One of the greatest actors to come out of the 1990’s is Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) who is money when it comes to his films. He has a movie called Fences coming out on Christmas which is gaining a lot of critical acclaim, but to celebrate his career, I decided to check out He Got Game. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel)has been in jail for six years after the death of his wife which has forced his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (NBA Legend Ray Allen) to be the man of the house. You see Jesus is also an unbelievable basketball player for his high school who hasn’t made a decision as to where he wants to go or do after high school. Jake is given a chance to exit jail to try and convince his son to go to a certain school so that his sentence can be cut short. The film also stars Milla Jovovich (Zoolander 2) as Dakota Burns, Rosario Dawson (Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis) as Lala, Hill Harper (CSI: NY) as Booger, Zelda Harris (The Baby-Sitters Club) as Mary Shuttlesworth, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Warden Wyatt, Jim Brown (Mars Attacks) as Spivey, Joseph Lyle Taylor (The Dark Knight Rises) as Crudup, Bill Nunn (Spider-Man 3) as Uncle Bubba, John Turturro (The Color Of Money) as Coach Sunday, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster) as Big Time Willie, and the film was written and directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X).
This was one of those films that you are kind of glad they only made one just because one of the main actors was kind of awful. The film’s story is actually a very good story that kind of takes a look into what happens when someone from a poor area has some talent and has to deal with vultures trying to get theirs. But as I said before, Ray Allen is kind of an awful actor who has his moments in the film, but is also one of those guys who shouldn’t have transitioned into films.Now Denzel on the other hand puts on one heck of a performance as he always does as a man who is desperate to get his son to sign, but he is also enjoying his time out of prison. He also touches other peoples lives to wake them up to realize their potentials or what they are missing out on. His interaction with Milla Jovovich are awesome as she plays a prostitute that he feels bad for in a way. The film features some gritty moments and plenty of T&A as one college tries to persuade him to come to their school. I can imagine that those things happened in real life and I am kind of mad I never took sport serious enough in high school. The ending of the film to me is a little rushed and it sort of doesn’t make sense to me in a way while in a way it does. It just seems a little too quick that he spends years hating his father, but forgives him what seems quick. It was a decent film that any basketball fan may enjoy. I am going to give a B+ only because Allen and some other performances bothered me a little. Enjoy the cameos in the film from NBA coaches and players like Dean Smith, Lute Olson, John Chaney, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, etc.
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.
Originally I was going to try and watch something special considering this is the 100TH straight day that I have watched a movie (and it’s a personal best). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to look for a film to watch considering I went to Super Megafest Comic Con and I wanted to watch today’s film To Live And Die In LA. The film stars William Petersen (Fear) as secret service agent Richard Chance, a man that is hellbent on revenge. You see, Richard’s longtime partner was killed by a local counterfeiter Eric Masters (Willem Dafoe), but he can’t prove it. With his new partner, he will go to all lengths and try whatever he can to get close to Masters before it’s too late. The film also stars John Pankow (Monkey Shines) as John Vukovich, Debra Feuer (Moment By Moment) as Bianca, John Turturro (Quiz Show) as Cody, Darlanne Fluegel (Once Upon A Time In America) as Ruth, Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap) as Bob Grimes, Steve James (Delta Force) as Jeff Rice, Robert Downey Sr. (Putney Swope) as Thomas Bateman, Michael Greene (*batteries not included) as Jim Hart, Christopher Allport (Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman) as Max Waxman, and the film was directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist).
You see the name William Friedkin attached to the title and you ask the question is this the same guy that made The Exorcist? I looked it up and sure enough it was the same guy proving that you don’t have to be stuck to a genre. The film is such an 80’s film from the look, feel, and even the music as it was done none other than Wang Chung. You can’t get any more eighties than them and the whole soundtrack. This film is basically the more serious version of Beverly Hills Cop, but I will say that the film did feature some good qualities about it. The chase sequence in the film was actually very entertaining and the ending of the film will both shock you and confuse you like it did to me. You are left wondering if a character is gone or not and that kind of bothered me when the film ended. Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining film to say the least, but it’s like a lot of 80’s films where it’s just OK. William Petersen is actually very good in this film and Willem Dafoe (such a young looking Dafoe) is both weird, charasmatic, and showcases his talent in this film. I really enjoyed that part of the film because without those two, I don’t know what they would have. The other part of this film that is an unsung hero is the city and county of Los Angeles. Lots of great shots of different parts of the city. So with that being said, I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.
This could possibly be the third Coen Brothers film that I have decided to review for the blog, but this is definitely one film I have wanted to see. The Big Lebowski stars Jeff Bridges (Starman) as Jeff Lebowski better known by his friends as The Dude. Unfortunately for him, he is always mistaken for a millionaire (David Huddleston) who shares the same name as him and apparently this millionaire’s wife (Tara Reid) owes some people a lot of money. After his rug us pissed on and such, he is hired by the other Lebowski to deliver money to the people who kidnapped his wife and that is when things get complicated. With the help of his insane Vietnam Vet friend Walter (John Goodman)and his quiet fragile friend Donny (Steve Buscemi), they will try their best to get her back in one piece and hopefully his rug as well. The film also stars Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) as Maude Lebowski, Philip Seymour Hoffman (Moneyball) as Brandt, Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street) as Nihilist #1, Flea as Nihilist #2, Torsten Voges (The Lords Of Salem) as Nihilist #3, John Turturro (Quiz Show) as Jesus Quintana, Dom Irrera (Barnyard) as Tony the Chauffeur, Sam Elliot (The Good Dinosaur) as The Stranger, and the film was directed by Joel Coen.
The film was actually better than what I expected even though it can kind of go all over the place. This is definitely an iconic performance from Jeff Bridges, but it was also one heck of a performance from John Goodman. He plays your typical paranoid, everyone is against us, war veteran with conspiracy theories, but he does it well. He was definitely the highlight for me when I was watching the film because it was hilarious to see him fly off the rails on the drop of a dime.The other thing I loved about this film was the various dream sequences that the dude would have if he was knocked out like being inside of the bowling ball as it goes down the lane and even the music sequence piece to Kenny Rogers was cool. The film also has some iconic lines in it so you know the screenwriting was done right. The film has that typical Coen Brothers feel to it where things and events can change at the drop of a dime or they can go in places you never expected. The soundtrack to the film is also a strong point for the film as they decided to go the classic way of choosing artists like Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Monks, Santana, and so many more. One thing I was surprised about as well was the fact that Steve Buscemi’s character was so minor in the film whereas he had a bigger role in Fargo and Julianne Moore’s character was so weird in this film, but I liked it. Nevertheless, it was a great film worth checking out if you hadn’t before. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.