It’s Tuesday which can only mean one thing and that is that it is time for Based on a Truesday Story. Based on a Truesday Story is a segment I did on my other blog where we watch films that are based on a true story and for today we are doing American Gangster. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is an African American drug lord from Harlem, New York who decides that the best way to take over the competition is to fly directly to the source in Vietnam. He quickly becomes the drug kingpin of New York, but that attracts the wrong kind of attention. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is an honest cop who gets put on the case to track down Frank Lucas and shut him down completely and anyone else corrupt as well. The film also stars Chiwetelu Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) as Huey Lucas, Josh Brolin (The Goonies) as Trupo, Lymari Nadal (The Blackout) as Eva, Ted Levine (The Silence Of The Lambs) as Lou Toback, Roger Guenveur Smith (He Got Game) as Nate, John Hawkes (Lincoln) as Freddie, RZA (The Man With The Iron Fists) as Moses Jones, Carla Gugino (Watchmen) as Laurie, Idris Elba (Thor) as Tango, Common (Selma) as Turner Lucas, TI (Ant-Man) as Stevie Lucas, Armand Assante (Judge Dredd) as Dominic Cattano, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien).
What happens when you put Denzel Washington in a leading role of a film? Well, I hope that you are preparing yourself for one hell of a performance because that is exactly what you are getting with this film. The thing I loved about this film is that you sort of get two stories in one where you have one guy who wants to make his teacher and his family proud by being at the top of his game while you have another who feels that honesty is the best policy and it will lead him over the dirty cops. I have to be honest in saying that if I found a million dollars as a cop, I may skim a few off the top of it. It’s kind of the story of the two roads with the one less traveled and you can guess who took which road in this film. There are so many actors that appeared in this film that I couldn’t fit above that deserved honorable mention like Cuba Gooding Jr., Ruby Dee, Jon Polito, John Ortiz, and many more who do a terrific job in the film. Now we all know that Hollywood takes some civil liberties with their films, but this one seems to have a lot according to an article on historyvshollywood.com. One story is that Frank says in the film that he drove for Bumpy for 15 years. Reports indictate that Bumpy was released from prison in 1963 and he died in 1968 leaving only a five year window. Check out more of the facts vs fiction in that article that I provided. The film is excellent with a very good story, amazing cinematography, and it’s the kind of gangster movies we love here in the states. So, what more could you possibly ask for? I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
For today’s challenge film, I wanted to watch a certain film from Emily Browning that I have been waiting to see for five years now. The name of the film is Sucker Punch which was directed by Zack Snyder (300, Man Of Steel) and it stars Emily Browning as the distraught and recently institutionalized Babydoll. Due to the fact that she bi-accidentally killed her little sister, her step father has her locked away in a mental institution where she is to get a lobotomy in five days. In order to cope with the fact that she is institutionalized, she creates a fantasy world that she can completely roam free in and do as she pleases, but she wants to escape. So, she enlists the help of four other girls at the institution in Sweat Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung) as they try to collect some key items to help them escape. The film also stars Oscar Issac (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Blue, Carla Gugino (Watchmen) as Dr. Gorski, Jon Hamm (The Town) as High Roller/Doctor, Scott Glenn (Urban Cowboy) as wise man, Richard Cetrone (Iron Man) as CJ, Malcolm Scott (Man Of Steel) as the Cook, and A.C. Peterson (Narc) as The Mayor.
Even if you didn’t know that this was a Zack Snyder film, you would instantly recognize that it was his just by the style and look of the film. It has the look and feel of 300 as far as bad ass looking landscapes, imagery, and characters. One of my favorite segments of the film when Babydoll goes into dancing mode is her battle with the Samurai in the beginning of the film. While I don’t agree with some of their weapon choices, you can’t deny how amazing it looked on screen. It also helps that you ave five incredibly sexy women as your heroins in the film and that Snyder makes them just as bad ass as any character in any film he has ever made. I truly loved the story and how they bounced right from reality to fantasy to even more of a fantasy world and then back to the start. It was clever and very well done by the writers and everyone involved. One of the other things about this film that I enjoyed was the soundtrack to the film. The film features an incredible cover of Sweet Dreams by actress Emily Browning as well as some other cool tracks. When it came to the imagery and the fantasy scenes, Snyder talked about them saying, “On the other hand, though it’s fetishistic and personal, I like to think that my fetishes aren’t that obscure. Who doesn’t want to see girls running down the trenches of World War One wreaking havoc? I’d always had an interest in those worlds – comic books, fantasy art, animated films. I’d like to see this, that’s how I approach everything, and then keep pushing it from there.” I completely agree with him and thought it was awesome as well. A film any Snyder fan should check out if they haven’t yet. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.