Thursday, 28 March 2013

Kiwi Film Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

IMDB: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 65% (critics) 84%(audience)
Roger Ebert: (currently none, I'll check again in a few days and add then)

Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis.
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkien(novel), Fran Walsh(screenplay), Philippa Boyens(screenplay),  Guillermo del Toro(screenplay), Peter Jackson(screenplay)
Directed By: Peter Jackson

Release Date: 14 December 2012
Described by IMDB as: "Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's 'precious' ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities..."

This film is definitely an epic one. I've heard some people criticizing that the film is stretched thin because they've pulled 3 movies out of a relatively small book, but I don't think thats what happened at all. I actually felt like pretty much every moment was jammed full of action. I don't really know how they could possibly could have enough plot-line left for the next 2 films. I think its great that Peter Jackson decided to add the couple of books that took place at the same time as the Hobbit. I think it will add a lot of interesting back story, and its a great chance to really meat up the run-time. 

The other unique thing about this film the frame rate. Most films are filmed in 24fps(frames per second) but The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was actually filmed with double the frame rate using 48fps. Its supposed to make it seem more like real life, but it has a pretty similar look to low budget TV shows like Coronation Street to me, but I guess thats sort of the points, its supposed to look like real life, not a glammed up move. I keep hearing that its something that you will get used to over time, and apparently we will be left with no choice because in the next few years this is where we're headed. Despite everything I just said, I actually didn't mind it too much. I heard that in some parts of the film it looked like they were in fast forward, but the only time I noticed it was at the very beginning when Old Bilbo(Ian Holm) was hiding his treasures from his thieving family while talking to Frodo(Elija Wood). I noticed it especially when he was opening his family chest and putting some stuff in it. Besides that it actually didn't look that bad.

The first of the two times I saw it was in IMAX and it looked gorgeous. They've really perfected their special effects this time. Gollum(Andy Serkis) looked absolutely beautiful(well, as beautiful as Gollum could possibly be.) All of the goblins were fantastic, the Goblin King had so much detail, it was really amazing. The landscapes were equally as beautiful, I wish so deeply that Rivendell was a real location because there really is no place on earth quite as beautiful. 

I've heard a lot of people saying that they hated how long the Dwarves and Gandalf(Ian McKellen) spent at Bilbo's(Martin Freeman) house in the Shire, but I thought it was such a fun scene, and an important one. Thats where we were a lot of their history, where they tell us about the mission and why they've chosen Bilbo. It also really sets up their characters, and allows us to see them briefly as separate characters, rather then the unit that we see them in for the rest of the film. I also loved that haunting song Thorin sings.

Martin Freeman was the perfect choice for Bilbo. His witty, dry humor really added to his role and he was just brilliant. His reaction to the dwarves hosting a party, uninvited, in his home, was completely hilarious. I watched "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Sneak Peek" hosted by Peter Jackson last night and one of the things that impressed me the most was how impressed he was by Freeman's performance. He showed us several takes of the same scene to show us how Martin would deliver the lines completely differently each time. It was actually very interesting to see. I've loved Martin for quite a while now so I was very excited to see he had been signed onto the role.

I absolutely loved this film. The first time I spent the whole time waiting for different things from the book to happen, and I wanted to know at what point in the story this film would end, so I have to say that the second time I watched it, it was far more enjoyable, which actually pretty surprising because of the length of the movie, I would have thought it would be less entertaining.

So, final thoughts? If you enjoyed The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, you will definitely enjoy the first instalment in the new Hobbit trilogy. I'm giving it a 8.8/10. If you haven't seen it yet, its now on DVD and Blu Ray so get on it asap. I enjoyed every minute of it!

1 Year Anniversary

So, today is the official 1 year Anniversary of my Kiwi Design Blog! How exciting! To celebrate today I plan on posting my review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, also, I'm updating my Top 10 Films of 2012 list because I was slightly premature and missed 3 of the films nominated for Best Picture, big mistake. I might even be able to pump out a review of Oz: The Great and Powerful. I can't promise the last one but I'm going to make a sincere effort. Thanks to everyone who supported me and checked out my posts this year. Hope to make the next year even more successful!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Top 10 Comedies

Since last week's list was full of tears, I thought it would be appropriate to change it up a bit and make this list full of laughter. Here's the list, I found this one pretty hard because I think that people's sense of humour are pretty different, so I think a lot of people will probably disagree with me on a lot of these, but this is my list and my blog so I don't care.

