“The Fighter” – 2010. Dir. David O. Russell

With Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Mickey O’Keefe with Jack McGee and Melissa Leo


Executive Produced by Darren Aronofsky

“Mickey has a chance to do something that I never did and he needs me.” – Dickie (Christian Bale)

I didn’t have high expectations for “The Fighter”, I had seen that Christian Bale was picking up almost every Best Supporting Actor award in almost every film critics circle, and I thought that we he was probably really good (when isn’t he?) but a part of me thought that this was because Bale was long overdue.

This film is a fact-based story of Mickey “The Irish” Ward (Wahlberg) who was an aging armature boxer who was being trained by his crack addicted once semi-famous boxer brother Dickie Eklund (Bale) and a police sergeant Mickey O’Keefe (who plays himself) and managed by his mother Alice (Melissa Leo). Mickey is a construction worker who has never given his dream of becoming a professional boxer up.

Mickey doesn’t seem to have a proper direction or guide. While Dickie’s knowledge of boxing, and boxing strategy is vast, the fact that Dickie is a crackhead comes in the way of Mickey pursuing his dream. Alice tries to set her son up with matches, and tries her best for Mickey, she just can’t quiet cut it as Mickey’s manager, and she relies too much on Dickie’s input – not Mickey’s.

It isn’t until Mickey meets a bartender Charlene (Adams), that he begins to find his center; he finds the undying support that lacks from his mother and brother. “The Fighter” is not only a wonderfully executed inspirational story – it also brings the “sports” film genre back with style and perfect execution.

This film is astounding on so many different levels. Aside from the cliché – yet inspiring story – the film has a perfect, and I mean perfect core cast. While watching Mickey fight and struggle and be pushed and pulled by Charlene, Alice and Dickie – its astounding to watch Wahlberg display his range and talent as an actor; Wahlberg delivers his heart and soul in this film, marking this his finest performance.

Melissa Leo is incredible as the matriarch of the Ward/Eklund clan (that also includes seven sisters). She plays the ultimate bitch character that you love to hate and hate to love. There are moments in the film where she will drive you insane. As an only child, I could only imagine a bigger family with many siblings, and how each family has their “favorite” child. In the Ward/Eklund clan, the favorite is Dickie. Leo gives such a great performance in this film; I can’t imagine anyone beating her for Best Supporting Actress.

Amy Adams shows us a different side of her. In this film she plays the slightly trashy, foul mouthed and loosely dressed Charlene. She gives a wonderful performance too. Adams is very brave to take on this role (much like Anne Hathaway was in “Brokeback Mountain” and “Rachel Getting Married”), she’s notably known for playing the innocent good girl, but in this film she leaves nothing behind, and she gives an Academy Award winning performance as well.

As for Christian Bale…WOW. Look, I saw “The King’s Speech” right before seeing this film, and I was all about Geoffrey Rush winning for the film, he’s amazing, Rush was excellent and even though I knew Bale was winning all these Critics awards, I couldn’t imagine Bale being better than Rush. I was wrong. Bale gives one of the most carefully crafter and heartbreaking performances I’ve seen.

Bale is a tour-de-force always. Every single role he takes on, he transforms himself into the character. He has the unique ability to dissolve into his characters – the same ability that Daniel Day-Lewis has. Bale lost all the weight he had previously put on for “The Dark Knight” to fit into the slinky and gaunt crack addicted frame of Dickie. He didn’t transform his body as much as he did for “The Machinist”, but it’s pretty damn close.

While the rest of the performers in the film are excellent – even boarding amazing – Bale is the one to marvel in this film. Every single movement, facial expression and line of dialogue delivered by Bale is an incredible showboat of a performance of one of the best method actors working today. There is no way he can’t win Best Supporting Actor. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be one of the biggest Academy crimes ever committed.

Bale physically immersed himself so deeply, altering his hair, altering his teeth – it’s nothing less than complete dedication to his craft. He is one of the finest actors of any generation of any era of film. This guy carefully picks his roles so carefully; it’s something to be admired.

The transformation of Christina Bale is a transformation that reminds me much of a younger Robert De Niro, especially thinking of her performances in “Raging Bull” and “Cape Fear” and I would even go as so far to say this is comparable to Brando’s transformation in “The Godfather”.

This film is not only one of the most well acted films of the year, and one of the best films of the year – it’s also the greatest boxing film ever made. Yes, it’s better than “The Champ”, “Million Dollar Baby”, and “Rocky” and yes, even “Raging Bull”.

Rating: 10/10

Man-crush Extravoganza!!!

I’m not ashamed to admit this at all. I have man-crushes – we all do (those of us who are men), and the ones that don’t admit it must have some deep seeded homosexual tendencies. Look, just because you have a man-crush, doesn’t make you any less of a man, and I’ll argue depending on who your man crushes are makes you even more of a man. Let us count down. Just because these men get me wet, doesn’t mean I’d have sex with them – or does it?

10) Rock Hudson

Yes Rock Hudson was gay. BUT!!! The roles he played, especially in the Douglas Sirk films and his role in “Giant” shoes us what a man should be. He is the embodiment of the archetypal man who influenced a generation of men into a mold of strength, honor and integrity. His role in “Far From Heaven” remains to be one of the finest performances that I’ll always resort back to when I want to see a man on screen. When I see performances like Til Schwigger’s in “Inglorious Basterds” I correlate his performance in that film, to the performances of Rock Hudson’s in the 1950’s.

9) Ken Watanabe

I had to get a little international here, didn’t I? The guy was sweet as the phony Ra’s Al Ghul and pretty nifty in “The Last Samurai” and broke my heart in “Letters from Iwo Jima” but when I saw “Inception” I just saw this man with an incredible moral compass of honor. Perhaps it’s the American stereotype of the Japanese at its finest, but I loved his character and I think he did the finest job in the film. The guy is just hott (yes, with two T’s, at least I didn’t say cool and spell it “kool”).

