Blind Spot Series: Gladiator (2000)

gladiator-2000-movie-review-blind-spot-seriesDirector: Ridley Scott

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Runtime: 155 Minutes

Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Tomas Arana

Plot: Maximus was a strong and loved Roman general, so much so that the aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius chooses him to be his heir over his own son, Commodus. A power struggle breaks out and Maximus’ family are slaughtered, leaving Maximus himself captured and put into the Gladiator games. Now fuelled by vengeance, Maximus sets his sights on rising up the ranks and avenge his wife and son.

My Thoughts: My timing couldn’t be more perfect with my Blind Spot choices lately. I’d chosen The Matrix as my choice last month right when a Keanu Reeves obsession hit, and I was over the moon to realise my June pick was Gladiator when I’ve been spending as much time as possible playing Assassins Creed: Odyssey. One thing I hadn’t realised was how long the movie was, IMDB says it’s just over 2 and a half hours but I think I had some kind of special edition because my copy was just a few minutes shy of 3 hours! Why are all these famously amazing movies so darn long?!

Anyway, I’ll get straight to the point. I did enjoy Gladiator, in fact, I got really into it for the last hour or so, but it took me a long while to actually get invested. Call me uncultured (I wouldn’t argue with you) but Maximus’ story was just so similar to Spartacus’, and that’s a story I know in great detail thanks to the Starz! TV Show, which I know came later but cut me some slack.

Once I’d convinced myself to empty my thoughts and just enjoy the movie for what it was, I had a blast. I loved how Maximus managed to get the other gladiators to work together as one unit, and his rivalry with Commodus was intense. I also now know where the line “Are you not entertained?!”. I think where similar movies go all in for the action and choreographed fight scenes, Gladiator delivers some of the best dialogue I’ve heard in a movie. You can sense when someone’s about to dish out a killer speech, and those are the best moments.

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Best Bit: The scene where Commodus is praising this ‘Gladiator’ and asks him his name will be the moment that I always remember the movie for. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Worst Bit: I get that the focus of the movie is the hatred between Maximus and Commodus, but with such a long runtime I would have liked some of the side characters to have got a little more limelight.

Fun Trivia: The wounds on Russell Crowe’s face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.

My Rating: In true gladiator games style, I give it 4 thumbs up!

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blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

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Thursday Movie Picks: Undercover

It’s probably about time I admitted that I’ve been undercover all this time. Secretly, I’m actually a great blogger who writes concisely and elegantly and keeps to a strict writing schedule in order to post consistently. Just kidding, sloppy, incoherent and inconsistent me is the real me – nothing is going to change about that!

I do always try, though, and keeping up with Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks is at the top of my list. This week’s theme is Undercover, and whilst there have been many iconic, serious movies that fit the subject (Reservoir Dogs, The Departed, etc) I’m not going to talk about those today. My picks are pure fun!

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21 Jump Street (2012)

2012 was a magical year for Channing Tatum. He was obviously already well known for the Step Up movies but in 2012 he not only stole the hearts of women everywhere with Magic Mike, he broke those hearts with the romantic weepy movie The Vow, and then cheered us all up with the surprise hit, 21 Jump Street. It’s a remake of an 80s show where Channing and Jonah Hill play 2 cops going undercover as High School students to take down a drug ring. It’s honestly one of the best comedies of the decade!

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Miss Congeniality (2000)

I just love Sandra Bullock. It doesn’t matter what the movie is, if she’s in it I’ll watch it. I haven’t seen Miss Congeniality in years but Sandra basically plays a tough cop going undercover in a beauty pageant, and it’s as funny as you can imagine. It must have done well at the time because they made a sequel, but it’s sadly nowhere near as good as the original…as always!

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Point Break (1991)

Sometime, a week will pass without me mentioning Keanu Reeves. This week is not that week. How can I not mention Point Break?! Keanu plays an FBI agent going undercover as a surfer to catch a group who are suspected bank robbers. I only watched it for the first time recently (before Keanu fever hit, thank you) but it was so much fun! I ended up watching the remake straight after and actually compared them – excuse the self-promotion!

