Monday, August 29, 2016

Movie Review: Southside With You

This movie is highly unusual because it is entirely dialogue consisting of two people, Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson on their first date. I cannot remember any movie that was entirely about a long conversation between two people with the exception of Before Sunrise or Before Sunset that starred Ethan Hawk and Julie Delpy. The challenge with a movie like this is to make the dialogue compelling enough so that it is not so boring that you don't care that the entire movie is about a conversation. For the most part, the screenwriter of this movie, Richard Tanne about the first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, did a good enough job with the writing to pull this movie off. For the most part, this film held my attention throughout the entire 90+ minutes.

The actors in this movie, Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers also did a very good job in their challenging roles of nothing but dialog and I appreciated the numerous moments of "show not tell" where just by her eyes, Michelle showed her enormous displeasure of Obama's constant chain smoking and this also included the moment when she told Obama to "forgive his father" for abandoning his family so he can go on and achieve more than what is father could have. From Obama's eyes, you could tell this was the moment where he fell in love with Michelle.

One issue that most amazing about this story is how Barack Obama is still alive at age 55 considering the extreme smoking he has done throughout his early years. How someone as intelligent and successful as Obama could have smoked this much is a mystery and also a miracle that he didn't​ get any of the many diseases that smoking causes.

This is a solid movie and I do recommend it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Movie Review: Mechanic Resurrection

From The definition of the word Contrived:

adjective 1. obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained: a contrived story.

When a person goes into most action movies and with rare exception you have to suspend your common sense almost as if you are turning off your brain for two hours. At some point, however, there has to be some sense of logic to a movie, a story that makes sense and action sequences that are not so over the top that they are not just plain stupid. Unfortunately "Mechanic Resurrection" is not one of those movies. Just about all of the action sequences in this film are ridiculous especially when you consider how often one man can kill about 40 other people in two hours, most of whom are carrying high-powered machine guns and never once is the main character shot or even cut. How can this be? It's literally impossible and all we ask as an audience is to put more thought into the action sequences to make them more believable. None of this exists in this movie. Even the story of Mechanic Resurgence is absurd. Criminals kidnap a woman, who works for a charity in Cambodia in the hopes that because​ she is so attractive she will get the main character to fall in love with her and then they will have leverage over him so he will kill 3 people for them, and then make the assassinations look​ like an accident. This entire idea is stupid. Why would the producers, screenwriter and director even think a story like this is plausible? Anybody in the audience should be insulted by a plot this idiotic because it demonstrates an alarming lack of respect for the audience. Producers should spend another few months on a script and come up with a better story, because the story in this movie, is just plain absurd and contrived.

As far as Jason Statham, all of his fans will see nothing new in this film. This film is the same karate and violent​ death movies Statham has done many times before. As far as Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones you have to figure that they took this movie because they wanted to stay in the public eye or perhaps because they owed a favor to someone. Maybe other reasons would include that all quality independently made movies don't pay enough money or they never read the script for this film.

I recommend this movie only for extreme Jason Statham fans, for everybody else you should stay home and miss this mostly bad film. If you do see this movie for any reason, remember to leave your brain in the car.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Movie Review: Hands of Stone

The movie "Hands of Stone" has to be one of the first, if not the only movie biography that is equally about 2 people, Ray Arcel and Roberto Duran and their stories are both extremely well told throughout these two hours. Given that this movie is equally the life stories of two people, I was impressed that they were still able to tell the entire story in only two hours. For those who remember the famous "No Mas" fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran on November 25, 1980; after all these years, we all finally know the full story about what really happened and because of this, you have to figure that the happiest person in the world about how his life story was told in this film is Roberto Duran himself.

