100 Word Review – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

It’s not often you see Jim Carrey in a serious film, and I’m not sure why because he’s brilliant in this.

At the end of their relationship, Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to have each other removed from their memories.

As would be expected with a film written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and directed by Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind, The Science of Sleep), it’s equal parts wacky and beautiful.

The film is far from linear and takes you on an extraordinary journey filled with romance, laughter as well as darkness and despair.

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100 Word Review – Network (1976)

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

When an ageing news anchor (Peter Finch) announces his suicide live on air, TV execs (Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall) look to exploit the spike in ratings.

Directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon), this film won 4 Oscars including both Best Actor and Best Actress, and was nominated for a further 6.

Dark, cynical and provocative, it is a magnificent example of the power of filmmaking, successfully hitting a little too close to home no matter what decade you’re watching it in. Currently #181 on IMDb’s Top 250.

100 Word Review – Room (2015)

Adapted from the best selling novel by Emma Donoghue by the author herself, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, What Richard Did), this film perfectly captures the sense of claustrophobia and terror of the two awe-inspiring leads.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is five. He has lived his whole life in one room with his mother (Brie Larson), visited only by their captor, Old Nick (Sean Bridges).

A heartbreaking story that there are far too many chilling modern day examples of. Tremblay is extraordinary, and Larson is well deserving of her Oscar. Currently #119 on IMDb’s Top 250, make sure you’re prepared to cry.

100 Word Review – Deadpool (2016)

This may be the perfect comic book movie.

Set in the X-Men universe, this is an origin story film for the funniest mutant around, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds).

It’s the first feature for director Tim Miller, who was involved in the visual effects for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and it was written by the team behind Zombieland. It’s stylised, it’s got a dry and dark sense of humour, and it shows a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness which is missing from the more run-of-the-mill comic book movies.

Even the opening credits are hysterical. It’s not suitable for children, but definitely for everyone else!

100 Word Review – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Someone told me that if I’d seen the original trilogy and enjoyed it, I would like this film and in a way had already seen it. Having now seen it, I would agree.

The original cast is back for the continuation of the story thirty years after the Empire was destroyed by the rebels. Expect plenty of references to the original trilogy and director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8, Lost) does a wonderful job of combining the old and the new in a way that makes me very excited to see what comes next. Currently number 78 on IMDb’s top 250 films.

100 Word Review – The Departed (2006)

If the film that (finally) won Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Shutter Island) his Oscar isn’t worth watching, then I’m not sure what is.

Screenplay by William Monaghan (Body of Lies, Edge of Darkness), it’s set in the duplicitous world inhabited by Boston’s mafia and law enforcement.

Intense, beautifully shot and with a cast to die for (Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winston), it has a truly brilliant soundtrack.

With four Oscars and at #43 on IMDb’s Top 250, I’d call it perfect, if only there were some strong women in it.

100 Word Review – All About Eve (1950)

A magnificent example of classic Hollywood.

Star Margo Channing (Bette Davis) believes that ingenue Eve (Anne Baxter) is trying to climb Hollywood’s career ladder by using her as a stepping stone.

It’s a truly twisted tale of deception, ambition and betrayal.

Witten and directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz (Cleopatra, Guys and Dolls), this film has won six Oscars including Best Directing and Best Screenplay and was nominated for a further eight. It even beat Sunset Boulevard for Best Picture and holds the record for the greatest number of female action Oscar nominations. It is currently number 100 on IMDb’s Top 250 films.

100 Word Review – Some Like It Hot (1959)

Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star in this classic 1950s Oscar-winning romantic comedy. 

When Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) accidentally witness the 1929 St Valentines Day Massacre, they join a women-only band to escape the mob who want them silenced.

This is a very, very silly film.

That said, it is also clever, funny and brilliantly directed by the hugely talented Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment). It is dramatic, engaging and speaks volumes about the strict gender roles of the time. It’s currently number 112 on IMDb’s Top 250 films and has the single greatest last line of any movie.

100 Word Review – Up (2009)

Possibly one of Pixar’s most beautiful family features. 

Carl (voiced by Edward Asner) has lived a long life. Now widowed and alone, Carl will stop at nothing to prevent developers from seizing his property, including flying away.

Written and directed by Pete Doctor (Inside Out, Wall.E) and Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc.), it captures the spirit of adventure that lives on in us long after our childhood years. Christopher Plummer along with both directors and various members of their family, lent his voice to the film.

Winner of two Oscars for music and animation, it’s now #114 in IMDb’s Top 250.

100 Word Review – The Lion King (1994)

Winner of two Oscars for its music and nominated for a further two, this is an undoubted jewel in the Disney crown, demonstrated further by the six-time Tony Award winning musical it spawned.

The plot is, arguably, a child-friendly version of Hamlet.

Simba (voiced in part by Matthew Broderick), a lion cub devastated by the loss of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones) abandons his pride and makes unlikely friends in to form of meerkat Timon (Nathan Lane) and warthog Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella).

The film itself is beautifully done, with stunning animation, and is currently number 54 on IMDb’s top 250 list.