The Purge

Year: 2013
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Written By: James DeMonaco

RYAN’S REVIEW

This isn’t a movie I love or even particularly like but I do think it is a cool idea. My brother is so taken with the movie that I feel compelled to keep giving it chances. This movie, like Crazy, Stupid, Love, made its way into the collection on that same Amazon shopping spree night when I bought several DVDs absentmindedly.  The Purge itself is an idea worth making a film about but I find so much about this movie to be just too typical. I don’t think “The Annual Purge” really is or would be cool either.

In a nutshell an annual purge would allow a lot of unsavory criminal elements to simply wipe themselves out but the truth is it would never go that way. As we see in the movie you would have plenty of people from all walks of life taking part but what about the people who aren’t just out there to unleash the beast in the form of murder? How many men just go back to their daily lives after an evening of carte blanche in sex crimes? What I fear is that on an actual evening of purging that getting murdered would be one of the easiest things to be victimized by. What’s worse are all the nightmares people actually survive and the hell you have to go through life remembering. People are sick and demented, give them 12 hours every year to show their wild side and we would see things most of us never could have imagined.

I feel like the shock value in this movie is too intentional and poorly executed. I like the evil rich kid who comes knocking on their door but that’s about as far as it goes. Rhys Wakefield, who plays the Polite Stranger, is wicked and intimidating from beginning to end. However, while I think he is really well written and delivers a great performance he is alone in that category. I think the girls dual wielding machetes and axes are a bit silly. An ax is a heavy and cumbersome weapon; it’s just ridiculous for this college girl to be swinging it with ease and precision as a man fires a shotgun at her. Not to mention I feel like it is an obvious effort to recreate the Manson murders as so many films do, like The Strangers. I can buy girls getting in on unleashing the beast but when they are dancing around and being so cutesy about killing it’s just overkill.

I feel like everything that happens in the movie is just too typical too. The innocent son feels sorry for the hobo in the street pleading for his life so he lets him inside like an idiot. The daughter has an older boyfriend who she obviously isn’t mature enough to understand and he tries to kill her dad. The neighbors aren’t there to help but to purge. It’s all just too typical and doesn’t really impress me. Maybe if the actors were better or the story was tweaked a bit it might have worked but I just don’t buy these cookie cutter suburban people feeling the need to butcher one of their neighbors and her children. I get it if they just really want to kill Ethan Hawke, but when they pull out knives to stab his children to death in his place I feel like it’s just too much. I can see the suburban type wanting to kill the man who profited off this chaos but I just don’t want to think people become child murderers so easily. Not to mention the knives, killing isn’t an easy thing and I don’t think people unaccustomed to it would chose such a personal and hands on way to murder when they are packing guns.

I think there were merits to the story that involved how The Purge is simply a tool to counteract poverty and cleanse society of the beatniks but this movie glosses over them too much. So much so that they immediately made a sequel to go farther with it. The sequel was equally as rushed in an effort to make money though and probably falls short in similar ways. I do think the sequel to this movie is better than this one, but that’s not to say it couldn’t have been better if more time and effort was put into it.

I think this is at least the fourth time I have tried to get into this movie and again it fails to inspire anything more than a shrug. I can get the appeal but I feel like it’s a story I’ve just seen too many times already. The only thing that makes this movie any different from any other Manson family murder knockoff is the pseudo half assed effort to introduce a political aspect to the mayhem created. If you haven’t seen half a dozen movies already where people are victimized by senseless killing from unreasonably persevering bad guys then maybe you will love this. I just don’t find anything exceptional about it. However, with a cool running time of less than an hour and half, I’ll leave it up to you whether or not it is actually worth your time.

NEXT MOVIEQuills (2000)

Punch-Drunk Love

Year: 2002
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written By: Paul Thomas Anderson

RYAN’S REVIEW

Since growing out of puberty I have had little interest in the work of Adam Sandler. Any time I come across one of his many films I feel reaffirmed in my lack of interest and learn more and more to ignore him all together. Yet on the rarest of occasions he branches out from toilet humor and does something different. Under those circumstances I have been pleased with a couple of his performances and I really think he is capable of more than what he typically does. There is a youthful spirit still alive inside of me that wants to love Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore despite how ridiculous I find most of what he does. I think Adam Sandler is a terrific actor but his typical work is garbage. Albeit garbage that makes tons and tons of money so who am I to criticize? I might think his humor is juvenile and pathetic but he continues to succeed at it despite what I think. Though, in the 13 years since this film came out I wish we had more of these kinds of films and less of his Happy Madison studio crap.

This is as different a role as Adam Sandler has played in his entire career. He isn’t funny but dramatic, playing a character that couldn’t be any more awkward and painfully depressed. As Barry, the bullied brother of several older sisters, he is so alone in the world and so desperate for a connection with someone. People like Barry can so easily become victims, and that in a nutshell is Barry’s problem. He grew up as the victim of his older sisters and has matured into a victim of the world. A tortured soul suffering in the madness of his own self loathing and isolation. When he tries to confide in people he feels betrayed, be it from a brother-in-law or a phone sex operator. Barry is a weird guy, and when weird things happen to weird people the story is always an interesting one. I love how weird and strange Barry Egan is and this is without doubt my favorite performance ever by Sandler. I love his random dancing in the supermarket and how he rises to the occasion as a badass when his girlfriend is threatened. Sandler made a pile of dough acting like a moron but this role clearly proves he could have done anything he wanted to a lifetime ago. As Egan he is such a different and original character. With his mannerisms, his awkwardness, and his insane tendencies Barry Egan is a portrait of desperation and of longing. I love this character and I enjoy watching him overcome his problems to find something hopefully on the path to happiness.

