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Movie Review; A Most Wanted Man

September 14, 2014 Leave a comment

A Most Wanted Man  (2014)

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Brühl

Now I’ll admit, I wanted to see this movie, and every movie that Philip Seymour Hoffman is in, just as when he was alive, but more so because the brilliance of his acting is no longer on the same plain as ours. Though I would not have gone to the movies to see it, instead putting it on my TBD (to be downloaded), or wait for cable mental list- I thought to make the pilgrimage the way I do for James Gandolfini’s first release after his death, Enough Said, and pay the price of admission which for me is the defining point for some films these days. “Is it worth it?” you think to yourself, and you have to if you’re the frugal sort, not privileged to have the money to throw away on indulgences you can work your way around otherwise. I procrastinated I’ll admit too, since it seemed to be in limited release, or sticking to the art houses at first, but then to my surprise I saw it listed at my local theatre, a major chain in the area- so I seized the opportunity and sat down in the predictably nearly empty theatre to take in the brilliance…

I was not disappointed. But as I will do in my reviews- I WILL WARN YOU! This is a German made film apparently, if not English, with the direction of a definite German at the helm, Günther Bachmann. I am not versed as some snobs are, in the German film other than WWII propaganda I might have seen in documentaries here and there, but this definitely has a feel of a German style film, not just because it’s set in a German city. Now understand me- I enjoy German films I have seen- And I enjoy whenever a film takes you to Germany, and I happen to love the sound of the German language- so note my bias if you will. I liked this film. You might not.

As I also tend to appreciate- it adheres to life’s true bleak ire, with little romanticizing or melodrama. The briliance, and yes I will refer to it as such as many times as needed- of PSH’s acting is executed (another apt word) through the undercurrent. Not as in Capote (2005) or The Master (2012), where it is character acting if I am correct- with a bit of invention and flair the creativity runs broad along the canvas, no. Here the brilliance (yes! what!?) in in delving into the portrayal of the common, yet real word-like uncommon man. He plays a doggedly adept investigator in the war against terror, marred by past failure, and undermined by superiors as a result. You can’t get much more commonly uncommon than that.

Well he does it so well that you wonder if the character didn’t have an effect on his personal life, knowing as we all do, the details of his unfortunate passing.

So you are warned. It is a very good film, but you have to know what kind of movie you’re going to see. and now you do, because I just told you.

Recommendation; If you like what you just read- Go see it! If you have your doubts, or you categorize as I do and have less a sentimentality towards PSH, then wait. It’s OK. You’re not a bad person and you’re no less a movie lover I promise.

Oh, and Rachel McAdams looks mother fucking delicious in this movie!

OK?

Done reading? Go see a movie now!

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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; Into The Storm

Into The Storm (2014)

If one of the greatest moments of your movie watching life was the movie Twister, or if you loved the TV series The Walking Dead up to the point where the character Sarah Wayne Callies played (Laurie) met her end- or if you need some father-son, we lost mom and we’re gettin’ on but not too hard core catharsis- then here’s your movie. I was only forced to check my phone a couple times for the unnecessary line or comment, but overall it was good entertainment.

The special effects do not let you down, they are definitely awe inspiring. The action only had me asking once- why didn’t they just drive around that tree? So if there as anything else done simply to support the suspense of the story, it was held together well outside of that moment. Suspend your disbelief entirely if you can, because the most of the film employs a hand-held camera, switch back and forth style… and there will be a climactic moment you will ask yourself, if overly observant like myself- uhm, who’s filming right now? But again, you may not and it’s just me.

A simple PG-13 natural disaster action flick built around a simple wholesome family theme, with some comedy relief thrown in for good measure. If you’re taking the kids out for some “holy crap!” movie fun- I say go for it. You might even think about global warming a bit (one line in the movie devoted to the ecologically conscious), or the inspiration for the movie’s subject matter (one or two actual footage of catastrophe’s involving twisters used). But nothing too off putting for the fans of the smash and trash environmental disaster flick to worry about.

Have fun!