Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Going On An Adventure Night Part l

Tonight's marathon is the beginning of a three week story arc of going on an adventure. Each week the adventures get bigger and bolder starting with this one. This weeks adventures begin with some of the most iconic adventure/fantasy films from the 1980's. The 80's were a great time for filmmaking in terms of music because the instruments they used make the sheer power of the music stand out to this day. We have on our menu for this evening:

       The Neverending Story 1984, Legend 1985, The Princess Bride 1987, and Labyrinth 1986

There's a saying that goes "From the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends."That's exactly what this lineup represents, and also is a strong beginning for what's to come in the weeks ahead. The 80's handled the fantasy theme in a darker mystifying tone compared to the hardcore realism that today's adventure films represent. The first film of the evening is The Neverending Story. In this film, a troubled boy dives into a fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book. The birth of the theme of a person going into another world in a fantasy fashion begins right here. This film is followed by Ridley Scott's post Blade Runner epic titled Legend. In this film, Tom Cruise plays a young teenager who must stop the lord of darkness from destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves. This movie connects perfectly with The Princess Bride, which deals with a grandfather reading a book to his ill grandson. The character of Falk assures his weary romantic grandson that the book has more to deliver than just a love story. He mentions fencing, fighting, torture, death, true love, giants, and pirates. Cary Elwes gives an iconic performance that serves as a wonderful prelude to his role in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. The final film of the evening brings the first adventure night to a stunning conclusion with Jim Hensen's 1986 fantasy epic Labyrinth. One of the most iconic films of the 1980's and a star vehicle for David Bowie, Labyrinth tells the story of a young girl played by Jennifer Connolly, entering the world of her own creation to save her baby brother whose been taken by the evil king played by David Bowie. While entering the world of her first creation, she experiences her beginning awareness to love, duty, and danger.  All of these films combined together show off how stylish and creative fantasy films were made in the 1980's. The visuals played secondary to the compelling stories that made audiences engulfed in thee worlds. It's a strong beginning to what promises to be an amazing month of adventure marathons.

Fighting Against Discrimination Part lll-The Birth Of The Civil Rights Movement Past And Present Day

The third and final part of this epic timeline marathon deals with the emergence of the fight for civil rights in the years post World War ll. This piece of the timeline is significant because it introduces several key players such as Ceasar Chavez, Malcom X, Professor X and Magneto. The fight for civil rights for Hispanics, African Americans, Gays and Lesbians, and Mutants is shown here. Topics such as fighting for equality, concealing your gender from others, overcoming corruption, and whether violence or nonviolence should be used is covered in this final part of the marathon. We have on our menu for this evening:

             Ceasar Chavez 2014, Malcom X 1992, Boys Don't Cry 1999, A Better Life 2011, and XMEN 2000

The first film of the new story arc is Ceasar Chavez, starring Michael Pena and John Malkovich. The film is a biography on the civil rights activist and labor organizer who uses the same nonviolent
protest strategy initiated by Gandhi to secure a living wage for farm workers. Torn between his duties as a family man and his commitment to helping his people, he uses non-violence as a form of battling greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to his people. The story of Ceasar Chavez has inspired millions of Americans from different ethnic backgrounds to fight for social justice outside of the farms. His story, along with Gandhi's, is living proof that the actions of one man can change the world.

The next film in the lineup is Spike Lee's Malcom X, a biography of the slain black nationalist leader, who began his career as a small-time gangster, who rose to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam. Denzel Washington plays Malcom X in a stunning performance that captures the essence and spirit of this controversial individual.

The first two films present the fight for civil rights in both the Hispanic and African American communities. The third film in this part of the timeline is Boys Don't Cry, Hilary Swank's Oscar winning performance about a Nebraskan female born girl named Teena Brandon, who adopts a male identity of Brandon Teena in an attempt to find himself and love. Reverting back to Europa Europa, this film also reintroduces the theme of hiding ones identity from others in fear of being discriminated against.

The next film tackles the current issue of immigration with a father trying to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while attempting to give him the opportunities he never had. Demian Bichir received a well deserved Oscar nomination for the film as the gardener father.

The final film of the entire timeline of discrimination is racism in the future. Bryan Singer's XMEN, deals with two mutants named Wolverine and Rogue who come to a private academy for teaching mutants to balance out their powers. While doing so, they must join together with the other residents to form a team called the XMEN to oppose a radical terrorist group of mutants that's hellbent on mutant dominance. The two key figures in this film are the leaders of the mutant people named Professor X and Magneto. Professor X embodies the traits of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Ceasar Chavez in the belief that violence is never the answer and minorities (or mutants), can coexist with the rest of humanity. Magneto follows the belief of Malcom X in which society can never fully accept minorities and mutant/minority rights should be fought for with any means necessary. The mutant registration act by Senator Kelly is a mirage of the communist witchhunt that was touched upon in Good Night Good Luck. The character of Rogue played by Anna Paquin, has the issue of hiding her true identity from people in the same vein as the Jewish boy in Europa Europa and Hilary Swanks character in Boys Don't Cry. What the film XMEN does in bringing our epic timeline to a stunning conclusion is that it ties everything that was previously shown together. Magneto even goes as far as lifting a direct quote from Malcom X in the final scene of the film. "There is a war coming and I intend to fight it by any means necessary." To which Professor X replies "And I will always be there, old friend."

Fighting Against Discrimination Marathon Part ll-Pre and Post World War ll era

The fight against discrimination continues with the second part of the epic timeline covering forms of discrimination from the era of slavery leading up to present day. Where the first part ended with the passing of the emancipation proclamation in Lincoln, the second part of the timeline picks up in the late 1800's with the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, the Jewish and Japanese discrimination during world war ll, and ending with the battle against communism in the early 1950's. For the second part of this epic timeline showcasing the different forms of prejudice in society, we have the following films:

  Gandhi 1982, Europa Europa 1990, Come See The Paradise 1990, and Good Night Good Luck 2005

With slavery abolished, a whole new realm of discrimination arises and spreads throughout the 20th century, beginning with Sir Richard Attenborough's 1982 classic Gandhi. The film is a biography of Indian civil rights leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, a lawyer with the philosophy of nonviolent protesting who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule . Ben Kingsley is astonishing as the iconic historical figure, giving you goosebumps from being so good at playing the part; it may be Gandhi's actual spirit that jumped back inside him during filming.

