A good mixture of 4 films achieved yesterday…..
#147 / 365 – ‘Scarface’ (1983) – 170 mins
IMDb Challenge #87 / 250 – Ranked #159 – Via DVD Collection
When Fidel Castro opens the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, he sends 125,000 Cuban refugees to reunite with their relatives in the United States. Among all the refugees, there is one who wants it all, his name is Tony Montana (Al Pacino). Tony and his friend Manny when they arrive in the United States and start in small time jobs, soon they are hired by Omar Suarez to pay money to a group of Colombians. When the deal goes wrong, Tony and Manny leave with the money and succeed in their job. Soon Tony meets with drug kingpin Frank Lopez and falls for his boss’s girl Elvira. Pretty soon Tony will know that those who want it all, do not last forever and that is the price of power.
From the very first scene of this rise and fall of the American dream story, it become clearly evident that Scarface is Al Pacino’s film and with the countless occasions I have enjoyed the movie, its hard to envision any other actor bringing the steely eyed menace, with twitching head movements of Tony Montana a man who’s likely to erupt into violence at any moment, to screen. Pacino really does give one of cinemas unforgettable performances, here.
With an intense script by Oliver Stone and some first class direction by Brian De Palma who employs a multitude of fantastic sweeping camera shots and stages a tour-de-force explosive ending, Scarface remains an ultra-violent gangster classic.
#148 / 365 – ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ (1940) – 128 mins
IMDb Challenge #88 / 250 – Ranked #158 – Via DVD Collection
Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to forecloseure. He catches up with them on his Uncles farm, and joins them the next day as they head for California and a new life… Hopefully.
With some random structure in its plot and stunning cinematography for its time of 1940. The Grapes of Wrath is a moving and heartfelt story with the message of anguish, hopes, dreams and economic challenges which will still resonate with today’s audiences.
#149 / 365 – ‘The Gold Rush’ (1925) – 128 mins
IMDb Challenge #89 / 250 – Ranked #155 – Via iTunes
A lone prospector (Charles Chaplin) ventures into Alaska looking for gold. He gets mixed up with some burly characters and falls in love with the beautiful Georgia. He tries to win her heart with his singular charm.
As famously quoted by Charles Chaplin himself on several occasions, “The picture I want to be remembered by” with it being his personal favourite amongst all his films. Despite a beautiful score, some wonderful scenes – the boiled boot, the teetering cabin, and of course iconic dancing of the bread rolls – The Gold Rush isn’t a personal favourite of mine as it doesn’t capture the same level connection that his earlier film ‘The Kid (1921)’ did, which will always remain for me his most timeless heartfelt classic.
#150 / 365 – ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ – 153 mins
Cinema Challenge #62 / 115
In Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, Harry finds a book marked mysteriously, “This book is the property of the Half Blood Prince,” which helps him excel at Potions class and teaches him a few dark and dangerous ones along the way. Meanwhile, Harry is taking private lessons with Dumbledore in order to find out about Voldemort’s past so they can find out what might his only weakness.
David Yates is back at the helm after ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ and gives off a dizzyingly, breathtaking opening of Death Eaters causing mayhem and havoc in London, a magical climatic sequence when Dumbledore conjures up a whirlwind of fire to defend Harry, invoking memories Moses parting the Red Sea in – ‘The Ten Commandments – 1956’ and finale with swirling thunder clouds means the devil is in the detail, in this sixth part of J. K. Rowling intricate fantasy world which is as extraordinary as ever.
There’s more romance and humour in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has Harry, Ron and Hermione are coming of age, which at times Yates does make a clumsily mess of. Overall its the darkest and most emotional of the series so far which essentially treads water, by patiently and teasingly setting up the climactic battles that are set to follow in the final two films.