Halloween is long behind us so I figured it was time to reintroduce the Movie Of The Week post while we wait on a decision for the future. There are a lot of great movies on the horizon and I want to cover them for this blog. This week’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of those films that peaked my interest for it’s unique title and for the caliber of the cast contained within the film. Frances McDormand (Fargo) plays Mildred, a mother who is not happy whatsoever with the local authorities for not solving her daughters murder case. So to get on their case and get them moving, she decides to take out ads on three billboards outside her town that will challenge the law to get off their behinds and solve case. The film also stars Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men) as Chief Willoughby, Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) as Dixon, Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) as Red Wellby, Kerry Condon (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Pamela, Darrell Britt-Gibson (Keanu) as Jerome, Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch) as Anne, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) as Robbie, Zeljko Ivanek (Argo) as Cedric, Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) as James, Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records) as Crop-Haired Guy, and the film was directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges).
This was an excellent film that just had so many emotions to it and just had so many talking points. First of all, the acting was absolutely superb from way too many people to list in this blog, but you already know that you get amazing performances from McDormand, Harrelson, Rockwell, and Dinklage to name a few. Frances McDormand had the uneasy task of balancing out a character who is tough and a bad ass, but she is also vulnerable because all she wants is for them to solve the case. Sam Rockwell does a terrific job playing your typical backwater cop from a small southern-esque town who doesn’t know any better until something (I can’t tell you what) shows him the way. The second thing that was amazing about the film was the writing because this story kicked ass. You think that it’s going the way you would want it to go until it throws you a curve ball that takes the story in a darker place. There were so many glimmers of hope in the film that were just taken to a completely different place that I was amazed that it worked. The third thing that I loved about the film were the dynamic of the characters and the overall themes because each one was so unique to the story in how it progressed into a moral of no matter how dark things get, sometimes the people you are going against can turn out to be the ones you need. That was the constant theme of the film was redemption because it’s a learning experience for sure. The last thing is the cinematography which was just masterful from shot to shot. This is definitely a film worth checking out if you are a fan of great stories, actors, etc. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
I have never really been into films or film series that were based on teen book series like Twilight and so many more. Nonetheless, I thought that for the sake of this challenge that I would change my mind. So, I did that and for today’s film I watched The Hunger Games. In the world of Panem, there was once an uprising against the government, but when it became time for peace, an agreement was made and The Hunger Games was born. Every district has to give up one male and one woman who will compete in a game to the death that is televised. Afraid that her sister wouldn’t survive, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers herself into the competition, but she’ll have to learn to play the game if she wants to survive. The film also stars Stanley Tucci (Jury Duty) as Caesar Flickerman, Wes Bentley (American Beauty) as Seneca Crane, Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie) as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Haymitch, Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) as Peeta, Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Claudius Templesmith, Alexander Ludwig (Lone Survivor) as Cato, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2) as Gale Hawthorne, Donald Sutherland (MASH) as President Snow, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and the film was directed by Gary Ross (Big).
There is something to be said about these films that are taken from popular teen books because I enjoyed watching the Harry Potter films I watched and I even enjoyed this one. There catchy and when turned into films with great actors involved in it then they actually work. I liked the story of the film and I really liked the premise of it, but I did think it was a little log for my liking. The actual battle scenes are very cool, but there are points in the story that I could have done without. I do however understand that the scenes I could have done without were definitely needed for the drama aspect of the film. I thought the acting for the most part in the film was really good from everyone like Harrelson, Banks, Tucci, and Lawrence to name a few. The sets and costumes for the film were awesome and the way some of the people in the Capitol looked interesting. The film has an interesting concept of how the government controls everything from lack of food to how everyone must conform to their rules. It could kind of reflect certain societies for sure. Governments are always trying to figure out ways to control everything and this is definitely reflected in this one. I’m not completely positive if you’ll get another Hunger Games film for the challenge, but I’ll definitely check out the rest of the series. I a going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Some of my favorite films have been the high school teen dramas (i.e. The Breakfast Club, Can’t Hardly Wait, etc.) for as long as I can remember. So, when I heard that today’s film, The Edge Of Seventeen, had a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had to check out the film for myself. The early teens can be an awkward age for teens especially when you are trying to navigate your way through the jungle known as high school. Things have never been easy for Nadine (True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld) like it has been for her brother Darian (Everybody Wants Some‘s Blake Jenner). Now things are about to get incredibly worse for her when her best friend Krista (The Bronze‘s Haley Lu Richardson) decides to date her brother. What is Nadine to do when she has no one to turn to in her life? The film also stars Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me 2) as Mr. Bruner, Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) as Mona, Hayden Szeto (The Unbidden) as Erwin, Alexander Calvert (Scream: The TV Series) as Nick Mossman, Eric Keenleyside (Godzilla) as Tom, Nesta Cooper (Heroes Reborn) as Shannon, Lina Renna as Little Nadine, Ava Grace Cooper as Young Krista, and the film was written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig.
