Day 344: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnalWhenever there are movies released that feature Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition), I tend to flock to the local theater to see it because he’s amazing. That was definitely the case for today’s film when I saw that he was starring in the film Nocturnal Animals. Amy Adams (The Arrival) plays art gallery owner Susan Morrow, a woman with too much on her mind who is haunted by her wrongdoings to her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal). 20 years after she left him, he delivers a book for her to read and she soon realizes that it symbolically represents their past relationship in a very twisted way. The story in the book follows a man whose wife and child are abducted, raped, and killed and he seeks revenge for what has happened to them. The film also stars Michael Shannon (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice) as Bobby Andes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ray Marcus, Ilsa Fisher (The Brothers Grimsby) as Laura Hastings, Ellie Bamber (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies) as India Hastings, Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Hutton Morrow, Karl Glusman (The Neon Demon) as Lou, Robert Aramayo (Game Of Thrones) as Turk, Laura Linney (Sully) as Anne Sutton, Michael Sheen (Alice In Wonderland) as Carlos, and the film was directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man).

nocturnal-animals-2016-michael-shannon-aaron-taylor-johnson-jake-gyllenhaal2Spoiler Alert: There may be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. First of all the film starts off with an uncomfortable sequence of heavily obese women dancing naked and I get it it’s art and that we shouldn’t judge, but it’s just hard to watch. After that, it’s smooth sailing through the rest of the film that is just absolutely amazing and so well written. There is nudity from now and again, but it’s almost in an artistic way and if you love red heads like me then you love this film. Then there is the performances int he film that are just all around amazing from no matter who. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does an amazing job playing a West Texas creep while Michael Shannon plays the detective who will go to any lengths to get his man because he’s dying anyways. Amy Adams is absolutely terrific in the film as this woman who realizes that everything in the book is symbolic of what happened in her life. That is what I loved about the film because the further it goes, the more you realize how connected everything is even though it may not seem that way. For one the story is about a rape and murder of a wife and child and it’s a reflection of their time together. The cinematography is amazing with the different tones that are incorporated into the film and just the overall scenery which becomes a part of the story. This may be one of my favorite films of the year and another Gyllenhaal film that I absolutely loved. I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

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Day 265: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (2016)

maxresdefaultOne of my favorite childhood memories was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles whether it was the original cartoon series or the original films. With the series back in action, I decided to take the chance and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. In the second film of the reboot series, the turtles Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) are still living in the shadows because they feel society is not ready for them. With the threat of Shredder (Brian Tee) out on the loose and a giant Rhino and Warthog causing havoc, the duo are forced to come out and try to save New York City from a threat they never thought imaginable from another dimension. The film also stars WWE Superstar Sheamus as Rocksteady, Gary Anthony Williams (The Internship) as Bebop, Megan Fox (Jennifer’s Body) as April O’Neill, Will Arnett (The Lego Movie) as Vernon Fenwick, Stephen Amell (Arrow) as Casey Jones, Tyler Perry (Diary Of A Mad Black Woman) as Baxter Stockman, Tony Shalhoub (Monk) as Splinter, Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Krang, Laura Linney (Mystic River) as Chief Vincent, Brittany Ishibashi (Everything Before Us) as Karai, Jane Wu (Captain America: Civil War) as Jade, and the film was directed by Dave Green (Earth To Echo).

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-krangI have to admit that I liked this film better than the first one because they kind of got it right with this one. I was super pumped to see Bebop and Rocksteady in the film and they were awesome. They were everything you would expect from them and major props to Sheamus for a job well done in this one. I was also very happy to see Krang and how they made him look in the film. It was a cool nod to the cartoon version of Krang especially with his robotic body. One thing that was a major improvement from the first film to this one was Shredder as he went from Super Shredder in the first film to a bad ass looking Shredder in this one. Although I do have to say that I could of used a little more Shredder than we were given, but that’s OK because we had Bebop and Rocksteady. The movie had plenty of action that keeps you glued to your seat and plenty of comedy especially from my favorite turtle Michelangelo. One of my favorite moments in the film is when the duo is in Brazil and Raphael hits the water and he sees a regular turtle on the shore. I just thought it was a funny moment between the two. I also love the battle scene between Casey Jones and Bebop and Rocksteady. It was a game of wits between the three and we can all imagine who came out on top. This was a step in the right direction for the series and I can only hope that maybe we’ll get one more, but I am not sure. It definitely made more money than what it cost to make so here’s to hoping for a third film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 253: Sully (2016)

