Originally a spinoff of the critically-acclaimed, Battlestar Galactica, this show eventually transformed into its own breed of political subtext, virtual dystopia, and human flaws. Set as a prequel to Galactica, Caprica centers on the relationship between two powerful families of the time: the Adamas and the Graystones. The show’s creator, Ronald D. Moore, strove to create a film noir set against the backdrop of a Greek tragedy. Although it often contained too much melodrama, the show was ultimately about the events that led to the creation of the cylons: humanity’s greatest mistake. During its short run before cancelation (Two complete seasons), the show was able to weave ethnic tension, religious conflict, terrorism, and radicalism together to form a cohesive plot. If you are new to Battlestar Galactica, then I would start with this.
There is very little I have to say as the movie speaks for itself. At one point in our lives, we were all kids, and we watched animated movies nonstop. Although it isn’t that popular of a movie today with critics, the film still holds up just fine with those who enjoy revisiting their childhood every now and then. The main character Odette, a princess, is put under a spell by the evil sorcerer Rothbart who forces her to become a swan during the day and a human only at night. As the dashing Prince Derek tries to save her from the spell and Rothbart’s evil plans, music numbers abound. Watch this on Netflix now and see what made you laugh and smile as a kid long ago.
Released to very mixed reviews, this film was considered one of the low points in Martin Scorsese’s bright career. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a U.S. Marshall by the name of Teddy who is assigned to a missing person case at an islanded psychiatric facility. In my opinion, this movie did not deserve the mixed reaction it received. Although it isn’t one of Scorsese’s best, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Putting most of the effort in creating atmosphere, film noir elements, and a puzzling plot to confuse the viewer until the very end, Shutter Island unfortunately leaves emotional resonance behind. It is a flawed picture, but a damn good one at that. If you want a film that will keep you guessing until the end, you have to check this one out.
Being John Malkovich
This is one of those rare movies that left me speechless at the end. Directed by Spike Jonze and starring John Cusack, John Malkovich (Yes, the movie is going to get a little meta on yo ass), and Cameron Diaz, this film begins with a very basic plot. The main character Craig Schwartz discovers he loves a woman that isn’t his wife. But when Schwartz stumbles onto the kooky 7 ½ floor of an office building in New York City and discovers a literal portal into the actor John Malkovich’s mind, things start to get incredibly weird. Inside of this portal, anyone who enters it is able to control John Malkovich in real life and be another person for at least a short time. Putting a unique turn on the common theme of self-dissatisfaction, Jonze creates a beautiful picture that combines both fiction and reality. I guarantee you will never watch a movie like it ever again.
Most likely required watching in any film analysis class and widely considered one of the best police films of all time, the Clint Eastwood acted film is directed by Don Siegel and paved the way for the film series. Dirty Harry is not necessarily a police procedural but still was a large inspiration for others. More of a character piece than a movie, Homicide Inspector Harry Callahan is tasked with the duty of hunting down the Zodiac-inspired Scorpio, a sniper who has killed five people already. As he continues the case, Callahan quickly discovers that if he wants to bring the killer to justice, he might have to go outside of the restrictive legality of law enforcement. The film also contains an effective, atmospheric acid jazz soundtrack that works as an exceptional partner to the bleak urban environment of San Francisco. Do I even need to repeat the famous line?