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Movie Review; The Drop (2014)

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

The Drop (2014)

Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini

This “slow burner” as they say, lives up to that description, serving up a dish of cold blooded could-be-true crime drama only the faithful will enjoy watching.

If you think to yourself “yeah, thats me” because you loved Scarface or The Godfathers I, II, and III… or you can recite Goodfellas lines and do impressions of Joe Pesci asking if anyone thinks you’re funny… My friend, you’re not the type to sit through a slow burner with your mouth watering for the meal you’re about to be served. You’re a fast food mafia crime drama aficionado is what you are. No. You need to have loved Millers Crossing, or The Pledge, or the absolute classic slow burner… Blood Simple. Of course there are many more, some more recent, like the well made No Country for Old Men (incidentally, by the same brothers Coen who penned Blood Simple AND Millers Crossing- so they’re good at it), and surely more that fall in line with the theme of this film- but ye who knoweth, knoweth what I speak of.

You aren’t just there for one of James Gandolfini’s last performances, nor are you there for Tom Hardy, but the fact they’re both there makes you suspect this is going to be good. And it is. For you who can appreciate it.

See it.

You’re welcome.

Movie Review; Calvary (2014)

August 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Calvary (2014)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh

Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly
You who are not reading, may notice I’m taking a little more care in offering information here.
It’s because this is one of those rare films that should be taken better care of. This is one of the finer ones. This, is one of the few, that capture an essence, a quality, of life, and the living, that is seldom seen reaching the screen, or then appreciated once there- but that is another matter.
Brendan Gleeson does not amaze in that he delivers his excellent form of the art he’s given to. It seems he was made for this, and these parts. So that you could witness things you might otherwise not in your life, he is there, doing what he does in the way he does it. A quality not reached until the midpoint or latter points of films like In Bruges , where you see the reason why it’s him, there before you selected for this part- because he can do that, then there, at this point or that… well here the moment lives from the time light hits the screen, until the credits close. Was it written for him? It may be so, but it would be no less brilliant a film than it is if I were to find it was.
I’ll say it now- If you value a film that’s a cut above- that captures life in that way done by the likes of Iñárritu in Amorres Perros and the other two thirds of that masterpiece, and others that do not come to mind at this time- the ones that most people walk out of the theatre rejecting for the simple reason they’re too steeped in the every day denial of what life really is- for their own sense of self preservation or their lack of ability to see the beauty in it still with it’s stark truth laid bare… If you’re one of those people who can appreciate it all and recognize that it’s only really beautiful with the blood and guts left in, than it is the lie without… then see this film. You’ll be glad you did.
I say it now because as I go on there may be spoilers and you might want to save the experience for later.
See it, if not for the simple enjoyment of the performances by these great new character actors supporting Mr. Gleeson in his delivery of the overall message, or messages of this film- then for the rest, like when Aidan Gillen first hits you with the free flow of that wickedness he’s holding back in Game of Thrones, you know you love it, or when Kelly Reilly shows up and melts those susceptible to the fair ginger beauties of that land, or when Killian Scott shows up and captures the moment in that character he’s taken on- you just have to know, if you can figure him out, what’s next? When Isaach De Bankolé says anything and you just want to listen what he might mean with that squinty eyed delivery of his, or when Chris O’Dowd takes you further from remembering his IT Crowd days with every laugh evoked, or Dylan Moran‘s deeply troubled performance- see it. See it for them all. See it and if you appreciate these kinds of films, the ones you would go to the Angelika or Sunshine for… You won’t regret it.
No spoilers, but I was afraid.
If you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about with any of this, or the movies or shows I’m referring to, skip it. You won’t enjoy it and you’ll only have uninformed gibberish to squawk about when asked about it- so do the film a favor and don’t see it. Don’t influence anyone else not to see it, becaus eyou can’t grasp it. There’s nothing wrong with you- it’s just you shouldn’t go where you don’t belong. That’s all.
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Movie Review; Sin City, A Dame to Die For

August 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Sin City, A Dame to Die For (2014)

See it.

Worth the twenty bucks, I’d say, if you’re a fan of the Sin City genre with it’s noir-ist animated graphic novel come to life imagery and the campy pulp style of writing that went terribly wrong in the follow up to the original… whatever the name of that waste of time was.

See it if you like laughing at the over the top action- Mickey Rourke doing what he does best in the best way possible to capture it on film… kicking ass in again, a campy over the top manner.

See it, if you’ve said to yourself, “you know what I’d love, a black and white movie that shows me as much of Eva Green’s perfect tits as I can handle”. Well this is the film for you, because even if you don’t particularly like Eva Green (I happen to), those breasts I’m sure you will agree, are nearly perfect. In fact, they’re on screen so much, they should have their own script credit.

