Anybody wanna split a case?
Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are a happy, and young married-couple that like to let the good times roll, enjoy the night-life, and drink non-stop. It’s all fun and games for them, that is until Kate goes too far and decides it’s time for her to cut it all out and get her life back on-track. She does, but with most sobriety tests; there’s always perks somewhere to be found and that’s the problem Kate and her hub, will most likely run into.
Movies about addiction are nothing new, and 9 times out of 10, that is usually the case. Flight took everybody by-storm because every person that saw it, thought it was a realistic and disturbing look at alcohol addiction. Those people weren’t necessarily wrong, but they weren’t necessarily right either. Rather than getting into a debate about this and that movie, I’ll just state that this movie is a more-realistic look at addiction, the steps it takes to come out of it, and how the people around you influence you the most. In Flight, all we cared about was whether or not Denzel was going use the mini-bar or not. Once again, not bad, but not as humanizing as this movie is.
What I liked so much about this flick, is the way that writer/director James Ponsoldt approaches this topic, this story, and these characters, and he never really frowns upon them or makes judgement. You can tell that this dude, whether or not be him or somebody close to him that he might have known, might have gone through the same exact problem of addiction, and it shines through this movie because nobody ever seems to get the terrible-look that most movies make the mistake of. Of course there are a couple of characters that show-up here and there, and are just as sneaky and dirty as you’d expect, but they aren’t caricatures that are all about sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and brew, they just like to have a good time, even if that means they end-up sleeping on a couch in the middle of the street.
Ponsoldt seems like he has a clear head on his shoulders when it comes to showing us what it’s like to go through a problem like addiction, moving on in the world, and trying your damn near hardest to get through it. Like this flick presents, it’s not that easy and usually, it’s like freakin’ hell, but the movie never seems to glamorize the life that these people have made for themselves. They get drunk, they get stupid, they get wild, and they forget about it the next day, and go through the same cycle. It’s just the way of life for some people, and that frank, but honest look at the reality of the situation, is what really resonated with me. I’m not saying that it made me think twice the next time I go to my buddies’ dorms and decide to throw back a couple of Natty’s, but hey, at least it gave me the view on what it’s like to be a person that has a problem such as this, and what it’s really like to get through it all.
But I can’t continue to go on and on and on about this movie without mentioning the person that really makes this movie fly: Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Winstead has shown-up in a bunch of movies, done her thing, but never really lighted the screen-on-fire. Sure, she was pretty awesome in Scott Pilgrim, but if that’s the only claim-to-fame for her to have, it isn’t anything showwy for her. That’s where this role for her comes through and shows us that yes, she can act. Winstead is amazing as Kate because she never loses her own self of living throughout the whole movie, no matter how much she is at the bottom of the bottle. She does get insane-o drunk sometimes, and always goes too far, but you always feel for her because you know she is a nice person and would never, ever do anything to hurt a fly. That’s why when things start to change for her and she starts to think twice about drinking all of the time, we really feel for her and we really stand-behind her, no matter how hard it is to stick with the sobriety. There are a couple of scenes where I thought her drunken-act was a bit much, but she still nailed it in making us worry for a person, that we knew didn’t deserve this type of a problem, but then again; who does? Kate could be you, could be me, could be your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your dog, your cat, your pigeon, anyone. That’s the whole point of this movie, or at least what I thought it was, and that’s where Winstead really shines through the most.
Aaron Paul plays her hubby that’s always drunk and always acting like an ass, but he still has a nice presence to him where you feel like he is a nice guy, really does love his wife, and wants what’s best for the both of them, but just can’t put down the bottle. Once again, Charlie is probably like anybody we know, but he still has those problems and the marriage between these two, as troubled and as problematic as it may be, still touched me in a way I sure as hell didn’t expect, especially when that ending came around. Woo-wee!
The rest of the cast is pretty damn good too, even if a bit strange. Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) plays Kate’s co-worker and is great at playing it short, sweet, and subtle, even if I do think that a couple moment she lets loose just a bit too much. What I mean by that is that the guy is funny, we all know that, and when they give him the chance to be funny, it seems a bit misplaced. That being said, Offerman is still good and gives me fine hope that he may have the chance to do more than just Parks & Rec. Maybe. His real-life wife, Megan Mullaly plays the principal of the school that Kate works at, and is a lot better when it comes to pulling-off the dramatic and comedic sides of her skills, but even sometimes she feels a bit misplaced. If the movie decided to take a full-on comedic-approach, with dramatic splishes and splashes, then they would have fit right in. But this is not one of those movies and it doesn’t work quite well as I would have liked. The only person in this supporting-cast that seems to nail the tone down real well is Octavia Spencer as Kate’s sponsor, and does a perfect job at nailing that hard-look at being sober, but what pleasure and happiness it can bring to a person.
Consensus: It may not all add-up, but Smashed is a surprisingly dark, but realistic-look at addiction and shows that this can be anybody in the world, but just so happens to be a young, promising young woman named Kate, played perfectly by Winstead.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
Ah’nuld is back, and yes, still old.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a aging sheriff of a peaceful border town who is called upon to take on a drug kingpin who escaped from FBI custody and is trying to cross the border into Mexico. Once again, it’s Arnold’s time to save the town, as well as the day.
Since he’s not the Governator of Kellyfornia anymore, is done banging house maids (so far as we know), isn’t bangin’ Maria Shriver (as far as we know), and has basically nothing else to do with his spare time and money, Ah’nuld is back and better than ever! Okay, maybe he’s not better than ever but dammit, he is back, in full action-mode, and shows us all what we’ve been missing out on for the past couple of years. Hey, you had to know this was coming once his role in Expendables 2 got bigger, you just had to.
And speaking of Arnie, at 65, the guy can still kick some ass, even if it is a tad goofier now than we ever remember. Yeah, he may have had a lost a step or two in his action-feet, and especially in his acting-chords, but as being an old, bad-ass that takes no prisoners when it comes to the law: Arnie is still at the top of his game. It’s been way too long since the last time we’ve seen Arnie handle a shotgun, tackle some thug, and chew-down one-liners like it’s his job (it sort of is), and this is the type of roles that reminds us why we love the guy so much in the first-place and don’t give a shit who, or what he bangs. Just as long as one of those bangs just so happen to be coming from a double-barrel shotgun, than it’s all fine and dandy with me. May not be fine with his kids or Maria, but hey, for an action-movie lover and Arnie-lover, it’s a-okay in my book.
