xGary Xx (garyX)Birmingham, UK
xGary's Recent Reviews
Wesley Snipes once again dons the leather overcoat, this time to join forces with an elite vampire unit to combat a race of Nosferatu-like zombie vampire hybrids who threaten to over-run both races. Blade II is essentially the vampire film's answer to Aliens with the high-octane action of the first film still in evidence but this time it is added to by Guillermo Del Toro's keen sense of style and atmosphere. The production design is fantastic and the script involving different factions constantly vying for the upper hand is far more complex than that of most superhero films (David Goyer went on to co-write The Dark Knight). My only gripe is that some of the CGI is starting to look a little dated in a similar way to the original Spiderman films, but this is a comparatively minor point. It may not be to everyone's taste, but for fans of the genre it is a visceral cocktail of vampiric gore and martial arts mayhem that action junkies and horror fans alike should not miss.
A pair of con artists are blackmailed into helping the FBI entrap corrupt politicians or face jail. David O. Russell's long con comedy drama was very well received upon its release and fans of Martin Scorsese will no doubt see his influence throughout the film. It has the flavour of a PG rated version of Casino as these amoral hustlers try to out manoeuvre each other while staying one step ahead of the organised criminals they are charged with duping. Its light-hearted tone makes for a few amusing moments, often revolving around Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence's car crash of a marriage and the general level of ineptitude displayed by this cut price Ocean's crew. But one thing the story didn't seem to have is any kind of narrative momentum. It just seemed to be a loose collection of characters heading in the same general direction towards an ill-defined goal dressed up in Boogie Nights' wardrobe. The cast are all fine and it is consistently entertaining but there seems little meat on what is little more than an insubstantial con job with an inevitable who's conning who twist. In the end this fun but flimsy film feels like it could've been so much more in the skilled hands of Scorsese himself rather than a pretender to the crown.
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.