Friday, August 7, 2015
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
This is a mature, multifaceted thriller that is more complex than the trailer suggests. The marketing department did a sorry job making the film look like a been-there-done-that, cheap, predictable thriller. But this sort of thriller is anything but, and it keeps on giving until the very last scene. The Gift is diffidently an intelligent, stirring surprise to say the least. It's no wonder Rotten Tomatoes gave it a whopping 93%, which is well deserving.
Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a disturbing downward spiral. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo (Joel Edgerton) at first, but after a series of uninvited, not to mention really awkward encounters and mysterious gifts that prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years ago. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones?
Edgerton does a fantastic job as the director and writer of the film. He eerily holds our attention, kind of like an old Hitchcock film would. The vibe of the entire film is creepy and unsettling. And the ending leaves you with delectable question, an uncertainty that will resonate long after the credits roll – no ribbon is tied this movie. The ambiguity is unnerving, no doubt, but that's the beauty of The Gift.RATING: B
Thursday, August 6, 2015
This is seriously one beautiful, visually stunning video essay. Lewis Bond edited this exceptional video essay titled Color in Storytelling. It dives deep into the various uses of color in cinema. It may run long for some people, but for all those film fanatics/movie buffs out there, this is right up your alley. I really love how well-researched this intensive look at color in film is. It examines its history and the first uses of color in cinema, spanning from the early 1900s to modern techniques with filmmakers like The Wachowski Brothers and Ang Lee and George Lucas. The amount of time this took is so involved and I love the explanation mixed in with the examples of real footage. Take a look and enjoy!
Thanks to FirstShowing for the nice tip on this. Press CC on the video above to see a list of the movies shown. To find out more about Lewis Bond, check out his Twitter feed at @lewis_criswell on Twitter, or on his YouTube page. For another non-video examination on Color in Visual Storytelling check this out.
Pretty cool, huh.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation just so happens to be Tom's Cruisiest movie yet. It's exactly what a Summer Blockbuster should be - a high-octane, exhilarating rush at monster speed. And this popcorn flick doesn't let up either. Sure, there are a few "no-they-didn't" unrealistic moments (even by M.I. standards), but what a fun and crazy ride regardless.
With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents - the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks, headed by the despicable steel-fisted Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet (du-du-duuun). But c'mon, have any of Ethan's missions been impossible...
Cruise and his motley crew of cohorts still have fantastic chemistry together. And although the movie is all about Ethan, I have to give mad props to Ferguson - a Swedish actress not well known in the US. She manages to steal much of the spotlight with her intriguing blend of ambiguity, vulnerability, confidence, danger, and unforced sexuality. She does some serious butt kicking the whole way through!
This movie does a beautiful job keeping you on the edge of your set with bated breath, and it does a fantastic job keeping you guessing till the very end. It's one terrific thriller that holds some of the best action sequences around. It’s kind of like action poetry. These movies are right up there with Bond and Bourne. My only complaint is I felt it was a tad bit long and drawn out - not as clean and tight as Ghost Protocol or MI:3 - but still a strong and valiant effort. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my movie experience.
What did you love/hate about it?
Monday, July 27, 2015
This is a pretty straightforward sports movie that doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table, but what Southpaw lacks in originality, it makes up for in rhythm and fortitude. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this movie, but that's exactly what happened here. It's a lot more raw and emotional than one would expect.
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence - who is unbelievably magnificent in this film, btw) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope hits rock bottom and turns to an unlikely savior at a run-down local gym: Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer to the city's toughest amateur boxers. With his future riding on Tick's guidance, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.
I always liked Gyllehaal, but I was never a huge fan until this movie. He completely blew me away with his edgy, heart-wrenching performance. While watching the film I never really saw him, but rather his character - a true sign of a great method actor. Southpaw is basically a story of a modern day tragic hero who rises from the ashes and fights his way back to his daughter and proves he can be the man his late wife envisioned and hoped for. Now that's not to say the film is a bit predictable and features a slew of cliches, which can't be helped in this genre, unfortunately. However, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) does a decent job making sure the film stays edgy enough to compensate. I will say though, I would have liked a little more character development between Billy Hope and Tick Willis, but that's minor.
All in all this Summer Blockbuster packs one satisfying, powerful punch both inside the ring and out, and will resonate even with non-boxing fans. It has stellar performances by the entire A-list cast - that scene when Billy Hope is holding his wife Maureen in the hotel lobby is truly Oscar winning remarkable. Southpaw is simply a fun, entertaining and exhilarating summer ride.
What's your take?
Thursday, July 23, 2015
"Nothing good is safe while he's alive."
Witness the epic conclusion to the Hunger Games. Lionsgate unveiled thier trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Mockingjay finally pits an angry Katniss against a very pissed-off President Snow, in a showdown on his own turf no less. The trailer gives a glimpse of the entire Capitol turned into one bad-a booby-trapped crazy-maze filled with nasty turns left and right, including some very odd zombie-like creatures (what?), all in an overblown effort to get our heroes and destroy them before they take over once and for all. I'm loving the way this looks. It's intense and dark backed by some stellar, sleek cinematography. Join Katniss!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is once again directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Danny Strong & Peter Craig. With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) confronts President Snow (Donald Sutherland ) in the final showdown. Teamed with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced before. The epic finale to this worldwide phenomenon hits theaters November 20, 2015.
Are you pumped?!