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Captain Marvel (2019)
More Like Staff Sergeant Marvel
There is no question that Brie Larson packs the gear to serve in the army of Marvel super-heroes. 'Captain Marvel' is the twenty-first movie released since Iron Man (2008) and the first with a female lead. That's a lot to hang on the shoulders of a young actress, even an academy award winning one. But hang it they do. In fact, if it wasn't for Larson's performance this movie has little to offer. A lack luster script, formulaic origin story and dull supporting cast, means that Larson is left with a lot of the heavy lifting. In the comic books, Captain Marvel is a secondary character, which means that , like Ant-Man and The Guardian movies, there was a lot of wiggle room to create a movie with a broader appeal unrestricted by the canon that comes with the more iconic heroes. Yet, there is nothing new here and Larson is largely left to win us over with her steely glances, barefoot fighting and playful kibitzing. Fanboys or grrls will not be disappointed but 'Captain Marvel' doesn't hold rank to attract a general audience.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Ga Ga Land
Well, here I am again not getting it. I didn't hate this movie. It was okay. Did I miss something? Yes, Lady Gaga can act. (It is an impressive debut performance.) And Bradley Cooper can sing. But is there anything 'oscar' worthy in this film? I went through this same problem with 'La La Land'. I guess I just don't like musicals. I found the music to be innocuous, Bradley Cooper's voice annoying and Sam Elliott as "big brother" too much of a stretch for me. I liked the dog though. Not to mention that this premise has been done and done to death at least five times. (And they weren't very good pictures either.) And like 'La La Land' I felt that all the hype about the movie was a bit manufactured. And another thing, didn't people get tired of Cooper's character "mansplaining" everything to Ga Ga's character? I thought it was 2018? Look, I didn't love 'Black Panther' either. Maybe, I'm just getting cynical in my oldish age. I have been talking back to the TV lately.
Green Book (2018)
'Green Book' is charming, funny and heart warming. Oh, and "based" on a true story. "Inspired" may have been an even better choice. So if your looking for historical accuracy, you may want to pass. However, taken for what it is, a road trip movie about two diametrically opposed characters directed by Peter Farrelly, it's a fun and thoughful story. It's flawed only by its inability to decide if it is about the characters or investigating a bigger idea about race then and now. There is no question that this subject, especially in these times, deserves better and more serious consideration but does every movie about race in America have to be charged with that duty? (This may be the fault of sloppy marketing that leaned into the "based on a true story" trailer plug. ) Having said that, there is a lot to unpack here and the movie gets bogged down in too many running themes. (Thus a 7 over an 8 rating) Mortensen and Ali have a nice chemistry. It'd be cool if they did something else together. To coin another movie, "This might be the making of a beautiful friendship.".
San Andreas (2015)
The Fault In Our Stars
Wouldn't even waste a review on this movie except I couldn't resist the catchy headline. Those of us who grew up in the 70's remember when disaster movies were all the rage. (Towering Inferno, Earthquake (in Sensurround!), Airport, Posiedon Adventure, etc) In those days before CGI the special effects were part of the reason to see the movie. Today, I've become so used to sensational effects that it's hard to get a "meh" out of me. What's missing here is characters that we care about, atypical storylines and solid suspenseful moments. (Moreover, after 9/11, watching crumbling buildings and terrified crowds just seems ironic. We live in a world where the unimaginable is all too imaginable.) Dwayne Johnson is essentially beefcake throughout. Paul Giamatti is wasted. Alex Daddario is watchable but not enough to save this overly cliched snoozer.
