Tag Archives: Drama

Interstellar

29 May

Recently I watched the full length trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie, Interstellar. According to the official movie website – In the future, governments and economies across the globe have collapsed, food is scarce, NASA is no more, and the 20th Century is to blame. A mysterious rip in spacetime opens and it’s up to whatever is left of NASA to explore and offer up hope for mankind.

Interstellar may have elements of time travel and alternate realities, but as usual, Nolan is keeping most details under wraps. The movie stars Academy Award winners, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain.

Nolan does an amazing job of combining science fiction with drama and I’m sure Interstellar will deliver in quality and casting. The only potential miscast actor could be Matthew McConaughey. Despite winning an Academy Award last year for Dallas Buyer’s Club, it’s difficult to look past his string of painful romantic comedies (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past…etc.) and his personal preference for playing bongo drums naked while smoking pot. His performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club has been his best in recent years, but McConaughey lacks the charisma and talent of other leading men like Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert Downey Jr.

I find it painful to live in a world where Matthew McConaughey has an Oscar and Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t.

Interstellar opens November 7, 2014.

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Looper: Review

31 Oct

 I’ve always liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt whether he was an alien, one of Micheal Myers victims, a high school detective or a love-sick greeting card writer, and 2012 has been a good year for Tommy Solomon. He’s landed leading roles in two highly anticipated movies, The Dark Knight Rises and in the sci-fi movie, Looper.

When I saw ads for The Dark Knight Rises, I knew that Levitt would be playing Robin or Nightwing. He has the perfect look, but I wasn’t sure how he’d fit in with such a serious and seasoned cast. Considering the other actors, Levitt did a great job of holding his own and making his character stand out in the Nolan’s final Batman movie. I think the end of The Dark Knight Rises left fans hoping that DC would push for a Robin or Nightwing movie.

Levitt’s second big project of 2012 was Looper – a sci-fi thriller starring Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Looper centres around Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a mob hitman in the year 2044. In the future, if the mob wants to have someone “taken care of” the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun waits. Eventually, the mob decides to “close the loop” by transporting back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for execution. Unfortunately, Young Joe loses his future self and must track him down before the mob finds him.

After escaping Young Joe, Old Joe hunts for the Rainmaker – a powerful man who is closing all the loops and has single-handedly taken over the future’s criminal organizations. Old Joe’s mission is to find the Rainmaker as a child and kill him to prevent future events. Young Joe manages to figure out part of Old Joe’s plans and heads to one of the addresses where the Rainmaker may be living. There Young Joe meets Sara (Emily Blunt), a single mother who lives with her son Cid. Young Joe stays to protect Sara and Cid and to kill Old Joe when he shows up.

From the trailers, you’d think that Looper was a sci-fi action movie and we would eventually see Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis team up in a Die Hard style killing spree. Guess what? The trailers are misleading – incredibly misleading. If anything Looper is a sci-fi drama which is something I haven’t really seen before. Of course there are sci-fi elements – time travel, telekinesis, but the focus is really on character development.

When you’re first introduced to Old Joe, all your sympathy lies with him. You see what he experienced for the past 30 years and you understand his motivations. Young Joe looks selfish, stupid and greedy in comparison. As the movie progresses and Old Joe starts carrying out his plan to kill the Rainmaker, your sympathy shifts to Young Joe and you get a glimpse into why he behaves the way he does.

Bruce Willis fits the role of Old Joe perfectly. Willis seems to only pick better roles and become more successful with age. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does all the heavy lifting. He’s amazing as Young Joe and even when he does morally questionable things you know why. His ability to imitate Bruce Willis and mimic his mannerisms is uncanny. My favourite scene of the movie is where the two Joe’s meet at a coffee shop and have a conversation about what’s going to happen now and in the future.

Writer/Director Rian Johnson is a bit of an oddball. He wrote the role of Young Joe specifically for Gordon Levitt as the pair previously worked together on the teenage film noir Brick. Johnson seems to focus on minute details and tries to have all his bases covered.

Even so, there are flaws in the movie. The prosthetics used to make Levitt look like Willis aren’t really necessary. I’ve talked to a few people who said they couldn’t get used to Levitt’s look. The face change feels like a bit of a gimmick and Looper stands well on its own.

A couple of characters should have been written out of the screenplay. If they don’t add anything to the plot, there’s no reason for them to be there and even though I love him, Jeff Daniels is not an intimidating villain. Sorry.

Overall, Looper is a unique and interesting movie. It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re a sci-fi fan because you may never seen anything like it again.

The Grey: Review

2 Feb

The Grey stars Liam Neeson at Ottway, a world weary marksman, hired by an oil company to protect rig workers from predatory wolves in Alaska.  When his contract ends with the oil company, Ottway boards a plane heading out of Alaska along with other roughnecks.  During the flight, there’s a mechanical failure and the plane crashes leaving a handful of men to battle the elements and evade a pack of aggressive wolves who see the survivors as intruders.

The first thing you should know about The Grey is that despite the marketing, this is not an action movie. It’s not a 90 minute free for all of Man vs. Wolf action. There are violent encounters with the wolves, but they are few and far between.  The Grey spends more time focusing on the men’s reactions to their situation and how they cope with the constant dangers surrounding them. It’s a gritty look at death and spirituality.

What’s sets The Grey apart from other survival movies is how caring and supportive the oil workers are of one another.  When someone is injured there is no talk of leaving them behind or feeding them to the wolves.  The survivors constantly put themselves in harm’s way to save one another.  There are four main characters (other than Neeson) that prove to be well rounded and thought out: Henrick (Dallas Roberts), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), Burke (Nonso Anozie), and Diaz (Frank Grillo).

The only character to cause problems is the outspoken and angry Diaz,who creates conflict for the first half of the movie.  After a confrontation with Ottway, Diaz softens significantly and even apologizes to the other men.  The best parts of the movie comes from the characters’ frank conversations about their lives and their possible deaths. In one conversation, Talget talks about his purpose in life and God, while Diaz and Ottway openly talk about not believing in anything and that there’s nothing after death.  The conversations are refreshing because so many other survival films have people “finding religion” at the last minute.

I would say this is one of Neeson’s best performances recently, other than Taken.  Originally, Neeson’s character had been contemplating suicide, but once death seems inevitable his character fights for himself and the other men to stay alive.  Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo are excellent choices for the supporting cast and you find yourself constantly worrying about what can or will happen to them.

Ultimately, The Grey focuses on death and how different people approach it.  I’d highly recommend seeing it, but it is not for the faint of heart.  You aren’t going to leave the theatre feeling happy.  Believe me.

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