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.
I 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.
This 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.
Considering that today is Super Tuesday and the whole political world is going to be watching what happens, I figured I would review a movie that has something to do with that world. The film that I chose for you today was written, directed, and stars Warren Beatty (Dick Tracy) in the film Bulworth. Warren Beatty plays down and out California Senator Bulworth, a man on the brink of a nervous breakdown due to the fact that his campaign is plummeting. In a desperate condition, he calls on a man to carry a hit on him so that his family can collect a life insurance policy. Everything is going as planned until the Senator has a revelation and starts speaking the truth while on his campaign. With the help of the mysterious Nina (Halle Berry), he will try everything he can to stay alive and make a difference. The film also stars Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class) as Dennis Murphy, Sean Astin (Rudy) as Gary, Christine Baranski (Cybill) as Constance Bulworth, Graham Beckel (Brokeback Mountain) as Man With Dark Glasses, Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) as L.D., Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) as Graham Crockett, Jack Warden (Problem Child) as Danvers, and the film features a cameo from Larry King.
One of the things I can say about this film that I enjoyed was the soundtrack because if you’re a fan of old school hip hop/gangsta rap then you’ll enjoy it too. As far as the film goes, it was an OK movie in my opinion as there really wasn’t anything outstanding about it. There are parts in this film that are just cheesy like every time Warren Beatty decided to rap, he made white people seem more cheesy than Vanilla Ice. Some of the scenes in the film felt forced at times (Club scenes) while others meshed real well (the debate and other times he gets interviewed). What I did like about the film is that I wish we had a candidate in the world that decided that enough was enough with the BS like Senator Bulworth. Sadly someone like him would be deemed too dangerous and would probably be taken out because there is too much money flying around with the special interest groups. I seriously want to know what was up with Don Cheadle’s look in the 90’s, it seems like he had just stepped off the set of Meteor Man, shaved the blonde hair, and kept his outfit for this film as he once again plays another crime lord. If you’re looking for a super political movie, then this isn’t it for you. This is more of a satire or Beatty’s attempt on social commentary when it has to do with how the country feels when it comes to politics. I couldn’t find anything else to watch so I checked this out, but the film isn’t that bad. I am going to give the film an C+ 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.