Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Dallas Roberts

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Most cold-blooded killers are, after all, misunderstood.

Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) has been on the run, gun slingin’, robbin’, killin’, and committing all sorts of crimes that have him number one on every person’s bounty list. However, Wade is a pretty ruthless man, to where he can get away from anyone looking to reel him in for justice; it also helps that he’s got the helping hand of his band of fellow thugs, especially his go-to-guy, Charlie (Ben Foster). But eventually, Ben gets caught by the local law and ready for the 3:10 train to take him to Yuma. But in order to get him there, he’ll have to be transported among many lines, where everyone is looking to take Ben down and get a little piece of the reward-money pie. However, Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is just looking to do this so that he can get some money, save his farm, and go home to his family, where he can feel like a responsible man again. As expected though, the trip goes through all sorts of bumps, bruises, and plenty of violence, where one thing leads to another, and it’s never very clear if Ben will ever get on that train and behind bars, like he should.

"Hold it! I'm not Batman here, but other places. Kind of."

“Hold it! I’m not Batman here, but other places. Kind of.”

3:10 to Yuma is the rare kind of Western that not only revitalizes the genre, but also proves why it’s so great in the first place. It doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel of the genre, make up new rules, and play by its own game, but instead, take everything that you know and love from all those other classics, bring them together, and let you have a great time. It’s as if it’s own beast, entirely, even if, yeah, it’s actually a remake, too.

Still, even if 3:10 to Yuma isn’t the most original story out there, it more than makes up for it in all the thrilling, exciting and rather unpredictable action-sequences that take place over its two-hours. James Mangold is a perfect fit for this material, because he knows exactly how to make it all crackle and pop, without ever seeming like he’s out of his depth. Even though Mangold sure does love to jump around from genre to genre, with sheer reckless abandon, it seems like the action-genre may be the one he sticks with, not just because he seems to enjoy it the most, but because he actually seems to know what he’s doing with it, as opposed to those like Michael Bay, or McG.

Why on Earth did I just mention McG’s name?

Anyway, moving on. 3:10 to Yuma more than gets by with its action, but at the heart of it all, and perhaps what makes it more than just another fun and exciting romp through the Old West, is that it’s also the tale of two interesting, challenging, and complex men. Both Christian Bale and Russell Crowe put in great work here, going beyond the silly accents, and showing that there’s more to these two guys. Crowe’s Wade may be a ruthless, toothless (not really, he has quite the set of chompers), and almost sadistic killer, but he’s also got a set of morals and he’s quite the charmer. Whereas, on the other side of the coin, Bale’s Dan is a man with plenty of morals, a simpleton, and family man, but at the same time, won’t hesitate to kill, if he ever has to.

Ben Foster. Up to his usual tricks of not taking a shower to prep for a role.

Ben Foster. Up to his usual tricks of not taking a shower to prep for a role.

Both men are different, yes, but they’re also quite alike in many ways, too, and it’s what makes 3:10 to Yuma quite compelling to watch.

Even when the action is gone for a short while and everyone’s sitting around a fire, eating beans, chewing the fat, it’s still entertaining to watch; the cast is so good, the characters so well-defined, and the script is actually polished. And with Bale and Crowe’s performances, we get to see two men who, despite being on opposites of the social spectrum, still respect the other enough to know where they come from, what their ideals are, and why they are, the way they are in the world. It almost comes close to a bromance, except for the fact that they do try and kill each other every so often, but even then, who knows.

Bromances work in mysterious ways, sometimes.

But anyway, aside from both Crowe and Bale, the ensemble’s a pretty good one. A very young Logan Lerman shows that he can hold his own as Dan’s son; Dallas Roberts plays the sheriff who has to take Wade in with Dan and shows that even the scrawniest of men, with a gun, can still kind of be bad-ass; Peter Fonda shows up and brings some class; Kevin Durand is, as expected, pretty crazy; Luke Wilson has a fun cameo; and Ben Foster, as Wade’s right-hand man, is so crazy, so deranged and so evil, that he almost ends up stealing the show. But still, it’s Bale’s and Crowe’s show to the end and when they’re together, their scenes never stop igniting the spark and make you wish that they’d work together more and more. It doesn’t even have to be in Westerns.

Couldn’t hurt, though.

Consensus: Even if it’s still a Western through and through, 3:10 to Yuma is a tense, exciting and incredibly well-acted piece of entertainment.

8 / 10

Look at 'em. Trying so hard not to make-out and measure sizes.

Look at ’em. Trying so hard not to make-out and measure sizes.

Photos Courtesy of: AV Club, Rotten Tomatoes 


Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Guess Advil and getting your recommended nine hours doesn’t cure everything.

