Die Hard review “Is it a Christmas movie?”

Die Hard PosterIt’s almost December: the yuletide season is upon us and many people are settling down to watch their favourite Christmas films. At this point in the year, it becomes acceptable to watch the best action film, and possibly the most controversial Christmas film of all time: Die Hard.

The film is set on Christmas Eve, as a forlorn looking John McClane (Bruce Willis) arrives in LA for Christmas with his family. His wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), worls for the Nakatomi Corporation in the, aptly named, Nakatomi Plaza. During the office Christmas party, a group of bank robbers led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) break in and hold the building hostage. It is then up to McClane, who is in a separate office to the party, to save the day. Continue reading

MM Top 5: Characters you Love to Hate

After receiving some feedback from the loyal readers of Movie Metropolis, I decided to focus on a more character driven edition of the MM Top 5 series to see how popular something a little less ‘boyish’ would be. After all, I need to represent my female readers too.

So, this fortnight we will be looking at those ‘Characters you Love to Hate’ there’s literally hundreds to choose from, but I managed to whittle it down to the best 5. Let’s take a look.

5. Draco Malfoy: Tom Felton, Harry Potter
5: Draco Malfoy

5: Draco Malfoy

When J.K. Rowling released the very first Harry Potter book in 1997, it was released to critical acclaim because of its dynamic mix of characters and the magical world in which it was set. However, it wasn’t until the first film was released in 2001 that we really saw just how powerful the series had become.

We saw a group of young actors grow up before our very eyes including one particular ‘villain’ who captured the imagination of young teenagers across the world. Tom Felton played Draco Malfoy throughout the series and despite rumours of a re-cast after Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, he managed to hold on until the series concluded in 2011.

Malfoy was everything the school bully should be, slick and slimy, with an air of superiority about him, proving that it wasn’t only the muggle world that suffers from individuals like him. This was of course down to the excellent charisma Felton gave the character throughout the series.

The Slytherin house member got more and more irritating as the series progressed right up until the final film when we realised that he had some inner demons that could not be destroyed easily. For an actor so young, Felton’s portrayal was one of the stand-out parts of a series which is loved universally. I know I loved hating him, did you?

4. Hans Gruber: Alan Rickman, Die Hard
4: Hans Gruber

4: Hans Gruber

Is Alan Rickman the ultimate actor to play a character you adore, but hate in equal measure? It would seem so; after all he played the brilliant Severus Snape in Harry Potter and here, he lands at number 4 with Hans Gruber, the villain from Die Hard.

Throughout the course of Die Hard all you wanted was Bruce Willis’ increasingly irritating cop John McClane to be killed and unbelievably, he’s lasted another four films with possibly more to come, yet Rickman’s entertaining character meets a rather sticky end. Sorry Mr Willis but Mr Rickman really stole your crown in 1988 and his influence is still felt today. The British thespian was definitely the right choice to play Gruber, his German accent is completely on point and his strange charisma meant that whilst he was a man to be feared, he was also one to be admired.

Gruber’s official description is ‘criminal mastermind’ which seems perfectly apt considering he is the head of a German terrorist gang who are as ruthless as they come. He is a character you definitely love to hate.

3. The Joker: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight 
3: The Joker

3: The Joker

Heath Ledger’s mesmerising performance in The Dark Knight ensured that it stood above nearly every other superhero film that had ever been released before and still does so today, despite the constant onslaught from Disney and their yearly Marvel releases. Whilst Christopher Nolan’s second attempt at directing the caped crusader was far too long, Ledger’s creepy portrayal of one of the most loved villains ever meant that it never felt like a drag.

Things were turned up a notch for The Dark Knight with the Joker losing his almost humorous edge, to be replaced with sheer terror, a crazed man not to be messed with. Jack Nicholson’s turn as the Joker in Tim Burton’s take on Batman was well received but Ledger’s added another dimension to the proceedings. It was this depth that was attributed to the actor’s depression before his death aged 28 in 2008.

As was the case with Hans Gruber, Ledger’s Joker stole the spotlight away from the film’s lead character to such an extent that audiences really didn’t care about the scenes without the clown-like villain involved. An excellent performance, making us love and hate a character that had previously been side-lined as another cardboard villain.

2. Miranda Priestly: Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
2: Miranda Priestly

2: Miranda Priestly

Meryl Streep is the best actress alive today, fact. A pretty bold statement you’re probably thinking, but every film the performer has a role in proves to be a success and fashion rom-com The Devil Wears Prada is definitely no exception.

The film, based on Lauren Weisberger’s rather uninspiring novel exceeded expectations in 2006 and became one of the biggest hits of the year, grossing over $300million on a budget of just $30million. Directed by David Frankel and with Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci being cast in lead roles, it was bound to be a film worth watching.

What audiences weren’t prepared for however was Streep’s undeniably excellent performance as the cold-hearted Miranda Priestly, based loosely on Vogue editor Anna Wintour. It’s widely reported that Wintour was deeply unhappy with the film, but has since warmed to Meryl’s portrayal.

Her psychological bullying of Anne Hathaway’s Andy Sachs became a sick highlight throughout the course of the film and audiences lapped it up with word of mouth being one of the movie’s best advertisements. Towards the end of Prada we saw a softer, more reasoning side to Priestly and by the finale, we understood why she is the way she is, but that didn’t matter, she was already loved and loathed in equal measure.

1. Darth Vader: James Earl Jones, Star Wars
1: Darth Vader

1: Darth Vader

It is testament to this character and the actors who did such a wonderful job bringing him to life that he has appeared at the top of two MM Top 5 lists, previously being the ultimate Movie Bad Guys.

Darth Vader who played Star Wars’ original villain has become a figure of society since A New Hope was released in 1977. The iconic mask, the breathing and that unique voice all came together to create one of the best film characters of all time, one which I doubt could ever be matched for sheer Love/Hate value.

Voiced by the excellent James Earl Jones and portrayed in the flesh by David Prowse, Vader was a symbol to teenagers and adults alike – look what happened when you turn to the Dark Side, you become awesome! I think to most people, the Rebel Alliance were like the group at school that you never wanted to be seen with: the geeks, the nerds, the football team – in my case. Therefore, by association it was always the cool kids you really wanted to be with; e.g. Darth Vader and the Dark Side.

There we have it, 5 Characters you Love to Hate and what a bunch of vile cretins they all are – you just can’t help loving them though. As always, leave a comment and vote in the fortnightly poll, I reply to them all.

An Honourable Mention:

Xenomorphs – The Alien Franchise

Severus Snape – Harry Potter

Loki – Thor/The Avengers

Scar – The Lion King