There are some stories in the world that are just too good to be true, but when you find out that they are based on true stories you just have to see it. That was definitely the case when I saw the trailer to today’s film War Dogs. The film tells the tale of David Packouz (Miles Teller), a down and out massage therapist who seems to have everything going against him when childhood friend Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) shows back up in his life. Efraim gets David involved in some risky business when they become arms dealers for the government. Everything is going great for the gang until they take one deal that may prove to be too much for the duo after all. The film also stars Ana de Armas (Hands Of Stone) as Iz, Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men) as Ralph Slutzky, Patrick St. Esprit (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) as Captain Philip Santos, Shaun Toub (Iron Man) as Marlboro, Bradley Cooper (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Henry Girard, JB Blanc (Breaking Bad) as Bashkim, Gabriel Spahiu (High Tension) as Enver, Julian Sergi (Freaks Of Nature) as Rosen, Eddie Jemison (Ocean’s Eleven) as Hilldale Home Manager, and the film was directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover).
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. I’m watching this movie and I am wondering how the Government just let all of this happen and if you see the movie, how did these guys fool the government for the big money contract. The movie just kind of makes you feel that the government may seem strong at some aspects, but there are really just way too many holes in the system. There are so many great scenes in this film that it’s just hard too choose because Jonah Hill was just so funny. The way he laughs at first is kind of funny, but after a while it annoyed me. The whole scene when they are driving the arms from Jordan to Iraq is probably one of the best scenes in the whole film and I mean the whole sequence. Now the only scene that I am wondering about is the ending of the film. I read that David and one other associate are still in court with Efraim as they are suing each other. So, that is why I question the ending of the film, but overall I thought this was a great film. The film has plenty of excitement, suspense at times, and the comedy was good too. One thing I wanted to mention too is that Ana de Armas is super hot and she looks like the Spanish version of Tiffany Amber Thiessen, but hotter. This could be a contender for movie of the year, but there is still so much more time to go and a lot of films left to see. I am going to give this film an A- for a final grade.
James Franco (Pineapple Express) is slowly becoming one of my favorite actors because he has down a little bit of everything in his career. I am also enjoying his team ups with guys like Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. That is why I chose to watch the film True Story which stars Franco and Hill together in a film that is based on a true story. Michael Finkel (Hill) is a well respected journalist for the New York Times, but after some untruths are uncovered in a recent article, he is fired from his job. He then learns that a man named Christian Longo (Franco) who has been convicted of murder used his identity while he was on the run from the law in Mexico. Curious as to why he did it, Finkel soon starts a correspondence with him in hopes of getting his story out to the public, but things and facts may not seem to appear right with Longo. The film also stars Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything) as Jill Barker, Maria Dizzia (Margin Call) as Mary Jane Longo, Ethan Suplee (Chasing Amy) as Pat Frato, Robert John Burke (RoboCop 3) as Greg Ganley, Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) as Karen Hannen, and the film was directed by Rupert Goold.
I am sincerely super impressed with James Franco which is why I said he is becoming one of my favorite actors. Here is why I enjoyed him in this film and it’s because he is so charming that he fools you like his character fools the public (look him up, he is a real person so I am not spoiling anything). To go along with charming, he is also very witty and convincing which is just downright dangerous because he had me believing that there was a chance he could be innocent. I don’t blame Michael Finkel for taking this on because I probably would have been a sucker for it as well. See that is what I loved about this film and why I would suggest this one to anyone that is a fan of him and even a fan of Jonah Hill. This must have been a difficult thing to live with for Michael who was already facing his own personal trial for what happened over at the New York Times so he was vulnerable. I loved the cinematography to the film as well because the photography matched the overall tone of the film and the story. It was a dark film to begin with so not a lot of happy colors and more dark imagery like the photos of the wife and kids. If you want to find out what is true or not about the film, then visit the website Biography.com. Like I said before, it’s a different film than what we are used to from Franco and Hill, but it’s a welcomed change in my book. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade. Check it out on HBO or the HBOGO App.
