Sunday, March 24, 2013

Killing Them Softly (2012)

"In America your on your own"


Jackie is a enforcer for the mob brought in to clean up a local economic collapse after Three small time crooks hold up a mob protected card game.


Killing Them Softly begins with probably one of the better opening sequences that I've seen in a long time with a back and forth between a guy walking threw a dark tunnel with newly election President Barack Obama talking and intercut with the movies title cards. This is setting up the contrast of the film and real life issues with where America's economy began to fall and were they end up.

The young man Frankie (Scoot McNairy) exits the tunnel and finds himself on the streets of a still post katrina New Orleans where he meets up with his friend Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) who is walking  a bunch of stolen dogs, they have a interesting but funny back and forth talk, the two men then go see Johnny (Vincent Curatolo) who doesn't like Russell for good reason since the guy is a junkie and what he wants them to do isn't something a loose cannon junkie like Russell needs to be involved in.

Johnny tells Frankie about a mob protected card game that he wants them to knock over, which Frankie doesn't want to do because he know the mob will be coming for him, but Johnny gives Frankie a bit of security that because after they do the job the mob will know who did it even though he didn't do it because some time back Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) had one off his own games knocked over so if it ever happened again they would know that he did it.

The robbery goes off without a problem except for the fact that everyone including Markie know that the mob will come for him, which brings Jackie Coogan (Brad Pitt) to town, he is the mobs top enforcer and he always gets the job done.

This is Director Andrew Dominik's second film that I've seen The Assassination of  Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford being the first, even though I like both movies but what I think hurt both movies is that Dominik has a thing for slow pacing with little to no action in movies that should have more action, atleast in killing Them Softly the action scenes are done with some visual style one scene that comes to mind is the execution of Markie is done with style.

Brad Pitt is a joy to watch as the cool no nonsense Jackie who is the only straight forward character in the movie and sees everything for what it is and doesn't like to sugar coat anything his meeting with Frankie and the final scene between him and Richard Jenkins are perfect examples.

Dominik also has a thing of casting top caliber actors in thankless roles Sam Shepard for the second time now is vastly underused here just like he was In Assassination of Jesse James, he deserves more then that hopefully if casted again in Dominik's movie his role will have more too it instead of the show up for one scene and leave the movie never to be heard from again.

James Gandolfini character is almost pointless and unnecessary granted this is the third time he and Pitt have had paired up on the big screen and their interactions are good back and forth but Dominik seems to have fell in love with just sitting back and letting these two sit and talk and forget that he is making a movie, because both scenes with them run on way to long and don't truly go anywhere except show that Gandolfini character is screwed up.

I did like how the contrast between a card game and the economic collapse parallel but for anyone watching this movie who didn't or don't follow politics that closely watching the movie will have that undercurrent go right over their heads.


Brad Pitt- Jackie

Scoot McNairy- Frankie

James Gandolfini- Micky

Ben Mendelsohn- Russell

Richard Jenkins- Driver

Sam Shepard- Dillon

Ray Liotta- Markie Trattman

All in all Killing Them Softly is worth a watch because of Brad Pitt's performance and for a few cool action scenes but other then that I see why the movie didn't do will when it was released maybe it will do better on DVD only time will tell there. I like Andrew Dominik as a director but I hope going forward he will kinda reign himself in with his story telling style.


Top 10 Actors True Comeback Roles

The title might throw some people off so let me example it, This post will be about actors who have made comebacks in movies that they aren't necessarily considered their comeback roles but movie roles that I look at as being their true claim back to fame  that helped get them the role that made them big stars again if it wasn't for these little under the rader movies/performances

10. Patrick Dempsey 

He came along at a time when teen comedies were really a good thing in Hollywood and thanks to movies like Can't Buy Me Love, Loverboy, Mobsters and a few other movies of the late 80s and early 90s Patrick Dempsey was a teen star with a bright future ahead until like most teen stars their star started to fall and his fall was a steady one, with films like Run(which I actually like),which was released the same year as Mobster which is look at his final hit film after that he had a couple of misses that one even thinks about.

