For those of you out there that do not know who Shane Black is, he has written some pretty amazing films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 (debatable), Lethal Weapon 2, and so much more. That is why I chose to watch his latest film The Nice Guys for today’s movie. It is the late 1970’s in Los Angeles, California and things are not very easy in the big city as they are dealing with issues of smog and a dead female porn star. To top it all off, two private eyes that obviously do no match well together in Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) are assigned to the case together. It is there that the duo run into a whole mess of a situation that they didn’t see coming which includes the DA and hitmen. The film also stars Angourie Rice (Walking With Dinosaurs) as Holly March, Matt Bomer (Magic Mike XXL) as John Boy, Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) as Amelia, Keith David (Men At Work) as Older Guy, Beau Knapp (Southpaw) as Blueface, Murielle Telio (The DUFF) as Misty Mountains, Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) as Judith Kuttner, Jack Kilmer (The Stanford Prison Experiment) as Chet, Yaya DaCosta (Tron: Legacy) as Tally, and Lois Smith (Falling Down) as Mrs. Glenn.
There wasn’t much to this film that I didn’t like, it was very enjoyable to watch. Ryan Gosling’s stock is moving up in my book as just about every movie he is in I love his performance. He is probably my favorite character in this film because he is the perfect opposite of what Russell Crowe is. Russell Crowe’s character is the bad ass tough one while Ryan Gosling’s is afraid of his own shadow. It’s very funny and I think it’s a very good selling point for the film in general because their chemistry is undeniable. It’s like the perfect buddy movie for those that love them. I loved the aesthetics of the film because it looked and felt like the 70’s as you are watching all of the cool outfits and hairdos not to mention all of the pop culture references. Even all of the nuances were right on target from not being able to say the lords name in vain and so much more. The film definitely kicks off in style with a naked porn star dead on top of a car as she literally drove through someone’s house. So you an definitely imagine where it went from that point. I honestly thought that the film was very funny and definitely one worth seeing if you are a fan of either Crowe or Gosling. It’s available in Redbox and where ever else you watch movies so go and watch it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
For today’s 365 Movies In 365 Days challenge film, I wanted to choose a film that the late, great David Bowie (Labyrinth) starred in that I had not seen yet to help celebrate his legacy. I stumbled upon the Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) directed 1988 film The Last Temptation Of Christ which stars Willem Dafoe (Platoon) as Jesus Christ in this fictional take on his life and the teachings of the bible. The film was based off of a book that was written by Nikos Kazantzakis that explores all the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ as he journeys through life wondering what his purpose is, what exactly does God want from him, and his last temptation while on the cross. The film also stars Harvey Keitel (From Dusk Till Dawn) as Judas, Barbara Hershey (Falling Down) as Mary Magdalene, Steve Shill (Dexter) as Centurian, Verna Bloom (Animal House) as Mary, Roberts Blossom (Home Alone) as Aged Master, Barry Miller (Saturday Night Fever) as Jeroboam, Gary Basaraba (The Smurfs) as Andrew, Apostle, Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) as Zebedee, Victor Argo (Taxi Driver) as Peter, Apostle, Paul Herman (American Hustle) as Phillip, David Bowie as Pontius Pilot, and Andre Gregory (Demolition Man) as John The Baptist.
This must have been one of the ballsiest films to come out in 1988 and it must have insulted Christians everywhere at the time. I an only imagine seeing images of Jesus not knowing what he is talking about and saying that if I just open my mouth God will speak for me. One sequence that must have pissed off Christians everywhere is the idea that a guardian angel comes down and saves him from the cross and he goes on to live a long life with a wife and children until the rude awakening comes. I am not the biggest Willem Dafoe fan in the world, but I give the man props for have the guts to do the film and for his performance. What the film does for people is that it dumbs down the bible so that everyone can get it. It shows you that he was human after all and he went through the same emotions that we did. They keep a lot of the historical information in the film, but they twist it around a little bit. One scene that I thought was powerful was during the last temptation when Jesus confronts a man preaching about him and his death even though he is alive. Jesus tells him to stop the lies, but the man (played by Harry Dean Stanton) tells him that he refuses to stop because his version of Jesus dying on the cross is a lot better and people will believe that story to give them hope than to know that he was still alive. When I saw that scene, I was shocked and could only think of the word wow. If you can look past that the film is almost three hours long, that they say it’s fiction right from the start, then you should be able to enjoy this great piece of art. I am giving the film an A- for a final grade because the cinematography is great, the sets were amazing, and the soundtrack was very good as well.
I have always been a big fan of the work of the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) and their films like No Country For Old Men, Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and True Grit. The on;y problem is that there are two films from the brothers I still have not seen and I checked one off the lost with today’s film in Fargo. The film stars William H. Macy (Boogie Nights) as car salesman Jerry Lundegaard who through a shady source at work gets himself into a lot of trouble. Things just aren’t going the way Jerry wants it so he gets this bright idea to have someone kidnap his wife so they can split the ransom money. Little does he know that his master crime is about to fall apart as pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) gets on the case. The film stars Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) as Carl Showalter, Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street) as Gaear Grimsrud, Larry Brandenburg (The Shawshank Redemption) as Stan Grossman, Steve Reevis (Dances With Wolves) as Shep, John Carroll Lynch (Ted 2) as Norm Gunderson, Steve Park (Falling Down) as Mike Yanagita, Tony Denman (Go) as Scotty Lundegaard, Harve Presnell (Saving Private Ryan) as Wade Gustafson, and Kristin Rudrüd (Pleasantville) as Judy Lundegaard.
One thing that I definitely have to say about this film is that the writing for the film is absolutely amazing. I truly loved how the story just unfolded right before your eyes as you watch the mess get worse and worse by the minute. You also see the dynamics in some of the relationships in the film like Buscemi and Stormare who the have the worst time communicating with each other or even Macy’s character with Presnell who treats Macy like he doesn’t exist or is just a plain idiot. This is a great example for a character study because the filmmakers focus on that a lot and it helps the film move. The film is gritty, dark, violent, and beautiful all at the same time especially with some of the cinematography which captured the moments perfectly around the cold that surrounds the characters. One of the other things I liked about the film were the accents because they were different. I really enjoyed listening to something different other than a Boston, New York, or southern accent. The acting from everyone was pretty top notch, I didn’t really have any complaints about that at all. If you are studying to be a filmmaker or even a screenwriter this is definitely a film that you want to check out and take notes. Personally one of my favorite films that I have reviewed for this challenge. So, with that being said I am going to go ahead and give this film an A for a final grade.