sullyThere are stories in the world that truly capture the imagination when you hear them and sometimes it’s so incredible its hard to believe. Then there are miracles that happen in the world that you just want to know the incredible story behind them. That was definitely the case with US Airways Flight 1549 which was a flight that left New York’s LaGuardia Airport and landed in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 which is explored in the new film Sully. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) plays former US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger a.k.a Sully, a pilot who had to make a snap decision after losing both his engines due to birds flying into them on that faithful day. The film explores the aftermath of the event and all of the questioning he faced afterwards as to whether it was the right choice to make. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as Jeff Skiles, Valerie Mahaffey (Senior Trip) as Diane Higgins, Mike O’Malley (R.I.P.D.) as Charles Porter, Jamey Sheridan (Spotlight) as Ben Edwards, Anna Gunn (Red State) as Elizabeth Davis, Holt McCallany (Fight Club) as Mike Cleary, Laura Linney (Mystic River) as Lorraine Sullenberger, Molly Hagan (Election) as Doreen Welsh, Ann Cusack (Stigmata) as Donna Dent, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby).

images-1Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. I have always thought that the story is absolutely incredible and one that should be told for the ages. The film at first focused more on the aftermath of the whole event as it focused on Sully struggling with what happened and the committee not believing Sully. The issue with them not believing Sully is because of simulations saying that they could’ve made it back to either LaGuardia or the airport in Newark. So, the film is Sully’s hunt to prove that he wasn’t wrong and that he made the right choice. They eventually show you what happened on the plane twice which means two different points of view. One showing of the event starts with Sully and co. but then it switches to what the air traffic controller hears the whole time. Then when they are in a meeting, it goes from the point of view of everyone involved inside the plane, but more importantly through Sully. The man was a hero for what he did and the committee was literally treating him like he may have gone senile or had a nervous breakdown. I thought that the film was very good, but not great. It felt like it was just cruising along for the most part and I felt that the landing should have been the focus point of the beginning of the film rather than starting with the investigation. If you never knew about the event, you might have been confused about the beginning of the film. Nonetheless, as I said it was a very good film, but if you plan on flying you may not want to watch this till afterwards. I am going to give the film a grade somewhere between an B+/A- because the acting was great and the story was good.

Day 91: Mystic River (2003)

Mystic-RiverOut of all the films that have been filmed in and round the city of Boston, Mystic River was one of those films that I had never seen before. I figured what better place then here and what better time than now to review the film with an amazing cast and director. Mystic River stars Sean Penn (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as Jimmy Markum, Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) as Dave Boyle, and Kevin Bacon (Footloose) as Sean Devine, three childhood friends who drifted apart after a tragic event in their childhood. Unfortunately, all three men will be reunited after it’s discovered that Jimmy’s daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) was brutally murdered. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne (Boyz N The Hood) as Det. Whitey Powers, Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist) as Celeste Boyle, Laura Linney (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) as Annabeth Markum, Kevin Chapman (Blow) as Val Savage, Tom Guiry (The Sandlot) as Brendan Harris, Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator) as Silent Ray Harris, Robert Wahlberg (The Departed) as Kevin Savage, Jenny O’Hara (The King Of Queens) as Esther Harris, Adam Nelson (The Abyss) as Nick Savage, Ari Graynor (For A Good Time, Call…) as Eve Pigeon, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby).

mr2This was an amazing film from Clint Eastwood, who seems to have never directed a bad one in his career. This is one of those films that will leave you speechless when you find out who the killer is because it’s one of those I should have seen that coming. The whole time, you are ready to throw one of the characters up sh** creek because you think for sure that he/she is guilty and then they throw a curve ball at you. That is truly what I love about movies like this, I don’t want it to be predictable. I want to think that I have the person and then be shocked when it’s revealed. As far as the acting is concerned, you have Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins all in one film. That alone should speak for itself as far as quality is concerned and then you throw in Laurence Fishburne and that is the cherry on top. If I had o pick an MVP of the film, It would be a toss up between Penn and Robbins, but there is one performance no one talks about. I think Marcia Gay Harden does a great job playing the wife who is all torn up inside as to what she should do regarding what she thinks she knows. That was a powerful performance as well from her in the film. The cinematography is in the film is great as it comes complete with some great shots of the city of Boston. It was a great movie overall and you can’t go wrong by picking this one up. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade. It was definitely a great film to close the month of March.