Girl hipsters that look like 14-year-old boys, never a good sign for the married-man.
Olivia Thirlby stars as Martine, a New York City artist who stays with a local family (Rosemarie DeWitt and John Krasinski) in Los Angeles while working on her art film. But her arrival in this seemingly idyllic family soon begins to unravel suppressed impulses in everyone and forces them to confront their own fears and desires.
I honestly don’t mind a good infidelity movie here and there, especially when they have a top-notch cast and promise like this. However, in order for me to like that infidelity movie, I have to buy into the infidelity that is actually occurring and even though there is definitely a lot of screwing around, a lot of wondering whether or not the other person knows about the screwing around, and a lot awkward conversations between one another because of them wondering whether or not the other person knows about the screwing around, I still did not really buy into it all. I bought into the fact that John Krasinski could be a humbled and horny husband, though. If that accounts for anything.
Right from the beginning, you can tell this is an indie-movie, through and through. You got the shaggy-looking people, staring-off into space; you have the unusual jobs for certain human-beings; you have the long scenes that are filled with no dialogue, but instead some moody music from an indie band only 3 people know about; and you also have a shit-ton of symbolism, coming through other layers of the story. So basically, any idea that this movie is going to be like Fatal Attraction; you’re wrong. It’s more or less like indie-version Fatal Attraction; had Michael Douglas and Glenn Close just boned every once and awhile and never actually spoke to each other. That probably would have solved a lot of things in that movie and definitely steered-clear of any rabbits to be hurt, but I digress.
That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of the stuff you’d expect from movies where people are cheating on each other, because there definitely is, it just feels so under-cooked that by the time the movie’s over, you’re left with, “That’s it?”. I’m not going to go into the logistics of this movie, what happens, and practically spoil the whole damn movie for you but when you see how much immoral-boning actually happens here, you’re going to be surprised that there’s even a story in the first-place. You just never feel those sparks of fire, burning up inside the plot and these characters’ minds, and instead, you just feel the need inside of you to just get some sort of “oh shit” moment to really lift things up from being a bit of a bore.
Mostly where the lack of sparks come from, is the fact that we never really feel like we understand what the attraction between some of these people are. Martine obviously has this way to her that gets guys all wood’d-up in the pants and the wives’ eyes glued to their men, but we never fully understand why she does the things she does and why the guys who get involved with her, actually do. Yeah, she’s got a cool look to her that reminds me of when I was 10 and definitely dresses all hip and cool, considering she’s the New Yorker in L.A., but there’s nothing to understand. She’s hot, I guess? I never understood that and maybe that’s how most affairs begin: the idea of having a new spice of life to happen to you, without any rhyme or reason as to why that certain someone or something was picked. If that was the case, the movie could have brought that out more. More for me to understand and more just to keep me interested.
Even though it’s hardly ever boring, the film just never feels like it has a clear destination in place and even worse, no route or alternate ways to take. It’s just sort of free balling as it goes along and that’s all fine and dandy when you have a movie that wants to be all-over-the-place and unpredictable, but that IS NOT this film. You sort of see where it’s going and when, you just don’t know why and I don’t think the film did, either. You just never really get a clear-look at these characters, what keeps them going on throughout the day, and what gets them to tick. Instead, you just see them do their jobs, get horned-up on-occasion, and have all types of awkward conversations with one another. The dialogue is good but when these characters aren’t speaking, then that’s when things go South for this flick and it definitely disappointed me because I was expecting big things from this movie.
Honestly, the reason i was expecting such big things from this movie is because it features not one, not two, but THREE stars that have been really working their ways up the ladder of sorts, in terms of dramatic-acting and earning some r.e.s.p.e.c.t. This seems to be John Krasinski’s first, real and raw dramatic-role for him and the guy handles it very, very well. The Krasinski look and charm is still there, but now we have a more ruffled and worn-out type of dude that just so happens to want a little excitement in his life. I will say one thing about this guy, even though he definitely gets away with banging around for a tad bit, he definitely isn’t very bright when it comes to keeping it a secret and there were plenty of times where I just wanted to slap him and be like, “Wake up bro! The bitch knows!”. Regardless of his character’s somewhat stupidity, Krasinski is still a solid actor and it’s nice to finally see him not play Jim Halpert.
