Ah’nuld is back, and yes, still old.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a aging sheriff of a peaceful border town who is called upon to take on a drug kingpin who escaped from FBI custody and is trying to cross the border into Mexico. Once again, it’s Arnold’s time to save the town, as well as the day.
Since he’s not the Governator of Kellyfornia anymore, is done banging house maids (so far as we know), isn’t bangin’ Maria Shriver (as far as we know), and has basically nothing else to do with his spare time and money, Ah’nuld is back and better than ever! Okay, maybe he’s not better than ever but dammit, he is back, in full action-mode, and shows us all what we’ve been missing out on for the past couple of years. Hey, you had to know this was coming once his role in Expendables 2 got bigger, you just had to.
And speaking of Arnie, at 65, the guy can still kick some ass, even if it is a tad goofier now than we ever remember. Yeah, he may have had a lost a step or two in his action-feet, and especially in his acting-chords, but as being an old, bad-ass that takes no prisoners when it comes to the law: Arnie is still at the top of his game. It’s been way too long since the last time we’ve seen Arnie handle a shotgun, tackle some thug, and chew-down one-liners like it’s his job (it sort of is), and this is the type of roles that reminds us why we love the guy so much in the first-place and don’t give a shit who, or what he bangs. Just as long as one of those bangs just so happen to be coming from a double-barrel shotgun, than it’s all fine and dandy with me. May not be fine with his kids or Maria, but hey, for an action-movie lover and Arnie-lover, it’s a-okay in my book.
But it’s not just Arnie’s show, as much as it is the rest of the cast’s as well, as they all get a chance to shine and have fun with dialogue that may be a bit below their pay-grade, but still shows all of the fun and joy each person can have. Johnny Knoxville has been getting top-billing for this movie (alongside Arnie, of course), but the guy is probably in it for no less than 15 minutes, but still does his usual thing: act like a dumb-ass and win our hearts over. The guy’s been doing that act for over a decade, whether it be scripted or unscripted, and that is no different here when he’s along the Terminator. Luis Guzman is a bundle of joy as the cranky deputy; Jamie Alexander is feisty and hot as the only police-woman of the county; and Rodrigo Santoro does what he can as the ex-star football-player-turned-total-bum, which is saying more than he could offer in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Yes, I know I liked that movie, but still, his acting blew in it.
All are fine playing Arnie’s helpers/side-kicks but it’s really weird to see Forest Whitaker in a role of this standard. It’s not that he’s bad in the role, actually, he livens it up pretty well, it’s just that the material and role feel like they were written for a whole other movie, and a whole different place. Think of it as a role from Inside Man, stuck inside the setting of The Expendables. It just doesn’t gel well, no matter how much drama and class Whitaker tries to add. Poor guy. I bet he’s just waiting for the day that Denzel gets sick with the flu.
As for the opposite-side of the spectrum, things sort of get shaky. Yes, watching Peter Stormare chew-up the scenery with his Southern-growl and heavy-thick accent is fun, but it’s cartoonish and as over-the-top as you can get, especially with a performance from Stormare himself. And yes: that is saying something. However, he fares a lot better than our main baddie; a professional-driver-turned-bad-guy “played” by Eduardo Noriega. The reason I put the quotation-marks around the word, “played”, is because not only is this performance terrible, but the character just opposes no threat whatsoever to anybody around him. Yeah, so what if the guy knows how to turn-off all of the lights in his car at night, and so what if he can swerve around three SWAT vehicles on an open road. The guy still seems like a bit of a bitch and when he’s going against Ah’nuld, you just cannot wait for him to get his ass beaten, just so you don’t have to see him act, say, or try his hardest to be cool, but sinister. Then again, maybe that’s the point.
Anyway, who the hell cares about the cast in this situation?!? This movie is all about high-octane thrills, chills, jumps, rumps, and laughs; all of which are here, on full-display. Making his American-debut with this flick is Korean director Kim Jee-Woon, who has made some pretty impressive flicks in the past, but shows he is able to make relatively-mediocre material, a lot better just with a couple of modern-day spices here and there. Typical action-sequences like a chase through corn fields, or a shoot-out through the street, would have been handled in such a dull, conventional way that it wouldn’t have mattered if Ah’nuld was kicking ass and taking names, because it would have been boring. However, Jee-Woon gives us something new and stylish to take and breath in, and it’s great to see what can happen to obvious-material like an action-thriller starring Arnie, when you bring in foreign-prospects that are just waiting to hit the big time in the States. Hopefully, this means that we are going to see more of Jee-Woon, not only the action-genre, but in American movies in general.
