On Mother’s Day I did a Lucky 13 list, so it’s only fitting that I do a list for all the dads out there. This is my countdown to my favorite Father’s Day related films…
13. “Silver Linings Playbook” - This Oscar winning romantic comedy is a fantastic character piece, and some of my favorite aspects about the movie are the scenes between Bradley Cooper’s Pat and his father played by Robert DeNiro. Both of which give Oscar nominated performance, both of these dynamic characters severely butt heads while at the same time, share heartwarming moments. Only a movie about a family of sports nut jobs could do this write.
12. “Big Fish” - Has your dad ever told you tall tales about his youth? His war time days? His first job to support a new family? How he met mom? How he defeated a witch? This is a magical movie, and one of my favorites by the hit-or-miss director that is Tim Burton. Albert Finny and Ewan McGregor share the same role as the father of this story, both give the character such incredible nuance and realistic depth.
11. “Mr. Mom” - Before he was Batman, he was Mr. Mom! Michael Keaton, plays a stay at home dad, who recently loses his job, and gains all the stresses and mental breakdowns that his wife had to go through when she stayed at home, while he brought home the bacon. It’s not the best comedy in the world, but it’s an amusing premise, and Keaton really does prove here that he’s a talented comedic actor. But, lets not forget…HE’S BATMAN!
10. “The Godfather” - If this movie taught us anything, it’s that dad knows best, and you better fuckin’ listen.
9. “Kramer vs. Kramer” - Robert Benton’s powerhouse drama about a married couple’s divorce and its impact on everyone involved, including the couple’s young son. The divorce subject about kids choosing their parents is a difficult one to tell, and the movie gives us legitimate arguments why each parent could be the one for the kid, but our lead, Mr. Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), is the Rocky underdog you end up rooting for because of his honest disposition.
8. “”Mrs. Doubtfire - Another divorce film, which has the father take a very unorthodox approach; dress in drag and fool your family that your a real woman who’s here to clean house, and not come off as a Monty Python sketch character. Robin Williams, you brilliant SOB, thanks for one of your most iconic performances of all time.
7. “Field of Dreams” - This doesn’t become a father/son tale till the final five minutes of the film, but the build up to this revelation makes it all the more powerful. Not only is it one of the best spiritual sports films out there, but it’s probably the best baseball movie ever made.
6. “National Lampoon’s Vacation” - Don’t you just love a good old fashion road trip vacation with your family? Just make sure dad doesn’t crack under pressure.
5. “The Place Beyond the Pines” - This recent crime epic by director Derek Cianfrance tells a generational story about father’s and son’s and how the actions we make will affect us and our kids in the future. Read my full review here.
4. “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back“ - The mack of all dads! The biggest and greatest twist in cinematic history, the daddy of all plot twists! Just ask yourself this, what if your dad, who you thought was killed by a pure evil man, turns out to be alive, and is in fact that evil man? My reaction wouldn’t be so jovial either.
3. “Finding Nemo” - Pixar is all about the heart in it’s characters, this grand journey about a father stopping at nothing to find his lost child, reigns supreme as one of the best animated produce films of this generation. Every year I find myself watching this movie and every time I watch it this emotional blanket is cast over me and it’s such a bittersweet feeling.
2. “There Will Be Blood” - Worst Father Ever.
1. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“ - Father Of The Year.
LOOK! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s…THE MAN OF STEEL! The man in blue isn’t referenced as “Superman” through most of the film, until one army Sergeant nicknames him the famous name for target identification purposes. Perhaps in the sequel we’ll come to know and love Kal-El simply as SUPERMAN.
Zack Snyder is a tricky horsy when it comes to making a big budget comic book movie. When it came to “Watchmen” many folks were somewhat split on his take of the famous Alan Moore graphic novel. Me, I loved the movie, and I even loved the ultimate director’s cut. Sure, in a perfect world I would love to have the giant squid, but then again, we don’t live in a perfect world…or do we? Christopher Nolan and his “Batman Begins” co-writer, David S. Goyer, found a way to bring Superman into the modern 2012/2013 world. Snyder’s background in the heavy action fueled comic book adaptation was something I think the DC studio really needed, after the lackluster “Green Lantern”.