All kidding aside I did enjoy this movie very much. The adult kids out there like myself will no doubt love it too. If I had to critique it on some level, it would be the storyline/ the order in which they chose to tell the story. I have not read this graphic novel if there was one- but for me, it didn’t play as smoothly as it might for those who had, if it is true to that work. It seems we went somewhere else in the middle of the movie, and through that time I asked myself more than once- uhm, what about you know who and how does this all play into his story… and when are we getting back to that by the way?? Director Robert Rodriguez, of Desperado fame, might have done something better with that I think. I did go in for a long blink, if you know what I mean, during Powers Booth’s last little speech… now, was that for the writing or for PB’s lack of appeal in my opinion? I couldn’t tell ya. But I did feel my attention wain during his other scenes as well.

Overall I’d say, again, see it. It was fun and it does the original justice.

 

 

Movie Review; Wish I Was Here (2014)

IMDB Link

Zach Braff surrounds himself with three of the most beautiful faces in Holywood, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon and Kate Hudson, a gargantuan favorite of nostalgic move fans, Mandy Patankin of My Name Is Inigo Montoya You Killed My Father and more recently Homeland fame, tying the knot tightly with the comedic turned dramatic talent Josh Gad, and he seals the deal on his latest people living real life drama…

No secret, I loved all of Zach’s movies. Expecting from the previews of this film that he finally pushed the cart over the hill to find the chasm of failure we all expect of such good writing and character portrayal, much like that of M. Night Shaymalan history, but it shall not be his fate this time around. If anything Braff caught me off guard with a weakness I hold close to the vest, the difficult father/ son story. There was mention of it I think, in a synopsis I might have read- but I didn’t expect it to be so impactful- perhaps for the strength of the acting, the smart writing keeping you right there in the story and only with the story, not letting you waiver for one moment… but I found myself wiping a tear here and there.

Some might find it difficult to watch if they’ve mourned recently, but they may also find it cathartic and healing. With the complete risk of sounding cliche, you will laugh, you will cry and you will find yourself routing for the characters in this film, unless you are cynical heartless fool- which many think I am actually.

I’m glad I didn’t let this one go out of theatres before seeing it. Worth the price of admission, I’d say it’s a five star for the Braff afficionado, and 3-4 for those uninformed of the talent outside of his work in Scrubs.

 

Notes:

Great seeing old Scrubs pal Donald Faison and a host of other famous friends make appearances that took nothing from the theme of the movie at all.

 

More war anyone?

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Sitting around the thanksgiving table this year, that may be a question we hear. The Korea’s opened up on each other yesterday apparently, I’m hearing on the news today. Will we stay out of it? Likely not- we have “posts” there, about 38 at a glance. Some listed are closed when clicked on and the information quickly skimmed. They are occupied anywhere from 1500 to 6000 personnel both civilian and military- again, at a glance.

If the very secretive, very scary, very cultish (if not all propoganda) North Korea decides to nuke the South… many Americans will die. And of course, many good human beings otherwise.

It’s shocking to me that conflicts like this are still going on in modern civilization. But again, I have to remind myself of the other jargon I like to spit- that all of us, human beings, are just animals with clothes on. Civilization, is a quaint past-time, but by no means is it a standard we can absolutely adhere to.

Let’s all kill a large bird, bleed it out, gut it, stuff it, cook it, dress up real cute, sit around a table with forks and knives, and smile as we clink our glasses together and give thanks, all civilized, pretending the whole time we arent the beasts of ignorance we really are.

Oh wait, our pretense si so much more secure and equally hypocritical because in our “civilization” we have managed to seperate the necessary killing from the dinner table quite well. There will be no blood on the table, or even in the kitchen, because it’s all left miles away at the slaughterhouse.

Delicious.

I’m watching a documentary called Wartorn last night, feeling indebted to our veterans as I learn about the history of PTSD and the long examined, but unmentionable effects of war on the human mind. A barrier of understanding that I surprisingly cannot cross. I can’t empathize. I’m usually very good at putting myself in someone else’s shoes. Understanding, even if outside my personal experience, the feelings another must feel in their own. But here, I can’t?

I wonder if it’s because I really am the sociopath I suspect myself to be, or is it simply because I just don’t know the experience of killing another human being, or witnessing the disembodiment of another human being, in a moment converted from a living breathing being having a conversation with me, into a bag of bloody meat lying at my side?

I don’t know, and legally, I have no way of finding out I suppose, but no matter. More importantly I thought to myself, as they come to the same conclusion in the film, that maybe the problem isn’t so much the killing (my insensitivity speaking), but the reintegration to this society so dull and far removed from the visceral needs of survival.

