and honest making us feel uncomfortable with each passing second as it should. Never does it step out of boundaries where you feel the content is simply sick nor does it paint pedophilia in black or white moral. Masterfully written sending it message on pedophilia without shoveling it down the viewer throat with developed characters we grow an attachment towards. All these elements come together for the entire picture without an dragging a single scene. The ending of this film is one the greatest one could possibly witness; not because it closes the story in a heartbreaking manner, but because it gives us a reflection on what we witness and applying it into our society in a viewpoint that's not presented on solely one side.

Mysterious Skin would not be the same film without Gregg Araki flawless direction and the cast magnificent performances. Araki handles the very difficult film content in a way where he doesn't hammer down any morals. He does not dilute the effect of child sexual abuse nor does he ever go to far with the filming of a disturbing scene. He restrains himself enough where the a disturbing is still effective, but not sickening that a director filmed such scene for his own amusement. The lead performances by Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon Levitt are terrific. It's hard to imagine these roles with other actors. Brady Cobret and Joseph Gordon Levitt play on each other character so different from one another well. Cobret interacts with his costars with grace and immense belivability. It's this film that I contain the most respect of Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor. He gives his character a genuine quality where you don't see him as an actor. Levitt looses himself in his character making us feel what he feels. It's heartfelt, powerful, and one of the best performances Levitt has ever given. Both Cobret and Levitt have you caring about them making the ending and the entire emotionally thought-provoking.

Mysterious Skin is a masterpiece in dramatic film making. It never shy's away from it source material nor glosses pedophilia into a simple black & white moral. It's a film that is honest, with a masterful direction, moving performances, and gives it sensitive subject depth allowing us to reflect on it with heart.
Jaws 1975,  PG)
Jaws came out in the summer of 1975 and is consider the first of a "blockbuster" era in Hollywood. Since then, Jaws has had very few successful imitators in the horror-thriller genre for good reasons.

First, Jaws haunting music adds to the atmosphere making events even more intense. Unlike most films in this genre, Jaws actually uses the music in perfect timing to convey emotion from the audience and add a depth to the movie by doing so.

The plot is simple to understand, it's about gigantic great white shark beginning to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. Now while this may not sound all that interesting, you're for even thinking all the talented Steven Spielberg knows how tell a story with the camera. Now having read the book, I have to say I prefer the movie over the book, as Steven Spielberg even said that I found myself rooting for the shark in the book.

The cast is spot on on every level and fits perfectly in their characters. You can't asked for a better cast when it comes to this movie.

As you can probably tell already, I love this movie. Instead rumbling on how this movie is a masterpiece and how it holds a place in cinema history (there other reviews for that). I'll say Jaws is still the standard and will always the be high standard of the horror-thriller genre.
Rebel Without a Cause 1955,  PG-13)
Rebel Without a Cause
I often don't dive into drama involving teenagers since there's not many I could reflect on with personal experience. Rebel Without A Cause is a character driven drama featuring James Dean as one of the best characters to have ever been written.

Rebel Without A Cause is about Jim Stark, a rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town and his struggles to fit in. The story is great and is still relevant today, even after over fifty years since it's original release. Jim Stark is a fascinating protagonist as well as a very well developed and deep. You feel for what Jim Stark's going through and have a real connection with him since he's a new kid in town, has issues with his father who never stands up for him, and is seen as a father figure through one of his friends eyes. Jim Stark is masterfully portrayed by James Dean who really sold me on his character that I forgot I was watching a scripted movie. James Dean acting is just that good and with a greatly developed protagonist helps Rebel Without A Cause to be a classic that still captivates.

Setting aside Jim Stark for now, the rest of movie is just masterfully made. It has terrific writing with many memorable scenes. The characters are among the most realistic and relatable I've seen in a long time. The dialogue is truly phenomenal and never feels it written. The pacing might be slow, but it's appropriate to guarantee every scene is just as important and flow correctly together. The same praise can be given to the movie talented cast, powerful direction, great music, glorious cinematography, terrific writing, and just about everything else. This is one of those movies that gets everything right and deserves to be call a classic.

