Day 357: He Got Game (1998)

hggOne of the greatest actors to come out of the 1990’s is Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) who is money when it comes to his films. He has a movie called Fences coming out on Christmas which is gaining a lot of critical acclaim, but to celebrate his career, I decided to check out He Got Game. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel)has been in jail for six years after the death of his wife which has forced his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (NBA Legend Ray Allen) to be the man of the house. You see Jesus is also an unbelievable basketball player for his high school who hasn’t made a decision as to where he wants to go or do after high school. Jake is given a chance to exit jail to try and convince his son to go to a certain school so that his sentence can be cut short. The film also stars Milla Jovovich (Zoolander 2) as Dakota Burns, Rosario Dawson (Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis) as Lala, Hill Harper (CSI: NY) as Booger, Zelda Harris (The Baby-Sitters Club) as Mary Shuttlesworth, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Warden Wyatt, Jim Brown (Mars Attacks) as Spivey, Joseph Lyle Taylor (The Dark Knight Rises) as Crudup, Bill Nunn (Spider-Man 3) as Uncle Bubba, John Turturro (The Color Of Money) as Coach Sunday, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster) as Big Time Willie, and the film was written and directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X).

he-got-gameThis was one of those films that you are kind of glad they only made one just because one of the main actors was kind of awful. The film’s story is actually a very good story that kind of takes a look into what happens when someone from a poor area has some talent and has to deal with vultures trying to get theirs. But as I said before, Ray Allen is kind of an awful actor who has his moments in the film, but is also one of those guys who shouldn’t have transitioned into films.Now Denzel on the other hand puts on one heck of a performance as he always does as a man who is desperate to get his son to sign, but he is also enjoying his time out of prison. He also touches other peoples lives to wake them up to realize their potentials or what they are missing out on. His interaction with Milla Jovovich are awesome as she plays a prostitute that he feels bad for in a way. The film features some gritty moments and plenty of T&A as one college tries to persuade him to come to their school. I can imagine that those things happened in real life and I am kind of mad I never took sport serious enough in high school. The ending of the film to me is a little rushed and it sort of doesn’t make sense to me in a way while in a way it does. It just seems a little too quick that he spends years hating his father, but forgives him what seems quick. It was a decent film that any basketball fan may enjoy. I am going to give a B+ only because Allen and some other performances bothered me a little. Enjoy the cameos in the film from NBA coaches and players like Dean Smith, Lute Olson, John Chaney, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, etc.

Advertisements

Day 308: Imperium (2016)

m-imperiumSome people say that when you become part of a franchise that is larger than life that it’s hard to escape the role you played in it. Some wondered if that would be Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) fate, but I beg to differ. That is why I chose to watch his new film Imperium for today’s movie. Nate Foster (Radcliffe) is a young FBI Agent who is looking to make some sort of impact in the office which means that he’s willing to do anything to make a name for himself. That is when opportunity strikes thanks to fellow FBI Agent Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) who tells him that a white supremacist group may be the problem. So Nate decides to go undercover and infiltrate the gang to figure out who has the chemical weapons. The film also stars Tracy Letts (The Big Short) as Dallas Wolf, Sam Trammell (The Fault In Our Stars) as Gerry Conway, Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight) as Agent Hernandez, Chris Sullivan (The Drop) as Andrew Blackwell, Seth Numrich (Macbeth Unhinged) as Roy, Pawel Szajda (Under The Tuscan Sun) as Vince, Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) as Morgan, Devin Druid (Disgrace) as Johnny, and the film was directed by Daniel Ragussis in his first feature length directorial debut. 

