I honestly believe that one of the greatest comedy movie actors of all time or at least in the last 30 to 40 years is Bill Murray (Ghostbusters). Every decade, he surprises us with how relevant he continues to be with every film that he stars in and that is the case with today’s film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Steve Zissou (Murray) is a world famous oceanographer who has produced great documentaries of his voyages over the years. After one production, his partner Esteban (Seymour Cassel) is killed by a mysterious shark called the Jaguar Shark. The public questions the existence of the shark, so Steve gathers up a crew that includes his estranged wife, a man who is quite possibly his son, and a pregnant reporter who has a low opinion of him along for the ride. The film stars Owen Wilson (Zoolander 2) as Ned Plimpton, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as Klaus, Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) as Jane Winslett-Richardson, Anjelica Huston (The Adams Family) as Eleanor Zissou, Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) as Alistair Hennessey, Michael Gambon (Gosford Park) as Oseary Drakoulias, Noah Taylor (Edge Of Tomorrow) as Vladimir, Seu Jorge (City Of God) as Pele, Robyn Cohen (Burned) as Anne-Marie, Waris Ahluwalia (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Vikram, and the film was directed by Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom).
I definitely have to check out more films from Wes Anderson cause he definitely has his own style of films that you instantly recognize as his. He is in part the true definition of what François Truffaut and his colleagues coined Auteurs. Wes wrote and directed the film meaning he took full artistic responsibility for the film like an author would for a book. The thing that made me fall in love with this film was the various tones and colors that are present in this film. There are just so many colors that take precedence in this film that makes it truly amazing. Even the wildlife that are presented in the film are very colorful and cool looking even though we know that they are fake. This is probably one of the most amazing films to feature Bill Murray and it was just so well written that he was a natural fit for the part. All of the subplots within the film were even written so well that it was hard for me to find any faults. The film isn’t your typical comedy because it doesn’t contain stupid comedy or slapstick comedy, but it is otherwise a parody tribute to French diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The film may have bombed in the box office, but that doesn’t mean that the film is awful, it just means it takes time to recognize real art. I am a huge fan of this film and I think that this is one to put on your list. That is why I am going to give the film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou an A- because the production sets and the story was excellently done.
There was a time in some parts of the country whose history was very dark and very shameful. In the 1960’s, the living conditions for African Americans were not very ideal as racism and segregation were at it’s peak especially in Mississippi. For today’s film, Mississippi Burning, we explore the atrocities that mankind committed during the civil rights movement. Two drastically different FBI agents, Allen Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) are sent to Jesper, Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of three civil rights activists. The only problem is that they can’t seem to get anyone to talk out of fear and for some of them it would mean implicating themselves. That doesn’t stop the two agents from moving forward and not in reverse as they try their best to bring justice. The film also stars Frances McDormand (Fargo) as Mrs. Pell, Brad Dourif (Child’s Play) as Deputy Clinton Pell, R. Lee Emery (Full Metal Jacket) as Mayor Tillman, Gailard Sartain (The Outsiders) as Sheriff Ray Stuckey, Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day) as Clayton Towney, Michael Rooker (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Frank Bailey, Pruitt Taylor Vince (Monster) as Lester Cowens, Kevin Dunn (Warrior) as Agent Bird, Tobin Bell (Saw) as Agent Stokes, and the film was directed by Alan Parker (Pink Floyd The Wall).
This was an excellent film that featured excellent performances by just about everyone in the film. Even Darius McCrary who starred in the hit 90’s TGIF TV show Family Matters was very good in the film so it’s hard to choose an MVP, but for me it would go to Gene Hackman. His character and his performance were bad ass and you were rooting for him the whole entire time hoping that he would get to do things his way. I do have to say that Willem Dafoe was a good balance to Hackman because he represented doing things by the book while Hackman was all man and did what he felt was right. It’s hard to believe today that people thought and acted the way they did like they did in this film. Some parts of the county were pretty ignorant to the idea of human rights.You see the KKK in action in this film and you see how hateful they are. I looked it up and this film is loosely based on a true story. Loosely based because they changed the names of people and they created a fictional town in Mississippi. If you want to look up the facts on the real story, then click here. Like I said before, this was an amazing film and if you are a movie fan and a fan of history then this is the film for you. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade, it’s playing on Starz/Encore this month.
