If only Clint Eastwood was Jesse James, then I think the story would have been different.
As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James (Brad Pitt) plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money – and the glory – riding on his capture. However, his plans are all interrupted once he becomes entangled in a friendship with his admirer Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).
It’s very bold to have the climax of your film in the title, no matter how true it is, but I was still so surprised to see that James does in-fact actually die in the end. Maybe, just maybe I didn’t pay enough attention in history class, but for some reason, I didn’t believe that he was going to get killed at the end. Oh, I guess that was a spoiler.
This was the second flick from Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik and it’s pretty obvious where he gets his inspiration of movie-making from, and that is Mr. Terrence Malick. Honestly, if I had no idea who the director was before-hand, I would have easily gone with Malick because every single little detail about this film is so perfect and beautiful that you really can’t take your eyes off of it one bit and I know that’s said about a lot of films but that is really meant here. Dominik focuses the camera on these long, sweeping shots of beautiful farmland where it almost feels like you’re there in the 1880′s with Jesse James and Robert Ford. Every shot is handled carefully, with just the right amount light and color added to it, to get you involved with the stark wilderness that these characters surround themselves with. There is just so much to look at here that you almost forget to pay attention to the story that’s at-hand, which is a total bummer, because this story can really grab you if you give it the attention that it deserves.
What I liked about Dominik, was that aside from his beautiful art direction, he was able to make a genuinely tense and unpredictable story out of a fact-based history lesson, and always being able to surprise us. Not everything about this story that Dominik tells us is true and he probably takes some liberties here and there, I definitely know that, but everything before the actual “assassination” itself, kept me on the edge of my seat and I like how Dominik was able to do that with his deliberate slow pacing. Yeah, this film is one hell of a slow-burner for sure, but it works as it develops each and every character in this story more and more, and also keeps you guessing just when the hell Jesse James is going to show-up, or better yet, when the hell he is going to get killed. May sound like a complaint but it’s not, mainly because Dominik is able to take his time with the story.
Anybody expecting a Sergio Leone-type Western, where it’s just constant gun-battles, witty one-lines, and a whole bunch of spaghetti style art thrown at the wall here, are really going to be in for a big surprise with this film, but have no fear, it still does have enough violence to hold anyone over. Actually, whenever the violence did rarely show-up on the screen, it felt deserved and made sense to the story but also felt realistic in a way that these people are actually dying from real-life bullets and whatnot. I don’t want to dive any farther into the violence and murders that go down in this flick, but I just want to say that they feel realistic and are handled well without being over-exploitative of it’s dark, violent side.
If there was a certain aspect to this flick that seemed to have bothered me the most here, was that it was over 2 hours and 40 minutes and it didn’t need to be that way. See, the first and last act are all dedicated to just James and Ford being around one another but in between all of that is a whole bunch of other characters that were apart of James’ gang that don’t really seem all that needed for this story to work, but are left in there just to add some character development. Usually, I would give some points to any director who can do this and do it as well as Dominik is able to do here, but it takes away from the story and really had me annoyed since those scenes with Ford and James can get so damn tense. Most of the characters were interesting enough to hold my interest, but I just sort of wanted to get down to the real business at-hand here.
Brad Pitt as Jesse James is a perfect bit of casting because Pitt is able to play up all of the sides of him that he has as the iconic figure. Every time James shows up in the story, whether or not to start some trouble or “go on a walk”, it’s always tense and unpredictable to the point of where you don’t know what this character is going to do next. From everything I heard and read about, James was one violent son of a bitch and one that couldn’t be contained because of his wits and determination for violence when needed. This is an idea that Pitt plays up perfectly, giving us a very iconic figure to begin with but also show something else that lies deep down inside of him. We get to see a lot of scenes where James lays out all of his emotions and how painful he feels with the life that he’s living and it’s not only an easy way to get us to care about him even though he’s killed over 17 people in his life, but also a great way to show some insight into an iconic figure that so many people feel like they know.
Pitt’s great, but Casey Affleck is just about as perfect playing opposite of him, as Robert Ford. Affleck plays the little boy-version of Jesse James, as he is constantly made fun of by his family and treated like he doesn’t know shit about shooting guns and robbing banks/trains. Eventually, this guy starts to show more emotions rather than this very shy and awkward young kid that just wants to be “one of the guys”, and the way Affleck plays it all up works perfectly for this very easy, yet hard to sympathize with character.
You also begin to realize that Ford is a character that seems like he tries so hard to want to be like James, that in the end, even when he has done all of the dirty work he could do to get rid of him, he still can’t reach the type of fame that his predecessor once, and still has. It’s a sad idea that makes you think more about Ford and realize just how strong of an actor Affleck is. This character is complex and Affleck shows that and when it’s just him on-screen, he’s amazing but when it’s just him and James messing around with one another, then it just gets even better. Surprised that this Ford dude didn’t end up killing everybody in sight by how much he got picked on. Poor Affleck. At least you got the Oscar nomination over Pitt. Suck on that Jesse!
As for the rest of the star-studded cast, they’re all pretty good too even though a lot of their roles/characters are featured more than they needed to be. Jeremy Renner is vicious and unforgiving as Wood Hite, the cousin to Jesse James; Paul Schneider is awesome as the womanizing crook that every lady seems to fall for; Sam Rockwell has a lot of fun as Ford’s big bro, Charley, but also shows a dark side to him as well by the end; and Sam Shepard is pretty freakin’ awesome as Frank James, and does an outstanding job with the short amount of time he actually gets on-screen. The ladies in this flick are sort of put on the back-burner but both Mary-Louise Parker and Zooey Deschanel do splendid jobs with their roles, even though I felt like they could have had more input into this story. Then again, I just wanted to see a mono-e-mono battle between Ford and James.