Something that I will never forget about this movie is the performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and how blown away I was by it. I had known about him and respected him prior to seeing this film but I had no idea he had badass inside of him. I have wholeheartedly loved several of his performances but in truth he never really reached his full potential as an actor. I was really disappointed to hear about his death and the manner of it. I felt like it tarnished his character and reputation in the worst of ways. My heart breaks at anybody that goes before their time but when you poison yourself to death with drugs I don’t think pity is necessary. Nevertheless the man was a terrific actor and he left us with many great performances. With his role in this film he showed me that he had more range than I thought he was capable of. He scared me as this pseudo gangster mattress man. I’d seen him do so many things yet never imagined he was capable of a role like this. I love when an actor does that. Hoffman is an anomaly for me. He has done what I most admire about actors by being incredibly diverse but he has also done what I most despise most about celebrities by falling victim to a despicable addiction all the same. He has come full circle as an actor for me in such an interesting way.

In truth, Paul Thomas Anderson is such a smart filmmaker I think I could watch this movie ten times and still not cover everything in a review. For example, so subtly Luis Guzman starts wearing a suit. It is remarked in the film that Sandler never wears a suit to work but once he does Guzman subtly in the background starts wearing one as well taking his lead from the boss. It’s an example of the small little details that Anderson doesn’t overlook as a director.  Anderson is the type of filmmaker we don’t get enough out of as an audience. Too much of the audience leaves the show confused and for those of us that get it we are too demanding as fans. I like Paul Thomas Anderson but I’m not an obsessive fan of his. I only say so because I am under the impression he has a crazy fan base, which I think is understandable. I’ll never forget once while I was in college I mentioned either this movie or Magnolia in class once. The most unlikeliest of people approached me afterwards with something along the lines of “So you’re into PTA?” I’ll never forget that because it took me way too long to realize he was referring to a filmmaker and what had prompted the conversation all together. Point being, I’m under the impression there is a network of fans out there dedicated to the guy. I get it though; this guy can make such compelling movies. I was never a fan of There Will Be Blood, but maybe it is due a reviewing. This, and Magnolia, prove to me enough that “PTA” is an exceptional filmmaker worth watching at all times. I have yet to see his latest film but this movie is starting to inspire me to watch a few things again or for the first time.

This is such a weird film, but I love it so much. It is a beautiful film and I love what Anderson is able to do with silhouettes in shot. The story is surprisingly interesting, the type that you can’t convey when you are trying to tell someone about it. A great director and filmmaker can do that to you. He can inspire you with something so magnificent that you can’t even find the words to describe what you are feeling. In this movie we get a glimpse of a life none of us lead but we feel like we were there in the thick of it. That’s the mark of an exceptional story teller and the really exceptional ones are the ones that only do it randomly. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Paul Thomas Anderson then you really have something to look forward to because there are several movies that might blow you away.

I think this is without doubt Adam Sandler’s greatest film. Given the recent box office disasters he has been making is it possible that everyone else is beginning to notice what I saw beginning when Little Nicky  came out 15 years ago. The Waterboy was only mildly good at best and even then I was beginning to think I was outgrowing him. When Little Nicky came out I felt like the writing was on the wall only nobody wanted to admit it. I have always felt like people would like things because they thought they were supposed to like them. One of the biggest examples that immediately comes to mind is Ron Burgundy I have never understood what people saw in that movie other than the fact that they thought they were supposed to like it. I have had a disappointed opinion of Sandler since 2000 so I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible he has made some really funny movies I haven’t seen. I have seen enough of them to stay solid in my opinion though. I think he is better than the juvenile toilet humor he spends his time making. It is because of this movie that I feel that way. This movie proves Sandler is capable of more and I hope that one day we see more of it.

I have never successfully talked anyone into watching this movie. I have talked with many people who have already seen it and loved it but I have never actually been able to talk someone into seeing it for the first time. I have even loaned it out a couple of times and had to ask for it back unseen after an unreasonable amount of time. I think that it’s because it’s  easy to read the synopsis and not be interested. It’s also easy to start this movie and immediately find it boring but you have to preserver in this one. You have to let this one suck you in and take you for a ride. Give this movie your time and attention and I absolutely guarantee that not only was it worth your time but that you will probably really enjoy it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Purge (2013)

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Year: 2011
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Written By: Dan Fogelman

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie I never wanted to watch but simply couldn’t deny that it was good. It covers a topic that I usually steer clear from because it hits too close to home. In this case however I actually think the content is conveyed in an incredibly lighthearted and funny way. When a movie about something I don’t like to watch with actors I don’t particularly care for somehow overcomes all odds and impresses me I feel like I owe it a place in the collection. So one night I found myself up late and allowed Amazon Prime to wear me down with several recommendations and this was one of them.

