If you hear a bump in the night, don’t worry, it’s just the ghosts of the murdered family who once lived in your house.
The premise puts Ethan Hawke in the shoes of a true-crime novelist struggling to find his next big story. He moves into the home of a recently murdered family and discovers a box of home video footage that might reveal exactly what happened to them.
Why any certain interest has sparked up in me about seeing this flick is for one reason and one reason only: the co-writer himself, C. Robert Cargill. Okay, most of you who see that name probably have no idea who the hell I’m talking about and wondering what all of the hype around him is, and that’s fine because this guy is making his writing debut with this movie. The reason why I care about him so much is because most people out there, probably know him by the name of Carlyle from Spill.Com, as I did, and because of that, he has remained an inspiration for me and my movie-review wring ever since I first stumbled upon those guys’ site. However, now that Cargill is outta there and in the big-leagues, it’s finally his time to shine and show everybody why he loves watching shitty movies as much as he does and thankfully, the guy somewhat capitalizes on that idea.
The one element of this film that sort of killed my hype for it was the fact that it’s directed by Scott Derrickson, aka, the guy who remade The Day the Earth Stood Still over 4 years ago and gave us Keanu Reeves’ most boring performance to-date. Seriously, when you have Neo practically falling asleep in a movie, you know that’s bad! Anywho, that’s why this movie was a very mixed-bag for me going in but surprisingly, Derrickson actually does a nice job with this material and gives it that old-school, horror vibe we all love so much, especially around this time of the year.
Everything starts off very slow, in an almost melodic sense of pacing, until it starts to show us tiny bits of terror and freakishness starting to happen, and that’s where the dread and the fun of this movie start to hit. Most people will probably be wondering if this is your typical horror movie, with jump-scares and moments of silence, that all of a sudden get one big “boo!” at the end, and it sort of is like that type of horror movie but with a more effective use of it’s scares. The scares here, although timed, do not feel cheap one-bit and may actually catch you off-guard a couple of times to when, where, and how they get you. I never like jump-scares, quite frankly, and it’s not because they actually scare me but because they just feel like an over-used way of making people jump when manipulate the sound too much and honestly, who likes to be manipulated? Especially when you’re watching a horror movie? But, even though they do use a couple of jump-scares here and there, it still feels deserved and still does a nice job at putting me into this atmosphere where nothing seems to ever go right.
However, as much fun and freaky this horror movie may be, it still never seems to really branch-out of the typical horror-conventions, and be it’s own, original-self. Even though Cargill does seem like he’s playing around with the conventions of the horror movie a bit, he never seems to be able to fully let himself go and instead, a lot of dumb and silly things happen over the course of the film that may make this come off as a bit unintentionally goofy in it’s own way. There’s a random scene with a dog that only seems to be in there for a scene of tension and suspense, but doesn’t offer anything new; the ghosts here are portrayed in a really goofy-way that’s more funny to point and laugh at, than to actually be running away from, had you have to deal with them in real-life; and then there’s the actual monster himself, Mr. Boogie, or whatever the hell they call him, that really disappointed me.
All of the hype around this movie, is mainly because of that one scary image of the main ghost-like monster of the whole movie. Seriously, it’s so eye-catching that it even has it’s own poster just dedicated to it (look to the top-right), and whenever you even see him in these little, short shots in the film, he’s pretty scary and makes you very curious as to what the hell it is. Is it a man? Is it a killer? Is it a monster? Is it a ghost? Is it a piece of Hawke’s imagination? We never know and I liked that about this film, but what really made me feel like they dropped the ball with this monster-like character, was when they eventually get on to showing him in the movie more and more, and for longer periods of time, where he just starts to get goofy after awhile. I was scared at first when they would show it for a couple of a seconds on-screen, but then they start to over-show him that makes him resemble the WWE wrestler Kane, with a slightly more, effed-up mask for a face. That bummed me out because he started off so scary, but after awhile, all those shrieks and scares just begin to go away and turn to laughter.
No matter how silly or stupid this film begins to get, Ethan Hawke never, ever seems to lose his belief in what he’s doing here as Ellison, the writer that seems to get himself caught-up a bit too much in his own work. Hawke has never done a horror movie role before and it’s a surprise because the guy actually makes all of his scared/terrified looks seem real enough to actually have us believe why this guy still does the stupid things he sometimes does. However, Ellison isn’t a perfectly lovable character: he lies, he drinks way too much, he continues to stay in a house that obviously means huge-harm to him and his family, and manipulates a cop into being his buddy, in order to get info out of him. These all sound like perfect ingredients for the perfect, dick-head character but for some reason, due to Hawke’s charm, we believe in him, we root for him, and we actually like him when it’s all said and done. He’s a flawed dude, no doubt about it, but then again, aren’t we all?