But it’s not just Arnie’s show, as much as it is the rest of the cast’s as well, as they all get a chance to shine and have fun with dialogue that may be a bit below their pay-grade, but still shows all of the fun and joy each person can have. Johnny Knoxville has been getting top-billing for this movie (alongside Arnie, of course), but the guy is probably in it for no less than 15 minutes, but still does his usual thing: act like a dumb-ass and win our hearts over. The guy’s been doing that act for over a decade, whether it be scripted or unscripted, and that is no different here when he’s along the Terminator. Luis Guzman is a bundle of joy as the cranky deputy; Jamie Alexander is feisty and hot as the only police-woman of the county; and Rodrigo Santoro does what he can as the ex-star football-player-turned-total-bum, which is saying more than he could offer in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Yes, I know I liked that movie, but still, his acting blew in it.
All are fine playing Arnie’s helpers/side-kicks but it’s really weird to see Forest Whitaker in a role of this standard. It’s not that he’s bad in the role, actually, he livens it up pretty well, it’s just that the material and role feel like they were written for a whole other movie, and a whole different place. Think of it as a role from Inside Man, stuck inside the setting of The Expendables. It just doesn’t gel well, no matter how much drama and class Whitaker tries to add. Poor guy. I bet he’s just waiting for the day that Denzel gets sick with the flu.
As for the opposite-side of the spectrum, things sort of get shaky. Yes, watching Peter Stormare chew-up the scenery with his Southern-growl and heavy-thick accent is fun, but it’s cartoonish and as over-the-top as you can get, especially with a performance from Stormare himself. And yes: that is saying something. However, he fares a lot better than our main baddie; a professional-driver-turned-bad-guy “played” by Eduardo Noriega. The reason I put the quotation-marks around the word, “played”, is because not only is this performance terrible, but the character just opposes no threat whatsoever to anybody around him. Yeah, so what if the guy knows how to turn-off all of the lights in his car at night, and so what if he can swerve around three SWAT vehicles on an open road. The guy still seems like a bit of a bitch and when he’s going against Ah’nuld, you just cannot wait for him to get his ass beaten, just so you don’t have to see him act, say, or try his hardest to be cool, but sinister. Then again, maybe that’s the point.
Anyway, who the hell cares about the cast in this situation?!? This movie is all about high-octane thrills, chills, jumps, rumps, and laughs; all of which are here, on full-display. Making his American-debut with this flick is Korean director Kim Jee-Woon, who has made some pretty impressive flicks in the past, but shows he is able to make relatively-mediocre material, a lot better just with a couple of modern-day spices here and there. Typical action-sequences like a chase through corn fields, or a shoot-out through the street, would have been handled in such a dull, conventional way that it wouldn’t have mattered if Ah’nuld was kicking ass and taking names, because it would have been boring. However, Jee-Woon gives us something new and stylish to take and breath in, and it’s great to see what can happen to obvious-material like an action-thriller starring Arnie, when you bring in foreign-prospects that are just waiting to hit the big time in the States. Hopefully, this means that we are going to see more of Jee-Woon, not only the action-genre, but in American movies in general.
However, as much as this movie may strive to be something new, refreshing, and an improvement on the conventional action-genre; the fact remains that it just isn’t. It is stupid, it is loud, it is obvious, and it is very, very much like Arnie’s past movies and as much as that may be a turn-on to some people who have been wanting a bit of old-school flavor to their action-movies, some still do not feel the same way. If this is the type of stuff you like, then yes, by all means, go out, buy a ticket, get some popcorn, slap-on some butter, get a large soda (diet or non-diet, your choice), take a seat, sit-back, relax, and just have a good time with all that’s to be seen on-screen. However, if this is not the type of stuff you like or would put in your Netflix queue, then just don’t even bother because it would be a waste of your precious time and money. Then again, just by seeing the names “Schwarzenegger” and “Knoxville” head-lining the same poster, I could already assume that you’d be able to decipher whether or not this is your type of movie, long before you even made a trip out to your local theater.
Consensus: The Last Stand isn’t necessarily re-inventing the wheel when it comes to the genre of action movies, but still offers more than plenty of fun, excitement, action, and lovable quips, courtesy of everybody’s favorite Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Welcome back, Arnie. Glad to see you’re with us and still can’t speak a lick of understandable-English.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
As if landing a plane was a real challenge for Denzel.
Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously lands his plane after a midair collision, saving the lives of hundreds of passengers. But as more details emerge, Whitaker becomes the focus of the investigation about what truly happened on that plane.
You have to wonder if Robert Zemeckis got as tired as we did watching all of his family, motion-capture movies, because right in the first scene of this movie we see a chick in full-on nudity (yes, pubic hair and all), Denzel slugging down a brew or two, and then, even going so far as to snort a line of cocaine. Pretty shocking to see once you think how this same guy directed The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol, not all too long ago. However, Zemeckis is sick and tired of motion-capture movies (thank God) as well as making movies for families. He’s going back to making the types of movies he wants to make, that are strictly to be seen by people who vote for Oscar nominees Good job, Robert, you got ‘em again.
If there is any credit I have to give to Zemeckis, it’s that the guy doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to how he focuses on this character of Whip Whitaker, who, as you may already know from the trailers, is a very, very flawed man. Something else you may already know from the trailers is that there is a pretty intense plane-crash that is as tense and as suspenseful as you’re going to see for a long, long time. The last plane-crash sequence that ever hit me as hard as this was United 93, and before that was probably Cast Away, another movie directed by Zemeckis that shows the guy hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to providing tense, plane-crashes that has you gripping onto your seat as much as the characters in the actual movie are.
However, let me get back to what this film really is about: Whip Whitaker. The most powerful element behind this movie is Whitaker himself, his alcohol addiction, and how Zemeckis allows that to be shown on-screen. Zemeckis doesn’t shy-away from the fact that this guy has a drinking-problem and keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering just whenever this guy will actually kick the addiction, or just simply rot away like many other addicts out there. This would all make it too easy to hate the guy and not give a shit what happens to him, but Zemeckis doesn’t paint it that simply, and makes this more than just a standard, portrait of a flawed-man. It has layers and that’s what’s so important about this movie.
The idea that this guy Whitaker, got onto a plane, drunk and high, but landed it in the safest way possible by killing only 6 people in the whole-crash definitely leaves some food-for-thought as to what should really happen to this guy. Yes, he endangered everybody by putting himself on-board of a plane under the influence of some drugs and booze, but does that really matter when the fact still remains is that he still saved many lives that day and is probably the only pilot that could have done so? This idea and theme that comes on throughout the whole movie leads you to wonder and to think just what is right, what is wrong, and what should happen to this guy who did both, a bad thing and a good thing at the same time. You never know what answer this film is going to end on and you never know exactly what it’s standing on Whitaker really is, but what you do know, is that this guy has some real problems and it’s hard to think about him as anything else other than a dangerous drunk that did a heroic deed, but also an evil one as well.
