The world of Harry Potter is definitely one that is interesting and that’s only having seen just two films. When I had heard that they were making a film about a book that Harry contained called Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, I had to see and it’s today’s film. In 1926, wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) decided that he wanted to travel to New York to let go of a friend that belonged there. Things get complicated when he bumps into a no-maj (a muggle) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) which in turn sees some of the beasts in Newt’s suitcase get set free into New York. Now it’s up to them and two other wizards to try and find these magical creatures before the council finds out, but they stumble upon something more sinister along the way. The film also stars Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Tina, Alison Sudol (Between Us) as Queenie, Ezra Miller (Suicide Squad) as Creedence, Samantha Morton (John Carter) as Mary Lou, Colin Farrell (Daredevil) as Graves, Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy) as Shaw Sr., Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) as Gnarlack, Josh Cowdery (Godzilla) as Senator Shaw, Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty Barebone, Jenn Murray (Brooklyn) as Chastity Barebone, and the film was directed by David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).
First off, I just wanted to say that if you are a fan of Harry Potter then you are absolutely going to love this film because I loved it. The film features some great writing, amazing special effects, and some amazing acting from everyone especially Colin Farrell, Eddie Redmayne, and even Dan Fogler. It’s hard to just choose a few because everyone was amazing in the film. What I can say is that there is definitely too many people to mention which is why I only chose three. We could go on forever talking about the rest of them. There is a reveal at the end of the film that will either shock you or you cheated and went to IMDB and you are no longer surprised. Either way when you see it, you’ll be instantly excited. I almost fell out of my seat when I saw the surprise. The creatures were great and there were a lot of funny moments to go along with the cute moments (especially the Niffler who has a habit of stealing) from all the creatures. This is definitely a great origin story and they make various references to Hogwarts and even Dumbledore and that has me excited to see exactly what the future holds in store for this amazing wizard world. I know I am going to be glued to the news to see and hopefully after you see this, you’ll feel the same as me. I am going to go ahead and give the film an A for a final grade because it deserved it.
There was really no science to how I picked the film for today other than the fact that Encore was playing it and it featured Sally Field (Forrest Gump) and Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys). The name of the film that I chose for today is the crime drama Eye For An Eye. For Karen McCann (Field) everything in life is as normal as can be with a loving and devoted husband (Ed Harris) and some great kids. Her life is torn upside down when repeat felon Robert Doob (Sutherland) rapes and murders her daughter Julie (Olivia Burnette) and he gets away with scot-free by a technicality. To cope with the pain and the fact that he is a free man, she will will resort to taking self defense lessons and gun training to get some vengeance, but can she go through with it. The film also stars Alexandra Kyle (A Time To Kill) as Megan McCann, Joe Mantegna (Baby’s Day Out) as Det. Sgt. Denillo, Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation) as Dolly Green, Charlayne Woodard (The Crucible) as Angel Kosinsky, Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty) as Sidney Hughes, Keith David (Men At Work) as Martin, Wanda Acuna (Encino Man) as Hispanic Housewife, and the film was directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy).
The MVP of the film, without a shadow of a doubt, was the performance from Kiefer Sutherland who made a career of playing different types of roles. He was so amazing in this film that he had me really believe that he was some twisted whack job that gets off on raping and killing his victims. The only thing that kind of bothered me is that his character seemed real out of place like he belonged more in the south then where ever the heck they were from. Sally Field also does a tremendous job of playing the mother with so much guilt that it plagues her very existence. The film has some very weird moments in it that are just creepy like Kiefer’s character talking to the youngest daughter at her school or when he spies on his victims. I can’t believe that the film is already twenty years old as it came out in January of 1996. The film I believe was advertised as a vigilante film, but it’s really not that. It’s more of a thriller where you left wondering if he’ll catch her, etc. I think that is why the film had such negative reviews back in the day and why it holds an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the film a lot just because of the two performances and such as I described above. I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.
In the 70’s and 80’s, there was no one bigger in the world of stand up and comedy than the legendary Richard Pryor (The Toy). That is why for today’s film I chose to watch a film from late in his career in Critical Condition. Kevin Lennihan (Pryor) is kind of a con man, but more of a Bullsh** artist if you ask me. One day as he was going to ask a mobster for a loan, he is framed alongside the mobster in a jewel smuggling scheme which sends him to jail. After faking that he is insane, he is sent to a psych ward at a hospital for them to evaluate him to tell if he’s insane or not. One night during a major storm, he is mistaken in the hospital for a doctor and he has to BS his way out of it. The film also stars Bob Saget (Full House) as Dr. Joffe, Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall) as Rachel, Rubén Blades (Fear The Walking Dead) as Louis, Joe Mantegna (Baby’s Day Out) as Chambers, Bob Dishy (Don Juan Demarco) as Dr. Foster, Sylvia Miles (Midnight Cowboy) as Nurse Lesser, Randall “Tex” Cobb (The Golden Child) as Box, Joe Dallesandro (Flesh For Frankenstein) as Stucky, and the film was directed by Michael Apted (Enough).
