Reviews written by registered user

4 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Sicario (2015)
5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
We Need More Films Like This, 23 September 2015

Damn! This movie was something else. To start, I didn't know much of the film prior to seeing it. I watched the trailer once and didn't even finish it as to not ruin anything for myself when I saw it.

This movie is labeled as an action drama, but may have just been labeled as a thriller for the palatable tension the movie created for the viewer. Similar to Everest, there were swathes of this movie where I was truly on the edge of my seat with my hands on each side of my face. The score creates this sickening tension that leaves you with the sensation that all hell could break loose at any second. The music coupled with the eerie and vast cinematography reminiscent of Seven and the 1st season of True Detective gave me a feeling of lost abandon and hopelessness throughout the film which of course, ties into the story.

As for the story, do not expect your typical hand fed Hollywood plot. You will have to work to see all of the inter-workings and under-workings of the story that's being told. There is always a feeling in this film of something sinister working underneath it all. The story is only bolstered up by the complex and ever so cool characters that take the billing of this movie. And it's not just the three stars of the film that will draw your interest, the side characters and sub plots will have you rooting for or against anyone at any time.

Every film has a complaint and this film is no exception. I did indeed have an issue with one character's particular development in the 3rd act of the film, but to avoid the risk of ruining anything for anyone, I'll leave my own reservations to myself. My only comments on the matter is that I felt the character's development did not seem to coincide with what was originally intended, but the development was perhaps an afterthought.

Even with wrong turn, the film pulls out a work of art, a modern and fresh Traffic if you will, darker and more grand in scale. The content of the story is relevant and most will appreciate the content. The message, if there is one to be taken from the film can be interpreted two different ways I think. This is a cinephile's film. The pace of the film will be lost on most as the director builds his slow, albeit ever increasing beat to a crescendo that will leave you discussing the film afterwards for certain, as was my case.


7 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Fan of Both the Book & Film, 18 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Lone Survivor this evening in Chicago. I read the book awhile back, but much of it was still stuck in my head as it's not the type of novel you forget easy. I'll avoid any major spoilers, though I would imagine many people are rather familiar with the story at this point. I will make some comparisons between the book and the film, so for those who want to go 100% blind into the film, please stop reading.

To start I'm a fan of Peter Berg, Battleship wasn't as terrible as it could have been. I think The Kingdom is a very underrated film and Berg has a niche for doing military action movies while telling a good story. Similar to The Kingdom, Berg uses a familiar score to the film, which I really enjoyed. All of the actors in the film do an incredible job in the movie with Taylor Kitch and Ben Foster being the standout performances.

Berg does a great job condensing the first part of the book, being the Navy Seal training segment that Luttrell speaks about in great detail. The film condenses this entire segment into the films intro that aptly summarizes some of the hardships and intensity that is required to even become a Seal. This is done through using what appears to be actual stock footage of Seal Training camps and regiments.

After the Seal Training segment, we are introduced to the four main characters and the brought right into Operation Red Wings. We also get a few cameos of the director, Peter Berg and Marcus Luttrell himself. This portion of the movie may seem "slow" to some people, but one has to take into consideration that this is an abbreviated version of a True Story so it's not going to be non-stop action throughout the film. One our team of Seals are dropped into the Hindu Kush, the film does a fine job of depicting the "hunt" and strategy of their mission. One of the segments I remember most from the book is Marcus and his ghostwriter describing the patience of a sniper and the importance of positioning and background. The film achieves this in a very subtle and effective way.

It isn't long until the team encounters the goat herders and the negotiations amongst the team take place. I was particularly interested in this piece as this was the most controversial part of the book. This segment of the film also does a great job of depicting Marcus' opinion of the American media as illustrated in the negation with his team regarding the fate of the goat herders.

It isn't long before the firefight occurs and this is really where the movie shines while equally became very difficult to watch. As in the book, you can't help but to feel a wide range of emotions during this segment. Sadness, frustration, anger, patriotism are some that come right off the cuff. Berg nails the courage, bravery and epic endurance the four Seals must have went through in those mountains. There are some tough scenes here folks, there were claps, gasps and sniffles in the packed theater.

The closing segment of the film is the largest divergence between the book in the film. You can tell this was done in the interest of time and the changes didn't bother me much as I understand that Berg didn't want to run the film on after such a grueling emotional roller coaster. The manage to sneak a couple of small details into the film that were in the book which I liked, specifically the bottle and the old man. Those parts also stuck with me from the book.

