Thursday, 16 February 2012


To celebrate the release of 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close', starring the legend that is Tom Hanks, this weeks 'DVD Rack' take some choices from his classic career.

PHILADELPHIA (1993): One of the most moving performances from Hanks or any actor ever seen in cinemas. Playing a man battling AIDS and discrimination from the workplace Tom turns up the notch as he puts his heart and body into this work. He deserved every carat of his Oscar for this one. Standing alongside the 'other' top male actor of the nighties (Denzel Washington) the pair brought magic to the silver screens. From Bruce Springsteen's epic 'Streets Of Philadelphia' opener around town to Neil Young's deep 'Philadelphia' ending, this is an American classic. Harrowing yet inspirational and moving and real, this really was the genuine article that fought the fight that no one should have to, and still it won.

FORREST GUMP (1994): Sure, people didn't like John Travolta's Oscar snub for 'Pulp Fiction', but realise that Hank's performance as Forrest was as iconic as the film itself. So Hank's deserved the second back-to-back Academy win after legend Spencer Tracy. Critics have tried to have their say but nothing defines the nighties more then this movie. In fact it defines past generations and many of it's young viewers futures with lashings of history and inspiration. Mixing real-footage with the movies most incredible moments, this picture brings to life everyone from Elvis to John Lennon. From military service to playing ping-pong, the actor who's played it all, played a character who really did it all (like the chocolates you never knew what you where going to get from this mans life). A fictional figure, that somehow seemed real in a story that captured the history of America and the world over the decades. Smarter then he looks and as sweet and charming as they come, this movie matched this in all it's tone. It had important statements to make too. Truly, timeless, truly classic. We hope 'Forrest Gump' runs on and on through the next generations.

THE GREEN MILE (1999): Just when you thought he had done it all, Hanks raised the bar yet again and starred in this epic that took Stephen King's chiller pages to the screens and spines of it's audience. A film like no other, this movie about prisoners on death row is both disturbing and inspirational. The drama features some of the best acting from Hanks, Barry Pepper, David Morse, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell and James Cromwell but it was Michael Clarke Duncan who proved to be larger then life in this role. This three-hour film really takes you on a journey, through happiness, sadness, elation, hope and introspection. You'll laugh, cry, and be glad you took the time to witness a modern great.

ROAD TO PERDITION (2002): Tom Hank's followed the Denzel Washington, 'Training Day' trend in this one and played his first anti-hero. Yet the nice-guy Hank's could never fully cross over to the dark-side (it even seems strange watching a guy like Denzel do it, I guess that's why they gave him the Oscar) as he played a gangster that we felt sorry for, going on the run to protect his son from James Bond (or should we say Daniel Craig). 'American Beauty' director Sam Mendes gave us an accurate adaptation of Richard Piers Rayner's graphic novel and old America. This acclaimed movie brought out great performances from Jude Law, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Hoechlin and the late, icon of all legends Paul Newman. Dark, gripping, tense but heartfelt this brings the action and drama at a hard-hitting, Tommy-Gun pace. A sure-fire hit.

CAST AWAY (2000): How can one man acting alone hold our attention for so long in a film? Well, easy if that one man's named Tom Hanks. This Robert Zemeckis classic was controversial in it's popularity but anyone who likes a movie that take a gamble that pays off will love this. Hank's accompanied by a volleyball called Wilson plays all the problems and potential that comes with a part like this perfectly making this movie a real success. This isolated acting probably helped Hank's in his development of his following classic 'The Terminal'. This 'Cast Away' brings hope, inspiration and tears to the eye (even if 'current hit 'Bridesmaids' jokes about it). Helen Hunt also gives a trademark top performance but it's Wilson who wins the best supporting actor on this one even if he remains Charlie Chaplin with his acting. Hanks is the real career survivor however with a tough-role that shows the man can make the best of any situation or script he is given. You have to hand it to Hanks, there's no one like him. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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