Even though I may make this film seem like a Sundance-type, character-based drama from the hand of Robert Zemeckis, it doesn’t stay like that and definitely turns into what could be considered a Hollyw0od-type, character-based drama from the hand of Robert Zemeckis. What I mean by this is that for a good hour or so, the film feels very subdued, very subtle, and very ambiguous with where it’s going to go, what it’s trying to say, and how it’s going to all play-out, but somehow, the story loses that and becomes the typical shit we always see from Hollywood. The whole idea of this guy being a drunk, knowing it, and never making excuses for it is pretty fresh to see in a big-budget flick like this one here, but that idea starts to go away as he gets a tad too nice towards the situation and almost feels a bit shoe-horned in. Especially that second ending where it seems like Zemeckis wanted to really have us happy by the end, and give us an ending that sent us away with a smile on our faces and a brighter out-look on life. I’m not the type of person that wants a sad, depressing story that ends on a dark-note, but come on, certain stories don’t deserve to be cheapened-up because big, ‘ol Hollywood says so. Come on, Zemeckis you’re better than that.
And something else that Zemeckis is better at too, is picking good music for his movies and that is something that he does not showcase well here at all. Every single piece of music here is just another song that hits you on-the-nose with what it’s commentating on and how it affects the scene. For instance, every time Goodman shows up, Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” starts blasting as to show us that something bad is coming Whitaker’s way, and should be played more for laughs. Another example that annoyed me to death was the use of Joe Cocker’s “Feeling Alright”, every time Whip decided to snort a line and walk down a hall-way with his signature-strut. Okay, I get it Zemeckis. Denzel is high and is feeling alright, no need to tell me with the use of Joe Cocker’s voice. There’s other examples as well, but these were the two that really got to me and kept bothering me every time they just so happened to be blasted through the speakers.
Where Zemeckis fails though, is where Denzel Washington passes and it’s one of the best performances I’ve seen him give in a long, long time. It’s been awhile since Denzel has actually played a role that’s really showcased him as the powerhouse he is known to be. A couple of middle-of-the-road thrillers sometimes show this, but not the full-extent that this character-drama does and I’m so glad that Denzel is Whip Whitaker, because I honestly don’t think anybody else could have played this role and make it work as well as Denzel does. See, even though the guy is constantly-drunk, doesn’t care about it, knows that he’s bad fool, and knows that he can stop whenever he wants, he is never unsympathetic. For some odd, dumb reason, you still care for this guy and root for him, so much to the point of where every time he picks up a bottle or you see a bottle around him, you gasp or shake your head by how quickly the guy went right back to his old ways.
It starts to get even worse when you think about what Whitaker did before the plane-crash, and after and how it shows that not only is this guy a troubled, piece of garbage, but is also a man that is a hero in a way and used his better-judgement for something that saved the lives of many people on that plane as well. Whip Whitaker is as complex and as three-dimensional as you’re going to get with a character this year, and thanks to Denzel, the guy is watchable the whole time. Denzel is just about in every single scene in this movie and that is not a complaint whatsoever because it is a thing of freakin’ beauty to watch Denzel just act his off in a way that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. We see everything in Denzel’s acting-skills come out here for show, like when he gets mad, or when he gets sad, or when he gets happy, or when he’s just being the coolest, sliest, mother ‘effer in the whole film. Honestly, I could go on and on and on about Denzel and how great he is here as Whitaker but to not bore the hell out of you, I’ll just leave it at the fact that Denzel may very well be looking at an Oscar-nom come later this year, which is something I cannot wait for. Even though he may not win, I still think he deserves that damn nomination because he is absolutely terrific here.
Denzel’s supporting cast is also pretty damn good, too, even though none of them really rank-up to the type of “Oscar-caliber” that he does. Kelly Reilly co-stars as a strung-out junkie that meets and sticks with Whitaker for the most-part, and is a very interesting character to watch as we see her cope with her own, personal demons, as well as Whitaker’s as well. They both work very well together, and I think that Reilly deserves more roles like this even though I was a bit suspect of her Southern, Georgian accent. Don Cheadle brings a lot of power to his role as the crack lawyer that’s brought to protect Whitaker from serving any type of jail-time and does exactly what you’d expect of the guy: act his ass off. Still, I wish that Cheadle would up his game again and see what he can do with leads again.
Bruce Greenwood seemed like the most interesting character out of the whole bunch because his first-scene with Whitaker really had me tearing up by the end of it, because it showed the level of friendship these two have and how Greenwood stands beside him the whole-way. I wish that more of the film was like this one scene, in particular, but damn was it still great to see and witness. John Goodman does exactly what he did in Argo, and steals just about every scene he’s in and gives some of the funniest lines in this whole drama. Then, the one that really surprised the hell out of me was the small-cameo from James Badge Dale as a cancer-patient who shares a smoke with Denzel and Reilly, and gives the type of role that makes you think about him, long after he’s gone. It’s not just how he acts is what makes us think about the most, it’s what he says and how the reoccurring theme of God and the actions he bestows onto continues to play-out throughout. It’s a role that deserved to be as long as it was, mainly by how powerful and though-provoking it was left as.
Consensus: Robert Zemeckis definitely loses himself by the end of Flight, mainly because he gives into what Hollywood likes to consider “happy”, but still features a top-notch performance from Denzel Washington, in one of the best character-studies of the year and in one of the better performances I have seen so-far. Not a perfect movie, but still a very good one none the less.
Denzel Washington stars as Jake Shuttlesworth, a prisoner who suddenly finds himself temporarily paroled and with the promise of a commuted sentence if he can accomplish one task: he must persuade his estranged son Jesus (Ray Allen) the number one high school basketball player in the USA – to sign with Big State, the Governor’s Alma mater.
Writer/director Spike Lee has been known to love the game of basketball, but it seems pretty strange that he would almost go as far as actually casting a real-life basketball player in one of his leading roles. It’s also even more strange how much he makes people not want to even think about pursuing their basketball careers considering how much ish talking he does.
No matter what he does in any film, Lee always knows how to make everything pretty. He uses a lot of different lenses that add this dirty and gritty feel but he’s also able to change it up at any moment and place us in a different time and place. Once again, Lee is just playing around with his certain camera tricks and is seeing what he can and can not do, but it still works all of the same and makes Lee the wonder he is usually known as. Well, that is when it comes to his art-direction.
