For today’s film, I chose one that for some strange reason I had only seen bits and pieces of it because something always pulled me away from it. The film that I chose for today is called Brothers and it stars Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko) as brothers Sam and Tommy. They are two brothers who took distinctly different paths in life with Sam (Maguire) being a marine and Tommy (Gyllenhaal) always being someone in trouble. While in Afghanistan, Sam and another Marine (Patrick John Flueger) are captured by the Taliban. The two are presumed dead and to comfort his family, Tommy will step in to take care of Sam’s family. While Sam’s wife Grace (Natalie Portman) is hesitant at first, she allows Tommy to spend time with the girls and to fix things around the house. That is until, she finds out that Sam was saved and is still alive, but Sam has a lot of demons inside that he is battling and things become unnerving at home. The film also stars Sam Shepard (Swordfish) as Hank Cahill, Mare Winningham (Turner & Hooch) as Elsie Cahill, Bailee Madison (Just Go With It) as Isabelle, Taylor Geare (Dream House) as Maggie, Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek) as Major Cavazos, Carey Mulligan (Drive) as Cassie Willis, and the film was directed by Jim Sheridan (In The Name Of The Father).
I have to be honest in saying that I used to try and avoid watching Tobey Maguire films only because I wasn’t a huge fan of the last two Spider-Man films he was in. So, I have to admit to everyone right now that this was definitely one of his best performances. There is so much passion in the role and there is one scene that he makes me a believer that he is a soldier fighting inner demons. In my opinion, it was just so convincing that I felt bad for him even though I know it’s just a movie. Jake Gyllenhaal I recently started becoming a huge fan of his and he doesn’t disappoint me in this film and Natalie Portman does a terrific job as well. The film really reminds you that if you’ve never been in the military and been to war then you will never know what these guys have been through. You are always just on the outside looking in and you feel as helpless as Sam’s family in this film. The scenes in Afghanistan aren’t as bad as they could’ve made it out to be, but there are some scenes that may be hard to handle. It’s hard to pick an MVP in this film because not only did Gyllenhaal, Maguire, and Portman do well, but there kids in the movie did an amazing job being kids that are having a hard time adjusting to this different version of their dad. While it may not be the greatest movie ever made, I really enjoyed watching this film. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
Instead of doing Super Sunday on the other blog, I am bringing it here for a film that I sort of boycotted back when it was first released (I’ll explain my reasoning below). Spider-Man 3 was the third and last installment of the Sam Raimi (Evil Dead)/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series. Things appear to be going quite well for Spider-Man (Maguire) as all the residents of New York love and appreciate him and he has the girl of his dreams in Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). That all begins to change when a strange black entity from another world appears and bonds with Parker. It starts to drive certain urges in Spider-Man that we are not used to seeing from him as he battles new villains and some new problems because of it. The film also stars Topher Grace (That 70’s Show) as Eddie Brock, James Franco (Pineapple Express) as Harry Osborn, Thomas Haden Church (Daddy’s Home) as Sandman, Bryce Dallas Howard (50/50) as Gwen Stacy, Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man) as May Parker, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as J. Jameson, James Cromwell (The Green Mile) as Captain Stacy, Dylan Baker (Trick ‘r Treat) as Dr. Curt Conners, and Elizabeth Banks (Zack & Miri Make A Porno) as Miss Brant.
The reason I avoided this film to be perfectly honest back in 2007 was that I was frankly sick of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and I did not agree with the casting choice of Topher Grace as Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom. Topher Grace just wasn’t my first choice to play a bad ass villain, but nevertheless they went with him and I decided to check it out today. While this is definitely not the best film of the Sam Raimi three, it’s definitely not the best of all the Spider-Man movies that have come out including the two Amazing Spider-Man films. The film was just all over the place and there is this one sequence that was just unnecessary and it’s when Parker is walking down New York like he’s John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. That had to be the cheesiest moment of the whole film, but there are some redeeming values in the film. I wasn’t completely disappointed with the way Venom looked and Topher Grace was OK. I was impressed with him through most of the film when he was just that annoying Eddie Brock trying to top Peter Parker at The Daily Bugle. I loved the film’s choice for Gwen Stacy in Bryce Dallas Howard as she brings beauty to the role and the battle scene towards the end was pretty good as well. One thing they messed up on was the film seemed to abandon the subplot between Parker and Osborn who has basically ruined Parker’s life. After he regains his memory, he goes on a hellbent mission to destroy Parker, but after a little tussle in the lab, it’s over just like that? There’s also one more problem towards the end that I had, but I won’t give that away. So, let’s just say it has something to do with the Sandman. It’s definitely a film that could have been so much more than it was, but Raimi dropped the ball on this one. I am giving the film an C+ for a final grade.