Mormons ruin everything! Except for Ryan Gosling. He is incapable of ruining anything.
The tale of Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney is a very strange one. She started out a simple, sweet girl who grew up on a farm, fell in love with her boy-toy in high school, then found him in England, kidnapped him, and forced him to have sex with her until he eventually got used to it all. Sound strange at all, yet? Well, what’s even stranger is how the UK press had a field-day with this and went crazy with this, well, crazy woman, making her a star and adding more head-space to her ego as it is. However, Joyce McKinney is not done with her 15 minutes of fame and comes back to the spotlight in some strange, unexpected ways.
If you’ve never, ever heard of Joyce McKinney, don’t worry, because by the end of this flick you will have all but enough of her. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, or a bad thing, it’s just something you are going to be a witness to since this whole documentary isn’t just about the crazy shit she did for love with a Mormon named Kirk Anderson, but it’s about her as a person. Whether or not she’s crazy, is totally up to you, even though this movie and the events that occurred to her life after the movie was made, may have you make up your mind.
Errol Morris is one of the greatest documentarians of our time, so when he makes a movie about whatever the hell fascinates him, most likely, it’s going to fascinate the hell out of you as well. What once begins as a simple tale of a girl who falls in love with a dude, does whatever she can to keep that love, and how she gets in trouble for doing so, soon becomes more and more complicated as it’s more about this chick and how the British press went insane with her story. I don’t want to give away anything that might spark up some debates about spoilers, but what you are going to see with this movie and story is very odd and very surreal, but unlike Catfish and I’m Not There where it simply plays with the toys and mechanics of your mind as well as a documentary; it’s all real. A little too real, some may say, but it’s the facts of life that make it well worth living. Even if nuts like Joyce McKinney do roam about it.
However, what I say about McKinney is useless, because Morris never seems to ever be frowning-upon, or even judging her. He just lets her tell her story in a straight-forward way, with no frills or strings attached. Now, of course there is the idea that some of the shit she says may be a bit too cuckoo for Coco Puffs, but it’s just who she is. In a way, you learn to accept her story for what it is, and you learn to accept her as hard as it may be. But after awhile, you do start to feel sympathy for her story, what it is that she’s talking about, and just where the hell she has gone with her life. Sure, she may be a tad bit nutso, but at least she’s entertaining to watch and listen to, whether she’s talking about kissing Keith Moon or dressing-up as a nun to escape the press. Whatever the topic of choice may be, this chick loves talking about and holds a certain type of energy to it that’s almost contagious.
Hell, not almost, it is!
That’s what makes this documentary actually a fun one to watch, that isn’t heavy, doesn’t make you contemplate where the world has gone to these days, and doesn’t leave you with a dour-attitude towards life. It’s a bit weird, a bit of fun, a bit manic, and a bit happy, and coming from Morris (aka, the dude who’s known for getting a wrongfully-convicted man out of jail, mind you); it’s a nice surprise. Morris tackles the ideas of what it takes to be a celebrity, or somebody that is indeed considered “news-worthy”, but it doesn’t go any further than that. Can’t say I’m too disappointed with that fact, but at the same time, can’t say that it doesn’t show either.
There comes a point in this flick, once all is said and done, the wackiness is gone, and Joyce herself has all cooled down a bit, that the flick seems to sort of lose some steam and in a way, not know where the hell to go with itself. Morris seemed to get a little frantic at this stage of the movie because where he had, at once, had a whole story about a random chick who all of a sudden got big for kidnapping some dude, all of a sudden found itself at barely anything where nobody seemed to care about her, and nothing special was really happening in her life. And I’m not saying that her life isn’t special at all, but it’s that at a point, her life seems to lose the interest-factor that seemed to have been working for the movie so darn well the hour beforehand. I don’t know if Joyce McKinney’s story was all that worth a full, hour-and-twenty-minute documentary, but I do know that Morris finds himself in a bit of a sticky-situation where he’s so pleased and ecstatic about this material, but it begins to loosen-up after awhile.
That said, you can definitely see this movie to understand what a documentary can do if it takes something real, but also bizarre, and make it into a movie that plays out almost better than any fictional, Hollywood-produced movie. All flaws of the movie’s last half-hour or so, Morris obviously shows the love and joy he has with what a human-life can be all about, and isn’t afraid to show it for all of it’s craziness or originality. I can definitely say that Joyce McKinney is an original in the way that she took her fame, went with it, ended it, and then came back to it out of nowhere (in the strangest way, as well). Best aspect of it all too, is that it’s all REAL. Don’t get to see too much of that nowadays, now do you?
Consensus: Tabloid is nowhere near being Errol Morris’ best documentary, but there is still the unabashed feeling for fun, energy, weirdness, and originality that is present with this story, as well as the man’s direction of how he presents it.
7 / 10 = Rental!!
All you need is a little hug and support from daddy, and you won’t start robbing banks.
Handsome Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a stunt motorcyclist at the circus who returns to an upstate town where he meets up with a former fling of his (Eva Mendes), only to find that she has a baby of his. In need to support his child and soon-to-be family, Luke decides to start robbing banks and pulling off heists with a buddy of his (Ben Mendelsohn). After this, we see the cop who runs into a problem with Luke, Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), and how he deals with the corrupt cops in his jurisdiction, while also keeping his head afloat. And we also see two kids, Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen), meet up together in high school, develop a friendship, and realize that there may be more between them that they never thought was possible.
Not only is this movie hard to describe with it’s synopsis, but it’s also even harder than hell to review it. Why? Well, it’s one of those flicks that just so happens to be built on the idea of it’s twists, it’s turns, and it’s surprises, which therefore means, any type of spoiling of those said twists, turns, or surprises, would not only be a crime against me as a critic, but a crime against you as readers. Also, it’s pretty damn hard to review, because I still don’t know how or what I still feel about it all.
What made me think this flick was going to be close to the second-coming of Christ, was not just the kick-ass trailer or the wonderful reviews it’s been getting so far, but was because of it’s director: Derek Cianfrance. Many people know the dude from his directorial-debut, the perfect date movie, Blue Valentine, and know that the guy has a knack and flair for telling an effective, compelling story just by using characters, plot, details, and dialogue. That’s it, and it’s nothing more. That’s why when it came to him tackling a flick that was like a mixture of the Godfather and the Town, I had no problem with it all, mainly because the guy seems like he knows what he’s doing and seems like he’d do anything that’s far from being deemed “conventional” or “predictable”. Granted, we’ve only seen him do one movie so far, but if that’s the consensus the guy has to work on: it’s pretty damn solid, I”d have to say so for myself. Sadly, this movie doesn’t come close to hitting his last. Sadly indeed.
But without jumping down it’s neck about the bad, let’s get into the good that will most likely lead into the bad. Rather than jumping back-and-forth from story-to-story without ever making it clear as to what the hell’s going on or how are these peeps’ paths going to cross next, we get three stories, that are told in their own, separate formats, without barely any interruptions at all. The first story is about Luke and how he handles being a daddy, but also a bank robber at the same time. Not only is this the most exciting story out of the three, but it’s also the best. The main reason being because it’s filled with so much energy, entertainment, tension, suspense, and emotional heart, that it gets you ready for what you think you’re about to witness. You automatically think that this whole movie is going to play-out like this first story where we all get all the action and flair, but still some grounded-sense of reality and depth, but that’s not how it all plays out.
