The Wettest County in the World would have totally been a lame title. Unless by “Wettest” they mean with blood. Then it’s cool.
Lawless revolves around three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke) who become bootleggers in the South during the Prohibition. As business is booming, it attracts the attention of the local authorities who soon want a piece of the proverbial pie. One local authority in particular, played by Guy Pearce, doesn’t take all of this success so kindly.
After all of the big and glamorous Summer blockbusters come and go from the theaters, studios try their hardest to bring out any film between August and October that could be somewhat Oscar-worthy, yet, not enough due to it not being the Holiday season where all of the heavy-hitters. However, if you’re looking for something that may pack a hard-punch like all of the best Summer blockbusters this year, but yet, still have some Oscar qualities to it, then look no farther than John Hillcoat‘s latest. Trust me, it’s not THAT depressing.
If you have seen Hillcoat’s other two flicks (The Proposition and The Road), you’d know that this guy has a real sight for when it comes to making his films feel like they fit the setting, but also do something that helps the mood even-out all of the problems it may have somewhere along the line. This film definitely isn’t as grim and sinister as those other two, but there’s still enough of a tense atmosphere that Hillcoat brings to this material that got me going, even if it did seem take-off a bit too late in the game. There’s nothing new or original that Hillcoat brings to this material but the whole time I was watching, I felt like I was in the 30′s, where boot-legging was a very serious “no-no”, but everybody still went about doing it anyway.
Perhaps that was my only major complaint about this flick is that Hillcoat and Nick Cave (writer for this flick) don’t really bring anything new to this material, other than just an old-fashioned, shoot ‘em up story with drama here and there. This story can be very unpredictable but you also can’t help but think that Cave sort of chickens out on some of the more darker elements to this story that could have been developed more, and actually came together at the end of the flick when all hell breaks loose. Other than Hillcoat’s style, this flick feels like it could have done by anybody else which is a disappointment because after seeing what these guys have been able to do in the past, I was expecting to be totally knocked out of my seat with something cool that I have never seen before in a story like this. This definitely won’t be getting any looks in the writing and directing department, but with a film this fun, I don’t really think it matters.
So yeah, the film does take awhile to get up-and-moving but once it actually does, it’s a whole bunch of unpredictable fun that reminded me a bit of Public Enemies, but without the terrible Southern accents via Christian Bale. It seems to me that the sight of a 30′s-era Tommy Gun in someone’s hands is a lot cooler, than an 21st century AK-47 in someone’s hands and that somewhat of a fact, stands true with this flick as there is a lot of shooting, bleeding, killing, double-crossing, and a whole bunch of violence to really make people squirm right in their seats. Much like The Proposition, this film isn’t as based around it’s violence as you would expect from all of the advertising for it. But whenever the violence does come into play with this story it’s just brutal, bloody, and amped with a whole bunch of sadistic energy that you could only get from a story that gets very bleak, very quick. Even if this is familiar territory Cave and Hillcoat are covering here, the story itself still leaves a whole bunch of surprises for us to see and that’s what really got me in the end because when the shit really starts hitting the fan late in the game, I really felt like the story could have gone anywhere and was just about to do so. Problem is, it sort of does and doesn’t, but I’ll let you figure that out for yourselves.
A lot of people seeing all of the advertising for this flick are seeing some dramatic heavy-hitters like Pearce and Oldman, as well as some fast-rising stars like Hardy and Chastain, will probably be terribly shocked by the casting of Shia LaBeouf leading the whole film, but have no fear people, he’s not all that bad. Maybe that’s not so warm to hear considering in every movie review I do for one of his flicks, I always give him the benefit of the doubt and talk about how good he is (Disturbia: check, Transfomers: check, Transformers 2: OK, I won’t even go there), but here, he actually is as the young and wild-cat, Jack. LaBeouf, out of everybody else here, probably does the best with his Southern-ish accent and can nail a lot of his dramatic parts very well, especially when his character is really pushed to the edge, by the end. Hopefully this flick shows that LaBeouf can be taken seriously as an actor, or if worse comes to worse, it could just show that it’s only a matter of time until we get that Even Stevens reunion we’ve all been waiting so anxiously for. Either way, it’s a win-win for him.
Another great performance comes from none other than Tom Hardy as his older brother, Forrest. Hardy, as we all know and have seen in the past years, is a total bad-ass when it comes to his roles and takes all of his character’s, and gives them this edge to them that not only makes them intimidating as hell but also very lovable in the long-run. Forrest is a great example of that acting skill because we see Hardy go for this no nonsense talk, brooding character that may not say much in his simple way of life, but still gets our appreciation whenever he has to knock someone’s teeth in with one of his lethal brass knuckles. He may not be in the film just as much as LaBeouf, but he still creates enough of a presence to make him feel like a lead in his own right.
The last great performance to high-light is none other than Guy Pearce as the terribly distasteful city cop, Charlie Rakes. Pearce seems like he’s getting more and more juicer roles as of late, and I think Rakes may be his best one so far because this character is just so damn unlikable that you really want him to die or something bad to just happen to him whenever his groomed, eyebrow-less face shows up on-screen. This is a black-as-coal character that makes no mistakes in being the ever-loving shit out of everybody he has a problem with and makes no apologies, either. This is just one sick son of a bitch that doesn’t give a shit what you think of him, he’s just going to do what he wants and I honestly couldn’t get enough of this character (I mean, that is why he gets the pleasure of being my poster for this review). It may be a tad too soon to start talking about some Oscar talk for him, but you never know because this is one of those “evil performances from a character actor” that the Academy usually eats up.