In 1995 he pops up in Outbreak as the first victim of the plague that was brought to american thanks to his pet monkey, and just like his character Dempsey career died, and then he resurfaced in 2000 as Det. Mark Kincaid  In Scream 3, which I look as being his true comeback after being out of the mainstream since 91' really, even though it was the second sequel to the hugely popular slasher franchise it was the a success and it put him back on the map.

I know must people like to believe that because in 2005 he finally struck it big with a starring role in Grey's Anatomy as Dr.Derek "Mcsteamy" Shepard that, its his true come back but to me Scream 3 is his real come back role.

9. Betty White

Betty White is kind of a tough one when it comes to comebacks since she has been steadily working since the early 50s and hasn't lost her star power along the way, with successful Television shows most notably The Mary Tyler Moore Show,The Love Boat, Empty Nest, and The Golden Girls) but after The Golden Girls ended in 1992 she still kept busy but she wasnt doing anything on the level of those shows, her first return to me was in the 1998 action/disaster flick Hard Rain where she plays an old woman who doesn't want to leave her home because the town is flooding which I look at as a precursor to her true comeback which came a year later.

In 1999's monster flick Lake Placid Co-Starring with Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, and Oliver Platt a movie about a giant Crocodile that is terrorizing a small town, on paper the movie could've easily been a throw away but it became a huge hit and spawn lesser sequels, but one of the shining things about Lake Placid is Betty White who plays an old woman who has been feeding the large beast Horses, Cows and admits to the police that she kept the secret of the Crocodile killer her husband. 

That role showed that Betty White was still a force and her comedic timing was very much so still on point with lines like "If I had a dick this is where I'd tell you to suck it" and "This is his lake now" even though she isn't the main star of the movie she is very  much so a reason to see the movie.

Here in recent years Betty White is where not to many people her age are still working and not slowing down one bit with a hit show Hot In Cleveland and also being the oldest host of Saturday Night Live which was one of the highest rated episodes thanks in large to the fact that threw out her career she had never hosted the show.

8. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin has had a very successful run as Jack Donaghy on NBC's hit sitcom 30 rock, but before that he was a top film star in the late 80s beginning with Bettlejuice  which started a long successful run in movies and along the way marrying Kim Basinger, he had a string of hit films Working Girl, The Hunt For Red October, GlenGarryGlenRoss, Malice, but then with an unnecessary remake of a classic The Getaway which co starred real life wife Kim Basinger  is where things starred to take some what of a turn, because the films that followed were either moderate successes (The Juror, Ghost of Mississippi, Mercury Rising) and bombs (The Shadow, Heaven's Prisoner, The Edge) his star began to fall with him starting to do more Independent films that took him out of the big spot light that he was once in.

When the early 2000s came along he co starred in the star studded  WWII action/romance flick Pearl Harbor that was a moderate success. In 2003 in a very underrated movie The Cooler Alec Baldwin showed that he still had what it took to be a top actor as Shelly kaplow a casino owner who is very old school and doesn't want to change with the times is probably one of his best performances and also the Academy thought so too since it earned him an best supporting actor nomination, after this is where his career seemed to get back on track with supporting roles in The Aviator, The Departed, in between those film he got on with Tina Fey with 30 rock.

Baldwin has always been a underrated actor and even though earlier in his career big studios mis marketed him by trying to make him a leading man just because he had the look of one, his best work has always come as a supporting actor along side other top tier talents. now that 30 Rock has ended lets see where his career goes from here.

7. Neil Patrick Harris

If you you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s you still think of him as Doogie Howser M.D. as child star on a hit TV show he was in the league of alot of other child stars of the time that careers seemed to end when the lights went out on their tv shows after Doogie Howser ended in 93' his career didn't go anywhere really and as he got older the roles didn't come either until he came back into the spotlight in 1997 thanks to blockbuster sci fi action flick Starship Troopers but that couldn't bring him completely back.

Harris had to wait until 2004 stoner sleeper hit Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle where he played a version of himself here he showed that he could be very funny and a scene stealer in a movie he wasn't the star of and thanks to the success here a year later he was cast as womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother where he continues to steal the show in countless scenes and just to show that he hasn't let his new found stardom go to his head he still made appearances in the Harold and Kumar sequels.

