Friday, June 29, 2012

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Listbeth Salander is wanted for a triple murder.

Following the successful fraudulent gains of Hans Erik Wennerstrom, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is living the high life. She returns to Sweden to catch up with her old acquaintances, but later finds she is wanted for the murders of a journalist and his girlfriend - who were investigating sex trafficking - along with her guardian, Nils Bjurman.

As she keeps a low profile, her friend and celebrity journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) attempts to use evidence gained in the sex trafficking investigation for proving Salander's innocence.

Meanwhile, Salander uses her hacking expertise to dig into her past, which seems to be where the crime originates.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

182 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)

A disgraced journalist teams up with a computer hacker to solve a 40-year-old crime.

Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nykvist) has been successfully sued for libel after writing a story about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström and he must spend 3 months in prison.

Upon leaving court he is greeted by Dirch Frode (Ingvar Hirdwall) who offers him a job working for Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), the former CEO of Vanger Enterprises. The job is simple - solve the 40 year old case of Vanger's daughter Harriet's disappearance and he will be paid handsomely.

As he begins his assignment he is aided by the mysterious Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a genius computer hacker who is revealed to have done the background work on Blomkvist for Vanger in the first place.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The ghost fighting crew battle some goo.

Five years on from the events in Ghostbusters, the team have disbanded after being handed a restraining order from investigating the supernatural.

Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) work as children's entertainers, keeping their Ghostbusters costumes. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) works investigating whether human emotions physically affect the environment and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) presents a little known TV show called "World of Psychic".

Meanwhile, Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) appears to be at the centre of another ghost invasion, this time the origin is the appearance of some mysterious pink goo.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

181 - Ghostbusters (1984)

Three failed doctors catch ghosts around New York.

When Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) are kicked out of Columbia University, they set up their own paranormal extermination service in an unused fire station in New York City. There the trio begin removing ghosts from various locations, storing them in a secure location beneath their offices.

Meanwhile, Venkman meets Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) who has her own ghost problems. Rather than solving them, Venkman decides to try and fight for her love despite her showing little interest.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Films 181 - 190

The next ten films in the Empire 5-star 500 are:
  1. Ghostbusters (1984)
  2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
  3. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  4. The Godfather (1972)
  5. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  6. Gods And Monsters (1998)
  7. The Gold Rush (1925)
  8. Goldfinger (1964)
  9. Gone With The Wind (1939)
  10. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
Boom! Admittedly I scheduled most of the last ten films, but I flew through them pretty quickly.

Without a doubt my favourite was The General which was brilliantly funny. Forrest Gump was of course the classic that it is renowned for being, but the surprise of the previous ten films was 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days which was better than I had expected.

As for the next ten, I'm going to be held up somewhat because of the sheer number of franchises explored:

The Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Having just finished the Millennium trilogy books on Sunday, I plan to watch all the films for the second time, along with the English-language remake (for the first time). And review them. Four films, three books and just one ticked off the 5-star list. That's dedication.

If that wasn't enough, I plan to watch Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II - due to the fact that I accidentally bought the sequel in my hunt for the original. It's not my fault the 'II' was sneakily hidden!

The Godfather
Then there's The Godfather trilogy, which isn't so bad because two films get ticked off the list in this franchise. Also, I have a slight confession to make - I've never seen The Godfather before. Still, sometime in the next few weeks I shall right this wrong.

James Bond
Next up, is James Bond. I've already reviewed From Russia With Love so Dr. No would complete the Bond films leading up to Goldfinger. This is a franchise I grew up on, so I'm looking forward to reviewing them.

The Dollars Trilogy (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)
Finally, there is the small matter of slotting in For A Few Dollars more to complete Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy with The Good, The Bad And The Ugly after watching A Fistful of Dollars at the beginning of the month.

Right, a revised schedule is in order:
  • 181 - Ghostbusters (1984)
    • Ghostbusters II (1989)
  • 182 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
    • The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)
    • The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest (2009)
    • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • 183 - Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  • 184 - The Godfather (1972)
  • 185 - The Godfather Part II (1974)
    • The Godfather Part III (1990)
  • 186 - Gods And Monsters (1998)
  • 187 - The Gold Rush (1925)
    • Dr. No (1962)
  • 188 - Goldfinger (1964)
  • 189 - Gone With The Wind (1939)
    • For A Few Dollars More (1965)
  • 190 - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
17 films, 11 of which I've never seen before. AND 10 are from the 5-star list. Madness.

Oh, and last week marked 500 days of undertaking the challenge. If only I'd watched one per day...

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

180 - Get Carter (1971)

London's gangster is out to avenge his brother's death.