Consensus: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford may run on very, very long but features some of the most beautiful images caught on film with its detailed direction from Andrew Dominik, insightful story about these larger-than-life iconic figures, and a bunch of superb performances from everybody involved, especially Casey Affleck in a way you have never seen him before.
See, this would have never happened if more people had cats!
Colin Farrell stars as a struggling screenwriter named Marty, who inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken) kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu.
Even though I heard a lot of hype surrounding it way back in 2008, In Bruges still surprised the hell out of me. Not only was it hilarious and violent (the way I like my mobster-like movies), but also surprisingly touching considering the characters were just a bunch of cold-blooded hit-men when you think about it. That was easily one of my favorite movies of that year and that is why I was looking forward so much to seeing what writer/director Martin McDonagh could do next. Thankfully, it’s the same type of stuff around again but this time, with dogs. Even better.
What I liked most about McDonagh’s script and what he does with this story, is he pulls no punches, and makes no apologies for where he goes with it. Right from that memorable first scene, we already know what we are getting ourselves involved with: a slightly off-kilter, type of movie that will kill when it needs to. That’s how I like my crime movies and this one is no different, but there’s more of a darker-edge to it that really works, especially in the comedy-aspect of this movie. There are a couple of jokes here and there that will really fly by people (as it did to me), but what always hit me hard was when McDonagh would have his characters practically dissect what it is that we usually see in movies that are in the same vein as this one, or In Bruges for that matter.
This is made possible because of the fact that Farrell’s character is a movie screen-writer, working on a script while all of this crazy shit is happening, which allows McDonagh to not only go balls-out in the fantasy sequences, but give his own two-cents on what it’s like to make a crime movie that has so many obvious conventions that it’s almost too hard to stray away from. Not only do I love it when movies take certain cheap-shots at movies themselves, but I love when they do it and it’s hilarious, which is exactly what this movie and it’s something I don’t think I’ve stressed enough about this movie. The humor is as dark as you can get, but a lot of other humor bits are intentional and they still work no matter where they are placed in this story. Trust me, you won’t get every single line of funny dialogue, but with the ones you do get, you’ll still be happy and laughing your ass off.
However, as you could expect, it’s not all that sunshine and games with McDonagh and his story as it does get very gruesome at points and may even take you by surprise to the limits it goes. That’s right, characters that you don’t expect to get killed off, do in-fact, get killed off and as heartbreaking and unexpected as it may be sometimes, it still furthers the story on and makes you realize that this is a writer/director that takes no prisoners. This not only adds an extra-level of suspense onto the film, but a whole other layer of heart and emotion to these characters as you feel like any scene with them, could quite literally be their last. It’s something that McDonagh pulls off perfectly and reminded me that this is the type of writer/director we need more of for the crime-genre.
Another thing that more crime-movies should definitely have is an ensemble that we can literally not stop watching. This is exactly what Seven Psychopaths has, and then some. Colin Farrell, once again, stars and plays one of the more cowardly guys in the film, but is the straight-man here, more than anything else as Marty (teehee, gedd it?). Farrell is not only great at playing the straight-man, but also lets a couple of his own weird laughs come through as well and it’s great to once again see this guy stretch his comedy-strength, but also still be able to show that he has what it takes to make an endearing character that we still care for in the end. The only difference between this character, and the one he played in In Bruges, is that we sort of cared for that one more since he seemed so much more innocent, even though he was a hit-man and this guy is a screenplay writer. Actually, that could almost be said about the movie as well, because even though I liked all of these characters and seeing what they did with this material, I wasn’t as emotionally-invested with them here, as I was with the three in McDonagh’s last flick. Maybe it was the size of the ensemble, maybe it was the different sub-plots, or maybe it was just something that made me want to be more entertained and laugh, rather than cry my eyes out. Either way, In Bruges was better in that aspect.
The two cast-members everybody will probably be talking about the most coming out of this film are none other than Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, the two infamous dog-nappers who start this whole shit-storm in the first-place. Rockwell is one of these actors who comes close to stealing the show in every movie he does, but somehow, just hasn’t gotten that big-break he so rightfully deserves just yet, but I don’t think he has to wait any longer. His character as Bill is a pretty wacky and wild one that seems like he came straight-out of a Tarantino movie, but has more than meets the eye with him. You think that Bill is just a total psycho that does stupid things because he has nothing else better to do, but you realize there’s a reason for doing all of the stuff he does and as twisted as it may be (and trust me, it is), in a way, it’s a bit sweet as well. Rockwell is great at playing both sides of this character and I really, really, really do hope this catapults his career to even higher-lengths than he could have ever imagined. Seriously, the guy deserves it and I could totally see him winning an Oscar sooner or later.
Then, of course, we got the always awesome and delightful Christopher Walken doing his best, well, you know, “Christopher Walken”. As unoriginal and lazy as that idea may come off as, it isn’t in the least-bit because Walken is having an absolute ball with his role here as Hans and it reminds you why this guy is such an icon in the first-place. All of the lines that Walken’s given, he nails in that deliberate-delivery of his that’s always great, and all of the emotions he has to emphasize with this character, works but not just because he’s an old-cook, but because he’s a sweet, endearing, old man that seems like he could still kick anybody’s ass, if he’s pushed to that point. Basically, it’s Christopher Walken, playing Christopher Walken and what’s better than that? Nothing at all.
