Blake Lively stars as Ophelia, the girlfriend to two Laguna Beach entrepreneurs, one an ex-mercenary (Taylor Kitsch) and the other a principled environmentalist (Aaron Johnson), who’ve built a thriving homegrown industry on the best marijuana ever developed. When they refuse to sell their business to a brutal Mexican drug cartel (lead by Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro), Ophelia is kidnapped, and so begins an escalating series of ploys with savage consequences.
It’s been a very long time since director Oliver Stone has made a good movie, or at least, made a movie that’s more entertaining than it is preachy. So for his return to form, it seems like Stone is back to making stories about hot people, hot guns, hot money, and most of all, hot Mexican drug dealers.
What I liked most about this flick is that it seems like Stone is really having a fun time with this material. Take it for granted, I never read the Don Winslow novel that this adapted from, but from what I hear, it’s a freakin’ cult-classic that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time you’re reading it, which is very surprising to hear considering my only way of actually reading nowadays is watching a foreign flick. But anywho, Stone starts this story off well by giving us a setting, the characters, and an under-lining sense of impending doom that sooner or later, bad shit is going to happen and going to happen badly, too. Things never get to the full-on extremist-level that I feel like it could have gone towards, but any time it even tries to dance with that idea, it works and brings a whole bunch of fun and kinetic energy to it.
Another aspect of this movie was how I didn’t quite know what was going to happen next, after Ophelia eventually ends up getting captured. To me, I felt like I knew what was going to happen to these characters, how, when, and where, but for some odd reason, Stone totally changed things up on me. Stone starts to focus his attention towards different details, characters, and plot devices that made me wonder just what this guy really was going to pull out of his hat by the end of it all. But this film wouldn’t be a Stone film without any of the trade-mark changing of colors throughout the film, which we do get, but not enough in my opinion. Honestly, when you have a Stone flick, you can never go wrong with too many changes of color in one movie.
Problem with this film, is that whenever you think that this film is going to deliver the goods on when it showed to be Stone’s “most ruthless film since Natural Born Killers“, I didn’t see it. Yeah, there’s a couple of grisly kills here and there but when I go into a Stone film that promises me the type of blood-shed like his 1994 classic, I expect freakin’ blood and guts everywhere, not just two torture scenes out of a whole 2 hour and 10 minute movie. Even when the tension builds up in some scenes and we get a taste of Stone’s frenetic feel, it’s awesome and brings you right back into the story, but whenever it leaves, you feel disappointed like Stone had all of this crazy shit planned but didn’t decide to go with it because he seems to have a better appreciation for life in his older years. Boo old Oliver Stone!
What interested me about this flick right from the start of production, was the ensemble cast that Stone was able to assemble here that are all pretty good. First off, the young blood. Taylor Kitsch has had a pretty rough year so far and it only seems to get a lot worse considering he doesn’t really do much in this flick, other than just stand around, look tough, and call up his Army boys to save him when he feels like shit is about to go down. Maybe that’s how his character was written in the book, but it makes for a very boring and dull character, especially when you have him uttering out lines like, “life does not change, life changes you”. Give me a break dude. Blake Lively also doesn’t do much as O, even though the story is all surrounded her. The problem with Lively here is that even though some of her scenes can be good, her narration that carries on throughout the whole film just made me want to not only hope that she got killed, but whoever was taping her voice for the narration was as well. Her lines are terribly cheesy like one where she goes, “I had orgasms, he had Wargasms”. Really? Is that what we consider clever when we make jokes about sex?
The actual stand-out from these youngsters is probably Aaron Johnson, who shows that he is fresh face that deserves to be watched in the upcoming years. He’s pretty solid here as the hippie-like dude, Ben, and gives this character a total transformation from soft, peace-loving guy who loves the weed he grows and smokes from violent, hell-breaker that just wants his girl and his business back. Johnson definitely makes this character a lot more interesting than what was already written for him and it’s cool to see that this is pretty much the same kid from Kick-Ass, who is still doing the same things 2 years later, only this time, with weed added to the ass-kicking. My man.