As for everybody else that I failed to mention, they’re all pretty good, too. Jessica Chastain plays a lovely gal named Maggie, who seems to attract the eyes of Forrest and gives a good performance, even if she does seem a little wasted here. Another piece of wasted talent (I think) is Mia Wasikowska as Jack’s little, love-interest. Both of them seem like they were just here for some female appeal for this flick and even though they don’t do much to keep this plot moving, they still do their best with what they’re given. That’s all that really counts. Another performance I was slightly disappointed by was Gary Oldman‘s as a notorious gangster, Floyd Banner. Oldman is great at playing a villain with a conscience, which he does very well here, but he isn’t in the film for more than 8 minutes which is a real surprise since this guy can really hit it out-of-the-park when he chooses to. But something also tells me he allowed those duties to be left to Pearce, and thank him for that. Almost like a passing of the torch for character acting, if you will.
Consensus: There’s nothing new or original about this take on a pair of bootleggers in the 30′s, but Lawless still provides a good story, with some very good performances from the ensemble cast, and plenty of action and violence to satisfy anybody’s late-Summer needs. Just make sure that THIS Tom Hardy doesn’t tell The Dark Knight Rises Tom Hardy you weren’t fully satisfied, then you may be screwed.
OK Batty, you had your fun, you had your box-office records, and you had your hype. Now, it’s time to get the hell out of here!
It’s been 8 years since Harvey Dent was killed by Batman and Gotham City is pretty much going to hell. It’s turning for the worse, there’s no central peace or order to be found, and Bane (Tom Hardy), has a huge gang of thugs basically taking over the city. However, little does he know that there’s a certain someone who’s always there to stop evil at once: Batman (Christian Bale).
Honestly, who the hell has not been waiting for this freakin’ movie!?! Ever since The Dark Knight came, stayed for a long-ass time, and went back in 2008, people have been waiting day-after-day just to see what Nolan was going to pull off for his last hurrah. Thankfully, this is his last hurrah, and what a perfect hurrah it is.
Director Christopher Nolan proves, once again, why he is in-fact one of the greatest story-tellers working in film today. I know the same exact thing in The Dark Knight review, but this guy really proves that he has some insane skill with this flick because from start-to-finish, I was basically on-the-edge of my seat, wondering what the hell he was going to do with this story, these characters, and everything else in between. I’ve never been a huge comic-book fan and to be honest I’ve never really read much of Batman comics, but from what I see here, this guy takes the story of Batman that we all know and love, gives it a dark edge, and makes you feel like it can and will go anywhere he wants it to. There were certain parts of this flick where I really felt like some major characters were in danger of being killed off right away and even though that danger comes and goes, much like normal superhero movies, you still feel like the danger is not over. Just when you think that things are going to get better for these characters and Gotham City itself, it doesn’t and throughout the whole film, I was constantly thinking who will I be seeing for the last time and who will I be seeing again to fight the baddies. Sounds lame, I know, but this story really feels like it will go somewhere where no other superhero film has ever dared to do so far before, and sometimes it does, but it’s all I could ask for in an entertaining, superhero movie. A lot of this story harks back to Batman Begins, so be ready for that, but this is it’s own story, through and through.
Nolan is a daring film-maker, well all know and love that, but it’s not just because of how epic and twisty the story can be, it’s all because of what that guy brings to the table that makes this film all of the more enjoyable. There’s a certain type of suspense in this film the whole time that not only made me feel the energy going throughout my veins, but kept my eyes locked on the screen at all times. Every single action scene feels like it’s going to be even better than the last one, which they usually are, but there’s just something so much more epic about the action scenes here that made me want to get up and join in the action, whatever that may have been at the time. You can just feel the energy of this movie escalating into something bigger and bigger as the run-time goes on, and once it gets to that breaking-point, all hell breaks loose and there’s just so much action and excitement going on that you cannot help but feel it come off the screen as well. But, however, as good as a lot of this action may be, it’s still feels very epic and I think a lot of that has to do with Mr. Nolan and what he does behind-the-camera.
This is definitely one of those films to see in IMAX, even though it’s not always shot in that format the whole way through. The shots Nolan grabs here are great, whether it’s these sweeping action set-pieces or just beautiful over-head shots of Gotham City, either way, the IMAX looks great and if you do pay extra for that ticket, you will not be disappointed with what you see, or hear. The sound is just so loud and clear, that whenever an action scene happens, you can almost hear and feel the hits with the loud-ass booms of the speakers, and it gets even better with the score that Hans Zimmer has made up here. As soon as you hear it come up, it hits you and you can just feel like shit is about to go down, one way or another, and sometimes it does, and sometimes it definitely freakin’ does! Didn’t make much sense, but I don’t care! I know I don’t mention scores a lot, but with a film like this, you need an epic score just to give you the feeling of how epic this film truly is. Yeah, I know I said the word “epic” again, but it’s the truth, everything from the score, to the cinematography, to the story, to the action, makes it that from beginning to end. Yeah, there may have been a couple of problems with it’s story here and there, but I was able to let that all go by me and realize that this story just totally grabbed me and never let go. And thank the lord for that.
For every single person who has ever talked ish on Christian Bale and what he does with Batman and that “growl” of his (trust me I’m one of them), be ready to feel ultra sad knowing that this will probably be the last time you ever see this guy do that ever again and what a way to go out with it. This is probably the best performance Bale has given as Wayne out of the whole trilogy because he brings out that warrior-like darkness that arose in him from the second flick, but also goes back to when he was just learning the ways of his anger from the first one, as well. It’s a pretty cool mish-mash of character ideas going on with him in this flick and Bale handles it perfectly, just like I expected him to.
