Archive for amazing

Cult Scenes: Shogun Assassin

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by themoviecult

Here is the introduction to Shogun Assassin – the 1980 Japanese film about a lone wolf and his cub, directed by Robert Houston:

This is an efficient opening, because in such a short ammount of time, the major characters and the dilema are established. Also, because it is beautifully shot and well written (as is the rest of the movie).

Rap fans may notice the child’s voiceover sounds familiar. GZA/Genius, a notable fan of classic Japanese Martial Arts Films, based his 2002 album, Liquid Swords, around Shogun Assassin. Much of the dialogue and voiceover is sampled and used.

Amazing Movies You must Watch #3

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by themoviecult

Once Upon a Time in America is spaghetti western director Sergio Leone’s last film. It’s a crime drama with coverage of the lives of several characters from the early 1920’s to the late 1960’s. Epic, indeed.

In Once Upon a Time in America, David “Noodles” Aaronson is the ringleader of a small band of tightly knit criminals. In their youth, they start by rolling drunks, and during prohibition, their operation evolves to bootlegging moonshine.

At the beginning of the film, Noodles is nowhere to be seen. The gangsters are going through his friends, torturing and murdering; Trying to find him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Noodles’ associates are dead. His friends and family are dead. He is on the run. His only option is to flea from New York.

At this point, Noodles’ past is revealed through flashbacks. We watch him as a streetsmart child, losing his innocence. Many complex, well-written characters are introduced. The storyline progresses, until Leone takes us back to that horrible mistake.

Noodles later returns to New York as an old man, one of the only few characters to have survived – albeit in a boring life where he has survived by, “going to sleep early”. He haunts the town, alone, like a ghost, going back over every detail. He tries to figure out the mystery: Why has he been called back into town?

There’s so much to the plot. So many layers and themes. So many story arcs, involving the aforementioned colourful characters. There’s a redeeming factor for almost all of the characters – so even those crazy types that need to identify with characters to enjoy movies will enjoy Once Upon a Time in America. The acting is almost perfect. Leone hired the big hitters – De Niro, Woods, Pecsi – and even some great lesser known character actors.

It is a masterpiece, because Leone was in love with the novel which his script was faithfully based upon – The Hoods by real life mobster, Harry Grey. Leone turned down an offer by Paramount Studios to direct the Godfather to focus on planning the project.

It all worked out, because the last film to Sergio Leone’s name, Once Upon a Time in America, is a masterpiece.

Amazing Movies You Must Watch #2

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by themoviecult

Sex, Lies, and Video  Tape

Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an explicit drama about the sex lives of four people, released in 1989.  Written and directed by the sometimes amazing Steven Soderbergh, and starring great character actors in the main roles, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, is a great example of independent cinema.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape has a complex, character-driven plot.  It starts with John Mullany (Peter Gallagher) and his wife, Anne Bishop Mullany (Andie MacDowell), who are living in a weak, loveless relationship.  Anne is sexually repressed, and John is having an affair with her sister, Cynthia Patrice Bishop (Laura San Giacomo).  John’s old friend, Graham Dalton (James Spader), is back in town and comes to stay with the couple.  Right away, he seems unusual.  Graham learns about all of the characters, but as hard as he tries, he is unable to keep from revealing himself to them.

Graham and Anne

There’s more to it, and it’s all about Graham’s unusual sexual fetish – but summarising it here would spoil a lot of the fun and enjoyment Sex, Lies, and Videotape has to offer.  It is near impossible to guess what may happen next in Sex, Lies, and Videotape – Soderbergh’s script keeps its twists close to its chest.  The ending of the movie, itself, is as satisfying as the brilliant build-up deserves.
 
The writing in Sex, Lies, and Videotape is superb.  The realistic dialogue is almost perfectly unique to each character, and used to help track their growth.  While the love triangle aspect of the film’s writing had happened in many movies before (and has in many since), Graham’s character is amazingly fresh.  His peculiarity makes for an explosive catalyst to the story.

Cynthia

Do see this film if you get the chance to, because it is an amazing display of writing, acting, and directing coming together to great something brilliant.