6. Woody Harrelson

One actor that has seemed to have a very successful but underrated career is Woody Harrelson, he started out as the very likable but dimwitted Woody Boyd on the hit Cheers co starring along side some very top comedies that he didn't have a problem stealing some scenes from them. as Cheers came to an end in 93' he focused more on film roles starring along side good friend Wesley Snipes in the Sports Comedy/Drama White Men Can't Jump and along side Demi Moore and Robert Redford in the drama Indecent Proposal which is where I believe he showed he could do comedy and serious roles equally.

In 94' he starred in Oliver Stone's controversial Natural Born Killers which in some ways did do a bit of damage to his career but at the same time showed that he could do the job, a year later he team again for the 3rd time with Snipes in Money Train which is good but another of Lethal Weapon type movie ripoffs. In 96 his career really took off starring in The Farrelly Brothers sports comedy Kingpin and later that year he starred as Larry Flynt in the biopic The People vs. Larry Flynt where he was nominated for an Oscar.

After 96' Harrelson career seemed to take somewhat of a slide even though he continued making films and not disappearing off the face of the earth, he started taking on roles that were beneath his caliber of talent basically for the next decade he did movies that went under the radar or didn't touch the radar at all until 2007 huge Coen Bros hit No Country For Old Men where he plays a retired Army Colonial named Wells, even though his part is small the scene between him and Javier Bardem in a hotel room showed why Harrelson was still an A-list talent.

2009's war drama The Messengers brought Harrelson back starring as Captain Tony Stone where he was nominated for another Oscar and since this his career seems to be back on the track, with countless starring and supporting roles in more mainstream movies most notable Zombieland, The Hunger Games, and Game Change. and most recent in the critical acclaimed HBO Crime/Drama Hit True Detective.

5 Nick Nolte

Say what you will about Nick Nolte nowadays which he deserves anything that's said about his style of dress these days looking for a good picture of him now is kinda hard to find hence the picture I ended up using for him here. even with all the critical stuff said about him over the years which is much deserved one thing no one can say is that the man isn't a good actor which is one and probably the only reason he is still able to get work in movies and most people will look at Warrior as his claim back to fame which it is one of his best roles in years and if you don't believe me the Moby Dick scene should've won him the Oscar.

As great as he was in Warrior for me his true come back role was in Hulk...just kidding, he was good in the movie even though the movie doesn't know if it wants to be a serious drama or Super hero movie at times but enough about that movie, to me Nolte's true come back was Tropic Thunder where he plays Four leaf who the tale of the movie being made in the movie of Tropic Thunder is supposed to be about, he shows alot of the old Nolte with his range and basically shows that he still has it even if he looks like he loss it a long time again, Nolte might not be the leading man he once was years ago but he still has the ability to showcase his talents and hopefully he will continue to do so and even in the process get himself back looking halfway decent in his personal life.

4. Sylvester Stallone

The guy who literally had to make his own way in Hollywood as I like to call him is one of the best success stories starting with smash hit Rocky and then along the way Rambo and countless other movies but of course with great success does come great responsibility but in Stallone's case great failures which it begins with not Stop or my mom will shoot! no that comes much later earlier then that it begins with Rhinestone where he co starred with Dolly Parton where he played a New Yorker who wanted to be a country singer this movie would be his first mistake but luckily most people don't remember it because not to long after he would do the first Rambo and Rocky sequel so it gets forgotten.

The 80s were very good to Stallone with Rocky and Rambo sequels and other movies as well but the early 90s he went back down the Rhinestone failure route again with the Comedies Oscar and Stop or my mom will shoot! even though he tried to get back to his action roots again which some where hits and others were not so much success his first come back role that showed him in a different light and even weight was the cop drama Cop Land where he didn't look like Rambo or Rocky action star anymore but a small town sheriff who is looked at as a joke until he decides to fight back (hmm maybe Arnold should've went this route with The Last Stand) as good as he was in Cop Land he wasn't fully back to the Stallone we all come to know and love.

It wasn't until he did the final sequels to his two most famous characters Rocky Balboa and Rambo that we started to take him seriously again and then 2010's hit The Expendables and The Expendables 2 were he fully came back and gave us 80s action fans what this generation doesn't know anything about. even thought Bullet To The Head wasn't a success it shows that Stallone is back to kicking ass and taking names just like he started doing over 30 yrs ago and with some of the movies he has coming soon he is just getting started again.

