The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford|
As of October 1st 2007, this is officially the best film I have seen all year. I remember on Monday morning October 1st, I was looking forward at the week that I had ahead of me and just dreading the fact the fact that I had to work full time and then see four movies Monday through Thursday. It also did not help that Monday night would be the screening for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Not only is the title a complete mouthful, but I also heard that the length was around three hours long. Well, I am back at my house now and it is 10:30pm and I have never felt better after seeing a film. The movie literally felt like it lasted maybe thirty minutes. The film was one of most intense movies I have seen in a long time and to tell you the truth, most of it was dialogue. Before I get into a full review, I need to take a breather and put my thoughts together so I can get everything out in this review without confusing the hell out of the reader (you). The film (which I am not going to keep mentioning the ten word title) is based on a novel by Ron Hansen. I really might go back and check it out now that I have seen the movie and my interest has been peaked. The film is directed by a pretty much first time director named Andrew Dominik. How the heck does a first time director get the biggest actor in Hollywood to star in his film? I will tell you how. Go and watch the movie and tell me that is not one of the most amazing looking films you have seen. The flick stars Brad Pitt (Fight Club, True Romance), Casey Affleck (Ocean's Eleven, Gone Baby Gone), Sam Rockwell (Confessions of Dangerous Mind, Matchstick Men) and Sam Shephard. The film is also amazingly narrated by a guy named Hugh Ross.
Jesse James (played by Brad Pitt) is probably the most known outlaw of all time. He was definitely extremely famous and people either loved or hated him. Though, people's true feelings about the man show up at the end of the film. James was famous for robbing banks and trains with his family and bunch of sidekicks. The film picks up in the year of 1881 and all of James's brothers are dead except for Jesse and Frank James (played by Shephard). In the beginning of the movie, the audience gets to see the James's last robbery known to this date. It took place on a train in Blue Cut, Missouri. The film's narrator, who was amazing by the way, talks about how this is going to be their last robbery. One thing I wanted to point out about the narrator was how he basically told the audience everything that was going to happen before it happened; yet the movie was still extremely intense. It was definitely a unique way of telling a story. Going back to the plot, when the James brothers did their robberies, they always had extra sidekicks to help them perform the robberies. A group of these sidekicks were the Ford brothers, one of which was Robert Ford. Robert Ford absolutely idolized Jesse James. As a kid, he read his books and didn't want anything else but to be like Jesse James; an outlaw and a gunslinger. As the film progresses, it delves more into his obsession with the guy. Ford wants nothing more than to be by Jesse's side during his robberies.
After the robbery in Blue Cult, Missouri, the James brothers decide to call it quits. The only problem is that Jesse James starts to go crazy. He starts going after all these men who he feels have double crossed him. A lot of them had, considering that Jesse was one of the most wanted men at the time. A lot of people were trying to arrest him for the award. There really is a lot going on in this film, but to make this plot description shorter, Robert Ford is prospected by the police to arrest/kill Jesse James for a pardon on his family's robbery charges. There is a reason why this is brought to Ford's attention but I do not want to give that away. Just know that Jesse James is a scary man and it is thought to be impossible to kill him. You also have to deal with the tension that Robert Ford idolized this man and now has to kill him.
Overall, out of the 97 films I have seen this year, this by far the most perfect (flawless) film I have seen all year. I never thought I would see a better put together film than this. I honestly have no complaints whatsoever. People might ask; well the film is two hours and forty minutes. Isn't that a problem? NOT A CHANCE. It goes by so quickly. A lot of people have been saying that Casey Affleck steals the movie. I would have to disagree with that. Though, he was absolutely amazing, Brad Pitt takes the cake on that one. You would think that because he is such a big star, that it would be hard to look past that and watch a character. That is not the case at all. Jesse James was just a pure bad-ass and Brad Pitt shows you that perfectly. If Jesse James says, "Let's go for a ride," just know that you are cooked. The guy could predict anything and Brad Pitt really brought that character to life for me. I wouldn't know how to picture the guy at all, but know I have the perfect imprint. I don't want people to get me wrong about Casey Affleck. His facial expressions and frightened expressions throughout the film are priceless. He did a phenomenal job.
I mentioned above that this was the director's first big movie. According to IMDB.COM he did a film back in 2000 called Chopper and that is it. It seriously looked like this guy has been directing films for twenty years. The publicist for the film was telling me before I saw it that the cinematography is amazing. Well, amazing is not the right word. It was astounding. I really loved how during a lot of the scenes, he would keep the right and left side of the screen out of focus and the middle of the screen would be in focus. I was telling my mom about that and she asked me what that meant. To tell you the truth, unless I interview the guy, I have no idea exactly what he was going for, but it worked. Another thing I wanted to point out was the music. It was perfect and dead on to what was happening on screen. It sounded like they used xylophone for a lot of the score. I definitely need to buy that soundtrack.
