Author: littlezildjian

Corpse Bride (2005)

Following “Edward Scissorhands”, “Beetlejuice”, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” comes Tim Burton’s 2005 “Corpse Bride”.  Created using the same stop-motion animation as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, Burton has created two fantastical worlds: the world of the living and the world of the dead.  The film centers on young Victor and his unintentional marriage to a corpse.  With the talents of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, and Christopher Lee leading the way, both worlds come vividly to life. The setting is a sort of pre-Victorian Britain: dark, dismal, and depressing.  We are introduced to the families of Victor (Depp) and Victoria (Watson), soon to be wed in an arranged marriage.  Victor’s family is lower class, self-satisfied, and has enough money to be comfortable.  Victoria’s family, however, is upper class, haughty, and without a penny to their name.  The marriage is favorable to both families, bringing one up from the lower class and bringing the other some money to ease their misfortunes.  When practicing his vows, however, Victor pretends to wed a nearby branch only to find himself wed to a corpse bride.  From here, Victor must find a way to escape his unfortunate situation and return to the woman he loves. Teaming up once again, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have made a beautiful story.  Burton’s animation is signature: no other animated films have the same color and...

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Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Inglorious Basterds [sic]”, is set in a Nazi-occupied France during World War Two.  Starring Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, and Christoph Waltz, this film is a wildly violent account of the German occupation and those who opposed it.  The violence and witty dialogue are characteristic of Tarantino’s films, sure to please any fans of “Kill Bill”, “Pulp Fiction”, or the Grindhouse films.  The cinematography is, as expected, fantastic. This film is not only entertaining; it is also a successful work of art. The story begins with the introduction of Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), a German known as the “Jew Hunter” with a knack for thinking like a Jew instead of thinking like a German. He opens the film by searching for a Jewish family hiding in French dairy country and massacring all but the beautiful daughter Shosannah (Laurent). She manages to escape to Paris, where she assumes the identity of a young cinema owner. When the opportunity arises to host the opening of a Nazi-hero film, Shosannah plots to burn the cinema to the ground, killing all the Germans inside. Simultaneously, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt) has assembled a group of Americans to hunt down Nazis.  Known as the Basterds, this brigade consists of Americans and Jewish-Americans who return to Germany to spread fear and destroy the Nazis.  They travel through France scalping Germans and branding those...

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Basic Instinct (1992)

“Basic Instinct” is a 1992 film about a storybook-perfect murderer and the detective out to solve it.  Starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, this film has become a classic suspense thriller since its release. With great acting and a unique plot, this film hooks its audience and keeps them guessing until the final scene. Set in San Francisco, “Basic Instinct” begins with the murder of an innocent man. Detective Nick Curran (Douglas) is trying to locate the killer. The murder was executed exactly as it was described in a horror novel written by author Catherine Tramell (Stone).  Tramell is the leading suspect, but she appears to be innocent in every lead that Nick has. During his research, Nick begins to fall for the beautiful author.  While he still has his doubts about her innocence, he becomes her lover.  She is working on a new novel with Nick as her inspiration, and soon all signs begin to point towards Nick’s own impending demise. As the film unfolds, viewers are drawn into Nick’s world of research, doubt, and suspicion. His ex-wife, Dr. Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn) becomes another suspect, and Nick’s allies begin to disappear.  Even at the conclusion of the story the audience is left with an uneasy feeling that not everything has been solved. The acting in this film is what makes it so successful.  Douglas and Stone have...

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Deception (2008)

One of the most fascinating abilities of a film is its power to affect our emotions. Films make us laugh, cry, yearn, and fear. One of the more intriguing emotions, though, is that of uneasiness. Many films take advantage of that, and build suspense by leaving its viewers confused. 2008’s “Deception” plays on this idea, attempting to twist stories around to create confusion and suspicion for its audience. With Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor leading the way, this thriller leaves its audience disappointed despite the promising actors and the suspenseful image. Set in the present day, we are introduced to Jonathan McQuarry (McGregor): a lonely, underprivileged, workaholic accountant. In the opening scene he meets Wyatt Bose (Jackman), who appears to be everything that McQuarry is not. He is outgoing, rich, flashy, and content. With what appears to be a stroke of luck, McQuarry and Bose mix up their cell phones one afternoon. McQuarry answers the phone, thinking it is his, and is suddenly thrust into a world of sex and anonymity. With his newfound freedom, McQuarry begins to live the life he never imagined. He is now part of a corporate sex club, where names are never mentioned and conversations are never had. It seems perfect, until he falls in love with one of the contacts. When she goes missing, he becomes both the prime suspect in her disappearance...

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A Beautiful Mind (2001)

In 2001 Hollywood produced one of its most powerful movies: “A Beautiful Mind”. Starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, this movie tells the life story of brilliant mathematician John Nash. With superb supporting actors such as Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, and Paul Bettany, the story also follows the struggles that Nash’s wife, Alicia, endured. Set over the decades from the 1940s until the 1990s, this amazing drama is sure to affect even the least emotional of moviegoers. The film opens in 1947 as John Nash (Crowe) is welcomed to the doctoral program at Princeton. The scene is given a yellowish tint, making the viewer feel as though they are looking at an old film reel. Gradually this tint disappears, and so the audience is drawn into this old world. Nash begins as a socially awkward individual, but with the help of his “Prodigal Roommate” Charles (Bettany), he ventures out into the social world of the school. At one point he is at a bar with other math students when they begin to discuss a mathematical theorem for how to best seduce a young woman seated across the room. Here, Nash realizes that this long-standing theorem needs revision and runs off in a heated frenzy. This new idea is proposed to the school, and it earns him a placement working for Wheeler Labs. In 1953, Nash is asked to break...

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