There are some movies I steer clear of specifically because of content. I can’t stand movies about junkies, I don’t like movies about or involving rape, and I don’t like movies about divorce and affairs. The first two are just things I just don’t care to see because they only make ugly and awful stories. When it comes to divorce and affair it’s just something I, like so many others in my generation, had to suffer through in a time when kids got forgotten and parents simply didn’t know what to do. That’s not how it looks in this movie though as the kids are strong minded and the cuckolded father finds a new energy in life. It’s inspiring and endearing all at the same time. I can’t stand Ryan Gosling, but he is pretty damn cool in this movie and how he coaches the old dog to learn new tricks is awesome.

I typically feel like Steve Carell is too typical and simply redoing his 40 Year Old Virgin/Michael Scott character but that’s not the case in this film. It’s probably time to evaluate that opinion again as he has now undoubtedly moved on from those roles. In this movie he plays such a down to earth guy in an honest situation like any typical guy might find himself in. It is awesome to see him make his transition from middle aged dad to confident ladies man with the help of an unreasonably cool new friend. To see him become cool again gives hope to any person who finds himself in a similarly unfortunate situation in life.

Emma Stone is such a delightful actress and she makes everything she is in better. She brings the greatest element of surprise to this movie and her role comes together in a great and hilarious scene.  As the adult daughter of Steve Carell and Julianne Moore she brings the movie full circle by connecting all the characters. Stone is an actress that shocks me each and every time I see her on screen by being so much better than I expect her to be. She is very funny and very talented as an actress. She has the privilege of working alongside another great in this movie. I have never been the biggest fan of Julianne Moore either but for the life of me I don’t know why. She is a fantastic actress whose star continues to shine brighter with every new performance.

For me, this movie captures love as it actually is. Crazy and stupid. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but the heart wants what the hearts wants. Love can cause more pain than anyone can imagine but can also inspire forgiveness and understanding in a way that we can’t anticipate. Love can confuse and frustrate us, but that is the nature of it. It is an emotion with a mind of it’s own. Some people will never figure that out and are doomed to a lifetime of befuddlement when it comes to dealing with personal relationships. I appreciate and respect love because I recognize it as something that is beyond our understanding. With love the why never matters but all that needs be considered is what “is.” The only hope you can have is that the love is mutual and not one sided. There is no reasoning with love and no denying it. It is an emotion that can build or destroy us. It is a mystery that brings intrigue or disaster to lives all across the world. It has an energy all on its own and it is different for all of us. I can say with true honesty that the only reason I understand love is because I was lucky enough to find it with Amber. It can be crazy and it can be stupid, but it is what it is and my love for her is what makes my life whole.

When it comes to people I don’t think you should ever expect much. In my experience people will follow their own mindset regardless how reasonably you try to persuade them to a more practical mindset. I don’t think you should ever expect any one person to change but be wise enough to recognize it if it actually happens. People can change, but it isn’t something that happens easily. It’s far easier for a bad person to weasel themselves back into a relationship on the pretext of change that is only temporary. That isn’t real love. Real love is the crazy, stupid madness that engulfs a person and makes them capable of doing what they were never able to do before. It’s a sad reality that in plenty of relationships only one person feels true love and that person is doomed to suffer in wanting for something that they can never hope to actually have. Real love does happen though, and it does exist. I hate to admit it but I love this movie about people who are truly in love.

Amber and I watched this today simply as a means to checking it off the to do list and getting another review in the bank. What I didn’t expect was how much the movie would actually get to me. I didn’t expect when we started it that I would love it when we were finished. I had my same stubborn preconceived ideas about this movie before we watched it again but it won me over again despite that. To me that makes it a great film. I think this movie does an excellent job of really capturing what love is and it does it in a fun and funny way. That makes this movie worth your time and I hope you give it a chance.

Final notes on this film. I think John Carroll Lynch is awesome in everything he is in. In a supporting role he brings a lot to this movie. I don’t like the part that Kevin Bacon plays but this movie offers another great chance at getting through a game of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Also, Marisa Tomei is always delightful and beautiful despite age. My father met her once during a premier of Only You at the Uptown Theater in Washington D.C. when he was manager there. She came out of the theater at one point during the viewing and shared a cigarette with him in the lobby. He said she was a really nice person and easy to talk to.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Year: 2014
Directed By: Anthony and Joe Russo
Written By: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

RYAN’S REVIEW

To date, I think this is the best sequel made by Marvel Studios. Granted I haven’t seen the newest Avengers film yet but by comparison to the Thor and Iron Man sequels I’ve seen this one is way better. I think there are some minor problems with the story of this film but more importantly the action is awesome and nonstop. This movie has a certain distinction for me as it was the film Amber and I attended to get off the street one night while we were in Denver. We were in the city for my birthday and conveniently near a theater when a cool down was needed. It’s also a movie I watched while recovering from a significant concussion recently and I feel like I kind of bonded with it during that vulnerable time. Nevertheless, aside from having specific reasons for being biased towards it I will stand by it in any argument because I think it is an exciting film and it furthers the Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline in a significant way.