The next film tackles the issue of discrimination towards the Jewish community by the Nazi's in World War ll. The twist however, is in the film Europa Europa, a young Jewish boy is desperate to conceal his identity from the public that he becomes a Nazi to protect himself against the acts of violence that are being aimed towards the Jewish. This subplot introduces the concept of someone hiding their identity, which is a terrific foreshadowing for later films in the marathon, such as Boys Don't Cry and XMEN. Hilary Swank plays a lesbian who hides her identity from people by passing off as a male and Anna Paquin's character hides the fact that she's a mutant from society in XMEN.

The film after Europa Europa, titled Come See The Paradise, deals with the issue of discrimination towards Japanese Americans in World War ll. Starring Dennis Quaid, the film deals with an American who falls in love with the daughter of his boss at a movie theater in Little Tokyo. The father soon finds out about the relationship between the man and his daughter and forbids them from seeing each other again. They decide to escape to Seattle, but are separated by the authorities when it's decided that the Japanese be placed in internment camps like war prisoners. This film is significant because it deals with one of the shadier aspects of American history and shows one family's struggle to remain together in a society that is rather narrow minded.

The final film of this second part of the timeline is George Clooney's Good Night Good Luck. In this film, the conflict of the communist witchhunt is introduced with Senator Joseph McCarthy hunting down all supposed communists living in the United States, threatening to expose them with a list he claims to have. This becomes a personal battle for broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow played by David Strathairn in his quest to bring down Senator McCarthy. The communist hunt works well with the film XMEN, because that film deals with Senator Kelly using the same scare tactics as McCarthy towards identifying Mutants living in the United States. The parallels even goes as far as having Kelly claiming to have a list of identified mutants living in the US and finally declaring "We must know who they are and above all we must know, what they can do." Whereas the first part of the timeline dealt with the moral and legal issue of slavery, the second part deals with different forms of racism that emerged in the early portions of the 20th century.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Marathon About Fighting Against Discrimination-Then And Now. Part 1-The Slavery Era

Imagine a movie marathon that captures the discrimination and the fight for equality through every form of discrimination going as far back as the early days of slavery. Imagine this marathon occuring on a grand epic scale that includes some of the greatest anti slavery and racism films ever made. When combined, these give you a broad perspective on different ethnic groups that experienced discrimination through the past and present. This marathon has three parts, with the first covering the era of slavery, the second covering the era of discrimination before and during world war ll, and the third part being a post world war ll era that carries into the present day. The goal is to inform and show the atrocities that happened in the past to people of different cultures and what is still going on today. We have in the beginning portion of this grand marathon:

                               Amistad 1997, 12 Years A Slave 2013, and Lincoln 2012

This is a perfect trio of films that deal with the issue of slavery and the fight for justice and freedom. What all three films have in common is not only are they oscar nominated pictures, but they have stellar casts behind them, with combined talents of Morgan Freeman, Matthew Macconeghay, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Pete Postlethwaite, Stellen Skarsgard, Anna Paquin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodward, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, James Spader, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jackie Earle Haley. These films set up the first section of the fight against discrimination timeline by presenting issues of mutiny, being wrongfully enslaved, and the legal battle to abolish slavery.

We begin the timeline with Steven Spielberg's epic drama Amistad. Nominated for four academy awards, this film covers a 1839 mutiny on a slave ship traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. When the slaves are captured, the film escalates into a court-room drama revolving around the man who led the revolt, played by Djimon Hounsou. Not only is Amistad one of Steven Spielberg's finest works as a filmmaker, but it effectively begins the timeline that leads into the 20th and 21st century.

The second film in the slavery era timeline is Steve McQueen's critical darling 12 Years A Slave. Winner of three academy awards including best picture, this film deals with a free black man named Solomon Northup, who is abducted and sold into slavery in the antebellum United States. If Amistad is the introduction into the era of slavery, then 12 Years is the Empire Strikes Back of that story arc. One of the most powerful films about slavery ever put on film, 12 Years shows it's brutality without holding back and allows you to follow the journey of one man's struggle to seek his freedom.

The final film in the story arc revolving the slavery era is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. Nominated for 12 academy awards and winner of two including Daniel Day Lewis stunning performance as the nations 16th president, Lincoln revolves around the president's struggle to continue carnage on the battlefield during the civil war, while also fighting with his cabinet on the decision to pass the emancipation proclamation.What the film represents is the end of the slavery aspect of the timeline showcasing the legal battle it took to free the slaves. Amistad began that legal battle with freeing the slaves who formulated a mutiny aboard the Amistad in an effort to return to their homeland. The issues that these movies deal with when you put them all together, are the moral battles people fought against each other on the issue of whether African American slaves should be treated equal or not. The heart of this story arc is the one involving Solomon Northup and his struggle to be freed of his enslavement.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Remakes That Dont Suck Night


Tonight's marathon is about defying the odds about remakes. The general consensus on them is they just quite simply aren't good nor can recapture the magic of the original films. While that may be true most of the time, that doesn't apply to all of them. There are some remakes that have beaten the odds and managed to be pretty solid films, showing that anything's possible. Some of those great remakes are in tonight's lineup. We have on our menu for this evening:

             True Grit 2010, The Great Gatsby 2013,The Departed 2006, and Cape Fear 1991

This marathon is living proof that remakes can be more than just good movies, but GREAT ones. An excellent remake can be done if the right people get behind it such as good writers, directors, and actors who can take the original characters and run off with them to make their own interpretations. A good remake is one that does not hide in the shadow of the original film but stands beside it and makes its own stamp in movie history. A moviegoer should be able to choose between the original or the remake to watch as a form of tough decision rather than just automatically picking the originals. If the logic that only the originals are good movies are true, then none of these movies would be considered high quality films.

