Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Its that time of the year again folks, novelty jumpers and overindulgence.  Pine needles and flashing lights. Mistletoe and harassment lawsuits. And as the whole country looks like the bleedin’  Tundra, we thought you might need some inspiration to get some greats on the small screen. So here’s our rundown of the top 5 festive feature lengths you should be viewing this holiday season.

To kick us off in at Number 5….Scrooged

We’ve all seen A Wonderful Life and and we’re familiar with the age old story of three ghouls haunting a grumpy old git until he rediscovers the true meaning of the holiday season. Granted. But when that grumpy geezer happens to be Bill Murray,  we’re in like Flynn. Richard Donner’s 1988 Scrooged is comedy gold, and one of our all time favourite Murray performances. He plays Frank Cross a high-end TV exec. with a bad attitude towards humanity. When the not so traditional spectres of past present and future Christmas’s pay him a visit, hilarity unfolds. Allow yourself to forget the festive spirit for a moment here, because from the dead pan to the slap-stick to the down right outrageous, this film captures the spirit of Bill Murray and yes kids, thats worth more than the original Big Red Fun Bus in its original packaging. So drop the turkey drumstick and get the cans out of  the coal-shed, this a real festive feast!

In at Number 4… Home Alone

You may know Christopher Columbus as the Italian pirate who mistook the American Apache for the cast of Slumdog Millionaire back at the turn of the 16th century, but here at Radar we know him as the Pennsylvanian director behind one of our childhood favourite yule tide Christmas comedies. Home Alone starred Macaulay Culkin as the young Kevin McCallister who’s family take a seasonal family holiday…………. without him.  Enter Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) two hopeless neighbourhood crooks who suspect the house empty and plan to fleece the place. Unbeknownst to them, Kevin isn’t your average 8 year old kid. He’s more like Magyver the younger years. What follows is a series of hilarious home made booby-traps and you get a good hour of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern enduring what is essentially a fail compilation of epic proportions. Queue Carol of the Bells, and let the good times roll.

In at Number 3… Bad Santa

When you think comedy greats, Billy Bob Thornton wouldn’t be the first name that springs to mind, but in 2003 he led the frontline in one of the funniest films ever made. Whether you watch it in December or the middle of June, Terry Zwigoff’s Bad Santa will have you pissing yourself worse than Stephen Hawking after a glass of prune juice. And to help in the process, they threw in Tony Cox the foul mouthed little dude from Me, Myself and Irene and an original king of comedy, the late great Bernie Mac. While Billy Bob and Tony, who play Store Santa and his little helper respectively, spend the festive season robbing shopping malls, they run into a spot of bother when the latest head of security, Gin (Bernie Mac) catches on to them. But it wouldn’t be a Christmas classic if it didn’t carry a message of good will and cheer for the bla bla bla, and so they befriend a local troubled 8 year old who believes Billy Bob to be the real deal and lets him stay in his house and there shows him the real meaning of Christmas. Hilarious banter ensues.

In at Number 2… The Muppet Christmas Carol

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t a third class nativity preformance from Drimnagh Castle Primary school. Thankfully! Rather, it is Jim Henson’s finest 90 minutes. Bless his fabric-fisting soul. Yes its another rendition of A christmas Carol, and where it lacks Bill Murray in the starring role of Scrooge, Michael Caine doesn’t do half-bad. Quite the opposite actually, it’s a master class from the cockney legend. But that’s not the reason the Muppet’s 1992 version is rated so highly here. It’s more to do with it being a genuine festive classic, and one for the whole family. That is, after all what the season is about. Narrated brilliantly through the witty duo of Rizzo the Rat (Gillian McKeith with a wastecoat and tail) and Gonzo the Great (The one that looks like your knob after a cold shower), it gives a more inside view to the Carol. You’re not just watching it, your taken along for the banter. And there’s no shortage. It’s usually shown at least once every Christmas Eve, so here’s a little snippet to get your sleigh-bells ringing.

