Bad Boys for Life
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I love the topic and the hilarious brutality of the film. It's a great idea, from what I can tell it gained a lot of inspiration from Lord Of The Flies. It's a what if scenario and the execution was nearly perfect. It felt like Hitchcock, then Polanski and trailed off into its own feel.
I can't help but love this movie. It's pure fun and a classic action/adventure movie. Anyone who enjoys Indiana Jones will undoubtedly enjoy this as well. Also, this is basically the framework that Joe Johnston used for Captain America. It's just a really creative way to go about making a superhero/pulp movie. The characterization is great. Billy Campbell does a good job and you really care for him and his character. Timothy Dalton does his best evil Erroll Flynn here and it's one of his best performances IMO. The visuals, pacing, story and directing are all appropriately stylized to the 30s atmosphere they were going for. It's endlessly re-watchable and one of my favorite live-action Disney movies.
Prisoners was a great movie that seemed to get overlooked for some odd reason. Most people who didn't like it will say that it's too long or that it's too nihlistic. However, neither of those opinions seem all that valid to me. It's very much in the style of David Fincher in terms of style and pacing; it's extremely moody and slow boiling. The performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal are the standouts as you'd expect, but everyone does a good job here. I enjoyed this movie not just for the strong narrative and characters, but the cinematography and attention to detail is amazing. The initial reaction to the movie as a whole can be a little jarring because it's so intense and dark, but it's definitely a soon to be cult classic once people get around to seeing it.
I'll admit that this shares a very similar style to something by Wes Anderson (and maybe Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married), but it is really well done and manages to say something unique by the end. What stood out most here was the amazing dialogue; it was simultaneously comic gold and honest to the characters and tone. Max Winkler might be a first time director, but he clearly has a great idea of what it takes for a movie to work. I think the story is well put together and it moves along smoothly instead of being awkward and boring. Part of this is due to the characterization and performances. Michael Angarano was perfect in my opinion; his delusional sense of happiness and manipulation mind games were priceless. It's a character that could come off as a complete bastard, but somehow he made it lovable and sympathetic. His violent children's book reading in the opening starts the character off perfectly. Lee Pace also had completely genius rendition of a deranged British filmmaker who spends his time making documentaries in Africa. While this movie might be thrown in the "hipster" genre, it actually bears no resemblance to that at all. While it has a nice sense of uniqueness and originality, it's not the focus of attention and there's no bizarre stereotypes. If anything, this embraces the happy-go-lucky comedy genre and doesn't spend a whole lot of time being too realistic or moody. It's fine with just being consistently funny and having likable characters; even if their actions are not exactly honorable.
I like the general idea behind Red State and the writing is great, but it has a lot of issues as well. This is easily Kevin Smith's worst looking movie; the editing, direction and cinematography is almost hard to watch. For those who think that Clerks or Mallrats had bad composition, I always felt they had taste in the way they were framed and put together. Red State on the other hand attempts to look good and edgy, but just looks like a bad music video. The post production lighting effects are probably the most annoying out of everything. Also, I thought a few of the performances were overdone even though that was the general idea for religious extremists living in a fortress of solitude. However, you do have John Goodman as a saving grace (and the small parts that Kyle Gallner and Michael Angarano have). It's just one of those movies that has a really great idea and is extremely well written in terms of dialogue, but doesn't have the production value and direction needed to execute it. It's scary to think of this as a realistic story, but in all honesty it's probably not too far off. The fact that this isn't as goofy and comical as it could be is a testament to the effect of realism it contains. It's intended to be shocking, not just a overblown satire that doesn't know how to handle its material. While this movie definitely struggles to have a cosmetic appeal, it does have a great concept and message.