It 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).
I 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.
Ever since the Dogme 95 movement from Denmark (which only lasted ten years in total), there is no denying that Lars von Trier (Melancholia) was the true visionary and cinematic daredevil to come out of that. The Danish director returned in 2013 with a daring vision with his next film Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (one of two released) which stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Dark World) as Seligman, a regular man who while on his way home from the market finds a young woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying on the ground beaten. Seligman brings the girl home and he listens to her as she recounts all of her erotic sexual encounters that have happened in her life that brought her to that point in time. The film also stars Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Father, Connie Nielsen (The Devil’s Advocate) as Joe’s Mother, Stacy Martin (Tale Of Tales) as Young Joe, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Jerome, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) as Mrs. H, Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows) as B, Anders Hove (Mifune) as Odin, Clayton Nemrow (Speed Racer) as Married Man, Jens Albinus (The Idiots) as S., Hugo Speer (The Full Monty) as Mr. H., and Jesper Christensen (Quantum Of Solace) as Jerome’s Uncle.
First off, I am going to say that this is definitely a film that would have been rated NC-17 had they tried to enter this into theaters here in America. Sex is still a little taboo here in the states while it’s not in Europe. There is a lot of sex in this film and a lot of male body parts as well as the female, but the thing that got me was that in some scenes the sex looked authentic. One scene shows Joe having intercourse with a male on the train which blew my mind that it looked that real. The film is divided into five chapters with the first one being her sexual experiences being compared to fly fishing, one chapter comparing her father’s death to Edgar Allen Poe’s or how similar they were. One chapter deals with Joe being confronted with the wife of one her lovers in Mrs. H (Uma Thurman). What happens next was absolutely brilliant. Uma Thurman stood out like a champ in that chapter and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. You’re thinking the whole time that she is going to feel bad and she just carries on using sex as a way to cope with reality. The film and it’s other volume are the last films in the depression trilogy that also included Antichrist and Melancholia. I probably should have watched Antichrist first, but oh well. Lars von Trier is a true cinematic hero and visionary in my opinion and I look forward to the next volume. The film definitely ends on a cliffhanger which leaves me no choice, but to catch the next film and see Shia once again. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
For today’s film, I decided to review a film that starred Robert Downey Jr. who made a resurgence in his career in the 2000’s and Anton Yelchin who starred in a film I loved called Alpha Dog. The film I chose for today is called Charlie Bartlett and Yelchin plays the title character. Charlie is a kid who is just looking to fit in, but unfortunately he doesn’t know how to do it the right way as he has found himself getting kicked out of numerous schools. His clueless mother (Hope Davis) decides to enroll Charlie into Western Summit High, where Charlie will become the school’s psychiatrist in order to gain popularity. The only problem is that there are consequences for every action and Charlie has to try and use his new found popularity to do the right things. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Thor: Dark World) as Susan, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) as Principal Gardner, Tyler Hilton (Walk The Line) as Murphy, Mark Rendall (30 Days Of Night) as Kip, Dylan Taylor (Tideland) as Len Arbuckle, Megan Park (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) as Whitney, Jake Epstein (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Dustin, Derek McGrath (Carrie) as Superintendent Sedgwick, Jonathan Malen (Mean Girls) as Jordan, and the film was directed by Jon Poll (Captain America 1990).
You can look at this film in several different ways, is it social commentary on how obsessive our society has been on abusing prescription pain killers? Or is it commentary on how kids will do anything to become popular? Well, if it’s the second one, then that is something that has been happening for ages and even in film. Every generation has their films on what it’s like to be a teenager like what Fast Times At Ridgemont High did for the 80’s. I highly doubt that it was the first one just because the pills are a minor part of the whole film and only serve as a catalyst to get the film going. Although, there is this one line in the film that I thought was superb and exactly how society should look at teens and prescription drugs. It reads like, “Bringing psychiatric drugs and teenagers together is like opening a lemonade stand in the desert.” I thought that was a brilliant piece of writing from the writers. Everything about this film was good from the writing to the director and it’s sort of a coming of age story, but only in the fact that Charlie comes to realize who he really is and what his place is in society. Kat Dennings of course looks fantastic in the film and she does an amazing job playing a teenager with so much angst. Listen check out the film for yourself, it’s playing on one of the premium channels. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.