Roberto Duran's life is easy to understand. He was born into extreme poverty, where his American father left him and his family at a very young age leaving him to forage food in dumpsters and on the streets of Panama. When a person is born into a nightmare life like this you have two choices. Either you lay down and accept it, or you get angry and refuse to accept your reality. Duran got angry, very angry and he turned that anger into extreme energy and rage in the boxing ring where he very soon became known as the "hands of stone", knocking out a high percentage of the fighters he faced.

Ray Arcel's life was all about boxing and as he called it the "brain game" strategies that made him probably the greatest boxing trainer of all time and the first person inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Arcel's earlier career in boxing was when the sport was dominated by organized crime and he was almost killed by the Mafia when he tried to making boxing more mainstream to include the rest of the Unites States and not just New York City and more specifically Madison Square Garden. He was allowed to continue in boxing by the Mafia only if he agreed to never get paid as a boxing trainer and while training Duran he was never paid for this training.

Some of the scenes between Robert Deniro, who plays Ray Arcel and Edgar Ramirez in between rounds of during major fights show once again, why Robert Deniro is one of the best actors of all time. Due to Duran's mistrust of all Americans, the conflict between Arcel and Duran between rounds is outstanding and as real as anything I have seen on the screen in a long time. Time after time, Arcel would try and get Duran to take direction and follow the pre-agreed strategy only to be rejected because Duran did not trust his intentions as somehow he thought that Arcel could be working for the other side and wanted Duran to lose. This film points out the brilliance of Arcel knowing that boxing is far more than just physical skills, but also is at least one third a mind game as well. The singer Usher does a good job at playing Sugar Ray Leonard and you have to admire the hard work both Usher and Ramirez had to go through to get into believable boxing shape for this movie. I thought the boxing scenes were very well done in this film but not as good as I expected they would be going in. The actress Ana De Armas is also outstanding playing Duran's wife and she was also recently very good in her role as the wife of David Packouz in War Dogs, which is also recently reviewed in this blog. Due to her performances in these two movies, Armas looks like she has a very promising future ahead in the movies.

As far as the No Mas fight, Duran to this day says that he never said "No Mas", which means "I give up". The real reason why he stopped fighting Leonard in their second fight was because he should have never been forced to fight Leonard again in the first place. He was 35 pounds overweight and had to lose all of that weight in some 75 days. Unfortunately, there was a deal made by his handler that forced him to fight Leonard or be sued by of all people, Don King. Later in the press conference a day before the fight, all because​ of a wink that Leonard made to Duran's wife, he overate​ that night and because of this felt sick during the fight. Duran quit against Leonard not because of he was a coward, but because people in the audience were laughing at him because of Leonards clowning, which included sticking out his head and bolo-punching. Duran stopped fighting because of his pride gained through all the years of coming back from living like an animal on the streets of Panama. You could almost hear his thoughts when he left the ring, "nobody laughs at Roberto Duran". Considering that Duran was able to come back from the very dark place he was in after this fight is an even greater tribute this movie can make to him apart from his great accomplishments​ as a fighter.

The movie "Hands of Stone" is outstanding throughout, and you don't have to be a boxing fan to appreciate the history and the stories of two men who paid their dues in life, in a very big way. I highly recommend this film.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Movie Review: Equity

This movie reminds all of us of something that most of all already know. When you are on Wall Street and responsible for millions if not billions of dollars that could be made or lost, the stress and pressure of a job like this is overwhelming. If you are successful, you will make millions of dollars, but the cost of this kind of success and money is high. Many long hours, titanic amounts of dangerous stress and anger and having to fend off many other people who are trying to knock you down and backstab you and take your high paying job away from you, something I have experienced first hand in the corporate world. We all know that high level of stress is about as dangerous to your health than anything and with the stress of high paying jobs like the ones depicted in the new film "Equity" you will pay a huge price for the money and success you may receive. The question really is, "what amount of money is worth your health and maybe even taking years off of your life?"

