Friday, January 20, 2012

5 Reason's Red Tails Will Crash and Burn

1. Cuba "Snow Dogs" Gooding Jr.- Gooding is a Major in this WWII flick, I guess someone thought his role as a petty officer in Pearl Harbor warranted a promotion. The fact of the matter is Cuba Gooding Jr. has never been a lead in a movie that has received any critical praise. After his last movie Sacrifice he really should have thrown in the towel (any movie starring Gooding Jr. and Christian Slater is bound to BLOW).  Nothing that he has ever done makes me have any desire to sit through his acting for two hours.

2.Terrence Howard- All that really needs to be said here is Hustle & Flow, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and what the heck is up with his voice.

3. Director Anthony Hemingway- Up until Red Tails Anthony Hemingway had not directed anything besides a few television shows or assisted on a few movies. Some of the shows that he has directed include True Blood, The Wire, and CSI: NY. Red Tails could be a very well directed movie, I just have serious doubts that someone that has never directed a major motion picture can come into this project and have much success.

4. John Ridley (screenplay)- To give you a little background, Ridley's most popular movie to date is the 2002 comedy Undercover Brother. This could easily be the main reason why this film will never take flight. John Ridley is not the person that I would ever want writing a screenplay about a very powerful and important story in our nations history.

5. George Lucas- Don't get me wrong Lucas is a hero of mine because he created what made my childhood what it was when he gave the world Star Wars. But history shows that Lucas has a serious problem when trying to control the amount of digital effects he puts into his projects. Red Tails being a Lucasfilm Ltd. production, and after seeing the trailer, one can easily tell that this film will rely heavily on visuals and will unfortunately lack dialogue of any substance.

The story of the Tuskegee airmen is a historically amazing and captivating one, however I am afraid that the power of the true story will be lost among the inevitable explosions and lack of effective dialogue. Hopefully I am wrong.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Week With Marilyn

My thoughts leaving the theater tonight: "Michelle Williams...Michelle Williams...Michelle Williams..."

Many things surrounding this film had me very skeptical about the quality that this film would have. First, it is directed by Simon Curtis. Haven't heard the name? Not surprising, this Brit has had virtually no work with any film that has any quality (unless you enjoy the 1999 BBC movie David Copperfield). Second, this film had a budget that would match most movies on the Lifetime Movie Network, only $7,000,000 (perspective: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, $90,000,000). Lastly, and my largest concern, can Michelle Williams really pull off one of the most popular and polarizing female pop culture icons that the world has ever seen?

The Answer was YES

My Week with Marilyn Michelle was a beautiful attempt at capturing a small glimpse of the icon that was Marilyn Monroe during her time filming The Prince and the Showgirl with Sir Laurence Olivier in 1957. The film centers around Monroe's emotional struggles dealing the stress of being Marilyn Monroe and a relationship she forms with a young directors assistant Colin Clark (the relationship is most likely fictional), played by the young Eddie Redmayne. The beautifully talented Michelle Williams as Monroe really brings this film to life. Her dedication to the role and to the character shines from her first appearance on screen. She was simply brilliant, however the movie was not without its shortcomings. Possibly due to the low budget or the BBC quality director this film, in parts, the film carries a feeling that leaves the audience longing for something more... an excellence that is just out of reach. 

Overall this is an enjoyably quaint film to watch, with streaks of brilliance and amazing acting out of Michelle Williams this is a must see.

Rating: 7.8/10

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Word Review: The Illusionist

Magical?  May Contain SPOILERS

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste) though charming to watch was something less than what I had expected after the critical acclaim that it received when it was released in 2010. This animated film is about The Illusionist and his struggle to find work as a magician in the 1950's a time when Rock and Roll and the television are taking over the entertainment arena. That being said The Illusionist spends the entire film trying to find work, all while convincing the young Alice that magic is real... only to tell her in the end after he abandons her, sells his hat and wand, and leaves his rabbit for the wolves (possibly a slight over exaggeration) that "Magic Does Not Exist."

The animation in this film is beautiful but is hard to appreciate behind the rushed and confusing story, as well as the foreign language that I am 99% sure no one on the earth would be able to understand.

If you do see this film see it for the animation and the beauty of what is visually detectable on screen and leave aside your desire for a story that is fully comprehensible.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was something that I had to do before I was going to go see the film. Lets just say my love of movies overcame my passing desire to read a novel (though it is still on my desk). David Fincher directed the most recent theatrical adaptation of Stieg Larsson's novel and let me say it is much closer to his work on Fight Club Se7en than that of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Overall I really enjoyed the film I thought that it was well acted and beautifully directed, David Fincher does not often disappoint. Daniel Craig portrays Mikael Blomkvist well (of course I have not yet read the book) but it was hard to believe him to be a Swede as he carried his Bond accent throughout the film, may just be too hard to take the 007 out of the man. His accent was quickly ignored and his role in the film as a journalist/investigator really took form. Although Fincher and Steven Zaillian (screenplay) gave Craig more of the main role in the movie he definitely was not able to steal the spotlight from the true star of the film, the dark pierced and tatted Rooney Mara (portraying Lisbeth Salander).

The character of Lisbeth Salander is a violent gritty and battered Swede and Mara played the heck out of this role. From the first time she was on screen she was captivating and as I sat watching the end credits role all that I could think about was the dark character that she was able to bring to life. She portrayed Lisbeth with grit and anyone in the theater, minus the six people that left (I will return to this), were able to see her dedication to and complete immersion in the role. The dedication is easy to see when you realize that the previously unpierced actress got at least seven piercings in order to fully delve into the role. Her character was  subtly twisted and extremely dark but this did not deter the audience from falling for her blunt and mysterious persona. Rooney Mara made the character what she was and this film is worth seeing just to witness her performance.

The story was captivating and the relationship that developed between Lisbeth and Mikael on screen seemed natural and unforced. Craig and Mara were a good pair and in my opinion two very well casted actors for their respective roles. One part of the film though did not feel natural and was not meant to feel natural.This film was my first encounter with the character and story of Lisbeth Salander and let me say that it was a very violent and uncomfortable story to watch on screen leaving me with an uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. The scenes of sexual abuse were violent and all too real for some in the audience to handle (the six mentioned earlier). I will not say that the scenes were tasteless but the actions taken in them were. These scenes shaped the movie and the mystery found in the story but visually only account for a very small portion of this 158 minute film.

Overall I would give this movie an 8.5/10 for it was amazingly acted, directed, and scored (and the story is brilliant thanks to Larsson.)

One last thing the music composition for this film by Trent Reznor was phenomenal and completely complimented what was visually presented on screen.