The Ultimate Battle: Salesman vs. Farmers. Let’s get’s it on!
Matt Damon plays a salesman for a major natural gas company (so stow the “propane and propane accessories” quote) who descends upon a small town to tap into it’s natural resources, but finds himself having a bunch of problems with the locals, especially by a grassroots campaign led by another man (John Krasinski).
The topic of “fracking” is an act that has been brewing-around for quite some time and even though there have been some documentaries that talk about it, here and there, it was only a matter of time until Hollywood got their filthy, dirty paws on it and made a motion-picture, cinema-trip out of it. However, I don’t know how “Hollywood” Gus Van Sant is now, but hey, he made Good Will Hunting and that counts, right?
In case you aren’t familiar with the term, “fracking”, don’t worry, the film will let you know, every, single 5-minutes, too. It obviously seems like an action that makes people happy and filled their wallets/bank accounts, filled to the brim with moolah, but also, destroys the environment around us and makes those pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies all uppity, uppity. However, knowing this before-hand won’t do you any good and to be honest, neither will this flick because all of it just really seems to hit you over-the-head until you can’t take no more. Matt Damon is obviously a very political guy that likes to have his thoughts and opinions heard for the whole world, but maybe his script that he co-wrote with John Krasinski and Dave Eggers was a bit too much for him, or anybody else to really muster.
Instead of making this movie just one, big “message movie” that likes to talk a lot about what it’s declaring, Damon and his co-writers try their hardest to make us feel like there’s another story here worth watching and feeling something-for, even though we are all being preached-at from the highest choir. That highest choir, just so happens to be A-list actors and producers that may know a thing or two about how to make a good flick, but don’t know a thing or two about how to make one that can coincide with the point/message you’re trying to get across. It becomes over-bearing and by the third time that Damon’s character states, “I’m not a bad guy”, you start to think otherwise because who would really go on and on this long about a topic and a solution that could have been figured-out in a 5-slide Power Point production.
However, a 5-slide Power Point production is probably how long, in-fact, maybe even less, this flick could have been predicted in. Right from the beginning, we know how it’s going to start, how it’s going to coast-on through it’s story, and sadly, how it’s all going to end and what revelations are going to be made by that time. Yeah, there are some nice twists and turns that Damon and co. throws at us for good-measure, and mainly in hope to keep our eyes awake and our minds attentive to what’s going on, on-screen, but doesn’t do much good other than seem obvious. The message is obvious and so is the plot and that’s why I’m so surprised that Damon even co-wrote an intelligent script like Good Will Hunting because all of that fun, all of that flair, and all of that emotional-truth that was stuck underneath that whole flick, is barely even seen here at all. In my honest to god’s opinion, it’s all because Big Ben wasn’t around, and instead, is off doing his own thang and making a name for himself. Take notes, Matt. Start directing movies and see how current and cool you can stay.
I will say one-thing about Matt Damon here with this movie, that even though his script may not work to the best of his, or the film’s ability in keeping us interested the whole-way through, Damon’s performance definitely does and the guy once again shows why he is the most dependable actor, working today. Damon’s character, Steve Butler, may have an obvious-route he’s going to drive-on about half-way through, but Damon still keeps you on-edge, wondering when it may actually happen and whether or not we are going to be able to believe it or not. In a way, we do believe it, and that’s mainly thanks to Damon’s top-notch skills as an actor, while in other ways, we don’t just because it’s so conventional, but you can’t go wrong with Damon and the guy knows how to write some great lines, even if the only great lines are for himself, and him only. That damn Matt Damon! He’s always so stingy!
Playing his enemy, of sorts, is John Krasinski as an ecologist that challenges all of Butler’s way of living and making a business. Krasinski rarely ever plays dark roles like these and it’s great to see him really work with that aspect of his acting, while also making sure to keep his comedic-abilities in-tact, as well. I wish that Krasinski was given more than to just fuck around with Damon, in a way that makes it seem like he stole his girlfriend after Junior Prom, but with what he’s given (that he practically gave himself, if you think about it) and what he’s able to do, Krasinski does a very nice-job at it, and I really hope the guy continues to take darker, more-dramatic roles like these because even though that face may always be smiling and shiny, there’s still some darkness that’s waiting to just latch-out from underneath.
Frances McDormand plays Damon’s cohort that seems to be non-other than McDormand doing what she does best: the cool, older gal that still knows what it’s like to be hip, with it, and always one-step ahead of the dudes around her, no matter what it is she may be dealing with. Maybe that was a bit too much of a lengthy-synopsis of what type of characters she usually plays, but it’s the truth most of the time, and it’s the truth here and it’s still fine and dandy with me, because the girl is good with the act. She doesn’t seem to have much more going for her other than the fact that she may just be the brains behind the whole operation when it comes to what it is that they do for a living and how they make their business, but McDormand makes the most of it and in a way, would have liked to see a whole movie dedicated to her, where she was going around and dealing with this personal and professional-crisis, rather than seeing dudes like Matt Damon go through with it. Boo the men! Yay the ladies! That’s how I look at it here.