Anna Gunn is the lead actor in this movie and according to IMDB this is the first starring role in a movie she has had since the end of Breaking Bad in 2014, arguably the greatest television drama series of all time. Gunn is very effective playing a hard driving Wall Street executive whose job it is to handle IPO's (Initial Public Offerings) for new companies that decide to go public. All IPO's on Wall Street involve many millions and in some cases billions of dollars, which adds to the stress and pressure all the people behind the IPO are under for months before the stock is released to the public. If things go well, the initial investors in these companies make a great deal of money. If things go wrong, then investors lose millions of dollars and careers are lost.

The story behind this movie is a very good one that essentially boils down to some very bad people and a ton of greed. In the corporate world of money, there seems no measurable lower limit when it comes to how bad people will be to get ahead.

This movie is a very good representation of Wall Street and corporate greed and I recommend​ this film. The screenwriter Amy Fox, seems to be a newcomer and I thought the story and dialogue in this movie were outstanding.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Movie Review: Don't Think Twice

While watching this very good movie I kept thinking that it was high time an idea like this was turned into a film. Most stories coming out of Hollywood are the success stories of the lucky few who make it and with the happy ending but that is not real life. Real life is about the tens of thousands who want to break into an extremely difficult field as fickle and cruel as show business and those who try their whole lives and never get the break they deserve even though they are very talented. People who are cursed with the "show business bug" very often work in horrible depressing menial jobs during the day in the hopes that they will be discovered at night at some comedy club or at some improvisation group, which is the premise of this movie. During this film, there are several improv sketches performed by the comedy group that comprises the cast of this movie and I thought just about all of them were very well done even though they all started by asking the audience the same question, "Did anyone have a bad day today"?

This film follows a group of friends who have started their own comedy group in the hopes of being discovered by a weekend show that is equivalent to Saturday Night Live. One of the friends of the cast, played by Keegan Micheal-Kay is discovered and as a result of this most of the rest of the cast become jealous which is a major part of the struggle to be one of the lucky few in show business; extreme jealousy for the very few who make it. Keegan's experience with this Saturday Night show proved that even if you make it or think you have made it, you still have to deal with the cruel comments of people who are in charge and anoint themselves the judge and jury over other people. Insecurity and fear is a major part of performing, most especially comedy and you have to have respect for anyone who would even try to make a group of people laugh in front of any kind of an audience. The actress Gillan Jacob's does a very believable job as a comedian in the improv group and plays Keegan's girlfriend and they face several relationship problems as Keegan's character gets on that Saturday Night Show and she is too afraid to audition. One of the other members of the group is Mike Birbiglia​ who also wrote and directed this very solid film.

I highly recommend "Don't​ Think Twice".

Monday, August 22, 2016

Movie Review: Ben Hur

So why did producers in Hollywood decide to remake a great classic movie that originally came out in 1959? This one is easy, its all about name recognition and making money. The producers of this movie knew that most people have at least heard of Ben Hur, even if they never saw the original movie. So they thought that they would have a guaranteed level of box office because people have heard the name, Ben Hur. According to IMDB, the movie cost over 100 million dollars to make but for the opening weekend it only made 11 million. We all know that this movie will not be in the theaters for 10 weeks so odds are high this film will lose money. The problem is that the original movie is an all time movie classic that was 3 hours long, but this movie is a pale imitation of the original and only 2 hours long. The only thing worth seeing in this 2 hours is the chariot race at the end, which is better in this movie because of the technical abilities that are available now with computer effects that were not available in 1959. In the end, what makes money and what is worth going to the​ movies is a great original​ story and most ideas like this one will fail. People normally do not like remakes of classic movies even with the addition of a well-known​ movie star like Morgan Freeman, who is not nearly enough of a presence to rescue​ this film. On top of this, the scenes that were removed to reduce this film to 2 hours were some of the best scenes of the first movie. Another big mistake.

