Friday, July 19, 2013

Only God Forgives (2013)

"Time To Meet The Devil"


Julian, a drug smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.


Only God Forgives is director's Nicolas Winding Refn follow up to 2011's sleeper hit Drive also starring Ryan Gosling, Refn takes us once again into the underworld but instead of L.A. we're taken half way around the world to Bangkok were things are done a lot different then they are done in the states when it comes to criminal underworld.

Ryan Gosling stars as another stoic character Julian who doesn't have to much to say but lets his facial expressions or lack there of do most of the talking for him, when we first meet Julian he is running boxing fights with his older brother Billy(Tom Burke) who seems to be more in control of operations while Julian is just there to support him.

After a boxing match Billy decides to go out on the town alone looking for a woman or in his case a young girl to have sex after being turned down by a sex trader who won't offer up his young daughter to Billy, he finds himself wondering the streets and comes across a few young girls sitting on the streets, he takes a liking to one of the girls.

The police gets called to the building where Billy is and when they go into a room, they find the young girl dead on the floor and Billy who appears to be covered in blood sitting on the side of the bed, Chang(Vithaya Pansingarm) walks in a looks around, he calls for the owner of the building to enter the room, after an exchange with the man, we find out that the young girl is his daughter and Chang tells the man to do whatever he wants as he and the other police leave.

The man kills Billy and int return is taking by Chang and the other police out to a remote location and Chang cuts off the man right hand telling him "This isn't about your dead daughter, but about your 3 remaining daughters" Julian gets word about what's happen to his brother and goes to find the man who killed him and as he is about to kill him, when he finds out that Chang is the one who ordered the man to kill Billy, which complicates things since Chang is a cop.

As word gets to Julian and Billy's mother Crystal(Kristin Scott Thomas) she comes to town at first happy to see her one remaining son, but quickly becomes upset with him as Julian tells her that he did not kill the man who killed Billy "It's more complicated then that" Crystal decides to have Chang killed herself, but things do not go according to plan.

Only God Forgives is one of those type of movies that come along every so often that leaves you with more questions then answers some times that's a good thing and sometimes it's  bad, but Only God Forgives seems to be both for me, one on hand the set designs, camera work, soundtrack, Kristin Scott Thomas are all great, but the pacing, lack of real story, Stoic Ryan Gosling, no real likable characters, Winding Refn's carelessness of character development help bring it down.

Only God Forgives is not a movie for mainstream audiences which in most cases is a good thing but even as a arthouse movie fan or general movie fan this movie really makes one think about just how much of a movie fan they are because its a very pretentious movie with awkward pauses and overdone Ryan Gosling staring either at other characters or his hands threw out the movie.

I don't want to be to critical of the film because for every con there is a pro and vise versa, Kristin Scott Thomas steals the movie as the evil mother who seems to be the reason Julian and even Billy were the way they were when Crystal puts Julian down in front of his girlfriend at dinner lets the viewer in to just what kind of relationship she had with her sons, now for me it's almost implied that Crystal had more then just mother/son relationship with her boys with how she touches Julian and how she speaks about Billy being bigger then Julian. I have no problem with these topics(even though some might) but if Refn would've explored this more then maybe I would've felt more for Julian.

The themes that Refn does explore are more philosophical and religious hence the title, the character of Chang almost seems other worldly with how he seems to almost appear and in one scene disappear into thin air, I read that Refn said that Chang might be the reincarnation of the character One Eye from his previous film Valhalla Rising(which I haven't seen yet, but I will) and on set he would whisper to Vithaya Pansringarm that he is god, In most of his scenes you can see that connection but to a normal movie goer these type of things will fly right over their heads.

Probably one of the better scenes in the movie is the fight scene between Julian and Chang, if there was a better build up to it then it really would've been something to talk about but most of the cons in the movie take away from the pros this scene almost will be forgotten, btw its not really a fight more like a beatdown, I won't say who exactly won you'll have to see the movie for that.

Nicholas Winding Refn is one of the better directors out today but I hope that he will reign in some of his pretentious ways of filmmaking because I don't know if I'll keep sitting threw more of his films that are like this. If your a fan of the over stylized, pretentious, methodical paced films then this is the film for you, I'm really on the fence with this film but I can say I will not be seeing this movie again anytime soon.  


Only God Forgives was one of my most anticipated films of 2013 after seeing trailers for it and because I am an Nicholas Windinf Refn, Ryan Gosling fans and really wanted to see Kristin Scott Thomas turn here which I feel after watching is worthy of at least an award nomination I was somewhat let down with what the movie turned out to be, its not a terrible movie but its not a good movie.


Ryan Gosling- Julian

Kristin Scott Thomas- Crystal

Vithaya Pansringarm- Chang

Tom Burke- Billy

Gordon Brown- Gordon

Yayaying Rhatta Phongam- Mai

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pacific Rim(2013)

"They brought the fight to us, and we're giving it right back"


As war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse


Pacific Rim begins with a backstory of how the war with the Kaiju  and human race have been going on for sometime and then fastforward a few years where we meet Raliegh and Yancy Beckett(Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff) they are pilots for the jaeger program which are the big robots that are used to fight against the Kaiju, they are sent out to defend the coastline from the approaching sea monster but instead of holding their post they go against orders to save a nearby fishing boat, they engage in a fight with the monster.

During the event Yancy is killed and Raliegh is badly injured, he manages to fight off the monster alone which has only been done one other time by one of the very first pilots of the jaegar program, Raliegh manages to get what's left of his robot to shore and collapses but saved by an old man and a young boy.