8) Billy Dee Williams

The “Old Smoothie” stole my heart in “The Empire Strikes Back” and in “Nighthawks” I feared him. On one side we have the slick jerri curled man in all blue with a cape that makes me scream at Carrie Fisher to at least make out with him (I know she was in love with Han Solo – but gaaarrrrsssshhhh!) or at least give him a little wink. In “Nighthawks” he played the partner of Stallone and was on the edge. He screamed fuck a lot and pointed his gun at the bad guys with an eerie state of bloodlust in his eyes. He had the crazy eye for sure, way before Steve Zissou.

7) Matthew Goode

Okay, I understand that Ozymandias is supposed to be slightly homoerotic since his character is eluded to being gay (there is a slight, slight, slight reference in the movie – when Nigh Owl II is on his computer, there is a folder titled “Boys” and there is also the scene in the opening credits where he’s at Studio 54 and is hanging out with the Village People and goes to shake Ziggy Stardust’s hand. And he pals around with Andy Warhol and Truman Copote). He plays Colin Firth’s departed lover in “A Single Man” but what really, really, really did it is when Castor posted his review for “Leap Year” (which I haven’t seen) and he put up an image of Matthew Goode and I couldn’t help but stare into his eyes.

6) Harvey Keitel

Yes I’m man enough to admit I’ve seen Harvey Keitel’s penis. Those of you who are brave enough to endure “Bad Lieutenant” (the original NC-17 version) not only got to see Keitel’s penis, but also him freebasing crack, shaking down drug dealers and jerking off while making two teenage girls simulate a blow job. That’s pretty rough stuff. Where my love for Keitel originated was not “Bad Lieutenant” – that movie makes me sick to my stomach – but when I first saw “Reservoir Dogs”. Mr. White is such a one dimensional character that we’ve seen before yet you really, really, really like him. He smokes, carries and big gun and talks a lot of shit that he can back up.

5) Roy Scheider

I do love him in “Jaws”; he’s got some cool lines. He’s pretty sweet in “The Punisher” as the patriarch Frank Castle, Sr. and pretty badass in “52 Pick-Up”. As Buddy Russo in “The French Connection” he’s so young and so awesome, and in “Marathon Man” a part of my cries every time he walks into Dustin Hoffman’s apartment bleeding and dies in Hoffman’s arms. What sealed the deal was Joe Gideon in “All That Jazz”. He is the fucking man! Whereas Hudson played the honorable man, Scheider plays the stereotypical womanizer, drinker and pill popper who wears his life down to a nub where he didn’t just walk the line, he held the line down and beat it to a pulp. Joe Gideon is one of those characters that once I’ve seen him, I’ll never forget him. He’s so memorable, and he’s such a piece of shit – but you do truly love him and you want him to survive – even though he hurts everyone around him, deep down inside of him, when you can pry his ego away and you catch a glimpse of his heart, you’ll see that Joe Gideon has a heart of gold.

4) James Ven Der Beek

I’ve never seen an episode of “Dawson’s Creek” in my life. I saw “Varsity Blues” when I was in High School and thought it was pathetic. Wasn’t there some movie called “Texas Rangers” that was like the shitty cousin of “Young Guns”? Never saw that either. So you might be asking yourself, how could I possibly have a crush on Dawson without actually ever seeing “Dawson’s Creek” (he was Dawson right?)? It’s a rather simple explanation. Are you ready? Is the suspense built up enough? Are you sure? “Rules of Attraction” where he played the emotional vampire Sean Bateman (yes – that Bateman), the motorcycle riding, unshaven, evil stare giving, jerking off to broadband speed internet porn, guitar playing, womanizing but can’t cum when he’s sober, lying, drug dealing AWESOMENESS (I don’t like the word “awesome” but in this case, Sean Bateman to me does inspire awe).

3) Warren Beatty

You walked into the party

Like you were walking onto a yacht

Your hair strategically dipped below one eye

Your scarf was apricot

You had one eye in the mirror

As you watched yourself gavotte

And all the girl’s dreamed that they’d be your partner

They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain

You probably think this song is about you

You’re so vain

I’ll bet you think this song is about you

Don’t you, Don’t you?

You had me several years ago

When I was still quiet naïve

Well, you said we made such a pretty pair

And that you would never leave,

But you gave away the things you loved

And one of them was me *

*I realize that Carly Simon came out and said who the song was about, and sadly it wasn’t about Warren Beatty – but to me, whenever I hear this song, I can only envision Warren Beatty strutting around and not giving a fuck because he knows, he’s the man.

2) Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale)

I’m sitting at Dorsia with Evelyn Williams, she’s on one or more psychiatric drugs. I’m not too sure what it was tonight, but whatever it was transformed here into this dormant state where she’s almost crawled into the fetal position in the plush chair she resides in. I sit to handsome to move. My mind wanders past the patheticness of all the empty faces that sit around us and I think of earlier in the afternoon. I went to Tower Records on the boardwalk after my squash match and late lunch with Timothy Bryce to obtain the new Talking Heads album. While in the store, the Liberal Arts majors’ home from Camden scurried around the store, in search of Duran Duran’s “Rio”. While there, in the same row of compact discs was this guy. His ears were perfect, they sat straight and flat on the side of his head. He had sideburns that were out of vogue but yet he wore them with this arrogance that you would find in Burt Reynolds. He uses aftershave with too much alcohol; his skin makes him look older than he is. He masked his overweight frame with an extra large Lacoste polo shirt. It was pink and hung below his belt where I could almost, just almost, make out a Marlboro belt buckle. He smokes. Disgusting. I thought nothing of him at first, though I kept glancing over at him. He was holding “Fore!” by Huey Lewis and the News in his hand and his Ray-Bans mirrored that of Huey’s. He likes Huey Lewis and the News. While mainstream pop had taken over the radio waves, polluting this country, polluting the foundation of our moral values and while this encroaches on our way of life, Huey Lewis is the bedrock of contemporary rock and roll proving to us, with each album, that we to can achieve the American Dream.

He’s someone that Luis Caruthers would stop and talk to.

“Hey, you’re Julian right?” he says as he interrupts me mid thought. Julian?

“No I am not,” I say with a cold tone.

“It’s Frankie. Frankie Mengarelli.”

