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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Cruise’

Initial Response v.2

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Movies I’ve seen recently for the first time….

Let Me In

The best vampire movie I’ve seen (not counting the original french film) since Blade, and if you don’t want to count comic book movies then I would say Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz (played Hit Girl in Kick-Ass) who is pretty much the anti-Dakota Fanning (Push, The Twilight Saga). If these two vampires fought, Dakota would lose before anyone knew something was going on. Watch this movie! The love story between the two main characters in this is so much more believable than in the The Twilight Saga (I am not comparing it to the books at all but just the films as that is my only knowledge of the series) and these kids are only 12.

Ong Bak 3

The final installment of the Ong-Bak Trilogy. The first one is still the best and I actually dozed off for a little while around the middle of the movie as it kinda dragged. Fight scenes are great but I keep waiting for him to do a movie on the level of The Protector. If you’re a fan of Tony Jaa, watch it.

Red

One of Bruce Willis’ best films. The movie just relishes on the fact that these actors have established themselves deep into Hollywood history and shows off how they can not necessarily get better with age but can kick just the same amount of ass now as they did back in the day. Everyone is absolutely amazing in this and at no point does the movie or the actors try to be more than they need to be. Multiple viewings of this is a must, in fact I’ve already seen it 3 times and am now wanting to stick in the Blu-ray once again for another viewing.

Salt

Originally written for Tom Cruise but he dropped out and instead of replacing him with another actor they decided to rewrite it for a female character and as far as action heroines go in Hollywood, Angelina Jolie (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, the Lara Croft films) is the only actress that can pull it off and she does it again in this. Written by Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium), there’s even sort of a twist in the movie that was happily unexpected. The movie contains plot points and turns you don’t see in films but in tv series which I never understood. Don’t you hate it when watching a movie and you’re anxiously expecting something terrible/drastic to happen like they actually fail at stopping something? This doesn’t really go along those lines but it’s freaking awesome and I highly recommend watching the Director’s Cut. So excited to see sequels! Please let this happen!

The Social Network

Was curious as to how they were going to make a movie about Facebook but they did and it was enjoyable and informative. Never knew that the Napster guy (played by Justin Timberlake) was part owner. Starring a lot of up and coming actors, this brings hope to some great performances that are ahead of us from these Hollywood youngsters.

Stone

At one point in the movie I stopped paying attention and had to restart the film as I had no idea what was going on. If you don’t pay close attention you won’t realize what has been happening all along and the ending will confuse you. I enjoy watching all 3 of these actors perform but after watching the movie I felt like that was cool and all but the ending/climax made me wonder why the movie was made at all. It was pretty much just watching great actor’s perform great for no reason, like an audition for some other movie.

Miami Vice

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Being a film written & directed by Michael Mann (Public Enemies, The Insider, Ali) makes it an automatic watch for me with him being behind the camera of two of my favorite films (The Last of The Mohicans & Heat). His style of direction changed with his previous film Collateral which worked but my initial viewing of this 4 years ago when it was released did not work for me too much. He reused it again on last year’s film Public Enemies starring Christian Bale (Reign of Fire, The Machinist, The Prestige) & Johnny Depp (Benny & Joon, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Ninth Gate) and I liked how he handled it with that film and thought I’d give Miami Vice another chance. One thing I also remembered from my first viewing was that I thought the chemistry between the two leading actors was horrible and non-existent. Nonpoint’s cover of ‘In The Air Tonight’ was a plus though.

The opening scene gives us a small taste of the Miami nightlife but turns out to be rather pointless to the story other than showing us our main characters; Sonny Crockett, originally portrayed by Don Johnson on the 80s television series and now being played by Colin Farrell (American Outlaws, The New World, In Bruges). Ricardo Tubbs, originally portrayed by Philip Michael Thomas and now being played Jamie Foxx (Bait, Any Given Sunday, The Soloist) in his second film with director Michael Mann after starring in 2004’s Collateral with Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder) & Jada Pinkett-Smith (Reign Over Me). We also get introduced to their team; Naomie Harris (28 Days Later…, Pirates of The Caribbean: At World’s End, Ninja Assassin) as Trudy Joplin, love interest to Rico as well as being on the team. Justin Theroux (Zoolander, Mulholland Dr., American Pyscho) who recently turned into screenwriting and has two films under his belt (Tropic Thunder & Iron Man 2) as Larry Zito. Elizabeth Rodriguez (Blow, Dead Presidents) as Gina Calabrese who has possibly the best line in the movie when face to face with a hostage taker. The team is closed up by Domenick Lombardozzi (Find Me Guilty, Phone BoothS.W.A.T.) as Stan Switek who would later star in another Michael Mann film, Public Enemies.

But then the scene is interrupted by the actual story of the film when he receives a frantic phone call from a former informant, Alonzo Stevens, played by John Hawkes (American Gangster, Identity, The Perfect Storm). Tubbs joins Sonny outside and they begin their case first calling the FBI and getting in contact with Agent Fujima, played by Ciaran Hinds (The Phantom of The Opera (2004), Margot at The Wedding, Munich) and fear that his men’s cover, currently in the process of making a deal, have been blown. Tubbs tries calling Lucianna, Alonzo’s wife, with no luck and we get a scene of a tattoo-covered man looking through the fridge.

We are then given our first action scene with the undercover agents completing the process of the deal but come to the realization that their cover is blown when dealer in charge asks “How long have you been working for the FBI?”. Their escape is stopped quickly as two hidden snipers obliterate them and their SUV in a rather sweet looking visual.

