'At The Movies, With Harvenut Puritan'
We all like movies...I don't think anyone would argue that statement. Hollywood provides us with a massive variety of films for our viewing pleasure in various categories: drama, comedy, action, science fiction, fantasy, romance, westerns, animation, crime, documentaries, they do it all, the entertainment is endless. I've noticed the acting and writing has never been so talented and accomplished as it is now.
I don't consider myself a movie critic. I have compiled a list of my Top 30 movies. Obviously, I have excluded certain classics that do appeal to me but I haven't watched them yet. I know some folks may disagree with my choices (everyone's tastes are different) they are just my recommendations.
My Top 30 are listed alphabetically and each of the following movies is my own synopsis. I purposely wrote a very short summary on each film trying to keep it brief and to the point, not giving away any surprises of spoiler alerts...so here we go.
The Anderson Tapes - 1971, Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam. A released convict plans a major robbery at a posh New York City apartment building. Martin Balsam is great.
Born On the Fourth of July - 1989, Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Berry, Caroline Kara. Based on a true story about a Viet Nam veteran returning home dealing with personal issues. Maybe the best performance ever by Tom Cruise.
Broken City - 2013, Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta Jones. A big city mayor hires a private detective to investigate his wife because he is suspicious of her infidelity. Some nice twists in this one.
Crash - 2004, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, (Academy Award Winner Best Picture). Story focusing on racism in Los Angeles. Some superb stories happening here.
Die Hard - 1988, Bruce Willis, Allan Rickman. An NYPD cop arrives in Los Angeles at his wife's company Christmas party only to find it has been invaded with terrorists. Great action never a dull moment.
Flight - 2012, Denzel Washington, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle. An airline pilot is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Another wonderful performance by Denzel.
The Flim Flam Man - 1967, George C. Scott, Sue Lyon, Michael Sarrazin. A confidence man 'plays' the deep south. A fun and easy going movie. George C. Scott is great.
The Final Countdown - 1980, Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross, James Farentino. The U.S.S. Nimitz enters a time warp that would change history. Actually filmed aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, the ending may have you thinking to some extent.
Forrest Gump - 1994, Tom Hanks (Academy Award Winner Best Actor), Robin Wright, Gary Sinise. A simple and unintelligent man's life is portrayed through several decades. One minute you're laughing, the next minute you have tears in your eyes. Tom Hanks is nothing less than brilliant, great soundtrack.
The French Connection - 1971, Gene Hackman (Academy Award Winner Best Actor), Roy Schreider. Based on a true story, two NYPD narcotic detectives 'catch wind' of a shipment of heroin entering the city. Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture. Extremely realistic. Gene Hackman is brilliant.
Glory - 1989, Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington (Academy Award Winner Best Supporting Actor), Morgan Freeman. A true story about the first black regiment fighting along side the Union army in the American Civil War. An excellent civil war movie.
Gone Girl - 2014, Ben Affleck, Roseamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris. A man is accused of murdering his wife after she disappears. Some nice twists in this one.
Home Alone - 1990, Macauly Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern. A young boy is mistakenly left at home by himself and must 'face off' against two burglars. A fun Christmas movie.
The Judge - 2014, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall. An arrogant and conceited lawyer must represent his father (a retired judge) who is charged with murder. A great flowing movie, with a terrific story.
Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 - 2004, Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine. An ex assassin's boss wants her dead. One of Quentin Tarratino's best.
Kingsmen: The Secret Service - 2014, Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson. A private organization attempts to stop a genius from controlling the world. A bit of a take off of James Bond movies but constant action in this one, very enjoyable.
Lawless - 2011, Tom Hardy, Shia Labeouf, Guy Pearce. True story of the Bondurant brothers' illegal moonshine operation in 1931 Virginia. Excellent movie depicting the Depression era Unites States.
Madigan - 1968, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens. Not to be confused with the T.V. series. Two NYPD detectives are given 72 hours to recapture the killer who escaped them. Great cop flick. Four different stories going on here.
Nebraska - 2013, Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb. An elderly man is obsessed with collecting his million dollar prize he thinks he has won. Filmed in black and white. Bruce Dern is excellent, with a fantastic soundtrack.
Old Boy - 2013, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson. A man is kept in confinement for twenty years then released back into society. Some nice twists here with a huge shocker at the end.
Phone Booth - 2003, Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Kiefer Sutherland. An egotistic man is kept hostage in a phone booth by an unknown gunman. Colin Farrell is great.
Platoon - 1986, Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Williem Dafoe. The horrors of the Viet Nam war seen by a raw recruit. Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture. Tom Berenger is absolutely fantastic.
The Polar Express - 2004, Tom Hanks. A young boy has a difficult time believing Santa Claus exists. Animated. A lovely and heart warming Christmas movie.
Prisoners - 2013, Hugh Jackman, Jake Cyllenhaal. A father becomes fixated on finding the kidnapper of his daughter. A huge and great twist in this one.
Raiders of the Lost Ark - 1981, Harrison Ford, Karen Allen. An American archaeologist is searching for a lost artifact, the only problem...so are the Nazis. Total entertainment, constant action.
Rainman - 1988, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman (Academy Award Winner Best Actor). A self centered man finds out he has an autistic brother. Dustin Hoffman is excellent.
Reservoir Dogs - 1991, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Masden, Steve Buscemi. A group of gangsters are brought together to perform a jewellery store heist. Very realistic movie with a splendid soundtrack.
Sex and the City 1 - 2008, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth. Carrie and Mr. Big plan their wedding. Some emotional scenes in this one.
Skyfall - 2012, Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Borden. Someone is trying to kill 'M' and destroy 'M16'. The best James Bond movie I have ever seen, continuous action.
Star Trek: The Final Frontier - 1989, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelly. A Vulcan hijacks the Enterprise to pursue his fantasy. An awesome story with some great Klingon music.
So, those are my choices. Hollywood will continue to make excellent movies for years to come. Their mastery to produce entertaining films will never cease. So grab some snacks and a couple of adult beverages and view some of my favourites...hopefully you will enjoy.