Brendan Gleeson

In Bruges

Year: 2008
Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Written By: Martin McDonagh


I can’t even remember what prompted us to watch this movie at first. When we did watch it for the first time we had to have the subtitles on just to know what the characters were talking about.  This movie sports heavy English accents that confuse our Southern ears.  When we finally figured out what these guys were saying we couldn’t stop laughing at the irony of it all. This isn’t a movie I find myself recommending or passing along to others but it is one I have always loved.  I distinctly remember seeing some random guy in a Best Buy buying this movie once and giving the guy a high five.  I pointed to the DVD and asked if he had seen it, he said yes and that it was awesome, I concurred with the regular masculine action of congratulations, the high five. I am part of the small group of people that loves black comedy it seems, but obviously there are more of us out there.

I don’t like Colin Farrell or Brendan Gleeson but in this movie they fit just right.  That’s not true actually because they both fit into many movies nicely. Farrell is great in Minority Report and Gleeson is great in many movies such as Braveheart and Gangs of New YorkThey are both great actors I have just never been a fan of. Farrell at least has arguably been a good actor but I would argue against on that one. Since seeing his portrayal of Alexander the Great in Oliver Stone‘s miserable biopic I have despised Farrell, who was an awful choice for the role to begin with. I can’t say what it is about Gleeson I have never liked but I can’t take anything away from him as far as talent goes.  He is a great actor who fits into many roles really well.  Ralph Fiennes is really funny as the top mob boss who is dangerous yet dramatic at the same time.

This movie isn’t for everyone, but I think it is worth your time to see whether it’s one you will like or not. I encourage you to watch it with subtitles because it can be difficult to understand the heavy accents but once the language barrier is taken care of anybody can see how good it is.  This is a dark comedy and I have a special place in my heart for those but they do not appeal to everyone.


It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day, first and foremost may he Rest In Peace and his legacy live on. Coincidentally and for random reasons I found myself watching this film tonight. Another movie block scratched off may it do ya fine.

I didn’t know what was going to happen when I watched it. I remembered I liked it and enough to add it to the collection early in its existence but that was pretty much it. This move made its way in shortly after release thanks to a spot on recommendation from our local Blockbuster guy, Taylor Kumroy (a badass movie buff and more importantly, a SURVIVOR). Taylor was right, as I have no doubt he would be today as well, about nearly anything. I have not seen or spoken to him in probably 10 years but I remember him now, because I just enjoyed something spectacular and I have him to thank for it.

It occurred to me as I revisited this move, for the sake of “the poster” that it’s not just good, it’s “The Godfather” good. Simply a wonderful and fantastic movie capable of surprising you.

It surprised me, and I knew what was coming! Time is funny and seemingly insignificant things fade from memory. It’s a wonderful thing when something bubbles up to the surface and your night is fulfilled spending time with it.

This, In Bruges, is so worth your time and I hope you enjoy it. It desevered to be on the poster and I have sincerely loved every minute of watching it again.


Thank goodness for subtitles and closed captioning, otherwise I wouldn’t even know what this movie was about. But, we did watch it in subtitles, and this was a really twistedly funny movie. It’s a strange kind of funny. It’s definitely worth the watch.

 Now that I see the poster, I think it perfectly depicts my explanation above. “Twistedly Funny.” It looks random, and makes you question the movie. That’s what all movie posters should do. Marketing 101: “What the hell is this movie about?” Everyone who sees it should ask that, and the poster should only ask the question, never give it away. I think this poster does that. I even like the color choice. It’s a little blue overall (twisted part) and then there is a random ice cream color of pink and they pick this back up in the typography of the title (funny part). I do love a nice grid structure when it comes to typography and they do a great job of it. The tagline lines up with the “U” in Bruges. I love it.