Fallout And I Can't Get Up
The 'Tom Cruise' brand on a movie means the audience is promised something, usually high octance popcorn fare, and Tom Cruise has made a pretty good career delivering on that promise. (ie. 'Jack Reacher', The 'MI' franchise, 'Oblivion', 'American Made', That movie where he dies all the time.) In fact, of his last 12 films only 2 were stinkers. Great stuff! But it also means our expectations are higher. So 'Fallout' is not a bad movie although, of the six MI films, it's the least good. Also, I'm the same age as Tom Cruise so it truly pains me to say this... Tom is starting to look his age. At 56, 41 in Hollywood leading men years, his face has less integrity, the hair color is off by years and he looks great but you can tell he's trying. It might be time for 'Agent Hunt' to come in from the field. Just sayin'. Otherwise, Rebecca Ferguson, who is 35 (of course she is), brought a fresh look and much needed fiest to 'Rogue'. More subdued in this film but still wonderful to watch. Frankly, It'd be nice to see her in charge of the IMF team. Am I right, ladies! 'Fallout' is more fuzzy familial and less cold hearted. A six seems harsh but I'm comparing it to the other five movies in the franchise. In my opinion the first MI (1996) is still the best. 'Rogue Nation' (2015) second. 'Ghost Protocol' (2011) third. MI 2 (2000) and MI 3 (2006) tied for fourth and 'Fallout'. Still I look forward to the seventh - Mission Impossible: Reverse Mortgage Scam.
20th Century Women (2016)
Womansplaining The 70's
Those of you who grew up in the pre-Reagan seventies and expect a cozy and nostalgic trip back in time should be forewarned this is not that movie. This is a movie about women living in the "me decade" the way 'Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory' (1971) was about candy making. The fringe characters seemingly ignore the actual predominant cultural influences of the day (hair care, bad fashion and TV watching) that would have been inescapable except to prison inmates and grad students of the day. (It'd be like watching a movie about our present decade ("the teenies"?) but no one having a cell phone.) Similarly, the cultural zeitgeist is inaccurate. For example, the few men in this movie are inconsequential losers marginalized into roles as handymen or therapuetic sexual facilitators. HAH! Everyone knows that men's obseleteness is another decade away when Billy Crystal makes 'When Harry Met Sally' (1989). (But seriously, if any time travellers are reading this, forget Hitler - take out baby Crystal) Dorothea (Bening) plays a too hip for any room older Mom informed more by pre war America then the affluence and bigness of post war America. She knows what is coming (the 80's?) and worries for her only son. She enlists a rag tag group of strays whose only apparent qualifications are availability and angst (again twenty years to early) to guide the boy into manhood. The predicament for Dorothea is, except for her son, she seems to like not giving a hoot about anything else. She resigns her self to her smoking habit and the fate therein and barters not with money but invites to dinner parties heightened only by the guests own social ineptness. The son (Jamie) lacks the charm or charisma to believe that anyone except Mom would take an interest in him. In fact, 'Jamie' probably grows up to be Billy Crystal's 'Harry'. Greta Gerwig is wonderful at nailing down the wistfully eccentric 'Abbie'. I'd watch her "reading the phone book". You know, because typically one associates reading a phone book as tedious and boring but she is so wonderful that it would still be worth it. Oh, did that explanation seem patronizing and condescending?! Well, that's how I felt watching this movie.
First Man (2018)
A Serious Man
Those of you expecting the high octane All-American space cowboys as portrayed by the 'Mercury Seven' astronauts in 'The Right Stuff' (1983) will be slightly dismayed by the less jingoistic 'First Man' which wants us to believe that, amidst all the excitement and anticipation of landing on the moon, the astronauts of the Mercury and Apollo Programs were just regular rocket scientists who, after a day of being stuffed into flying rockets like sardines would come home to the regular suburban angst of 1960's middle America. While this in and of itself is fair comment, it does make for a less than exciting movie. Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy do a tremendous job playing the iconic Armstrongs as more sobering, poignant and complex characters. (Gosling showing particular adeptness at not revealing any jarring Canadianisms. Whew!) The avoidance of the typical themes of American exceptionalism, frontierism and flag waving are refreshing and commendable enough but the movie focuses on Armstrong's inner psyche at the expense of much needed narrative, stronger supporting characters and special effects that are so unspectacular that one might even suspect that the conspiracy nuts are right - and this all could have been done on a sound stage. But it wasn't and that's reason alone to watch 'First Man'.