“You are mistaken,” I start to feel a panic rush over me. The caged animal inside of me begins to scream. I start to sweat, my forehead feels wet, and my feet are becoming uncomfortable in my shoes. My hand holding the Talking Heads compact disc begins to slightly tremble, I hold my breath.

“Hey man, are you alright?” he says, with a deep and gritty voice that makes him sound almost like a Robert Mitchum/Lee Marvin hybrid. My hand begins to tremble a little more, this time it’s more apparent. I look up at him, helpless and weak. My mouth opens slightly but no words come out. I am filled with rage and distain, and I can barely utter out in a desperate plea:

“I need to return some videotapes.”

I am not alone.

1) Scott Glenn

Dawn has come; the sunlight has snuck its way past the tattered blinds that hang lazily on the window. The only sound in the room is of the ceiling fan that turns at a strategic pace. The clock to the left of me clicks with each second that passes. I lost count somewhere between midnight and now. The sheet that he allowed me to keep on my body has now imbedded itself into me. I can no longer sweat anymore. My mouth hasn’t had saliva in it for what feels like days. I’m worn out, done over – I feel like Courtney Love. In the ashtray on the desk adjacent from me, but between the bathroom lays an unfiltered Chesterfield. The smoke dances between the beams of light that shows me salvation. The door is cracked to the bathroom. He is in there, he sounds like a sound trying not make a sound. Fear is no longer an option, only the will to live is slightly inside of me. As he walks (closer to the bathroom door) his boots make an echoing sound that not only pierce my ears, but cover me with nothing less than a cold, numb feeling. He made me watch him do 2500 pushups (at one time). The bathroom door is open. I close my eyes as tight as they’ll go. The boots sound louder, louder, louder. If the Incredible Hulk was stomping down a corridor that had great acoustics – this is what it would sound like. The hulking boot steps stop. I keep my eyes closed for what feels like an eternity. I slowly, just slowly, open my eyes. I see his tight rock washed blue jeans. They’re Wranglers – no Lee – no, I was right the first time, Wranglers. As I look up, his fine tuned body I see the scratch marks on his chest, his neck. I finally make eye contact with him. With those cold, truthful eyes, he doesn’t have a scowl, or a grimace – he wears a look that can only be described as “don’t fuck with me”. He reaches for his worn out cowboy hat, and rests it upon his head without breaking his gaze at me. He put that fucking hat on his head perfectly on the first try. He bends his waist slightly towards the bed as I scuddle my feet up closer to me. He doesn’t flinch; still staring at me he grabs his perfectly white wife beater shirt and leans back into a perfectly straight stance. He holds the shirt in his right hand, and brings it across his body and wipes the blood off of his busted knuckle on his left hand (yes he’s left handed). He finishes wiping the blood off, and then slowly tosses the shirt onto me like it’s a used condom. He takes a step towards the door turning his back to me. He opens the door and turns before he exits. As he tips his hat to me and with the same expression on his face, all he says is this:

“I love you Bumpkin.”

Top Ten (currently working) Actors

Thanks to Heather over at Movie Mobsters has devised a list of who she thinks are the top ten currently working actors. After a day of debate on her blog, I thought I’d create my ultimate list so I could have controversy over on my blog. Enjoy dear readers.

10. Willem Dafoe

Career Highlights: The Last Temptation of Christ, Shadow of a Vampire, Platoon, Born of the 4th of July, Spider-Man, eXistenZ, Affliction, Auto-Focus, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Clearing, The English Patient, Clear and Present Danger, Wild at Heart, Daybreakers, American Psycho, Antichrist, Off Limits, Mississippi Burning, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Finding Nemo

Willem Dafoe is a champion of his craft. He’s never been afraid to take on challenging roles that other actors wouldn’t dare to touch. Dafoe has made a career of showing his in-depth range and sheer talent as a performer. He’s remarkable in almost everything he’s shown us. I will see anything that has Willem Dafoe in it.

9. George Clooney

Career Highlights: “ER”, Burn After Reading, Up in the Air, Good Night Good Luck, Solaris, Syriana, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Fail Safe, The Thin Red Line, Out of Sight, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, From Dusk Till Dawn

George Clooney has completely transformed himself from a TV actor, to a superstar heartthrob to a Warren Beatty-esq Hollywood tycoon. His performances have become deep and extremely complex and he is the embodiment of a silver screen icon much like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. His charisma and sex appeal often has me questioning my sexuality. George Clooney is a fucking man.

8. Harvey Keitel

Career Highlights: Bad Lieutenant, Mean Streets, Dangerous Game, Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Fingers, Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, The Piano, Smoke, Clockers, From Dusk Till Dawn, Cop Land, Shadrach, Taking Sides, Fail Safe

To me, Keitel is the cinematic basass that is reminiscent of Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum and William Holden. He takes roles that no other actor would ever, ever, ever think of taking (aside from maybe Dafoe and Cage). He’s an absolute dynamo when it comes to his performances in Bad Lieutenant, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and Dangerous Game. I would not want to fuck with Harvey Keitel.

7. Robert DeNiro

Career Highlights: Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, Jackie Brown, Once Upon a Time in America, Wag the Dog, The Good Shepherd, Heat, The Godfather Part II, A Bronx Tale, Midnight Run, The Mission, Ronin, This Boy’s Life, Frankenstein, Backdraft, Guilt By Suspicion, Awakenings, Jacknife, The King of Comedy, True Confessions, Falling in Love, The Untouchables, The Deer Hunter

We all know that Robert DeNiro is an amazing actor. His range as an actor is magnificent. He would have made it a lot higher on my list if he hadn’t been working for paychecks the past fifteen years. Yikes…

6. Christian Bale

Career Highlights: American Psycho, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Public Enemies, The Machinist, I’m Not There, The New World, Rescue Dawn

Christian Bale is the best young method actor out there. He invests himself so deeply into his roles it reminds me of Daniel Day-Lewis. Most people will often think of Batman when they think of Bale – I on the other hand will always think of Patrick Bateman.