However, as much as this movie may strive to be something new, refreshing, and an improvement on the conventional action-genre; the fact remains that it just isn’t. It is stupid, it is loud, it is obvious, and it is very, very much like Arnie’s past movies and as much as that may be a turn-on to some people who have been wanting a bit of old-school flavor to their action-movies, some still do not feel the same way. If this is the type of stuff you like, then yes, by all means, go out, buy a ticket, get some popcorn, slap-on some butter, get a large soda (diet or non-diet, your choice), take a seat, sit-back, relax, and just have a good time with all that’s to be seen on-screen. However, if this is not the type of stuff you like or would put in your Netflix queue, then just don’t even bother because it would be a waste of your precious time and money. Then again, just by seeing the names “Schwarzenegger” and “Knoxville” head-lining the same poster, I could already assume that you’d be able to decipher whether or not this is your type of movie, long before you even made a trip out to your local theater.
Consensus: The Last Stand isn’t necessarily re-inventing the wheel when it comes to the genre of action movies, but still offers more than plenty of fun, excitement, action, and lovable quips, courtesy of everybody’s favorite Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Welcome back, Arnie. Glad to see you’re with us and still can’t speak a lick of understandable-English.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Billy Madison finally grew up, and got really, really awkward.
Barry Egan (Adam Sandler), who owns a failing company, becomes obsessed with collecting pudding coupons that offer frequent flyer miles. When he learns that a woman (Emily Watson) he met by chance and can’t stop thinking about has left for vacation in Hawaii, he uses his coupons to buy a trip and find her.
Everybody who has ever seen any of P.T. Anderson‘s flicks know two things about him: 1. he likes his films very, very long, and 2. he can make anything work. Even though he kind of disregards #1, he gets #2 down perfectly.
I have probably seen this flick about 4 times and just about every time it gets better and better with each viewing. So many people complain about how it’s not as funny as it should be and how it’s just a weird movie, which it’s supposed to be…maybe. Anderson is a director amongst directors. He essentially takes a very odd story, about an odd man, and brings it into some pretty strange places that include a phone-sex operator, frequent flyer miles, pudding, a piano, and a bed & mattress owner. Yeah, if that sounds pretty strange don’t worry, because it is and I wouldn’t have had it any other way with this one. Anderson knows that this film is goofy but he never lets loose of his direction and as much as he allows all of this weird stuff to happen, he still gives a lot of time to this romance at the core of it all and that’s what really brought me over.
The romance is so sweet and innocence that when you have all of this crazy ish, with people yelling and cussin’ at each other, it sort of makes you want to beat everybody else up that tries to get in the way of it. You can definitely feel a lot of love coming from this little thing these two have going on here but there are so many other emotions going on through here as well, that it’s almost too hard to be fixated on one. People that say this film isn’t funny really need to see this flick again because it’s all of the small, subtle things are what makes it funny. The perfect example is when one of Barry’s employees ask him why he’s wearing a suit to work, and Barry tells him, “I don’t know, I just wanted to get dressed up for work”. Makes no sense, but who cares. However, the next day Barry is at work, you see that same employee wearing a suit with a tie and it just made me laugh my ass off. Maybe that’s not a perfect example as to how and why this flick is so damn funny in it’s little way, but it’s certain things like that for you to pick up on that make movies like this so damn special.
As great as this story may be though, you still can’t forget about this flick without forgetting to mention Anderson’s incredible vision, that makes everything just look like it came from a painting. Seriously, I know a lot of people say that about certain movies in certain reviews, but I mean that here: sometimes this film looks like a painting. There’s a lot of wonderful color art sequences that come around every once and awhile that are astonishing to check out, but the way Anderson gives the camera this very dark look gives this film a distinct look that I haven’t seen before. I really can’t put my fingers on what it is but the way this camera looks with a hint of darkness to bring down all of the color, gives this film a tone. I think I’m just speaking a whole bunch of jibber-jabber, but it’s a beautiful film the whole time, especially a couple of great romantic sequences that get you right into the feeling that you’re in love with these two people as well.
If I had any c0mplaints here, it was that I think that Barry’s sisters were a little too mean for me to believe. I understand that there are sisters and brothers of certain people out there that are very mean but I also can’t understand some relatives like these ones, treating another relative in such a terrible, and bratty way, especially when they know that the person has some emotional problems. It seemed like a lot of it was to go along with the ridiculous plot but it just felt like it was trying way too hard to get me inside of Barry’s head and feel the pain he feels because in all honesty, the character of Barry Egan is an amazing one as it is.
