Tom Hardy

Star Trek: Nemesis

Year: 2002
Directed By: Stuart Baird
Written By: John Logan, Rick Berman, and Brent Spiner. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

It can be exhausting to watch 10 Star Trek films in a row and having reached the end I can’t imagine it will ever happen again. This movie was said to have ended the trend of odd and even Star Trek films because this even numbered sequel wasn’t up to expectations. I have always disagreed though thinking this was an interesting blend of all Star Trek films that came before. This actually ended up being the lowest grossing Star Trek film in the franchise and I find that shocking. I think that the ninth movie must have left the audience with such disappointment that they didn’t come back this time around.

This movie is not even close to as bad as its predecessor.

Above is all I got down while watching the movie. I’m not going to lie, I fell asleep and dreamed away half of this movie. I’ve watched too much Star Trek and I’m not dipping into this one for seconds, Next Generation or not.

I don’t understand why people had a problem with this movie because I woke up in time to see some great action scenes. Patrick Stewart was badass enough just giving orders but in this one he is piloting vehicles and duel wielding phasers. How can anybody have a problem with that?

This is one of the first films Tom Hardy ever starred in and he expected it to be his big break into acting. I for one thought he was an incredible young Jean Luc Picard, though I had to look it up to know it was actually him playing the part. He was a complete unknown when this movie came out and I just remember thinking they really found a guy that looked like a young Patrick Stewart. I read that the poor reception of this movie really hit Tom Hardy hard because he was expecting it to be his big break. When it wasn’t he became very depressed but his rise to fame was only a matter of time. I like Tom Hardy a lot but come on man, you gotta reign in expectations when they rise for a Star Trek film.

Until reading about it I had no idea this movie was poorly received or that it failed at the box office. I remember it wasn’t making a lot of money but it was a Star Trek film and I didn’t realize anybody expected a significant box office return. I liked the movie and just assumed other Star Trek fans would feel the same way.

I do remember specifically thinking this movie made for a great ending to wrap up the series. I thought I saw elements that tied it to each of the films that came before, but I’d have had to stay awake the whole time to really explain that. From what I actually watched the only parallel I saw was to The Wrath of Khan because Data sacrificed himself in the end in order to save everyone. #NextGenSpock

In closing to the original Star Trek series I will simply say it wasn’t very good and I doubt I ever watch these movies again. There were a couple of gems along the way but ultimately it bored the hell out of me, and I like Star Trek. The Wrath of Khan and First Contact are both terrific films that belong in the collection but I could do without the other EIGHT.

For years I have actually thought these movies would be the death of the blog. I never envisioned that I’d actually sit down to not only watch all of them again but to actually write about them as well. Now that I have done it I am glad it’s over with, although there is more Star Trek to follow as the reboot series is next. That’s a much cooler Star Trek than the one that came before though and it hardly counts as being part of the original series.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek (2009)

 

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Layer Cake

Year: 2004
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: J.J. Connolly

RYAN’S REVIEW

What a cool movie, I don’t know that there is any better way to put it.  I wouldn’t really say there is actually anything new in this film.  It’s your pretty basic movie about organized crime as it operates on various different levels but doesn’t offer much in the area of provoking thought or inspiration.  It’s not short of its fair share of quality ass whoopings and clever twists but beyond being a really cool film there isn’t much here.  It has a very intricate story line with a variety of characters to keep track of.  It has a great cast but probably the most significant thing about this film is how it streamlined the career of Daniel Craig and put him into the spotlight.  He had been around forever and nobody really knew who he was but after this role everything took off for him.