NEXT MOVIE: Inception (2011)

Gangs of New York

Year: 2002
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan


I remember when this movie first came out in theaters, it was the year I graduated high school.  I didn’t see it in the theaters but I remember running into some friends coming out of the theater when they had just seen it and I was on the way to see something else. I had been reading about this movie and knew of it for some time.  It was delayed time and time again before its release, once because of the 9/11 crisis. It was the new movie by Martin Scorsese though and the delays only made me look forward to it more.  I was a big fan of Goodfellas and Taxi Driver so I was really interested in the film despite not being at the theater to see it then.  I asked them if the movie was any good and I will never forget what they said.  They looked at me with a disappointed expression and said “It was bloody” and another said “it was really violent.” What they said was all in their tone though.  I had not seen this movie but somehow I knew, I didn’t know how but somehow I just knew that they were wrong.  These guys weren’t good friends but they were friends and somewhere deep down I never looked at any of them the same after that.  Once I actually saw the film the verdict was in, these friends had no taste and they didn’t have enough sense to appreciate something so incredible. Not to mention that I found myself wondering before and after seeing it ‘what kind of guy finds something too violent or bloody?’ I have lost touch with those friends since high school and I’m OK with it, somehow it is all because of this movie.

I remember looking forward to the DVD release of this movie quite a bit since I never ended up seeing it in the theater. Our movie collection was young at that time and DVDs were quite costly then.  Not too expensive but much more so then they are now. What I mean by that is that at the time this collection was a slower work in progress.  I didn’t buy DVDs carelessly not only because I could not afford to but because it was much more expensive to do so back then.  Yet when this movie came out on DVD I went to the store and bought it on the day it was released without having ever seen it. It was a gamble that paid off well.  This is one of my favorite movies ever from Martin Scorsese, in my opinion it might be his best film.  That is a tough thing to say because there is a lot of steep competition.  Martin Scorsese is one of the men that made film making what it is today. He has been making great movies for over forty years.  His contributions to the industry will be studied 100 years from now and then some.  One day he will leave behind a legacy that will turn him into a legend.  This film is my favorite of the ones that make the legend that is Scorsese.

Before this movie I had a certain impression of Leonardo DiCaprio, and it wasn’t really good. I was a teen during the time Titanic came out I came to dislike DiCaprio the same way that most young men don’t like Justin Bieber now.  He’s the guy that all the teen girls go nuts over and it is annoying to the point you find yourself disliking them.  This changed all of that in the case of Dicaprio, I saw the value that in truth had been there all along I was just too foolish and immature to admit it.  DiCaprio is the best actor in the business hands down. He is great at choosing roles and he has an ability that is impressive.  With this movie he effectively became Scorsese’s De Niro of the 21st century as well with many more collaboration to follow. He can use a wide range of dialects and he has worked with many of the greatest directors out there. It was this film that changed my impression of him and I have since looked forward to every film he has made. I imagine that DiCaprio is the kind of actor that would learn from the greats when he had a chance and during this film he got to work with one of the best of all time.

Daniel Day-Lewis had been retired before this movie came out and was persuaded out of it by direct involvement from Scorsese and I think DiCaprio too. It’s a good thing he decided to get back in the game because he gave one of the greatest performances I have ever seen in any movie. He has since remained unretired and I am grateful for that because I think he has a lot to offer. Day-Lewis is a notorious actor as far as his methods go.  He stays in character at all times during filming and that kind of dedication clearly pays off for him. He gets to know his character on a different level and I think you can see that in his work.  As Bill the Butcher he scared me.  He was so intimidating in this role that his persona came through into reality and struck fear into my soul.  He was that good.  There is so much about films that is predictable, but when I watched this for the first time I had no idea what the Butcher might do at any time and it was thrilling.  There are only a handful of characters in film that can provoke that kind of feeling, the Butcher is one of them. The intimidation that he invokes, the power that he commands, and his strange sense of honor make him a character for the ages.  I think he was robbed of the Academy Award that year and I have never felt that Daniel Day-Lewis got enough credit for this part.  His accent  was really incredible, as I understand it he spoke in that accent throughout his time working on the film.  The character that he plays Bill “The Butcher” Cutting is based on a real man named William Poole but this movie isn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of who he was. He was part of the Know Nothing political party that specifically despised Irish and German immigrants coming into the country.  There is some truth here, as with the Tammany Hall parts of the film but as with all films you need to do your own research to find the truth.