The film was definitely interesting to say the least and it had it’s moments of brilliance. Would I compare it to a John Hughes film? Well, probably not, but it comes pretty close in spirit. This could definitely be the film for all the awkward teens out there who feel that they don’t fit in. There can be times in the film where the moments are almost predictable like you guessed that her brother was going to hook up with her best friend and I guessed that without reading the synopsis of the film. She is just way too pretty to not go unnoticed by anyone and that would be the ultimate drama filled subplot. The best moments of the film were Nadine’s interactions with Mr. Bruner played by the excellent and the MVP of the film in Woody Harrelson. He was definitely the comedic relief of the film giving us some really cool sarcastic moments with Nadine who unknowingly thinks that she is the only one with problems. Although he is sarcastic, he always seems to be there like any teacher would be essentially in our time of need. The film is filled with all the awkward moments teens deal with in life especially in the technology age and maybe this is this generations teen flick. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed watching the film, it was well written and well acted. What else could you possibly ask for? I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
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.
There are films that come out that when you see them, you are absolutely blown away by it. You like the movie so much that when you hear that there is a sequel coming out, you really don’t mind seeing it. That was definitely the case with today’s film in Now You See Me 2. Since the events of the first film the horseman J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) have gone into hiding awaiting the chance that they can work again. When the horseman are pulled out of retirement with the addition of a new female magician in Lulu (Lizzy Caplan) by their and FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), they learn that they are part of a plan by an evil tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist ever. Can the team do it or with they finally correct the wrongs? The film also stars Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Thaddeus Bradley, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire) as Walter Mabry, Michael Caine (The Dark Knight) as Arthur Tressler, Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) as Li, Sanaa Lathan (Blade) as Deputy Director Natalie Austin, Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Anna Karenina) as Allen Scott-Frank, and the film was directed by Jon M. Chu (Jem And The Holograms).
One of the biggest reasons to see these films is because you want to see what kind of magic are they going to do and see how clever they really were. You also go to see these films for all the sleek stunts and the technology they incorporate with the tricks even though a big part of them is fighting technology and all the evil it can create. The film starts off by reminding us of who they are and what they’ve done in the past to build up these ragtag magicians up. The movie also really focuses on what happened to Mark Ruffalo’s character’s father and why he is on this revenge kick. We also see our crew evolve and become a solid team right before our very eyes as they battle the evil technology crazed world. I thought I was going to be disappointed that Isla Fisher wasn’t in the film, but I have to give credit to Lizzy Caplan for fitting right in with the crew. She added a certain wittiness to the tea by being there. The magic tricks of course are pretty cool, but my favorite thing is when they break down how they accomplished them in the first place. That is what I loved about the first film and that is what I loved in this film. Daniel Radcliffe is awesome as a really douchy guy with crap tons of money while Freeman and Caine were brilliant as always. Is it better than the first film, I don’t really think so, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s moments. I enjoyed the film enough to give it a grade that is somewhere between the B+/A- range. It’s somewhere in there.