This was definitely an interesting film to say the least, but it’s one that I felt was a little all over the place. At first I thought we were going to get a film that was about him trying to prove that he is insane, but then it turns into a film where he’s trying to get by pretending to be a doctor hoping that no one will catch him. I have to be honest in saying that the best part of the film is when he becomes the doctor because you can kind of see the brilliance that was Richard Pryor come out on screen. There is the awful cast rapping scene, the helicopter scene, and even the scene where he’s is negotiating with the drug addicts that was pretty good. Some of my favorite scenes also took place in the psych ward, but it as scenes without Pryor in them. They really gave Mantegna and Cobb the spotlight during those scenes as Mantegna’s character is trying to negotiate his way out of there. I have to admit as well that Bob Saget really held his own in this film as he has some memorable moments and if you look you’ll notice a young Wesley Snipes as an ambulance driver. Of all the Pryor films that I have seen (which is not a lot) this is definitely not my favorite one. I am not saying that it was a bad film, but it’s probably just one that once was enough for me. I am going to give the film an B-/C+ for a final grade. It’s somewhere between those two.
So, I have been ranking the top 25 for each month in the challenge and I am about to up the ante by ranking the top 25 films of the first quarter of 2016. That is right, I am going to rank the top 25 films of the first quarter which means all the films from January up to April which makes it the first quarter of the year. Just in case you were wondering what didn’t make the list, well it’s simple, it’s whatever movies are not listed in this list. There are some films that are still the clear cut top films and some that may surprise you. Check it out below:
25. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
23. Cinderella Man
22. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
20. Kingsman: The Secret Service
17. The Hateful Eight
16. The Dark Crystal
15. Midnight Cowboy
14. The Gift
13. The Fifth Element
12. Bridge Of Spies
11. City Of God
10. The Good Dinosaur
7. Alice In Wonderland
4. Mystic River
2. The Jungle Book
It is that time again since march is now in the books that I have to rate what I believed to be the top 25 films of March. To remind you, I will look at all the films I watched and I will rate them from 25 to 1 with one obviously being my favorite film of that particular month. At the end of the year I will rate the top 25 of the year if I make it to that point and hopefully I do. Obviously there are films that are left behind from the list considering some months have 30 and 31 days, we had to leave six films out because of the 3 days in March. The films that were left out were Taken 3, Hot Bot, Hell And Back, Bulworth, Johnny Mnemonic, and Diablo. Here is the top 25 for the month of March:
25. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
23. All The Right Moves
22. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
21. IP Man: The Final Fight
20. Pee Wee’s Big Holiday
19. Smokin Aces
18. 10 Cloverfield Lane
17. Sucker Punch
16. The Jacket
15. The Night Before
14. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
13. IP Man
12. IP Man 2
11. Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
10. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I
09. The Big Lebowski
07. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
06. Midnight Cowboy
05. Bridge Of Spies
03. City Of God
01. Mystic River
I figured since I watched a film that had an Oscar winner in it yesterday, I would do the same for today. The film I chose for today, Midnight Cowboy, won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay in the 1970 Oscars. The film stars Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible) as Texan Joe Buck and Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) as New Yorker Ratso. For Joe Buck, he has this idea that he’s too big in the hustling game for Texas and so he decides to move to New York to better his hustling game. For Ratso, things can’t get any worse for this New Yorker and he’s had enough of the big city so all he wants to do is move to Florida. Together, the two of them will form a very unlikely bond as they try to survive the streets of New York. The film also stars Sylvia Miles (Wall Street) as Cass, John McGiver (Breakfast At Tiffany’s) as O’Daniel, Brenda Vaccaro (Zorro: The Gay Blade) as Shirley, Jennifer Salt (American Horror Story) as Annie, Barnard Hughes (TRON) as Towny, Viva (The Man Without A Face) as Gretel McAlbertson, and the film was directed by John Schlesinger (The Falcon And The Snowman).
The first thing that should sell you on the film is the fact that Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight star in the film. The second thing about this film that should sell you is that for 1969, it definitely pushed the boundaries of what was seen on film. Jon Voight has a sexual act performed on him by a man in the film and is the most unluckiest hustler or the worst. Both Voight and Hoffman lost the Oscar for Best Leading Actor to the duke John Wayne even though they deserved it after watching this. Dustin Hoffman has one of the best performances I have seen in a long time and his transformation was Oscar worthy. First of all, he sells that he’s this low down in the dumps New Yorker and he looks like he hasn’t showered in months. What more could you possibly want from the man? We are always led to believe that is what you have to do if you want to win an Oscar. Meanwhile, Jon Voight plays this clean cut cowboy in the big city who is a little naive because he’s not used to the hustle and bustle of the big city. I am not going to give away the ending of the film, but it’s kind of sad and bittersweet. I totally didn’t see it coming, but that is what I loved about it too. The film is gritty and it features a cool segment where they are at a Warhol party. This is classic cinema at it’s best and definitely a film worth watching if you are trying to be a cinephile. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.