Like caging the beast in a zoo… it is no longer a wild animal, and you can see, after a while, something you admired, dies in its eyes.

I think of hypnosis, and why they aren’t implementing hypnotic tools for separating the “civilized” mind from the animal mind needed in combat? A hypnotic suggestion could protect the soldier from the ravages of PTSD simply by creating a partition in the mind the soldier can go in and out of like a room when needed.

We do this on our own every day anyway. When we go to work each day, most of us at least, we don a set of rules and behaviors we would not bother with if in familiar and informal company. We behave certain ways with family that we do not with friends. The soldier’s main problem is coming home and hanging out with the family, kids, having witnessed and in many cases done things that they recognize as actions that their family, and society would admonish them for if they would have seen them do it.

The soldier’s conscious is one of the main problems.

Hypnotic suggestion can create a wall between what they do there, and life here. Because god knows with what they do to represent this capitalist twisted greedy privatized racist classist hypocrite government of or for anything but the people- they don’t deserve a living nightmare afterwards.

But anyway, the point really is, the question… North Korea, and of course by association, China, since we know they are backed by that superpower… Is it here we go again?

If so, and they don’t take steps to fight this war through smaller entities, such as the U.S. and U.S.S.R. did with Afghanistan during the cold war, then guess what folks… we’re fucked. This one will be too big to shield us, here behind our fatty foods, movie loving, media whoring, bullshit talking, blogging, wasted life- walls of ignorance.

So we may all, or at least more of us, save for the extremely wealthy of course- know what PTSD really feels like soon enough. Sociopath or not.

Life in the circus continues.

 

 

 

Weekend Movie Reviews

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

127 Hours

Well I’d rather cut my arm off rather than tell anyone where I’m going. If you see this movie, you’ll see, you’ll probably have to.

The spin is- Appreciate your life and your loved ones and bla bla bla. The undeniable moral of the story is (if you don’t get sucked into the media “think as we tell you to think” marketing campaign), if you’re a dick, you’ll find your way to punishing yourself for it. Psychologically (my favorite thing about humanity), this is true for everyone. They want you to come away from this with such admiration for the guy’s resolve and dedication to staying alive- but I say unto you, isn’t it obvious that he wouldn’t be in that situation had he not been a dick?

So, come away with it having the knowledge that if you want to be a dick, at least be careful about it because you may end up stuck in a crevice and have to cut your own arm off to survive. A cell phone, a GPS or Satellite phone, something many outdoorsmen carry in their packs, shit, a senior citizens health alert or just letting your Onstar know that you’ll be hiking in the outback and if you don’t report back in such and such time- bingo, no self amputations necessary.

“A Triumphant true Story”… of a dick, and his having to cut his own arm off to have to realize it.

Otherwise, as a movie it’s a good piece of work.

The Messenger

By contrast, these men are not dicks. They, the subjects, are heroes. Did this movie win awards? I don’t know. I think it did and it should have. I remember wanting to see it when it was in theatres, but like so many movies, for so many reasons, I didn’t. Well it came to cable this week and I made it a point to catch it. It’s powerful and it brings into the experience of our troops in both a unique and universal way.

As someone who missed many an opportunity to serve in the armed forces, some by choice others by negligence, and the first time, by strong physical influence of a friend who put me up against a wall, lifted me off the ground by my shirt and said he’d kill me if I followed in his footsteps, just after he came back from Paris Island-  I will always live with the regret and underlying feeling that I not only want to do something… as well as that primal urge to kill something we all have (don’t lie), and of course, an unwavering respect for those who take up the call to duty whether by choice or necessity. 

Thats me. I am a pig. And I acknowledge that I owe my right and privilege to be a pig in this country to those men and women who put their lives on the line, and lets be clear, the line they put their lives on is the first line, the line on the edge of what is, and makes possible, everything that we call life and society that can exist behind that line they stand on. Without them standing there, going where they are unjustifiably sent, surviving it the best way they can and dieing… we cannot have what we have, because we would be overrun and slaughtered like the fat, lazy, uneducated and unconscionable Americans we have settled into being. Again, that’s me and how I feel. You may be more or less by margins I can only imagine- and I feel I owe so much more, but at least, I owe those brave soldiers the respect of sitting down and taking in a work like this so to better understand their experience. In the end it’s just about all they want, and all they can have of us, the people behind the lines who enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice.

You, whoever you are, however good you have it or however hard, should at least, sit down and try to understand  too. At least.

It’s a deeply compelling movie and the acting is captivating. The actors themselves are among the very best in their craft and a complete pleasure to watch.

 

Change is good they say?

Well let’s see how this change in theme works out. I liked Hemmingway. It was dark and serious like me. But this one caught my eye today. Lets see what happens.