I was looking for something to watch today and I saw that Epix Drive In was having an 80’s takeover weekend. So out of all the movies they were showing today and tonight, She’s Having A Baby is the only one I hadn’t seen. The film stars Kevin Bacon (Footloose) and Elizabeth McGovern (Kick-Ass) as newlyweds Jake and Kristy Briggs. You see everyone in the world thinks that Jake and Kristy have no idea what they are getting into when the two got married and to be honest I don’t believe that they fully knew. Even though they might be unprepared for what lies ahead of them, they will do their best to tackle whatever it is including the decision to have a baby. The film also stars Alec Baldwin (The Hunt For Red October) as Davis, James Ray (The Edge Of Night) as Mr. Briggs, Holland Taylor (Two And The Half Men) as Mrs. Briggs, William Windom (To Kill A Mockingbird) as Mr. Bainbridge, Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) as Howard, Dennis Dugan (Problem Child) as Bill, Edie McClurg (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as Lynn, John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop) as Ken, Larry Hankin (Home Alone) as Hank, and the film was written, directed, and produced by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club).
At first I had a hard time trying to figure out the plot of the film in accordance to what I should write as a synopsis above. The plot is as plain as day if you truly think about it because it’s all about whether we make the right choices or not. There are temptations in the world that makes us question the choices we made especially when it has to do with marriage. That is what both Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern’s characters face in the film as they get adjusted to each other and the life that follows. You can definitely tell when you are watching the film that it’s a John Hughes film because it has his name written all over it from the writing and the shots. Plus there is always this lesson that our main character learns in every film and Kevin has that lesson as well. Alec Baldwin lookss so young in this film, it’s crazy to see what he looks like now compared to then, but he was masterful in the film. If I were you guys I would stick around for the end credits as you gets some special appearances from actors like John Candy, Kirstie Alley, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Dyan Cannon, Matthew Broderick, Dan Aykroyd, and so many more. If you are a fan of Kevin Bacon or even Kevin Bacon 80’s films, then give this one a look cause you never know you may enjoy this film. That is why I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.
There are films out there that just grab you the minute you see a movie poster or a trailer. There are films out there that just strike a certain chord in your brain the right way that makes you interested like The Town and other films that have to do with bank heists. Today’s film, Triple 9 was definitely one of those that mad me want to see it. Triple 9 is about a gang that has former cops and dirty cops on its team that perform heists. After a heist is successful, these gang which is made up of the ringleader Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), ex-cop Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), dirty cops Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.) are put to the test one more time. They have to plan the murder of a cop in order to pull off the biggest heist they have ever performed. The film also stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as Chris Allen, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Jeffrey Allen, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as Russel Welch, Gal Gadot (Superman Vs Batman: Dawn Of Justice) as Elena Vlaslov, Kate Winslet (Labor Day) as Irina Vlaslov, Teresa Palmer (Take Me Home Tonight) as Michelle Allen, Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) as Sweat Pea, and the film was directed by John Hillcoat (Lawless).
Now I know you are wondering if the film lived up to the trailer or the movie poster? My simple answer to that question is an obvious yes, but how did it live up to it? First off, hats off to all the actors in the film because they did an amazing job as far as that department is concerned. It’s hard for me to choose one person as the MVP especially out of the four guys on the team plus Affleck and Harrelson. Although, I had a hard time buying Kate Winslet as a Russian Jewish Mobster especially with the accent, I am willing to look past it because the film was gritty and it was exactly what I wanted. They inserted the twists in the film just at the right spots so that you didn’t get bored with the film and they were plenty of scenes where you don’t see the particular action coming. If I had to compare this film with any other film out there, I would choose The Town just not as amazing as that one, but it’s up there. It’s basically The Town without bank robbers and with cops instead. The heists sequences are actually where the fun lays in this film because it’s an adrenaline rush as you sit wondering whether they can pull it off or not. One piece of criticism that I do have for the film is that it could have explained their relationships a little more and there are some scenes that could have been cut out. The only spoiler I can give you is that Norman Reedus (his character is bad ass) fans will leave disappointed. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade. Check it out in theaters all across America now.
