Schindler’s List (1993)

schnidersDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Thomas Keneally (Book)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz


Plot: In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: One of the Best


Story: Schindler’s List starts as we see the early stages of World War II in Poland where German Oskar Schindler (Neeson) uses this to his advantage by moving to Poland to start his own business with a Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) where he gives the Jewish people jobs during their exile by the Germans.

Oscar’s business is challenge when the German concentration camps start taking his workers with Amon Goeth (Fiennes) merciless leading the execution of the Jews in Krakow. Oscar has to conduct himself like a business man through this horrific time as he tries all he can to keep as many Jews alive against near impossible odds.

Schindler’s List is always going to go down as one of the hardest films to watch because of the subject matter, but it is also one of the most important films to watch. The film shows the brutality of holocaust during World War II. The fact that this is a true story shows us just how incredible the risk Oscar took to save as many as he could. The direction is flawless the acting is flawless it is hard to say a single bad thing about this movie.


Overall: One of history’s most incredible stories shown in full emotional impact.




Daniel Day-Lewis Weekend – Gangs of New York (2002)

gangsDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay) Jay Cocks (Story)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Lewis, Stephen Graham


Plot: In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Breath-taking Drama


Story: Gangs of New York starts as ‘Priest’ Vallon (Neeson) leads an army of warriors into battles against Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting (Day-Lewis) to see who has control of New York City 1846. The battle is a spectacle with Bill coming out victorious with young Amsterdam witnessing his dad’s death. This is arguable one of the greatest opening sequences in film.

Amsterdam (DiCaprio) all grown up returns to New York in one mission vengeance but since he has been gone Bill has risen to higher powers than he left in. Amsterdam gets shown around by Johnny Sirocco (Thomas) who is low ranking member of the Bill’s gang giving Amsterdam a chance to rise through the gang to get closer to Bill ready for his moment to kill him.

Once discovered Amsterdam gets shamed but that only drives him to build his own army to take on Bill like his father did all those years ago.

Gangs of New York gives us one of the most brutal gritty revenge films of all time, but this is more than just a standard revenge film. There is a sense of honour between the men, the final third of the film where the true identity of Amsterdam is revealed to Bill could easily have been the end but Bill’s honour gets the best of him leading to the final battle. We do have a political side to this film that really does have moments that unless you know history could come off outside the main story we are interested in seeing. Overall this is one of those film that really is something special with how it is all made to give us an amazing fight scenes that feel real with every single swing.


Actor Review


Leonardo DiCaprio: Amsterdam Vallon witnesses his father death in battle against The Butcher as a child, sent away until he returns to New York as he carefully plans his vengeance against Bill. Amsterdam becomes part of Bill’s gang and soon finds himself as one of most loyal men by his side. Leonardo gives a brilliant performance in this leading role giving Daniel Day-Lewis a run for his money.amsteredam

Daniel Day-Lewis: Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting is the most powerful man in New York everyone be it friend or enemy shows respect for him as he takes whatever he wants. He is a man of honour as we see with how he handles Amsterdam’s father’s death. Bill lets Amsterdam come into his gang unaware of who he really is becoming a father figure to him. Daniel gives an Oscar worthy performance here where he only lost out this time around.bill

Cameron Diaz: Jenny Everdeane is an accomplished pick pocket who is one of the only people in New York that doesn’t have to answer to Bill because of the relationship through the time. She becomes the love interest of Amsterdam as they dream of a new life away from New York. Cameron shows that she can pull off the serious side of the film giving a great performance.jenny

Jim Broadbent: William ‘Boss’ Tweed is the man trying to run for control of New York on the legal side, he teams up with Bill to buy votes to show just how corrupt he really is. Jim makes for an ever so reliable supporting actor in the massive cast.

Support Cast: Gangs of New York has a massive supporting cast that has a string of well-known stars including Liam Neeson, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas and Brendan Gleeson to mention a few who all give fantastic performances helping the main characters in their goals.

Director Review: Martin ScorseseMartin is one of the best in Hollywood and this is one of his greatest pieces of work.


Crime: Gangs of New York puts us in the middle of a gang war trying to control the streets showing how they work together at times but against each other another.

History: Gangs of New York gives us a look at New York in 1846 while the characters are based on people it is the look of the film which is the stand out historical side of the film.

Settings: Gangs of New York recreates New York for the time making every single shot look like the actual time period in question.
Special Effects
: Gangs of New York uses brilliant effects to make every single swing in the battles seem real.

Suggestion: Gangs of New York is one to watch, it may well be long but one you really need to see. (Watch)


Best Part: Opening fight.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Opening fight.


Believability: Parts are others are fictional.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for 10 Oscars not winning a single award.

Budget: $97 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 47 Minutes

Tagline: America Was Born In The Streets.

Trivia: Bill the Butcher has a scene with every main and supporting character in the film, a symbol of his vast influence in the Five Points.


Overall: Stunning gang story filled with magnificent fight scenes



Mission: Impossible (1996)

logoDirector: Brian De Palma

Writer: David Koepp, Robert Towne (Screenplay) David Koepp, Steven Zaillian (Story) Bruce Geller (TV Creator)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave


Plot: An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Impossible Made Possible


Story: Mission Impossible starts in Kiev where we watch an undercover mission trying to find out the next level of criminal, the mission run by Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is a success, this just is here to show how well a unit Hunt and his team are. Jim Phelps (Voight) the man in charge of the mission sets out his new mission to collect and stop a new suspect from getting their hands classified information. The mission goes as planned but the escape ends up causing problems when it appears they have become compromised leading to most of the unit getting killed and Ethan being the last man standing.

