Movie Review – Gone Girl

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Movie Review – Gone Girl
Oct 202014
 

Gone Girl Movie PosterOn the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

Rating: 9.3/10 (238 votes)
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
Runtime: 149 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Released: 03 Oct 2014

Well, this one deserves the hype. Me and Lay went to watch this one last night at the AMC Theater in Brandon. The theater wasn’t packed, but there was a sizable crowd, which was, for a change, reasonably quiet.

David Fincher has crafted, in his clear-cut no-nonsense style, a powerful mystery-thriller that would likely win kudos from Hitchcock. I have never read the book, nor any Gillian Flynn books, but she crafted a great story, and executed the screenplay very well.  Continue reading »

Runner Runner – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Runner Runner – A Movie Review
Oct 062013
 

Runner Runner Movie PosterPrinceton grad student Richie, believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block. Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.

In Theaters: October 4, 2013; MPAA Rating: R (for language and some sexual content.); Genres: Thriller, Drama

Director: Brad Furman

Writers: Brian Koppelman, David Levien

Cast:  Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, Michael Esper, Oliver Cooper, Christian George, Yul Vazquez, John Heard

We went to see this Saturday night at Britton Plaza. It was OK, but I’m glad we didn’t pay AMC prices.

Richie Furst (played by Timberlake) is a Princeton graduate student who promotes an online gambling site on campus, earning commissions to pay off his tuition. The school clamps down on his activities, and he loses all his savings on a last ditch all-or-none bet. He does some in-depth study of the site, and discovers it might be “cheating” (is anyone surprised). So Furst is off to Costa Rica to seek Ivan Block (Affleck), the kingpin of online gaming. Continue reading »

Argo – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Argo – A Movie Review
Oct 282012
 

ARGO Movie PosterThe true story of the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis–the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Release Date: October 12, 2012; MPAA Rating: R (for language and some violent images); Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Comedy, Drama; Run Time: 2 hours.

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Taylor Schilling, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina,     Zeljko Ivanek, Titus Welliver.

Lay and me saw this movie last weekend. Continue reading »

Town, The – A Movie Review

 Culture, Featured, Movies  Comments Off on Town, The – A Movie Review
Sep 182010
 

Doug MacRay is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But that all changed on the gang’s latest job, when they briefly took a hostage–bank manager, Claire Keesey. Though they let her go unharmed, Claire is nervously aware that the robbers know her name and where she lives. But she lets her guard down when she meets an unassuming and rather charming man named Doug not realizing that he is the same man who only days earlier had terrorized her. The instant attraction between them gradually turns into a passionate romance that threatens to take them both down a dangerous, and potentially deadly, path.

Genres: Drama, Romance, Crime/Gangster and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: September 17th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.

Directed By: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper

We went to see this movie this afternoon at Veterans 24. The theater was pretty full even at 1:30.

Ben Affleck has proved he is a competent director. That’s not to say this was a mind-blowing movie, but it was solidly directed, well acted, well directed movie with some humor at moments and some intense action sequences.

The movie follows Doug MacRay, a bank robber who pursues a woman he and his crew had taken as a hostage during a heist. Relationships get complicated and the usual drama follows. Ben Affleck can be surprisingly affecting in his roles – he is a rather likable character despite being a crook. His other crew are not so memorable – Jeremy Renner is an interesting portrait, but nothing seen before. He is the typical bad ass who eventually steps beyond his bounds. Honestly, I don’t even remember or care about the other two guys.

The woman, played by Rebecca Hall, does a solid job as Claire Keesey. We see her hardships, her torment and anguish (albeit a bit too much). The chemistry between her and Affleck is not really there, but hey, it’s basically an action movie. Blake Lively seems out of place as MacRay’s former lover. Jon Hamm plays a standard role as the hard driving cop who will stop at nothing. And Affleck’s bosses are funny but not really memorable.

Most action sequences are fast paced and suspenseful (though the heist all seem like I’ve seen them before).

The plot was stretched a bit thin, and some of the motivations of the characters baffled me a bit. Some things were just unclear with the characters, and a lot of loose ends were not tied up. However, it’s not really a big deal to me, as I enjoyed watching it and I took it for what it was: an action film with a little heart.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Extract – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Extract – A Movie Review
Feb 212010
 

Click to watch the trailer for Extract.Joel is one step away from selling his flavor extract factory and retiring to easy street when a freak workplace accident sets in motion a series of disasters that put his business and personal life in jeopardy.

Genres: Comedy; Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.; Release Date: September 4th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual references and some drug use.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, J. K. Simmons

Directed by: Mike Judge

We watched this on DVD a couple of weeks ago, and it was reasonably good movie with several funny sub-plots. I watched this movie with Lay having no expectations whatsoever. I hadn’t seen the trailer and I didn’t know who was in it. The initial premise was interesting: a successful businessman in an odd industry wanting to sell up to be able to live a different life and spend more time with his wife.

