The Sway brothers come from a single parent home, one that is so poor,… MoreThe Sway brothers come from a single parent home, one that is so poor, that they have to be left unsupervised. Often times, they go exploring in the woods behind their trailer, but on this particular day, they run into another person, a man intent on killing himself. When young Mark (Brad Renfro) interferes, the man takes him prisoner and before taking his own life, he opens up to the boy about some things he never should have told anyone. Mark calls the police and ultimately lies to them, the way any kid would, but they know it and when the FBI comes into the investigation, the smart twelve year old decides it's time for him to go out and find a lawyer. It took me a long time to watch this film because as a fan of John Grisham, I prefer to read his books before I see his films. As is the case in the Client, a lot of those films are directed by Joel Shumacher, who remains true to the story and produces a tremendous movie. After a nationwide search, Brad Renfro was selected to star in the first role of his brief, but brilliant career. Renfro unfortunately died of a drug overdose fourteen years later, but was well on his way to becoming a superstar. Even in his very first performance, you could see that this kid had what it takes to star in a film like this and really held his own with the all-star cast. Here he's paired with Susan Sarandon, who despite her reputation is often times someone I find unimpressive. She can be fantastic, but rarely seems to fit the roles she's cast in, but not here. As Mark's lawyer, Reggie Love, Sarandon portrays one of her most interesting characters to date and gives a flawless performance. The Client is a story written by one of America's favorite novelists, and what makes Grisham's stories so good is the fact that he is a lawyer, so everything is accurate as well as exciting. Together with a terrific cast, the Client had all the action, twists, and turns a fantastic court room drama should have. This story may have been a little more out there than some of Grisham's other films, nevertheless it is still a film that will hold your interest and keep you on the edge of your seat.
On paper, The Good Shepherd is a can't miss film. I mean how could you… MoreOn paper, The Good Shepherd is a can't miss film. I mean how could you go wrong with a film about the beginnings of the C.I.A., directed by Robert De Niro, and starring multiple Academy Award Winners? I was really excited about finally sitting down to watch this three hour epic, the critics raved about, but sadly, it the case of the Good Shepherd, it was the user reviews that were spot on. Matt Damon portrays one of the C.I.A.'s top agents, a man whose life revolves around his work. The story is based on an investigation into what went wrong during the Bay of Pigs invasion, while at the same time flashing back to how Damon's character got his start in the spy agency. We see everything from his childhood trauma's to his recruitment in college, his actions in World War II, and everything else he did leading up to the Bay of Pigs. Matt Damon was absolutely the perfect choice to play Agent Edward Wilson, as his natural personality was a perfect fit for the characters. If Damon wasn't good enough, he's surrounded by a cast of Hollywood legends that any film would be hard pressed to duplicate, so why the low rating? Even the premise of the film was excellent, but it's downfall is in the story itself. The Good Shepherd is over three hours long and easily feels like it was double that, as the film moves at an absolute snails pace. While the story and the actors were phenomenal, the film itself is done in such a way that it's one long conversation after another, with little if any action in between. Every time an angle is built up, we're sent to the other part of the story and simply have to assume the conclusion, without actually seeing it. The lack of resolution wasn't the only issue, as the film's large cast comes back to haunt it. There are so many people in this movie that are all dressed the same, who all act the same, and who all look the same. I couldn't keep track of who was who. While the Good Shepherd has the makings of an award winning film, the truth is that everyone behind the scenes blew it. This film is much too long, much too slow, and much too confusing to ever be enjoyable, and personally I think it is one of the biggest disappointments to come along in a very long time.
Lobbyists represent everything that is wrong with our country. Instead… MoreLobbyists represent everything that is wrong with our country. Instead of voting for the common good of the people, they are paid in voters and campaign contributions, to vote the way big business wishes them to vote. The result is laws that benefit the few and hurt the many. Thank You For Smoking takes an in depth look at one of these lobbyists, who works for big tobacco. In a satirical way, the film shows how this man is able to achieve his companies goals through bending the facts, bribery, and out right lying in a way that is completely legal under our system of government. Aaron Eckhart is terrific, which will come as little surprise to many, however the film was anything but. Like most films, Thank You For Smoking has it's moments, but overall the film is one short scene that just repeats it's self over and over again. The situations are different and the players are different, but the arguments and agendas are always the same. After watching two hours of the same thing over and over again, I was more than done with this film. No matter how charismatic the actor may be, the fact is that what lobbyists do isn't terribly interesting. It's one meeting and argument after another and the film just completely runs around in circles. The film was critically acclaimed for Eckhart's performance, but nothing else. Some critics think that one outstanding performance makes a film worth seeing, but I don't. Aaron Eckhart is an outstanding actor, who has been great in many other films that are worth seeing. Thank You For Smoking is nothing more than an insult to the American people, that runs forty minutes too long, and just goes around in circles, it's not something I'd recommend wasting your time on.
Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) is known for taking ideas… MoreDirector Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) is known for taking ideas presented in short stories and turning them into something magical for the big screen. The Host is loosely based on Robert Silverberg's classic, Passengers, and tells the story of aliens who come to earth and use human beings as host bodies. Once inside, the aliens replace their humans consciousness for their own purposes, but some are able to resist this process and even control their alien host. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is one of those people, and while she can't rid herself of the alien presents inside of her, she can control it. Saoirse Ronan stars and it is great to finally see her in a movie that is worth while. Ronan is one of the top young actresses in Hollywood, but she keep playing roles like Hanna, in terrible films that do little more than to allow her to show off her talent. In those films, she was the only thing worth watching, so putting her in a film that's actually good, really gave her the opportunity to shine and she was amazing. Ronan played the role of Melanie, trapped in her own body but also played the alien Wanda that was inside of her. Once gaining control of Wanda, Melanie seeks out her family, which are part of the resistance. He main love interest is played by Max Irons, who was also terrific. Known more as a model and background character, this was really one of his first starring roles, and he was fantastic, playing a man caught between his love for this girl and his hatred for the alien inhabiting her. The Host has it all, an alien race, chasing a fugitive on the run, leading up to a major dilemma, wrapped inside a love story. Silverberg's Passenger is a favorite of mine and I knew with Andrew Niccol at the helm that this was going to be a good film, but I had no idea how innovative and intense the story would be, and for that, The Host is the latest film to join our list of must see movies.
In 1996, Wes Craven came up with an new and innovative concept in… MoreIn 1996, Wes Craven came up with an new and innovative concept in horror. He combined a great slasher film, within a murder mystery, while having teenagers mock horror films at the same time. That film was called Scream and it was way ahead of it's time. In 2011, Detention tried to modernize this type of film and fails miserably. Detention is set at Grizzly Lake High School, a school which encompasses everything that is wrong with teenage life today. With a new hit horror film at the top of the box office, one person, who has had enough of the hip/trendy high school life, decides to make the film come to life at Grizzly Lake. This film mocks every modern teenage trend to the point of being offense. The film mocks everything from teens use of social media and cell phones to goths, cutters, emos, bullying, and even teen suicide. The killer on the loose is almost an afterthought in a film that is just in really bad taste. Josh Hutcherson stars as the most popular kid in school, and it is completely unbelievable that the most wanted boy at school is played by a short, hairy kid, with a bad attitude, who happens to be in his twenties. I usually like the roles Hutch decides to play, as they usually suit him to a tee, but Clapton Davis was never meant to be played by someone like him and it's painfully obvious. Hutch is paired with newcomer, Shanley Caswell, an unlucky teenager who often tries and fails to kill herself. She's a super emo outcast, who no one believe would ever be the target of a killer. Overall, Detention is a very mediocre slasher film under the veil of an even lazier comedy. Much like one of it's stars, Dane Cook, Detention tries much too hard to be funny. Comedy should be a natural thing, resulting from unusual events. The writers of this film put so many different types of people into such ridiculous circumstances, that what's supposed to be funny, comes across as stupid, impossible, and downright offensive. Despite the way it looks, Detention isn't even close to being as good as Scream and is most definitely a film you should avoid.
Impostor is one of the lesser known stories by the master of Science… MoreImpostor is one of the lesser known stories by the master of Science Fiction, Philip K. Dick. It is so unknown, that one of his biggest fans, didn't even realize that this film was based on a story by Dick, until I saw it in the credits. As usual, the story is out of this world, as it takes place in the distance future, a future where the Earth is at war with an alien species. This species has the ability to clone humans in such a realistic way, that it is nearly impossible to detect them. Special military investigator, Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio), is tasked with figuring out who has been replaced. On the eve of a big announcement by the President, Hathaway intercepts a transmission claiming that her top military adviser, Dr. Spencer Olham (Gary Sinise), has been replaced. When Hathaway confronts Olham, he claims to have no knowledge of this, and unlike previous replicates, he has memories. As Hathaway prepares to eliminate Olham, he escapes to the surface, where he teams up with the exiled citizens who live there. Together they try to prove Olham's innocence, while avoiding being captured by Hathaway. Vincent D'Onofrio stars as Hathaway, and much like his role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent his intensity and determination are infectious. He's paired with Gary Sinise, an actor I'm always disappointed to see in a leading role, and whom always manages to surprise me with a great performance. He isn't what I'd call an action star, and may not have been ideal for the role of Olham, but he was very believable. Impostor was only one of Dick's short stories, but it is every bit as good as his better known works, which of course include; Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report. If you want to see a unique story that blends Science Fiction, Drama, and Action, look no further than Impostor.