5 years later Raliegh is now working as a construction worker when he is recruited by his old commanding officer Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who wants him to rejoin the team because they have been losing the war against the Kaiju for sometime and almost all hope is lost.

I was really impressed with Pacific Rim when first looked at from previews you might think its another Godzilla type, Transformers ripoff, or Real Steel clone, and I'm not saying the movie doesn't have elements of those movies but the difference here with Pacific Rim is that Guillermo Del Toro creates a not to unlike our own near future and a story that's not just about the action but has heartfelt moments namely the beginning sequence and a few scenes in the movie involving Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi these 3 really drive the movie.

While Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, and Ron Perlman brings for the most laughs, but they don't take away from the story at all.

The action in the movie is top notch and as I watched I found myself fighting along with the robots in what are probably some of the best CGI effects that I've seen since the first Matrix movie where you can't really tell if its CGI or if it is actually real, the scenes with the actors going threw the motions inside the robots then showing the robot doing the action is cheesy as you might think its done very well.


The Kaiju creatures look really good, even though they are all the same, they don't all look the same, when its explained in the movie that all of the creatures take on a look of a different sea creature, which helps you tell the difference in which creature is which and we get to see a glimpse of what's believed to be their home world and you get to see some other alien creatures that look very interesting as well, another job well done there.


Charlie Hunnam- Raliegh Becket

Charlie Hunnam shows in Pacific Rim that he has a good tentpole film to launch a movie career after his Biker series Sons of Anarchy goes off which doesn't seem to be anytime soon(new season begins September). When Becket is first seen he is a young hotshot pilot who quickly has to grow up after the tragic lose of his older brother, but threw out the course of the movie he finds his courage, and rebuilds old relationships and forge new relationships as well.

Idris Elba- Stacker Pentecost

Idris Elba once again shows why he is an actor to watch on film and also on TV (Luther), Charlie Hunnam might be the main focal point of the movie, but Elba's world weary air marshal commands the scene from the get go, and he he gives the film its toughness that helps drives the fight against the Kaiji (Canceling The Apocalypse). Elba seems to be lining himself up nicely with his recent mainstream success, and even some Oscar buzz with the upcoming Nelson Mandela Biopic.

Rinko Kikuchi-Mako Mori

I will admit I have not seen much of Rinko Kikuchi and looking at her filmography I will be checking out more of her films namely Babel, where Elba is the toughness of the film, Kikuchi brings the heart with her at first shy calm demeanor but as time goes on you find out more about her past and why Stacker Pentecost is very overprotective of her, but make no mistake she can handle herself in a fight. she is another one I'm looking forward of seeing more of(Don't ruin her on screen Hollywood)

Charlie Day- Dr. Newton Geiszler

When first seeing that Charlie Day was going to be in Pacific Rim, I couldn't take the movie seriously because any one who has seen him on the hit FX(Moving to FXX) series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia knows why I say that, but In this movie Charlie Day shows that he is more then capable then just being goofy, yes his character is responsible for some of the biggest laughs thanks to a few scenes involving co stars Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman and even the Kaiju. Day reminded me a lot of a young Rick Moranis with some of his antics and even his speech in some scenes

Burn Gorman- Gottlieb

Burn Gorman is a very good character actor who once again shows his range as uneasy Dr. Gottlieb who is always at odds with his friend Dr. Geiszler trying to always one up him, but the two finally get on the same page to help save the world from the Kaiju.

Robert kazinsky- Chuck Hansen

Robert Kazinsky's Chuck Hansen is the counterpart of Raliegh Becket and in some ways is a mirror image of what Becket probably was like when he was younger before his brother's death, Kazinsky plays a good asshole character here but he finds his redemption by finally having a real father son moment which is one of the better emotional scenes in the movie, even though there isn't to much dialogue between the two but the looks says more then words can express. I'm sure now after Pacific Rim and a recurring role on HBO's True Blood, Kazinsky's name a face will be seen alot more on film and TV.

Ron Perlman- Hannibal Chau
Seems like you can't have a Guillermo Del Toro movie without Ron Perlman and that's not a bad thing at all, when first finding out the Perlman was in this, I thought I would be one of the pilots fighting against the Kaiji but instead he is a black market trader named Hannibla Chau who is very flashy(check out his gold teeth and shoes, especially pay attention to the shoes) Perlman shows up and has some great scenes with Charlie Day that i'm sure were fun to film because it comes across on scene, his role isn't very big but its important to the story and gives more insight into the Kaiju themselves. would've been nice if Charlie Hunnam had a scene with him just because of their Sons of Anarchy relationship but hopefully In Pacific Rim 2.


I was doing my best this year to steer clear of any of the big budget blockbuster for personal reasons and I did a good job No Man of Steel, Lone Ranger, Fast 6 etc, but even though this movie has a big budget there was a really good and well thought out story with likeable characters, Del Toro has created a world here that has all the potential to be a sleeper hit with the masses who seem to only go for the sure thing when Pacific Rim isn't that necessarily but hopefully with world of mouth it will be the summer blockbuster of the year( which it is for me)

Its something that everyone can enjoy which is rare in today's films and for anyone who continues the "Hollywood has run out of ideas campaign. I say go watch and show support of this film, because you won't be disappointed with this movie that movies very well at being a little over 2 hours long, The crowd I saw the movie with gave the film an applause afterwards which showed just how much they liked this film because even though there are similarities with some movies of the past there is only one Pacific Rim. also There is a short scene after the credits so don't leave right away its worth it trust me.