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113. Once Upon a Time In America (#70)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, 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, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America.

Drawn back to New York City from a decades-long exile, retired gangster David “Noodles” Aaronson discovers that the past is not buried nearly as well as he might like. Navigating a complex web of secrets and betrayals, “Noodles” is forced to confront sins past; both his own and those dearest to him.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 70th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The American

The American is a slow-moving introspective film. Director Anton Corbijn seems to be trying to evoke Sergio Leone, with the story of an American hired gun lying low in a small Italian village. Slow-moving and subtle, The American feels quite meditative for most of its runtime, although it does occasionally seem almost comatose. Still, George Clooney makes for a convincing leading man, adding a great deal of depth to an archetype we’ve seen countless times before. While it’s a little too slow for its own good, it’s never less than beautiful and often fascinating.

Beautifully shot...

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Meme of the Moment: Double Feature Blog-A-Thon… or why I should never be allowed to run a cinema…

Hey, I was invited to take part in the latest movie blogger meme by the wonderful Marc over at Go, See, Talk. The idea is to pretend you run a movie theatre and schedule a week of double-bills for that cinema. There are no other rules, save for the fact that you run a triple-feature on Sunday. So I peered into an alternate universe where I was allowed any sort of responsibility, and came back with a handy brochure for Cine-Moi, the exclusive high-end movie theatre experience that my alternate self has somehow bamboozled his way into running (not into the ground… so far). Let’s see what a typical movie schedule might look like.

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Secret Shame: Classic Films We Haven’t Seen…

One of the things about having a blog is the fact it takes a significant amount of self-confidence to publish. I mean, even if you’re just doing it for own sake, it still takes a great deal of faith to put something out there for others to see and read. To be honest, I’m not sure I properly consider myself a “critic” and certainly not an “expert”, at least not in a sense that requires big inverted commas. I don’t like to think that I make statements of cinema, and I hope (perhaps with a hint of arrogance) that I might contribute in some way to some discussion about cinema somewhere. Still, I’m always a little bit embarrassed at all the great films I haven’t seen. I feel like it diminishes me in some way, not even as a blogger or any nonsense like that, but as a film fan.

Getting in deep with my classic movies...

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Memory Lane: The Joys of Channel Surfing…

Hello dear reader. I’m very sorry. It’s going to be a relatively slow week at the blog here, I’m afraid. That blasted real world keeps getting in the way, as it must from time – I’m preoccupied with various boring concerns, and my attention to cinema perhaps isn’t as finely honed as I might have liked. Even over the weekend, although I took the occasion to treat the better half to her first viewing of The Queen (which I suspect I liked far more than she did), I found myself without a clear idea of what I was going to watch. I hadn’t made a note of anything, or decided to revisit a particular classic, or seek out an important film, or even overheard somebody in work talking about a cult or classic film. Indeed, I didn’t have any idea what I was going to watch. So I decided to just turn the television on and see what it was that home entertainment could offer me this time.

My childhood was a bit like this...

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Three is the Magic Number: Why Do We Like Trilogies?

Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing all three films in the Matrix trilogy. I sat down yesterday, watched all three back-to-back and wrote reviews of them. As I did, I found myself thinking about how nice the concept of a “trilogy” is. It’s even a nice word – it sounds much better to say “the [insert film name here] trilogy” than it does to say “the [insert film name here] tetralogy” (or, to quote the Alien films, “quadrilogy”) or even the more generic “[insert film name here] series.” So what is it about sets of three movies that we like so much?

Looking for a stellar trilogy...

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Non-Review Review: Rango

I quite enjoyed Gore Verbinski’s Rango, even though I was never quite sure what to make of it. While it isn’t quite as strong as the typical Pixar fare, the film compares rather well with some of Dreamworks’ better output over the last number of years.

A prickly customer...

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Non-Review Review: For a Few Dollars More

Early in the movie, our anonymous bounty hunter, Blondie or The Man With No Name or whatever you want to call him, wanders into a tavern looking for his target. Identifying the bandit gambling at a table, inches from an impotent sheriff, the hunter wanders over to his mark. He silently grabs the cards and starts counting them out. The hardened criminal stares up silently, and he plays along. The game is poker. The two men settle their hands and trade their cards. The villain lays out his cards on the table. It looks good, and then the stranger reveals his cards. Of course, his hand is better. The gambler at the table looks up to this drifter who has so silently intruded on his game. Apparently behind the audience, he asks what the stakes were. As it always is in stories like this, “Your life.”

You know how it ends.

Sometimes you have to take the Good with the Bad...

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Non-Review Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Another film, another only very vaguely controversial decision from Darren. I actually prefer Kill Bill, Vol. 2 to the Kill Bill, Vol. 1. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Japanese samurai swords, massive brawls, over-the-top violence and kitchen knife fights as much as the next man, but there’s just something about the second half of this “roaring rampage of revenge” which appeals to me.

Careful with your knives at the table...

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Non-Review Review: The Good, The Bad & The Weird

That was fun. Really, pure unadulterated fun. A skewed trip through the Sergio Leone Westerns with the ingenuity of Raiders of the Lost Ark thrown into the mix, filtered through a modern Tarantino-esque filter of pop cultural awareness and thirst for action and violence. It’s a jumble of a million and one different things, a fresh and mostly original cocktail that leaves a rather pleasant taste in the mouth. If it doesn’t quite measure up to the classics it seeks to emulate, it can take great pleasure in the fact that it is a much more fitting tribute than anything Hollywood has produced in the last two decades.

Naked gun...

Naked gun...

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