Is There Such Thing As A ‘Greatest Movie Of All Time’?

Citizen Kane? The Shawshank Redemption? The Godfather? Star Wars? Which one of these great movies is the ‘greatest movie of all time’? Well the correct answer is none of them, I don’t believe there is such thing as a ‘greatest movie of all time.’ Yes you can have a favourite movie of all time but does that make it the greatest? It is impossible for people to agree on what is the ‘greatest movie of all time,’ it’s so hard to choose one because their isn’t one.

One of my favourite movies of all time is The Dark Knight, there are many things that make this one of my favourites movie. This is the movie I watch at home on rainy days, on Christmas, when I’m ill or when I just need cheering up, this movie means everything to me, that is what a favourite movie should be like. Now I know most of you out there won’t agree with me, we all have our personal favourites, a lot of peoples favourites might be absolutely terrible in my eyes but to them it is everything they want out of a movie and that is all you can ask.

Movies really shouldn’t be given the title of the ‘greatest movie of all time’ because it adds a lot of pressure to first time viewers of that film. Not too long ago I watched Citizen Kane for the first time and all I could think throughout the movie was that I have to like it, this is supposedly one of the greatest movies of all time, unsurprisingly this ruined my enjoyment of the movie. I like to go into every movie with a wide open opinion but I already had the perception that I was going to watch the ‘greatest movie of all time.’ You know what, going in with that expectation the film fell short of what I was expecting leaving me to feel underwhelmed. There shouldn’t be any pressure for audiences to think that a certain movie is the ‘greatest movie of all time,’ people have their own opinions and they can think what they want about movies.

There are only a few movies that I watch for the first time and think to myself, this is one of my favourites, when I first watched The Dark Knight in the theatres I loved it, but it wasn’t until I watched it at home five months later that I realised just how much I loved it and the more I watched the more I fell in love with it. I feel as though in this modern day of remakes and sequels there are only a few directors that I know could make my next favourite film.

In IMDb’s top 250 of all time they place The Shawshank Redemption at the top, this doesn’t make it the ‘greatest movie of all time,’ the list is controlled by the publics ratings, it just means that The Shawshank Redemption is the most popular peoples favourite. I can tell if a movie is very well made but that doesn’t mean I will enjoy it. One example being Schindler’s List, I can tell that it is a beautifully made movie with astonishing acting but for some reason I just didn’t enjoy it. I just feel that people should have their own favourites no matter on the quality of the movie, whether it be White Chicks or American Psycho people are free to like what they want to and they shouldn’t be forced to like what are considered the ‘greatest movies of all time.’

The movies should be an experience and not a competition.

I would love to hear what some of your favourites are in the comments below. I will be producing a list of some of my favourites (in no particular order) soon so look out for that. If you enjoyed this post please feel free to like and follow my blog. Thanks for reading.

‘Red Tails’ – Movie Review

Red Tails is the latest movie from the childhood destroyer George Lucas. It centres on a group of African American pilots in a training program who are faced by segregation who are grounded during World War Two but are finally called into duty where they need to prove themselves while rising their lives for a country that didn’t appreciate them. Right off the bat let me tell you that I was so excited for this movie, from the trailer it looked like George Lucas could actually redeem himself after ruining the Star Wars franchise. But I was so wrong, this film was absolutely diabolical.

The biggest flaw of the movie has to be the shoddy excuse of a script, written by John Ridley and Aaeon McGruder, both pretty unknown screenplay writers but that doesn’t always mean it will be bad, but in this case it really is. This script is just a massive ball of cheese, every word that comes out of the characters mouth just makes you curl up and cringe. Then again what did you expect from the same producing team as the Star Wars prequels, making this movie feel as though it was written by George Lucas himself.

The poor script makes for some characters that you just don’t care about, when you are watching all these impressive dog fights you couldn’t really care if they made it back or plummeted towards the ground, I know that sounds heartless but you really don’t care. The characters just have no depth or back story causing you to not care about them one little bit.

One positive thing in Red Tails is the amazing special effects that attempt to keep you entertained between the dreadful scenes where speech is exchanged. The only good scenes in this movie are scenes that take place in the air, yes they still have the occasional clichéd speech but the astonishing visual effects make up for that at times. I think I would have preferred this movie a lot more if they cut out of all the speech and it was just two hours of continuous dog fights.

