There are only 13 Sundays left in the whole entire year which can only mean one thing and that it’s Sunday At The Classics. James Cagney (The Public Enemies) is one of those actors from the classic period of Hollywood that I have always wanted to watch a film from so I chose to watch the classic crime/heist drama White Heat for today. Cody Jarrett (Cagney) is one of the most notorious criminals in California that just pulled off a train heist. The only problem is that there is way too much heat on the gang from the G-men. So he decides to take the rap from another crime to see if it’ll the heat will blow over, but the G-men are not fooled at all. They send in an undercover agent by the name of Vic Pardo (Edmond O’Brien) to get close to him to figure out exactly what it is he is up to so that they can bust him for good. The film also stars Virginia Mayo (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) as Verna Jarrett, Margaret Wycherly (Sergeant York) as Ma Jarrett, Steve Cochran (The Deadly Companions) as Big Ed, John Archer (Blue Hawaii) as Phillip Evans, Wally Cassell (Sands Of Iwo Jima) as Cotton, and the film was directed by Raoul Walsh (The Thief Of Bagdad).
This film is truly one of the most iconic films of it’s time and is probably the basis for most of the heist films we would get. It’s that classic story of a guy who robs banks for a living who plans what he thinks will be the perfect heist, but it doesn’t go as planned. The writing for the film was perfect because it had the right amount of drama, but the acting helped out as well. Jame Cagney was absolutely brilliant in the film as the maniacal tough guy with a sensitive spot for his mama. He does an amazing job of showing the mental breakdown of this character from being strong and tough in the beginning of the film to absolutely going bat sh** crazy at the end of the film. Kudos also go to Edmond O’Brien for playing the guy who toes the line with everything, but is convincing enough to earn the trust needed. I had a lot of fun watching the film and all of it’s brilliance. The film is a little long, but it’s not long as in God why is this so long. If you are a fan of classic Hollywood and Film Noir, or Crime Drama Heist films, then you should check this one out for sure. This is what acting was all about and why classic Hollywood ruled. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen Hollywood transition from remakes to now coming up with sequels some 15 to 20 years or so after the original films (e.g. Dumb And Dumber Too). That is definitely the case with today’s film Zoolander 2 which brings back Ben Stiller (Mystery Men) as everyone’s favorite male model. The world has changed over the last fifteen years and someone is trying to kill off all the beautiful people in the world forcing Derek Zoolander and Hansel (Owen Wilson) out of hiding. Together the two of them will travel to Rome to find Derek’s son and help fashion police officer Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz) find whoever is behind these heinous crimes before the fashion world is ruined forever. The film also stars Billy Zane (Titanic) as Billy Zane, Justin Bieber as himself, Sting as himself, Kiefer Sutherland as himself, Jon Daly (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) as Agent Filippo, Christine Taylor (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) as Matilda, Will Ferrell (Daddy’s Home) as Jacobim Mugatu, Justin Theroux (American Psycho) as Evil DJ, Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as Katinka, Kristen Wiig (Despicable Me 2) as Alexanya Atoz, Kyle Mooney (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) as Don Atari, and Fred Armisen (Easy A) as VIP.
I think there should be a window of time that you have to come out with a sequel to a film because 15 years is a long time to wait to do one. That’s why I felt the Dumb And Dumber sequel suffered because they waited too long and comedy changes over time. What was funny in 1994 isn’t funny in 2014 or in this case what was funny in 2001 isn’t necessarily funny in 2016. This may have been a really funny film if it was released in 2002 or 03, but not 15 years after the fact. I have to admit that I liked the overall story of the film and I loved a lot of the acting in the film, but it just wasn’t laugh out loud funny in my opinion. One of the most annoying characters in the film is hipster Don Atari (Mooney) and I suppose I should be commending him cause isn’t that the point after all, hipsters are annoying. The always beautiful Penélope Cruz was definitely a nice addition to the cast of beautiful people, but it just wasn’t enough to save the picture. One thing I didn’t understand was the point of the orgy (made up of Kiefer Sutherland and others) unless I am missing something from the first film. As much as I don’t like Justin Bieber, he was a good sport to die in the opening minutes of the film and what a glorious death it was for the Bieber. The film isn’t boring, it’s just not that funny if you get what I am saying. As I said before, it’s a film that would have been funny if it came out 10 years ago, but they waited too long to strike. I am going to give the film an B- only because it’s better than Kindergarten Cop 2.
For today’s film, I was interested in see The Last Witch Hunter, but enough at the time to see it in theaters. This was one of my I’ll wait till it’s out on Redbox before I see it type of movies. The film stars Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as Kaulder, a man cursed by the witch queen to live forever as he has hunted down witches for centuries. One day, Kaulder’s 36TH Dolan (Michael Caine) is put under a curse by an elusive witch who practices a form of witch craft that hasn’t been seen since Kaulder killed the witch queen 800 years before. With the help of his 37TH Dolan (Elijah Wood) and a dream walker witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie), Kaulder will go on the hunt to save his friend and the world from the plagues before it is too late. The film also stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) as Belial, Rena Owen (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Glaeser, Julie Engelbrecht (The Red Baron) as The Witch Queen, Joseph Gilgun (This Is England) as Ellic, Isaach De Bankole (Casino Royale) as Max Schlesinger, Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle) as Danique, and the film was directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies).
The film was essentially a box office flop for the studio as the budget was over 80 million and they only grossed 27 million at the box office. I don’t think people really gave this film it’s fair shake because it was actually entertaining in my opinion. The film had some pretty cool concepts that went with it and the visual imagery and effects is what is actually stunning. There are some sequences in the film that are actually very cool to see and that is what captured me about the film. As I said the special effects are good, there is plenty of action to go around in the film, and the story was actually pretty well written as well. Listen I always tell people that you shouldn’t expect the greatest story every unfolded on the silver screen with Vin Diesel (unless it’s Guardians Of The Galaxy), You should expect a film that is action pact and bad ass. That is what Vin Diesel movies are all about since day one. The acting in the film was great and you shouldn’t be surprised with a cast that features the great Michael Caine. This could have been an Ass Whoopin Wednesday film for sure, but that’s OK because there’s plenty more films out there. This was definitely a film that was cool to watch and I truly enjoyed it. However, for a final grade I am going to give the movie a B for a final grade because it’s not the best Vin Diesel film.