Rebel Without A Cause has everything you look forward to in a drama from a captivating story to a memorable characters. Rebel Without A Cause is a classic in every sense of the word with one of best protagonist ever to be in a movie.
Akira 1988,  R)
When it comes to Anime I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of it, but that didn't stop me from checking out Akira. It doesn't matter if you're fan of Anime or not, you can deny the masterpiece that is Akira.

Akira is about a secret military project endangering Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychopath that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop. Now I haven't read any of the Akira anime or mangna so I can't tell you if it's faithful to the material, but what story they do have in the movie is very entertaining. For being a two hour movie I'm surprise how much the movie grabbed my attention and there never was a dull moment. I felt emotionally attach to the characters, they felt like real people, and most importantly it has some of the best character development for a animated movie. The story is complex and it certainly entertaining.

Now of course this being a Anime movie you would expect terrible animation, but this is one of the only occasion I've seen where the animation is as good as a Studio Ghibli movie. You'll be truly amazed by the animator achievements in this movie and some scenes are truly jaw dropping just by good it looked and moved. The voice actors did a pretty good job delivery every line as if it was a live action movie and with passion as well.

Akira has great production in it's animation, story, voice actor, and it truly it one of the greatest animated movie ever made. This is a must see for anyone as this movie truly is a classic and an achievement in animation.
Reservoir Dogs 1992,  R)
Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs is memorable film thank to Quentin Tarantino great writing and a spectacular performance from it cast.

After a simple jewelery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant. The story is told through dialogue and not action, which is a genius way to tell the story. It doesn't show you everything that happens, which adds to the development of these characters.

Like I said earlier, the acting is just spectacular. Though some will complain about the all male cast, but not me as it cast performance made me forget I was watching a movie and saw the story being unfold. I have to say my favorite part of this movie is the opening it has to be the best opening i've ever seen in a movie.

Quentin Tarantino has made allot of movie great movies in his career, but Reservoir Dogs inventive story telling and cast will have always put it on top of all other Tarantino films. I absolutely recommend this to anyone movie lover as they will not regret watching and remember the experience even after the movie is over.
The Killer (Dip huet seung hung) 1989,  R)
The Killer (Dip huet seung hung)
Now going into The Killer I expected a good movie considering it's a movie with Chow Yun-Fat movie directed by John Woo. Like any other Chow Yun-Fat and John Woo collaboration, the movie ended up being great.

A disillusioned assassin (Chow Yun-Fat) accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded, only to be double-crossed by his boss. I found the story to be well paced, but some will probably complain how it's not evenly spaced out between action and drama, but they won't mind it once the movie shift into full gear and delivers the goods on it story. The story is masterfully told in my opinion and doesn't suffer from having to much action either. Even though I saw the dubbed version, I can tell you the movie still had some great lines. I got more into the story when it showed that our killer was sympathetic and caring giving him depth instead of just making him look like a cold heartless killer like other movies.

The action is nothing short of spectacular as you would expect with any movie directed by John Woo. It's beautiful to watch, it's intense, it's enjoyable, and has a purpose with the story. I have to praise to Woo for his good camera work in this movie and writing what I consider to be one of the best action movie ever made. Beside the acting, I want praise the music in the movie, while it may pass viewers as they get entertain by what they see, I want to say that adds to the greatness and entertainment value for this movie.

The Killer is amazing experience I would recommend for anyone. It's a great action movie that delivers the goods on the story with some of the best action sequences ever filmed. The Killer is by far one of the greatest action movie i've ever seen.
Lat sau san taam (Hard-Boiled) 1992,  R)
The Gold Rush 1925,  G)
The Gold Rush
There's a reason why classical humor is more appealing to me, unlike modern comedies that focus on sex jokes, the silent era humor is more about character humor. No doubt Charlie Chaplin's, The Gold Rush, is one of the best example of this.

The story is actually more entertaining and heartfelt than most of the modern comedies in recent years. Charlie Chaplin plays the Tramp and goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds himself some humorous situations. Chaplin alway plays his characters with such grace that imitating him is just impossible. The jokes are actually funny, the characters are worth caring about, and since it's a Chaplin film, prepare yourself for some of the most hilarious moments ever filmed.

