Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jane Got a Gun

The only reason I even knew about this movie is because I saw the trailer a handful of times before a few movies. As has been the case lately it seems, none of the other new releases looked interesting to me so I decided to check this out. Mainly to support Joel Edgerton, Natalie Portman, and director Gavin O'Connor, all of whom I'm a big fan of. It's been getting a lot of negative reviews but I really can't agree with them. While the movie does have some MAJOR issues, I don't think it's nearly as bad as people are saying. I actually kind of liked it.

Jane Got a Gun (Which is probably one of the worst titles I've ever heard of. I know naming a movie isn't easy but seriously? That's the best you can come up with?) is about a woman named Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) who enlists the help of her ex-fiancee Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) to save her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) from a gang, lead by Colin McCann (Ewan McGregor) out to kill him.

This was filmed about three years ago and is only just now getting released. It went through so much hell before, during, and after production it's crazy. Someone else was originally suppose to direct this but, due to an argument with a producer, she never showed up the day they were scheduled to begin filming. The next day they were able to get Gavin O'Connor to sign on and try to salvage this. He's an amazing director mainly known for his sports dramas, including one of my favorite movies- Warrior. I think he does a good job with this considering the mess he had to work with.

The movie does have a direct to DVD feel at times, just with a slightly bigger budget and some nice cinematography. It's only about an hour and a half long but boy does that first hour move SO slowly. It's not until the last maybe 30 minutes that it starts to get interesting, even though the final showdown with the main villain was disappointing.

The real saving grace of the movie for me was Joel Edgerton and Natalie Portman. They had really good chemistry and you could tell they cared about their performances. I enjoyed their scenes together, Very touching. Joel Edgerton also did some rewrites on the script and while I don't know for sure, I'm guessing it included those wonderful scenes.

Jane Got a Gun is not something I would recommend seeing in theaters, but still check it out if you're into these types of movies. I definitely don't regret seeing this. However, I probably won't be buying it when it comes out on Blu-ray (unless it's on sale). But if I happen to see it on Netflix sure, I'll watch it again.

My Rating: 7/10

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Big Short

Time for me to catch up on some more Best Picture nominees. After this the only one I have left to see is Bridge of Spies. Anyway, a lot of people have been talking about The Big Short- some like it and some don't. In my opinion, while I wasn't sure at first, it's a very well made movie. I loved it in fact. 

The Big Short takes place in the mid 2000's during the mortgage housing crisis. It tells three parallel stories about the men who correctly predicted it and how they took on the banks for their greed and stupidity- Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Mark Baum (Steve Carrell), Charlie Gellar (John Magaro), Jamie Shipley (Finn Whittrock), and Jared Vannett (Ryan Gosling). 

For me the best thing about this movie was the strong performances, especially Christian Bale and Steve Carrell. I love that Steve Carrell is doing another more serious role since he's really good at it. Although make no mistake, there's plenty of humor here. But not the typical over the top gross out humor you see in a lot of comedies these days. 

Obviously I knew about the housing crisis. Who didn't? I'll admit though, I didn't really know how it worked exactly. What I love about what director Adam McKay has done is that he's tried to explain it in a way that people can understand. I was a bit confused in the beginning but after a while I was like, "Okay, I think I've got this." 

The only complaint I have is that the editing was kind of weird, mainly in the beginning. Still it's nothing that should stop you from seeing the movie. 

Do I recommend The Big Short? Absolutely. It's over two hours long and not once was I bored. I found the whole thing very fascinating. The movie definetly deserves all the attention it's getting. 

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Revenant

It's been a day since I've seen The Revenant and I still can't get some of those images out of my head. Not that that's a bad thing. I've been looking forward to this movie for a long time. It stars two of my favorite actors and is from the director of Birdman. The movie is getting great reviews and I can see why. It really is one of the best movies to come out in awhile. 

The Revenant is set in the 1820's and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glads, a frontiersman who leads a fur trading expedition and brings along his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck). One day he's brutally attacked by a bear and eventually left for dead by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who murders Hawk in front of him (No, I don't consider that a spoiler. They show it in the trailer). Relying on his will to survive and a strong love for his family, Glass sets out to find Fitzgerald and make him pay for what he's done. 

Let me start off by saying this- if you are in any way squeamish DO NOT go see this movie! It is extremely brutal and graphic, especially the bear attack. You see every moment of Glass being shred to bits. I've got a pretty strong stomach and even I had to look away from the screen a few times. The special effects and make up teams did an amazing job not only with this scene but in general. It looked so real! I don't know how they did it without having Leo actually be attacked by a bear. 

