Day 260: Snowden (2016)

background-twitterOne of the most controversial filmmakers in Hollywood has always been Oliver Stone who has tackled topics like the assassination of John Kennedy (JFK), 911 (World Trade Center), and insider trading (Wall Street) to name a few. Now he returns with a new film about one of the most controversial figures today in the film Snowden. Snowden tells the tale of former CIA and NSA operative Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man who exposed the United States Government for spying on it’s own people without warrants as he distributed the proof to the press. The film follows Snowden from how he got his start in the intelligence field to the struggles he dealt with when he got too deep into what was happening. The film also stars Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars) as Lindsey Mills, Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) as Glenn Greenwald, Melissa Leo (Red State) as Laura Poitras, Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Corbin O’Brian, Robert Firth (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Dr. Stillwell, Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) as Ewen MacAskill, Timothy Olyphant (Rock Star) as CIA Agent Geneva, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Trevor James, Keith Lakeith (Straight Outta Compton) as Patrick Haynes, Ben Chaplin (Thin Red Line) as Robert Tibbo, Bhasker Patel (Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom) as Marwan Al-Kirmani, and Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry) as Hank Forrester.

screen_shot_2016-04-27_at_12-19-14_pm-0I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t really aware of what it was that Edward Snowden was being accused of, but what ever it was he was being called either a traitor or hero. The one thing that I can say about him after watching this film is that he should be considered a hero. The United States government shouldn’t be allowed to pry in your life unless they have a warrant. According to the film, they were bypassing all of it by claiming that there were secret warrants so that they wouldn’t tip off the “Threats”. Now as far as the films is concerned I thought the film was alright in my opinion. It just runs a little too slow for my liking at times and there is a lot of computer jargon that the average person will not understand in it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a terrific job in the film as Edward Snowden and he even changes his voice to sound more like him. Shailene Woodley actually does a great job too and she even shows off some of her assets in the film which was a change for her. She does a great job being the perfect balance between the nerdiness and what is real in life. Now the beginning of the film claims that this is a dramatization so how much of it is true, I am not completely sure. I am actually interested to see what is fact and/or fiction. There are some thrills and suspense in the film as you wonder if he’s going to get caught, but we all know how the story ends. The film even features a cameo from the real Edward Snowden so look for that if you choose to see this. I am going to give the film an A- and I am doing this because I thought it was a good film (which is the same as alright), but I am just not into the computer jargon.

Day 246: 31 (2016)

maxresdefaultThere are only 59 days left until Halloween is here which means there is only 29 days left until another year of Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween. It’s Friday which can only mean one thing and that it’s freaky Friday and we have a special movie for all of you in Rob Zombie’s 31. For carnival workers like Charly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Venus Virgo (Meg Foster), Roscoe (Jeff Daniel Phillips), Panda Thomas (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), and Levon (Kevin Jackson) life is all about the next stop and how to make money quick and lots of it. One day while travelling on the road, their vehicle is hijacked and they are brought to a strange facility. They are told that they have to play a game for 12 hours where they will be hunted by psycho clowns and murdered, but the goal is to survive. The film also stars Elizabeth Daily (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) as Sex-Head, Torsten Voges (Funny People) as Death Head, Richard Brake (Batman Begins) as Doom-Head, Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects) as Psycho-Head, Malcolm McDowell (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) as Father Murder, Judy Geeson (The Lords Of Salem) as Sister Dragon, David Ury (Grimm) as Schizo-Head, Pancho Moler (They Want Dick Dickster) as Sick-Head, Jane Carr (Dear John) as Sister Serpent, Ginger Lynn (The Devil’s Rejects) as Cherry Bomb, and the film was written and directed by Rob Zombie (House Of 1000 Corpses).

Rob-Zombie-31-trailerIt’s hard for me to really come up with an answer to how I felt about the film. The film and it’s idea was definitely one that Rob knew his hardcore fans wanted, but did he execute. While I am going to say not really to that question, I am willing to give him a break because I am curious if the version we see now is different than the one we will see on DVD. I say that because if you are looking for lots of gruesome gore, the film doesn’t really have it. Yes there’s tons of blood and violence, but the camera shots don’t really allow you to see it all. I heard a lot of people complain about Sheri Moon Zombie being in the film, but that didn’t really bother me. I was looking for House Of 1000 Corpses/The Devil’s Rejects kind of violence in the film but that is why I am willing to wait for the DVD to come out just to see. There were two performances in the film that I thought were absolutely brilliant and one of those goes to Pancho Moler who plays the Spanish speaking Nazi psycho who was just absolutely awesome. I really loved the time he spent on screen because he scared me more than the others. The other performance that I loved was the one from Richard Brake whose performance reminded me a lot of Bill Moseley’s Otis. There’s this brilliant opening scene where he walks in and he is talking and it seems like he is talking to you until you find out who he is really talking to. My favorite part of all of that was when he picks up the ax and he says, “I apologize in advance for not sharpening my ax so this may take a couple of whacks.” I enjoyed the story, some of the shots, the music, but the film just didn’t really live up to the hype. This is a watch at your own risk, take my opinion for what it is kind of situation. I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade because it’s not in the C range in my opinion.