What else can I say about this movie, it helds up really well. Unlike most comedies where the humor dies off with passing years, this film has only gotten better. I have to say the best thing about this is the production value. Every characters is worth watching, every shot captures the scene perfectly, the pacing is just terrific in every way possible, and it's just a joy to watch. I honestly can't remember the last time a movie has made me laugh as much of this.

The Gold Rush proves that comedy can timeless if done correctly. Even though the current state of the comedy genre is not so good, it's great that a talented artist like Chaplin made this movie for generations to smile, laugh, and bring them an unforgettable experience.
Battle Royale 3D 2000,  Unrated)
Battle Royale 3D
With all the revision I've doing to my older reviews to remove any profanity if included which itself been taking up some time. Now that problem could be easily fix, what's not as easy to fix is Amazon not delivering my DVD orders and therefore I can't review what I want. Which meant I did things the old fashion way and looked for the movie myself, though it took a while, I found myself a masterpiece in my eye.

Battle Royale is about a selected class of 40 high school students being force to participate in the Battle Royale Act. A program by the government that forces children to kill each other until only one is victorious in less than three days. The story is of Battle Roayle was surprisingly very poetic and very violent. Every student is unique, every death has meaning behind it, every moment of this program is intense, and it's all thanks to great writing. Some would call this the more violent version of the fantastic The Hunger Games movie, but it's also a superior film at that too. One flaw with The Hunger Games was the love story aspect came out unbelievable and force upon. In Battle Royale on the other hand, the love story is actually much more interesting as we learn about our main characters background through dialogue and flashbacks giving us some history for our main couple and simply putting it in a third of the way into the movie. The story aspect of the movie is well done giving the important characters some good, though not all, and deep development so we understand what's important for these characters motivation for their action. What about the violence, it's not pointless in my opinion. There are actually villains in the movie that actually only kills just for the fun of it and makes them good villains since they have no good intention and shows no remorse for their murders. The majority of the students on the other hands don't want to kill each other they show compassion in peace and fell remorse for what they have to do. Some of the students are even peaceful who were killed and confused because they don't exactly know how handle the situation there in. The violence actually convey the impact of the movie even more as brings up many interesting questions into your head about life, trust, friendship, love, and what it means to be an adult. The story of Battle Royale is violently poetic with deep meaning behind.

The cast is great and varied in characters. While only two stars actually share a majority of screen time together, everyone in the cast has their own moment to shine. Whether it's playing psychopathic killer who enjoys taking the lives of others, characters who prefer to commit suicide over killing other students, and being a vulnerable guy trying to keep his promises to protect a girl and make it in the real world. The cast have their moment to shine and are memorable. Now my personal favorite among the cast is the legendary Takeshi Kitano who plays a character names, Kitano so it shouldn't be to hard to spot him. Even though there wasn't much of him in the movie, his presence is enjoyable and delivers on what Kitano is well known for. One of my favorite moments in the moment comes from Kitano in the final scene he's in as not only is it important to one of the character, but also deliver a great comic relief moment in the same scene. As for the violence once again, it's definitely not for everybody. It has a high body count and a lot of blood for young adults. Watching high school students getting killed won't exactly be easy sit through for some. If you're able to stomach the violence as there no doubt plenty of it here, you'll discover a well told story with deep meaning. I'm all for violence, but in this case it'll definitely receive mix reaction which is the best way to put it. The only thing left to complement is the masterful direction which delivers on drama, suspense, remorse, sadness, happiness, and the all emotion you'll usually go through when you're experiencing a movie.

Battle Royale is a very violent poetic movie with a high body count of high school students which helps sends it messages across to audience. Now be warned, not everyone will be able to find young adults killing each other to be entertainment if you only focus on the violence. Battle Royale is no doubt one of the most violent masterpiece I've seen in a long time and it's worth watching no matter what your view on the violence is as long you see the poetic meaning behind it.

