Starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, and a great supporting cast, the film takes place in Los Angeles in 1953 where the police force is trying to get rid of crime. Pearce is the promising newcomer who will do whatever it takes to move up. Spacey on the other hand is the technical adviser a cop show and makes money on the side supplying a gossip journalist. Crowe is simply a hardened strong man. Despite their mutual dislike for each other, they must ultimately work together to uncover the mystery behind the murders at the Night Owl Cafe. Their investigation leads them nearer than they ever expected. In a heated finale they must fight for justice while struggling to stay alive. Although quite violent, this film has a good period setting, and the interesting story is reminiscent of classic film-noir.
Starring Leonardo Dicapprio, Joseph Gordon-Levit, Tom Hardy, and Ellen Page with direction by Christopher Nolan, the film follows the elaborate plot to plant an idea in someone’s mind. Dom Cobb is skilled at entering into peoples’ minds in order to steal ideas. However, in order to get back to a normal life now he must plant something instead. He gathers a team to help him enter the dreams successfully. However they are not just going one level down but in fact several tiers into the mind. This will make each successive perception more unstable and perilous. The team enters the first dream fine but soon they realize that their influential subject has built up defenses in his dreams. Furthermore, if they die the dream will not simply end but they will all be trapped in limbo. With those problems they enter the second tier and then the third and so on. Ultimately, Cobb must face one of his own realities or else all is lost. This film is so intriguing because it is different and in many ways it blows your mind (including the ambiguous ending).
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film stars Robert De Niro with Jodie Foster and Cybil Sheppard. The story opens with a Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle (De Niro) who takes a job as a taxi driver. Travis is a quiet and lonely man who is turned off by the scum and filth he sees on the streets of New York. He becomes enthralled with a beautiful campaign worker who eventually turns him off. Then he also comes in contact with a young girl who makes her living working the streets. His frustration deepens and he begins to work out and collect weapons. It becomes obvious he is about to explode and after an initial failed attempt he does just that. However, ironically the aftermath leaves him as a hero. Travis is an interesting character because you feel sorry for him and yet he does things that are truly wrong. I found Bernard Hermann’s score, the voice-over narration, and the cryptic ending all to be interesting parts of this film.
Starring Jack Nicholson with Faye Dunaway and John Huston, this skillfully written neo-noir is a nod to the work of Chandler and Hammet. J.J. “Jake” Gittes is a P.I. in the L.A. area during the 30s who specializes in marital cases. When a woman calling herself Mrs. Mulwray asks Gittes to watch her supposedly cheating husband, he enters something he does not understand. Soon he meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (Dunaway), learns Mr. Mulwray is dead, and discovers Mrs. Mulwray’s father is the powerful water tycoon Noah Cross (Huston). As he tries to uncover the truth behind some odd events, Gittes meets with opposition, more confusion, and eventually some answers. The mystery is twofold and he begins to understand the plot over the L.A. water, however he does not figure out the secret kept by Mrs. Mulwray right away. When he finally does find out he is too late and tragedy ultimately comes in Chinatown. This film was enjoyable in the buildup and the ending was okay if not tragic. However, it did seem that the mystery surrounding the water was predictable.
Starring Clint Eastwood as San Francisco police Inspector Harry Callahan, the film opens with a sniper knocking off a young woman. The self-proclaimed Scorpio says he will keep killing a person everyday until the city pays him off. They go on high alert and Callahan stakes out with his new rookie partner Chico. However, Scorpio escapes once again and he is just begun. He kidnaps a young girl and threatens to kill her. Callahan runs all across town to deliver the ransom where upon a confrontation occurs. After they recover the girl they track down the killer but he is released because they had no warrant. A furious Callahan finally hunts down the conniving killer one last time after Scorpio kidnaps a bus load of children. In the ensuing chaos Harry finally gets his man. This is one of the great action films and it spawned a memorable character in Dirty Harry.
I have to admit that this sci-fi film directed by Stanley Kubrick left me feeling let down. The movie itself is split up into four parts, the first beginning in the prehistoric era with a group of apes. Over time a mysterious structure appears and the apes learn how to make tools. From there it cuts to the exploration of space where man goes to Jupiter and beyond with the help of HAL 9000, a skilled but dangerous computer. The classical score is quite good working with the visual but sometimes it seems the movie is lacking in other areas. There is minimal dialogue, it seems that there could be better editing aside from the famous jump cut near the beginning, and the plot jumps all over the place. What I take away from it is the progression of man over time. The fact that there is really no memorable character except the non-human computer is also interesting. Finally, this film was made before the moon landing so in a way it was ahead of its time. That being said it still was not my favorite film.