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again: Barry Egan is Adam Sandler‘s best performance ever. There! I said it people! Sandler pulls out everything within him to make this character work and it’s the one performance that’s made us all realize that this guy can do drama, and make some of the weirdest characters work, no matter how painfully awkward they are. Barry Egan is such a strong character as it is because the dude is a nice, but lonely dude who just wants to be appreciated and treated nicely by the people around him. However, his sisters are all terrible bitches to him, he can’t seem to get a date with any girl, and he’s getting effed over by these phone-sex line people that just want all of his money. This guy has a lot of sympathy already going for him but Sandler takes him up a couple of notches. Sandler shows us a very subtle side to his acting but also shows that he can still make you still crack up, even if he isn’t doing any goofy faces or noises. Instead, the guy just relies on his very dry and awkward sense of comedy that shows a character that really can’t fit it anywhere he goes and you just can’t stop rooting for him the whole flick. It also gets better when Egan starts to show signs of a real bad-ass but I’ll leave it at that, because it’s something that needs to be seen to be believed. I don’t know if this last paragraph does Sandler’s performance any justice but all I can say is that it’s a memorable performance and the best Sandler has, and maybe will ever do.
Emily Watson wasn’t really given all that much to do here as Lena Leonard, but she pulls off being cute, charming, nice, sweet, and convincing very well and it’s easy to see why she would fall in love with such a wacko like Barry Egan. Let me also not forget to mention that the chemistry her and Sandler have is actually pretty good, if you can believe that. I also can’t forget to mention this flick without talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of the dickheads that eff with Egan from the phone-sex line and a lot of his scenes are just perfect, especially by the end. Oh and Luiz Guzman is here. Can’t forget about him.
Consensus: Though it’s not for everyone, Punch-Drunk Love is one of the best romantic films of all-time with a strange story that gets stranger and stranger as it goes along, a vision from Anderson that shows he can make any style of film-making work with any story, and a couple of great performances from the cast, especially Adam Sandler who has never been better. Ever.
Audiences that go to see a movie always loved getting lied to, especially if it’s from the movie itself.
Jake Vig (Edward Burns) is a sharp and polished grifter who has swindled thousands of dollars from the unsuspecting Lionel Dolby (Leland Orser) with the help of his corrupt crew. However, Lionel wasn’t just any mark, he was an accountant for eccentric crime boss Winston King (Dustin Hoffman). Never one to shy away from a challenge, Jake offers to repay The King by pulling off the biggest con of his career.
Con movies are just so much fun to watch no matter who or what is involved and this flick is no different. However, something also tells me that it should have been a little bit more different.
Director James Foley doesn’t try to do anything new, cool, or improved with the whole con man/heist genre but he does know how to still jazz it up a bit. Although the film deals with a lot of dark subjects such as death, scamming, and robbing, the film still maintains a great deal of humor that keeps it moving with a pace that not only tells the story but also gives you something to laugh at. It’s a heist film that doesn’t really try to take itself too seriously and even though it may get a little carried away with trying too hard to be humorous, in the end, I still found myself laughing and enjoying myself.
What usually makes and breaks these heist flicks is if the actual heist at hand can be taken seriously and could actually happen in real-life with just the right amount of detail the flick is giving it. In this film’s case, it works and it’s very entertaining to see how much detail this film goes into with its actual heist. Some people may not be able to believe that everything here could have happened as neatly as it does here, but the film makes a comment about that and says that if everybody is on the right page and has the right lines, then everything will basically go according to plan. With this flick, that statement is very true and not only was the heist very well-planned but it was also neat to see all that had to go into this one as well.
My problem with this flick is that it isn’t exactly the most original one out there and I think that the lack of surprises was what took me out of this flick. Here and there, the film would give me a little surprise/twist that would catch me off guard, but too many other times I knew exactly what was going to happen, why it was going to happen, and just exactly what the aftermath was going to be. I mean it’s kind of hard to pull out something incredibly original when you got heist flicks like The Sting, The Italian Job, and even The Grifters just showing you all types of originality.
I also think that the reason there were barely any surprises whatsoever with this flick was the way that it was structured. The film begins with Jake being held by gun-point by Morris Chestnut (of all intimating black dudes out there) and he is basically telling us how and why he is in the mess that he’s in. That was fine considering it gives us a bit of mystery to why he is close to being killed but then we see Weisz’ character, who obviously has something to do with the reason he’s being held-up and it sort of just makes it pretty obvious that nothing is going to end up going right for this heist no matter what these guys try to do and that things are basically going to go down as planned. Then again, sometimes it’s not so bad knowing exactly what’s going to happen because it can be fun, but sometimes you can’t just spell out everything that’s to come within the first 5 minutes.
The cast is actually what raises this film higher and made it a lot more fun to watch. Edward Burns is great as the smart, charming, and just straight-up cool con artist here as Jake Vig, and it’s a real wonder as to why the hell this guy hasn’t gotten bigger roles considering he’s actually very good at holding a film down on his own; Rachel Weisz is pretty good here as his main squeeze, Lily, and she gets to show some comedic chops as well; Andy Garcia is pretty strange and goofy as the detective who’s tracking down Vig, named Gunther Butan, and he’s good as well; and Dustin Hoffman is very good as this creepy and snarky kingpin known as The King, and it was really cool to see Hoffman in a role that was not only funny but also very sinister and evil as if this guy could just go crazy one second and blow your head off right away. There’s a whole bunch of other people in this cast that are great too and they all elevate this film from just being another heist flick.