10.) Easy A
I honestly don't know if this film is genuinely funny, or if the 80s bratpack movie references just took over the nostalgia part of me, but I really love this movie. Emma Stone is fantastic as always in this film, so many great moments. Really shows what high school is like, and how quickly rumours are started and how quickly you can go from unknown to the most popular name in school overnight. Genuinely hilarious. Apart from Stone, the cast also includes Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Dan Byrd, Malcolm McDowell, Thomas Hayden Church, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Fred Armisen, and Aly Michalka. This film also made me not hate the song "Pocket Full of Sunshine.

9.) Dazed and Confused
This film has the epic combination of having a cast of excellent stars from the 90s and the fact that it takes place in 1976. Obviously that means that there is a mass amount of partying and marijuana, but its a really great story of what high school is like for kids from all walks of life, and from all points of view. Whether its the mostly geeky soon-to-be freshmen finding out how their summer is going to be filled with hazing and general torture from the seniors about to graduate high school, or as teen finding himself not interested in the things he once was, and now finding himself interesting in things and people that others think he shouldn't be. Love is found, friends are made, all the teens have the best night of their lives. Most importantly though, Wooderson is in this movie. If you do not know who David Wooderson(McConaughey) is, you need to watch this movie.  The cast includes; Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and Jason London. "Alright, Alright, Alright."

8.) Superbad
The fact that Seth Rogan wrote this film as a teen is both unsurprising, and mindblowing. The level of hilarity that comes out of this film is only equalled by the fact that it was clearly written by/for a teenage boy. However, this does not take away from the level of pure hilariousness that this is, really great writing.  Even though Jonah Hill and Michael Cera had been in a few other successful films/TV shows before, this is their first real big break as leading men and they absolutely kill it, making them household names overnight. Who doesn't love the classic tale of some high school kids desperately trying to get to a party with alcohol to be the heros so they can finally get some action. Absolutely hilarious. I will never be able to listen to "These Eyes" without thinking about this movie, and especially Michael Cera, ever again.

7.) Kick Ass
I think this movie works so well because its something all of us (or maybe just us superhero nerds?) have thought about. What if one day you decided yo wanted to make the world a better place by being a superhero? Batman doesn't have any powers right? The greatest part of this movie is definitely Hit-Girl(Chloƫ Grace Mortez). You just never know whats going to come out of her mouth next, and boy can she handle a knife. Even Nicholas Cage is awesome in this movie. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Kick-Ass and I think he plays the nerdy kid pretty well considering how attractive he is. Great movie, so fun and just absolutely hilarious. Can't wait for the sequel to come out later this year!

6.) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I think its safe today that Monty Python is the most successful comedy group in history. They are absolutely hilarious, and this movie is a prime example of that. I mean, just the concept of the Knights of the Round Table searching for the Holy Grail, with random scenes of singing and dancing, getting directions from God, and meeting random hilarious characters along the way. I think everyone on earth has heard about them pretending to ride horses and using coconuts to make the hoof sounds. Come on, just so good. If you've never seen this film, please re-evaluate your life and watch it immediately. The cast list includes the comedies geniuses; Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Giliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Its also #86 on IMDB's Top 250 movies of all time! "We are the Knights who say 'Ni!'"

5.) Zombieland
What's not to love about this movie? Zombies, Woody Harrelson hell-bent on destroying zombies. Jesse Eisenberg being a socially awkward college student finding himself alone once again. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as sister zombie slayers hoping to find refuge in an amusement park.  Although undoubtably the best part is an epic cameo from Bill Murray as himself. There are so many epic moments in this movie, and I loved all of them. This movie is disgusting at times, but absolutely hilarious. Hell yes to Zombie movies.
4.) The Hangover
Despite that the sequel was a pretty epic fail, the original is still one of my favorite comedies. The first time I watched it I cried I was laughing to hard. Zach Galifinakis is possibly one of the most hilarious people on earth. If you haven't seen "Between Two Ferns" yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Even though I'd seen other movies with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms this was the first time I'd actually known or cared who they were  after watching. I could've lived with a little more Justin Bartha in the film, but the parts he is in are good. Some great cameos from Ken Jeong, Jeffery Tambour, and Heather Graham. There are some really fantastic moments, I mean whats more hilarious then the guys stealing Mike Tyson's tiger? Although my favorite moment I think is "Stu's Song." So good.