After having such an iconic villain like The Joker, played by the late, great Heath Ledger, it feels very obvious that Nolan would try his hardest to make Bane out, almost the same exact way, if not more, but he doesn’t go down that route which I liked. Bane seems like a strange choice of a villain to be in this dark trilogy, but he’s given a lot more development here that gives him a pretty bad-ass origin story to start off with, a bunch of intellectual skills that match his fighting skills, and a pretty intimidating physique, courtesy of rising-star Tom Hardy. Hardy is great with this role and proves to be more intimidating and dangerous than The Joker in more ways than I expected because whenever he’s on-screen, you can just feel that tension whenever he is, but when he isn’t, you can still feel it as if he’s just planning what he’s going to do next in the background somewhere. There’s this great use of his eyes that Hardy uses to convey all of these evil and mean thoughts that are going through his head, and you almost feel happy that you don’t see what else is going with his face. Definitely a great threat for Batty, and another reason why Nolan should have been trusted with this character from the first place. Oh yeah, and that “voice” of his? Easy to understand most of the times, other times, you can’t really hear it fully, but you pretty much get the gist of what he’s talking about. Evil shit, and that’s all you need to know.
Another big worry that people had with this film’s cast of characters was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. It’s not that people didn’t trust Hathaway and her skills as an actress, it’s more or less that fans didn’t know what to expect from this character that seemed so weak whenever she was adapted onto film the other times, but somehow, they pull it off perfectly here, mostly Hathaway. Right from the get-go when you see this girl, she is just bad-ass, smart, witty, sly, evil, and sexy, but you never know what’s on her mind, what she’s going to do next, or who’s side she was going to end up being on in the end of it all. That mystery about her, made her character so much more awesome and bad-ass than anybody ever expected and she totally seems like the type of chick-character that could hold her own with the best of them. Don’t hold me to this, but I sort of do see an Oscar nomination for Hathaway here, but if it doesn’t happen, I won’t surprised, either. Just one of those things I could see happening in the future, and with good reason, too.
As for everybody else in this flick, they’re all pretty good, too. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, aka the effin’ man, does a great job with a character that comes out of nowhere, we know nothing about, and just seems like one of those cookie-cutting good guys that every superhero story needs. However, JGL makes this character so much more bad-ass than anybody, even myself, first thought and he makes a great supporting character that you know you can trust every time he shows up on-screen. JGL is getting bigger and bigger with each and every role he takes, and it’s not for long until this guy finally nabs an Oscar. Maybe even two, hell, maybe even three! I don’t know! The sky is the freakin’ limit with this dude! Marion Cotillard is also new to this story as Miranda Tate, and does a splendid job, as usual, even if her character does seem a little bit forced with the hum-hum romance between her and Bruce Wayne, but it’s easily forgivable since she’s so good in everything she does. As with out returning veterans of the series, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, they all do their parts and show why exactly their characters have stayed so strong throughout the whole time of these movies.
I know that throughout this whole review, I kept mentioning and bringing up the word “epic”, but if I had to sum this flick up in one word, it would be exactly just that: epic. You can just feel like this film is going to culminate into something big, something extravagant, and overall, something that will stay in your mind forever because of what Nolan has done with this series, and does with this goodbye to the series and stories that he has made so damn popular once again. Now that he’s done with these flicks, Nolan will go off and do the film he’s always been wanting to do and probably kick as much ass with them as he has with these three, but I will never forget this amazing trilogy and as sad as it may be to see the last time for all of these characters happen right in front of our eyes, I know that I had a great time with all three flicks and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’m getting a little teary-eyed here right now just writing this and when you see this flick, trust me, you won’t be able to blame me. Thank you Christopher Nolan. You truly can do no wrong.
Consensus: Though it may be very long, The Dark Knight Rises delivers on every spectrum: acting, writing, directing, cinematography, score, etc. It’s exactly what you could want in a summer blockbuster, and superhero movie, but it’s also exactly what you could want in a film that’s saying “adios” to all of its characters that it’s introduced to us for the past 7 years and it’s a legacy that I won’t forget. That’s for damn sure.
9.5/10=Full Effin’ Price!!
Damn, when they say “Dark”, they freakin’ meant it!
Batman (Christian Bale) raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organisations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker (Heath Ledger).
Come on now! You can’t honestly sit there and try to tell me that you didn’t see this one coming. I mean with The Dark Knight Rises only about a few short days away, I had to realize again why I’m so juiced up in the first place and thank God for that, cause this movie still kicks ass no matter how many times you see it. And to answer any of your suspicions, I saw this more than 10 times. In it’s entirety, as well.
Let me just get this out of the bag and go off by stating the obvious when I say that this is one of the, if not, the best superhero movie of all-time, and all of that can be attributed to one of the best storytellers working today, Mr. Christopher Nolan. Batman Begins was a pretty damn dark origin story to how Batman became who he is, but this film goes even farther in the dark departments where almost everything here is complex, gloomy, depressing, scary, sad, and most of all, tense. Holy shit is this movie ever so tense! Nolan lets the story be told the way that it should, which works in its own right, but what really got me every time was whenever he would pack this film with another insane action sequence that would last over 10 minutes and just keep my attention up on the screen the whole time. The sounds are loud, the shots are booming, and the whole time, you feel like you’re there and you have no idea what’s going to happen next.
That’s also another aspect I loved about this movie, you never knew what was really going to happen next. Too much in today’s world whenever we get a superhero movie, it’s pretty much the same song and dance but there’s just something different that Nolan brings to this story here and he makes it all the more unpredictable. I mean there is obvious, generic plot points that this film follows through on, but not everything is exactly as you would expect it to be. And honestly, even when things are even remotely up-lifting or happy, they aren’t as sunny shine as you would want. Instead, the daaaaaaarknessss taaakesss overrrrr!!!