Consensus: Confidence may not be the most original and surprising heist flick out there, but the cast is charming, the direction from James Foley is fun and fast-paced, and the whole heist itself has just enough attention to detail and believability that it makes this film a hell of a lot better than it had any right to be.
Who says you don’t need another story about a drunk rich dude in the 21st century?
Irresponsible charmer Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) has always relied on two things to get by: his limitless fortune and the good sense of lifelong nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) to keep him out of trouble. Now he faces his biggest challenge – choosing between an arranged marriage that will ensure his lavish lifestyle or an uncertain future with the one thing money can’t buy, Naomi (Greta Gerwig), the only woman he has ever loved.
Having already seen the original and knowing that this flick was just another unnecessary remake used to boost up somebody else’s career, I can’t say that I was looking forward to this but more as curious. I was curious to see whether or not how bad this actually was and if, just if, it would make me hate everyone involved. Well, it didn’t really do either.
This film is definitely a little bit different from the original, in the way its story is shown. The original shows this drunken billionaire as a sad and messed up dude, but here, Arthur is shown as a charming and happy man-child which is the right approach I think this film took. The script has its fair share of problems in many departments but the comedy was pretty funny and there were a couple of zingers here and there that actually had me chuckling, which is something I was definitely not expecting in the least bit. About 1 in every 10 joke actually hits it mark, but that’s still better than 0 so I can’t say that I didn’t at least laugh a couple of times here.
The problem that this film hits is that it just feels too held-back from everything it could have possibly explored. What I mean by that is since the film is rated PG-13, you never get any real hard raunchy jokes and you don’t get anywhere near the close amount of debauchery as you got with the original. You see his drinking problem come up 2 times, you hear about how he apparently he has sex with all of these chicks even though you rarely see them, and we never get to see him go to any darker places than he was already in. The whole rating this film was given made it enough to appeal to just about everyone, but I still feel like they held-back a little bit too much.
Let me also not forget to mention that the problem with this flick lies within the fact that it starts to get very cheesy and predictable by the end, which lead me to eye-roll a couple of times. I mean I knew where this film was obviously going right from the start but sooner and sooner down the road with this flick, I realized that the laughs weren’t really here and even though the film did display a nice little amount of heart and emotion for its story, a lot of it just didn’t feel right and more of just cliche.
Your enjoyment of this film will probably be based on how much you actually enjoy watching Russell Brand for a whole 109 minutes. I like Brand and I think he’s always funny and this is no exception here. He spits-out jokes with rapid fire, almost never stopping, and just brings that great charm we all know and love him for. Brand seems like a different Arthur as opposed to Dudley Moore’s version and still is able to handle the expectations of this role very well. The problem that he runs into is that when it comes to him actually bringing some emotional and heart-gripping drama to the flick, he can’t really do it all that well. Brand comes off as more of a really soft dude whenever he tries to soften up his mood and it just does not feel right considering this guy the whole film is making references to Chinese little girls, Batman, and even the French in such a mean-spirited way.
As with the original, this one here really tried its hardest to have us relate to and care about Arthur, when he just seemed like too much of a dick to care about in the first place. I mean this guy is filthy rich, doesn’t have work a day in his life, and is about to marry Ben Affleck’s smoking-hot wife, and he’s complaining about how he’s not able to be with the one he truly loves. Come on, stop being a little bitch and just soak it up, or how about you actually get a job and stop being a little brat.
The supporting cast is also a lot of fun as well and damn near saves this flick. Helen Mirren is great as Hobson, and shows that she can be totally hilarious without barely ever cracking a smile. She’s sarcastic, realistic, but also very mean which is where I found most of the time she was on-screen to be some of the best moments. It was also really funny watching her try her hardest not to actually laugh at Brand doing all of his goofy stuff. Greta Gerwig gets her first main-stream role here as Naomi, and she’s very good but she seems too much of a type like that quirky, indie girl we see so much now of. Jennifer Garner is also fun to watch in this very unlikable role as Susan and she’s just totally crazy in a type of role we barely ever see her in ever.
Consensus: Arthur is a remake that is predictable, unnecessary in the first place, and doesn’t really do anything new here at all, but the cast makes this film enjoyable and funny enough to at least have a little fun for the time being. Still, who the hell needed an Arthur remake?!?
Three stories are connected in one way or another by the life-style of drugs. At the forefront are a U.S. drug czar (Michael Douglas) who learns his daughter is an addict and a Mexican cop (Benicio Del Toro in an Oscar-winning role) dealing with a corrupt system. Meanwhile, a wealthy housewife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) whose husband is arrested for dealing must choose to carry on the business or sacrifice her lifestyle.