Believe it or not there are a heck of a lot of Disney and Pixar films that I have missed seeing over the years. I found out this year that Finding Dory was coming out in theaters and no that I am less than a week away from it, I think it was about time I watched Finding Nemo first. Marlin (Albert Brooks) is a clown fish who lost his wife and most of his kids except for one named Nemo (Alexander Gould) . He has made a vow that he would protect Nemo from anything harmful for fear of losing him. One day after being too clingy, Nemo becomes daring and ends up getting himself caught by a seawater diver. Now, Marlin with the help of a blue tang fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), he will go on a massive search for his son while Nemo has to try and save himself being Darla the dentists’s niece’s gift before he dies in her care. The film also stars Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Bloat, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as Gill, Allison Janney (Juno) as Peach, Austin Pendleton (My Cousin Vinny) as Gurgle, Stephen Root (Office Space) as Bubbles, Geoffrey Rush (Shakespeare In Love) as Nigel, Andrew Stanton (Cars) as Crush, Joe Ranft (The Lion King) as Jacques, and the film was directed by Stanton and Lee Unkrich (Monsters, Inc.).
I needed to lighten up the mood on the blog after two straight days of horror films and Finding Nemo seemed like the right kind of film. I can’t believe that this movie has been out for 13 years and I finally got around to seeing it now. This was one of the reasons I always felt that Disney with Pixar was always ahead of the game as far as animation and stories was concerned. The animation in this film is absolutely amazing and so intricate with so much detail in all the sea creatures that you see in the film. One of my favorite scenes in the film came with the Anglerfish, you know that scary looking mother with the ball of light attached to it. I don’t know what was scarier, that or the sharks? All I know is that I never want to be face to face with one ever. That is one thing I liked about this film is that it’s pretty informative and it teaches young kids about different fish and all the sea life. The film is also very entertaining while it also feels like no matter how close they get, things seem to get so far away before we are riddled with hope again. The story itself is amazing and it kind of reflects the way parents coddle their children for too long. At least that is the message I got in the film when Nemo’s dad finally learns to let go. It is definitely a film to check out and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A for a final grade. Check out my picture of the animated Anglerfish vs a real one below.
Originally I was going to try and watch something special considering this is the 100TH straight day that I have watched a movie (and it’s a personal best). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to look for a film to watch considering I went to Super Megafest Comic Con and I wanted to watch today’s film To Live And Die In LA. The film stars William Petersen (Fear) as secret service agent Richard Chance, a man that is hellbent on revenge. You see, Richard’s longtime partner was killed by a local counterfeiter Eric Masters (Willem Dafoe), but he can’t prove it. With his new partner, he will go to all lengths and try whatever he can to get close to Masters before it’s too late. The film also stars John Pankow (Monkey Shines) as John Vukovich, Debra Feuer (Moment By Moment) as Bianca, John Turturro (Quiz Show) as Cody, Darlanne Fluegel (Once Upon A Time In America) as Ruth, Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap) as Bob Grimes, Steve James (Delta Force) as Jeff Rice, Robert Downey Sr. (Putney Swope) as Thomas Bateman, Michael Greene (*batteries not included) as Jim Hart, Christopher Allport (Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman) as Max Waxman, and the film was directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist).
You see the name William Friedkin attached to the title and you ask the question is this the same guy that made The Exorcist? I looked it up and sure enough it was the same guy proving that you don’t have to be stuck to a genre. The film is such an 80’s film from the look, feel, and even the music as it was done none other than Wang Chung. You can’t get any more eighties than them and the whole soundtrack. This film is basically the more serious version of Beverly Hills Cop, but I will say that the film did feature some good qualities about it. The chase sequence in the film was actually very entertaining and the ending of the film will both shock you and confuse you like it did to me. You are left wondering if a character is gone or not and that kind of bothered me when the film ended. Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining film to say the least, but it’s like a lot of 80’s films where it’s just OK. William Petersen is actually very good in this film and Willem Dafoe (such a young looking Dafoe) is both weird, charasmatic, and showcases his talent in this film. I really enjoyed that part of the film because without those two, I don’t know what they would have. The other part of this film that is an unsung hero is the city and county of Los Angeles. Lots of great shots of different parts of the city. So with that being said, I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.
