For me, there are only 3 perfect war movies. Only 3 that really raised the hair on the back of my neck and made everything feel as real and terrifying as I think a real war situation would be. Those movies are Platoon, Saving Pvt. Ryan and Full Metal Jacket. After seeing Fury, I feel like I may have to add one to the list. This movie tells the story of men who operate a Sherman tank codenamed Fury during the Allies final push into the heart of Nazi Germany. The crew is forced to take on a new crew member when their assistant driver is killed and they're saddled with an inexperienced typist as a replacement during the most dangerous push of their tour.
There is so much about this film that I absolutely love that if I were to go into it, I'd be here for over an hour. The filming is spectacular and really has that genuine film look that only movies like Apocalypse Now and Platoon seem to have. The casting is PERFECT and includes Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal of Walking Dead fame, Logan Lerman and Brad Pitt as the men of tank Fury and a beavy of other actors that truly look like men of war not Hollywood actors. The characters are all well defined, diverse and sympathetic and watching them you really get both a sense of camaraderie and strong dose of battle fatigue just watching the men run the tank and it's just so genuine that you almost feel as if you need a shower afterwards as you feel the grime and the filth of war all around you. The five men are really like a family with Pitt and LaBeof as the mother and father, and Bernthal as the big bully of an older brother which is an amazing dynamic to see unfold on screen. The only thing I think is missing from this film is just a little bit more story to back up the EVERYTHING ELSE that this movie does beautifully. Ideals are peaceful, history is violent and Fury is a MUST SEE! Fury gets a 4.5...out of 5
I saw ST. VINCENT last night! What is Saint Vincent? It's only is the newest film starring everyone's favorite misanthropic wise-ass Bill Murray! The movie tells the tale of the sullen and wildly unlikeable Vincent, a drunken old cuss who's life gets unwillingly jossled out of bed by his new neighbors a young boy named Oliver, played by newcomer Jaden Lieberher and his over stressed mother, played by Melissa McCarthy. At first Vincent sees his new neighbors as a way to scam some much needed cash, but as the bonds between he and Oliver grow, the grinchly old man finds a friendship that he was not prepared for.
In a lot of ways, this film is like version of Denis the Menace with Bill Murray's character being the source of all the mischief and believe me, there's a lot of it. From pregnant strippers to horse races and every human vice in between, this movie shows it all and in very funny ways. It also has a lot of heart and it really puts what many would call a one dimensional character into a full three dimensions by the end of the film. The chemistry between McCarthy, Lieberher and Murray is really fun to watch in this movie and the rest cast is really funny here as well with Chris O'Dowd as Oliver's teacher and Naomi Watts as Vincent's Russian hooker girlfriend. In short if you liked Bad Santa or The Bad News Bears, you'll like this movie too. If I had to say anything bad about it I might say that it's a little too relaxed in it's pace but in reality, what Billy Murray film has ever made it's bones by being fast paced and taught? It moves to the beat of it's own drum and does very well for itself. St. Vincent gets a 3.5...out of 5
JOHN WICK! You will remember that name! Ever since The Matrix left the theaters, people have been wondering if Keanu Reeves would make his return to the action world. After Man of Tai Chi came out last year people were wondering if the man in the black jacket was truly back, well I just came from seeing John Wick and to steal a line from the movie, "ya, I'm thinkin' he's back!" You want the story, I'll spin it for you quick. It's been said that you don't mess with a man's car or his dog, well apparently, nobody told that to a young group of Russian mobsters who do so to the grief stricken John Wick. What the mobsters don't know is that although poor John might look like a scruffy nobody, he's actually a badass ex-assassin and his retribution is BA-HA-RUTAL!
This is an action movie! like a REAL action movie! Not like those modern soldier/spy action movies. This is a straight up high octane muscle busting John Woo style shoot-em-up action movie! My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE kind of movie! It looks like Keanu is a little miffed that he wasn't called to be part of The Expendables team and in retaliation he made a badass movie of his own! The film is directed by stunt choreographers David Leitch and Chad Stahelski who, believe it or not, used to be stand-ins for Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving on The Matrix. Those two really know what they're doing because the cinematography in John Wick is clear, well shot and beautifully pieced together and the action is fluid, quick, incredibly violent but undeniably stylish and over the top which really makes it a lot of fun to watch. Plus, it exists in this interesting world of hitmen and secret clubs and unspoken code that really pulls you in and makes you want to see more of what's REALLY going on behind the scenes. This is helped a lot by the movie's incredible cast which includes Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick and the mayhem guy from the Allstate commercials. It's the most fun I've had watching a "one man one way" movie in a good long while and if you're a fan of movies like Equilibrium or Hard Boiled or really any John Woo film at all, you'll love this! Have a dude's night with the guys you used to watched Jet Li, Steven Segal and Chow Yun-Fat movies with and SEE THIS MOVIE! John Wick gets a 4.5...out of 5.
