Whenever there are movies released that feature Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition), I tend to flock to the local theater to see it because he’s amazing. That was definitely the case for today’s film when I saw that he was starring in the film Nocturnal Animals. Amy Adams (The Arrival) plays art gallery owner Susan Morrow, a woman with too much on her mind who is haunted by her wrongdoings to her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal). 20 years after she left him, he delivers a book for her to read and she soon realizes that it symbolically represents their past relationship in a very twisted way. The story in the book follows a man whose wife and child are abducted, raped, and killed and he seeks revenge for what has happened to them. The film also stars Michael Shannon (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice) as Bobby Andes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ray Marcus, Ilsa Fisher (The Brothers Grimsby) as Laura Hastings, Ellie Bamber (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies) as India Hastings, Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Hutton Morrow, Karl Glusman (The Neon Demon) as Lou, Robert Aramayo (Game Of Thrones) as Turk, Laura Linney (Sully) as Anne Sutton, Michael Sheen (Alice In Wonderland) as Carlos, and the film was directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man).
Spoiler Alert: There may be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. First of all the film starts off with an uncomfortable sequence of heavily obese women dancing naked and I get it it’s art and that we shouldn’t judge, but it’s just hard to watch. After that, it’s smooth sailing through the rest of the film that is just absolutely amazing and so well written. There is nudity from now and again, but it’s almost in an artistic way and if you love red heads like me then you love this film. Then there is the performances int he film that are just all around amazing from no matter who. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does an amazing job playing a West Texas creep while Michael Shannon plays the detective who will go to any lengths to get his man because he’s dying anyways. Amy Adams is absolutely terrific in the film as this woman who realizes that everything in the book is symbolic of what happened in her life. That is what I loved about the film because the further it goes, the more you realize how connected everything is even though it may not seem that way. For one the story is about a rape and murder of a wife and child and it’s a reflection of their time together. The cinematography is amazing with the different tones that are incorporated into the film and just the overall scenery which becomes a part of the story. This may be one of my favorite films of the year and another Gyllenhaal film that I absolutely loved. I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.
There are certain actors in Hollywood that when you see their name attached to a film, it’s more than likely that you’re going to pick it up. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) is definitely one of those actors and hence the reason I chose A Hologram For The King for today’s film. Alan (Hanks) is a failed US salesman that made the ultimate mistake with one company in his past. Things are falling apart for Alan as he is going through a divorce, he has to find a way to pay for college for his daughter, and he has a small lump on his back. In a last ditch effort, he goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present a new technology to the king in hopes that it will save him. What he actually finds there is not what he expected when he took the chance. The film also stars Alexander Black (Tim) as Yousef, Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1) as Zahra, Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke Of Burgundy) as Hanne, Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said) as Kit, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Ron, David Menkin (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Brad, Christy Meyer (Snowden) as Cayley, Megan Maczko (The In-Between) as Rachel, Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) as Hassan, Amira El Sayed (Schleierhaft) as Hana, and the film was directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
Before I get into the review of the film, the one thing that I want to get out of the way is that I loved the cinematography. Yes, there is a lot of amazing shots of the desert and what not, but one of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the film. There is a scene where Tom Hanks is underwater and it just looks absolutely amazing. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critic consensus is, “A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.” I would have to agree with the critics because it is a rather enjoyable ride through a culture shock. You see Tom Hank’s character grow from someone who doesn’t know the customs of the culture to eventually someone who understands the way their world works. He has to travel around the red tape and navigate his way through their world, but he gets the job done. One of the relationships I loved seeing in the film was the bond of friendship that developed between Alan and his driver Yousef. It starts off a little shaky because Alan just treats him like a crazy driver, but the relationship that soon develops is great and full of comedic gold. One of my other favorite aspects from the film is the soundtrack believe it or not. It features music from The Talking Heads, Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra, and more courtesy of Yousef for the most part (minus The Talking Heads track, that seems to be the overall theme of the film). I really enjoyed watching the film and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Hanks. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
In the war between DC and Marvel Comics, I would go as far as saying that DC had the upper hand in the animated film market. That is why for today’s film, I decided to check out the animated film Son Of Batman which came out in 2014. Ra’s al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito), the leader of the League of Assassins, is training his heir to the league when the compound comes under attack by an old disciple by the name of Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson). After escaping the attack, Talia al Ghul ( Morena Baccarin) brings her son to Gotham and reveals to Batman (Jason O’Mara) that Damian (Stuart Allen) is their son. Batman quickly learns that Damien is an unruly and violent teen with a thirst for vengeance. No matter, he will try his best to mold him to become the new Robin while they try and track down Deathstroke. The film also stars Dee Bradley Baker (Legends Of The Hidden Temple) as Man-Bat, Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) as Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Sean Maher (Much Ado About Nothing) as Dick Grayson, David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Michelle (Happy Feet) as Francine Langstrom, Fred Tatasciore (Avengers Assemble) as Killer Croc, Bruce Thomas (Kyle XY) as James Gordon, and the film was directed by Ethan Spaulding (Batman: Assault On Arkham).