Steven Soderbergh is a guy I never really watched all that much before, but for some odd reason within the past 2 months, I’ve watched about 5 of his flicks already and there’s a lot more to come by now. Keeping the streak going now with probably one of his most underrated flicks.
The idea of telling one subject through different story-lines isn’t a new approach by any means, but the way Soderbergh does it here makes it seem fresh and exciting. Every single story in their own right has a nice look and feel to it, each marked with their own layer of tension as well as insight into the drug world. We get right into these characters stories right away and the attention that Soderbergh grabs us at is what works the most considering that his direction keeps this flick moving.
It also helped that every story had a different color shaded camera to each one so that we could tell which story was which and it added a lot to the stories. The USA stories are all full of washed-out colors that look like they have been in a rain-storm for about 3 days while the stories that take place in Mexico has a very distorted color look that gives it this very yellow and bright color that seems like it came from the “Jesus Walks” video. (Wait a minute, do I hear inspiration?? Damn Kanye!) Soderbergh also uses the hand-held camera style and it’s a lot less annoying here than I thought it was originally going to be in the first place and it adds so much to the stories by giving it this documentary feel. I know it sounds crazy that I’m typing a whole paragraph dedicated to the camera-work in a Soderbergh flick but it can go a long way if you use it correctly.
Perhaps my favorite element about this flick was that as much as it may talk about the war on drugs and how we are sometimes winning and losing it, Soderbergh kind of leaves it up to us to make our own assumptions about how we feel about drugs. I thought this was a very brave and smart thing to do considering everybody is effected by drugs differently and it’s up to us to decide what is right and what is wrong when it comes to drugs, we can’t just depend on the government to save us. The flick never gets preachy and as much as Soderbergh may be showing this flick off like an anti-drug film, it still also shows the fact that drugs are really starting to take over the world, and very quickly I might add. Soderbergh does a great job by not saying anything when he could have easily made this a 2 hour and 30 minute long sermon about how he felt about drugs. Instead, he didn’t which is definitely what won me over for this flick.
My main problem with this film is that the screenplay itself seems to really be uneven. I have to say that the stories are pretty interesting as it is but they all seemed to start-and-stop in their own time and just when one seemed like it was about to get good, the film all of a sudden pops into another one for no reason. This is usually the problem with a lot of films that have multiple story-lines going on like this but for some reason here, it just felt like this film could have balanced out its stories better. I won’t say that some were more interesting than others but they all seemed to go in different paths which was a good thing and bad thing at the same time.
My other problem with this flick was that as interesting as the stories are, I could still never get into the characters that inhibited them which is where I think Soderbergh lost me with this flick. Yes, I understand this film is supposed to be a gritty, dark, and depressing take on the world of drugs that we live in, but after awhile, I just wanted to be able to root someone on let alone feel something for one person, even if it was only for a small second. Every character seems almost in one way or another, corrupt or totally idiotic and it’s a little frustrating when one character can’t seem to see the full picture, when it’s pretty damn clear in the first place. I don’t want to try and give away too much here but there was also a lot of plot twists that started going down at the end as well, that may have been a little too far-fetched but only because the plot is the one thing we were mostly paying attention to rather than the characters themselves.
The only character and performance I could really get into with this flick was actually Benicio Del Toro as Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez. Del Toro is a guy I see from time-to-time and even though I can never really get into the performances that he gives, I still know that there is something special about him and this is the flick that shows me why. Del Toro is the real moral center of this flick and shows a true, real, and compassionate character that seems so trapped, so screwed over, and so messed-up without ever taking drugs, that you can’t help but cheer his ass on. Del Toro has many moments where he just lets loose of the emotions he has wrapped inside and the way he shows it through Javier is what definitely makes this an Oscar-worthy performance even though I’m sure I need to see the other ones from the year 2000 as well.
The rest of the cast is pretty good too, but just not as special as Del Toro. Michael Douglas has his moments as Robert Hudson Wakefield but other than that he’s basically playing the same vain asshole he plays in every film; Don Cheadle is good to watch as the under-cover cop, Montel (a role that I think he’s played about a hundred times before) and his partner, Ray, played by Luis Guzmán, brings a lot of humor as well; Catherine Zeta-Jones is actually very good as Helena Ayala, the vengeful wife that ends up taking over her husband’s duties and her performance is very believable, much to my surprise; Dennis Quaid is just here as Arnie Metzger, but it’s always cool to see him around; and the two crazy kiddies on drugs are played by Topher Grace and Erika Christensen, who are both good and they play up the whole stoned act pretty well. Considering this is a Soderbergh film I’m talking about, there is probably 100 more noticeable faces in this flick that I’m forgetting to mention, but just watch it, and then you can play the “Guess Who That Is!?” game, that I sometimes win, and sometimes lose. Damn Mommy!