5. Al Pacino

Career Highlights: The Godfather, The Godfather Pt II, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, Scarface, Insomnia, Any Given Sunday, Heat, The Insider, Looking for Richard, Glengarry Glen Ross, Dick Tracy, Carlito’s Way, …And Justice for All, Scarecrow, Panic in Needle Park, “Angels in America”, “You Don’t Know Jack”

To me Pacino almost, just almost falls under the DeNiro category since he has pretty much worked for a paycheck the past decade and a half but what saves him is Insomnia and his amazing performance in the Barry Levinson directed HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack”. Pacino is a lion of cinema and remains to be one of the greatest actors in cinema history. The incredible range he shows as Michael in Godfather and then the Michael in Godfather Part II is just incredible.

4. William Hurt

Career Highlights: Body Heat, Gorky Park, Altered States, The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, Into the Wild, The Good Shepherd, Syriana, The Village, Rare Birds, Master Spy, Smoke, Dark City, One True Thing, Children of a Lesser God, A History of Violence, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Broadcast News, The Incredible Hulk, “Damages”, “Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King – segment Battleground”

William Hurt is a pompous actor. He thinks he’s awesome, and well, he is. He remains to be one of my favorite actors, and the roles he’s selected have always touched me. His characters have pulled on my heart strings and have brought deep emotions out of me. I love William Hurt.

3. Jeff Bridges

Career Highlights: The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart, The Contender, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Last Picture Show, The Fisher King, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Jagged Edge, Iron Man, Starman, Fearless, The Muse, The Door in the Floor, TRON, Heaven’s Gate, Seabiscuit, Masked and Anonymous

Jeff Bridges remains to be the biggest influence of my life – even more so than Roger Waters (which I NEVER thought I’d say). His philosophies and his art have really transformed me into someone new. I used to be somebody/Now I am somebody else. With his performances he brings emotions out of me that I never knew I had.

Thank you Mr. Bridges.

2. Peter O’Toole

Career Highlights: Lawrence of Arabia, The Ruling Class, Venus, Bright Young Things, My Favorite Year, The Last Emperor, The Stunt Man, Caligula, Man of La Mancha, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Lion in Winter, The Night of the Generals, Lord Jim, Becket

How the fuck Peter O’Toole never won an Oscar is far beyond me. This man is an icon and a master at his craft. Sure he’s made bucket loads of shit – but he was fucking Lawrence of Arabia! He was King Henry II! He was Don Quixote! This man is a legend – better yet – a world treasure.

On asked why he didn’t win an Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia: “Because somebody else did.”

1. Daniel Day-Lewis

Career Highlights: Gangs of New York, My Left Foot, The Boxer, In the Name of the Father, Nine, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The Last of the Mohicans, The Crucible, There Will Be Blood, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, A Room with a View, The Age of Innocence, My Beautiful Laundrette

I have never seen in my life a performer whose total work is so amazing. Whenever I see him in a film, I don’t see Daniel Day-Lewis, I see his character. I’ve seen actors do that before, but not with ever single role they play. Greatest actor ever. Hands down.

Honorable Mentions: Michael Caine, Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, Robert Downey, Jr., Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Sean Penn

Note – I know I’m going to catch shit from all of you, but I don’t think Russell Crowe is that great of an actor. He plays the same character with the exception of The Insider which I think is a remarkable performance.

“The Dark Knight” – 2008. Dir. Christopher Nolan.

With Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anthony Michael Hall with Morgan Freeman and Eric Roberts

“You can’t kill me – and I won’t kill you. I have a feeling we’ll be doing this for a long, long time.”

Well I’m sure we ALL know the plot of “The Dark Knight” don’t we? What I would like to spend your time doing is expressing to you what I really like about this film. What Christopher Nolan did by making “Batman Begins” and the much anticipated and superior sequel was setting the tone for all future superhero films. He allowed them to still be summer blockbusters, but also forced them into being good films as well. There would be no “Iron Man” without “Batman Begins”. It forced audiences to take superhero films more seriously.

What really impressed me about this film was its cast. Of course we have the established actors in their roles – Bale, Caine, Freeman, Oldman – but Nolan establishes new characters while still developing previous ones. I was impressed by Ledger as The Joker as was everyone else. His phony Chicago accent was stellar – as was his masochistic tone and self applied make-up.

Everything about his character was excellent, and broke the hold that Jack Nicholson previously held on The Joker. Everything about him is original even though the character is one of the most well known and well established villains in fictional history. The way he walks, talks and his actions are all original and unique. Heath Ledger remains to be one the best physical actors ever.

I was very impressed by Harvey Dent. I was unsure of the casting of Aaron Eckhart thinking that there were other actors better suited for playing such a complex character. The way Nolan guides Dent through the film is excellent. He’s already been established in Gotham City as a hard hitting crime fighter, being dubbed by the media as Gotham’s “White Night”. As the complexity of the story unravels, we begin to see Harvey Dent’s life spiral out of control.

His character is that of a slick and smooth lawyer who has the power in the grasp of his hand, but once The Joker lights fire to the city and steals the woman he loves, he loses it and his violent – even repressed – psychopathic side shows up. It’s as if Dent has this caged beast inside of him, and once he loses the one thing he truly loves and sees the scared monster he’s become – Harvey Two-Face is unleashed to seek revenge on everyone involved in his shattered life.

I have a fondness for Eric Roberts. I think he’s an amazing talent, and he rarely gets a chance to show it. As his roles as Salvatore Maroni, the new mob boss of Gotham, he beat out two ultra talented actors: James Gandolfini and Bob Hoskins. Nolan must have had faith in Roberts to deliver. He did.

Eric Roberts is perfect as the polished and well groomed mob boss. The way Roberts snarls through his teeth, and gives off this super smug tone is perfect for his character. His interactions with Bale, Ledger and Eckhart are excellent and monumental scenes of the film. My favorite scene of the film is where Batman shows up to the night club where Roberts is with some blonde bimbo and she complains that they can’t hear each other talk, Roberts then turns and says out of the corner of his mouth: “What makes you think I want to hear you talk?” Hot!

