Today is November 8TH and that can only mean one thing in the United States Of American and that it’s Election Day 2016. So to help celebrate the fact that it’s Election Day, I decided to watch a film that had to do with campaigns and such and that film is 1997’s Wag The Dog. It’s election time and the President of the United States has landed himself in hot water when a scandal breaks out. To try and help keep away the backlash of the scandal, the presidents trusted aides decide to hire famous spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro). Brean will come up with a brilliant scheme to take away the attention with eccentric producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman), but the question is can they pull it off? The film also stars Anne Heche (Volcano) as Winifred Ames, Denis Leary (Suicide Kings) as Fad King, Willie Nelson as Johnnie Dean, Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Liz Butsky, Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) as Stacey Lime, William H. Macy (Fargo) as CIA Agent Young, John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher) as John Levy, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as SGT. Schumann, Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place) as Amy Cain, David Koechner (Paul) as Director, and the film was directed by Barry Levinson (Rock The Kasbah).
I have to say that putting Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman on the same screen was a brilliant idea. They played off of each other so well and you could definitely see the chemistry between them. I had to look it up for myself, but these two have only been in four films together (Sleepers, Meet The Fockers, and Little Fockers). The idea of the film is actually an interesting look at what happens behind the scenes of an election campaign. I mean think about it, how much information that gets passed on to the media that you see is 100% true? Don’t you think something like that could be happening now with this election and we don’t even know about it? I think politics is a dirty game anyways and this film shows you just that. I just didn’t really like the ending because I loved Dustin Hoffman’s character, but I won’t give that away to you. The acting in the film is great and a lot of today’s stars are featured in this film and Woody Harrelson was perfect in the film as a crazed nut that they use to their advantage. The cinematography in the film was great, the editing was amazing as well. I wish I had seen this movie way back when I decided to watch Bulworth because this was a great film. I am going to give Wag The Dog an A for a final grade.
When you have started watching a series like Jurassic Park, you might as well go all the way down the line and finish exactly what you started. That is why I chose to finish the series by watching Jurassic Park III for today’s film. Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is over the events that transpired during the first Jurassic Park film and is continuing to do what he loves to do which is study the dinosaurs. After a couples child goes missing on the second island (from The Lost World Film), they trick Dr. Grant and his assistant Billy (Alessandro Nivola) into going there. The only problem with all of this is the couple were not aware that Dr. Grant never was on this island and so they are put into a situation that he is all too familiar with. The film also stars William H. Macy (Fargo) as Paul Kirby, Téa Leoni (Fun With Dick And Jane) as Amanda Kirby, Trevor Morgan (The Sixth Sense) as Eric Kirby, Michael Jeter (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas) as Udesky, John Diehl (A Time To Kill) as Cooper, Bruce A. Young (Basic Instinct) as Nash, Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) as Ellie, and the film was directed by Joe Johnston (Jumanji).
On the scale of what is the best film of the series, I would have to say that this isn’t one of them, but that doesn’t mean that I thought the film was bad. It’s actually not that bad of a movie, but it’s not the best in the whole series. In fact, if I were to rank this one with the other three in the series (that includes Jurassic World), this one would be last. As soon as Jurassic World 2 is done filming in 2017 and in theaters, I will then rank them as part of my Top 5. One thing that bothered me about the movie was Téa Leoni, I don’t know why, but her character annoyed me a lot. I was hoping the whole time that she was going to be eaten by a raptor. I know what you’re thinking and I know it sounds evil, but she attracted a really scary dinosaur by the name of Spinosaurus that kills a T-Rex in the film. The other thing I hated about the film was the last Raptor sequence the film had. These Raptors have been relentless in the previous two films, but because of a helicopter sound, they run away with their eggs. That to me was just too dumb and not cool. After two films with cool raptor sequences, I expect a lot more in the third film. Besides the usual dinosaurs, we are treated to a cool Pterodactyl chance sequence that made the film worth watching after all. As I said before, it’s not the best film in the series, but if you are a completest like myself then check it out on Netflix right now. I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.