I have not seen a better film all year and I see Brad Pitt and the film both being up for Oscars. As I am sitting here writing this review, I honestly CANNOT think of anything negative about the film. At one point, I was kind of thinking that it should be over by now, but then it would just keep going and get better. I give the film 5 BDKs because it definitely needs to be seen in theaters and NEEDS TO BE SEEN RIGHT NOW. You will not regret spending money on the film at all. By the end of the film, I had a huge pit in my stomach because of the anxiety that it caused me. There were just so many intense moments.
Click here to listen to the podcast from 10/5/07 (BDK podcast)
Click here to watch the FOX 5 Morning News segment from 10/12/07 (video)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street|
After seeing the trailers for the film less than a month or so ago, it quickly became one of my most anticipated films of the year. Anytime Tim Burton and Johnny collaborate, it usually ends in a good way. Look at Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands, which you can call me crazy, I think is one of the best films of all time. Burton's use of colors is just pure genius. To tell you the truth, I have never even heard of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street. I was told by some fellow critics that it was a musical that started back in the late 70s. That was news to me, which is odd, because I am a big fan of musicals and Broadway. Well, this film has now become one of my favorite films of 2007, officially taking my number 2 spot in my top ten films of 2007 (which can be seen by clicking here). It was just so bad-ass and Johnny Depp gave the performance of the year. Just so people know, the movie is based on a musical, so the movie itself is about 75% singing. I hope that doesn't shy you away. It is unlike any other musical I have ever seen in my entire life. The film is of the darker nature. Prepare yourself for the blood spattered goodness. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street also stars Helen Bonham Carter (Fight Club), Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen (better known as "Borat") and Timothy Spall, which is a guy you know by face but not by name. He has appeared in the Harry Potter series and also Enchanted.
The plot line to the film centers totally around vengeance. We learn at the beginning of the film that Benjamin Parker/Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) had the perfect life. He was a barber in London with a beautiful wife and little baby named Johanna. One day he is at a market with his wife and kid and the main judge of the town notices his wife and wants her. For no apparent reason, other than the fact that he was horny, Judge Terpin (Rickman) has Todd shipped out to sea to never come back until fifteen years later. When he arrives back in London, he goes directly to where his older barber shop used to be. Below his barber shop is Mrs. Lovette's (Bonham Carter) meat pie shop. Since this area was familiar to Todd, considering his barber shop used to be right above her meat pie shop, he goes to visit her. He finds out that his wife killed herself a couple of years back and that his daughter, Johanna, was adopted by Judge Terpin. He learns all of this and wants nothing more than to have revenge on Terpin and his little fat friend Beadle. While out in the market place one day, he notices another barber scamming people with some product. Todd challenges him to a shave-off.
I think I might be giving too much away now, so I shall stop. Just know that this guy he challenges to shave-off is played by Sacha Baron Cohen. HE WAS SO FREAKING FUNNY and for some reason, you can see his bulge the entire time he was on screen. All you really need to know is that Todd wants his vengeance. As the movie goes on though, we start to realize that he hates everyone in London and is just going to take his vengeance out on the whole city. I don't want to ruin any surprises, but Mrs. Lovette's meat pies have a perfect tie-in to what Todd wants to do with London. It was pretty disgusting and you will have to see for yourself. Another part of the story deals with a young boy named Antoni, who happened to be the sailor who brought Todd back to London after finding him. This kid locates Johanna, which is Todd's daughter, and immediately falls in love. Antoni becomes a key later on in trying to get his daughter back.
Overall, this was one of the most bad-ass movies I have seen all year. I know that the words bad-ass and musical should never be used together, but I am going to do it. Even when the film begins, there are just hard-core piano notes that send shivers down your spine. Johnny Depp gives one of the best performances of the year and I have nominated him to win best actor. Who ever know he could sing?
Speaking of singing, I had never seen this musical before in my life, and I found myself singing along to a lot of the songs in the movie because a lot of them do repeat. The most bad-ass song of them all is the one Todd sings to his blade. One of the lyrics is "You shall drip ruby's." Obviously, he is referring to blood. The way he sings to his blades was just so bad-ass.
All of the make-up on all of the characters was just perfect and the darkness of the film really set the mood. I mentioned above that Burton is a genius when it comes to colors. I just have always liked his use of colors in films, especially in Edward Scissorhands. All of the houses and lawns were so colorful. In this film, which is mostly dark, he does have some scenes with some very vibrant colors and it is such a noticeable change from the darkness that ensues the rest of the flick.
Helen Bonham Carter also gives a fantastic performance as Mrs. Lovette. Wait till you see what she has in her pies during this film. It was so freaking gross. Speaking of gross, prepare yourself for ultra-violence with this film. You can just imagine what Todd does with his blades.
I cannot wait to go see this film again and I really want to buy the soundtrack. On top of all that though, I need to see the musical. I want something to compare this film too. I give this film 5 BDKs and it should be seen RIGHT NOW. It is that good!!