Now, it’s time for the old-heads in our cast. Benicio Del Toro is pretty cartoonish as Lado, a vicious enforcer who wants to be his own man, but also can’t because of the orders he has to take. Saying that “he is cartoonish” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because this guy can be pretty scary whenever he’s on-screen. Del Toro has a lot of scenes where you can just tell that this guy is up to no good and I guess when you have a Mexican drug dealer villain in any film, that’s always good, if a tad racist. Salma Hayek plays his boss, Elena, who shows off a new side to her where she’s chewing the scenery like no other with all of her yelling and screaming, but still has chances to settle it all down and be a real person. Definitely could have replaced Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror. Then again, would have been a whole different film entirely. It was also a surprise to see John Travolta in a meaty role that shows him off as being sort of a dickhead of sorts. Travolta plays this crooked-ass DEA agent that’s on everybody’s pay-roll and you, just like the characters in the movie, don’t know whether or not to trust him. This is a great role for Travolta, because it reminds everybody that he actually does have some good acting chops still left in him, even if some can’t get past the fact that he may be playing for the same team. But hey, that’s OK in my book, just keep on bringing out some good roles.
Consensus: Though it is a tad messy and never goes to the full extremes of violence that it seemed like it promised, Savages is still a fun return to form for Oliver Stone, who shows that he still has the knack for choosing a great ensemble cast, and giving them good material to work with, even if some of them aren’t as good as others. I’m talking about you Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch.
Whoever thought Danny Zuko could be the President.
A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA. A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA (John Travolta).
I always thought Bill Clinton was a pretty cool president. He always seemed pretty chill, as well as one dirty S.O.B. But hey, that doesn’t mean he was a terrible guy, or does it?
I was actually surprised by how good this screenplay was. There is actually a very big deal of comedy that works surprisingly, mainly because the whole story is based on Bill Clinton, and who doesn’t like a couple of good Clinton jabs. But the script also provides a lot of insight into the world of politics and what certain candidates will do to be out on top. We also wonder if these smiling, cool guys we see on TV, are actually the same way behind closed doors. A lot of these points are actually brought up pretty well.
The problem with this film was that there was a middle part to this film that is actually kind of stale, and it almost feels as if nothing is really even happening. I think the problem was that this film does such a hard job at making politics look bad, that when it’s almost looking good, they have no idea what to do. So they don’t really have much going on in that middle part, and it’s a shame cause it did hold my interest throughout the first half.
Nobody could have ever thought that John Travolta could have pulled off a role as Bill Clinton but he does so well here. He makes him seem likable, with just enough charm and wit, that brings a lot of the comedy to this film surprisingly. Emma Thompson is also good in this as Hillary Clinton, and she gets rid of her English accent, and does it pretty well. The chemistry her and Travolta have on screen actually feels genuine, as if they actually have been married for as long as the film says they have. Adrian Lester is practically an unknown now, and that’s a shame because he does a good job here as Henry Burton. The best in this cast however is Kathy Bates who knocks this film out of the park. She brings a huge amount of comedy to her role, and by the end of the film, you see where she brings out the heart within her character, and it just shows you why she really is an amazing actress.
Consensus: It may get stale in the middle, but Primary Colors does a good job at keeping us entertained with a well acted, and funny look at the world of politics.
Makes me think twice of taking subways now.
When a group of hijackers led by criminal mastermind Ryder (John Travolta) take the passengers aboard a New York subway train hostage and demand a king’s ransom, it’s up to subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) to bring them down.
Having not seen the original Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, I went into this film fairly open-minded. But knowing how director Tony Scott can annoy the hell out of me sometimes with his camera-work, kind of made me scared of this project, but it was not all that bad.
Director Tony Scott does it once again, and makes this film really annoying to watch with his constant frenetic camera-work that never seems to work. He does this in films like Unstoppable, The Last Boy Scout, and others, but for this film it was really unneeded. I think that Scott thinks that he needs to stylize every scene so he can make it all look cool, and keep the film thrilling. Oh, and let’s not forget that there is about 3 unnecessary car crashes involved. Why they were in this? Mainly because Tony Scott just wanted one for shits and gigs.
However, the main reason why I did like this film was because it actually was pretty entertaining. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the course of the film, and I didn’t quite exactly know what was going to happen next which is the least I can say for a lot of thrillers nowadays.