I’ll start with what I think is wrong about this movie that I enjoy. I think it is difficult do make solo films for the heroes of the Avengers because the threats that they face alone seem like something that they should all be involved in. Take this movie for example, how is it that SHIELD faces a threat of this magnitude without Iron Man showing up? That’s just a general problem I have but I’m willing to excuse it because I like it and the kid in me will settle for nothing less than loving these movies. The real problem I have with it is I just find it a bit too much that SHIELD is infiltrated to the top position. If the super secret almighty SHIELD can be infiltrated to such a degree isn’t the whole thing in general just silly?

There is one more thing too. Admittedly I hadn’t realized it myself until a friend pointed it out. Why do all the Marvel solo heroes have black sidekicks? How is it Marvel Studios and their parent company Disney could present such a foolish and obvious cliche that won’t sit well when publicly noticed? Iron Man has War Machine, Thor has Heimdal, and Cap has Falcon. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that is going to sit well given the racial climate within the country of late. I have faith Marvel will straighten it all out with the soon to be introduced Black Panther character.

Nevertheless my biggest hang up with this movie is the story but so what? It’s a comic book film right? Why criticize it when it is only made to be fun and enjoyable? Regardless who the bad guys are they are there to present a challenge to our hero and this film does that in spades. Captain America is faced with devastating odds and rises to the occasion as a badass. I think Chris Evans is perfect as Captain America and I like what he brings to the part. He can be both funny and stern which I think is necessary for the character. When the action starts it’s absolutely amazing how well they choreograph fight scenes to incorporate that shield. You wouldn’t think a guy could do so much with a shield but for the third time around in this film Cap defies any reasonable odds. It seems you can do just about any damn thing with a shield if you know how to wield it.

I really like the addition of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon. Something else that gets me about this film is his character. I am a regular quitter of smoking and often find myself wearing a nicotine patch in efforts to quit. Well patches can give you crazy dreams at night and for an extended period of time I had a recurring dream in which I had the wing pack thing the Falcon wears and I spent my nights flying through the air. Aside from that random tidbit I think Falcon is a really cool character and like what he brings to the film. However, his exceptional ability again brings to mind why wasn’t a call placed to Tony Stark when things got dire in this movie? Iron Man certainly wasn’t a member of SHIELD and would be in a better position to aid Cap and Black Widow. That’s just a frustrating aspect of these stories being put into film because now there are contracts and money to consider when doing them.

Samuel L. Jackson is awesome, per usual. He’s been so good as Nick Fury that his likeness made it’s way into the comic somewhere along the line. Having just written about Jackson in our recent Pulp Fiction review I won’t reiterate myself here again about how awesome I think he is. I do like that this movie gives him a really great action scene.

I remember reading the news that Robert Redford had signed on for a role in this film. For me that showed the power of Marvel. I thought it was a big deal when the first film cast Tommy Lee Jones but to get Robert Freakin Redford for the second film seemed huge to me. If you want legitimacy you can’t go wrong with the Sundance Kid as your wing man. I was really surprised in the way his role turned out in this film though. I figured he would opt for hero and not ultimate villain.

In the roles of other bad guys I really like how the Winter Soldier was done and how Brock Rumlow was set up to be a bigger villain in the future as Crossbones.  The next Captain America movie is going to be huge and as I understand it they will both be involved in the next installment. The next installment, Civil War, is primed to be the most awesome film Marvel Studios has made and I can’t wait to see it. When it’s all said and done this trilogy will be the best Marvel has to offer. Iron Man is cool but his movies weren’t all as cool as Cap’s.

I like this movie and I enjoy watching it now and again. It seems destined for significance for us because as we were watching it for this review we got a call with great news. That news and the good feelings it had will now be something else we can associate this film. Nevertheless, on that note I’m going to go ahead and scratch this off my to-do list. We’ve owned it for a while now and it’s been one of several we’ve been trying to find time to work in. Cool movie that is worth your time.

 

Pulp Fiction

Year: 1994
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary

RYAN’S REVIEW

There was a time when I thought Quentin Tarantino had played all his cards and this was the best one on the table. I began to believe that whatever made Tarantino so successful was simply his collaboration with Roger Avary. I have since learned the err of that belief but for nearly ten years I developed and held tight to that line of thinking. At a young and influential age I fell in love with Tarantino’s films and had to wait for an appallingly long time with nothing but what I found to be the incredibly disappointing Kill Bill films. Those films, after all, were simply a sub plot from this film. When all he could do in that time was make a film based on a line from his most popular film I took it as a sign. In this film Uma Thurman’s character was on a pilot TV show thats plot was basically the story of Kill Bill. However, in the years since Inglourious Basterds we have seen that I was wrong all along and just a bitter fan getting pissy about wanting something new and incredible to see.