Rounding out the rest of the cast is Woody Harrelson as the crazed mob-boss who goes looking for his doggy like any other pet-lover. Harrelson is a very diverse actor in the way that he is able to have us love him when he’s being the typical, cool guy we all know and love him for, but is also able to have us despise the hell out of him when he’s playing an absolute d-bag that can’t be trusted. Harrelson plays with both sides of the quarter here where he shows us his sinister side, but also allows us to see his charming side whenever he’s actually around his doggy or has to think of it being taken away from. It’s a great role for him but in all honesty, I would have loved it even more if they gave it to Mickey Rourke like they originally planned as it would have been downright hilarious with that nut in the role. Playing another nut-case in this film is Tom Waits, who shows up with a bunny and tells his side of being a psycho killer. Waits is here, essentially, as an extended cameo but it’s still fun to see him show-up and do something really random and weird. That’s how we love to see the guy and that’s how we always want to see him.
The other two in this leading-cast are the two gals (Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) and they were the two ones I was the most disappointed by when it was all said and done. They aren’t really given much to work with, other than a bunch of one-dimensional lines that don’t do anything for their characters, other than make us wish that they’d just be gone and allow this to be a strictly-sausage party, but it was also lame how McDonagh didn’t really give them much to play around with in the first-place. Seriously, it seems like Cornish and Kurylenko could have had some of their own fun in-between all of the dudes just fartin’ around, so why not give them something, Martin?
Consensus: Seven Psychopaths will take most viewers by surprise by how dark and sinister it can get, but most viewers will also find themselves having a ball with the excellent script, spirited ensemble, and a story that’s not only hilarious, but unpredictable in the way you have no idea where the hell it’s going to g0.
Why is it that the little towns always got to have the problems?
The film is about three relationships taking place in a small-town: teenage Arthur (Michael Angarano) and his quirky young love, Lila (Olivia Thirlby); his separating parents, Louise and Don (Griffin Dunne and Jeanetta Arnette); and his former babysitter, Annie (Kate Beckinsale), and her estranged, unstable ex-husband Glenn (Sam Rockwell).
Writer/director David Gordon Green is a dude that has really been scratching people’s heads as of late. First, he does little small-town, indies like this and All the Real Girls, but then he goes onto stoner comedies such as Pineapple Express and Your Highness. Oh, and as of late there was a semi-remake of Adventures in Babysitting called The Sitter’but I didn’t bother with that shit so neither should you. However, those strange choices wouldn’t be so bad in the first place if they were all consistent.
What I can say about Green and his direction here is that the first hour does a pretty good job of creating a mood and atmosphere that sets in pretty quick. We get this slight foreshadowing scene in the beginning that tells us something dark is beneath the surface of this town, and then from there on it stays in pretty long. Also, s a film-maker, Green really does know how to capture some purty images like he did in All the Real Girls. However, instead of having the long shots of the fields in the South, we get a lot of long shots of these people hangin’ around in the snow and he films it all very well and brings a certain type of artistry to this flick. I just wish that was enough to keep my mind off of what was really going on here.
The real problem with this film is that Green has practically stacked about two or three different films here and even though this kind of structure has been used and done very well before, not all of the stories here jell quite as well. The love story between the two teens is pretty annoying since all they do is constantly babble about random things like fellatio and pictures, which is kind of how teenage relationships can be, but isn’t very cute and realistic here. The other relationship they focus on between Arthur’s parents is barely touched on here, but even when it is, it’s totally dumb and adds nothing to the film at all. Hell, they could have even left this whole sub-plot out but since Green obviously had to stay in touch with the source material, he couldn’t get rid of everything.
Neither of those stories are as interesting as the relationship between the estranged husband and wife, played by Beckinsale and Rockwell. Every time this story pops up on-screen, the film gets better and better not because of their performances but because it’s a story that feels real and touches on a very big truth of human relationships: changing. People change as they get older and they soon start to grow apart. These two have been together for almost their whole lives and it’s obvious that one can’t seem to want to have it anymore, while the other is practically heart-broken over it all. It’s a very true and realistic story that shows just how two people change and grow apart from one another, but Green never allows there to be anymore to it than just that and constantly takes the focus off of it and give it to these two other lame-o stories. Sorry for that little rant there but as usual, it was necessary.
I should also choose to mention that at about the one hour period of this flick, the film changes in its tone. Instead of being a dark drama, it becomes an even darker drama that has some suspense to it and even though it was sort of a bold step for Green to go in that direction, it didn’t work for the story. I don’t want to give too much away but the film loses control of itself by this point and the rest of the 47 minutes we have left with this flick just seem to go on and meander. Shame too, because I was actually getting into this film.
What really sold this film for me and got me closer and closer to recommending it was the two performances from Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell, who are amazing here. I have never really liked Beckinsale in roles that she’s done because I’m not a big fan of the Underworld movies and whenever she does do character-driven roles like this, her performances come off more as wooden than emotional. Good thing for me was that her performance here as Annie isn’t like that one bit and shows me that she has a lot of talent when it comes to drama. She’s a very sad character that feels like she is a good woman, but is just stuck in a rut because of how she got stuck in life and is trying to find her way out of it. This character goes through a lot of changes throughout the flick and they all rang true thanks to Beckinsale’s surprisingly good performance.
