Day 91: Mystic River (2003)

Mystic-RiverOut of all the films that have been filmed in and round the city of Boston, Mystic River was one of those films that I had never seen before. I figured what better place then here and what better time than now to review the film with an amazing cast and director. Mystic River stars Sean Penn (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as Jimmy Markum, Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) as Dave Boyle, and Kevin Bacon (Footloose) as Sean Devine, three childhood friends who drifted apart after a tragic event in their childhood. Unfortunately, all three men will be reunited after it’s discovered that Jimmy’s daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) was brutally murdered. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne (Boyz N The Hood) as Det. Whitey Powers, Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist) as Celeste Boyle, Laura Linney (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) as Annabeth Markum, Kevin Chapman (Blow) as Val Savage, Tom Guiry (The Sandlot) as Brendan Harris, Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator) as Silent Ray Harris, Robert Wahlberg (The Departed) as Kevin Savage, Jenny O’Hara (The King Of Queens) as Esther Harris, Adam Nelson (The Abyss) as Nick Savage, Ari Graynor (For A Good Time, Call…) as Eve Pigeon, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby).

mr2This was an amazing film from Clint Eastwood, who seems to have never directed a bad one in his career. This is one of those films that will leave you speechless when you find out who the killer is because it’s one of those I should have seen that coming. The whole time, you are ready to throw one of the characters up sh** creek because you think for sure that he/she is guilty and then they throw a curve ball at you. That is truly what I love about movies like this, I don’t want it to be predictable. I want to think that I have the person and then be shocked when it’s revealed. As far as the acting is concerned, you have Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins all in one film. That alone should speak for itself as far as quality is concerned and then you throw in Laurence Fishburne and that is the cherry on top. If I had o pick an MVP of the film, It would be a toss up between Penn and Robbins, but there is one performance no one talks about. I think Marcia Gay Harden does a great job playing the wife who is all torn up inside as to what she should do regarding what she thinks she knows. That was a powerful performance as well from her in the film. The cinematography is in the film is great as it comes complete with some great shots of the city of Boston. It was a great movie overall and you can’t go wrong by picking this one up. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade. It was definitely a great film to close the month of March.

Day 90: IP Man: The Final Fight (2010)

ip man final fightWe are continuing our theme of kick ass Kung Fu and we are continuing with the legendary IP Man (real name Yip Man) who was the master of Bruce Lee. I didn’t know what the connection this film had to the previous films I reviewed, but IP Man: The Final Fight is not part of that series. In this film, it’s post war China and we find IP Man (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong) arriving in Hong Kong where he sets up shop and begins to teach. One of IP Man’s pupils finds himself deep into the Hong Kong underworld while another finds himself in a fight with the Triads forcing IP Man to come back into action for one more fight. In the meantime, we see IP Man deal with various issues we haven’t seen before like his Gastric pain and the vicissitudes of life. The film also stars Eric Tsang (The Accidental Spy) as NG Chung, Gillian Chung (Blade Of Kings) as Chan Sei-mui,  Jordan Chan (Big Bullet) as Tang Shing, Zhou Chuchu (The Apostles) as Jenny, Xin Xin Xiong (Double Team) as Local Dragon, Luxia Jiang (True Legend) as Le King, Timmy Hung (New Police Story) as Leung Sheung, and the film was directed by Herman Yau (The Legend Is Born: Ip Man).If you want to check out the stats and read the rest of the review, please follow this link to my Moshpits and Movies page.

Day 89: Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

IMG_5014I figured since I watched the first of the two films in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, I would watch and finish the second film for today. To recap what happened at the end of the previous film, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) was at the point where all of a sudden during a sexual encounter with Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), she lost the sensation to feel an orgasm. In Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, Joe is telling the rest of her story to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) that sees her seek sexual pleasure threw some of the most desperate attempts in a darker world, the loss of Jerome and her child, and a new business that brought some gratification for her. Ultimately, she will tell him what exactly led her to be in Seligman’s care through the final chapters. The film also stars Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac: Vol. I) as Young Joe, Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Dad, Jamie Bell (The Adventures Of Tin Tin) as K, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as L., Mia Goth (Everest) as P., Michaël Pas (Code 37) as Older Joe, Jean-Marc Barr (Europa) as gentlemen Debtor, Udo Kier (Flesh For Frankenstein) as The Waiter, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill Vol. 1) as Mrs. H., and Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows).

