Month: May 2013

Havoc

Year: 2005
Directed By: Barbara Kopple
Written By: Stephen Gaghan and Jessica Kaplan

RYAN’S REVIEW

So a month or so ago I found myself watching the Academy Awards with Amber.  Despite how big of a movie fan I am I have never had much interest in watching this ceremony and prefer to just read who wins when it is all said and done.  Amber is a big fan of seeing it though and I was cool with watching it if it made her happy.  However, all I took away from watching it was that Anne Hathaway has an incredible set of breasts.  She wore a dress that displayed a significant amount of sideboob and it must have been a bit chilly in Hollywood that night because she was poking right through the front of that dress.  Needless to say, her boobs left an impression on me and I spent the following day discussing it with other chauvinistic male co-workers.  I have since had a hard time getting those lovely breasts out of my head and eventually came across this film and bought it without seeing it.  Yes, I am a pig that bought a movie specifically to see Anne Hathaway’s boobs but is that really a bad thing? The woman has it going on and I must say that I think they were worth the purchase to see.

To my surprise this film offered a lot more than simply a few glances of a big star’s boobies.  I genuinely thought it was a good movie and enjoyed seeing it. This is a story about some wankster rich kids who really think a lot of themselves until they find out just how privileged and fake they really are.  I guess “until” isn’t really appropriate because the wankster boys continue to think they are badass even after being shamed by real gangsters.  The shaming of them makes the girls start to think twice about them though and their fascination with bad boys leads them to take things farther with the real gangsters.  This movie is about how foolish young people can be and about the dangers of simply letting privileged kids run wild with no real parental authority. The movie is dedicated to someone in the end and at first I thought this implied the story was loosely based on real life experiences.  The dedication is not to anybody who had a similar experience though and is actually the writer of the film who died shortly before it was released.

The cast is the real strength of this movie and I think it’s interesting because this movie came out right before a few of them really took off.  The biggest star of course is Anne Hathaway who gives a very compelling and provocative performance.  I may have gotten this movie simply to see her boobs but I was literally blown away by her performance in general.  She is a very talented actress and I think the sky is the limit for her.  There is one scene in this movie in which my jaw dropped and I just literally could not believe what she was doing.  If you have seen this movie you no doubt know what I am talking about but if you haven’t you will know what I mean when you see her on the couch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also blew up shortly after this movie came out but I doubt his performance in the film had anything to do with it.  He doesn’t play a bad part and in fact I think he did a great job but he is just playing such a pathetic character, one of the wankster kids who thinks he is bad.  Another one of those kids was played by Channing Tatum, who Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of now.  I happen to think this was probably one of the best roles he ever played.  Specifically because I don’t know that he actually said anything in the film.  Tatum may be a big star now but I maintain he is at his best when he says nothing at all because he is not a very good actor.

Bijou Phillips plays Hathaway’s main counterpart and ultimately the victim of the situation.  I am not really familiar with her but she looked great in the movie and we get to see her boobs too as an added bonus. Mike Vogel played the top wankster who gets shamed by the real gangster played by Freddy Rodriguez.  I only mention Vogel because he is playing a significant part in the upcoming TV series Under the Dome on CBS.  I was a big fan of the book and look forward to the adaptation, although I know it will probably be disappointing.  I like Rodriguez because he played the hero in one of my favorite movies, Planet TerrorPlaying the part of Hathaway’s parents are Michael Biehn and Laura San Giacomo and I have always liked both of them very much.  Giacomo’s part is too small in the movie to really mention but I have long since been a fan of Biehn since his many collaborations with James Cameron and he has a more significant role in the movie.  Raymond Cruz is in the movie as well playing the type of role he has always been typecast to, a Latino gangster.  His best role as such had to come in Breaking Bad when he played the hardcore drug dealer Tuco. He is listed as being in a couple of episodes when the show comes back on in August so keep an eye out for some Tuco flashbacks.

I really think this is a movie that all wankster wanna be kids should see.  They can play Billy Badass all they want but they are only kidding themselves.  When they finally grow up and look back on themselves at that age they will consider their behavior petty and stupid but more often than not by then it is too late. For the young privileged girls out there that want to be bad and push boundaries a film like this should come as a reality check.  The world is a dangerous place, especially for curious girls who don’t know what they are getting themselves into. I also think this film should be a reality check for parents of teenagers as well.  You can’t let things get this bad, and it is your responsibility to make efforts to know what your kids are getting into.

