Category Archives: Films – 5 stars

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

It’s not unusual for me to get all bunged up at a powerful or emotional ending of a film. It is unusual for me to cry four or five times throughout the film. Film fans will endlessly debate whether this is one of the best films of all time, but I don’t think there’s much doubt that it’s one of the greatest. If you liked the first two episodes of the trilogy, there is almost no way you’ll be disappointed by this finale. It’s amazing.

Kill Bill, Vol. 1

There’s only one word that can sum up this film for me: iconic. It’s incredibly violent, but also shockingly beautiful. It’s a collection of origin stories, linked by a single revenge story, which is itself yet another origin story. Where it offers sympathy, it also offers doubt. Where it offers mystery and calm, it also offers the certainty of cold steel. Cinematography, choreography, editing, sound design, music…every aspect of the film is lavish and lush. Tarantino is trying to make a statement with every scene, and sometimes with every shot. I know a lot of people are put off by this. It’s self-consciously intense, and that can easily come across as self-absorbed posturing. I found it utterly captivating, though; Vol. 2 can’t come soon enough.

Phone Booth

Brilliant thriller about sleazy publicist Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) who picks up the ringing phone in a phone booth only to find a killer at the other end of the line. The killer has been tracking Stu, and knows all his secrets and sins…and wants Stu to face up to them. He has a high-powered rifle trained on Stu in the phone booth, and he won’t let him leave until Stu has confessed. It’s a fabulously simple concept, executed with supreme confidence. Apart from the opening scenes, which follow Stu on a walk through Manhattan towards the phone booth in question, the entire film is shot in and around that one, claustrophobic location. At just over 80 minutes, the film doesn’t pad the story with sub-plots and diversions: it stays totally focused on Stu, the sniper, and the phone call. The tension it builds is incredible, and it has a powerful climax to match. Truly extraordinary.