maxresdefault-1One thing that this film reminds you of is how easy it is to be ignorant, but how circumstances in life can drive you that way. It just shows you how disillusioned the youth can be and how easy it is to be hateful. What the film also does is show you how awesome Daniel Radcliffe has been post Harry Potter. The guy is an incredible actor and I have enjoyed just about every film that he’s been in since then. The film is pretty intense and Radcliffe does an amazing job of carrying that momentum throughout the film even giving us some suspenseful moments. The film had some really intense moments that were nail biting and Radcliffe was absolutely amazing as he made them even more thrilling with his acting ability. Toni Collette did a pretty good job in the film, but was she perfect? No, but she wasn’t really the star of the film. Besides that last sequence in the film, my favorite moment of the film was when Radcliffe’s character goes out into the woods with Andrew Blackwell and he is kind of confronted about his real identity. Just like so many undercover FBI films before it, the biggest thing you are wondering about when watching a film is whether there cover will be blown or not. You obviously have to watch for yourself for that answer, but I would recommend this film. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers or a fan of Radcliffe then pick this one up. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 263: The Finest Hours (2016)

finesthoursbar640You all definitely know by now that I love to watch films that are based on true stories especially when they have to do with where I am from. In 1952, the greatest rescue mission in Coast Guard history happened and it’s the subject for today’s film The Finest Hours. While at sea, an oil tanker called the USS Pendelton that wasn’t properly fixed splits in half leaving it’s crew to literally fight for their lives as they wait for rescue. Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) is a coast guard first mate who is looking to forget the events of the previous year. As he is about to get married to his fiance (Holliday Grainger), he is called out to sea along with Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) to rescue the ships crew members in an impossible mission. The film also stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as Ray Sybert, Eric Bana (Hulk) as Daniel Cluff, John Ortiz (The Drop) as Wallace Quirey, Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) as Frank Fauteux, Michael Raymond-James (Jack Reacher) as D.A. Brown, Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises) as Tchuda Southerland, Beau Knapp (The Nice Guys) as Mel Gouthro, and the film was directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl).

the-finest-hoursThis was truly an incredible film and an incredible story of testing the human limits and believing in yourself. The cinematography for the film was absolutely amazing even though at times you could tell that most of it was filmed on a soundstage. The one thing that I found funny about the film is that every spoke in a John Fitzgerald Kennedy Boston accent. Like the accents are as thick as you could possibly go as far as the time period is concerned, but maybe everyone spoke like that back then. Now as always, I try to look up what was fact and/or fiction about films that are said to be based on a true story. What was fact was that the USS Pendelton did have a crack in it and that even though it wasn’t properly fixed, it still somehow passed inspection. One of the big things that was fiction about the film is that Miriam was actually home sick with the flu the whole time this was going on. To read more about what was fact or fiction, click here. The caliber of actors that are in this film is absolutely incredible as well with guys like Ben Foster, Casey Affleck, Chris Pine, and so many more made this film great with their incredible acting. This truly is ana incredible film and story as I said above and one that if you love true stories, rescue type films, and history then you should see this. The film is available on Netflix as we speak and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 212: Sling Blade (1996)

slingI am trying to explore more and more titles from the past to watch that I have never seen that maybe had some critical acclaim. That is why I chose to watch today’s film Sling Blade which was written, directed, and stars Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa). Karl Childers is a mentally challenged individual who has spent most of his life inside of a metal institution because of the fact that he killed his mother and her lover when he was 12. When he is finally released because he was deemed well by the state, he is released into the real world where he befriends a child named Frank (Lucas Black) who lost his father. Watch as Karl tries to adjust to real world and all the challenges that it brings his way. The film also stars John Ritter (Bride Of Chucky) as Vaughn Cunningham, Robert Duvall (The Godfather) as Karl’s Dad, Dwight Yoakam (Panic Room) as Doyle Hargraves, J.T. Walsh (A Few Good Men) as Charles Bushman, Natalie Canerday (Walk The Line) as Linda Wheatley, James Hampton (The China Syndrome) as Jerry Woolridge, Brent Briscoe (The Dark Knight Rises) as Scooter, Christine Renee Ward (Tree) as Melinda, and Rick Dial (Crazy Heart) as Bill Cox.