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
The Rise Of An American Icon
In his early years, Henry Fonda made a trilogy of films that cemented him as one of the greats. His sixth film 'Young Mr. Lincoln' (1939) followed by 'Jesse James' (1940) and 'The Grapes Of Wrath' (1940). Oh, and 'The Ox Bow Incident' (1943). So four! Four classic films that cemented him in the hallowed halls of -- wait. Can't forget 'My Darling Clementine' in 1946. FIVE! Five great and lasting iconic films. But most of us watched these films informed by what was to come later. It got me thinking, what was it like to see icons like Fonda on screen for the first time. Did people watch thinking "OMG we're watching something pretty amazing here!" Did they sense that this was the start of a legendary career? Because that's the feeling I had when I watched Casey Affleck in 'Gone Baby Gone'. This performance was not a one off. No, I was being given the opportunity to see an artist at the start of an epic career. Don't believe me? Check out The Assassination Of Jesse James' and 'Manchester By The Sea'. In each of these films, Affleck portrays the reliable grown up hero for the every man in all of us. The non-hacker who can act a thousand words with a glance. The soft spoken laconicy that suggests vulnerability and unassuredness but belys an inner strength and steely bravery. The hallowed, weary expression of a man with the single minded workaday urge to be good. If you do the math, you know that these people come along once or twice in a life time. Moreover, if fate allows (it usually doesn't), they progress through a long and respectable career leaving the world a better place for it. I watch Affleck work and I find it impossible not to include him in this short list of great American male actors. Hanks is iconic, yes, but he earned it film by film. DeCaprio seemed born to it. Eastwood's doing his best work in the latter part of his career and Pacino and DeNiro are wrecklessly squandering their iconic status with silly movie after silly movie. There are other contenders in his generation (Crudup, Gosling, Hardy, etc.) but Affleck seems to pack the gear for the times as they are. The knowing, quiet guy at the back of the room whose every movement is efficently utilitarian. 'GBG' is his 22nd film. It is a sure bet that forty years from now our great grand kids will be watching Affleck the way we watched Fonda. Directed by brother Ben, who cowrote the screenplay, and with a fantastic supporting cast, 'Gone Baby Gone' is a winning combination of great movie making. But Casey Affleck turns it into a classic. It's why Affleck makes my short list of great American actors for our times and perhaps for all times.
A Serious Man (2009)
Quantum Physics Aside
There are two ways to watch this movie: One, taken at face value as a slice of life movie presented in the typically painful dark comic stylings of the Cohen Brothers. In which case, the writing, acting, story line (and lack of deus ex machina there in) about a put upon drudge in 1960's suburban Minnesota will not disappoint. Trust me. Go on. Enjoy. Or, 'B', informed by the many breakdowns and analysis provided by the internets in which case you may find yourself going "Oy Vey!". The first way, at face value, is how I like to watch movies. It is, in my humble opinion, art in it's purest form. I like a good denouement phase as will as the next guy but when you have to have someone else explain it in order to appreciate it, it morphs into something else. Having said that, I was intrigued enough by what I watched the first time to watch it again informed by the cheat sheets on quantum physics, the uncertainty principle, Werber Hiesenberg, and the super-posiition. This latter perspective did provide some resolution and undoubtedly enough impressive fodder for my next cocktail party but it also left me in the "super-position" of unfixed propability and unable therefore to identify the movie as being 'good' or 'bad'. Ha! See what I did there?