Tarantino has always had a mind for writing snazzy dialogue and it is on full display in this film. From the opening scene in the restaurant this movie immediately grabs your attention and then takes advantage of it with a charming scene of two hit men casually carrying out their jobs on a group of targets. Tarantino is a perfect example of why writing matters. He has always been successful delivering us shock in awe but the base of what makes him great is his writing. From there it goes up to his work behind the camera and if there is one flaw in him it’s his determination to get in front of the camera himself. I thought he was good in Reservoir Dogs and good in this film but I think he stretches it too much. I think it’s obvious Tarantino is a cool guy to meet and people are drawn to him in the business. Every one of his films has been cast with not simply a big actor but a group of them with others clamoring for cameos. I remember hearing somewhere along the way that he would make friends easily with actors and offer them parts in his next movie. Regardless how it happens I have always loved directors who worked with larger casts and Tarantino is one of the reasons I have that preference.

I heard once that this was the film that revived John Travolta’s career and I know that’s true because he preceded it with a third Look Who’s Talking film. If that isn’t something you do only when your career is in the dumps I don’t know what is. I think that is interesting because this role wasn’t even originally intended for him. If I’m not mistaken I think the role was supposed to go to Michael Madsen but he had a scheduling conflict. I can say honestly that I think Travolta was great in this movie and it seems to fit with film history that he is dancing on screen again in such a comeback. Nevertheless, Michael Madsen would he been better. There is nobody in the business cooler or colder than Mr. Blonde. Had he actually played his counterpart to Vic Vega his whole career may have been different and for the better. Movies didn’t get enough of Michael Madsen; he should have had a better agent in the 90s. The only problem is that the character of Vincent Vega appears befuddled and confused now and again, he gets killed by leaving his gun in the kitchen and well….he shot Marvin in the face. I couldn’t see Michael Madsen being so foolish. Plus, junkies are never cool, I think Vincent Vega using heroin makes him a liability more than an asset to a criminal organization and that drops his cool factor significantly. Heroin users aren’t cool; they’re afflicted with a problem that will eventually drive them to desperation.

This movie sports many cameos but one of my favorite of all time is the one performed by Christopher Walken. I am a huge fan of Walken and this film may very well be the reason why. Nobody has a cadence like Walken; his voice is great for comedians doing impressions. He has a presence about him, and he makes every film he is a part of better. Speaking of guys who make every film better, Steve Buscemi also sports a cameo in this movie. I love seeing Buscemi in anything but when he makes such a brief appearance in this film I just feel cheated.  Another cameo that shouldn’t go unmentioned is that of Peter Greene, which in truth shouldn’t be called a cameo but a part. Greene, like Madsen, is an actor that never got enough screen time. He has a sinister look about him, perfect for the part of Zed.

As it’s time to speak of Jed, Bruce Willis needs be mentioned. I have grown up as a fan of one of the greatest action heroes of my time. John McClain, Korben Dallas, and Joe freakin Hallenbeck for cryin out loud. Who better to wield a samurai sword against sex criminals? Bruce Willis embodies what a badass is supposed to be through my eyes that grew up in the nineties. In truth, this has never really been my favorite role of his, but under most circumstances I have always felt like Willis could do no wrong. I tend to pull for the mobsters in these types of films and Willis is as close to a good guy as it gets in this movie. The mobsters are great though, Ving Rhames easily gave his finest performance as Marsellus Wallace. Never quite understood why the boss was picking up the coffee in the scene when he crosses paths with Butch but otherwise he brings it as a powerful and intimidating bad guy. The kind of guy you definitely don’t want to drag down into the basement of sodomy and do things to.

While I feel like Travolta’s Vega is a bit on the goofy side as a hitman I think Samuel L. Jackson is the complete opposite as Jules. Jules is such a cool and compelling character that it could be argued that Jackson has cashed in on it more than 20 times over. I am a huge fan of Jackson but it is very often when I feel like he is simply doing his Jules from Inglewood routine. He gets loud, uses some profanity, and then something crazy happens. I still love it though, in fact I own Snakes on a Plane for no other reason than I love Samuel L Jackson being himself. The role of Jules was specifically written for Samuel L. Jackson after he failed to land a role he auditioned for in Reservoir Dogs so I think there is a lot of him in this character. Jackson has over 160 credits as an actor and continues to work at a rate that barely anybody can keep up with. The majority of those roles started piling up after this film. With “great fury and powerful vengeance” he took the industry by storm after his Oscar nominated role as Jules and there is no end in sight to his success.

This is the type of movie that offers a lot of talking points but I don’t feel the need to rehash old conversations because it is all out there now. We know that Jules’ biblical speech was written for the film and not specifically taken out of the Bible. We know there was nothing specifically in the briefcase. To which the answer never seems good enough for people, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Tarantino is still to this day badgered about that question. Theories include the soul Marsellus and even the diamonds stolen in Reservoir Dogs, but it has been said a dozen times by Tarantino and Avary both that the contents of the box were specifically left up to the viewer. We have an eye now for the Tarantino brands like Big Kahuna Burger and Apple cigarettes. I love the type of director Tarantino is and if he wasn’t such a genius people wouldn’t continue to talk about these things after over 20 years. He is making some great movies these days but this one will always be one of his greatest.