Consensus: With a great sense of dread, fun, and suspense to it, Sinister comes off as being a better horror flick than what we are used to seeing, but still doesn’t fall short of being a little silly here and there, or by falling for the typical conventions we are used to seeing with horror movies in today’s world.
Snow storms just make everything worse.
During a snowy New Year’s Eve, a most-wanted mobster, Nicholas Zambrano (Laurence Fishburne), is temporarily incarcerated at the doomed Precinct 13. As the sun sets and a long night begins, a motley crew of policemen and prisoners, reluctantly headed by Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke), must band together to fight off a rogue gang that wants to extract Zambrano at any cost.
This is a loose remake of a film that was done by John Carpenter and even though they aren’t considered the same thang, I think I’ve seen enough already. Although, I do have to say that John Carpenter is a pretty solid director in his own right.
Director Jean-François Richet doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel of the usual slam-bang, action thrillers we’re so used to seeing but damn does he do a great job with it! Richet brings in a whole bunch of crazy weapons here all ranging from the likes of hand-guns, sniper rifles, lazer sightings, silencers, a samurai sword and basically anything that can be used as a weapon in one way or another. It all shows up here in this flick and used to great effect because the action here is what really kept this story going. Even when it seems like the story is about to fall into its softer/slower side, it picks itself right back up from where it started and gives us plenty more deaths and action to behold. It’s not like Richet tries to go for anything new here, it’s more of like that he knows how to film action and make it work.
Another element to this film that made it all the more enjoyable was that the story does go through some twists and turns here and there that are pretty funny and kept me guessing. Now I’m not saying the whole film is unpredictable but what I will say that there are a lot of times that the film does something out of the ordinary like kill of a main character or throw in a couple of “who is the bad guy?” scenes here and there, which all kept me watching. Once again, nothing that is terribly original or new, just entertaining to watch.
The problems that I had with this film are all pretty obvious. With this type of material, you basically know that it’s all going to play out in the same way that all of these other films have been doing for the past 30 years, actually dating back to Carpenter’s original. The good guy has a dilemma, the bad guy has a connection with him, they both realize who they are through a death-defying situation they get thrown in to, and yadda yadda yadda this and yadda yadda yadda that. It’s basically the same old shit that we have seen done 100,000 times before and it’s no different here, except for maybe a couple of cool little twists and turns along the way. But those cool twists and turns can only go on so long.
Even though the plot was fun and entertaining, there were plenty of plot-h0les that still seemed to bother me. One memorable problem was the realization of the underground tunnel beneath the compound. I mean honestly, you would think that something as life-saving and crucial to this predicament as an underground tunnel would be the first thing 0n somebody’s mind and brought up within the first 10 minutes that this attack was going on. But for some very odd reason, it just so happened to slip this dude’s mind. Then again, it wouldn’t have served the plot if they did do that in the first place so I guess it all makes sense in the end.
A lot of the credit has to go to this cast that is actually pretty good with their roles by adding a lot more humanity to them and making them characters that we care for and want to see live after all of this havoc is over and done with. Ethan Hawke did a nice job as the burned-out cop and plays snarky so well that it’s almost hard to take him in as anything else. Also, it’s pretty fun to think of this character as his character from Training Day but this time, only 4 years down the road and fed with all of this shit. May sound lame but hey, I can have a little bit of fun while watching these movies. Laurence Fishburne also adds a real deep sense of coolness to his evil gangster, Bishop. It’s not like this is a stand-out performance from Fishburne but I definitely think its a lot better than half of the shit we’ve been seeing him do lately. However, I’m not talking about Contagion considering he was probably the best out of that whole cast.
Consensus: There’s no re-inventing of the action wheel here or any new surprises to be seen, but what Assault on Precinct 13 does bring is a lot of blood, action, gun shots, violence, and some fun twists in order to have a good time.
Hey, at least we got the three-boobed hooker.
Colin Farrell stars as Doug Quaid, a factory worker who decides to turn to undergo a procedure to turn his dream of being a super-spy into real memories to escape his frustrating life. But when the operation goes terribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man and the line between fantasy and reality gets blurred.
The original 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoven sci-fi classic Total Recall, was a great movie but it was never screaming “Remake!”. Actually, it holds up pretty well on its own terms but I was able to give this film a try all because of the cool look, awes0me special effects, and two sexy leading ladies involved. The latter one never comes into play unless its with unnecessary remakes like this.
This remake is directed by Len Wiseman and his visual direction, is spectacular. This whole film is one big CGI-trip right from this dude Wiseman’s mind but it looks superb, almost like you’re in this futuristic Earth with these characters. Some people will be bothered by the CGI and special effects and say that it’s there too much, but it never looks goofy and it always makes everything look a whole lot cooler than I expected. Something exactly this film needed in the first place, and thankfully, had.