The first movie to break the trend of remakes being terrible movies is the Coen Brothers' True Grit. The original film came out in 1969 starring John Wayne in contrast to this one starring Jeff Bridges. The storyline is about a tough U.S Marshal played by Bridges who ends up helping a stubborn young girl track down the man who killed her father. The plot is the same as the original film but the eras in which they were made changed. The remake gets a royal treatment and lives up to the quality of the original while also surprising audiences.

The next remake that follows this treatment is The Great Gatsby, not only a piece of English literature but also remakes the mediocre 1974 first attempt starring Robert Redford. The 2013 version stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, with the plot centering around a Midwestern war veteran who finds himself drawn to the past and the lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. Where the original Gatsby film failed in it's attempt to bring such a flashy and complex world to the big screen, Dicaprio's version successfully projects this on film. This version feels more grand, epic, and ultimately tragic for those who knows how the story ends. The film even managed to garner academy award nominations for costume and art-set decoration. Along with the praise of the technological aspect of the film, the acting by the three leads is strong and makes the characters believable.

The third film of this marathon is The Departed, the 2006 American remake of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs. The plot is the same involving an undercover state cop who infiltrates an Irish gang and a mole in the police force who works for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before their exposure to the enemy, after both sides realizing they have a rat. The Hong Kong version of The Departed is a great film but the American one boasts a remarkable ensemble cast of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, and Ray Winstone. This version is directed by Martin Scorsesse who's also known for his mobster crime drama epics Goodfellas and Casino. The Departed is a great film that is separated from Infernal Affairs because of it's wide American appeal with the all star cast and it's gritty feel.

The final film of the night is Martin Scorsesse's Cape Fear, a 1990's remake of the 1962 thriller starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. Compared to that version, which was a great thriller for it's time, the remake packs an emotional punch with a stellar cast including Robert Deniro, Nick Nolte, Juliette Lewis, Jessica Lange and Jon Don Baker. Two of the films stars, Deniro and Lewis, received Oscar noms for their acting performances. The plot of Cape Fear remains the same as the original film in which a convicted rapist is released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, and chooses to stalk his defending lawyer and his family. The twist is his lawyer threw evidence away that could've released Cady from serving his sentence, and Cady is vengeful for him doing that. Cape Fear remains one of Deniro and Scorsesse's best work in their respective careers.

What tonight's marathon proves is that not all remakes suck, but can be great films if they are handled with great care. Like what Professor X said in XMEN 2000:

"Were not what you think, not all of us."

Same applies for remakes.

Spy Night Part lll: The Final Act. Comparing And Contrasting Spy Films 1990's/2000's

Tonight marks the final evening in a three week story arc of spy films. As we come to a close, we end the run with the most epic evening of them all. The movies selected tonight are to not only take the action to newer exciting heights, but to also give the marathon a sense of closure for the spy run of movies. This does indeed truly feel like the end, with some of these being the best installments in their respective franchises. We have on our menu for this evening:

Enemy of the State 1998, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol 2011, The Bourne Ultimatum 2007, and Skyfall 2012

If there was an epic way to end a three week theme of movies, this is it. As we fully cross over into the modern spy films of the last five years, we take a moment to remember the end of the 1990's where spy films were getting more serious in tone and making bold predictions about events such as 9/11, or the government trying to wiretap Americans. The first movie in the marathon to tackle these issues is Enemy of the State. In this film, Will Smith plays a lawyer who becomes a target by a corrupt politician played by Jon Voight, because he accidentally receives key evidence to a politcally motivated crime involving murder. He receives aid from a man named Brill, played by legendary actor Gene Hackman in trying to prevent the evidence from falling into the wrong hands. The movie deals with ethical issues on whether the government should be allowed to wiretap the public to prevent terrorist attacks from happening. As the film shows, the one congressman who is against the passing of the bill is killed in the opening sequence of the film, showing the government corruption that the bill is unraveling. The difference between all of the spy films done this far, is that Will Smiths character is a victim of the technology used by spies to keep America safe from terrorism. The ethical question the movie poses is could that kind of surveilance and technology be used for the wrong reasons. The next film in the marathon is the fourth installment of the popular Mission Impossible series. Titled Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, the plot of the film deals with the IMF being shut down after being implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin. This causes Tom Cruise's character Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rouge to clear the name of their organization. After the outstanding success of the third film, the filmmakers were challenged with the task of making a fourth installment that topped the third film. For most film series, it's a rarity for that to happen but the filmmakers pull it off here. One waits with excitement for the next installment in the Mission Impossible franchise due in late 2015. The next film in the series Bourne Ultimatium, deals with the finale of the Jason Bourne story arc. Jason Bourne in Ultimatum dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while continuing to search for answers for his past life as a trained assassin. Not only is Bourne Ultimatum the best installment of the Bourne series, it also gives the feeling of a story arc coming to its epic conclusion which is happening here tonight. This only allows for the best and final film in the history of the James Bond series, Skyfall. In this film Bond is forced to protect M when her past comes back to haunt her. When the agency called MI6 comes under attack, Bond must hunt down and destroy the threat regardless of how personal it becomes. This is unquestionably the greatest installment in the Bond series, the most emotional and has great acting from Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem playing the epic villain, and Judi Dench as M. The latter has an emotional and heartwarming farewell to the Bond franchise. Skyfall is such a great Bond film that the makers behind the series can end the series here and leave movie history with a bang. But one thing everyone knows about Bond, is that he will never least onscreen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

If You Kill My Loved One, Im Coming For Your Ass Night

Tonight's marathon is about one simple fact: If you kill one of the great loves of my life, then I'm coming for your ass in the form of vengeance. That's what this evenings lineup is all about. We feel the pain of the characters being portrayed on screen, and root for them in the end. Our heroes for tonight are Jodie Foster, Antonio Banderas, Daniel Craig, and John Travolta/Nicholas Cage. The latter switches faces in one of the most clever movie concepts in film history. We have on our menu for this evening:

                   The Brave One 2007, Desperado 1995, Quantum Of Solace 2008, and Face Off 1997

Now is that a badass revenge movie lineup or what? Each of the protagonists in the films is completely justified by the horrific acts of brutality inflicted upon them which result in the death of someone close to them. The marathon poses good questions such as, what would you do in a situation like this if the police was inactive in terms of bringing justice to the victims of such horrific acts of violence. Would you take the law into your own hands? Could you just let it go?  These are questions that go through your mind while watching these different tales of revenge. The first movie to begin the lineup of revenge is Jodie Foster's The Brave One. In this film, Jodie Foster plays a woman struggling with surviving a brutal attack by a gang which leaves her lover dead. Feeling a lack of justice being taken by the local police department, she sets out in an act of vigilante justice. This is one of Jodie Fosters and Terrence Howard's best roles as the two have strong chemistry and make the story compelling. The brutality of the couples beating makes it tough to watch but is what ultimately makes the audience side with Foster when she begins to take the law into her own hands. The next film, Desperado, is the second installment in the classic El Mariachi trilogy and the most popular. In this film, Antonio Bandera's plays a guitarist with a guitar case full of guns who sets out in an act of vengeance to find the man responsible for the death of his lover from El Mariachi. While doing so, he becomes embroiled in a war with a local drug runner named Bucho, who's connected to the murder of the guitar players love. This is unquestionably the best installment of the El Mariachi trilogy and takes the action and story aspect of revenge to a new level of excitement. The third installment in the marathon is Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the popular James Bond franchise. Picking up right where Casino Royale left off, James Bond begins his vengeful quest for answers concerning the death of his love. He attempts to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating one of the countries most valuable resource. Of all the three Daniel Craig films, Casino Royale and Skyfall are superior films, but Quantum of Solace is the purest revenge film of them all. It is not as good as the other two films but it carries with it the most action, and shows a more vengeful side of Bond. The fourth and final film in the marathon is the most emotional and action packed of the the bunch. There is no other way to end this evening than with the incredible John Woo film titled Face Off. This film puts John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, two of the 90's most popular movie stars in a plot that tests their acting abilities to their fullest potential. In order to foil a terrorist plot, the FBI has agent Sean Archer switch faces with terrorist Nicholas Cage through a transplant surgery in the middle of a coma, assuming the identity and physical appearance of Cages character. The plan backfires when the terrorist Castor Troy played by Cage wakes up during the middle of the mission and impersonates the cop with the same method. The revenge theme plays into this one with Archer's son being accidentally shot during the middle of an assassination attempt by Castor Troy. Since that fateful day, Sean Archer has been relentlessly pursuing Castor Troy in an act of revenge for his sons death. Face Off is unquestionably one of the greatest action movies of all time, and a rare gem that combines both pure action, great acting, and moving drama brilliantly into one great concept. The switching of the faces is brilliant and allows for some of the finest acting performances of both movie stars careers. Never has both actors done a film as crazy or brilliant as this one. There is also no better ending to tonight's marathon than the one Face Off provides.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spy marathon Part ll 1990s/2000s comparison

Tonight's marathon is a continuation of last weeks introduction to the genre of spy films. Picking up from right where we left off with Mission Impossible, True Lies, Goldeneye, and Tomorow Never Dies, we follow up with act ll. Tonight's marathon we shift from the 1990's to the early to mid 2000's where spy films began a drastic change after the events of 9/11 changed the concept of terrorism forever. We have on our menu for this evening:

  The Hunt For Red October 1990, Mr And Mrs Smith 2005, Mission Impossible lll 2006, and Casino Royale 2006

Compared to last week, the action and suspense take a serious upgrade in this lineup. Everything is more modern and faster compared to the 1990's, where the spy films had a cartoonish feel to them as well as a feeling of innocence. That innocence seemed to have faded after 2001 when terrorism became less of a joke and more serious now. Not only does the spy genre get a makeover but the whole concept of being a spy changed after the year 2000. Even great action heroes like Ethan Hunt and James Bond received significant makeovers, the latter being some of the best films in the history of James Bond. We begin the evening with the 1990's classic The Hunt For Red October, the first entry in the Jack Ryan spy franchise. The plot for Red October places Jack Ryan in the year 1984, where the USSR's best submarine captain in their newer submarine violating orders and heading for the USA. The question the audience asks throughout the film is whether the captain played by Sean Connery plans to defect or start World War lll. This is one of Sean Connery's greatest movie performances and the best entry in the Jack Ryan universe. As for Alec Baldwin playing the part of Jack Ryan, he's good but the honor goes to Harrison Ford as the best actor to play the part of the spy hero in Patriot Games and Clear And Pleasant Danger. Ben Affleck was decent but not spectacular in The Sum Of All Fears, and Chris Pine was entertaining in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Hunt For Red October came around the time the Berlin wall was being torn down, so the cold war theme is felt in the storyline for this one. We jump fifteen years later to 2005 with the release of Mr and Mrs Smith. The entry of this film is a nice pat on the back to True Lies which was viewed a week prior about a husband who is a secret spy, and doesn't reveal his true identity to his wife until midway into the film. Mr and Mrs Smith has both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie playing a bored married couple with a shocking revelation that not one but both of them are spy assassins hired by their agencies to kill each other. If only James Cameron was still directing at the time this film was made, it would've made a great sequel to True Lies. Mr and Mrs Smith is the iconic spy film in the sense that both its stars and their characters hooked up in both film and real life. The film is exciting, fun, and takes the whole tone of spy films to a more faster paced and intense atmosphere. The third film in the marathon is the third Mission Impossible. Most fans can agree that Mission Impossible ll wasn't that good and this one is just as good or better than the first entry. It certainly feels that way with the involvement of Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman and JJ Abrams. The plot for Mission Impossible lll places Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise, coming fact to face with a sadistic arms dealer played by Philip Seymour Hoffman while trying to keep his identity secret in order to keep his girlfriend safe. The fourth and final film in the lineup is Casino Royale. This time Pierce Brosnan is not James Bond, he is played by Daniel Craig. Bond is portrayed as darker and gritter this time around, Royale goes backwards in time to show Bond at a younger stage beginning his first mission as 007, and dealing with having to defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale. This is the perfect way to end the evening with the action and spy aspect of the story reaching its highest peak. The end of Royale ends the marathon on a satisfying note but also leaves the door open for more coming next week.