McDormand isn’t the only gal that gets to show the boys a thing or two when it comes to acting, nope, that honor also goes to Rosemarie DeWitt as the wild child of this small, rural town in Pennsylvania, who also just so happens to be the hottest, single-teacher in the whole world. Not just PA, the whole damn world! DeWitt has been on my “crush list” as of late, and she’s great here, especially in her scenes with Damon who just goes to prove the fact that the dude can make any great chemistry, with anything, as long as it has tits and a vagina. Seriously, they are great together and if it wasn’t for the whole fracking-issue popping-up every 5-minutes, I would have probably enjoyed their scenes together a whole lot more.
The rest of the cast is pretty fine, even if it is a shame to see how little they are used here. Hal Hollbrook is great as the knowing, elder farmer of this small-town that knows what fracking’s all about, why it’s not good, and why he doesn’t like it. Rather than making Hollbrook the annoying and obvious voice-of-reason throughout this whole movie and have us dreading his presence, Hollbrook actually comes-off as a sweet and tender, old-man that has come to terms with the way the world used to be and what it is eventually, going to turn-out to be. It’s sort of sad since how this hits so close to reality and what better person to deliver this reality-check than non-other than Mr. Hollbrook himself. Seriously, when the hell is this guy getting that Oscar!?! Lucas Black and Scoot McNairy show-up here as well, as the resident rednecks of the small town and as good as they may be, are still a bit over-the-top in the way that they are type-casted as a bunch of dumb idiots that work on a farm and don’t give a crap about anything else other than the big olde bucks. I’m sure that some of this is true, but it doesn’t need to be seen to try and get a point across even more. Come on Matt! Come on John! You should know better! You get your caviar and champagne from natural food stores!
Consensus: The topic of discussion in Promised Land is definitely an important one and what Damon, Krasinski, and Eggers get-across about it is an important-one, but it constantly hammers you over-the-head with it, that you begin to lose a care for what they say and an even bigger loss of care over the predictable story, and what direction it goes in.
Those Sex and the City bitches ain’t got nothing on these high-class, L.A. housewives. They may have more money, though.
Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener star as a quartet of west coast, life-long friends who have achieved a level of comfort in their lives and have now settled into a life of designer clothes, charity events, and caring for the men (and offspring) in their lives. But as they approach ‘a certain age,’ unsettling things are starting to throw their comfortable lives off balance.
Having a bunch of spoiled, rich women in one movie talk about their non-stop problems with life, money, relationships, and being happy is not my cup of tea, nor is it many other guys’, either. This is strictly for the women out there in the world and whether or not you’re broke, got a crap-load of moolah, or are somewhere in between, you will probably be able to relate a lot more to this flick than us, asshole-like men. By no means is it a “chick flick”, but it’s still a movie that pertains to women, and women only, and the only thing that may interest the dudes here is any possibility of seeing some nudity. Other than a slutty-maid outfit that Jen wears about half-way through, there’s nothing else so flee away, men! Flee!
It may seem weird that I’m talking about this movie, being a movie that’s strictly for women to enjoy, relate to, and understand more than the typical, average dude, whereas I just watched and am now reviewing it, and I’m a dude. I know, it’s weird but I was interested to see this because I wanted to think there was more to this than just a bunch of women, very-wealthy women, I may add, moping around and acting like they can’t buy $200 pair of boots to turn that frown upside down. Yeah, they are humans just like you or me but watching these gals just complain about nothing other than the fact that their money can’t buy them happiness, did nothing for me and had no effect on my money-saving skills. That’s right, people, I’m still cheap and this movie couldn’t make me re-think otherwise.
Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on this movie, because in all honesty, it is very well-written from writer/director Nicole Holofcener and definitely made me laugh a couple of times, but those times were very few and far between. Other than that, Holofcener just throws at us a bunch of moments where these gals cry over spilled milk and problems with their man, that never seem to go away since the man, according to half of these stories, “is the reason for all problems in a relationship”. Now excuse me! I don’t mean to stick-up for the whole male-race or anything and say that we’re not all bad, because trust me, we are, but that doesn’t mean that the women don’t cause some of the problems in the relationship as well. I don’t know, this flick seemed to be pointing the finger at the wrong-person and in all honesty, there probably didn’t even need to be a finger pointed either. It could have just showed both sides of the coin and how they both cause problems, but no, it was mainly the women who got the love and showmanship, not the dudes.
