September Blind Spot Review: Insomnia (2002)

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insomnia 2002 poster

“A good cop can’t sleep because he’s missing a piece of the puzzle, and a bad cop can’t sleep because his conscience won’t let him.”
– Ellie

SYNOPSIS: Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen. – via IMDB

insomnia-cleaning

GRADE 8.5Wow. This movie was excellent, and just my cup of tea. I was drawn in from the moment the film opened, and just got sucked down the rabbit hole even further as the movie progressed. I want to start with how breathtakingly beautiful this movie is to look at. Wally Pfister delivers all the goods here again. Alaska was a gorgeous setting, and the film ran that point home at every available opportunity. As for Pacino? It’s films like this that showcase his talents, and he was fantastic here. Robin Williams, too, was so brilliant in these weird, creepy roles. Sometimes going against what you are known for is just the answer. The way the sound and images were used in this film to depict Dormer’s insomnia was so smart, and lent credence to all that was happening. Insomnia is also not your run of the mill thriller, as it has quite a lot of character development and background to chew on, too, which makes for an incredibly engaging watch. The plot development and progression was spot on and enjoyable, what with the story woven so expertly. It doesn’t pretend to break the mould or anything like that, and it doesn’t. There are no serious surprises, but that is not an issue. Instead you focus on the characters more so than just the case. This is a movie that looks and sounds great, and simply captivates you. The interactions between Dormer and Finch are enthralling, and the cast worked really well. I cannot believe it took me so long to get to this movie, because it is typically Nolan – brilliant, smart, engaging, and worth every second of your time.

If you haven’t seen this, don’t watch the trailer. Seriously, what a spoiler. I am so glad I didn’t watch it before the movie. My advice? Go in blind.

Rapid Review: Good Will Hunting (1997)

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“You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself.”
– Sean Maguire

SYNOPSIS: A janitor at MIT, Will Hunting has a gift for math and chemistry that can take him light-years beyond his blue-collar roots, but he doesn’t realize his potential and can’t even imagine leaving his childhood Boston South End neighborhood, his construction job, or his best friend. To complicate matters, several strangers enter the equation: a brilliant math professor who discovers, even envies, Will’s gifts, an empathetic shrink who identifies with Will’s blue-collar roots, and a beautiful, gifted pre-med student who shows him, for the first time in his life, the possibility of love. – via IMDB

good will hunting

GRADE 8.5This movie is one of those movies that is just really good, whether you are in the boat of it being overrated or not. Either way, it’s a good one. I adore Matt Damon and will watch him in anything (hence I made it through Elysium), and I think he is immensely talented. That was showcased once again in Good Will Hunting. The movie is one of those films that makes you laugh a lot, feel for the characters, and touches on some things that make you think (pretty much anything Sean Maguire said in this movie was something to think about). I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how insanely smart Will was, dissing college students yet being a janitor who is actually just too scared to reach further in his life. The humour in this movie is sharp, and gets me laughing every time, and Casey Affleck’s character was just adorable (what a chop). The story is really good, and moves along at a respectable pace, never getting boring, never getting so intricate that you lost what was going on. Robin Williams was something else in here, and I loved his character. This is one of my favourite roles of his. Sean Maguire was depressed, so flat, and yet he had so much knowledge to share, and was an integral part of Will realising there was nothing that he couldn’t do. He and Damon worked wonders together. The story is sweet and inspiring and has aged pretty well. I think Ben Affleck and Damon are very good writers, no matter how you feel about it. Minnie Driver is someone you don’t see in many films anymore, but she embodied Skylar very well, and I thought that Stellan Skarsgård’s Lambeau was a fantastic character to put Will’s gifts into perspective with, though I do feel his character was not used as consistently or as effectively as he could have been. Good Will Hunting is shot well and is engaging, and it just so worth the watch.

Rapid Review: One Hour Photo (2002)

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one hour photo poster

“According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the word “snapshot” was originally a hunting term.”
– Sy Parrish

SYNOPSIS: An employee of a one-hour photo lab becomes obsessed with a young suburban family. – via IMDB