The true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a hard-partying rodeo-man that doesn’t take a single ounce of his life for granted, that is, until his life is about to be cut-short after he receives news of contracting the HIV virus. Woodroof is the type of good ole’ Southern boy that likes to party hide, with all sorts of women, drugs and booze, which is why he responds so violently and angrily thinking that only homosexuals contract the virus. Basically, he thinks it’s a mistake, until he realizes that his body is only deteriorating by the day, which is when he ultimately wakes up, smells the cauliflower and realizes that he has a life that’s worth living, and he will do whatever he has in his might to keep it going. Especially even if that means he has to get involved with illegal drug-trading with the rest of the gay community through local cross-dresser Rayon (Jared Leto). Especially then, even if he is a total homophobe that wants nothing to do with men, or their penises. He just wants to make some easy cash and just keep on living, man.

There have been plenty of movies in the past that have touched upon the HIV virus and for that, we have Philadelphia to thank. Now, I know that Philadelphia sure as hell wasn’t the first flick ever to discuss the HIV virus with such bluntness, but it was the first mainstream movie to do so, all in order to get people’s attention and wake them up to the real problems that people were facing on a daily-basis, the same type of problems that you may or may not have heard on the six o’clock news. That’s why it is only fitting that 20 years later, the HIV virus still continues to get the movie’s it deserves to have people look up, take notice of what’s happening and try to band together and find a cure, dammit!

Hey! Remember me from Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past? Yeah, neither does anybody else.

“Hey! Remember me from Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past? Yeah, neither does anybody else.”

What surprised me the most about this movie was, aside from the fact that it is awfully emotional when it wants to be, is how much of a light-hearted approach it takes to a very serious subject, yet, it isn’t out-of-place or in bad-taste at all, because the subject that this movie is basically all about, was that type of person: Fun, exciting, jumpy and always in a rush to get whatever he needed to get done, done. The movie gives us its story, gives us a reason why it all matters, why we should care and basically lets it all breeze-by right quick, where we see how this underground drug-trading may have been illegal as illegal can be, but yet, benefited those who needed it the most.

In a way, despite Woodroof being a very homophobic man that wants nothing to do with the gay community whatsoever, starts helping out that same community and becomes something of a savior to them. Granted, he still wants his money right up-front, and if he doesn’t get the known-amount, it’s your ass to the curb, but you can still feel like this guy wants to do right for the world and for people who need it the most, even if he is a bit of a prick that’s in it just for the money and to keep himself alive. So yeah, he’s not the most sensitive guy out there in the world, but the movie still has you on his side right away and begins to build up this whole “him vs. the rest of the world” argument that the flick takes a little too one-sided, but still utilizes effectively in getting you inside the minds of so many people that were. and probably still are, having the same exact thoughts as to why they weren’t getting the treatment they oh so desired, and if they were, why wasn’t it legally FDA approved?

Basically, what it all comes down to is that people want to make money, and that’s that. Or, at least that’s what I got from this movie which was a bit of a lame-ass way of telling both sides and giving them their story. I get it, the movie is more on the side of Woodroof who literally did all that he could for the same community he all but banished, but there could have been a bit more juggling in terms of view-points and sympathy. For instance, the strangest aspect behind this movie is that the only openly-gay actor in the whole movie (from what I know of) is Denis O’Hare who, believe it or not, plays the most detestable character in the whole movie as the main doctor who doesn’t really care much about Woodroof’s drug, only that it takes away his patients that he wants using his approved-drug, AZT, the same type of drug that also happens to be doing more harm, than actual good for those said patients.

What’s odd about O’Hare’s character is that you’d feel like since this man himself is part of the same community that his character is against, that you’d get more dimensions to him than just meets the eyes. But nope. Instead, he’s just a schmuck who is all about the money, getting the rewards benefits at the end of every year and doesn’t give a lick what actually benefits his patients. He’s not alone in those regards as the DEA agents who continuously crack down and grow suspicious of Woodroof’s “business” he is attending to, also seem like a bunch of cold, heartless a-holes that don’t give two shits about whether or not these homosexuals he’s helping actually live or die, they just want to prove that the law, no matter what, always prevails. Except for Steve Zahn’s character, but then again, he’s Steve Zahn. What? Did you actually expect him to play an unlikable dude? Come on!

Since the antagonists are such ever loving douchebags, this gives the protagonists plenty of leg-room to show their likable features which, in essence, also allows the actors themselves to strut their stuff and give some of the best performances any of them have had in a long, long, long while. The main person who is getting the most attention out of everything else that has to do with this flick is Matthew McConaughey, and for so many justifiable reasons. For starters, the cat lost close to 50 pounds here to give us the impression that yes, this man is dying; yes, his skin is all wrinkly; and yes, his clothes barely fit him. Not only does this add a huge sense of realism to his performance, so much so in a way that it’s uncomfortable to watch him much like Christian Bale was in the Machinist, but also makes you feel like the guy is literally dying right in front of our eyes, just as each and every day goes by.