Another reason for Krasinski’s character’s stupidity, isn’t just by the way how he not-so subtlety hides it away, but the fact that he’s cheating on his wife, played by the ever-gorgeous Rosemarie DeWitt. I’ve really been drooling over DeWitt as of late and everything that she does and even though she is very good here, it’s not a very showy role for her. She does get a couple of key-scenes where you see her really come into her own, but it only occurs once during the beginning and twice during the end. Other than those three instances, we don’t see much more of Rosemarie. Shame, too, because she’s such a joy to watch on-screen. I was also surprised to see Dylan McDermott play such a d-bag as her ex-hubby who only shows up for one scene, but was one scene where I was very interested and though McDermott did an awesome job with such a small, meaningless role.
Olivia Thirlby has really been working her way up the food-chain ever since her days of paling around with Juno, but Thirlby has come into her own now and is actually pretty good that way. As I’ve already stated about her character, I never really understood what was so breath-taking or amazing about her that stopped every man from what they were doing at that point in time, but Thirlby still handles it all well and has us believe in her. She’s not likable but she’s not a unlikable, neither. She’s just somewhere in the middle and I think that’s a true testament to Thirlby for giving this one-dimensional character some heart and emotions, even if half of them are just moaning and groaning, if you know what I mean?
Consensus: DeWitt, Krasinski, and Thirlby all raise Nobody Walks‘ relatively-mediocre material up a notch more than expected, but it is still a bit of a disappointment how very little emotional fireworks actually went-off.
5 / 10 = Rental!!
Leo was such a better fit for her.
‘Shopgirl’ follows Mirabelle (Claire Danes), a disenchanted salesgirl and aspiring artist who sells gloves and accessories at a department store. She has two men in her life: wealthy divorcee Ray Porter (Steve Martin) and struggling musician Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman).
I guess since Steve Martin hasn’t produced a hit in the last ten years or so, that he just ended up writing novellas to keep his mind off things. But, once again, he brings himself back to the big-screen to made us realize just why he should go back to being Inspector Clouseau — as painful as it may be to actually say.
That first paragraph right there makes it seem like I didn’t like this movie, which is wrong; because I did like this movie. However, it was only certain aspects that seemed to make it work. The mood was pretty good right from the start where we get this somewhat ‘Lost in Translation’ feel where these characters are desperately lost and searching for love anywhere they can find it in L.A.; and it works well for that time being. I also think that some scenes worked mainly thanks to a lot of Martin’s ideas. Like one scene in particular where Mirabelle is telling all of her gal pals that Porter is so into the relationship, but he’s telling his therapist the total opposite. It’s a great way to show how two people’s words can get misinterpreted by the other and it works by showing us that not all relationships we have are going to be exactly the way we want them.
I won’t lie, I did feel a little strange when I thought about the whole idea of Steve Martin (59 at the time) and Claire Danes (26 at the time), actually shakin’ up but I also have to realize that yes, this sort of stuff does happen in real-life. It’s obvious that there are girls out there who do agree to dating and sleeping with older men with money but that doesn’t really mean I want to see it on-screen — let alone done in a way as shallow as this. The whole idea behind this relationship between these two is that she needs and wants love, whereas he wants to give her stuff without ever really having to give her anything. When I say anything, I mean anything. This guy has just maybe one big conversation with her on their first date, where he just asks her three dumb questions. After that, we barely see those two ever talk again. All they do is just mope around, mutter on about when they are going to see each other again, and wonder to themselves if they are really being loved by the other. Then, it gets worse because the film tries to get us to really feel something for this relationship and make us feel the pain that Mirabelle is feeling with this guy, but the whole time I just kept on thinking that she should just freakin’ get rid of the sugar daddy and find some young, hot dude because it’s pretty obvious that she can get whoever she wants. I mean it’s freakin’ Juliet Capulet we’re talking about here people!