P.S. I left of names of characters and cast to prevent giving away who survives in the movie thus making it not as impactful if I did.
13 Assassins 2011,  R)
13 Assassins
13 Assassins is a truly epic movie and one of the best samurai movie ever made that can easily be compared to the classic Seven Samurai in terms of story, direction, and greatness.

The basic plot is a group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. I found the story to be both involving and intense as we're quickly introduced to our heroes and learned about their them. I will say on story alone it does a spectacular job of giving us a brutal and heartless villain, our heroes and there motivations, and a sense of realism from the story. It's well pace to, I thought it would be a disaster to balance a 40 something final battle sequence, but somehow it has enough story before the epic battle start and ends that were left satisfy with the story.

Now on to what must have been one of the greatest epic battle i've ever seen captured on camera, there's a body-count of over 150 and it's entertaining to watch. The battle of course is 40 something minute and you would expect for the action to get tiring, except it doesn't. The story gave us our characters, add emotional weight to them, and somehow it made the epic battle that much more intense and epic. It's Asia cinema at it finest when comes to capturing something like this. The final shot before it fades to black will leave you with an impression on how truly bloody, epic the battle was and you'll realize what you just saw is one of the best Samurai movie ever made.

13 Assassins is a great movie I would personally recommend to any movie lover. 13 Assassins is a movie that will give you a incredible and memorable experience.
The Artist 2011,  PG-13)
The Artist
For my 100Th review, I wanted to praise a movie that represented my love for movies in the best way possible. The Artist is that movie, with everything being perfect and giving us an experience that hasn't being possibles in decades. The Artist is truly a work of art and one of the greatest movies ever made.

The Artist is base in 1927 Hollywood where we meet silent movie star George Valentin on top of the world. As the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks a relationship with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. The Artist truly capture the desperation of George Valentin as many other silent movie stars career were literally killed and many of those silent movies that never got into production during this era. We truly realize the fear of our character George through a brilliant dream sequence that demonstrates the wonder of this development of talking pictures and the horror of it. It's truly magnificent how much emotion this movie expresses through silence.

The Artist is a love letter to cinema and it's a masterpiece at that too. It pays tribute to a bygone art form and the movie itself becomes a work of art through it's beautiful imagery. My favorite scene of imagery was when George sees his own shadow at the projection scene and starts talking to it as I found it to be both breath taking and flawless in execution. It captures everything we love about movies from great characters, powerful emotions, and fantastic imagery that can't be match. It rightfully deserves the awards it got and it's one biggest achievement in movie history.

The cinematography in this film can filmed is flawless and adds to the movie quality. It actually feels like you're watching a silent movie and each scene portrayed the right emotion thanks to the camera and music. The music so effective that you'll go through allot emotions while watching this. As reviewer who grew up with silent movies, Jean Dujardin performance matches that of silent movie star Charlie Chaplin. The rest of the cast is great to, even without sound this very talented cast was able to give great performances without sound for most of the movie. No other movie had made me go through so many emotion at once and it will bring a smile on your face and tear in your eye.

The Artist could be best describe as a work of art that pays tribute to bygone art-form. It proves that silent movie aren't outdated and can be as emotional as movies with sound. The Artist is a moving experience unlike anything you'll ever see again, it's a masterpiece that everyone must experience.
Ip Man 2010,  R)
The Terminator 1984,  R)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991,  R)
Iron Man 2008,  PG-13)
Iron Man
If anything is common among superheroes when going to the silver screen it's the origin story and how it's adapted. Objectively speaking I can't think of better example of a excellent superhero origin film than "Iron Man". Mature and mischievous without sacrificing its comic-book roots "Iron Man" is the essential cinematic piece that perfects how a superhero origin should be made.

Iron Man follows wealthy industrialist Tony Stark when he's forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil. The plot is simple, straightforward, smart, complex, and with a hero with clear morals. Our protagonist Tony Stark is not the conventional superhero having multilayered development. As oppose to every other superhero immediately deciding to become good we learn about Stark before his life-threatening incident and afterwards seeing him before donning the suit. A partial character study that makes the hero more endearing. The structure handles both the drama and action satisfactory. It more geared towards Stark transformation, the building of his Iron Man suit, and his relationship with Pepper over explosions. Handling real world stakes and superhero surrealism is what elevate the very basic story from the limitations that superheroes film regularly can't accomplish. The dialogue is exactly what one might expect only this time we're offer master-class exchanges. Not only is the dialogue memorable and intelligent, but never feels downplayed.