IMG_5015The second of the two films is definitely darker and more sadistic than the first film, but contains the same amount of sexuality. The film definitely goes in some darker directions especially with gentlemen debtor scene or the S&M beating scene that Joe goes through. Like I said in the previous post, this film if released in theaters here in the states would have been rated NC-17 and it’s for the sexual content. Like the fact that Tarantino has been accused of focusing on feet, Lars von Trier likes to focus the camera on both the female and male organs for periods of time. The sexual intercourse scenes in these films seem so very real in my opinion which is another factor on the rating. The two films are definitely great studies on the sexual revolution and why sex shouldn’t be so taboo in today’s society. Whats crazy is that Shia LeBeouf must have met his fiance on the set of this film as Mia Goth stars in the film. She almost steals the show towards the end of the film as sort a protege/lover for Joe’s character that plays a very integral part in the later part of the story. One thing that bothered me about the film is the end of the movie. The ending was one of those that I completely saw coming and that kind of bothers me cause I just felt it was expected. Other than that, this was definitely two very interesting films. Check them out for yourself right now on Netflix if you dare, but definitely a NSFW film. I am going to give the final volume an A- for a final grade.

 

Day 88: Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (2013)

nymphoEver since the Dogme 95 movement from Denmark (which only lasted ten years in total), there is no denying that Lars von Trier (Melancholia) was the true visionary and cinematic daredevil to come out of that. The Danish director returned in 2013 with a daring vision with his next film Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (one of two released) which stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Dark World) as Seligman, a regular man who while on his way home from the market finds a young woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying on the ground beaten. Seligman brings the girl home and he listens to her as she recounts all of her erotic sexual encounters that have happened in her life that brought her to that point in time. The film also stars Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Father, Connie Nielsen (The Devil’s Advocate) as Joe’s Mother, Stacy Martin (Tale Of Tales) as Young Joe, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Jerome, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) as Mrs. H, Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows) as B, Anders Hove (Mifune) as Odin, Clayton Nemrow (Speed Racer) as Married Man, Jens Albinus (The Idiots) as S., Hugo Speer (The Full Monty) as Mr. H., and Jesper Christensen (Quantum Of Solace) as Jerome’s Uncle.

nymphomaniacFirst off, I am going to say that this is definitely a film that would have been rated NC-17 had they tried to enter this into theaters here in America. Sex is still a little taboo here in the states while it’s not in Europe. There is a lot of sex in this film and a lot of male body parts as well as the female, but the thing that got me was that in some scenes the sex looked authentic. One scene shows Joe having intercourse with a male on the train which blew my mind that it looked that real. The film is divided into five chapters with the first one being her sexual experiences being compared to fly fishing, one chapter comparing her father’s death to Edgar Allen Poe’s or how similar they were. One chapter deals with Joe being confronted with the wife of one her lovers in Mrs. H (Uma Thurman). What happens next was absolutely brilliant. Uma Thurman stood out like a champ in that chapter and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. You’re thinking the whole time that she is going to feel bad and she just carries on using sex as a way to cope with reality. The film and it’s other volume are the last films in the depression trilogy that also included Antichrist and Melancholia. I probably should have watched Antichrist first, but oh well. Lars von Trier is a true cinematic hero and visionary in my opinion and I look forward to the next volume. The film definitely ends on a cliffhanger which leaves me no choice, but to catch the next film and see Shia once again. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 87: All The Right Moves (1983)

all the right movesSince the beginning of this bog, I don’t think I covered a film that starred Tom Cruise (Top Gun) who was one of my favorite actors from the 80’s. For today’s film, I chose All The Right Moves which stars Cruise as Stefen Djordjevic, a kid from Ampipe, a steel town in Pennsylvania. You see in Ampipe, there are only two options it seems for most of their residents, you either work in the dying steel mills or you go to college. All Stefen ever dreams of is to have the chance to get out of Ampipe and so he uses football as the means to an end. The only problem is that Stefen’s attitude and his high school coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) stands in the way of his escape. The film also stars Lea Thompson (Back To The Future) as Lisa, Charles Cioffi (Shaft) as Pop, Gary Graham (Alien Nation) as Greg, Paul Carafotes (Fight Club) as Salvucci, Christopher Penn (Best Of The Best) as Brian, Sandy Faison (Guiding Light) as Suzie, Leon (Cool Runnings) as Shadow, Jonas Chaka (Biker Boyz) as Mouse, Keith Diamond (Dr. Giggles) as Fox, James A. Baffico (Dawn Of The Dead) as Bosco, and the film was directed by Michael Chapman (The Clan Of The Cave Bear).

all the right moves 2This was your average early 80’s teen flick that happened to star a future megastar and one of the finest women of the 80’s. While the scene between Thompson and Cruise isn’t very long, it surely is a really good one. Tom Cruise was well he is Tom Cruise so he puts on the performance you would expect from him and have seen in all of the movies he has been in. Lea Thompson is great as the first under appreciated girlfriend who has to make a tough decision later on in the film even though it could be the end. The football parts of the film are pretty good, but the real story of this film is the town itself. There was a time in this nation when certain production heavy cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in big trouble because production was moving elsewhere and you see that touched upon in this film. People are getting laid off and one character whose in high school even resorts to armed robbery because he feels he has no other option. So, while the film is essentially about the struggle of two characters who are looking to get out of this town, there is a bigger picture around it. I didn’t understand the title of the film because clearly Cruise’s character makes all the wrong moves, but it all works out for him in the end because even Coach wakes up. I liked the movie and so I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.