However, the film isn’t all that bad and if you are looking for a movie that’s all about it’s characters and what they say, then this definitely may be your right up your alley. It wasn’t excruciating or boring to watch, it was just relatively dull and it felt like there could have been more to these characters, more to their stories, and most of all, more to the meaning of what the hell this story is trying to get across with it’s message. I get it, as you get older, you begin to get more cranky with the world and the people that surround you in it, but do we really need to watch a bunch of rich gals have that problem? I don’t really think so and even if we do, in today’s day and age, it doesn’t really spell-out all that well for people who are dying trying to make ends meet, and you got a couple of women that can’t get over the fact that their coffee hasn’t been brought-out to them in 2 minutes. Ladies, there are not only starving people in China, but they are starving people that are probably living right-by the dumpster of the restaurant you’re in so calm the hell down!
The only real saving-grace to this whole movie is probably the cast, that does all that they can to make this movie and script work. Jennifer Aniston isn’t as quirky, or overly annoying as she usually is with most of the roles she takes, and does a nice-job at the center of this whole movie as Olivia. Aniston definitely does a nice-job of combining both dramatic and comedic-elements of her sets of skills to make this character work, but in the end, she sort of falls a little flat mainly because her character is such a bum, almost to the point of where it’s unbelievable. It’s understood that a character that has no direction in life can get very easily side-tracked by dumb stuff like boning dudes you don’t really care about, or smoking way, way too much weed for your own good, but there comes a point where it’s enough to pick yourself-up and say, “I need to move-on with my life”. Aniston’s character, Olivia, never really does that and once again, even if there are people out-there that can relate to her character and the walks of life that she goes through, then good for you, but for me, it just annoyed me.
Joan Cusack is fine as the comfortably-settled trust fund baby, and does what she can with a role that doesn’t really stretch-out her gills as an actress, but still feels like a waste of a really good talent. Her story, basically serves little to no purpose as to why it’s even included in the movie, let alone, made a big deal in chunks. Cusack and her hubby, played by Greg Germann, are probably the happiest-couple of the whole flick and for that, I feel like they just didn’t belong. Shame, too, because Germann and Cusack seem like they would have made an awesome, older-couple in any other movie.
Catherine Keener is fine as the television writer who can’t seem to get along with her husband for more than 5 minutes, and does what she always does: provides some funny sarcasm, that only hits you when you expect it. Keener is the only character here who really goes through any type of real or huge transformation that’s worth seeing, and she handles it with grace and care. I didn’t care much about her story-line, mainly because it was so obvious of where it was going to go with itself, but she interested me and therefore, I cared about her character more. Why the hell isn’t she in more movies? Seriously?
Last, but certainly not least if Frances McDormand as the oldest-gal of the whole-group, Jane, and definitely steals the show from everybody else. McDormand is a blast to watch because she’s cranky, angry, and always has something to say without any type of filter whatsoever. McDormand is an actress we usually just see as the wise-cracking lady that you do not want to go toe-to-toe with in a battle of wits, and that’s probably the best part of her character, considering it’s what makes her problems and actions so much more believable than everybody else’s. Some will say it’s nothing new or refreshing we haven’t already seen from her, but hey, that’s fine with me as long as she continues to make me laugh and entertain me.
Consensus: The cast is what really saves Friends With Money from being another annoying, self-important piece of writing that would have been a lot better as a novel, rather than an actual, full-length feature-flick that has a very, very limited-audience of who can connect to.
I guess there comes a time in a rock star’s lives where they realize they need to look for Nazis.
Bored and jaded, former rock-star Cheyenne (Sean Penn) decides he needs to confront the Nazi war criminal who tormented his father in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He sets out on a road trip across America to find the fugitive.
This is a pretty weird premise, and having Penn in the lead-role, playing a guy that is essentially a mix between Robert Smith and Andy Warhol, makes it even weirder. However, being weird and a tad quirky doesn’t make a great movie, but it makes for a great performance and that’s sadly, all this film may be remembered for when the year 2012 is over. Sorry David Byrne, your soundtrack kicks-ass though.
Where I think director Paolo Sorrentino may have lost himself a bit with this material was thinking that by the idea that you have a weird, lead-character, that you automatically have to make everything else in the film exactly like that and to top that all off, you have to make everything be as random as a guy walking on the beach with a horse’s head. In case you couldn’t tell by that last statement, that idea of random is exactly what happens many of times throughout this whole movie and it never makes any sense other than the fact that Sorrentino believes this is what he needs to spice his story up.
Since it is a road-movie, with this lead character going-on throughout all of these different areas and discovering himself, we get treated (or tricked, still can’t get rid of Halloween lingo) to a bunch of random encounters Cheyenne has with people that either have to do with the Nazi he’s searching for, or just plain and simple people in general. Sometimes these bits are amusing, but other times just feel obvious as if Sorrentino needed people to have this mean something and touch our hearts, but oddly, it never does. Actually, throughout the whole film I was sort of left without any sort of feeling whatsoever. Sometimes it made me laugh, sometimes it was sweet, but mostly, it just moving at a pace that I didn’t really care for, all because it’s a bit too random and strange for my pleasures.