I love how he films these independent stories that are all random but tie together in the end. I love how it comes full circle with the robbery of the restaurant. Amanda Plummer is shocking with her sudden ferocity and so vulnerable in the end when the heat it turned up. I think it is such a compelling performance. Tim Roth is great too as the level headed stick up man. In limited screen time Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are able to convey such a powerful and interesting relationship. It’s great written dialogue and great acting all around. The “Bad Motherfucker” wallet that Pumpkin has to fish back for Jules actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. I actually have one myself that Amber got me as a gift a few years ago. I keep it as a joke with a younger license inside with things from the past. The way I see it that younger version of myself may have been a “Bad Motherfucker” but these days I’m a domesticated husband and father so I keep it simply for the novelty of it and to joke about from time to time.

I haven’t mentioned two of the most important people in this film but let me explain why. I am not and have never been a fan of Uma Thurman. While I’ll admit she is great in this movie I haven’t thought Mia’s character was anything exceptional. I detest the use of heroin and her character’s OD scene doesn’t impress me as it might others. She looks really cool with the short black hair but I’m just not into it. Tarantino obviously likes her a lot though as he used her in Kill Bill and continues to allude to a third film as well. The Kill Bill movies are absent from our collection and normally I would buy such a film specifically to write about it here but I simply won’t have them in my collection. With the ease of Amazon Prime many unlikely titles have made it into the collection in recent years but at Kill Bill I draw a line. Those movies are garbage and I will not give in simply for the sake of how awesome Tarantino was and is again with new success.

The other I’ve failed to mention was that of Harvey Keitel. Nothing against him but I have always felt like the Wolf was a little overdone. I think the character is really cool, but much like Uma, I’m just not into it. Keitel is as much the reason for the success of Tarantino as anybody though so he is due plenty of respect. If I’m not mistaken he was the first actor to get behind Tarantino and had a lot to do with getting the wheels rolling on Reservoir Dogs. The role of the Wolf was specifically written for him and it’s a really cool role. I just never felt so impressed about this freaky fast Mr. Fix Anything guy. I do want to believe that guy is out there utilized by criminal organizations because it’s such a cool idea but I feel like a guy who shows up in the AM wearing a tuxedo is just too much. Are to believe this totally efficient guy is also pulling all nighters with the sophisticated crowd that parties in formal wear? I may love this movie, but even as an easily influenced adolescent obsessed with this movie I found it a bit silly back in the day.

This is a movie that has survived in popularity for an awfully long time and anybody that watches it understands why. I have a memory that has never left in which my future step mother talked about this film and the things she had heard about it swearing to never watch it. It was the syringe scene she mentioned specifically. That memory always makes me laugh a little because this movie is not for the faint of heart. There are people like my step mother out there that simply cannot handle a movie like this and I find it comical in a strange way. For the rest of us though, this is really something to enjoy. You can’t call yourself a movie buff without a healthy dose of viewings on this one. It’s a classic that will continue to be popular for years to come and influence countless more rebellious youths as it once did to me. This movie is without doubt worth your time over and over again.

NEXT MOVIE: Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Prometheus Take Two

Year: 2012
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof

RYAN’S REVIEW

I actually made it out to the theater to see this film. A privilege that’s becoming rarer and rarer as life gets busier but back in 2012 we found time to see a few and this was one of them. I thought it was excellent and in fact I wrote down my initial reaction in a post that’s some three years old now. Geez where does the time go? You can read my initial reaction below in its entirety:

6/10/2012

There will be a more in depth review of this film when we get to the “P’s” in our movie collection because we will own it.  I just really want to share a few thoughts with our readers because we just watched it and I think everyone should know how great it is.

I think the marketing for this movie was incredible.  The previews show you a lot of excitement without giving any hint to exactly what the movie was about.  That type of advertising reminds me a lot of Inception from last summer because it did something so similar.  It was very effective too because it builds anticipation for the movie while leaving a lot of surprises for you at the same time.  When I sat down to watch this movie I had no idea what it was really about. I went in knowing only the basics and that it was a prequel to Alien. I knew within the first five minutes that I liked it and that it was going to be awesome.  Some movies manage to convey that immediately, it works both ways though.  More often than not I can tell in the first few minutes that a movie is going to suck, but I’m glad there are still movies like this coming out that can actually surprise me.

I do not think this movie would have worked without Ridley Scott behind the camera.  I think that he is the only person that could actually make this movie and blend it so well with the original.  Everything looked so great and in the same fashion we saw over thirty years ago.  It has been a long time since Scott went back to his roots to make a Sci-Fi picture but he obviously still has the talent that made him a legend in the beginning. This movie will probably be very successful and I hope that success means we might see more of this to come from Scott.  As of right now I am going to really hope Scott comes back into the genre strong and does exactly what he did for it thirty years ago with Alien and Blade RunnerScott left a lasting impression on the genre and his films are both legendary.  Scott has made many great films throughout his career but I think it is rather obvious after this film that this is where he truly belongs.