Instead of doing the smart thing and keeping up with this sense of intensity, Cianfrance takes the film down a notch and keeps it grounded in the sense that we are watching a movie, and a tad predictable one at that. After we switch gears over to Cross’s story, we start to see the movie delve more into the conventional-side of itself where we see police corruption, people with badges doing mean things, and worst of all, Ray Liotta playing a sincerely, despicable human-being. He’s good at it, but can’t we put Tommy Vercetti up to something else nowadays. How about a role as an inspirational father-figure that does sensible acts for the rest of society? Huh? Not buying it? Oh well, at least I tried.
Anyway, where this flick takes a turn for the worse is not just because it begins to get, dare I say it, generic, but because it seems so obvious. Without telling you exactly what happens or how, there are certain elements of the plot that seem to be so predictable, that it gets to the time of where I could literally pin-point exactly who knew who, how they knew them, and how they were going to tell each other how they knew one another. It got to be a bit of annoyance and seemed more like Cianfrance took the idea of conveniences between two characters, as a way to show us that there’s a twist coming up, or something that we don’t seem to expect, but yet; we do.
That’s not to say that the whole film is like this, because as a matter of fact, most of it is damn good I have to say. There are moments where I was literally on-the-edge-of-my-seat without any other thought or idea that would take me away from this movie, anywhere near my head, and it completely compelled me. And that’s not just the Gosling parts, that’s the whole movie and it surprised me with what Cianfrance was able to bring up next, and how. The guy doesn’t depend on his dialogue here as much as he did with his last flick, but the atmosphere and mood is still there to mess with you and because of that, I have to still give the guy kudos for always allowing us to set our sights on something worth watching here. Can’t say that about many film makers who churn-out a movie a year, but thankfully, I can say it about this dude.
The problem is, after two hours and thirty minutes (yes, that’s how long it is), I was still left with an idea in my head: what the hell was that all about? The ideas and themes of there being issues between a father and a son, how we all look out for one another, and how hard it is to stay true to yourself in a world of evil and hate, are abundantly clear and here, and hit us in the face as much as beers to an alcoholic, but never seem to be worth the wait for. Honestly, when all of these stories do finally get the chance to come together, make some sense, and have us make up our minds on what to think of, it feels like a bit of a waste, mostly because nobody really solves anything. Gosling’s story ends a bit too quickly for us to feel like his life’s problems are solved, Cooper’s goes on and on without any clear happiness in sight, and the final story seems like it was all made for us to see how tension still arises, even as the new generations come alive.
It made no sense to me as to why this flick was named the way it was. The Pines definitely serve some sort of metaphor for each of these characters and the way they go about their business, but it didn’t seem reasonable. Certain things are said, and are left unsaid, but they never felt right. As the film continued to go on and on, these characters begin to pull off acts and stunts that not only seem unreasonable, but almost stupid. I get that people can deal with grief and sadness in all sorts of ways, but there comes a point in this flick where it just doesn’t make sense any more and feels like instead of dealing with real human-beings that have feelings, emotions, and a sense of right and wrong, we are dealing with a bunch of wacked-out peeps that act solely on a gut-feeling of anger and violence, without rhyme or reason. There are people out there who live like this, but in a flick like this, it didn’t seem right and didn’t make sense when you take the whole ending into actual consideration. If none of this makes sense to you now, please, go and see this movie and realize that there is a message to what I’m saying, as confusing and as bum-fucked as I may sound.
Thankfully, the ones that hold this flick together is the more-than-able cast of heavy-hitters that do what they do best: be compelling, no matter who it is that they are playing. The person from this cast that I think of the most when I say that, is without a doubt Ryan Gosling as Handsome Luke. Gosling not only uses that innate-likeability to his favor here, but also shows us that he still has the able chance to still scare the sheets off of us, and never know whether we can root for him, or boo him. Gosling has what it takes to make this character work and makes him the most fascinating out of them all, mostly because he strives to be more than just a convention: he actually has a beating-heart that doesn’t always make the right decision every step of the way, but at least tries to make up for them.
Eva Mendes plays his sugar-bunny that’s good, in probably the most-dramatic and compelling role we have ever seen her play before. Not only does Mendes do a perfect job at being able to not look hot or sexy, as hard as that may be for her, she also never forgets to remind us that this is a troubled and lonely woman, that we never lose sympathy for. Ben Mendelsohn is also a butt-load of fun and joy to watch as his buddy, a former-robber who helps him out nowadays, but don’t be fooled: this guy has a mean-streak to him that shows in a despicable-way.
Bradley Cooper is great as Avery Cross, the cop with a heart. Cooper really does well at being the type of guy we can feel for and trust, even when he doesn’t seem to do the right thing, and makes you understand why the guy has such a hard problem to think for himself, or take matters into his own hands. He gets to be a bit of a self-righteous dick by the end of this thing, but no matter what, he always stayed true to his character, his motivations, and what he strives for in life. Rose Byrne plays his wife, that I wouldn’t say is still in dullsville here, but doesn’t seem to have much to do other be a chick that never stops complaining about how he’s a cop and always has the chance of dying on the job. You did marry him, didn’t you? So why the ‘eff you bitchin’ at him?!? Let a guy do his job and get that money, money!
Lastly, the performances from Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen as the two kids that meet-up in school, is good in the way that it paints an interesting portrait of what it’s like to meet someone, and not have any idea what to expect from them, but that’s about as much as I can tell you right there. Just know this, DeHaan is great and definitely uses that angst-fueled look to his advantage, and know that Cohen tries to do the same, but his character is too much of a dick for us to really care about him at all. Okay, I think you know enough by now. Time for me to shut up and just go the hell home.
Consensus: With a more-than-reliable cast, suspenseful mood, well-written characters, and interesting plot-changes, The Place Beyond the Pines never loses focus on it’s story or what it’s trying to convey about it’s character, but loses grip with reality and begins to get more and more theatrical and obvious as it goes along. No matter what, you will feel compelled by this, but it starts to shy-away sooner than later.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
The most violent game of Cops and Robbers I’ve ever seen played.
Sean Penn plays mob king Mickey Cohen, a ruthless gangster who runs the entire city of Los Angeles, including the cops and politicians under his control. Determined to bring him down is a small, secret task-force spearheaded by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling).
After the Aurora shootings occurred over last Summer, I was pretty bummed to see that this flick would be pushed-back, due to the fact that it actually featured a movie theater shooting itself. It looked like a nice mixture between L.A. Confidential and The Untouchables, with just a dash of present-day, digital-era filmmaking, and to top that, it boosted a pretty solid cast. However, it doesn’t matter when I saw this flick, all that matters is that I did see it and it’s nothing special. Yep, now I’m sort of glad it waited til now.
It’s pretty strange to see that director Ruben Fleischer would actually take this material, considering it’s not really something he has done in the past. This is the same guy who brought us Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less, which are both movies that feature a crap-ton of action and humor, but yet, never made me feel like I was watching the work of a guy that could be the next De Palma or Lumet. I was right. It’s not that Fleischer doesn’t hold his own when it comes to the action, because he definitely does and make it as bloody as can be, it’s more or less that there’s nothing else more to it. It’s pretty cool to see a bunch of crooks get their asses beat to a bloody pulp and watch all of the new, sadistic ways it can happen, but after awhile, it just seems like that is all this flick has going for itself.