Other than looking pretty, Wiseman also makes this remake a whole lot of fun that just would not quit it with the action scenes. There’s a lot of mono-e-mono fights that happen here, plenty of shoot-outs, a cool car-chase, and even a chase through an elevator shaft that seems to never end, and they all add a whole bunch of excitement to this film and it never seems boring because of this. Wiseman brings an element of fun to these action set pieces, and because of that, my attention never fully left the screen. Sometimes here and there, it felt like Wiseman was just adding another random scene of action in here just to keep things alive and well, but I can’t really get on his case too much for that since it did so well with what it had and there’s never, ever a problem with just trying to have some fun every once and awhile. It’s not your typical, old Arnie fun, but it’s fun none the less.
Problem is, as fun and exciting as this action may be, there’s always one element that makes it all feel somewhat empty: tension. Seeing the original, knowing everything that happens, and why it does in that movie, I went into this flick expecting no surprises either, which is exactly what I got. There’s only a couple of things that are different from this movie and that movie (no Mars, the explanation of what happens to this guy Quaid and why, etc.) but never was there some sort of twist/turn in the story that I wasn’t already expecting. There was probably only one scene where I actually felt some type of tension in this story as I didn’t really quite know was going to happen next in this situation these characters got caught up in, but sadly, it ended predictably, as this film did. Everything just happened and went by the same exact-formula the original went by and even though not all remakes can just totally change all of their source material just because they want to be different, there still has to be a level of unpredictability to what’s going to happen next and how. But if you don’t have that, then just feast your eyes on plenty, and I do repeat, plenty of eye candy.
It’s also weird that this film is almost exactly like the original, because everybody involved with this film has gone on the record to say that they aren’t going to make this like Arnie’s classic film at all, which is obviously bullshit. The only times that this film actually tries to connect with the original, is when they randomly have the three-boobed hooker show up even though it makes no sense in this story because there are no mutants in this world. Just some very sad and poor people. But what that scene brought, was a certain level of humor to it, the rest of this film has barely any or none of that. It’s a shame too, because as cheesy as some of the humor in the original may be, they still has some classic Arnie lines that are worth reiterating almost 22 years later, but that’s what this film never brings to the table. There’s never any of that wry humor that livens things up quite as well as those classic lines did in the original, and I get it, it would have totally seemed misplaced in a film like this but there could have been something a little light that could have shown up.
I can’t remember the last time that Colin Farrell has ever been the main actor in a mainstream flick, but I can say that I have at least missed him in these types of roles since he’s good here as Douglas Quaid. Let’s face it, Farrell is not as colorful or wild as Arnie, but for what it’s worth, Farrell does a good job at making us like this guy by what he can do with his fists and also at least care for him just a teentsie-tiny bit when the shit starts to hit the fan for him. His character was maybe a little more dull than the original, but then again, I wasn’t expecting to just fall in love with this guy and almost tear up whenever danger came his way. Maybe that’s a little too drastic for a film like this, but you get what I mean.
Jessica Biel cooked some behinds as Melina and may not be as bad ass as I would have liked for her to have been, she still at least had some sympathy to her that made me care for her character and understand why she would do everything in her power to protect this Quaid guy; Bryan Cranston appears in his 200th film this year here with his performance as the evil mofo, Cohaagen, and it’s sad to say that we don’t get enough of him but with what we do get from him, it’s pretty good; and Bill Nighy shows up for about a scene and is good, but just like Cranston, not enough of him either. Still pissed to hear that Ethan Hawke got his cameo cut but hopefully he’ll all show them when it comes time for him and his movie Sinister.
The one high-spot of this whole cast would probably be Kate Beckinsale who plays Quaid’s wife/hunter, Lori. Beckinsale is a chick that I’ve never been too fond of when it comes to her acting, but she’s able to do something great here and that’s play a villain that you can never trust. Beckinsale actually seems like she’s having a ball with this role as the baddy and gets to use a lot of her bad ass fighting skills to show it off and also have that sexy little change in her accent from American to British that always works when it comes to villains. I would like to say that I look forward to seeing Beckinsale in the future, but the fact is, I don’t really care all that much because as good as she may be here, she’s still going to churn out another crappy Underworld movie within the next year or so and I’m going to be sitting there wondering what all of this fascination about her is. Oh wait, she’s really, super-duper hot. Never mind!
Consensus: With plenty of fun action to keep your mind wired and wonderful special effects to keep your eyes glued onto the screen, Total Recall does it’s job in being an entertaining piece of Summer action, but what it does suffer from is barely little or no surprises whatsoever in the story, and just sort of pales in comparison to the original Arnie classic that is still fresh in peoples minds, believe it or not. It’s like re-booting Spider-Man, oh wait….
What if the one that got away still stayed hot and you looked really creepy?
