The film I chose for today is one of those films that I just couldn’t miss out on seeing because of how much buzz it has garnered. The name of the film that I chose for today is Hell Or High Water and it stars Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor). Things haven’t always been easy for Toby Howard (Pine) whose family ranch is about to be foreclosed on by Midland Bank. Along with his brother Tanner (Foster), they decide to go and rob every branch of the bank to try and raise the money to save the ranch. The only problem is that they acquire the attention of a relentless Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who is close to retiring, but needs this one last hunt. The film also stars Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Bound) as Jenny Ann, Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3) as Elsie, Gil Birmingham (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1) as Alberto Parker, Amber Midthunder (Priceless) as Vernon Teller, Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke) as Old Man, Marin Ireland (Homeland) as Debbie Howard, Kevin Rankin (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) as Billy Rayburn, Heidi Sulzman (Laurel Canyon) as Ranger Margaret, and the film was directed by David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense).
As soon as I read that the film was written by the same guy who wrote Sicario (Taylor Sheridan) I can instantly see the similarities in styles and the overall tone of the film. The film is just absolutely tense from beginning to end and it is definitely one heck of a thrill ride. You don’t even have to question the acting in the film because Bridges, Pine, and Foster were just absolutely amazing. I loved how Bridges character is one of those old school Texans who is just an absolute ball buster to his partner. Pine and Foster are a great combination together in the film and they play their roles perfectly. Pine is the quiet, reserved, do right by someone kind of a guy while Foster is definitely the reckless wild man. The writing is so good in this film that they create tension through the dialogue which is not an easy task as we’ve seen in a lot of films in the past. They also capture two sides of a coin where there are some people that can sympathize with them robbing the banks and those gun toting Texans who want to capture them. One of the other elements of the film that I loved is the cinematography. I’ve been to Texas and there’s a lot of land that could look desolate and desperate to which they do a great job capturing those feelings as you watch the film. There is a reason why this film has a plus 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and high 80’s/90’s on other sites. It’s just that damn good and a must see for any real cinema fan. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
You all definitely know by now that I love to watch films that are based on true stories especially when they have to do with where I am from. In 1952, the greatest rescue mission in Coast Guard history happened and it’s the subject for today’s film The Finest Hours. While at sea, an oil tanker called the USS Pendelton that wasn’t properly fixed splits in half leaving it’s crew to literally fight for their lives as they wait for rescue. Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) is a coast guard first mate who is looking to forget the events of the previous year. As he is about to get married to his fiance (Holliday Grainger), he is called out to sea along with Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) to rescue the ships crew members in an impossible mission. The film also stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as Ray Sybert, Eric Bana (Hulk) as Daniel Cluff, John Ortiz (The Drop) as Wallace Quirey, Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) as Frank Fauteux, Michael Raymond-James (Jack Reacher) as D.A. Brown, Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises) as Tchuda Southerland, Beau Knapp (The Nice Guys) as Mel Gouthro, and the film was directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl).
This was truly an incredible film and an incredible story of testing the human limits and believing in yourself. The cinematography for the film was absolutely amazing even though at times you could tell that most of it was filmed on a soundstage. The one thing that I found funny about the film is that every spoke in a John Fitzgerald Kennedy Boston accent. Like the accents are as thick as you could possibly go as far as the time period is concerned, but maybe everyone spoke like that back then. Now as always, I try to look up what was fact and/or fiction about films that are said to be based on a true story. What was fact was that the USS Pendelton did have a crack in it and that even though it wasn’t properly fixed, it still somehow passed inspection. One of the big things that was fiction about the film is that Miriam was actually home sick with the flu the whole time this was going on. To read more about what was fact or fiction, click here. The caliber of actors that are in this film is absolutely incredible as well with guys like Ben Foster, Casey Affleck, Chris Pine, and so many more made this film great with their incredible acting. This truly is ana incredible film and story as I said above and one that if you love true stories, rescue type films, and history then you should see this. The film is available on Netflix as we speak and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Back in the late 1990’s, there was a scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department’s CRASH (a task force set up to fight street gangs) department. They believed that there was a lot of corruption in that department and the Rampart division of the LAPD. This film, Rampart, takes place during that time as it follows police officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson). Officer Brown is the kind of guy who follows his own brand of justice in life whether it be on the streets where he does things his way or at home with his dysfunctional family. After a beating incident, things begin to fall apart for Brown as he looks to keep his family together as well as his career as he fights to keep his job. The film also stars Bree Olson (21 Jump Street) as Helen, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Barbara, Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco) as Catherine, Jon Bernthal (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Dan Morone, Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) as General, Steve Buscemi (Fargo) as Bill Blago, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) as Linda, Ned Beatty (The Toy) as Hartshorn, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as Kyle Timkins, Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters) as Joan Confrey, and the film was directed by Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy).
I realized as I started to watch the film that I did a double shot of Woody Harrelson for this challenge and I’m glad I did. This film is not only visually stunning, but it’s gritty and it’s dark. You literally see the a man descend from the beginning of the film all the way to the end. What I mean by that is that Woody starts off the film being this tough guy who does things his own way on the streets. He is cocky about it and believes in what he is doing until everything around him starts to fall apart. The more the film goes on, the darker the fall into madness for Woody’s character. There are a lot of scenes in the film which stunningly portray his character as this misanthrope, misogynistic, womanizing man who has no care in the world for how people feel. This film is great for character study and it kind of shows where LA was at in the late 1990’s. Every person from Bree Olson to Ben Foster do an amazing job acting wise that you can’t help, but love this film. Woody’s transformation is unbelievable as well as he just looks sick for most of the film and he gets worse as time goes on in the film. The only thing that I question is the man’s home life as he lives with his ex-wife and his current wife and he has a child with each one. Oh and I almost forgot, they are sisters too. If you’re into films like this one then you should definitely check it out. The film is available on Netflix and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.