Hell, even at one-point during the movie, somebody actually begs the question, “why?. Why is this violence happening?” Well, the answer to that is simple: Hollywood and making money, baby! I never expected this flick to ever bring-up a point that I was thinking the whole time, and that’s that these police officers are doing just as much dirty work as these crooks are doing, but yet, are being applauded and praised for it, all because they have a gun and a badge. It definitely brings up a great question as to why should they be allowed and who’s right and who’s wrong. However, those points are a little too smart for a movie like this where people get their heads drilled in and eaten by dogs. Both of which, actually happen, and all due to the excitement and glee of it’s audience.
But, that excitement and glee, isn’t all that bad when it’s done right. Yeah, Fleischer really does drop the ball on providing more of a moral important/emphasis on all of the violence and ass-kicking, but for the most part, he keeps things alive and well with just enough action to have us cured for whenever this story feels the need to take a nap, here and there. You get the blood, you get the guns, you get the punches, and you get the explosions. What else could ya ask for? And if there is something else could you ask for, why the hell would you? Seriously, it’s the dead of Winter and if this is the best we are going to get, then hey, I’ll get a piece of popcorn, soda, my nice jammies, sit-down, relax, and freakin’ revel in it. You can’t ask for much else, so you might as well just enjoy it.
If there was a big disappointment with this movie, it’s the fact that the cast is so stacked and so filled to the brim with A-listers that are usually hitters, more than missers, that it’s really disappointing to see them work with a lame-o script like this. Josh Brolin is the leader of the Gangster Squad, and of the movie, if you think about it, and does a serviceable job as a pretty tough-guy that can do his work, wants to do what is right, but yet, go back home to his lovely wife and be the husband that she wants. Brolin is always a likable presence to watch on-screen and even though I felt like this character could have had more done to him to make us feel like we really know him from the inside and out, it’s still a lot more development than anybody else in this damn movie.
Well, him and Ryan Gosling, of course. Gosling is great as the sly, but charming cop that doesn’t even originally plan to be apart of this gang, but actually does and thank the high heavens for that, because the guy not only makes the gang better, but the movie in-return. Gosling just has this look to him that not only makes him the coolest guy in the room, but also the nicest guy, too, and you feel as if no matter what crazy shite gets thrown his way, he will still always end-up doing the right thing. The little “romance” he has with Emma Stone feels like it could have really sparked, like it did so well in Crazy, Stupid, Love, but just doesn’t. Instead, most of their scenes are them just having melodramatic-argument-after-melodramatic-argument, almost to the point of where it doesn’t matter as to whether or not they stay together, because it won’t be for long.
The reason they do argue so much, is because Stone’s character is with Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn in his most entertaining-role in the longest-time. When this movie was originally supposed to come out, I thought that it would give Penn a nice Oscar-push for Supporting Actor since he was playing a person so evil, so malicious, and so bad, that he could have easily gotten a nomination. However, since his flick doesn’t even come close to qualifying and now that I’ve seen it, I can say that he doesn’t even come close, but that’s still not a bad thing. This isn’t as much of an Oscar-caliber performance, as much as it is just a fun performance that seemed like Penn wanted to do for the longest-time, just so he could get away from the heavier stuff in his career. Is it perfect? No, not really, because the guy is still over-the-top and cartoonish, but at least he is always entertaining to watch and that was more than I could really say about him, when he was impersonating another famous figure; Robert Smith. Yeah, I guess people want to forget about that movie now.
The rest of the cast has a bunch of big names that have all been amazing in the past, and hell, maybe even the past year, but yet, aren’t given all that much to do. Nick Nolte is absolutely wasted as the head of the L.A. police department and shows up for about 10 minutes, tells Brolin what to do, and sounds like he’s still looking for that lung after all of these years. He’s alright, but damn, is it a weak role for an actor that always gives 110%, with everything he’s given. The rest of the Gangster Squad features the likes of Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and Robert Patrick, all of which do their best with what they can but in the end, sort of feel like they should have been given a lot more to do. Especially Mackie, of all people, who really feels like he should have been a big star by now, he just hasn’t found the right juices to get it flowing.
Consensus: Though it is nothing more than a movie about bad guys and good guys facing-off, against one another, Gangster Squad is still a bunch of fun that has a retro-vibe and feel, even if it feels like it should be more with the load of talent it has in-front of and behind the camera.
Dude, just stay away from foreign countries.
He came, he saw, he kicked-ass, and took his daughter back (Maggie Grace), and basically lived a life he thought was all fine and dandy, until now. That’s right, this time around, it’s Neeson’s wife (Famke Janssen) who is kidnapped and instead of Paris, it’s going to be Istanbul, and it’s all by the man (Rade Sherbedgia) who wants revenge on Neeson for what he did to his family.
In all honesty, I was very surprised by how much of a success Taken was when it was released way back when in 2009. It did feature a pretty cool trailer, but for what was essentially a pretty lame thriller idea, with a big-name that hasn’t really been big since the first Star Wars prequel, and to top it all off, a film that was released in the dead-heart of January, aka a time nobody goes to see movies cause they’re all pooped-out from seeing the same crap, drunk on egg nog for the past 2 weeks. So, that’s basically why I never understood how the hell it was numero uno at the box-office for about 3 weeks, boosted Qui-Gon Jinn’s career back-up to “action hero” stardom, and made itself destine for a sequel, and possibly more. However, despite all my angry ranting and rambling, I can’t say I hate the idea of a sequel to that film, especially when this is the type of stuff we get.
Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, Taken still had it’s moments of fun that made the final-product all the more enjoyable. The problem I had with that story was how it would always start-and-stop and always kill the momentum it had going for itself, by focusing too much on the whole internal-crisis that was going on with Neeson and the thought of his daughter going out there and bangin’ dudes under the influence of drugs. I’m not saying he’s wrong to be upset about that, but come on man, go out there and start shootin’ some fuckers and get revenge. That’s exactly what this film is from the 25-minute mark to the end of the whole movie. Need I remind you, that the whole movie itself runs a steady and swift 91 minutes, so that’s basically about an hour of pure mayhem, fun, action, and Oskar Schindler looking as bad-ass as he can look.
Director Olivier Megaton obviously knows the type of movie he’s making here, and you know what? He doesn’t care what you think about it or how you want to look at, he’s having fun and that’s all that matters to him, as it should because it had an extremely positive effect on a group of a d-bags like my friend and I who went to go see this. What’s so exciting and fun about this action is that there is never a dull moment in it to where you think, “Oh great, they’re slowing things down to focus on character-development.” Nope, there’s none of that at all here because we already know who these characters are, what purpose they serve to the story, and why they are motivated to save each other’s lives. We don’t need any freakin’ back-story, we need some freakin’ action and that’s exactly what Megaton delivers on.
However, this is obviously the case where you may have to not only leave your brain at the door, but also have it delivered to you when you’re sleeping in the middle of the night so you sure as hell don’t remember half of the crap you see here because the more you think of it, the more you’re going to ask yourself, “What in the fuck did I just watch?”. Seriously, this movie is one of the dumber ones I have seen the whole year so far and in ways, that’s a compliment, and in others, it’s too distracting to even be considered anything. It’s just there and never seems to go away.
