Peter Stormare

Minority Report

Year: 2002
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Phillip K. Dick (short story), Scott Frank and Jon Cohen (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the only movie about the future that I look at and think “that’s what it’s going to be like.”  I don’t know about psychic pre-cogs who can detect crime before it happens but everything else looks legit. The computer operation, eye scanners, personalized marketing, vehicle models, and so much else that we see in the background of the film I think will hold true in 2054.  It’s hard to say really but I think as that year approaches this film will look more like a vision of the future than say Back to the Future II’2015.  Where the hell are our hover board Robert Zemeckis? Aside from being an interesting vision of the future this movie is a fast paced thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.  It offers some surprisingly outstanding performances from a director who simply makes hit after hit after hit.  In truth this movie is way down the totem pole for great films from Spielberg, but the man has made so many incredible movies it’s hard to get to the top.

Every time I get the opportunity to discuss Steven Spielberg I feel like I can’t say enough about how incredible he is.  This time around is no different.  The man has shown such growth as a filmmaker and he has never stopped getting better at what he does.  For this movie he rolled up his sleeves and did his research.  He didn’t just want to make any other vision of the future with this film but a more accurate picture of what the world would be like.  He met with specific people in a variety of fields and discussed with them where their business was going in the future. This is specifically why I think that in 40 years the world will look pretty close to what we see in this movie.  I just believe that much in Spielberg.  Not only was this film influenced by the information he gathered in his research but this film has over time influenced society itself.  It’s no secret that science fiction films have been influencing technological developments for decades now but this film specifically has been cited as an influence in new emerging technology today.  If you want specific examples feel free to read about it yourself on the film’s Wikipedia page.

Aside from the film’s vision of the future there is always one other specific thing that comes to mind when I think of this movie.  This too I credit Steven Spielberg for and his ability as a director, because otherwise I can’t figure out any other explanation for it.  What I’m talking about is the performance of Colin Farrell. I think he is incredible in this film, and I just can’t figure it out for the life of me.  How can the guy be so damn good in this movie and so widely suck in his career beyond this?  I’ve been seeing this guy in films for a long time now. I know him to specifically blow as an actor.  I have never been able to get over his God awful performance as Alexander back in 2004.  How is it that Oliver Stone, a director that made Charlie Sheen look great in the 80s, fail to get a good performance out of him when Spielberg did so great? It’s always puzzled me but at the same time only makes me appreciate Spielberg more. Somehow he has to be responsible because I sure as hell am not going to give credit to Farrell.  So, for the record, Colin Farrell blows but in this film he is awesome.

I don’t see the point in discussing Cruise.  He is in this film and he is doing his thing.  Probably just to spite haters like me he is a total professional all the way and turns in another killer performance to add to a killer career.  It’s peculiar that you can look at him in this movie and see no noticeable difference in his appearance 12 years later but I’ve discussed that before.  As a hater of this guy I have to admit that he really doesn’t have many flaws in his trade.  He is an outstanding actor and has made a significant career worth being proud of.  I like Max Von Sydow being the real bad guy once everything is figured out.  How did this surprise anyone?  When Emperor Ming it at the top of the hierarchy his hands are bound to be dirty. I like the short part played by Peter Stormare, always great to see him in anything.  Also in small roles Tim Blake Nelson and Neal McDonough add their talents to the cast.

This movie was based on a short story of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick.  I haven’t read it but I have read two Dick books recently and wanted to discuss him a bit.  Dick has been the influence behind a few science fiction films and is significant because one of them is considered one of the greatest of all time.  Blade Runner was based on a book by Dick called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” I read that book recently and found it very interesting.  He also wrote the story that inspired Total Recall, and its remake twenty years later.  Dick was an author far and away ahead of his time.  He wasn’t right about plenty of things but was clever enough to give visions of the future that left a clear impression on his readers.  I also recently read The Man in the High Castle” which has been talked about being adapted into a film since it came out.  The book is about an alternate reality in the United States in 1962 where everything was different because we lost the war to the Axis powers 20 years prior.  In the book the US is divided into three regions where the Japanese rule the Pacific States of America, the Nazis run the Eastern states, and there is a neutral zone in middle America loosely run by a coalition of the two. A fascinating and frightening book that I really enjoyed reading and would recommend to any person with interest in the topic.

Back to the topic at hand, this film is a great example of a great director and a great actor adding another notch to their belts.  They showed up for work and collaborated to create something awesome.  They both continue to make great films and have been doing so for as long as I have been alive, it’s nice to see them get together to do it.  It’s hard to believe that 12 years has passed since this film came out.  Spielberg has reached a point in his career where he can do anything he wants now.  He is in his later 60s now but he isn’t too old to blow us away with his talent and his career will continue to be interesting to follow.  Cruise on the other hand seems to be standing in some different realm where time stands still and we only see him by happenstance.  Any day now that man is going to become an old man and the world will be so weird then.  I imagine there are a lot of older people out there who look at Tom Cruise and just don’t accept the reality of their age.  They see him looking just like he always did and in their disillusion minds they have what Morpheus would call a “residual self image” of themselves still as lively as they were in the 80s.  That’s all part of why I don’t like Cruise; the guy is a hell of an actor but he is screwing with the small minds of people everywhere with his ability to defy time.