All round the performances are pretty mediocre but the one actor that stood out was the always brilliant Terrance Howard. He has to be the only character that you slightly care about, but unfortunalty his good performance doesn’t make up for the script that basically ruins the whole movie. Even if this movie had great performances they wouldn’t have stopped the rest of the many failings.

All in all I really didn’t enjoy this movie, from the trailer it had so much promise, it looked like another feel good race movie but boy was I wrong. The gorgeous special effects couldn’t make up for the one dimensional characters that spurt out a spew of cheesy lines that no one in their right mind would think of saying aloud. Please avoid at all cost, it’s poor, very poor.

3/10

‘The Avengers’ – Movie Review

First thing I need to say isn’t really related to The Avengers but thought I would express my views on the matter. I am utterly pissed off that there was no new Dark Knight Rises trailer shown before the movie, the only reason I can think of is because they must be releasing it with the American release not the UK one because we get a week early but there was an amazing Prometheus trailer I hadn’t yet seen. Anyway onto the movie.

The plot of The Avengers is simple, bad guy – Loki – tries to take over earth, that’s about it. This isn’t really a bad thing though, this movie is already two hours twenty minutes so with the inclusion of a deep plot the film would have been even long. But to be honest you aren’t really looking for an intense plot filled with metaphors and hidden meanings, all you really want is to go and have a great time and thats exactly what you get.

As I said there isn’t really much plot going on here but what there is plenty of is character depth, Joss Whedon does a fantastic job of giving these characters so many levels that we never knew they had. This added depth to the characters really causes us too feel for them in their moment of hardships. The character I ended up empathising for the most was actually Black Widow which actually surprised me a great deal. But that’s thing that Whedon does really well, he is used to developing characters and yet again his fantastic writing does it again here.

Now if you had your doubts about Joss Whedon’s directing ability then let me reassure you that you can put those fears to bed. Some of the shots he creates are absolutely stunning making for what will be some very iconic scenes from the movie. Not only did Joss Whedon direct this action filled roller coaster he also put pen to paper and wrote it, as I said the plot isn’t exceptional but the dialogue is utter brilliance. Every word out of Tony Stark’s mouth is absolutely hilarious making this funnier than a lot of comedies I have seen.

Everyone knows the standard of the acting that is typically found in these Marvel movies, it’s pretty good but nothing really amazing. You don’t expect much from the actors  but if this is your first Marvel movie, I don’t know why it would be, but then you will be surprised by the above average quality.

Robert Downey Jr. obviously returns as the obnoxious and downright funny billionaire, Tony Stark. Everyone has seen this role before so you don’t really see anything new here but you know what, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t gotten old. As usual Robert Downey Jr. performs brilliantly, displaying one of the best performances of the movie adding some comedy to an otherwise action filed adventure.

Downey Jr. isn’t the only one that shines here, Mark Ruffalo – who I am a huge fan of – plays Bruce Banner/ the Hulk brilliantly making for my personal favourite Hulk’s we have seen to date and there is nothing I wish more than for him to get his own movie after this, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. Ruffalo also supplies us with many laughs throughout the movie and he also gives us a collection of the best action sequences in the whole movie with his “Hulk smash!”

We see the return of Tom Hiddleston as the menacing Loki and he plays the role absolutely beautifully. The first shot we get of Loki is harrowing which is mastered by the combination of Hiddleston’s devilish performance and Whedon’s gorgeous directing. Loki not only makes for a horrifying villain but his chemistry between Downey Jr. as Iron Man is priceless. If you weren’t fond of Loki in Thor – like I wasn’t – your mind will be changed here he truly is an evil person making for an iconic villain.

Chris Evans and Hemsworth show us the performance you expect from seeing them in their individual Marvel movies, they aren’t show stopping but are good enough for this movie. I feel as though the best moments of acting are when all of the Avengers are together, the chemistry between them is perfect, they all have their own different relationship between each other that can swap from hatred to best friends in a matter of minutes.

Now the one thing that you don’t have to worry about in this movie is any of the main characters being pushed aside. When I first saw the trailer I thought that this will end up being Iron Man & Co. but trust me it isn’t, all of the characters you want to get all the screen time they deserve. Maria Hill played by the brilliant Cobie Smulders is one of the very few characters that gets pushed to the side, but she was never really regarded as one of the main characters although I would have liked it if she had a bit more ass kicking to do. Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow makes a brief appearance which literally lasts a minute but you don’t really care about that as this movie really isn’t about her.

