M.D.D. has written 15 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • American Beauty

    American Beauty

    ★★★★

    This is one of those movies that I remember moments of quite well after so long, but hadn't returned to due to a vague sense of it having unsettled me as a tween. Re-watching it now I am struck by how it is the sort of pitch black yet earnest satire that Hollywood doesn't seem to want to make any more, and that's before even touching on the retroactively eerie Kevin Spacey performance considering the direction his legacy went. It…

  • Dracula

    Dracula

    ★★★★

    Always been my favourite Dracula adaptation though Herzog's is probably the better film objectively. What this one lacks in narrative lucidity it more than makes up for with a barrage of sumptuous visuals and scenery chewing. Keanu got a lot of flak for his admittedly half-assed accent but I always thought he was a good choice to capture the downright comic naivety of Jonathan Harker, and needless to say Oldman, Hopkins and all are no slouches. Probably the last film Coppola made that carried through the brilliance of his earlier career.

  • Wall Street

    Wall Street

    ★★★★

    It's a testament to Oliver Stone's talent as a screenwriter that he managed to make an engaging thriller out of watching all these assholes in suits screw each other fiscally which feels more like an action movie than it has any right to. I suppose the performances help sell it too, but it's striking how almost all of the leads actors' careers mirrored the characters in a gradual but steady decline over the following decade or so.

  • The Abyss

    The Abyss

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Michael Biehn is pretty much the only exception to the "Jim Cameron writes terrible human antagonists" rule. Holds up better than I imagined in spite of the enduringly corny last few minutes that is only slightly improved by the addition of the tidal wave sequence.

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    ★★★★

    Onwards with the Winslet binge! This one offers all the hallmarks of a comedy in a collage of madcap introspection and self-aware zaniness that packs a surprisingly devastating punch to the gut as well. Kind of the other side of the coin to the Reader when it comes to chronicling the collapse of a relationship and its consequences, I found the unlikely sci-fi spin within the plot surprisingly unobtrusive and Jim Carrey once again reinforces his dramatic chops in a sort of meta-humorous context.

  • Revolutionary Road

    Revolutionary Road

    ★★★★

    After seeing a parody trailer that edited a bunch of footage from this into a hilarious Titanic sequel promo I knew I had to see it, and sure enough it delivers on the strength of the performances alone. American Beauty director Sam Mendes was the perfect choice for this adaptation of a supposedly much better novel though, keeping the tension and emotional gravitas high in an almost awkwardly personal examination of a deteriorating marriage in a suburban 50s setting. Keeping…

  • Freeway

    Freeway

    ★★★★

    Residing neatly amongst a string of offbeat road movies that were often as bitterly humorous as they were cruel and unusual, this one follows the lineage of Natural Born Killers and the Doom Generation in a queasily entertaining yarn centred around a deranged cat-and-mouse game between Kiefer Sutherland's perverted serial killer and Reese Witherspoon's no-nonsense ward of the state. Briskly paced and a particularly 90s brand of cynical, it manages to reorganize tropes like the heroine's trailer trash family background…

  • The Cotton Club

    The Cotton Club

    ★★★★

    I thought I'd dig into some of Coppola's less celebrated films after the Godfather Coda in the hope that time had been kind to at least some of them, and sure enough, his follow-up to the commercially underwhelming Rumble Fish was similarly slept on upon release but saw a gradual reappraisal that culminated in a re-edited and expanded director's cut appearing a few years ago. Even in this version which was considerably better received, it is easy to see how…

  • Catch Me If You Can

    Catch Me If You Can

    ★★★★

    I avoided watching this one for years because for some reason I expected something a lot more vapid than what I got, which is silly because it wound up being the exact sort of clever comedy/drama that Spielberg does best. Almost two and a half hours flies by due to the sharply drawn depictions of its characters and exhilarating pacing. Performances expectedly top notch and just the right tone of pathos and amusement throughout. Would make a cute double bill with Wolf of Wall Street!

  • Rain Man

    Rain Man

    ★★★★

    Solid comedy/drama I haven't seen since I was a kid, and upon re-watching felt more like it leaned towards the latter genre. Is this because the perception of autism has changed so much since the late 80s that Hoffmann's character seems unusual to play for laughs, or perhaps because a comedy about this subject would probably not get made these days? None the less, there are a number of great moments between the two leads, Cruise was at the peak…

  • Alien Resurrection

    Alien Resurrection

    ★★★★

    This is the only alternate version of the film I've seen that I feel is genuinely superior to the original and would have improved its initial reception. Jim Cameron's Special Edition of Aliens weakens the pacing considerably, and the less said about Ridley Scott's Director's Cut of the original the better. Besides the infinitely cooler opening title sequence the edits are mostly minor, but serve to flesh out the characters modestly in spite of Joss Whedon's occasionally insufferable dialogue. Ultimately…

  • A Night to Remember

    A Night to Remember

    ★★★★

    Years of curiosity regarding this film's depiction of events I have a little too much experience studying finally gave way shortly after a re-watch of the 1997 film recently. Not only did I have a childhood obsession with the Titanic but I also was in middle school when Cameron's film came out, which is all you need to know really. Anyways, this was a similarly high budget affair and was better received critically, though its mark on the box office…