The cast is equally on the same impressive level. Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. He brings exactly what the role required him to bring from humor, flamboyant, charisma, and egocentric into believing he his transformation. Gwyneth Paltrow is given a few howlers of dialogue to deliver, but mostly generates real chemistry between herself and Downey; the same goes for Terrence Howard. Jeff Bridges is appropriately over the top as his take for the villain. He's always interesting whenever he appears on screen. The action sequences are bombastic and exciting. One action scene was done nearly with practical effects which in itself is an amazing feat seeing the large silver suit Stark uses to escape from a cave with. A majority of the action scenes are done with CG while not looking realistic are consistently delivering thrills.

Iron Man is the textbook definition of a comic book film done flawlessly. Mischievous without sacrificing maturity and retaining it comic book roots. Not only does it appeal to fans for it faithfulness to the source material, but average audiences alike will find an unconventional superhero film that transcends above what they expect delivering on all fronts.
For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Più) 1965,  R)
A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari) 1964,  R)
A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari)
Aside from being one of my top favorite film and all time favorite trilogy, it's also one of the finest western ever made. It has everything you could ever want in a western with mesmerizing characters, a unmatched exhilarating score, a memorable story, and Clint Eastwood at his finest.

A Fistful of Dollars is about a wandering gunfighter who plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge. The plot is well constructed, well written, and flows easily when telling a story that'll hold your attention throughout it duration. A huge focus is on following Eastwood character is an element I always praised since it allows us to get into his character which makes some great development and helps push the plot forward in thrilling form. My favorite scene is when Eastwood is captured and beaten up by the Rojos and attempts to escape. This scene is masterful in showcasing that our character is not untouchable as we thought and even at his most vulnerable can over come any obstacles with his intelligence. The way it filmed is also masterful in showing not only following our wounded character, but also moves the plot effectively forward in such a unpredictable style. Though by far the coolest moment in this classic is in climax revealing Eastwood with vanishing smoke from an explosion. This western has all the right elements from a very menacing antagonist, a plot that's worth investing in with great payoff in the end, and everything else for a highly mesmerizing experience.

This western benefits from a phenomenal cast that put great effort into their performances. Clint Eastwood is at his finest in his most iconic role with his signature coolness making the "Man With No Name" one of the greatest characters in cinema. Gian Maria Volonté is very tremendous as the film antagonist, he's the antagonist other western wish they had. He delivers some of the best moments in the series and seeing Gian Maria Volonté sharing scenes with Clint Eastwood is always gold. The gunfights themselves also holds up and stand proudly above modern westerns. They're well shot and most importantly with emotional weight adding more excitement to them. The score is always effective here and serves as a prime example of a score use effectively. It's style and direction are flawless in execution and only gets better every time you watch it.

