A couple of weeks ago, they celebrated 25 years since the invention and launch of the internet which was the day society went forwards and backwards. The film I chose for today deals with computers, but in the form of Hackers. Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) plays Dade Williams, a kid who was arrested as a child for creating the biggest computer crash in history. He was banned from using computers until he hit the age of 18. Unfortunately, he gets pulled back into the world of hacking when a friend (Jesse Bradford) uncovers a sinister plot to steal money and blame hackers for the crime. So, Dade and his friends, will get together to try and stop an evil hacker before they are all arrested and put away for good. The film also stars Angelina Jolie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) as Kate, Matthew Lillard (She’s All That) as Cereal, Laurence Mason (The Crow) as Nikon, Renoly Santiago (Con Air) as Phreak, Fisher Stevens (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Plague, Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas) as Margo, Wendell Pierce (The Gift) as Agent Dick Gill, Marc Anthony (Carlito’s Way) as Agent Ray, Darren Lee (Chicago) as Razor, Peter Y. Kim (Louie) as Blade, and the film was directed by Iain Softley (K-Pax).
This was such a typical 90’s film with all the aesthetics from the soundtrack, the shots, the montages with non related computer language going across the screen, etc. The computers they used in the film are so lame looking. Some of them looked like the small portable DVD players you can buy in the stores and others like bigger screened Gameboys. Artistically and stylistically it’s such a 90’s film, but it’s cool because we got some great movies from the 90’s and this is obviously one of them. It’s crazy to see Angelina Jolie in this movie with short hair (she looks sexy), but she was amazing along with her husband at the time (or after the film) Jonny Lee Miller. They definitely played a great onscreen duo because there was chemistry. I usually have a hard time taking Fisher Stevens seriously as a villain, but I feel that this film was tailor made for him. He was the perfect villain for the hacker heroes of the time. You also have to look at the people that starred in this film like Matthew Lillard (who would go on to star in Scream) and Jesse Bradford (who would go on to star in Romeo + Juliet) who was one of my favorite characters because he’s so desperate to belong among the hackers that he causes the dilemma in the first place. If you’re into checking out the 90’s scene which included outrageous attire that I wouldn’t dare touch then check out Hackers. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are certain actors in Hollywood that when you see their name attached to a film, it’s more than likely that you’re going to pick it up. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) is definitely one of those actors and hence the reason I chose A Hologram For The King for today’s film. Alan (Hanks) is a failed US salesman that made the ultimate mistake with one company in his past. Things are falling apart for Alan as he is going through a divorce, he has to find a way to pay for college for his daughter, and he has a small lump on his back. In a last ditch effort, he goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present a new technology to the king in hopes that it will save him. What he actually finds there is not what he expected when he took the chance. The film also stars Alexander Black (Tim) as Yousef, Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1) as Zahra, Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke Of Burgundy) as Hanne, Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said) as Kit, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Ron, David Menkin (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Brad, Christy Meyer (Snowden) as Cayley, Megan Maczko (The In-Between) as Rachel, Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) as Hassan, Amira El Sayed (Schleierhaft) as Hana, and the film was directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
Before I get into the review of the film, the one thing that I want to get out of the way is that I loved the cinematography. Yes, there is a lot of amazing shots of the desert and what not, but one of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the film. There is a scene where Tom Hanks is underwater and it just looks absolutely amazing. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critic consensus is, “A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.” I would have to agree with the critics because it is a rather enjoyable ride through a culture shock. You see Tom Hank’s character grow from someone who doesn’t know the customs of the culture to eventually someone who understands the way their world works. He has to travel around the red tape and navigate his way through their world, but he gets the job done. One of the relationships I loved seeing in the film was the bond of friendship that developed between Alan and his driver Yousef. It starts off a little shaky because Alan just treats him like a crazy driver, but the relationship that soon develops is great and full of comedic gold. One of my other favorite aspects from the film is the soundtrack believe it or not. It features music from The Talking Heads, Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra, and more courtesy of Yousef for the most part (minus The Talking Heads track, that seems to be the overall theme of the film). I really enjoyed watching the film and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Hanks. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
There are movies in the world that I always said that I would never bother checking out, but I have gone against my word a couple of times. One of those times was Magic Mike XXL and now My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the other film and that is also today’s film. The film fast forwards 17 years later as Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian’s (John Corbett) daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is at that age when she wants to leave the house and city for college. Toula is having a hard time with this as she also has to balance a problem at her parents house. Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) think they’ve been married, but it turns out the priest never signed their marriage certificate. So, Maria wants to have a real wedding and the family has to plan it. The film also stars Joey Fatone (Family Feud) as Angelo, Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog) as Aunt Voula, Gia Carides (Year One) as Nikki, Alex Wolff (The Sitter) as Bennett, Louis Mandylor (The Quest) as Nick, Bess Meisler (Daddy Day Care) as Mana Yiayia, John Stamos (Full House) as George, Mark Margolis (The Wrestler) as Panos, and the film was directed by Kirk Jones (Walking Ned Devine).
