Saturday, May 18, 2013
Based on a true story, Michael Shannon plays a cold-as-ice hitman for the mafia in the 60's through 80's who only truly cares for one thing: his family. Winona Ryder plays his doe-eyed ignorant wife and Ray Liotta plays the ruthless mob boss who employs him.
There isn't a whole lot new to this story we haven't seen in every gangster film ever made, but it's engrossing and worth seeing if only for the great and consistent performances of Shannon and Liotta. Both of them have been on a tear recently with non-stop great roles. After his breakout role in 'Revolutionary Road', Shannon followed up with the grossly underseen 'The Missing Person', and really hit the mark in 2011 with 'Take Shelter', though is probably best known for his role in 'Boardwalk Empire' (that is, until he fills the shows of General Zod in the upcoming 'Man of Steel'). And Liotta is the best part of 'The Place Beyond the Pines' and 'Killing Them Softly'. Add this to the list of roles perfectly in their wheelhouse.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
(newest releases are in green):
Jurassic Park Grade: A (3D not reviewed)
Star Trek Into Darkness Grade: A
Disconnect Grade: A
Pain & Gain Grade: A-
Mud Grade: A-
Oz the Great and Powerful Grade: B+
The Iceman Grade: B+
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Grade: B+
Iron Man 3 Grade: B+
The Place Beyond the Pines Grade: B+
The Company You Keep Grade: B
The Big Wedding Grade: B
Olympus Has Fallen Grade: B-
Oblivion Grade: B-
The Great Gatsby Grade: C+
42 Grade: C
Peeples Grade: D+
Evil Dead Grade: F
Additional Films Not Reviewed:
At Any Price
Escape From Planet Earth
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Hava Nagila (The Movie)
Scary Movie 5
Something in the Air
Tyler Perry's Temptation
Venus and Serena
I'm not a Trekker. Yet I am a big enough fan of the Star Trek universe and its super fans to know that they prefer to be called Trekkers and not Trekkies. And as a fan, it's been a long four years waiting for J.J. Abrams follow up to his exceptional reboot of the original cast classic. In 2009, uber-geek Abrams wowed Trekkers, casual fans, and newcomers alike by ingenious storytelling and truly perfect casting. He managed to capture the essence of each character from the original series, allowing a new generation to experience a reimagining, but without invalidating the beloved original. So how do you follow that up? Well, Abrams is particularly smart about one thing: Keeping his mouth shut. He is extremely hush hush about his projects, being one of the few that understands that the anticipation of not knowing is more fun than knowing everything going in. It was eventually revealed that the great Benedict Cumberbatch (best known as BBC's Sherlock) would be part of the cast. And rumors floated around that he might fill the shoes of the greatest enemy the original cast ever faced, Khan, as originally chillingly portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II. Well I won't confirm or deny that, but I will say that this movie totally delivers. It's 2 hours and 12 minutes of larger than life action mixed with laughs, quality storytelling, and plenty of great homages to the original. I loved it, though not quite as much as the last one. I look forward to the next installment and may the franchise live long and prosper.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
And the nominees for the 2013 WTF awards are: Terrence Malick's 'To the Wonder' and Shane Carruth's 'Upstream Color'. It's gonna be a tight race...
In 2004, Carruth wowed art house sci-fi audiences with his time-travel-for-the-thinking-man low budget film 'Primer'. And now, nine years later, he gives us his second film, another low budget sci-fi head scratcher with minimal dialogue that makes 'Primer' seem extraordinarily easy to follow. As he did in 'Primer', Carruth once again stars. But don't ask me for a synopsis. I'd be hard pressed to give you a good one. And I just watched it TWICE back to back! According to IMDB:
"A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives."
And, even more perplexing than that cryptic blurb, I can't even say it sounds like the movie I just watched twice. So, needless to say, those that don't like to work for their art appreciation should run from this film. ('Tree of Life' haters, this means you!) Nevertheless, as incomprehensible art films go, I kind of liked it. And I liked it even more the second time. Maybe the third time will be the charm?!?
'Upstream Color' is now in limited release in theaters, but also available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Video On Demand.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Peeples'.
FOX 35 News Orlando