The film gets categorized as a romantic comedy but it has some moments of actual comedy and that’s only thanks to Jason Schwartzman as Jeremy. This guy is pretty much the saving grace to this flick because he has perfect comedic timing, is terribly awkward in almost every single one of his scenes, and also seems like the perfect fit for Mirabelle which is why it makes me scratch my head even more that she would go for an older dickhead like Porter. Either way though, Schwartzman definitely makes this film better every time he pops up on-screen and even though it’s a bit weird that the film itself goes on this weird tangent about him touring with this band, it didn’t matter after awhile because it was so fun to watch him just act like a goof ball no matter where he was.
Claire Danes is also very good as Mirabelle and gives off this very old school vibe to her, almost even channeling a young Mary Tyler Moore. She seems like she can be a bit naïve and stupid at points, but the other times she seems like a genuinely sad character that just needs some excitement and love in her life. I’m not much of a fan of Danes since I think all of that shit she did with Billy Crudup back in the day was messed up but I can still say that she gives off a pretty good performance here.
Last but not least, the main problem with this film is actually Steve Martin himself as Ray Porter; because as much of a dick as this character can be, Martin is not very good at playing this type of character. To call Porter unsympathetic is an understatement, he’s a straight-up dick about everything with Mirabelle and definitely doesn’t deserve her one bit. That’s why Martin isn’t the right choice for Porter considering he has the channel off all of that goofiness that makes us love him in the first place. Having a somebody like Michael Douglas, Gene Hackman, or even Al Pacino would have been fine too because these guys are good at playing rich, wealthy scumbags that obviously don’t care but I guess they thought it would be easier to go with the guy that made the source material himself since he’s so close to it, right? Nope! Go back to solving crimes about Beyonce’s lost ring, Steve!
Consensus: Shopgirl definitely features some moments that are smart and work, but they are too spread apart from one another and the character’s love stories didn’t generate as much heat as the film tried to shove down our throats. However, Jason Schwartzman makes it all better in the end.
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.
Who needs acting when you can just beat the crap out of everybody around?
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive.
Seeing that this is definitely Steven Soderbergh trying to eff with our heads in by giving us a non-experienced actress with a whole lot to do for one flick, I didn’t know what to really think going in. However, with his first step into the action genre, I can definitely say that he didn’t eff with us too bad here.
The one thing that Soderbergh does perfectly here is give us an action flick that feels way different from any other one that has been released within the past year or so. All of the fight sequences are filmed wonderfully with no score whatsoever, just going with the flow of the punches, kicks, and breaks while also being filmed in a very wide lense to give it this realistic feel. Yes, fighting sequences that are somewhat realistic, crazy right? Soderbergh just plays and plays with the whole conventions of what we come to know and see as an action flick and it seems like an experiment rather than an actual film, but an experiment that does a pretty good job none the less.
I also liked how Soderbergh kept everything very minimal. The film basically consists of people running, shooting, and fighting, all to the glorious sound of jazz music that made me feel as if I was in a little club in New Orleans. The plot is very simple and there isn’t a whole bunch of talking about what’s going on, or even talking in general. Soderbergh doesn’t feel the need to spell everything out to us and instead of giving us a highly confusing plot, he backs it up with a lot of ass-kicking to keep our minds avert on the screen without ever losing us, after we have just realized that this far far different from what we have seen from any other action flick.
The problem that this film runs into is that when the action isn’t going down, things start to get a little dull. When the film starts to lean towards its plot and doesn’t really give us much action to hold onto, the film starts to lose us mainly because the story just isn’t all that interesting in the first place and to be honest, we have seen the same premise done before. I understand that Soderbergh and his writers weren’t trying to rely on the plot as much as they were with the action, but it still could have been handled a lot better to fully keep our attentions when people weren’t getting their faces knocked in.
