I have always been a huge fan of Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt so when you combine the two and have them in a movie, I am probably going to watch. That was definitely when it came to today’s film which is called Hesher (the movie poster was also bad ass). TJ (Rubber‘s Devin Brochu) for the last two months has been having a rough time since the death of his mother whether it’s dealing with his dad (The Office‘s Rainn Wilson) who is also depressed or the school bully who beats up on the poor kid all the time. One day unexpectedly, a mysterious anarchist named Hesher (Levitt) moves into his garage and introduces a little bit of chaos into his life and turns things upside down for his family. The film also stars Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Nicole, Piper Laurie (The Hustler) as Grandma, Brendan Hill (Dude, Where’s My Car?) as Dustin, John Carroll Lynch (American Horror Story) as Larry, Mary Elizabeth Barrett (There Will Be Blood) as Meryl, Frank Collison (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) as the funeral director, Monica Staggs (Tears Of The Sun) as Mom, and the film was written and directed by Spencer Susser (I Love Sarah Jane).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just absolutely brilliant in the film as he is the agent of chaos for the family. Sometimes in order to get people to see clearly when their minds are clouded is to introduce a little chaos and that is what Hesher does for them. The film is a dark comedy which means it’s not a film that contains stupid funny like the previous film I watched for this blog. Every character sort of has a balance with each other and there is a cause and effect for all of them when Hesher shows up. Natalie Portman’s character is a mess and she becomes even more of a mess when she meets Hesher, but she seems to turn out OK just like TJ’s family. When I was first watching the film, I felt like Hesher wasn’t real because it seemed that only certain people could see him and he never got blamed for anything stupid he did. It almost like he was an agent of God sent down to try and help them fix their messed up lives, but other people can see him. The other appealing thing about this film is the soundtrack because Hesher himself is a heavy metal maniac. If you love early Metallica and some Motorhead thrown in there, then you will love the soundtrack like me. Jospeh is an amazing actor and combine him with other amazing talents and you have a hidden gem here. That is why I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
One of the most controversial filmmakers in Hollywood has always been Oliver Stone who has tackled topics like the assassination of John Kennedy (JFK), 911 (World Trade Center), and insider trading (Wall Street) to name a few. Now he returns with a new film about one of the most controversial figures today in the film Snowden. Snowden tells the tale of former CIA and NSA operative Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man who exposed the United States Government for spying on it’s own people without warrants as he distributed the proof to the press. The film follows Snowden from how he got his start in the intelligence field to the struggles he dealt with when he got too deep into what was happening. The film also stars Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars) as Lindsey Mills, Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) as Glenn Greenwald, Melissa Leo (Red State) as Laura Poitras, Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Corbin O’Brian, Robert Firth (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Dr. Stillwell, Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) as Ewen MacAskill, Timothy Olyphant (Rock Star) as CIA Agent Geneva, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Trevor James, Keith Lakeith (Straight Outta Compton) as Patrick Haynes, Ben Chaplin (Thin Red Line) as Robert Tibbo, Bhasker Patel (Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom) as Marwan Al-Kirmani, and Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry) as Hank Forrester.
I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t really aware of what it was that Edward Snowden was being accused of, but what ever it was he was being called either a traitor or hero. The one thing that I can say about him after watching this film is that he should be considered a hero. The United States government shouldn’t be allowed to pry in your life unless they have a warrant. According to the film, they were bypassing all of it by claiming that there were secret warrants so that they wouldn’t tip off the “Threats”. Now as far as the films is concerned I thought the film was alright in my opinion. It just runs a little too slow for my liking at times and there is a lot of computer jargon that the average person will not understand in it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a terrific job in the film as Edward Snowden and he even changes his voice to sound more like him. Shailene Woodley actually does a great job too and she even shows off some of her assets in the film which was a change for her. She does a great job being the perfect balance between the nerdiness and what is real in life. Now the beginning of the film claims that this is a dramatization so how much of it is true, I am not completely sure. I am actually interested to see what is fact and/or fiction. There are some thrills and suspense in the film as you wonder if he’s going to get caught, but we all know how the story ends. The film even features a cameo from the real Edward Snowden so look for that if you choose to see this. I am going to give the film an A- and I am doing this because I thought it was a good film (which is the same as alright), but I am just not into the computer jargon.
There is nothing I love more in this world than Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) and comedies that he is involved in. So, naturally when I saw that The Night Before was available to rent, I definitely jumped on the opportunity to watch it. Issac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been spending the last ten Christmases with their friend Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ever since his parents passed away. The only problem is that things change and people grow up, but Ethan hasn’t it while the other two have moved on. Now, it’s the last Christmas the three friends are ever going to spend together and they’re going to be spending it at a ball that they’ve been trying to get into for the last ten years, but will they make it in one piece? The film also stars Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street) as Betsy, Lizzy Caplan (Hot Tub Time Machine) as Diana, Heléne Yorke (Masters Of Sex) as Cindy, Mindy Kaling (Inside Out) as Sarah, Michael Shannon (Man Of Steel) as Mr. Green, Ilana Glazer (Broad City) as Rebecca Grinch, James Franco (Pineapple Express) as James Franco, Tracy Morgan (Cop Out) as the Narrator, and the film was written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).
I want to start this paragraph out by saying that this film reminds me of why I loved Seth Rogen movies in the first place. Seth Rogen on drugs equals some of the funniest moments of a film because he plays it so well. When he is freaking out on shrooms in the film is some of the funniest material and his interaction with James Franco is priceless. This film could seriously be the new Christmas classic that we have all been looking for since Home Alone or Die Hard, and Big which are both mentioned in the film (almost like an homage). The film even manages to fit in some Scrooge kind of stuff with Michael Shannon playing essentially the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future all in the form of a drug dealing Great Gatsby. Believe me, it will all make sense to you once you watch the film for yourself. One of the funniest scenes in the whole film is the church scene with Seth Rogen, couldn’t stop laughing it was so funny and what a great choice to play his wife in the film in Jillian Bell who is pretty funny in the film. Listen, you know exactly what you are getting from a Seth Rogen comedy, there is nothing smart about it other than that it’s just funny. You have to naturally have a sense of humor to love comedies like this and I have to say that this should’ve been a hit at the box office. The addition of Mackie and Levitt were icing on the cake ad the chemistry between the three was there and it just felt natural. The film is available online and in Redbox so check it out if you need some good laughs. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.