To sum it up simply, “Man of Steel” is the Superman movie fans of the popular cultural hero have been yearning for since “Superman III/IV/Returns” tainted their taste buds. With it’s issues, the movie as a whole is a whopping good time, and is a testament to the character, the universe, and the summer movie blockbuster. Snyder gives us a relatable Superman for modern audience, or as I like to put it, The Dark Knight Generation, and also finds a reasonable balance to give us some familiarity of the characters past incarnations.
We open on Krypton, the planet is dying, and the well-respected representative of the planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) have given the planet its very first naturally born son, Kal-El. Krypton’s military leader, General Zod (Michael Shannon) commits high treason and subsequently murders Jor-El. However, before his demise, Jor-El sends his son far away, with a secret that is the key for saving Krypton’s genetic history. Baby Kal-El travels an ocean of stars and lands on a planet known as…Earth.
33 years later (which is the first of many Jesus references this movie gives off), we find a loaner Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), traveling the world, changing his identity, performing extraordinary acts of bravery, and then disappears on & off again. Clark catches wind of a possible alien artifact being found in the Arctic, which could lead him to the answers about where he came from and who he really is. Daily Planet reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) investigates the phenomenon and learns of Clark’s secret. Zod, makes his way to Earth, and plans to annihilate the entire world unless Kal surrenders. And so, the true testament of what makes a hero, and what sacrifices he shall make to better mankind begin!
As far as superhero movies go, this movie is up there all right, but it doesn’t come close to “The Dark Knight” or “Marvel’s The Avengers”. The movie has a large majority of goods to share, but it lacks in the script department. The biggest issue the movie has is it’s too convoluted for it’s own good. There is A LOT going on here, so much so that I found myself lost quite a few times. Act III is all over the place and it’s deliberately setting up for a continuation to explain more in a sequel. David S. Goyer scribed the film, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks this, but he’s not the best screenwriter, for crying outloud his dialogue is piss poor, it was bad in “Batman Begins”, and it’s bad here.
Now, where the movie lacks in script issues, it does make up for in the broad acting abilities, the mind numbing special effects, and a powerhouse score by Hans Zimmer. Elephant in the room, how was Henry Cavill? Henry Cavill? Who’s this Henry Cavill you speak of, because all I saw on the big screen was SUPERMAN! Cavill is the Man of Steel! Without question this movie wins lead casting choice of the year. Henry gives a brilliant nuance performance to the character, which makes him, as I stated before, the most relatable superhero to this day. Many people complain that they cannot connect with Superman, because…well, he’s a God. But here, we’re given a different take on the film; he has certain weakness, physical (non-Kryptonite) and mental.
The supporting players are all very good; the two that stand out the most were Antje Traue as Faora-Ul and Kevin Costner as Pa Kent. Traue made a great female villain, more so than Shannon’s Zod, I wish there was more of her, and being drop dead hot along with being a bad ass helps a great deal. Costner, who I’ve never really been much of a fan of, does a wonderful job as Clark’s Earth father, Jonathan. He gives Clark a sense of purpose, and guides him on how to be the best person he can be, and saving his gifts for when the world will really need him. Amy Adams made a good Lois, don’t get me wrong, but the character development between her and Clark was stiff at best, perhaps it’s all being saved for the sequel.
I’ve been reading up on some of the critic’s reactions, some I agree with (minor at the very least), and some I highly disagree with. There was plenty of action, and well-paced beats between the next action sequences. The runtime, for me, didn’t feel like 2 hours and 23 minutes, if anything it felt shorter. I liked what Zack Snyder has done with the character and the world he lives in and I hope to see more from him. All they need to do for “Man of Steel 2″ is replace the writer with someone a bit stronger in the summer blockbuster field; get the dynamic duo of Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Oraci to scribe the next film, and everything will be air tight.
Special thanks to Sergio Enamorando’s input after attending the screener.
