Saturday, April 4, 2009

Top 30 most anticipated movies for 2009

That's right, 30. I'm so excited for this year I couldn't confine the list to 20.

#30:Terminator salvation
The new Terminator movie shouldn't be exciting, due to the involvement of one McG. However, the addition of Christian Bale gives me hope, and the trailers set this world up as being dark, destructive, and dystopia in it's finest. Plus, there's a huge robot. That's enough to keep me satisfied for 2 hours.

#29:Let The Right One In
Dir:Tomas Alfredson
This is a bit of a cheat putting this one on, because while Let the Right One in was one of the most acclaimed movies of last year, it took it's time getting back over the Atlantic. Slated to release here next weekend, Let the Right One In follows the story of a boy named Oskar, who is bullied at school. He befriends a vampire, called Eli. This is apparently a movie that turns the vampire movie on it's head, something the big hit movie Twilight didn't do last year, with a dark, twisted tale of friendship and bloodsucking. I am dying to see this.

#28:Sherlock Holmes
Dir:Guy Ritchie
I may be the only person in the world who liked Rocknrolla, but I did. Ritchie's visual style was fantastic, and it was just fun. It gets me excited for this, as I think Ritchie can pull off something like this with a good script. You add Robert Downey Jr. to the mix, as well as one of my favorite actors, Mark strong(also in Rocknrolla) and I'm there.

#27:Citizen Game/Crank:High Voltage
Dir:Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Speaking of fun, It's a tie!! But you should forgive, as these are two movies directed by Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine promise to counter balance the death and destruction we should get in Terminator by giving us two over the top action movies. Crank: High voltage follows Chev Chelios(now winner of the greatest name of 2009 competition, played by Jason Statham) as his heart gets taken and replaced by an electrical one(!!) which means he's gotta electrocute himself to stay alive. Citizen Game, is about a multi-player role playing game where actual people are being controlled by kids at home on their computers. one player, Kable, wants out. Violence ensues. and the only person who can out man the Stat? That's right, Gerard butler. Can't wait.

#26:In The Loop
Dir:Armando Iannucci
A comedy about war, Armando Iannucci's debut feature length film is trying to recreate the success of something like Dr. Strangelove. and with great lines like ""Climb the mountain of Conflict"? You sound like Nazi Julie Andrews." it could very well do.

#25:500 Days of Summer
Dir:Mark Webb
Rom-com. Gordan-Levitt. Deschanel. Sounds good.

Dir:Anna Boyden and Ryan Fleck
Anna Boyden and Ryan Fleck, the writer/director pairing of Half Nelson, seem to be encroaching on the same territory as they did with Half Nelson, covering the story of one Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a Dominican baseball start trying to make it big in the states, and that's fine by me.

#23:Taking Woodstock
Dir:Ang Lee
I don't love Ang Lee. I love Brokeback Mountain, but Crouching Tiger, the other film of his I have seen, didn't captivate me the way it captivated everyone else. However, I don't know a lot about the festival of Woodstock, and with a cast containing Emile Hirsch, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and my favorite Paul Dano, I'm excited.

Dir:James Cameron
The hype for this movie is so huge, that I can't help but be wary. However, I know that James Cameron knows what he's doing, and hope he can make another Terminator and not another Titanic. but I'm still wary.

#21:The Lovely Bones
Dir:Peter Jackson
Sorry FLY, #21 is not, in fact, Hannah Montana. It is Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones. I know Mr. Jackson mostly for his blockbuster work, such as Lord of the Rings and King Kong, so I don't know how well he can handle this material, but we'll see.

Dir:Jim Sheridan
Let's get this out of the way first, I am frightened to death about this cast. Gyllenhaal, Mcguire, and Portman is a trio no director should ever want. But It's Jim Sheridan, who directed two films I love (In America and In the Name of the Father) and the story is interesting, so I will look over the cast. Hopefully this will work.

#19:The Brothers Bloom
Dir:Rian Johnson
Speaking of brothers, I've got the Rian Johnson movie on here. While the trailer does nothing for me and the cast, while good, also does not a lot for me( great job casting Kikuchi, not sure about Brody) but it's Johnson, how I think made a modern masterpiece with Brick, so I can't help but be excited.

#18:44 Inch Chest
Dir:Malcolm Venville
the reason I'm looking forward to this can be described easily, Ray Winstone. A brilliant actor, I always rush out to see Winstone in anything, which gets me excited for this. It helps that John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, and Ian Mcshane are involved, and that the few images I've seen makes my image of the film look brilliant, but we'll see.

