Wednesday, April 11, 2012

50/50 and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

BTW, I don't know what is up with my paragraghs in these posts, but I cannot get a space in between them and so this looks really bad. I cannot figure it out, sorry for the confusion...
I am on a movie tear here of late! My Netflix cue is on fire and it feels really good to be getting in some quality movies that I have been wanting to see. This past weekend I picked up a couple of flicks, the first one was The Debt. Now not really going to spend any time writing about this one as I was sort of ambivalent toward it. Good idea of a story and some good actors, but I don't know, in the end, just was not feeling it. Can't really place my finger on it, but definitely glad I waited to see this one at home rather than in the theatre.
This leads me to the second film I saw this past weekend, 50/50, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. Gordon-Levitt plays Adam who is a pretty regular guy who shortly into the film is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The plot then focuses on how Adam attempts to deal with this devastating news and how it affects his relationships with his best friend, a sort-of girlfriend, a mother who is a little over-bearing and a father who suffers from Alzheimer's. How Adam handles each of these relationships and how everyone else reacts to the cancer is what keeps this movie moving forward. Add into the mix a young, female doctor who is trying to help Adam cope with his feelings and you have a really good movie, that is equal parts comedy and equal parts emotional drama.
I really liked this film and I will tell you why - I was expecting more of a regular film about someone dealing with cancer, but what I got was a film that really showed how relationships work and how what it comes down to in the end is the how we truly feel towards others. Probably did not make a whole bunch of sense what I just wrote there, but I really liked the dynamic of the relationship between Adam and his best friend played by Seth Rogen and Adam and his Mom played by Anjelica Houston. I think you might be surprised with what takes place.
Lastly, just like I talked about Tom Hardy in my last post, I am going to make a pitch for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and how he is one of the better actors out there right now. A clear signal to me as to who is really good is who Christopher Nolan (who is amazing) taps to play characters in his movies and Gordon-Levitt was not only in Inception, but he is also in the upcoming Batman film which comes out this summer. Any surprise as well that Tom Hardy is in both those movies? But getting back to Gordon-Levitt, he is really awesome in just about everything he has done lately and who would have thought this would be what we would get from him when he first appeared on TV years ago as the son on that show Third Rock from the Sun. I am a big fan of 500 Days of Summer and G-L is also going to be in the new Lincoln film which is directed by Steven Spielberg and comes out later this year. One last film that I have yet to see that he was in that got great reviews for his acting was Brick....I need to see that one. And do some searching for Gordon-Levitt on YouTube, he is a pretty good guitar player and has some cool stuff out there. Once again, become a fan of this kid, he is worth following...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Warrior and Tom Hardy

All right so it was a pretty regular night for me on Tuesday, but I was super excited as I was finally going to get the chance to see the movie Warrior. I have been wanting to see this movie for a long time, but just never got around to getting it to the top of my Netflix cue. Finally it arrived this week and I figured I would watch a little bit of the movie before I went to bed and try and finish it later in the week. I started the film around 10 PM thinking I would watch a quick half hour before I went to bed. Next thing I know it is 12:15 AM and I am just finishing one of the better movies I have seen in the past year.
I feel like that as much as this movie got some really good reviews last year, for whatever reason, not a lot of people saw this film. I think a lot of people see the MMA fighting that is in the movie and think that that is all they are going to get. And if that is the case, and you have not seen this one, stop what you are doing, get it on your list and see this movie. Not only is this an awesome story, but the acting and the actors do an amazing job. Nick Nolte was nominated for an Academy Award and from a sports perspective, this has to be one of the better sports films in the last ten to fifteen years.
I won't get too much into the story, but basically two brothers each have their own reasons for entering a winner take all MMA competition. The brothers, played by Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are estranged and along with their own relationship, they are both dealing with their father (played by Nolte) and how to accept back into their lives their dad who was an alcoholic, abusive man to both them and their mother while they were growing up. Edgerton, who in real life is Australian, does a terrific job playing the older brother and he is definitely someone to keep your eye on as I have a feeling he is going to be in a lot more films coming up here real soon. A lot of people know him from Animal Kingdom which was a highly-acclaimed film in 2010 and he does not disappoint in this role and movie either.
Lastly, I am going to talk about Tom Hardy and the star that this guy is. And be prepared to hear a lot about Hardy this summer as he is starring as the villain in the newest installment of the Batman movies. Most people will recognize him from his role in Inception and others that know him well know him for his portrayal of Charles Bronson in Bronson. I really do think he is going to blow up this summer and I think he is going to be one of the biggest stars in the years to come. He is an extremely physical actor and when he is on the screen, he just commands a presence and the people around him. It is hard to not be impressed by him and you cannot help but feel for him in Warrior as you can tell he has gone through so much in his life. The pinnacle scene in this film which takes place in a hotel room with Nolte and Hardy is beyond emotional and the acting is exceptional between both actors. Just keep an eye out for Tom Hardy moving forward, he is one of the better actors out there and is going to be around for a long time. I cannot really say enough about good things about him...