sling_primaryThis is a very interesting film and an amazing performance from Billy Bob Thornton who subsequently won an Oscar fro Best Screenplay, but did not win the Best Actor award. It was crazy to see a young Lucas Black in the film, but he deserves a nod for doing a great job playing alongside Thornton. One of the the things I liked right off the bat from the film was when a couple of girls were going in to the hospital to interview Karl. They’re talking about how he’s a murderer and there’s J.T. Walsh talking about murdering a girl to Billy Bob Thornton tricking you into thinking that J.T. is the murderer the girls are talking about. There’s no action in the film, but there is plenty of drama and great acting. John Ritter does an amazing job playing a gay man in Arkansas who battles the fact that he isn’t socially accepted. Instead of being scared of Billy Bob Thornton’s character Karl, everyone seems to open up to him instead of Dwight Yoakam’s character who is the antagonist of the film. He’s the guy that represents everything that was wrong about Karl’s childhood and what set him off then. The ending is kind of shocking, but you understand why it happened and you kind of commend him for doing it. In a way he was saving the boy from a life of agony because it was right in his mind. I absolutely loved the film and I recommend watching it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 118: Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

maxresdefaultI thought for a very long time that I was the only person n the whole wide world that was waiting for some sort of sequel to the 1994 Richard Linklater (Boyhood) classic Dazed And Confused. Go 22 years into the future and now we have our spiritual sequel (Linklater has stated) to the classic film in Everybody Wants Some!! which takes place in the 1980’s (or at least the beginning of the decade). The film follows incoming freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) and his ragtag baseball teammates as they navigate through the life of college and everything that comes with it like partying, sex, and anything else you can think of as it’s all unsupervised by adults. Will they survive that three day weekend before classes start or will we have some casualties along the way. The film also stars Juston Street (My All American) as Jay, Ryan Guzman (The Boy Next Door) as Roper, Tyler Hoechlin (Road To Perdition) as McReynolds, Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street) as Willoughby, Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises) as Finnegan, Temple Baker (Love Is Relative) as Plummer, J. Quinton Johnson as Dale, Will Brittain (A Teacher) as Beuter, Austin Amelio (The Walking Dead) as Nesbit, and Zoey Deutch (Dirty Grandpa) as Beverly.

everybody-wants-some-austin-amelio-tanner-kalina-forrest-vickery-tyler-hoechlin-ryan-guzmanFor a while as I was watching the film, I had a hard time figuring out what the plot of the film was. Was this a film that was just about partying? Dazed And Confused had a plot to it that was easy to get while this one just seems like a movie about endless partying and gamesmanship. Then after a while, it became clear as soon as I read IMDB’s explanation. One thing is for certain with this film is that just like the first film, it has a killer soundtrack that features the likes of Foreigner, Devo, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Pat Benatar, and so many more. The soundtrack was always a huge part of the film and they do a terrific job picking the songs once again as it mixes some disco with rock and a little country too. Another thing Linklater has a knack for when it comes these films is discovering young talent to go with the already established guys. There are a lot of guys who make their feature film debuts in this film and they do a great job. One of the true highlights for me was Juston Street who plays an absolute awesome comedic relief as a pitcher who takes himself way too seriously. Every time he appeared on screen, I was laughing my butt off and couldn’t get enough of him. I like how the film ended however cause it was kind of a nice way to end the adventure that was the film. One thing I will say is what they hell were they thinking in the 80’s when it came to their outfits and those short shorts guys wore? Anyways, I am going to give the film an A- only because it doesn’t top Dazed And Confused, but it was very enjoyable to watch.

