Halloween is long behind us so I figured it was time to reintroduce the Movie Of The Week post while we wait on a decision for the future. There are a lot of great movies on the horizon and I want to cover them for this blog. This week’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of those films that peaked my interest for it’s unique title and for the caliber of the cast contained within the film. Frances McDormand (Fargo) plays Mildred, a mother who is not happy whatsoever with the local authorities for not solving her daughters murder case. So to get on their case and get them moving, she decides to take out ads on three billboards outside her town that will challenge the law to get off their behinds and solve case. The film also stars Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men) as Chief Willoughby, Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) as Dixon, Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) as Red Wellby, Kerry Condon (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Pamela, Darrell Britt-Gibson (Keanu) as Jerome, Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch) as Anne, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) as Robbie, Zeljko Ivanek (Argo) as Cedric, Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) as James, Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records) as Crop-Haired Guy, and the film was directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges).
This was an excellent film that just had so many emotions to it and just had so many talking points. First of all, the acting was absolutely superb from way too many people to list in this blog, but you already know that you get amazing performances from McDormand, Harrelson, Rockwell, and Dinklage to name a few. Frances McDormand had the uneasy task of balancing out a character who is tough and a bad ass, but she is also vulnerable because all she wants is for them to solve the case. Sam Rockwell does a terrific job playing your typical backwater cop from a small southern-esque town who doesn’t know any better until something (I can’t tell you what) shows him the way. The second thing that was amazing about the film was the writing because this story kicked ass. You think that it’s going the way you would want it to go until it throws you a curve ball that takes the story in a darker place. There were so many glimmers of hope in the film that were just taken to a completely different place that I was amazed that it worked. The third thing that I loved about the film were the dynamic of the characters and the overall themes because each one was so unique to the story in how it progressed into a moral of no matter how dark things get, sometimes the people you are going against can turn out to be the ones you need. That was the constant theme of the film was redemption because it’s a learning experience for sure. The last thing is the cinematography which was just masterful from shot to shot. This is definitely a film worth checking out if you are a fan of great stories, actors, etc. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are a couple of things in life that I enjoy more than anything in my movies and that is true stories and football. When you combine the both of them, then I just have to see it an that is why I chose My All American for today’s film. Freddy Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) wasn’t born with the gift of size as a football player, but that never stopped him from trying. In fact, Freddie is one of the hardest working athletes in the world and he uses that to fight for his spot on the roster of the Texas Longhorns in 1969. Although that is about to change after leading his team to the championship game, Freddie is faced with his toughest challenge yet off the field. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as Darren Royal, Sarah Bolger (The Lazarus Effect) as Linda Wheeler, Rett Terrell (Vampires Suck) as Bobby Mitchell, Juston Street (Everybody Wants Some!!) as James Street, Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks) as Fred Steinmark, Robin Tunney (Empire Records) as Gloria Steinmark, Donny Boaz (The Great Debaters) as Bill Bradley, Brent Anderson (American Crime) as Coach Campbell, and the film was directed by Angelo Pizzo (Rudy).
I am going to be completely honest in saying that before I watched this movie, I did not know that it was directed by the guy who wrote Rudy and Hoosiers. You can definitely see the similarities between the films as far as the writing was concerned and you can also see some similarities in the style of the film too. I get why they covered his high school years because it helps build his character, but I’m wondering if that hindered the film at all because how many people really knew about Freddie Steinberg other than Longhorns fans or people old enough to remember him play. I just think they could have covered more of his college years but this was fine by me. I want to talk about his character because I’m not doubting at all that Freddie was a great guy who was one of the hardest working guys, but he just seems a little too perfect if you catch my drift. It was almost like he never did anything wrong, but that could be true for all I know. One thing that I wish that they had covered what what happened to his girlfriend Linda because they don’t talk about her at all during the title cards at the end. I know that she wasn’t the focus of the film, but she seemed to be an important part of his life. All that we know about her is that she was a consultant for the film and that her daughter Mackenzie Meehan played a nurse in the film. I thought that was a pretty cool tidbit. If you are a fan of Rudy, then you may like this film because they are similar in style and story. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
I am a sucker for sports movies if you couldn’t tell from yesterdays post, but I am also a sucker for true stories. In early to mid-2000’s, Russell Crowe (Gladiator) was the hottest thing going in Hollywood and in 2005 he would starred in Cinderella Man. Cinderella Man tells the story of the original underdog in boxing in former world heavyweight champion James J. Braddock. In the 1930’s, things were bad in America as the country was still in a depression. For James J. Braddock and his family, things were just as bad. His boxing career was going nowhere and he could barely afford to feed his family. That is until his manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) gets Braddock a second chance at redemption. All he has to do is beat a couple of guys and he gets the shot of a lifetime against heavyweight champ Max Baer (Craig Bierko). The film also stars Renée Zellweger (Empire Records) as Mae Braddock, Paddy Considine (The World’s End) as Mike Wilson, Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen) as Jimmy Johnston, Matthew G. Taylor (Pacific Rim) as Primo Carnera, Rance Howard (Chinatown) as Announcer Al Fazin, Troy Amos-Ross (Resurrecting The Champ) as John Henry Lewis, and the film was directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).
Besides being a fan of sports movies and/or true stories, I am also a huge fan of Boxing films and this is up there with a lot of them. Boxing has always been one of those sports where an underdog can surprise people (and inspire) and be champion. Cinderella Man is definitely that underdog story and Russell Crowe’s performance in the film is amazing. Of course, he’s not the only one who did an amazing job as Zellweger and Giamatti deserve some kudos as well. The writers did an amazing job making sure you saw how desperate the times were back in the early 1930’s and how resourceful people had to be back then.We haven’t seen a depression like that since then and I hope that we never get to ever. The action in the ring is amazing and a strong point as you see every punch and every bit of blood that is splattered. I love some of the camera shots where it looks as if you are the boxer entering the ring and sometimes it looks as if you are taking the punches and getting dazed. The costume department and hair/makeup deserve some kudos as well making us feel like we are being transported to those times. I love the look and feel of the prohibition/great depression era s far as hairstyles and clothing are concerned. Ron Howard is a true master of cinema and he has proven it to us over the years with the plethora of work. There are so many great boxing films out there, but try this one. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.