Another main problem with this flick comes with the whole casting of MMA star Gina Carano. Carano did not have any prior acting experience to this flick and for a character like Mallory Kane you have to have somebody that can look the part, which she definitely does. All of her action scenes are awesome and she definitely looks like that chick you do not want to piss off one bit let alone screw over in a huge-ass CIA exchange. However when it comes to actually talking like a bad-ass, Carano can’t do that.
I have to give Soderbergh credit for not leaving this inexperienced actor out to dry with this material, because she could have easily just gotten chewed up in every single scene but it’s just that Carano doesn’t do anything here at all. Her character feels like a big block of wood that has no emotions and gives off the same voice to every single response. Now take it for granted, the “voice” in this flick is not the same one she has in real life (it was apparently dubbed) but even if it wasn’t hers, it still sounds terrible because almost every line she drops, she sounds like she’s reading them right off the cue-card as it is. I hope that Carano is reading this now and wants to beat the shit out of me, but honestly baby, keep to your MMA career. But damn is she sexy!
The rest of the cast is very good though, which I do think was very deliberate considering Soderbergh definitely knew he couldn’t sell a film on just one chick who nobody outside of the MMA world knew. Ewan McGregor seems to having a lot of fun as the slimy and evil Kenneth; Michael Fassbender isn’t around for much as you could probably tell from the previews (and even the poster) but he still is pretty good with his devilish charm; Channing Tatum does an alright job here as Aaron; Bill Paxton is nice to watch as John Kane considering I didn’t know he did movies anymore; and Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas show up here as the usual assholes they usually play in most of their recent films and do nice jobs as well. Basically, the whole supporting cast is great but it’s just a shame that Carano kind of makes us look past that with her stiff delivery.
Consensus: Haywire is definitely not the usual action flick we are so used to seeing nowadays, with realistic fight sequences, jazz music, and a very good supporting cast, but the problem this flick hits is with its leading star that can’t get through her lines and sort of just lets the whole film down in the process.
23 years later and money is still messed up.
Trader Jake (Shia LaBeouf) tries to mend the broken relationship between his fiancée, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), and her father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while avenging the fate of his mentor, Lou (Frank Langella), by getting close to Wall Street’s new megalomaniac, Bretton James (Josh Brolin).
After seeing the first Wall Street, I realized just how much things with money in today’s world hasn’t changed at all really. However, it seems the cheese factor for this type of material hasn’t either.
Director Oliver Stone has always been a favorite director of mine because he always knows how to make any story seem interesting with his great use of style but here he shows that those skills are starting to fall apart. Stone relies too much on montages, almost the same ones we saw from the first one, and quick cuts that try to bring off some sign of rapidness in the Wall Street world but overall none of it actually works.
Having this film set in the time of the 2008 financial crisis seemed like a perfect move for this story but it doesn’t really actually explore that nor does it actually try to explore the relationship between Gekko and his daughter, or any other story for that matter. Basically all the little sub-plots here and there seem totally forced and actually muddled in the end since it doesn’t really seem like Stone knows what story to focus on the most or which one will have the most effect. So what he does is just have all the stories play out at once, but to no effect whatsoever.
With the first one too, the film showed a lot of the dark and mean sides to having business on Wall Street but none of that was really even here to glue me in by how gritty and bad everything is. The one-liners also don’t have the zing they once used to because it all seems so dated as if Stone were just trying to do what he did with the first one but none of it was actually funny or even catchy, just lame and at times just totally forced.
However, my only real favorite thing about this film is the actual performances from the cast. Michael Douglas seems like a natural in his role as Gordon Gekko and plays the anti-hero here rather than the villain but still makes it all work. Douglas knows how to make bad seem cool in so many ways and it’s good to see him do what he does best here. The sad thing though is that it really just feels like him playing the same character, just a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a lot more grumpier.