Nine years after spending a night together in Vienna, Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke) is reunited with Celine (Julie Delpy) while on a book signing tour in Paris. There’s an obvious attraction still between the two but Jesse only has a short amount of time until his plane leaves which means that their meeting may be brief.
Before Sunrise was just about a near-perfect film for me. It had all the ingredients you could ever need for a great romance and I honestly do believe it’s one of the greatest romantic films of all-time, and that really is saying something. So for there to be a sequel to see what happened between the couple that graced that flick, made me anticipate just what the hell happened. Thankfully, I was not let down.
The whole film is about 80 minutes of these two people walking around Paris, talking, going into a coffee shop, then going onto a boat, and then talking some more but the film is never boring. Every single word that these characters let out had me on edge the whole time and I never felt bored by these two talking because even though they talk about generally nothing again, they still do talk about something, if that even makes sense.
What really works with this screenplay is that co-writer/director Richard Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy all came together on this script which gives it this realistic and almost heart-breaking truth to it all. In the first flick you see how these two have this sort of fantasy look at love and the world but now that they are older, everything is a lot more sad and angry around them. These two see the world in a different way like when it comes to relationships and they soon realize that the word “love” isn’t exactly what they thought it meant considering you had to worry about all of the non-nonsensical crap that comes along with it. It’s sad but at the same time realistic because you see how two people grow up and realize that the world isn’t what they once thought it was but still keep a grasp onto what made them happy in the first place. This also leads me into another idea that the film brings up: memory.
The conversation these two have constantly bringing up the miraculous one day they had together and most of the memories they have are very clear and feel as if it was just yesterday. These two are always reminded of that one day that they shared together not just through the way they speak to each other but also through their lives as both constantly could not escape or forget that faithful day that made them realize they really have something special together. The film is basically infused with the idea that as long as you and the other person are alive, the memory will never ever go away and no matter how much you try to run away from that fact it will always come right back to you.
Without Linklater behind the director’s chair though, I don’t think that this film would have even felt the same. Linklater is perfect at just letting the story and characters speak for themselves but that still allows him to do some cool tricks such as these long tracking shots that last almost 10 minutes every time. I love tracking shots and it’s just so great how Linklater can use them to create a certain amount of tension of realistic feel even if it’s just by focusing on one shot the entire time. Also, even though our minds are on the two characters the whole film, Linklater still allows for some beautiful imagery of Paris come into play and give us this view of the lovely place we knew in the first flick.
Where the real brilliance of this film lies is within the performances of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, who feel real together. Even though these two never worked again after the first until this flick, their chemistry is still there if not better because as I have said before, they are a lot older now and a lot more sad and angry emotions come out of each other. Right from the get-go, their chemistry feels natural and everything they say all seem improvised even though that is not the case. They are playful with each other and you know that there is just something special between them even if they don’t want to come clear with it themselves and watching them just exchange little glances at one another giving each other little smirks, made me feel like there was more sex in this film than there was in Shame. Both of them start to break-down in front of one another where they both not only show regret but also anger towards the whole situation of how they could have been together, but just missed out somehow. These two are just perfect together and I think the fact that Linklater allowed them to shed some personal issues into their script as well. Delpy was on the rise as an actress, finding roles that she liked and being happy with them, while Hawke was sort of going through a lot of personal problems with his wife at the time, Uma Thurman, and a lot of that shows through by the way his character talks in this flick as well. It’s great to see two stars working together not only on-screen, but on the script as well and shed some real human emotions that come from their own lives as well.
Consensus: Before Sunset is just as great as the first one with a perfect chemistry between Delpy and Hawke, a screenplay that feels natural and realistic, and the real human emotion of watching these two meet up after all of this time. Hopefully, there’s one last one to close out the series but in the mean-time let’s just get ready for Still Dazed and Confused: the 20 year reunion.
Want something to make you happy? Don’t watch this.
The perfect crime goes horribly wrong for brothers Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke) when they botch a robbery of their parents’ jewelry store, and hurls them towards a shattering climax.
Director Sidney Lumet (R.I.P), was in the game for about 50 years and before he went away with the sky, he let this little piece of happiness behind him. He can be glad to say that this was a happy swan song.
Lumet tells this film in a non-linear format and even showing different view-points for all these characters and it works so well because it shows us what is really going on with these characters and why everybody is just so damn sinister. Everything here is just basically pitch-black with the story diving deeper and deeper into places that would have Darth Vader backing up.
What I liked most about this film was the story and how it is a heist-gone-wrong film but also a character study about a messed up family. You never fully understand how all of these characters were before all this crazy ish went down, but you see the true emotions come out when tragic things do happen and how people constantly do mean and just plain harsh things to one another. This film shows problems within a family, as well as keeping the tension going so no matter how weak some of the family stuff may be for most viewers, there is still a lot to fall-back on.