Equalizer Review

Finally got to see Equalizer


Why does this movie sound familiar? Maybe because the plot of it sounds a little like one of Denzel's other films called Man on Fire. That is not a denouncing of the film, just an observation as well as comparing the two storylines. Denzel Washington has a knack for picking scripts that have the revenge theme in them, not to mention playing characters with sour pasts who are struggling to find redemption or second chances in life. Both of his characters in Equalizer and Man on Fire experience the theme of having rough pasts and needing guidance to get to a point where they find reason to live again as regular people. With Man On Fire, Dakota Fanning showed him that he had more to live for than just being a bodyguard, giving him a piece of his dignity back. With Equalizer, Denzel attempts to put his questionable past behind him and start a new life. When he meets a young girl whose under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, it becomes his moral and personal responsibility to assist her in getting freedom. Man on Fire had Dakota Fanning's character get taken by powerful forces of a similar ruthless nature, forcing Denzel to go on an act of vengeance to get her back. Denzel sure loves the theme of revenge in his movies and why shouldn't he. It works.

Equalizer doesn't necessarily work on the same level of thrills and excitement as Man on Fire, nor has the emotionally powerful ending that one delivered but it is an entertaining offspring of a similar plot theme. There is a lot of violence in this movie, and sometimes it overshadows the overall drama of the story. What Man on Fire did so well compared to this movie, was it developed Denzel's character and his relationship with Dakota Fanning, just enough to make the audience care about them. The filmmakers of that film showed the audience what was at stake when she got kidnapped, and how she pulled him out of the darkest corner of his life and the connection they had. You literally felt the determination Denzel had when he went to seek vengeance on those who kidnapped her. With Equalizer, the same repetition happens but not as effectively. Something's missing here between the development of his character and the girl. It doesn't feel as special as what Man on Fire showed us, but it's definitely not a throwaway subplot. The acting from Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz is really good and convincing. You ultimately end up buying the scenario, and wanting Washington's character to kick ass because he just has this way of making you like and emphatize with him. That goes for any character Denzel plays and shows how remarkable of an actor he is. The direction by Antoine Fuqua is stylish, though not as effective as his other previous work with Denzel Washington like Training Day. The film is fast-paced but the script lacks something in the middle that gives you the level of excitement that Man on Fire had when Denzel first goes on his revenge spree and quest for answers. The acting by Martin Csokas as one of the films main antagonist is strong here, giving a face to the forces that are working against our two main characters in the movie.

Equalizer works because it delivers in the action department of the story, even though that does end up being problematic because it leaves the emotional core of the film lacking in terms of Denzel interacting with Chloe's character and making you really care. What saves the film is the appeal of the lead character and watching him clean up while going on his mission to buy the girls freedom. If I had to choose between this film and John Wick in terms of deciding which film is better? I'd probably pick John Wick because of a stronger second half. Equalizer has the better filmmaker and lead actor behind it though. It's a little disappointing they had kind of a weak script to work with but ultimately it still remains a fairly solid and entertaining revenge flick.


John Wick Review

Finally got to see John Wick


I've been hearing a lot of people say that this is hands down Keanu Reeve's best film he's made since the Matrix. While that is definitely true, I also try to remind people that really isn't saying much when you look at what came in between those two films. Reeves is not exactly well known for his choosing of good scripts, nor for his acting abilities. He doesn't have very much range, and often ruins good roles with his lack of emotion. The only movie where he ever truly delivered a good performance and showed possible acting chops is The Devils Advocate, though when you're working next to someone like Al Pacino, there isn't really much room for you to mess around. The best films he did are roles that suit his personality such as Speed, The Devils Advocate, Bram Stokers Dracula, Bill and Ted, The Matrix, and now John Wick.  So how did John Wick turn out?

It was pretty good. It was no Matrix or Speed but the film works well as a brutal yet enjoyable revenge film. The plot for John Wick places Reeves as an ex-hitman who comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters who took everything from him. What may sound like a generic revenge plot of you kill my love, i'm coming for your ass, works surprisingly well because of the way it's been handled by the filmmakers. This is the perfect role for Reeves to play because he doesn't need to do any kind of advanced acting, and can just slip into the role and wow audiences with some impressive fight scenes and handling of weapons. None of this is unfamiliar to Reeves, so he's able to do what he does best here. He is backed by some strong supporting players such as John Lequizamo (he makes anything better than what it was going to end up being), the always dependable yet creepy William Dafoe, and legendary actor Ian McShane. The tagline for this movie is a warning to the brutality of John Wick's character stating: Don't send him off. And for good reason. The filmmakers are able to sell the point that John Wick is a man whose feared by crooks because of the storm of bodies he leaves behind him and his skills as a hitman. The film is fast paced with a running time of only 90 minutes, making it thrilling and stylish. There's just something about the action and the way it's shot that holds your interest. It's been a long time since Reeves took this kind of role, and it's a good feeling to see him return to this form. Has his acting improved since The Matrix trilogy finished? Not really but the script and story of the film works around that, making him feel comfortable in the part.

Overall John Wick works because of the likeable presence of Keanu Reeves in the part giving us a feeling of nostalgia, while also providing good amounts of thrills, stylistic directing, and excitement. This film works as a good old fashioned revenge movie, and never tries to stray from that concept. It is a fun movie and a good way to kill 90 minutes. There will most likely be a sequel. Not bad, I liked it a little more than Equalizer.

Interstellar Review

Finally got to see Interstellar


I am quite mystified towards the divisive reception this movie's been receiving from both critics and audiences. From the critics, it holds a 74 percent on rottentomatoes, yet imdb has it number 11 on their top 250 at a 9.0/10. After viewing the movie in theaters, I keep asking myself on what did the critics see that bothered them so much to give the movie a lower than expected score. My only conclusion that I could come to is Christopher Nolan has released a complexed but incredible visionary film, that will receive a much deeper appreciation as time goes on. Movie history will be kind to Interstellar in the years to come, and there's no denying the film has left an impression on many audiences and reviewers. So what did I think of Interstellar personally?