Sonny & Tubbs meet with their superior, played by Barry Shabaka (Four Brothers, Rush Hour) in his third Michael Mann film, & Agent Fujima where they become tasked with the undercover operation to infiltrate and bring down the Aryan Brotherhood, led by Jesus Montaya (Luis Tosar). The FBI can no longer trust any agency currently involved on the case and therefore they enlist Miami Vice and Sonny & Tubbs are temporarily deputized as FBI agents. They quickly begin by getting in contact with an old informant to set up a meeting with the cartel and they get their new identities created. This is when we also come to find the romantic relationship between Tubbs & Trudy.

We get a pretty intense change of words when Sonny & Tubbs meet with Yero (John Ortiz; American Gangster, Fast & Furious, Pride and Glory) who ends up, unknowingly to Sonny & Tubbs at first, not being the head of the cartel but the leader’s counter intelligence here to make sure of the two “drug dealers”. The banker for the cartel is present as well, Isabella (Gong Li; Hannibal Rising). After hours of waiting they finally are taken to meet Jesus Montaya and come to find they are very hi-tech as their cell phones are being jammed at the place of meet. Montaya agrees to use them as transporters but expects results and makes an indirect threat to their respectful families. Upon the cartel’s departure, Tubbs desperately tries to get a hold of Trudy and finally the jamming signal on his phone goes away. Quickly they find out that they are already being watched as flowers were successfully delivered to her, first assuming that Tubbs had sent her the flowers.

The movie runs rather slowly throughout and I still don’t feel the chemistry between our two leading characters and it kinda feels like they are in their own movies but on-screen at the same time. We get some scenes of distrust between the cartel and the stars of the movie to add tension and build-up to the final showdown. Along with a romantic development that spawns from a staring contest between Sonny & Isabella which of course will eventually bring us a scene in which her lover finds out. In this case it’s the leader of the Aryan Brotherhood and Yero shows him a video feed of the two together in a non-casual manner.

A rescue scene involving the Miami Vice team tracking down and retrieving Trudy sets us up for the final scene. This is when the best line in the movie comes to be and is spoken by Elizabeth Rodriguez’s character, Gina Calabrese.

“That’s not what happens. What will happen is… what will happen is I will put a round at twenty-seven hundred feet per second into the medulla at the base of your brain. And you will be dead from the neck down before your body knows it. Your finger won’t even twitch. Only you get dead. So tell me, sport, do you believe that?”

Queue Nonpoint’s cover of ‘In The Air Tonight’. The song, originally performed by Phil Collins, was featured prominently in the TV series. I really enjoy the sound during this final shootout since it’s realistic and doesn’t have the added booming sound effects you typically get in action movies. You actually feel like the other shooter is at a distance rather than next to your face. Which I’m not saying is a bad thing and I do enjoy it but I just liked that fact in this situation and it keeps along with how the rest of the movie is directed.

I enjoyed the film better with this second viewing and Michael Mann’s current style of directing looks pretty good on Blu-Ray. This style is one that I don’t think can be appreciated rightfully on a standard DVD viewing and probably hurt its appeal. Rating: 5/10

Colin Farrell & John Ortiz also appeared in the film Pride and Glory with Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk) & Jon Voight (Anaconda)
John Ortiz & John Hawkes appeared in Ridley Scott’s (Kingdom of Heaven) American Gangster starring Denzel Washington (Glory) & Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man)

Christopher McQuarrie

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Came into Hollywood in a huge way writing the critically acclaimed and Academy Award winning screenplay for Bryan Singer’s 1995 film The Usual Suspects. The film followed the interrogation of Verbal Kint, the only eye-witness to a waterfront explosion where 27 bodies and $91 million in drug money was found. The crime has him and four other men’s names written all over, the usual suspects. But soon it begins to feel like somebody elses is pulling the strings, Keyser Soze. The film is known as launching Kevin Spacey (L.A. Confidential, A Beautiful Mind) into a Hollywood star after winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor after his portrayal of Verbal Kint.

The film wasn’t the first time McQuarrie & Bryan Singer collaborated, nor would it be the last. They first joined forces in 1993 for the film Public Access about a local cable television show that begins to bring out dark secrets of a small “idyllic” american town. I’ve personally never seen it and most likely wont. In 2008, they teamed up to bring us Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai, Mission: Impossible III) about a plot to assassinate Hitler and the Nazi regime before the German nation is toppled in an inevitable defeat at the height of World War II by their own german officers and politicians. They are again collaborating for the 2011 remake of Jack The Giant Killer for Legendary Pictures (300, The Hangover, Watchmen, The Dark Knight).

In between the 13 years of the latter two Bryan Singer released collaborations, McQuarrie wrote and directed my favorite film of his. 2000’s The Way of The Gun starring Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions) and Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, The Hunted) as two criminals that kidnap a surrogate mother, played by Juliette Lewis (Old School, Whip It), to a powerful and wealthy man. The dialogue is great throughout and how intelligent the two criminals are even though they just seem to be petty thieves is a good chuckle like “ha, that’s awesome”. The movie is filled with twists and the shootout at the end is quite enjoyable and fitting.

His latest completed screenplay is currently in production and is called The Tourist. Johnny Depp (Blow, From Hell) stars as a broken-hearted american visiting Italy whose path is crossed by a woman, played by Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), who is trying to mislead the people after her former lover. Also starring Paul Bettany & Rufus Sewell who starred together in A Knight’s Tale and Timothy Dalton (1980’s Flash Gordon). Along with working on Jack The Giant Killer with Bryan Singer, he is also penning the sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Hugh Jackman reprising his role that made him a Hollywood actor.