Shia LaBeouf is the real star here actually playing his soon to be son-in-law Jake, who works on Wall Street and just so happens to be in a relationship with a Wall Street legend’s daughter. I actually liked Shia in this role because I think he handles a lot of the financial talk really well and gives us that idea that he really can hold a film on his own it only matters if he’s given a good enough role. Carey Mulligan is good at displaying any emotion just by using her face as Winnie; Josh Brolin is good as this dickish rival hedge-fund manager, Bretton James; and Frank Langella is also very good in a small, but powerful role as Lewis Zabel, a man way past his time. There’s also a small performance from Susan Sarandon here as well as Jake’s mom that doesn’t even seem meaningful to the story at all but more just to have an Oscar winner on the set.
Consensus: The cast may help this get through most parts, but Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has a crappy title (obviously), really piss-poor writing that doesn’t have any actual emotional depth or any connection to the characters, and has no real swift style that Oliver Stone has shown in many of his other films, especially the first Wall Street. A huge disappointment.
Not much has changed in the past two decades, except for maybe Charlie Sheen. He’s changed a whole damn lot.
Enterprising stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) falls under the enticing spell of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), an unabashedly greedy Wall Street arbitrageur who tutors him in the unscrupulous tactics that put the corporate raider on top. But when Gekko embroils his protégé in an insider-trading scheme that may risk the jobs of kith and kin, Fox develops a conscience and decides to turn the tables.
This one was written and directed by a favorite of mine, Oliver Stone. This was around the time he was hot off the huge Oscar winner, Platoon, and although this one isn’t as great as that one, it’s still alright.
As director, Stone knows what he’s doing but it’s all pretty simple with this film despite good camera-work that moved all-over-the-place, to give us the feeling of being busy that these stockbrokers always had. But when it comes to writing, Stone has been better.
The dialogue is alright but there are way too many lines that I felt were just too “movie-made”. All of the dialogue feels like it could have easily been quotable, but I just didn’t think people talked like these guys were with all their macho hammy bullshit sayings. I think it was more the 80′s to blame, rather than Stone himself because I guess what they thought was cool to say back in the 80′s, just seems lame and cheesy now.
The only line from this film that anybody really quotes, hell, even remembers is “Greed is good”, which is no surprise because the whole film practically is about that line and it’s the truth which is why this film still works in today’s world. There is still corporate greed running all over the world and it’s a shame that after almost 23 years later, that this shit is still happening and still around but I guess that’s what really matters about this film. We can still watch it today and have as much of an connection to it today, as anybody would have had then.
Michael Douglas is very good in this role as the evil, Gordon Gekko. Right as soon as you see this dude with the slick hair, the huge white collar, the suspenders, and the cell phone that’s the size of my head, you know he’s a total scumbag, but Douglas does a great job at making a scumbag look good. Douglas knows how to make Gekko seem like a total prick, but just a prick who wants more money, more respect, and more power to basically take over any company just to the point of where he can about be one of the richest men in the world. Gekko is the type of guy, you just hate, but there’s something about him that directs your attention towards him right away. That’s all thanks to Douglas and although I don’t usually like him as an actor, I think he does a very great job as Gekko and makes him the personification for everything that’s wrong with the economy.
The rest of the cast is pretty good too. Charlie Sheen is good with his yuppie schtick as Bud Fox (what a dumb name), but as the film goes on he gets more cocky and angry, and it’s actually kind of hard to take him as seriously as the film wanted us to. Martin Sheen doesn’t have the same problem his son does and actually has a couple of very emotional scenes. Daryl Hannah doesn’t bring anything to this film as Bud’s main squeeze, and could have been left out of the picture completely and it wouldn’t have mattered either way. Terence Stamp, John C. McGinley, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Sean Young are all good.
Consensus: Wall Street has a powerful performance from Douglas, and features a timeless look on the Wall Street circuit, but falls for too many 80′s cliches like the lame and cheesy sayings in the script, the annoying synthesizer, and just the feeling that nothing else here is really authentic.
Who cares what Michael Douglas does on a regular basis anyway?
In honor of his birthday, San Francisco banker Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), a financial genius and a coldhearted loner, receives an unusual present from his younger brother, Conrad (Sean Penn) — a gift certificate to play a unique kind of game. In nary a nanosecond, Nicholas finds himself consumed by a dangerous set of ever-changing rules, unable to distinguish where the charade ends and reality begins.
