We only have so many days left in the year so I am trying to be selective about what films I choose for the challenge. For today’s film, I wanted to clean up my Netflix queue a little so I decided to watch the 1981 military drama Taps. Life at Bunker Hill Military Academy is business as usual with cadets coming in and cadets leaving to bigger and better things under the watchful eye of the acclaimed General Bache (George C. Scott). After being appointed the new Major, Cadet Major Moreland (Timothy Hutton) finds out that the school is going to be shut down in favor of condos. After an accidental shooting takes their beloved general away and speeds up the closing process, Moreland and the cadets take a stand and they take over the school. The film also stars Sean Penn (Mystic River) as Cadet Captain Dwyer, Tom Cruise (Top Gun) as Cadet Captain Shawn, Evan Handler (Sex And The City) as Edward West, Giancarlo Esposito (The Jungle Book) as Cadet Captain Pierce, Ronny Cox (RoboCop) as Colonel Kerby, Billy Van Zandt (Anything But Love) as Bug, Donald Kimmel (As Luck Would Have It) as Billy Harris, Wayne Tippit (Nurse Betty) as Master Sergeant Kevin Moreland, and the film was directed by Harold Becker (City Hall).
You know I often wonder if Tom Cruise and Sean Penn knew what kind of megastars they’d end up becoming during the 80’s. They are definitely two of my favorite actors to emerge from that decade along with some others. Timothy Hutton proves in this film that he can give some strong performances because he did in this one. They definitely captured the essence of what it means to be a kid who is forced to try and act like an adult in a world that when they step up for something, they are once again treated like children. That is definitely the eternal struggle for kids who were brainwashed that there are far worse things in life then death by a man who has known nothing other than that lifestyle. The great thing about this film is that it emulates war movies where in the beginning you are gung-ho about the battle at hand then when the film continues on, it starts showing scenes of war is hell as the soldiers begin to crack or in this case the cadets. I loved the cinematography in the film especially the final scene where you may be shocked by what happens or if you are like me you had an idea of what was about to happen. Sean Penn does such an amazing job in the film and I would consider it a stellar performance as well as Tom Cruise who plays that war monger character who is just inching to become Rambo. The film is available on Netflix like I said, but for right now I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
I have said this many times and I say it because it’s absolutely true. There are some instances where a film sneaks right by you and somehow later on you wonder why you’ve never seen it. That was definitely the case for today’s film which is the Los Angeles gang violence film Colors. Robert Duvall (Days Of Thunder) plays CRASH officer Bob Hodges, a man with one year left until he gets his pension from the LAPD. Sean Penn (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) plays hot shot CRASH rookie Danny McGavin who gets paired with Hodges after a gang member is murdered in a drive by. The two are on the streets as they try to investigate the murder while trying to keep gang violence between the Bloods and Crips to a low. The film also stars Maria Conchita Alonso (The Lords Of Salem) as Louisa Gomez, Randy Brooks (Reservoir Dogs) as Ron Delaney, Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) as Rocket, Damon Wayans (Major Payne) as T-Bone, Trinidad Silva (UHF) as Frog, Glenn Plummer (South Central) as High Top, Grand L. Bush (Lethal Weapon) as Larry, Gerardo Mejía (Can’t Buy Me Love) as Bird, Courtney Gains (Children Of The Corn) as Whitey, and the film was directed by Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider).
I know that the film is not really a coming of age movie, but I think that it’s a point that could be legitimately argued. Think about it for a second, what is the definition of coming of age? According to Google, “a coming-of-age story is a genre of literature and film that focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to adulthood (“coming of age”). Coming-of-age stories tend to emphasize dialogue or internal monologue over action, and are often set in the past.” While the film isn’t set in the past, you do see Sean Penn go in a s this hot shot rookie on the CRASH force who just wants to bust heads and kick ass. Then when the going gets a little tough and something happens to his partner, he begins to realize what he was doing wrong and he changes for the better. In my opinion, that could be a coming-of-age story. This was one of those films that was trying to show you just how bad things were in Los Angeles as we would eventually see Boyz N the Hood, South Central, Menace II Society, and so many more films that focused on the issues. Robert Duvall and Sean Penn were both equally amazing in the film as they were almost the perfect pair. The cinematography in this film was superb in my opinion as they captured some amazing shots of East LA and Los Angeles. I had to get used to the fact that Damon Wayans was in this movie, but the role was perfect for him as he played T-Bone who is basically a junkie. This is definitely a film that must have opened people’s eyes to what was going on in the world and the problem that is gang violence. I definitely recommend this one and that is why I am giving the film an A- for a final grade.
Out 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).
This 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.