I loved it. It was three hours well spent in the theater and really felt like I went on a space adventure with these characters. The plot of the film has Matthew McConaughey playing an ex-engineer who becomes an astronaut, leading an interstellar journey going through a wormhole to discover a new home for the human race, while also rescuing the Lazarus crew who left Earth previously and is surviving in the new discovered galaxy with the Endurance spaceship crew. The acting was fantastic from McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway especially. These three performers really brought their A game to the film and really made you feel the emotions their characters were going through. Of all of Christopher Nolan's movies, this one carried with it the most heart of them all. McConaughey was amazing here as Cooper. I really emphatized with his characters decision to leave everything on Earth behind and go on this incredible space journey. It makes you think about what you would do if you were in that situation. Would you turn down an opportunity like that if someone like Michael Caine approached you about the adventure of a lifetime to find other planets that can inhibit life? It's great to see Michael Caine working with Nolan again on another film, it's almost like the two use each other as a form of good luck charm. Caine does great here as usual and gets a little more screen time than he received in Inception and maybe Dark Knight Rises. One still cannot get over his heartfelt performance as Alfred in that movie. I feel he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor right there. Anne Hathaway was incredible in this film, which dare I say is her second best work behind her key supporting role in Les Miserables. She plays a woman whose going through the same level of emotions as what McConaughey's character is experiencing, yet she is keen on fulfilling the missions objective. She's remarkable here and has some great moments, especially near the end. Jessica Chastain does a great job as McConaughey's older daughter Murph,who waits and waits for her father to return someday, while things on Earth begin to develop pertaining to their mission. Ellen Burstyn plays the older version of Chastain's character, and really nails home the emotion with the few scenes she has. The woman continues to blow me away ever since I saw her performance in Requiem for a Dream. She nearly brought me to tears in that movie and does something similar here. No spoilers. It's great to have supporting actors like John Lithgow, Matt Damon, and Topher Grace backing up the strong lead actors, and do admirable work with the little screen time they have. Even David Oyelowo shines in his scene with Cooper near the beginning.

From the standpoint of writing, directing, and visuals, Nolan once again proves to people his remarkable skills as a director, writer, as well as a visionary. Nolan really came to work with this one in the directing department, giving the film lots of heart and a grand epic scale of direction. The acting he gets out of his key players and emotion is incredible. It shows the admiration that both his actors and himself have for each other and the understanding of what both sides look for when working together. The script by Chris and Jonathan Nolan gives heavy doses of elaboration on the physics of the space trip, but also takes a lot of time to develop all the characters properly. For some, the movie may run at a bit of a slow pace, but that's totally justified because there is a lot of things that need to be setup in order for the second half of the movie to be considered believable. Nolan often gets criticized for elaborating too much on plot elements but he does that for good reason. He's leading you down the path that he intends to take you with the film, but also making you think about the whole process along the way. As for the visual effects, if you thought Inception was amazing, this movie blows that one out of the water in the visual department. Going through wormholes and landing on other distant but unstable planets is incredible and should not be seen on anything less than IMAX. There is a reason Nolan intended for this to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and his request should not be ignored. The sound and music are both incredible with Hans Zimmer abandoning the old drum routine and going for something more bold and creative here. Whereas the script may get some criticism for not being coherent enough to grasp, the visual and technical aspect of the film will receive high to unanimous praise from almost everyone.

Overall, Interstellar is a theater experience that should be experienced by everyone whose a fan of this directors work and who has a genuine thirst for great filmmaking and adventure. It may be a film that divides people on how they feel about it afterwards because of the advanced storyline and themes it presents, but there's no denying that Nolan is making a stamp for himself as becoming one of the greatest visionary filmmakers to ever grace the big screen. Interstellar is one of the years best films and here's hoping it will get numerous Oscar nominations in both technical and critical departments such as Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. Nolan does it again, can't wait for his next one.


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Coolest Moments Of Tom Cruise's Career

Tonight's marathon is dedicated to the great actor named Tom Cruise. This evening, we explore some of his greatest works of art as a performer starting from the movie that made them famous up until their finest hour. For Tom Cruise, our timeline begins in the year 1986 when Top Gun premiered, making him an instant movie star. Starting with Top Gun, the night builds up until it peaks with The Last Samurai. We have on our menu for this evening:

              Top Gun 1986, Minority Report 2002, Collateral 2004, and The Last Samurai 2003

If there was only more time, I would add Rain Man to the list. That's another great one from Cruise that deserves recognition. It's time will come. For me, Top Gun represents the birth of Cruise as a movie star and the proper introduction for him in tonight's marathon. He's done other notable roles in movies like Taps, Outsiders, and Risky Business. Everyone can debate on which movie made Cruise a mega star but if I had to put money on it, I would say Top Gun is what introduced the world to this actor. The movie has gone onto becoming an action movie classic and romantic drama. The plot for Top Gun puts Cruise in a Navy elite fighter weapons school, where students compete to be the best in the class. While on his mission to become the best in the class, he falls for a civilian instructor and learns a few things from her that aren't taught in the classroom. Cruise is backed by a strong supporting cast among the likes of Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, and Michael Ironside. The film is iconic from its impressive visual effects, to it's two lead stars, to cheesy but iconic lines in the script such as "Take me to bed tomorrow or lose me forever," or "You can be my wingman anytime." Top Gun is the ideal summer blockbuster and drama with a powerful message about friendship. The second film for Tom Cruise night is Minority Report directed by legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg. This is Cruises first pairing up with Spielberg and the end result is a spectacular science fiction thriller. The plot of Minority Report puts Cruise in the future as an officer for a special police unit that's able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes. The twist in the plot is Cruise himself is implicated in a future crime and is sought after by the police. Backing Cruise in this venture is a Max Von Sydow and Colin Ferrall. Minority Report is exciting, thrilling, suspenseful, and essential towards getting the best of Cruise in tonight's lineup. It only gets better with the next installment titled Collateral. Whereas the first two had Cruise as a heroic and likeable character, he plays a villain in Michael Mann's dark thriller. Collateral has him playing an engaging contract killer who takes hostage a cab driver played brilliantly by Jamie Foxx. During their cab ride, Cruise makes his rounds doing hit to hit throughout different sectors of Los Angeles. Becoming more obvious that Jamie Foxx's character knows he is not going to be spared, he must find a way to save himself and the final victim. Collateral represents a different change of pace for Cruise and makes him thrilling to witness playing a darker role. The final film of the night has Cruise giving probably the defining performance of his career. He is utterly amazing in this one and to this day, still makes no sense why he didn't receive an Oscar nomination for his role in The Last Samurai. Director Edward Zwick has a skill for getting actors in is films to turn in performances that appear to be the best they ever did on their resumes. For Tom Cruise, this is probably his finest hour. Last Samurai places him in the role of an American military advisor who embraces the Japanese Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after being injured in battle. It may seem like this story has already been done before in Kevin Costner's Dances With The Wolves, and James Cameron's Avatar, but it's the different style that each filmmaker brings to the story that makes them good or great. Edward Zwick gives you a world that sucks you right into it at the beginning and doesn't let go, even in the final moments. This film is literally incredible in it's presentation, costume design and art-set decoration. The music score by Hans Zimmer is among the finest work he's ever done. There is no better way to end this marathon than with this brilliant film.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Spy Movies Then And Now. 1990s/2000s Part 1