If you have not seen the original Ben Hur that came out in 1959 you should see that great movie and miss this one entirely. I would recommend trying to find the Chariot Race on YOUTUBE for this new movie.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Movie Review: War Dogs

War Dogs is a movie about greed, corruption and stupidity which always go hand in hand. The easier the money seems to be the greater the possibility for crime, screwing over other people, corruption, and stupid mistakes. The success and all that money go​ to your head and many people actually become stupider the easier it seems to make money. This certainly was true during the glory days of the internet bubble in 1999 and the first 3 months of 2000. All the things that seemed to work so perfectly for so long very quickly stop working and then you start to lose money, very quickly. The saying goes, "If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is". This is true of the stock market bubble in 1999 and it was definitely​ true of the story behind the film War Dogs.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in this very good movie about the true story of two young men who get involved in finding and selling weapons to the United States Government based on a simple website where a list of many thousands of Government Weaponry supplies are available for any company to bid on. The Government website open bidding process was a new law made available by the Bush Administration in 2004 to potentially lower the cost of the purchase of Government weapons and thereby giving more companies a chance to make money to stimulate the economy.

The mastermind of using the Government website to bid and provide weapons to the US Military was the idea of Efraim Diverolo, played by Jonah Hill and later David Packouz, played by Miles Teller. They form a company called AEY - nothing more than a series of 3 letters that according to Efraim stand for absolutely nothing. Very soon the very simple and brilliant idea of "searching the website for crumbs that nobody else wanted" got out of control and before long the money and the risks became greater than either Efraim or David ever thought they would; including​ driving into Baghdad from the country of Jordan to illegally run guns into IRAQ while the IRAQ war was currently being fought. Due to the many Government regulations and restrictions, each new deal that Efraim and David tried became more difficult, causing them to take bigger risks that not only risked their precarious business but even their lives. The irony here is that if they both stuck with the original business plan of only getting involved with the small contracts that no other big vendors wanted then none of the criminal activity and risks would have occurred, giving them all the money they would ever need. As it often does, greed and easy money makes you want more and makes you stupid as soon as you think you are smarter than everyone else and you learn the obvious lessons the hard way. I found the very short prison terms of Efraim, 4 years and David, 6 months house arrest, extremely low amounts of time considering their crimes. Somewhere in this film, I thought their small prison terms should have been explained. At the end of the movie, we also find out that AEY could sell arms to the US Government again in 2022.

There is also a very good back story concerning David Packouz and his attractive wife played by Ana De Armas and David's struggles to make a living by selling bed sheets to retirement homes and as a massage therapist. What makes their lives​ even more complicated is David's lying to his wife about the gun running and they have a baby. Bradly Cooper also has a small role in this movie, playing another gun runner who gets involved in the biggest and most dangerous gun deal in the film.

This movie was very well done and I highly recommend it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Movie Review: Hell or High Water

A common theme involving a poor town and two brothers in a depressing part of Texas and bank robberies has certainly been done before, probably in many other movies in the past. So a new twist in a story like this is necessary and for the most part, this movie is successful in creating a compelling interesting story from very familiar ground. Jeff Bridges is very convincing as a small town Sheriff who with his partner is determined to track down two bank robbers who have been robbing banks in the area for relatively small amounts of money. Chris Pine is equally convincing along with his brother, played by Ben Foster in playing the desperate bank robbers who are motivated​ by more than just the money they can easily steal from small banks in the area but they are also motivated by revenge against the bank who has been trying to take away their deceased​ mothers property for many years.

One of the best lines in this film as far as I was concerned was, "how can anybody make a living here", referring to the flat, hot, poor and depressing areas that this movie is based from. Chris Pine describes being poor as a "disease that lasts for generations" and I can confirm that depressing reality from first-hand​ experience. This story behind "Hell or High Water" is a very simple one, but very often in good or great movies the more simple the main story the better, but this movie takes the simple story several levels higher.