17:Fantastic Mr.Fox
Dir:Wes Anderson
I might as well confess now, I have never seen a Wes Anderson movie. and the cats, with Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, and Jason Schwartzmann is good, but doesn't excite me. The only reason this is so high, is the book. Probably my favorite Roald Dahl novel, I am very excited to see this played out on the screen.

16:A Serious Man
Dir:Joel and Ethan Coen
I am a huge fan of the Coen's, but it's no surprise that they aren't up to their usual standard lately. I was slightly underwhelmed by No Country, and really underwhelmed by Burn After Reading, but I have high hopes that they can redeem themselves(then again I always have those high hopes.) The story of a rabbi whose life is unraveling looks interesting, especially since the cast is made of complete unknowns.

15:Public Enemies
Dir:Michael Mann
Michael Mann, doing the story of John Dillinger, a notorious bank robber who, well, robbed banks in Chicago in the 1930's. Johnny Depp is John Dillinger. Christian Bale is Melvin Purvis, the man on his trail. The trailer is pretty awesome. I'm excited.

14:The Informant
Dir:Steven Soderbergh
Hehe. Matt Damon is fat in this movie.
I have loved Soderbergh ever since I saw Che last year, and hopefully this, the story of an informant in a large but possibly illegal corporation, keeps up his winning streak.

Dir:Pete Docter
There's a house flying through the air on balloons. There's a dog that has a collar which allows him to speak. There's a grumpy old man. But most of all, there's Pixar.

12:Up in the Air
Dir:Jason Reitman
Jason Reitman, director of Juno, returns for another quirky comedy about a man with a goal of picking up frequent flier miles. I am not so sure about George Clooney, an actor I like but don't love, in the lead role, but Juno alumni Jason Bateman is also involved, and I place my trust that Reitman can pull this material off.

Dir:Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
While I will cop to having never seen Amores Perros, but I love 21 Grams and Babel holds a special place in my heart being the first film I saw as a film fan(i.e. not animated Kiddy fare) You add the great Javier Bardem, which, having seen No Country for Old Men recently, is a brilliant casting choice.

10:Shutter Island
Dir:Martin Scorsese
I can just go to #9 right?

9:Tree of Life
Dir:Terrence Malick
Another very obvious choice, Terrence Malick's fifth film, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, seems to be another ambitious movie. About trees. I think we all know what to expect from this. However, I do like both leads and, Malick does shoot nature very well.

8:Broken Hugs
Dir:Pedro Almodovar
Pedro Almodovar's new film is always an occasion, cause you never know what he's gonna come up with. Reuniting with Volver star Penelope Cruz, for a movie that according to imdb, has no plot, should be very much like Almodovar's other films. Which is fine by me.

7:Inglourious Basterds
Dir:Quentin Tarantino
While my enthusiasm for Quentin Tarantino is not as large as many people, I still love most of his films. This one, about the "bastards" a group of US soldiers who went around killing and brutally scalping Nazis in occupied France, is a script that Tarantino had been working on even before he made the Kill Bill movies. I hope that means "amazingly perfect" rather then "I couldn't finish it because It's impossible to do right but I'm doing it anyways" but I have my hopes. As a side note, one of my favorite actors, Michael Fassbender(who gave the best performance of last year as Bobby Sands in Hunger) is in a small role in this.

6:Green Zone
Dir:Paul Greengrass
Inglourious Basterds, pretty much considered by most film fans the most anticipated movie of this year, #7. Green Zone, a movie that's fallen of the map for most people, #6. While there hasn't been any movies that have gotten the Iraq war subject right yet, I think that if anyone can do it, it's Greengrass. I love the two Bourne movies he made, Supremacy and Ultimatum, and can't wait for this, an adaptation of the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

Dir:Park Chan-Wook
The other vampire film on my list, Thirst is continuing the trend that Let the Right One in started, that of reviving the vampire movie. Park Chan-Wook, director of Oldboy, is one who I love, and the trailer looks absolutely brilliant.

4:The Road
Dir:John Hillcoat
I don't think there's been a better pairing of Director, actor and material then this. The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel about a man and a boy walking down the road, seems to fit the style of John Hillcoat, best known for his apocalyptic western The Proposition. and I'm not sure I can think of a better fit for the man then Viggo Mortensen.

3:The Limits of Control
Dir:Jim Jarmusch
I'm kind of surprised this made it all the way to #3, but That's what it did. I have been in love with both Jarmusch and star Isaach de Bankhole ever since I saw Ghost dog, and the trailer is amazing. The rest of the cast is amazing as well, with John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Gael Garcia Bernal, and the great Bill Murray.