What Lee does perfectly here with his script is that he is able to talk about two different story-lines but have them both come together in the end. Lee satirizes the whole art of a celebrity where we see Jesus going from person, to person, to person and being asked the same damn thing as to where he’s going and if they can get some pieces of that pie. We get to see how much promises people actually make to Jesus just to have him play some b-ball at their universities and the way Lee shows this in a more grotesque way than ever before, is a real surprise. Lee exposes the underbelly and daily happenings of what happens in college recruiting and how much pressure this can put on that high school basketball player themselves. Even though I don’t play any sports (does Ultimate Frisbee count?), I can definitely say that I’m glad I don’t have to worry about getting all these offers, promises, and calls either.
At the center of the flick though, and where it really works, lies within the father-son relationship that just gets better and better each and every time these two show-up on-screen together, which is a very rare thing here. We see how much of an impact Jake had on his son’s basketball playing skills and as much as Jesus wants to deny it and push himself away from his father, he can’t escape the fact that it’s his father who made him the man he really is today. Lee’s script touches on a lot of points about family, moral issues, and staying loyal but I think it was the fact that Lee chose to show this hurt relationship these two had in such a compassionate and realistic way is what made this flick ten times better than your ordinary sports movie and a hell of a lot more emotional.
My main gripe with this flick is that I do think that the ending was wrapped up a little too well for my taste. I get that the film was definitely trying to appeal to the natural audience that wants to see a happy ending but Lee could have done so much more at the end, that could have really made this film’s ending emotional impact stick on you. Still, don’t get me wrong when I say it’s a happy ending because it still is a little dark and sad but nothing that you would really expect from the dude that showed us Radio Raheem getting his ass chocked out.
Denzel Washington is once again playing another great role here as Jake. This is one of the first roles that shows Denzel in a very subdued and laid-back feel rather than being that hero type and going all-over-the-place with his emotions and it’s also one of those rich performances that gives you the kind of comfort that you should feel whenever he’s on-screen. The character he’s playing may be a guy that is obviously effed up in the head, but he is also a guy that you know is good and only wants to do the right thing which is what makes this character so much richer and better, especially because he’s being played by the man himself.
The one performance that I was really surprised by was how good Ray Allen was here as Jesus (yes, that really is his name). Whenever people see that a first-time actor is given his chance for a lead role, they usually shriek and see horror happen right before their eyes but somehow Allen makes me think otherwise about that idea. Allen was a great pick because he shows a character that is obviously very angsty, very confused, and very angry at everyone around him and Allen shows that perfectly on-and-off the court. Even his scenes with Washington feel real and it’s a real wonder as to why Allen didn’t get more acting roles or even go for other ones during his off-season. At least he has a championship under his thumb now but whats better: Oscar or NBA Championship? Hmmmmmm, I think I would go with the first.
Consensus: Though it may end a little too neatly, He Got Game is a film that not only looks great, but also has a real emotional story at its core and works with just about every point it’s trying to make, even if it does sometimes get a little too over-stuffed. Then again, that’s what we come to expect from a Spike Lee joint.
Denzel Washington plays the CIA’s most dangerous traitor, Tobin Frost, who stuns the intelligence community when he surfaces in South Africa. When the safe house to which he’s remanded is attacked by brutal mercenaries, a rookie (Ryan Reynolds) is forced to help him escape.
Heyoooo everybody! So I got this new review up and running but once again it’s not here, it’s on another website called “Philmalot!”. It’s a big movie site for all Philadelphia-area writers and it’s a site that I’m proud to say that I have started writing for even though there’s been plenty of them.
Anywhoo, go on over to the site and check my review out, show me some love by putting a little something something in the comments, and just go on over and check the rest of the site out because it’s pretty rad. Check out the link here:
Thanks everybody! Happy buy your woman something really expensive day!!
I wonder if my daddy would hold up a hospital for me.
Blue-collar worker John Q. (Denzel Washington) finds that his meager insurance won’t cover his son’s heart transplant, so he holds a hospital emergency room hostage until doctors agree to perform the surgery. Meanwhile, gung ho police chief Gus Monroe (Ray Liotta) and hostage negotiator Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) try to diffuse the situation amid a media frenzy.
Well, you know from the Propaganda that John Q is a “good man vs the system” flick. The twist comes from the lengths to which John Q is willing to go.And I must say that a lot of this here works, but then a lot of it doesn’t.
The whole film I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what just was going to happen next. I liked how this was just an ordinary man, who one day loses control, because nobody will do anything about his son’s soon arrival of death. But beneath this suspense of what is going to happen next, there’s actually a very sweet theme. The film shows the drastic measure this father would do for his son, and there are plenty of scenes where we can’t help but root for John Q, because we know how we feel for a loved one and who knows what we would do to keep them alive.
There are also plenty of social messages speaking about the flaws within the American health care system, and their brought up well, but the problem is that director Nick Cassavetes isn’t letting us decide our own opinions and how feel about this for ourselves, he’s more or less, blatantly telling us what we should think. I didn’t like how they made these doctors seem like money-hungry assholes, because it’s just the world we live in. Money is money. I agree that the health care system is messed up, but blaming certain individuals just isn’t right, and won’t get anybody anywhere.
Despite these problems, Denzel Washington takes this whole film over in every way he can. Every chance Washington gets to show us this human being, he delivers every single emotion that this guy has. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just a guy who’s struck in a rut and will not bury his son. The film has his back the whole way, and with Denzel playing John Q., I did as well. The supporting is filled with many good stars as well. I liked seeing Ray Liotta and Robert Duvall play off each other every chance they got as the two cops trying to handle this situation. Anne Heche and James Woods are also very good, as well as sometimes evil as the two doctors here. Last but certainly not least, Kimberly Elise is absolutely marvelous as John Q’s wife, who does not once back down from a fight, and will not let her son die.
Consensus: John Q. benefits from great performances from the cast, especially Denzel Washington, but tells us what we should think about the American health care system too much, and is a little too messy. However, you will still like what you see by the end hopefully.
It doesn’t matter what drug you deal, it all depends on how cool you look when your dealing it.
Armed with ruthless, streetwise tactics and a strict sense of honor, crime boss Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) rules Harlem’s chaotic drug underworld. When outcast cop Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) sets out to bring down Lucas’s multimillion-dollar empire, it plunges both men into a legendary confrontation.
Looking at this all on paper, you have Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, and Ridley Scott all working together on one film, you should be expecting something perfect, right? Well, not quite.
Ridley Scott does a great job here of directing this thing to the core. Scott keeps the camera on both of these character’s and their own stories, and not once do we lose a sense of what’s happening. He also gets the look for this film, including a very gritty atmosphere behind all the glam and beauty of the drug world, and perfectly captures how the late 60′s early 70′s felt and looked. He also tells the story, not through explosions, and random gun-fights, but through more story and development as time goes on, but he doesn’t lose his pace and keeps this entertaining.