The Avengers isn’t exactly perfect, there was one thing I wasn’t too fond of and that is that these movies are starting to feel far too familiar. Apart from the stature of this movie in comparison with others it doesn’t really vary it’s self from the other Marvel movies – Paramount Pictures – the direction has the same old comic book action style which you can spot in all the other movies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I can see many people starting to tire of it.

If you are a loyal reader of mine then you know that I am not the biggest fan of 3D, I feel as though it is usually useless and extremely overpriced, the same can be said here. I didn’t feel as though the 3D was necessary, if it was it would have been filmed in 3D and not post converted like most films are these day. The 3D wasn’t used like Avatar to fully engross me in the world, it just felt like it was there and there was nothing really too it, I know I would have enjoyed the film just as much in 2D.

The thing The Avengers does best is what it set out to do. It isn’t trying to be a dark superhero movie with a serious tone – like The Dark Knight – and that’s good because trying to compete with that is a ridiculous thing to do. The Avengers tries to be a comic book action-filled, Hollywood blockbuster and you know what it does that perfectly. I don’t think you will be able to compare this and the later released comic book movies this year – Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises – because it is so different.

I am just worried about how the sequels/spinoffs from this are going to be able to live up to it, this is the greatest threat the earth has faced and I don’t see how a single film focusing on Iron Man can live up to that. I will hate to be the first film made after this because it will be compared A LOT saying how it just didn’t live up to The Avengers and that’s sad. I also wonder how long they going to be able to keep going for, I mean someones going to want to leave soon, what are they going to do? Just trade actors hoping we won’t notice.

Trust me, if you are a fan of superhero movies then you will fall in love with this movie, it is the movie we all wanted and expected, Joss Whedon has done us all proud and for that I would like to you thank you very much. Now I can’t wait for the directors cut with all that footage that Whedon was made to chop out. I feel as though this is the perfect start to a Summer filled with brilliant movies.

10/10

Foo Fighters: Back And Forth – Movie Review

Let me start off by saying you probably won’t be interested in this movie or review if you aren’t really a Foo Fighters fan, but if you are an openminded person this movie will change your whole opinion of Dave Grohl and the band that he created. Back And Forth centres on the greatest rock band around today, Foo Fighters, it travels back to Grohl’s experiences withNirvana from the creation to the fame to the heartbreak. The film then moves on to take us on the journey of the creation of the phenomenal rock band, Foo Fighters. As you can probably tell already I am a Foo Fighters fan, before watching this movie I liked them a lot but after viewing this documentary I fell in love with them and now a massive fan. Hopefully this film can convert you too.

The documentary doesn’t follow the typical formula, instead of having a single person narrating a collection of clips the story is told through a series of interviews with current and former band members. I felt as though this adds a very personal feel to the film as you hear the stories first hand from the people who actually experienced it.

The last act of the movie is centred on the creation of their new album, Wasting Light, which in my opinion their best album and it is throughly interesting to see the complete process that they went through to make it. I feel as though this is the best part of the whole movie is as it moves away from the interviews and it becomes more driven by footage from Grohl’s personal studio which gives you a glimpse into the bands personal lives.

While watching there were a few parts that really stood out for me, the first being when William Goldsmith found out that Grohl had rerecorded all the drums on one album. This moment made me finally see that even the nicest man in rock – Grohl – can do horrible things. The second was of course when Foo Fighters reached their prime, when they played their biggest gig at Wembley, this was the moment were you think “woah, they really are the best band in the world!” The final moment was the production of the song I Should Have Known, this is personally my favourite song on their new album because through the song and in this documentary you can see that this song is so thoughtful and has come from so deep inside Grohl. I have so much respect for him for what he has been through and all that hardship comes through in this section of the movie.

If you aren’t a Foo Fighters fan I would still highly recommend this to you, if you are at all a fan of music and it’s creation I can guarantee you will love this movie as much as I did and afterwards you will realise how many astonishing songs they really have and you will want to go back and visit their whole discography.