Gone Baby Gone|
Wow, I just got back from seeing an advanced screening of Gone Baby Gone and I am just completely blown away. Not only was the movie good, but I also attended the red carpet event for the film and was able to interview Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck. You can hear the audio and see the video of my interviews by clicking here for Ben Affleck and here for Casey Affleck. My friend Josh made a good point to me today on the way to the interview. He said that a lot of people had been telling him that there is no way this movie could be good because Ben Affleck was directing it. I can see where those people were coming from, but you never know with these guys. Gone Baby Gone is based on a book written by Dennis Lehane, who is also responsible for writing the book which inspired the film Mystic River. So you take the fact that the film is based on a book written by an amazing author who has already made a big name for himself in Hollywood and then you add the fact that Ben Affleck is writing and directing film. That right there is already a pretty impressive resume. What is even better though, is the amazing cast of the film. Gone Baby Gone stars Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Last Kiss), Ed Harris (The Rock), Morgan Freeman (The Sum of All Fears, Lucky Number Slevin) and Michelle Monoghan (The Heartbreak Kid, Mission Impossible: 3).
Gone Baby Gone tells an amazing story about an abducted four year old girl named Amanda. The movie opens up and we learn that this young girl, Amanda, has gone missing. Police all over the city of Boston are looking for this girl and it has been three days. No one can seem to find her. The little girls Aunt and Uncle see an ad in the paper about private investigators and decide to see if they can help find the child. We find out that these private investigators, Patrick (Affleck) and Angela (Monoghan) have never dealt with an abduction case before. The Aunt and Uncle of the little girl hire the investigative couple to help with the case. Because they are private investigators, the Boston police have to cooperate and give them any help and information they need to help with the investigation. One of the cops that are assigned to help the investigators is Remy (played by Ed Harris). Patrick knows a lot of the bad people in Boston and uses his connections to help him investigate the case of the missing girl. The movie does center on this little girl, but there is a much bigger picture. I do not want to get into all the details but just know that there are a lot of twists and turns.
Overall, this film will really make your mind work. To quote Ben Affleck from the press kit, "We wanted to focus on this as a story that confronts you with your own ideas of what's right and what's good." That quote could sum up the movie more perfectly, especially the end of the film. I do not want to give anything away, but Casey Affleck's character is faced with a very tough decision. To quote the pretty booklet again, Andrew Stockhard (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Ben Affleck) stated that "I think we both hoped that people would leave the theatre still talking about the ending- with one person saying this guy or the other did the right thing and the other saying, well maybe they should have done this." The decision that Casey makes at the end of the film really does make you think. I honestly do not know what I would have done in his situation. Either way he went, he was going to lose something. I am not editing this review a week later and I still don't what I would have done if I were in his shoes.
Seriously though, Casey Affleck is definitely going to be one of the biggest actors around very soon. This guy is blowing up and he absolutely deserves it. When you see him act in this film, you will realize what I am saying. Even Ed Harris did a phenomenal job with this film.
One of the strongest points of the movie was the dialogue. It was extremely vulgar, but it was very realistic. I have not read the book, so I cannot compare it to the movie, but it was seriously amazingly done. Ben Affleck seriously did a great job directing and everything was spot on. The emotions were all there and the film was pretty much perfect. I give this film 5 BDKs and it is definitely going into my top 10 films of 2007.
Click here to listen to the podcast from 10/19/07 (BDK podcast)
Click here to watch the FOX 5 Morning News segment from 10/19/07 (video)
Eastern Promises is hands down one of the best films of 2007. I was very hesitant to seeing it because I really hated the David Cronenberg's (the director) last film; A History of Violence. That was one of those films that every critic seemed to like except for me. In fact, I was just checking on rottentomatoes.com and apparently that movie has an 86% fresh rating. Did I miss something when I saw that film? I gave it a 1 BDK rating because that it was extremely over the top and goofy, and that is not what the directing was intending. All of the violence and sex scenes were just completely over done. Cronenberg is now back to direct a new film starring the same lead actor (Viggo Mortensen) from A History of Violence. That made me a little worried and I even remember seeing the poster for the film and thinking that it was going to be awful. Well, I will admit that I was 100% wrong and Eastern Promises turned out to be absolutely amazing. The flick stars Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, A History of Violence), Naomi Watts (21 Grams(which if you have not seen, please go out and rent it), King Kong), Armin Mueller-Stahl (The Game (great movie if you have not seen it), The Thirteenth Floor) and Vincent Cassel (Ocean's Thirteen, Irrversible).
Eastern Promises centers on Vory V Zakone, which is a part of the Russian mob. Even though the film is dealing with the Russian Mob, the film takes place in London. Naomi Watts plays Anna, who is a doctor in a London hospital who mainly works with birth. One night, a fourteen year old woman comes through their doors. She is hemorrhaging all over the place and about to die. The big problem is that she happens to be pregnant. Anna is able to deliver the baby, but the mother dies. While going through the deceased mother's belongings, she finds a diary, which is written in all Russian. In this diary, is a business card to the "Trans Siberian" restaurant in London. Wanting to find out what happened to this young girl, Anna goes to the restaurant to find information about who she was and what might have happened to her. Anna was curious because the young girl had needle marks all over her body. To make a long story short, the owner of this restaurant happens to be the head of Vory V Zakone (part of the Russian Mob). This obviously creates problems because now Anna is starting to figure out what happened to this woman and she is finding out too much information. Viggo Mortensen plays Nikolai, who is the new driver for the Vory V Zakone family in London.