Someone give him a burger already.

Someone give him a burger already.

McConaughey’s boyish charm comes into play many of times, giving Woodroof a playful, fun feel that works well for him when he practically becomes a small-time drug kingpin, but also gives us a man that feels like, despite all of his cracks and screws being shown to us on countless occasions, is all doing this for the right reasons. Like I said before, he’s not perfect, but he does eventually grow into becoming an receptive, nice, kind and generous man that knows when business becomes more than just business, and humanity begins to take over. Of course, this transition from bastard-to-good-guy never, not even for a second, rings false, because McConaughey always shows him as the type of hardened-soul that wants to keep on living on, just as for long as he can, with as many pleasures as he can, without having sex and infecting others around him. Plenty of buzz has been made about McConaughey here, and it’s all deserved because not only is this his most-demanding performance yet, but it’s also probably his richest, giving us the type of lovable, enthusiastic character we love seeing him play, and giving him a darker side that shows layers, upon layers, upon layers, just as his life-watch continues to keep on tick, tick, tickin’ away.

However, plenty of buzz is also being made about Jared Leto’s huge transformation as well, playing Rayon, the local crossdresser Woodroof starts business up with, and that’s definitely deserved too. And that’s a huge surprise coming from a person like me, especially considering that with every new album or song his shitastic band 30 Seconds to Mars releases, I continue to grow less and less fonder of him, not just as an artist, but as a person. Thankfully though, Leto comes back from shadows and gives us a performance that’s not only captivating in the way that he shows this Rayon character as being a saddened, rendered soul, but one that’s still strong and will find a way to end this epidemic, along with the homophobic Woodroof. Together, they form a nice bond that isn’t like buddy-buddy, but more that it’s business-partner relationship, that has some ties in friendship, but nothing too much that crosses boundaries; the way that Woodroof clearly likes it. I would not be the least bit surprised if Leto gets a nomination for his work here, not only because of what he does with his character, but how, now two, totally opposite times, he has done a full-on transformation, embodying his character’s soul anyway he can.

Let’s just hope this means that he’ll stick with movies from now on in, and keep away from making anymore crappy music. And no, I will not even throw a link in there. I refuse to.

Also, Jennifer Garner’s here trying to earn some street-cred playing a nurse that not only joins the cause that Woodroof is fighting for, but works as something as conduit that gets him bits and pieces of information in order to help him continue what it is that he’s doing to save these people. Garner is good, but in all honesty, her role is stretched-out a little further than it needs to be; and the only reason it feels like that is because it’s Jennifer Garner in that role, and not somebody like say, my sister, Siobhan, or my dog, Pearl. Either one of them, no attention whatsoever. What’s wrong the movie-business these days, dammit?!?!

Consensus: There may be a lot of emotional-baggage that it certainly can’t handle, but nonetheless, Dallas Buyers Club is still a heartfelt, poignant and somewhat inspiring take on a little-known, but very important story about Ron Woodroof, played to perfection by an Oscar-worthy, and nearly-starving Matthew McConaughey.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

"Out-method the other on the count of three. 1.....2....go!!"

“Out-method the other on the count of three. 1…..2….go!!”

Photo’s Credit to:

The Grey (2012)

First he takes on the kidnappers, then the Nazis, and now THE WOLVES!

After narrowly surviving a deadly plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, a band of oil riggers must fend for their lives in the ice and snow. But thanks to wolves that view their presence as a threat, they aren’t alone.

Even though January to February is basically the toilet bowl of movies, there is always one guy who prevails as the winner. And no, there is not that much ass-kicking as the trailer/poster may have you think.

The plot here isn’t anything all that new that we haven’t already seen done before but co-writer/director Joe Carnahan brings something different to it. Carnahan does a great job here with this slick, dark, and stylized flick capturing a great look and feel right off the bat. All of these shots from the ice and snow in British Columbia look beautiful but it’s still not something you can gaze at as if it was a Terrence Malick considering the tone is still very dark itself. Let me also not forget to mention that this film also has one of the best plane crashes that I have seen as of late.

There is a lot in this film that will keep you riveted because these guys are basically trapped in the middle of somewhere, where all of these wolves are ready to feast at any second which is what gives it this paranoid and tense feel the whole film. There is always this big sense of dread in the air and you know that something just is not going to go right with this situation that they are put in and the film will catch you at a couple of parts and keep you completley riveted.