I happened to catch BIRDMAN just a bit ago, for those of you who don't know about it or even for those who just saw the trailer and were still a little confused, Birdman is an arthouse flick written and directed by one of the new heavies of Hollywood Alejandro González Iñárritu, of 21 Grams, Babble and Biutiful fame. The movie stars Michael Keaton as an aging actor living in the shadow of his past glories and his attempts to reignite his career with a Broadway play that he believes will help him prove to himself and the world that he's not just another flash in the pan Hollywood star.
It's kind of hard to know where to start with this movie because there is a lot going on in it and all of it is noteworthy. For starters, the story is really interesting as it seems to be written SPECIFICALLY for Michael Keaton about his experience since playing the famous caped crusader from Gotham City. The movie plays in a very arthouse cinema sort of way incorporating sharp dialog with surreal visual elements that keep your mind working to figure out how the show is going to play out. This experience is fueled by performances by Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts (all of which have been in comic book movies... Yes, even Naomi Watts, remember Tank Girl? You don't? Well I guess it's just the same because it wasn't very good anyway) as well as a startlingly good performance by Zach Galifinakis! It's really interesting following Keaton and the cast throughout this film and the semi-surreal nature of it really keeps you glued to your seat and wondering what is going to happen next. Will Keaton grow wings or will he buy a pack of gum? Who knows?! And that's really the appeal of this film. It's a kind of original film making that hasn't been seen on a big screen since the late 1970s which is really refreshing.
I really enjoyed this movie and it is sure to garner a few golden statue nominations including Best Original Screenplay and maybe a Best Actor nomination for Keaton and honestly, it would be well deserved. If you do see this movie, here is a tip, don't let the trailer trick you into thinking it's a artsy superhero movie, IT TOTALLY ISN'T but don't let that dissuade you from going to check it out because It's in my top 10 this year. Birdman gets a 4.5...out of 5.
Christopher Nolen rides again with this massive scale sci-if journey story that braids cutting edge special effects, amazing performances and a supremely inventive story together to make what is sure to be one of the year's landmark films. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a NASA astronaut forced to become a farmer in a world where earth's natural resources have dwindled down to nearly nil. As Cooper struggles to raise his children during what seems to be humanity's final throws, a team of scientists, headed by Nolen favorites Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway and David Gyasi, put together a daring plan to save humanity by searching for new inhabitable world's beyond our galaxy and require Cooper's skill to get them there.
I really dug the hell out of this movie. As a fan of space travel myself, I really have to say that they did a great job at capturing a lot of the real math and science theory behind space travel, relativity theory and even some of the more edgy ideas about the characteristics of black holes. It's clear that the Nolen brothers Christopher and Jonathen did their homework while writing this script. The performances are also quite good here and Jessica Chastaine, who plays Cooper's grownup daughter, is especially impressive. These things married with the IMAX scope and the bigger than life special effects make this movie an absolute joy to watch. Everything is not all aces here as the film is not without its faults. Perhaps the thing I had the most problem with was the film's third act. The movie spends a long time setting up a very real and for the most part, a scientifically sound universe that is on par with 2001: A Space Odyssey and even to some degree it makes fun of a tropish, nonsensical and dumb way that the story could end as if to say, "we're smarter than that, c'mon, what do you take us for?" only to give in and end it that way anyway. At first I was ok with it but the more that I look at the film, the less the ending makes sense and the more the film starts to eat itself which was needless to say, really disappointing.
Overall, I still liked the movie and despite my issues with the third act, I recommend it, and if you can, spring for the IMAX because the scope and scale of the visuals are ridiculous! No television could ever do it justice. This film is for sure to be in talks to win an award of some kind for special effects in the coming months and it's well deserved. If you love liked Gravity or 2001: A Space Odyssey or Apollo 13, you are sure to like this too. Interstellar gets a 3.5...out of 5.