One night I was just hanging around when I found an old VHS of this and I have to say, I’m going to have to start watching my VHS’s from now on.
Director David Fincher is a great director as much of us know. He takes a lot of material and can make it incredibly more chilling, tense, and stylized like no other. He does not disappoint one bit here and just proves why he is one of the best mystery directors of all-time.
Fincher kept me guessing at every single scene just what was going to happen next, and what is real and what isn’t? I knew it was a game, because the title tells us that right from the get-go it was just so great to feel the claustrophobia from this film and being shocked at every single turn this film took. There’s a lot of twists and turns here that may confuse you, but Fincher makes it all seem pretty easy to follow. Also, Fincher uses this very bleak look to portray a lot of the emotions an ideas that are going through Nicholas’s head at certain points, and none of it ever feels too artsy-fartsy for my taking. Basically, Fincher is great, the story is where the problem lies.
I liked this plot and how it all came out on film, mainly because of Fincher but the problem with this story is that although it’s placed in the real world, it almost could never happen. Reason being that is because there are almost way too many co-incidences in this story to actually ring true. How do you know that somebody will get into this certain taxi cab? How do you know they will get into a room with a camera, where you will be seeing them all the time? How do you know that someone will be coming to the office at that exact moment? Also, how exactly do you know that someone will fall exactly off a roof, on the right side of the building, and not be killed? All of these questions and probably more will be raised when you’re watching the film and although I was along for the whole ride, I almost never thought that any of this could actually ever happen.
The ending also was pretty lame probably because I was expecting a big twist at the end, and I never got it. But saying that, I was disappointed that at the end of the film, we don’t learn anything or nothing really has changed about the character’s involved. I don’t want to give too much about this film away but I really did feel that we deserved a way better than what we got and some actual lessons learned at the end. Maybe it was just don’t be a little rich dickhead, and you’ll be fine. Well that’s at least what I took from it.
Although I don’t really like much of Michael Douglas in many films, here I actually kind of cared. This guy is such an asshole at times and when all this starts to happen, you start to see him actually lighten up about things because he doesn’t know what to do or who to trust, so I kind of actually stood behind him. He’s good in this role because he looks angry when he’s angry, he looks confused when he’s confused, and he always knows how to solve everything the right away. I think this is one of Douglas’s better performances mainly because Fincher directed him so well. Sean Penn is here as Conrad and is pretty good for what he does. Nothing special really, just sort of there I guess.
Consensus: Sparked by an incredibly dark and tense direction from David Fincher, The Game will have you guessing at every turn but as a whole the film seems too coincidental, and although by the end you feel a bit satisfied you never quite feel like you wanted to end on the note that it did.
If only Obama was as cool as Michael Douglas.
Widowed U.S. president Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), one of the world’s most powerful men, can have anything he wants — and what he covets most is Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), a Washington lobbyist. But Shepherd’s attempts at courting her spark wild rumors and decimate his approval ratings in this romantic comedy. Rob Reiner directs, and Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen co-star.
The reviewers who moan that this is a liberal propaganda movie have missed the point, plain and simple. This is a story of romance in the White House, a unique theme which is a new and fresh idea. The politics were a backdrop and used to keep the movie moving.
The writing here is smart and very good. Its funny without making itself too funny, so you don’t take it seriously. There are still plenty of moments where this film actually takes an idea that was big in politics during the 90s and sets it in this film, and it works so well here. The comedic timing this film has makes sure it balances out a great deal of smart comedy but also important ideals about politics that were going on at the time.
This movie effectively shows the human side of a president. There is no political pretense or agenda, this is and old fashion pure charmer that wins with clever script, great acting and likable characters. And most of this has to go the performances from its wonderful cast. Douglas is starting to grow on me a bit, even though he is basically playing the same one he always does but the charm works well here cause he still has a side that even the president you wouldn’t think had. Annette Bening is even better playing Wade with the great comedic timing but also wonderful sense of realism that leading ladies like Diane Keaton and Jodie Foster all go for, and she does that plus a lot more. Their chemistry in this film builds over time and it feels real and you could actually see these two together in office.