How I initially felt for Beckinsale was not the same way I felt for Rockwell though because I’ve always thought that this guy is a no-joke actor and deserves at least one Oscar before his career is over. His performance here as Glenn is very good because even though he’s a dude that seems like you could never trust in your life, Rockwell brings out this sincerity and humanity to him that makes you believe that he is a good, if troubled guy. Glenn may get a little too crazy by the end of the flick, but Rockwell makes it all seem believable enough with just the right amount of good and evil in him. Somebody get this guy his damn Oscar already!
Consensus: Snow Angels features very good performances from the cast, but has about three or four different stories packed into here that may further talk about the issue of human relationships this film brings up plenty of times, but takes down the one story that kept my interest in the first place.
I would have definitely liked it more if they interviewed the Nixon from Futurama.
This is a period piece, that centers on little-known talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen), who goes way out of his way to interview probably one of the most controversial and famous presidents of all-time, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella). This is the story of how those interviews went.
I really didn’t know too much about the Frost/Nixon interviews other than the fact that they both were interviews between two dudes. Goes to show you how much I paid attention in history class after all. Surprisingly though, this is not a history lesson and more of a film about the two dudes who were in these famous series of interviews together.
Director Ron Howard really gives it his all with this film because of the way he makes these interviews seem less like actual interviews and more like a boxing match of words between two famous figures. Howard keeps the tension building up and up on these interviews and gives us enough character development to realize just how much both of these people need these interviews. One for fame, the other for forgiveness and setting the record straight.
Another great element to this film that makes it so damn watchable is that it’s script is very very good with a lot intelligence, wit, and small doses of humor to keep us laughing and entertained. It’s basically a “talking heads” film where you just watch a whole bunch of people talk without anything really happening, but it’s a very fun one that relies solely on the fact that it can keep people glued into what Frost is going to ask, and what Nixon is going answer with. I never actually saw the play that this is based off of but apparently everything is taken verbatim which makes the transition from stage to screen even better.
The problem with this film that keeps it away from being anything perfect or amazing like it could have easily been is that I feel like Howard could have really went out-of-bounds with this film. Granted, this is a very small film where there isn’t really a lot happening other than these two guys talking but I feel like there could have been more of how the nation felt about these interviews, and more about other characters that are just sort of there.
I also never understood why Howard have the actors who portrayed these actual people, come off and randomly narrate what was happening and why. I feel like the film is trying to give a sort of documentary feel when in reality it could have just stayed away from that or even used the real-life people itself. We all know who the actors are and who the real people are, so there’s no need to trying to show us otherwise.
Michael Sheen is a lot of fun to watch as David Frost because this guy is sometimes at the lowest points of his life, but no matter what keeps a big olde smile on his face. Sheen reminds me of that very cheeky, very corny, but always funny British guy that always seems to think he’s better than everybody, and usually is depending on who you are talking. However, this film really does belong to the one and only Frank Langella as Richard Nixon.
Even though he doesn’t look like Nixon, Langella probably does the best performance/impersonation of the man that any other actor has ever done in their whole lives. Yes, Anthony Hopkins has played Nixon too, Langella is THAT GOOD. You notice the physical differences within the first 5 minutes but then you totally got lost in this guy because he really just sells this whole conflicted, and tormented soul that knows what he did was wrong but he can’t get past it with everyone around him always breathing down his neck. There is some pretty wild stuff that Langella does as Nixon, such as losing his temper like a 7 year-old would do if his mommy didn’t buy him ice cream, but it’s totally easy to see why Langella got nominated for an Oscar and hopefully he keeps on getting better roles from now on.
Consensus: Though it doesn’t achieve greatness, Frost/Nixon is still a great flick with two great performances, a clever script, and a direction from Howard that keeps this film tense and on its toes.
Sometimes you just wanna give these old actors a hug.
Frank (Robert De Niro) just lost his wife, and without their mother by his side, Frank’s grown children aren’t compelled to visit for the holidays. So he hits the road to visit them — collecting various revelations and learning about himself along the way.
Back in the winter of ’09 when this flick first came out, I had no intentions of seeing it whatsoever. The trailer was pretty corny, that poster is terribly photo-shopped (what the hell happened to De Niro’s face?), and just an overall feeling of I knew exactly what I was going to get myself into. However, it’s always awesome to be blind-sided.
Even though this is apart of my whole Countdown to Claus meme, this is still not a Christmas film. It’s actually a huge downer that does have some lighter humorous moments, but this tone is something I was not expecting from this flick. However, it’s actually pretty good to get a Christmas film to come around the season to be jolly, and not just be the same old happy-sappy bull crap we see for two hours every year.
This is a very simple movie with a very simple story about a father trying to reconnect with his kiddies while also trying to figure out just where the hell he went wrong with this whole fathering-business. This is where the film succeeds in the most because it’s a very universal subject that almost any person can relate to because whether or not you knew your dad, still keep in touch with your dad, or are a dad yourself, you can still see yourself in any one of these characters, which gives you a total better understanding of what the film is actually trying to say. There are some sweet and gentle moments where they handle the emotions in this film well, and it did feel truthful, if somewhat obvious.
My main problem with this film is the fact that these kids are assholes. First of all, all they ever do is lie to their dad about the smallest, most random, and gayest things I have ever heard somebody lie to their parents about. Secondly, when the kids do end up telling their daddy why it is that they keep all of these secrets away from him, it doesn’t all match up and just seems forced to give these characters more room to breath for development. Personally, I felt bad for Frank cause this guy wanted to see his kids for Christmas altogether, but they lied and said they have certain things to do, when in reality, they just don’t want to be embarrassed or some dumb shit like that.