10/10

‘The Hunger Games’ – Movie Review

When I first heard about The Hunger Games I was extremely uninterested, that lack of interest didn’t change after we saw all the trailers and clips. I had no plan on ever seeing this movie in the cinema, but I managed to get hold of a free pair of tickets so I thought why not. I went into The Hunger Games not expecting much at all boy was I wrong, I went in already hating the franchise and came out loving it.

The Hunger Games is an adaptation from the extremely popular book written by Suzanne Collins, I had the feeling that this would be another franchise like Twilight, filled with diabolical acting and a twisted and unnatural story but again I was wrong. Yes the story of The Hunger Games is a little twisted, set in the distant future where we all live in separate districts, the capitol runs a yearly show called The Hunger Games, they obtain a boy and girl aged between twelve and eighteen to fight to the death in The Hunger Games, there can only be one victor.

I can’t be one to comment on how good of a job they did adapting this from it’s source material as I never read the books, from what I have heard they have done a pretty great job seeing as though they have left out very little from the book which makes the two hour twenty minute run time understandable. That was one problem that I had with the film, the length. I thought it was just ten minutes or so too long, I didn’t get bored one bit in the film but I did think while sat there watching it that it did feel to long.

The length of this film wouldn’t have been bearable without the surprisingly great acting from Jennifer Lawrence. She really did surprise me, I know she has delivered great performances in the past in films such as Winter’s Bone, but you just expect this franchise to be filled with unbearable acting but you know what it wasn’t. Another actor that I thought deserves a worthy mention is Stanley Tucci he outperforms most other people on screen just like usual. The one actor that I was not keen on was Josh Hutcherson, with him in it I felt as though he was their ticket into the young adult audience. His performance was the weakest throughout the movie and I couldn’t help but think that his performance felt incredibly forced. A big disappointment is the chemistry between Lawrence and Hutcherson, or should I say the lack of chemistry between them.

After watching The Hunger Games it left me feeling as though I wished they had rated 15 (UK) with a bit more violence, I did feel as though it was very toned down just so that it would appeal to the same audience as Twilight. 

Probably the biggest failing in The Hunger Games is the characters, I’m not sure if this was a failing in the book or just the film but some characters relationships feel extremely rushed and when their relationships come to an end you don’t feel as emotional as you should do just because the relationships were so rushed so you didn’t have enough time to fully engage with them.

It may seem to many of you that I am bashing The Hunger Games but I’m really not, I liked it a lot but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. But one thing The Hunger Games does right is it’s beauty, it’s amazing how the style of the film goes from a dark and depressed scene in the first act and then into the second which is filled with extravagant colours. The capitol has been astonishingly created out of CGI and on the big screen it really looks breathtaking with many shots that show off its true beauty.

I did really like The Hunger Games even if it was a little long and didn’t have some relationship development I would have liked to have seen. I just hope that the other two films don’t become poor sequels to this very good film. If you are an avid reader of the books I can imagine that you will love this movie and will probably be one of your best of 2012. Jennifer Lawrence really does carry this film acting wise, she shines just as bright as fire. This film may feel a little young adult for many of you but I still highly recommend this to anyone, please go and see it this weekend.

8/10

Game Of Thrones Season 1 – Review

I have been waiting to watch this series for ages and I have finally got round to it and I really don’t know why I didn’t watch it before. This series is absolutely phenomenal; I have now become a huge fan and cannot wait for season two to start up in April. Game Of Thrones is a HBO adaptation of the amazing books written by George R.R. Martin. It is set in fantasy medieval world where seven different families are fighting for control over the land Westeros.

Let’s start off by talking about the absolutely astonishing acting, the stand out performance obviously comes from the biggest name in this series, Sean Bean, he delivers an astounding performance as Ned Stark. Another one of the standout performances in this show is Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, the evil imp, his performance supplies some humour to an otherwise dark and serious show. I felt like the series overall was phenomenally casted and I really couldn’t think of anyone better to play these characters. This great casting mixed with the brilliant acting really made me feel for these characters as if I had known them for years.

Now I haven’t read any of the books that were written by George R.R. Martin so I don’t know if this has been a good adaptation from it’s source materials. From what I have heard I an conclude that is one of the best book to television adaptations that we have seen for a while. It has been said that this show follows the book to perfection, some scenes have been directly converted word for word from it’s source material.