The problem I had with the film was that its satire that the film looked for didn’t hit the marker so well like it could have. I think the film was trying to poke fun at George Bush when he was in the office, and how politics have changed into being more controversial than real, was a little stretching its boundaries. Also, the Richard Dreyfuss character was just stupid cause he only played this bad guy that was one-note the whole time and barely ever changed at all during the movie.
Consensus: The American President doesn’t succeed with its satire and patronizing, but still is written and directed in an old fashioned way that its new and fresh, while Douglas and Bening give out a believable chemistry between the two.
Hopefully, none of my ex-girlfriends will come back to tell me how to live my life.
When he attends his younger brother’s wedding, playboy Connor (Matthew McConaughey) is troubled to discover that the ghosts of his many girlfriends have come to give him a piece of their mind and teach him a thing or two about true love. As the apparitions visit him, he rediscovers old feelings for the first love of his life(Jennifer Garner).
Now, my good buddies at Spill.com gave this film a Full Pricee!!!!, even some going as far as to call it one of the best of the year. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you guys that this movie, well it sucks.
This is an obvious riff off of the Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol, but where that has charm this does not. The one huge problem with this film is that it uses all of the obvious wedding, and romantic comedy cliches any film took. Like the wedding cake falls to the ground, oh haven’t seen that one before. Or, how about the cheesy slapstick that happens when a guy drives all the way through snow crashing and hitting trees about 10 times, without an amount of injury, yeah the originality is so here.
The movie does have a couple of good laughs which does save it from being the worst film I’ve ever seen so I’ll give it that. But other than that, it offers nothing new to the romantic comedy genre. The movie basically degrades woman and how each and every one is just a slut looking to do anything just to get laid, and I was appalled by how much of this actual stereotype took over the film as it went along.
The chemistry between Garner and McConaughey is down right terrible. I didn’t sense any real love between these two and if anything, just found it to be a silly excuse for a nice romantic love interest. Now respectively, there are good performances from the cast. McConaughey is funny, although I don’t think he’s the best comedic choice for this movie, but he does an OK job. Garner is OK, I just thought her character was so highly intellectual, that I couldn’t believe why she would want to be with this asshole after all. Michael Douglas shows up and gives a funny supporting performance as the man who leads McConaughey to his snarling ways, and brings the more heart and comedy to the film. I loved Emma Stone in this film, cause she is dressed up so 80s and dirty, that its even more funny when she brings out some of the cheesiest lines, but makes them funny.
Consensus: Taking a rip-off the Charles Dickens novel, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, has some comedy and good performances, but overall lacks the charm, chemistry between the two leads, and originality that all romantic comedies need.
Is greed always good??
Enterprising stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) falls under the enticing spell of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), an unabashedly greedy Wall Street arbitrageur. Gekko takes Fox under his wing, tutoring his charge in the unscrupulous tactics that put the corporate raider on top. But when Gekko embroils his protégé in an insider-trading scheme that may risk the jobs of kith and kin, Fox develops a conscience and decides to turn the tables.
Director Oliver Stone, as many of you may know is one of my favorite directors of all-time. I like if not love a lot of his stuff so when I heard about this film, and how Douglas won a Best Oscar, I was ready for a wonderful film. Instead I got a bore-fest.
If you are annoyed by shallow anti capitalism good-versus-evil plots, avoid this one. On its face, this film bashes illegal insider trading. But it goes further. The bashing subtly reaches legitimate brokers who make a living trading stock (a service which, like movie making, vastly enriches the very few at the expense of the many who want the service). Two lines most revealingly demonstrate this: The evil caricature Douglas smugly asks (paraphrasing) “You think this is a democracy!? No! This is capitalism!” (Ignoring that the political system (democracy) and the economic system (capitalism) are interrelated and are presumably good.)