A Fistful of Dollars high quality in craftsmanship in film-making will continue to hold up well as time goes on. A Fistful of Dollars is one of best of the genre and is a western at finest.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) 1966,  R)
Spider-Man 2 2004,  PG-13)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974,  R)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
It goes without saying that the horror genre is not what it use be with most horror movies failing miserably to provide any scare let-alone strike fear into the audience. The horror genre is unfortunately in a state where it's receiving inferior remakes that diminish the legacy of the original and is currently relying to heavily on the "found footage" approach which limits what the audience allows to see which is more annoying than fearful. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not just another horror movie done right, its an essential film in the horror genre providing a terrifying experience that doesn't rely on the current trickery of the genre.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is about five friends visiting their grandpa's old house are hunted down and terrorized by a chainsaw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals. The premise might now be overuse, but unlike similar horrors movies The Texas Chainsaw Massacre benefits from a strong eerie direction and hauntingly creepy atmospheres the films builds the closer you get to the killers. The cast is very strong with a very memorable performance form Marilyn Burns making us fearful for her life which has now become a rarity in the genre recently. The killers themselves are played very effectively well, you will believe these actors are insane psychopaths. The main reason why this horror stills works lies in it atmosphere which it appropriately builds up with a eerie direction which gives it the gritty documentary feel the it has. The atmosphere here is very terrifying making this very comfortable to sit through as we see skeleton bone art, the freaky Leatherface's mask and demeanor and even the way the sun sets in this film is spooky along with the sound of the farmhouse generator. The famous "dinner scene" in this film could still struck fear upon viewing and is quite possibly one the most horrific scene film in the genre. One interesting fact about this scene is actor Hansen removed the safety tape from the knife and then just cut open Marilyn's finger for real. The soundtrack needs more recognition in which it works in the movie favor and it's not often that horror movies knows how to use a soundtrack appropriately.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacres provides actual horror to its audience without cheap trick, blood and gore, or reliance that it's actual "found footage". While the plot might be a common stable in the genre, it benefits from a terrific cast and masterful direction from Tobe Hooper. If you're looking for actual scares or a anything horror in general, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will deliver that with a haunting experience that's perfect for this kind of film.
Rashômon (Rashomon) (In the Woods) 1951,  Unrated)
Rashômon (Rashomon) (In the Woods)
There's a reason why Akira Kurosawa is a legend. With masterful skills in his story telling abilities and direction, Rashomon is just one of the many classics from director Akira Kurosawa.

Rashomon is about a heinous crime and its aftermath that are recalled from differing points of view. Now while some may get bored of Takehiro getting killed in all of the stories, it's overall message is still relevant today. Its characters are not only interesting and relatable, but they explore the humanity inside of all us. It's a movie that challenges our beliefs, it makes us think, and makes us see things around us differently even after it finished. Kurosawa not only gave us a great story with a meaningful message, he also gives a flawless narrative structure that would you won't soon forget even after you finished watching Rashomon.

Now when it comes to great directors behind the camera, Kurosawa is a master as every shot works flawlessly with one another to tell a story. This also results in one of the best sword fights you'll ever see on film as well as some symbolic shots that helps convey the movie message. The acting is great and you'll actually forget these people are acting and just get so invested into the story. I could say more about the movie, but I ran out of things I could complement without repeating myself, so I'll give more praised for Kurosawa who masterfully combined two stories together. Borrowing the characters from one story and taking the plot from another to make one great film is something Kurosawa did with perfect execution.

Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon is a classic movie that message is still relevant today and makes us see the world around us in a different way. Rashomon is a perfect drama from a master director that everyone should see.
The Wild Bunch 1969,  R)
The Wild Bunch
This is by far one of the greatest Western I've ever seen. Movies like this are the reasons why I love watching movies.

The Wild Bunch is about an aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them. The story is masterfully told and gets more involving the more we learn about our outlaws. Though my only complaint would be that the story doesn't include one strong female character, yet despite this issue, I still found the movie to be flawless in execution. Never have I been so invested into so many characters like any other Western and never have I been so glad to sit through a Western, this is truly a masterpiece in film-making.

Every actor performance as the main outlaws were so great that they made me forget they were actors. The score of the music must be praise, it's tense, it's thrilling, and it adds more excitement to the experience. Now since this is a Western with allot of bloodshed, I will say I was both amazed and blown away on how powerful these scene of bloodshed were. There truly not enough praise given to this movie. I would go as far as to say that this is the Lawrence of Arabia of Western movies.

The Wild Bunch is great Western that I would recommend to any movie lover. This is a movie with memorable characters, memorable lines, memorable performances, with a memorable story that everyone should experience.
Enter the Dragon 1973,  R)
Enter the Dragon
Bruce Lee is a talented actor that needs no introduction to begin with and trying to explain what made him is icon would take hours to explain. It's no doubt that Enter The Dragon is easily his best movie as well as one of the finest martial art movie ever made.

The plot is simple and easy to follow, a martial artist (Bruce Lee) agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover. Who knew combing both the martial art genre and spy genre would make a very entertaining masterpiece. Of course, there more to the plot, like Bruce Lee character personal vengeance (which I won't spoil), and two other main characters each we get to learn about in short flashbacks.

