Archive for great

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.

Cult Scenes #2

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by themoviecult

The Devil\'s Advocate

The Movie
The Devil’s Advocate – Taylor Hackford’s 1997 adaptation of Andrew Neiderman’s novel; a tale of Good Vs Evil. Well-written, with the dialogue and camera angles almost completely tailored to the themes of the movie, including many little extra touches; enough to make re-watching enjoyable.

The Context
Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a criminal defendant from Florida that never looses – even when he is representing a guilty party. He has been invited to work for a big law firm in New York because of his perfect record.

He has just won his first case with the firm – defending a man named Moyez, who was ritualistically sacrificing a goat. In the street, he talks to the head of the law firm, John Milton (Al Pacino). Kevin has no clue yet that his boss is Satan and he wants Kevin’s soul.

Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) and John Milton (Al Pacino)

Scene (Warning: Language)

EXT. CANAL STREET (CHINATOWN) – DAY

Milton (Al Pacino) and Kevin (Keanu Reeves) are standing at a food stall. Milton pays for Kevin’s food.

MILTON
Best street food in the world.
Try that. Tell me it isn’t great.
(as Kevin eats)
New York. What a scene, right?
Guy like Moyez living in that
subterranean shithole all the
time he’s running around with
fifteen million dollars in the
bank.

KEVIN
You gotta be kidding.

MILTON
What do you think? We’re giving
you away? He’s paying us in
goat’s blood? I’m billing you
out at four-hundred an hour, my
friend. I don’t see a whole lot
of pro bono work in your
immediate future.
(buzzing here)
Seriously, what I like, you got in
there with him. Inside the cage.
That’s instinct. Can’t be taught.
You gotta hear that on your own.
It’s gotta be in your blood. It’s
molecular. I bet I’ve got five
thousand lawyers working around
the planet. I couldn’t name
ten — couldn’t name three —
I’d trust with Moyez.

KEVIN
So what the hell are they doing?

MILTON
What are they doing? They’re
corporate lawyers, what do
you think they’re doing? They’re
busy reducing life and death to
the proper position of a semi-
colon. They’re doing needlepoint.
Push button battles. Push button
wars. Armies that get so fucking
far away from each other they
need satellites to tell them
who won. No pain. No sound.
No smell. One big, multinational
circle jerk. You, on the other
hand, you’re on the slaughterhouse
floor. You can’t help but smell
your clients.

KEVIN
I figure you came to court to
make sure I didn’t fuck this up.

MILTON
Maybe I did. But don’t get too
cocky. No matter how good you
are. Don’t let them see you
coming. That’s the gaff, my
friend — make yourself small.
Be the hick. The cripple. The
nerd. The leper. The shit-
kicking surfer. Look at me —
I’ve been underestimated from
day one. Do I look like a
master of the universe? That’s
your only weakness as far as I
can tell.

KEVIN
What’s that?

MILTON
The look. The Florida stud thing.
‘Scuse me, ma’am, did I leave my
boots under your bed?’

KEVIN
Never worked a jury didn’t have a
woman.

MILTON
You know what you’re missing?
What I have? This beautiful girl
she’s just fucked me every way
she knows how — we’re done —
she’s walking to the bathroom —
she turns — she looks —
It’s me. Not the trojan army that
just fucked her. Little old me
And she gets a look on her face,
like “How’d that just happen?”
Right there, from that moment on,
she’s got a secret. I’m the hand
up Mona Lisa’s skirt. I’m the
whisper in Nefertitti’s ear.
I’m a surprise. They never see
me coming. That’s what you’re
missing.

Milton and Kevin depart from the stall.

(This is just one of the many great monologues from John Milton in the film. If you’ve seen the film, or don’t care about spoilers, you can watch the final monologue, here – Warning: Language.)

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.