The only problem here is that although Scott is doing a good job of keeping this film entertaining, he’s not necessarily doing much different that what has been done before. I think the main problem with this film is that it’s not to different from any other crime thriller we’ve seen before. Now, there were moments of originality with Washington out-smarting all the cops, but the drug deals, the lines these characters use, hell even the characters themselves all seem like something we have seen before. It’s not to say that this film doesn’t do those things right, because they do, it’s just that it’s nothing different.
Also, with these crime films the tension is always somewhat lacking. We all know how this is going to end, since it is a true story, so your just waiting for the big climax of these two to finally meet, and eventually have the main bad guy get his time in jail. The problem with this film is that we are waiting for almost two-and-a-half hours for that to happen, and although it keeps your interest for the time being, you still can’t help but wonder why the hell it had to be so long to get where it got.
However, this ensemble cast just kept me watching the whole time. Denzel Washington is perfect as mob-boss Frank Lucas. He’s got that swagger that makes him so cool, that brain and wit that has you believe he can outsmart any cop, and just so cool that he’s the most likable gangster ever. I think Denzel should have gotten nominated for an Oscar here, but hey the man is always great no matter what you put in front of him, just ask Ridley’s brother, Tony. Russell Crowe doesn’t get much praise here but he’s also very good as Richie Roberts who is so attached to finding this guy, that he stops at nothing to do it. He also very likable enough to have you root behind as well. The rest of the cast is also very good and just has a bunch of random faces that pop up out of nowhere such as T.I., Chiwetel Ejiofor, Common, RZA, John Hawkes, Idris Elba, Ruby Dee, Josh Brolin, Carla Gugino, and the return to Hollywood acting of Cuba Gooding Jr. God it has been so long since I have seen him in a film that hasn’t been released straight-to-dvd, but he has only a couple of minutes in this film, but he still makes it worth awhile.
Consensus: The performances are great from all over the spectrum, and the direction from Ridley Scott makes this film a gritty but entertaining crime thriller, but never goes anywhere we haven’t seen before, and almost seems like a drag to get to the last scene that we all see coming.
Black vs. White, in a submarine.
Controversy boils over when Soviet rebels point nuclear weapons at the United States, and a message for the nuclear-missile sub USS Alabama gets cut off during transmission. Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) thinks he’s been ordered to launch a pre-emptive strike, while Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington) believes the submarine has been ordered to stand down. Will the Alabama prevent a nuclear holocaust, or start one?
Crimson Tide is directed by my not-so favorite director, Tony Scott. He has always been known to make crazy action/thriller films with no real purpose, other than to just have you brainlessly entertained.
This film film looks like a thriller and plays like a thriller, but what distinguishes it, are it’s ideas it has. In the high pressure world of submarine-in-crisis, this film stages a debate that gets to the very heart of nuclear deterrents. The paradox is that nuclear weapons only deter war as long as you don’t use them, and you have to be instruction of your own side. There is also a lot of questions about right-and-wrong, which will stay in your mind long after your done watching this film. You’ll also notice some pop-culture references randomly in here, probably because some of this script is written by Quentin Tarantino. That crazy bastard finds himself in everything!
Tony Scott also does a good job at directing this film keeping a lot of tension built to the point of where you think something just terrible is going to happen. With this film, I knew exactly where Scott was going but he puts us in this submarine with these men, and we feel stuck in there with them as their lives are being threatened. When the energy picks up Scott kicks it into high gear, but when its slow and working on suspense, it works as well. In my opinion, this may be one of Scott’s best directorial efforts.
The only problem I had with this film was the ending. I felt a little bit too much of it was uninspired, and way too hokey for a film of this raw nature. Now I know you can’t judge a whole film on it’s ending usually, but in this case I can, cause when you see it, your honestly going be so letdown.
Denzel Washington is as usual, awesome here, and keeps that strong and smart man act up. He doesn’t do anything completely different here, but that’s not a problem, cause he is just great at it. Gene Hackman is down-right amazing playing Frank Ramsey, the guy who we all soon start to hate, and love at the same time. He is just so callous about his job and so prideful, that when he starts to see his high-position getting taken away from him, he just gets so pissed and does things you would have never expected. However, you believe it because Hackman is so good at playing this type of character. Others who are good in this are Steve Zahn, Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, and Matt Craven.
Consensus: It may look like slam-bang action thriller, but it has more ideas and messages than just your ordinary popcorn thriller. The cast is having a ball with this material, and Scott is probably at his best keeping the suspense, as well as energy up the whole time.
Makes me think twice of taking subways now.
When a group of hijackers led by criminal mastermind Ryder (John Travolta) take the passengers aboard a New York subway train hostage and demand a king’s ransom, it’s up to subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) to bring them down.
Having not seen the original Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, I went into this film fairly open-minded. But knowing how director Tony Scott can annoy the hell out of me sometimes with his camera-work, kind of made me scared of this project, but it was not all that bad.
Director Tony Scott does it once again, and makes this film really annoying to watch with his constant frenetic camera-work that never seems to work. He does this in films like Unstoppable, The Last Boy Scout, and others, but for this film it was really unneeded. I think that Scott thinks that he needs to stylize every scene so he can make it all look cool, and keep the film thrilling. Oh, and let’s not forget that there is about 3 unnecessary car crashes involved. Why they were in this? Mainly because Tony Scott just wanted one for shits and gigs.
However, the main reason why I did like this film was because it actually was pretty entertaining. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the course of the film, and I didn’t quite exactly know what was going to happen next which is the least I can say for a lot of thrillers nowadays.
The first hour is very tense, and keeps our minds on the film, but by the end it does get to the very generic ending that we have all come to expect by now. While the first hour of this film is extremely – again – intense, around the last 30-40 minutes, the movie just becomes your typical action, chase film. It’s all kind of shame too, cause I really was having a grand time with this film.
Probably the best thing about this film is the constant inter-play between these two amazing actors. Denzel Washington, who looks like he was eating enough Subways for this role, does a great job of playing that likable, every-day man hero we have all come to love and know him as. John Travolta may look like a Hell’s Angel member, who enjoys porn on the weekends, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t convincing. Travolta was great because I believed he was crazy enough to hi-jack a subway, and wildly enough to pull it off, but also two steps ahead of me, the viewer. What makes this movie work is the interplay between these two main characters. They both speak through a box to one another throughout the course of the film, but not once did I want to get up, and go to the bathroom. Throughout that final act of the movie, I was just thinking “C’mon, go back to the two of them talking!” That’s how good it was watching them talking, and that’s why this film really does work. There is also some good side performances from the likes of James Gandolfini, John Turturro, and Luis Guzman.
Consensus: The direction may be too frenetic for this type of work, but the first hour, and constant interplay between Travolta and Washington make this film an enjoyable, if a bit generic thrill ride.