one hour photo check your smile

GRADE 7This was definitely a movie I enjoyed Robin Williams in. I know he freaked my other half out a bit, he kept on waiting for Williams to crack jokes and stuff, and instead he got a really creepy, weird, lonely and obsessed stalker dude. However, the film itself isn’t bad, and it keeps you entertained for the duration. It is not a movie that can be rewatched a lot, it is something you can go back to every now and then over the years. The dream sequence Sy has (if you’ve seen this, you will know) is likely the most memorable scene out of this, and it all came together rather well. Sometimes the acting was a little wooden, but Williams certainly delivered. He managed to find a way to have you pity him, and yet at the same time he repulses you and you resent him. There were times where I just wanted to shout at the characters because of how stupid they are, I mean really, if someone chatted with me the way Sy did members of that family, alarm bells would be going ballistic! As always, it was nice to see Gary Cole here, I do like the man. Something that did not jibe is the way that Sy is telling us that photos only capture the great memories, and not the bad (granted), and we see the very happy Yorkin family. All this is going fine, and they are together, and laughing at pictures and all, then next thing we know Will and Nina are fighting. I understand what they were trying to show (as he was talking about only the good being captured on film), but it wasn’t implemented well at all. It felt like a sudden and ridiculous thing seeing them fight, and jarring. No little things to build up to it, just a sudden disagreement. This movie is chilling on some levels, but fails in other places to really and truly make that resonate. It is a good film, but it falls short of being a great film. One Hour Photo is not one that a lot of people have seen (here by me at any rate), but it is definitely one worth looking into if you have never seen it, or to check out again if you haven’t seen it in a while.

Review: Dead Poets Society (1989)

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Dead Poets Society Poster

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– John Keating

Welton Academy For Boys exists in New England in the 1950’s. Students flocks from around the country to attend the prestigious school that is to give them the life skills they need to go on to Ivy League schools and become wildly successful men in life. A new school year begins, and Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) is Neil Perry’s (Robert Sean Leonard) roommate. The two become close, and Todd meets Neil’s friends Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), Richard Cameron (Dylan Kussman), Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), Steven Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero) and Gerard Pitts (James Waterston).

Dead Poets Society

“I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.” – John Keating

They boys all seem to be living someone else’s dream. Todd is in his older brother’s looming shadow, Neil striving to be exactly what his father, Mr Perry (Kurtwood Smith) wishes him to be, no matter what he wants. Knox is expected by his father to study law and become successful, and Charlie is mostly alright what with coming from a wealthy background. Strict disciplinarian Headmaster Nolan (Norman Lloyd) introduces the new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams) to the school. The first lesson the boys encounter with their latest teacher is incredibly interesting, and they are starting to look at English and poetry in a whole new light.

The Dead Poets Society Meeting

A Dead Poets gathering

After some research is done, the group finds that John Keating was a part of the Dead Poets Society. They question him about it, and he explains it as a gathering of friends to read poetry from the greats or that they themselves have written, to share and discuss beauty. Soon the boys decide that they are in for this idea, and start their own highly illegal Dead Poets Society. Mr Keating is hammering free thinking into his students, the notion of living for the day as well as doing what it is that you want in life, no matter what the cost, and no matter if you are not supported. Obviously the young and impressionable seventeen-year-olds take it to heart, and soon Neil is defying his father’s strictest wishes to leave everything and keep his head down to study and go to medical school in favour of testing his dream for acting. Knox falls in love with Chris Noel (Alexandra Powers), endangering his opportunity of making ties with the Danburry family seeing as Christine is engaged to Chet Danburry (Colin Irving).

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“For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I’m gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” – Neil

Quickly things start to turn when Mr Perry gets wind of Neil’s acting dreams, and Neil confides in Professor Keating. Charlie is ever-cocky and goes out on a whim to think outside the box, to be his own individual. Todd is still stuggling with his shyness, but Professor Keating is helping him out of his box. Knox is head-over-heels and will think no further than Chris. The school is getting antsy with Professor Keating’s teaching techniques as they feel that seventeen-year-old students have no business being free thinkers. Classes are fun, but what will happen if these boys truly start applying the things that they are learning from their fearless Captain? Are these boys ready to be free, to be different, to “seize the day”, to live their lives and bear the consequences of their decisions? Are they ready to see and accept beauty in everything they see, and enjoy their lives for everything that it is, and not make it all about a career? Will the liberal and unorthodox teaching methods of Professor Keating survive in a school

Dead Poets Society earns an 8/10. It was a good movie, both for its time and now. Truly inspiring, and I loved it. I love the English language, and I love beautiful words, especially when strung together in lavish sentences. This movie provided this, this movie showed how important thinking for yourself was and finding inspiration in so many thing. Teachers should learn from Keating, but what made him special is that he came from an era where conservatism was key, and thinking even just a little out of the box was completely frowned upon. It was terribly sad to see how some people just cannot bear the brunt of their actions, and that someone else is to pay the cost, and that cost does not only influence the blamed party, but all the lives that person touched. I reckon this was a good movie, and it was fun and humorous for me in a very smart manner. I liked how Robert Sean Leonard was supposed to study medical, and goes on to be a doctor in House, M.D. I don’t know how many people are out there that have not watched this movie, but it is a lovely story. I wish this had been a set story for me in English in high school, as it teaches the joy of an educated and varying vocabulary. What I liked about this movie is the way it spoke out against letting someone else dictate your life to you, as well as the importance of fostering good relationships with the people around you. They really are so important for your own development.