3. Liam Neeson

Now every know that Liam Neeson has done a 180 with his career by becoming more of an actor star in recent years thanks in large to 2008's out of nowhere hit Taken which to the masses it is the movie that put him back on the map after 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace even though he has a small but Important role in Gangs of New York, Kingdom of Heaven wasn't want people thought it would be, Batman Begins showed that he could be a nasty villian but it was 2006's Western/Revenge flick Seraphim Falls co starring with Pierce Bronsnan where he gets gritty and even nastier then Ra's Al Ghul where he would stop at nothing and will at all cost get Pierce Bronsan even it means his on life.

Seraphim Falls never touched anybodies radar for a number of reasons mostly I believe because some of the themes went over most people's head and it doesn't play like a true western,  after this film Liam Neeson struck it big with Taken and has now a very well versed body of work with quite a few hits and maybe one or two misses (Battleship quickly comes to mind) and now after Taken 2 and a rumored Taken 3 to come its good to see one of the best actors in the last 20 years is back on top.

2. Robert Downey, Jr.

Probably the poster child for actors who has made comebacks after having the rocky road to self destruction its a miracle that he made it back and to the top where he rightfully belong, with not just having one but two successful movie franchises Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. RDJ first attempt at a comeback was in the early 2000s with a guest starring role on hit TV series Ally McBeal but with a few relapses he found himself off the show and locked up in Jail and rehab.

After a few moderate supporting roles Downey Jr starred in the Dark Comedy/Drama/Thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang along with Val Kilmer where he plays a small time thief who by luck becomes an actor turned private eye that has to solve a murder mystery, In this role Downey showed that he still had the acting chops most notable in a scene where he was involved in a robbery gone wrong he is shot by the police and he gets away be stumbling into a casting call and he is so convincing to the casting agents that he gets hired for the role.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang wasn't a big hit in 2005 but it was to me Downey's true comeback because just  that same year he co starred in the star studded cast in George Clooney's directing debut Good Night, and Good Luck and then only a few years later he became Iron Man and now is one of Hollywoods top stars.

1. Mickey Rourke

Probably one of the best actors of his generations, Mickey Rourke was lighting in a bottle in the beginning of his career with a string of hits and performances for the ages in the 80s, by time the 90s rolled around the decade was not to kind to him professionally(box office bombs, started boxing) and personally(had a nervous breakdown) even though he did  have a small but good role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1996 Courtroom drama The Rainmaker other then that the 90s were a wash for the next Marlon Brando.

The year 2000 started out pretty decent for Rourke thanks to friends Sean Penn who cast him in a small but very emotional role in The Jack Nicholson starring film The Pledge, not to many people can steal a scene from Jack but Rourke does and Sylvester Stallone got him a co starring role in the Get Carter remake which isn't bad for a guy who has only done one movie of note in a decade.

2003 was a big year for Mickey in a number ways one he was cast in Robert Rodriguez's Spagetti Western styled Desperado sequel Once Upon A Time In Mexico and the first time fans really got to see the new not so good look of Mickey Rourke. 2004 he co starred along side Denzel Washington in Tony Scott's Man on Fire which help get him back in the spot like thanks to the movies and his new face.

2005 was his year where he starred in Tony Scott's ultraviolent action biopic about Domino Harvey Domino where he plays a bounty hunter and he shows that he can still act and get down and dirty when needed to but his real rise back to fame was in the second movie he starred in that year the comic book novel come to life Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez film Sin City where he plays the larger then life character Marv even though the movie was a ensembled cast (Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Benico Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan) to name a few Mickey Rourke's performance stole the movie away from the rest and even the marketing especially some of the trailers and tv spots pointed to this.

Rourke scene in a bathroom talking about how things are and the way they used to be and his line "These are the old days man, the bad days, the all or nothing days. They're back. there's now choices left. and I'm ready for war." Not only is that a badass scene that line sums up his career in a nutshell because he basically was letting the world know that Mickey Rourke the actor was back on top and he was ready to be a star again 

Now everyone likes to say that The Wrestler is Rourke's real come back because of his performance and he is very good in the movie, but I don't think that movie overall was as good as most people like to make it out to be and it wouldn't be as good without Mickey's performance either. He did get an Oscar nomination out of it but he should've won that year too, but I'll save that discussion for another topic I have lined up.