Suicide Kings (1997)
Not sure why I never saw this movie when it first came out but Chris Walken fans will enjoy this whodunit about five entitled and spoiled old boys who seek the aid of a wealthy mob boss whose power and reputation, though waning, is enough to somehow ingratiate himself with the elite gentry of New York. If you don't over think it too much and just enjoy Denis Leary and Walken as tough guys with hearts of gold (which is, after all, how we like our Hollywood mobsters) this is a fun film. Trust me, serious scrutiny of any aspect of this movie will leave you frustrated and wanting but Walken's performance is entertaining enough to over look the obvious flaws. The supporting actors all carry their water but a few are swinging for the fences. Jay Mohr (fresh off of 'Jerry Macguire') and John Galecki (fresh off of 'Rosanne') are too earnest by half. But on balance this is a fairly tight ensemble cast. The pay off isn't big but it's satisfying enough.
Interstellar Not A Smeller
Movies that revolve around time travel can be annoyingly complicated and confusing. ('Arrival', 'Looper', About Time', 'Time Traveller's Wife', etc). Interstellar is not. Infact, it is a surprisingly thoughtful and intriguing science fiction pic with a star studded supporting cast of contemporary Hollywood actors that willl keep you riveted to the screen even at 2 hours and 49 minutes. McConaughey offers a subdued and mature portrayal of a father choosing between his children and their future. Gone is the swagger and annoying aplomb that we've come to expect in an endless array of rom coms. It's the fully established relationships that keep you grounded in a story that could easily overwhelm and set you adrift in mind blowing science fiction concepts related to advanced science, technology, spaceflight and time travel. The effects are spectacular (as we expect today) but without being overbearing or distracting. There are some fun surprises so get out the extra large popcorn but go easy on the soda pop.
A Lovely Way to Die (1968)
Kirk's Smirk Still Works
Fans of Kirk Douglas will love this kitschy detective mystery. Douglas is in his early fifties and his best films (Spartacus in 1960 and Seven Days In May in 1964) are behind him. He still has the chops to be believeable as a lothario law and order cop in the style of 'Dirty Harry'. (Although 'Dirty Harry' won't be released for another three years.) The problem is Douglas' character doesn't know if he's Matt Helm (Dean Martin) or Lew Harper (Paul Newman). The result is an unoriginal, contrived and disjointed story with little character development. Douglas swaggers through a myopic and distorted Hollywood version of the "Summer of Love" in a desperate attempt to appear relevant, cool and of the times. Kenyan Hopkins generic musical score of jazz idioms doesn't help matters. The bed hopping, free wheeling playboy with the cool car (1968 Ford Mustang) is just sad and dated up against more realistic and dour character studies like Steve McQueen's character in 'Bullitt' released in the same year. Sylva Koscina is enchanting as the supposed femme fatale and Eli Wallach is semi-ridiculous as a "southern" defense attorney. The "mystery" is tricky enough to keep your attention but just barely.
E.T. We'll Phone You
'Eraserhead' has an audience rating of 81 percent on 'Rotten Tomatoes'. (I strongly suspect this is the same eight-one percent who said they read 'War & Peace' cover to cover but really just made it through the first forty-five minutes of the movie.) Not unlike politics today, 'Eraserhead' seperates people into three distinct categories. There is "us", those who see this for what it is (a ridiculous vanity project that is boring and psuedo pedantic); "them", the small cult following of cinephiles convinced of their elevated powers of discernment and "everyone else", those who recognize the title, the hair and have a vague idea of it's cultural relevance but don't care much beyond that. Each curious about the other but also relieved that they are better off where they are. Perhaps, we can all agree that what explains any phenomena surrounding this movie is that it was the early work of David Lynch, American filmmaker, painter, musician, photographer and strangeling thought by many on all sides to be a significant director of his time for such mainstream successes as 'The Elephant Man', 'Blue Velvet' and 'Mulholland Drive' and, of course, there is 'Twin Peaks'. Believe me, without that filmography this movie is 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' with admittedly, better production values. While I am confident most of you will fall into the "Us" category, it is a free country after all, and to each his or her or their own as the case may be. (Hey, you're reading the review of a guy who listed "Hello Down There" on his list of '100 Greatest Movies Of All Times'. What do I know?) I suggest that if you do see 'Eraserhead' you watch it in the relative captivity of a theatre with someone you may be falling in love with as seeing this through a neurochemical lens of oxytocin and dopamine may vary your opinion and or tolerance of what is most commonly referred to as an "unconventional" film. (And atleast a third of "us" all know what that means.)