“The Hangover” was a comedy triumph, Zach Galifianakis won the hearts of millions, and apparently Bradley Cooper doesn’t always play an asshole bad guy like in “Wedding Crashers”. Two Years Later, the same team brings us a Part II of the gang, problem is that film was a basic carbon copy of the original, only spiced with a dash of Thai. Now, we’ve come down to the final stretch, as the “The Hangover” saga (a saga no one really asked for) comes to a close in “Part III”.
Two years after the Bangkok incident, the wolfpack (Cooper, Helms, & Bartha) has muddled down, all except Alan (Galifianakis), who’s been off his meds for months. In the aftermath of the death of Alan’s father (Jeffrey Tambor), the gang decide to take Alan to get treated for his mental issues. But, things start to go wrong on the way to the hospital as the wolfpack is assaulted by a very angry crime lord named Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall is pissed, the wolfpack has infected Marshall’s life with a virus known simply as…Chow (Ken Jeong). Chow has stolen a lot of money from Marshall and he believes that the boys who met him the night of the first bachelor party in Vegas have the best chance of finding him. Doug is kidnapped and is being held as collateral until Marshall gets his money and Chow. And so the journey for Chow begins, as the boys race against the clock to find him and the money.
By the plot I’ve given you, it’s quite apparent that this movie is 110% different in almost every way than the last two movies. Which can be a double edged sword in a lot of ways. On the one hand, it’s nice for things to be changed up, throwing the Wolfpack in a scarier scenario than the previous two does up the ante narratively. The plot was decent, it’s basically a road trip heist film now, which doesn’t bother me. Problem, there isn’t any real DANGEROUS HUMOR the previous films had. With all the issues “Part II” had, at least it was ballsy in it’s comedy choices. Here, it almost feels a bit generic, with the exception of a few cruel animal jokes that will surly piss PETA off this Memorial Day weekend.
The movie however, belongs to Galifianakis this time around, this film is his show, and rightfully so. He’s the one who really does deserve a perfect closing character arc and how things end for Alan are pretty nice. John Goodman makes a great bad guy, I’m just gonna put that on the table, so if there’s one major reason I’d recommend this movie, see it for Goodman’s role in the film. It’s nothing really new, but is interactions with the gang is amusing to a “T”. Ken Jeong’s Mr. Chow borderlines brilliance and annoying, dangerously may I add. He’s a character that you know you should hate, but at the same time, you can’t help but continue watching his madness unfold.
While the movie itself isn’t a masterpiece comedy, it’s a fun, entertaining romp that will please fans of the first film and for those who liked “Part II” a lot. It’s different, but it’s far from bold, but I feel like it’ll be one of those guilty pleasures you’ll find yourself watching on a rainy day. ALSO, in a world of post-credit or in this case mid-credit secret endings, stay for this films secret ending, it’s a fantastic homage to the first film in just about every way you could’ve hoped for.
[THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE]
It’s probably a good thing that I’ve waited about a week to write my review for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness, I needed time to fully invest the movie into my minds eye. I respect J.J. Abrams take on the franchise and where he’s decided to go. Some may feel he’s making “Star Trek” more “Star Wars”, when it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I dare you right now to pop in “A New Hope”, then watch the Abrams 2009 “Star Trek”.
“Into Darkness” takes the new ‘Trek-Nero’ timeline to different places, farther than the original films and tv series years ago. To recap from the previous film, the mad Romulan baddie, Nero (Eric Bana), has warped the timeline of the original Trek, after time traveling through a black hole, along with old Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Now that everything is different, and yet somewhat original, with the same Enterprise team at bay (under different circumstance), Kirk (Chris Pine) & Spock (Zachary Qunito) have acclimated to everything that is Starfleet, including the Prime Directive.
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home after vigorous adventure, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, leaving our world in a state of crisis. The man responsible goes by the name of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a Starfleet officer. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to the war-zone ridden world of Kronos, the Klingon home wold, to capture Harrison, who we’ve come to learn is nothing more than a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
So, let us discuss what’s at play here, firstly I’ve seen the movie twice already (I may go for a third), the first viewing I felt that the movie was simply “Wrath of Khan 2.0″, and for a lot of reasons. [INCOMING SPOILER] The revelation about Harrison’s identity, he is none other than the infamous Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically altered human weapon of 300 yrs ago, who was frozen, along with his 72 crew members aboard their ship known to Trekkie’s as the Botany Bay. If you watch the original “Star Trek” episode, “Space Seed” (on Netflix instant), you’ll get a full in-depth look at the character and his complete backstory. Introducing Khan, the character of Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), and the warp core death scene (now switched around), all of these elements scream “Wrath of Khan”, for a while that’s all I really thought the movie was…but then I saw it again.