Thanks to his appearances in The Expendables, Iron Man 2 and Immortals, Rourke is back to being a name once again in a business that's lacking actors of his caliber and versatile style and hopefully he'll continue to put in good work and probably win a Oscar one day.
That is my top 10 list of actors who true comeback roles have come before what are mostly considered their comeback roles. If you think that I might have missed anyone or don't feel some that made the list shouldnt be on here feel free to comment and let me know who you would add to your own list.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hitchcock (2012)

"Lights, Camera, Scream"


After the success of North By Northwest Alfred Hitchcock begins the searching for what his next movie will be which leads him to Psycho.


Hitchcock opens like a scene out of an episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents with Ed Gein (Michael Wincott ) murdering his brother and Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) talking to the audience. In 1959 Hitchcock is leaving the successful premiere of his latest film North By Northwest along with his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) when he is asked about what is next for the aging Director who is 60 years old and why don't he just retire on top.

Hitchcock does his best to not take offense to the question comes back with a witty remark and leaves, some time later with the help of his assistant Peggy (Toni Collette) he begins searching for his next movie project, at the same time Hitchcock and Alma's mutual friend Whitfield "Whit" Cook (Danny Huston) has been working on a new project that he wants to make  Hitchcock next project along with the help of Alma who is a respected writer in her own right presents Whit's story to Hitchcock, who isn't interested in doing anything that is like nor similar to what he has done in the past, he wants to do something brand new, fresh unlike anything he has done before.

One day Hitchcock comes across the book of Psycho written by Robert Bloch and based on famed serial killer Ed Gein who ended up being the bases for 3 different horror characters Norman Bates, Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill. Hitchcock finds himself so drawn into the book that he has Peggy get everyone that works for Hitchcock to go all over a buy every copy of the book, He has found his next project.

At first every one including Alma thinks that Hitchcock should not make this movie which at the time was very controversial because of the subject matter and the different themes that are brought up in the book, like hints of incest, crossdressing, violence and nudity.

Hitchcock finally gets Alma on his side about making the movie in which they have to finance themselves on a smaller budget then he wanted, with that he had to look for not so well known stars to make this movie, he comes across Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) who Hitchcock has had his eyes on literally for sometime to be the lead Marion Crane, Fresh face Anthony Perkins(James D'arcy) as Norman Bates, Vera Miles(Jessica Biel) as Lila Crane.

As production begins on Psycho, Hitchcock's personal life begins to take a turn for the worst when Alma is somewhat pushed away from and drawn more to Whitfield who seems to have more then just business on his mind with her, but like always Hitchcock knows that something isn't right there but he can't seem to do anything about it, because he gets deeper and deeper into the mind of Ed Gein who he actually begins to see and talk too.

Somehow with the personal and professional issues that surround him, Hitchcock finds a way to make one of not only the best horror films but one of the best movies in cinema history.

Anthony Hopkins gives an award worthy performance as Alfred Hitchcock by getting his speech and mannerism down to a science, I don't understand how he didn't get nominated for any major awards for this role, I guess some people where to busy giving to much praise to Daniel Day Lewis for playing Lincoln which has been played countless times before.

Helen Mirren shows that age still is just a number even though she is old enough to be my Grandmother almost she still is a beautiful woman and shines in every scene she is in even with those old school glasses and has the toughest job of being Alfred Hitchcock's wife and also co filmmaker herself, but she is the only one who can reign in Hitchcock when he gets to close to the edge of destruction.

Scarlett Johansson  is a joy as young Janet Leigh, probably one of her better acting roles, I repeat acting roles, I always believe its tougher for actors to play real people but when your playing a real person that is playing a character in the film with in the film I believe that is very tough to do, but she pulls it off with little to know effort.

Jessica Biel seems to be a little wooden at times, but I don't necessarily blame it all on her, Vera Myles is second fiddle to Janet Leigh in this movie and in the movie Psycho anyway and she really isn't given to much to do here, I believe any young actress could've played this role.