Maybe quirky, little indies like this aren’t the perfect pieces of pie for me, maybe that’s what it is, but whatever it is here, it doesn’t work and it feels like a missed-opportunity too, because this story could have really, I mean, really touched everybody who witnessed it. It’s only worse to know that the movie doesn’t succeed at that and instead, settles for being a strange flick that goes nowhere with itself and believe it or not, only brings up it’s main-plot about 45-minutes through the whole film. Before we even get to the part where this plot is even introduced, we are shown Cheyenne and the way he carries his life and as funny and interesting as it may be sometimes, it still didn’t do anything for me, or this movie. Seriously, something was missing here between me and this movie and I don’t know who’s fault it is. I’m going with the latter, but that’s just like my opinion, man.
However, in the middle of all this randomness, is a very good performance from Sean Penn who plays-up his goofy-side, that is a reminder as to why people loved (and still do love) Louie Spicolli after all of these years. Penn is basically playing a caricature of the typical, burn-out rock star that can’t seem to grow-up or get rid of his old days, but Penn makes it seem more than just that. He’s actually very good handling all of this goofy comedy that he has to deliver and does it with a great comedic-timing that’s made me miss him in comedies for the longest-time. His character, Cheyenne, may be a bit too hard to identify with considering how strange he truly is, but Penn makes it worth while and it’s probably the only reason to see this flick, especially if you think Penn is turning into a crazy hack that doesn’t deserve the light of day. Even if you don’t think this, trust me, there are people who do and he’s showing all of them up right now. Damn Sean Penn!
Playing his wife of 35 years is Frances McDormand and as great and charming as she is, she still comes off as a bit unbelievable due to the fact that Cheyenne is so freakin’ weird. I mean, maybe somewhere in the world a couple like this can come together and stay together as long as any other normal, married one, but in terms of cinematic reasoning, it doesn’t ring all that true to me even though McDormand tries her hardest to make it so. She seems more of a best-friend or sister that comes around and hangs out with Cheyenne from time-to-time and obviously they do some dirty stuff here to make you think otherwise, but take away those dirty scenes and I would most likely think of them as just a bro and sis. Then again, though, they both try their hardest and that’s how I looked at it after all.
Consensus: Even though it’s utter randomness, strangeness, and lack of emotional-heart doesn’t do This Must Be The Place any justice whatsoever, the acting from McDormand and Penn does and keep this film on it’s toes, even if it does seem to go down a road that we don’t really care for, nor actually believe in. Not terrible, but could have been so, so, so much damn better.
Wes Anderson’s mind is finally a fun place to be at again.
Moonrise Kingdom centers on two 12 year-olds (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who fall in love and decide run away together into the wilderness. Naturally, the local community frantically scrambles to find them before a violent storm hits shore.
For awhile now, it seems like Wes Anderson has really started losing any credit he’s ever gotten since his debut, Bottle Rocket. Mainly, the reason for that is because his style is just overly-quirky, to the point of where you don’t feel like you’re actually watching real-life human beings, you’re just watching a bunch of twee characters made from Anderson’s sketches. However, that all changes here but at the same time, doesn’t change all that much. Which is very strange considering it’s probably my favorite from him since The Royal Tenenbaums.
This is probably Anderson’s best-looking flick he has ever done but it’s also with the same style he’s been using for his whole career, it’s just that it works so well with the story. All of the trademarks from Anderson’s direction are here in this flick, but the difference here that sets it apart from all of his other, beautiful-looking movies is that this one is set in the 60′s. The bright colors, sets, costumes, and camera-tricks that Anderson pulls out of his pocket all work rather than just seeming like another hipster attempt at being “cool” because of how he sets it in the 60′s. 60′s was a time for fun, relaxing, and being yourself and Anderson totally taps into that mind-set with just how gorgeous he makes this film look and even if you don’t like Anderson films (and trust me, there are plenty out there who absolutely despise the hell out of him), you can still sit there and just gaze at the beautiful portrait Anderson has on-display here.
Anderson always has beautiful films, no surprise there, but what makes this one so different is that he has a great script to give us something else to sink our teeth into. Anderson has a very dead-pan way of comedic timing but it’s put to great use here just because the film is so damn funny. As usual, you have to look out for little sight gags here and there but it’s the fact that this film continues to get more and more goofy as it goes on, that makes you feel like you’re having the time of your life. There’s a certain unabashed “fun” feel to this film that had me entertained so much but it’s more about how the story made me feel, rather than what it made me do.