Yes people, this movie is about an out-of-control train. Proof that Hollywood has run out of ideas.
A massive unmanned locomotive, nicknamed “The Beast” and loaded with toxic cargo, roars through the countryside, vaporising anything put in front of it. A veteran engineer (Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Chris Pine), aboard another train in the runaway’s path, devise an incredible plan to try and stop it – and prevent certain disaster in a heavily populated area.
I’m not going to lie, when I first saw this trailer, I said to myself: “this is literally going to be a piece of crap!”. Now that I have seen this, well I can say that it’s honestly not as bad as I expected.
It started off slow, and that is one of my big complaints with this movie, it just didn’t have that steam (pun intended) going throughout the movie, that I would have liked. There are parts in this film, where really nothing is happening, people are just talking about something, or walking, and that’s fine and all, but there were too many scenes like that and it didn’t keep my interest fully.
Despite not much happening at points, this film does keep you on the edge of your seat at times, and it’s suspense works. Director Tony Scott, uses plenty of that gimmicky shake-camera that he always uses, and if you don’t like that, then this isn’t your film, because he uses that shit even when nothing is happening. But I felt like that camera use, added a lot to the suspense, and thrilling elements of this film.
However, this film is very by-the-numbers. You know from the start where this film is going to go, and when, which takes away from the film in a way, but while the fun is happening you don’t care, your just on the edge of your seat. The plot was a little too thin for my liking though. There were parts where these characters were talking about their personal lives, and troubles, and not to lie, some of it was pretty cheesy and recycled from countless other films really.
I did like seeing Denzel Washington actually do some good to this film though. He’s got his usual charm that everybody knows and loves him for, and although his character may be pretty lazily written, he still does what he can with this character, and that’s all we asked for. Chris Pine is also good here as well, mostly playing second-in-command to Denzel, which is not a bad thing, cause he handles it all pretty well. There are also some nice side performances from Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee (who’s back on the big-boy diet sadly), and Kevin Dunn.
Consensus: It’s exciting with it’s actual thrilling moments, but Unstoppable is let down by it’s lazy script, and utterly by-the-numbers story we have seen, time and time again.
Love how my hometown, is exactly the perfect place for sticking up for equal rights! Love you Philly!
Philadelphia attorney Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks, in an Oscar-winning role) launches a wrongful termination suit against the hand that feeds him when his law firm finds out about his HIV-positive status — and his homosexuality — and fires him. Denzel Washington co-stars as a homophobic lawyer who reluctantly agrees to take Andy’s case in this Jonathan Demme-directed film.
Philadelphia is one of the first mainstream films, to actually tackle such themes like homosexuality, HIV/AIDS, and homophobia, and to be brutally honest about it all. Back in 1993 HIV was known about, and once in awhile talked about, but it was never brought up full in frontal, and you knew every single little detail about it. And that’s where this film’s strong point lies. I like how director Jonathan Demme directed this movie, by showing AIDS up close an personal. He shows the scars, he shows the pain, the weakness, and the overall sorrow that this sickness does to the victim, and as well as the people around them. He shows these people as real human beings, not just some gay freak, who is going to die soon, no, he shows them as person, that just so happens to be effected by something terrible.
The script starts out very, very strong showing us real, and truthful dialogue of how real people speak about homosexuals, the only problem is, by the end of the film it starts to crumble a bit. The courtroom scenes weren’t anything different, and right from the beginning you know how this film is going to end. It blows that all that courtroom stuff is unwieldy, cause everything else works so fine.
Tom Hanks gives one of his most powerful performances ever, as Andy Beckett. He does a great job at playing a very cliched character, that is usually one-sided and just shown as a total mope, but here Hanks does so well showing the happy sides to his character. You see Beckett as a real person, and although things may look bleak, he still looks to the sky for the happiest of thoughts. Denzel Washington gives off his most underrated performance ever, and should have been nominated for some sort of award, cause he does a perfect job at playing this pride-given lawyer, that at first is against this case, cause he’s a total homophobe, but changes his mind and gets to accept gay people, as real people. These two build a chemistry on-screen that is good, and puts the heart where it’s at in this film. Also, need I forget to mention Antonio Banderas, Mary Steenburgen, and Jason Robards are all in this doing well also.
Consensus: The last act may be less powerful than you would expect, but the terrific performances from Hanks and Washington, as well as the sensitive, but realistic direction from Demme, gives Philadelphia the perfect heart it needs.
A Spike Lee Joint, for people who don’t like Spike Lee Joints.
Dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery, detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) must match wits with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who’s always one step ahead of the cops. When a loose-cannon negotiator (Jodie Foster) is called on for help, the unstable situation spins out of control. Keith soon finds himself questioning the motives of everyone around him.
One of my fav directors, Spike Lee, is always known for making witty dramas on race, prejudice, sex, gang violence, and etc. I know plenty of people who don’t like his films mostly because of his opinions on the various subjects. But this is one everybody can enjoy.
Lee does not write this film, which I was pretty bummed out about. I like how all of his films usually have a compelling script, with some great character spotlights. This film doesn’t really have much of one. It is your ordinary heist film, but there could have been more that went the extra mile. We get little hits on prejudice and race, but the questions are brought up to the point of where it’s the main theme. For some, I guess their glad it wasn’t like that, but for me, who loves it when Lee get’s big into the themes, I was kind of bummed.
The good thing about this movie is that it is entertaining, with a screenplay that has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I like hostage films, like Dog Day Afternoon, and this was a fun modern-day scenario twist. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, and although not everything is not fully explained, it soon does all come together. Everything you would expect from a heist film, is turned on its side, and made in a smart way.
There are also some beautiful shots of New York City, not as beautiful as the one’s in 25th Hour, but they still give off the post-9/11 vibe that all of Lee’s films do now.
The one part of this movie that keeps it going, is the incredible ensemble cast. Denzel Washington is perfect here, he’s funny, strong, and you can also tell that he’s a character, when pushed to the edge, he can really just set off, and become your worst nightmare. There is one scene that shows it, and its great. Clive Owen plays the villain in this film well, and he’s smart. He doesn’t give too much of his villainous character away, and by the end you actually start to wonder if he’s the good guy, or the bad guy. Jodie Foster’s character is played well, but she’s put in the film without any real reason, and it doesn’t make sense as to why she’s in there, but it’s still well-acted. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Willem Dafoe, and a great casting job of Christopher Plummer, are also all good too at what they do, and each give in their own little tidbit of acting skills.
Consensus: Inside Man is not one of Lee’s best, and not like his others at all, for better or worse, but keeps you on your seat with its twists and turns, and great ensemble cast.
Just when you thought Denzel couldn’t get any crazier.
