Day 336: Hell Or High Water (2016)

hell-or-high-water-uk-quad-posterThe 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).

29906170001_5076167031001_5076082434001-vsAs 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.

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Day 263: The Finest Hours (2016)

finesthoursbar640You 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).

the-finest-hoursThis 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.

Day 172: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

star trekFor today’s film, I wanted to pay tribute to Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) who recently passed away by checking out one of his films that I hadn’t seen yet. Of course that film that I chose for today is Star Trek Into Darkness. In this latest edition, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) finds himself without a ship and a crew due to a mission gone wrong. One day when Kirk and his Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) are being briefed about a recent attack, they too are attacked by a strange man who possess uncanny powers and strength. Kirk is then sent on a mission to recover the one man wrecking crew named Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) before he destroys the whole entire world as we know it. The film also stars Karl Urban (Dredd) as Bones, Simon Pegg (Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation) as Scotty, John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle) as Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Zoë Saldana (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Uhura, Peter Weller (RoboCop) as Marcus, Alice Eve (She’s Out Of My League) as Carol, Deep Roy (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) as Keenser, Noel Clarke (Adulthood) as Thomas Harewood, and the film was directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

star trek 2I honestly do not believe that there is anything J.J. Abrams touches that isn’t awesome. The first Star Trek film was amazing, Episode VII of Stars Wars was great, and this was an excellent sequel. This one starts off with a bang and it never lets up for two hours and that is what I loved about it. The film is essentially a prequel of what’s to come for all the films that were already made and most especially Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. I thought Benedict Cumberbatch did an amazing job as the superhuman Khan, but I have to admit that I do have to watch the Star Trek films because I haven’t seen most of them. I need to at least see the Ricardo Montalban version to do my compare and contrast of the two. Anyways, One of my favorite things about these films is the CGI because we can do unbelievable things and create worlds tat would have been time consuming so long ago and sometimes impossible. The action sequences are amazing as well and there is plenty of it. One thing I have to say about J.J. Abrams is that he has made Star Trek likable in a sense that anyone will go see those films now whereas before it was Star Wars vs Star Trek. This film actually has me excited to see the next one, but it will be sad t know that it’s Anton’s last ride as the beloved Chekov. I am going to give this film an A- for a final grade.

Day 86: Smokin’ Aces (2007)

smokin_artI never got the chance back in the day to check out the film Smokin’ Aces which looked like a bad ass movie. That is until today and that is why I am presenting it to you guys as today’s challenge film. Buddy Israel (Jeremy Piven) was a wannabe gangster Las Vegas performer who decides to turn snitch for the FBI against a rival crime family. Now he needs protection because a hit has been put on his life to make sure that he never gets the chance to snitch. The hitmen are coming from everywhere and anywhere to try and collect on it, but the FBI has to get to him to get him out before the hitmen come. The film also stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as Richard Messner, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) as Donald Carruthers, Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpion King) as Primo Sparazza, Ben Affleck (Dogma) as Jack Dupree, Peter Berg (Collateral) as “Pistol” Pete Deeks, Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Hollis, Common (Run All Night) as Sir Ivy, Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III) as Stanley Locke, Alicia Keys as Georgia, Taraji P. Henson (Date Night) as Sharice, Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Darwin Tremor, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Jeeves Tremor, Tommy Flanagan (Sons Of Anarchy) as Lazlo, Joel Edgerton (The Gift) as Hugo, and so many more.

Kevin-in-Smokin-Aces-kevin-durand-28521986-853-480This movie has a wild and crazy collection of a cast that includes a mix of 80’s, 90’s, and the stars of today all rolled into one awesome cast. Matthew Fox plays the head of security of the casino/hotel, Jason Bateman plays a weird lawyer, Curtis Armstrong who played Booger in Revenge Of The Nerds is in this movie as well. Chris Pine plays an insane character who belongs in a Mad Max movie which shows you how over the top insane and awesome this film was. One thing is for certain, you never have to question Jeremy Piven and his performance because he is a top notch actor that delivers. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t really open up in the film until the last half of the film, but when he does he also delivers. He certainly does in this film as a drugged out paranoid wannabe mob boss. The action in the film at one point becomes non stop as double crosses and hots just keep coming. I will say one thing if you have never seen the movie you may think it’s over at one point, but the ending of the film may shock you. There is a lot that is revealed and of course I will not spoil it for any of you. I really liked this movie and I have to be honest and say that I went into it with no expectations and it paid off. It was tough to decide a grade for this film because it lies on the B+/A- border and that’s how I’ll keep it.