Sometimes there are films that come out that either get a bad review or there just not in the theaters that long that I overlook them. That was definitely the case with today’s film Hail, Caesar! which was gone before I got around to seeing it. The film stars Josh Brolin (The Goonies) as Hollywood Fixer Eddie Mannix who works for Capitol Studios. Eddie has a lot on his plate with having to take a western star (Alden Ehrenreich) and shuffle him to a completely different genre, trying to hide a pregnancy out of wedlock from the public eye, and even trying to figure out who kidnapped his lead star (George Clooney) during the middle of filming a really big epic movie. It’s either that or he accepts a job to work in a completely different field. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Laurence Laurentz, Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers) as DeeAnna Moran, Tilda Swinton (Moonrise Kingdom) as Thora/ Thessaly Thacker, Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street) as Burt Gurney, Frances McDormand (Fargo) as C.C. Calhoun, Jonah Hill (22 Jump Street) as Joe Silverman, Veronica Osorio (Diego And Valentina) as Carlotta Valdez, Alison Pill (Milk) as Mrs. Mannix, Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit) as Communist Writer, and the film was directed by Ethan and Joel Cohen (No Country For Old Men).
I am a huge fan of the olden days of Hollywood and America at the time with the fashion, hairstyles, and just the way of life. So it’s easy for me to say that I really enjoyed that aspect of the film, but as far as the overall film was concerned, I didn’t think it was a great film. I thought the film was relatively OK for a Cohen’s brothers movie. The film for a while seemed to be a behind the scenes look at what went down in the classic Hollywood era of the big studios and the way they covered up scandals from the press. The kidnapping of George Clooney’s character to me seemed more like a side story than the main focus of the film which kind of bothered me, but usually anything that was happening it always went back to it. Some of the things I enjoyed watching was how the films were made and the big scenes that we saw like the pool scene with Scarlet or the bar scene with Channing. Those were some of the cool moments of the film that maybe people overlooked. The film was also commentary on the ideals of those times especially with the paranoia of communism. That was a big issue back in those days and the writers are the ones that organize it in this film. They feel they need more recognition than they get which was also maybe a sign of the times then. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s not great either. That is why I am going to give the film an B for a final grade. Rent it from Redbox or On demand if it’s available.
I 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.
I 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.
Ever since last year’s Academy Awards and The Golden Globes, this was definitely a film I wanted to see for all the buzz it caught. The film Foxcatcher was directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and it starred Steve Carell (The Way Way Back), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), and Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me). The film centers around two of America’s greatest wrestling brothers and a very rich man from an important American family. Mark Schultz (Tatum) is training for his ultimate goal which is to win the gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. One day he is contacted by John du Pont (Steve Carell) multimillionaire who wants Mark to train as his facility to legitimize his Team Foxcatcher. Mark is a very impressionable person and du Pont quickly creates a rift between the two brothers.The union ultimately leads the Schultz’s into tragedy as du Pont is quickly losing his mind. The film also stars Sienna Miller (American Sniper) as Nancy Schultz, Vanessa Redgrave (Howard’s End) as Jean du Pont, Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) as Jack, Guy Boyd (Taking Chance) as Henry Beck, Brett Rice (Forrest Gump) as Fred Cole, and Lee Perkins (Wild Card) as Corporal.
The film didn’t win any of the big awards, but it definitely put up a fight against some of the heavy contenders at the time. The thing that amazed me the most about this film was the transformation Steve Carell went through because not only does he appear different, but his character is strange. He was a man with a lot of money to throw around and for a little while no one, but Mark could tell that there was something strange about him. He was definitely one of those guys who was socially awkward and sheltered from the dangers of the real world by his mother. Mark Ruffalo is as brilliant as he usually is as he went through a transformation of his own having to put on weight and muscle for the film. The film isn’t full of action, but it’s a slow decent into madness as you dive deeper into it like the characters are. The film is relatively dark in tone if you ask me as there is nothing happy about the film. It’s definitely a film about a match made in hell that turns out drastically bad by the end of the film. There are no spoilers to give here as the film is based on a true story so you can look it for yourself without having to watch the film.
There is a post online that questions what is true and what isn’t true about every film naturally as they are on “Based” on a true story. One of the facts that went into question was whether or not Mark had a sexual relationship with du Pont and Mark took to his Facebook page to explain the truth saying, “Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between du Pont and I is a sickening and insulting lie. I told Bennett Miller to cut that scene out and he said it was to give the audience the feeling that du Pont was encroaching on your privacy and personal space. I wasn’t explicit so I didn’t have a problem with it. Then after reading 3 or 4 reviews interpreting it sexually, and jeopardizing my legacy, they need to have a press conference to clear the air, or I will.” There are a lot of details about the film that is wrong so if you want to read any if it, just visit this website for more. Otherwise, I thought it was a great film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.