Staying on the right side of the law will be more challenging than anything rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) has ever faced — especially since Hoyt’s partner (Denzel Washington) for the next 24 hours is meaner than L.A.’s meanest streets.
To call this film completley out of hand would be an under statement. Basically these two cops do more shit in a day then some cops have done in their entire careers. Such as: drug busts, beat up rapists, steal drug money, oh and of course, gettin high. I mean if the point of this film is to go over the top, then that’s fine, cause it does seem like that’s what it wants to do. I just feel like there are points when the film tries so hard to be serious, the most troubling part about it is taking it as a dark comedy.
I have to give some props to director Antoine Fuqua, who surprisingly gives a lot of energy into this film so it can be what it is. I mean his signature grittiness works so well in this film mostly because it feels like this place is corrupt and terrible to live in, or even be around.
Most of the reason this film worked out so well was because of its main star, and that is none other than the craziest mothafucka in the whole land, Denzel Washington. Denzel plays against the usual heroic role he always plays, and instead goes with the out-of-control, sleazy, but at the same time riveting, and completley likable Alonzo Harris. I mean to say this is good would be giving him no credit, cause there are just parts in this film that would not work if it wasn’t for his amazing signature charm that he uses so well. With this Oscar-winning performance Denzel basically shows why he is one of the best actors in showbiz today. Also, it would be a crime (no pun intended) to not mention Ethan Hawke, who is very wispy-wispy with his character, but still is not one-note. You can see he wants to do the right thing, but just doesn’t know how to against this crazy cop.
I felt like the script could have been a lot better especially towards the end. The whole film was a crime thriller, where the ending started to turn into something else. The dialogue through the whole movie is witty, fresh, and also realistic, but doesn’t convey any real emotion into what these people are feeling. The ending also ruined it for me, mostly because what could have been effective and great, turns out to be a complete bummer.
Consensus: Training Day has a completley out-of-hand story with a bad ending, but features a great direction from Fuqua, and terrific performances from Hawke and most of Denzel, who proves why he is the man.
Basically Denzel can do it all.
A young sailor, Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke), is ordered to see a Navy psychiatrist (Denzel Washington) who aims to help him get a handle on debilitating anger that causes many shipboard scraps — and that also led Fisher to a life of crime before he joined the Navy. Via therapy, Antwone seeks out the family that abandoned him as a child and experiences a catharsis that leads him to a career as a Hollywood screenwriter.
This is one of those films that no matter what you do when you watch this film you ave to cherish it. Since its Denzel’s directing debut, I was expecting one of those hard-thought films about race relations when really what I got was ten times better.
I had a couple of problems with this film though. At the end of the film we see that Denzel is having problems with his wife, but that is shoved off until the very end. I think the climax for his story should have been earlier, because it gets lost by Antwone’s climax return to his home.
Many people when their watching this movie are talking about crying towards the end, and I must say there was one part where I was emotionally effected, but that was only one part. Other than that a lot of the scenes had me quite close to tearing up but not what I was expecting.
The film is very bittersweet. We get this wonderful and beautiful story of a kid that has had problems with his child hood and is still deeply effected, and how and when he tells his story through flashbacks is such a beautiful thing. There are a lot of scenes that will leave you a bit disturbed by the violent nature, but its all for a good reason cause you felt what he felt. Denzel does an impressive job at the directing position and directs this film with enough flashbacks to the point where we don’t forget the story at all, and gives it time to keep going on.
The best thing of this movie is because of the two big performances from the cast. Derek Luke is amazing as Antwone Fisher, because he goes through so many phases with his character, but you still believe him. By the end of the film Luke makes a couple of speeches when he returns home and all of them are so effective, and at the same time sad. Denzel of course as usual is stellar as the psychiatrist who brings out this tough-guy look within him and gets soft, but he’s still Denzel.
Consensus: Antwone Fisher needs a bit of polishing, but is a emotionally effective drama, with powerful performances from Luke and with a impressive directorial debut from Denzel.
Who can Denzel not play!
Denzel Washington lands a knockout punch as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a prizefighter who — at the zenith of his boxing career — finds himself wrongly convicted of a triple homicide and sentenced to three life terms. While in prison, Carter pens his autobiography, which inspires Brooklyn teen Lesra Martin (Vicellous Reon Shannon) and a trio of Canadian advocates (Liev Schreiber, John Hannah and Deborah Unger) to help prove Carter’s innocence.
From the first 30 minutes of this film it didn’t prove to be anything special. Actually, if anything it just proved to be a bit sloppy. I didn’t understand what the intention of how to tell this story was, but it started to grow on me.
The one thing that this film does is that it doesn’t take the old cliche route of telling the story of The Hurricane from birth all the way up through his years as a boxer. We get a short glimpse of how his childhood was ruined, and then we go into his older life before he was put in prison. I think this added a new sense of story-telling for these kinds of stories and works in more ways than one.
The film is very powerful with it’s statement. It does bring out a big sense of heart within you and actually does get you into the story as it did for me. You see yourself cheering for The Hurricane as he’s going through his miserable life.
The film did have some lows however. I think that Director Norman Jewison should have focused more on how The Hurricane survived being inside of those bars, and how he changed as a person. Also, the film’s facts are a little or too way of. I think that the film creates these ideas of what really happened and spins them in their own way for the dramatic effect. In some ways, I didn’t mind this but I know how the real story goes and it’s not quite like this.
Denzel once again plays his ass out! This is one of Denzel’s best acting performances that I’ve seen from him, as he shows that he can play a character with such anger and rage, and let it all out and make it seem believable. I didn’t like how they casted Dan Hedaya and had him acting like such a bad-guy just because he looked like one.
Consensus: The Hurricane is a powerful film that boasts a fresh way of story-telling and a excellent performance from Washington, but seems to suffer from some inaccuracies, and a slight bit of misfires.
It seems like for all these disaster films their always choosing the black leading man, first Will Smith, and now Denzel, you better watch yourself Samuel L.!
In post-apocalyptic 2043, Eli (Denzel Washington) guards a Bible, that, to his knowledge, is the last copy in the world. Eli believes this book can provide knowledge that could redeem society and help people understand the source of their pain. The despot (Gary Oldman) of a small makeshift town plans to take possession of the book and use it to further his cause.
The Book of Eli is yet another movie in a long line of Post-Apocalyptic movies. What does this have that’s different and better than the others. Well other than the power of the lord behind it…
The Hughes Brothers return to the screen after almost an 8 year absence, and must i say they basically show no rust. They bring a lot of stylish fun to this film without trying to be too much like other post-apocalyptic films we see so much of today. The use of non-color in this film really do give us a sense of just a dark world full of chaos, and most of all despair.