Back in the late 1990’s, there was a scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department’s CRASH (a task force set up to fight street gangs) department. They believed that there was a lot of corruption in that department and the Rampart division of the LAPD. This film, Rampart, takes place during that time as it follows police officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson). Officer Brown is the kind of guy who follows his own brand of justice in life whether it be on the streets where he does things his way or at home with his dysfunctional family. After a beating incident, things begin to fall apart for Brown as he looks to keep his family together as well as his career as he fights to keep his job. The film also stars Bree Olson (21 Jump Street) as Helen, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Barbara, Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco) as Catherine, Jon Bernthal (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Dan Morone, Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) as General, Steve Buscemi (Fargo) as Bill Blago, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) as Linda, Ned Beatty (The Toy) as Hartshorn, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as Kyle Timkins, Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters) as Joan Confrey, and the film was directed by Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy).
I realized as I started to watch the film that I did a double shot of Woody Harrelson for this challenge and I’m glad I did. This film is not only visually stunning, but it’s gritty and it’s dark. You literally see the a man descend from the beginning of the film all the way to the end. What I mean by that is that Woody starts off the film being this tough guy who does things his own way on the streets. He is cocky about it and believes in what he is doing until everything around him starts to fall apart. The more the film goes on, the darker the fall into madness for Woody’s character. There are a lot of scenes in the film which stunningly portray his character as this misanthrope, misogynistic, womanizing man who has no care in the world for how people feel. This film is great for character study and it kind of shows where LA was at in the late 1990’s. Every person from Bree Olson to Ben Foster do an amazing job acting wise that you can’t help, but love this film. Woody’s transformation is unbelievable as well as he just looks sick for most of the film and he gets worse as time goes on in the film. The only thing that I question is the man’s home life as he lives with his ex-wife and his current wife and he has a child with each one. Oh and I almost forgot, they are sisters too. If you’re into films like this one then you should definitely check it out. The film is available on Netflix and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Early in the challenge, we covered a film from the great brother tag team of the Coen Brothers, but now we have another famous brother combo for today’s film. The Farrelly Brothers have made great comedy films like Dumb And Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and today’s film Kingpin. The film stars Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) as Roy Munson, a bowling prodigy in the 1970’s who unfortunately got his hand cut off after he tried to swindle some guys in a game of bowling with his biggest rival Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray). Now, it’s 17 years later, he is in the dumps, he has no money, but he finds an amish guy named Ishmael (Randy Quaid) who happens to be a decent bowler. Ishmael is a guy who just wants to be noticed, but he gets his chance when he finds that the community needs $500,000 to save it from foreclosure. You see Roy tells him about a bowling tournament that is offering 1 Million dollars and they need to do is when and they’ll split it. What takes place next is one heck of an adventure as they hit the road to Reno. The film also stars Vanessa Angel (Hall Pass) as Claudia, Chris Elliot (Scary Movie 2) as The Gambler, Lin Shaye (Insidious) as the landlady, Zen Gesner (Shallow Hal) as Thomas, and Rob Moran (Dumb And Dumber) as Stanley.
I had always heard that Kingpin was a great movie from so many people, but I just never got the chance to watch the whole film. Thankfully, Netflix had it available to stream and I do not regret one moment of it. This movie was truly hilarious from beginning to end especially with Randy Quaid. Randy Quaid was hilarious whether it was stupid humor or slapstick humor, he brought the goods to the table and he worked well with Woody Harrelson. The two of them made a great combination on the screen as they went through this journey together no matter how outrageous. Bill Murray definitely deserves a nod as well as the sleezy, womanizing, rival who knows just what buttons to push. Without Bill Murray, I don’t know who honestly could have filled those shoes. There is a reason why he is respected in the comedy world, just remember that. Lin Shaye who all of sudden appears in all of these films I had no idea she was in does a terrific job. She looked like that stereotypical comedy landlord who is so gross that our main character has to deal with. I also enjoyed the film’s soundtrack which goes all over the place from Disco to folk to even sound country music thrown in the mix. I definitely enjoyed this film a lot that I am going to give the movie an B+ for a final grade. Check it out on Netflix right now!