I think this is an interesting movie and enjoyed watching it. Aside from Anne Hathaway’s aggressive sexuality and willing nudity I thought there was plenty here that was worth seeing. I think it tells a compelling story about kids who go places they have no business being and suffer the consequences of their decisions.  It’s a movie and story that I think we can all learn from and that is always worth your time.  I have to say buying this movie was a win win for me, Anne Hathaway was totally worth it, and the movie was good to boot.

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Jack Reacher

I usually review Tom Cruise movies and go on and on about how much I despise him but how good he is as an actor.  I usually really like his movies despite what I think about him but last night we watched Jack Reacher. We were looking for something to watch and I suggested it to Amber, the conversation went like this:

“What’s it about?”

“It’s another Tom Cruise super spy movie” (Not necessarily true but close enough right?)

“Sure, why not.”

Having now suffered through two hours of this movie I can report that it was a swing and a miss for Cruise.  I thought this movie was ridiculous from beginning to end and wish I could get back the time and money I spent to see it. I figured if he was playing this type of character again there had to be something that he saw in it to make it worth wild.  Cruise usually chooses his films carefully and doesn’t make too many mistakes in those choices but he really dropped the ball this time around.

Here’s an open ended message specifically to Tom Cruise.  “When the woman asks you to put your shirt on just get over yourself and put a freaking shirt on man!” I thought that scene was particularly ridiculous.  Who is this guy trying to impress with his aging fitness? Yeah we get it Tom; you don’t age and are bold enough to go shirtless when no one else your age will dare to do so but nobody is impressed anymore. Maybe he is just milking the last of his youthful appearance before it is gone, I don’t know.  The guy really can’t keep up this look for much longer though, white people simply aren’t that fortunate when it comes to aging and he is past 50 now.  Sooner or later he will get wrinkles that not even his cult voodoo or Botox will fix and maybe then we won’t be accosted by his freakishly unnatural and weird looking build anymore.

I thought this whole movie was a bit much and I thought Tom Cruise was trying too hard to be the cool and witty action star that he usually pulls off with ease.  I was at my wits end by the end of the movie though.  That climax is ridiculous.  Cruise gets the drop on the badass he has been chasing the whole movie then stares him down for a moment in the rain before throwing his gun away.  I just found this to be a bit too stupid.  Yeah the fight scene makes for a better movie in which not enough happened but it’s just so campy how it all happens.  He has this guy dead to rights and his options are all open.  He can kill him easily, arrest him, or even just wing him and go on to the big boss but noooo Cruise has to have his moment as a badass.  Ignoring all practical decisions he throws his gun away and decided to just fist fight with the evil henchman, in the rain. Rain during a fight scene is just such a cliché effect in movies like this now and at this point in the film I felt the stupidity was just piling on.  Cruise beats the hell out of the bad guy, go figure, and at that point I just flat out didn’t care what happened anymore.

This was a really stupid movie, and that pretty much sums it up.  If you happened to like it then by all means make your argument with a comment and convince me I am wrong. If you haven’t seen it yet then take my advice and save yourself the time and money that will just be wasted.  There are a couple of cool fight scenes in the movie and a relatively good car chase scene but otherwise you won’t be missing much.

Lars and the Real Girl

Year: 2007
Directed By: Craig Gillespie
Written By: Nancy Oliver

RYAN’S REVIEW

Without doubt one of the strangest movies I have ever seen, yet I like it.  Amber insisted I watch this movie for years until she finally backed me into a corner I couldn’t get out of.  I begrudgingly watched the film and found myself uncomfortably on the edge of my seat all throughout.  This situation is weird and there is just too much potential for a shocking scene that is really perverse.  When that never happened the movie seemed to really come together in a deeply emotional way and I realized my wife was right.  This is definitely a movie that is much easier the second time around because you know for sure what won’t happen.  With this strange and uncomfortable scenario this story manages to really tell you something about love, insecurity, and coming together to help someone in need.

This may be the most awkward movie I have ever seen, but that is part of what makes it interesting.  Amber and I watched this movie during our time off of work after having our second child.  Watching it now takes me back to that time, when life was so magical and overwhelmingly happy.  That makes me like this movie much more than I think I would have had I seen it during any other time.  I will never forget how nervous this film’s awkwardness made me feel during that time when there was no need to be nervous and everything was so hunky dory. Having a second child was decidedly easier than having a first and while still no cake walk, life was simpler without the pressures of our jobs hanging over our heads.  It was a happy time in life and I will always associate this movie with that chapter in my story.