The Winning Season (2009)
Screen The Teener!
The troubled basketball coach who brings his team of losers to the championship is as familiar as western shoot outs and "boy meets girl" rom coms. The pivot on this one - it's a team of grrls! Still, it would be a mistake to pass on this one. Sam Rockwell is perfect as the ne'er do well coach who gets a second or maybe fourth chance at redemption. It's his edgy performance and a strong supporting cast (including the athletes who bring a wonderful authenticity and charm) that take you beyond the contrived scenes and corny sports cliches. A fun and thoughful family movie with a satisfying ending. If you don't over think it. "See the three. Be the three!"
Atomic Blonde (2017)
I had a hard time trying to figure out why I didn't like this movie. Yes, it has a confusing plot but so did the first 'Mission Impossible' and two of the four Bourne movies. The fight scenes are spectacular, realistic and gritty. (Even better then the Bourne movies) The cast is cool. I guess I didn't buy Theron as a British special agent. It didn't help that her British accent was hit and miss (mostly miss). Or that her obvious beauty and high end style is almost never used as an asset to her job as a spy. Yes, sometimes you have to kick a bunch of ass but also, if you look like Charleze Theron, sometimes you can just walk into the room and say "Hello!". I also thought it was strange that the Russians didn't have any kick ass female agents. In the end it seemed like a big slug fest to demonstrate that a women could carry an action movie. Except we already knew that. Didn't we? Emily Blunt in 'Edge of Tomorrow', Chloe Moritz in 'Kick Ass 2', Uma Thurman in 'Kill Bill 1 & 2' and Halle Berry in 'Catwoman'. Okay, just kidding about the last one. Look, I get it. I'm "woke" as the kiddos like to say. Action heroes are male because guys go to action movies and it's more relatable. Blah, blah,blah. So maybe it's that simple. I'm a dumb sexist philistine. But I think to confine me to that weak stereotype is just as sexist. Maybe it's just a bad movie - with some great fight scenes.
It Should Happen to You (1954)
One Billboard Inside Manhattan, New York
A lonely women feeling insignificant rents a giant billboard in the high traffic locale of Columbus Circle to gain notoriety. That's the premise of 'It Should Happen To You'. Best known for being Jack Lemmon's first film (he would go on to win a supporting Oscar for 'Mr. Roberts' in 1956 - a mere two years later) and also starring a dashing Peter Lawford, mid career and recently released from his MGM contract, this Judy Hollliday rom com (she won an Oscar for 'Born Yesterday' in 1951) revolves around the pursuit and consequence of sudden dubiously acquired fame. Sound familiar? It's relatable enough, but instead of thefacebook and Utube, the post war era of commerical advertising and television are the medium to fame and fortune. Judy Holliday made a career out of playing the unsophisticated and guileless "dumb bunny" and Lemmon plays the affable guy next door (that would be the mainstay of his early movie roles). Holliday is not a comedian, she is an actress who finds herself in comedic situations, which lends an emotional depth to her performance. Lemmon and Lawford were close in age but it's Lemmon's kinetic earnest energy and confident ease, representative of the new generation of actors of that era, that leaps through the screen and is in direct contrast to the tempered and old school reserve of Peter Lawford. Garson Kanin, responsible for the smart snappy banter made famous by Spencer and Hepburn in classics like 'Adam's Rib', wrote the screenplay and so the dialogue has a familiar rhythm but without the gravitas. The result is a light, cheery and unsubstantial movie.
Lady Bird (2017)
The Earwig That Is Gerwig!