I am a sucker for sports movies if you couldn’t tell from yesterdays post, but I am also a sucker for true stories. In early to mid-2000’s, Russell Crowe (Gladiator) was the hottest thing going in Hollywood and in 2005 he would starred in Cinderella Man. Cinderella Man tells the story of the original underdog in boxing in former world heavyweight champion James J. Braddock. In the 1930’s, things were bad in America as the country was still in a depression. For James J. Braddock and his family, things were just as bad. His boxing career was going nowhere and he could barely afford to feed his family. That is until his manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) gets Braddock a second chance at redemption. All he has to do is beat a couple of guys and he gets the shot of a lifetime against heavyweight champ Max Baer (Craig Bierko). The film also stars Renée Zellweger (Empire Records) as Mae Braddock, Paddy Considine (The World’s End) as Mike Wilson, Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen) as Jimmy Johnston, Matthew G. Taylor (Pacific Rim) as Primo Carnera, Rance Howard (Chinatown) as Announcer Al Fazin, Troy Amos-Ross (Resurrecting The Champ) as John Henry Lewis, and the film was directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).
Besides being a fan of sports movies and/or true stories, I am also a huge fan of Boxing films and this is up there with a lot of them. Boxing has always been one of those sports where an underdog can surprise people (and inspire) and be champion. Cinderella Man is definitely that underdog story and Russell Crowe’s performance in the film is amazing. Of course, he’s not the only one who did an amazing job as Zellweger and Giamatti deserve some kudos as well. The writers did an amazing job making sure you saw how desperate the times were back in the early 1930’s and how resourceful people had to be back then.We haven’t seen a depression like that since then and I hope that we never get to ever. The action in the ring is amazing and a strong point as you see every punch and every bit of blood that is splattered. I love some of the camera shots where it looks as if you are the boxer entering the ring and sometimes it looks as if you are taking the punches and getting dazed. The costume department and hair/makeup deserve some kudos as well making us feel like we are being transported to those times. I love the look and feel of the prohibition/great depression era s far as hairstyles and clothing are concerned. Ron Howard is a true master of cinema and he has proven it to us over the years with the plethora of work. There are so many great boxing films out there, but try this one. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Ever since last year’s Academy Awards and The Golden Globes, this was definitely a film I wanted to see for all the buzz it caught. The film Foxcatcher was directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and it starred Steve Carell (The Way Way Back), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), and Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me). The film centers around two of America’s greatest wrestling brothers and a very rich man from an important American family. Mark Schultz (Tatum) is training for his ultimate goal which is to win the gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. One day he is contacted by John du Pont (Steve Carell) multimillionaire who wants Mark to train as his facility to legitimize his Team Foxcatcher. Mark is a very impressionable person and du Pont quickly creates a rift between the two brothers.The union ultimately leads the Schultz’s into tragedy as du Pont is quickly losing his mind. The film also stars Sienna Miller (American Sniper) as Nancy Schultz, Vanessa Redgrave (Howard’s End) as Jean du Pont, Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) as Jack, Guy Boyd (Taking Chance) as Henry Beck, Brett Rice (Forrest Gump) as Fred Cole, and Lee Perkins (Wild Card) as Corporal.
The film didn’t win any of the big awards, but it definitely put up a fight against some of the heavy contenders at the time. The thing that amazed me the most about this film was the transformation Steve Carell went through because not only does he appear different, but his character is strange. He was a man with a lot of money to throw around and for a little while no one, but Mark could tell that there was something strange about him. He was definitely one of those guys who was socially awkward and sheltered from the dangers of the real world by his mother. Mark Ruffalo is as brilliant as he usually is as he went through a transformation of his own having to put on weight and muscle for the film. The film isn’t full of action, but it’s a slow decent into madness as you dive deeper into it like the characters are. The film is relatively dark in tone if you ask me as there is nothing happy about the film. It’s definitely a film about a match made in hell that turns out drastically bad by the end of the film. There are no spoilers to give here as the film is based on a true story so you can look it for yourself without having to watch the film.
There is a post online that questions what is true and what isn’t true about every film naturally as they are on “Based” on a true story. One of the facts that went into question was whether or not Mark had a sexual relationship with du Pont and Mark took to his Facebook page to explain the truth saying, “Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between du Pont and I is a sickening and insulting lie. I told Bennett Miller to cut that scene out and he said it was to give the audience the feeling that du Pont was encroaching on your privacy and personal space. I wasn’t explicit so I didn’t have a problem with it. Then after reading 3 or 4 reviews interpreting it sexually, and jeopardizing my legacy, they need to have a press conference to clear the air, or I will.” There are a lot of details about the film that is wrong so if you want to read any if it, just visit this website for more. Otherwise, I thought it was a great film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.