This is probably Anderson’s most innocent piece of work to date, and with good reason because when you have a story about two runaway, little kids being together and falling in love, how can you not get a little cutesy? There are so many moments here that are so pleasant to watch because you really feel something for these two kids whenever they are together, and you want them to be happy, you want them to never grow-up and be old, angry people like Suzy’s parents, and you just want them to live their lives together, forever. I know it all sounds uber cheesy and lame, but this story really bring you into to its sweetness and Anderson takes full advantage of that showing us that the outside world for these two, is just not a fun or happy place to be, especially together. It was a story that actually reminded me a lot of my little crushes I had on some chickity-doo-da’s when I was little tike and made me feel young again, just watching how happy they were being able to connect to somebody in their lives. It’s some great stuff to see up on-screen and it’s a real surprise that Wes Anderson almost had me close to tears by the end of it all. “Close to tears” is what I said, people! Don’t worry, he didn’t get me just yet.
The reason why you love these kids together so much, is because the performances from Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are so damn good that I was even surprised to hear that this was their first film-roles ever. Gilman has this nerdy, but endearing look to him that makes him easy to like especially when he starts acting all cool and tough, while he’s trying to protect his “girl” from the cruel outside world. While Hayward is absolutely great as this somewhat disturbed girl, that seems like she would most likely be one of those emo freaks, had she been born 30 years later. They both seem so natural with each other, which really shocked me because they have to do some pretty “intimate things” together that would more than likely have some kids turn their heads and go, “ewwww coootieeeeesss!!”. However, that’s not either of these kids and they’re definitely a perfect fit for one another and I hope that they both get some real, bright futures for themselves because I think they deserve it with the work they put out here.
They’re the real stars of this flick, but everybody else is pretty damn good, too. Bill Murray is great as the dead-pan, always sad daddy of Suzy; Frances McDormand is fun to watch as the very messed-up mom of Suzie (also, Hayward looked a little bit like a younger version of McDormand, just a little bit though); Edward Norton is a whole lot of fun as the cheesy Scout Master Ward, and totally had me by surprise by how spot-on his comedic timing was considering this was the guy who got nominated for an Oscar where he actually curb stomped some dude (doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would have me really laughing at all); Tilda Swinton is evil and bitchy as Social Services, then again, what other kind of character would she play; and Jason Schwartzman also pops-up for about 5 minutes as Cousin Ben, but is still a lot of fun.
Actually, the most surprising piece of good work here was probably done by Bruce Willis as the sad and lonely guy that searches all over for these kids, Captain Sharp. Willis has been so many damn action roles as of late that so many people almost forget about how great of a “dramatic” actor this guy can be at times and he totally surprised me with the depth he was able to go through with this sad-sack of a character. He’s not really all that tough, he’s not really all that happy, and he’s really not at all like John McClane in the least bit. All of which, are a great thing and I hope this shows that Willis has more to him than just shouting out “Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker!”.
If there was one complaint I had to throw out from this whole movie it would have to be Bob Balaban as the narrator. The guy opens up the film and is a funny joke, but every time he comes on, for some reason just bothered the hell out of me and it seemed like it was a joke that went on too long. Not a huge problem by any means, but any time the guy showed up, I seemed to have gotten more annoyed.
Consensus: Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson’s welcome back to being a top-notch writer/director, and with good reason. The ensemble all bring out great work, including the little kiddie leads, the writing is hilarious in its subtle, dead-pan way, and the story itself will drag you in with its sweet innocence. Classic Anderson and I hope he’s back to stay for good.
Barbers are definitely some cruel people.
Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) goes about the business of cutting hair with a stoic resignation. He’s stuck in a rut and has no clue how to get out. When Crane discovers that his bookkeeper wife, Doris (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with Big Dave (James Gandolfini), her boss at Nirdlinger’s department store, the gears of change start turning.
Take it from the Coen Bros. to take us back to a time that seems so simple, so clean, and so nice, and make it seem like everything other than that.
This is one of those flicks that show the Coens basically giving a little tribute out to the good old days of black and white cinema noir, and it actually feels like one that would have been made back in those days too. The cinematography is beautiful and I think it was used for a great mood because I couldn’t have expected this being filmed in anything else other than black and white. The score is also great not because it sounds cool but because it’s actually made up of a bunch of actual pieces of orchestra music that adds a lot to the dark mood as well. Technically, the Coens do a fine job here and made me feel like I needed to blow some smoke while watching it just to get in the mood.
The story itself is a pretty slow one at first, but after awhile it actually builds up to a story that you sort of get involved with. Everything here is pretty straight-forward but I couldn’t help myself wondering just what was going to happen next and what road this film was actually going to try and go down. I can’t say that this is a suspenseful thrill ride by any means, but it’s still a flick that has a story that keeps on moving on and on as it goes. It will also probably make you feel a lot better than your life because things go from bad to worse for this dude Frank, and it pretty much made me thankful for everything I have in my life. Never thought the Coens would be able to make me think that but hey, they can work wonders when they want to.