3.) Little Miss Sunshine
I absolutely love this movie, its the perfect combination of hilariousness and heartfelt, meaningful moments. This film manages to have a really important lesson, and at the same time make you laugh out loud constantly. Very impressive cast, Abigail Breslin(who so far has made me cry in almost every movie I've ever seen her in, including this one), Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Toni Collette, and Steve Carrell. This film was even nominated for 4 Oscars and won for 2 of those, Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin, and for Writing. You cannot help but fall absolutely in love with Olive(Breslin) and her quirky family. So hilarious, and also sweet. 

2.) Anchorman
I watched this movie when it first came out so I would only have been about 13 so I really didn't appreciate the pure genius of the humor that was in this film. I watched it again a few weeks ago and I am now fully aware of what I was missing. The cast is stacked full of the most absolutely hilarious people in the business  My feelings on Will Ferrell are pretty hit or miss, but I love him in this one. We also have Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Seth Rogan, and Chris Parnell. Plenty of cameos as well including Luke Wilson, Judd Apatow, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Vince Vaughn, Tim Robbins, Jerry Stiller, and many, many more. If you've seen this movie and didn't enjoy every minute of it, you need to watch it again immediately so you don't waste 7 years of your life, like I did, not watching this movie. Can't wait for the sequel, looks like another fantastic cast!

1.) Clerks II
This movie is definitely not for everyone, and its not for the faint of heart. Kevin Smith is known for very crude humor, and this film is full of that, but man is it absolutely hilarious. I'm actually trying to think of something to quote that I'd feel comfortable with writing and I can't think of anything. Theres an epic Lord of the Rings vs Star Wars fight? Just trust me, its absolutely hilarious, and it kills me every time I watch it. Kevin Smith is an absolute genius. Great cast in this film, Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson are back to reprise their roles as Dante and Randal, of course Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith are back as Jay and Silent Bob, because what would a Kevin Smith movie be without them? Probably bad. Amazingly Rosario Dawson is a main character in this film, which is pretty impressive cause she's a really great actress. Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, and Wanda Sykes are some of the hilarious cameos in this movie. So good all around, but again don't say I didn't warn you, I don't want to be sending good people into this movie to have to witness the insanity that it truly is. But if you're a bad person like myself, you'll be fine. 

Honorable Mentions: Bridesmaids, The Truman Show, Liar Liar, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, This Is 40, Dogma, Mall Rats, Old School Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ghostbusters, Hot Fuzz,  50/50, Ferris Bueller, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 21 Jump Street, John Tucker Must Die, Clerks, Shaun of the Dead, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, Meet The Parents, I Love You Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, This Is Spinal Tap, Home Alone, Jackass, Knocked Up, 40 Year Old VirginWaynes World, Wedding Crashers, Meet The Fockers, Dodgeball, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Slow Cooker Zesty BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker Zesty BBQ Chicken


  • 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut in half (I only used 4, judge by the number of servings you need, but if you're going to use more definitely add extra sauce!)
  • 1 Regular Bottle of BBQ Sauce (I used Kraft Chicken & Rib and it turned out perfectly)
  • 1/2 Cup of Italian salad dressing (I used Kraft's Italian dressing)
  • 1/4 Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  • Place the cover, and cook on Medium-High for 3 to 5 hours. Any more then that will dry the chicken out.
  • (Optional) I've seen on other similar recipes that some people will take out the chicken after 3 hours and shred it, and then put them back in for another couple of hours. Below I have a picture where someone actually put it on a bun for a delicious sandwhich, but I didn't do that, I just left the chicken in halves and I definitely didn't have any complaints!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Kiwi Film Review: Top 10 Tearjerkers

So, this is obviously not a Sunday, so I'm a few days late this week, but its been a busy week. I'm a girl so I really do enjoy a good tearjerker. However, most of these are not chick-flicks so I think its important that that is clear so that males will not be afraid to also look at this. All of these are fantastic movies, but I'm not raking them by how good the films are themselves, but by how the number of tears they managed to wrangle out of me. All but 2 of these films one Oscars, so I can assure you they really are all fantastic films. Here is this weeks (late) Top 10 list: Top 10 Tearjerkers.

