A couple of weeks ago, they celebrated 25 years since the invention and launch of the internet which was the day society went forwards and backwards. The film I chose for today deals with computers, but in the form of Hackers. Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) plays Dade Williams, a kid who was arrested as a child for creating the biggest computer crash in history. He was banned from using computers until he hit the age of 18. Unfortunately, he gets pulled back into the world of hacking when a friend (Jesse Bradford) uncovers a sinister plot to steal money and blame hackers for the crime. So, Dade and his friends, will get together to try and stop an evil hacker before they are all arrested and put away for good. The film also stars Angelina Jolie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) as Kate, Matthew Lillard (She’s All That) as Cereal, Laurence Mason (The Crow) as Nikon, Renoly Santiago (Con Air) as Phreak, Fisher Stevens (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Plague, Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas) as Margo, Wendell Pierce (The Gift) as Agent Dick Gill, Marc Anthony (Carlito’s Way) as Agent Ray, Darren Lee (Chicago) as Razor, Peter Y. Kim (Louie) as Blade, and the film was directed by Iain Softley (K-Pax).
This was such a typical 90’s film with all the aesthetics from the soundtrack, the shots, the montages with non related computer language going across the screen, etc. The computers they used in the film are so lame looking. Some of them looked like the small portable DVD players you can buy in the stores and others like bigger screened Gameboys. Artistically and stylistically it’s such a 90’s film, but it’s cool because we got some great movies from the 90’s and this is obviously one of them. It’s crazy to see Angelina Jolie in this movie with short hair (she looks sexy), but she was amazing along with her husband at the time (or after the film) Jonny Lee Miller. They definitely played a great onscreen duo because there was chemistry. I usually have a hard time taking Fisher Stevens seriously as a villain, but I feel that this film was tailor made for him. He was the perfect villain for the hacker heroes of the time. You also have to look at the people that starred in this film like Matthew Lillard (who would go on to star in Scream) and Jesse Bradford (who would go on to star in Romeo + Juliet) who was one of my favorite characters because he’s so desperate to belong among the hackers that he causes the dilemma in the first place. If you’re into checking out the 90’s scene which included outrageous attire that I wouldn’t dare touch then check out Hackers. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
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
There are times when you have too many movies to watch that you miss one at the cinema every now and again. Today’s film, Jane Got A Gun is certainly an example of a film that didn’t last long at the box office and I missed my chance to see it then. Jane (Natalie Portman) is trying to live her life like any normal woman in post civil war New Mexico with her husband and daughter. Things get very complicated for Jane when her husband returns home with several gunshot wounds from a past that has finally caught up to them. In order to protect her injured husband and make a stand, Jane will enlist the help of an ex-lover (Joel Edgerton) to help against the man bringing all the havoc. The film also stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) as John Bishop, Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show) as Bill Hammond, Boyd Holbrook (A Walk Among The Tombstones) as Vic Owen, Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise Of An Empire) as Fitchum, James Burnett (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails) as Cunny Charlie, Sam Quinn (Transcendence) as Slow Jeremiah, Alex Manette (Lee Daniels The Butler) as Buck, Jenny Gabrielle (Employee Of The Month) as Whore, and the film was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Pride And Glory).
I want to start this off by saying that Joel Edgerton is becoming one of my favorite actors in Hollywood. I have yet to be disappointed by anything that he has put out whether it was a film he strictly starred in or had something to do with the story, etc. Joel Edgerton was one of the screenwriters for this film and I have to say that it’s kind of an unorthodox western in which the back story is being told while the story is unfolding. One thing that I thought was cool was that I had no idea that Ewan McGregor was in the film and he is the antagonist of the film. He does such a great job playing the villain in the film and in fact I thought everyone from Portman to even a person with a minor role did a fantastic job. The last western I watched didn’t make the top 25, but this one definitely has a chance because I liked everything about it. The difference between westerns today versus the days of Eastwood and such is that the kills look a lot more realistic with the abilities we have now. The story structures and the subplots are all the same as they were before, but now they get a little more creative. To make the story even more of a happy ending, they throw a little twist at the end that was a little lame (I’ll admit), but it didn’t bother me at all. The film is available at Redbox now so if you love westerns then give this one a chance. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.