Another problem I had with this film was that some of the scenes here seemed a little misplaced and forced. There was one scene where Frank gives this junkie money, and the junkie goes crazy at him. Basically the scene was trying to show you how good of a man Frank was even though this seemed totally out-of-place. Not because Frank was a bad guy or anything, it’s just that I have a feeling that he’s not stupid and knows what happens when you give those jerk-offs moolah and he’s not a saint-like dude in the first place anyway.
The next weird scene was where Frank had his kids fess up about all of the lies they have told him but it’s total in a dream-like sequence and the kids are actually played by kids. I don’t know why they couldn’t just show Frank talking to them in real-life and making them feel like the pieces of shits that they are but for some odd reason, they decided to go with some weird way of showing getting on with this plot.
Robert De Niro does so much shit every now and then, that is always good to see him do something that’s actually believable. As Frank, De Niro is subtle, charming, and just overall a pleasant dude that has his obvious problems with being a father to his kids and actually accepting the fact that his kids were pushed away from him, because of himself. There are some real moments of emotional truth and De Niro handles it perfectly well and I think he did the same with the whole film in general.
As for the rest of the cast, they all try their hardest but these characters are already such assholes and one-dimensional that it’s almost too hard to really like them. Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and the always reliable Sam Rockwell are OK, but their scenes with De Niro always end up being another spot-light for De Niro to show off his veteran skills.
Consensus: It’s definitely not a totally happy film and features one-dimensional characters, but Everybody’s Fine features a great central performance from De Niro and a simple story, that has real truth to it and works for anybody who is watching this flick.
I definitely know that my little bro would not do this for me that little bastard.
Convinced that her brother, Kenneth (Sam Rockwell), has been unjustly convicted of murder and incompetently defended by court-ordered attorneys, high school dropout Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) puts herself through law school in order to represent him in his appeal.
Last year I was supposed to see this at a press screening but for some odd reason, never actually got to it, so I just ended up waiting for it to one day pop-up. When it finally did, I kind of felt bummed by what I missed.
This story here is a true under-dog story that usually gets schmaltzy and feels like a “made for TV” film but somehow director Tony Goldwyn makes it better than just that. The story telling here was not easy to pull off because it all takes place in 16 years of visitations, back-story, courtroom dramas, and marriage problems but Goldwyn does well when it comes to setting up a pace and sticking to it well.
However, where this film fails is within it’s right to actually keep me glued into the story even when I knew all that was going to happen. Right from the get-go, I knew what was going to happen, but then again so did everybody else who watched this and I mean even though its pretty formulaic and predictable it was still fun to watch, but with barely any surprises.
The problem with this film though is that I feel like they had a lot to say about the judicial system and how they are not always right but for some reason, this film only went down that road about twice and that was it. I think with the type of material they had here and the constant showing of mishaps with the actual courtroom system and how evidence is handled and whatnot, that they could have said a lot while still being able to tug at our heart-strings, but only mildly does both.
The real strength of this film though is the cast at hand, and let’s just say it’s a pretty-looking bunch we got here. Hillary Swank is good here as Betty Anne Waters but my problem with her was that her character just has the same look on her face the whole time, and didn’t really give us any real reason to care about her. This wasn’t Swank’s fault but the script could have helped her more. Minnie Driver is also good as the smart-assed best friend of Betty; Peter Gallagher is awesome as Barry Scheck and just had me staring at his eye-brows the whole time; and Mellisa Leo, Juliette Lewis, and Ari Graynor chew up some good scenery as well.
The whole cast is good but compared to Sam Rockwell as Kenny, they are totally forgettable. Rockwell plays up all the charm and humor that he always puts into his performances but he also puts in a great deal of sadness and depression that this character goes through while he’s in prison. Since we only see him through the visitations at the prison, it would be incredibly hard to develop a character solely on that but Rockwell is great at keeping our attention on him the whole entire time.
Consensus: Conviction features plenty of good performances from the cast, especially Sam Rockwell as Kenny, but too much of it feels like the usual, under-dog story we get on cable and in the end, feels like a film that could have went more for the gut than the heart but instead chooses the latter.
This might actually be taught in Texas history books.
Amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution, where he’s confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Olivia Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde’s minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat.
I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the trailer, I actually kind of thought it was totally dumb and the title itself had me chuckling. But then I saw who was involved, so my opinion changed. So here I’am telling that the title isn’t such a let-down after all.
For the most part, this film has a pretty bangin’ premise that and the action that goes down is all pretty well-done, which is a lot of thanks going to director Jon Favreau for that. He knows how to make an action sequence look good and the effects just look great. It’s always good to watch a film and not actually be able to tell what the real effects are, and what the fake ones are too.
However, when it comes to the writing, it doesn’t seem like they were all on the same page and when I mean “they”, I mean the five people that actually wrote this script together. Here and there we have a couple of amusing one-liners but too much of it just feels cheesy and nothing new we have seen before. When you watch this film, you don’t really think you need five writers to come up with something cool, like, say if a dude walks into a bar with this blaster on his hand. I could come up with 100 things that would be cool to come up with but the film just doesn’t and instead seems like nothing new.
This film also takes itself way too seriously, which in some cases isn’t so bad, but honestly when you have a film about cowboys and aliens duking it out, you can’t really expect people to want characters talking as if they just got of an episode of All My Children. I was expecting a lot of fun, wild, and crazy things to happen here but instead I just got what I’ve been seeing in every action blockbuster that has come out each and every Friday. I like a lot of those Summer blockbusters but come on, is this the best they could come up with?