I figured since I watched the first of the two films in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, I would watch and finish the second film for today. To recap what happened at the end of the previous film, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) was at the point where all of a sudden during a sexual encounter with Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), she lost the sensation to feel an orgasm. In Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, Joe is telling the rest of her story to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) that sees her seek sexual pleasure threw some of the most desperate attempts in a darker world, the loss of Jerome and her child, and a new business that brought some gratification for her. Ultimately, she will tell him what exactly led her to be in Seligman’s care through the final chapters. The film also stars Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac: Vol. I) as Young Joe, Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Dad, Jamie Bell (The Adventures Of Tin Tin) as K, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as L., Mia Goth (Everest) as P., Michaël Pas (Code 37) as Older Joe, Jean-Marc Barr (Europa) as gentlemen Debtor, Udo Kier (Flesh For Frankenstein) as The Waiter, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill Vol. 1) as Mrs. H., and Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows).
The second of the two films is definitely darker and more sadistic than the first film, but contains the same amount of sexuality. The film definitely goes in some darker directions especially with gentlemen debtor scene or the S&M beating scene that Joe goes through. Like I said in the previous post, this film if released in theaters here in the states would have been rated NC-17 and it’s for the sexual content. Like the fact that Tarantino has been accused of focusing on feet, Lars von Trier likes to focus the camera on both the female and male organs for periods of time. The sexual intercourse scenes in these films seem so very real in my opinion which is another factor on the rating. The two films are definitely great studies on the sexual revolution and why sex shouldn’t be so taboo in today’s society. Whats crazy is that Shia LeBeouf must have met his fiance on the set of this film as Mia Goth stars in the film. She almost steals the show towards the end of the film as sort a protege/lover for Joe’s character that plays a very integral part in the later part of the story. One thing that bothered me about the film is the end of the movie. The ending was one of those that I completely saw coming and that kind of bothers me cause I just felt it was expected. Other than that, this was definitely two very interesting films. Check them out for yourself right now on Netflix if you dare, but definitely a NSFW film. I am going to give the final volume an A- for a final grade.
For today’s 365 Movies In 365 Days challenge film, I wanted to choose a film that the late, great David Bowie (Labyrinth) starred in that I had not seen yet to help celebrate his legacy. I stumbled upon the Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) directed 1988 film The Last Temptation Of Christ which stars Willem Dafoe (Platoon) as Jesus Christ in this fictional take on his life and the teachings of the bible. The film was based off of a book that was written by Nikos Kazantzakis that explores all the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ as he journeys through life wondering what his purpose is, what exactly does God want from him, and his last temptation while on the cross. The film also stars Harvey Keitel (From Dusk Till Dawn) as Judas, Barbara Hershey (Falling Down) as Mary Magdalene, Steve Shill (Dexter) as Centurian, Verna Bloom (Animal House) as Mary, Roberts Blossom (Home Alone) as Aged Master, Barry Miller (Saturday Night Fever) as Jeroboam, Gary Basaraba (The Smurfs) as Andrew, Apostle, Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) as Zebedee, Victor Argo (Taxi Driver) as Peter, Apostle, Paul Herman (American Hustle) as Phillip, David Bowie as Pontius Pilot, and Andre Gregory (Demolition Man) as John The Baptist.
This must have been one of the ballsiest films to come out in 1988 and it must have insulted Christians everywhere at the time. I an only imagine seeing images of Jesus not knowing what he is talking about and saying that if I just open my mouth God will speak for me. One sequence that must have pissed off Christians everywhere is the idea that a guardian angel comes down and saves him from the cross and he goes on to live a long life with a wife and children until the rude awakening comes. I am not the biggest Willem Dafoe fan in the world, but I give the man props for have the guts to do the film and for his performance. What the film does for people is that it dumbs down the bible so that everyone can get it. It shows you that he was human after all and he went through the same emotions that we did. They keep a lot of the historical information in the film, but they twist it around a little bit. One scene that I thought was powerful was during the last temptation when Jesus confronts a man preaching about him and his death even though he is alive. Jesus tells him to stop the lies, but the man (played by Harry Dean Stanton) tells him that he refuses to stop because his version of Jesus dying on the cross is a lot better and people will believe that story to give them hope than to know that he was still alive. When I saw that scene, I was shocked and could only think of the word wow. If you can look past that the film is almost three hours long, that they say it’s fiction right from the start, then you should be able to enjoy this great piece of art. I am giving the film an A- for a final grade because the cinematography is great, the sets were amazing, and the soundtrack was very good as well.