The closing of the film was probably the hardest to watch and if you don't feel anything then you're probably a Taliban yourself. I won't say what Berg does specifically as you should experience it for yourselves. I will say that people were crying all over the theater though.

I hope everyone has a chance to check the film out. My biggest fear when movies like this are made is that people will want to go out, grab a gun and want to shoot up some Taliban. Whatever your political affiliation is, it should bother you that American troops are dying and question what they are exactly dying for. One last point that the film does a great job of slipping in twice. It is mentioned in the film about having a lack of equipment, which is also mentioned several times in Bowden's Black Hawk Down. With the massive scale of the Defense budget, I do not understand how this is even possible. Anyway, hope the review encourages you to see the film and let me know what y'all think when you see it.

293 out of 443 people found the following review useful:
Quite the Epic, 18 October 2012

My wife and I were able to see an advanced showing of Cloud Atlas last night at The Chicago International Film Festival. I will say that I was thrilled to see this movie from the moment I saw the initial trailer release. I am a huge fan of movies that are epic in nature and are rather daring by taking on the task of time lines that may span a millennia.

I will not provide any spoilers but I will say that the film is truly grand in scope and as you may have deduced from the trailer, the film time span passes through hundreds of years and includes many characters and story lines that are interwoven or overlap.

I cannot say enough about the performances in the film. From top to bottom, everyone displays amazing performances. Hugo Weaving obviously is a show stopper in several scenes. The make-up and costume design will throw even the seasoned film-goer off as the transitions made by these characters are nothing short of spectacular. I cannot see another film coming close to being in the same category for the Oscar in Costume and Make-Up.

The visuals and the score of the movie were the biggest takeaways for me. There were moments that reminded me of Blade Runner mixed with Out of Africa. There are a large number of stories within the film, some large and some small, but many strong enough to be individual films themselves. That being said with the long running time of the film, almost 3 hours, coupled with the multitude of story lines and the very numerous edits, the film can be a daunting task for even a seasoned viewer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't fighting to pay close attention to every detail to the first hour of the film to understand what was happening. The first 10 minutes alone caused me some confusion.

This film will not be for everyone due to its complexity and length, but for those who are true fans of films this epic in nature will truly appreciate the film. I very much look forward to another viewing of the film and encourage everyone to see the film at least once.


True Grit (2010)
2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Saw a Screening Tonight, 13 December 2010

So not having any expectations set the only thing to get me excited for this film were the Cohen brothers, the trailer and of course Jeff Bridges. I watched the trailer a number of times and after seeing the movie I can tell you they show entirely too much in the trailer. That being said, if you haven't seen the trailer, avoid it.

Right off the bat the film gets into the story of Mattie's dad and quickly gives the audience a breakdown of who this girl is based off of her immediate interactions with people in the beginning of the film. The girl who is casted for Mattie did a flawless job. She was truly remarkable in her role.

Throughout the movie the dialog is sharp, witty and cunning. Many times I found it hard to keep up with all of the back and forth diatribe. Many of the words/terms I didn't understand to be honest and I fancy myself to be decently educated. You can tell the Cohen's did their research for the time to match the speaking, clothing and decor of the old Western times.

The chemistry between Bridges and "Mattie" is top notch and even better is the relationship between Bridges and Damon. My respect-o-meter for Damon keeps growing after every film I watch him in and he does not disappoint in this film at all. All of the side casting, who are mostly unknowns are great and more than memorable. The one spoiler I'll give is a simple casting one, Barry Pepper makes a great appearance in the film and until watching him in this role, I forgot how much I like him as an actor and wish he did more work.

I loved Crazy Heart and would whole heartedly expect Bridges to be nominated again for this role. This guy has become so much better with age. He is equally impressive in this movie as he was in Crazy Heart. There are some similarities to be sure, but the roles are diverse enough where you won't have the feeling of "Been there, done that." If I had one wish, not complaint, it would have been the score. I'm big on film scores and that is one element I felt lacking in the movie. There were some major opportunities to enhance some scenes with a proper score. Aside from that, I felt nothing but love and admiration for the movie and it'll make a nice edition to my limited Blu-Ray collection.

In conclusion, if you're a Western fan, go see the movie. If you like the Cohen Bros.' previous works, go see the film. If you're a Bridges or Damon fan, go see the movie. If you want to know how it compares to the original, "I can do nothing for ya son."