Despite the fast paced growth of technology, the ever evolving social dynamics of society, and they way that the world just keeps on moving forward, it is impressive to see films whose message and delivery manage to stand the test of time. Michael Mann’s crime movie, Heat is one such film. Starring an amazing cast headlined by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, this movie hits all the key points of a good movie (acting, cinematography, screenwriting, and so forth), while also managing to keep its finger on the pulse of the viewers.
In Inside Man, Clive Owen plays a mysterious leader of a gang of thieves that manages to rob a major bank, stage a hostage crisis, and in the ensuing chaos, have an almost perfect plan for getting away. The best part of it all is that despite the elaborateness of everything, nothing seems to have been stolen. Now that may sound like we’re already spoiling all the good stuff that Inside Man has to offer, but it’s not. The movie has a lot more intriguing and wonderful twists leading up to the very end. And take our word for it: every single step in this highly elaborate setup is worth the reveal.
Point Break is more than just a series of bank robberies and the gang that commits them. It is about the high-speed lifestyle of surfers always looking for the thrill. These are career criminals whose main objective is not the money, but the thrill and excitement that they get from high adrenaline situations. At the same time, their own rebellious principles makes the concept of ‘sticking it to the man’ by robbing banks as something that they need to do for themselves. In the end, they are all still criminals, and one undercover cop must decide which side of the law he will fall on.
There is a reason why the labels “movie” and “documentary” exist, and that’s because they are two different names for two different things. Public Enemies is a movie that tells the story of real life criminal, John Dillinger, and the man tasked with taking him down, Agent Melvin Purvis. The movie is based on real life events, more particularly, a book by Bryan Burrough about the era of crime in American history which gave rise to the FBI. Director Michael Mann does an amazing job of marrying historical facts with the malleability of Hollywood storytelling, pushing and tweaking chronology and other details while preserving the merit and spirit of the events that actually happened.
The main plot of The Bank Job revolves around a conspiracy of the British government to acquire scandalous photographs from a safety deposit box from a prestigious bank (the film was set in 1971, so yes, photographs were physical and having the film dictated how many prints there will be). Of course, since the government just cannot send their agents to take it in broad daylight, they task someone shadier to get the job done. This central plot of the movie gets even more interesting when you realize that it was based on an actual robbery. Of course, film storytelling does have creative license, and figuring out which is real (and which is not) is more than half the fun.
Batman is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic superheroes there ever was. And Christopher Nolan’s second film about the caped crusader is considered by many as one of the best Batman movies ever made (and it would have been a perfect Batman film if only the filmmakers told Christian Bale to stop doing that stupid voice). In this sequel, Batman has become an established vigilante in Gotham, with many criminals wary of his activities. However, the arrival of a new player in the criminal world flips the balance, and Batman finally meets his ultimate nemesis.
The Godfather is the marriage of a best-selling novel by Mario Puzo and the cinematic vision of director Francis Ford Coppola. It features an ensemble cast with stars such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan and Diane Keaton. Set in the 1940s, The Godfather will transport you to the glory days of the Mafia, where family always comes first and everyone outside that small circle is a threat. It is a story of a father and his sons. Don Corleone is retiring and he needs a worthy successor. His eldest is weak. Fredo (John Cazale) fails to fill in his father's shoes so the responsibility falls upon Michael. Though reluctant, the youngest Corleone aims to edge the family business towards legitimate ventures. However, his new role as a budding patriarch brings his personal life ever closer to destruction.
In Donnie Brasco, a young FBI agent goes undercover to infiltrate the mob. Directed by Mike Newell, it stars Al Pacino as rough spoken Lefty Ruggiero and Johnny Depp as his protégé, Donnie (who is actually the FBI agent, Pistone). This is a story about loyalty, lies and an unintended friendship. It is tragic and, at the same time, glorious. At one point, Pistone proudly declares that he has successfully infiltrated Sonny Black's mafia faction. All the while, his marriage is falling apart and he is getting unprofessionally attached to his old mentor. Things get even more risky when Black becomes a boss himself. Pistone's unsavory friends suspect a mole and are getting mighty suspicious. He knows that one false move will cost Lefty his life. How much is their friendship worth?
Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs is proof that not every blockbuster needs a hefty budget. It is a fine blend of acting talent, a bold script and a pace that keeps you engaged. The story starts with a bang and continues in a non-linear fashion as you try to guess along with the, literally, colorful cast of characters. Why colorful? Crime boss Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) hired six men to pull off a supposedly fail-proof diamond heist. In order to keep anything personal from getting in the way, all six men are strangers and they are given code names such as "Mr. Blonde", "Mr. White" and so on. Unfortunately, things do get personal. The cops show up on cue, unmistakably tipped off by someone in the group. Bullets fly and things get messy for criminals, cops and civilians alike. Paranoia is in no short supply from here on in as the remaining criminals attempt to figure out who smells like a rat.
With a film as great as The Godfather, it's no surprise it inspired several sequels. Part II takes a look into the life of Michael (Al Pacino) after the passing of his father. Though not a part of the new patriarch's timeline, Don Vito also makes an appearance here as his younger self. Played by Robert De Niro, Don Vito offers us a peek into how things could have been if Michael resists being consumed by the darker side of his life. As with movies in the genre, there's rarely a happy ending. Throughout the film, we see Michael's loved ones slowly lose him to the web of lies and deceit, elaborately woven to keep the family business relevant. He loses him humanity along with his family until only those who fear him remain by his side. It is a fantastic fall from grace, filled with scenes that will tug at your emotions.
Even more furious than the last film, Furious 7 is as much a tribute as it is a high octane film. With only part of the scenes filmed before series star Paul Walker's tragic death, Director James Wan enlists the help if his two younger brothers to complete the movie. A fitting decision, as the series always values family over all else. Aside from Paul Walker, Furious 7 is filed to the brim with familiar faces. There's Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and many others. Aside from its undeniable star power, makes this movie such an entertaining watch is its over the top action scenes, not to mention the director's propensity to let million dollar cars fly from one building to another. Furious 7 is not only another triumph for the series, it's also a fine way to remember the talented actor.