When you see the film, you will see how Viggo's character and Anna's character connect. There is a big surprise that I do not want to give away. Just know that the film is dealing with the mob, so there are many other stories going on at once. The film opens up with a murder, which creates a mob war that Nikolai gets into the middle of. The head boss of the Vory V Zakone family in London, played by Mueller-Stahl, has a son who is a real trouble maker. He creates problems for the family. It turns out that the father and son were connected with the fourteen year old mother who died. I do not want to give anymore away. The plot line is very standard, but if I were to go any deeper, it would give away too much information.
Overall, I was blown away by how amazing the film was. The best part of the film was Viggo Mortensen's performance. It was beyond bad-ass and on the level of Clint Eastwood's character in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I just loved how he had his hair slicked back and he was just so calm and quiet. A lot of people have been talking about the famous scene in the film where you see Viggo naked for about ten minutes. First of all, it is nowhere near ten minutes and second of all, you only get a couple of quick glimpses of his penis. That is not even what you should be focusing on in the scene. Viggo just happened to be in a steam shower and two men go in there and try to kill him. He had no choice not to be naked. It is an extremely amazing scene and very brutal. Another great actor in the film was this guy that I remembered by face but did not know his name until I looked it up. His name is Armin Mueller-Stahl and his facial expressions and eyes just added so much to his performance as the head boss of this Russian mob family. The interactions with him and Viggo, who doesn't take crap from anyone, were amazing.
One thing I have noticed about Cronenberg in his last two films is that he is infatuated with violence for some reason. He just loves really brutal and hardcore violence. One of the worst things for me to see in a film is someone getting their throat slit. Cronenberg apparently has no problem at all putting that in his film. I will say though, that he is a phenomenal director. I loved the film he did years ago with Jeff Goldblum; called The Fly. That is a classic.
I can honestly see Eastern Promises being up for best picture this year at the Oscars. It is a very well-done film that did not make me lose my attention for one second. I was just stuck to the screen waiting to see what was going to happen next. I already loved the film in the first five minutes. It was a just a great story with great acting and that is all there is too it. The film receives my 9th 5 BDK rating of the year. Please go check it out now!
Click here to listen to the podcast from 9/28/07 (BDK podcast)
Click here to listen to the podcast from 9/23/07 (BDK Movie Show)
"Easily 100 times cooler than Armageddon." This was one of the lines that a random actor said during Transformers. If you know who Michael Bay is, then you will get that hilarious joke. Let me say right away that I am completely gay for Michael Bay. People are always saying he is an awful director and that they hate him. Well, I think he is the best action director around (Superlative #1). The dude only directed one of the best action movies of the 90s, which was The Rock (Superlative #2) and he is also responsible for directing Bad Boys, Bad Boys 2, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor (which is one of his weaker films). Bay just knows how to make a big budget action film. So you take Michael Bay as the director and then involve possibly the greatest American director of all time (Superlative #3), Steven Speilberg, and you will have a box office success. Transformers stars Shia LaBeauf (Disturbia, Indiana Jones 4), Tyrese Gibson (Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Jon Voight (Deliverance (great flick), Heat), Megan Fox (Confessions Of a Teenage Drama Queen with Lindsay Lohan ), Josh Duhamel (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Turistas ) and Bernie Mac (Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen).
Just for the record, when I saw this film, I watched it as an average moviegoer. I was not a big Transformers geek growing up. I knew that there were two types of Transformers; the "Autobots"(good guys) and the "Decepticons" (bad guys). The film goes into a whole back story on how these "robots" were at war with each other on their home planet. A very important cube called an "Allspark," had made its way off their planet and headed toward earth. Apparently this "Allspark" thing has the power to create worlds and life and if it made it into the wrong hands ("Decepticons"), the human race would be gone forever. Well, considering this important piece has made its way to earth, the "Autobots" and the "Decepticons" make their way to earth try and retrieve it. Remember, they are opposing forces; therefore they want to destroy each other before the other one gets there.
Now that I have that nerdy stuff cleared up, let me take you to the human plot of the film. Shia LeBeauf plays an 11th grade kid who wants nothing more than a brand new car. His dad ends up buying him a beat up Camaro. This Camaro happens to be "Bumble Bee," which is an "Autobot." "Bumble Bee" has come to protect LeBeauf from the "Decepticons." Lebeauf is important because he has a pair of glasses that belonged to his great great grandfather. Not to give to much away, but the glasses contain a link to where the "Allspark" cube is hidden. Considering these "robots" are called "Transformers," what do you think they can do? Just for factual reasons, the leader of the "Autobots" is Optimus Prime and the leader of the "Decepticons" is "Megatron." Sorry if this has caused any kind of confusion. It will make a lot more sense once you see the movie. All that really matters are the action scenes anyways.