The addition of veteran Chicagoan character actor Ron Dean is excellent. He adds authenticity to the role of a Gotham cop because he’s mainly played a Chicago cop in a majority of his roles (“The Fugitive”, “Chain Reaction”, Michael Mann’s TV show “Crime Story”). I’ve always enjoyed Dean, he may be a one dimensional actor, but that one dimension did get him a role in “The Dark Knight”.

The film drags slightly for me towards the climax, well maybe not a drag but a slight hiccup. We all know that The Joker was supposed to carry into the next film but due to the untimely death of Ledger it puts a huge strain on Nolan to deliver a follow up film that’s worthy of “The Dark Knight”. I have my own theory – and yes it does include Johnny Depp. Have Depp play a copycat Joker, with the explanation of the real Joker being he disappeared back into Gotham, achieving his goal of reigning chaos in the city – destroying Harvey Dent and vilifying Batman.

I almost felt that they should have changed the ending, allowing Two-Face to live to be the next major villain for Batman. But that would have changed the power of the original ending. The ending of this film, accompanied by Gary Oldman’s wonderful narration gives me goose bumps each time I watch it. It’s perfect.

The fact that this film was pretty much ignored by the Academy is rather pathetic. If anything, it should have at least gotten a screenplay nomination and a director nomination. The screenplay to this film is so fucking tight, it chokes you. The dialogue that’s written and delivered is magnificent and shows what a great script can do for a film.

The film does an excellent job of comparing Batman and The Joker, showing Batman what he can becomes if he slips off the fine line he’s been walking. They are mirrored images of each other, and that’s what makes them so fucking great!

I have two problems with the film. The first being the lack of usage of Two-Face, I feel that the character is developed, but he isn’t used to the power that the character holds, creating the anti Batman. Two-Face should have had more screen time. My second problem is with a lot of people making fun of Batman’s “new” voice. You people just really don’t get it, do you?

Review: 9.5/10

Top 25 1/2 Performances of the Decade

I intended on making a list of Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress (I did start with Supporting Actor). But I thought it would be better to lump them all into one solid and concrete list. I’m sure there is going to be much disagreement. So, let me know what you guys think.

25. – Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in “Chicago”

I honestly think Gere gets a bad rap – he’s an extremely talented actor who began the second act of his career with “Chicago”. They found the most unbelievable actor to sing and dance – and he knocked it out of the park. Gere supports this film on his shoulders and completely holds it together. His performances in this film paved the way for his roles in “The Hoax”, “I’m Not There”, and “Brooklyn’s Finest”. And what’s with “rom-coms”? Can people stop fucking saying that? It’s so annoying.

24. – Anne Hathaway as Kym in “Rachel Getting Married”

I didn’t see this film until about a couple of months ago. I don’t know why I strayed away from it for so long. I’ve always had this love for Jonathan Demme (even though I think “Silence of the Lambs” is grossly overrated and “Manhunter” is a far superior film). The way Hathaway breaks out of her typecast and breaks our hearts is wonderfully painful to watch. A quick note: I love the movie a lot, but the part I find most distracting (no, it’s not the wedding montage, I liked that part) is the actor who plays the best man of the wedding is like this shitty hybrid of George Clooney and Kevin Spacey. Weird.

23. – Ray Liotta as Henry Oak in “Narc”

Ray Liotta has made a whirlwind of shit. He’s always enjoyable for me, even if he is walking through his role in “Wild Hogs”. I can’t help but always be captivated by him, I think he’s an incredible actor and has this way of commanding your attention. His performance in “Narc” is just fantastic. He plays the clichéd rage induced cop who’s seeking the killer of his partner. Liotta gained about 40 pounds for his role – and what adds to the gaining of weight, is the realism of the flashback sequences where Liotta’s character appears fit and trim. If you haven’t seen this film, do so soon.

22. – Robert Downey, Jr. as Paul Avery in “Zodiac”

This seems like an easy sell, Downey, Jr. playing an alcoholic, drug addicted and charming beat reporter. But this was really the first role that he got to sink his teeth into since he’s troubled past. With his past experience with drugs and alcohol I feel as if Downey, Jr. could really play this character that spirals out of control to full authenticity.

21. – Mickey Rourke as Randy the Ram in “The Wrestler”

This is one of the best performances I have ever seen. What keeps this from getting higher on my list is the fact that I’m not sure how much actual “acting” Rourke does. I think he took elements of his personal life and mimicked them to Randy the Ram’s life. I know some people disagree, but I think that Penn’s winning his second Oscar for “Milk” was the correct performance to reward. Without “The Wrestler” Rourke would have fallen back to Eric Roberts land.

20. – Ellen Burstyn as Sara Goldfarb in “Requiem for a Dream”

The fact that Burstyn lost to Julia Roberts makes me sick. I like Julia Roberts, she’s cute, funny, and has an amazing sparkle in her eye. That being said: she’s not an Oscar winning actress (although more so than Bullock or Berry). Ellen Burstyn gives the performance of her career in this film. This film may be the roughy of all roughies – and due to her performance this film will stay in my mind forever.

19. – Daniel Day-Lewis as Jack Slavin in “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”

Day-Lewis gives a remarkable performance in his most flawed film. He balances inner rage and compassionate love for his daughter Rose. You find yourself loathing his character due to his selfishness and incest riddled relationship with his daughter – yet you find it in your heart to forgive him, and to understand his true love for Rose.

18. – Paul Newman as Jack Rooney in “Road to Perdition”

Newman should have won a Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in this film. I felt that Cooper winning was his make-up Oscar for not even being nominated for “American Beauty”. I feel that Newman gives one of his most subtle performances in this film. He’s the loving father figure to Tom Hanks, but has to chose between his own son (Daniel Craig) and Tom Hanks. One of the most heartbreaking scenes ever filmed is when Tom Hanks finally catches up with Newman.

17. – Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Casino Royal”

This is how you reboot a franchise! I am a James Bond super freak and I own them all. I’ve had a liking for each individual Bond (even George Lazenby). I’ve felt that the producers have always gotten it right for 007. I remember being pissed when they signed Craig, I was a strong supporter of Clive Owen (who I still think would have been a great Bond – check out ANY BMW Films add on Youtube and you’ll see my point). Daniel Craig gives us the perfect James Bond. He’s a stone cold killer. The way James Bond should be.

16. – Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho”

I want to be Patrick Bateman (well…not the homicidal serial killer part). But deep down inside, don’t we all have an element of ourselves that is Patrick Bateman? Don’t we all from time to time get filled with disgust and greed? Or is it just me?

15. – Cate Blanchett as Sheba Hart in “Notes of a Scandal”

Blanchett is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, and she’s one of the greatest ACTORS ever. She’s just remarkable in everything she’s in (well…maybe not that last Indiana Jones movie). As Sheba Hart she engages into an inappropriate relationship with a 14 year old student of hers, which is both erotic and haunting. What she’s doing is wrong, but what gets done to her by Judi Dench is ten times worse.

14. – Alec Baldwin as Juan Tripp in “The Aviator”

Baldwin is remarkable in the way he’s rebuilt his career over the past decade. The guy went from being a tabloids wet dream. His personal life took a tremendous toll on his profession career, but with an Oscar nominated turn in “The Cooler” it spring boarded him into working with Scorsese, Robert DeNiro and his staple, “30 Rock”. As Juan Tripp he’s one of the most menacing corporate villains, standing second only to Gordon Gekko.

13. – Sean Penn as Paul Rivers in “21 Grams”

This is one of the most heartbreaking performances ever. How he won for “Mystic River” over “21 Grams” is bullshit. Probably because it was a Clint Eastwood film.

12. – Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill “the Butcher” Cutting in “Gangs of New York”.

Day-Lewis single handily saves this film from the utter nightmare it could have been. If he wasn’t in this film to counteract the terrible performance of Cameron Diaz and the miscasting of the decade of Leonardo DiCaprio – this film would have been a sheer train wreck of a great director’s most personal project. How he lost to Adrian Brody for “The Pianist”, I’ll never understand.

11. – Ted Levine as The Warden in “Shutter Island”

Levine was only in three scenes in this film. He had only one scene that last about ten minutes with dialogue. This is the perfect example of less is more; by showing us everything about this character without telling us one thing about him. Levine is absolutely jaw dropping in this role. He shows us what a great, great actor he really is. This film should pave the way for meatier roles on the horizon for Levine.

10. – David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow in “Good Night, Good Luck”

I think there is always hesitation when an actor takes on the role of an icon like Murrow. David Strathairn has always been one of my favorite character actors – from his roles in “Eight Men Out”, “The River Wild” and “LA Confidential”. In “Good Night, Good Luck” he finally becomes the leading man that he deserves to be. He’s absolutely amazing as Murrow and gives the performance of his career.

9. – Heath Ledger as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” and Enis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain”

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about his performance as the Joker. I guess the SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar said all that there could be said. And for “Brokeback”, he was overshadowed by PSH for “Capote”. What a shame, a real shame. It’s hard for me to pick which performance of his is better? Sometimes I lean towards The Joker, and other times I lean towards Enis. Face it, they’re both perfect.

8 ½. – Daniel Day-Lewis as Guido Contini in “Nine”

Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor I have ever seen. I will challenge anyone who claims that someone is better. Sure, you can throw around Bogart or Brando or DeNiro. But I will stack his performance in “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood” against any Brando or DeNiro performance. In “Nine” Day-Lewis talks with a genuine Italian accent, and sings (though he’s no Dean Martin) in an Italian accent. He is brilliant in this film, just fucking brilliant.

8. – TIE: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep in “Doubt”

This is truly a team effort. The entire film is a battle of showmanship between Streep and Hoffman. The way they fight each other is as epic as Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader. The display of their acting craft is monumental, and will bring anyone to their knees. Watch this if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s amazing to watch.

7. – George Clooney as Bob Barnes in “Syrianna”

Clooney completely broke his typecast in this role – more like fucking shattered it. He became an artist that year, actor, producer, director and writer. He’s a marvelous talent. This film is truly an ensemble piece that doesn’t have a lead actor – oil is the main focus and character of the film. But George Clooney brings the house down in his final scene. It floods me with overwhelming emotion every single time I see it.

6. – William Hurt as Richie Cussak in “A History of Violence”

This is the biggest example of less is more. The little screen time that Hurt is given, he uses it to the extreme. He’s absolutely unbelievable, and I think his character is much like that of Col. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now”, he’s the final trial of the main character’s journey to return home to his family. His performance is burned into my brain. There are very few actors with raw talent like William Hurt.

5. – TIE: Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in “Inglorious Basterds” and Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men”

This is much like Ledger’s role in “The Dark Knight”. There’s nothing more I can say about their PERFECT performance. There is a reason both of them swept critics awards, won the SAG, Golden Globes, BAFTA and Oscar. This was their major introduction to American audiences. That’s one helluva break through! To be honest, I do have to give the edge to Waltz. He’s amazing.

4. – Julianne Moore as Charlie in “A Single Man” and for Cathy Whitaker in “Far From Heaven”

Academy, please give her an Oscar already! I don’t care if it’s for a lifetime achievement award! Just someone, do something! She’s absolutely brilliant. ‘Nough said!

3. – Colin Firth as George in “A Single Man”.

Colin Firth gave a performance like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’ve never see a performance that is so…empty. He’s unbelievably touching and gives a beautiful performance that brings me to my knees each time I see it. We need to see more Colin Firth. Now.

2. – Jeff Bridges as Ted Cole in “The Door in the Floor”

This is hands down Jeff Bridges finest performance. If you ever want to see an excellent, perfect, mind boggling performance, try and seek out Tod Williams’ “The Door in the Floor”. Bridges is heartbreaking, just plain heartbreaking. Ted Cole will stay in your heart forever.

1. – Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood”

This is the biggest tour-de-force performance ever on screen.

Finally My Top Ten Films of the Decade

10. “Gangs of New York” – 2002 . Dir. Martin Scorsese. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, John C. Reilly, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Neeson.

“I took the father, now I’ll take the son.”

