Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines (2013)

"If you ride like lighting, you're going to crash like thunder"


The Place Beyond The Pines is set up in a three part arc about fathers and sons and life decisions that affect future events.

ACT I is about Luke(Ryan Gosling) who is a motorcycle stuntman who has a baby with Romina (Eva Mendes) and wants to be apart of the baby's life and decides to become a bank robber in order to provide for the kid.

ACT II centers around Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) who becomes a local hero after bringing down a local criminal who gets mixed up with a corruption scandal that is running rampart threw the city and puts him at odds with fellow cops, friends and his family.

ACT III revolves around Jason(Dane DeHaan) and AJ(Emory Cohen) teenagers who are the sons of Luke and Avery and everything that goes on between them is tied together by past events of both their fathers.

I was really surprised when I saw this movie, in a very good way, because they trailer for this movie is a little misleading but misleading in a good way because once you see how the movie plays out it was a good thing certain things were not spoiled in the trailer which seems to be a normal thing these days.

The Place Beyond The Pines is one of those movies that really hits home to me because I can related to a few of the themes that play out over the course of the movie and I'm sure anybody else who sees this movie will as well.

Ryan Gosling gives another great performance here as Luke the mysterious stuntman turned bank robber, he doesn't have to say much just like his character in Drive but its all in his emotions and facial expressions which makes this a great turn for him, you will feel sorry for him even though his actions are bad his intentions are for good.

Bradley Cooper really shows here just like in Silver Lining Playbook why he should've won the Best Actor award this year, but after that movie and now this one, I'm sure his time is coming were he'll be winning that award. he has really come a long way from The Hangover movies and good to see him showing what he can bring to the table as an actor.

Eva Mendes probably gives her best career performance here which is a good thing because her character goes threw probably most ups and downs second to only Bradley Coopers character, maybe its a good thing her and Gosling are in a relationship in real life because it seems like some of his acting is rubbing off onto her now.

Dana DeHaan who plays Jason seems to be up and coming star with alot of potential after turns in Chronicle, Lawless and the HBO series In Treatment his star can only seem to get brighter.

I swear Ray Liotta is in every kind of movie that comes out in recent years, he is very good here and shows that he can still be a strong support actor in a big movie come on  Hollywood what are you doing have you forgot Goodfellas.

Ben Mendelsohn once again steals every scene he's in, in this movie I can't say enough about this guy he is becoming one of those character actors that makes the movie that much better just by his name appearing on the screen and he gives the best line of the movie which is the same as the one I used as the tag line for it
"If you ride like lightning, you're going to crash like thunder"

I highly recommend this movie to everybody because Derek Cianfrance really did a great directing job here, I have yet to watch his previous film Blue Valentine but I will soon because he's a true filmmaker.

everyone in the cast is excellent which is a rare thing these days but with a couple films I've seen recently including this their is still hope for great acting and really stories being told even if their not big budget superhero blockbuster that are coming out right now, but I gave up a chance to go see Iron Man 3 or Star Trek Into Darkness and decided to see this instead and I'm glad I did because movies like this don't come around to often so I didn't want to miss the chance to see it.


Ryan Gosling- Luke
Bradley Cooper-Avery
Eva Mendes-Romina
Ben Mendelsohn- Robin
Rose Byrne-Jennifer
Dane DeHaan-Jason
Emory Cohen-AJ
Ray Liotta-Deluca
Mahershala Ali-Kofi

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Jack Reacher (2012)

"The Law Has Limits, He Does Not"

A Homicide Investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.


The opening of Jack Reacher grabs you from the beginning where a sniper kills five random people which sets in motion a lot of twist and turns to follow. the man suspected of the random killings James Barr(Joseph Sikora) is quickly picked up by the police led by Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) while Barr is in custody and being talked into confessing to the killings, he does say anything expect he writes on a piece of paper "GET JACK REACHER"

Emerson and the District Attorney (Richard Jenkings) does some digging around to find Jack Reacher(Tom Cruise), who isn't all that easy to find at all and only wants to be found if he wants to be, Reacher who is ex miltary himself has been living a off the radar life since living the army altogether, Reacher shows up out of no where to meet Emerson and District Attorney Roden after Barr has been put into a coma thanks to some underhanded police put him in a police transit with some other convicts who beat him up really bad.

Reacher quickly lets every know that he isn't a friend of Barr's and in fact he tried to have him lock up for a crime he did well he was still in the army, Barr's attorney Helen(Rosamund Pike) who is also D.A's Roden daughter wants to know why Barr asked for Reacher, the two in somewhat quick fashion decide to team up to find out what's really going on.