What I have come to like about this movie is how strange it is.  Watching it the first time I literally couldn’t look away because what could possible happen next? There are so many ways the story could go but thankfully it stays toward the positive.  In this strange and bizarre situation the town that Lars lives in doesn’t reject him for his unusual situation but takes pity on him and goes the extra mile all around to accept and assist his problem. It’s touching, and such an act of kindness from so many people is an inspiring thing to see. At the end of the day though what this guy is parading around as his girlfriend is still a sex toy and that just makes everything so weird.  I feared that either someone would walk in on him using the doll for its actual purpose or that someone else in the doll’s company would do the same.

I am not normally a fan of Ryan Gosling and don’t think he is a good actor, despite what my wife and seemingly every other woman in the world thinks.  In most films I see him doing nothing more than overdoing it when it comes to being cool and I don’t know what it is but I just don’t buy it.  However I do think he gives a different and very profound performance in this film and I give him props for that.  I think the best performance goes to Emily Mortimer.  She is a terrific actress and delivers an incredible performance as the sister-in-law who just really cares about her strange mentally ill brother-in-law. The emotion just pours through her as she gets excited by the possibility of Lars bringing a girl over and when she confronts him about how much everyone in town really cares about him.  I also really like Paul Schneider and have since his days on Parks and RecreationI actually quit watching that show when he left the cast and the God-awful Rob Lowe was added.  In this movie I think he was well cast and did a good job as Lars brother. In case you were wondering, Paul apparently has no relation to Rob Schneider; they simply have the same last name.

This might be one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen but it’s a good one.  I may like it more than I normally would because the time I first saw it was such a happy one but I have enjoyed it just as much this time around. More so in fact because I know now that nothing insanely perverse is going to happen with Lars’s “girlfriend.” It’s an unusual film but packs quite a punch.  The end had me crying my eyes out and I found that to be so surprising after all the emotions the film had invoked in me already.  It’s not a movie I typically encourage others to see but I feel confident in telling you that it is worth your time.  My wife was right about this one and it deserves its place in our collection.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I didn’t know what Ryan would think when I asked him to watch this movie with me. He was really caught off guard as first, like most people are and probably should be, but I think he ultimately saw the beauty in this movie, like I did. This is one of my favorite movies, period. It is an incredibly original story and it sucks me in every time I see it.

larsandtherealgirl

I love this quirky little poster. It looks like a cut and paste job, but done so in a very creative graphic way. It is simple and leaves you to question the plot of the movie, which I think is the most important thing to consider when determining if a poster is actually working or not. I also want to note here that I think it is crazy that Ryan Gosling can be so attractive, suave and womanizing in one film and then turn around and totally encapsulate the character in this film, which to me is the furthest thing from attractive and suave. The poster does it justice and the movie is a must see.

NEXT MOVIE: Last Action Hero (1993)

Land of the Lost

Year: 2009
Directed By: Brad Silberling
Written By: Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sometimes the greatest key to any joke or good comedy is to leave the audience laughing in the end.  When they walk away laughing they remember the humor on a high note and plenty of what came before is forgotten.  That, in a nutshell, is the whole reason we own this movie.  Yeah it’s a pretty stupid movie, but in the end when –Will Ferrell titles his book “Matt Lauer Can Suck It” I fell to the floor laughing.  I did not see this movie in the theater and didn’t get to see the 3D spectacle it was supposed to be.  I might have never seen the movie if not for the persistent and relentless encouragement of a cherished co-worker.  He talked about this movie for weeks and I found myself with nothing to watch one evening and this was available on HBO OnDemand.  I expected it to be stupid, and it was, but when you enter anything with such low expectations it can be really easy to be surprised if you still have an open mind about it.

When we first watched this movie I was generally unfamiliar with Danny McBride.  I had seen him here and there but hadn’t given him any attention yet.  It was McBride that really had me laughing through most of this movie and I have since become a very big fan.  The guy has a strange sense of humor that I just can’t get enough of.  Kenny Powers is one of the funniest characters I have ever seen.  He’s a bit too much at times but often the funniest of the funny are a bit too much from time to time.  McBride went to school near where I live which makes him more endeared to me.  As a graduate of the NC School of the Arts he has become a local alum that has hit it big. I think his film Your Highness was a bit too stupid and didn’t really like it, but when he takes his trophy from the Minotaur I laughed till it hurt.  McBride is a really funny guy who has a place in a really funny group of comedians that will keep him involved in plenty of great films to come down the road.  Obviously McBride is a friend of Will Ferrell and that gives him plenty of opportunity.  He is also part of the Seth Rogen and James Franco crowd which is really awesome.  Those guys have made a movie I am really looking forward to this summer.  I won’t waste time discussing it now because it’s too soon but I insist you check out this trailer, it looks to be one of the funniest movies ever made and I cannot wait for it to come out.