The problem with this film isn’t that it’s not good, because it’s a very good flick, it’s just that it’s very hard to actually care what happens. Yes, I did like this story and where it went with its direction but when it came to actually having some sympathy for these characters, there just wasn’t anything touching me at all. Ed, our central character, is a pretty numbed-out dude that doesn’t talk much and doesn’t really have many emotions in this flick and it’s hard to connect with somebody like that considering it seems like he doesn’t really care all that much either about what’s going on with his life and where it’s taking him. His wife, Doris, also seems like she doesn’t have much going for her life other than running around on her husband which makes it even harder for us to care and even Big Dave has dreams but even those are pretty boring and mediocre. Basically, it’s a film that you can try your hardest to like and connect to one of these characters, but in the end, it’s just going to come off as empty.
As for people that are looking for a fun time with a Coen Bros. flick because they saw ones such as ‘True Grit’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’, well then you have to look a little further than this one. The film is very slow and even though I do feel like they needed the time to actually develop these characters as well as the story, there were other times where I felt like certain scenes just ran on a little too long with nothing else but just silence. Also, the 116 minute time-limit may also add insult to injury for that as well but then again, this isn’t the Coens having a fun time.
Billy Bob Thornton is his usual self in this flick as Ed Crane (great name), which is what adds a lot to this character and film as well. Billy Bob isn’t exciting, he barely shows any emotions, he smokes in about every single frame of this flick, and he’s a character that just seems like he doesn’t care at all about anything but it’s also what makes this character work. It may have been hard to feel anything for him but I was still able to like Billy Bob playing Crane because even though we may always seem him play the same character in every flick no matter what, it still never really gets old and still seems fresh especially when he’s playing a barber.
Frances McDormand is also good as his wife, Doris, and she adds a lot of sass and coolness to a character that is pretty unlikable, only because she is committing some infidelities; James Gandolfini is pretty much here as Big Dave and not doing much else other than just being there; and Tony Shalhoub practically comes out of nowhere and steals this flick by the end of it and made me laugh a hell of a lot more than I actually expected in a dark and sad film like this.
Consensus: The Man Who Wasn’t There shows the Coens in a good-form with fine performances from the cast, nice touches for its score and camera-work, and a nice story that builds up more and more, but also has characters that you may find it harder to connect with which makes it even harder for you to care what really goes down in the first place.
Being Jack Nicholson has to be awesome.
Sixty and still sexy, Harry (Jack Nicholson) is having the time of his life, wining, dining and bedding women half his age. When he agrees to go to the Hamptons with his girlfriend (Amanda Peet), plans go awry when her playwright mother, Erica (Diane Keaton), stops in unannounced. While the living arrangements are awkward at first, Harry soon discovers there’s nothing wrong with — and plenty good about — acting your age.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers is known for her usual, old-school rom-coms such as It’s Complicated, The Parent Trap, and What Women Want among others. Out of all of those ones I’ve seen, none have really been amazing but still fun which isn’t something I could say for a lot of other rom-coms that come out just about every Friday.
The film has a good balance of comedy and drama which starts off very well in the beginning of the film. It’s more a comedy of manners, where people say certain goofy things, they wouldn’t normally say so there is that sort of nervous laughter thing going on but it still works and actually had me laughing.
The romance aspect of this film also works well too because it actually has a little sweet tone to it, that is even better because of the smooth pace this film is given. However, the whole charm and sweetness of this film doesn’t run on forever, and soon starts to fall down the “cheesiness-ladder” quicker and quicker than I expected. There are moments that feel way too over-dramatic, which is something I expected from this chick-flick but come on, it got to be a little too much at points.
There is a scene where these two have sex and after wards they both start to cry, which at first, I laughed because I thought the film was doing a joke or trying to be humorous, until I realized that the film was serious when it showed these two grown-ups crying after a little session of doing the dirty. This had me unintentionally laughing as well as the ending, which feels way too over dramatic and heavy when it’s compared to the beginning and how this film first started off.
It also looks as if it was made on the same set as those really cheesy and lame soap commercials where they show somebody just running down the beach with their “man”. This wasn’t a total bother, I could just tell that the whole set was a little too bright for me and I found it a little hoaky to begin with.
When it comes down to it though, Jack & Diane can act. Jack Nicholson is the total man as Harry Sanborn, this old playboy who doesn’t date over 30. He’s the man in this role and almost every line is just totally charming because it has him saying the lines. I don’t even think he really needed an audition, he just got the part as soon as he said yes. Diane Keaton is also very good as Erica Barry, a woman who hasn’t been in “the game” for quite some time and is brought back into it by Harry. Her performance is also great because she finds a way to balance out that cuteness, hilarity, and that endearing real soul behind her character and shows that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still be a fine and sexy lady. Their chemistry is great and it’s just total fun to see these two together on-screen.
Consensus: Something’s Gotta Give has two great performances from Nicholson and Keaton, as well as some funny and sweet moments, but feels overly dramatic and has scenes here that may seem unintentionally funny, depending on how you look at them
Why does all-of-a-sudden every dude just get horny when they automatically see a chick here?