This film is basically incredibly predictable in a story that goes from one place to another in cliche after cliche. The characters in this film are just basically total yuppie assholes. Even the main protagonist, Sheen, doesn’t even seem that liable to root for. He just seems so dumb and even a bigger deuche.
The acting is very very sub-par. I mean in all honesty I think Douglas at times really did over-play his role as this totally unlikable guy. Some scenes hes very good, and some hes just not all that there. In all honesty he did not deserve that Oscar at all. Sheen gives an OK performance here but I found it very hard throughout the film to take him seriously since I’m a huge fan of Two and a Half Men.
Consensus: The acting is OK, but the story is very very contrived, with predictable story elements, and even worse characters that your more likely to hate then cheer for.
Michael Douglas can be one crazy son of a bitch!
Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) is having a very bad day: He’s been fired from his job, gets stuck in a traffic jam and is forced to walk through the sizzling L.A. streets. As the obstacles mount and his temper frays, Foster begins lashing out at society’s injustices. Joel Schumacher’s feature also stars Robert Duvall as an overzealous cop who gets wind of Foster’s near-psychotic rampage and sets out to bring him down.
Many people will confuse Falling Down with a typical “revenge” movie, similar to the popular Death Wish series and other vigilante movies. This is a huge mistake, as Falling Down has a much darker, uncomfortable feel than Charles Bronson taking out his neighborhood.
The film isn’t all just about Douglas going around killing people, as more as it is about the case to get him. I still think they could have dove more into the person of who Douglas plays instead of this white suburban guy fed up with the economy.
Some parts of this movie are genuinely funny. The script isn’t all that rich with wit and detail, but when it wants to bring out some humor it actually does quite well, which could actually categorize it as a dark comedy.
The cliches are a little out there in this film as well. You, as usual, have the cop that’s on his last day of the job and the mad man he is trying to catch. Both parts of the story don’t really quite jell together as well since Douglas’ scenes are funny and exciting, while Duvall’s scenes are boring and dull. I just wish more and more time was devoted to Douglas since he did seem like the center piece of the story.
Douglas does give one of his most unusual performances of his career in this. He’s crazy, pissed off, and most of all very tragic. This guy has thrown his whole life away, and some times when you see him its really actually sad of how pathetic and delusional he actually is, which makes him a better character than some people give him, and Douglas plays him so well.
Consensus: Falling Down is darkly funny, very well-acted by Douglas, and not your usual vigilante film, but has many cliches, and not enough screen time devoted to Douglas.
I thought one of these days it would be nice to be married. Then I saw this movie.
The War of the Roses is a Black Comedy about a wealthy couple with a seemingly perfect marriage. He is a successful lawyer and his wife is building her own catering business. When their marriage begins to fall apart, material possessions become the center of an outrageous and bitter divorce battle.
The movie gets most of its laughs from the progress of this couple to the point of no return. They are both two stubborn people and neither one will back down from each others fight. And when they really want to hurt one another they know exactly what buttons to push. The credit has to go to DeVito ,who is director and an actor in this, this film does not take any prisoners for what is over the top.
The big thing about this film is that its not light one bit , it keeps getting darker and darker and darker to the point where its just pitch black comedy. This film holds some type of message about married couples that feature two people that think that they are better than one another. The real great thing about the film is that its not all-in-all a comedy it does hold some truth. The truth is that you can start hating somebody if you know everything about that person and if you’ve lived under the same roof with them for so long, as in this case 17 years.
Douglas and Turner have great chemistry as a couple who falls deeply mad in love with oneanother then turning into deep and passionate hate for each other. Both of their facial expressions just show how they feel at that exact moment and you know when they are angry.
The only problem I had with this film was that at times I felt it was over done too much with the rampage. When I thought they couldn’t go over the bridge enough they went right over and I thought it couldn’t get any worse. Lastly, we never really see why Turner’s character starts hating Douglas’ so much and it kind of left me off at being really confused since I didn’t know what the reason was for so much hate.
The film is great at showing a portrait of how you can be so happy as a couple and that can all just change and become ugly. Not many comedies can get as dark as this and DeVito surely shows his directing skills.