As far as the movie goes, I actually enjoyed watching this film for what it is. It follows that motto of no matter how dysfunctional or weird that your family might be, they are exactly what you call them which is family. The movie is fun to watch especially if you come from a European/Mediterranean family like I did which helps you connect with the family. When the family is whole and together on screen is where the real laughs happen in the film and there is plenty of it. Andrea Martin deserves a lot of credit for stealing some scenes in the film and being hilarious. The only thing that bugs me is that I never saw the first film so I have nothing to really base any judgement off of. I can’t tell you whether it’s better than the first which took the world by storm back in 2002. All I can really say is that the film was fun to watch and the acting is definitely where it’s at in this film. Kudos to the studio for getting all of the original cast members back for the film and even adding some cool cameos like Rob Riggle. One of the things I liked about the film was the soundtrack with a Greek cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding (by George Kostoglou). I thought it was cool. The film isn’t the greatest film in the world, but it does it’s job which is to entertain you. I’ll have to check out the first film now that I have seen this one. I am going to give this one an B for a final grade.
This wasn’t my first choice for a film for today, but I was running out of time and this was on television. For day two of my challenge, I watched the 2004 film Taxi which was directed by Tim Story (Ride Along) and it starred Jimmy Fallon (The Tonight Show) and Queen Latifah (Chicago). Jimmy Fallon plays a New York City cop named Andy who is a little too green for his own good. The man can’t do anything right on the job and he is considered the laughing stock. Queen Latifah plays New York taxi driver Belle who is too into her job as a taxi driver that it’s screwing up things at him with her man. Their paths cross one day when Andy decides to take her cab to chase down some bank robbers who happen to be hot Brazilian supermodels. Despite all the forces against them, they will stop at nothing until they take down the bank robbers. The film also stars Mrs. Tom Brady Gisele Bundchen as Vanessa, Henry Simmons (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Jesse, Jenifer Esposito (Summer Of Sam) as Lt. Marta Robbins, Ana Cristina de Oliveira (Miami Vice) as Redhead, Ingrid Vandebosch (Going Greek) as Third Robber, Ann-Margaret (Tommy) as Mrs. Washburn, and Christian Kane (Life Or Something Like It) as Agent Mullins.
As I said before, this wasn’t my first choice for a film for today, but at the time it was on and I had to do what I had to do. One of the other reasons why I watched it was for the fact that I do enjoy Jimmy Fallon and what he did on SNL and The Tonight Show, but even those can’t save him from this film. The film has it’s moments where it shows potential, but then it just dwindles away. I understand why they went with four supermodels as bank robbers, but these supermodels took the time to learn how to drive like bad asses in their lifetimes? They did that for the comedy aspect of it, but seriously guys. They wouldn’t have to do much cause I’d let these hot women rob me too. There’s plenty of bad ass driving and action scenes in the film, but it just sort of lacks on the laughs. I thought Queen Latifah actually did a good job flexing her acting abilities on screen, but it just wasn’t enough for me. I was surprised to find out that Tim Story directed the movie because I loved Ride Along. You can definitely see some of the similarities in shots with the two films. The film gets a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes which seems to be just right as far as how good the film was. So, I am going to give the film a C- for a final grade.