10.) Finding Neverland
This is a film about the family who inspired J.M. Barrie to write the famous story of Peter Pan. A very sweet story with a lot of drama and tragedy surrounding it. The film is directed by the ever talented Marc Foster, and has a very impressive cast including Johnny Depp as JM Barrie, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, and Freddie Highmore. I think that their casting was really perfect, and the acting was really fantastic, which can really come as no surprise from the names I just listed. A really interesting way to come up with the infamous story of children not wanting and choosing not to grow up. Sylvia Davies(Winslet) and her four young children change something inside of the playwright who at the time of meeting them has just had another one of his plays flop and is desperately searching for something new, and thats exactly what he finds. It was nominated 7 Oscars and won for best score. 

9.) Atonement
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement is a film about forbidden love from the point of view of Briony Tallis(Saoirse Ronan), a 13 year old girl from a well-off family who's older sister, Cecilia(Keira Knightly) falls in love with a friend, Robbie Turner(James McAvoy) from a lower class who they've grown up with all of their lives. The films takes place during World War I and things become complicated and spiral downwards for the pair after Briony accuses Robbie(McAvoy) of something he did not do. She spends the rest of her life trying to make up for the mistake. The story takes a surprising turn of events which ends with Briony making another surprising confession. Absolutely fantastic acting all around, Saoirse Ronan was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress, and the film was nominated for 6 other Oscars as well, winning Best Original Score in the end. 

8.) I Am Sam
Despite the fact that I only watched this film sometime last year, if  you haven't heard about this film, or somehow don't know what this film is about, you should probably crawl out from whatever rock you've been living under. I Am Sam is the heartbreaking story of a man who has some type of mental illness who is fighting to keep custody of his 7 year old daughter. Sam Dawson is played by Sean Penn in a truly mind-blowing performance on his part, his daughter is played by the talented Dakota Fanning. The story is also focused around Rita Williams(Michelle Pfeiffer) who plays a cold-hearted lawyer, who's life is changed by this custody case. Sean Penn was nominated for an Oscar for his performance, but somehow this film wasn't nominated for anything? Definite fail by the Academy. Great film all around, and pretty much the whole film is filled with tears. Enjoy. 