For instance, one of the only subplots that make a difference in this “story” is how Neeson’s daughter is finally learning how to drive with a permit. Now, anybody that ever remembers having a permit, sure as hell remembers how hard it was to go 5 mph down a long-road without falling to the side of the road at least once. I sure as hell do, and if that’s not the exact type of example that has happened to you, something along those lines definitely have and it just goes to show you that when you’re driving a car with your permit, shit is pretty stressful. That’s what really took me by surprise here as the daughter not only goes over 80 mph in very tight and narrow side-streets, but does it all without barely hitting anything, and/or crashing it in the first five-seconds of being behind the wheel. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been so bad either, if it hadn’t been going on for 5 minutes where it was just her driving as if she was taking over Ryan Gosling’s job from Drive, when in reality, the girl still doesn’t know how to master the art of parallel parking, if there ever was one (you city people know what I’m talking about). This example is just one of the many, I do repeat, many of times that this movie just comes off as downright stupid and if you don’t like that with you’re action movies, then stay the hell away and go off and wait for The Avengers 2 to come out in 2014, or whenever the hell Joss Whedon has that planned.
Once again, much to my douchy surprise, Liam Neeson is the big-draw with this flick and as so he should be, the guy still has the talent to pull a character like Bryan Mills, off perfectly. Neeson just has this certain amount of likability and warmth to him that makes you sympathize with his over-protective ways and also make you believe that he’s got everything under-control, when half of the time he’s got a gun pointing straight at his dome. But Neeson is also able to totally switch that off in a heartbeat and make him, your worst nightmare by pulling out all of the stops to succeed in the end and do everything in his power, to kick the ever-loving shit out of you. Neeson does that so well here, but I think it’s his time to eventually hang-it up after this, at least with action anyway. It’s not that Neeson isn’t good nor believable with these roles, because he surprisingly is, it’s just that he seems to old (60) for a role that has the guy moving around, shooting guns, beating the tar out of dudes half his age, and still not be able to break a bone of get a hernia. I love you and all, Liam, but maybe it’s time to go back to drama and see if you got one, last Oscar-push left in ya. That’s all I’m saying, though.
Maggie Grace, despite her out-of-nowhere expertise of driving, does a nice job as the sweet but determined daughter of Bryan, but also seems a bit hard to believe as a girl that is still 17 and going for her learner’s permit. It also surprised me that the first-shot of her that we get is her getting groped by her boy-toy, when in reality, I would think that someone who just got drugged-up and raped by a bunch of Russian mobsters, would still feel a little dramatized and not allow anyone to touch her in that way and to just take it slow. Basically, any girl that’s like that with me would be tossed-out as quick as 1-week old pie, but since it’s Maggie Grace, ehh, I think can withstand the wait. Rade Sherbedgia is here in his 100,000th anniversary appearance as playing the stereotypical, Russian villain that never seems to do a nice thing throughout the whole movie, and is still pretty good at it, even if his character does seem a bit overly-dicky with what he’s doing. I mean honestly, if this guy was a real Russian mobster, wouldn’t he at least understand that family-values are family-values and shouldn’t really blame Bryan for going out there and killing his son, considering his son attacked, drugged-up, and captured Bryan’s daughter? I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking about it too much but doesn’t sound like a real mobster to me. Where’s Don Corleone when you need him?
Consensus: Taken 2 is your typical unneeded, stupid, and unintentionally sequel that seems to get pushed-out every couple of times a year, but for this time, it’s actually fun and keeps your eyes moving along with the quick-fire pace at 91 minutes of pure adrenaline fun, and Liam Neeson bad-assery.
Mustangs are hawt.
Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen, who serves as the prototype for every movie cop who refuses to play by the book) must babysit a gangster for 48 hours. But when hit men snuff the witness, Bullitt won’t be stopped in his quest for vengeance.
All I have been hearing about this movie for the past year is that the car chase is awesome. Hell, anytime you mention the flick itself, the car chase is always brought up. It is brought up with good reason but maybe that’s just to escape the rest of the flick.
Director Peter Yates does gain some points by making this a very simple but fun thriller. There isn’t really anything new to be seen here other than two or three murders, a car chase, and a whole bunch of other crazy and mysterious ish going on but Yates isn’t trying to blow our minds. Yates has a very cold tone to this film that makes a whole lot more tension then there really is beneath the surface.
Where this film sort of lost me was that it’s a crime thriller where there is barely any thrilling aspects at all. Yes of course we get a couple of shootings and that car chase scene, but other than that we get a bunch of scenes dedicated to dudes waiting around for something to happen like another piece of evidence to pop up or for the main politician dude to show up so he can bother the hell more out of Bullitt. It’s a simple story, which I liked, but Yates doesn’t really find anything fun or exciting to do with it other than just meander along at a very snailish-like pace. I know I’m going to piss off a lot of peeps out there when I say this but this film actually had me a bit bored at times and even though I really tried my hardest to stop my mind from wandering off, it kept on going back to the thoughts in my head of ‘Drive’ and Ryan Gosling, and just how cool he was in that movie.
What also was a bit annoying was how the film tried to dive a bit deeper into this main character by showing plenty of scenes with his lady friend that nobody, not even him, really cared about in the first place. It’s always good to have a little bit of development to your character so that they can actually feel more human than anybody else in the film, but here, they keep on showing his squeeze trying to bring his thoughts out of him and hear what he’s thinking. It was annoying every time she was on-screen, which is why I didn’t even understand why she was around in the first place, but it was also lame considering that Bullitt was obviously a character that didn’t have any time for that play-time shit. Bullitt. He’s a man amongst men.
Instead of avoiding it this whole review, I think it’s pretty safe to come clear and say that the car chase is pretty damn awesome. This is definitely one of the most iconic car chases of all-time and with good reason because it’s so simple and realistic, but yet so damn cool at the same time. The cool thing about this scene is that it’s filmed in only the sounds the car makes whether it’s accelerating, stopping, or hitting the edge of something it’s not supposed to in the first place. That means there’s no slow-mo affect, no bass-bumping soundtrack that makes it seem like your speakers are about to blow out, and no lame-o side talk from characters just in order to sound witty and hip with it. It’s a pretty straight-forward car chase that relies on cool camera placement and realistic fun, which worked for me and it’s a real surprise that the death rate in car races didn’t increase back in 1968 when the flick first came out. Definitely one of the biggest high-lights of this whole film and worth the wait if you ask me.
The reason why this car chase is as good as it is, is also because of the man who was doing all of the stunts himself, none other than Mr. Steve McQueen himself as Bullitt. McQueen is a cool as hell actor that makes it seem like he could be one of those dudes you can share a nice couple of brewskies with, but then also seems like the kind of dude that would also kick your ass in a second if you said anything weird to him. The whole film he carries this cool, calm, and very cold expression to his face and commands just about every scene with his presence, which makes this very shrill and mysterious character even cooler. Gotta check out more Steve McQueen flicks in the future, that’s for damn sure. I also have to give some little brownie points to this flick for also including a small role from a much younger Robert Duvall and Robert Vaughn who’s a huge dick that I just wanted to see get his face knocked in by Bullitt himself.