Daniel Craig knows what to do when it comes to beating the shit out of people, but his performance as Jake Lonergan isn’t totally as memorable as it could have been. Craig in this film is channeling guys like Eastwood and John Wayne, where he lets his actions do the talking but the problem is that I actually wanted this guy to talk more so I could care about him. I mean just for him to spout a one-liner would have been cool with me but to just have this dude stand there, beat the crap out of people, and say nothing after it’s all said and done just kind of bothered me since Craig could have brought so much more to the table.
Harrison Ford is alright as the kind of good guy, kind of bad guy role as Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde. Ford still has that signature old deuche-baggery act to him but it doesn’t seem to work as much as it used to and I think he should start doing some different stuff because it seems pretty laughable. Olivia Wilde is alright but is way too hot and sexy for this film, which isn’t to say anything bad about her performance it’s just that in a place where all these dudes are constantly dirty and sweating, to have a chick look like she just got out of a commercial for Loreal looks a bit dumb. Sam Rockwell is pretty good here and stands-out the most because he has that comedic timing that always seems to work.
Consensus: Though it promised so much more, Cowboys & Aliens has some good action sequences and gives us what we see in the title, but suffers from writing that doesn’t bring anything new to the table and brings us constant cliches, bad one-liners, and an overall feel of disappointment because we know this could have been so much more wild than what we got. You got Han Solo and James Bond loading up their guns looking to shoot some aliens, how hard could it have been!?!?
Almost two hours of trick after trick.
After being caught on security cameras during a robbery at a Manhattan jewelry store, master thief Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) grudgingly agrees to pull off one last job at the behest of his maneuvering fence (Danny DeVito). Trouble is, pinching a shipment of gold ingots from a Swiss cargo plane won’t be easy.
Writer/Director David Mamet has always been known to be a very smooth, stylish director, that always seems to be one step ahead of the audience. And with this film he shows that very well, as he keeps this story interesting more, and more as the film goes on. There are plenty of plot twists mainly because a lot of the film is a bunch of acts created by these guys. What you see, isn’t exactly as it seems, and it was such a joy to see double-cross after double-cross, and how each one plays out.
I liked the old-school vibe to this film as it all played out so cool, and classy. Mamet doesn’t focus on random shoot-out sequences, instead he uses words to describe his actions, and the heist scenes themselves are actually pretty awesome and keep you on the edge of your seat.
My main gripe with this film however is the fact that not all of the double-crosses seem realistic enough to actually be believable. There are some moments where I thought to myself as to whether or not certain events or happenings would pan out the way they did realistically in real life, and some usually they didn’t seem believable. There isn’t also anything incredibly new that’s brought up here, but yet, I don’t think that’s really harming anyone either.
Gene Hackman does a good job as Joe, making him a likable character even though he does seem like sort of a grouch. Danny DeVito may not have the height to pull off a dangerous character such as the one he plays here, but he still makes it worth it, and has you believe that this small, tiny, bastard could really kill your ass. Delroy Lindo is basically the man in everything he does, and it’s nice to see him, playing the bad-ass he always is. Sam Rockwell also shows up, and does an amazing job as Jimmy, and brings a lot more to the screen, than the film had in mind.
Consensus: Not everything is believable, and certainly not different, but Heist offers up some good twists, with a good, old-school direction from Mamet.
What a weird title, for a weird movie. But not the good kind of weird.
Hoping that his novel brings him fame and fortune, high school loner Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) attends a fantasy writers conference and later discovers that his masterwork has been plagiarized by an iconic author (Jemaine Clement, “Flight of the Conchords”).
For the most part this film starts off very well. The thematic ideas behind the film easily push this film into the realm where it is Jared Hess’ best work to date! The opening act of the film is a really interesting set-up. But although I thought I was ready for some good stuff here, I just got totally robbed.
Jared Hess as you all may know is the director of quirky films such as Nacho Libre, and Napoleon Dynamite, and with this one he tries too hard to be like a combination of both. The script is where it really fails, because the jokes are so stupid and juvenile, that you don’t know whether or not to take this film seriously at all. There is also way too many dumb potty jokes that were maybe funny when I was in 5th grade, now just seem useless and a cheap way to get teenagers to laugh at.
In this film there is also an emotional story that this film was gunning for, but instead it gets watered down by those terrible jokes, and cheesy special effects dream sequences. Now I know that they were doing all the fantasy sequences as a joke, but in all honesty they weren’t that amusing. I felt like the film was just trying to be weird, just for the sake of being weird, and when it comes to this film, that wasn’t helping this film out at all.
Jemaine Clement is very funny here and just about steals every scene he is in, until I soon started to realize that he was just telling a bunch of “anus” jokes. Michael Angarano is strong in this lead performance, and Hess did a good job at making this average, nerdy type of character, and not relying on the constant quirks to win us over. Sam Rockwell is the real treat, even though he is only in the crazy sci-fi fantasy sequences, he brings so much hilarity to these scenes, and is the highlight of this utterly painful to watch movie. Jennifer Coolidge is also good, playing the same exact chick she plays in almost every movie, but that’s not a bad thing, cause she’s always so good at it.
Consensus: With the cast at least bringing out some comedy, Gentlemen Broncos has some laughs, but Jared Hess loses himself in the script and brings out too many quirks, potty humor, and moments of just pure weirdness that makes no sense.