“Into Darkness” new timeline takes place roughly around the same time Khan was discovered in “Space Seed”. However, do to Nero’s interactions with the universe, certain chain of events have been set into motion changing Khan’s motives and personal vendetta’s. Instead of Kirk discovering Khan, Starfleet’s Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) finds Khan. For the sake of not spoiling anymore, let’s just say, Khan is being played like a flute by Marcus…for now. His rage and anger is no longer focused on Kirk, like in “WoK”. But, the attitude, the reason why Khan was frozen in the first place, that he’s a power hungry tyrant, hellbent on killing anyone who doesn’t match his superiority, remains, which I feel “WoK” didn’t fully explore. Khan’s development as a person is far more enticing and interesting, not to mention down right scarier than Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.
Now, for some, myself included, thought the infamous death scene in the radiation room felt like lazy writing. You might say, ‘Hey, they already did that in “WoK”, why do it again, you’re just doing the same thing, only now it’s switched. Boo!’ But, you see, that’s the brilliance about that scene in this movie, it’s narratively NOTHING like the original film. What this scene signifies, and may I dare to say, better than “WoK” was that you can’t just do this scene as a basic ‘tribute’ and then make it for no reason, no, it has to have a actual context. In “WoK” the death of Spock was a punctuation and acknowledgement of a friendship that has been strengthen through decades of their journey together as friend.
In “Into Darkness” however, Kirk & Spock up to this point haven’t known each other that long, they’ve only been working together for rough a couple of years, so in this movie, that moment, when Kirk gives his last breath for Spock and the entire crew, it’s a sudden revelation for Spock; that Kirk is his friend. Old Spock even said it at the end of the first film that they were destined to build a legendary relationship, a friendship that would define them both in ways they could not yet realize. That moment, Kirk’s death was that realization.
When it comes down to it, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is probably without question the best film in the entire canon. It’s pure Trek in a lot of ways, it honors the franchise in a respectful manner, and it doesn’t take the time to bullshit with mindless exposition and bone headed moves by it’s villain or heroes for that matter. It takes something familiar and reformats it into something new all over again.
Many feared that when it was announced that a sequel would happen after the ’09 film, most fans prayed that the filmmakers wouldn’t choose Khan, just because he was out there still and he’s the easiest villain to do. But, I feel that particular fear has disappeared. It’s not what the fans were anticipating and I think for argument’s sake that what we got in the end was something far better than any Trekkie or movie fan could have ever asked for. Mr. Abrams, I salute you, live long and prosper good sir…
…now we got “Star Wars”. Oh boy.
3D GRADE: B
MOVIE GRADE: A
Baz FUCKIN’ Luhrmann! If there’s one thing that crazed Australian “FILMMAKER” is known for, it’s whoring up the silver screen with bizarre cinematic spectacles that make no sense whatsoever to the films plot or development. I mean…do whatever you want to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, make a scene with “Moulin Rouge”, bore us to tears with “Australia”, but for the love of god, leave “The Great Gatsby” alone! Oh wait, too late.
In case you didn’t go to sophomore English class, let me give you the basic plot about this troublesome F. Scott Fitzgerald tale. The story follows Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Fitzgerald wanna be writer, who’s lured into the lavish world of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Soon enough, however, Carraway will see through the cracks of Gatsby’s nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await all of them.
Look, this is the fourth adaptation of F. Scott’s great American novel, the story isn’t progressing nor is it ever going to change, hell at this point, I’d welcome a modern day twist of the book, but what’s that going to prove? The only real good cinematic version of “The Great Gatsby” would have to be the Robert Redford one, and even that wasn’t all that enticing.