Aside from those two great actors there are many other talented people that brought something to this movie.  John C Reilly didn’t have the best part to play in the role of a character that doesn’t inspire a lot of love.  I like Reilly though and think this movie is one of the many examples that show his true value.  He has great range to be both serious and funny depending on what movie he is in.  I have never been a big fan of Brendan Gleeson but I can’t quite figure out why.  He is in many movies that I love and he played a great character in this one as well.  This was the first movie I remember seeing Henry Thomas in since his role as a child in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial so it was cool to see him still acting, albeit in a role as a weakling.  Liam Neeson had quite a good role in the beginning as well.  I read once that originally his character was hacked piece by piece to death during the battle but it had to be changed to get an R rating. However during the battle, right before the butcher attacks him you can see a quick shot of his arm being hacked off that wasn’t removed from the final cut.  It just appears to be someone else being cut because you don’t see this injury on him as the Butcher kills him.

The only role that I didn’t think was great in this movie was that of Cameron Diaz.  It isn’t anything against her either I think she is a beautiful and talented actress but just not right for this role.  I think she looked too pretty for the part.  A pick-pocketing hooker during that era wouldn’t have such a perfect looking face with such pretty features.  Originally the part was to be played by Sarah Polley, who I think would have been much better in the role.  I am a fan of Polley but she isn’t an A-list actress by any means and that was the problem.  The studio wanted a more bankable star in the role and the casting was changed at the last minute.  Nothing against Cameron Diaz but this decision hurt the movie.  That’s the biggest problem in most films.  Executives think in terms of what will make them the most money and not what will make them the best movie.

This is an epic movie, a wicked and amazing epic movie. It is violent, witty, and generally top notch across the board. If you haven’t seen this movie it is worth your time, because I can assure you that you will be satisfied when it is over.  If you aren’t and you don’t like this movie then let me know why because I would really like to know. I happen to have asked a few people about this movie this past week and they didn’t know it.  I counted it as an anomaly to what most people must have seen because it is so great but in the event that I am wrong there might be more of you out there.  In that case, see this movie, it’s great but brace yourself because it is violent…there will be blood.


This movie is great. It tells an interesting story and keeps you interested throughout. The most notable thing about this film, however is the acting. This movie is filmed with A quality actors. I am sure that Ryan already mentioned all of the names in this film, so I won’t reiterate here, but when you put this kind of talent all together in one film, the result is bound to be incredible, and I think it definitely shows in Gangs of New York.

If you like a nice blood bashing then this is for you. It’s a great movie with a lot of meat to it and I definitely recommend it.


NEXT MOVIE: Ghostbusters (1984)


Year: 1995
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Written By: Randall Wallace


This was the first epic movie I fell in love with.  Like all boys I had a fascination with sword fighting, battles, and the medieval era.  There were other movies that captured these qualities before but in 1995 Braveheart was the biggest and the best of its genre. I still love the genre but Braveheart has been replaced as my favorite time and time again.  In 2000 Gladiator replaced it, followed almost immediately by The Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001-03, and now in 2011 I have yet a new favorite again.  HBO’s Game of Thrones is now my favorite epic medieval story.  While only a TV series, it has easily beaten out all the others and if you have not seen it I suggest you call your cable company, add HBO, and get caught up before season 2 starts. Better yet go to your closest book store and buy the book, I will come back to Game of Thrones later.

To be perfectly honest Braveheart isn’t a movie that I’m really interested in at all anymore.  It is a fantastic movie but now I feel like I have outgrown it.  This most likely stems from either watching this movie too many times or maybe because it’s so hard these days to imagine that I ever liked Mel Gibson.  He was a great filmmakers and actor but talk about a far fall from grace.  A lot of the stars from that time have gotten a little crazy as they got older.  Mel Gibson isn’t alone, he has Charlie Sheen making an ass of himself as well, and even Nicolas Cage is acting crazy from time to time.  There are many movies I find it impossible to watch too many times so I doubt that is the problem with this one.  I think that a truly special movie is one that you like more each time you watch it.