My favorite thing about this movie was the interactions between Hitchcock and Ed Gein who is played very well by one of my favorite underrated actors Michael Wincott, I believe if another movie about Ed Gein is made he should play him because just the little bit that we get of his Gein here needs its on story told.


Anthony Hopkins- Alfred Hitchcock

Helen Mirren- Alma Reville

Scarlett Johansson -Janet Leigh

Danny Huston- Whitfield Cook

Jessica Biel- Vera Miles

Toni Collette- Peggy Robertson

James D'arcy- Anthony Perkins

Michael Wincott- Ed Gein

All in All I was very pleased with this little film that didn't get any kind of notice during this past award season, with atleast 3 award worthy performances Anthony Hopkins(Best Actor), Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson (Best Supporting Actress).

If your a fan of the movie Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock and what it takes to actually make a movie, then Hitchcock is a must seem and I doubt you will be disappointed.

Rent It, Buy It, Stream it If you must but most importantly check it out.



The Master (2012)

"If your mind is already made up, what ask the questions"


World War II soldier Freddie Quell comes home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future, until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader


The Master isn't a easy movie to really review that this time, but I'm going to give my best opinion of it just after seeing it just once, I might do a revision to this review after I watch it again.

Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled World War II soldier who has some very deep issues mostly and what we see threw out the movie is his drinking problem. In some ways this movie should've been called The Drunk instead of The Master.

We meet Freddie for the first time at the end of his tour of duty where he drinks like no other and does a lot of odd things in front of his fellow soldiers including simulate sex with a sand made woman and then goes off to the edge of the beach and masturbates.

After he gets back home he gets a job as photographer,but can't keep that job to long after a odd and funny but sad  exchange and fight with a man that makes him quit the job, he then gets a job as a working in a field in Salinas, he keeps this job for awhile until one night he is sitting around drinking with some of the other workers mostly an older man who Freddie says looks like his father and gives him some of his homemade drink, The old man basically dies later but we never get full closure on that because in a panic Freddie flees

He in his own drunken state finds himself stowed away on a ship where he meets Lancaster Dodd aka The Master (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who is many things but most importantly a man, Dodd takes a liken to the uneasy Freddie mainly because of his homemade drink ( which I believe is Moonshine).

Dodd welcomes Freddie into The Clause that he is The Master of along with his wife Peggy (Amy Adams),  son Val (Jesse Plemons), Daughter Elizabeth (Ambyr Childers), her husband Clark (Rami Malek) they all go around to different cities and homes talking with different groups of people about his ways and teachings. Freddie doesn't fully understand The Clause but he will do anything to support it and will fight against anyone who is against it.

As the movie goes on we get to witness the odd relationship between Freddie and Lancaster and Peggy unfold, there could be a number of things that come to mind mainly being that Lancaster and Freddie might be more then a friendship and Dodd's marriage is just for show, in one instance is a exchange between Lancaster and Peggy in a bathroom that could help further this theory.

The Master has been said to be a take off of Scientology and its founder, I don't know to much about Scientology and what they teach so I won't go any further on that so I'll just leave it at that.

I will say that Joaquin Phoenix does a great job as Freddie Quell the man without a country who doesn't know where he fits in at or knows where he wants to go in life, we get a very sad backstory on him that kinda makes you understand his weirdness, Phoenix who hasn't been in a movie in a 4 years doesn't miss a beat with and hits all the right notes that makes Freddie ticks and deserved his nomination for best actor.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives an solid performance as Lancaster Dodd aka The Master and plays the Duality of his character very well you never know exactly what he is thinking but his actions and reactions gives you a sense that there is more then what meets the eye with him.

Amy Adams to me is very strong as the no nonsense wife Peggy who puts Lancaster in his place as well as Freddie and doesn't pull any punches with how she deals with either man, but I don't feel that she should've been nominated for best supporting actress.

Paul Thomas Anderson does a another great job with directing a not so easy and very complex story and gives us a insight into what The Master is very similar to There Will Be Blood and a few scenes in both movies mirror each other one notable is the scene where Dodd gets Freddie to be completely truthful with him just like Daniel Plainview's baptism scene.