The first hour is very tense, and keeps our minds on the film, but by the end it does get to the very generic ending that we have all come to expect by now. While the first hour of this film is extremely – again – intense, around the last 30-40 minutes, the movie just becomes your typical action, chase film. It’s all kind of shame too, cause I really was having a grand time with this film.
Probably the best thing about this film is the constant inter-play between these two amazing actors. Denzel Washington, who looks like he was eating enough Subways for this role, does a great job of playing that likable, every-day man hero we have all come to love and know him as. John Travolta may look like a Hell’s Angel member, who enjoys porn on the weekends, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t convincing. Travolta was great because I believed he was crazy enough to hi-jack a subway, and wildly enough to pull it off, but also two steps ahead of me, the viewer. What makes this movie work is the interplay between these two main characters. They both speak through a box to one another throughout the course of the film, but not once did I want to get up, and go to the bathroom. Throughout that final act of the movie, I was just thinking “C’mon, go back to the two of them talking!” That’s how good it was watching them talking, and that’s why this film really does work. There is also some good side performances from the likes of James Gandolfini, John Turturro, and Luis Guzman.
Consensus: The direction may be too frenetic for this type of work, but the first hour, and constant interplay between Travolta and Washington make this film an enjoyable, if a bit generic thrill ride.
In this drama based on a true story, John Travolta stars as a personal-injury lawyer who sues a major corporation when the drinking water in Woburn, Mass., is found to contain high levels of industrial solvents. Believing the contamination is responsible for the large number of leukemia deaths among the town’s children, the citizens — lead by a woman (Kathleen Quinlan) whose child has died — hire a lawyer to take on the corporate polluters (Robert Duvall).
I think the problem of why this film didn’t do as much for me as many other courtroom dramas, is just because the subject wasn’t as interesting or was lacking the appeal to the story. At least with classics like Anatomy of a Murder, or To Kill a Mockingbird, they touched on such topics as sex, and race that glued us onto the screen, this, well its about water pollution. I don’t find anything intriguing about that, especially not as intriguing for 115 minutes.
The film also doesn’t know how to characterize its main star especially. The film starts out difficult because it gives us this protagonist that is cocky, self-centered, and a person we cannot and do not want to sympathize with. So why would I want to watch a film, hoping that he wins the case? We consistently are wondering who we should cheer for in this film, cause at times it looks like it wants to pit Duvall against Travolta and have em go at it. Instead, it turns out into like a cheesy morality-play, that has no surreal meaning to a case about polluted water.
Despite all these negatives, there still was some good surprisingly to the film. I liked how the film showed us an in-depth look into how these court cases are actually shown. And it’s probably one of the first to actually to highlight the fact that big-ass cases like this, cost a huuuuuuuuuuge amount of money, and honey if you can’t pay that, well then, toodles to your case. Although, I didn’t like our protagonist as much, the film at least shows these two guys as being very big professionals. They never throw low-blows at one another (although I would have loved to see), instead they are just trying to itch out the other one in a game of wit, and smarts when it comes to handling a legal case.
John Travolta is good here, and although is playing a d-bagged kind of character, by the end we start to see his character go through a different set of emotions, such as frustration and guilt, and its all believable. The best here, and saving grace of the film is Robert Duvall. He is absolute great in every scene he has, cause he sometimes plays his character with the villainous traits, but then also, acts like a real human being, with the way he acts in every reaction to Travolta’s character.
Consensus: A Civil Action has problems giving me an interesting case in the beginning, as well as a likable protagonist, but still features some great elements about the case itself, and two great performances.
Hey, it got me dancing!
Director John Badham’s musical ushered in the disco craze with the character of 19-year-old Tony Manero (John Travolta). By day, Tony’s a paint store clerk, but at night he’s a polyester-clad stallion who rules the dance floor of a Brooklyn nightspot with his partner, Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney).
First, to start off I have got to praise the film for making me basically want to dance all the time. The whole defines the look, way, and feel of 1970s New York, during the great days of when disco was alive and kickin’. I felt like I was totally in this world mostly because of the wonderful dancing and soundtrack.