So when you do have a story that’s somewhat unpredictable and plenty of hardcore action scenes that kick your ass right into shape, you pretty much have a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through, which is in fact what this film does if not more. Every single scene feel like it matters to this story, only to build it up more and give it more layers, and every time a piece of action would come out on screen, it not only made the film feel that much more intense but also added to the ruthless mood that Nolan gave this film in the first place. You almost feel like this director will do anything and everything to entertain us and keep us watching, but he also doesn’t allow for it to be just his story to tell, we all know and love it the way we do and there’s a spirit underneath it all that really makes it fly (pun intended). It’s not everyday that you get to see a story like this that’s so damn complex and fun, but also one that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be pulling any punches and could literally go anywhere with itself. That’s the type of director Christopher Nolan is and if you don’t believe me, go on and check out his résumé, and see what the eff I’m talking about. This guy means business and it shows through every single film he makes, and that’s why I have total and complete faith in him handling this last one.
If there is any complaint I have to give to this film is that it is almost too tense to the point of where I feel like I was getting tired by the end. I know, I know, I’m going to get attacked in the comments by how lame of a complaint this is but the film does run on a little too long and you feel like there should have almost been an intermission for people to go out and stretch their legs and get some over-priced goodies at the concessions stand. Then again, it’s just another sign of Mr. Nolan not taking any prisoners when it comes to watching his movies and being there for the end, with every body part still in-tact.
Christian Bale, once again, does a pretty solid job as Batman/Bruce Wayne and shows that he definitely has the skills and charm to pull of a complex character like Batman where we see him as this happy and rich playboy, that has to stand up for what is right, put on the cape, belt, suit, and everything, just to show what he believes in. Maybe that was a little too corny for Batman, and hell, even this movie, but you know what I mean. Bale is always awesome and regardless of what he does with his voice, you know this guy always kicks ass. It was also awesome to see everybody else return here and give their characters more development this time around with Gary Oldman as Lt. James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and of course, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth. Also, people will probably notice that Katie Holmes didn’t return to her character of Rachel Dawes (for Mad Money, great decision honey!), so they put Maggie Gyllenhaal in for her and she does pretty awesome. She isn’t necessarily a damsel in distress character as she can stick up for herself but also makes it clear why two dudes like Wayne and Dent would be fighting over here.
But when it all comes right down to it, you cannot talk about this film without going over it’s two main villains: Harvey Dent/Two-Face and The Joker. I feel bad for Aaron Eckhart here because this guy totally gets over-shadowed by all of the hype with his character, as it’s obviously always more focused on The Joker, which isn’t fair because the guy kicks some sweet ass in this role. Eckhart definitely seems like a great choice for Dent because he’s always been able to play these somewhat slimy characters, that you know you can’t hate because deep-down inside, there’s something good in them. Take this role for instance, as it is a lot harder to portray a dude that is pretty much a romantic rival to our main hero, and also goes from good guy to bad guy pretty quickly and dramatically. But somehow, Eckhart pulls it all off and I’m glad to see that he finally got his chance to be apart of the A-list because this guy has something about him that just really clicks.
However, you can’t talk about this film without not talking about it’s main attraction in the first place, and with good reason: Heath Ledger as The Joker. This is one of those rare, inspired bits of casting that comes around almost once a decade where a random actor gets put in this role where it doesn’t seem like it fits that person one bit, but somehow, they pull it all off perfectly to the point where you almost don’t feel like you’re not watching that same actor do their own thing. That’s this rare role where Ledger just got to do anything he wanted with this iconic villain. Does he have the same wit and charm as Nicholson’s? Of course, but it’s a lot more darker now and goes along with the tone so perfectly because Ledger isn’t a Joker that’s all about fun and games, this ‘effer will kill you when he has the chance to do so and he’ll laugh and smile about it. Don’t believe me? Just try and remember that magic trick. Thank you, I rest my case. But honestly, this is one of Ledger’s best performances ever, which is obvious because he won the Oscar that year anyway but it should not be all about because he died and the Academy felt bad. No, this guy commands the screen every time he is up there and you get the perfect feel for what this actor really would have done, had he lived on and saw what this iconic role done to his career. Really is a sad thing to see when you have somebody with such a bright future right ahead of them, just fall short because of some stupid drugs, but we will always have the movies and that’s what matters.
Consensus: The Dark Knight is exactly what you would expect from a superhero flick, especially one that is considered the greatest of all-time: awesome action sequences, tense storytelling, unpredictable story, great acting, easy-to-root for hero that has more problems at stake than just a bunch of baddies, baddies that are as menacing and evil as you can get, and a direction that just reminds you that Christopher Nolan is a man amongst men when and when it comes right down to it, this guy can do it all if he wanted to! The Dark Knight Rises, here I come baby!!
Fear the Batman and his raspy voice!
As a boy a young Bruce Wayne watched in horror as his millionaire parents were slain in front of his eyes, a trauma which led him to become obsessed with revenge but his chance is cruelly taken away from him by fate. The discovery of a cave under his mansion, and a prototype armoured suit leads him to take on a new persona, one which will strike fear into the hearts of men who do wrong, he becomes Batman (Christian Bale).
Since everybody and their mothers have been hyping up the release of the epic conclusion of the Christopher Nolan Batman Saga, I thought it would be a good time to go back and check out what these other two did to have all of this excitement. However, it only got me more and more excited for what’s bound to come July 20th.
What Nolan does here with this Batman flick is give it a whole new look, edge, and feel to it. Instead of going for the slap-happy, goofy type of Batman we usually see from Adam West and the terrible Joel Schumacher, we get a real serious Batman that works a lot better. That’s right, no Prince jams, no Bat nipples, and no hammy villains: everything is played straight to the core and that is one of the main things that Nolan does here perfectly. Nolan actually gets into the character of Bruce Wayne more and find out how, why, and for what reasons he goes off from being this million dollhair playboy, to all of a sudden becoming a kick-ass dude dressed in a Bat suit. Of course being dressed as a Bat when you’re laying down the law on somebody is a little kooky in its own right, but they actually bring that up amongst other topics, and it all comes together perfectly.