Day 110: Legend (2015)

download-legend-hd-torrent-1It just dawned on me that I chose a film that is based on a true story and it’s Tuesday. You may be asking what is the significance of that and it’s because I used to do a blog piece called Based On A Truesday Story (play on the words True and Tuesday) for my other blog. Nevertheless, I chose the biopic Legend which stars Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) as both legendary London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The film follows the rise and fall of the most notorious British gangsters in history during their run in the 1960’s from the east end of London told through the perspective of Francis Shea (Emily Browning), Reggie’s wife who witnessed almost it all. The film also stars Paul Anderson (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) as Albert Donoghue, Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World) as Nipper Read, Colin Morgan (The Living And The Dead) as Frank Shea, Tara Fitzgerald (Exodus: Gods And Kings) as Mrs. Shea, Adam Fogerty (Snatch) as Pat Connolly, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Mad Teddy Smith, Shane Attwooll (Kingdom Of Heaven) as George Cornell, Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale) as Angelo Bruno, and the film was directed by Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale).

legend-2015b-880x320I have been dying to see this film since the moment I had heard about it and thanks to Redbox, I finally had my chance to view it. I am certainly glad that I did because the film further proves how much acting ability Tom Hardy has and that he is here to stay. For the whole entire film, we are told that Reggie is the normal one and that Ronnie is the one off his rocker. There is a scene at the end where Reggie just snaps and he doesn’t act like how he usually does. Ronnie looks at him and questions why he did it and says he wouldn’t have handled it that way almost making you believe that maybe he isn’t the crazy one anymore. That is until Reggie answers his question and it all makes sense that he was driven to his level. While the film is very good and it met my expectations, I do feel however that it was a little long at times (even though it’s only 2 hours long). The real catch about this film is the acting which is superb from not only Hardy, but from his co-stars Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, etc as they all did an amazing job. The sets were amazing as you felt you were in the east end of London in the 1960’s and the costumes were great too. The film is your typical gangster true story film where it makes them look bad ass while also making them look vulnerable as well. Like all true stories, there is the downfall because not everyone stays at the top. This is definitely a film that is worth checking out if you are a fan of Tom Hardy, British films, and gangster movies. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 77: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

maze-runner-scorch-trials-movie-poster-2015-stills-brenda-cranksI usually do not like to watch films that are based off of teen novels, but I broke that rule with the Divergent series and The Maze Runner. The Maze Runner is one of those Teen series that after seeing the first film I was very impressed so for today’s film we checked out Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The Scorch Trials once again features our group featuring Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Winston (Alexander Flores), and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), but this time around they are rescue and make it to a new facility after escaping the maze. The only problem is that Thomas discovers that there is something wrong with this new facility and he decides to escape and take his chances in the scorch all in search for a group called The Right Arm. The film also stars Jacob Lofland (Mud) as Aris, Rosa Salazar (Insurgent) as Brenda, Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects) as Jorge, Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island) as Ava Paige, Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises) as Janson, Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) as Mary, Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) as Vince, Katherine McNamara (New Year’s Eve) as Sonya, Nathalie Emmanuel (Furious 7) as Harriet, Alan Tudyk (Wreck-It Ralph) as Blondie, and the film was directed by Wes Ball (The Maze Runner).

giphyOne of my issues with the film and it isn’t that big of an issue, but it jumps between genres throughout the whole film. We get a little sci-fi with some alien looking creatures and humans being harvested for their blood before they start to get attacked by zombies. Then its all set in a post apocalyptic world like in Mad Max or The Day After Tomorrow. Even though it may seem like I am complaining about those things, the set design was actually one of my favorite things about the film. The mall buried in sand or the decimated city that they have to navigate through is pretty cool. The film itself has it’s moments of brilliance, but sometimes it has it’s moments of dullness. There are times where the film just feels like it’s dragging and you are wondering when it’s all going to end. The action when it happens can be pretty cool as well and there is plenty of it in this film, but there are some elements of the film that are just predictable. There is one moment in the film that when it happened, I thought to myself that I should have seen it coming. Was the second entry in the series better than the first? To honestly answer that question, I would have to say that I felt the first one was better than this one. They added more as far as visuals are concerned, but there was just too many moments that dragged in my opinion. They are making the next film in the series, so stay tuned for that when it happens. I know I’ll be there to watch it. I am going to give Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials an B+ for a final grade.