Unlike most action stars, Bruce Lee is likable actor and a good one too. I can't imagine another actor being the star the of Enter The Dragon, let alone a remake (which seems likely in our time). Bruce Lee not only had star power behind, but he true martial art skills demo-started beautifully every time he's on screen. The same goes with all the other martial artists in film that made this movie more entertaining. This truly is the martial arts at it finest with many memorable fights, my personal favorite is when Bruce Lee fights Chuck Norris who's only watchable movies are when he gets beaten up by Bruce Lee.

Beside the usual stuff that makes it get a 100% like the cast, direction, pacing, entertainment value, and other stuff like that. I have to give credits to the translator who translated 5 different languages during the production and that people is dedication to making a masterpiece.

Bruce Lee no doubt had a bright future ahead of him, which is why the world was devastated of his death. Their will never be another Bruce Lee, but thankfully his films speaks for his legend.
Police Story (Ging chaat goo si) (Police Force) 1985,  PG-13)
Police Story (Ging chaat goo si) (Police Force)
Very few action films can stand the test of times and even less can compete with contemporary actions films with the used of CGI to showcase bigger action set pieces. The action genre is no doubt not what it used to be with more of them being influenced by comic books (a hero can't simply good guy anymore in this genre), a lack of any new action heroes, and even sequels that often aren't as good as the original. Police Story on the other hand remains as the genre finest example of a action movie done right.

Police Story follows a virtuous Hong Kong police officer who must clear his good name when the drug lords he is after frames him for the murder of a dirty cop. The plot is as simple as a Chan movie can get, but with an added Chan signature sense of humor on top of the great crime story. It effectively balances between its comedic moments and gritty plot to make this one of the more enjoyable outing in not just the Police Story series but in the action genre in general. While the plot does thrills, it does have its slow part as some of the comedic scene feel padded out. Plus, I think you wouldn't miss much if didn't see Jackie Chan do the moonwalk in one scene. The plot does have a nice balance of story and violence, you'll feel like you enough plot and will be satisfy with what this movie has to offer in terms of action. It contains of the best actions scenes ever recorded in any movie, a personal favorite of mine is when Chan chases down a drug lord who's escaping on a bus and Chan chases it down with an umbrella (which he actually did). The other action scenes will make your jaw drop, especially the climax in the mall where Chan does some of his most impressive fight choreography. What ultimately makes Police Story stand the test of time is Jackie Chan. Not only does he perform his own stunt in the movie, but also plays his role as an actor very well. He's not your typical hero like Stallone or Schwarzenegger where you know the outcome, Chan plays an every man here making him more vulnerable and more relatable to the average person. Everything else here is bonus, the supporting cast are just as good as our main man, Chan direction is perfect for the action genre and knows how to the entertain his audience.

Police Story might not be hailed as one of the best in its genre, but it should be for being fun and having jaw dropping action that's still impressive even with the possibilities of CGI. If you haven't seen Police Story or any action movie in a while, go checkout Jackie Chan Police Story as a prime example of the genre it most entertaining.
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981,  PG)
500 Days of Summer 2009,  PG-13)
Triad Election (Hak se wui yi wo wai kwai) 2006,  Unrated)
Triad Election (Hak se wui yi wo wai kwai)
Sequels usually aren't as good or surpass the original in anyway. This is one of those few exception in which the sequel is superior over the original.

Triad Election is about the current Triad chairman Lok faces competition from his godsons while at the same time, Jimmy looks to increase his business relations with mainland China. The story is not as complex as the original meaning it's easier to follow and has its own appeal to it. Now my main problem with this movie is that there are too many characters and some of them don't have enough screen time. This is proven by the fact that I was shock that Lok son was actually in this movie and leaves allot to be desire in other story-lines too. What I do liked about the original was it realism and that each character had there own personality, the same is true here. Now while the story of the movie isn't exactly something everyone can get into, it's brilliant take on the Triads.