Dir:Atom Egoyan
Another choice that's strangely high, maybe because I have no idea what this movie is about. The trailer doesn't help at all. Is it a terrorist plot, is it about this kid, is he making it all up? I am dying in anticipation for this.

1:Where the Wild Things Are
Dir:Spike Jonze
My number one, however, is an obvious choice. Take Spike Jonze, easily one of the greatest directors working today, add one of the most beloved children's books ever made, plus a great cast, and the movies already great. And yet this movie looks like so much more then the sum of it's parts.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

PTA/GVS marathon #2:Drugstore Cowboy.

"Most people don't know how they're gonna feel from one moment to the next. But a dope fiend has a pretty good idea. All you gotta do is look at the labels on the little bottles. " Bob(Matt Dillon)
Drugstore Cowboy is a movie about four people who spend their days robbing pharmacies to feed their drug addiction. We follow their escapades as they avoid being caught by cop Gentry(James Lemar) deal with one member who is not in sync with the overall group, and to make sure that there is never, I mean never, a hat put on a bed. It is a very different movie to the other ones about drug addiction, movies like Requiem for a dream, because here drug addiction isn't displayed as a wasteful life where you would crawl into the gutter for illegal drugs(or maybe the worst toilet in Scotland), instead a life that contains thrills and spills, but is also dangerous for all involved, like what Goodfellas did for gangsters. sure it isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better then being Renton from Trainspotting(remember? this is the guy who didn't choose life?)
Here we are presented with characters that break through the cliche before it existed. Characters that can keep their drug addiction and their sanity, to still live reasonably ordinary lives.
And it works, well. But I couldn't help leaving a bit disappointed. It's a good movie, definitely, but I was expecting this to be a very experimental Van Sant film, one in the lines of Elephant or Paranoid Park. to see this movie played straight was a bit of a let down, and especially since I think the filmmaking does nothing substantial to the movie. It is good, but I couldn't see Van Sant's style in the movie. I think I may need to see this one more time to fully appreciate it, but I wasn't as taken with this as I thought I would be.
It was more a story I took the ride with, watching these people try to sate their addictions, to stay away from the destructive lifestyle of a lonely drug addict. wondering what was going to happen after the group is hexed(Dogs. Don't mention dogs.) the hexes were the most interesting part of the film, with the largest hex not being described fully, a nice touch, and after one gang member rebels, and hexes the group on purpose, to watch their operations go into decline horribly(Sheriff's convention. Who could have guessed?). It also has a shocking and disturbing ending, one that catches you off guard but makes perfect sense. It was a movie I was caught up in.
Yet it did nothing for me. I have no interesting things to say about Drugstore Cowboy. It's just a pretty good drug movie. However, Matt Dillon is amazing in this. He perfectly embodies this man who thinks that drugs are the answer to life, who can't stop thinking about the next score, and who can't let go of his superstitions. He makes Bob distant, but believable, which in a role like this is perfect. the supporting cast does their job well, with no real stand outs, at least for me.
I can recommend this film, as it is a well wold story, but with the pedigree of Van Sant bringing nothing interesting to the table, I was incredibly disappointed.
Verdict: A well told story, but where the hell did Van San go?

Friday, March 6, 2009


"The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout 'Save us!' And I'll whisper 'no'" Rorschach(Jackie Earle Haley)

Hmm...So many ways to start this review. I could start by talking about it's long and torturous creation process, which went through directors such as Terry Gilliam, Paul Greengrass, and Darren Aronofsky(who was on the project twice). Or I could mention the director Zack Snyder, who has been given the monumental task of appealing to fanboys, with a track record of just Dawn of the Dead and 300. Or maybe the comic itself, a complicated mix of post apocalypticism, heroes who aren't heroes(I think it was Snyder, I may be wrong, that said that this world is one where "Superman hates people, Batman can't get up, and the villain is the one who wants peace.") and subtle messages, beautifully written and drawn up by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. But I think I'll just talk about all the ways I could start this review(Wait a moment..)

I'm split in two halves about this movie. In one corner, I loved it. It perfectly recreates a novel I love, while updating it, at least stylistically, to the modern day, and not loosing the overall feel of the book. It doesn't leave out any important parts, only little things change(When Laurie is taken by Jon to mars, he meets her in another room, he isn't standing outside the ship) but the main themes still resonate with the audience, which is what the movie was going for in the first place. Many of the scenes are really effective, most noticeably the final scene with Rorschach. Then there's the action scenes, which were well made.Plus, it contains my two favorite Bob Dylan songs of all time, which was nice to see.