Craig started acting in 1992 and played insignificant parts for nearly ten years until he got a large part in the first Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider movie. Stupid movie all around but it was a big deal for him.  I liked him in his next film Road to Perditionpossibly the last film Tom Hanks was in that was really worth a damn with few exceptions. Despite these parts I would still call Daniel Craig a relative unknown at the time.  It was his part in this movie that really made a difference for him.  While it was a completely different character, this role practically served as his audition to be the next James Bond.  It makes sense too; this movie centered completely on him and he did a great job. He’s British, wears a suit well, and looks remarkably natural pointing a gun on screen. Who else was there really to consider? Clive Owen was a popular British actor on the rise at the time but it’s easy to look back now and see how bad a choice that would have been.  I grew up watching the James Bond films and used to own every single one on VHS when I was a kid.  What young man doesn’t find himself interested in the badass super spy that sleeps with nearly every woman he encounters?  I eventually grew out of my interest in those films though, and quit watching the new ones altogether when Halle Berry was brought in.  I don’t even remember which Bond movie that was but I watched it up until a certain point and there is a joke I have always liked to tell about it.  I specifically remember Halle Berry, looking banging in a bikini, walking out of the water and onto the beach.  She walks straight up to Pierce Brosnan’s Bond and within a matter of minutes the scene has jumped to them in bed together.  Well this is what I think; when that happens, when Halle freaking Berry walks up to you in a bikini and you immediately get her into to bed there is only one thing you can do next.  Kill yourself, you have peaked in life and it’s going to be all downhill after that.  I think after you have her again and shoo her out of your room you take a long look in the mirror and accept that there really isn’t anything that will top that.  Might as well save yourself the boredom and go out on top while the sex is still in the air.  I’ve always enjoyed joking about that but for me at that time it was just too much and I was done with the Bond films.

After the success of rebooting the Batman franchise with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale there was suddenly a lot of this on the table.  Studios started looking at characters that their audience had lost interest in and deciding to recreate them with a new approach.  I have not been a fan of every effort to reboot franchises and some of them have come so quickly off the heels of their predecessors. Most notably The Amazing Spiderman and the inevitable new Batman franchise that will be here before we know it. The Bond rebooting effort was a very successful effort and has now made a ton of money with no end to the sequels coming in the future.  I think Daniel Craig is an awesome James Bond and reminds me a lot of Roger Moore who was always my favorite (he always slept with many more woman than the others). However, I have never been able to get back into the Bond character and have just literally not been able to bring myself to sit through any of the new films or give them my full attention.  I can see all the merit on the surface, awesome Bond, great choice for M, lots of action, and more serious story lines.  Yet I just can’t do it and I’m going to accept this as my own fault because many people have told me how great these movies have been.  I have never been able to get into Casino Royale and because of this I haven’t even attempted to see either of the sequels despite what I have heard about them.  Nevertheless I am still a fan of Daniel Craig playing the part and have liked the other opportunities it has given him.  I think he is a good actor and he is a really big star now.  All of that started with The Layer Cake, a really cool movie that Craig really made the most of.

This film has many different characters in it and has a really great cast beyond Craig.  My favorite is without doubt Colm Meaney.  I have been a fan of Meaney since I was a little kid watching Star Trek with my mom.  I had no idea then that this guy would ever been more than that Irish guy beaming up Captain Picard and the landing party.  I have been completely blown away by him in recent years and love what he brings to the table as a badass.  Specifically I am thinking of his role on AMC’s Hell on Wheels, great show and great character for him.  Tom Hardy has a really big part in this movie but it’d be understandable if nobody noticed.  Despite his presence he doesn’t really say very much and when he does it’s not something you would remember.  Hardy is really on the rise now thanks in large part to Christopher Nolan for casting him so well.  I look forward to what lies ahead of him in his career. I am not really familiar with George Harris but he is such a badass in this movie playing the part of Morty.  His beat down of an old acquaintance in the diner is one of the coolest scenes in the movie and it was brilliantly filmed. I don’t know why but I can’t stand Michael Gambon and I’m not into Sienna Miller either.  Still both of them do well in this movie.