Why is Tony Starks such a total d-bag all of a sudden.
Wealthy inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) — aka Iron Man — resists calls by the American government to hand over his technology. Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has constructed his own miniaturized arc reactor, causing all kinds of problems for our superhero. Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson co-star in director Jon Favreau’s sequel based on Marvel comic book characters.
After seeing Iron Man, back in 2008, I was totally in love with Iron Man, and the series that was to be. However, I can’t say that I enjoyed this one as much.
First of all, the writing in this film is very top-notch compared to the first one. I can’t remember the last superhero movie that I actually laughed, or chuckled, the whole time through the film. There’s a huge deal of one-liners, that work, and some do not, but it was just better to get a not so serious superhero film.
I think the main problem with this movie is that it has the same thing all superhero films go through: sequelitis. Sequelitis is when a sequel to a very famous film, gets too over-powered with characters, run time, and overall too much story. The film starts off fine with good action here and there, but by the 1 hour mark gets totally dry beyond belief. For a long time, there just wasn’t anything happening, other than the fact that Starks was a total alcoholic (without the film really saying it), and some scenes with Rourke and Rockwell being bad boys. If you take away the sexy people, and big explosions, you really just have a film about one arrogant defense contractor, against another arrogant defense contractor.
Many elements to this story could have been better but instead were just dry. The villain Ivan Vanko is actually a good one surprisingly, mostly due to the fact that the film sets him up to be this totally intimidating guy, with lightning bolts for hands, and a Russian accent that would make Ivan Drago crap his pants. However, the films waters him down with not enough screen-time showing him doing nothing bad or villainous, and showing more evil from Rockwell’s character. The addition of Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson makes no sense what so ever, other than just trying to hype up the Avengers films, which are starting to get pretty annoying now. Listen, I understand that sometime in the future there may be an Avengers film, but in the mean time stop hyping it up to the point, of where there seems to be no use for a film to hype it up, rather than a film that’s just hyping another film up anyway. I know that last sentence was totally confusing, but its hard to explain.
I will admit however, the film does show great action when it does have it, and the actors are able to fill the shoes. Downey Jr. is perfect as this charming, sort of snobby millionaire Tony Starks, and you can really tell why he is a perfect choice for this type of super hero. Paltrow is doing what she does best, playing the strong female companion, with enough sense to be believable. Don Cheadle is also replacing Terrence Howard, and does well with picking up the scraps from Howard’s previous performance, but he just is not on the screen as much as I think he could have been. Sam Rockwell is the real star, and totally steals almost every scene he’s in, and shows how superhero villains are supposed to be played even without all the crazy action.
Consensus: Iron Man 2 has charming performances from the cast, good humor, and enough action to satisfy, however, hits a block in the middle of the film where it lags on, and starts to become a cheap, lame excuse for the Avengers movie.
After a year or so, I’d just quit my job if I had to do this for a whole 3 years.
As he nears the end of a lonely three-year stint on the moon base Sarang, astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) begins to hear and see strange things. It’s not long before Sam suspects that his employer — the conglomerate LUNAR — has other plans for him. Featuring Kevin Spacey as the voice of a robot, Gerty, this sci-fi thriller also stars Matt Berry and Kaya Scodelario.
The film has the look of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and feels like that sci-fi in the air, gone wrong kind of movie. But this one will surely stand the test of time.
The best thing about this movie, and probably the only person you’ll see in it is Sam Rockwell. I never really liked this guy at first, cause in all honesty, I thought he was kind of a snobby guy, in real life, as we see him in the movies, but he delivers this character, also named Sam, so well. But its not just cause he’s compelling with the scenes of just him that work, no its when he is talking to another character that happens to be himself, and he plays it real well, cause both characters are entirely different. One is subtle and laid back, while the other is nutty and all over the place.
But this film is not just Sam Rockwell’s film cause it is a slam-dunk directorial debut from Duncan Jones, aka son of David Bowie. I think that Jones does a good job at being very minimalist, and not try to overcome the story with camera work, he’s kind of just letting the story tell itself, which was impressive cause that’s all what sci-fi films nowadays relie too much on. I know they didn’t film it on the moon, but it sure as heel looks like they did. I mean its pretty amazing what Duncan Jones was able to do with such a small budget of 5 million hot g’s, and create this place that looks exactly like the moon, while some film-makers can’t even get it with a $150 million or more budget. But he doesn’t use CGI, shame on you, no he uses all this kind of magic using small-scale models and actual sets. Its just so beautiful and enchanting, just like real space looks like.
However, the film much like 2001, still seems to get dull and very slow at points. I mean there were times where the film kept my interest forever, mostly until the end, but the moments in between of the story were a little how should I say, “ehh?”. Things should have went a little faster, because I didn’t feel that I was in the zone of the film while it was going on. Also, I liked Spacey as Gerty, the robot, but still, it is a big rip-off of Hal from 2001.
Consensus: Boasted by a completely compelling performance from Rockwell, and an impressive debut from Duncan Jones, Moon succeeds in bringing the creepiness, and overall beauty that is sci-fi films.
Being a con man, actually looks like a lot of fun.`
When Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage), a professional con man struggling with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, meets the daughter (Alison Lohman) he never knew he had, he inadvertently jeopardizes his tightly organized and artificially controlled life. Sam Rockwell plays Cage’s partner and protégé, with Melora Walters co-starring as Waller’s ex-wife.
So one of my favorite directors Ridley Scott, does this breezy dark comedy, focusing on con men, and their lifestyles something that I had no idea about in the first place.