Day 187: Woman In Gold (2015)

woman in goldI figured since I watched two films in a row that were both based on true stories that I would go for a third in a row. The film I chose to watch is called Woman In Gold and it stars Helen Mirren (The Queen) as Maria Altmann, an Austrian woman who was forced to leave her home during the invasion of the Nazis in the 1940’s. In her home was a very expensive painting of her aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue) that was commissioned by Gustav Klimt that was taken by the Nazis and brought to a museum in Austria. Now it’s over 50 years later and Maria wants her painting back so that she can reclaim what is rightfully hers to begin with. So, she hires a young lawyer by the name of Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) who risks everything to try and make Maria happy. The film also stars Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as Pam Schoenberg, Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War) as Hubertus Czernin, Tatiana Maslany (The Vow) as Young Maria Altmann, Max Irons (The Host) as Fritz Altmann, Charles Dance (Last Action Hero) as Sherman, Allan Corduner (Defiance) as Gustav Bloch-Bauer, and the film was directed by Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn).

womanI was having a conversation with someone earlier about Ryan Reynolds and what we love seeing him in. Deadpool was such a natural role for him just as much as Waiting or Van Wilder were. I couldn’t take him serious enough in the Amityville remake, but I can see him in roles like Self/Less and definitely in this one. He was given a chance to hang with an actress like Helen Mirren and I think he did a pretty good job with it. There were times when his serious acting were a little shaky, but he would always bounce back nicely. Helen Mirren was masterful as usual in her performance as the tough and rugged Maria Altmann, but there is one moment that stands out to me. She was this tough cookie throughout the whole film, but for a moment she emotionally breaks down and the walls come tumbling down. After years of constantly fighting the negative aspects of her life, she was finally able to let go and move on remembering the good times. I want to give a shout out to Daniel Brühl who might have had a minor role in the film, but he was also masterful. The gold leaf painting itself is remarkable and to find an actress that kind of looks like the woman in gold was a good catch as well. It’s not the best film in the world, but it’s a very good one that tells a take of redemption and restitution. I am going to give the Woman In Gold an B+ for a final grade. Check out the painting below:

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Day 114: The Giver (2014)

maxresdefault (4)I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get to read a lot of books with everything I have going on, but that is when I thank God when a book gets turned into a film. That is the case with today’s film The Giver which is based off of the book of the same name and released in 2014. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a world that seems a little too perfect where there is no war, no pain, no suffering, and everything is pre-destined for you. That is right, when you turn a certain age, a job is selected for you. That all seems grand for everyone until Jonas is chosen to be the receiver of memories and to be taught by the giver (Jeff Bridges). The Giver opens up Jonas’s mind to things he had never seen in his life or imagined were possible and so Jonas wants to change the world he lives in, but he’ll face opposition from the elders. The film also stars Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) as Chief Elder, Alexander Skarsgård (Generation Kill) as Father, Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as Mother, Odeya Rush (Goosebumps) as Fiona, Cameron Monaghan (Click) as Asher, Taylor Swift as Rosemary, and the film was directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt). 

the-giver-lois-lowry-interviewThe concept of the film should seem rather familiar to a lot of you book worms out there especially if you are a fan of the Maze Runner or Divergent series. A dystopian society that hides the ugliness of what happened in the past world. A life that is pre-determined for you right from birth, that should sound familiar to Divergent fans. These types of things happen all the time as it’s just in movies or music, but books do it too. An idea comes out that was really captivating and years later people expand on it and create their own universes. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that they released this film to try and capitalize on the popularity of those films too, but I am glad this is a one and done (or at least I think it is). Now I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy the film because I actually was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I thought everything about it was actually very good and I am talking from the set, the acting, and the score were all amazing. The cinematography was well done and the different sets were terrific. I also liked the insert of the memories which included real life events as well as other things. The soundtrack is what stood out to me the most because it matched the typical mood and emotion of the film. I love how the film is mostly in black and white until Jonas starts to see color while others cannot. I thought that was very cool and it added emphasis to the change he was going through. If you were a fan of the book or you enjoy films like this, then check it out. For a final grade, it was hard to decide, but I am putting it on the B+/A- line.