I am not necessarily a fan of Matthew Vaughn, although he is a very talented director.  After this movie, like Daniel Craig, he too started to get a lot more attention.  He had taken a large cast of many character and woven them together in an interesting story that everyone liked.  That quality made him really appealing to Fox when they were looking for someone to replace the departed Bryan Singer for director of the third X-Men movie.  Now I blame Bryan Singer for the disaster that X-Men 3 was, he had built something and then abandoned it.  Matthew Vaughn was initially chosen to direct but eventually pulled out of the project and it fell into the hands of the hack Brett Ratner.  I don’t remember why Vaughn pulled out, it may have been about spending time with his family, but I think he would have made a much better film.  I may never get over the disaster that the third X-Men movie ultimately became.  The first two films were great and on a clear cut pattern to only get better.  I have always been a huge X-Men fan and wanted so badly for the third one to be even better than X2. I have a grudge against many people I blame for the disappointment and loss I have had to endure over what happened.  It can never be fixed and I will never be able to forget about what it could have been and how great.  Shame on Bryan Singer for his awful mistake, and while Vaughn isn’t really at fault here I can’t help but hold it against him either. It’s an irrational judgment I know, but those happen in the wake of such devastating disappointment.

I’ve managed to write a lot without saying much of anything about this film but it’s just not one that I think inspires a lot of thought.  It’s a good movie and I like the ending.  I think it’s a clear cut message that crime doesn’t pay and nobody ever wins.  It can completely blindside you too because it comes out of nowhere, great ending.  I like the fact that we never learn the name of Craig’s character and how you barely even notice that until he turns to the camera and acknowledges it. This movie is based on a novel I have never read but if anybody reading this has read it I would really like to hear how it compares if you want to leave a comment.

If you have ever seen a film about crime then you won’t really find anything new here, it’s fairly typical as such things go.  Despite that the movie is really cool and offers plenty to enjoy.  I am usually a fan of crime movies because it is such a fascinating world.  If you enjoy movies about organized crime then you will like this one.  While I may think it is pretty basic, it was made exceedingly well and I think it is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is pretty entertaining, but isn’t anything new. I think the creator grew up loving action movies and did a pretty good job of incorporating those ideas and themes into this film. I think you should see it if you haven’t it is worth watching, but it isn’t anything really special.

layer-cake-movie-poster-2004-1020479699

I actually think cool is a really good word to use for this poster. I like the color combination although it is used a little but too much for this type of movie. (Kill Bill, The Italian Job) But overall it’s pretty cool. The typography is my favorite part. Unbalanced and well proportioned. This poster is up there with some of my absolute favorites.

NEXT MOVIE: Legends of the Fall (1994)

Inception

Year: 2010
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie hit theaters back in 2010 Amber and I were front and center, eagerly waiting to see it.  I distinctly remember sitting there thinking about how I really had no idea what this movie was actually about.  The advertisement was specifically vague and didn’t offer much insight into the plot.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what it was about though.  It was the new Christopher Nolan movie and it was going to be awesome.  With Nolan, the fact that it is going to be awesome is practically guaranteed. Needless to say, the movie was awesome and I went on to see it in the theater three times overall. That’s a steep number by today’s standards but it says something about how incredible the film is.

This movie hits on all levels.  It’s made by one of the best in the business; it has an outstanding cast, and a story that is truly original in a time when original ideas aren’t hitting the big screen. This movie came out when 3D ruled more than any other time.  For this movie to be so visually dazzling without that effect says more than can be put into words about the director.  Christopher Nolan has been on the rise for some time and this was to date the best he has done. As for the 3D effect I will say this, it was badass when James Cameron did it but everything else has been only a waste of time.  Nolan is a director smart enough to know that and he specifically doesn’t use it in his film.  Clearly, he doesn’t have to. In this movie he made something that can’t be matched, and the scenes without gravity are truly incredible.  Nolan also has an interesting ability to convey violence without actually showing it.  This ability allows him to get the PG-13 rating coveted by studios because of the extra money it brings in.  If I remember correctly this movie was an idea Nolan created in his youth, and he waited for the technology to be available to film it.  I was ill when I first heard about this movie because I was impatiently anticipating the next Batman movie and the making of this would only delay it.  When I saw the movie I didn’t mind but it only made me anticipate Nolan’s next film more.  Too much in fact because I was really disappointed with The Dark Knight RisesMy disappointment over Nolan’s final Batman notwithstanding I still believe in him and I will be excited about any film he is involved with.

