Film Title / Year / Director / Rating
0 is garbage, 10 is a classic, and 5 is take it or leave it.
Affliction / 1998 / Paul Schrader / 8
A slow-burning film starring Nick Nolte as an unravelling small-town cop. Your mutual hate for his father allows you to empathise with Nolte, even though his character is almost equally unlikeable. Has a distinctly 90's feel, and if you like that you'll enjoy.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie / 1976 / John Cassavetes / 7
Ben Gazzara plays a strip club owner with a gambling problem. The story feels a bit artificial, a vehicle created to shuffle the characters along for two hours. However, there are a handful of great scenes and excellent performances... enough to elevate it.
Love Streams / 1984 / John Cassavetes / 6
Story of misenthropic siblings too old to act the way they act. Gena Rowland and John Cassavetes are excellent actors, but the film meanders too much and nothing resembling a resolution is ever reached.
Paris, Texas / 1984 / Wim Wenders / 6
A man wanders aimlessly through Texas for half a decade only to pick up where he last left off. Feels a bit like watching it. Somewhat unbelievable story meanders for quite a while, and doesn't really go anywhere meaningful. However, we have beautiful cinematography and colours. There is also a scene in a viewing booth that is genuinely moving.
Kill List / 2011 / Ben Wheatley / 5
Film starts on a high with excellent domestic scenes to set up an empathetic hitman -- which is an accomplishment in and of itself. However, film eventually slips in to predictable genre tropes. Some look-away level violence, not for the squeemish.
There Will Be Blood / 2007 / Paul Thomas Anderson / 10
Daniel Day Lewis plays a man driven by something deeper than greed. Takes place in the West at the turn of the 20th century. Ugly people doing ugly things. Everything works in this film. A modern classic.
Witness / 1985 / Peter Weir / 6
Harrison Ford stars as a world weary east coast cop who lays low amongst the Amish. As whimsical a thriller as you’ll get. Good performances, a unique setting, and the rest is what you’d expect from the mid-80s thriller. Enjoyable.
Shame / 2011 / Steve McQueen / 6
A sex addict struggles to form meaningful bonds with with his sister and women in general. Long takes makes for some powerful scenes and some missteps. Empathetic characters are drawn out of the unsavoury, which makes for an interesting take.
The Disaster Artist / 2017 / James Franco / 6
James Franco directs and stars in this adaptation of the same-named book. About Tommy Wiseau, the enigmatic filmmaker behind best worst-film ever The Room. Franco is great as Wiseau. At times very funny, and others somewhat depressing. The ending is a bit hokey.
Inherent Vice / 2014 / Paul Thomas Anderson / 6
A film about a doctor or private eye who doesn't really know what he wants, and neither does the movie really. It looks and sounds great, the acting is great, whats not to like? Perhaps the movie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi / 2017 / Rian Johnson / 3
This is a movie made purely to sell merch at comic-cons. After the better-than-expected The Force Awakens, the third Star Wars trilogy has already shat itself -- cringy gags, bad writing, wooden acting, and lots to forget. Stinks really bad.
Sorcerer / 1978 / William Friedkin / 9
A top rate adventure/thriller from Friedkin. The first third is all character development, and the last 3/4 is a nail-biting journey through the jungle on trucks loaded with dynamite. Great soundtrack, amazing visual style, and some really memorable scenes.
Leon The Professional / 1994 / Luc Besson / 4
A stupidly simple (and creepy) story about a young girl who falls in love with a hitman. Goes nowhere quickly with over the top characters and unrealistic violence. Nicely shot, but a bit of a bore otherwise.
Angel Heart / 1987 / Alan Parker / 5
A creepy-by-the-numbers mid-80s horror starring Mickey Rourke as a private detective hired by Robert Deniro's long-fingernailed devil character. It was quite obvious from the outset what the twist ending would be, but there were plenty of fun/creepy scenes to keep me watching. Nothing mind blowing or mind numbing. Rourke is compelling as always, but the film is quite run of the mill.
The Master / 2012 / Paul Thomas Anderson / 7
A well written character study of a mid-century alcoholic turned cultist. Phoenix transformed himself physically to play the degenerate drinker, and Hoffman was very convincing as the manipulative cult leader. The two men form a strong bond and the film almost feels like a romance. Amazing cinematography and soundtrack as well.
Green Room / 2015 / Jeremy Saulnier / 6
A fun thriller about a hardcore band trapped in a neo nazi music venue under the threat of violence -- lots of violence. Fast paced, lots of action, good setting and characters. If you want a violent revenge type thriller that ticks all the shock/suprise/revenge boxes then this is worth watching.
Nocturnal Animals / 2016 / Tom Ford / 5
Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Shannon all play their roles really well, and the film is beautifully shot / graded. The character development is a bit thin, and the story is lacking uniqueness - its just another film within a film, and one of the films was markedly better than the other. Ford is way too heavy handed with metaphors while trying to imbue a thriller with more weight and subtlety than is needed.
The Wrestler / 2008 / Darren Aronofsky / 10
Mickey Rourke’s returns to acting as an ageing wrestler. Great emotional and physical performances all around. The cinematography is excellent, lots of movement and not too flashy as to distract from the story. An excellent film all the way through.
Year of the Dragon / 1985 / Michael Cimino / 5
Cimino was trying to make a Chinese version of the Godfather but he missed by a long shot. The film is pretty middle of the road in terms of quality, but Mickey Rourke is so good in it that he elevates the whole project. Lots a bloody violence and big sets with lots of extras. If you like spectacle then its worth watching. If you like good acting its worth watching for Rourke (nobody else though). If you like good editing, directing, writing then don’t bother.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans / 2009 / Werner Herzog / 8
This is a strange film for a few reasons. 1) It shares a name with a film that it is totally unrelated to about almost the same subject matter. 2) It was marketed as and looks like a mainstream action film starring Nick Cage. 3) It doesn’t have any empathetic characters in it. All of that being said, its a really good film, the acting is great, there are some truly unique and bizarre moments, and it is probably just as good or better than Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant.