Frank Darabont has often compared The Shawshank Redemption to a Rorschach test. Written and executed with exceptional skill, it possesses a power that allows viewers to effortlessly empathize with its characters. It is, perhaps, the metaphor of imprisonment that resonates within us the hardest. We all have things that hold us captive, whether physical, psychological, social, or economical. Shawshank is about hope. If Andy can escape and come out the other side free, so can we. Get busy living or get busy dying. That’s goddamn right.
I wanted everyone, every man, woman or child to realize that they had a choice. I wanted them to know that they have the right to get angry, to get mad. They have the right to say to themselves, to each other, to the world at large, that they had worth, they had value. The speech wrote itself, because that was Beale’s battle cry for the people. 1
~Paddy Chayefsky on Howard Beale’s “Mad as Hell” speech. [Read more…]
Style and substance. Gladiator is a phenomenal revenge drama that earned the Oscar for Best Picture in 2000 (the original screenwriter, David Franzoni, shared the award with William Nicholson and John Logan), as well as Best Actor for Russell Crowe, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound. Long after the CGI fades into nostalgia, or possibly a few laughs, the story will keep this film alive. As Maximus says, “what we do in life echoes in eternity.”
It would be wrong to label Risky Business as just another teen sex comedy. It’s much more than the best that genre has to offer. It’s the yin to The Graduate’s yang. It’s an ideal precursor to Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. At it’s core, it’s a slick satire about guilt, greed and lust. With hindsight in their favor, some call it social commentary on the Reagan Revolution. Above all else, it will go down in history as the film that launched Tom Cruise, and that’s a shame…it has a lot more to offer.
Violence drives Drive… Refn creates a fever dream that sucks you in. Or maybe you’ll hate it. Drive is a polarizer. It’s also pure cinema, a grenade of image and sound ready to blow. 1
It’s rare when twenty-something actors write something so well received, let alone so profitable. Orson Welles did it with Citizen Kane. 1 Peter Fonda did it with Easy Rider. 2 Sylvester Stallone did it with Rocky. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did it with Good Will Hunting.