I think McBride is without doubt the funniest part of the movie but Will Ferrell isn’t without a few laughs.  His type of comedy tends to get on my nerves more often than not because it comes across as stupid instead of funny most of the time.  He is stupid in this movie as well but that is what he brings to the table as the lead star.  For all the stupid things he says and does in this movie I will forgive it all for the sake of the closing joke.  His character going back to the Today Show with his new book simply titled “Matt Lauer Can Suck It” was hilarious and worth sitting through any of Ferrell’s stupid crap for.

This movie was a complete and utter failure both critically and at the box office.  That is probably all well deserved.  Yet when I watched the movie expecting it to be the worst thing I had ever seen I finished the movie laughing my ass off.  Any time I am so surprised I tend to love the movie more and I find myself liking this ridiculous movie more every time I watch it.  I particularly love the part when they are all stoned on Land of the Lost drugs and that giant crab comes after them.  Right as they all start to wail in fear the crab falls into a boiling spring and explodes into cooked crab.  Something about that just makes me laugh my ass off.  When they are touching the monolith thing and singing the Cher song I laugh my ass off too, especially when Danny McBride tells the woman she should sit on that thing.  So yes this movie is really stupid movie, but I think it has plenty of funny stuff to offer.  I think this one is worth your time but be prepared to disagree with me and feel free to leave a comment and tell me how awful you think it is.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is so great. I was so confused at first when Ryan suggested that we watch it. It looked incredibly stupid. And all in all it is a really stupid movie, but nevertheless really stupid. Will Ferrell and Danny McBride play off of each other so well. I think it’s always great when comedians team up. I think it really shows their talents and true innate humor.

landofthelost

I love this poster. I think it fits the movie well and it is really nicely designed.  I like the typography, the imagery, and everything. It includes all of the main characters in a pleasant way that makes sense. It’s a nice poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

The Ladykillers

Year: 2004
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay), William Rose (original film)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, the Coen Brothers.  Those genius filmmakers that can’t help but do something special each and every time they get behind the camera.  They have a range with no limits.  They can make the dynamic award winning films that prove they are masters of their art and then on the flipside they can make silly films that make us laugh with witty dialogue and intelligent jokes. With this movie about an elaborate heist they brought together an incredible cast of interesting characters and wrote an outstanding script for them to perform.

The cast as much as anything makes this film awesome.  Tom Hanks was still at the height of his career in 2004 although his star was beginning to fall.  In this movie he plays one of the most bizarre characters he ever has and delivered an incredible performance. He looks like Colonel Sanders and speaks with a great southern draw that comes across quite eloquently   He has very unique dialogue that is loaded with whit.   He has a very deep vocabulary and Hanks delivers these lines flawlessly.  It is probably one of my all-time favorite roles from Hanks.  I think the next greatest role has to go to J.K. Simmons, hands down.  Simmons has an incredibly funny quality about him and brings humor to everything he is in.  The Coen brothers recognize this talent and have used him multiple times.  He was great as the CIA director in Burn After Reading. I have always loved him in the role of Pancake, the man who “brought his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” I have always liked Marlon Wayans too but usually dislike most of his movies.  I thought he was awesome in this movie as the “proverbial inside man.” The rest of this ensemble is just as great.  The little known Tzi Ma barely needs to say anything at all in the film and still manages to be a badass.  I love when he is “even now exercising every effort” to catch that sneaky cat Pickles when it escapes again.  I have always been a big fan of Ryan Hurst but he plays the weakest role in this movie. It’s not his fault though, that is just the way the character was written.

The ensemble might be made up of terrific characters but it doesn’t stop there in the film.  Irma P. Hall is terrific and on point for the whole film.  Is there anything more intimidating in the world than an elderly strong minded black woman set in her ways? I love the scene that opens the film with her complaining about rap music and I also love when she continually slaps Marlon Wayans for his profanity, “sometimes it’s the only way.” Stephen Root is also on hand in this film and as I have said before, the man is simply incredible.  Root can literally do anything and I think he brings something great to each and every role he plays.  Also, I don’t know who plays the part and don’t think it is important enough to look up but the man who plays the choir leader in the church is awesome.  The suit, the hair, and the expression on his face as he directs the music is just too funny.  The Coen’s have quite a knack for finding actors like him to fill into small roles and it always serves them well.

