IMDb #204: Infernal Affairs (2002)

Ignore the title’s dumb pun. This is no wacky Jackie Chan cop comedy about a goofy Chinese-American officer who goes to hell to liberate his buddies from the devil’s clutches via kung-fu and seducing Lucifer’s hot girlfriend. Instead, we follow two double lives. One, a young cop tasked to infiltrate a Hong Kong drug cartel — for ten years. … Read more

IMDb #205: Jaws (1975)

This summer blockbuster cancelled millions of beach trips, indirectly murdered millions of sharks, and swept millions of dollars. Thank Stephen Spielberg’s crappy shark prop, John Williams’s timeless score, and the forgettable source novel. We begin with a teen beach party celebrating bonfires and seventies hairstyles. Amorous shenanigans go awry, and a skinny-dipping waif dies theatrically. When the … Read more

IMDb #206: Stalker (1979)

A writer, a professor, and the titular Stalker venture into the Zone, a mysterious quarantined locale like the Chernobyl disaster area except afflicted with *space magic*. The Zone allegedly grants wishes, such as colorizing grainy black-and-white Soviet Russia like a depressing totalitarian Oz. As the nameless characters traverse the grim natural beauty, the Stalker, a glorified tour … Read more

IMDb #207: High Noon (1952)

When the West was Wild, a freshly wed U.S. Marshal takes up the tin star one last time. Why? To defend his life, his wife, and a whole town of ungrateful bastards. Gary Cooper just married Grace Kelly, now he pulls a George Bailey and postpones the honeymoon to get right back to work. Why? Because he did … Read more

IMDb #208: Twelve Monkeys (2005)

Bruce Willis time-travels from (fabulously grungy) underground 2030s Philadelphia to warn the damnfools in the 1990s of an impending epidemic. Being professedly rational damnfools, they consign him to a mental hospital with paranoid schizophrenic Brad Pitt. We witness some incredible acting and the vigorous scrubbing of Bruce Willis’s soapy buttocks. Our hero’s questionable sanity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Understandably, since he gets … Read more

IMDb #209: Shutter Island (2010)

A brilliant psychological thriller set on an island asylum for the criminally insane during a raging hurricane? As unlikely as a successful collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Namely, expected. Jack/Gatsby stars as a scary U.S. Marshal named Teddy investigating a murderess’s disappearance. A simple locked-room mystery (ha, simple) transmogrifies into an experiment in gaslighting, … Read more

IMDb #210: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

A four-hour Indian movie about cricket. This movie’s existence, plus a dozen real-life factors, derailed the Top 250 project for a month. Once I finally buckled down, a peculiar feeling washed over me, completely unexpected. Entertainment. Simply said, Lagann is fantastic. Despite the exotic setting, a rural village in 1893, the story pulses with timeless familiarity. … Read more

IMDb #211: Notorious (1946)

At last, film noir starring the femme fatale. The stone-hearted private dick (this time a G-man snoop) takes a backseat, mostly to create romantic tension for our lovely drunken floozy. The Americanized daughter of a Nazi officer, she receives a special job. Take a Brazilian vacation on Uncle Sam’s dime. Hook up with some Nazi expatriates (ahem: … Read more

IMDb #212: The King’s Speech (2010)

As the British English royal family loses the power to command beheadings and Parliament gains the power to impede legislation, newfangled radio technology connects tea-sipping subjects worldwide. (Coincidence? Evidence says–yes, definitely.) Even in the early twentieth century, the Windsors exist to make public appearances and live in staggering luxury. And sometimes to give speeches, to speak for the people. Bertie, Duke of York and … Read more

IMDb #213: The Terminator (1984)

This blockbuster changed America, and not just by reducing it to skull-littered rubble. It made James Cameron rich. It brought the general public to fear AI and computer scientists to blissfully ignore those fears. Most amazingly, however, it taught Americans to spell Schwarzenegger. Our implacable Austrian cyborg hails from the grimdark future — yet another robot-ravaged wasteland, this time with … Read more