This wasn’t really on the list of must see films that I made up the other day, but I remember a friend of mine strongly recommended the film. The film that I am talking about is the Sci-Fi movie Midnight Special which was released earlier in the year and it was available via Redbox. Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) is a very special eight year old boy with very special powers that one side believes that he is the messiah while another side believes that he is a dangerous weapon. Roy (Michael Shannon) believes that his son is special too and will do anything that it takes to get him to where he needs to go before either the cult or the FBI gets to him. The film also stars Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods And Kings) as Lucas, Kirsten Dunst (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) as Sarah, Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Sevier, Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down) as Calvin Meyer, Bill Camp (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) as Doak, Scott Haze (The Sound and the Fury) as Levi, Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Miller, David Jensen (Ocean’s Eleven) as Elden, and the film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud).
The thing I loved most about the film was the actual story itself because for the most part you’re wondering what is this kid? Is he human, mutant, or alien? For the most part, you don’t really know what he is and they don’t really tell you for most of the film. Then there is the human element of the film where there are people that truly believe in this child’s ability that they will go all out for him. One thing that I did want to comment on is that the filmmakers make Kirsten Dunst look old (I don’t mean super old) in the film which just amazed me. She actually looked like someone in her mid to late 30’s in the film, but for the time she is on screen she does a great job. The real MVP of the film besides Jaeden is Michael Shannon who plays the father that will do whatever it takes to protect his son and get him to the destination no matter the cost. I have to be honest in saying that there really isn’t a bad performance from anyone in the film. Everybody knows their role and they play it right like Adam Driver who is the NSA agent who just thinks all of this is cool. The special effects are very cool especially the scene with the satellite crashing to Earth was cool. The film definitely asks the age old question of are we really alone in the universe? Is there other life forms somewhere we don’t know? If you are a fan of Sci-Fi movies then you owe it to yourself to at least check this one out. I am going to give Midnight Special an A- for a final grade.
There are times when you have too many movies to watch that you miss one at the cinema every now and again. Today’s film, Jane Got A Gun is certainly an example of a film that didn’t last long at the box office and I missed my chance to see it then. Jane (Natalie Portman) is trying to live her life like any normal woman in post civil war New Mexico with her husband and daughter. Things get very complicated for Jane when her husband returns home with several gunshot wounds from a past that has finally caught up to them. In order to protect her injured husband and make a stand, Jane will enlist the help of an ex-lover (Joel Edgerton) to help against the man bringing all the havoc. The film also stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) as John Bishop, Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show) as Bill Hammond, Boyd Holbrook (A Walk Among The Tombstones) as Vic Owen, Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise Of An Empire) as Fitchum, James Burnett (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails) as Cunny Charlie, Sam Quinn (Transcendence) as Slow Jeremiah, Alex Manette (Lee Daniels The Butler) as Buck, Jenny Gabrielle (Employee Of The Month) as Whore, and the film was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Pride And Glory).
I want to start this off by saying that Joel Edgerton is becoming one of my favorite actors in Hollywood. I have yet to be disappointed by anything that he has put out whether it was a film he strictly starred in or had something to do with the story, etc. Joel Edgerton was one of the screenwriters for this film and I have to say that it’s kind of an unorthodox western in which the back story is being told while the story is unfolding. One thing that I thought was cool was that I had no idea that Ewan McGregor was in the film and he is the antagonist of the film. He does such a great job playing the villain in the film and in fact I thought everyone from Portman to even a person with a minor role did a fantastic job. The last western I watched didn’t make the top 25, but this one definitely has a chance because I liked everything about it. The difference between westerns today versus the days of Eastwood and such is that the kills look a lot more realistic with the abilities we have now. The story structures and the subplots are all the same as they were before, but now they get a little more creative. To make the story even more of a happy ending, they throw a little twist at the end that was a little lame (I’ll admit), but it didn’t bother me at all. The film is available at Redbox now so if you love westerns then give this one a chance. I am going to give the film an B 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.
For today’s film, I chose a film that had a lot of buzz back in the time that it was released in 2015, but I never had the chance to see it then till now. Joel Edgerton (Warrior) pulls triple duty for The Gift which he wrote, directed, and starred in. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved from Chicago to LA to try and start a new life in a new setting. One day the couple run into an old acquaintance of Simon’s named Gordo (Edgerton) who randomly starts bringing the couple gifts. One of those gifts is that he unwraps a secret from 20 years before that is going to affect Simon’s relationship with Robyn for the worst as details start to unravel. The film also stars Allison Tolman (Krampus) as Lucy, Tim Griffin (Star Trek) as Kevin, Busy Phillips (White Chicks) as Duffy, Adam Lazarre-White (War Of The Worlds) as Ron, Wendell Pierce (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2) as Det. Mills, Beau Knapp (Southpaw) as Det. Walker, Nash Edgerton (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Frank Dale, and Mirrah Foulkes (Sleeping Beauty) as Wendy Dale.
First of all I have to start this paragraph with how much I enjoyed Joel Edgerton’s performance as Gordo the Weirdo (That is what Bateman’s character calls him). At times, he seems as innocent as can be then there are times where he can start to look really weird. What I can tell you is that the twist in the end is something I should have seen coming, but I didn’t. I am obviously not going to give away what the twist is just in case you were looking to watch the film. Jason Bateman is as brilliant as usual as he delivers a serious performance as the manipulative Simon. Rebecca Hall does great as well as the woman who begins to put the pieces together when she cannot get the answers from the one source she needs. The film has suspense at times during the film, but it really starts to kick into overdrive in the last 10 minutes of the film. I however did enjoy the writing because the story was pretty solid in my opinion and the filmmaking aspect of the film was solid as well. Joel Edgerton did a pretty good job for someone who was directing his first feature length film and the overall aesthetic/tones of the film was dark. I am starting to see the maybe Hollywood is starting to go with more original ideas which gives me hope for filmmaking. I enjoyed the film, you know exactly what you’re getting when you watch it. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.