Admittedly, it's a long way to go to justify a headline that may be too cute by half but bare with me. Not unlike the earwig, Gerwig is scary in both appearance and reputation but not directly harmful to humans. A vibrant beauty with strong comic undertones who could easily have established herself in an industry that values and rewards obedience, regularity and conformity and instead strives for recognition for initiative, resourcefulness and creativity. All-American work values packaged in the All-American girl? Yes. But Gerwig wants you to see her as more than that. "A science fiction pixie from a strange atomic place" perhaps. Developing her career as an indie actress in the softer light of a host of delightful indie pics, most notably 'France Ha' ( 2012) and 'Mistress America' (2015), both of which she co-wrote, 'Greenberg' (2010) and 'Lola Versus' (2012), Gerwig is all raw emotion and naked neurosis. Unafraid to portray unnervingly fractured, hapless, fatigued, sexually clumsy characters. The creative offspriing of such indie legends like John Cassavettes and Shirley Clarke. In this, Gerwig is Hollywood's 'earwig', more beneficial then we know, acting as scavenger of decades of decaying movie industry matter and predator to the resident garden pests of old school Hollywoodland. Wew! Told you we'd get there! 'Ladybird' is a good movie deserving of it's present circumstances nestled within the short list of this year's best and critical celebration of actors Ronan and Metcalf. Unfortunately, because these are the times we live in, it is Gerwig's talents (and alas subsequent gender) as the writer and director of 'Ladybird' that are stealing the show. One wonders how tired she must be of telling reporters that 'Ladybird' is not a true story. As if a female writer must drink from the well of her own non-fiction. "And when exactly did you run into this monster, Mrs Shelley?"
You Will Believe A Man Can Cry
There's two things I can say about this Christmas movie. One: It made me cry. Not just tear up but gush in an Oprahesque out pouring of emotion. That hasn't happened since I watched 'Old Yeller' when I was nine. Two: I watched it in July. It's that good. Heartfelt, credible performances (especially by Sam Elliot) and great direction and strong script turn this sentimental Christmas story (that could have easily been another one of those horrible Christmas themed 'Lifetime' channel TV movies) into a rich and uncompromising story. It makes my short list of top 75 movies of all times!
Mississippi Grind (2015)
A Natural Seven (Out of Ten)
Ben Mendelsohn steals this buddy movie about a pair of sad sack 'grinders' (a term for people who gamble for a living) who befriend each other after meeting across a poker table. Reynolds has made a solid career playing fast talking cocky charmers but placed in a supporting role amidst this cast he brings a depth and complexity to his character that is original and thoughtful. This is about people who are doing the best they can trying to manage in a world that is unfair, uneventful and especially unforgiving to people who choose to live in a world constantly surrounded with bad choices. They are unexceptional well-intentioned people who long ago abandoned any fatal optimism for the future but still need to make their way within the limited confines of what they know and where they find themselves. It is a grim, lonely and stark existence which makes for an engrossing film.
99 Homes (2014)
99 Reasons To Watch
There's no better experience for me then discovering a film with no expectation or background and being blown away. Stunning knock out performances by the leads in this movie puts this on my short list of "best movies nobody's heard of". If you've ever wondered what all the fuss is about Andrew Garfield this film answers the question. And Shannon delivers another brilliantly seductive and intense performance that is solidifying his place as Hollywood's next generation of great actors. Convincing, complex and initially low key, '99 Homes' is about real people and events which often means heavy doses of irony and over moralizing. However, the slower pacing and deliberate and nuanced development in the characters avoids the usual tropes and makes for a sharp, thoughtful and fulfilling exploration of human nature.