And taking the top spot…

Yippee ki yay mother fucker, you guessed it. It wouldn’t be a Radar rating without an alternative number 1 spot. But i think it’s safe to say John McTiernan’s 1988 all-action classic “Die Hard” will remain as more people’s cherished number 1 than Matt Cardle and the Rubberbandits combined. Set in the Nakatomi Plaza, Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. His wife’s Christmas party has taken a turn for the worst. And no, Paul Gascoigne hasnt turned up. Instead, the gate-crashers are Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his band of heavily armed rent-to-kills.  Luckily for the would be movers ‘n’ shakers who’ve been taken hostage, McClane is on hand, and as we all know, he’s the kind of man that takes pleasure in eliminating terrorists quicker than a Guantanamo Bay prison guard. Queue 80’s one-liners and a soundtrack of machine gun fire. Oh and just in case you were wondering, here’s what happens when you combine a stick of c4 explosive with windows 88!  Ho Ho Ho.

“Show me the way to go home” Jaws (1975)
Spielberg’s thriller is a cinematic masterpiece that could easily have had multiple entries on our list this week, but in the interest of diversity we have opted for the scene that encapsulates the tension and atmosphere that Jaws embodies.The USS Indianapolis scene in which Quint relays his harrowing account of sinking in shark infested waters during WW2. Chemistry oozes between our trifecta of leading males as we gain an insight into the characters while Spielberg expertly enshrouds his audience in a cloak of darkness. Boyish bravado makes way for a mutual understanding as Quint, Hooper and Brody bond over the task at hand, with a good oul’ sea shanty thrown in for good measure. Pure Movie Gold.

“Let’s broaden our minds”: Batman (1989)
When we think of Burton’s classic we can’t help but be drawn to Jack Nicholson’s sensational turn as The Joker. Big Jack dominates proceedings in the movie as he expresses himself vibrantly throughout. The biggest and boldest of his scene’s occupies a slot in our list tonight, of course we’re talking about his art gallery DIY job. With Prince pumping on the ghetto-blaster, The Joker and co. “make art” as they modernise the classic pieces with a glarish paint job and some trendy slash marks. This scene sums up the movie as a whole, a smiling face with sinister undertones.

“Give me the keys you fucking cock sucker” The Usual Suspects (1995)
Aside from boasting the greatest climax in the silver screen’s history, The Usual Suspects also features one of the finest and most recognisable scenes ever directed. The “Line-up” from Bryan Singer’s neo-noir behemoth introduces us to everyone from Fenster to Verbal as we are given the opportunity to size up the usual suspects. As each character reads their cue card we discover exactly what type of person they each are. Never has one scene told us so much by saying so little. Superb direction, exquisite acting and a natural chemistry – film making at it’s finest.

Unfortunately MGM have removed this scene from YouTube the cocksuckers! But it’s well worth your while to check it out online or on DVD!

“You got me in a vendetta kinda mood” True Romance (1993)
Quentin Tarantino and Tony Scott will invariably attract Hollywood’s elite. But when True Romance went into production it positively bulged with tinseltown’s top brass. This ultra violent whirlwind combines romance, action and stunning dialogue as Clarence and Alabama evade the mob in their bid to offload a shit-load of their own cocaine. The scene up for nomination comes courtesy of the ice-cold Christopher Walken and the man playing the part of Clarence’s father, Denis Hopper. Walken mesmerises as the callous Vincenzo Coccotti as he interrogates Hopper in relation to his son’s whereabouts. Resigned to his morbid fate, Hopper strives to accelerate his imminent demise as he informs Coccotti that “Sicilians were spawned by niggers”. Acting of the highest quality.

“In Italian, it sounds so much nicer” Goodfellas (1990)
Arguably the greatest gangster movie of all time, Scorsese’s adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fictional wiseguys has sufficient stellar scenes to warrant a top 5 of it’s very own. Alas, our hands are tied and we’re restricted to providing just one, probably not the one you’d come to expect. Following the murder of made man Billy Batts, Henry, Tommy and Jimmy stop by Tommy’s mother’s place to procure the essentials for dismembering and burying a dead body. Once settled round the kitchen table, De Niro, Pesci and Liotta have free rein as they act entirely ad-lib……….

