Posts Tagged ‘John C. Reilly’

The Aviator – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 23rd, 2010

Review:

In 1927, after his parents’ death, a young Howard Hughes (greatest actor of his generation Leonard DiCaprio) came to Hollywood and used his inherited business to make the most expensive film at the time, while also developing an interest in aviation. Over the next two decades, he rose to prominence in both fields before a fall from grace (and a plane crash) caused his neurosis to overcome his eager drive and he developed the most famous case of OCD in history. The biopic by Martin Scorsese is well-made and solidly acted, with some inspired ideas (I especially like the use of colour reflecting the film stock of the time), but it plays havoc with the true chronology of events and omits the last three decades of Hughes’ life completely. Sure, they were decidedly less interesting, but taking the most interesting items from them and inserting them randomly into earlier events does not serve the story.

Random Observations:

The Aviator at the IMDb

I really liked the scenes at the Coconut Grove, which made “old” Hollywood truly come alive.

It’s very odd to see modern day actors and actresses portray the greats of that time. Cate Blanchett does a surprisingly convincing Katharine Hepburn, but Kate Beckinsale’s Ava Gardner and especially Jude Law’s Errol Flynn are a disappointment.

For a man who loved aviation, aka flying, more than anything, the film spends relatively little time exploring that theme.

Also, the importance of Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to the success of Hughes’ companies is vastly underplayed in the film.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

Review:

Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at imdb.com

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.

Minute Movie Review – Talladega Nights

Freitag, Mai 1st, 2009

Review:

The full title, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”, already gives it away that this film is from the same creative team as Anchorman. And what an extremely silly film it is! It is set in the world of professional racing and just as NASCAR is about the stupidest thing ever invented by Americans (Look! They are driving in a circle for 5 hours straight! This is even more exciting than Baseball!), the film is plenty stupid. But if you are in the mood for it, stupid can be extremely funny and thus the film has some scenes that make me laugh. I guess one could say that it is very inspired silliness.

Random Observations:

Talladega Nights at imdb.com

I can just imagine the backlash I am going to get for this “kind” review. Listen, people, it’s a straight comedy without any real significance. It made me laugh, because it was silly, and that is all that I required of it. If you don’t like to laugh about stupidity sometimes, this movie is not for you!

Example jokes: Naming your kids “Walker” and “Texas Ranger”. Having a gay French Formula One Driver as the “villain” of the movie. Saying grace to baby Jesus.

In the special features on the DVD, director Adam McKay remarked that Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays the French driver, is not truly happy unless a large group of people hates him. That would certainly explain Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which is equally silly and funny.

Minute Movie Review – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Mittwoch, Februar 27th, 2008

Review:

Walk Hard is basically two movies forced into one: A lowbrow comedy that considers consistently saying “I need Cox” high art and a parody of bio films of musicians – and not only Walk the Line. There are a few really funny scenes with great cameos (Jack Black as Paul McCartney) and most of the songs really work as a parody on the works of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and other musicians I can’t remember right now. But mostly the film goes for the stupid jokes – whether they be about the lead character’s name, taking drugs or cutting your brother in half with a machete. But if you can overlook that, you’ll actually find a few funny scenes and songs. It’s not much, but it’s a lot more than most comedies today offer.

Random Observations:

Walk Hard at imdb.com

John C. Reilly isn’t half-bad in the lead role. He really can sing and step into the roles of many different types of musicians.

Hey indie rock fans! Jack White has a cameo as Elvis Presley!

Another sneak preview movie – I guess you can’t expect a Best Picture Oscar winner every week…

I’m kind of demotivated right now. So please post comments that tell me to write about the other six films I saw in the last week. There are some real gems among them.