The action was very awesome to see, as probably each of them are shown in about 20 seconds and are shot with such detail, and actuality that it all feels real.
The problem I had with this film is that it doesn’t add any new ideas to the genre. I felt like the usual every man, woman, animal, and cannibal for themselves story was very obvious. Also, by the end of the film it seems to get a little way too preachy with the Christianity talk. I mean I get it, faith is what brought you here, but also did those sweet ass kicking moves as well. There is also a bit way too much use of the slow-mo in this film, and I felt just took away from the film.
Granted however, the film looks very very good, in a very bleak way. The film is basically filmed as if it were in a desert, but by the end some of the shots are filmed so well, and so magnificently that you will become so astonished by the look of this world.
The acting is also amazing. Denzel brings out another one of his solid bad-ass mofo characters but with more heart, and he becomes a very believable guy rather than just your normal super hero. Gary Oldman also gives a very good side performance as the bad guy as you can tell from the get-go you already hate him. But Mila Kunis is the one who is disappointing, cause honestly I don’t know how anyone can take the chick from That 70s Show and who voices Meg Griffin can honestly take her seriously, I know I can’t.
Consensus: Though a bit preachy and not highly fresh to the genre, The Book Of Eli favors from stylized direction from The Hughes Brothers, effective performances, and some very fun action that will surely entertain.
When I think of Black people, i really do think of Denzel.
In a segregated South Africa, black nationalist Steven Biko (Denzel Washington) and white newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) are unlikely friends with a common goal: ending apartheid. When Biko’s beliefs land him in prison and he’s covertly murdered by South African authorities, Woods rallies to expose the injustice.
I have seen a lot of apartheid films, and in the end they all seem to have the same preachy vibe to it. Except this one is less of a message and more of a story, which really kept me going.
Cry Freedom has a lot of really powerfully disturbing scenes that really do capture the essence of this time in Africa. The constant use of imagery throughout the film, had me taken back by the true reality that lied within Africa and how it’s people were treated by this new government taking.
The one thing that’s very fresh about this film, is that the very powerful scenes that feature Biko’s funeral has Woods at it, and the film could’ve easily ended with that scene and had a little tribute to all the victims. However, the film doesn’t do that and it goes into a completely different direction, about telling the story of Woods and his family escaping Africa.
When this happened, I had the most problems with this film. I felt like the story became too much like a thriller, and really lost it’s message that it was trying to get at it with. I felt the slow pace really did make this film at times very unbearable and feel dragged at points that could have been interesting. Some scenes that were in this film didn’t feel like they we’re needed and actually could’ve been taken away so it could break down the film’s straneous 2 hour and 37 minute time-limit.
I liked the performance from Washington as he shows early on that he was destined for glory. He underplays his character with a sense of truth and despair without getting too preachy and annoying. Kline also gives a good performance taking on the latter part of the film, and actually almost doing a better more effective job than Washington, but sadly he doesn’t.
Consensus: Cry Freedom has some very powerful scenes and strong performances, but lags with it’s slow pace mixed in with a very long last 30 minutes.
Crazy times with Shakespeare.
Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson star as Benedick and Beatrice, two marriage-phobic rivals in Florence, Italy, in a lively plot involving complications, pranks and peerless wordplay. This must be Shakespeare! Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) try to hook up the two B’s despite tenacious resistance.
Personally I don’t really care that much for Shakespeare adaptations, and to be truly honest I find them to be very boring and bland, but not this one.
Branagh directs this film as well and shows that he can really direct a film, and well. He has such a love for these stories of all these characters, and it really does come out onto the screen. I also found this to be actually a lot more exuberant than other adaptations, and adding a lot more energy to bland comedies can really work, if given the right direction.
Much Ado doesn’t really ever have a upset face throughout, I found it a lot more cheerful than I would’ve expected. I don’t think you have to like Shakespeare a lot to really like this film, but if you are not familiar with the old English language than this may be a bit of a stretch.
The problems I had with this film was that it just wasn’t too compelling or attaching for me. Although I did like the comedy in this film, I didn’t really find myself laughing as much cause I just felt that Branagh’s way of directing was just to make this film as goofy as can be. Though the performances are good I just felt like these actors were just saying these words and I didn’t quite believe these characters as much as I thought I would.
Branagh creates a perfect ensemble, though some fall short from others. Branagh goes out on a limb casting stars that aren’t well known Shakespeareans, but they do well anyway. Emma Thompson and Branagh actually do have great chemistry in this film and it actually does feel real, probably because at this time they were married. But I really didn’t understand the casting of Keanu Reeves and Michael Keaton. Reeves is cheesing it up as usual and doesn’t add anything to this film, other than cheap one-liners, and Keaton’s character I don’t think was even needed, and what did he actually do for this story anyway?
Consensus: Branagh’s great love for this story mixed with some great set pieces make Much Ado lovable, but just some of it seems to silly and not very interesting as a whole.
Spike Lee has always been known for looking at the slums of New York but now he looks at it in through basketball, also in New York.
A man (Denzel Washington) convicted of murdering his wife is offered a chance to have his sentence lessened if he can persuade his heavily-recruited basketball star son (Ray Allen) to sign with a local college.
Even a non-basketball fan can enjoy this surprisingly gentle film about the reconciliation of a father and son. When I say “surprisingly gentle,” I mean the tone of the film, not the content. This film grows out of its feelings about the numerous pressures that are put on high talented athletes in high school. This film can be seen as a very angry but passionate film. The real theme of the story really does come off about a father and a son who come to each other and learn to love and accept one another.
The one thing I was mostly surprised about was how there weren’t many scenes of ball-playing which you would suspect from a movie about basketball. This is more about the relationship between the father and son but also how basketball connects each other. This film captures a distant if no relationship between a father and son and how each try to cope with their tossed relationship.
The film is a great visual fest for Lee as all of his trademarks come out of this film. Many scenes feature great color work and excellent editing which we always see in each of his films. I was surprised that this wasn’t as political or based on race as many of his other works have been.
The acting from Denzel Washington is surely a wonderful and charismatic performance as he shows that he can have the power within without even having it come out. He is always calm with Ray Allen’s character and just waits for that anger to come out. Ray Allen I thought did alright but was very flat. He tries very hard but can barely keep it together on screen with Washington.
There were a lot of scenes and parts that were not needed. The gratuitous sex and some drug use were not needed and were just put in to be put in. I also didn’t enjoy the score that was involved in many of the scenes. The beginning montage I thought was good, but the score didn’t connect to the scenes, and I thought kind of distracted me from the real scene at hand. I did how this wasn’t a regular basketball film and doesn’t feature much rap music.
Consensus: He Got Game is flawed but in the end features a powerful message from Spike Lee about the important relationship between a father and son.