I highly recommend this movie.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Past Movie Review: Fargo

Fargo, which was released in 1996 is another one of those rare movies, like Ordinary People and perhaps High Fidelity in 2000 where just about everybody in the cast was enjoying the best part they ever had in their entire career and then, lightning​ never struck ever again for any of them, not even close. Francis McDormand won the best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a pregnant police officer, by far the best acting job of her entire career. William H Macy was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar​ and he should have won. One of the many great things about Fargo was it that it was a movie that for the first time in my memory of films I have seen that it showed what it was like to live in the cold desolate area like South Dakota in the dead of winter. One had to wonder while watching this great movie why anyone would ever want to live there as the surrounding areas in that city are just about as depressing as any I have​ ever seen.

The story of Fargo was loosely based on an actual criminal cases from years earlier that involved kidnapping and murder and while watching this amazing film you wondered how a crime this insane could have actually happened. The other great thing about this classic film is the emphasis on the strange dialects of the people in that area, which was a source of humor throughout the movie.

Fargo was written and directed by both Joel and Ethan Cohen arguably the best ever team of writer-directors in movie history and in my opinion Fargo has been their best effort of their careers. Steve Buscemi has never been better or more convincing in any role in his career and in my opinion he should have been nominated for an Academy Award. Fargo won an Academy Award for best picture in 1996 and the Coen brothers won for best original screenplay.

If you have not seen this great movie you owe it to yourself to see it. Its one of the all time greats.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Movie Review: Indignation

My guess is that many people think they can act and after seeing this great movie they will realize that they can't and never could. Many of us think they can write a screenplay or even great dialogue and after seeing this great movie you will realize that there is a big different between average or run of the mill and greatness in the art of acting and screenwriting. This film is one of the best movies I have ever seen because it has the very rare combination of great acting, dialogue, and screenwriting. I also thought while watching this great film that it seemed to be a throwback to movies that were made in the 40's and 50's. In those days, the story, the writing and the acting were the most important and never just special effects like many movies that are made today.

There are so many things that are so impressive about "Indignation" but for me what amazed me the most were the subtlety and simplicity of the storytelling and despite this simplicity, the dialogue and story stayed very complex with symbolism, subtext and messages all the way to the surprise and shocking ending.

There are two scenes in this movie that involve the main character Marcus, a young Jewish freshman college student in the year 1951 from Newark New Jersey played by a great young actor named Logan Lerhman and the Dean of the college he is attending played by Tracy Letts that involves some of the best acting between two actors I have ever seen. While watching the first scene between the two of them, I wondered why the Dean was hammering away at this straight A student over and over again about so many trial issues including like why did he move to another dormitory after having a conflict with his two roommates? Why he was an atheist? Why did the Dean care about the personal religious beliefs of a student, why did he pry into the private life of this young man so rudely as clearly, none of this was his business? The argument between the Dean and Marcus slowly became more and more intense, even causing the young man to become ill because of all the anger and stress the conversation was causing. We later find out that Marcus was having an attack of appendicitis brought on his emotional conversation with the Dean. I thought that the message behind this argument was that very often something that may seem trivial and unimportant could eventually become extremely important and this reality does occur towards the end of the film where Marcus, like so many other students, was paying another student to attend a required religious meeting. The end result of this seemingly trivial mistake is catastrophic and brings about a shocking and unexpected ending.

The other story in this film is the relationship between a very attractive female student played by Sarah Gadon who becomes involved with Marcus and at the end of their first date she does something rather shocking, especially considering the year is 1951. What eventually becomes much more important as this film continues is not that she did what she did with Marcus, but why she did it. The reason for her indiscretion​ is once again brilliantly brought out by another subtle scene while visiting Marcus in the hospital for his appendicitis​ and Marcus asks her about her surgeon father. Later scenes with Marcus mother and her noticing the slash on his girlfriend's wrist are also brilliant as the simple but complex story plays out.

