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110. L.A. Confidential – Christmas 2018 (#107)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Phil Bagnall, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, a Christmas treat. Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential.

In fifties Los Angeles, three very different police officers discover their lines of inquiry converging as they uncover a deep and sprawling web of corruption and inequity.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 107th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The Artist

It’s funny that The Artist should end up being so accessible. It’s a black-and-white silent film, shot in an abandoned aspect ratio, set in old Hollywood from a French director. It sounds like an exercise in arthouse excess, and yet it’s easily one of the most charming and engaging stories in recent memory. It’s hard to put a finger on which part of the film works so well, so I’m going to opt for a massive copout: they all do. It’s a love letter to cinema, but not necessarily to “classic cinema” – the movie feels pretty timely for a story set in the twenties. In short, if you are any sort of cinephile, do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t regret it.

Released just in time for New Year’s, it seems like 2011 might have saved the best for last.

Now THAT's Entertainment!

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Non-Review Review: The Green Mile

I never really responded to The Shawshank Redemption. I’ll go into why exactly if I ever get around to writing a review of it, but perhaps the fact that I never really embraced the film as strongly as most film fans (or even just, y’know, people) is the reason that I am somewhat fonder of The Green Mile than most. The Green Mile is admittedly as guilty as Frank Darabont’s early Stephen King adaptation set in a prison when it comes to emotional manipulation of its audience (look at us humanise the prison guards by having the three of them tackle a mouse in a borderline comedic fashion!), but I find it a lot more honest about its inherent darkness than that tale of redemption in Shawshank.

No, it's not a halo, but it's pretty close...

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Non-Review Review: Surrogates

Surrogates is a solid actioner with some great ideas, a recycled plot and an above-average director. In short, it’s quite satisfying for what it is. Perhaps beating Avatar to the punch (and certainly dealing with its core ideas in a much more interesting fashion), it imagines a future where human beings can interact in the real-world much as they interact on line at the moment. Denying genetics or lifestyle, they are able to craft a robotic body double to their own design (skin-colour, age, sex, weight, height) to send out into the world, allowing them to live via uplink. You could live your entire life without ever leaving your bedroom. It isn’t exactly a new idea in science-fiction, but it’s certainly a big idea for an action movie to tackle. Thankfully, it manages very well.

You know it's a messed up future because Bruce Willis has hair...

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Non-Review Review: W.

Oliver Stone famously rushed just about every aspect of this production in order to get it into cinemas before last year’s November election. Does that affect the movie? It does and it doesn’t. It doesn’t in that Stone seems to have a clear image of the President in his head and it’s perfectly captured on screen. It does affect the movie in that Stone has to choose an arbitrary cutoff point for his movie, since he can’t end it with the end of Bush’s presidency. So he chooses the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 to serve as the film’s ending. That point arguably suits the central thesis of Stone’s psychological profile of the man, butit also serves to make that thesis seem heavy-handed or forced. The other side of that coin is that I doubt the Stone would have been able to market and sell the film for a few years after the end of the Bush administration, and the fact that so vintage a diretcor as Stone can still make such a raw and energetic film is a testament to his abilities (that some of us may have doubted after World Trade Centre and Alexander).

bush

Misunderestimate at your peril...

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Non-Review Review: Star Trek – First Contact

I love it when the movie channels have an unexpected treat for me. Like coming home from work on Saturday and finding Star Trek: First Contact playing in high definition on Sky movies. Also known as “the only good Next Generation movie”, the film stands the test of time well and is – thus far – the only movie in the franchise that all my family can agree on. It is awesome.

"You're all astronauts... on some kind of... Star Trek?"

"You're all astronauts... on some kind of... Star Trek?"

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