The cast all did an outstanding job in this movie.  Michael Fassbender was specifically good, I think his role called for the most acting to be done as the android and he did it really well.  His face seemed so implacable throughout the whole movie and he spoke with such a great tone.  I am not a fan of Charlize Theron but she did an excellent job as well.  I think she was well suited for the role and appropriately cast. Idris Elba was great too; he played a smaller part but still managed to be a badass.  I think Noomi Rapace did very well as the lead; she could quite possibly be the new generation’s version of Ripley when all is said and done. Rapace is mainly known for playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. One way or another I think we will be seeing a lot more of her after this. I think Guy Pearce is wasted in this movie; I had to come home and look up the movie on IMDB just to figure out who he was.  I’m OK with that though, if he has to be in a film this great the less we see of him the better.

Overall I think this was a great movie and I hope I have encouraged all of you to give it a chance.  There aren’t many movies coming out these days that I think are worth your money to make the trip to the theater.  I can attest that this film is without doubt worth the ridiculous price of admission at theaters these days.  We watched it in 2D because we aren’t risk takers when it comes to 3D but if the 3D effects were good I would imagine this movie looked great in the format. If you watched the movie in 3D please let us know how it looked because if we make it back to see it a second time we might try it out.

6/18/2015

Now back to 2015. I never heard a response about the 3D effects in this movie but I am still glad we didn’t see it in that format. 3D films continue to come out but I have no more faith in them now than I did in 2012. Until James Cameron finishes the next Avatar films I will be inclined to keep my four extra bucks and watch a regular version I can trust. If you want more on how I feel about 3D films just check this out.

Pretty much everything I said in my initial reaction still rings true. Noomi Rapace of course hasn’t become the next Ripley of sci fi but there is still potential for that in the future. Otherwise I still feel like she is exceptional in this movie, and I’m surprised it didn’t lead to bigger things for her, or hasn’t yet at least.

I remember there being a lot of talk about the opening scene of the movie. It’s vague so I can understand why so many people questioned it and what it meant in the movie. I didn’t give it that much thought actually. I saw it as a form of creation and didn’t question it because I think such things are and should be beyond us. Once we figure out how to do whatever that sculpted albino alien was doing we’re most likely doomed as a species. I think the process of creation should be beyond our understanding no matter how it was done, be it God, the Big Bang, or some sort of advanced albino alien science. I saw this scene as nothing more than a suggestion that alien intervention started life but didn’t think the ‘hows’ or ‘whys’ mattered very much. When you focus only on the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ sometimes you lose sight of what ‘is.’

Despite my affinity for comic book films I would not call myself a sci-fi fan in general but only on occasion. When a sci-fi movie is exceptionally good I make exceptions because regardless any genre when something is awesome it simply ‘is.’ This movie stand out to me as an example of just how good sci-fi films can be. It’s a genre filled with every nerd’s fantasy and too much of what is made doesn’t have the muster that a film like this has. This movie is top to bottom sci-fi and it’s as good as anything the genre has to offer, I think so at least. In my opinion this movie deserves its spot among the other greatest in the genre, the Aliens and Blade Runners, Star Wars and the like. I have patiently awaited the sequel to this film but haven’t been fulfilled in that anticipation whatsoever. It’s still on the docket and slated to be released in 2016 but there seems little movement on it and I’m not even sure if Ridley Scott is involved anymore. That would be a waste because part of what makes this movie great is that it is simply the beginning of something bigger.

I mentioned many of the actors in this film in my initial response. I won’t go through them all a second time but I do think a couple are worth note. Michael Fassbender continues to impress as an actor and I really hope to see him in this role again. As David he is just outstanding and truly believable as a robot. His is such an interesting character with unknown motives and an intelligence to be feared. The only other actor I wanted to cover again was Idris Elba. He carries a coolness in his very presence and he is a badass when there is action at hand. Stringer Bell was my favorite character on The Wire and I seriously like any opportunity to see Idris Elba in anything.

While I love the sci fi part of this movie I also appreciate how it echoes Alien with elements of horror. The scene with the alien snake like thing is enough to turn the toughest guy in the neighborhood white. Snakes, generally make everybody uncomfortable. In this case it’s a mutated alien snake that will crawl right into your mouth and down your throat while you are screaming. If that scene doesn’t get you then I name you a liar who closed your eyes to hide from the horror of it all. If that scene wasn’t enough to make you cringe then the procedure Noomi Rapace endures when she births a monster it certain to put you over the top. Coupled with perfect timing is all hell breaking lose in the dock bay with a former character no longer who he was. Scary and exciting as it is it only leads to more intrigue as the movie begins to come together. Mr. Supercool Idris Elba gets it, he knows what the problem on this planet is but after that insight all kinds of answers start spilling out.

This movie is intentionally vague, it leaves it for the viewer to figure certain things out. I like that about this movie because I love the ones that make us think. That’s the way a good science fiction film should be and this is easily my favorite of the genre in quite a while. With hope, we see an equally as exciting sequel in time that only leads us further down the rabbit hole. As of right now Prometheus 2 is still slated to come out next year with a release date in March. I hope that holds but the clock is ticking now for that kind of deadline and Michael Fassbender has become such a busy actor these days.