Tonight's marathon is the beginning of a three week venture into the comparing and contrasting of spy movies from the late 20th century to the early 21st. We begin as early as 1990 and moving forward with seeing the evolution of some of the most iconic spy genres and films ever made. We have on our menu for this evening:

      Mission Impossible 1996, True Lies 1994, Goldeneye 1995, and Tomorrow Never Dies 1997

This is a strong beginning that's gonna lead to bigger and better marathons for this particular genre. The 90's was a lot different in their portrayal of spy films compared to the one's that are made today. That has a lot to deal with the idea that terrorism was viewed as somewhat of a cartoon-ish joke before the events of September 11th, then it became more of a serious tone. Spy films are now darker, grittier, more violent, and has villains that you can actually see when turning on the news. Times have changed and so has the whole realm of making spy films. The first movie of the night is Mission Impossible. This is Tom Cruise's first entry into the spy genre, and the beginning of what would become the biggest franchise of his acting career. Mission Impossible is about an American agent named Ethan Hunt, who comes under false suspicion of disloyalty. He must discover and expose the traitor spy without his organizations help. Mission Impossible is a slick, well directed, and exciting first entry into a franchise that gets progressively better, with the exception of the second film. The best one in my humble opinion is the third one.

The next installment in the marathon is James Cameron's True Lies starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Jamie Lee Curtis, and knockout supporting roles from Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, and Tia Carrere. This was Cameron's final film before he set out to make the global box office phenomenons, Titanic and Avatar. The plot of True Lies is also spy oriented. The plot is about a secret agent named Harry Tasker who travels the globe hunting terrorists, but ultimately has his life turned upside down when he suspects that his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman. True Lies is one of the greatest action movies ever made because it balances action, romance, and comedy so perfectly. Not to mention has knockout performances from Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Tom Arnold, Jamie Lee Curtis and Bill Paxton. This was also the last R rated film that James Cameron made in his career.

The next film after this is Goldeneye, the seventeenth spy adventure film in the popular James Bond series, and the first one to star Pierce Brosnan. Of all the Pierce Brosnan films made, this one was hands down the best, with each film afterwards experiencing a slow downhill. In this film, James Bond teams up with a lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow agent, who was believed to be dead. Of the four Pierce Brosnan films, this one developed the character the most and showed him in his appropriate nature.

The last one is a by the numbers, yet fun installment. Tomorrow Never Dies deals with James Bond on a mission to stop a media moguls evil plan to start a war between China and the UK in order to obtain tomorrows news today. In retrospect, the first two James Bond films are better than the other two.

This is a strong start to a promising month of some epic spy and heist films.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Giver Review

Finally got to see The Giver


Watching this one gave me flashbacks to The Island because of it's similarities in storyline and structure. The whole issue if proximity brought up concerning the two characters interacting with each other in this film was a dead giveaway for me. I liked The Island quite a bit so that could be both a good and bad thing for this film going into it. By that I mean, perhaps I kinda liked it because The Island rubs off on this one and not judging it as a separate stand alone film. Whatever the reason is, I didn't think this one sucked completely but it wasn't very good.

The Giver is a decent book turned movie adaptation that carried with it promise, but also doesn't utilize certain key characters the way it properly should. For example, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep are great acting talents but have little screentime to make a significant impact on the audience. Not to mention Jeff Bridges feels like he's sleepwalking through this one. Katie Holmes does the best she can with how little material the script gives her. Shes not really that great of an actress but her personality makes her likeable. The plot of this movie sounds very promising but it's execution never lived up to it's full potential. Here is the synopsis: A young boy is chosen by an old man to learn about the true pain and pleasure of the real world, while being in a perfect community without any war, pain, suffering, disease, or choice. Right off the bat, this one screams The Island with the latter taking place in a Utopian facility, except the twist to that one is the people inside the facility are clones, and their body parts are being harvested for their real counterparts. The Giver has a strong storyline that required it to have great care taken with it's execution onto the big screen. Visually, the film is stunning and appears to get the tone and setting of the film down just right. The problems that arise are within it's script, which holds back the movie from really tackling some of the promising ideas and concepts that the story and it's acclaimed novel present. One feels watching this that it could've had a much greater impact if they had stronger material to work with. Characters that seem interesting such as the ones mentioned above are not present enough in the film to make you care about them ultimately. The lead character Jonas played by Brenton Thwaites does a decent job of playing the young boy whose being taught about the real consequences of living in the real world. Odeya Rush does as decent job as well playing Fiona, the girl who befriends and helps Jonas cope with the realization that his whole community is fake.

