I have never really been into films or film series that were based on teen book series like Twilight and so many more. Nonetheless, I thought that for the sake of this challenge that I would change my mind. So, I did that and for today’s film I watched The Hunger Games. In the world of Panem, there was once an uprising against the government, but when it became time for peace, an agreement was made and The Hunger Games was born. Every district has to give up one male and one woman who will compete in a game to the death that is televised. Afraid that her sister wouldn’t survive, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers herself into the competition, but she’ll have to learn to play the game if she wants to survive. The film also stars Stanley Tucci (Jury Duty) as Caesar Flickerman, Wes Bentley (American Beauty) as Seneca Crane, Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie) as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Haymitch, Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) as Peeta, Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Claudius Templesmith, Alexander Ludwig (Lone Survivor) as Cato, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2) as Gale Hawthorne, Donald Sutherland (MASH) as President Snow, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and the film was directed by Gary Ross (Big).
There is something to be said about these films that are taken from popular teen books because I enjoyed watching the Harry Potter films I watched and I even enjoyed this one. There catchy and when turned into films with great actors involved in it then they actually work. I liked the story of the film and I really liked the premise of it, but I did think it was a little log for my liking. The actual battle scenes are very cool, but there are points in the story that I could have done without. I do however understand that the scenes I could have done without were definitely needed for the drama aspect of the film. I thought the acting for the most part in the film was really good from everyone like Harrelson, Banks, Tucci, and Lawrence to name a few. The sets and costumes for the film were awesome and the way some of the people in the Capitol looked interesting. The film has an interesting concept of how the government controls everything from lack of food to how everyone must conform to their rules. It could kind of reflect certain societies for sure. Governments are always trying to figure out ways to control everything and this is definitely reflected in this one. I’m not completely positive if you’ll get another Hunger Games film for the challenge, but I’ll definitely check out the rest of the series. I a going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
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.
There are films out there that just grab you the minute you see a movie poster or a trailer. There are films out there that just strike a certain chord in your brain the right way that makes you interested like The Town and other films that have to do with bank heists. Today’s film, Triple 9 was definitely one of those that mad me want to see it. Triple 9 is about a gang that has former cops and dirty cops on its team that perform heists. After a heist is successful, these gang which is made up of the ringleader Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), ex-cop Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), dirty cops Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.) are put to the test one more time. They have to plan the murder of a cop in order to pull off the biggest heist they have ever performed. The film also stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as Chris Allen, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Jeffrey Allen, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as Russel Welch, Gal Gadot (Superman Vs Batman: Dawn Of Justice) as Elena Vlaslov, Kate Winslet (Labor Day) as Irina Vlaslov, Teresa Palmer (Take Me Home Tonight) as Michelle Allen, Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) as Sweat Pea, and the film was directed by John Hillcoat (Lawless).
Now I know you are wondering if the film lived up to the trailer or the movie poster? My simple answer to that question is an obvious yes, but how did it live up to it? First off, hats off to all the actors in the film because they did an amazing job as far as that department is concerned. It’s hard for me to choose one person as the MVP especially out of the four guys on the team plus Affleck and Harrelson. Although, I had a hard time buying Kate Winslet as a Russian Jewish Mobster especially with the accent, I am willing to look past it because the film was gritty and it was exactly what I wanted. They inserted the twists in the film just at the right spots so that you didn’t get bored with the film and they were plenty of scenes where you don’t see the particular action coming. If I had to compare this film with any other film out there, I would choose The Town just not as amazing as that one, but it’s up there. It’s basically The Town without bank robbers and with cops instead. The heists sequences are actually where the fun lays in this film because it’s an adrenaline rush as you sit wondering whether they can pull it off or not. One piece of criticism that I do have for the film is that it could have explained their relationships a little more and there are some scenes that could have been cut out. The only spoiler I can give you is that Norman Reedus (his character is bad ass) fans will leave disappointed. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade. Check it out in theaters all across America now.
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.