Ethan is being framed for the failed mission because it will lead the expose of the real crime going on and Ethan has been part of a team that has a mole within his unit. Kittridge (Czerny) the head of the agency believes Ethan to be the mole because he is the only one left standing which leads to Ethan having to prove his innocence and find out who the mole really is. Ethan discovers that Claire (Beart) also survived the attack and that it has something to do with an arms dealer Max (Redgrave). Ethan assembles a new team including Claire, Franz (Reno) and Luther (Rhames) to break into the CIA headquarters and steal what Max wanted in an attempt to prove his own innocence. When Ethan finds out who the mole is he is left shocked and has to take down this person.

Mission Impossible comes into the action genre when James Bond was starting to lose its sparkle and picks up the spy genre making it feel fresh again. We get the idea that we just don’t know who to trust in this team leaving Ethan to figure out what is going on. We don’t know who to trust or who the good guys actually are until the very end. what this Mission Impossible doesn’t do is give us too much double crossing and setting up it just plays out very simple, which is a good thing because today we do get too many films try and throw too many twists into the story and fail to get anything out of it. This will go down as a good introduction to the character Ethan Hunt before the series went to whole new levels which usually involved a massive stunt. (8/10)


Actor Review


Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt is the point man on Jim Phelps IMF team, he gets involved in all the missions but once his team is killed he must find out why and clear his name in a mission that can only be described as impossible. Tom Cruise gives this character what you need, the charm, the physical presence and most importantly he makes the spy game look cool. (9/10)


Jon Voight: Jim Phelps is the leader of team who have been killed but he does seem to have alternative motives. Jon plays the shady character from early on but he always seems to end being the villain in films so his twist reveal doesn’t shock as much as it could have. (7/10)


Henry Czerny: Eugene Kittridge is the head of the agency that is after the mole and sets his sights on Ethan spending most of the film trying to track him down. Henry plays the agency guy well and does play out his side like you would expect an agency guy to be. (7/10)


Support Cast: Mission Impossible has a good supporting cast that includes the first team, the second team and the mysterious Max. Each member of the cast helps with the motivation, building new loyalties for future films and showing the side that will always look to money.


Director Review: Brian De Palma – Brian does a great job directing giving us a fun filled action adventure spy film. (8/10)


Action: Mission Impossible has very well constructed action sequences that are also edge of your seat. (9/10)

Thriller: Mission Impossible keeps you guessing to what the next twist will be from start to finish. (8/10)

Settings: Mission Impossible uses very standard settings that as easy to understand where the action will take place. (7/10)

Suggestion: Mission Impossible is one for all the action junkies to watch as it will still be considered one of the best of a generation of spy films. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Break into CIA.

Worst Part: Comparing it to the latest films it is very basic.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final sequence.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: First of 5 Films

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Bond Movies.


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $457 Million

Budget: $80 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Expect the Impossible

Trivia: While filming the famous scene where Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and hovers inches above the ground, Cruise’s head kept hitting the floor until he got the idea to put coins in his shoes for balance.


Overall: Mission Impossible is one of the freshest action spy films of its time and will easily be remember as one of the best.

Rating 80

Hannibal (2001)

logoDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: David Mamet, Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Thomas Harris (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianna Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Frankie Faison, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri, Zelijko Ivanek


Plot: Hannibal Lector (Hopkins) is still on the run, but Clarice (Moore) has risen up the ranks at the FBI. After a bust goes wrong Clarice is blamed and shamed. Mason Verger (Oldman) Lecter’s only surviving victim offers the FBI a lead and Clarice and Hannibal re-enter a cat and mouse game, this time that travels across the world.


Verdict: A good thriller

Story: Focusing on Hannibal’s new life as a free man and Clarice struggling to maintain the levels expected in her after stopping Buffalo Bill. We get to see a much more monstrous side to Lecter, with glimpse into his past. The story really flows on the support characters motives of greed, revenge, jealousy. I feel this story takes away a lot of what was created in the original, trying to make it more action packed rather than investigatory. (7/10)


Actor Review: Anthony Hopkins – Hannibal who is trying to have a new life where he can welcome in his culture which he lost during his time in prison. Still a haunting performance but really does not get near to the creepiness he achieved in the Silence of the Lambs. (8/10)


Actor Review: Julianne Moore – Clarice a disgraced FBI agent now, whose last chance it to finally return Hannibal prison. Replacing Jodie Foster Julianne struggles to reach the same levels in her performance. Miscasted Award (7/10)


Actor Review: Gary Oldman – Mason Verger out for revenge after Hannibal tricked him it to mutualising himself. Gary Oldman is unrecognisable in the role and even though his scenes are limited he is the highlight of the additional characters. Star Performance Award, Scene Stealer Award (8/10)


Director Review: Ridley Scott – Being one of the best directors in Hollywood he gives a good film but nothing to the same level of his abilities. (8/10)



Crime: Losing a lot of the crime value as it is more Hannibal being portrayed as a good guy who goes too far. (8/10)

Thriller: It has some very intense scenes once everything gets going. (9/10)

Special Effects: Some incredible special effects and that one scene that you will always remember. (9/10)

Believability: Loses some of what was created in the first as it turns into a rich man’s man hunt. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Some very nice scenery used to show Hannibal’s more cultured side. (8/10)

Suggestion: I still would suggest this as I think Hannibal is one of the most iconic roles in screen history. It is not anywhere near the level of the first but with those two scenes that will shock you are a must see. (Watch)


Best Part: Hannibal prepares dinner.

Worst Part: No Jodie Foster.

Kill Of The Film: The Hogs.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: It is still open to a sequel, but has had prequel film and television show now.


Overall: High quality thriller which would be a good solo film but struggles against a masterpiece.