Consensus: Traffic does a great job by telling its one subject through three interesting stories that are all featured with great performances, no clear-cut messages on what it’s trying to say, and a bunch tension running through the whole time but there is no real emotional impact that comes together here and instead you just sort of watch a dark flick about drugs, without any people you can care about, except for Del Toro’s character.
Meet Jack Foley (George Clooney), the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of jail, he finds himself stealing something far more precious than money, Karen Sisco (‘s heart. She’s smart, she’s sexy, and unfortunately for Jack, she’s a Federal Marshal. Now, they’re willing to risk it all to find out if there’s more between them than just the law.
I guess back in 1998 the names Clooney and Soderbergh didn’t draw that much attention considering this was a pretty big box-office flop. If it was released in today’s world, the film would have been doing some major work but I guess everybody just has to get their start somewhere.
The film is adapted from a Elmore Leonard book that I have not read but from what I hear, is just exactly like the same tone and pace that this film gives it. What I liked about this writing is just how funny it was without being too obvious and that there was still a lot of suspense, mystery, and crime to be happening. I mean everybody in this flick is a little bit goofy, just like the situations they get themselves caught up into but for some reason the film didn’t seem uneven with its wacky humor and awesome heist and action sequences. Let me also remind you that this is a story that actually has some believability to it where I could actually see certain things like this happening if these certain people were to actually be put into these situations. Then again, I’m not saying that your average con-men/bank robbers look like George Clooney or do many Federal Marshal’s look like Jennifer Lopez, I’m just saying that a lot of what happened here doesn’t seem too insane for a flick.
The film is also perfectly directed by Steven Soderbergh, who took one big-step out of the indie world that he caught himself in and did a great job with just about everything here and finding a way to give it his own cool style. His style makes the film feel like a 70′s crime flick with the sort of funky music playing in the background and the grainy-looking camera he uses that looks as if it was used for filming some old school porno’s back in the day. It’s a really cool style but it’s also the fact that this film just breathes cool where everything you see works.
There are plenty of heist and action moments that this film works perfectly with but it’s the romance that I keep on remembering the most about. The romance is perfectly handled here, which was a total surprise to me in the first place, but the fact that Clooney and Lopez get into a discussion about how in ‘Three Days of Condor’, the romance felt forced and too quick and then they have the same exact romance. What I liked about this element is that the scenes are laced in here perfectly to the point of where it doesn’t feel like the film is just shoe-horning it all in there. It’s also pretty sexy if you think about it and it’s one of those romances between two different characters that seems to work even when the film constantly shifts in between them both fighting one another on opposite ends.
My only problem with this flick that actually didn’t take away too much but it still had me bothered was the fact at just how much this flick reminded me of ‘Jackie Brown’ and I think it’s just one of those cases that since both films were adapted from the same author, that they both kind of give off the same style. Tarantino’s flick was witty, suspenseful, filled with a cool style, and had his usual signatures that he features in just about all of his films but here, it’s kind of the same with a little bit of different touches. Hell, both films even have Michael Keaton playing the same role in both so it’s pretty obvious that I would get some déjà vu.
The main reason why this film works though is because of its awesome all-star cast that shines with every single star. George Clooney broke out with this role as Jack Foley, and would continue playing that same role for the next 13 years but to be honest he’s great here. He’s sly, funny, sexy (for the ladies, not for me..then again maybe for me), and everything he does here he seems to be having a blast playing this bad guy that we can’t help but to love considering he seems like he’s one step ahead of everybody else. Jennifer Lopez is also equally as good as Karen Sisco. She is basically the same person as Jack Foley, instead she is all for the law rather than against it. They both work great together and the romance between them I was talking about earlier I don’t know would have worked with anybody else in these roles. Every scene they have is more memorable than the one that came before it and it’s kind of a bummer that Lopez hasn’t really done much else that’s worth noting since this flick.
Don Cheadle is also good as a dick playing Foley’s main opponent in the heist-game, Snoopy; Ving Rhames is the man and surprisingly very funny as Buddy; Dennis Farina is J. Lo’s dad and it’s surprise to see him playing someone else other than a gangster; Albert Brooks is barely in it but still good; and there is even some nice little side-spots from Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, and a very young Viola Davis as well. Everybody here is great and they all seem to be having a ball with their performances which added more to my enjoyment of this flick as well.
Consensus: Out of Sight may remind me of Jackie Brown, but Soderbergh’s stylish direction and everybody’s performances here make this one of the most exciting, fun, and enjoyable crime comedies I have seen in a long time and it still makes me wonder just why this didn’t get much money in the first place.