Nolan also knows how to make this film look great with some perfect shots coming from the cinematography, but also with the sleek and dark look this film had the whole time, especially when it came to Gotham City itself. Gotham City here, actually looked like a metropolis rather than just a set with some fancy designs on it and it got me into this setting where every one and everything is just dirty as hell, everybody and their mothers are all corrupted, and there is no law being brought down on anything bad happening. Gotham City has never looked better and it only gets cooler and cooler to look at once Nolan begins to bring in some of Batman’s cool gadgets and whatnot, all of which, are going to make you want to head on back down to the local Toys R Us and play around a little bit. I’m probably alone on that one but it’s just another excuse to go and play with my toys.
There was plenty of action that worked, especially the finale which kept the energy flowing, but it start to bother me after awhile. Yeah, Nolan gives us the action we want but whenever he does, the camera is constantly up each person’s asses and you can’t see anything else other than a couple of figures throwing punches and kicks at one another. With all of these “hand to hand” combat fight sequences being edited so tightly, it was really hard for me to even get a feel for who was hitting who and who was doing what to whom, and I guess I just also wanted that “awww shittt he just broke that bulls….” moment that I usually get whenever I watch a superhero/action movie. Instead, I just guessed who was winning and who ended up winning and 9 times out of 10, I was right.
Christian Bale was a great choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman because the guy can look and act the part no matter what it is that he does, and he is no different here. I like how Bale gave off this dark but cocky attitude about him that made his character seem more like Patrick Bateman, which isn’t such a bad thing considering that is by-far one of his best performances of all-time and it’s definitely a lot easier to cheer on this guy when it comes to the beat-downs. Katie Holmes was pretty damn flat as Rachel and I think that’s mainly because the writing didn’t give her much to do, other than constantly bitch at every one around her, especially at Bruce and then act like they’re in love at the end. Yeah, didn’t really believe that after all of the hissy-fighting but maybe she was just tense. Then again, that’s always an excuse for ladies.
As for the villain(s) of this flick, each and every single one of them do fine-ass jobs and give a lot more to this story, even if it is without any real iconic villain that we all know and love from the Batman series. Liam Neeson is sinister as Henri and seems like the type of dude you really don’t want to mess with, even if it is Oskar Schindler; Tom Wilkinson was freakin’ funny (in a good way) as the last mobster in Gotham City; and Cillian Murphy does a great job playing up that whole crazy-persona here as Dr. Crane, and thankfully, he doesn’t overdo it one bit. Oh yeah, another surprise is that The Scarecrow is actually scary this time around. Never going into the corn fields ever again.
Consensus: Batman Begins is not perfect but it’s a very dark, bleak, and serious type of superhero film that works due to it’s inspired direction from Christopher Nolan, and some awesome performances that all of the cast gives out, with the exception of Katie Holmes which was pretty predictable.
Don’t eff with the comic book nerds.
The film tells the story of a novice prostitute Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) and the adventure with her lover, comic book store clerk Clarence Worley (Christian Slater). When Clarence kills Alabama’s pimp (Gary Oldman), the newlyweds ride off into the sunset — with $5 million worth of cocaine in a suitcase and the police and the mob on their trail.
Since director Tony Scott is in such a slump nowadays, I honestly think he should just go back to having Tarantino write his scripts because he gave him two of the best films of his career. Aside from ‘Crimson Tide’, this is the other one.
The real selling point of this flick is that it’s written by Tarantino himself, and as everybody already knows, this guy is a freakin’ original genius. Tarantino is able to take any situation and make it go from normal to completley insane in about a matter of 5 seconds and it will give you this bad-ass feeling that you could not expect. The story is a pretty familiar but there are people getting killed at every second that you wouldn’t expect, twists and turns, random pop-culture references that somehow fit into the story, and just a whole bunch of other cool moments in this flick that make it ten times more the awesome thrill ride that it is known as today.
My complaint with this script is that even though it is by Tarantino, this is definitely not his best work by any means. Yes, he does get to use all of his trade-marks like funny one-liners, pop-culture references, and tense stand-offs but for some reason it’s not as edgy as you would expect. There was just something that felt like it should have really hit me harder and stuck with me more but instead it just ended up entertaining me and left me with a pretty happy mood. I don’t think Tarantino had full control over his story and that’s why the story may come off as a little more lame than his usual stuff, but it still at least works in a rather medium way.
Director Tony Scott also adds a bunch of fun to this flick by giving it this straight-forward, energetic thrill ride that isn’t filmed with that annoying shaky-came he can’t ever seem to get his hands off of nowadays. Scott is a good director when he’s got good source material, which he definitely has here, and even though it’s not drenched in style like you would expect from him, it still has a fast-paced to it that keeps the story going and the bullets flying.
However, what really had me going for this flick was its whole ensemble cast that is filled with just about every star from the early 90′s. Christian Slater is pretty good as Clarence, a guy that may seem a little strange but after awhile you start to believe and actually hope he comes out of all of this shit alive. Patricia Arquette is also a lot of fun to watch as Alabama, and you can totally feel like this one girl could actually fall in love with this type of dude. Their romance is something you actually care about because we spend enough time to see them together, and to see them be happy with one another so that when they go on this road trip and their lives are in danger, we care not only about them but their relationship as well. Sounds pretty sappy, I know, but it’s something that surprisingly worked here.