Based on an inspiring real-life event that took place in the 1970s, North Country stars Charlize Theron in another low-glamour but high-impact role as Josey Aimes, one of only a handful of women working in the Minnesota iron mines. Forced to labor under sexist conditions, she and her female colleagues decide to stand up against the unrelenting harassment from their male counterparts.
You’re probably sitting there now, wondering to yourself after you just read the premise and thought, “Haven’t I seen this before?’. And the truth is yes have, almost every two hours on Lifetime channel.
The film actually does have some moments where it was actually a bit up-lifting, which is probably because the way they depict the way these chicks are treated, was just absolutely terrible and I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone else at all. It’s also kind of sad that these events are actually true and it kind of makes me ashamed of the ways dude treat their women. But other than that, that’s all I felt from this film.
The main problem with this film is that director Niki Caro lets all of this just seem totally over-dramatized and so unbearably obvious that it makes the film almost seem like a really crappy soap-opera rather than an actual inspiration tale that changed the way women work with men forever. I didn’t really get a reason as to why these dudes acted like complete and such little boys with these girls, and the reason we’re actually given, is totally unbelievable and just forced.
I also never understood why any of these guys actually stood up for these chicks, instead of just sitting back and letting it happen. I mean, can every single guy in Minnesota not think for themselves and actually stand up for other human-beings when their being treated like pieces of shit? It’s also kind of weird in a film that basically preaches respecting humanity, it sure does have a lot of pain inflicted on its characters.
Charlize Theron is good as Josey Aimes and shows how her bitterness increases into something that makes her stronger as a woman, and gives her the power to fight back against these d-bags. The only thing is that we don’t see any other side of Josey other than this, and even though Theron plays her very well it’s kind of a disappointment to see what could have been a really complex and great lead, sort of one-note.
Frances McDormand is fine as Glory in her little feisty role that always works so well for her but isn’t in the film as much really; Sean Bean and Woody Harrelson are good as the only two men in all of Minnesota that seem like they actually have a soul; and Richard Jenkins and Sissy Spacek are both good as Theron’s parents. However, the best performance out of the whole cast is Jeremy Renner as this uber d-bag named Bobby Sharp, who Theron’s character went out with when she was younger and almost every scene he had, sort of started to give me the chills. Renner scores emotional depth in a character that would just seem like a total cliche and when the film was over, I remembered his character more than Theron’s actually.
Consensus: What could have been up-lifting and inspirational, gets totally bogged down by hokey, predictable, and sappy cliches that takes a lot away from what’s being talked about in North Country, which could actually seem very important had it been given better direction.
Everything that Battle: Los Angeles should have been.
The third installment in Michael Bay’s trilogy travels back to 1969′s historic moon landing, when Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 cohorts touch down in the Sea of Tranquility … and discover what appears to be a downed Transformers craft. Flash forward to the present, and the Decepticons are ready to exact revenge on Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky, the Autobots’ human ally.
To get myself ready for this one I went through the whole series. The first one was pretty good; the second one was unbearable; and this one was the best of the whole series. And although that’s not saying much, I still had fun.
The world of Michael Bay consists of explosions, sparks, fire, giant robots, sexy chicks, destruction, and the craziest things that you thought could never happen in real-life. Bay does a great job here as director because he actually keeps the story pretty easy to understand, and a very simple story at that. This is a lot darker than the past films and although the comedy wasn’t as funny I still chuckled, and there was a nice balance between the story and the actual silly stuff.
The action here comes and goes within the first hour, but once that hour is gone, the rest of the film is just insane. You have robots beating up robots, guns blasting, cars flipping, buildings collapsing, and for once I could actually tell just what the hell was going on. There are also some really good action sequences that will keep your eyes glued to the screen and just make you scream “baddassery” at the screen right when the scene is over. The action never stops, and you watch all this chaos and destruction happen but at the same time, you won’t feel annoyed with no plot development or the fact that just about everything you see is special effects. Basically the payoff is bangin’, and I promise you, you won’t leave this film feeling like you didn’t get any action.
Although, the main problem with this film is that it is 2 hours and 34 minutes long and after awhile that starts to take a toll on you. I don’t mind when films are that time-limit as long as their entertaining me, but even though I was entertained with this one, I felt like they needed to wrap it up pretty soon because there was a time that I felt like this film could have ended at any time.
However, when it did end, it was so completley abrupt. I think that they probably budgeted this film so high to the point of where they had almost no money left they just decided to end it, in order to avoid conflicts for money. And of course, in the end, there’s the obligatory U.S flag waving proudly in the wind. You love your country Mr. Bay, we get it already. No need to shove it down our throats along with outworn speeches of freedom. He is so damn patriotic sometimes, I think he almost forgets that he’s talking about a movie about robots that turn into cars, and beat the shit out of each other.
