xGary Xx (garyX)Birmingham, UK
xGary's Recent Reviews
At the beginning of the nineties, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana looked in disgust at the formulaic, soulless lumbering cash cow guitar music had become, and using cues from grittier, purer classics of the past singlehandedly swept away the self serving excesses of the genre and revolutionised it forever. Quentin Tarantino did exactly the same thing with cinematic crime drama. He examined the logistics of both being an undercover cop and planning a heist and introduced believable characters who spoke like real people; they weren't just posturing stereotypes punctuating another set of pointless explosions and car chases. He created an ensemble cast of actors for their charisma and ability, not their box office drawing power. He scored it with wit using obscure music from the past that complimented the action rather than trying to make a fast buck selling yet another insipid rock ballad to people who don't listen to music. Tarantino has often been accused of plagiarism, and this script does 'borrow' from City On Fire and The Taking Of Pelham 123. But if you ask me, an original but bad film is still a bad film, while an unoriginal but brilliant film is still a BRILLIANT film.
An adventurer and his Iroquois warrior companion investigate a series of brutal murders in rural revolutionary France said to be the work of a supernatural creature. The Brotherhood of the Wolf is a strange fish indeed. It is a genre spanning hybrid of period romance, supernatural horror, Holmesian mystery and martial arts mayhem. It's a strange brew indeed, but somehow it works. The basis of the story is similar to The Name Of The Rose in that a man of science investigates murder in Ye Olden Days to a backdrop of religious and political paranoia but it mixes in elements of The Hound Of The Baskervilles and Dangerous Liaisons with a Hammer Horror twist to create what is best described as a French Sleepy Hollow with Kung Fu. The eclectic cast all show their quality in their various fields, from straight to DVD stalwart Marc Dacascos' laconic, high kicking Indian to Vincent Cassell's embittered aristocrat through to the inevitably stunning Monica Bellucci's mysterious Italian courtesan. The CGI may be showing its age a little, but otherwise its visually very nice and the story, although a little lacking in focus, is so odd ball it never fails to maintain the interest. An unusual supernatural action film that transcends its patchwork of ideas to create something strangely unique.
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. That is 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 totally flawless modern masterpiece.