I wish there were more swashbucklers, well more swashbucklers like this.
Edmond Dantés’s (Jim Caviezel) life and plans to marry the beautiful Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) are shattered when his best friend, Fernand (Guy Pearce), deceives him. After spending 13 miserable years in prison, Dantés escapes with the help of a fellow inmate (Richard Harris) and plots his revenge, cleverly insinuating himself into the French nobility.
If you are reading the Alexandre Dumas story this is based on, this could be your ultimate use of a cheat, because not only does this tell the whole story like it really is, but also provides some nice sword-fighting, if your into that sort of thing.
I was totally surprised by how good this film actually was. The story is your same old, same old, revenge story, but the way it moves from one scene to the next will keep you watching. For the most part, the script is pretty good. It’s an old story so you can’t really do much different to it, but there are plenty moments of actual wit, and true messages in the screenplay.
I liked mostly how this film reminded me a lot of the old 1940 swashbucklers that were so good. The many sword-fights were awesome to watch, and even the beautiful 13th century scenery was a sight to look at. I wish there were more swashbucklers in today’s world of cinema, but the latest one we have gotten was Robin Hood, which I have still not seen, and from what I hear, isn’t much of a sight in the first place.
The only problem with this film is that it does start to drag at one point in the middle of the story. It kept its pace nice and breezy throughout the film, but then one little part of this film came up, and it just kind of got a little un-interesting. But that is my only complaint, considering that I wasn’t expecting this film to be a master-piece.
Jim Caviezel is surprisingly good as the script is a little lightweight: he brings Edmond to life such that you always know the torment he suffers. So when you do start to see him develop throughout the film, you cheer for him, as the film goes on. Guy Pearce is such an absolute prick that you wonder how the two were ever friends let alone the best of friends. It’s a shame that both of these guys really haven’t been given much work lately, because I know they both could still knock today’s material out of the park. Richard Harris shows up in this film, in actually one of his last roles, and does a great job as usual.
Consensus: What you get with The Count of Monte Cristo is a good, entertaining, old-fashioned story about people wanting what they don’t deserve and going through hell to try and get it.
Why couldn’t Val Kilmer hang as Batman? He kicks so much ass.
Punk-rocking speed freak Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) freelances as an informant for a pair of brutal narcotics cops (Anthony LaPaglia and Doug Hutchison). But when he’s not assisting the cops on drug busts, Danny gets high and leads a double life as a talented, mild-mannered trumpeter named Tom Van Allen. One personality is in search of his wife’s killer, but reality is evasive.
I’m not going to lie but this film is all over the place. It starts off very quick, fast, and funny which got me ready for a fun-filled, crime comedy, but instead turns out to be something a lot more than that.
The problem I had with this film was that it’s pace is sort of all over the world. It’s quick, and fun in the first 15 minutes, but then you start to notice that it dies down, and gets a lot more serious. I didn’t have much of a problem with this change of pace, as much as I had with it’s genre mixing. This is honestly a crime thriller, with features of neo-noir, and under lining humor. It seems crazy just describing it, and it really is when you see it play out.
However, when the film isn’t being slow, and dramatic, it actually does a good job at creating a entertaining story. The side dealers we meet in this film are funny, and entertaining, providing plenty of humor for this film. And the action, when it happens, works very well and will please any gun-loving maniac.
But that almost seems to be able to cover up for the fact that the story-line can be terribly confusing sometimes. I wasn’t as confused with the story as much as others were, but I will admit that you could get easily confused right away. There are certain twists, here and there that will keep you glued, and explain a lot about the story. But for others it will just mean more confusion, to a already confusing story.
Val Kilmer is the man. He can pretty much play any role you put in front of him, and although it may not be the greatest thing you ever see, it’s still entertaining to watch him play these crazy characters. We cheer on Val Kilmer here, it’s easy to get behind him, with his casual approach to all the craziness happening, and ways of figuring things out right away. But he is only the straight-main in this film, as everybody else is used as even better entertainment. Vincent D’Onofrio does a good job as the crazy drug-dealer Pooh, who brings so much to the film, that it actually takes the film to a different level. Peter Sarsgaard is good here playing a crazed-out “tweeker”, and his act never gets old. You also got other satisfying supporters such as Adam Goldberg, Doug Hutchison, Anthony LaPaglia, and Luis Guzman.
Consensus: It’s entertaining, and does a lot with a story that seems crazy at first, but many will find themselves confused, as well as wondering whether they should laugh or not, by what’s actually happening.
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.
Even Puerto Ricans know how to celebrate Christmas, who would of thought?
John Leguizmo and Alfred Molina head up an all-star cast in this multicultural ensemble comedy that follows a trio of Puerto Rican siblings — a Marine, an actress and a businessman — on their way home to Chicago for a Christmastime family reunion. Directed by Alfredo De Villa, the holiday tale also features performances by Debra Messing, Luis Guzman, Jay Hernandez, Freddy Rodriguez, Vanessa Ferlito and Melonie Diaz.
