"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure," said Eric Liddell to his pious sister.
Of God and men, of faith and patriotism, for serving God and breaking stereotypes, Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire wraps them all in a biopic about British athletic team’s triumphant victory in the 1924 Olympics. It’s a rare picture which concatenates the urgency of nationalism, ambition, and the evangelism on running tracks, making it one of the strongest Best Picture winners. (more…)
"Charlie Babbitt made a joke," said Raymond, without expression, to Charlie Babbitt.
Back to the days when Tom Cruise hasn't been that top-billed "film star", he was once an actor when portraying Charlie Babbitt, a selfish chap who, upon learning about his estranged father's death, finds out that he has a long-lost brother. Thing is, his way older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant, who inherits most of their father's wealth. There's pure quality in young Cruise to encounter Hoffman, the powerhouse who went and brought home Best Actor prize in Oscars completing the film's triumph (with Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture victory). (more…)
"My name is Dances with Wolves. I have nothing to say to you. You are not worth talking to," said John Dunbar.
By today’s standard, Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves would’ve been received differently, possibly with praise over the film’s respect to representation - the use of native people and native language to depict native American, Sioux and Pawnee. At the same time, it might also receive terrible backlash over its ‘white savior’-esque narrative by today’s critical audiences. However, it stormed of Academy Award in 1991 - nominated for 12 and win 7, including Best Picture.
“I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another,” said William Munny explaining who he was.
Clint Eastwood dedicated his final Western film as a director and an actor, Unforgiven, to the sub-genre that has made great name out of him. More, he specifically dedicated it to people whom he’ll be forever in debt with, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. And, who knows that a devoted tribute would end up being a milestone to the modern-day Western film. And, who knows that this tribute would be Eastwood’s legacy. (more…)
"Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't," said Oskar Schindler.
Based on a real story about Oskar Schindler – a German businessman who saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied German during the World War II, Schindler’s List stormed the Oscars in 1994 with 12 nominations and won 7 of it, incl. Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian. A story as epic as it is, narrated in 3-hour long black and white motion, is definitely a story of a lifetime; and I am pleased to finally watch it after nearly 24 years after it first screened. (more…)
“Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again,” said Count Almásy.
In the 69th Academy Awards, Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient garnered 12 nominations and won 9 of them including Best Picture and Best Director, hence this post. Minghella’s tour de force practically owns it all and is praised as the film of the year in the same year as Fargo, Jerry Maguire,Shine et al. Clocking in at 162 minutes (as it was initially reportedly to have a 250-minute cut), this epic story is clearly ambitious and tough to watch for its lengthy duration; but, it really is worth the duration. (more…)
“C’mon, Babe, why don’t we paint the town… and all that Jazz!” Velma Kelly sings on the stage.
In the 75th Academy Awards, Rob Marshall’s Chicago triumphed over with six winnings, including Best Picture, overpowering strong contenders like The Pianist, Gangs of New York, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Chicago becomes the second musical to win Best Picture after 1968’s Oliver!; and together with Moulin Rouge, it is responsible for the reemergence of musical film in modern days. (more…)
After failing to complete Blind Spot Series 2015 and missing the whole challenge in 2016, Sinekdoks returns for Blind Spot Series 2017 hosted by Ryan McNeill of The Matinee. The idea is: picking 12 films to watch; one film each month for the course of a year. However, it is not merely a shame-list or to-watch list; there must be a sense of purpose to arrange the list.
As for 2017, I dedicate this year's series as a homage to several Oscars' Best Pictures I missed from the beyond the 2010s, which I can get the access to watch. I am gonna watch the films in reverse-chronological order to signify the flashback (except for two titles I cannot watch in backwards).
"They just fuck you and they fuck you and they fuck you, and then just when you think it's all over, that's when the real fucking starts!" said Conrad to his brother.
Speaking of The Game, we might as well speak about how it becomes David Fincher's less-remembered work. People remember the twist, but barely remember that it's Fincher's work. In fact, The Game has all Fincher-ian elements plus twist.
People always make comparisons between this and Fincher's earlier work Se7en for its tone and uneasy atmosphere. For me, who watched the feats separately (without chronological back-story), they are completely two different entities. (more…)
"Getting the money's not the problem, Harry," said Marion.
Darren Aronofsky is always at his best take when acknowledging his characters as some neurotic, troubled human being with certain kinds of paranoia and dilemma. At least that works with his strong direction---resulting in some eloquent figures in cinematic history. (more…)
"I had no regrets until I met you. Now my regrets could kill me!" said Lai Yiu-fai to Ho Po-wing.
Before making In the Mood for Love, which I love most, Wong Kar-wai made another bleak romance story in Happy Together---dubbed after The Turtles' song played during the end credit. While In the Mood for Love is a bit subtle in depicting a deteriorating love affair; Happy Together is the opposite of it. It's a violent take of a crumbling gay romance in its finest. (more…)
"I'm born ready!" said Dirk Diggler.
Paul Thomas Anderson crafted a spectacular film about pornography industry in Boogie Nights that makes his groundbreaking era in modern cinema. This is a prototype of all his following works---strong in themes and narratives with hypnotizing visuals. (more…)
"You know, am I me? Is Malkovich Malkovich?" asked Craig Schwartz.
Director Spike Jonze teamed up for the first time with brilliant writer, Charlie Kaufman, to finally present one of the most inventive identity drama in Being John Malkovich.
"You talkin' to me?" asked Travis Bickle.
Back to 1976, you can finally witness the wonders: Brian de Palma's creepier Carrie, Solaris, The classic cult Omen, and Oscar-winning Rocky. Yet, I finally found the real gem of the year, Martin Scorsese's most visceral piece, Taxi Driver.