The rest of the cast is freakin’ great too, considering that just about every big star this flick had to show is in here for about 5-10 minutes each but totally kick-ass for the time they have. Dennis Hopper is great here as Clarence’s dad, in a non-psychotic role; Val Kilmer is here as “The King” but is still funny and cool, considering we barely see him; Gary Oldman is hilarious and menacing as Drexl, the white boy pimp with dreadlocks; Brad Pitt is also here as our pot-smoking friend, Floyd, and probably one of the best performances of his career, and I am willing to go toe-to-toe with whoever thinks otherwise; and Christopher Walken shows up for about 7 minutes but gives the film’s best scene where its just him and Hopper talking shit to one another and once again, it’s always Walken who steals the show at the end of the day and I can’t say that I expected anything else. Aside from these peeps I already mentioned there are plenty of other familiar faces here such as Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport, and Bronson Pinchot among others. Basically, it’s one of the better casts for a flick that I’ve seen and they all do excellent jobs with what they are given.
Consensus: It may not be Tarantino’s best script ever written, but it still has a great energy to it, with crazy performances from the ensemble cast, and some really kick-ass moments that make this film a fun watch if not as good as you would expect from these Scott and Tarantino working together.
Did anybody smile in London during the 70′s?
George Smiley, played by Gary Oldman, is forced back from his retirement, to find out who the mole in the Circus is. Alongside Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Mendel (Roger Lloyd-Pack), they start the search inside the “company”, ruling out one by one.
Hearing that this film is one tough-as-nails film to keep track of, I thought I’d still be all good and cool not reading any of the source material and not really being totally awake for this flick. Little did I know that I made a grave mistake.
This film is one you really have to pay attention to. Every single little line, of every single little sentence is another piece of information that adds more onto this story and mystery to where if you mis-understand what one character says, you’re lost for the most part. It’s also even harder to follow this film when you have about 100 characters with all of their code-names, things they do, what they did, what they are supposed to, position in the office, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a lot of stuff that this film throws at you but to be honest, I liked that element.
This is one of those rare films that asks you to use your brains and instead of spoon-feeding everything to you, there are times when you just have to make up assumptions for yourself. It sounds a little bit too much for some to handle, but for me, I liked this whole feel where I had no idea what was going to happen next and as the main character, Smiley, was gaining information, I felt like I was right there with him finding out just who is “THE MOLE!”. It also helps that the tone is downright glum and dark to where we know that no matter, something bad and unhappy will happen so we can never really get our hopes up.
Another way why this film works is because of director Tomas Alfredson‘s approach to this material. From the trailer and the plot summary, I was expecting a lot of talking, anger, and just all of these crazy things being thrown at me, but instead it was a lot more quiet, subtle, and slow which at first seems annoying but as time goes on, the film starts to get even more paranoid and you don’t quite know exactly what’s going to happen next. When these character do actually have words to say to one another though, they get straight to the point and never steer towards anything else like what they had for breakfast or anything. You also never know when these huge climatic moments happen either because everything goes along so smoothly and we take so much information throughout the whole film that when something big is revealed, we don’t really feel it because we are so used to be clobbered over the head with info.
This is where my biggest problem with this film comes up. The film is about 2 hours and 8 minutes long but even then it feels short with everything we get thrown at us. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to keep up with most of this but after awhile it becomes too much considering that we never really get a chance to let all of this information sink in and right as soon as it does, or at least we think it does, the film throws us another piece of info and then that’s when the headaches start to come on. The script is done perfectly by Peter Straughn and the late Bridget O’Connor but in all honesty, too much information with so little time really. Hey, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was about 2 hours and 40 minutes, a run-time that I think that this film could have really easily benefited from in the first place.
Another problem with this film was that I felt like there wasn’t much of an emotional pay-off for anybody who was actually paying real close attention to this film. It’s not hard at all to figure out just what the hell everybody is discussing, but it’s more the fact that all of the details that we have to pay close attention to, never pay off. There are even some parts that are brought up such as a homosexual relationship between two workers which at first seemed very interesting, but for some odd reason it never gets touched upon except for just one time and then it’s just left open to us. As long as this film may be (which it didn’t feel like at all), it almost felt like there was another hour needed just for all of these story lines to be resolved, which may make sense as to why it was a mini-series in the first place anyway.
As for the cast though, what else other than perfection could you expect? I think it’s easy to say that this huge-list of British all-stars is brought together by the one and only Gary Oldman as Mr. Smiley. Just like the tone of the film, Oldman plays this role very straight-forward, very quietly, and also very understated. This shows how impressive of an actor this guy can be and this is one of the most recent performances that he’s given where he shows just why he is one of the best working actors in today’s day and age. As for all of the Oscar talk that he’s been getting as of late, I do think that he could somehow, someway sneak his little way into a nomination but there’s nothing else here that’s really “Oscar material” other than one little speech he gives, which shows his way of bringing out emotion no matter what film he’s in.
The rest of the cast here is also amazing as well. Colin Firth is great to watch as Haydon, the most charming character out of this whole film; Tom Hardy is one of the best supporting performances in this flick with his role as Ricki Tarr; it’s also a huge surprise to see Mark Strong in a flick where he doesn’t completley suck ass, but regardless he’s great here with his performance as Prideaux; and Benedict Cumberbatch also looks and acts the part of the smart-little side-kick, Guillam. There are so many other great performances given here but instead of just rambling on the whole time and dropping names left-and-right, I think I’ll just leave it at the peeps who I remembered the most from this flick.
Consensus: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy benefits from its strong cast, a whole bunch of details that add more to the mystery, and a dreary/paranoid feel that goes perfectly with its subject material, but it packs so much information and details into a time-limit of 127 minutes, that it’s almost too much for us to handle let alone get a full feel for in the end. Definitely take a 5-hour energy before going into this flick though.
When did Scrooge become a zombie.
Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (Gary Oldman) and his cheery nephew (Colin Firth). But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it’s too late.
I don’t know why I even put that synopsis there considering everybody knows and loves this story. However, Robert Zemeckis wants to do something totally cool, hip and different to this story: put the whole story in 3-D. Even better, with motion-capture. Yikes.