7.) Ghost
This movie was always sad but since Patrick Swayze (aka the love of my life) is actually dead in real life now, it adds about 50 extra pounds of sadness to it. Again, if for some reason you've been living somewhere without  electricity for the last 23 years, Ghost is a story about a couple, Sam Wheat(Patrick Swayze) and Molly Jensen(Demi Moore) who are living life happily together with their best friend Carl(Tony Goldwyn) when Sam(Swayze) is suddenly murdered. Sam discovers that his ghost is stuck in our world and soon finds that Molly might be in trouble. He recruits the help of Oda Mae Brown(Whoopie Goldberg), a medium to help warn her. Fantastic movie, it was nominated  for 5 Oscars and won 2, Best Supporting Actress for Whoopi Goldberg, and best writing. The last scene is absolutely heartbreaking. I cannot listen to the song Unchained Melody without bawling. "Its amazing Molly, the love inside, you take it with you." 
6.) Forrest Gump
I really think that Forrest Gump is one of the greatest films of all time. Its such an epic film that covers so much time. Its a comedy, a drama, and a tragedy and every moment of it is filled with memorable moments.  This is a film about a man named Forrest Gump(Tom Hanks) starting in childhood and going all the way into adulthood. Somehow he has the most interesting man on earth and despite his mental challenges, he manages to accomplish 10 times more then any other person on earth. Ping-Pong champion, war hero, shrimp king, etc. There are few things in life that Forrest Gump is not capable of, but the thing that really keeps him going throughout his entire life is his love for his childhood friend Jenny(Robin Wright). The films was nominated for a mind-blowing 13 Oscars of which it won 6 including Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks and Best Director. Other cast members include Sally Field, and Gary Sinise. This film had so many epic quotes including "Run Forrest Run!", "I love you Jennay", "Hello Mr. GUMP", and, of course, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."
5.) Terms of Endearment
This is actually the movie that made me want to make this list, I watched it last week and adored it. I really like how it not only showed such a time frame, but showed so much of the time in between. They never really spent more then 5 minutes in a specific place in time and normally there were a year or so between them. Debra Winger really did a great job playing Emma Horton not only as a fully grown women, wife, and mother, but also as a young teen, and was believable as both, very impressive. I loved Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels, Danny DeVito and John Lithgow as well, so weird to see them all so young, but I think we can all agree that it was Huckleberry Fox who stole the show as Teddy Horton. I don't want to give anything away, but lets just say that I was totally fine with everything that was happening until little Teddy gave the most heart-wrenching performance from a child, or possibly anyone in the history of cinema. He absolutely destroyed me and in just those few moments in that devastating scene I fell in love with this movie. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and won 5 of those including Best Picture, Best Director for James L. Brooks, Best Writing, Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson, and Best Supporting Actress for Shirley MacLaine.

4.) Seven Pounds
There really isn't much I can say about this film. I can't explain to you why its so good, or why Will Smith is so amazing in this film. I can't tell you why the performances by amazing actors such as Rosario Dawson and Woody Harleson were just so fantastic. I really can't tell you anything else about this film without the fear of giving something away, so I will show you the IMDB description because I think that its safe. "An aerospace engineer with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers." 
I really wish I could tell you more, but I think its really important that if you do see this film, that you go into it knowing as little about it as you can. I will say that its an amazing story about trying to redeem yourself, and the struggles that come with that. Please watch and enjoy this film. 

3.)Dear Zachary
I probably could have put this film at #1 and been okay with it, but I think #3 is a worthy position. I watched this documentary the first time because I saw that part of it took place here in St. John's, but I really could never know how fantastic of a movie it really was. Its basically story about a really great guy and medical student, Andrew Bagby, who is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend, Shirley Turner. His life story is then told through the eyes of all of his friends and family spread out all over the globe from across America, to Newfoundland  where he went to Medical School, to the UK where his mother is originally from. His family soon finds out that his ex-girlfriend and suspected murderer is pregnant with his child and is now living back to Newfoundland where she has escaped to. Andrews parents Kathleen and David, find new reason to live and spend their days fighting to spend time with their new grandson while having to face their sons ex-girlfriend who they strongly suspect is their sons murderer. Absolutely fantastic film, but there are a few turns in the movie that are just too much for most people to handle without hardcore sobbing. I urge you to bring a full box of kleenex with you while watching this film. Even men will have a difficult time keeping it in while watching this one. Its very clear how much Andrew Bagby was loved by his friends, family and colleagues  and how painful it is to have to go on without him. I hope that when I die I leave a quarter of the impact on my friends and family's lives as this man clearly had. I really urge everyone out there to watch this film. Its on Netflix, even the Canadian one! Don't hesitate!
2.) Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Somehow its probably not super surprising that the top two films are about the holocaust. However, I feel like most people near my age have definitely not seen my #1, and for some reason many people have not seen this film either. The best part of this movie is how much a different perspective this is when it comes to Holocaust movies/books. This is definitely the first I've heard of from a child of a high ranking Nazi commander. There are definitely a few from a child of the holocaust's point of view, but not from the other side. Asa Butterfield plays Bruno, an eight year old boy who doesn't understand why he is forbidden from playing with the people next door in the funny looking, striped pajamas. Its really quite difficult to see him slowly try and put together whats happening, and the fact that his father is really the bad-guy in this scenario  and not the hero soldier he once believed in. I'd like to say this film has a happy ending, but its clearly a holocaust movie so its pretty much impossible but this film left me in puddles of tears by the end. Great movie that really shows that putting yourself in someone else's shoes just might make you change your mind, hopefully before its too late.