Unlike most sequels, this movie requires you to watch the original or else you won't know anything about these characters history and at certain scenes you won't know what they're talking about. The cast from the original return and once again deliver another winning performance. If you've seen allot of Johnnie To movie like I have you already what to expect from the cast and have a good idea who they are. Johnnie To is still impressive behind the camera, though not at the same scope as the original, he does great job as always.

Triad Election is a sequel that surpasses the original every way possible. Triad Election is another great drama from director Johnnie To and proves the action genre isn't the only area he can tell a gripping story.
Jing wu ying xiong (Fist of Legend) 1994,  R)
Jing wu ying xiong (Fist of Legend)
The classic Bruce Lee film, The Chinese Connection (1972), Bruce portrayed the character of Chen Zhen so amazingly that the character had an impact on the media. Since 1972, Chen Zhen has become the subject of numerous films and television series. Of course, no one can out do Bruce Lee legendary performance, but Jet Li comes pretty damn close to doing that.

If you haven't seen the Chinese Connection (shame on you), here the overall plot without any spoilers. Chen Zhen fights to salvage Jingwu School's reputation after the death of Huo Yuanjia. There's more to it, but I don't want to ruin anything as the story is well paced knowing when to bring in the action scenes (all well done and filmed) and dramatic scene that are actually entertaining unlike many action movies.

I love the hell out of this movie, if you like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, you should check this out. If you don't like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, for some reason, you should still check this.
District 9 2009,  R)
Bang Bang You're Dead 2002,  R)
Bang Bang You're Dead
Arguably the most dangerous environment in our young lives and the youth is in the school environment. It's okay if you disagree with me with that bold statement, but hear me out for a moment. The school environment is where bullying can escalate to the lost lives cause by your own peers. Where a reputation hold merits in how other view you even determining how other will interact with you. The one environment where the positives are mostly focused in films, television, and novels frequently ignoring the darker side the school environment can have. That is why Bang Bang You're Dead is an important piece of filmmaking that is contemplative, honest, applicable, and most importantly does not downplay the complexity of it presented issues in it delivery.

Bang Bang You're Dead follows Trevor, a troubled high school student, thanks to the effects of bullying. The plot is the most subjective element of the film. It's one of those how it presented vs. how you actually experienced it that can affect how you see it. If you see it just a piece of fiction it works in all area. The viewer receives a clear and in depth understanding of why Trevor is the way he is. His isolation from every clique, his parents deliberately ignoring his problems, an entire town that views him negatively, and the pivotal element of playing serial killer in a play (same as the film title) reflecting his possible meltdown. These elements make it a dynamic character study. Showing us more than what we simply see on the surface.

The characters themselves are refreshingly realistic. Not a single a character is entirely right or wrong, but presented in shades of gray whether it's from the point of views of bully picking on classmates or parents lack of understanding on how to handle serious issues. It does goes into depth on the topic of accessibility of certain plays, but tackles more opened range issues like the delicate connections of between a community and pushing a breaking point. With current fear of mass school shooting occurring at anytime, the rise of bullying, among other issues it's a thought provoking piece of filmmaking that has become more relevant.

Marc Foster performance is simply amazing. The film just wouldn't be the same without Foster in the lead role gripping the audiences hearts with raw honesty and truth. He underplays more vulnerable side of his role for most of his screen time becoming very effective in one very powerful scene. Mr. Cavanagh gives us a fine performance of what is more or less his TV character, Ed, thrust into the well-meaning and perhaps wiser than the rest of the community, theater teacher who believes in Trevor's fitness for high school. Randy Harrison also does a great job portraying Sean, a fed-up and hurt teen on the brink of becoming a school terrorist. The rest of the supporting cast sell their roles no matter how large or the small the part is.

Bang Bang You're Dead is a profound film tackling issues that are relevant. For isolation, bullying, violence, one's reputation, and so forth is a part of the school environment whether or not you experience them for yourself. It takes a bold piece to showcase the impact the negative side this environment can and does hold upon the youth. I know I come off preachy about the morals it enforces that seem like a no brainer, but in actuality have we learned anything from these events?
Rocky 1976,  PG)
Dawn of the Dead 1978,  R)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988,  PG)

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