Korea comes out with some pretty good action thrillers when they want… MoreKorea comes out with some pretty good action thrillers when they want to. Decently choreographed and with a story that isn't all that foreign from fans of the genre, think Leon the Professional, The Man From Nowhere really fits a lot in during its two hour time frame. While the acting tends to venture on the silly side from some of the supporting cast, the main actor isn't asked to stray much with his emotions as the hardened ex-military-cop-turned-pawn-shop-owner. There are some good hand-to-hand combat scenes with a little more gunplay than the former, but when it comes to gangster flicks from the East, it's pretty solid. With plenty of revenge to fuel the film, outside it's brief slowdown about an hour in and an unclear bad guy from the first act, it settles in nicely with emotion and grit for any art house adventure flick.
Fury gives you one of the most accurate and realistic portrayals of… MoreFury gives you one of the most accurate and realistic portrayals of WWII through the eyes of a tank sergeant and his crew fighting the final stages of the war in Germany. Brad Pitt leads a great cast of Pena, LaBeouf, Lerman and Bernthal. With most of the screen time devoted to them, I'll stick to analyzing each performance.
Pitt wasn't quite the caricature he was in Inglorious Bastards, but he still breeds that hard shell, tough-guy demeanor with a soft inside when he needs to be. His delivery is always on point and he really gives you goosebumps when commanding his troops. One of the top actors in the world.
LaBeouf gives one of his best performances I've seen. Not only did I hear he took out his own tooth, scratched up his own face and not shower for authenticity, it felt like he used all the craziness in his life to bring life into this character on screen.
Michael Pena fell into a more stereotypical role. We've seen him in serious stuff before like End of Watch. They use his Mexican heritage for some humor, and this is where the movie breathes from all the heavy action.
John Bernthal was the craziest of them all. His face showed incredible detail, and when Pitt's character called him an animal at the beginning, you really feel like he was one of the guys who never had anything better to do back in the USA, which is why he was over there fixing tanks and loading shells.
Finally, Logan Lerman. The young pup. The new guy. As much as this movie is told through Pitt's direction, Lerman really feels like the story catalyst as you watch him grow from a kid wet behind the ears to a stone cold killer of Nazis. Not that it was abrupt in a two hour and 15 minute movie, but the closest movie I see in Fury is Saving Private Ryan. Unlike how Spielberg really made Matt Damon's character feel like there was a real mission (and worth) saving him, I feel most people watching Fury were hoping for a different outcome in the end on who lives and who dies.
The tank fights were pretty sweet, and you get a great idea of just how superior the Germans' tanks were in one fight when it's four American tanks on one German tank. The bloodshed was top notch and the weaponry stayed true. The few character building scenes we had worked well enough, but it stayed mostly in the present, as in during WWII and the crews time together. We never really get a good back story on any of them.
Overall, Fury will make you cringe, make you jump, make you laugh (just briefly) and really make you wonder just how five men fit inside one of those beasts and stayed a family for as long as they did.
Can't get enough of these kinds of movies that involve one lead… MoreCan't get enough of these kinds of movies that involve one lead character pressed for time on a mission. It is a roller coaster ride through and through. Patrick Wilson does a great job making it work as the driver down on his luck who comes to a realization throughout his journey he has the spine to come out on top in the crunch. A super solid supporting cast led by the craziest role I have seen Chris Pine in to date. Ed Helms, Brooklyn Decker and Jessica Alba all had minor, but pivotal roles. With actors like this, and yes I am including Decker because I feel she has done decent work for the films I have seen her in, you can make it through some of the slow parts. There were some good cameos and one thread of the story left without a conclusion of who the driver of the rival company was, but the main storyline stayed true with some enjoyable speed bumps along the way that didn't deter from the end result.
Runner Runner is a thrown together gambling caper that feels more like… MoreRunner Runner is a thrown together gambling caper that feels more like a soap opera for wanna-be gangsters who come off more like geeks and nerds with all the computer gambling talk than actual cut-throat offenders. I'm a big Timberlake fan both for his abilities to act and sing. It's just disappointing to see him saddled with this dialogue. There's nothing really intriguing about his character, and the concept of wanting to gamble to get his tuition just doesn't strike the kind of chord of someone who's desperate enough to get caught in this kind of trap. Ben Affleck felt like he was acting off the script, and he probably made his performance more enjoyable than if he stuck to it. The beautiful Gemma Arterton was completely mishandled as a stereotypical side-babe for the boss. It's difficult to say this could have been better with a better script, but I was never on board with it from the beginning.
Over the past few years Daniel Radcliffe has shed his Harry Potter… MoreOver the past few years Daniel Radcliffe has shed his Harry Potter skin with multiple roles in the mystery, horror and slightly romantic themed flicks. However, with Horns, I'm happy he decided to stick one foot in the fantasy realm and the other in the drama pool. This film, like so many, is based off a book. You have to give it points for its ingenuity in the storyline. The whole theory behind his actual horns he grows is never really explained, though. There's a lot of promise, and they kept the whole angels and demons premise a little underdeveloped for how prominent it was for the characters on to the plot. There's not quite enough suspense to keep you guessing on who the killer is, but the acting keeps you tuned in just enough to make you believe what's happening means something to each character. I especially liked it when others started revealing their inner most secrets and desires when he started growing the horns and he was in their presence. Most of us watched Radcliffe transform and grow on screen with HP, but with Horns, we may have found his most adult film yet in the progression. Even if the movie, or him, haven't quite hit full potential yet.