Joaquin Phoenix- Freddie Quell

Phillip Seymour Hoffman- Lancaster Dodd/ The Master

Amy Adams- Peggy

In Closing The Master isn't the easiest movie to understand but It's an interesting movie to watch and a good character study of the main leads, repeat viewings will be a must for me on this movie just like There Will Be Blood was for me, its not Anderson's best movie by any means but it is a important movie to watch so If your a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson especially There Will Be Blood and Magnolia then The Master will be a movie you will fully enjoy and gets you to thinking about different things in your own life.



Red Dawn (2012)

"This is just some place to them, but this is our home"


A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korea soldiers


I was not to happy when I heard that there was going to be a remake of a childhood favorite of mine, but I've come to get used to seeing most of my childhood favorite movies being remade in recent years and a few more are still to come, but the latest of the remakes is Red Dawn.

I'm going to try and be as fair as I can to this movie as possible but I'm sure I'll go off on a tirade about remakes at some point during this review. so I apologize now if i do.

The New Red Dawn begins like most new remake do with giving more story and backstory to characters that are vaguely mentioned in the originals and aren't needed at all but we still get it anyway, but showing the final minutes of a high school football game that introduces us to Jed Eckert (Chris Hermsworth), Matt Eckert (Josh Peck), Tom Eckert (Brent Cullen), Matt's girlfriend Erica (Isabel Lucas).

We are shown that there is somewhat of a family rift between Jed and Matt, Matt who is the hot shot Quarterback of The Wolverines that doesn't like to use his teammates the right way to win the game and ultimately cost them a chance at going to the championship, this sets up for how Matt will be later.

Jed is a soldier who is on leave from fighting in the war and has come back home and meets up with a former high school friend Toni (Adrianne Palicki) we also see the beginnings of what the bases for what their relationship will be as well later on.

Its the typical start to these new remakes that seem to follow the same formula as the countless bad remakes that come before.

In the mist of all of this little clues of the North Korean invasion is coming is given thanks to new, radio broadcast, that no one seems to be paying attention too. until the next morning when World War III has broken out and the Eckert brothers along with a few others get out of town and into the woods where they go to the Eckert's family cabin.

Here we meet Robert (Josh Hutcherson), Danny (Edwin Hodge), Julie(Alyssa Diaz), Greg(Julian Alcaraz) as they all try to figure out what is happening, a few of them want to go back into town to find their families, Jed gives them a speech about staying there and fighting against the Invading Soldiers and gets everyone to say and fight with him.

The Leader of North Korea Invasion Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) and some of his soldiers have captured Tom and Darryl's dad and Mayor (Michael Beach) who they have to try and plead with the teens to surrender and no harm will come to them, after a few minutes of this Tom tells his sons to do what he would do and fight back, Captain Cho kills him and leaves. Jed trains the others to fight back against the soldiers.

I have a lot of problems with this remake, but I'm going to try and keep it short but my biggest problem with Red Dawn is that this remake takes everything that made the original good and takes it and flips it on its head and waters it down.

Namely making Jed an soldier, the characters in this shouldn't have been as ready to fight back as they were, but by making Jed a soldier there was really no need to have  Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) come into play who in the original came in and helped them better prepare themselves and fill them in on a few things as to what the army was doing, his character was somewhat of a waste here.

Matt was the one character out of everyone that I really didn't care for in this movie, because he seemed to just want to go off and do his own thing which we already got to see from the opening football game, but after the invasion when he does that, he puts a lot of people in danger and gets others killed just to save Erica who had been captured during the invasion, I really disliked his character.

Another big problem I had with this movie was that even though its a WWIII what if type of story there was never really in real danger the young teens where in like in the original, some of the homages to the original are done poorly, using Toni as bait and Darryl's final scene to name a few are done poorly.


Chris Hemsworth- Jed

Josh Peck- Matt

Josh Hutcherson- Robert

Adrianne Palicki- Toni

Isabel Lucas- Erica

Conner Crusie- Darryl

Edwin Hodge- Danny

Jeffrey Dean Morgan- Tanner

In closing If Red Dawn was probably named something else It would've been  just another movie that came and went without any questions, but by making it Red Dawn my expectations were set a little bit higher because of the name.