But there are problems as well. From the trailers, this has been advertised as a very high octane, action movie. It is not. You know that awesome scene with Rorschach and the police in the trailer? That lasts two minutes. And is one of the maybe three action scenes, which all last about two minutes. This is a movie about people talking, and that works well. But there were moments I just wanted to shoot it. Sometimes the music screamed so loud it hurt my ears(although sometimes the music is good, like when Dr. Manhattan is confronting his past on mars.) and some scenes, I think of a certain sex scene involving a flying owl ship, are just embarrassingly awful, and didn't need to be shown. We could have just skipped it but noooo, Snyder wanted it shown. and it was awful to watch, mainly down to execution.

Snyder, however, doesn't hold back for the kiddy vote. He doesn't reveal in the violence of a man's dog having his head split in half, but he's not afraid to show it. He doesn't however, show complete faith in the source material. He is faithful, taking out parts not fully needed to the story, (like the kid and newspaper stand owner, however they do get a cameo.) He feels the need to hollywoodise some, though maybe not all, of the scenes, giving this overbearing sense that he can't let the film breathe on it's own. Doing this sucks all the subtlety and, while the film looks beautiful, it lacks substance. This is what I was afraid of.

Now I usually I don't like to spoil movies, but here, I feel I need to. So if you haven't seen the movie our read the book, please skip to the next paragraph. I feel, and I'm alone on this, that the ending is completely compromised in the movie. So there's no squid, instead there's just a bomb, so there's no difference, right? But for me, the reason I call this novel a masterpiece(and I do call it a masterpiece.) is the image of dead bodies strewn around New York, bodies lying on the streets, pouring out of windows, it's amazing, and absolutely horrifying to look at. The way that Moore builds up tension by focusing on the side characters we meet in the novel, to see them come together at the same place, all to disappear in a flash of light, replaced by bodies and blood, It's amazing, especially because it is so much worse then what has come before. However, when I saw the bomb explode, and it's after-effects, I just said "So that's it? Thanks Zack Snyder." so the world gets compacted like a car in a trash yard, it isn't as bad as what was there before it.

The ensemble here works effectively though. Jackie Earle Haley, as Rorschach, is incredible. So is Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. They all nail their characters. The other three, Billy Crudup(who has the hardest role by far), Malin Akerman, and Matthew Goode are all serviceable. They aren't brilliant, but they play their characters well.
What I want to see though, is the Paul Greengrass version of Watchmen. I think he works in Hollywood but in a very unHollywood style, and would love to see what he would do with this material.

This was a disappointment.

Verdict: On one hand, this is a very faithful adaptation of a great novel with fantastic performances. One the other hand, Zack Snyder makes this a very Hollywood affair, the wrong way to go with something as complex and deep as Watchmen.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grizzly Man

"I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder." Werner Herzog.

I don't watch a lot of documentaries. I've seen a couple, but none well known or very memorable(with the exception being last year's Man on Wire). I have just never been one of those people who really get into documentaries. So to see a movie like this is such a revelation for me, because I thought docs were just people telling a story to the camera, the strength of the doc being what they were saying. This is really a compilation of images, clips, and interviews, all trying to grasp at something.

This movie could have gone a lot of ways with the Timothy Treadwell story. It could have explored Treadwell's fight against the government or people trying to kill the bears in the wilderness. He could explore just what Timothy did in the wilderness. But Herzog is doing something else, something much more interesting. He seems to be grasping for something, looking for the drive that Timothy Treadwell had in him to live among what Herzog thinks is a very destructive landscape. He is circling Timothy's character through Timothy's friends, his parents, people who thought he was nuts, his archival footage, and himself.
Herzog doesn't let this become a talking head doc. He does make himself acknowledged by not placing the camera directly on a close-up of someone or by having it in the same place every time they speak. He also makes himself acknowledged in the conversation once or twice, but doesn't get involved other then the compiling of footage and the voice-over narration.

And Herzog pulls it off really well. He puts great clips of Timothy, each one focusing on him more then the bears(you'll notice there are a lot of foxes, more then you would've thought, I think because Timothy cannot get as intimate with bears as he can with foxes.) and the strange drive that caused him to live in the wilderness on end. We get little tidbits from Timothy's life, each one adding to the next, giving us a picture of him and yet really leaving us with nothing but our own thoughts.