My problem with the film was that this was so damn dark to a point of where I was just wondering why the hell wasn’t there any happiness whatsoever. I mean the first scene which is basically Tomei and Hoffman doing the doggy-style is probably the happiest moment in the whole film because their just getting it on, and at least pleasured. I mean this film is a downer, and I just don’t know why it had to be so terribly dark and depressing other than just to be that. I mean come on, not even a Knock-knock joke or anything.
Another problem is that this film isn’t really for everybody. I watched this with my good friend Pete and he likes any films but he just couldn’t handle all the slowness and the dark feeling of this material. I don’t blame him since I obviously had some problems with all this damn darkness but to say the least, it’s not for everyone and if you’re contemplating killing yourself, this is not the film to watch.
The cast is also pretty amazing as well. Ethan Hawke nails it as Hank Hanson (HH) because his character is this kind of mopey, scared, little soft kind of a person the whole film so when the ish hits the fan, Hawke’s character gets pretty crazy and paranoid, which is what Hawke does well and the things that he does are not only believable but genuine too and some of the best acting Hawke has done. Marisa Tomei is nakey almost in every scene but that doesn’t take away from her scenes as Gina; Albert Finney is great as the tough-edged father; and Michael Shannon is here for a bit as this creepy and pretty intimidating dude named Dex.
The real showcase of the whole cast is none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman as Andy Hanson, and probably gives one of his most evil performances to date. His character is probably the most morally corrupt of the whole bunch and right from the get-go, he lets you know that he is just not effin’ around at all. He yells a lot, which he usually always does in films, but a lot of the raw emotions he shows here seem natural and show Hoffman’s true talents as an actor that can seemingly be so terribly unlikable, but still a guy you can’t take your eyes off of the whole time. Damn I wish this guy was The Penguin!
Consensus: It’s definitely not for everybody, and is extremely dark and depressing, but Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is a compelling tale of dysfunctional families, corrupt people, and moments that just go from bad to worse that is masterfully acted and directed from all of the talent involved.
Poor Charlie Dickens must be rolling around in his grave.
In this Americanized version of Charles Dickens’s classic novel, set in 1990s New York instead of 1860s England, humble, young Finn (Ethan Hawke) develops a lifelong crush on Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), the wealthy niece of the eccentric Ms. Dinsmoor (Anne Bancroft). The pair part, but then a mysterious benefactor makes it possible for Finn to attend art school in the city, where he runs into his now-engaged love.
I confess that I have never read Dickens’ classic novel, which is the basic idea where this modern-day adaptation came from, but that does not mean that this film should get some slack for me. It still kind of sucks.
After watching Children of Men, I realize that director Alfonso Cuarón, really can do something amazing when it comes to the way a film looks and feels. Once again, Cuarón does that one-shot steadi-cam trademark that he had in Children of Men and its just great to look at because I felt like I was there the whole time, but that’s not all that looks great.
The production values just look beautiful with the constant beautiful colors that inhabit this world these characters live in, the way the sunset is captured so well, and even the paintings from Italian painter Francesco Clemente are outstanding. The colors also set a tone for almost each and every scene, as well as the music here which seems to combine two music genres together. It’s certainly a very pretty film to look at the only problem is that the film could have actually spent a lot more time on it’s screenplay.
The screenplay from Mitch Glazer starts off very promising, but then starts to turn into this utterly cheesy and predictable romantic drama that we have seen time and time again, the only difference here is that these people are pretty and artistic, so there’s somehow more of a artsy feel to this whole love angle. The film wants to dive into moments of actual beauty when it shows how you can become famous while still ticking to your guns, but instead just shows this dude practically drooling over this hot blonde. And don’t let me forget to mention all the terrible and non-stop cliches.
Another huge problem with this film is that I never quite felt attracted to these characters and I never really found anything that amazing about them, as much as the film wanted me to. Finn has practically been following Estella for 20 years but there is never anything really shown about her character that makes her anything to chase after for that long other than a nice body, some good boobies, and just another pretty face. It’s annoying too because this dude keeps on getting knocked over left-and-right without her ever saying good-bye to him once, which would have definitely been my calling card to say screw her.
Ethan Hawke is OK as Finn, although he has been a lot better in other films. My one problem with this character is that he never really takes any action for himself, which kind of creates a big wall of separation between him and the audience. We all want to connect with this guy and root for him, but if you keep on getting pushed around by this chick and seemingly don’t do anything else other than just draw a bunch of fancy looking paintings, there’s not much there to endear with in the first place.
Gwyneth Paltrow nails Estella down very well and actually attributes to my fondness of her character, even though there was nothing really special about her. The chemistry her and Hawke have isn’t bad but it’s hard to actually judge whether it was good or not, when their screen-time together was so limited. If I had gotten more scenes with them just talking, flirting, hell just boning, I would have understood the loooooooooooove between them both, but I just got a bunch of smiley faces.