1.) Sophie's Choice
I watched this film for the first time last month, and oh my god I wish I had been warned. The film is pretty heart breaking even from the beginning, but its not until the end that the true tearjerkerness is revealed. The main premise of the film is that Meryl Streep plays a survivor of the Holocaust and is currently living in New York City with her boyfriend played by Kevin Kline. The two have a pretty tumultuous relationship which is documented from the point of view of Stingo(Peter MacNicol), a country boy in the big city. Meryl Streep's performance is absolutely breathtaking, and the academy recognized this by giving her an Oscar for Best Actress, the film was also nominated in 4 other categories. The performances from Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol were also fantastic. This is an amazing movie that everyone should see at least once in their lives, I'm sorry I waited as long as I did. Although Sophie's(Streep) devastating life story brought tears for me throughout the movie, its not until the very end that you realize how truly horrifying her life really has been, and the awful choices she's had to make, hence the title. Bring a box of tissues, don't say I didn't warn you.

Honourable Mentions:  Million Dollar Baby, The Notebook,  Philadelphia, Pay It Forward, Bicentennial Man, Schindler's List, Perks of being a w A.I: Artificial Intelligence  Steel Magnolias, Brokeback Mountain, Titanic, Ordinary People, Dead Poets Society, The Green Mile, Nights in Rodanthe, Saving Private Ryan, PS I Love You, The Last Song, Step Mom. Bonus: Old Yeller (for Joshy Josh)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Kiwi Film Review: Top 10 Thrillers

This week's list is Top 10 Thrillers. I think a lot of people think that Thriller and Horror are the same things, and it is a pretty thin line between then, and the fact that Horror films are my least favorite genre, and Thrillers are my very favorite genre is also sort of confusing to most people. My definition of Thrillers are films that normally have a great storyline, are very suspenseful, but don't use cheap tricks to get cheap scares out of you by something jumping out in front  of you. The most fun ones are normally psychological thrillers, but basically any thriller is fine with me. Here are my Top 10 Thrillers, the list, so far, closest to my heart.

10.) Insomnia
Its actually been a little while since I saw this film, but I absolutely adored it. SUCH a great murder mystery, and definitely a thriller. Between the brilliant actors(Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank) and having Christopher Nolan as the director I'm not sure how it really could have gone wrong. Another clear example that Robin Williams is more then a great comedian, he's also a very capable serious actor. I'm not sure if most people are aware of that, if you are one of those people watch this film immediately. 
9.) The Shining
I only watched this film for the first time at Halloween last year, and I can definitely see why it was a classic. I actually hate scary movies, but this one wasn't too bad as long as you aren't too afraid of creepy twins or rivers of blood. Jack Nicholson shines in this movie, I'd pretty much only ever seen him more recent comedies, which are good, but definitely don't show his acting abilities. He's absolutely terrifying, and the story is so interesting because you don't really know whats going to happen, and the scenario of being completely isolated set up the perfect setting for a thriller. The more Stanley Kubrick films I watch, the more I enjoy him. 
Check out my review HERE
8.) Psycho
Obviously another classic, I don't think it would be a legit list of Thrillers without this 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic. I think most people who see this movie for the first time don't expect the epic twist at the end, which is always important. Its also pretty bizzar that *SPOILER ALERT* they kill off the  leading lady halfway through the film, but I really think that it was a brave and peculiar decision that only Alfred Hitchcock could pull off, especially at the time. The characters are fantastic, interesting, and terrifying, I had heard the name Norman Bates, but I had no idea who it was or where it was from, but its a name that is clearly associated with villains in thrillers and horror films. The film starts off with one story and then randomly twists so much that you really almost forget what the film was about in the beginning, but its just so good that you don't even mind. I need to watch some more Hitchcock films ASAP.

7.) The Sixth Sense
Sadly, the epic Lonely Island song Jizz in my Pants actually ruined this film for me because I didn't watch it until 2010ish because I thought it was going to be terrifying. There are only 1 or 2 really horribly scary parts of this film, the rest are mostly just interesting/cool. This is hands down my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film thanks to Bruce Willis and the once talented Haley Joel Osment, the greatest child actor of all time. This film is a classic, and you owe it to yourself to watch it. 