Jack Carter (Michael Caine), a London gangster, goes back home to Newcastle to investigate his brother's death. There he finds his Frank's mistress Margaret (Dorothy White) and daughter Doreen and is unsatisfied with the explanation that Frank was killed while out drunk driving.

As Carter digs deeper into the mystery of his brother's death he is dragged into the Newcastle underworld of pornography, prostitution and, above all, violence.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

179 - The General (1926)

A train worker rescues his lady from the North during the American Civil War.

Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) tries to sign up for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War to impress Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), but he is told his job as a train engineer is too important and his application is declined. Branded a coward by Annabelle's family, Johnny is outcast and returns to work on the trains.

The North plots to steal a train ready for the invasion of the South and once their plan is realised, Annabelle is inadvertently on board. Johnny grabs another train and sets off in pursuit of his two loves - his lady and his locomotion.

Friday, June 15, 2012

178 - Gallipoli (1981)

The story of two Australians taking part in the Gallipoli campaign.

Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) is a prize-winning runner from Western Australia. His uncle takes him to an athletics carnival where he beats broke railway worker Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson).

Archy dreams of joining the army to fight in World War I, but is considered to be too young. Frank, sensing an opportunity forges documents for Archy and they both set off for the campaign in Gallipoli - the campaign that to Australia and New Zealand's day of remembrance - Anzac Day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

177 - Friday Night Lights (2004)

Friday night is football night.

Odessa, a small rural town in Texas lives for every Friday Night. At this point of the week the shops close, residents abandon their homes and everyone heads to watch The Permian Panthers (American) Football Team.

Away from the matches though and this year's squad has its own troubles. Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) is constantly under scrutiny, with the passion from Odessa so great that when the team loses, he is forced to put his house up for sale; fullback Don Billingsley (Hedlund Garrett) has to endure his alcoholic father's over-expectations; and James "Boobie" Miles' (Derek Luke) arrogance is cut short with a career threatening injury.

The most important thing is though that the show must go on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

176 - The French Connection (1971)

Two New York City cops uncover a narcotics smuggling ring.

After making a discovery during a routine drugs arrest, James 'Popeye' Doyle (Gene Hackman), an alcoholic but dedicated cop and his partner Buddy 'Cloudy' Russo (Roy Scheider) find that the culprit has a connection that could lead to a huge narcotics bust.

Later, while out at the pub, Doyle notes a meeting on a nearby table between well-known gangsters and Salvatore 'Sal' Boca (Tony Lo Bianco). He persuades Russo to follow Sal and his wife home, where it is established that they own far more expensive goods than their modest income should allow.

Doyle and Russo close in on The French Connection, but as the smugglers realise they're being watched, Doyle and Russo find themselves in ever increasing danger.

Monday, June 11, 2012

175 - Frankenstein (1931)

Doctor Frankenstein's monster comes to life.

Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is coming to the conclusion of his experiment to try and create life from something non-living. He gathers up dead bodies from graves, and knits them together to make his creation, before later stealing a brain.

Meanwhile, his fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza (Mae Clarke) is beginning to worry about the health of her husband-to-be. She seeks the help of her friend Victor Moritz (John Boles) and Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan) to try and bring Henry home.

Meanwhile, Henry puts the final touches to the body and adds electricity, bringing his monster to life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

174 - 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)

A girl helps her friend to have an illegal abortion.

In 1987, Romania is still very much under the control of the Romanian Communist Party and as party of the law, abortion is still outlawed. After Gabita, a university student, becomes pregnant, she looks to her friend Otilia for help in organising an illegal abortion.

After booking the hotel, Otilia goes to meet the mysterious Mr. Bebe who agrees to carry out the abortion. Afterwards, Otilia agrees to visit her boyfriend Adi where his mother is celebrating her birthday.

As the meeting with Mr. Bebe takes a more sinister turn, Otilia and Gabita realise the true price of avoiding the law.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
In 2093 a scientific mission is sent to find out the human origin.

In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover various sets of ancient paintings that appear to be a map of a distant galaxy.

Four years later the couple head a scientific mission to the centre of the map funded by Weyland Corporation, and especially its elderly owner Peter Weyland, under the guidance of mission director Meredith Vickers (Cherlize Theron).

There the crew finds a mysterious structure with strange cylindrical objects. As some of the crew start to disappear, Shaw begins to wonder if the map was really the invitation she interpreted it to be.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

A princess attempts to take back her kingdom.

After being locked in a high tower whilst growing up following her father's murder at the hand of her step-mother Ravenna (Charlize Theron), Snow White (Kristen Stewart) manages to escape. At the same time, Ravenna realises that she is no longer the fairest of them all, and that the only way to become so is to kill Snow.