The Bee Gee’s look like a bunch of huge pot heads, that you wouldn’t be expecting belting out hits like “Stayin’ Alive“, or “More Than a Woman” for that matter. But their music fits so well with this movie, and the dance scenes that are in this just are exciting and fun every time it goes down. You feel the fun, and the craziness that occured in these 1970s clubs, and you kind of wish you were there.
But other than this disco nightlife, and dancing, its all considered second to real life. However, I just wish this person’s life wasn’t so out-of-hand. Some of the stuff in this movie gets a little wild, like a chick getting raped like twice, drunk guys dancing on a bridge, and some random graphic violence. For me, I understood what the film’s ideas were, but I just wasn’t totally convinced, that this is how crazy life outside of the night clubs can be.
The main reason the film works is none other than one of the greatest leading men of all-time, Mister John Travolta. Nowadays, Travolta gets a bad-rep because he does crappy films like, Old Dogs, or Wild Hogs, but back in his hay-day, people, he had it going on. Travolta makes this character easily likable with his signature charm and charisma that got him so far in his career. Also, there were no stunt doubles used for the dancing scenes, so everything nutty and crazy you see Travolta doing on that dance floor, its him! Trust me, he’s got moves! He’s not the brightest tool in the shed, but due to his self-confidence the ladies want him, and the guys want to be him (points to myself). Karen Lynn Gorney was also good, but her voice was a little mannish, and she didn’t quite look the part since she does look a lot older, but hey, she can dance it out as well.
The main reason to see this film is the wonderful dance scene these two have, its just what and how perfect film can be.
Consensus: Though its plot gets a little crazy outside of the dancing and night-clubbing, Saturday Night Fever is a classic that features a wonderful look at the disco era, complete with a jamming soundtrack, awesome dance moves, and an iconic performance from the man they call, Travolta.
Well, lets just say that this wasn’t such a good pair.
When rogue stealth-fighter pilot Vic Deakins (John Travolta) deliberately drops off the radar while on maneuvers, the Air Force ends up with two stolen nuclear warheads — and Deakins’s co-pilot, Riley Hale (Christian Slater), is the military’s only hope for getting them back. Traversing the deserted canyons of Utah, Hale teams with park ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis) to put Deakins back in his box. But can they pull it off?
Much of teh film actually starts out promising. There is enough fun, excitement, and cheesy lines to take up enough of my mind. However, the plot quickly degenerates into an “Indiana Jones” series of stunts and death defying escapes and near misses.
The film goes on way too long. I feel like the way the film turned out to be was just one long special effect after another. I mean the film is fun for a little while, but it just moves on to a point where its almost just every single action film that you have ever seen before, except a lot more explosions.
With a respectable premise, I expected a lot more of this movie. Either a real thriller or a Bond-like joy ride. But it’s neither. I’m usually willing to suspend disbelief and let a few inconsistencies go by, but this starts out bad and gets worse. Park ranger sees military plane crash, finds pilot, pulls gun on pilot. Yeah, right. Bad guys escape, military can only field one helicopter to chase. Sure. Sure dumb.
Travolta does try his hardest to place this sinister bad guy, but the thing is that it really doesn’t work, mostly cause he’s too much of a nice guy. I mean to see him have a lot of charm, which he does, is good, but to just call him a villain cause he does bad stuff to people, doesn’t make him anymore bad than you or me. Slater, ehhhh, I don’t know what he was doing here. I think he was just phoning the whole performance mostly because he just wanted the big paycheck, which sadly, he would get.
Consensus: Broken Arrow starts out with a promising premise, but soon delves into totally unrealistic material, much too long of a film with bad action sequences, and cheesy performances from Slater and Travolta.
Jeez, war films in 1998 took over the Oscars.
With an all-star cast — featuring Sean Penn, George Clooney, Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody — director Terrence Malick’s lyrical and beautiful retelling of James Jones’s novel about the 1942 battle for Guadalcanal was nominated for seven Oscars. With narration by Pvt. Witt (Jim Cavaziel), the men of C-Company become a tight-knit group as they each individually face the horrors of war to hold onto a key-positioned airfield.