Speaking of Leo- for the love of God Academy, just give him the Oscar right now. What else is it going to take? He gives one of the best performances I've seen in years. What I love most is that throughout the movie he really doesn't have that much dialog. A lot of his performance is through his eyes and facial expressions. Not too many actors can pull that off but he does. 

And then there's my man Tom Hardy, who I think does an amazing job as well. He is so good at playing a villain. It's never over the top though. He and Leo work so well together. Their scenes are so tense that it leaves you on the edge of your seat. I'm not sure if Tom will win Best Supporting Actor but he definitely deserves to be nominated. 

Of course, I can't write this review and not talk about Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñàrritu. He's one of the hardest working directors out there and has a true love for film. He's created a masterpiece here with breathtaking cinematography, long takes, and the way he angles the camera. There might be people who aren't going to care for the way he ended the movie. It's not bad by any means but it might leave some a bit confused. I was okay with it though. 

If you can handle it, I highly recommend The Revenant. It's a true work of art. My only regret is not waiting another week to make my top 10 list. I would have found a way to make room for this. 

My Rating: 10/10

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Hateful Eight

I don't know if I would call myself a Quentin Tarantino fan. I like some of his movies, more recently Inglorious Basterds. His last movie Django Unchained I didn't really care for aside from the acting. Still after seeing trailers for The Hateful Eight I was really excited. Now that I've seen it I can tell you that it is an amazing, well made movie... for the first two hours or so. The last half hour/45 minutes is when it all goes to hell. 

The Hatefull Eight is about a bounty hunter named John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his captive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He's taking her to the town of Red Rock to be hanged. Along the way they encounter another bounty hunter- Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man claiming to be the new sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). Due to a blizzard they're forced to spend a few days in a cabin already inhabited by some interesting characters- Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern). 

Quentin Tarantino is a very talented director. One of the best out there. Say what you want about him but his movies have always had gorgeous cinematography, a great soundtrack/score, and some of the best dialog I've ever heard. The Hateful Eight is no exception. 

All of the actors did an amazing job. There wasn't a bad performance here. One of my favorite performances aside from the great Samuel L. Jackson was Walton Goggins. Being such a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy I adored him as Venus. He's really funny in this and his timing is perfect. I really hope he and Tarantino work together again in the future. 

The movie is nearly three hours long. Or over three hours depending on what version you see. The one I saw clocked in at about two hours and 47 minutes. It does drag a bit at times. Mainly towards the end though. 

What made me really mad was, as I mentioned before, was that I was really loving this movie for the first two hours. Then in typical Tarantino fashion, he loses his damn mind! The last half hour/45 minutes turns into a fucking cartoon! There's heads literally blowing up and blood and brains everywhere (don't go see this movie if you're squeamish). We've come to expect that from him but that's still no excuse. But because the first two hours were so good, I can't give this any lower of a rating than I am. 

If you're a Tarantino fan, you're going to love the hell out of this. Even if you're not, I still recommend it. It really is one of those movies that needs to be seen on the big screen. 

My Rating: 8/10

The Danish Girl

My first review of 2016! I figured since I had Friday off I would use that time to catch up on some of the Oscar type movies, starting with The Danish Girl. Maybe I'm in the minority but I actually like director Tom Hooper. I especially loved his movie The King's Speech.  So I was very interested in seeing this despite some of the negative reviews. So what's my opinion? Well, I don't think it's as bad as people are saying. However, it's not great either. It's just okay. 

The Danish Girl tells the story of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne), one of the first transgender people to undergo sex reassignment surgery, and her wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander). It's a true story but from what I've read the movie is a highly fictionalized account of their marriage. But that's not what really bothered me. 

It's a very pretty movie. There's lots of beautiful images of trees, clouds, etc. Very much style over substance. Which is a shame because it's an interesting story and they could have done so much with it. At the same time, Tom Hooper is trying way too hard. This movie is the very definition of Oscar bait. 

The saving grace for me was the acting. Eddie Redmayne is a talented actor and he does a good job here, but I don't think he should win Best Actor again. Nominated sure. I swear if he wins over Leonardo DiCaprio I'm going to scream. Anyway, I found myself not caring as much about Einar/Lili. I was much more interested in Gerda. Alicia Vikander gives a wonderful performance. This is just as much her movie as it is Eddie Redmayne's. 

If you really want to see this movie wait til it comes to Netflix. It's not that I don't recommend it. I just don't think it's worth the money seeing it in theaters. 

My Rating: 6.5/10