6.) Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The second I finished watching this I immediately regretted not getting around to reading the book. SUCH a fantastic, like I said I never read the book so I can't comment on how well it translated, but the film definitely stands on its own. The acting in this film is amazing especially from Rooney Mara who is absolutely unrecognizable. I don't think many people could have handled this role so well, and I urge you to check it out and see the sheer brilliance of her acting. Huge round of applause for David Fincher for another mind-blowingly directed film. 

5.) Memento
Yet another Christopher Nolan film on this list. Although it only cost a shocking $9 million dollars to make, and didn't do super fantastic at the box office, I think its really become a bit of a cult classic, and for good reason. The total mind-twist that this film is is absolutely unbelievable, whats most impressive is how well the film flows, despite the direction which it is flowing in. Its fairly easy to follow along, as long as your paying attention. If you enjoy Thrillers, you will definitely enjoy this film. One of the greatest Psychological Thrillers for sure. Mind-melting. 
4.) Mystic River
This masterpiece by Clint Eastwood, I feel is somehow actually pretty unknown. I hadn't heard of it until I found it in the $5 bin in Walmart a couple of years ago despite the fact that it was nominated for 6 Oscars, of which it won 2 for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Such a fantastic film with a truly fantastic cast including Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Laurence Fishburne, and Emmy Rossum.
Check out my review HERE.
3.) American Psycho
Although Christian Bale is definitely best known for his role as Bruce Wayne(aka Batman), but this is a perfect example of his true acting abilities. Its such a strange film, but its just so darn entertaining that you can't help but go alone for the ride. There are tons of twists and turns and you really never know whats going to happen next, or how its going to end for Patrick Bateman. This one is definitely a little more gorey but not too bad. Check it out!

2.) Se7en
Another David Fincher film on the list, he's definitely the most recent of my favorite directors. With a cast like Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow, I don't think its physically possibly to mess up this film. Such an interesting premiss and fantastic writing. Cinematography is great all around, it feels creepy from beginning to end. Tons of twists and turns, the first time I saw this film its amazingness basically blew my mind, so let it do the same for you!
1.) The Silence of the Lambs
Finally, my number one is none other then The Silence of the Lambs, I think that Hannibal Lector might be the greatest vilain of all time, and even though he only had 16 minutes of screentime Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor at the 1992 Oscars. The film also won Best Picture, Best Actress(Jodie Foster), Best Director and Best Writing and was nominated for 2 other Oscars as well. I waited a long time to see this film because I thought it was going to be way too scary, but its really not that bad, you just desperately want to know whats going to happen next and if Hannibal Lector can be outsmarted. Fava Beans have never sounded so terrifying. 

Honourable Mentions:  Black Swan, Signs, The The Machinist, Shutter Island, Cape Fear, The Usual Suspects, Misery, Taxi Driver, The Departed, Lucky Number Slevin.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Kiwi Film Review: Top 10 Disney Movies

This weeks Top 10 list is definitely one of the most important lists to me, it holds a lot of nostalgia, and pretty much defines my childhood. Definitely a list that is important to share with the future generations. All of the honourably mentions are very good as well, but these were definitely my top 10.

10.) The Rescuers &
The Rescuers Down Under

A movie about two mice and their friends who rescue children? Who wouldn't enjoy that kind of movie? I think that movies about mice are always funny/interesting because they normally involve making functioning objects out of tiny(to us) household items, such as the sardine can in the photo on the left. They really are both fantastic children's films, full of adventure, mystery and suspense. 

9.) Tarzan
Tarzan has an awesome soundtrack thanks to Phil Collins, all of the songs are great, but also songs that kids would love. I love the scenes with him as a kid with his friends finding adventure and danger at every turn, but it definitely picks up the best when Jane and her professor father show up and try and change everything, but in the end they find their way to being the good guys. I guess deep down its sort of a story about accepting people who are different, and not trying to force someone to be who they aren't. Also, sliding down trees with your bare feet always ends ok.

