Donnie Darko (2001) and Its Schizophrenic Identity

Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko is an odd film. A grab-bag of references, influences and story components. The titular character part-ways through the film is prescribed as being a paranoid schizophrenic, and that is a good a way as any to describe the film itself. Here I will outlay the various constituent parts and personalities that make up Donnie Darko.…
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There’s Something About Mary (1998) – Failure, Feminism and Film Theory

After the box-office failure of Kingpin the Farrelly Brothers thought that their next film might be their last, and so made the most outrageous gross-out film possible, while still remaining a commercially viable almost-rom-com. The result was the surprisingly sweet There’s Something About Mary, after which they never needed to worry about being out of work again.…
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Kick-Ass (2010) – Superhero Worship and Indie Freedom

Earlier this year Deadpool appeared and thrilled the mainstream movie going public with its cutting satire (read: hamfisted masturbatory self-referencing), bloody violence and naughty language. Though it certainty was interesting to see Fox Marvel taking some cheap shots at itself and superhero films in general, a film that this in a more extreme manner six years earlier is Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass.…
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Rain Man (1988)

Barry Levinson’s Rain Man is an oddity. Especially when compared to the rest of the Best Picture winners of the 1980s. It is not a grandiose historical epic akin to Gandhi, The Last Emperor or Amadeus, nor a weepy similar to Terms of Endearment or Ordinary People. While it is obviously deals with sensitive subject matter, it is nowhere near as limp as Driving Miss Daisy.…
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Annie Hall (1977)

Annie Hall is the moment that Woody Allen stopped being the wacky comedy guy, and became something more. The usual assigned name for the films that Allen made previous to Annie Hall is “the early funny ones”, but that implies that his 1977 masterpiece has a lessened humour content. This is very much not the case.…
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Heathers (1988)

Previously on this blog I mentioned that The Breakfast Club is the definitive 80s teen film. Very much a product of its era (trapped in the fashions, hairstyles and slang of the decade) while transcending time and place by focusing on the universal timeless themes of not belonging and their own personal identity.…
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The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

Die Hard is still the yardstick that action cinema is measured against. The majority of actioners released in the last 28 years shamelessly rip off the story beats and characters from the 1988 classic, and for good reason – its a flawlessly created thrill-ride complete with never-better villainy courtesy of Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, combined with Bruce Willis’ smart-mouthed, all-too-human hero.…
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Blow Out (1981)

Though Brian De Palma is probably best known for Scarface, The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible, his genres of choice are horror/thrillers. Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Dressed to Kill and finally Blow Out, all show his bloody nihilistic talents. In another life, De Palma could have been an all time great director, but unfairly he comes off as an Alfred Hitchcock copyist, obsessed with voyeurism, murder and beautiful women.…
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Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Out of sheer nostalgia, Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory gains its place in my top 100 films. Others might debate that Stuart’s film is not accurate to Roald Dahl’s original text, or that Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with eccentric Johnny Depp performance, is superior. Personally I do not care.…
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21 Jump Street (2012)

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are two of the most exciting directors working in Hollywood. Their hyperkinetic style stems from their background in animation. Both cult television show Clone High and 2009’s day-glo visual feast Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs show exactly what these directors’ imaginations can do when the restrictions of reality do not apply.…
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