Consensus: The car chase is iconic and McQueen definitely provides a lot more coolness to his character than expected, but Bullitt is just a very overrated flick that has its moments, but is also very slow, if at times, boring, with it’s very simple premise that goes exactly where you think it would, with barely any real surprises. Please don’t hate me people, please don’t!
First Ryan Gosling saves her, now Channing Tatum does. Lucky ass chick!
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star as Paige and Leo, a recently married couple whose lives are devastated by a
tragic car accident. When Paige loses all memory of her relationship with her husband, Leo vows to do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with him all over again.
Ever since ‘The Notebook’ came out, studios have been gunning for that one flick that can make as many chicks and dudes (yes, admit it, guys) cry as that one did. Sadly, none of them have even came close. But I guess it took one-half of that film and a dude that can shake his ass off to come the closest to surpassing.
Director Michael Sucsy doesn’t really bring much new to this whole weepy and romantic drama genre that we all have seen done for the past 6 years, but it’s the writing and premise that makes it work. The premise is definitely something that seems like it was adapted right from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but it’s actually based on a true-story and it’s that genuine feel that made me believe in some of the more melodramatic moments. But then for all we know ‘Dear John’ and even ‘The Last Song’ could have been based on real stories, but then again, those films don’t quite have as much as this flick does.
The writers obviously aren’t doing too much to this premise to change it up and make it all of a sudden become something like a cross between ‘Memento’ and ’50 First Dates’ but it still has its cute moments that are always backed up by some funny ones as well. The film takes itself seriously but never too seriously to the point of where I wanted there to actually be some sort of fun here. There is a little playful and joking feel to it which made it a lot more easier to actually stay in this film and laugh every once and awhile, rather than cringe at all the cliches. And woahhhhh crap, did I mention the cliches!??!
The film is very predictable, corny, and cheesy which may sound kind of weird considering I just got done praising elements of it but there are still those eye-rolling moments that started taking over the flick. There was a pretty good amount of time where this film seemed to actually be working well for me but then when the started getting into the more weepier montages/moments than the film started to lose my interest. Then again, this is the sort of stuff that many, many ladies will swoon over and the guys will sort of just be left in the dust, but that’s usually expected with these types of films.
One of my biggest problems with this film was that with a premise like this, there could have been so many different themes and messages that this film could have explored on its own but instead, just talked about briefly and left up in the air. One of the most important themes of this film was how people change over time which is evident in how Paige first started off as this yuppie, rich-girl then changed to this hip, and funky fresh Chi-town gal. This was pretty cool to see in a film that showed a person in two different ways since this happens in real-life but instead of actually giving that topic any type of insight whatsoever, the flick just skates over it and leaves it hanging. Pretty disappointing but I guess I was just expecting a little bit too much from a Tatum-McAdams love flick.
Rachel McAdams is given a lot more of the showy things to do in this flick as Paige, but she does a good job with it all. She goes throughout the film all confused and whatnot, so when she starts to actually show two different sides of her, it seems believable but then again she is sort of playing the same character that she did in ‘The Notebook’, except she’s forgetting things at an earlier age. Since McAdams is basically trying to piece together her whole life, it’s up to Channing Tatum as Leo to pick the slack up and give a good enough performance to actually have us follow his character, which he does. Tatum does a good job at keeping this performance believable, subtle, and very relaxed to where he didn’t have to do anything all that emotional but even when he does, it seems realistic. Both of them also have a good chemistry which is another reason why this romance, as well as this flick works in more ways than I expected.
The supporting cast is also pretty good. Sam Neill is great at playing that sinister and smarmy character he usually plays as Paige’s daddy; Jessica Lange plays her mommy and doesn’t do much until this little, dramatic monologue where she lets her true emotions out and it’s a really good scene mainly because Lange is able to pull off scenes like this; and Scott Speedman is good as the ex-fiancé of Paige, but damn does he need to lay off the hair gel!
Consensus: The Vow features plenty of those predictable, cheesy, and utterly sappy moments that occur in these types of romance flicks but with a fun script, good performances, and some nice touches to the whole formula itself, there’s a lot more to keep your mind off of this stuff and just focus on the romance at-hand.
I think everybody knows that they would vote for George Clooney to be the next president.
An up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s (George Clooney) shot at the presidency.
Director George Clooney is behind the camera again for the fourth time and compared to ones such as Leatherheads, Good Night and Good Luck, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, he doesn’t have much of a problem doing whatever it is that he does.
Clooney shows that he really can keep an interesting story going even if it doesn’t seem like anything new or ground-breaking. From the beginning, I thought I was going to get another behind-the-scenes look at a political race like in Primary Colors, however, Clooney keeps it entertaining with sharp dialogue that actually made me laugh at times surprisingly, while still giving me a lot to see with all these bad-ass politicians.
However, the story goes through a very odd twist right through the middle where it sort of switches the tone from political thriller to melodrama of sorts. Without giving the twist away too much, I still felt like this was a pretty cool twist on the film and actually kind of tied in with what happens with the last 30 minutes of the film.
This is where I think Clooney started to fall though because he doesn’t really do a very good job of keeping both of these story-lines together and still almost meaning the same thing. What I mean is that the film’s twist is good and for the most part, features some very good scenes for the latter part of the film but there are still scenes about the other part of the film that had to do with the actual political race that didn’t seem like they belonged together with the twist in the same film. I noticed this and it kind of bothered me because even though I felt like both “story-lines” were interesting as hell and kept me interested, they still felt like two different kinds of films.
There isn’t also anything new that Clooney has to say about all of these politicians that hasn’t already been said or shown before. I think Clooney’s script is a little too moral for this material where it shows everybody basically being a bunch of evil and conniving sons-of-bitches towards one another. Clooney just wanted us to really see just how much all of these people manipulate each other when it comes to a presidential race such as this and although it was really cool to see all of that play out, I still didn’t need all the moralizing of these characters.
When it comes to the cast though, Clooney really does know how to do a great job with picking a near-perfect ensemble. Ryan Gosling is just all-over-the-place this year and is perfect as Stephen Myers. Gosling is a commanding presence on screen and demands your attention every time he’s up there. He seems believable and looks like a guy that knows all the right things to do and how to do them but after he is thrown a curve-ball, really doesn’t know how to handle it all too well.
Clooney is also good as Governor Mike Morris, and he surprisingly plays up that very dirty-politician act well which is something I wasn’t really expecting to see from him, especially in his own film. The scenes he has with Gosling are awesome and couldn’t have been any better with any other two actors. Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman play two opposing campaign managers and are cast perfectly because both roles get to show just how damn good they are. Both of them are amazing in this film showing how cool and calm one minute they can be, but then the next minute totally mad and crazy as hell, so you don’t know which one to trust the most and who’s the good manager or the bad one.
Evan Rachel Wood is surprisingly very good in a juicy role as Molly, that allows to show her being sexy and a little bit mysterious but also emotional and vulnerable. She shows some great range and has an even more believable character arc. Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright aren’t in here as much as the film may make you think, but they’re also very good as well and round out the cast to perfect effect.
Consensus: Though there are a lot of messy things about The Ides of March, Clooney makes up for it with a very interesting story that gets better as the film goes along, and a cast full of great star that bring so much to each of their characters.
This guy would make a killing at delivering pizzas.
Driver (Ryan Gosling), a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver, is lured from his isolated life by a lovely neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. His newfound peace is shattered, however, when her violent husband is released from prison.