8.) Hercules
I love that there is a Disney movie about ancient Greece. Such a cool and original premise for a Disney movie, there really isn't anything else like it. This movie is actually pretty funny, with lots of quirky, funny and rather bizzar characters.  Between Zeus, Hades, and all of the other Gods it is a seriously good time. The three witches who share one eyeball? amazing. Its not so creepy that its scary, but it really shows the difference between good and evil, but even Hades isn't a hateable character for some reason, maybe its just because he's not scary enough. Watch this movie.

7.) Aladdin
I absolutely adored this film as a child, and has a great message, where you were born, or how much money or power you have doesn't define the kind of person you are, or how "important" of a person you are. Its your character, and Aladdin sure has a lot of it. This movie is actually pretty hilarious, mostly because of the Genie(thanks Robin Williams!), but also a pretty thrilling adventure from beginning to end. There were a couple of other movies after this including "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" which I also super enjoyed. I feel like this one had a very different setting the most other disney films which made it quite interesting and allowed it to have the extra enchantment about it I think. Lots of literal magic in this one which is always fun!

6.) Up
Definitely the saddest Disney movie ever, but also one of the most impressive. Such a sweet movie, they were able to tell one of the most heart-warming/breaking love stories of all time, without speaking, in the first 10 minutes of the film. The animation is really beautiful in this one. A great adventure story, lots of fun, but also a great message. If you have not yet seen this movie, do it immediately. I think even more adults like this film the kids!

5.) Toy Story Trilogy
Pretty sure these movie are every kids dream. Your toys coming to life? Come on! How amazing would that be? The first one was always one of my personal favorites, the second not so much, but the 3rd came out the year in my first year of university, so perfect timing for me and it totally broke my heart! I felt like the worst person on earth for leaving all of my toys behind haha. This movie has my favorite disney song of all time "You've Got a Friend in Me", which I absolutely love. These are stories about adventure, change, and above all, friendship. I dare you to watch Toy Story 3 without crying.

4.) Pocahontas
I think this movie probably would not break the top 5 on most people's Disney movie list, but I adore it. The animation in this one is just beautiful, the "Colours of the Wind" scene is just gorgeous with all of the colours. It also has an incredibly important message of the lack of respect that the Native peoples of North America received  but also the lack of respect the earth receives. I got it for Christmas this year, so my 19 year old brother and I watched it because he couldn't remember what happened, and surprise, surprise he LOVED it. How could you not really?
3.) The Little Mermaid
Great story of adventure and love. Although Ariel is clearly naive, she isn't afraid to fight for what she wants, whether that is exploring, or chasing the love of her life. Like most of my favorites on this list, The Little Mermaid is nothing without its up-beat, fun, and hilarious soundtrack. It has some very interesting and great characters, along with one of my favorite movie villans, Ursula. Plus, this movie has my favorite Disney Prince, Prince Eric. Dayyuummm.

2.) Beauty and the Beast
A great love story about loving whats on the inside, not the outside. Such a sweet, hilarious story with wonderfully fun musical scenes that just make you want to get up and dance and sing along. Great story that shows the jerk doesn't always win the girl, and that anyone, even a small town girl who doesn't fit in, can find somewhere perfect for her where she, herself can be accepted.  Belle is definitely my favorite Disney Princess, and I think its pretty clear why. She's a strong independent woman, not afraid to let her brain show, a great example to and young girl. 

1. The Lion King
I don't know if anyone can deny the fact that this is the greatest Disney movie ever. The heartbreaking story, the amazing musical numbers, the funny characters. I mean, come on, nothing can beat this. Its a great story about growing up, and accepting the responsibilities life gives you. There is all kinds of intense drama in this movie as well, people of all ages love it, I can't wait to share it with my future children! Probably my favorite movie soundtrack ever (thanks Elton John!)

Honourable Mentions: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Fox and the Hound, The Jungle Book,  A Bugs Life, Cinderella, The Sword in the Stone, The Aristocats, Dinosaurs, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo. Ratatouille, Snow White, Robin Hood, Mulan, , A Goofy Movie, Alice In Wonderland. Mighty Ducks, Oliver & Company.