Shia LaBeouf does what he always does well; just make exaggerated faces, scream like a girl at times, and put on that angry face that we can laugh at but you know what, that shtick never gets old. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaces Megan Fox and is surprisingly quite charming and sexy; Josh Duhamel seems like he’s trying so hard to be Timothy Olyphant; Patrick Dempsey hamms it up pretty well as Dylan; Tyrese Gibson is whatever as Epps; and John Turturro is less annoying in this one than he was in the second one, which is very good. The rest of the cast features a lot of random names such as John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Alan Tudyk, and the most random of all, Frances McDormand. I don’t think I could have ever imagined Frances McDormand talking to a robot in my life, but somehow, Bay has a way of getting Oscar winners into his shit.
Consensus: Since this is a Michael Bay film, many will hate it for being chaotic and insane, but this time I could tell what was going on and even though the first hour may be a little lame, it picks up and becomes the epic, and most action-packed final installment we could ever ask for from these robots.
Liam Neeson is not a scientist, that’s how you know that this film is messed up.
In director Sam Raimi’s moody, intense thriller, brilliant scientist Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is almost killed by gangsters in a massive explosion. Unstable and disfigured, Peyton becomes Darkman, an impossibly strong, tormented antihero. Able to spend only moments in the sunlight, Darkman begins a quest to rekindle his love with his girlfriend (Frances McDormand), who he’s held at a distance, and to take vengeance on his enemies.
The funny thing about Darkman is that it looks like a comic book movie (Batman, Dick Tracy), though it features an original screenplay. It has all the elements of one of those origin episodes that the comic book fans love to collect, and how they discover how that superhero turned out to be that way and why.
One thing that you soon may notice about Darkman that it acts and looks like a horror film, when really its a natural tale based on revenge. A lot of elements are thrown together to make this wild fest filled with blend of comic book action, sets, and characters, pitch black humor, and sci-fi/horror violence. I wasn’t expecting anything different from a Raimi film, but what this is still a nice and well-worked blend.
There are a lot of original things that go on in this film. Sometimes the action is really cool to look at, and there are a lot of other scenes where Darkman uses some of his smart tricks to fool others thinking he is still dead.
The one problem I had with this film was that Darkman the character was not very compelling. He obviously has a reason for killing all these people, but compared to other super heroes such as Batman and Superman, he doesn’t have much of a personality and we can’t really connect to him as an audience.
Occasionally the film does get a bit silly with its very cheap one-liners, and cliche script. But the villains didn’t seem so bad either. They just seemed like people that were part of the mob nothing really different, and I think anybody, super powers or no super powers could have easily killed them.
Liam Neeson does try his hardest with the character but isn’t given much to play with. He does have little scenes where he goes into rage and it seems believable just not memorable, and falls by the waist side of this character.
Consensus: Darkman is well-directed, and at times a very fun picture, but isn’t too memorable, that features an uninteresting superhero, and gang of villains.
What can the Coen Brothers not do?
In a jealous rage, Texas tavern owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires unscrupulous private detective Loren Visser (M. Emmett Walsh) to not only tail Marty’s two-timing spouse(Frances McDormand, in her big-screen debut) but also murder her and her paramour (John Getz). But events take a surprising turn when the gumshoe double-crosses his client.
This is the directorial debut of the Coen Brothers, and I have got to say this is some of their best work I have ever seen. Put this up against Fargo, Big Lebowski, and Barton Fink, they are nothing compared to this film.
Let’s just say if you want a stylized film neo-noir you have one right here. The cinematography from Barry Sonenfield. There are just scenes where they just have one image throughout a whole scene, and then there is one scene where it literally jumps over a guy laying his head down at a bar. The camera feels like another person itself, and you are that person as the story goes on.
Though this is big in this film, the Coen Brothers never really let that get in the way of their great story they have here of double-crossing, and then double-double-crossing, and who’s really dead and who’s actually alive.
I liked how everything that happened, happened for a reason and went with the story. The scenes weren’t put in just to be funny or more bloody but put in to add to this amazing story.
The screenplay is what is really rich, and becomes so realistic by the end of the film, I’m wondering if this was based on a true story. There are elements of irony, black comedy, and dark words in the screenplay, and all of the touches really felt genuine and not just put on to change to mood a little bit.
The acting from M. Emmett Walsh is really magnificent. He plays this character that we don’t know if we should hate or like because though he is a hit man, and a low-life. He still has that little charm that makes this film reasonably funny. John Hedaya, is very good in this film as well, and I just wish there were more scenes with him the main power point of it.
There was only one problem that I didn’t like about the film and it was that the ending really did have me confused. When it ends you know there’s a point that the film is trying to make but it really didn’t come across me too well.
Consensus: The Coen Brother’s debut is slick, rich, and most of all creatively told, and features some of the best material from them I have ever seen.