This movie offers intense action, captivating drama, love and romance, and best of all, revenge.  Being the closet dork that I am I went beyond the film with Braveheart and also read the book by Randall Wallace when I was a kid.  The book is simply a novelization of the film and while this film is historically based you have to take it with a grain of salt. I have said it before and I will say it again, there are no historically accurate major motion pictures and this one is way off from what I understand.  That doesn’t really matter though does it? Braveheart is badass through and through with incredibly violent and satisfying battles scenes full of blood and gore.  There is nudity too, although Sophie Marceau disappoints us there. Catherine McCormick didn’t let us down though.

Mel Gibson was great both behind the camera and swinging a variety of lethal medieval weapons on the other side of it.  If I remember correctly he accepted two Oscars for this film for Best Direction and Best Picture.  He was on top of the world when this film came out and rode that success for a long time.  I will admit that I was a big fan for a long time and I can still enjoy some of his movies but I cannot stand a bigot.   He made a couple of decent movies after this but as far as his acting goes he peaked with this movie and has yet to make anything else at its level.  Brendan Gleeson has a big part in the film as William Wallace’s childhood friend Hamish.  I am not a fan of Gleeson’s, and he has to be one of those guys that pops up everywhere.  I cannot deny that he is great in this film though, he has a natural place in movies like this.  It could be argued that this was his best film but one must consider Gangs of New York, and several others that I’m sure would come to mind if I gave it more thought.  Patrick McGoohan is fantastic as Edward the Longshanks, sinister and evil to the core. He has such an important part in this film because the villain can make these movies just as much as the hero can.  The villain must inspire fear and anger to make you love the hero more, it is a challenging part to play.  This movie does coincidentally have a connection to Game of Thrones as James Cosmo plays a part in both, in this film as Hamish’s father and in the HBO series as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.  What’s really amazing is that he manages to look younger 16 years later.

One of the reasons I love doing this blog is because it gives me a reason to watch some of my movies like this one that I probably wouldn’t watch again otherwise.  I own a lot of movies that I don’t watch anymore but have because they meant something to me at one time in my life.  I might not love this movie like I used to but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great movie and that it isn’t worth your time.  This is a long movie at just shy of three hours but that’s nothing for an epic.  This movie may be a mini epic, but it still fits the bill.  This was considered the best movie of 1995 at the Academy Awards and for good reason, I hope you give it a chance yourself and enjoy it.

Now to venture off topic for a moment and discuss the HBO series Game of Thrones.  A while back Amber and I decided that we were so satisfied with our HBO TV shows that we would give any new series a chance.  When Game of Thrones  was being advertised I was obviously really excited but Amber was reluctant. She said she would give it one episode.  We are now currently both about half way through the FIFTH book in the Game of Thrones series, A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin.  To put it to you this way, we have read somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 pages of this story collectively.  We wouldn’t give that much time to anything if it wasn’t worth it and I hope to encourage you to give it a chance.  Martin has written a really powerful story that is out of control awesome all the time.  I am amazed how daring he is, he has created many incredible and interesting characters, and he will kill any one of them at any time without hesitation.  However it seems that for every great character he kills he creates at least five more interesting characters in their place. HBO has invested a lot of capital into this series and it is the production that makes or breaks this kind of story. Costumes, locations, sets, casting, and all the little things that so many of us know nothing about.  Both Braveheart and Game of Thrones have great production work, but I wouldn’t be writing about them if they didn’t.  I cannot truly tell you how awesome Game of Thrones is, it’s something that you will have to find out for yourself, and I hope that I have encouraged you to do so.

One final note about Braveheart too, I didn’t mention it but there was actually some controversy surrounding the film when it came out. There was some question as to whether or not horses were killed on set during the first battle scene when the Scots dramatically raise spears at the last moment in defense against the charging English Calvary.  I think this was an easy thing for Mel “I’m on top of the world” Gibson to get out of  in 1995 but 16 years later we all know how crazy the man really is, and you just have to wonder….. Watching it now I’m wondering if those actually were real horses, it looks pretty damn real.  I bet psycho Mel Gibson actually killed many horses when making this movie.


I was actually feeling bad that I had nothing to say about this movie. I don’t really like it. I know that is a crazy thing to say when so many people like it, but I hate it. But, after seeing the novel that Ryan wrote in review of this film, I am going to leave it at that. I don’t like this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Burn After Reading (2008)