She hires a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who follows Snow into the Dark Forest, aided by her brother Finn (Sam Spruell). There, Snow faces many dangers as she attempts to trail back to her father's loyal men, ready to launch an attack to free their kingdom once more.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

173 - The 400 Blows (1959)

A boy who gets into trouble has but one dream.

Antoine Doinel is a misunderstood child growing up in 1950's Paris. His parents barely have enough love for each other and his teacher appears to have a grudge against him. As a result, he regularly leaves school and home, often living a life of petty instead.

Finally, after finding inspiration from a well known French writer, he writes an essay that is far above his usual standard. He is accused of plagiarism by his teacher and leaves school - only to be punished by his father after trying to fund his attempt at freedom.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

172 - Forrest Gump (1994)

A dimwitted man recounts his life while waiting for a bus.

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) was never one of the smartest kids at school - his IQ was not initially adequate enough to go to 'normal' school - but he found a love of running which helped in many times through his life.

His first school friend, Jenny (Robin Wright), later became the girl he endearingly fawned over, but they found themselves separated when Jenny entered the 60's hippie cult and Forrest joined the army.

Through his life Forrest encounters many famous people as well as making friends with Lieutenant Dan and Bubba Blue.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

171 - Force Of Evil (1948)

A corrupt lawyer has a conflict of interests with his brother over a betting scandal.

Joe Morse (John Garfield) is lawyer to powerful mob boss Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts) who plans to put smaller numbers rackets out of business by fixing the number drawn. This is set to make Tucker, and in turn Morse a heap of money.

Unfortunately, Morse's brother Leo (Thomas Gomez) is one such banker controlling one of the smaller numbers rackets set to be put out of business. Joe tries to warn him, but Leo doesn't want anything to do with the mob, leaving Joe to make a very difficult decision.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Films 171 - 180

The next ten films in the Empire 500 5-star Challenge are:
  1. Force Of Evil (1948)
  2. Forrest Gump (1994)
  3. The 400 Blows (1959)
  4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)
  5. Frankenstein (1931)
  6. The French Connection (1971)
  7. Friday Night Lights (2004)
  8. Gallipoli (1980)
  9. The General (1926)
  10. Get Carter (1971)
Wow, it's been a long time coming but I've finally finished the previous batch of ten films. A combination of the A to Z Challenge in April and moving house throughout May has severely hampered my efforts to keep any regularity to my posts. I'd love to say this downward trend is going to end soon, but I stupidly bought a house that needed a ridiculous amount of work doing to it and bizarrely I've given that priority over the movie world. There are, however, a few reviews scheduled daily after this one.

Anyway, onto the previous ten films and there was a whole variety of different genres from different eras. Far From Heaven was by far my favourite with its powerful tones about 1950's discrimination, Another surprising highlight was Fanny and Alexander which I regret not plucking up the courage to watch earlier (due to its 3 hour runtime - in Swedish). Finally, a special mention should go to The Fly which was as grotesque as it was enthralling.

As for the next ten, Forrest Gump is an obvious stand out (and the only film on this batch I have seen previously). Force of Evil should appeal to my love of film noir, and The General comes with high recommendations from my grandfather who is a Buster Keaton fan.

So, until next time!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

170 - The Fly (1986)

A scientist morphs himself into a fly.

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) has just had a breakthrough in his transportation pods where he can move matter from one to the other. At a promotional event held by his benefactors, he meets a journalist for Particle magazine - Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) - and takes her back to the warehouse to show her his machine.

Seth and Veronica begin a relationship, but when Seth gets jealous over her editor and former lover Stathis Borans (John Getz) he decides to put himself through his machine - with dire consequences.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

169 - Five Easy Pieces (1970)

A nonchalant oil rig worker returns to his family when he learns of his dying father.

Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) comes from a family of classic pianists, but has shunned his former life in order to drink beer with his friend and hang out at the bowling alley. He does have a job working on oil rigs however, but he hates it.

Shortly after he learns that his best friend has been arrested and his dim-witted girlfriend is pregnant, his sister informs him their father has had a stroke. Dupea returns to the family home, reluctantly dragging his girlfriend behind.

Friday, June 01, 2012

168 - A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)

A traveller ends a Wild West dispute - by starting it.

At a small Mexican border town two families have been waging a mostly cold war against each other for decades. While the Baxter's show obvious disdain for their rivals, it is the Rojo family that appear to be taking the upper hand in the duel having massacred a passing troop who are guarding gold.

This action is witnessed by a passing pistol-handy traveller (Clint Eastwood). From his lodgings in the centre of the town he is able to see all of the action and he regularly takes on jobs for both the Baxter's and Rojo's in exchange for money.

When the families start dragging in the town's innocents, The Man With No Name hatches a plan to free the town from its civil war.