Overall, Transformers is the best action movie I have seen since The Matrix (Superlative #4), which came out back in 1999. Bay really pulled off a gem here. This is officially my 5th 5 BDK rated film of the year. I know most of the scenes that happened with the "Transformers" had to be computer generated, but it looked so freaking real. I did not think for one second while I was watching it that they were computer generated. They felt like real characters. All the action scenes with these machines were seriously mind blowing to the point that I could not wrap my mind around what I was watching. I would just sit there in awe. And of course, since it is a Michael Bay film, there are the classic badass slow motion shots and the great comic relief. It MUST BE SEEN IN THEATERS, not only for all the action scenes, but the sounds of the transformations, etc. Wait until you see the final 30 minutes of the film. It will literally blow you away. If I had to point out any negatives, considering it is an action film, there are a few cheesy dialogue moments and some obvious over the top action scenes, but it is all done in good fun. I give this film 5 BDKs because I feel that it needs to be SEEN NOW!!! GO GO GO!!! SEE IT NOW!!!! IT ROCKS!!!!!!
Click here to listen to the podcast from 7/6/07 (BDK podcast)
No Country For Old Men|
Why, Joel and Ethan, why did you have to ruin an almost flawless film with a terrible last scene. I am actually demoting, what could have been a 5 BDK rated film, to a 4.5 solely based on the last scene of the film. Not only did it not make any sense, but it was a completely worthless scene. I will not say what it was, but I guarantee that you will feel the same way. When I was leaving the theatre talking about that, a fellow critic mentioned to me that the writer of the book the film is based on always ends his books like that. Well, that writers name is Cormac McCarthy and has one a Pulitzer Prize for his writing. With endings like that, I do not see how. Now, the other 99% of the film was perfectly fine and extremely bad-ass. I was really looking forward to this film because my boys the Coen Brothers were directing it. If you do not know who they are, then check this out. They are responsible for writing and directing such classics as Fargo, Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski. I was actually debating with Chad Dukes, who does evenings on WJFK-FM, about what their best film is. I would have to personally go with Blood Simple, but it is a very close race between that film and Raising Arizona, which starred Nicolas Cage. I really need to go back and watch it again though. It has been years since I have seen it. Well, the Coen brothers are back and this time, they have a pretty damn good movie. No Country for Old Men stars Javier Bardem (he has been around for a while, but he is a relatively new face to me...he has starred in Collateral and a bunch of Spanish films including The Sea Inside), Josh Brolin (Grindhouse, American Gangster) and Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, In the Valley of Elah) and Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers, Larry Flynt).
If you have seen a Coen brothers film, you know that they have that very dark sense of humor and their style is very unique. You can almost call their films "black comedies" because you are laughing at things that should not be laughed at. No Country For Old Men takes place in a bunch of small towns in Texas in the year 1980. I thought it was very interesting how they explained what year it was in the film. Javier Bardem's character talks about a quarter from 1958 and says that it has been around for 22 years. The audience has to do their math and piece together the fact that it is 1980 in the film. I thought that was a very interesting touch.
The movie opens with a narration by Tommy Lee Jones and a ton of beautiful long shots of Texas. We see that Josh Brolin's character is deer hunting and he comes across a bunch of dead Mexican bodies and two-million dollars in cash. Before he finds the money, he is scouting out the scene and one of the Mexicans is still alive. This guy is asking Brolin for "Agua" and Brolin cannot provide it to him, even though the guy is bleeding to death in his truck. Brolin eventually finds the money and brings it home, but he can't sleep knowing that he did not give the guy water. He goes back to the scene, stupidly, to give him water and ends up getting shot at and now he is involved in a chase for his life. A bunch of people are after the money, but the main guy after it is a guy named Anton Chigurh (played BAD-ASSLY (if that is even a word) by Javier Bardem). This guy seriously has no EMOTIONS at all. It doesn't matter what happens to him. This guy walks around with an "air gun" killing people. (Though technically, the gun does shot air extremely fast, it also shoots a piece of metal that that goes in and out of the person's body. It used a lot for live stock. The first time I saw the film, I didn't quite catch that, but when I saw it again, it made more sense). He finds out that Brolin has his money and starts to go after him. Meanwhile, the sheriff (played by Tommy Lee Jones) is trying to find Brolin to save his life.
Now, let me get back to this dude's "air gun." When you first see this thing, it looks like an oxygen tank. He literally has a gun at the end of the oxygen tank and he pulls a trigger and it shoots air out at extreme speeds. I am guessing the air is as fast as a bullet because it causes the same damage. Watching him use this weapon is almost worth seeing the movie alone.
Overall, if it was not for that last scene, the movie would have received a 5 BDK rating. All I heard going into the film were extremely positive reviews. After I got out, I called my buddy Chris to tell him how amazing the movie was, but the fact that the ending sucked really bad. He then said that he had been hearing the same thing that the movie builds up for something amazing and nothing happens. Now, I am going to disagree with that statement. It really is not the "ending" that sucked. It is just the last scene of the film. The film had already climaxed and should have already ended. Then, they put this last scene in with Tommy Lee Jones and it just kind of ruined it for me.