Game Of Thrones really isn’t a series for the feint hearted, it is filled with extreme violence, blood and sex. This isn’t a bad thing as it doesn’t feel forced and is perfectly fitting with the style of the show. But the excess violence and sex may off put a few people from watching the series, but you really shouldn’t let it.

There are a few problems I have with Game Of Thrones, one of them being something quite personal. While watching the first episode it took me a while to get into it and ending up taking me till around episode three before I started to really get into it and engage with the characters. The time it takes to get into it shouldn’t be anything that puts you off as when you do get into you will love yourself for sticking with it.

Another problem that I had with the series was how they missed out all of the intense battles, one of my friends has actually read the books and they said that the battles are actually quite long and played out but in the series they have been cut out, one example is just before there is a battle Tyrion Lannister gets knocked out so you and him miss the whole battle and then when he wakes you and him see the aftermath, missing all the action.

The final thing I wasn’t really fond of was the soundtrack, I know great soundtracks are hard to make but I just thought that this one was lacking and didn’t have the depth and fullness that I had hoped for. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good soundtrack compared to others but it’s no Lord Of The Rings. 

Now let’s go back to the things I loved, I absolutely loved the dialogue that was superbly written by David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. I think that the dialogue is in perfect fitting with the dark series. I have heard that some of the conversations in the series are directly transferred to the screen without any alteration in the source material.

One thing I really l did love is the direction of this beautiful series, there are some astonishing landscape shots that pan across the medieval countryside. Game Of Thrones really does have a breathtaking style giving the overall show an amazing look.

Game Of Thrones does have a few faults but they are only really nitpicks and those small niggles shouldn’t stop anyone from sitting down and watching this groundbreaking series in a ten hour sitting, by god it is totally worth it. Please don’t let any of the violence or sex put you off because this show really is one of the best I have seen in a while. I know that there isn’t many battles but HBO make dramas not actions so I’m not that fussed but it would be nice to see a little more. I guarantee you will love this series as much as I did and once you had watched the first series you with be begging to see the second which returns to our screens on April 1st 2012 and you should really tune in, I know I will.
9/10

Buy A Blu-Ray A Week – UK

Blu-Rays To BUY

Moneyball – I really liked Moneyball, I didn’t love it as much as others did but I still thought it was an engaging drama with some really great acting. This is one of Brad Pitt’s finest performances and most definitely Jonah Hill’s best, in this film I found out he really can act. Moneyball is a smart soulful baseball movie that everyone will love. You don’t have to know anything about baseball going into this movie, you could the baseball and still completely love this movie, thats how good it is.

Take Shelter – This film was utter brilliance, Michael Shannon’s acting in this film will blow you away, he gives an in-depth emotional performance that deserves some sort of recognition. I can see some people not liking this film as it isn’t filled with action and violence but if you enjoy an astonishing drama with phenomenal acting then this will be right up your ally.

Tower Heist –  I was debating whether to put this film under buy or avoid but I decided to put it here for quite a few reasons. Tower Heist is about a group of workers who lose all their money because their investor committed fraud so they conspire to rob the man who lost them all their money. I did quite enjoy this movie, it is Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy’s best movie in a while and that’s why I think it is worth a buy, I think this could be the return of good old Murphy and Stiller. If you aren’t a Stiller or Murphy fan then this obviously isn’t the movie for you but if you are a fan this is a great buy.

The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn –  If you have ever wondered what it would look like if Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg – two of the greatest directors of all time – did a motion capture movie then this is that movie. Tintin is a fast paced stunningly beautiful picture that can be enjoyed by the whole family. I’m not the biggest fan of this style of film as I struggle to gain a relationship with the characters and they seem as though they lack heart but if you can get over that then you will love this movie. I highly recommend this to anyone who was a huge fan of the original cartoons or comics as you will not be disappointed and will be constantly on the edge of your seat.

Bly-Rays To AVOID

Machine Gun Preacher – Now let me start by saying I know some people that really liked this movie, I did not. Butler performs just as good as usual but that is one of the only positives in this movie. The biggest negative is the editing, this movie dragged a lot, it could have easily been half an hour shorter to stop this movie feeling as though it’s sole purpose was to cram it with facts. I didn’t like this movie so I obviously wouldn’t recommend it but I do know people that like it so it could be right up your ally.

All of the above blu-rays will be released on Monday 19th March 2012. Which ones will you be picking up this week? Feel free to tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks again for reading.