Get ready to vote people, we wanna know what you think is the coolest cut movie scene there is. Over the next couple of days we’ll put our favourites forward for your judgement, and after that we want you to decide which one gets the title. And don’t fret if you don’t see your own personal favourite on the list. Let yourself be heard and it will make the ballad box, if the people see it worthy. So to get the ball rolling, here’s my finest five.

This reminds me of a joke: Desperado (1995)
Filmed in the actual Corona Club in Acuna Mexico, This scene is one of my favourites from the Texan titan himself, Robert Rodriguez. It stars another of Hollywood’s highest rated directors, Quentin Tarantino as the “pick up guy”, Cheech Marin as the bar man, and two other gringos not worth a care. Upon having their credibility checked out by a seedy barman and his suspect friend on the phone, Quentin “pick up guy” Tarantino remembers a joke…..

Jedi Politics: Clerks (1994)
Directed by cult hero Kevin Smith, and starring Brian O’Halloran as Dante and Jeff Anderson as Randal, this scene, shot in the genuine Quick Stop that Kevin Smith himself worked in before this film sprung his name into Hollywood. It’s a debate on the political correctness of the destruction of the half finished death star by the “militant left-wing rebels” in George Lucas’ Return of the Jedi. Classic Kevin Smith dialogue at it’s very best.

Hip to be dead: American Psycho (2000)
From Christian Bale’s greatest performance to date, it’s next to impossible to choose just one scene! But for the combination of sinister humor and a funky soundtrack, the Paul Allen axe murder scene is my personal favourite. Orchestrated by Canadian born and not so known, Mary Harron, this silver screen classic allows Bale to delve into the superbly unstable and brilliantly homicidal mind of one of the greatest serial killers ever penned down, Patrick Bateman. And with that in mind, queue Huey Lewis & the news….

“You’re so fuckin’ money”: Swingers (1996)
Swingers is an essential piece of Hollywood history to anyone with any form of movie collection. It sums up the L.A “cocktail” scene of the early 90’s brilliantly. And it does so through the workings of two New Yorkers, Director Doug Liman and Writer/Actor Jon Favreau. The “money” scene is a clear fan’s favourite and the films most quoted. It’s one of Mike’s (Jon Favreau) only high points in the film. And the slick back and forth dialogue really puts you in the room. It’s believable, it’s real, it’s how we all want to sound…. “money baby”

Meet me in the lobby: The Matrix (1999)
The Wachowski Brothers action/sci-fi masterpiece was epic and groundbreaking on all fronts, but standing to the front has got to be the lobby scene with Keanu Reeves (Neo), Carie-Anne Moss (Trinity) and a whole host of unfortunate security guards. To say that Neo and Trinity merely walk in, wreck the place and make widows and orphans of enough people to occupy Limerick, you would be selling this scene brutally short. This bullet storm sequence is fluid from the start, the action is more like  a ballroom two-step than a military operation. With a dizzying use of still-cam shooting backed up by the heavy baseline from Propellerheads, your eyes are held steadfast to the screen. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself! Larry and Andy, I salute you.

Come back tomorrow to see the Disgruntled one’s five-a-side!

The Dark Knight

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Movies

Film’s most revered superhero and fabled legacy appears on the radar tonight as we take a look at the “Caped Crusader” and the restoration of class to the biggest superhero movie franchise of them all……..Batman.

Oozing quality, from Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan, Michael Keaton to Christian Bale and of course, Jack Nicholson to the late Heath Ledger, a Batman project never fails to attract the biggest and best names in the movie biz.

Batman is once again backed up by a lethal cocktail of stellar casting, exquisite production and mesmeric performances that has ensured the legacy lives on and thrives under new direction. A necessary direction, following the two editions* between “Returns” and “Begins” that did their utmost to desecrate the legend that Keaton & co. laid the foundation for back in ’89.

*Needless to say, the barren years between Burton and Bale that spawned the abysmal Batman Forever and utterly dreadful Batman & Robin (Alicia Silverstone in rubber aside) will get no further mention in this article.

Christopher Nolan has assumed control of the reins and driven the languid legend into the 21st Century with a thunderous bang. Recognising his target audience in this high octane world we find ourselves in, the gifted director has beefed up his Batman in every way imaginable, from gadgets and gizmos to brawn and brutality, all the while maintaining the fundamental essence that made Burton’s efforts at the helm the classics they are.