Robert De Niro is good as Arthur, even though he’s basically Robert De Niro with a goofy look; Anne Bancroft was fun to watch as this totally up-and-down and crazy nut as Ms. Dinsmoor, which was the best performance of the whole cast really; Chris Cooper is good to watch as Uncle Joe; and Hank Azaria adds nothing to this film as Walter Plane.
Consensus: The beauty is within the production design and direction, but the problems lie within the screenplay that offers nothing other than countless romantic drama cliches, a love story that had no real believable love to it, and characters that aren’t too interesting to begin with.
Wish I had more first encounters like this.
This film from director Richard Linklater stars Ethan Hawke as an American backpacker who strikes up a conversation with a lovely fellow traveler (Julie Delpy) on the train to Vienna and persuades her to spend his last day in Europe with him. Wandering the picturesque streets of the Austrian capital, the two share stories of their pasts and their dreams for the future, ultimately forging a bond that leads to love.
Writer and director Richard Linklater really does know how to show real emotions, between humans on screen. Although Dazed and Confused may be more of a comical way of showing it, this is the more serious, and romantic way.
The script is basically superb in all the right ways. The film starts off a bit awkward with talks here and there about philosophies, but nothing special, but then these two start to get an actual feel for each other and that is when things start to pick up. I love the fact that these two talked about life, love, and the great big city of Vienna, and just how they want their life to be something but somehow just isn’t.
Not much happens here, but just these two walking and talking about a lot of things, and there are plenty of philosophies that are brought up, but never do they feel forced out on us or used in a preachy way. In a way this actually made me think more about the world I live in where people expect me to do something, and have this huge understanding of what I’m going to do next, and you feel like everything is so planned. Why not take risks sometimes? And why not do something that may change your outlook on life, or possibly something that may change your life forever because you went with your gut-feeling? Many themes are brought up, and this insightful script gives us a beautiful glimpse into these two people’s minds as they discover that love is something more powerful and rich when you least expect it. The human nature really is a beautiful thing, and this film is an examination of that and how this a relationship is something we all want, but to often sadly see slip away. It’s such a shame that this is more true than some would actually expect, but listening to these two talk about love, and everything else in between, I realized that there’s so much more to the huge, transient universe we live in.
I think my only problem here is that I do wish I was older to actually fully understand everything that these two are talking about, so I could actually relate more to. But I think later on in life, I’ll check this out and it will have a bigger effect on me however I must say that I loved what I got here.
These two together right here are just downright amazing. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy may seem like polar opposites from the beginning but by the end of the film, they create what is one of the more realistic and believable romances I have ever seen on screen. Obviously, there is a lot of talking here, and that’s all it really is but these two create these perfectly textured three-dimensional characters that seem so real, that even with this short amount of time, you actually do believe they could make it all work and fall in love over night. I was so happy that I with these two throughout the whole night and listening and watching them talk, walk, sing, dance, and gaze at the beautiful sights of Vienna, just had me believe every part of this film, and just totally fall for these characters.
Consensus: Writer/Director Richard Linklater has created a perfect script about love, life, and the universe we live in, by putting it along with a perfectly acted romance from Hawke and Delpy, which culminates in being one of the most believable and lovely romances ever put on screen.
The 90′s looked so cool, and kind of annoying.
A small circle of friends (Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn) suffering from post-collegiate blues must confront the hard truth about life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment. As they struggle to map out survival guides for the future, the Gen-X quartet soon begins to realize that reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
This along with Singles, has to be those early 90′s, Generation-X defining films that probably seemed all hip and cool then, now, not so much.
First-time writer/director Ben Stiller, maybe you’ve heard of him, maybe not, does a good job of combining good elements of comedy, romance, and a dash of 90′s reality. There’s a lot of pop-culture references that some people like myself didn’t quite get, and others you will get and think are kind of funny. Underneath, all of that humor though, there’s actually a sweet little romance that works well here, especially with the tone and everything, since it’s both at times dark, and light. There’s also a lot of insight about the constant struggles there were to actually get a job, and do something with your life after your schoolio days are over.
However, the insight starts to lose it’s flavor, and kind of actually becomes a little annoying, probably because it all seems so dated. These chumps are so used to fighting the system, and saying no to the common man, that they literally don’t do anything with their lives and just sit around and mope a lot about how people have dreams and ambitions, while their doing the same things. I liked some of the discussions about living in the world of AIDS, and the Clinton era, but after awhile those witty discussions start to die down into some annoying territory.
There are also many moments where I felt like this film was almost trying way too hard to be different and cool, just for the sake of being different and cool. I know I have said the word, “cool” a lot during this review, but that’s only because I feel like Stiller was just there behind the camera trying to do some cool things with this film because it’s the 90′s. Maybe it’s dated because that’s the point because it’s a snapshot of a generation and an age. However, I still wish it didn’t try so hard to be so damn cool.