I still don’t understand why Zemeckis has become so obsessed with this whole gimmick of having these computer-animations look like real people and also be in 3-D, although I do have to say that it does look quite pretty. The film looks stunning with a lot of great transitions from one are to the other and plenty of other times where I felt like I was on this adventure with Scrooge and although I didn’t see it in 3-D, I do have to say that it was stunning as it was.
However, I don’t understand why anybody, let alone an Oscar-winning director, would ever get the bright idea of adapting a Charles Dickens novel that is about 150 years old into 3 dimensions. It also didn’t help that all of the CG characters look pretty freakin’ creepy especially when they’re smiling or crying, because they just look like their constipated. Don’t get me wrong this flick is almost like a painting brought to life, in some ways, but if you look too closely you can almost see all of the characters eyes look flat or dead.
The other problem with this gimmick is the fact that the film feels more like a spectacle rather than actually giving us the heart that lies behind this beautiful story. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a wonderful tale that should and probably will be around for the next 200 years because it just gives off this positive and loving energy that Christmas gives to everybody during this wonderful season. It’s a timeless classic but the film doesn’t seem too hell-bent on making that story come to life here and rather just use it as the back-bone for making it all look pretty.
There was also barely any comedy and when the film tries to be sly and witty with it’s little side comments, it fails and just seems flat. Also, the film can be pretty dark and the times when I saw the three ghosts pop-up, I was more freaked out rather than intrigued. I mean just take a look at Christmas Past. Don’t tell me that doesn’t make you wanna wet your bed on Christmas Eve!
While reading the opening credits, I was excited to see names like Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, and Cary Elwes were all going to be in the movie but it wasn’t long until I realized that this was Jim Carrey‘s show, and those stars are barely ever in it. Carrey is good at playing these animated characters, especially all of the Spirits but when he plays Scrooge it seems like he is just either yelling or mumbling something under his breath. He plays half of the characters here and he at least had me entertained.
Consensus: A Christmas Carol is very good to look at, a fun roller-coaster, and features a great performance from Jim Carrey, but the film feels more like a spectacle that loses the heart, humor, and overall feeling that the original Charles Dicken novel fed off so well. However, if you want a nice little holiday treat, that is in 3-D, check it out.
If the future is this crazy, they better start to get a bigger police force.
Cabbie Bruce Willis is a regular guy … and the universe’s last hope for survival as he helps the embodiment of love and life (Milla Jovovich) fight the darkness unleashed by the crazed Zorg (Gary Oldman).
This is your average sci-fi premise where one guy must save the universe from an evil dude who’s trying to take it over, but this is one of the more original sci-fi films out there.
What I liked most about this film was the look of it all, mainly thanks to French director Luc Besson. There’s a lot of great colors here, that add great detail to all the crazy looking set pieces and will probably take you into the 23rd century Earth. I loved how I didn’t feel all depressed looking at this future, and I more looked at it and went: “This is some crazy shit”. But it was all in the best way possible.
I also found myself having a ball here with the electricity that was in the air with this film and it’s script. There are a lot of awesome action sequences that keep this film moving at a fun-filled pace, but also there is plenty of humor that really contributes to the film’s overall tone since it doesn’t really take itself all way too seriously. Many times, I actually found myself laughing when I least expected it, but sadly the film seems a bit of let-down when it comes to its plot.
At a run-time of over 127 minutes you start to feel a bit of a drag within this film. There seems to almost be too much going on, with too many characters, going on at the same time and overall just has this a little bit too messy. It all leads up to one story-line but there was many things going on here, that I think could have been taking out for the sake of a better ending, because the ending they have here kind of stinks. I think the main problem with this film is that the whole film is pretty goofy, and over-the-top, that when they tried to get serious and make a big emotional ending it didn’t quite work because you couldn’t really believe it all that well mainly because it doesn’t fit. The ending just sort of happens, and kind of seemed cheesy to me, which was a huge bummer since all up to that I was having a pretty damn good time.
Bruce Willis is at it again playing one of his regular guy embroiled in extraordinary circumstances roles as Korben Dallas, and it really never seems to get old. He’s great at being subtle, but then totally kicking ass when he has to. This is the role that put Milla Jovovich on the map with that crazy-looking red hair, and I’m not going to lie it’s a great role as Leeloo. I liked how they made her actually kind of cute in this film, and had us really route for her the whole time as this film was going on. Gary Oldman is doing his usual crazy antics as our bad-guy, Zorg, and with hair like that you can see why he’s so pissed. Ian Holm is good as Father Cornelius, and let us not forget the always funny Chris Tucker playing a flamboyant impersonation of Prince as Ruby Rhod. Spot that double entendre.
Consensus: The overall look, pacing, and feel of this movie has you laughing and having a good time, but The Fifth Element fails to go that full mile when it’s script starts to fall apart by the last act.
Romeo & Juliet, mixed with heroin. Lots and lots of it.
This gritty biopic portrays the relationship and downward spiral of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and his junkie girlfriend, Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), from their first meeting soon after Vicious joined the iconic punk band to the tragic end of their story.
I love the Sex Pistols! They are the definitive punk group that had attitude, problems, snarling lyrics, and great songs to back it all up. But they were also known for having one of the more well-known suicidal figures of Rock, Sid Vicious.
You have probably heard the stories about him, and almost every one is true. But the film doesn’t just focus on how much of a crazy and wild character he was, it focuses on the love that he and Nancy Spungen shared. It shows some sides of Vicious’ rock playing, however, its more focused on how these two met, and how each of their actions together, actually effect themselves, and the people around them. So if your looking for a hard-kicking biopic on the Sex Pistols, this is not your film.