With a few motion pictures and several television projects under his belt, Mike Judge has become the undisputed master of working man’s comedy. No matter the color of their, the characters created by Judge exist on the front-lines of American industry.  Judge is content not to tug the heartstrings or rely on frequent hilarity as long as he is able to build the impression that the people on screen are an honest reflection of the co-worker to your right or the relative on your left.

The cast Judge has assembled is very good. Jason Bateman continues to display his mastery of portraying the straight man; playing effortlessly against the eccentricities of his oddball co-workers and the other peculiar people surrounding him. The scene-stealers here, though, are Ben Affleck, Clifton Collins Jr., J.K. Simmons and David Koechner. Affleck submits a wonderful performance as a bartender who believes Xanax is the cure for everything (including the common cold). The role tackled by Collins Jr. is one dimensional on paper, but the actor’s performance provides the character with depth and humanity. J.K. Simmons appears to relish the opportunity to play Joel’s business partner and is given several killer lines to play with, while Koechner nails the part as the annoying, talkative, socially awkward neighbour. Mila Kunis (best known as the voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy) is well-suited to the role of Cindy; she’s required to look ridiculously hot as she goes about her business of tricking the men she encounters, and she pulls it off. The music store scene is especially funny.

Judge places an interesting and funny film that doesn’t seem to be interested in finishing,or filling out the characters and/or situations of the story,and thus falls short of previous efforts(Office Space and Idiocracy). Practically every character besides Joel is left open-ended: the wife,the injured worker in question,the unctuous neighbor played by David Koechner and the grifter hottie. Certainly a quick comedy that plays for absurd events that mull out of mundane occurrences is probably going to have one-dimensional characters,but it still feels like this film was somewhat hurried. A little more exposition and maybe an awkwardly pinned ending might’ve improved the quality of this film.

Still,the lines and some of the performances–the guy who plays the stutlifyingly dumb young hustler hired to seduce Joel’s wife is particularly mint,complimenting Affleck’s inspired turn–make this movie easily enjoyable. Certainly no Oscar contenders here, but it was kind of a fun movie, and worth the time watching it.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

State of Play – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on State of Play – A Movie Review
Sep 102009
 

stateofplay_smallposterHandsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party’s contender for the upcoming presidential race. Until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out.

D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and a ruthless editor, Cameron, who has assigned him to investigate. As he and partner Della try to uncover the killer’s identity, McCaffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation’s power structures. And in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one’s integrity, love or life is ever safe.

Genres: Drama, Thriller, Adaptation and Politics; Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.; Release Date: April 17th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, language including sexual references, and brief drug content.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn

Directed by: Kevin MacDonald

I’d heard a few good reports about this movie and like Russell Crowe, so decided to go and see it for myself. Crowe is certainly back on form on this movie and whilst his performance is not quite as good as the one in the Insider, it’s certainly in the ballpark.

The movie follows Cal who is a wise old journalist and a bit uncomfortable about the increasingly celebrity gossip driven media. He is thrown together with a young journalist Della played by Rachel Adams. For me the (working) relationship between the two of them never really works and is the weakest part of the film. It almost feels as if the producers will not green light the film unless it’s got a pretty young female playing a rather irrelevant character. the film is based on a TV programme and it would be interesting to compare and contrast who played that role in the original.

Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is helping with the government investigation of a shady military-based company when he receives word that his mistress has committed suicide. Visually distraught, he leaves a hearing in tears and sets off a media circus. Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) was his roommate in college, and the two have remained friends. In a bid to quash the political blogging of junior reporter Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), McAffrey sets out to find the truth about the story.

State of Play starts out as a bit of  a cookie-cutter, predictable thriller. But as the film progresses, some interesting plot twists develop. The film is heavily dialogue-driven, but there is enough suspense in the movie to keep you guessing and trying to solve the plot twists.

It’s a couple of entertaining hours and whilst it may not be anything new, it’s certainly enjoyable.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (2 votes, average: 6.50 out of 10)
Loading...

Smokin' Aces

 Culture, Holidays, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Smokin' Aces
Jun 302007
 

Smokin AcesMob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy “Aces” Israel–a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state’s evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents dispatched to Aces’ Lake Tahoe hideout. When word of the price on Aces’ head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues’ gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy and Crime/Gangster

Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use. 

Cast: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys

Directed by: Joe Carnahan

Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy “Aces” Israel–a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state’s evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents dispatched to Aces’ Lake Tahoe hideout. When word of the price on Aces’ head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues’ gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...