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Director Ridley Scott Starring Michael Douglas, Ken Takakura, Yusaku Matsuda, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw

Michael Douglas has always had this air of bad-arsery but never has it ever been as pronounced as it is here in Black Rain. This film stands out for a number of reasons, mainly because it breaks the mould by taking a straight-forward U.S action / cop drama and placing it in Japan but also because it highlights the cultural difference between the two countries, and makes the behaviour of both Nick Conklin (Douglas) and Charlie Vincent (Garcia) look quite shameful. Instead of the methods of the Japanese police being portrayed as inferior so the heroic American’s can save the day it’s really a fish-out-of-water scenario, and despite presumed prejudices on both sides at the end of the film each comes to learn to respect the other and consider them an equal.

The script is written quite well, the performances of the Japanese cast, especially Takakura and Matsuda are just as good as their Hollywood counterparts and though it’s a forgotten Ridley Scott film it, for me personally (because I really, really like it) has aged quite well and stood the test of time.

MRD 8 of 10

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Director Doug Liman Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

I’m not a Cruise fan by any stretch of the imagination, but even I have to admit that he does an admiral job here doing the same thing he’s always done but making it work for whatever genre the film happens to be.

Is it convenience that he and the film gelled or is his adaptation to his surroundings deliberate? Either way he and Blunt make for a good futuristic alien-fighting team as they use a rare gift to turn the tide of battle and save earth from taking over planet earth.

Though it may be a bit generic in areas its plot is interesting and director Liman keeps it chugging along despite the headaches the endless repetition of scenes might present. The ending was a bit so-so but it doesn’t detract from the thrill ride the previous ninety-minutes gave us.

MRD 8 of 10

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Director Joel & Ethan Coen Starring Jeff Bridge, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, Josh Brolin

Ever come across a film (or more than one, like me) that you just find to be perfect? Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for westerns but True Grit just does it for me. It’s a part of a count-on-one-hand exclusive club of recent films I consider to be a personal treasure, and if I were to sit down and work through the inner turmoil I wouldn’t be surprised if it were one of my all-time favourites.

Everything about it works perfectly. The cast, their characters and the performances they give are spot-on. The script is flawless, it’s paced exceptionally well and the score fits in every scene. Some might say the original is the better of the two, and I don’t blame anyone for believing that, but I have to be honest and say I don’t have any plans to actively seek it out as I already know it’s not going to top this one.

MRD 9 of 10

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