I know the movie was filmed a few years back and just was released in 2012, and it didn't hurt that Josh Hutcherson became and bigger name thanks to The Hunger Games and Chris Hemsworth got huge thanks to Thor/The Avengers, I am a Chris Hemsworth fan but I will say I don't know where his career would be right now if he didn't get the role of Thor because Cabin In The Woods and Red Dawn are not the best to have on his resume of films hopefully as his career continues he does better roles that will erase these films from what he is known for outside of The almighty Thor role.

I say if your a fan of the original Red Dawn say away from this movie, and enjoy what that movie was which had a better overall cast and better action scenes, If your younger and don't like any movie that's older then you are this might be the movie for you, but I highly recommend watching the original as well to see how this story should be told.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower(2012)

"Let's Go Be Psychos Together"


Charlie is a abnormal young man, who has a troubled past and uncertain future as he begins high school, until one day he meets two seniors who helps guide him onto a better path.


I've heard a lot about this movie from different people that have read the book by Stephen Chbosky and also that same the movie during its theatrical run, surprisingly it was all good things about it. So when I finally got the chance to check it out I did and was I not disappointed with anything in this movie, which is set during the early 90s so there are no cellphones, computers, facebook, twitter etc(something this generation is suffering from) The teens in this movie are from what seems a foreign time, house parties, school dances and other things that teens used to do are still at its height here. and after viewing I'm calling it the Say Anything of this generation

We meet Charlie(Logan Lerman) a freshman who is beginning high school, he has no friends or any real connection with people, he's very introverted, but very smart and is ridiculed by all the popular kids(understandably) but surprisingly by the other smart kids as well, he's English Teacher Mr. Anderson(Paul Rudd) takes a liking to him and sees something special in him, that Charlie doesn't.

Charlie finally strikes up the nerve to leave his comfort zone when he introduces himself to shop classmate senior Patrick (Ezra Miller) at a football game, who befriends him without question, which makes Charlie feel  good, after the game Patrick invites him along with his step sister Sam (Emma Watson) to a local hangout where everyone go after football games, Charlie realizes that he has a lot in common with these two especially when it comes to music.

Patrick and Sam takes Charlie to a house party where Charlie gets high for the first time by eating some weed brownies, during which time the other Seniors welcome him in to their core group, Sam finds out that Charlie lose his childhood friend to suicide which kinda explains Charlies introverted behavior, Charlie learns a secret about Patrick being gay and has a secret relationship with star football player Brad, but he doesn't tell anyone.

As the school year goes on Charlie, Sam, Patrick and the rest of The Wallflowers Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), Alice (Erin Wilhelmi) and Bob (Adam Hagenbuch) go threw relationships, personal issues, life lessons, that will help them shape their futures....

One think I really enjoyed about this movie is that the teenagers in this movie are like real kids not the way teens are now who think they know everything, because everything is giving to them and they don't have to learn or experiences things, they make each other mixtapes, and actually talk instead of text or use social media to interact with each other, there is a running minor plot of trying to find the name of a song that no one knows the name of which I think is cool.

The young cast all give refreshingly performances, led by the 3 main leads

Logan Lerman-Charlie

He reminds me of John Cusack in teen drama classics like Say Anything, and Better Off Dead with how he brings this character to life with his sensitive nature.

Emma Watson- Sam

She shows that she can have a long career as she takes on more challenging roles like this with her wide range, and the sky is the limit for her with what I think is a award caliber performance in Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Ezra Miller- Patrick

Everything I said about Emma Watson I second with Ezra Miller, who shines as the the fun loving Patrick who has the task of keeping everything together even though his life probably is one step away from being where Charlie is if he wasn't the way he was, this character could've easily been very stereotypical but its not thanks to Ezra Miller who seems to hit all the right notes that makes it work and hopefully doesn't get typecast in only playing these kinda roles.

In closing I'm glad I got to see this gem, Teen dramas like this used to be a common thing but went away hopefully with the critical and public praise of Perks of Being a Wallflower we will see more of these movies made in the future.

If you like richly made, character dramas that just so happen to deal with teen issues as well as adult issues like this movie does, and if you don't mind seeing reenactments of The Rocky Horror Picture show along with very good performances, and a cool retro soundtrack then this is the movie for you.

Rent It, Buy It, Stream it if you must, but most importantly check it out.