Other than that last scene, watching Josh Brolin Vs. Javier Bardem was just amazing fun and intense. Those two guys actually define the word bad-ass. The just duke it out with bad-ass shot guns. It was just so amazing how smart they were and how they snuck around each other. Brolin wanted to keep the cash and Bardem wanted it back. It is as simple as that.
There was the typical Coen brothers dark humor that made the entire theatre laugh. It is safe to say that they are back, but they really should go back in the editing room and cut that last scene out. I give the film 4.5 BDKs because regardless of that last scene it should still be seen in theatres.
Click here to watch the FOX 5 Morning News segment from 11/23/07 (video)
"My stomachs a twisted rope," which is a line typed by Joaquin Phoenix's character in Reservation Road. That is how I felt the entire film because it was so intense. Let me say right off the bat that this film's plot is basically my worst nightmare. If you listen to the Junkies, or if you just know me, you know that I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). One of biggest OCD fears is the fear of hitting someone with my car or causing a fatal accident. Every time I change lanes with my car or I hit a bump in the road, I start to worry that I possibly caused an accident or hit someone. The worry goes a lot deeper than that though. I start worrying that since I think I caused an accident, that I am probably going to go to jail the rest of my life and that my life will totally be ruined. This is a very common OCD fear. I have gone through all the typical and stereotypical OCD fears in my life, such as germs and checking door knobs and such. I have been dealing specifically with the "hit and run" worry for many years though. For some reason, I cannot get this particular one to go away. You are probably sitting here reading this and wondering how this ties into Reservation Road. Well, you will figure that out by reading the next paragraph of this review. The flick stars Joaquin Phoenix (We Own The Night, Gladiator), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac), Mira Sorvino (The Relic, Mighty Aphroditi) and Jennifer Connelly (House of Sand and Fog, Requiem for a Dream). The film is directed by Terry George, who also directed the amazing movie Hotel Rwanda.
The film really does have a great plot line. Ethan (Phoenix) and his wife (Connelly) are taking their kids home one night from an orchestra concert. They happen to stop off at the gas station because their daughter needs to use the restroom. On the same night, Mark Ruffalo and his son are driving home from a Red Sox game. As he is coming down Reservation Road, which is the same road as the gas station that Ethan and his wife stopped at is on, Ruffalo hits Ethan's ten year old son Josh with his big SUV. The kid happened to be standing on the side of the road letting out fireflies that he had caught that night in his jar. After Ruffalo hits the kid, which was an obvious accident, he decides not to stop and keeps on going. Josh dies instantly and now Ruffalo is on the loose. Ruffalo's son happened to be in the car with him and Ruffalo just told him that he hit a log. The police began to investigate the case and they are not getting anywhere. They have no leads and the only evidence they are is the fact that Ethan noticed the driver was driving a big black SUV. Ethan starts to realize that the cops are never going to find this guy and that he needs to take this case into his hands. He starts researching hit and run cases and finding out that the suspects do not get that much time. He decides to hire a lawyer to help to make sure the case goes smoothly. The big problem is that his lawyer happens to be Mark Ruffalo's character. You can see where this is going and how much tension will be ensuing.
Overall, just like Joaquin Phoenix's quote above, my stomach was in a knot throughout this entire film. Phoenix and Ruffalo will hopefully both be up for Oscars for their amazing performances in this film. Wait till you see the tension and awkwardness between these two characters. You have to remember that Ruffalo is filled with guilt and Phoenix's character is filled with revenge and wanting justice on the murderer of his kid. It also does not help that Phoenix's daughter is taking piano lessons from Ruffalo's ex-wife (played by Sorvino) in the film. Knowing what you know as an audience member is so amazing because the entire time that Phoenix and Ruffalo are talking to each other; you know that Ruffalo killed his son. It was just absolutely intense and mind blowing to watch the acting in this film.
The film's plot is everyone's worst nightmare. What would you do if you were Phoenix's character? It is just another one of those moral situations, like I mentioned in my review for Kevin Bacon's Death Sentence. You really don't know what you would do until you are in that situation. Throughout the entire film, I just felt back and forth on what to think about each character. You know that Ruffalo did a bad thing, but it was an accident. Watching him hanging around his son is crazy to see, considering that he killed another kid.
One thing that I wanted to point out was the perfect ending of the film. After the film reached its climax, it ended on a perfect note. It did not continue to drag on to give the audience the obvious conclusion that we knew was coming. After all the tension has gone away, there was no need to continue the film. The director ended it on the perfect note.
I give the film 4.5 BDKs because I feel that it is definitely worth seeing and will be best enjoyed as a matinee showing. Go check out one afternoon and then grab a bite to eat for dinner. Even though it is a very depressing story, it will give you something to talk about. Just remember, THE ACTING really carries this entire film.
