LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE
A rollicking good adventure, the best of all the Indy films in my opinion. A stirring hunt for the Holy Grail coupled with amusing father-son dynamics, plus a typically fantastic performance from the inimitable Sean Connery. Great action and a lovely period feel, even more so than the first two. There's nothing like a good old-fashioned Nazi-bashing! From the Venice boat chase and the dogfight to the flashback opening and the magical leap of faith, this film is filled with winning moments.
A touching film that explores the dynamics between two brothers, one an autistic savant. Extraordinary performances from Cruise and Hoffman carry this film, elevating it from sweet little drama to filmmaking achievement. Does a good job of exploring the challenges it takes to be the caretaker to a special needs individual, as well as showcasing the impressive skills of an autistic savant. This film inspired me to write my own original play where I transplanted it to a teenaged context and focused on two sisters - but that's beside the point. What's not is that Rain Man is an excellent film.
MR. & MRS. SMITH
This is basically just fun. It's an action-adventure romantic comedy, and how often are those two genres put together in one film? Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's palpable chemistry on and offscreen carries the film as fun action sequences fill out the rest. This movie also contains one of my favourite Hollywood car chase scenes ever! It doesn’t quite matter that it’s reasonably uninspired or thinks it is far cleverer than it actually is – it’s entertaining, and that’s all the movie needs to be.
Yet another Pixar gem, this animated satire on superhero films is just great family fun. The animation is superb and the story is original (bringing to mind Alan Moore’s graphic novel The Watchmen), it's fun to watch on the whole. The Incredibles also offers up some of the best animated action sequences ever put onscreen and features good voice-acting from Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone.
Helen Mirren is at her most dignified best in a stirring biopic that examines the Queen at a human level, during one of the UK's darkest hours in the wake of the death of Princess Diana. This film showed how the Royal Family is like any other family with its dynamics and hardships. The film could have been incredibly dull and taken a documentary-like route, but not once was I bored when I saw this.
The little movie that could, this is a classic rags to riches tale retold with a modern twist. Owing both to Dickens and Bollywood but creating something entirely original, this is one of the best coming-of-age films I've seen-what better place to come of age than on the mean streets of the slums of India? Great performances, especially Anil Kapoor's villainous and slimy TV show host, Prem Kumar. The "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" angle also holds significance for me as I was on the show as a kid.
Stay tuned for more bite-sized reviews, for when I'm too lazy to write up a full one!