This movie should be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture, despite the fact that it has come out so early in the year. The arguments between Marcus and the Dean are so well acted that both of them should receive Academy Award nominations just for these scenes alone. This film is a very rare great movie and should be seen by anyone who appreciates movies as an art form and how rare a greatly acted film like this one comes around. We all suffer through so many bad movies in the hopes that we will find one gem out of so many bad films that are made every year. This movie gets my highest recommendation and is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Past Movie Review: Apollo 13

Apollo 13 came out in 1995 and it is for me, the best movie Ron Howard ever directed. This film is about the failed 1970 3rd mission by NASA to land on the moon and when you see this movie and the amazing luck and genius it took NASA engineers to bring these 3 men back home, you realized for the first time after so many years that the odds were extremely high that all 3 men should have died in space or while burning up while re-entering the atmosphere.

This movie stars Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris in what they all probably consider the favorite roles in their career. The special effects in this movie are spectacular, especially when the Saturn 5 Rocket takes off the beginning of the movie and the scenes of weightlessness throughout the film which was accomplished using something called the "Vomit Comet" which is an aircraft that NASA uses to simulate weightlessness, and as a result you can get very nauseous.

For me, the best part of this movie were the series of miracles that the NASA engineers had to pull off to save the lives of these 3 men. After the spaceship exploded mid-way through the trip to the moon, there were problems with the loss of oxygen, filtering the air of carbon dioxide, power supply​ issues, re-entry issues and using the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) as a lifeboat because all life support and power was lost on the main space capsule. Were it not for some luck and the genius of a group of very smart people at NASA, one of the worst tragedies in NASA history would have occurred and most likely all the astronauts​ would have been floating in space forever.

After this movie came out, Tom Hanks went on to make the great HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon" and he did the same thing after "Saving Private Ryan" with the HBO series "Band of Brothers". Both of these mini-series for HBO were two of the best the Network ever produced.

If you have not see Apollo 13, it is a must see film about a very important incident in US History.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Past Movie Review: Taken

I thought that when the original movie "Taken" came out in 2008 that it was the first movie of its kind and as far as a believable action movie it was flawless throughout with one of the best endings I have ever seen. The idea behind this film was a great one, the female slave trade that happens in Europe​, where young girls and kidnapped​ at the Airport and then sold to wealthy businessmen. Liam Neeson was outstanding in this movie in by far his best role. His line after his daughter is kidnapped​ which starts with describing his set of skills and ends with him threatening to kill his daughter's kidnapper over the phone (see video below) is now a movie classic. What is most unfortunate about the original Taken movie is that because of money they decided to make 2 more sequels, the last one was a very bad movie. The problem here is that Taken was a perfect idea that should never be duplicated, but the producers were too afraid to come up with a completely new idea for Taken 2 and Taken 3 and just decided to continue with the same type of story that made the first movie so successful and in the process, completely ruined the entire Taken franchise.

If you have never seen the original Taken movie, you should definitely​ see that film and miss the two sequels.

Movie Review: Florence Foster Jenkins

Historical movies that give a more complete explanation of a famous event in history or inform the audience about some person or event in history that we never knew about are some of the best reasons why movies are made. However, before a movie like this should be considered worth doing, one would think that the subject matter would have to be important enough first before spending the money and taking the huge financial risk to produce it. I wondered during most of the 2 hours why this movie was made because while the story is somewhat interesting it really is not compelling enough to keep your interest for an entire two hours. On top of this, the producers of this movie failed to realize that listening to the screeching and bad singing sounds of Florence Foster Jenkins who was famous for being a very bad singer is that over time the sound of her singing would become unbearable and annoying. This fact became very obvious with this movie because at first her singing caused people in the audience I was in to laugh but over repeated scenes with Jenkins singing the horrible sounds she was making it became almost impossible to listen to. One has to admire Meryl Streep, who can sing in real life, with her ability to sing very badly and for this role there is talk of a 20th Academy Award nomination for her despite the fact that most of this film is rather boring and way too long.

