Today is November 8TH and that can only mean one thing in the United States Of American and that it’s Election Day 2016. So to help celebrate the fact that it’s Election Day, I decided to watch a film that had to do with campaigns and such and that film is 1997’s Wag The Dog. It’s election time and the President of the United States has landed himself in hot water when a scandal breaks out. To try and help keep away the backlash of the scandal, the presidents trusted aides decide to hire famous spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro). Brean will come up with a brilliant scheme to take away the attention with eccentric producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman), but the question is can they pull it off? The film also stars Anne Heche (Volcano) as Winifred Ames, Denis Leary (Suicide Kings) as Fad King, Willie Nelson as Johnnie Dean, Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Liz Butsky, Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) as Stacey Lime, William H. Macy (Fargo) as CIA Agent Young, John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher) as John Levy, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as SGT. Schumann, Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place) as Amy Cain, David Koechner (Paul) as Director, and the film was directed by Barry Levinson (Rock The Kasbah).
I have to say that putting Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman on the same screen was a brilliant idea. They played off of each other so well and you could definitely see the chemistry between them. I had to look it up for myself, but these two have only been in four films together (Sleepers, Meet The Fockers, and Little Fockers). The idea of the film is actually an interesting look at what happens behind the scenes of an election campaign. I mean think about it, how much information that gets passed on to the media that you see is 100% true? Don’t you think something like that could be happening now with this election and we don’t even know about it? I think politics is a dirty game anyways and this film shows you just that. I just didn’t really like the ending because I loved Dustin Hoffman’s character, but I won’t give that away to you. The acting in the film is great and a lot of today’s stars are featured in this film and Woody Harrelson was perfect in the film as a crazed nut that they use to their advantage. The cinematography in the film was great, the editing was amazing as well. I wish I had seen this movie way back when I decided to watch Bulworth because this was a great film. I am going to give Wag The Dog an A for a final grade.
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.
I just wanted to start by saying that I hope that everyone has had a wonder Mother’s Day especially all the moms out there. I didn’t choose any films that had anything to do with mothers, but rather I went for a classic in The Bonfire Of The Vanities. The film starred Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) as Sherman McCoy, a hot shot wall street broker whose whole world is about to crumble. You see Sherman has been cheating on his socialite wife (Kim Cattrall) with a very seductive mistress named Maria (Melanie Griffith). One night, they get into an accident when they hit a young black man and send him into a coma. It puts Sherman in a lot of trouble and with the help of a reporter (Bruce Willis) he will try to prove his innocence before he gets put away for good. The film also stars Saul Rubinek (The Family Man) as Jed Kramer, Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Judge Leonard White, John Hancock (A Soldier’s Story) as Reverend Bacon, Kevin Dunn (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Tom Killian, Clifton James (The Man With The Golden Gun) as Albert Fox, Kirsten Dunst (Interview With The Vampire) as Campbell McCoy, and the film was directed by Brian De Palma (Carlito’s Way).
This was a very different film than I was used to watching, but how can you not want to watch a film that starred both Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis? Bruce at one time was known for doing films other than action flicks and Tom Hanks is just Tom Hanks (that means he’s awesome). I had absolutely no idea that Kirsten Dunst was in this film until I looked on IMDB after I watched the film. I thought that was kind of crazy to see, but not surprised as she let her real stamp with Interview With The Vampire. One of the biggest pluses for this film is the fact that the story is an amazing story. From the beginning all the way to the end, the story keeps you hooked because you want to know what happens to poor Tom Hanks. The film kind of touches on the ideas of racism in the New York area and the way they feel that they didn’t get the fair shake that over-privileged whites did all the time. Then the film shows you how distorted the truth can be when there is too much interest into a issue when there are too many sides that benefit. A mayor who looks at an opportunity to persecute a rich white man to try and gain the African-American vote while a reverend is looking to use the case to cash in. All of the acting in the film was superb and I really had no complaints against anyone in the film. This is a film that is definitely worth a watch even if it’s at least once. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Instead of doing Super Sunday on the other blog, I am bringing it here for a film that I sort of boycotted back when it was first released (I’ll explain my reasoning below). Spider-Man 3 was the third and last installment of the Sam Raimi (Evil Dead)/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series. Things appear to be going quite well for Spider-Man (Maguire) as all the residents of New York love and appreciate him and he has the girl of his dreams in Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). That all begins to change when a strange black entity from another world appears and bonds with Parker. It starts to drive certain urges in Spider-Man that we are not used to seeing from him as he battles new villains and some new problems because of it. The film also stars Topher Grace (That 70’s Show) as Eddie Brock, James Franco (Pineapple Express) as Harry Osborn, Thomas Haden Church (Daddy’s Home) as Sandman, Bryce Dallas Howard (50/50) as Gwen Stacy, Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man) as May Parker, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as J. Jameson, James Cromwell (The Green Mile) as Captain Stacy, Dylan Baker (Trick ‘r Treat) as Dr. Curt Conners, and Elizabeth Banks (Zack & Miri Make A Porno) as Miss Brant.
The reason I avoided this film to be perfectly honest back in 2007 was that I was frankly sick of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and I did not agree with the casting choice of Topher Grace as Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom. Topher Grace just wasn’t my first choice to play a bad ass villain, but nevertheless they went with him and I decided to check it out today. While this is definitely not the best film of the Sam Raimi three, it’s definitely not the best of all the Spider-Man movies that have come out including the two Amazing Spider-Man films. The film was just all over the place and there is this one sequence that was just unnecessary and it’s when Parker is walking down New York like he’s John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. That had to be the cheesiest moment of the whole film, but there are some redeeming values in the film. I wasn’t completely disappointed with the way Venom looked and Topher Grace was OK. I was impressed with him through most of the film when he was just that annoying Eddie Brock trying to top Peter Parker at The Daily Bugle. I loved the film’s choice for Gwen Stacy in Bryce Dallas Howard as she brings beauty to the role and the battle scene towards the end was pretty good as well. One thing they messed up on was the film seemed to abandon the subplot between Parker and Osborn who has basically ruined Parker’s life. After he regains his memory, he goes on a hellbent mission to destroy Parker, but after a little tussle in the lab, it’s over just like that? There’s also one more problem towards the end that I had, but I won’t give that away. So, let’s just say it has something to do with the Sandman. It’s definitely a film that could have been so much more than it was, but Raimi dropped the ball on this one. I am giving the film an C+ for a final grade.