This movie had its problems of course, mostly with the script. Its not predictable, since you know how these two lived their lives, unless your not familiar, but there are just too many problems with the inaccuracies of the things that had to do with the band. The film focused a lot on Sid & Nancy, which I didn’t mind, but many facts like: how the Sex Pistols broke up, or how they performed with Sid half-way out of it on stage, were all too fake for me to believe. Also, at points it is a huge downer, that barely features any bright and shiny moments. I wasn’t expecting a film with rainbows and sun in the sky that’s about a love with heroin, but if you want to be depressed, this is the film.
People always ask: why make a film about two selfishly absorbed people, on the way to self-destruction? And for the longest time, I actually thought about that myself. However, the film is not only used to tell the story of love between these two, but also used as an anti-drug story. Drugs destroys everything, the music is gone, the lose is gone, they vomit and yell at the end more than they make love or music. There are a lot of scenes here that will effect you big time, and make you understand, what drugs do to you.
Gary Oldman is perfect for the role of Sid. Nowadays, he may not be viewed as the best pic for the role, however, back in the old days, he was perfect. He showed the attitude that made Sid Vicious famous, and also the mind-set of being lost in a world of heartbreak and drugs. Chloe Webb is also strong, here as Nancy, and plays this very annoying, and not so attractive character, to its finest. These two make a great chemistry and add a lot more to the film, especially when its just them two on screen.
Consensus: It may be a downer, but Sid & Nancy shows how a beautiful romance between two low-lives can actually be a beautiful thing, with great performances from the cast, and a great anti-drug message.
It seems like for all these disaster films their always choosing the black leading man, first Will Smith, and now Denzel, you better watch yourself Samuel L.!
In post-apocalyptic 2043, Eli (Denzel Washington) guards a Bible, that, to his knowledge, is the last copy in the world. Eli believes this book can provide knowledge that could redeem society and help people understand the source of their pain. The despot (Gary Oldman) of a small makeshift town plans to take possession of the book and use it to further his cause.
The Book of Eli is yet another movie in a long line of Post-Apocalyptic movies. What does this have that’s different and better than the others. Well other than the power of the lord behind it…
The Hughes Brothers return to the screen after almost an 8 year absence, and must i say they basically show no rust. They bring a lot of stylish fun to this film without trying to be too much like other post-apocalyptic films we see so much of today. The use of non-color in this film really do give us a sense of just a dark world full of chaos, and most of all despair.
The action was very awesome to see, as probably each of them are shown in about 20 seconds and are shot with such detail, and actuality that it all feels real.
The problem I had with this film is that it doesn’t add any new ideas to the genre. I felt like the usual every man, woman, animal, and cannibal for themselves story was very obvious. Also, by the end of the film it seems to get a little way too preachy with the Christianity talk. I mean I get it, faith is what brought you here, but also did those sweet ass kicking moves as well. There is also a bit way too much use of the slow-mo in this film, and I felt just took away from the film.
Granted however, the film looks very very good, in a very bleak way. The film is basically filmed as if it were in a desert, but by the end some of the shots are filmed so well, and so magnificently that you will become so astonished by the look of this world.
The acting is also amazing. Denzel brings out another one of his solid bad-ass mofo characters but with more heart, and he becomes a very believable guy rather than just your normal super hero. Gary Oldman also gives a very good side performance as the bad guy as you can tell from the get-go you already hate him. But Mila Kunis is the one who is disappointing, cause honestly I don’t know how anyone can take the chick from That 70s Show and who voices Meg Griffin can honestly take her seriously, I know I can’t.
Consensus: Though a bit preachy and not highly fresh to the genre, The Book Of Eli favors from stylized direction from The Hughes Brothers, effective performances, and some very fun action that will surely entertain.
Irish vs. Italians, nothing like it better.
Terry Noonan (Sean Penn), an Irish-American undercover cop working the Hell’s Kitchen beat, returns to his old neighborhood under the guise of reconnecting with friends Frankie and Jackie Flannery (Ed Harris and Gary Oldman), now leaders of an Irish mob family. Noonan’s actually been assigned to infiltrate the family and take them down — a task made all the harder when he renews his childhood romance with Kathleen Flannery (Robin Wright).
State Of Grace is a mobster flick that came out in 1990, along with other big-time Gangster flicks Godfather: Part III, Goodfellas, and Miller’ Crossing. This film never really stepped out in the light because of these others, but it is probably what makes it the most underrated.
The films look and appeal is just what makes it great. This look of Hell’s Kitchen in 1990, is just perfect, and it feels like a character itself, with all these thugs and bad guys inhabiting it.
The story is what is really rich however. You have Penn who grew up with all these guys, and he has so much loyalty to all of them, but he has to take them down but is torn between the loyalty of family, and his old lover. The film does show this and how at times Penn can’t even stand seeing all his friends go down, and him being put up to blame for it.
The writing is a bit of a bummer though. It isn’t as catchy, and as realistic as plenty of other mob films, and I felt like they were just saying this stuff to sound like mobsters. The difference between this film and Goodfellas, is that Goodfellas takes a straight-forward look at the life of gangsters with its very realistic dialogue, and this takes a sort of romantic look at the life of gangsters and just wants to sound like one.
In the end of the film, something really got me confused. I can’t really say anything to give too much away, but there is a huge shoot-out, in the number of gunshots that conveniently miss people, especially since these are all supposed to be tough, gun-savvy mobsters.
This acting here from the cast is very top-notched. Penn delivers another young, and strong performance as a man torn apart. But the best here is Gary Oldman, as Jackie. At first his look with the wrinkled down hair, I was expecting another one of those cheesy, gritty performances, when really what I got was one of the most heart-felt performances from anyone in the entire film. You really do understand this character for what he is, and not something he just looks to be like I did in the beginning. Ed Harris does that big bad guy look way too much in this film, and I really didn’t feel his anger come out in the performance.
Consensus: State Of Grace is a superbly acted mobster film with some great shots of New York, and an interesting story, just a lot more flawed than one of the best of 1990, Goodfellas.