The weird thing about Drive is how this is being advertised as a slam-bang, action thriller with a Fast & Furious look of cars. But that is far from the truth.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) has a great knack for making incredibly bloody films, seem so beautiful. The film reminded me of an 80′s noir with it’s synth-crazy score, the hot pink title cards, and even the colorful as well as gritty look of the under-belly of LA that had me reminded of a Michael Mann film. There are some real great scenes where Refn brings out this very dark mood within the material with the way he films and the way he makes it all sound.
The problem with his direction is that I feel like too many times he doesn’t let the story tell itself at all, and just wants to basically remind people that he’s the one directing here and every shot is shot with his artsy-fartsy trademark. This didn’t bother me that much but when you have a script like this it really does get annoying after awhile.
I thought that the script had its moments where it truly wreaked in awesomeness but then other times, I just felt bored and bothered by what this film was doing. Almost every scene where these characters talk to each other is just filled with some awkward pauses and very slow responses that would have any person trying to leave the conversation as soon as possible. About the third time that I heard Gosling breath and Mulligan sigh, I just about had it about up to here with it, and relied on the action for my entertainment.
Oh wait, there’s barely any of that either. The action here is very short but done so well because of the way Refn creates the tension and keeps the bloodiness packing on up. He also adds this extra colorful flair to every scene, so when some guy is getting his head smashed in, not only is it bloody, but it’s also bright and colorful. This I liked and even though there’s only 2, that’s right, 2 car chases, I still liked them.
However, my problem lies within the fact that I just wish they actually gave us more of the awesome action rather than focus on these boring and awkward conversations that didn’t make me laugh, or really feel any more of an emotional connection to the story, it just annoyed me. I can see why Refn wanted to focus more on the story and visual flair rather than the action but when you got some writing that’s as boring as this is, you start to get pretty annoyed.
The real reason to see this film though is indeed, Ryan Gosling, aka one of my top man-crushes. Gosling plays The Driver and is quiet, calm, and relaxed throughout the majority of the film, but when it comes to him flipping shit, I was totally scared in all the right ways. Gosling plays both sides of this character believably well so you believe the subtlety that he has and the physical anger he projects from his character. I mean I was intimidated by Gosling here and every scene he is in, he uses that look on his face and his body language to convey a sense that his character is feeling every scene and it works so well. My man is on a roll!
The rest of the cast is also pretty good too. Carey Mulligan is good as the sweet Irene, although I think her and Gosling could have really projected some great screen chemistry given the right material; Bryan Cranston is gritty in his role as Shannon, the guy who brings Gosling into the world of crime; Ron Perlman is entertaining to watch as Nino the Jew, and I know this because they call him the name about 12 times; and Oscar Issac and Christina Hendricks have some pretty good “blink or you miss em” performances here as well. Albert Brooks as Bernie Ross is probably the most surprising of the whole cast because he has a presence that’s so powerful and ruthless that you actually can believe him as this violent mobster, rather than the voice of Marlon.
Consensus: Drive has moments where it absolutely works with it’s stylish direction from Nicolas Winding Refn, great performances from the cast, especially Gosling, and some bloody and thrilling flashes of violence, but too much of it feels slow and features conversations that are more boring than one you would have with a wall.
Gives me hope of one day being a gigolo myself.
It seems like this BoomTron shindig is becoming a Friday thanggg now. Well, anywhoo, go on out and check out the review of this little indie-flick. As always, leave some love, say hey, or just read it and let me know what ya think in the comments section.
Check out the link here:
Thanks ya’ll! Happy Friday! Try to check out the new cool action thriller Drive, with my man-crush in it. And also don’t forget about an unneeded Straw Dogs remake, and Sara Jessica Parker doing some raaaaaaange.
A lot of stupid, a lotta love, and some craziness ain’t so bad.
When Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) discovers that his wife (Julianne Moore) wants to end their marriage, he reluctantly faces the unwelcome prospect of single life with the counsel of the younger and smoother super-bachelor Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). However, Gosling’s character starts to question his playboy ways when he meets Anna (Emma Stone) and falls in love.
Ever since the trailer first came out for this way back when, I couldn’t wait to see it, but waiting 2 weeks after it already came out to see it was a good idea.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris) know how to balance out comedy and drama very well here. There are times where I laughed and a lot of the times felt very moved by a lot of the interactions between these characters and wanted to see more of it as the film progressed.
The problem with the film is that the script itself is just moving along a slick pace but with way too many subplots to actually fit it’s two hour time-limit. When you have all these different characters, it’s sometimes very hard to make all their stories fit before the end is over and this film doesn’t know how to actually wrap it up all too well really which is kind of a shame because there is many comedies within the past year that have been able to do that very same thing well.
In certain scenes, there is that great sign of insight within the script that talks about two people think when it’s not just about sex which I liked because it showed that this was a sort of smart and intelligent romantic comedy that was so based in reality. However, there are so many moments here that are almost cringe-worthy by how sappy and contrived they are. This film is very knowing about certain things and then very up-lifting and sentimental about others which kind of bummed me out considering that there could have been so much here that actually spoke a lot about relationships and love, when in the end, it just turns out to be another rom-com with too much sweetness.
When I kept wondering if I liked this film or not, I kept on coming back to the cast and that’s when I knew, I actually did like this film a lot more. Steve Carell is basically playing the same guy he always plays here as Cal Weaver, but he does it so well that you can actually connect to his character and sympathize with him. There’s a lot of problems that this character runs into but Carell makes it all seem believable and truly has that comedic and dramatic depth to all of his characters.
The real revelation of this film is actually Ryan Gosling who is amazing as Jacob Palmer. Gosling has always had that charm that people know and love him for but he’s never been able to fully throw out his comedic chops until now and I have to say that he really does know exactly what he’s doing. This guy is the exact persona of what every guy in the world thinks they are and what they look like, however, Gosling actually is and with the rock-hard abs, to the fresh-to-def looking vests and to the combed-over hair, Gosling just fits this role so perfectly and shows that he has great comedic timing as well as the dramatic depth to his character to make Jacob Palmer work in the end.
Julianne Moore is also very good as as Cal’s wife, Emily, who has a lot of problems as a character, but somehow Moore is able to over-shadow them with her amazing screen presence and Emma Stone is a lot of fun to watch as Hanna, and creates this great chemistry with Gosling that at first may seem hard to believe in, but by the end you may start to actually wish the film was more on them. Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon are actually kind of in cameo roles but they both play each role amazingly well, given the time they both have on screen.
Consensus: There are moments here that seem incredibly intelligent while others just have you shake your head at the predictable cheesy moments that take so much away from Crazy, Stupid, Love. despite an amazing cast and good moments of being smarter than other rom-com’s out there.
Love is sometimes a beautiful thing.
Once crazy about each other, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) have now grown apart. Cindy is bored and disenchanted with her life while Dean languishes in the emotional emptyness of their sexless, routine life in rural Pennsylvania. As they muddle through their marriage, they hearken back to the golden days when life was filled with possibility and romance.
I have been practically on this film’s ass ever since I first heard mouth of it last year. Now that’s it out & about, but even barely out, I drove about 30 miles to actually see this, since it was the only place that was showing it in my area. Needless to say, it was worth the mileage.
Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance really does know what love is like when it’s beautiful, and he also knows when its horrible. This film shows the brutally honest side of love, to where at first, it starts off all perfect with the love at first sight, and all the other cheesy rom-com cliches. But then, it starts to turn into something old, something annoying, and nothing changes at all. Instead it almost gets worse, and the person you once loved, you see your having a battle with everyday, over probably nothing half of the time. Cianfrance captures the happy side of love perfectly, but when it comes to showing the true, raw emotions that come out of it when it’s ugly, are also perfect. These are human emotions displayed at its finest, and not all of this film is basically a downer, there are some light moments that get you cheery, but those are then taken away by the unpleasant scenes that take over.
Right here is some pretty dark stuff too. The supposed “sex scenes” that this film got an NC-17 for back in October, really are nothing graphic. I can see why the MPAA would get all hyped up about certain sex scenes here, but in all honesty, it’s nothing different or shocking really. Just a little bit more graphic than what the usual, mainstream audience is used to seeing. I also liked how the film goes back and forth through their relationship, rather than just showing us the beginning through the end. It kind of gives us a feeling like what was once, all awesome beautiful, has turned into something boring, and ugly. I guess that’s just how love is really, and probably one of my biggest fears of all, getting so bored with a person to the point of where you have lost all love for them. I don’t know if it will ever happen to me, but if so, I guess that’s just how life is, no matter how sad it is. This film isn’t the feel-good film of the year, so be warned everybody.
My only complaint with this film has to be the aging mistake I think this film was going for. From what it looked like, these two were about 40, or older, when they show them “settled in”. But the problem is, that the kid they have is about 6 years old or younger, which is odd because why would these people look so old, when it’s only been like 10 years or so. I don’t know that was just me, and although not everybody will have an exact idea of what I’m saying, it still kind of bugged me.
The real showcase for this film is the talent that is shown by that beautiful couple up top. Ryan Gosling really is one of the biggest, brightest stars of today, that is showing just how great he really is. He is perfect in this role as Dean, who is so charming and likable, that every scene he is on he commands your attention, and you can’t help but give it to him. But it’s when that charm is turned off that really hits you, and you see a broken down, sad, sad man. Gosling delivers on the painful emotions you feel when love is going sour, and he does a perfect job with every scene he is in. I still don’t know if it’s better than his Half Nelson performance, but still, he is becoming one of my favorite actors of all-time, and I really do mean that. Michelle Williams is also not a force to be reckoned with, as she is also perfect here as Cindy, the nice, little, sweetheart that becomes the apple of Dean’s eye. The performance she gives off is a more quiet one than Gosling, which works very well, cause without even saying anything half of the time, you can feel the pain within her character, and when she snaps, she doesn’t let you forget about it.
Cianfrance best idea for this whole film really is just to let the actors tell the story, and that is probably my favorite part of this film, cause everything feels so real. You follow these two as if it is almost a documentary-like feel, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen at all, cause everything just feels so legit, no matter how disturbing, or distraught it may be. There’s no second-meanings to everything that goes on, or symbolism, it’s basically what you see is what you get. These two do feel like a real couple. Whether they fight, flirt, bone, sing, dance, or just sit there in silence it doesn’t matter cause it all feels real, especially with these two stars acting. Their chemistry is perfect, and you feel like when they are angry at each other, they really are, but when they love each other, they really do. Right here, you have a lot of improv but they do so well, creating so many powerful, and sometimes even suspenseful scenes.
Consensus: As emotionally raw as you can get, Blue Valentine portrays the dark side of love, with an impressive direction from Cianfrance, and heart-wrenching performances from Gosling, and Williams.
Brings me back to the grand days of when all my middle school teachers were smoking crack.
Transcending age and race, an improbable friendship between crack-addicted educator Dan Dunne (Oscar-nominated Ryan Gosling) and streetwise middle-schooler Drey (Shareeka Epps) may lead them to deliverance — or destruction — in this powerful urban drama. After Drey finds Dunne feeding his habit in a locker room, she becomes a conduit for a life-changing lesson.
When it comes to talking about great, Indie dramas, with power, this film should be the first to come into discussion. The thing with this film, is that it was sort of like The Wrestler for 2006. It never got any real exposure in the movie theaters and the only reason it got a sense of some buzz, was cause it’s leading actor was nominated for an Oscar. I wish more films like this got the certain exposure like many crap-fests hitting number 1 in the box-office. But, oh well, I still loved the hell out of this.
The best thing about this film is that it’s honest. You don’t see drugs as being a great and happy thing that makes you feel free, you see what it does to your mind, and most importantly, the people around you. There are many scenes you can see that Dan just totally alienates the others around him cause he has that urge for the drug within him, and its shown as an uncontrollable thing.
The one thing about this film that will really keep viewers riveted and watching, is that it is very unpredictable. There’s always a sense of danger with these characters, because of their surroundings and the things they do. Many scenes, and I do mean many, could have just gone in the wrong place, but instead they go one place, that we never imagined would have happened, and we are just amazed by how perfect it actually is.
Most of the film is all about the theme’s all these people face in everyday life. People in this film, as in real life from who I know, face the problem of making every-day grown-up friends, and knowing what they want with their future. This film shows that in a huge sense, because both of these characters feel a huge sense of pain and hurt, and through their relation of the same problems, they find ways, to somehow heal one another. Not a lot of things are shown in this film, such as when Golsing’s getting high, most of the time you just sort of know it, and just use your mind for a lot of the scenes, and don’t just know, because the film is basically telling you. That sort of restraint that this picture has brings out so much to offer about all of real life’s hard ships.
If there was any problem I had with this film, was that there was one scene between him and his family, that could have just been perfect. It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it was somehow missing the one little ingredient that would have made it the most powerful thing of all.
When it comes to my favorite actors of all-time on any list, Ryan Gosling is always mentioned. Yeah he’s good in Lars and the Real Girl, and the one everybody knows, The Notebook, but this is the main film that shows off his talents as a true bona-fide actor. Every single scene he is just perfect, note-for-note, and everything about him feels genuine. You look at this character every scene, and just see a troubled young man, that has problems with his life, mostly due to the fact, that his drug addiction is what’s killing him. He is a messed-up guy, but Gosling makes him likable with his likable act that he has with many great and powerful scenes with his students. I still wonder how an actor, like Gosling, can look at a script, and basically be like: “I can do this, and make an Oscar nomination”. But that’s the thing, he doesn’t even look like he’s trying too much, it just comes to him naturally. I wish there was more ways I could express my praise for this performance, but in other words, it’s just a great performance.
But must I not forget Shareeka Epps, who if she keeps on going, has quite the career ahead of her. Her performance is heart-felt, true, and troubled, just how the perfect child-star acting performance should be. Her and Gosling create this genuine chemistry that, will turn some heads, but will ultimately leave you affected. Another one of my favorites, Anthony Mackie, is powerful here as well, providing a lot of great character moments for him, and although isn’t the most important one, his character still works, mostly cause Mackie is that good.
Consensus: Half Nelson is one of the most powerful films of the past decade, with brutal honesty, as well as true feelings, about hope, friendship, growing up, and drug addiction. Every note here is hit perfectly, mostly due to the performances from the cast, especially the spot-on Gosling.
With Dear John coming out, this just had to be done.
Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands).
This film since the time it came out has had chicks all over the world, just crying their eyes out saying “I love this movie, it’s so sad and romantic”. For me, I never wanted to buy into this crap, but I did, and I’m actually glad I did.
Now when it comes to melodramatic romances, this film is pretty high up there. I mean there are plenty of times where I was reminded of some of the other great Romance stories, and this film does it very well. The film is a tearjerker and at some scenes I did get a bit emotional, not totally, but a bit. Just the general romance between these two and how they still are able to love one another, actually makes this film worthwhile.
While most of the movie is set in the 1940′s and gives you a feel for that era, I felt some of the language and actions were a little bit anachronistic — nothing major, but just enough to occasionally break the illusion (such as a very Joan Rivers-like finger down the throat gesture. Perhaps they did this in the ’40′s but it seemed out of place whether it truly was or not.)
The problem with this film is that it is a very predictable and obvious story. I mean the constant flashbacks kind of pissed me off cause they gave away the ending to the story which would have kept me wondering till the end what was going to happen to these two. Also, though it doesn’t matter to me in some movies, the score in this film just didn’t feel right. There were little pieces that could have been a lot more emotional if given the right type of movement within the music, I don’t know it’s just me though.
Much of the praise goes to the chemistry between its two stars. Gosling as always is great, and shows that he can play those toned-down roles like the back of his hand. But the best here is Rachel McAdams who much to my surprise here is given such a difficult role that calls for a lot of changes and emotion, and mostly on every note she hits it very well. Their love feels real by the end of the film and not just because the film is trying to tell you that, is cause when they talk they talk like real people.
Consensus: Though it has an obvious predictable story with an over-done score, The Notebook features enough emotional depth, and wonderful chemistry to keep me entertained throughout this sappy tearjerker.
I don’t think you could stay in any bit of sanity after watching this.
When a psychologist’s (Ewan McGregor) suicidal client starts making bizarre predictions that, to everyone’s mounting consternation, begin to come true. Now, the shrink must race against the clock to save everything he loves before it disappears forever.
The film has a very intriguing psychological twist which I do enjoy from a lot of films. Vanilla Sky and The Sixth Sense are great films that I love to think about in films, but this one doesn’t do it that right.
To start off with something good if you want to see this film do it for the visuals. They are stunning, and create a mood with the film, as the camera shifts everyone once in awhile as something just doesn’t seem right. The color green in this film is shown throughout the whole movie and is really cool to see the color put in all ways different ways throughout the film.
However, as stunning as the visuals were, I just felt like they were put in for no good reason. I felt as if they were put in at times just to be put in and be over the top and try and have us confused about a story that is already confusing as it is.
The film tries a little too hard to be good, creepy fun, but about half way through the film I found myself so uninterested with this story and these characters that I almost just fell asleep. I think that the story wouldn’t have been too confusing if the film wasn’t giving out a lot of misguided clues that didn’t really fit well with the story.
Director Marc Foster shows his true talents of not knowing how to make an effective script at all. The film’s lines in this film are so cheesy and cliched that I couldn’t help myself to laugh by how dumb these lines were being put in.
Though the screenplay is pretty crappy, Stay actually has some good acting. Ewan McGregor is very effective and shows that he can keep a story together even if he does have cheesy lines, and Naomi Watts, as much as she was barely in does a very acceptable job playing his once suicidal girlfriend. Though, Ryan Gosling I think gives the knockout performance as he is very taunting but very believable that this guy is so good at playing with this guy’s mind that you actually start to like him out of all the characters.
The ending is so worthless. The payoff is so weak that after watching this film I felt that this whole movie of 1 hour and 39 minutes was just a total waste of time and in the end pointless.
Consensus: Though visually dazzling and some credible acting, Stay suffers from a bad screenplay, worthless payoff, and ultimately a film you will lose interest for halfway through.
You can do so many things with a blowup doll, but never touch it, that’s crazy.
Ryan Gosling plays the title character in this oddball comedy about a delusional young man who buys a life-size sex doll over the Internet — and then falls in love with her.
If you told me that one of my favorite movies of the year is from the same dude that brought me Mr. Woodcock, I would’ve thought you were crazy. The whole synopsis sounds so indie and quirky but it doesn’t get that way at all.
The thing I mostly admire from the film is that it never plays for any cheap or raunchy laughs, instead Director Dan Gillepsie handles the screenplay with such care, that I tried to keep myself from crying in the last 50 minutes in this movie when Lars and everyone around him realize what the doll is doing to their lives, even if they don’t say it out loud.
The movie is a very strange fable and sort of has a sort of story like Edward Scissorhands, but what I mostly liked in this film was the handling of the townspeople towards the doll. We see how even though she can’t communicate at all, with anyone except for Lars, we still create this character that we the viewers and everyone else in the movie have that surely makes this a wonderful look at how the strangest things can change your life forever.
Ryan Gosling, one of my favorites, proves once again that he can act and carry a movie through and through. In the beginning of the film we see a character that is very awkward with the people around him even though he has a good heart, but as soon as the doll comes into his life we see Lars the character lighten up and makes him a character to root for. The rest of the cast does very well including the still very good looking Patricia Clarkson who still tries to help Lars and brings the heart to this film.
Only problem I had with this film that Edward Scissorhands had was that there was really no conflict in this movie between some townspeople and Lars himself. I thought if they added this to the film the film would have added in more drama and more realistic being to the film.
Consensus: Do not have the premise fool you one bit, Gosling gives a great performance in this well-handled script, that has some of the most tear-jerking moments in cinema history. Also has a great message that shows that love come within the strangest things.
A man kills his wife but can’t be brought down without the big factor….the EVIDENCE!!!
When Ted Crawford discovers that his beautiful younger wife, Jennifer, is having an affair, he plans her murder–the perfect murder. Crawford is immediately arrested and arraigned after confessing–a seemingly slam-dunk case for hot shot assistant district attorney Willy Beachum, who has one foot out the door of the District Attorney’s office on his way to a lucrative job in high-stakes corporate law. But nothing is as simple as it seems, including this case.
Now if Anthony Hopkins is going to play a brilliant person behind bars that has delights of playing mind games with highly intelligent lawyers you have to know that this will be compared to Hopkins” greatest Silence Of The Lambs.
The film doesn’t take itself too seriously as it does feature some tense reducing laughs. Director Greg Hoblitt and the screen writers keep us guessing. We know that Ted shot his wife but we can’t figure what ever happen to the murder weapon.
One thing about this film that really had me attracted was its two leads, and too say I wasn’t dissapointed. Gosling and Hopkins both go at each other which could have easily turned into annoyance but doesn’t as the film showed off as a sort of clash of the titans work. Gosling and Hopkins work off one another and its great to see these two work together, because each both show strong performances. The film also shows that now Ryan Gosling is not just an indie lead and can actually play with the big boys.
There were some obvious faults with this film. The story seemed to unbelievable how a smart lawyer like Gosling would be so dumb and forget about the most important factor in the case. Though the scenes with Gosling and Hopkins were great the problem was that there weren’t many more and could’ve totally added a lot more tension that the film could’ve promised. Also, the romance between Gosling and his blonde headed boss seemed like it wasn’t needed and I think its just takes away a lot of the drama the film relied so heavily on.
The film is well written although it seems to have a implausible plot, but is still overshadowed by the two strong performances by the two strong actors.