Movie Of The Week: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

billboardsHalloween is long behind us so I figured it was time to reintroduce the Movie Of The Week post while we wait on a decision for the future. There are a lot of great movies on the horizon and I want to cover them for this blog. This week’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of those films that peaked my interest for it’s unique title and for the caliber of the cast contained within the film. Frances McDormand (Fargo) plays Mildred, a mother who is not happy whatsoever with the local authorities for not solving her daughters murder case. So to get on their case and get them moving, she decides to take out ads on three billboards outside her town that will challenge the law to get off their behinds and solve case. The film also stars Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men) as Chief Willoughby, Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) as Dixon, Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) as Red Wellby, Kerry Condon (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Pamela, Darrell Britt-Gibson (Keanu) as Jerome, Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch) as Anne, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) as Robbie, Zeljko Ivanek (Argo) as Cedric, Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) as James, Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records) as Crop-Haired Guy, and the film was directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). 

three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-movie-3This was an excellent film that just had so many emotions to it and just had so many talking points. First of all, the acting was absolutely superb from way too many people to list in this blog, but you already know that you get amazing performances from McDormand, Harrelson, Rockwell, and Dinklage to name a few. Frances McDormand had the uneasy task of balancing out a character who is tough and a bad ass, but she is also vulnerable because all she wants is for them to solve the case. Sam Rockwell does a terrific job playing your typical backwater cop from a small southern-esque town who doesn’t know any better until something (I can’t tell you what) shows him the way. The second thing that was amazing about the film was the writing because this story kicked ass. You think that it’s going the way you would want it to go until it throws you a curve ball that takes the story in a darker place. There were so many glimmers of hope in the film that were just taken to a completely different place that I was amazed that it worked. The third thing that I loved about the film were the dynamic of the characters and the overall themes because each one was so unique to the story in how it progressed into a moral of no matter how dark things get, sometimes the people you are going against can turn out to be the ones you need. That was the constant theme of the film was redemption because it’s a learning experience for sure. The last thing is the cinematography which was just masterful from shot to shot. This is definitely a film worth checking out if you are a fan of great stories, actors, etc. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.


Day 344: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnalWhenever there are movies released that feature Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition), I tend to flock to the local theater to see it because he’s amazing. That was definitely the case for today’s film when I saw that he was starring in the film Nocturnal Animals. Amy Adams (The Arrival) plays art gallery owner Susan Morrow, a woman with too much on her mind who is haunted by her wrongdoings to her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal). 20 years after she left him, he delivers a book for her to read and she soon realizes that it symbolically represents their past relationship in a very twisted way. The story in the book follows a man whose wife and child are abducted, raped, and killed and he seeks revenge for what has happened to them. The film also stars Michael Shannon (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice) as Bobby Andes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ray Marcus, Ilsa Fisher (The Brothers Grimsby) as Laura Hastings, Ellie Bamber (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies) as India Hastings, Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Hutton Morrow, Karl Glusman (The Neon Demon) as Lou, Robert Aramayo (Game Of Thrones) as Turk, Laura Linney (Sully) as Anne Sutton, Michael Sheen (Alice In Wonderland) as Carlos, and the film was directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man).

nocturnal-animals-2016-michael-shannon-aaron-taylor-johnson-jake-gyllenhaal2Spoiler Alert: There may be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. First of all the film starts off with an uncomfortable sequence of heavily obese women dancing naked and I get it it’s art and that we shouldn’t judge, but it’s just hard to watch. After that, it’s smooth sailing through the rest of the film that is just absolutely amazing and so well written. There is nudity from now and again, but it’s almost in an artistic way and if you love red heads like me then you love this film. Then there is the performances int he film that are just all around amazing from no matter who. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does an amazing job playing a West Texas creep while Michael Shannon plays the detective who will go to any lengths to get his man because he’s dying anyways. Amy Adams is absolutely terrific in the film as this woman who realizes that everything in the book is symbolic of what happened in her life. That is what I loved about the film because the further it goes, the more you realize how connected everything is even though it may not seem that way. For one the story is about a rape and murder of a wife and child and it’s a reflection of their time together. The cinematography is amazing with the different tones that are incorporated into the film and just the overall scenery which becomes a part of the story. This may be one of my favorite films of the year and another Gyllenhaal film that I absolutely loved. I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

