Every now and again a good sci-fi film is always in order and it seems that every year a critical acclaimed one comes out. Then there re those films that garner so much buzz because of a 100% (97 at the moment) rating on Rotten Tomatoes like today’s film in the Arrival. Louise Baker (Man Of Steel’s Amy Adams) is a Linguistics professor at a local college whose life is ordinary until they show up. When I say they, I mean these 12 strange alien pods that appear in 12 different locations around the world. Naturally, the first thing we want to do is find out why they are here and if they want to destroy us. So, Louise will lead a team an elite team of investigators with her into the ships to try and figure out their language in order to try and communicate with them. The film also stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ian Donnelly, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Halpern, Forrest Whitaker (Taken 3) as Colonel Weber, Tzi Ma (The Ladykillers) as General Shang, Mark O’Brien (The Last Tycoon) as Captain Marks, Abigail Pniowsky (Channel Zero) as Eight Year Old Hannah, Max Walker (I’m Not There) as Private Miller, and the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario).
Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. This is one of those films that you may leave the theater either wondering how it received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or what the hell just happened? The whole film they are trying to figure out why they are here and we are watching as she decodes the language. They eventually get to a point where the Aliens have told them that they have given them a weapon or a gift. Now they and you are wondering just what is the weapon or gift that they are speaking of? When it hits you eventually at the end, you are like what kind of gift is that and why is she the only one to receive it? You are also led to believe in the film that she has had a daughter and she passed away, but this gift she receives at the end will distort what is reality at this point. I left the theater confused with all of these questions and that kind of bothered me because I was really enjoying the film up to that point. The cinematography is incredible and the way they mess with your depth perception at one point with the cameras is killer. Amy Adams is masterful in the film as well as all the others in it and it’s a pretty good story. It’s just that the ending is a little confusing and doesn’t make any sense to me. This may be one of those films that you may have to see twice. The aliens were OK looking as they looked giant octopuses with hand like tentacles, but they look like a human hand pretending that there hand is a creature walking. This is a tough one to grade because of the fact that while I enjoyed it, the ending bothered me. Therefore, I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade right now unless I change my mind.
For today’s film, I chose to watch a western because of the love my father has for the original American folklore that is Westerns. Not to mention that the film stars Scott Eastwood (Fury) who is the son of legendary Western actor Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays Civil War vet Jackson, a man with a lot of skeletons in his closet. Nevertheless, he is sent on a crazy journey as his wife was kidnapped by Mexicans so it is up to him to try and save her before it’s too late. Although, the journey to save his wife is going to prove to be more dangerous than he expected. The film also stars Walton Goggins (House Of 1000 Corpses) as Ezra, Camilla Belle (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) as Alexsandra, Adam Beach (Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser) as Nakoma, Samuel Marty (Fargo) as Ishani, José Zúñiga (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) as Guillermo, Tzi Ma (The Lady Killers) as Quok Mi, Joaquim de Almeida (Clear And Present Danger) as Arturo, Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) as Benjamin Carver, Greg Lawson (The Legend Of Butch And Sundance) as Timothy, Yaniv Bercovitz (Rude Boy-The Movie) as Jeremiah, and the film was directed by Lawrence Roeck (The Forger).
I wanted to go into the film thinking that it was going to be one heck of a western only because of who Scott Eastwood’s father was. The sad fact is that no one will ever be Clint Eastwood again in the world of Westerns. Now by me saying that doesn’t necessarily mean that I hated the movie, it’s quite the contrary. I call it the tale of two different films and what I mean by that is that the first half of the film is actually quite boring and a little confusing. They go through scenes without really explaining much and characters all of sudden disappear and such. The second half of the film is when it gets really good because your perception of Scott Eastwood’s character drastically changes and he becomes more bad ass than before. Walter Goggins plays a very vital role in this film especially when it has to do with Eastwood’s character and all will be revealed when you watch the film for yourself. Goggins does a terrific job in the film playing what you believe to be the antagonist of the film until the film goes all Fight Club on us. And I don’t mean soap bars, fights, and Brad Pitt when I say that, but you’ll see what I mean. Like I said, if you’re expecting cool lines and action like a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western then turn around now, but you’ll have to want to watch the whole film to get to the good parts. I thought it was an OK film which is why I am going to give the film an B-/C+ for a final grade. It’s borderline between the two grades.
I have decided after seeing what a friend was doing with his challenge that I would rate the month of February as far as the films I watched. So, I have decided to list my top 25 films of each month and we are starting with the month of February. 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, 31, and this year February has 29 days. So, some films are unfortunately left behind and I will tell you that The Witch, Sharknado 3, The Punisher, and Black Mama, White Mama are left off the list. I’m not really going to explain why, but rather just show what my top 25 was. So, here is the list:
25. Jem And The Holograms
24. Freaks Of Nature
23. Good Guys Wear Black
22. The Other Woman
21. The Ladykillers
20. The Visit
19. The Last Witch Hunter
18. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
17. The Transporter Refueled
16. The November Man
14. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
13. Johnny Dangerously
12. Johnny Got His Gun
11. Triple 9
9. Reservoir Dogs
8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
7. Friday Night Lights
6. The Fifth Element
4. The Dark Crystal
3. Cinderella Man
2. The Good Dinosaur
I don’t know how to follow up the amazing Deadpool since that was the best film viewed yet, but we’ll have to try. I continued down the comedy road and chose a film by the world famous Coen Brothers (Fargo). The film is called The Ladykillers and it stars the amazing Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) as Professor G.H. Dorr PHd, a smooth talking eccentric southern man who is looking to take advantage of an old woman named Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall) because her property lies within his master plan. You see, Dorr wants to rob a Casino boat, but in order to do that, he has to build a tunnel underground that leads to the casino with a rather unlikely team and pose as a classical duo in the meantime to fool the old lady. The film also stars Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie) as Gawain, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as Garth Pancake, Tzi Ma (Rush Hour) as The General, Ryan Hurst (Remember The Titans) as Lump Hudson, Diane Delano (The Wicker Man) as Mountain Girl, George Wallace (Funny People) as Sheriff Wyner, Stephen Root (Office Space) as Fernand Gudge, Jason Weaver (Drumline) as Weemack, and Walter K. Jordan (Life) as Elron.
I didn’t know going into the film that it was a remake and with that being said I’d actually like to see the original version. The film isn’t super amazing, but it’s actually pretty decent and at times it’s funny. The part that is funny to me is the fact that these are five guys who have really no business being a team and it shows throughout the film. You want to talk about a motley crew, these are definitely them. You have a punk wannabe street thug, a demolitions expert with a bad case of IBS, a Vietnamese general with a smoking habit, and a jock whose dumber than a box of rocks. That is where the real comedy in this film lies and it once it gets towards the last 20 minutes of the film is when it gets really good as it all falls apart. The soundtrack to the film is actually pretty good as it mixes some gospel music with music like The Nappy Roots, and so much more. It was also supervised by T Bone Burnett who you may remember for O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I definitely think it’s a film that is worth checking out if you are a fan of Tom Hanks, The Coen Brothers, and T Bone Burnett. Marlon Wayans was definitely the comedic relief of the film, but Hanks provides some himself. I am going to give The Ladykillers an B for a final grade.