Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

The last of Stanley Kubrick‘s films, Eyes Wide Shut is an epic two hours and thirty-eight minutes long. When starting the movie, I hadn’t realized just what I was in for, however, I was willing to stick it out for one of my favorite directors. What I also didn’t realize was that this was one of the first digitally filmed movies – and perhaps it is just me but the fuzzy quality of digital really irks me. Perhaps that was his intention – the subject matter isn’t beautiful, nor is the lifestyle.
The film follows Bill (Cruise), a New York City doctor, who is affronted and confused when he hears his wife’s (Kidman) story about a man with whom she fantasized about and felt like she could leave everything – her life with Bill, and their daughter – for him. Bill, after receiving a call about a patient who died, rushes over and begins this wild sexual adventure through New York’s underbelly.
There is excessive nudity and over-the-top sex romps at a creepy orgy, a young girl turned prostitute by her father, and Bill is carried through all of this with the thoughts of his wife having sex with this officer. The film plays with the idea of the actualization of sexual desire and the internalized sexual desire. Bill journeys through the actualization and finds out that he doesn’t want any part of it. Alice dreams about her having sex with untold numbers of men and is haunted by it, however during the dream is reveling in the fact that Bill is there to witness it.
As it is with most of Stanley Kubrick’s films, this isn’t something you should just throw yourself at. This film needs time to digest and swirl around in your mind. It is perfectly timed – it allows for your meditation. The only thing I found hard to digest is the acting. It seemed very melodramatic and the writing – though at times extremely well done – fell flat in other respects. I suppose that has more to do with how the actors portrayed the characters. Both Cruise and Kidman seemed a little too enthusiastic to play these parts and at times it felt like I was watching a play rather than a movie.
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

This late nineties film, directed by the incredible mind of Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Brazil), was nothing short of fantastic. It is pretty hard to describe exactly what happened – and I do believe that was Gilliam’s point. It’s a rambling, jolting experience.

What I loved about the film is twofold: I loved Johnny Depp’s performance. This is before Pirates of the Caribbean, but you can see where he began the character. That being said, Depp’s character in this film is weirder than Capt. Jack because well, he’s a drug-addled Hunter S. Thompson running through L.A. with his lawyer (Benicio Del Toro) where they do unknown levels of nearly every drug on the planet. Which is, apparently, nearly autobiographical. Sweet. There isn’t a moment where Depp doesn’t have a cigarette in his mouth – even when a rag is covering it (either for huffing ether or for covering against dust).

The cinematography is the other thing I absolutely adore about this flick. The scenes are consistently jam-packed with stuff – the screen is hardly surrounded by nothingness. The camera is almost consistently on an angle, making everything else seem warped. I suppose  I should say that I was a little bit under the influence while watching (honestly, merely tipsy) and I am unsure if the cinematography or my slight inebriation helped in seeing what the characters saw. I mean, I felt as if I was on their “trip” – everything was so brilliantly colored and crazily shot that it felt like an acid trip. I’m going to give it to the cinematographer.

All in all, the film surprised me with how accessible it was. Despite the length (just over 2 hours), much of the film is accessible in the sense that no one expects it to make sense. With that in mind, the audience is allowed to drift in here and there and not be upset if something is not understood – everyone else is in the same boat.

Terry Gilliam rarely makes a film that I do not thoroughly enjoy and this is no exception. Highly recommended.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Before I start this review, if you haven’t seen this movie I would advise you to not read any further. I’m going to be very excited and write about huge spoilers. If you don’t know what it’s about (and I highly suggest not finding out – the surprise is really worth it) don’t read further. Please don’t. Just watch it. Don’t look at the IMDb either. They give it away in a sentence. Jerks.

Seriously. Don't look it up.

Okay, you have been warned.

I had no idea that this was a vampire movie. I figured, “Oh, it’s a crime action flick with Quentin Tarantino where they say ‘Fuck’ a lot and blow shit up.” Which is what happens in the first half. Then it turns into, “Oh, it’s a crime action flick with Quentin Tarantino where they say ‘Fuck’ a lot and blow shit up, with VAMPIRES.” From the moment Salma Hayek‘s head changed shape my jaw remained dropped for the rest of the film. What the hell? HOW?! There wasn’t any indication that this was going to turn into a monster movie.

Apparently this is a film that has been ruined for people for generations and somehow I, in my 22 years, have never heard anything about it. All I knew was that Robert Rodriguez directed, Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney starred, and there was a lot of gunfire. I mean, that’s all I needed to know to see the darn thing but really? I was completely blown away.

Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney play brothers who are fleeing to the Tex-Mex border to meet a guy who will pay them for their – no you know what? This doesn’t even matter in the end of the film. I mean, this is brilliantly created and Tarantino’s character is a creepy sex offender and he gets his hand blown clean through from a shoot-out at the beginning of the film but I can’t even remember why they went to Mexico in the first place. It doesn’t matter. Vampires.

Danny Trejo as a vampire. F- yeah!

Is this film worth it? Oh my god, yes. Please make it a personal vow to see it. It’s nothing except entertaining. And besides, you get to see George Clooney kick ass and take names. He just wins all over the place. And he doesn’t need Tiger Blood.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

What a drink!

Wow. That was awesome.

Honestly, if any of you reading this haven’t seen this movie, then drop whatever you are doing and watch it on Netflix. It’s on Instant Queue. Fantastic.

It’s a heist movie that is extremely stylish but not pretentious. Just excellent. There are many players involved – which may seem like it’s confusing – but the pacing allows you to follow very easily. It takes place in London’s East End – which is particularly grim. It’s meat and potatoes with a bit of garnish.

With top-hitters like Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and Lenny McLean and… wait. What am I saying? Everyone is good in this film. People who don’t have lines are good in this film.

I’m not even going to say anything about the film anymore. I’m just going to offer you a quote. Bacon (Jason Statham) orders a drink from a bar. The bartender offers him this frou-frou drink that has a whole bunch of junk in it. Bacon looks at it, at the bartender and asks what it was. The bartender tells him he ordered a cocktail, to which Bacon replies: “I wasn’t expecting a fucking rainforest. You can fall in love with an orangutan in there.”

Oh! I almost forgot to talk about the soundtrack. Totally cool – the two teams of criminals had their own songs. Our main boys had a bass line and the other had a guitar riff. A lot of swingin’ sexy sounds.

Yeah. Go see this movie. Awesome. Definitely in my top 100 films.