Day 316: Arrival (2016)

arrival_hkEvery now and again a good sci-fi film is always in order and it seems that every year a critical acclaimed one comes out. Then there re those films that garner so much buzz because of a 100% (97 at the moment) rating on Rotten Tomatoes like today’s film in the Arrival. Louise Baker (Man Of Steel’s Amy Adams) is a Linguistics professor at a local college whose life is ordinary until they show up. When I say they, I mean these 12 strange alien pods that appear in 12 different locations around the world. Naturally, the first thing we want to do is find out why they are here and if they want to destroy us. So, Louise will lead a team an elite team of investigators with her into the ships to try and figure out their language in order to try and communicate with them. The film also stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ian Donnelly, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Halpern, Forrest Whitaker (Taken 3) as Colonel Weber, Tzi Ma (The Ladykillers) as General Shang, Mark O’Brien (The Last Tycoon) as Captain Marks, Abigail Pniowsky  (Channel Zero) as Eight Year Old Hannah, Max Walker (I’m Not There) as Private Miller, and the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario). 

arrival-movie-4-e1471529984165Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. This is one of those films that you may leave the theater either wondering how it received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or what the hell just happened? The whole film they are trying to figure out why they are here and we are watching as she decodes the language. They eventually get to a point where the Aliens have told them that they have given them a weapon or a gift. Now they and you are wondering just what is the weapon or gift that they are speaking of? When it hits you eventually at the end, you are like what kind of gift is that and why is she the only one to receive it? You are also led to believe in the film that she has had a daughter and she passed away, but this gift she receives at the end will distort what is reality at this point. I left the theater confused with all of these questions and that kind of bothered me because I was really enjoying the film up to that point. The cinematography is incredible and the way they mess with your depth perception at one point with the cameras is killer. Amy Adams is masterful in the film as well as all the others in it and it’s a pretty good story. It’s just that the ending is a little confusing and doesn’t make any sense to me. This may be one of those films that you may have to see twice. The aliens were OK looking as they looked giant octopuses with hand like tentacles, but they look like a human hand pretending that there hand is a creature walking. This is a tough one to grade because of the fact that while I enjoyed it, the ending bothered me. Therefore, I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade right now unless I change my mind.

Day 173: Jurassic Park (1993)

jurassic parkHaven’t you ever wondered what Dinosaurs were really like millions of years ago? For quite some time, we haven’t really known anything substantial about them, we can only really speculate as to how they were by studying their bones. What if you were given the chance to see how they act in certain environments or how they feed daily? Wouldn’t you love the chance and ability to see that for yourself? In the film Jurassic Park, Mr. Hammond (Richard Attenborough) builds a Jurassic theme park on a deserted island off the coast of Chile that he plans to open to the public that contains dinosaurs. The only problem is that he needs to convince a lawyer and some paleontologists that the park is indeed safe for the public. While on a preview tour of the island, something goes terribly wrong and some of the carnivorous dinosaurs are set free to roam and hunt on the island. The film stars Sam Neill (Event Horizon) as Grant, Laura Dern (Wild) as Ellie, Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day) as Malcolm, Bob Peck (The Kitchen Toto) as Muldoon, Martin Ferrero (Heat) as Gennaro, BD Wong (Jurassic World) as Wu, Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network) as Tim, Ariana Richards (Tremors) as Lex, Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Arnold, Wayne Knight (Seinfeld) as Nedry, and the film was directed by Stephen Spielberg (E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial). 

jurassic park trexI have to be honest in saying that I have no idea why it took me 23 years to see Jurassic Park. Well, I am lying with that statement because to be honest when I was 11, Dinosaurs didn’t really interest me enough like they do know. The film is another brilliant look in why man should never play God for anything! I don’t care what it is or what idea we come up with, but we should never play God. If the movies have taught us anything is that it usually ends in disaster. Which is evident with the film I watched today which is simply brilliant. I only have one question for all of you out there and that is am I evil for wanting Lex to get eaten by the T-Rex in one my favorite scenes of the whole entire film? She does everything you are not supposed to do when a T-Rex is approaching your vehicle and that is do not make noise and do not flash a light in it’s face. The film has everything from a Dilophosaurus to a Velociraptor and those sequences alone with those creatures are worth seeing. The action sequences are amazing, the dinosaurs themselves are amazing, but the CGI is totally obvious in the beginning part of when they first arrive at Jurassic Park when Grant sees the Brachiosaurus. The cinematography is amazing with all the shots of the island and the dinosaurs that inhabit it, but other than the CGI thing, the film was absolutely amazing and enjoyable. I cannot wait to see the rest of the series in the coming future. I am going to give Jurassic Park and A for a final grade.