This is not the greatest of the Coen Brothers’ movies and I don’t even know if it is one of their better ones but like all Coen Brother movies it offers unforgettable and incredible scenes that make it worth wild.  I absolutely love when the two gangsters try to rob the donut shop and get nowhere.  The General just stands there expressionless and smoking as these guys threaten him and demand “that donut money.” With a movement so quick the camera barely catches it he has incapacitated the one standing in front of him and their reaction to the action is hilarious.  One of the greatest intros to a character I have ever seen hands down. I love the scene in the Waffle Hut all around from Tom Hanks demanding waffles from the waitress to J.K. Simmons bringing “his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” They always write terrific scripts and I will say again that I think nearly everything Hanks says in the film is solid gold. I loved his response to the notion that Pancake would have a pretty good lawsuit if he decided to sue them over his finger. He takes a serious tone and different demeanor as a character to explain that they are part of a criminal enterprise and not subject to typical rules and regulations.

While I do love this movie and think that it is awesome I can’t even say it qualifies as one of the Coen Brothers better movies.  I have always felt it started to come apart in the end somehow.  After Pancake is dispatched the movie starts to lose my interest a bit.  It still has its moments afterwards but it just seems to lose that captivating quality and closes kind of poorly in my opinion.  However everything that comes before makes the movie worth wild.

This movie offers some of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and I enjoy it each and every time I watch it.  I think anything the Coen Brothers do is worth the time of every movie fan out there and that includes this one.  Yes this is not their best film but this is still a good film and there is plenty to appreciate and enjoy about it.  If you get the opportunity to see it I strongly encourage anyone to give it a shot.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is not my favorite Coen Brothers film. It’s funny and interesting, but some of the actors parts fall flat and I think they could have been a little better. The point of the story is awesome, and I support anything that these guys do. It is worth seeing.

ladykillers

This is a great example of how to include multiple characters into one poster. I love the scene and that you can’t see the lady’s face. The typography is really nice as well. I think the designer did a good job a offsetting it and making it look off in a really nice way. Sometimes, it can get out of control. Overall, really successful poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Land of the Lost (2009)

Lady in the Water

Year: 2006
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan

RYAN’S REVIEW

Of all M. Night Shyamalan’s movies this one seems to be the most hated and that is totally understandable.  I think Shyamalan gets a bad rap because everybody goes in expecting something different and that isn’t his fault at all.  It’s the studios fault for how they market his movies, and a lot of it has to do with The Sixth Sense because everybody is looking for that same kind of shocker at the end.  This is the wrong way to enter his movies though.  His films are about human nature more than anything else, set on a strange platform that gives people the wrong impression.  This movie is about a fairy tale come to life, but it isn’t really about that fairy tale at all.  This movie is about loss and purpose.  It’s about a man lost in the world with nothing left but the next day and the jobs to keep him busy.  He is a man in secret pain and going forward only because he doesn’t know what else to do. The lady in the water is simply someone who makes him realize he still matters and gives him a place in the world again.

When I saw this movie for the first time I was in a difficult place in life.  I felt lost and without purpose myself and when I saw this movie it brought me to tears and understanding.  In the strangest way it gave me hope and the strength to keep going.  In some certain ways I am still here today because this movie gave me a reason to think that there was still purpose in life.  I don’t mean that anything about the Narf story or any of the fairy tale stuff in the movie moved me but this show of raw emotion did.  I felt this characters pain and related to it, seeing him find his own purpose in life was so motivating for me and did something to me that I can’t quite put into words.