Reacher who does everything his own way goes to the crime scene and find clues that Emerson and the other police never noticed before because of his miltary background and he knew what to look for found a few things that didn't make sense to him, while he is doing his investigating, he is also being tailed by a man name Linsky (Michael Raymond-James) who seems to be involved in some way with the crime as well.

Reacher meets with Helen at his place and they talk about different things, mainly Reacher not believing that Barr is insane since that is Helen's defense for Barr and also Helen's relationship with her dad and why she is really defending Barr, which Helen doesn't like talking about because Reacher is doing a very good job of getting under her skin.

Jack Reacher goes to a bar and meets Sandy (Alexia Fast) who Reacher insults which provokes Jeb (Josh Helman) and some of his friends who all claim to be Sandy's brothers, they go outside to fight Reacher who tells Jeb "Remember you wanted this" before he quickly takes care of Jeb and his friends, a scared Sandy runs off as the police show up and arrest Reacher, who knew that the whole thing was a set up.

The next day Helen and Emerson goes to get Reacher out of lock up, Reacher believing more that something bigger is going on and somebody is behind the whole random killings that aren't really random at all because with some more digging Reacher and Helen find out that 4 of the people were killed to cover up their main target which was a woman Oline Archer who took over her husband's business after he died and she didn't want to sale.

Linsky goes to meet Charlie(Jai Courtney) who we find out was behind hiring Jeb and his friends to get rid of Reacher, Linsky wants to get a second chance to get rid of Reacher but an older man known only as The Zec (Werner Herzog) is the one really in charge and Charlie works for him, The Zec will give Linsky a second chance only if he bites off one of his own fingers, which he can't do and Charlie kills him.

I must say I was really impressed with Jack Reacher, its probably one of Tom Cruise best movies in recent years, he really shows another side of him here as the tough as nails, no nonsense Reacher, I thought him and Rosamund Pike had some good chemistry with the back and forth between them and the sexual tension is really played will between them.

This isn't your typical action movie, its very smart, self aware, doesn't try to play on the audiences intelligence either the movie plays like a modern film noir just minus the main character's voice over narrations.

Director Christopher McQuarrie(The Way Of The Gun ) directs Jack Reacher like a movie that could've easily been made in the late 70s or early 80s with the look and feel of it, by letting the story slowly unfold and come together instead of having everything explained and told to us like most movie have done in recent years.

I think my two favorite things about Jack Reacher are during the action scenes which are done very good, because for anyone who has seen The Way of The Gun knows McQuarrie can do action scenes very smart and here he is a master at it, with a car chase sequence that reminds us that real cars scenes can still be fun when done right and the decision to not have music in any of the sequences like the car chase and also a few of the fight scenes makes them even that more enjoyable for me(I'm very old school when it comes to these things) I don't have a problem with music in movies by any means but when its not needs and what's happening on the screen is enjoy to thrill me then I'm all for no music which sometimes can be very distracting especially nowadays.

Jai Courtney who plays Charlie plays a good bad guy in this I haven't seen him on Spartacus tv series or A Good Day To Die Hard yet but if done right he could have a bright career ahead of him with being in more roles like this and starring along side top talents like Cruise and Willis.

Everyone is good in this movie no weak link actings here from the stars down to the supporting cast which is a good blend of up and comers (Jai Courtney, David Oyelowo, Alexia Fast) and knowns (Richard Jenkins,  Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog) even Robert Duvall re teams with Cruise who co starred with him in Days of Thunder, here Duvall plays a gunsmith named Cash who even gets in on some of the action.

All in all you don't have to be a fan of Tom Cruise, never read the books that the movie is inspired and based off of, because this is just a really good movie that I was surprised wasn't well received when it was released on the big screen last December, hopefully now that its coming to Blu Ray and DVD people will check it out and it will be nice to get maybe a sequel or two but only time will tell with that.

For fans of the books and weren't happen that Tom Cruise was cast as Jack Reacher who in the books is 6'5 and weight some where around 225 pounds, I don't really think two many actors out there with the exception of maybe Dwayne Johnson could've played this role, but I believe Cruise is good in the movie and the movie should be judged solely as the movie and not from what the character was in a book.