Day 137: Zodiac (2007)

zodiacI was searching for a film to watch and I was going through a whole entire list before the film I chose caught my eye. I have always been a sucker for films that are based on true stories because real life can be scarier than fiction. The film I chose for today is called Zodiac and it stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners) as San Francisco Newspaper cartoonist Robert Graysmith. In the late 1960’s into the 70′, a killer appeared in Northern California calling himself the Zodiac killer. He would murder his victims and he would send letters to local newspapers. Robert Graysmith became so intrigued with the case that he followed it. Unfortunately, a suspect was never found and no one was ever arrested. When everyone else stopped looking, Graysmith took the reigns and decided to investigate himself coming close to identifying the actual killer. The film stars Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Inspector David Toschi, Anthony Edwards (Top Gun) as Inspector William Armstrong, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) as Paul Avery, Brian Cox (Troy) as Melvin Belli, John Caroll Lynch (Ted 2) as Arthur Leigh Allen, Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho) as Melanie, Elias Koteas (Shutter Island) as Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Donal Logue (Blade) as Captain Ken Narlow, Ione Skye (Say Anything…) as Kathleen Johns, and the film was directed by David Fincher (Fight Club). 

zodiac 2This is a long film, but it’s a film that is very intriguing especially when it’s a true crime story that has never been solved to this very day. I watched the film because it starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo because all three men are some of personal favs. At first, I kept wondering how they would close a movie that has no ending in real life. The killer has never been caught so how do you write an ending to that especially when there is none? Do I like the way they ended the film? Essentially, I kind of do and I kind of don’t, but it’s something that I am willing to accept (of course, you’ll have to watch it for yourself). Jake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in the film as this kind of neurotic obsessed guy that kind of reminds me of his role a little in Nightcrawler. The case they are all investigating and researching is kind of destroying there lives because they are way to attached to the idea of breaking it open and catching the guy. You see the characters literally falling apart right in front of your fac while the killer stays free. There are several theories and several accusations that have been made as to who the killer was, but the characters in this film believe in the guy they are after. I have to admit that I was a little creeped out watching this film in the wee hours of the night so it definitely gets bonus points for that reason. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade based on performances and just the pure creepiness of the film.

Day 97: The Hateful Eight (2015)

The-Hateful-Eight-poster--640x321I usually reserve Wednesdays for my action film piece called Ass Whoopin Wednesdays, but sometimes there are films that supersede everything. A Quentin Tarantino film by definition is one of those films and that is why there is no Ass Whoopin Wednesday flick. So, we are checking out Tarantino’s eight film The Hateful Eight which stars Kurt Russell (Tombstone) as hang man John Ruth. All John wants to do is deliver a prisoner of his named Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the town of Red Rock so that she can be hung. The only problem is that there is a massive blizzard and when they get to a safe place, John is having a hard time trusting a couple of guys he picked up along the way and the four other strangers he encounters in the safe house. Is John right about them being up to no good or will he get the job done. The film also stars Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) as Oswaldo Mobray, Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Major Marquis Warren, Walton Goggins (House Of 1000 Corpses) as Sheriff Chris Mannix, Demián Bichir (The Heat) as Bob, Michael Madsen (Kill Bill Vol. 1) as Joe Gage, Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street) as Jody, Zoe Bell (Death Proof) as Six Horse Judy, Bruce Dern (Django Unchained) as Gen. Sandy Smithers, James Parks (Kill Bill Vol. 2) as O.B., and Dana Gourrier (Django Unchained) as Mindy.

Hateful-Eight-JenniferI want to start this paragraph by saying that this was an excellent film that didn’t tell you that it was a certain type of film and it didn’t live up to it. This film was exactly as it was presented and that was mostly a mystery film set in a western of sorts. I love how Tarantino calls this his eight film and it’s called The Hateful Eight which could be a nod to Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini who named his eighth film 8 1/2. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true considering the fact that Tarantino is just as much a fan of cinema as I am. It was hard to choose a stand out performance from the film because everyone from Russell, Goggins, Jackson, and even Leigh did an amazing job in the film. What helped them was the fact that the film was well written and the dialogue is amazing as what would be expected from a Tarantino film. So as you can see, it was hard to just choose one person as a standout. The other factors that make this film amazing is that it was filmed using 70 mm film which gives it that authentic look and the soundtrack was done by Ennio Morricone. Ennio deservedly won the Oscar for best Score because it definitely fit the type of film that it was. If you are a true fan of Tarantino then do not miss out on this film, it is a classic. That is why I am going to give the film an A- and it gets that because Django Unchained was the better Western. Plus there are definitely somethings that are going to happen that you don’t see coming.