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Iron Giant, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Hunger Games and Goon

All right, some new movies to talk about that I have seen recently. Definitely some good stuff out there right now and one movie from a while back that I have been hearing about and so thought I would check it out....

First movie up is The Iron Giant which came out way back in 1999 and if you are not familiar with this film, it is a cartoon. Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Toy Story, Ratatouille and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), this is not the type of animation that I think we have all become accustomed to seeing - it is old school. But the cool thing about it is that the movie totally works and it actually makes you want to see more animation like it. With voices by Jennifer Anniston and Harry Connick Jr. amongst others, the story centers around a young boy and his new iron machine friend who has come from outer space. The relationship they develop and the friendship that these two have is what makes you care during this movie and the ending is one you might not expect. You definitely develop an affection for the iron giant as he has a human side which I think we all knew would be there. Highly recommend this film and very kid-friendly for those of you with little ones out there.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a film starring Emily Blunt and Ewen McGregor and the salmon fishing that brings them together. It is a little more complicated than that, but if you have seen the previews, you get a pretty good gist of what is going to take place and probably how the two main characters are going to feel about each other at the end. While the story is good and while I am a huge fan of Emily Blunt, there were a few things I would have changed within the story and what takes place. A couple of things I would not change is the Amr Waked who plays Shiekh Muhammed from Yemen as he is a great character and one that I think everyone would want to become friends with. And probably the biggest surprise of the whole film was Kristin Scott Thomas whose character reports to the Prime Minister. She is hysterical and she has one line that had the whole theatre laughing out loud as it was very unexpected. Finally for those of you who are big fly fishing fans, unfortunately you do not get much in this film and so if you are expecting a remake of A River Runs Through It, sadly you are going to be disappointed. All in all, a good film, but one that you can wait for on Netflix.

Now onto The Hunger Games which is probably the most talked about and anticipated film of this spring. Most of you know the story as just about everyone and their sister has read at least one of the books in the trilogy series. I, myself, finished the book about a week ago and so have had this one on the radar for a little bit. And I was looking forward to it because I have only read the first book and so still don't really know what is going to take place in the second and third books. The film which takes place in the future stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Some of you know Jennifer from Winter's Bone which she was awesome in and received an Academy Award nomination a couple of years ago (highly recommend that film if you have not seen it by the way). Getting back to the film at hand, I was pretty impressed by the visuals throughout the movie as the director and producers did a good job of representing the Capitol and how it is described in the book. The citizens are way over the top and it is almost laughable how they live and the lifestyles they have. If you have not read this book, this probably is not making much sense, but in the end, the story is really about Katniss and her trying to fight her way through The Hunger Games - which is pretty much a battle royale fight to the death between 24 teenagers. Make sense? Yeah, if you haven't read the book, probably not! In the end, a good film and one that I would recommend seeing even if you haven't read the book. You will probably be shocked with what takes place and the whole premise of the actual Hunger Games. And everyone who read the book? I am going to assume that you have already seen the flick....

Lastly, yesterday I saw the movie Goon. Most of you have probably not seen or even heard of this movie, but I definitely recommend this one. It is the story of Sean William Scott, whom most of you know as Stiffler, and his unlikely rise from security guard at a bar to enforcer on a minor league hockey team. I had read some reviews on this film and knew it was going to be pretty good, but it was extremely funny and a very entertaining film. This one is not for kids for sure as the language is pretty out of control, but for us adults, there are some hilarious exchanges between the characters. Jay Baruchel wrote the script and I am for sure a fan of him and his work. Most of you would recognize Jay from The Sorcerer's Apprentice, She's Out of my League, Tropic Thunder and the voice of the kid in How to Train your Dragon. Basically I like everything he is in and so figured his writing would be something I would dig as well. I was again pleasantly pleased and Jay is even in the film playing Scott's best friend and host of a hockey show on local cable access TV. As with most sports stories, there is a love story aspect to this film and it is done very well. But in the end, this is a hockey movie and Scott's character Doug Glatt has to prove that he belongs, not only as a fighter, but as a player on the team. And of course, he has to prove that he can take out the other best fighter there is....Liev Schreiber who plays Ross "The Boss" Rhea, the baddest dude in all of hockey. So we all know what is coming....a showdown between the Doug "The Thug" Glatt and The Boss, to see who is the best fighter in the land. See this movie, you will like it.....and become a fan of Jay Baruchel, you will not be disappointed.