From the Wikipedia article link above, there is mention that Jenkins contracted syphilis some years earlier and that could be the main reason for her inability to realize that she had no singing ability. For me, the most interesting part of this movie was the fact that so many people were able to fool Jenkins into believing that she could actually sing for so long a period of time, until one last performance at Carnegie Hall where critics were allowed to attend. Why did the people in Jenkin's life pull off this hoax and lie to her for so long is not fully explained in the movie other than perhaps they felt sorry for her during her later years? This movie also reminds all of us of the rare combination of gifts that are required to be able to sing. Singing well involves not only the physical mechanics involved​ but it's​ also the linkages of the brain and the ability to realize that you are in tune and to adjust your voice through the ​process of singing any song. Singing very well is in fact, a very rare gift because of all the combinations of skills that must come together to give anyone this rare ability.

I thought that all the actors involved in this very average movie did a good job, including Hugh Grant, Meryl Streep and Simon Helberg, but it was not enough for me to recommend this film because it was just too boring and the story was not big enough to care about. If your a huge fan of Meryl Streep than you should probably see this film, otherwise, this movie can be missed.

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Past Movie Review: Scarface

Keeping the tension at a very high level is something very rare in any movie that has ever been made. The Godfather 1 and 2, Heat, Raiders of the Lost Ark are classic movies that have not only a great script, direction, and acting but each scene either raises the tension or keeps it at the same level throughout the entire film. In all my years of watching movies, I cannot remember a more difficult to watch and disturbing scene than the shower scene in Scarface where a man was killed using a chainsaw while handcuffed to the shower. This movie came out in 1983 and to this day it is considered an all time classic. There is extreme violence in this movie, foul language, but underlying the nightmare of drugs, murder and violence​ you knew that there are people like this in the world who think of killing another human being as if it was like getting a cup of coffee.

In Scarface, Al Pacino has never been better in any role in his career. Many thought he should have won the Academy Award for this intense performance as Tony Montana but amazingly he was snubbed and not even nominated for an Oscar for this role. Brian Depalma was the director of Scarface and failed to receive a single best director nomination and the screenplay was expertly written by Oliver Stone who also failed to receive a single nomination. Scarface is now considered and all time movie classic and one has to wonder why it received such little respect in 1983 could be because of the extreme violence and foul language which was way ahead of its time. The ending scene in Scarface could be one of the most violent ever filmed.

If you have never seen the movie Scarface prepare yourself for intense action, and violence but realize it depicts the criminal lives of some very dangerous people in the world who actually exist.

Movie Review: Nine Lives

There have been many Disney movies about Cats over the last 50 years and probably a few that involve a person being possessed by a Cat or a Cat being possessed by a person, which is the plot of the movie "Nine Lives". Unfortunately, Disney movies about cats or dogs star a dog or cat that is cute or loveable in some way. The cat in this movie looks like it's always in a very bad mood and for that main reason it is definitely not a cute cat and what is worse the entire story behind this movie is confused, boring and poorly conceived. Jennifer Garner is the perfect actress for any family or Disney movie as her personality is just right for any kind of family film so she is not the problem with this movie. What doesn't make much sense here is why Kevin Spacey would take his role as the CEO of a large corporation whose entire soul is transferred into the​ body of a cat. How and why this transfer happens is rather ridiculous, but all movies involving the transfer​ of 2 souls​ to another body are ridiculous because this is not possible. The issue with this movie is that the entire story is long, boring and with a very stupid ending but if a movie is well written and acted then we will still buy into a silly idea like this one. Christopher Walken also makes an appearance in this movie and one has to wonder about the scarcity of good parts in Hollywood lately when you have 3 well known actors taking roles in such a bad movie.