I never got the chance back in the day to check out the film Smokin’ Aces which looked like a bad ass movie. That is until today and that is why I am presenting it to you guys as today’s challenge film. Buddy Israel (Jeremy Piven) was a wannabe gangster Las Vegas performer who decides to turn snitch for the FBI against a rival crime family. Now he needs protection because a hit has been put on his life to make sure that he never gets the chance to snitch. The hitmen are coming from everywhere and anywhere to try and collect on it, but the FBI has to get to him to get him out before the hitmen come. The film also stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as Richard Messner, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) as Donald Carruthers, Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpion King) as Primo Sparazza, Ben Affleck (Dogma) as Jack Dupree, Peter Berg (Collateral) as “Pistol” Pete Deeks, Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Hollis, Common (Run All Night) as Sir Ivy, Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III) as Stanley Locke, Alicia Keys as Georgia, Taraji P. Henson (Date Night) as Sharice, Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Darwin Tremor, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Jeeves Tremor, Tommy Flanagan (Sons Of Anarchy) as Lazlo, Joel Edgerton (The Gift) as Hugo, and so many more.
This movie has a wild and crazy collection of a cast that includes a mix of 80’s, 90’s, and the stars of today all rolled into one awesome cast. Matthew Fox plays the head of security of the casino/hotel, Jason Bateman plays a weird lawyer, Curtis Armstrong who played Booger in Revenge Of The Nerds is in this movie as well. Chris Pine plays an insane character who belongs in a Mad Max movie which shows you how over the top insane and awesome this film was. One thing is for certain, you never have to question Jeremy Piven and his performance because he is a top notch actor that delivers. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t really open up in the film until the last half of the film, but when he does he also delivers. He certainly does in this film as a drugged out paranoid wannabe mob boss. The action in the film at one point becomes non stop as double crosses and hots just keep coming. I will say one thing if you have never seen the movie you may think it’s over at one point, but the ending of the film may shock you. There is a lot that is revealed and of course I will not spoil it for any of you. I really liked this movie and I have to be honest and say that I went into it with no expectations and it paid off. It was tough to decide a grade for this film because it lies on the B+/A- border and that’s how I’ll keep it.
For today’s film, I chose a film that had a lot of buzz back in the time that it was released in 2015, but I never had the chance to see it then till now. Joel Edgerton (Warrior) pulls triple duty for The Gift which he wrote, directed, and starred in. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved from Chicago to LA to try and start a new life in a new setting. One day the couple run into an old acquaintance of Simon’s named Gordo (Edgerton) who randomly starts bringing the couple gifts. One of those gifts is that he unwraps a secret from 20 years before that is going to affect Simon’s relationship with Robyn for the worst as details start to unravel. The film also stars Allison Tolman (Krampus) as Lucy, Tim Griffin (Star Trek) as Kevin, Busy Phillips (White Chicks) as Duffy, Adam Lazarre-White (War Of The Worlds) as Ron, Wendell Pierce (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2) as Det. Mills, Beau Knapp (Southpaw) as Det. Walker, Nash Edgerton (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Frank Dale, and Mirrah Foulkes (Sleeping Beauty) as Wendy Dale.
First of all I have to start this paragraph with how much I enjoyed Joel Edgerton’s performance as Gordo the Weirdo (That is what Bateman’s character calls him). At times, he seems as innocent as can be then there are times where he can start to look really weird. What I can tell you is that the twist in the end is something I should have seen coming, but I didn’t. I am obviously not going to give away what the twist is just in case you were looking to watch the film. Jason Bateman is as brilliant as usual as he delivers a serious performance as the manipulative Simon. Rebecca Hall does great as well as the woman who begins to put the pieces together when she cannot get the answers from the one source she needs. The film has suspense at times during the film, but it really starts to kick into overdrive in the last 10 minutes of the film. I however did enjoy the writing because the story was pretty solid in my opinion and the filmmaking aspect of the film was solid as well. Joel Edgerton did a pretty good job for someone who was directing his first feature length film and the overall aesthetic/tones of the film was dark. I am starting to see the maybe Hollywood is starting to go with more original ideas which gives me hope for filmmaking. I enjoyed the film, you know exactly what you’re getting when you watch it. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.