Winona Ryder is a natural in this role as the quarter-life crises infected, Lelaina, who just wants something to do with her life and get pass all of these problems she faces. Ryder is good in this role, and it’s easy to follow her character on a day-to-day basis, because she has that cuteness and charm, but also that harsh reality of someone stuck in a jobless life. Ben Stiller does a good job as Michael, the yuppie that comes into Lelaina’s life, and does that nerdy and nervous awkward shtick that he has in a way perfected, and it works well with his character here. Steve Zahn and Janeane Garofalo are also here and do some nice jobs bringing more humor to the film. My favorite out of this whole cast was Ethan Hawke as Troy, the definitive 90′s slacker. Filled with so many quotes, one-liners, and insightful sayings, Hawke perfectly captures the mind sight and speech of what it was like to live in this generation when all you had to work with were your words. He is at times a dick, and at others, a total charmer, and Hawke plays him so well that he gives off a great early performance that shows what talent he would have for later on in his career.
Consensus: Though it’s insight start’s to get annoying, and may seem just like random conversations after awhile, Reality Bites has a sweet, romantic comedy-like tone, with good performances and a nice snapshot of Generation-X.
3 friends meet to what becomes the most awkward conversation ever.
After 10 years apart, three friends (Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman) reunite in a motel room to play out the unresolved drama of their final high school days. As layers of denial are peeled away, each character is provoked into revealing his or her true nature and motivation.
Tape is based on a play, that is filmed on a real digital camera, giving it that authentic feel, and shot in real-time. I liked these two ideas that director Richard Linklater does because it feels thought the 86 minutes your watching this film, your right there with them.
The film is written so well, as it feels as though its actually real-life. The dialogue after awhile, gets really harsh and terribly true, to a point of where it almost feels like your watching a documentary before your very own eyes. I liked the screenplay so much, cause it shows how people can obtain something differently, and how after 10 years of one little incident not much has changed. The film builds, and builds, and builds right up to the point of where you think what’s going to happen, doesn’t happen, and your overall, terribly shocked.
I had a problem with the film by the way it ended, and that was how not everything added up like it could have. I was sort of let down, by what actually happened to these three 10 years ago, and I think through watching this whole film, I sort of deserved to know the real answer.
I loved how the film was just a great way to show that these three actors, can sure as hell, act. Ethan Hawke is such a dick in this movie, that you want to kill him, but in some ways, he is very funny and you actually kind of enjoy him. Robert Sean Leonard is also very good here, showing a great deal of consent for his actions as the movie moves along, giving off a very believable performance. The most memorable performance here in this film has to be Uma Thurman, her transitions from flippy manipulation, to steering honesty represents some of the best of her versicle career.
Consensus: Tape doesn’t deliver what you want, but features a realistic, well-written dialogue, that in ways is terribly true, and backed up by the three strong performances.
Sadly this had to be released in a time where Twilight rules the vampire world.
Earth’s population is up against a vicious plague that’s transforming everyone into vampires and draining the world of an increasingly precious resource: blood. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) and “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe) must decide what happens next. As the human race count nears zero, will vampires feast on the few men and women who remain, or could science hold the key to a less destructive solution? Sam Neill and Claudia Karvan co-star.
This film has a very nice twist on the apocalypse story that we usually see in films nowadays. Instead of their being a world full of humans on extinction, its the vampires world that is, see how it gets ya!
There are a lot of ideas that the directors The Spierg Brothers use. The movie works because it tries to explore flaws in the idea of vampire mythology and our own social structure at the same time. The Spierg brothers ask questions but don’t answer them but how could they? The question of how we solve the energy crisis is indeed a loaded question; we have alternative fuel sources but using them effectively could take decades to figure out and can we figure it out before it’s too late? Obviously no film, no matter how smart, could know the answer and this isn’t “Collapse”, it’s a January vampire movie that serves its primary purpose of entertaining its audience, I just hope that said audience doesn’t use too much gasoline driving to the theater.
Their is also a great use of the action and blood here. The Spierig Brothers show a lot of promise as great directors cause when it comes to their blood and gore, they actually care for it and want it be looked at as in a beautiful way, instead of just your normal every day in a movie killing.
There’s pretty much nonstop action, and the plot twists and turns with several story lines: brotherly love/hate relations between Edward and brother Frankie (Michael Dorman); the inevitable romance between Edward and Audry (Claudia Karvan); father daughter estrangement/betrayal between Charles and daughter Alison (Isabel Lucas); and Elvis’ philosophizing about everything under then sun (and Moon). A little bit too much in one story that could have gone the traditional way other than being over-stuffed.