I consider “Gangs” to be one of Martin Scorsese’s masterpieces. It is a tremendously flawed film with DiCaprio miscast (I have always said Colin Farrell would have been perfect in the role) and a horrid performance by Diaz. What saves this film from the utter nightmare it could have been is Daniel Day-Lewis who gives a performance that competes with his portrayal of Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood”. The fact that Day-Lewis lost to Adrian Brody for “The Pianist” still befuddles me. Day-Lewis carries this entire film, and the way he relentlessly delivers his lines of dialogue is perfect. Some of the lines Bill the Butcher Cutting says have stuck with me since I saw the film the day it was released (Christmas ’02).

The opening battle on the streets of New York is a remarkable display of Scorsese’s vision. The bulk of the battle was shot at 12fps which created this jarringly unsettling view. Peter Gabriel’s “Signal to Noise” is playing during this scene, and it screeches and tears your eardrums apart while you hear the clashing of rusty weapons and blood curdling screams.

Scorsese had been trying to make this film since the 1970’s and it’s apparent when the script was written. The film deals with racism and the opposition of war (Vietnam). The opposition of the draft, and the rage and contempt that Bill the Butcher holds against the “blackies” or “darkies” deals with the racial challenges America still has today.

This is a very personal project of Scorsese’s (much unlike his latest “Shutter Island”). I feel that this is his most personal work in recent years, and his follow-ups “The Departed” and “Shutter Island” lack the authenticity and personal feel that he is so respected for. “Aviator” came extremely close, but at times it feels like Scorsese is trying a little too hard.

The performances the supporting cast gives is phenomenal. Brendan Gleeson and Liam Neeson deliver solidly as usual. John C. Reilly (who was in three best picture nominees that year, “Gangs”, “The Hours” and “Chicago” and was nominated for Best Supporting for “Chicago”) gives his last good performance. I understand that he’s riding the gravy train right now with “Dewy Cox” and “Step Brothers”, but I hope that he gets back to his acting roots like he displayed in PT Anderson films.

Martin Scorsese is the greatest living director, and one of the best directors who have ever sat behind the camera. His personal films are touching and heartfelt, and they are films that I cannot live without. I absolutely love “Gangs of New York” and defend its flawed honor for the rest of my life.

9. “A History of Violence” – 2005. Dir. David Cronenberg. With Viggo Mortenson, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt.

“You were always a problem for me Joey. When Mom brought you home from the hospital – I tried to strangle you in your crib – she wacked the daylights out of me.”

After seeing this film in theaters, I was rendered speechless. I was so taken by the film. This film is David Cronenberg’s masterpiece. The film is broken up into amazing segments with great transitions. The film starts off with chaotic violence, and transitions to a peaceful homestead of the Stalls. It’s a melodramatic feel as we see Tom Stall (Mortienson) run his small diner. It isn’t until the bad men from the opening wander into Stall’s Diner and are about to kill everyone in there – then Tom Stall springs to action in a heroic yet over the top execution of the two men.

What strikes me about this film is that what Cronenberg is trying to tell us is that you can never change who you actually are. You can mask it, hide it, keep it in remission but you cannot change your primal urges, and for Tom Stall (Joey Cussak) it is to kill. Tom/Joey started a new life, got married and had a family, and it was only a matter of time before his deep soaked past caught up with him.

William Hurt gives the second best performance of his career and one of the best performances of the decade as Tom/Joey’s older brother Richie. He is the final trial that Tom/Joey has to overcome before he can try and return home, and pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Hurt is sadistically evil in the film, and the way Cronenberg shoots the scene is phenomenal. The eye light that Hurt’s character displays gives him this menacing sparkle and his delivery of lines are monumental. He is the triumph of the film, and I equate his part of the film to that of Martin Sheen finally meeting Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”. This film is remarkable and flawless.

8. “A Serious Man” – 2009. Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen. With Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed and Richard Kind.

“I’m a serious man, Larry.”

This is one of the most mind boggling films I have ever seen. It affected me as deeply as “Antichrist” did with the films themes and symbolism that I still have a hard time grasping. I have watched the film a couple of times since I had originally seen it, and one thing is for certain, it is the Coen’s masterpiece. What they display and what they try and achieve in this film is so mind bending that I can’t get the film out of my head.

The film has a basic plot. Larry is a simple man who is a teacher, husband and father trying to raise his family according to his Jewish faith. His wife then leaves him for his best friend, his doctor has urgent news for him, his jobless brother is wanted by the police, his son is a pot head, and his daughter wants a nose job. This all sounds funny, and it is. It’s hysterical in a very dark and disturbing manor. Everything that will go wrong in Larry’s life does – triple fold.

I also like the way this film snuck its way into the main stream. The film was made after “Burn After Reading” and before their upcoming “True Grit”. It’s an extremely small and personal film by the Coen’s and you won’t recognize any actors in the film aside from Richard Kind. It is a generic and faceless template that the Coen’s lay for us – just so they can flip the universe on top of us, and make us think. This is one of the most challenging films I have ever seen.

7. “The Door in the Floor” – 2005. Dir. Tod Williams. With Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger and Jon Foster.

“Turn off the light Eddie, the story is much better in the dark.”

“The Door in the Floor” deliverers a tour-de-force of dramatic power and is filled with rich and heartbroken characters. Jeff Bridges gives the BEST performance of his career. I know everyone loves “Crazy Heart”, but see this film. Jeff Bridges rivals my personal favorite performances of Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot”, “Gangs of New York” and “There Will Be Blood” and Roy Scheider in “All That Jazz”. This is a film that will seep into your soul and will never let you go.

It is a remarkable feat to create a film of this magnitude and still keep the audience from walking out. It is one of the most underappreciated films ever made, and the absolute raw power and beauty it holds is mind blowing.
It is an emotionally draining film, but with the delivery of Bridges and Basinger, the blows are lighter and lighter.

You don’t have a soul if “The Door in the Floor” doesn’t break your heart. Watching this film overwhelms me with so much emotion that it is hard for me to take. After watching this film, I consume myself with writing, and it allows me to channel my inner emotions that I have repressed, and allows them to flourish onto paper. Anyone who is important to me in my life, I share this film with.

