xGary Xx (garyX)Birmingham, UK
xGary's Recent Reviews
AVP 2 continues directly from the ending of the first film, with an alien/predator hybrid causing the ship to crash land back on Earth. A second ship is dispatched containing a kind of space-age alien cross between a CSI and Batman to clear up the resulting mess. The first film was dumb but fun, but I have to say I did not have high hopes for this one. At first it seemed that my fears were going to be justified because the first act of the film resembled a teen slasher flick more than anything else, complete with semi-clad nubile teens, people being picked off one by one in dark corridors and the inevitable pre-scares and false alarms. However, once the aliens hit the surface things got a LOT better. It "borrows" ideas heavily from other sources, notably Dawn Of The Dead and especially Aliens; a couple of scenes are lifted directly from it and the kick-ass mom protecting her young daughter is an obvious copy of Ripley. But it does it WELL. Despite the fact that the film can look a little too dark making it difficult to tell what's going on in places, it does look great and the fight sequences are very well done. The small town stereotypes are a little underwritten but as the violence gets more and more intense it gets better and better. Short on originality and suspense but long on blood spattered action, like Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn Of The Dead, AVP Requiem does not work as horror but for a shooting-monsters-with-big-guns sci-fi splatterfest it's a visceral, edge of the seat rollercoaster ride.
Nick Naylor is possibly the most hated man in America; his job is basically to peddle poison to children. But it pays the mortgage...This extremely clever and insightful satire of today's climate of political spin is incredibly sharply written and has lots of laugh out loud moments as it deconstructs the methods used by PR men in the 21st century; even the "good guys" do not emerge unscathed as they are shown to use exactly the same tactics (see the hilarious scene when William H. Macy bemoans the quality of his TV "cancer kid"!). It may not have the flash and bangs of Lord Of War, but it has far more depth; in fact it reminded me more of an updated version of American Psycho. Instead of the hands on greed of the 80s satirised in that film, it shows how the immoral earn their corporate cash through hypocrisy and double talk these days rather than getting their "hands dirty". I couldn't help feeling that Jason Reitman got more carried away with making a political point and smart dialogue than dramatic momentum and so the plot lacked focus, but the cast are all superb and it contains witty and stylish visual and voice over cues in a similar vein to Fight Club and a great soundtrack. Very funny, very clever.
xGary's Favorite Movies
Career criminal Henry Hill reminisces upon his life of crime in this true life story based on an actual FBI case. Goodfellas is the perfect film. It has the perfect blend of drama, gritty violence and humour as we see the dark side of the American dream played out over 25 years of a wise guy's life. The people depicted here do not play by society's rules and have their own set of laws and conventions revolving around the pure pursuit of profit in this, the logical conclusion of capitalism. The livelihoods and lives of others are commodities to be used up and tossed away and life is cheap to these mobsters whose stated obsession with loyalty and family is also soon forgotten for the "big score", leading to total anarchy. The combination of DeNiro, Liotta and Pesci makes for a brilliant triple act and there are so many classic scenes it's easy to lose count. The idea to tell the story in a "Wonder Years" format using one of the best soundtracks ever compiled was a stroke of genius and the post modern conclusion the perfect way to end the story. For me, Goodfellas is the best film ever made. Full stop.
Daesu Oh is a drunk and a philanderer but otherwise a fairly typical husband and father, until one day he is kidnapped and imprisoned in a cell for 15 years with only a TV set for company and no word of explanation. One day he wakes up on the outside with only a wallet and a phone, and he sets out on a single-minded quest to find out why he was imprisoned and extract bloody vengeance on those responsible. The second part of the Vengeance Trilogy by Chan-wook Park, Oldboy is a bizarre and brilliant film. It constantly wrong foots you and messes with your perceptions, and contains the kind of revelation that makes the kind of so-called plot "twists" of most films look gimmicky and inane. This is the kind of film that blows you away and makes you realise you've been watching the WHOLE THING from the wrong standpoint. As for Min-sik Choi's performance, astonishing is the only word for it...the way such intense emotions and motivations are constantly shifting without ever feeling contrived or forced is just spellbinding. It combines art and extreme violence in a way that reminded me of A Clockwork Orange, but better! It's also stylistically on the same level as Fight Club and is absolutely riveting from beginning to end. A virtually flawless modern masterpiece.