The film also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the action junkies that will probably go out and see it considering that there is plenty of awesome action/thrilling sequences but don’t let it fool you, there is still a lot of character development as well that worked very well. Carnahan may pack this film to the top in tension but when it comes to the guys talking about life in general, he lets everything slow down and then he somehow becomes very subtle with the way he moves his camera around but never loses track of what these guys are saying. I can’t say that there are too many moments where we get to understand these guys from the inside and outs but for a survival action flick, I can definitely say that these characters felt like real-life people rather than just the usual side-character in an action flick that nobody cares about.

My only problem with this was that when they started getting all philosophical and started talking about God and faith, then it started to really ring false to me. I don’t know what it was but there was just something about a bunch of bearded dudes sitting around a fire, freezing their asses off talking about whether or not they believe in God or no that kind of made me scoff and realize that this film was aiming a little too high. I also thought that this was a little unneeded because the whole flick they don’t even make one mention of it at all but when they do, then the film becomes this huge spiritual experience where we have just about every guy cursing God. Hey, I don’t mind a flick when it tries to be more than a just mindless action flick, but don’t try and get too serious with me.

Another problem I had with this flick wasn’t so much of the flick itself rather it being the advertising itself. Everybody who saw the trailers for this flick knew that there would be some sort of stand-off between Neeson and the wolves, when in reality, that sort of happened and sort of didn’t. I don’t want to get into any specifics and give anything away but it was always in the back of my mind the whole time so that once I got disappointed, the disappointment was sort of in the back of my mind as well. Also, knowing that this is a Neeson action flick that is made mostly for him, we all know that he has to basically live out all of the crazy events considering that he is the main star and basically it’s just like you’re watching people die left-and-right as if it was a slasher flick but instead of a teenager killer, it was either the wolves, snow, ice, or mother nature herself.

Being that this is an action vehicle for Liam Neeson the film really relies on him for a lot here and I have to say that this is definitely one of the better performances I have seen from him as of late. Neeson plays Ottway, who is a character that’s a little bit different from his other action heroes. He’s a lot more troubled, very depressed, and scared but also still very knowledgeable and brave which is something that Neeson pulls off perfectly in this whole flick. Neeson makes everything in this flick look so easy and it’s just great to see him playing an actual person again rather than a secret CIA dude who has a certain amount of trained skills. If this film was released in October to December, it definitely would have garnered him some buzz for Best Actor but hopefully his name will still come around this time around next year. Then again, it’s very unlikely but still, I think he should deserve some love at least. There is also a lot of other performances here given by some familiar faces I was incredibly happy to see such as Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, and many others who add a lot to their characters almost just as much as Neeson does.

Consensus: Even though it tries to aim a little higher than it should, The Grey is still an impressive survival flick from the stylized and tense hand of Joe Carnahan, that gives this film characters that we care for and the jolts and scares that work almost every time. Definitely my favorite flick of the year so far and even though that’s not saying much, I still think it was a pretty big surprise.


A Home at the End of the World (2004)

I have gay friends, however, I have never really fallen in love with one of them, and neither have I with Robin Wright Penn (dammit!).

Boyhood pals Bobby (Colin Farrell) and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) both love the same woman (Robin Wright Penn), but in different ways. (For one thing, Jonathan is gay). Yet, undaunted, they all try to make a life together — and even have a baby.

Now I have nothing against gay people. I have gay friends, and I do consider myself a pro-homosexual person. However, when it comes to films, they are kind of hit-or-miss with me, such as this one.

I’m not quite familiar with the original subject material, however I do know that is considered a great novel, and should be read by all. Gotta put that on the to-read list. But its just that this plot here could have been so much better, instead it just feels way too contrived. The writing in all honesty didn’t feel real, it seemed like these people were just acting by the way a film would have a character act out.

The film also has a huge problem with the fact that it doesn’t quite make its characters in any way, appealing to us. Farrell’s character, Bobby, throughout the whole film is basically the guy who’s just there at points, shows up, and is always just one-note, by always being depressed about god knows what. Also, Penn’s character, didn’t feel like a real person. This chick, in real life, is almost 15 years older than both of these guys, and she can’t choose one guy over the other. If that was happening to me, I would just say to hell with it, and then she can take the gay guy. Her character lacked the motivation, and we never know too much about her, other than her hair is pretty wild now and then.

I was almost actually won over by the performances in this movie. Farrell playing against type, or miscast, or whatever, came off as really stale and never really, if at all, changed during the movie. Robin Wright Penn is good as the wild, and crazy former stoner, and brings a lot to her character, even though not much is given. She’s came a long way since Jenny. The best in this film is Dallas Roberts who gives a great performance as this sad and lonely, gay man, who never really was understood by his parents at a young age so he is taking the pain now. Great performance, just wish this guy would get more material.

Consensus: Though the performances are good, there is way too many writing errors, when it comes to plot development, and characters.