"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world." - Jean-Luc Godard
Best of hulu december 2020
Con Air (1997): One of the dumbest but best action movies of the 1990s, Con Air features Nic Cage at the height of his powers as an army ranger who is on parole after serving 7 years for involuntary manslaughter. He is put on a prison plane carrying the world’s most dangerous criminals when the plane is hijacked. Surrounded by murderers and psychopaths led by John Malkovich, Cage has to figure out a way to keep the plane from leaving the US while also trying to get back to his wife and daughter. It’s as stupid as it sounds by it’s a glouriously dumb, fun time. If you’re into ridiculous action movies that are completely self aware you’ll have a great time with Con Air.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999): Stanley Kubrick’s final film before his death, this film was polarizing upon release and remains polarising to this day. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in a heavily erotic mystery/thriller that turns into a descent into madness. Like all Kubrick films it’s meticulously put together and there’s always more going on than meets the eye. I am a huge fan of this movie and think it’s an underappreciated part of Kubrick’s filmography.
Sunshine (2007): The year is 2050 and the sun is dying. Humanity’s only hope to survive is to send an international team of astronauts to the sun to reignite it with a nuclear bomb. The spaceship and crew go missing, so 7 years later a final group of astronauts are sent in a last-ditch effort to try and save the Earth. I always forget how much I enjoy space films until I’m watching them, and Sunshine is one of my favorites of the past 20 years. It challenges our beliefs and makes us examine ourselves and what we think of humanity. The crew is a close-knit group of actors including Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne and others, and is very reminiscent of the crew from Alien in their relationships with each other and their mission.
The Color of Money (1986): The film that finally won Paul Newman an Oscar, Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money is the sequel to the 1961 classic The Hustler which stars Newman as a pool shark. Newman returns as Fast Eddie Felson who discovers the young Vincent (Tom Cruise) and decides to take him under his wing and teach him the ropes of pool hustling. Vincent is Cruise at his most Tom Cruiseiest and soon he and Eddie begin to butt heads, creating a rift in their relationship and ultimately causing the two to go their separate ways. The 1980’s are an overlooked era of Scorsese’s work but The Color of Money stands out as a high energy return to form for Newman, with Tom Cruise dancing around a bar with a pool cue.
The Fifth Element (1997): Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi film follows cab driver Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) who crosses paths with Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), the immaculate being on a quest to find Father Cornelius to save mankind from the evil Zorg (Gary Oldman). It’s a bizarre but extraordinary film with excellent worldbuilding by Besson that is sure to entertain.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003): What to say of The Lord of the Rings that hasn’t been said before? Maybe the best trilogy ever put to film? Peter Jackson brought to life an epic fantasy about courage, perseverance, and companionship. Visually groundbreaking with their uses of CGI and special effects, all three films were nominated for Best Picture with The Return of the King winning the award along with all 10 of the other Oscars it was nominated for, the biggest sweep in Academy history. Yes they’re long, but these films are some of the greatest cinematic feats of the 21st century and it honestly baffles me that not only do they work, they’re spectacular films that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.