The cast of this film is jam-packed with talent. It begins with the lead role of Cobb.  In which Nolan chose to cast the best in the business.  Leonardo DiCaprio in my opinion is the cream of the crop, greatest actor of his era hands down.  His track record speaks for itself and how he has managed to not win numerous awards is beyond me.  The Academy doesn’t like him for some reason but that doesn’t change the fact that he is the best there is. He has worked with nearly every important director out there and he has been in some of the best movies I have ever seen.  I think he is a bit out shined in this movie by some of the others but if anything it’s only because being great comes so natural to this guy. DiCaprio performs his part so deftly it’s easy to take his talent for granted. DiCaprio may be the best in the business but in this film Joseph Gordon-Levitt outperformed him.  I have watched Gordon-Levitt since his days on Third Rock from the Sun and I am thoroughly impressed with how his career has blossomed.  He owns it in this movie and deserves to be remembered forever for the performance. This was the first movie I had seen Tom Hardy in but he left an impression as well.  I am a big fan of Ken Watanabe and obviously Christopher Nolan is too because he casts him often.  Nolan likes Cillian Murphy as well and I think that’s cool because the guy fits into all his movies perfectly. I always liked Tom Berenger and really liked seeing him in a significant role in a new movie. This was one of the last movies Pete Postlethwaite appeared in before his death, he was a significant loss as he has been part of many good movies.   Last but not least, although his role was small Michael Caine still managed to bring plenty to the film.  Nolan has cast him in every movie he has made over the last several years and for good reason.

The female leads were just as good as the male.  I had never heard of Marion Cotillard before seeing this movie but I am aware she has had a long career in foreign film.  I think she was terrific in this movie. She has a look that can turn you cold and her character is wildly unpredictable. I was also unfamiliar with Ellen Page but I think she brought a lot to the film too. She infuses the cast with youth and fits the part of the college student well. Most people know her from the film Juno, but that it still sitting on my “to-watch list” and has been for some time.

The biggest thing that makes this movie great is that it’s a movie unlike any you have ever seen before.  It has a wildly imaginative story that is truly original in an era where most of what is hitting theaters are remakes and continuations of outdated franchises.  I think this movie proves there is still a place in the industry for original ideas, whether they confuse half of the viewers or not. This movie did seem to confuse a lot of people but I don’t know why.  It may be a bit much for the close minded viewer but I didn’t have any problem at all following it.  In the end when the Cobb’s top keeps spinning I think that it suggests that he is in fact still in limbo.  The fact that he walks away before seeing it fall simply means that he no longer cares if he is or isn’t in reality anymore.  He would rather see his kids again regardless what it means.  Cobb may have never come back to reality but it was possibly still a happy ending for him despite that.

This movie was very successful when it came out two years ago and for a while became the thing everybody talked about.  If you managed to miss it then it is more than worth your time to try to see it now.  With an excellent cast, one of the best directors out there, and a story that thinks outside of the box it is definitely a must see.  I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this one. It reminds me a lot of my favorite movie of all time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like the intricacies of this film. It is so in depth and if you aren’t paying attention to every minute, it is easy to get lost. This movie was made for movie lovers. The ones that watch and take everything in. The ones that are judging every scene, every sentence, everything. This movie is unexplainable; all that is explainable is that it is worth watching. Period.

This is one of my favorite ones to write about. I really like this poster. The world is turned up on itself, which is pretty much what happens when you dream. The laws of physics do not apply. I like the allusion to this in this poster. The font choice is bold and red is a perfect color. Once you have seen it, or even if you have seen this trailer, you can almost hear the “BOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG” sound when you look at the title. The only thing I think is unfortunate about this one is that the cast is standing in the street like that. I understand that they were trying to give as much billing to the characters as possible, but they have them standing around in the street and it looks like a Christian Rock group’s cover photo. Just my opinion, of course…but I don’t like it. It’s campy. Otherwise, this is a beautifully done poster.

NEXT MOVIE: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.