Click here to listen to the podcast from 10/19/07 (BDK podcast)
Click here to watch the FOX 5 Morning News segment from 10/19/07 (video)
Back to Top
This is officially my (7th) 5 BDK rated film of the year. I have seen well over 70 films and this one has definitely surprised me. Superbad equals the best representation of high school I have ever seen. As I watched this film, I could not stop thinking about how much it related to my high school years. These two kids pretty much mocked my friends and I. I am so happy that they gave this film an R-rating because when I initially saw the trailers I was expecting a crappy PG-13 high school flick. They decided to go all out and make it as realistic as possible. The stuff that kids talk about in high school is so vulgar and this movie was dead on. The two main stars were having conversations about sex and girls just like my buddies and I would in High School. I have heard from many people that Superbad is supposedly an autobiography of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, which are the two writers of the film. Considering the two main characters in the film are Seth and Evan that would make perfect sense. Someone pointed that out to me before the movie started and it actually made the movie more enjoyable, thinking that we were seeing a real life high school story. I was also reading on www.imdb.com that Rogen and Goldberg starting writing this script when they were fourteen years old. Superbad stars Jonah Hill (Accepted, Knocked Up), Michael Cera ("Arrested Development"), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin), Bill Hader (Hot Rod, Knocked Up) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (this was his first film considering they say "And introducing" before his name).
The plot line to this film is basically, high school. That's all I really have to say about it. Ok, I will give a few more details. Essentially, you have two best friends, Evan and Seth, who never go to parties (JUST LIKE ME IN HIGH SCHOOL). They are two weeks away from graduating and they obviously want to go to a cool graduation party so that they can possibly get laid (Yes, I know that sounds like American Pie, but the getting laid part really is not the big issue). They find out that a girl named Jules (played by Emma Stone) is having a party and they get invited. Luckily, Seth and Evan's other friend has a fake I.D. and his fake name is McLovin (Mintz-Plasse). Emma finds out that Seth has access to a fake I.D. and asks Seth to buy all the alcohol for the party. It is the fact that they have to buy the beer for the party that sets the entire story in motion. The film mainly takes place in one day and night and shows us all the adventures that these high school kids go on trying to get this alcohol to the party. I do not want to give anything away because there are so many surprises.
Overall, this was the most accurate high school film I have ever seen. Not to keep bringing myself up, but I could not stop comparing myself to Seth and Evan's characters. Even my girlfriend, Ashley, said that they reminded her of me, just from seeing the trailers. One thing that was so similar, which is kind of reminiscing of my OCD, is that I am the kind of guy who would never sleep with a drunk girl if I was sober. There is a scene in the film where a character (who I will not name to keep from ruining it) is sober and there is a drunk girl who wants to be sexual with him. He literally says that it would be "unethical" for him to do something with her because he is sober.
Ok getting away from my life for a second, the movie really surprised me in how funny, yet serious it was. I just loved the completely natural dialogue between Seth and Evan. They talked just like I would talk with my friends. There are so many classic scenes in this film that will go down in the history books. This is hands down better any of the American Pie films, Can't Hardly Wait, etc. I would say that it is on par with The Breakfast Club when comparing high schools films. When I was walking out of the film, one of my friends said that the best high school movie ever was The Girl Next Door. Though, I thought that was a good movie, I did not find it to be realistic. Another point that I wanted to bring up was the vulgarity of the film. This film will definitely never be able to shown on regular T.V. There is almost literally nothing clean in this entire film. I give the film 5 BDKs because I think it is a movie that everyone should see. It will probably offend some people, but screw it. It is real life. GO SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!
Click here to listen to the podcast from 8/17/07 (BDK podcast)
Grindhouse is officially my second 5 BDK rated movie of 2007, with the first being 300. I obviously went into the flick with EXTREMELY high expectations considering my two favorite directors were involved in the movie. I have been obsessed with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez FOR over a decade now. I still remember the first time I saw Pulp Fiction and not being able to understand a single thing about it. I went on to watch all of his films that were out at the time until I finally stumbled across True Romance, which in my opinion is the greatest script ever written. The highlight scene of the film is obviously the dialogue between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. I love Tarantino and Rodriguez for similar and different reasons. Tarantino always had that amazing dialogue and just kick ass acting. Rodriguez was always the guy who had crazy camera shots and bad-ass action scenes. Those descriptions kind of sum up the two different flicks you will see in Grindhouse, except for the fact that Tarantino throws out a pretty sick CAR CHASE scene. I will explain exactly how the film works below. Grindhouse, which is divided into two separate films called Planet Terror (directed by Robert Rodriguez) and Death Proof (directed by Quentin Tarantino), stars a bunch of silly actors including; Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker), Michael Parks (From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill), Kurt Russell (Escape from New York, The Thing), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Clerks 2), Bruce Willis (Pulp Fiction, Die Hard), Freddy Rodriguez (Bobby, Harsh Times), Marley Shleton (Sin City) and a bunch of other small actors/actresses who all play bad ass roles.