The Thin Red Line, is basically a remake of the original 1964 flick, and to be truly honest after watching this film, I don’t think I will have to dig back into the archives and watch that.
Most War films over-exploit the gore and the violence of the war, but never really capture the feelings of the war within it’s soldiers. This film, captured all the feeling imaginable. We really do get to feel what these characters feel through a lot of emotional and overall beautiful images that are being narrated over by soldiers that are present in the film.
Immediately, I was caught up in this film, even in its first frame that features an alligator. It not once lost my interest until the very end where I did start to believe the moral story of good and evil started to wane on, and become a little boring and I didn’t that there wasn’t any material to work from.
Terrence Malick returns to film-making after his 20 year absence, and it doesn’t feel like he missed those years at all. He without a doubt capture the right emotion at the right time with every little scene. The cinematography that he worked on really made us feel the intensity of fighting an enemy that was hidden. Malick should’ve won Best Director for this film because although he doesn’t steer this film into perfection, he does steer into the right and very inspired direction.
Visually, this film is just one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. There are some scenes that are so beautiful, so touching, and so inspirational that I couldn’t just help but shed a tear. Some scenes as I stated before are over-lapped by little narration from the soldiers, but you almost forget about the speaking and can’t stop but gaze at how beautiful the look and feel this movie really does have.
The all-star cast really does a good job in this film and really do step away from their public images and create characters that we like and can relate to. Out of the whole cast Nick Nolte is who I really think does the best. He is angry, ruthless, and also very misguided and you can see that coming out of his performance. I wish that there was more time for these big stars to interact with one another but overall I was pleased with the way some of these characters were used. I also liked how the Japanese weren’t portrayed as these savage killers who have no souls. Instead, they were shown with having as much fear and terror as much as the U.S., and that’s what really separates this film from others.
The only complaint that I really do think killed this film to be as much as a success as Saving Private Ryan, was that there are way too many scenes of just down time. In SPR, the down time was actually interesting and you actually got a sense of what those characters lives we’re like before war. However, in this the down time is submitted to beautiful visuals but overall not very interesting dialouge that I thnk made this film not win one Oscar.
Consensus: The Thin Red Line is visually astonishing, incredibly-well directed, and features amazingly true messages about how the war turns people into animals. However, the film offers to much time for boredom and doesn’t quite connect as well as Saving Private Ryan.
Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta reunite once again, but this time on the battlefield, and their names aren’t Jules and Vincent.
DEA agents John Travolta and Connie Nielsen investigate a series of military base murders (including the disappearance of a legendary Army Ranger drill sergeant) during a storm in Panama. Samuel L. Jackson steals most of his scenes as a cape-wearing contrarian named West.
The film’s title is called Basic but that does not fit well with this movie cause the basic fact that if we don’t understand the movie better chances we won’t like it. This film has so many twists in a film that I have ever seen. Basic toys with your mind and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
The film definably deserves a second maybe even third watch so you can fully understand. The movie really did have me on the edge of my seat until midway where the twists become confusing. We get no understanding of where we are at points and why what’s happening is happening.The film jerks you around by showing you something and then the next scene will say that’s not right either, it starts to get so much out of control that it soon became a gimmick.
The worst thing about this film is the end. I will not give it away but after you watch this whole film and then see the ending you will probably say, WHAT THE HELL!!!
The performances from Jackson and Travolta are very good and actually are the strong point of this film and make it watchable. Travolta starts out as being funny but then soon starts to turn into mysterious and it’s good to see that all plan out. Samuel L. Jackson is also good as usual and brings a lot of comedy to this film that needed it so much.
Consensus: Basic toys and toys with you until you become too confused, but funny performances by the cast and some good twists, if you can keep up, actually makes this film fun to watch.
Whoever thought computer hacking was such a dangerous job.
Rogue agent Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) is determined to get his mitts on $9 billion stashed in a secret Drug Enforcement Administration account. He wants the cash to fight terrorism, but lacks the computer skills necessary to hack into the government mainframe. Enter Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman), a n’er-do-well encryption expert who can log into anything.
Swordfish definitely has too much plot for one movie, maybe also two movies. The director Dominic Sena, who is also known for directing Gone in 60 Seconds, is known for his little or no plot but has many gratuitous car chases, but with Swordfish he obviously doesn’t abandon the plot one bit.