I think the performances in this film are pretty good, just not as powerful as they could have been. Hawke doesn’t bring out a lot of emotion within his character, unless he really needs to, and even then, his lines don’t seem that believable. I think Dafoe was really good, delivering the best lines in his charmful, yet odd way, but I feel he was under utilized in here. I think he could have played the villain a bit better than Sam Neill, although Neill does do a pretty good job at playing this sinister bad-guy.
There is a little twist at the end of the story here that is worth mentioning, but not too much so I don’t give the full ending away.
Consensus: Though it is a bit over-stuffed with many questions left unanswered, The Spierig Brothers still direct this new twist on the vampire genre, with bloody, dark, and explosive fun.
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.
Reminds me of the good ole days when cops were just dirty, and nobody cared.
Antoine Fuqua directs this tense drama about three wildly different New York cops whose paths collide in a Brooklyn housing project, where each must make a decision that will change the course of their lives forever. Cynical, washed-up Eddie (Richard Gere) no longer cares about the job or the rules; cash-strapped Sal (Ethan Hawke) sees a shortcut to solvency; and Tango (Don Cheadle) is torn between conflicting loyalties. Ellen Barkin and Wesley Snipes co-stars.
The film directed by Fuqua, is much like his other police drama, Training Day. It also features that films rookie cop, Ethan Hawke, but is a big disappointment.
The film is written by Michael C. Martin, a one-time subway flagger from East New York. And I can already tell this is his first piece of work, mostly due to the fact it can’t quite find itself. The film has some very powerfully emotional moments, but also has way too many cliches as with its plot: the dirty cop, the aging cop, and the undercover cop fighting with his identity. I have seen this too many times before and wanted something new.
The film reminded me of Pride and Glory that also dealed with Police politics, but almost in a better way. The film does have the feel of one of those old-styled cop films, with its blaring grittiness, and over-the-top violence that comes at many times. The problem is that although Fuqua has got the right look and feel, he doesn’t give out the right emotion. I felt a little bored when these people were talking mostly because its all the same, and isn’t set as being too suspenseful.
Probably the best thing about this movie that really elevates it is its cast. Don Cheadle gives another powerful and realistic performance as the undercover cop, and you actually feel yourself rooting for him more and more. Hawke, once again, plays that bastard that is always causing trouble but plays it well here as well. Also, it was good to see Wesley Snipes back to the screen after a long absence, as he plays one of those lovable villains that we all know and love him for. I think Gere, who I obviously don’t like, didn’t have such a good performance here and I found his story to be the most confusing and actually weakest of the three.
Consensus: Though the signature grittiness and action from Fuqua lies within Brooklyn’s Finest, there are too many uninteresting moments, and difficult paces, but still are backed by great performances from its cast, minus Richard Gere.
One of those sci-fi thrillers that actually mean something in today’s world.
With one eye on his lifelong dream of working in outer space, a genetically flawed but determined “In-Valid” (Ethan Hawke) hires a DNA broker (Tony Shalhoub) to help him obtain more desirable genetic material from a paralyzed man (Jude Law). In the process, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful “Valid” (Uma Thurman) with a heart defect.
One of the things about this film that may throw a lot of people at first sight, is that it does have an odd premise, and weird future of the world. But I can tell you one thing, do not let that spoil you, its something completely different.
I’m always against these odd sci-fi films cause quite frankly I feel like their all the same formula. But Gattaca here is an exception cause it poses the same question about idenities but in a slightly less harmful way. We get the story front up about this person and what he wants to do, and we see his whole story through his eyes and we get the sense of this person’s tragic life.
I liked the film most importantly for its message that it shows very well. It shows what our world is fast becoming and the lack of privacy we will have roughly 20 years from now. I like this movie however, because of the point it gets across so well: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It shows us that even with all the up-and-coming technology, intelligence and security improvements, one who is strong enough willed can still “beat the system”. I think the tag line for this movie says it all “There’s no gene for the human spirit”.
I think the film would have worked better as just a character study drama than the little thriller pieces it added on. Randomly by the end we had these slight bolts of tension that I don’t think quite worked, mostly cause the whole film was just based on watching these characters. Also, the film does get a bit slow in points, mostly just about them talking all this futuristic junk, but this did kind of break down my attention span.
The most engaging part of this movie here is the strong characters, along with the performances that inhabit them. Ethan Hawke does good job as playing our main protagonist, who in every way beats the system and tries to achieve his ultimate goal, and that comes out very well in this performance. The real shining star in the film is a younger Jude Law, who adds a lot of pizazz to his flat character, and makes him a lot more interesting that you want to see more of him. The only thing I wondered about him was if science was so intelligent why couldn’t he walk and still in a wheelchair? Just a question.
Consensus: With obvious little plot holes, Gattaca does a superb job at creating engaging and interesting characters that make this sci-fi trip a lot more believable, with a future that we may not be able to overcome, mostly due to the direction we are heading.