Friday, January 11, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

My View: Zero Dark Thirty (2013): Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a CIA investigator who goes on a ten year mission to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the Twin Tower attacks on 9/11. Chastain is amazing in this role as a character who is so driven to find Bin Laden that she has no personal life, almost no friends and she displays a single-minded determination that antagonizes everyone she works with. There are some very good supporting actors in this film, including Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler and Jennifer Ehle, but it's Chastain’s film, and she dominates every scene she's in.  When you see it, though you know its outcome, you are still on the edge of your seat until the very end.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Zero Dark Thirty Website
My View: Gangster Squad (2013) :The story of a group of police officers who form an elite squad with the intention of keeping 1950’s Los Angeles free of Mafia influence. This squad, though, will have to make tough decisions in their attempt to fight crime, and the Mafia plays dirty, so the squad may have to do the same. Be warned, this film contains a lot of violence.  The first time we meet gangster, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), he is having a man ripped apart by two cars. While I like Josh Brolin, I just feel like the part of the leader of the squad, Sarge, was just too big of a role for him. I did like Ryan Gosling as the slick police officer, but the film mostly wastes such talents as Emma Stone and Robert Patrick giving them one dimensional characters to work with. Overall, the film had an almost cartoon-like feel to it, Sean Penn's makeup is campy, and it was as if I were watching a remake of the 1990 Warren Beatty film, Dick Tracy.     My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Gangster Squad Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#10 Best Film
The Searchers  (1956):   Directed by John Ford, this western is about Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) who returns from the Civil War to his brother’s ranch in Texas. While Ethan is out tracking an Indian raiding party, Ethan’s brother’s family is attacked by Comanche’s who kill the entire family except Ethan’s niece, Debbie, who is kidnapped. Ethan, with Martin (Jeffery Hunter), Debbie’s adopted brother, sets out on a quest to find and bring back Debbie, but as years pass, the quest turns from being a rescue mission to one of revenge. In one of his better acting roles, Wayne is brilliant as the hard-nosed Ethan, whose hatred of Indians is apparent almost from the start of the film. This is a quintessential John Ford film with dynamic and sweeping camera shots that fill the screen with breathtaking scenery.    The Searchers Info

Forgotten Film: Downhill Racer (1969) Dave Chappelet (Robert Redford) is an ambitious skier who is added to the U.S. National team as a last minute replacement. Chappelet clashes with both his teammates and his coach (Gene Hackman) from almost the very start as he puts his own goals ahead of his teammates.  He has talent, though, and may be America’s best hope for a medal at the Olympics. This is not your usual Redford role, as his character for most of the film is self-centered and unlikeable, but Redford makes the role work. The racing scenes are well done, and the final race is extremely exciting to watch.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Downhill Racer Info

In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Looper (2012) This film is set in the future. When the mob wants to rub out someone, they send them 30 years into the past where Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is waiting to commit the perfect crime. The mob has a surprise for Joe, though. They are sending him his future, older self (Bruce Willis) to be killed. Will Joe do the deed? I enjoyed this film and especially enjoyed Gordon-Levitt’s performance as the young Joe, but I was left wanting the storyline to be a little more complicated and better thought out.   My Rating: Full Price   Looper Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Identity Thief (2013) When Sandy (Jason Bateman) finds out that his identity has been stolen, he sets out to find the thief and bring them to justice. Diana (Melissa McCarthy) is the woman who has stolen Sandy’s identity, but Sandy isn’t the only one hunting for Diana - so is the mob. This just looks like an attempt to put McCarthy into one zany situation after another, which means a film that just won’t be funny.   Identity Thief Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Zero Dark Thirty: Sign Writer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Warm Bodies (2013) I have seen the first three minutes of this film, and it looks like so much fun.  A zombie (Nicholas Hoult) falls in love with a human girl (Teresa Palmer). Will their love survive the end of the world?   Warm Bodies Website
Until Next Time!

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