For today’s film, I wanted to watch something that was a little different than what I was used to and it was kind of a film that I had no idea about. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl was the name of today’s film and it follows high schooler Greg (Thomas Mann), who is a little different than most kids because all he wants to do is make parodies of films with his friend Earl (RJ Cyler) and coast by high school in hopes that no one notices him. All of that is about to be turned upside down on him when his mother forces him to hang out with a girl named Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who just found out she has cancer. While he has his preconceptions about hanging out with her, Greg’s life begins to change for the better as she opens his eyes to the world around him. The film also stars Jon Bernthal (Daredevil) as Mr. McCarthy, Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) as Greg’s Dad, Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as Greg’s Mom, Molly Shannon (Superstar) as Denise, Matt Bennett (Victorious) as Scott Mayhew, Katherine Hughes (Men, Women, And Children) as Madison, Masem Holden (Elizabethtown) as Ill Will, and the film was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town That Dreaded Sundown).
The film was definitely different than most high school teen flicks than I am used to seeing because it strikes a nerve. It will definitely strike a nerve with anyone who has lost someone to cancer and the struggle that we all see them go through. Besides that, it’s also a touching story because here is a kid that knows he has to tip toe on the line when he first goes to hang out after his mom told him to. It’s also touching due to the fact that he begins to grow up before our very eyes because of how much he cares for her. He’s not willing to share anything with anyone, but she is essentially the first person that he shares his movies with. It was cool to see Jon Bernthal in the film as a very unorthodox history teacher who also helps guide Gregg and Earl along the way. Nick Offerman who is a brilliant and funny man may have a very minor role in the film, but it’s so different than what we are used to seeing him play and that is awesome. Issues like these were held back from us back in the day, but I am glad that kids are seeing it because it’s real life. The film was very artsy at times and I loved the long continuous shot in the beginning of the film that had no cuts. I thought that was a cool touch to the film and the writing was amazing as well. Check it out for yourself, it airs on HBO and it’s available everywhere online. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade because I felt it deserved it.
Back in the late 1990’s, there was a scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department’s CRASH (a task force set up to fight street gangs) department. They believed that there was a lot of corruption in that department and the Rampart division of the LAPD. This film, Rampart, takes place during that time as it follows police officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson). Officer Brown is the kind of guy who follows his own brand of justice in life whether it be on the streets where he does things his way or at home with his dysfunctional family. After a beating incident, things begin to fall apart for Brown as he looks to keep his family together as well as his career as he fights to keep his job. The film also stars Bree Olson (21 Jump Street) as Helen, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Barbara, Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco) as Catherine, Jon Bernthal (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Dan Morone, Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) as General, Steve Buscemi (Fargo) as Bill Blago, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) as Linda, Ned Beatty (The Toy) as Hartshorn, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as Kyle Timkins, Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters) as Joan Confrey, and the film was directed by Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy).
I realized as I started to watch the film that I did a double shot of Woody Harrelson for this challenge and I’m glad I did. This film is not only visually stunning, but it’s gritty and it’s dark. You literally see the a man descend from the beginning of the film all the way to the end. What I mean by that is that Woody starts off the film being this tough guy who does things his own way on the streets. He is cocky about it and believes in what he is doing until everything around him starts to fall apart. The more the film goes on, the darker the fall into madness for Woody’s character. There are a lot of scenes in the film which stunningly portray his character as this misanthrope, misogynistic, womanizing man who has no care in the world for how people feel. This film is great for character study and it kind of shows where LA was at in the late 1990’s. Every person from Bree Olson to Ben Foster do an amazing job acting wise that you can’t help, but love this film. Woody’s transformation is unbelievable as well as he just looks sick for most of the film and he gets worse as time goes on in the film. The only thing that I question is the man’s home life as he lives with his ex-wife and his current wife and he has a child with each one. Oh and I almost forgot, they are sisters too. If you’re into films like this one then you should definitely check it out. The film is available on Netflix and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
This was one of those films that came out last year that I never had the chance to see and when I saw that it was available on Redbox, I jumped on the chance. The United States has been fighting the war on drugs on every single (Local, State, DEA, FBI, etc.) level ever since the Reagan administration. Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is sort of a straight laced, by the book FBI agent who is knee deep in the war on Mexican cartels in Arizona. After an incident where she found tons of bodies, she is recruited by a government task force that is led by an unconventional CIA agent (Josh Brolin) and a mysterious Latino man (Benicio Del Toro) working with the CIA to hunt down a drug lord. The mission is tough for Kate as she begins to notice that they’ll do anything to catch the man. The film also stars Victor Garber (Argo) as Dave Jennings, Jon Bernthal (Fury) as Ted, Daniel Kaluuya (Kick Ass 2) as Reggie, Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) as Steve Forsing, Raoul Max Trujillo (Riddick) as Rafael, Julio Cedillo (The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada) as Fausto Alarcon, Bernardo P. Saracino (Frontera) as Manuel Diaz, Maximiliano Hernandez (Warrior) as Silvio, and the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners).
I am going to come out and say it and that is I am a huge fan of Denis Villeneuve films because they are dark, intense, and they keep you on the edge of your seat. I think just about everyone has seen Prisoners which was dark and intense, but if you haven’t seen Enemy, then you need to. You also need to see this film if you haven’t because the last half of the movie gets really intense. There’s this one scene when they are preparing to go forward with a mission that the score gets as intense and suspenseful as the scene. That is the perfect marriage between score and film which is what we all aim for when making a film. It’s really hard to choose who the MVP of the film is because Josh Brolin is as amazing as usual and Benicio Del Toro is pretty intense in the film too. For a while, you are trying to figure out what an assassin has to do with the story, but once you get it, you really get it and you move forward. I am going to warn you that at times some of the images you may see on screen can get pretty intense, but we are dealing with the Mexican Cartel after all and they’ve done some pretty nasty stuff. This could be a contender for movie of the year, but it’s hard because 2015 was a really good year for films. Anyways, I am going to give this film an A- for a final grade so check it out for yourself.