It’s Tuesday which can only mean one thing and that is that it is time for Based on a Truesday Story. Based on a Truesday Story is a segment I did on my other blog where we watch films that are based on a true story and for today we are doing American Gangster. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is an African American drug lord from Harlem, New York who decides that the best way to take over the competition is to fly directly to the source in Vietnam. He quickly becomes the drug kingpin of New York, but that attracts the wrong kind of attention. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is an honest cop who gets put on the case to track down Frank Lucas and shut him down completely and anyone else corrupt as well. The film also stars Chiwetelu Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) as Huey Lucas, Josh Brolin (The Goonies) as Trupo, Lymari Nadal (The Blackout) as Eva, Ted Levine (The Silence Of The Lambs) as Lou Toback, Roger Guenveur Smith (He Got Game) as Nate, John Hawkes (Lincoln) as Freddie, RZA (The Man With The Iron Fists) as Moses Jones, Carla Gugino (Watchmen) as Laurie, Idris Elba (Thor) as Tango, Common (Selma) as Turner Lucas, TI (Ant-Man) as Stevie Lucas, Armand Assante (Judge Dredd) as Dominic Cattano, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien).
What happens when you put Denzel Washington in a leading role of a film? Well, I hope that you are preparing yourself for one hell of a performance because that is exactly what you are getting with this film. The thing I loved about this film is that you sort of get two stories in one where you have one guy who wants to make his teacher and his family proud by being at the top of his game while you have another who feels that honesty is the best policy and it will lead him over the dirty cops. I have to be honest in saying that if I found a million dollars as a cop, I may skim a few off the top of it. It’s kind of the story of the two roads with the one less traveled and you can guess who took which road in this film. There are so many actors that appeared in this film that I couldn’t fit above that deserved honorable mention like Cuba Gooding Jr., Ruby Dee, Jon Polito, John Ortiz, and many more who do a terrific job in the film. Now we all know that Hollywood takes some civil liberties with their films, but this one seems to have a lot according to an article on historyvshollywood.com. One story is that Frank says in the film that he drove for Bumpy for 15 years. Reports indictate that Bumpy was released from prison in 1963 and he died in 1968 leaving only a five year window. Check out more of the facts vs fiction in that article that I provided. The film is excellent with a very good story, amazing cinematography, and it’s the kind of gangster movies we love here in the states. So, what more could you possibly ask for? I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are some stories in life that are so amazing when they are brought on to the screen which is what the original 1967 Walt Disney animated film The Jungle Book did. Now, what if we take one of the coolest stories combine it with the director that helped put Marvel back on the map in Jon Favreau (Iron Man), and made it a live action film for today’s feature film. For Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the only life he has known since he was a baby was the life and laws of the jungle as he has been taken care of by a pack of wolves and a panther named Bagheera (Ben Kinglsey). That is until one day when he is confronted by an evil Tiger named Shere Khan (Idris Elba) who is intent on killing the child for living in the jungle. So in order to ensure his own safety and the safety of all the animals, Mowgli agrees to leave, but he may have to come back to save them. The film also stars Bill Murray (Ghostbusters) as Baloo, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson (Avengers) as Kaa, Christopher Walken (Dead Zone) as King Louie, Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show) as Ikki, Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects) as Akela, and Brighton Rose (Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy) as Gray.
This was by far one of my favorite movies of the year and it’s ranked up there with Deadpool and any other movie I’ve seen this year so far.This film is non stop fun and adventure from beginning to end and I was so disappointed it was over because I wanted more. All of the characters in the film were absolutely amazing from the acting to the design and the scenes themselves. Bill Murray was an absolute star in this film as everyone’s favorite bear Baloo and believe me Murray delivered. It was such a joy to see him as the bear on the big screen and Neel Sethi did a terrific job as Mowgli too. You were 100% sold that this kid was raised in the jungle and that he communicated with the animals. Now if you are looking forward to seeing Kaa on the big screen, I am going to warn you that you may be a tiny bit disappointed on the amount of screen time she has in the film. Another pleasant surprise for me was hearing Christopher Walken play everyone’s favorite Orangutan King Louie (except he’s a giant one in this film). The story is amazing, the way it came to life on the screen was amazing, and the cinematography was amazing too. Like I said this is definitely one of my favorite films of the month so far and I think everyone should go and check it out in the theaters. A second Jungle Book film has already been announced according to IMDB so I look forward to it. With all of that being said, I am going to proceed and give the film an A+ for a final grade.
I think I have discussed this before where there is so much anticipation for a film that I just have to see it when it comes out. As far as Disney Animated films are concerned, Zootopia was definitely a must see film for me. Zootopia is a place where predators and prey can live in harmony among each other in this big city. For Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), she has dreams of being a cop in the city of Zootopia and not being just an ordinary bunny. When she finally achieves her goal of being a cop, she is not taken seriously among her colleagues. That is until she is told to solve a missing animal case, but there is a catch to it. She has 48 hours to solve the case or she has to turn in her badge, but she’ll do it with the help of a sly fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). The film also stars Idris Elba (Thor) as Chief Bogo, Jenny Slate (The Lorax) as Bellweather, Nate Torrence (My Best Friend’s Girl) as Clawhauser, Bonnie Hunt (Cars) as Bonnie Hopps, Don Lake (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) as Stu Hopps, Tommy Chong (Up In Smoke) as Yax, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as Mayor Lionheart, Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) as Duke Weaselton, Shakira as Gazelle, Maurice LaMarche (Futurama) as Mr. Big, Raymond S. Persi (Wreck-It Ralph) as Flash, and the film was directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush.
This is by far the number one movie for the month of March and it is giving Deadpool a run for it’s money on the Top 25 of the year. This film is a classic case of what you see in the trailer is exactly what you can expect from the film. The film is full of laughs as well as the necessary drama that all Disney films have and it has it’s heart warming moments as well. While all of the animals in the film are living in an anthropomorphic world, they are very true to their animal like selves if you get what I am saying. The foxes are sly creatures in real life and Nick Wilde is exactly that. You would kind of expect a Yak to be a free spirited yoga obsessed animal with flies that won’t leave him alone. The city of Zootopia is even divided by sections like the rainforest section or the desert side and you should see how they have it work. There was a lot of detail that was placed into the film and it pays off because it’s cool and very fun to watch. There are references to famous TV Shows and films like Breaking Bad and The Godfather (not that kids will know what that is) which is a little treat for the parents to enjoy while watching it with their kids. This film is definitely one of the best animated films out there in the past year or two. I definitely suggest watching it and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.