After watching the 1961 Billiards classic The Hustler for yesterday’s film, I couldn’t pass up on watching the sequel which took 25 years to make. I’m Certainly ok with it taking that long considering that The Color Of Money was directed by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street). Paul Newman (The Hustler) is back as Fast Eddie Felson, but he has kept to his promise that he made in the first film where he doesn’t play pool. The game has certainly changed as the nine ball has become the preferred game. One day, he sees a kid named Vincent (Tom Cruise) that he sees a lot of potential in so he decides to take him on the road to train him in how to hustle in billiards, but this will inspire Eddie to return. The film also stars Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves) as Carmen, Helen Shaver (The Land Before Time) as Janelle, John Turturro (Transformers) as Julian, Bill Cobbs (Oz the Great and Powerful) as Orvis, Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Amos, Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park III) as Moselle, and the film featured real pool players like Grady Matthews, Keith McCready, and Steve Mizerak.
The thing that I loved about this film is that while it sort of takes a cue from the first film, it definitely carves it’s own path as it differentiates itself from the original. For one, there is a little more nudity in this film than there was in the original thanks to a scene with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The real difference between this film and the other film is that Fast Eddie just didn’t know when to quit and he didn’t realize what he had in front of him until it was too late. In this film, he is trying to teach Vincent that you don’t always show your stuff right from the get go, but that will bite him in the you know what later. That is the difference between the two films as far as story is concerned and I like that about this film. The pool scenes were incredible as usual, but they sped up a lot of the action too for time purposes. Tom Cruise was great as this kid who thinks he’s all that, but is really insecure inside when it boils down to it and Mastrantonio is great as the girl who pulls the strings on him. I loved the ending of the film because they leave it open ended where you sort of figure out for yourself who may have won that match. This was an example of a film that may have taken years to do, but they did it right. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Every now and again a good sci-fi film is always in order and it seems that every year a critical acclaimed one comes out. Then there re those films that garner so much buzz because of a 100% (97 at the moment) rating on Rotten Tomatoes like today’s film in the Arrival. Louise Baker (Man Of Steel’s Amy Adams) is a Linguistics professor at a local college whose life is ordinary until they show up. When I say they, I mean these 12 strange alien pods that appear in 12 different locations around the world. Naturally, the first thing we want to do is find out why they are here and if they want to destroy us. So, Louise will lead a team an elite team of investigators with her into the ships to try and figure out their language in order to try and communicate with them. The film also stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ian Donnelly, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Halpern, Forrest Whitaker (Taken 3) as Colonel Weber, Tzi Ma (The Ladykillers) as General Shang, Mark O’Brien (The Last Tycoon) as Captain Marks, Abigail Pniowsky (Channel Zero) as Eight Year Old Hannah, Max Walker (I’m Not There) as Private Miller, and the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario).
Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. This is one of those films that you may leave the theater either wondering how it received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or what the hell just happened? The whole film they are trying to figure out why they are here and we are watching as she decodes the language. They eventually get to a point where the Aliens have told them that they have given them a weapon or a gift. Now they and you are wondering just what is the weapon or gift that they are speaking of? When it hits you eventually at the end, you are like what kind of gift is that and why is she the only one to receive it? You are also led to believe in the film that she has had a daughter and she passed away, but this gift she receives at the end will distort what is reality at this point. I left the theater confused with all of these questions and that kind of bothered me because I was really enjoying the film up to that point. The cinematography is incredible and the way they mess with your depth perception at one point with the cameras is killer. Amy Adams is masterful in the film as well as all the others in it and it’s a pretty good story. It’s just that the ending is a little confusing and doesn’t make any sense to me. This may be one of those films that you may have to see twice. The aliens were OK looking as they looked giant octopuses with hand like tentacles, but they look like a human hand pretending that there hand is a creature walking. This is a tough one to grade because of the fact that while I enjoyed it, the ending bothered me. Therefore, I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade right now unless I change my mind.
I could have saved today’s film and watched it on Wednesday for Ass Whoopin Wednesday, but there was nothing else on that I wanted to watch. So for today’s film, I chose to watch the third and final film in the Taken trilogy in Taken 3. In the third film, things seem to be going as smooth as usual in the life of former government operative Brian Mills (Liam Neeson). That is until he gets a phone call to meet his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) for some bagels and instead finds her dead in his apartment. The police believe that Brian is the killer and now it is up to him to fin who the real killer is and clear his name before it’s too late. The film also stars Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland) as Franck Dotzler, Maggie Grace (Faster) as Kim, Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II) as Stuart St. John, Sam Spruell (Snow White And The Huntsman) as Oleg Malankov, Don Harvey (Die Hard 2) as Garcia, Dylan Bruno (Saving Private Ryan) as Smith, Leland Orser (Taken Trilogy) as Sam, David Warshofsky (Captain Phillips) as Bernie, Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite) as Mark, Jonny Weston (Insurgent) as Jimy, and the film was directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3).
I still have yet to watch the second Taken, but I am saving that one for Ass Whoopin Wednesday and hopefully that one is better than this one. This film wasn’t bad and you have to love the idea of Brian Mills being the one chased in the film instead of him always chasing others. My only issue with the film is that it wasn’t that exciting of a film like how the first film was. Who we think is the bad guy in the film isn’t even that cool of a bad guy either. He looks like an idiot and he hides in a hotel even though he is supposed to be so dangerous (a frustrating Russian mobster). I definitely liked the twist the film had as I had a feeling in the beginning, but with the more the film went on I sort of forgot about the person being a suspect. Forest Whitaker was as amazing as he usually is and definitely a highlight for the film. The action in the film in my opinion was pretty decent, but it just doesn’t top that of the first film. While there were some pretty good chase scenes like the highway chase, there wasn’t enough to boost the wow factor in me. By the this film, I think it’s safe to say that you should know what to expect by now. The only thing different is that the formula has changed just a tad and Liam Neeson is Liam Neeson.I think it’s also safe to say by this film that he is a really bad parent. I am going to give this film an C+/B- (can’t really decide yet) for a final grade.