The Long Good Friday
This violent, yet intelligent gangster film follows Harold Shand, a gangster who’s trying to go straight and narrow in order to become a legitimate property mogul. However, a string of bombings targets his world, and Shand is convinced that there’s a traitor within his organization and sets out to find and kill him in brutal fashion. The Long Good Friday is a fun exploration of London’s criminal underbelly in the 1970s packed with brilliant performances and a plot that results in bloody good fun. The Long Good Friday doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to gangster features, but it’s still one of the better pictures to come out in within the genre.
The World’s End
The final entry in the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost trilogy goes out with a bang as The World’s End is about an immature 40-year-old who’s determined to enter an epic pub-crawl that he failed to win 20 years earlier. Begrudgingly, his friends join along in a night of heavy drinking; however, what is supposed to be an unforgettable night of drinks and laughs turns into a bloody battle for mankind. The combination of Pegg and Frost never disappoints as the actors have amazing chemistry and comedic timing. However, it helps that Edgar Wright understands his world and continuously finds unique and fun ways in expanding the universe of his satirical trilogy. It’s a fantastic end to one of the best series of films ever made, and the laughs come every minute thanks to the clever and funny writing. If you loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, then you won’t be disappointed in The World’s End.
A History of Violence
This Oscar nominated feature sees Tom Stall, a small-town diner owner, quickly dispatch of petty criminals who attempts to rob his place. Though in the public eye, Tom is praised for heroic antics, that all comes crashing down when a mysterious stranger assumes that he’s a Philadelphia mobster. That puts a question to Tom’s past and his violent history comes full circle when his previous life is suddenly exposed. A strong thought-provoking piece that examines violence in the world and how it affects us as human beings. Viggo Mortensen is perfect as Tom Stall, as the actor is able to pull off the necessary mechanics to effectively convince as a man’s whose world has been disrupted after seemingly one incident gone awry. The balance of Stall’s two different worlds gives Mortensen a meaty and layered role, one of which he excels at with ease.
Into The Wild
This deep and soul-searching character piece sees Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless, who seemingly has the perfect life. Born into a rich family, and a highly decorated athlete, whose set to graduate from the prestigious Emory University. Once Christopher finishes up with school, he gives up his promising career and life savings to embark on a journey of self-discovery through the Alaskan wilderness. Easily a career highlight for Emile Hirsch, who’s able to convey the battles the seemingly perfect young man has to deal with. Penn’s confident direction keeps the film from ever dragging and losing sight of its central message.
Jane and Michael are forced to get a new nanny for their children and are blessed with the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins. The nanny embarks on a fantastical adventure with her friend Bert, and the once uptight Banks family adopts her sunny and can-do attitude. Despite coming out in 1964, this Disney classic still holds out due to the spectacular visuals and catchy songs that will make you groove to the beat. More importantly, Mary Poppins has a meaningful message suited for all ages and the two hours plus film wonderfully explores its themes without unnecessary complicity. Julie Andrews is perfect for the iconic role, as the veteran’s charm lights up the screen instantly. Andrews performs with style and an undeniable energy that’s infectious.