Obviously I think this movie is well worth your time and if you haven’t seen it then you are missing out. This isn’t the only movie working in the Alien universe these days as there is a new sequel to the Alien franchise being worked on by Neil Blomkamp. The news coming out about what he is working on seems really interesting and looks quite cool. Blomkamp and Signourney Weaver worked together recently on his latest film Chappie and the two have collaborated together on the new sequel.  It’ll be exciting to see what they are able to come up with. With a double dose of the Alien universe coming to the big screen in the next year, hopefully, there is no better time to revisit this film and the Alien films. Aside from Alien 3 they are all exciting, even Resurrection with it’s ridiculous breath technology on doors was not a bad movie if you enjoy the franchise.

NEXT MOVIE: Psycho (1960) 

 

The Princess Bride

Year: 1987
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: William Goldman (book and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie I had looked forward reaching in the blog forever. Amber and I have two young daughters and we had finally reached a movie that not only we could watch with them but also one they seemed perfectly suited for. Despite my best efforts, both of my girls are very girly and I live in a world dominated by pink and princesses. This was a classic movie that I and most in my generation grew up with. It was one I wholeheartedly looked forward to showing my own little princesses and passing on a classic to another generation. Sadly this experience was spoiled when we started watching it and come to find out they had already seen it with their grandmother. They loved it, of course, but that’s not surprising at all. This is an exciting and timeless movie that will always be fun and entertaining for children.

I find though that the generations from the mid-90s and up are by and large unfamiliar with this film. I got several strange looks from the young adult guys at work when I mentioned it. Even a few were brazen enough to suggest I was being silly by watching a princess movie. It became frustrating then trying to convey that this isn’t considered a girly movie at all by my generation and that the name was simply misleading. It sucks too anytime the boys have a chance to call me out. I live in a house full of women and take no crap about the princess band-aids I come into work wearing. I am a proud father of girls and wear those princess adorned band-aids with pride. When it comes to my taste in movies and the ones that I own I take no crap. Mentioning this movie seemed to give them the idea they had something to give me a hard time about and I was at a loss in explaining that isn’t the case.

Nothing suggests masculinity less than a film entitled The Princess Bride but it simply gives the wrong impression. The kids at work didn’t know any better and it wasn’t easy swaying their adolescent minds. It’s discouraging that these guys don’t know because I don’t think I convinced them to give it a chance and I doubt they’ll ever click on the title if they come across it on Netflix. It’s unfortunate because they are missing out. They’re missing out on the revenge of Inigo Montoya, the fire swamps and R.O.U.S.’s(Rodents of Unusual Size), most importantly they are missing out on Andre the freaking Giant! The young men at work thought they had something to give me a hard time about but they have no idea what they themselves have missed out on and that’s a shame. It’s ironic too because the movie starts with the young boy played by Fred Savage who doesn’t want to listen to his Grandfather’s boring book about a princess until he finds himself really interested. It’s sucks how life has changed for me personally in this regard. I’m no longer the kid that doesn’t listen because he knows everything already but the grandfather who can’t get the kid to listen even though at his age he actually does know.

I remember watching this movie at a very young age and becoming completely enamored with it. I have a passion for sword fighting in films and it very well may have started with this movie. With Inigo Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts on the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity. I learned so much from this film as a kid, lessons that would mold my imagination as I grew up. The quest for revenge and the perseverance that is necessary. The romance of Buttercup and Westley and how it affects the lives of all that get mixed up in it. The boldness of bravery and the excitement of action. The fun of the fairy tale medieval setting. So much of what I love about other stories I learned from this one as a beginner to the media of film. I have grown up watching movies in an age where putting your kids in front of the television was the easiest way to shut them up. It is from so many films that I have learned the lessons that have stayed with me in life. This movie is one of the oldest I remember watching and learning from when I was around 5 or 6 years old.

There is one question that comes to mind for me every time I watch this movie. Why didn’t the career of Cary Elwes do any better? Nearly 30 years after this film his costar Robin Wright is still a successful actress currently starring in the hit Netflix show House of Cards. Yet Elwes has done practically nothing of note aside from this movie. The only other thing that immediately jumps to mind is the very silly Robin Hood Men in Tights, which I loved as a child, but there is little else. You could make a case for Saw, or…..Twister, maybe, but I wouldn’t. I just don’t understand because this movie would seem to suggest he was on his way to being a regular leading man. Although maybe he just seems cooler with his company. It could be argued that even Wallace Shawn seemed much cooler flanked by Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya and Andre the Giant (no matter who he played, he’s Andre the freakin Giant).

Some movies you never outgrow, some of the films that really leave impressions on us stay with us forever. I often consider this film an afterthought but it without doubt is significant to me personally. It’s a movie that I find myself getting sucked into again each and every time I come across it. If nothing else I consider myself lucky to see the duel on the Cliffs of Insanity anytime because it is a scene that never gets old for me. Despite the know it all boys I work with I think each of them would agree with my opinion of this film if they pulled their heads out of their asses and actually watched it. It’s a timeless classic that has a place in each succeeding generation. I have never been a fan of Rob Reiner or any of his films but I make an exception for this movie. Credit should be given where it is due and in this case it is. The Princess Bride is a film that everybody should see regardless your age or sex and it is without doubt worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: Prometheus (2012)