Although Gotham cut a dark and dreary figure under the craftsmanship of Burton, it was never more than two steps away from comic book fantasy with its direction firmly aimed at a PG audience.  Without being “R” rated, the newer installments have been transplanted into the adult world with a deeper, darker backbone than the originals. Nolan has abandoned the fairytale approach adopted by the eccentric Tim Burton on his way to overshadowing his predecessor, a feat which many (this write included) never thought imaginable, let alone possible.

Nolan states that his movies are “trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories”. This is abundantly clear to his audience who are under no illusion as to the changes the franchise has undergone during his stewardship. He has excelled to a point no one thought possible with the subject at hand, as have his cast members under his supervision. Surpassing Burton’s majesty in the only way Nolan knows how, hard hitting realism.

It is only fair to say that, although both efforts are naturally relevant to the times in which they were produced, Bale’s Batman and Ledger’s Joker surpass the performances of those who have come before them.  A very difficult acceptance for this stubborn writer, who still clings nostalgically to the past glories of Nicholson and Keaton who blew us all away in 1989.

But the question must be asked, “Where the performances actually superior or were the actors given more liberation to enhance the roles due to Nolan’s directorial style and the modern times?”.

Burton’s fantastical viewpoint constrained his leading characters in a manner in which Nolan’s cast members never had to suffer, free to develop to the very extreme realms of possibility.Whether you lean toward Ledger or Nicholson as the ultimate arch enemy, both had very different parts to play whilst assuming the role of the same character. I am not disputing that Heath Ledger went further than Nicholson, that much is obvious, but Ledger’s Joker would have been socially unacceptable in a comic book caper produced in the late 80’s.

You need look no further than the “Disappearing Pencil” scene from The Dark Knight. A direct reference to the “Shocking Handshake” from the original Batman in which the Joker asserts his dominance. Although strikingly similar, Nolan’s rendition is far more ruthless and to the point (so to speak). Gone is the comedic value for the adolescent audience and in its place is the ruthlessness that defines not only Ledger’s character, but Nolan’s movie as a whole. This scene encapsulates the differences that make the more recent offerings bigger and better than Burton’s efforts, and Nolan makes sure we know it. It pinpoints the seriousness of the director to shake off the childish demeanor of Burton’s movies and Batman Begins which was heavy on the action but lacking in the acting department.

It is the Dark Knight, and not Batman Begins that truly marks the rebirth of the “Caped Crusader” as our director has gotten to grips with the monster and our leading male finally fills the tights of the title character. In his first outing as Batman, Christian Bale was an idyllic Bruce Wayne, yet sadly, failed to convince as the millionaire playboy’s alter-ego. The follow-up was an entirely different story.

Although in the shadow of Ledger’s scintillating scar-faced psychopath, Bale blossomed in the role and became the Batman we all knew he could be. Maybe it was Ledger’s performance that spurred him on, or maybe he, like Nolan, had a better understanding of what was expected of them in their respective roles. Either way, he got it right this time around. Blending action and acting perfectly, Bale disposes of the “plastic packaging” he wore throughout “Begins” to become the hero we all know and love.

We have plenty more to look forward to with confirmation of Nolan’s third, and final, endeavor at the helm titled,  “The Dark Knight Rises”. Shooting is scheduled to begin in April 2011 as Christian Bale dons the mask for what shall be his swan song as Gotham’s favourite son as he follows his director out the door once the curtain comes down on their trilogy of events. Nolan believes he has taken the legacy has far as he can in it’s current vein and looks to conclude his portion of the saga with a thrilling culmination.

It remains to be seen if there is life after Ledger, but as Burton discovered to his detriment in “Returns”, the Joker brings out the best in Batman – not just the character, but the entire production. It shall be utterly impossible for Nolan to top “The Dark Knight”, had Ledger been present or not, but make no mistake, Bale has become Batman, Nolan is the best man for the job and the brand has returned with a bang to the silver screen, bigger, bolder and better than ever.