Day 86: Smokin’ Aces (2007)

smokin_artI never got the chance back in the day to check out the film Smokin’ Aces which looked like a bad ass movie. That is until today and that is why I am presenting it to you guys as today’s challenge film. Buddy Israel (Jeremy Piven) was a wannabe gangster Las Vegas performer who decides to turn snitch for the FBI against a rival crime family. Now he needs protection because a hit has been put on his life to make sure that he never gets the chance to snitch. The hitmen are coming from everywhere and anywhere to try and collect on it, but the FBI has to get to him to get him out before the hitmen come. The film also stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as Richard Messner, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) as Donald Carruthers, Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpion King) as Primo Sparazza, Ben Affleck (Dogma) as Jack Dupree, Peter Berg (Collateral) as “Pistol” Pete Deeks, Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Hollis, Common (Run All Night) as Sir Ivy, Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III) as Stanley Locke, Alicia Keys as Georgia, Taraji P. Henson (Date Night) as Sharice, Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Darwin Tremor, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Jeeves Tremor, Tommy Flanagan (Sons Of Anarchy) as Lazlo, Joel Edgerton (The Gift) as Hugo, and so many more.

Kevin-in-Smokin-Aces-kevin-durand-28521986-853-480This movie has a wild and crazy collection of a cast that includes a mix of 80’s, 90’s, and the stars of today all rolled into one awesome cast. Matthew Fox plays the head of security of the casino/hotel, Jason Bateman plays a weird lawyer, Curtis Armstrong who played Booger in Revenge Of The Nerds is in this movie as well. Chris Pine plays an insane character who belongs in a Mad Max movie which shows you how over the top insane and awesome this film was. One thing is for certain, you never have to question Jeremy Piven and his performance because he is a top notch actor that delivers. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t really open up in the film until the last half of the film, but when he does he also delivers. He certainly does in this film as a drugged out paranoid wannabe mob boss. The action in the film at one point becomes non stop as double crosses and hots just keep coming. I will say one thing if you have never seen the movie you may think it’s over at one point, but the ending of the film may shock you. There is a lot that is revealed and of course I will not spoil it for any of you. I really liked this movie and I have to be honest and say that I went into it with no expectations and it paid off. It was tough to decide a grade for this film because it lies on the B+/A- border and that’s how I’ll keep it.

Day 85: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

102597285-Batman-vs-Superman.530x298Even if you are not a big fan of DC Comics and any of there extended universe, you have to admit that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is one of the most anticipated movies of the year so far. This is the second film in the DC Extended Universe and it once again stars Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel) as Superman as we deal with the aftermath of what happened in the first film. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) feels like he has taken the worst hit of all as Wayne Tower in Metropolis came crashing down. Bruce begins to make it his mission to destroy Superman, who at the moment is under a lot of scrutiny in the public eye, but the two may have to put their differences aside as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has a devious plan up his sleeve for the world as he unleashes Doomsday. The film also stars Gal Gadot (Fast Five) as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Amy Adams (American Hustle) as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne (Boyz N The Hood) as Perry White, Jeremy Irons (The Lion King) as Alfred, Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona) as Senator Finch, Scoot McNairy (Argo) as Wallace Keefe, Callan Mulvey (Captain America: Winter Soldier) as Anatoli, Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine) as Mercy, and the film was directed by Zack Snyder.

maxresdefaultNow the moment you all have been waiting for and that is what did I think of the film? Overall, I will say that I liked the film and that I thought it was a decent effort from DC Comics. The first half of the film in my opinion was not what I wanted at all from them with a lot of unnecessary nonsense. It literally bounced all over the place and the dream sequences were unnecessary. The second half of the film when it starts to fall in place is where the film gets really good. That is what I call the money sequences and it all happens as Lex Luthor starts to reveal himself and his plans for the world leading up to the battle scene. The battle sequence between Batman and Superman is really good right up until it ends. It ends and they become best friends all of a sudden which was about the only thing that bothered me about that. Then it gets really good again when Doomsday is revealed and Wonder Woman comes to play. I liked Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor but at times he seemed to resemble The Joker a little too much. Gal Gadot did a really good job as Wonder Woman so I look forward to seeing a film from her in the future. I really liked Ben Affleck as Batman, but I hated his suit because it made him overly bulky like he was a bodybuilder. Jeremy Irons as Alfred was a real hit in my opinion just because of his wittiness and the way he handles Batman. DC in my opinion is still way behind Marvel as far as the movie universe is concerned, but I look forward to the future as some other Justice League characters were revealed in this film. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade only because of the first half of the film.