The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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The Newton Boys uses a sharp cast and absorbing period detail to help make up for the frustrations of a story puzzlingly short on dramatic tension.
All Critics (38)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (24)
| Rotten (14)
As portrayed by Matthew McConaughey in his first fully satisfying screen performance, Willis Newton regards his three younger brothers and their associates as social rectifiers who take money only from the real thieves: bankers and their directors.
A handsome production that nicely evokes the 1920s and a likeable cast headed by McConaughey can't compensate for a Western-gangster film that's too diffuse and lacks a discernibel POV to be dramatically engaging.
Like the Newtons themselves, the film never goes for the kill.
Linklater seems to understand the root of McConaughey's appeal stems from his wild side. Casting McConaughey as someone noble and high-minded... is like hiring Madonna to play a housewife.
There's little nuance in the straightforward, chronological way the tale is told--it's hard to point to a scene that's worth discussing after you've left the theatre.
Linklater's genuine regard for his characters and fidelity to his setting are his strongest directorial traits.
More yawn-inducing than fifty people yawning.
These are fetching performers, but their built-in energy is about all The Newton Boys has going for it.
Early in his career, director Richard Linklater crafted this true story about brothers who rob banks and trains back in the 1920's. For Richard Linklater, who is best known for his slow character dramas, this felt like one of his weaker efforts to say the least. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D'Onofrio as the most notable leads, this film follows these brothers from town to town as they try to stay hidden while increasing their loot. With love, lust, and bad decisions, this film has many elements that would make for a great film. Is this a great film? Sadly no, but it does have promise, and that is what I am going to talk about here.
"The Newton Boys" helms a very lengthy script, not that it is too long, but the slow pace makes the film feel much longer than it's two hour run time. That being said, films can still be great when that happens, they just have to have exciting sequences and relatable characters to back it up. For the most part, it does have that, due to it's likeable cast and intriguing story. These men never kill and that is what humanizes this story. I loved watching portions of this film, mainly due to the banter written by Linklater, but in the end, it is a very forgettable picture that seems too caught up in it's characters, rather than the way it affects the towns they harm. In the end, I enjoyed watching this film for what it was, but I think a property like this could have been better in different hands.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Gail Cronauer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jena Karam, Julianna Margulies, Casey McAuliffe, Dwight Yoakam
Director: Richard Linklater
Summary: Four Texan brothers (Vincent D'Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey and Skeet Ulrich) ignite a crime spree in the 1920s, robbing more than 200 banks across the nation -- without ever killing anyone. In a career highlight, the unexpectedly compassionate team pulls off the largest train robbery in U.S. history. Richard Linklater (School of Rock) directs this heist film, based on a true story, that focuses more on characters.
My Thoughts: "I hadn't planned on seeing this film, but the cast of the film changed my mind. Great cast of talented actors. They were really good together in this movie. Also it being based on a true story helped reel me in as well. I really enjoyed the movie. I was surprised by the lack of action, considering the film is based on bank robbing. But then again I enjoyed that they focused more on the character's. Gave you a chance to know them and to care for the character's. Might not be to everyone's liking, but it wasn't a waste of my time and I am glad I watched it."
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie turned out. To be honest, I'd never heard of it until a friend recommended it (based on a very old trailer on IMDb).
It came out during 1998, which saw both "Mask of Zorro" and "Armageddon", so maybe that's one reason for me never hearing about it. I think it was right before Matthew McConnaughey broke onto the scene.
Either way, I just plain enjoyed watching it...They show interviews from a couple of the real Newton Boys as the credits roll, which are pretty good. In particular, the interview on Johnny Carson is pretty funny.
This makes me even more excited for "Public Enemies", another bank-robbery movie...They even have a minor character in here who supposedly goes on to work with John Dillinger, the guy that movie will be focused on.
A good period movie with a really good cast but the movie starts to drag after a while.
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