Showing posts with label 1993. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1993. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Jurassic Park

The fact that Jurassic Park is twenty years old makes me feel older than I’d like to think I am. It’s hard to believe that it was two decades ago that a wide eyed seven year old me took a trip to the local cinema for what was only my second cinematic experience at the time. The film was a sensation with children, adults and critics and became the highest grossing movie of all time. Although I loved the film, there was a part of me who secretly hated it as it opened children’s eyes to the dinosaur world, something which I naively thought only I liked. Suddenly all my friends had dinosaur toys too and it annoyed me that they’d stolen my thing. It was the equivalent of that cool, underground band you like appearing on TV and going mainstream. Despite my anger over the film taking dinosaurs mainstream, it was pretty much the best thing my seven year old eyes had ever seen.

Twenty years, two sequels and about a dozen viewings later I heard that Universal were bringing Jurassic Park back to the big screen in 3D. Part of that sentence made me very happy but I was rather sceptical about the ‘3D’ element. I was even offered the chance to join a critics screening in New York City of all places, six months ago while on holiday there. I was unfortunately unable to make it though as I’d left my girlfriend shopping somewhere and knowing that she never notices her phone ringing and wouldn’t be able to make it to the theatre in time anyway, I had to decline, something which was deeply disappointing. All was not lost though as although I had to wait nearly half a year, I was eventually able to see the film on one of the largest screens in the country, the IMAX screen in Manchester.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

True Romance

Despite initial commercial failure, True Romance’s strong performances and savvy script have made it a cult classic. Written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery before the release of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino once intended to direct the film too but eventually sold the script after losing interest. Tony Scott took over in the director’s chair and threw out Tarantino’s non-linear storyline in favour of a more traditional linear approach but the bulk of Tarantino’s story remained. The film features a central love story which gets tangled up in the worlds of drugs, organised crime and Hollywood before untangling itself in a hail of bullets following a very Tarantino-esque Mexican Standoff.

The movie is famous for its cast which rivals any in cinema history. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette star as the young couple who find love at a triple bill Kung Fu movie night but are joined on screen by a vast array of the great and good of their profession. Names and faces recognisable to all include Michael Rapaport, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Victor Argo and Christopher Walken. I’m struggling to think of any cast which matches the one assembled here and if you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

Friday, 1 March 2013


A friend at work recently watched a film and since doing so has been repeating the phrase “I have two guns, one for each of you” over, and over again in a terrible American accent. The film in question is Tombstone, a 1993 Western starring Kurt Russell and office favourite Val ‘the chameleon’ Kilmer. It was lent to me recently by my quoting friend and I watched it this evening. I’ll be honest early on. I’ve never had much time for Westerns and rarely seek them out but I do enjoy a really good one. I also don’t particularly enjoy Val Kilmer on screen (though don’t tell my colleagues). With these facts in mind I wasn’t expecting to get much from Tombstone but I really enjoyed it, thanks largely to a fun, if slightly formulaic script and a fantastic, over the top performance from Val Kilmer.

Tombstone feels very much like a classic Western and looks older than Unforgiven, the Oscar winning movie which is younger by eighteen months. The premature aging doesn’t work against the film but merely gives it a gravitas that I’d associate with a classic Western of the late forties to mid sixties period. Even the plot feels well trodden. Three brothers, one of whom is a former lawman (Kurt Russell) relocate to Tombstone, Arizona with their families in the hope of earning their fortune. It soon becomes clear that the local law is defenceless against a large gang of outlaws who call themselves The Cowboys. Slowly the brothers and their friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) begin to rid Tombstone of the gang but at a high cost of human life.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Schindler's List

As the Germans are relocating the city’s Jews into a self contained ghetto, Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow to make his fortune from war profiteering. Having lavished gifts and charm on the ruling Nazis, Schindler persuades the influential Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) to oversee his business of manufacturing mess kits. By hiring Jews, Schindler has a seemingly ever lasting supply of cheap/free labour and gets rich quick but his attitude towards the treatment of the Jews changes when he witnesses the clearing of the ghetto. While before he turned a blind eye, he soon became more interested in the plight of his workers until finally trying to save over a thousand from certain death at great cost and risk to himself.

Undoubtedly one of the most powerful and films of the last twenty years, Schindler’s List has become the foremost film for telling the story of humanities darkest and most irrepressible days. Despite incredibly moving films such as The Pianist and Life is Beautiful, Schindler’s List stands alone at the top as not only a moving and distressing portrayal of humanity at its worst and best but also as a sublime exercise of film making. For me Schindler’s List of one of the rarest of films for which I have no criticism whatsoever. I can’t think of a single shot, line or movement which could be improved.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Groundhog Day

When arrogant TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bin Murray) travels to the small town of Punxsutawney for the yearly Groundhog Day celebrations he wants the day to go as quickly as possible. Feeling the job is beneath him he is looking forward to a quick piece to camera before heading back to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Phil his miserable day in the small town lasts a lot longer than expected as when he wakes up the following morning he discovers that it is Groundhog Day all over again. Phil keeps experiencing the same day over and over desperate for a way to see a tomorrow which seems as though it will never come.

I first saw Groundhog Day about fifteen years ago and have watched it everyday since. In 2006 it was added to the US Nation Film Registry and I’m not surprised. As well as being a family favourite it can also be watched on a different level and raises questions about ones purpose or meaning in life as well as exploring the mental issues around repetition and the feeling of being trapped or held by something beyond your control. Although Connors is trapped by some sort of paranormal force the film could be seen as an analogy for the trappings of poverty and even touches on that aspect in a literal way with a brief inclusion of a couple of drunk characters. Even if you don’t want to read into the film in any great detail, it is still enormously entertaining and ironically the sort of film that you can watch again and again.