Sunday, December 20, 2015

Birdman

Michael Keaton portrays an actor/producer/ director at odds with himself, his Hollywood career , his heroic alter-ego and more. Birdman is neither a comedy nor a superhero movie but a character study about a man dealing with a mid-life crisis in public. Solid movie with a good cast and some chuckles. B-

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2 Guns

Denzel Washington and Mark Whalberg are 2 undercover agents who don’t know the other are undercover agents. This is the ultimate macho BS movie - Denzel is fun when he plays the bad guy- but the movie is so absurd - it literally is a big penis waving contest. I was engaged enough to finish the movie but would not suggest it to anyone. C-


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life of Crime

Life of Crime - this neo-noir based on an Elmore Leonard story is a solid modern attempt at film noir. While the lighting is not the typical shadows and light and the story has a more comedic touch than most of the noir cannon.  This movie is about a botched kidnapping attempt set in Detroit in the late 70s. Jennifer Anniston is the kidnapping victim of 3 hoodlums that don’t quite jell as a unit but  manage to kidnap the wife of a philandering sleazy businessman portrayed by Tim Robbins. This movie is not for everyone and probably won’t satiate the film noir purists -but I enjoyed it. B-


Friday, January 30, 2015

Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly - Brad Pitt is a hitman who is hired by the mob to eradicate some small-time hoods that held up a high roller poker game. He sub-contracts one of the hits to a washed up booze filled button man portrayed by James Gandolfini. The movie makes sure to have political speeches by Reagan, Bush and Obama playing in the background and is trying to make some sort of statement about business and relationships and murder for hire - it tries to be stylish and succeeds some of the time. It is a solid attempt at neo-noir but overall an empty exercise.  C-

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Point Break

Kathryn Bigelow directs this action packed unintentional comedy. The dialogue belongs in the dick swinging hall of fame as macho cliché fills time between surfing , fighting and various other adrenaline rushes. This is a fun rush sure the plot is filled with tons of holes and Keanu Reaves is not exactly at his best as Johnny Utah. The cast is rounded out with Patrick Swayze as a zen surfer, Gary Bussey is Utah's partner and Lori Petty is the love interest. This is not perfect but if you like 80s fashion , extreme action and want an action movie this is not the worst choice.  B-

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Divergent

This dystopian take on the future has the world divided into several factions. The lead character belongs to a family of public servants. After a test shows her to be divergent she decides to join the warrior class. This feels like a PG version of bootcamp for the movie Starship Troopers. The movie feels a little long(clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes). This is not a movie I would revisit but it was a decent diversion. C+


Gravity

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are 2 folks orbiting the Earth when the explosion of a Russian satellite causes things to go south quickly. This is an engrossing movie aided by great sound design and impeccable timing. Worth checking out - this movie is currently showing on HBO.  B

The Brothers Rico

A late period film noir follows Eddie Rico as his world collapses. Rico was a mob accountant who now owns a growing laundry concern in Florida. The movie is bogged down by tons of talking in the first act. Richard Conte does a solid job as the lead. Eddie is used by the mob to track down his brothers. This is a meat and potatoes production - this is not the first movie that I would suggest to folks wanting to try film noir nor something I would suggest to folks that aren't wanting to see every film noir movie like myself. The DVD has a brief featurette with Martin Scorsese talking about the movie.  C

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fruitvale Station

Based on a true story about a BART passenger that was shot by subway security this movie does a good job of humanizing the last day  of a man who died too soon. Michael B. Jordan was amazing as Wallace on the Wire and does another stellar job as the lead character in this movie. Worth checking out. B+






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Django Unchained

Django is another QT exploitation flick where the realities of the time are thrown out the door in order to provide more bang for the buck. This is a western movie with modern profanity and violence thrown at the viewer. The action is tolerable- but as always the dialogue saves the day in a QT picture. The best scene in the movie is the hood scene - although there are other moments of superb levity chucked in. Worth a sitdown and checking out on Netflix streaming.  B