The problem with this film is that the logic and the plot are out-of-this world. We can’t decide who’s the good guys and who’s the bad guys, too many times and we can’t just think in a movie that is all about war against terrorism. The storyline here as well is not very clear and the twist and turns are not bright and at times can be a little bit predictable.Also, when will Hollywood find out that computer typing scenes are just not that all exciting.
The film has many jumbled scenes, that just don’t feel like they belong in the movie at all. There are scenes that belong but there are too many that just don’t seem like they belong at all. Add a very confusing plot and a bunch of scenes that don’t belong and you just have a huge film of incoherence.
Though this film is very dumb it is not boring. Many of the action scenes are there and very cool to watch and I actually found myself amazed by some of the over-the-top action sequences other than confused. Special effects in movies get so much better every year and this movie shows how you can use those special effects to your advantage. Also, much of the script is very ironic and at times very comical if it doesn’t even fit in with the scenes.
Acting in this movie is highly OK. Halle Berry is not in this film much but does show she is great at being a total tease and very distracting to the others and the viewers themselves. John Travolta, is really going back to his Vincent Vega character from Pulp Fiction, but is still convincing and makes us believe in him. Hugh Jackman is also good in this film and shows a lot of promise as a actor and tries anything he can to sell this script. May I mention this is Halle Berry’s first nude scene and although many will go crazy, it seems really forced and doesn’t really match in with the story at all.
Consensus: Swordfish is as brain dead as its name. Its features an incoherent plot, random scenes, and overall just doesn’t have a noticeable sense of style, but is not boring.
Now I have seen this film about 4 times but only on TV so everything was censored. Then I got the director’s cut and oh god did I miss a lot.
An inside look at a memorable community of criminals. Prizefighter Butch Coolidge has decided to stop payment on a deal he’s made with the devil. Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are a couple of young lovers and small time thieves who decide they need a change of venue. Meanwhile, two career criminals, Vincent Vega and Jules, go about their daily business of shooting up other crooks who are late on payments to their boss. While one is asked to babysit their boss’ dangerously pretty young wife, the other suddenly realizes that he must give up his life of crime.
OK let me just say this about the film it is great!!! Tarantino makes one of the greatest films of all-time right here. This is film making of an high order. This is a narrative movie that walks a long rope so complicated that if you don’t stop to think about the movie it starts to kinda double-back itself.
This is surely one of the greatest and probably on of the first that mix humor and crime together in one movie. Tarantino has made some of the most original material in the whole world of film. The stuff these characters talk about are hilarious but also very true. The topics of conversation range from foot massages, pot belly’s, double cheeseburgers, and of course crime. But all conversations are equally as funny as the last, and you don’t want these people to stop talking. Another great film from Tarantino is that he prepares us for one thing and gives us something else we weren’t expecting. The pop culture insight is surely a life of its own during this film.
The humor gets blind sided by some violence and pretty graphic violence but it’s not the violence that will make you turn away. Each story is not shown in chronological order but its still shown and well told through the stories that you don’t become confused. This is a movie you have to think about and when you do, you will love this movie even more by its cleverness.
The ensemble cast is purely amazing. There are many big name stars who don’t have huge parts but still do amazing and make their presence known on camera. The one thing I mostly loved about some of these big names is that they were sort of poking little jokes at themselves if you watch carefully. Travolta does the same walk at the end of the story that he did in Saturday Night Fever and Bruce Willis pokes fun at his character from Die Hard with the tough-nosed character that has a soft side. Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s story is probably the most entertaining and best well-acted where in which every scene with them the always steal the scene. This was a movie that made a lot of careers such as Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, and Tim Roth. Also be on the lookout for a cameo from the great Christopher Walken who is actually pretty funny in his 5 min. scene.
There basically is nothing bad about this film other than I wish there was more. I know 154 minutes is a long time but this film could’ve added so much more and been even better. But still I loved it no matter how long it was.
The greatest movie ever, ummm…maybe. But it’s clever, funny, violent, well-told, greatly acted, and surely an amazing classic for everyone to see.