This movie was nominated for multiple Razzie awards and actually won two.  Razzie Awards of course being the awards given to the worst movies of the year and again, I think it is understandable why it was nominated and even won.  Looking at this movie on the surface it does come across as really stupid.  You have to look past the surface in Shyamalan movies though, and nobody ever wants to do that.  Nobody wants to see the meaning within his movies they only want to “see dead people.” Shyamalan instantly became on of the biggest names in the business after he burst onto the scene with The Sixth Sense.  It was a great starting point for his career but it really just set the bar too high for his viewers.  There is an audience out there for this guys movies, I naturally include myself in it, but they aren’t the ones who he needs to impress to continue being successful.  The mass movie audience wants another shocker like the one they saw at the end of his first movie.  Those shockers haven’t been there because his movies aren’t there to shock, they are there to showcase the qualities that make us human.  Love and bravery(The Village), faith and forgiveness (Signs), good vs. evil (Unbreakable), or as we see in this movie loss and purpose in life.  If you would like to read our review of The Happening just click hereThe Happening seemed to be nearly as hated as this movie but not quite.  It was enough to make the studio crack down on Shyamalan though as his next film, Devil, was made by a different director.  I did not see The Last Airbender but refuse to take anybody else’s word for it.  I do not know any other Shyamalan fans and I cannot trust their opinions without seeing for myself.  This summer he has a new movie coming out that I am really looking forward to.  After Earth features Will Smith and his son Jaden as a father son duo trying to survive on our planet that is now uninhabited by human and very dangerous. Seems like a much bigger budget movie than he usually does and I am excited by those possibilities.  No doubt most of the people that watch it will probably hate it but I insist you will have to look deeper to get the real meaning of the film. M. Night Shyamalan, if you are out there, don’t listen to the haters man.  I get what you do and appreciate all the films you make. The Village is one of my favorites and I really feel like this movie had a significant impact on my life.

I think Paul Giamatti is an incredible actor who can display a wide range of emotions. His performance in this movie was one I have always related to.  He is a character in secret pain and no longer knows what his purpose in life is.  He does a great job at a job with no real significance.  It might be significant to the people he helps but as he says in the film anybody can do the job he is doing.  He may be exceptional at it but there is nothing exceptional about the job or the place he has found himself in life.  He needs something he just doesn’t know what.  He needs a purpose, he needs to do something to prove to himself that he still matters.  It’s why he is so invested in this silly story as it unfolds, it has given him purpose and made him special. Something about seeing this man find his purpose and let go of the pain that has plagued him did something to me the first time I saw it, and it has always given this hated movie so much significance to me personally.

I am a big fan of Bryce Dallas Howard and think she is a terrific actress. I don’t think this was her best role but I think she did really well with it.  There is this quality about her performance as Story that reminds me so much of Edward Scissorhands.  I think that is appropriate as there are certain similarities to the two characters.  They are both beings in the human world for the first time and experiencing for the first time all the little things we take for granted.  She has such an emotionless expression all throughout the film too that only adds to that quality.

Shyamalan inserts himself into all his films but in this film we see him take on the largest role to date.  I didn’t think it was that bad but as people love to hate this guy it only gave them an open ended opportunity to put him down.  He won the Razzie Award for worst supporting actor and I really don’t think it was appropriate.  Yeah I can see that he isn’t a professional actor in his performance but I didn’t think he was bad enough to warrant such an award.  I think the role he plays in the story is an interesting one.  He doesn’t write a book that will influence the world simply one that will influence one specific person who will grow to change the world.  I like that idea and admittedly the idea alone made me like his character more.

I consider all criticism of this film to be truthful and honest but I just happen to see it differently.  I have explained why and also understand I am in the minority when it comes to Shyamalan films.  I think this movie was worth my time but don’t really know that I can honestly say it is worth yours. I have never met another person who enjoyed this movie and I would never recommend it to anyone simply because I don’t expect them to like it as I did.  If anybody out there had a reaction to this film similar to mine I would be really interested to hear your opinion on it.  I loved the movie, and it would be nice to know I am not the only one that did.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I wonder if anyone will even read this considering we are the only ones left on I the planet that actually like Shyamalan. I don’t know what’s right about us (see what I did there?) but we think he is really intelligent in the stories that he tells. I feel like there are very little original stories out there anymore. I feel like he does that. I think that most of his movies have been incredibly original and I appreciate that. This one is very original. It’s about a Lady who lives in the water and she is trying to get back to her world. I think it is interesting and a break from reality.

ladyinthewater

This poster is beautiful. There are so many things going on in the background. In the textures you can see shapes and forms of other things from the story. I love the hidden imagery. On top of that and more importantly to me, the typography is truly terrific. The font choice has serifs that almost flow like water. The W fits in very snugly against the L and “in the” is lightly added. I really love the coloring as well. It makes it all the more fairy-tale like and intriguing.