Compared to many other companion pieces of the last 30 years this is one of the most enchanting. You just love seeing this father and daughter tag-team together. There are many scenes with them that are just totally bittersweet, and actually bring a lot of heart to the film.
The script crosses the crime plot and the emotional plots at the perfect moments. There’s a well made scene where Roy’s daughter begs him to teach her a con. They go to a Laundromat and con a woman into thinking she’s won the lottery. And like a good father Roy forces her to give the money back.
If there is a problem it’s the “Usual Suspects” style ending. I have nothing against playing a trick on the audience but as I put the pieces of the story together I found the final twist to be completely implausible and contrived. I don’t want to spoil it. I’ll just say that It’s one of those situations that could have never worked if one character picked up the phone and called another character.
Nic Cage gives one of his best performances in years with this film. I love how he just chooses to play these weird and zany characters, and make a great run with it. He masters all the ticks with the OCD character that he’s playing, and actually feels real. The chemistry between him and Lohman actually does feel genuine, and most of the scenes just add to the films appeal.
The conclusion left me a little depressed and disillusioned, but I think that poignant feeling at the end is just what they were shooting for. It can seem a bit corny, but almost works a bit here as a master-piece.
Consensus: Matchstick Men has a heart-warming story about family, great character studies that go to the very edge, and a great performance from Cage, even if the ending is a bit far off.
I never thought Micheal Clarke Duncan could captivate me so much.
Adaptation of Stephen King’s supernatural tale is set on death row in a Southern prison, where gentle giant John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) possesses the mysterious power to heal people’s ailments. When the cell block’s head guard, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), recognizes Coffey’s miraculous gift, he tries desperately to help stave off the condemned man’s execution.
This film is directed by Frank Darabont, the same person who did The Shawshank Redemption, and once again he’s back in prison. Though that film was about mostly the prisoners this one is more about the guards and how the prisoner influences their lives. This is more of a fable than it is a real novel.
For the biggest disclaimer of this movie is that it’s way too long. Personally I’m not bothered by how long films are as long as their at least interesting and holds my interest, this film doesn’t quite do that. The film felt a little dragged at points, and really I don’t think it felt over 3 hours to tell the story of a prisoner. This film is very interesting by the last 30 minutes but the others 2 hours are just long side notes.
I also felt that the film was trying hard to show us a message about either suicide or how wrong the death penalty is. I felt like both sides were argued pretty evenly, I felt like this movie’s theme caused much more combustion, than it needed. The pace also adds insult to injury with it’s very slow storytelling and many key moments that take long to deliver.
Other than the those problems, I felt like this was one of the most touching films I have ever seen. The great thing is how you see all of these people on The Green Mile. From the gaurds to the prisoners, and also to the houses they live in. You really do get a full idea of how these people act and live by this movie and it connects us to these characters even more.
The added supernatural moments add a lot of emotion to this film, as you sense that Clarke Duncan character is really a good person. I also enjoyed how the whole film wasn’t so centered on him but the other prisoners with him on The Green Mile.
The star-studded cast does the best job in this film and does save this film from some bad moments. Tom Hanks does a really strong job, and doesn’t play his usual energetic performers as he always seems relaxed throughout the film and adds a lot more of heart to the film. Micheal Clarke Duncan is really the main reason to see this film as he steals every scene he is involved in. Clarke Duncan combines the physical look of big, strong, and scary but puts it along with much sweetness in his character where you know this person is kind at heart and you connect to him even more than any other character in this film. Sam Rockwell and David Morse also show off a lot of talent in this film.
Consensus: Though jumbled with a slow pace and a very long time limit of over 3 hours, The Green Mile is a captivating story that has touching performances that add to this emotionally powerful experience.
Not many guinea pigs I know can pull this kind of stuff off. Actually none at all.
When a billionaire sets out to take over the world through a diabolical scheme involving household appliances, the U.S. government sends in the only special forces unit capable of handling the job — a squad of highly trained guinea pigs.
This film I saw with my little brother and his friend because you know it’s all just a great kids movie. With producer Jerry Bruckheimer, being released by Disney and in 3-D I may add, what could possibly go wrong. Well a lot of things can go wrong!!!
The movie is not funny at all, I barely felt myself laugh and when I did I wanted to punch myself in the face because I just actually laughed at G-Force. Aside from that the story is uninspired, the visual effects are good, yes, but not great, the action is fairly lazy, and it just plain isn’t funny. A chuckle here and there and that’s about it. And I’m not alone here, the packed theater I saw it in (full mostly of children) remained fairly quiet throughout. Many of the jokes were too pop culture referential that only the parents will understand and their still not funny.
So much talent was wasted on this horrid film. Great talent such as Sam Rockwell, Penelope Cruz, Jon Faverau, and (blasphemy) Zach Galifianakis. Yes the same bearded man from The Hangover, he is in this piece of crap and is not funny at all. When one of the funniest men in Hollywood is not funny at all and just stands there you know you have a piece of crap. Nicolas Cage is even in this if you can at all spot him. Yes the Nicolas Cage, the same freaking guy who won an Oscar back in 1996, is now voicing a freaking mole.
If there is any positive things to say about this film at all is that the film is an appropriate film to take your family out too because is not very over violent and does have a hilarious voice over from Tracy Morgan. Many of the kids will find this cute due to the way they look but other than that they won’t be too pleased.
This movie is crap, and barely a good family movie.
2/10=Some Ole Bullshittt!!!