Archive for December 26th, 2009

G0 (1999): Christmas eve in LA is the setting for three interweaved stories. A drug deal goes wrong. A trip to Vegas goes wrong and a pair of actors are forced into helping the police. The connections between the three stories feel natural not contrived. The direction from Doug Liman (who went on to make The Bourne Identity) the film is well paced and edited. There are some great comedy moments but it is the great acting from the young little know (at the time) cast elevate this film to near greatness.

Die Hard (1988): How different it all could have been, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds and Richard Gere all turned down Die Hard before Bruce Willis got the part. Everyone knows the story: Officer John McClane of the NTPD flies to LA to spend Christmas with his wife and kids who have moved there for her word. During the office party heavily armed terrorists take over the building with only a shoeless John McClane to stop them. The film made Bruce Willis an action star and reinvented action movies but the real reason to watch it is for Alan Rickman’s brilliant performance as Hans Gruber the leader of the terrorists.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999): Set in the days leading up to Christmas, after his wife confesses that she was once tempted to cheat on him, doctor Bill Hartford spends the night in New York meeting a strange array of characters. This culminates in him gate crashing a surreal ritualistic orgy. Behind all the gloss and opulence and the dreamy exterior this is a gritty and real story of love, sex and relationships. The performances from real life married couple (at the time) Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are first rate. The film ends with Alice and Bill Christmas shopping, whilst they appear to have moved on from their problems there is a real scene that things will never be the same again. Based on Traumnovelle (Dream Novel) by Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler the film retains a lot of ambiguity and works best on a psychological level.

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