So thinking since it’s the holiday season, it’s time for me to spread a little bit of Christmas cheer, for all to , well, see. This film came out in 2008, and has been widely forgotten about, which blows considering, it is a great feel-good movie for the whole family, come Christmas time.
This film does a great job at keeping you watching. It has a great appeal, of a big family that reunites all together for the big Christmas day & dinner. I enjoyed watching all the moments that lead up to the eventful dinner, mainly because a lot of the things were funny, but at the same time, some of them were just plain dramatic, and in a way felt real. Hell, this family may even remind you of your own at times.
Although there is some well scripted comedy it is not enough to make up for the constant parading of unresolved problems which pile up like dead bodies by the side of the road. And although there is some resolve you still can’t get those dead carcasses out of your mind. This may be more realistic of the way many families live, at Christmas but I would rather focus on the positive than dwell in the negative at least one month out of the year.
Despite the film being also quite predictable, as most dysfunctional family movies are, the characters keep you glued on. Alfred Molina as Eddy, the dad, and Elizabeth Pena as Anna, the mom do a great job with their roles as parents with marital problems that they have kept hidden for the most part. Luis Guzman always finds a way to bring great comedy to any film. Freddy Rodriguez is good here, providing a very likable character. John Leguizamo, and Debra Messing, actually have a good chemistry together, and although their a couple that doesn’t seem like they would work on screen, they actually do a good job at being a couple with baby problems.
Consensus: Not the best Christmas movies out there, mainly because it focuses too negatively on some subjects, but the likable characters, and strong performances, make you feel good while watching this little holiday treat.
A job that I could make millions in, if I really wanted to. Yeah, it’s that huge.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic about the adult film industry stars Mark Wahlberg as a nightclub busboy who transforms himself into porn king Dirk Diggler and ultimately becomes intoxicated by success, cocaine and lofty aspirations. Set in the 1970s, the film features Oscar-nominated supporting performances by Burt Reynolds as skin-flick auteur Jack Horner and Julianne Moore as a veteran porn icon with maternal instincts.
When it comes to PT Anderson, he can take a normal script, and put it places you weren’t expecting. The screenplay is just pitch-perfect. There is a lot of dark comedy in the beginning, probably cause the whole idea of making these 70′s style porno films is pretty laughable, but by the end it dives into some deep, deep, dramatic areas that I wasn’t quite expecting. The story moves along at a narrow pace, and doesn’t lose you as Anderson is constantly going from one character to another. And that’s probably my favorite thing about this film, is that yeah, it’s a story about Dirk Diggler, but there’s also plenty of other stories to go along with it, and add on to the film.
The only problem with this film is that it never delves into anything more than a just a film about the porno industry, and “stardom”. I didn’t see what the message behind all this was, and although Anderson wasn’t down-grading porn, he wasn’t saying how great it was either. So I was confused on what the central message was behind this whole film, and I think it could have used one if went into deeper territory.
PT Anderson the director is even better, because not only does he do a great job at showing all these other different characters, but he follows them in such good pace, like your literally behind these people, and your there. And you feel like your there, because of the constant lively music (which I loved, get that soundtrack now), vibrant colors all over the place, and an overall feeling of a constant party. There is also some tense, well-played out scenes by the end, that just get inside of you, as their going on.
I have to give the most praise to the casting in this film, because everybody fits their own character so well. Mark Wahlberg gives his break-out performance here, and is just perfect and fits Dirk Diggler so well. he’s still a boy that was taken into a very adult world early, and you believe him when he has these problems, with his emotions, rage, and trying to become a star. Burt Reynolds give his best performance ever as Porn director Jack Horner, he’s calm, cool, and overall relaxed. He’s just a pretty chill guy, and I ‘d feel pretty comfortable getting busy in front of him. Julianne Moore is good here too, as basically the mom who can’t love herself, but can love everybody else. Her performance is just tragic and you feel so bad for her. John C. Reilly is in here too, and is as easily as likable, him and Wahlberg create this great buddy-buddy chemistry, that plays throughout the whole film, and has you still liking both even when they become total deuches at times. Philip Seymour Hoffman has another tragic performance as the man that becomes infatuated with Diggler, and can not just understand what love really is. Other people in this film are Don Cheadle, Thomas Jane, Alfred Molina, William H. Macy, the always funny Luis Guzman. The cast is perfect, and you can tell that Anderson really does have a lot of love for these people and how they react to life.
Consensus: Though it never goes deep enough, Boogie Nights is a great ride from PT Anderson, complete with a pitch-perfect cast, inspired script and direction, and just the overall feel of your actually there.