No Good Movie On This Long Flight
Pacing is way off on this visually impressive space ride that suffers from a dull script and low key performances from the major players. (Although, in fairness, one of them is playing a robot.) The premise is cool, about a lone castaway stranded within the confines of a spaceship heading to a new colony light years from earth, but we've seen the 'isolated castaway' done before and better in everything from 'The Shining' and 'Castaway' to the more recent 'Gravity and 'The Martian'. Jennifer Lawrence is wasted and Pratt proves he can carry a movie without falling back on his usual boyish charms; still there is little chemistry. Everything seems hurried and predictable. A major flaw that is difficult to overlook (and would have been easy to fix) makes it almost impossible to be sympathetic to Platt's character. (Suffice to say he's not really on the ship that long to justify the drastic choice he makes.) And whoever said "there are no small roles just small actors" was wrong. Sometimes there ARE just small roles. Just ask Andy Garcia.
Dom Hemingway (2013)
Jude Law plays 'Dom Hemingway', a guy who is (wait for it) his own worst enemy. Brash, volatile and reckless, he is a one man walking soliloquy. Complimented by his loyal buddy 'Dickie'(Richard E. Grant), who is softer but no less earnest, 'Dom' is out of prison and looking to shake the world on his own terms and without consequence. The thing is 'Dom' is such a force of nature that it's hard for consequence to catch up to him. He's a walking hurricane of entitlement. Law's performance is amazing and unsympathetic even if his character is someone we've seen before and perhaps in better movies. (Alan Ford in 'Snatch'; Ray Winstone in...well, anything.) But 'Dom' has just enough redeeming qualities that one is encouraged to root for him. (It is Jude Law, after all.) And 'Dom' has a delightful pseudo self awareness in the way that people do who are forced into therapy. A hip electronica big beat soundtrack and strong supporting performances make for a fun but definitely unusual movie.
Rabbit, Run (1970)
The 'New Hollywood' Take On An Eisenhower Era Novel
Strong performances, especially James Caan at the height of his career, save this film from being a complete disaster. The problem is that the 1950's themes (Updike's novel is set in 1956) seem out of place framed within the 'New Hollywood' of American film making in 1970. Choppy editing and a heavy 70's electronica soundtrack distract from what would otherwise be a fairly strong representation of the new wave of film making (Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Bonnie & Clyde) portraying a harsher and more critical view of middle class America. Caan's portrayal of the selfish and immature 'Rabbit' is sympathetic and charming. He is surrounded by a supporting cast that portray hapless, stupid or unlikable people who interfere in his efforts to find fulfillment. These characters are one dimensional and serve only as a means to justify the angst and frustration of the protagonist. (A recurring plot device in the American 'New Wave' cinema.) Worth the watch for fans of Caan or films of that era.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Hacksaw Needs Some Sharpening
Couple of things before I start. One: I wish I hadn't known who directed this movie. Yes, I think it informed my opinion on this film. That is, I expected it to be way better! And B: The first half of this movie was so...um...well... horrible. The bar for war movies has been considerably raised. (ie. Saving Private Ryan, Band Of Brothers, The Pacific) and by that standard, Hacksaw is shabby and inferior. There are two movies here. The first part so horribly acted, corny and badly written that it's hard to believe they nominated Garfield for anything but a 'Raspberry'. The second half is all combat and here Gibson is in his element and the acting improves considerably. You wont believe it's the same movie. Is it worth watching? I guess if you like combat scenes. (I do.) Vince Vaughn is miscast as the tough 'Sarge' with the heart of gold. We've seen this character so many times and Vaughn brings nothing new to it. The Aussie actors struggle with the accents. (Apparently everybody in the war was a tough guy from the lower east side of New York.) Garfield plays his character with a syrupy excessiveness. He'll have you thinking 'Forest Gump' instead of 'Audie Murphy'. This might have been better if they had left out some of the story lines with his family, father and focused on the battle front.
Take Us To Your Story Editor
Yikes. I hated this movie. A two hour snooze fest with the false promise of a spectacular ending that falls flat. The movie deals with how humans perceive time (linearly and relatively). Ironic, as this movie will make you feel like time has stood still. This might be worthwhile for science geeks but the resolution is pedantic and confusing.