Mike has written 23 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • Requiem for a Dream

    Requiem for a Dream

    ★★★★★

    You'd think there was no upside to doing drugs.

    Oh, and I'm never watching this again.

  • The Big Lebowski

    The Big Lebowski

    ★★★★★

    It's testament to the power of this film that even though I hate, loathe, detest drinking milk, I will drink a White Russian.

  • Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    ★★★★★

    Did I watch that or just dream it? It sure felt like a dream and pretty much had my usual dream topics: Scarlett Johansson in underwear, My Bloody Valentine, Scarlett Johansson, playing golf with Bill Murray, drinking Japanese whisky with Bill Murray in tuxedos, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Superman wearing a liquorice Elvis suit saving Playmates from 12-foot weiners and mustard monsters. Wait. Not that last one. Wait. They were in Japan, so that last one might just be applicable.

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    ★★★★★

    Can't wait for the sequel, B.S. the Bill-Shock, a legal drama where our favourite alien battles IT&T on Sigma Vega Nine in order to try and get his/her/its phone bill quashed. Our hero rails in a space courtroom that's outta this world! He/she/it proves along the way that despite costing a fortune in connection and per-minute fees, getting stranded on an arse-end planet in the galactic outback has taught him/her/it valuable life-lessons about alien-boy love and the importance of an appropriate roaming plan. A stuffed and mounted Elliott makes a cameo appearance as Exhibit D. It'll be a riot.

  • Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    ★★★★★

    Some films diminish over time. Some films stay the same. And some films grow.

    Like this one. A sweet little rom-com, watched first time at face value: laughing with Bill Murray, yearning for character growth, fawning over the idea of Andie MacDowall's character, too perfect for words, feeling happy when it all works out.

    Then I watch it again and again and again and it's so much more: a sci-fi metaphysical mind-melter. The horror of forever repeating that one day, the prison; yet also the capacity for growth, the freedom that being a god in your own little universe brings.

    Genius.

  • City of God

    City of God

    ★★★★★

    Flat out, full on, a rush. Masterful handling of multiple threads, weft to perfection, showing superb control of the form of film and story, but also not forgetting the human element. This is unmistakeably 21st century cinema in the technical sense, built from the learnings of more than a century of putting moving images together. Emotionally, however, it is timeless, Shakespearean.

  • A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    ★★★★★

    By turns epic and farcical, this is a harrowing, challenging, stark and, most importantly, thought-provoking window through our thin veneer of sensibility into our basest nature. It says a lot that even 20 desensitising years after I first saw it, the film is as draining as ever.

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future

    ★★★★★

    This is one of those movies. One where you leave the theatre still wrapped in the magic it created, a wrapping that I'm not sure ever totally disappears. One where subsequent viewings don't diminish the aura, only increase it. One that sets a standard, forever a comparison for other, usually much inferior, movies. One where its genius moves into everyday usage: maybe a line or two of dialogue, maybe a prop, maybe whole concepts, maybe something of everything. Yep, one of those movies.

  • Blue Velvet

    Blue Velvet

    ★★★★★

    How do you do it, Mr Lynch? How do you craft a movie that feels like dreams and nightmares and reality all rolled into one? How can you take such an All-American setting, a story that has its roots in the Hardy Boys, a thriller-mystery of the type that's the basis for thousands of tales, a teenager undertaking a journey into an adult world of mystery, love, lust and dread and twist them all so thoroughly and disturbingly to create this, almost perfect, cinema? How do you do it?

  • The Iron Giant

    The Iron Giant

    ★★★★★

    Possibly seen as uncool by the mainstream, seeing as it isn't the hyper-rendered computer generated imagery that we all come to expect when we hear the word "animation" now (you've got a lot to answer for Pixar), this is as far from uncool as you can get. A modern-day fairy-tale, told with warmth and wit, set during the Cold War and going deeper than many films, let alone animated films, manage to venture.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    ★★★★★

    Technically and philosophically astonishing. Bravura storytelling that tackles the most primal questions we have: who are we? Why are we here? Yet it doesn't deign to tell us the answers: we have to work them out for ourselves.

    Every shot is sublimely composed and every take considered; maybe too considered for some. The special effects are still special. Forget the reeling stars and rumbling engines — in space, no one can hear you at all — the static camera, the barely moving model, the velvet black feels like Outer Space.

  • Alien

    Alien

    ★★★★★

    I blame this film for my irrational fear of investigating mysterious crashed spaceships on dark, barren planets.