This story involves the​ CEO of a corporation that wants to build the tallest building in the United States which is essentially the Freedom Tower in New York City, only to find out that another company in Chicago is going to top their building's height by 60 feet. There is also some other​ infighting about control of the company involving Spacey and one of his executives played by Mark Consuelos and the only reason for this part of the story was probably to make the story closer to two hours long. Another other problem with this film is the constant and annoying cat whining sounds the possessed cat makes so often almost the entire two hours. I assume that the producers thought that some of the acrobatic falls into very awkward positions the poor cat makes in this movie are funny, but any real cat lover would worry that the cat is hurting​ himself landing in so many bad positions so often in this film. In the audience that saw this movie with me, nobody laughed and all the children in the audience seemed to be completely disinterested in what was happening on the screen.

Whether​ or not you are a fan of Disney movies or a cat lover, this movie should be missed.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

One has to wonder while watching the movie "Suicide Squad", whether or not special effects and action scenes are cheaper or easier to shoot when it's dark, foggy or murky. Just about 100% of all the action scenes in this movie are at night or dusk or in foggy or rainy conditions. On top of this, the entire film is constantly dark regardless of whether the scenes are internal or external. The story is very dark too, about a group of murderers and insane people that include one sorcerer witch and one guy who looks like a lizard who are locked up for life and are now needed to save the world for reasons that are never clearly defined and seem to change as the movie continues. Another thing about this crazy movie are that the first one-third is devoted to defining and explaining who these criminal people are, but not nearly enough of the remaining story is about explaining the insane and stupid story which in many places makes no sense and in most other parts is completely crazy.

Margo Robbie has a career in movies right now that is exploding and Will Smith are the stars of this film and each of them have by far the most lines and scenes. Robbie plays a former psychiatrist who falls in love with the Joker, played by Jared Leto and as a result, goes completely insane and somehow gains extraordinary martial arts skills along the way. Will Smith plays and assassin who has amazing accuracy in shooting any kind of a gun. The actress Viola Davis seems to be completely misplaced in this mostly bad movie. I was surprised that she, along with Will Smith, chose to be in this film, given that it is so obviously poorly written and mostly bad. After all the characters are defined the story goes into introducing some kind of an alien force that is created by the sorcerer​ in a scene that barely makes any sense. From here the entire story goes completely south and involves this group of criminals chasing down and fighting these aliens who seem to be comprised of rocks and stones.

Unfortunately, this movie is not very good and I cannot recommend it.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Movie Review: Nerve

It is a rare thing when a movie comes out at the exact same time or a little before a real life event that compares very closely to the subject matter of the film. One of the most famous times this has ever happened was in 1979 when the movie "The China Syndrome" came out just a week before the Nuclear Power Plant in Three Mile Island almost melted down. The new movie "Nerve" is not as closely related to the recent Pokemon Go craze as The China Syndrome was to an almost nuclear meltdown but fundamentally​ it is about an irresponsible​ smartphone game where people can dare people to do very dangerous acts which can easily result in someone being killed. What is so irresponsible of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is that a game like Pokemon could be released when it relies entirely on GPS tracking and Pokemon creatures​ that can appear in real life locations distracting people on bikes, on foot and even driving cars. There have already been a number of incidents that have resulted in accidents due to the popularity of this new Pokemon game.

The movie Nerve is about an even more irresponsible​ software program that might someday actually happen​. Viewers on the internet challenge other players on the internet into doing some kind of a dangerous dare and if the challenge​ is successful, money is paid to the person who completed the challenge. If they fail the challenge then they are out of the game. Ultimately all the players are ranked and the person who finishes first is paid​ some unknown large amount of money. As the​ movie goes on the challenges get more and more dangerous even involving two women trying to walk across two buildings using only a ladder. These challenges lead to a confused and rather badly written resolution to the entire story which I thought made more Hollywood sense than common sense and because of this reason and the pretty average film behind this entire idea I cannot recommend this movie. The actors Emma Roberts and Dave Franco do an OK acting job in this movie, but unfortunately the script is not good enough to rescue this film.

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