For today’s challenge film, I wanted to watch a film from the great Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, American Graffiti) and I happened to stumble on one playing on TV. The name of the film is Mr. Holland’s Opus and Dreyfuss stars as the title character in the film. Glenn Holland is a struggling composer who has to take a job at John F. Kennedy High School as a music teacher in order to make ends meet. What he doesn’t expect to happen to him is that he is going to find fulfillment as music teacher as he helps others discover the beauty of music while he struggles with issues at home. The film also stars Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Iris Holland, Jay Thomas (Mork & Mindy) as Coach Bill Meister, Olympia Dukakis (Look Who’s Talking Too) as Principal Helen Jacobs, William H. Macy (Thank You For Smoking) as Vice Principal Gene Wolters, Alicia Witt (Cecil B. Demented) as Gertrude Lang, Terrence Howard (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) as Louis Russ, Damon Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai) as Bobby Tidd, Jean Louisa Kelly (Uncle Buck) as Rowena Morgan, Joseph Anderson (Whacked!) as Cole Holland, Balthazar Getty (The Judge) as Stadler, and the film was directed by Stephen Herek (Critters).
This is one of those films where the main character changes over the course of the film and at one moment finally realizes what he has accomplished. He definitely goes through some trials and tribulations during the film as he wants to be a composer more than a teacher and he has trouble dealing with the fact that his son is deaf. All of these things definitely makes him grow as a person and the amount of love he receives is amazing. The film follows his thirty year career as a teacher from 1965 to 1995 and you see the changes in music styles along with pop culture which is cool and the film stays hip with what actually happened in music current events. For every decade though, there is a student that he helps realize their potential (e.g. the death of John Lennon). Richard Dreyfuss is an amazing actor to begin with and you see that in this film. I love how the film makes him age over the course of thirty years to make it more believable and the fact that they used real deaf actors to pay his son is amazing as well. That definitely makes the film feel more authentic instead of paying a hearing actor to play a deaf person. One thing that boggles my mind is that Richard Dreyfus lost to Nicolas Cage at the Oscars for Best Actor. Nevertheless, this is an amazing film that you should definitely check out if you are a fan of Richard Dreyfuss or a fan of amazing stories. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
There are always films out there that come out of nowhere and win an Oscar despite the film not being released in your area. That was definitely the case last year with Whiplash (J.K. Simmons wins best supporting actor) and the year before with Dallas Buyers Club. The same could be said for the film Room which star Brie Larson took home the Oscar for Best Actress In A Leading Role. Room stars Brie as Joy, a mother who has to create a world for her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) to hide the truth from him. You see for Jack everything is as normal as can be and he believes that there is nothing outside of the room that is real. That is until his mother starts to leak out that there is a world beyond the room and she reveals that she was kidnapped by an old Nick (Sean Bridgers) and placed in the room. Now, she will try everything she can to get them out of the room and free from old Nick. The film also stars Joan Allen (Death Race) as Grandma, William H. Macy (Fargo) as Grandpa, Tom McCamus (A Man In Uniform) as Leo, Cas Anvar (Source Code) as Dr. Mittal, and the film was directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank).
When I watched Dallas Buyers Club, I instantly knew why Matthew McConaughey beat out Leo at the Oscars. The same can be said for Brie Larson as far as the Room is concerned.She definitely embraced the role of Joy and she ran with it and never looked back. A lot of credit however should be thrown Jacob Tremblay’s way who convinced me that he was a boy with problems. He goes from only knowing what is inside the room and thinking everything outside of it doesn’t exist, but only in TV to having to adapt to the outside world. Brie definitely put on the performance of a lifetime that proved that she deserved the Oscar over everyone. Brie was amazing at showing off ranges of emotion throughout the film from seeing her desperate to get out of the room to the joy of being out and so on and so forth. The story should sound familiar as it bears some resemblances to the Jaycee Lee Dugard case as she was trapped in a room for 18 years and forced to mother two kids from her captor. There is nothing too extreme in the film that makes it hard to watch, but it will pull at your heartstrings as you see a boy struggling to understand the world around him. I am not going to spoil the ending for you, but all I can say is that it’s very poetic and symbolic in the way it ends. The film is available at Redbox and online and if you want to see great acting then check this out. I am going to give the movie an A for a final grade.