Are there any props to give this film? Well I commend the movie for trying to be different, by exploiting the lush extravagance of the rich. You seriously cannot exploit 1920′s rich people than this film, that’s for damn sure. But the problem this movie has suffered is that it’s just to damn noisy. It’s all over the place, it’s chaotic, it’s trying to play out as some rap music video that’s gone all 20′s-style because it’s trying to be hip. Baz’s film lacks any authenticity that the original source material was trying to say. If you’re caught up in all the visual bullshit, you lose sight on the substance of the story. Let me make this clear for all you 15 year old girls out there; VISUALS DON’T MEAN SHIT, UNLESS IT’S POWERED BY A GOOD STORY WITH DEEMING SUBSTANCE!
This movie, as you may have guessed, has infuriated me. It’s times like these where I’ve stop questioning why Hollywood won’t give original auteur’s the chance to embrace something ‘new’ and innovative, no, now I’ve come to terms with it and accepted the fact that Hollywood will never change. It’ll take a classic book and rip the pages out and turn it into a 3D ocular-fuck-fest! AND I DON’T EVEN REALLY LIKE THE ORIGINAL BOOK! How messed up is that? Get ready for the next brilliant adaptation from Baz Lurhmann, when he does a 3D version of “Moby Dick”, but the white whale is a giant puppet and everything else is abstract.
Stiff acting, wrong musical choice, and a lengthy runtime also don’t pull any favors for this stupid bore of a movie. But, hey, it’s making some money, and people are dumb enough to buy into this crap, so who am I to say it’s bad, RIGHT!?!? Yeah, yeah, whatever.
Can’t remember the last time Robert Redford has directed something that has kept me fully engaged from start to finish, with the exception of “Quiz Show” (I really like that film). Redford directs and co-stars in this all-star studded cast of characters, that is really nothing more than a chase film covered in political-belief propaganda.
I’ve never lived in the 60′s so I can’t really feel the total connection to the characters, especially Redford’s, but I can try to empathize. The movie does bounce back and forth tonal between Redford & Shia LaBeouf’s characters, but “The Company You Keep” is not a misshapen production that some critics have made it out to be.
After years in hiding, ex-Weather Underground militant, Nick Sloan aka Jim Grant (Redford), learns about his old compatriot’s (Susan Sarandon) arrest for a bank robbery turned deadly in the 1970s, which he is wanted as an accomplice. This puts the ambitious young local reporter, Ben Shepard (LaBeouf), on the scent of a story that exposes Nick as well. As such, Nick goes on the run while taking his daughter to safety. With that accomplished, Nick stays one step ahead of the FBI while pursuing a faint hope to clear his name. Meanwhile, Shepard digs deeper into the case himself as he discovers the true complexities of another times’ determined ideals even Nick face their consequences with another.
The story unfolds quite well, it’s not a complete high tension, thriller, but there are a few interesting twists and turns you won’t see coming. What I liked was that the film is that the affect and course of time in change that follows these radical believers during a time when war was everything, and it was all for the right/wrong reasons. Nick/Jim was someone who truly believed in what he was preaching and for many who disagreed with the war in Vietnam his words were just. But, when you decide to take your ideas further to a more dangerous, and more than likely hypocritical stand point, the line between right and wrong becomes grey.
Lies, falseness, they all play a major role in each main characters storyline. Ben is a reporter that will pull every subtle dirty move to get the answers he needs which leads to a direct affect into Jim’s life. Be that as it may, the one thing I did find a hard time believing about the Ben character is how he was able to discover and reveal Jim’s true identity when the US. Government was unable to do so for the past 30+ years. I guess the moral here is that if you have a lap top and know a few dirty people, you can be the worlds greatest detective. I feel that Ben needed to be fleshed out more so than Jim.
But, the movie’s got strong suits, and that definitely goes to the fine casting selection Redford miraculously concocted. Probably one of the best supporting characters in the film go to Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci. Everyone else had fine performances, some more so underused than others, the revelation between Redford’s & Julie Christie’s characters came off as a bit of a lackluster, but all in all everything comes together nicely, thanks to the brilliant cast.