The one thing I really enjoyed about this film is that there was a different enemy for the film than the usual suspects that we are always given. First you get Killer Croc with Batman and then Deathstroke towards the end. I had been waiting a long time for something to feature Deathstroke a.k.a. Slade Wilson and we got it with this one. The only thing that bothers me a little is that he gets his ass kicked by a teenager with anger and control issues. For the whole entire film, he is an unruly teenager, but at one precise moment in the film he changes his tune and clearly wants to learn from his dad. That was the only issue I had with that, but for the most part this was an enjoyable film to watch. The thing that gets me about DC Animated films is that you don’t realize how much realistic violence is placed into their films. There is a scene where Deathstroke literally has Damien Wayne crucified with a sword through one arm and a knife through another I believe. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that, but I enjoyed it. So as I was saying, I think that is why DC dominates the animated game because their films are not cheesy. This probably isn’t going to be the last animated film from DC that will be featured on here because there is a whole lot more to see. I am going to give Son Of Batman an B+ for a final grade.
It is that time again since march is now in the books that I have to rate what I believed to be the top 25 films of March. To remind you, 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 and 31 days, we had to leave six films out because of the 3 days in March. The films that were left out were Taken 3, Hot Bot, Hell And Back, Bulworth, Johnny Mnemonic, and Diablo. Here is the top 25 for the month of March:
25. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
23. All The Right Moves
22. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
21. IP Man: The Final Fight
20. Pee Wee’s Big Holiday
19. Smokin Aces
18. 10 Cloverfield Lane
17. Sucker Punch
16. The Jacket
15. The Night Before
14. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
13. IP Man
12. IP Man 2
11. Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
10. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I
09. The Big Lebowski
07. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
06. Midnight Cowboy
05. Bridge Of Spies
03. City Of God
01. Mystic River
Going into today’s Ass Whoopin Wednesday film, there were two reasons I chose the film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with one being that it was directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch) and the second being that it stars Superman himself Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel). The Man From U.N.C.L.E. takes us all the way back to the 1960’s and the cold war as our setting for the film. Cavill plays American CIA operative Napoleon Solo while Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin in a film where the two agents are forced to team together against one common enemy other than each other. There is a rumor that some Nazi enthusiasts are close to creating an atomic bomb and along with the help of the beautiful Gaby (Alicia Vikander) they will try to infiltrate and retrieve the bomb before it is completed. The film also stars Hugh Grant (Four Weddings And A Funeral) as Waverly, Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) as Victoria, Luca Calvani (When In Rome) as Alexander, Sylvester Groth (Inglorious Basterds) as Uncle Rudi, Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) as Sanders, Christian Berkel (Valkyrie) as Udo, Misha Kuznetsov (25TH Hour) as Oleg, Marianna Di Martino as the desk clerk, and David Menkin (Zero Dark Thirty) as Jones. To check out the rest of the review and see some stats, click here.