6. “In the Mood for Love” – 2000. Dir. Kar Wai Wong. With Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung.

“In the old days, if someone had a secret they didn’t want to share… you know what they did?”

“No idea.”

“They went up a mountain, found a tree, carved a hole in it, and whispered the secret into the hole. Then they covered it with mud. And leave the secret there forever.”

This is the most beautiful and romantic film to come from world cinema this past decade. It is a film that transcends language and culture and brings the raw pain and beauty of love to our attention. This film hits on all cylinders with its writing, directing, acting, cinematography and editing. The narrative is linear yet non linear. The entire film is a beautiful showboat of love. The film dazzles you until the remarkable ending that leaves your floored.

This film inspires me each time that I see it. The music in this film is the best usage of music in film that I have ever seen. This entire film captivates you, and holds you in its grasp so tightly that you cannot escape, you cannot turn your head away because the film commands your attention. This film is truly beautiful and you need to see it as soon as you can.

Out of all the 10’s that I have given to films, this film breaks the grading scale and is an 11.

5. “American Psycho” – 2000. Dir. Mary Harron. With Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Samantha Morton, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe.

“I feel as if my mask of sanity is about to slip.”

This is one of the best adaptations of any novel I have ever seen. The novel is a fantastic story of an apathetic character that has no identifiable human emotions aside from disgust and greed. The film excels in its faithful adaptation of bringing one of the richest characters in fictional history to life. Christian Bale gives the performance of his career as Patrick Bateman, a self sufficient Wall Street executive that has a deep rooted blood lust. His character has no emotion but slides his mask on and completely blends into the crowd of elites he has embedded himself in.

The film greatly portrayals how self consumed we all are with money and materialistic items. Patrick Bateman is the embodiment of the American Dream, he is what our society of capitalism and MTV has constructed. There has been much speculation upon the ending of the film. Was Patrick Bateman really a killer – or did he make it all up, or was it just a dream? *SPOILER* If you do not want me to ruin it for you, skip to the next film. The producers force Harron to make the ending more ambiguous, because the fact of the matter is that Patrick Bateman did do all those terrible things that we saw him do, and hear him talk about. The punch line of the entire film is that no one cared. Everyone was so consumed with themselves that they could care less about Paul Allen, or the prostitutes that he tortures. The only thing that they cared about was themselves. Except for Detective Kimble (Willem Dafoe), who knows who Patrick Bateman is all along…

4. “Antichrist” – 2009. Dir. Lars von Trier. With Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg

“What do you think is supposed to happen in the woods?”

See my gushing review of “Antichrist” by clicking this.

3. “Brokeback Mountain” – 2005. Dir. Ang Lee. With Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and Randy Quaid.

“You don’t know nothin’ about that!”

Can we get past the homophobic aura around this film? Thanks. This is a near perfect film. The cinematography is the best I had ever seen until the wham bam of “A

Single Man” and “Antichrist”

. Heath Ledger gives his best performance, and one of the best performances I have ever seen. I understand he was great as the Joker, but as Enis Delmar he was perfect. There wasn’t a thing he could have changed about his character.

This is one of the greatest love stories that I have ever seen. It’s trying and intimate film that I will hold dear to my heart forever. It is truly one of the best films I have ever seen. It’s a film about true love, and how love has zero boundaries. Love can transcend gender, race, religion – every obstacle that is thrown at us can be overcome by love. It is a vital part of our existence, and we need to hold onto it and cherish it. This is the pinnacle of art, and its beauty. This film is a landmark of perfection in cinema. If the ending doesn’t tear your heart out and bring you to your knees, you are one cold and bitter motherfucker.

2. “There Will Be Blood” – 2008. Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson. With Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.

“I want you to tell me you are a false prophet and God is a superstation.”

“Drainage Eli! Drrrraaaaaiiiinnnnaaaaggggeeee!” This film is the masterpiece of all masterpieces – ranking up there with “Citizen Kane” and “The Wild Bunch”. Paul Thomas Anderson does an unbelievable feat: directing Daniel Day-Lewis for over two and a half hours. This is the biggest tour-de-force performance that I have ever seen. Day-Lewis is in every single scene of the film (accept one or two) and he draws your attention, he grabs you and won’t let you go. Period.

The character he plays is the most evil character I have ever seen. He’s much like Patrick Bateman, but worse. Plainview would stand and watch the world burn just to insure that no one is better then him. His ambition for greed overwhelms you and it frightens you with every breath he takes.

What adds to DDL’s command performance is the shrilling original score by Radio Head’s Johnny Greenwood. The sounds of these ambient noises that are clashed together makes you jump and squirm in your seat as you watch Plainview slash and burn everything and everyone in his path.

This is the greatest performance I have ever seen. The entire film is stacked upon his shoulders. There is no way out but in, and once the gargantuan climax is over with the scream of “I’m finished!” So are we. Thank goodness.

“A Single Man” – 2009. Dir. Tom Ford. Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Mathew Goode.

“Just get through the goddamn day.”

This film is the “Citizen Kane” of our generation. It wasn’t acknowledged at all by the Academy, aside for a Best Actor nomination for Colin Firth (who should have won, I’m sorry Mr. Bridges!). This is an extremely personal film for fashion tycoon Tom Ford. The camera movements, the flow of the film – editing, the pace – is as if it is a beautiful song that soaks up your emotions and displays them on screen.

This film has such a deep personal meaning to me – words cannot describe. Putting my bias aside, this film will become a staple of our generation. It is a true triumph of filmmaking and it is the pure essence of beauty. Tom Ford had no experience in filmmaking prior to making this film, and it is as if he’s channeling Stanley Kubrick in the way he paces the film, the way he shoots the film, the color scheme.

This film is deeply moving and thought provoking. This is the best thing that I have ever seen on film. I am truly in awe of Tom Ford and of his beautiful film.

Honorable Mentions:  “No Country for Old Men”, “The Devil’s Rejects”, “The Contender”, “Sideways”, “Watchmen”, “Insomnia” and “The Dark Knight”.