In 2010, Sylvester Stallone has the idea to take every current and… MoreIn 2010, Sylvester Stallone has the idea to take every current and former action star, and put them into a series of movies. The goal was to create the biggest, wildest, most expensive action movies ever made, and have them feature every big name action star from the past 30 years. The studio was so much behind the idea, that not only did they give Stallone a huge budget, but they also approved a sequel, before the first film was even in theaters. It took me 5 years to watch this movie, because I honestly didn't think it was going to work. There is an old saying about having too many cooks in the kitchen, and while trying to include everyone was admirable, I couldn't imagine it working, I was wrong. Stallone leads a freelance para-military organization known as the expendables. These guys work for the highest bidder and do things the government can't. In the first installment of the now billion dollar franchise, the expendables are tasked with stopping a coup on a Caribbean island. If the rival organization takes control, the island would be the largest manufacture of illegal narcotics in the world, and would be impossible to stop, enter the expendables. Sylvester Stallone may be a senior citizen now and still somewhat hard to understand, but when it comes to action movies, you'd be hard pressed to find a better leader. His second in command is currently the largest action star in the world, Jason Statham. Even after seeing hundreds of action movies, including most of Statham's, the guy continues to impress me at every turn. All the strange accents make for an interesting mix of dialogue, but that aside, the story is good, the fight scenes are better, and the special effects are amazing. The Expendables was billed as THE action film to see and it does not disappoint.
Movies like Extracted, have such potential, however mistakes in the… MoreMovies like Extracted, have such potential, however mistakes in the story often become their downfall. Extracted is the story of a scientist who has developed a new technology, that allows him to temporary transfer his consciousness to another person. Once inside their head, he can see their memories and know their feelings. Of course the Government is interested in this technology for criminal justice purposes and pay the scientist to go into the mind of a murder suspect, to find out if he's guilty or not. Once inside, the scientist becomes trapped and must figure out a way to make the suspect aware of his presents, before he can figure a way out. The problem I had with this story is that the scientist becomes trapped the very first time he uses his invention. What scientist would ever use themselves as the guinea pig? Additionally, are we supposed to believe that the government would just drop a bundle of money on an untested technology? Once inside the mans head, we constantly see memories out of order and jump between scientist memories, suspect memories, and what's going on in the outside world, making for a very confusing film. Dominic Bogart stars as the suspect and really does a nice job, however the scientist, played by Sasha Roiz wasn't nearly as believable. Extracted had a great story to work with, but a mediocre star, with a confusing timeline, making it nearly impossible to follow. I loved the premise, the investigation was interesting, and Dominic Bogart was really good, but all those things weren't enough to save an otherwise confusing and uneven film.
I have always loved Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. I… MoreI have always loved Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. I have seen literally dozens of adaptations of it and I still find it to be one of the greatest things ever written. All American Christmas Carol is a redneck take on the story, and while it wasn't a bad film, it wasn't what I thought it would be. Cindy (Taryn Manning) is a single mother, who has three kids from three different men, and she's not even thirty. Her drunken, partying life style doesn't even cover the bills to keep her three kids, Harley (Tristan Lake Leabu), Skoal, and Cheese Doodle in their trailer. Her life and family are headed for disaster, when Harley's father, aptly named Jake Marley, dies in a paintball accident. After the funeral those three ghosts we all know and love show up and try to put Cindy on the right path. This film was unrated and had all the makings of another terrific raunchy Christmas film. I was expecting Bad Santa, instead I got it's Duck Dynasty-esq PG-13 cousin. Kill Theories, Taryn Manning stars and she was great, she was far more believable than any of the ghosts and really made you feel for her character. The other stand out in the film is young Tristan Lake Leabu, who plays her oldest son, Harley. Harley is the man of the house at the ripe old age of 13. With the hilarious redneck antics going on around him, it's hard to remember that he's doing a man's job at a child's age. Leabu played the both sides of this character and did so with the ease of an actor far beyond his years. This is not your typical Christmas Carol, it's not all that raunchy either, but for it was, I was pretty entertaining. I wish they had taken it to the next level and really gone all out with the comedy, but still it didn't take that much away from the film. Rednecks let this film be a warning to you, if you don't do more than drink and have sex, the ghosts of loved ones passed will haunt you and it will be hilarious.
With their daughter away in the peace core, Nora and Luther Krank have… MoreWith their daughter away in the peace core, Nora and Luther Krank have decided to skip Christmas this year, and take a cruise to the Caribbean. There is only one problem, their Christmas Eve party and elaborate decorations are a staple of their neighborhood, and when the neighbors find out that the family is skipping Christmas this year, they go out of their way to change their minds. This film is your typical goof ball, family, holiday film, except with a much better cast then these things typically have. The chemistry between Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis was terrific, and in my opinion make the whole thing work. Besides the big named cast, producers also included a ton of cameos from the likes of Cheech Marin, Dan Akyrod, and Felicity Huffman, just to name a few. Seeing a big name you really like, who is not listed in the credits, show up even for a small role, it always adds to the enjoyment of the film. This is not the kind of movie that is going to win any awards. It might not even be the kind of holiday film that is remembered ten years from now, but it's certainly entertaining, with some heartfelt moments, and it's good for a few cheap laughs. Christmas With The Kranks delivers everything you expect from a holiday movie, as it is something you can watch with the whole family and it will put you in the holiday spirit.