Here is the deal with how Grindhouse works. I actually had a chance to interview Quentin Tarantino with "The Junkies" on Monday April 2nd and he gave some great insight into the film. Click here to listen to the interview. "Grindhouse" films were exploitation flicks. They would exploit extreme sex and violence and you would find material in these films that you could not find in your normal Hollywood movies. Also, back in the day you could go to a drive in movie theater and see two cheesy "Grindhouse-type" flicks for the price of one. Just note that they weren't intended on being good films. They are just there for shock and entertainment value. Rodriguez and Tarantino (Who is the God among directors) have decided to bring back it back so that the younger generation of people can have this type of experience. They each directed an individual 90-minute or so flick which is placed in this overall movie Grindhouse. The movie is then combined by "fake" movie trailers that are also in the "Grindhouse" theme.
To give you the order of the film; it opens up with a "fake" trailer for Machete starring Danny Trejo, which was directed by Robert Rodriguez. From what I have heard, Rodriguez plans on actually making a full length film out of it. We then see cheesy old- school footage that movie theaters ran before R-rated flicks. You also see the same "feature presentation" footage that Tarantino used in Kill Bill. Now it is time for the film to begin, which is Rodriguez's Planet Terror, a 90-minute movie about zombies taking over the world. It is EXTREMELY violent, yet hilarious the entire time. My friend Chris Ingram and I used to talk all the time about how Rodriguez uses "squibs," which are basically pouches that explode with blood to look like a bullet wound. The "squibs" in Planet Terror were ABSOLUTELY INSANE. They were shooting out blood so far. Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowan were the main stars of Planet Terror and you will actually see a little cameo from my boy Tarantino in there also. There is also a little part for Bruce Willis. When we interviewed Tarantino, he did confirm that his character's name was "Rapist No. 1," even though they do not call him that in the movie. Wait till you see the scene where the "rape" almost occurs. It is one of the most disgusting things you will ever see. Rodriguez definitely took it to the next level.
After Rodriguez's film, the audience then gets to see three more "fake" trailers. You may be wondering why I keep putting "fake" in parenthesis. The trailers are real, and could potentially be foreshadowing a real movie later on down the line, if there are sequels. The trailers are directed by Rob Zombie (House of a 1000 Corpses), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel). I personally thought that Eli Roth's Thanksgiving trailer was the best. It was the one that had me laughing the most and just seemed like it fit the whole Grindhouse theme perfectly. Edgar Wright's Don't was an ok trailer. It became a little annoying after a while though.
After the trailers, we then get Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. My girlfriend gets so annoyed at me because I love to mimic that movie announcer's voice when he reads the title of Tarantino's film. It just sounds so bad ass. Death Proof's main star is Kurt Russell, who plays a "bad-ass" named "Stunt Man Mike." You will know later on why I put "bad-ass" in parentheses. Stunt-Man Mike likes to pick up girls in his car, which is made to be literally death proof. Like Russell says, he could get go into a brick wall at 120 miles per hour just to have the experience. Only thing is, he uses it as a murder weapon. The person in the passenger seat of the car is not safe and can die from normal crashes. The film follows around 2 groups of girls, at separate times, and each of them is terrorized by "Stunt Man Mike." I do not want to give anything away, but just know that Tarantino's is a lot more dialogue driven that Rodriguez's Planet Terror, which happened to be one big GORE FEST. Tarantino even mentioned it in his interview with "The Junkies" and me. He brought up the fact that Rodriguez's was the one that had all the NASTY gore and violence and that the MPAA let it slide because of how goofy it was. The film was actually "rumored," according to Tarantino, to have received and NC-17 rating. The key word that Tarantino used there was "rumored," considering it received an R-rating right off the bat.
Overall, this seriously is one of the best films I have seen in years. Yes, it is cheesy and just down right disgusting, but it is seriously GENIUS filmmaking. You can tell these guys love movies and were paying homage to all the films they watched as kids. I even asked Tarantino which specific movies influenced Death Proof and he mentioned The Last House on the Left and The Candy Snatchers. If you have not seen The Last house on the Left, please go out and rent it. It is Wes Craven's first film and it was made back in the early 70s. Since the flick does contain two separate films, it clocks in at around 3 hours long. I know that sounds long, but trust me, it does not affect the film at all. The movie is seriously downright amazing and will have you laughing and feeling disgusted the entire time. I seriously wanted to cry at times because it was just so bad-ass. I did think BOTH films were great, but if I had to choose the better one it would be Death Proof. My reasoning is not biased at all. I really feel that it was a better written, better acted and was overall more intense than Planet Terror. Wait till you see the freaking car chase scene in Tarantino's flick. It is the one best I have ever seen. THIS IS DEFINITELY A 5 BDK MOVIE, so you should definitely get off your ass AND SEE IT RIGHT NOW!!!!
Click here to listen to the Quentin Tarantino interview from 4/2/07
Previous Top 10 (as of 11/11/07)The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Gone Baby Gone
No Country for Old Men
Back to Top