Verdict: The first doc I can really recommend to people. Fantastic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PTA/GVS marathon film #1: Punch-Drunk Love.

"Shut up! Shut the f- up! Shut up! Will you..Shut Up! Shut, Shut, Shut, Shut, Shut up! Shut up! Now, are you threatening me?" Dean Trumbell(Phillip Seymour Hoffman)

We open on Adam Sandler. He's not quipping, not making jokes, not even relaxed. he's uptight, straight, uncomfortable. He's talking about some deal, something about frequent flyer miles. Is it important, I don't know. It's too early in the movie too tell. After the call, Barry Egan, Adam Sandler's character goes outside to look at the row of cars that lay in front of him. They start out of focus, then turn into focus. We then get a going around the corner and looking down the street. Silent and tranquil, it could be described as a cutaway. If only PTA had decided not to crash a car down the street. Disturbing the peace of the scene, it comes as a surprise. To us and Barry Egan. We then see another van, in a desperate attempt to get rid of evidence, leaves a piano on the sidewalk. Barry looks at piano. Piano doesn't move.
The phone call is the most important part of that scene.
It's surreal. It jumps and twists in ways physically incapable to a world like this. This isn't earth. this is Punch Drunk Love world.
Wait, this is a PTA film, right? Not Gus Van Sant? You sure?
My god it's surreal. It gets down to these eccentricities on display from Barry Egan. He gets mad, breaks windows, breaks down crying at random moments, and all during his sister's birthday party. He doesn't seem to be able to interact with anybody without being uptight and awkward, without feeling put on the spot. At one point he even says to one of his sisters, when trying to explain why he won't meet a girl whose interested in him "I feel like I would be put on the spot." You're always put on the spot deal with it.
No one seems to understand this world except for maybe Adam Sandler. Well, he doesn't really understand it, he just lives with it. He captures the eccentricities of Barry Egan, of this world, and yet his character doesn't seem to know what they are. You've got character's questioning him on and on about the pudding and the piano and he hates it because he doesn't have an answer to it. He doesn't, unlike every single other character in the movie, question his existence. He just goes with it.
Other then him, no one really knows. The only person who is seemingly is comfortable is Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because not only does he make sure he is detached from the surreality, but he's Phillip Seymour Hoffman, so he really kind of seems to be on top of everything. However, we never know if this is the case or just his personage.
But it's not just the characters, but also PTA who doesn't seem to understand. His camera doesn't understand. His script doesn't understand. his editing, well it kind of understands. No one understands.
This movie is amazing. You just have to go with it instead of fight it. Just say, "I'm going to go for the ride with you", and you will love it.
PTA just lets the movie move at such a fast pace. Two scenes have Barry Egan juggling four or five things at a time. One has him dealing with sisters while working with clients, more a preliminary scene to the main scene with multiple things happening, where he is trying to juggle his sister, her friend, the workplace, and a sex phone line person(what are they called?) who is blackmailing him. Nice.
This was such a huge surprise, as I thought I would love magnolia and Boogie Nights more then this. I still could, but this will be hard to top.

Verdict: This movie is so strange, and so wierd, but if you go with it, it is an amazing experience. The word is surreal.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


"You probably think this world is a dream come true, but you're wrong!" Cat, Keith David.

Coraline is the seventh film by The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. About half the people reading this just did a spit take. The Nightmare before Christmas director Henry Selick. Not The Nightmare Before Christmas director Tim Burton. So why then, is it called Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas? See, Tim Burton has spent his life trying to create his masterpiece. And while he has made some solid films(Ed Wood and Batman come to mind) he still hasn't made his masterpiece yet. Henry Selick did it in one film. Burton was so jealous that he used his producer status to put his name on the film. Here, with Coraline, Henry Selick has moved apart from Tim Burton but is using the same sort of material.
So is Coraline better then The Nightmare Before Christmas? To be honest I've never seen The Nightmare Before Christmas (I called it a masterpiece based on popular opinion) But when I do, it has a lot to live up to. Coraline is a beautifully made, but dark and twisted tale. It was so refreshing to see a children's movie that wouldn't brighten up for its audience. Wall-e did it last year by portraying the future as a desolate, over-consumerised wasteland(literally) and now in Coraline, whenever we are not in the dream other world, the colors Selick uses are Dark. He doesn't shy away from portraying creatures you see in, say, the final "game" Coraline plays with the other mother.
Plus there's the little things that Selick does. For example, one scene has Coraline, in her boredom, stepping on bumps on a carpet, trying to flatten them out. Later we see her jumping down the stairs and finally flattens the bumps, but Coraline doesn't notice this nor does Selick focus on it, which is his genius. It is also apparent in on line of the This is Giants song that appears in the middle of the film a bit of foreshadowing. "She's a BUTTON in the EYE'S of everyone who ever laid their EYE'S on Coraline" Is it just me, or is Selick playing with our minds?
Of course, I could also talk about how Selick could be commenting on family dynamics(The mother is the controlling force in the other world) or dictatorships(People's emotions are twisted to keep the facade of the joyful world) but why should I? Reviews for movies like this are useless. Like Rachel Getting Married, this is a movie that should be experienced, not dissected.