Thursday Movie Picks: Unrecognizable Actor Transformation

Thursday Movie Picks

It’s the first Thursday Movie Picks of the month, and it’s April already! Excuse me 2019 but where do you think you’re going? Can we slow down a little? I’m not ready to face my 30th Birthday yet…

This week in the series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves we’re talking about unrecognizable actor transformations. Sometimes it isn’t enough for actors to mentally transform themselves for a role, they have to change themselves physically too, and that’s really quite incredible to me. Trying to eat sensibly a couple of weeks before a wedding is daunting enough!

Anyway, without further ado, here are my picks this week…

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Christian Bale, The Machinist (2004)

Let’s be honest, we could all fill our lists simply with Christian Bale roles this week. The man is nothing but committed to his job. But none of his transformations shocked me more than his in The Machinist. It’s one thing to lose some weight for a role, but he looked like a corpse! He went down to 110 pounds for the role which is shocking enough, but the role he took on next? Batman Begins! Talk about yo-yo dieting! For what it’s worth, The Machinist is a fantastic, twisty movie. I’ve seen it twice now and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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Tom Hanks, Cast Away (2000)

I spent a long time in the shower hiding from my toddler thinking of options for the theme this week when I suddenly remembered Cast Away. I haven’t seen it for years but it was possibly the first Tom Hanks movie I ever saw. During pre-production, Tom Hanks put on 50 pounds in order to appear middle-aged, and then he was given a year off to transform himself into a real cast away. He stopped shaving and cutting his hair, and shed 55 pounds with a tough diet and exercise regime. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about it.

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Matthew Lewis, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

I can’t talk about dieting anymore, so let’s turn to the biggest transformation shocker of the Harry Potter universe, the moment Matthew Lewis turned into bumbling fool to stunning heartthrob. Okay, his transformation may be something he didn’t really have any control over, but at the time he was living proof for all awkward teenagers that there was hope for us yet!

Review: American Psycho (2000)

american-psycho-movie-poster-2000Director: Mary Harron

Main Cast: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, Cara Seymour & Guinevere Turner

Genre: Crime, Drama

Plot: Christian Bale plays a hot-shot investment banker working in New York called Patrick Bateman. He does his best to fit in with his work colleagues whilst hiding his violent fantasies. We follow Bateman as he indulges further and further into madness. It starts with rude remarks made out of earshot, and becomes much, much worse.

My Thoughts: It’s taken me a whole week to try and put my thoughts into words. American Psycho has been on my watch list for so long now I don’t remember what conversation with who made me put it there to begin with, but I know it’s a well-received movie by many. I’m just not sure I really loved it to be honest.

Bateman is a complete psycho, there is no doubt. To begin with, I actually found the movie quite funny, but I’m not sure I was meant to? Once the paced picked up and Bateman actually committed murder my attention picked up again, and of course, if you’ve seen the movie yourself you’ll know how confusing the ending is. It didn’t sit well with me at all to begin with, but the more I thought about it (and looked it up on the web – not gonna lie) the more it made sense and I appreciated it.

It’s a movie I’m really glad I watched but I know I don’t need to see it again. One thing for sure though is that Cristian Bale put on a fantastic performance!

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Best Bit: Hands down the rivalry Bateman had with his colleagues about the quality of their business cards. It was just so absurd, and as someone with a total obsession with all things stationery related, I can completely relate.

Worst Bit: There’s no particular moment but I didn’t enjoy the first half hour much at all, I nearly gave up. It just took too long to get me interested in the story.

Fun Trivia: Christian Bale was warned by many that it would be career suicide for him to play the lead in a film like this. This only made him more eager to take the part. Fortunately for him, the opposite turned out to be true: Bale’s role in the movie was considered a breakthrough performance, and enabled him to shift his career from supporting roles to leading man status is the decades to come.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 very high-quality business cards, which are far fancier than yours will ever be.

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