When it comes to science fiction films this one is as good as they get and that doesn’t belittle the genre but enriches it.  This movie is interesting and exciting.  It will draw you in with a fantastic vision of the future and keep you on the edge of your seat with action sequences that will have you biting your nails off. This one is easy to recommend because it is awesome.  This movie is worth your time to see it and if you get the opportunity you won’t be disappointed.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I always really like watching this movie. It’s an interesting take on how the future will run. It has been really impressive to watch this movie over the years, and to see how close we actually are to a lot of these technologies. Technology and science have always intrigued me. I also love that they did research of true future technologies and incorporated them into the film. I think that’s the best way to make a movie about the future. We can actually watch it evolve over time and see that some movie called it first.

mreport

Having said all of that above, you would think maybe the poster could also be a little advanced. But, no. It looks like that. How boring is this poster? Tom Cruise in an “action pose?” To me he looks a little more like he may have a stomach ache and is doubling over. I can’t even tell what is going on in the background. The typography is completely bored and had barely if any thought put into it. It also looks like they stretched it out across the top. I could be wrong, there might very well be an expanded version. I hate this poster. I can’t even fathom the idea of someone getting paid for crap like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Mississippi Burning

Fargo

Year: 1996
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen

RYAN’S REVIEW

I want to start off by letting you know this, Fargo is not based on a true story. I have to say so because for almost 20 years now my dad and I have argued over it relentlessly.  There have been stories in Fargo, North Dakota that parallel the events in this movie but that does not mean the film was based on them.  You can find stories that parallel the story in this film in nearly every city in the US. There are always men trying to kill their wives and coming up with wild scenarios in order to avoid the blame. The Coen brothers labeled this a true story in an effort to get the viewer more emotionally invested in the story.  It worked too because plenty of people believed it to be a true story. For years there were idiot people searching the back roads of the region in an effort to find the money buried by Steve Buscemi‘s character. Of course it hardly matters whether the events in this film ever happened or not, it takes nothing away from the film that it is fictional.  There are many films that claim to be based off a true story though in an effort to get people more interested in it.  The most immediate example that comes to mind is 2008’s The Strangers which claims to be based on a true story.  It most definitely is not to the relief of us all and was actually loosely based off the Manson Family killings of the 60s, which of course happened very differently.  There are several films that use this technique to sucker viewers though, and I urge all of you to know that going into any film.

The thing about that disclaimer at the beginning is that it does set the tone for the film. It tells you that the film portrays events exactly as they happened and everything feels so real after that.  It’s part of the genius of the Coen brothers, they are such good filmmakers. Their use of accents and locations is specifically interesting and part of what makes them so great.  They are also great when it comes to casting. I have always been a big fan of Steve Buscemi and think that he was great as “the funny lookin guy.”  He is a regular in Coen brother movies but this was his biggest and best role of all their movies he has been in. Peter Stormare, as Buscemi’s partner in crime, is specifically good as well in this film.  He is so stone cold and suddenly violent that he really catches you off guard.  He is a bad guy that might do anything at any moment. I have never been a big fan of Willaim H Macy, it’s something about the way he looks. He is great in this movie though and gives one of his best performances. He may get on my nerves but he is a good actor that has played a key role in many good movies.  Frances McDormand won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in this film and it was well deserved.  She plays such a down to Earth and honest character that nearly everyone fell in love with her.  Her accent is so good too. She is the wife of Joel Coen and can be seen in many of his films.

This film is so intense and dramatic.  You can feel the pressure that these characters are under and that is another part of what makes it feel so real. There are so many layers to the story that give it that feeling too.  Such as the vagueness in which Macy’s character is in such dire need of money.  It appears to be him just needing money desperately for the investment he wants to make but at times it is obvious there is much more to it than that.  McDormand’s Marge and her awesome personality. She has a very interesting relationship with her husband and you can see there is more to the story there too. Who is Steve Buscemi’s character and why is he involved? Shep Proudfoot recommended Peter Stomare’s Grimsrud character to Macy, yet is was Buscemi who does all the talking and work. We never learn anything about the true relationship between those two.

This movie in many ways is the Coen brother’s big serious movie of the decade, as much as No Country For Old Men was their big serious movie of the 2000s.  It was a great movie made by great filmmakers as so many of their films are.  We will discuss the Coen brothers quite a bit during this journey through the DVD collection because we own many of their films.  This is one that I always enjoy, it is a great movie. If you haven’t seen it I would strongly recommend it to anyone, it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I can still remember the first time I ever watched this movie. We were in college and Ryan had just introduced me to the Coen Brothers. I was completely blown away by this movie. In true Coen Brothers fashion the movie was extremely slow but captivating. The scenery is dead on, the accents are dead on, and the clothes and hair are immaculate. It is in these small details that really make the Brothers what they are.

My favorite part of this movie is when the cop goes to question the two girls that slept with the bad guys earlier in the film. I just completely love the dialogue that goes on during the whole exchange.

If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a damn shame. You should definitely make this one a priority.

NEXT MOVIE: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)