Tom Crusie- Jack Reacher

Rosamund Pike- Helen Roden

Richard Jenkings- District Attorney Roden

David Oyelowo- Detective Emerson

Jai Courtney- Charlie

Alexia Fast-Sandy

Werner Herzog- The Zec

Robert Duvall- Cash


Friday, May 3, 2013


"Ugly, Slobbering, Ferocious, Carnivores"

"When bizarre murders and disappearances in New York City start happening and all point to a group of grotesquely deformed vagrants living in the sewers. a Photographer, his girlfriend, A Police Captain and a bum who seem to know more about the creatures, band together to try and determine what the creatures are and what is really going on"

I've always heard about C.H.U.D but never got around  to watching it. until I finally sat down and watched it and was very surprised in a good way at what I saw. It doesn't play like typical horror movies, its very smart, and character driven and even has a social commentary too it.

It begins with a woman being attacked and taken underground by something, but you never get to see what exactly it is, but whatever it is is weird and has big claws for hands, we meet George Cooper(John Heard) who is a photographer and his girlfriend Lauren(Kim Griest) who is a model, they live in a small apartment but its a nice enough place for them.

During a photo shoot for Lauren that George completely forgot about he loses his cool over the whole thing, but after a little talk from Lauren he takes a break and checks his messages where he gets a call from Mrs. Monroe a bag lady that was arrested for trying to take a gun from a cop, he goes down to the police station where she is being interrogated by Captain Bosch(Christopher Curry) who has been under alot of pressure with all of the missing persons reports that have been coming in over the past couple of weeks.

George shows up and bails out Mrs. Monroe, who he got to know really well after he did a story about the homeless some months back, she takes him with her underground and shows him why she was trying to take the gun, her brother Victor and another guy name Hugo who have been trying to get any weapon they can because something attacked Victor and hurt him pretty bad.

Captain Bosch uneasy about all of the missing persons reports decides to go see AJ "The Reverend" Shepherd (Daniel Stern) who Bosch had arrested a few times before, Bosch goes to A.J.'s soup kitchen where he finds out from A.J. that a number of his "regulars" who live underground have gone missing and only one of them that was one of his regulars named Val lived underground won't go back underground because of what he knows even though he is utterly crazy.

C.H.U.D plays out more like a suspense thriller then a horror movie, because of how there two groups of characters that are both trying to uncover what's really going and they slowly come together as everything comes to a head in the finale.

I really enjoyed C.H.U.D. because I went into it expected with the social themes of how government love to cover up things from the public and will do anything to save themselves from looking bad at any cost, all of the characters are believable and don't really do anything that is cliche like in most horror movies, Daniel Stern as A.J. was probably my favorite character because it was a different role from what he is probably best known for even though C.H.U.D is one of his few horror genre turns and if he did more movies like this he'd been even more well known then what he is. and the scenes he has with Christopher Curry are some of the best scenes in the movie, those two really played off each other well.

John Heard does a good job here as what is looked at as the lead character my only probably with his role is that he seems to only get involved in the main plot of the movie only by chance not like Stern's and Curry's characters who are heavily involved in finding out what's going on from the word go, and the subplot with Kim Griest about her being pregnant was kinda pointless but I understand why it was placed in there.

I wouldn've liked to have seen a bite more of the creatures then what we do get to see but the less is more approach was still very effective because it leaves you with wanting more of seeing them more but what we do get to see of the creatures is still good.

A few things I noticed about this movie was that the music really set the tone of the movie and added alot too the creepiness of it, one thing that helps make a good horror movie is that soundtrack and this movie really has the goods here.

There are a few small role appearances from well known TV/Film actors here with Patrica  Richardson who is best known for Home Improvement, John Goodman as a cop, Frankie Fasion best known for The Wire and Barney from Silence of The Lambs also 3 of the main leads would go on to be in the Home Alone movies too.

All in All C.H.U.D. is a cult classic horror movie that deserves its title and probably should be better known then it is, true horror fans know and love it and in my opinion none horror fans would and could enjoy it to because of its none horror/ social commentary themes that play out in the movie. hopefully nobody will get the bright idea of trying to remake this movie because I'm sure they would ruin what makes this movie great.
I highly recommend it to any new horror fans, old horror fans who never seen it before like myself, and even too certain none horror fans that are open minded enough to sit back and enjoy this movie.

John Heard- George Cooper
Daniel Stern- A.J. "The Reverend" Shepherd
Christopher Curry- Captain Bosch
Kim Griest- Lauren Daniels
Eddie Jones- Chief O'Brien
George Martin- Wilson
Graham Breckel- Val
Frankie Fasion- Sgt. Parker
John Goodman- Cop In Diner