The Giver is not a bad movie but it's not that good of a film. This movie really had potential to stand alongside The Hunger Games and Divergent with such a promising storyline. It also could've been a nice contrast to the ideas and concepts of The Island, since that one dealt with reality to the lead characters becoming total fiction. This ones not a thumbs down but its not a thumbs up either. It's somewhere in the middle simply because the screenplay held this one back a great deal. It's worth watching if you're a fan of the book, but it's not going to be a film that you will think about much once it's over.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For Review

Finally got to see Sin City: A Dame To Kill For


It's been years since the first Sin City was viewed, so I don't have a fresh memory of that one in my brain. I do remember from the experience of watching it that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I also knew that going into this sequel, it had no way of possibly topping that film due to the lack of involvement with Michael Clarke Duncan and Brittany Murphy, two fantastic performers who passed away too soon before their time. Their losses are felt here, and the replacement of Michael Clarke Duncan for his character isn't bad by any means, but it just isn't the same. So the question on everyone's minds is did Sin City 2 live up to the expectations bestowed upon it by fans that it would be as good as the first movie or better? I would have to say quite

Sin City 2 may seem like a good movie when you first watch it but afterwards when you really begin to think about it, it really wasn't much of a good movie. It's more like pure smoke and mirrors. A piece of cake may look really good on the outside, but when you actually try a slice, it's taste is underwhelming. That's exactly the way to characterize Sin City 2. It's underwhelming both as a sequel and a movie. I am still confused as to why this film took so long to come out in theaters? A sequel should take no more than 3 to 4 years after the previous film to be released, that's if the filmmakers want it to have quality. Anything past that then you either have to be a James Cameron or Spielberg level of filmmaking to get a sequel out that actually has substance. This one doesn't have any. The best actors in the film hands down are Joseph Gordon Levitt and Eva Green, but the script doesn't give their characters much to do besides be there and blend into the slick black and white crime ridden atmosphere that this movie does so well. The first movie introduced this style of background and it works just as good here. The supporting cast such as Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, and Josh Brolin do the best with what their roles gives them. Whereas in the first film the multiple storyline's were compelling for the most part, the sequel has subplots that often come off as being pointless and more cynical than the previous film. You don't really care much about whats going on in this film, and the feeling you do get after watching it is pure emptiness. This really could've been a sequel worth waiting 10 years for almost if it had a stronger script. If anything, it feels like a bad parody of the first film with no real hook to draw you in. In other words, it's lifeless.

One simply will never understand why they waited so long to make this movie. Time was not on the filmmakers side with this one, because by waiting so long they lost some key actors who could've helped to bring a more familiar and sincere tone to this movie. This film lacks a heart, and because of that lack of one, it never really gets off the ground. It feels much smaller in scope than the first one instead of branching out and that is a real shame. Sorry Robert Rodriguez but not this time.


Fury Review

Finally got to see the movie Fury today....


If Lone Survivor could be called the realistic war movie set in modern day, then this is probably the most realistic and graphic World War ll film since Saving Private Ryan. What it sets out to do is not to portray it's lead characters as true heroes, they are far from it. But what it does set out to do is to show people the intensity and exhaustion American soldiers had in one of the final epic battles of World War ll against the Germans. Fury is brutal and doesn't hold back in its representation of war. It is powered by the strong performances of two key actors. Brad Pitt as Sargeant Wardaddy and Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison, both playing two men who not only fight against the Nazis but have opposing views on how to handle the situation morally. Brad Pitt plays a more serious role in this movie than he did in Inglorious Bastards, he is actually very powerful here. The supporting cast of Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Shia Labeouf, and Jason Isaacs all prove to be very effective and help drive home the realism of the story. The plot of the film sets the timeline in April 1945, when Nazi Germany was on the brink of losing the war.  As the allies make their final push in the European Theater, Sargeant Wardaddy, commanding a Sherman tank with his crew of five, go on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. During the process, they receive a rookie soldier named Ellison, as a replacement for their original gunner. The rookie proves to be inexperienced in combat, and is looked down upon by the troops.  The Sargeant and his men face overwhelming odds in their attempts to strike the core of Nazi Germany. The rookie in this film is the key character, because he allows the audience to see how the war has taken toll on the soldiers. They are unhappy, tired, exhausted, and in some ways lost the meaning of right and wrong. They may be heroes to their peers, but the audience see's them as being very flawed individuals that are hardly deserving of the title. One of the film's most powerful moments is when Wardaddy and Ellison invade the home of a German woman and her daughter. The two men lock down their apartment and have a simple conversation with the two girls as they are treated to their hospitality. Ellison ends up playing the piano and the girl sings during his playing, making them build an emotional connection towards each other. It shows a moment of pure innocence in all the battle and chaos, and the idea that romance in war can happen unexpectedly. The audience also grows to like Ellison as a character fondly, because he embodies the traits of not just a great soldier, but a true human being. The violence is graphic and brutal where it needs to be, with the majority of the action taking place in the allies tank. In the days where Hollywood performs massive acts of censorship, it's good to see filmmakers out there who don't hold back in the action department in their quest to tell a good story.

Fury is well-acted, well written, expertly directed, and carries with it a great message about war. It also provides a more personal insight into the mentality of the soldiers during this era. David Ayer creates a dark and gloomy atmosphere that fits the tone of the film perfectly. Each character is fleshed out beautifully in Ayer's screenplay. The audience gets just enough information and interaction with the crew to get acquainted with them and their personalities. You either like or dislike them with no middle ground. It's battle scenes are stunning and the film carries with it a raw depiction of the horrors of war. If there's any flaws that this film has, maybe it's that it could've shown more of these men leading up to the climatic final battle. Like let's see them performing more good deeds and the neverending war taking it's toll on their morale so the audience can better understand their actions in the film. These are not great men by any means, but their actions in the finale of the film make them redeemable and to a certain extent, heroic. The movie makes a great point by stating that just because one is on the allied side,doesn't necessarily mean they are a good person. Fury gets two big thumbs up and a recommendation of being a must see film. Here's hoping it will make it on the top 10 Best Picture list at this year's academy awards. Gone Girl has some competition now apparently. Brad Pitt and director David Ayer hit one out of the ballpark with this film. Bravo