Liam Neeson has launched himself quite a second-coming in the action… MoreLiam Neeson has launched himself quite a second-coming in the action genre over the last few years. On the surface, everyone should expect nothing different from prior roles with the grittiness and somber tones and heavy gun play we are accustomed to seeing from him. However, it's a nice change to have more of a detective role that involves the mind more than the fists in 'A Walk'. I wouldn't necessarily call it one of his best films to recent memory, but there's enough here for the Liam Neeson fan to enjoy his typical swagger. The problem lies in the pace. It's a little slow and a little too long getting to some of the main highlights of the plot line. For the star quality Neeson brings these days, the supporting cast wasn't up to snuff, but it could have been worse. The boy who plays TJ being the standout amongst the others who fall into a typical second-tier actor role. At first I thought the film would be darker and more sinister, but it doesn't quite delve into that style and stays at a nice even keel to keep most types of viewers interested.
Jason Bateman turns in a pretty enjoyable performance as both director… MoreJason Bateman turns in a pretty enjoyable performance as both director and star in 'Bad Words'. It's nice seeing something a bit different with the spelling bee being the main environment for this film. It offers up new comedy bits and jokes we haven't heard before, but unfortunately, Bateman also relies heavily on the bad words, pun intended, to move most of those jokes. Hearing it from the little kid provokes a chuckle, and the relationship between the kid and Bateman is nicer than you think it would be. Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, and Philip Baker Hall add a little heft to the cast, which is nice that it wasn't all no names or filled entirely with children. Some of the pranks were pretty good, but there was a fine line between being downright evil compared to mean but still laughable. Overall, most may think this is a knock on the institution of spelling bees in general, but other than making fun of the idea, it really didn't seem like the overall point of the film.
The Two Faces of January left a pretty average taste in my mouth.… MoreThe Two Faces of January left a pretty average taste in my mouth. Nothing outstanding with it outside the location it was shot in. The acting is quality from the trio of Mortensen, Dunst and Isaac. Reminiscent of the old 50's/60's romance caper flicks. It almost felt like this movie just scratched the surface of what it really could have been if the story would have gone deeper into the relationships and really given us background on Isaac's character especially. It's very stylish. Usually when Mortensen does a flick, it's rare and tailored to something he specifically wants to associate with. He's known for his independent endeavors more-so than the big budget mammoths outside of LOTR. It paced well and ended with a sad tone. However, there's a small uplifting when Isaac's character walks off screen and the real message of the film is delivered for these complicated characters. Not really sure what the title has to do with the movie.
This is a really good localized crime drama situated in Brooklyn. But… MoreThis is a really good localized crime drama situated in Brooklyn. But it's not just Brooklyn. It's one single bar and a small strip of a neighborhood. I really liked they decided to keep the setting small. You get a great feel for how these characters live in the short time you see them outside the focal point of the film through quick cuts and assumed interaction.
Tom Hardy is absolutely great. He's a very strong actor with a very strong look. No blinking at all. A real hard ass. As for the late James Gandolfini, he plays the classic failed gangster who had to succumb to a bigger threat. Now, he's struggling to get his name back to the level it once was. Noomi Rapace does a good job here, too. The aloof love interest and convenient neighbor.
This movie had good pacing, a great script and really didn't have much clutter. The entire time, you've got this feeling the character Hardy plays has something hidden underneath his exterior, but you can't quite put your thumb on it. The film certainly does it's best to try and give it away subtly, but you won't notice. Don't blink.
Caradog James (what a name) gives us a debut worthy of one of the best… MoreCaradog James (what a name) gives us a debut worthy of one of the best CGI science fiction flicks since anything involving Tom Cruise. The Machine might not be as in depth or as long as something you'd be accustomed to with a Cruise film, but there is plenty on the surface with just enough digging up the top soil to find a good product.
Former James Bond villain Toby Stephens is the genius engineer who along with an American scientist of the same intellect, breed the first conscious AI program. It's actually a pretty violent beginning for the machine, who is played expertly by Caity Lotz. She needs the CGI and audio dub to really make her robot self come to life, but it's seamless.
As for the rest of the cast, many of the no-names act their part with a bit of a Total Recall, Blade Runner bad guy in Denis Lawson, who was in Star Wars as one of the pilots in the X-Wings I found out!
It gets a tad heavy on the emotional stuff, but that's mainly because this film is trying to find an even balance between a new world order, action, and emotion production all in one with robots.
If the movie could have expanded into more of the real world, you're probably looking at a fully fleshed out mega movie. Instead, we're left with a pretty satisfying independent feel that plays it somewhat safe with a harrowing ending.