NEXT MOVIE: The Ladykillers (2004)

L.A. Confidential

Year: 1997
Directed By: Curtis Hanson
Written By: James Ellroy (novel), Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I consider this to be one of the best movies I have ever seen.  It is a perfect movie and that puts it in an upper echelon with only a few others.  I see this movie in the same light as The Godfather, Casablanca, or Full Metal Jacket. Movies this good suck you in and make you part of their world.  They leave an impression on you and every time you see them they get better.  This movie is a hit on all levels and it blows me away every single time I see it. I think our timing to reach this movie in the collection is awesome because coincidentally we watched Gangster Squad last night.  That movie has a very similar story line to this one and watching them back to back has given us the opportunity to accurately contrast the two. Gangster Squad wasn’t that great and specifically once put up next to this one it seems like a horrible movie. It wasn’t a horrible movie, it just simply doesn’t compare to this one in any way, shape, or form.

This movie takes place in such an interesting time and place for our country.  Having grown up and spent my entire life on the east coast I have always had a fascination with the wild wild west.  Things were always done a bit differently out there as the rest of the country and authority slowly made their way over through expansion and development.  The West might be different altogether but there is specifically something different and unique about Los Angeles, and the whole Hollywood world.  Right and wrong are different there; it’s a world influenced by corruption, glamour, and greed.  It is influenced by the people that built it and to understand that you have to understand the people that built it.  The men who built the west were men who decided to go for a hundred different reasons.  They went for opportunity, they went to build a new life, and they went for the promise of work, gold, oil, and even fame. They came from all over the country and from a large variety of backgrounds.  They built something out there and the minute others started to notice what they had done they began looking for ways to move in and take advantage of the opportunities now available there.  Well like I said, things are different in the west.  Why let mobsters move into town and run the rackets when the local authorities can simply make all that money themselves? I know that this movie is based in truth but admittedly don’t know enough about the accuracy of it.  Nevertheless it is an awesome story and one that really does garner some more research on my part, eventually.

Curtis Hanson really hasn’t made that many movies that I found impressive but his name always immediately grab my attention.  No matter what else he has done, he was the guy that made this movie and doesn’t that say everything you need to know about him? His camera work and storytelling are so incredible in this movie.  I have always admired how he leads you through the crime scene at the Night Owl and you take everything in together with Detective Exley as he investigates the crime scene.  I love what he does with these three diverse and different police officers and how he manages to make us emotionally invested in all three of them. I love the arc each one of them has as a character and I love the men who were chose to play the parts.  I think the story in this movie is fantastic.  It’s so satisfyingly violent and intelligent at the same time with a little bit of sex and scandal thrown in for good measure.  It is a story that never fails to captivate and hold my attention.  The only other movie I really liked from Hanson was 8 Mile, and that is liked only from an admitted biased opinion based on being a fan of Eminem. Like I said though, it doesn’t matter what else Curtis Hanson has done.  He did this, and that gives him credibility for a lifetime as far as I’m concerned.

When discussing the cast I want to start with Guy Pearce as Detective Exley. Not because I think he was the best, in fact I really don’t like him at all, but his performance is seriously one of the best I have ever seen.  Detective Exley isn’t a likable character and you immediately begin to despise him. As the movie progresses you can’t help but feel differently and the more you watch the more you begin to like Exley.  Pearce plays the part so well and I am literally shocked to find myself so impressed with it every time I see it. He is such a little weasel till he interrogates the Night Owl suspects.  He is such a badass in that scene he doesn’t just deserve but practically comes through the screen and demands your respect by force.  Once he establishes himself as a badass he just continues to keep it up for the whole movie.  Whether he is shooting all of the bad guys, throwing caution to the wind to do what is right, sleeping with his rival’s girlfriend, or manipulating a massacre to his own advantage he is doing it all as a badass.  I love the respect he develops for his rival Bud White and the ass whooping he accepts when he knows he has wronged him.  I have never seen another movie where I saw what Guy Pearce did and thought “wow, he really did a great job in that movie.” I simply don’t like the guy and think he brings nothing to the table.  I can’t deny him this role though; he should have been nominated for it and taken the award home with him.  If he ever showed up for work and really brought it, it was on the set of this movie.