One point I do want to make is that, like many people, I saw this film in 3D. I think this is the future of 3D, or at least should be. Instead of being one of those "look ma, I'm in 3D" movies where things jump out at you (I assume My Bloody Valentine is like this, but I didn't care to see it.) this film uses 3D to create depth in the frame, heightening the beauty of the stop-motion animation. Cameron, take a page out of Henry Selick's book. It will make Avatar so much better.

Verdict:A beautiful stop-motion animation film that solidifies Henry Selick's position of being better than Tim Burton.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Usual Suspects

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist." Verbil Kint, Kevin Spacey.

Who is Keyser soze?
This is the question that resides over the film The Usual Suspects, and one that resides over pretty much every review of this movie ever written. This question is The Usual Suspects.
I feel I'm in a unique position to critique this film. A year ago, I was reading the special cops and robbers edition of empire when I flip to the results of the reader poll for the top 20 cops and criminals in movie history. And there it is, staring me in the face, At number three, the character in the movie who is Keyser Soze/Keyser Soze. There was no attempt to hide it. It wasn't in the fine print. Any random person flipping through pages would have suddenly known the one of the greatest twists in film history. So I came into The Usual Suspects completely immune to the twists and turns it was portraying and saw it more as a work of art, as it's own self contained piece. Not leaving the theatre in love with it just because it duped me(which it probably would have).

And that I think is the problem with The Usual Suspects. The whole movie relies on how shocked you are by the twist ending. Otherwise it is a normal crime caper. It really is just this film where layers are put on for layers sake and when you take away those layers you find out that there really is nothing there. But it's the peeling of these layers that does provide a satisfaction that lasts throughout the movie. And when these layers reach its climax and we learn the truth, it is a great moment.
The difference between this and another huge twist ending movie of the same decade, Fight Club, is that Fight Club could still be a great movie without the twist, but with it the movie enters the cultural lexicon. Plus there's the fact that Fight Club can sustain the twist but doesn't feel burdened by it. Take away Keyser Soze, and you lose the point of The Usual Suspects. Learn who Soze is before seeing the movie, and you will not be blown away by it. The Usual Suspects IS Keyser Soze.
One thing that did impress me, but did not blow me away, was Bryan Singer's visual style. He conjures up some great imagery and some really nice shots, but never lets any of this invade the storyline, which in a film like this you can't do.
But for the real stars, well I have four of them. The first is, of course, Keyser soze, which I have talked ad nauseum about. The second is Gabriel Byrne, who I personally think is much better in Miller's Crossing and is put in the position here as well to be the core of the film (because we all know Spacey wouldn't do that) and he does that well. While not breathtaking, his performance was very good and stood out to me.

The third is my man Benicio Del Toro, who I think is one of the greatest actors working today. He makes a bold choice to make it so that the audience can't understand a thing he is saying, in a film where you are required to dissect every piece of dialogue no less. He is incredibly fun to watch and though not as subtle as he is in some of his later works, he is fantastic.
The last is probably going to come as a bit of a shock, as no one agrees with me on this one, but I think this man is the most overlooked actor working today, and that is Pete Postlethwaite. He plays the lawyer Kobayashi, basically Soze's right hand man. I just love watching him say this dialogue. He just has sucha sense of pathos that you feel that every word that leaves his mouth is important. Please look for him more often as he is a fantastic actor.
Everyone else here is good, and while Spacey stumbles at times, when given great dialogue (Like the line I put at the top of this review) He doesn't miss. And I think that anyone who doesn't know the ending of this movie should check it out, especially while you're naive and innocent. but if you do know, there really isn't any point in seeing this movie.

So can someone please tell me, Who is Keyser Soze?

Verdict: A simple crime drama that has only entered the cultural lexicon because of who Keyser Soze really is.