While I am incredibly impressed by the part played by Pearce my favorite is the most popular part played in this movie, by Russell Crowe.  This was Russell Crowe’s first major American role and it set the tone for his entire career.  He has been one of the best leading men of the last fifteen years because he is an outstanding actor. In this movie he burst onto the scene with aggression and brutality.  He plays the tough guy that is underestimated by everybody and proves to be much more than meets the eye.  As the movie progresses we see that he has the intelligence and detective skills to match his brutality.  The character then goes even deeper as we learn about his past and see his softer side when he is with Lynn Bracken.  When he confronts her after finding out about her and Exley you can feel his pain as his anger gets the best of him.  Another scene in which you feel his anger is that of the interrogation scene when Exley shines.  That scene showed us two things, one being that Exley was way more badass than we thought, the other being that Bud White is every bit the badass we think he is and more. This is one of Crowe’s finest roles and I think he also should have been nominated for the part.

I am and always have been a huge fan of Kevin Spacey.  The character of Lester Burnham he would play a couple of years later taught me quite a bit about life.  I do not know what has happened to him these days though.  He is an incredible and academy award winning actor who has simply fallen off the map for some reason.  The last thing I saw him in was Horrible Bosses and it wasn’t one of his finest roles.  As Jack Vincennes he is the sleazy cop that suddenly finds purpose in himself again.  He has been dirty for so long he forgot about all the right reasons he joined the force for in the first place.  As he begins to realize those things he starts to discover the skills that got him to the top and he uses them to do the right thing.  Until doing the right thing gets him killed that is.  That’s how it happens for the bad guy that decides to do good though, it’s an irony that is worth dying for to make that character a martyr. Vincennes became a martyr and a hero with his dying breathe by finding out the cleverest way to warn Exley. All past digressions forgiven, he died a hero and might have ended up with his name plastered somewhere in the city of Los Angeles. I don’t know what has been up with Kevin Spacey but I will always have my eye on what he is doing because within him are more performances of this caliber, I know it.

The rest of the cast was just as stellar and on point as the three most important I have already discussed.  James Cromwell is a fantastic actor and can play any part in any movie.  He can do it all pretty good but it turns out he can pull off mastermind villain pretty well as we see in this film. David Strathairn plays one of his best roles as Pierce Patchett. I have always liked Strathairn; he carries an air of dignity with him that makes him great for roles like this.  I am a big fan of Danny DeVito and like what he brought to the movie as well.  I have mentioned many times that I don’t like where his career has now led him but I think for the majority of his time in the business he has been very successful.

Kim Basinger won the Academy Award for this movie and was the only one to win the award for any of the performances in the movie.  I don’t understand that and practically consider it a crime.  I think she did a good enough job as Lynn Bracken but I don’t know how her performance warranted that kind of reward when some of the others weren’t even nominated. This movie was without a doubt her greatest performance as an actress but I don’t think she had much competition from her other roles.  Basinger is one of those women who made her career on her looks and not her talent and truthfully she has just never done it for me.

I honestly believe this movie is better each and every time I watch it.  As I already said I think this is a perfect movie and the fact that it seems better every time I watch it only reinforces that opinion.  As for Gangster Squad, it just didn’t have the raw and real element that this one had.  I knew things were going to be like that when we first met Josh Brolin’s character and he “Jack Bauer-ed” a room full of armed men. It’s just a bit too over the top and unrealistic.  When Bud White got angry he whooped ass on anybody within reach but not even he would have assaulted a crime base single handedly and walked out all hunky dory.  I think Sean Penn played an exceptional part as Mickey Cohen but even he was a bit over the top and exaggerated for effect. Gangster Squad is a film for the amateur movie fan but this movie is for those of us who really appreciate the art of film making.

This is a flawless movie and is without doubt worth your time.  It isn’t a movie that gets a lot of replay on TV and it isn’t brought up on a regular basis these days.  That is a crime.  This movie deserves its own three night weekend on AMC like The Godfather gets.  It’s that good of a movie and if you haven’t seen it I suggest you seek it out and take the time to watch it.  Incredible film that will always be one of my favorites.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ryan loves this movie and wrote a ton so in true Amber fashion, I will keep it short. This is a great crime movie. It captures your attention and keeps it throughout. The actors are perfect for their roles and do such a great job. It’s a really good flick that is definitely worth watching.

LAconfidential

Oh no. Another poster where they are trying to fit in way too many characters. This is not very successful either. Don’t miss the faded out guy right beside the word confidential. They also cut off Basinger’s head at the top with a solid black bar for the names. Bad call. The best thing about this poster is the marketing/advertising ploy behind the whole thing. Who is the target audience for this movie? Men. What do [some] men love? Boobies. That’s all any man really needed to see to want to see this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Lady in the Water (2006)