Tag: Ben Mendelsohn

Spies in Disguise

Ah yes, the last major animated film to be released in America in 2019.

Ah no, I am not including Playmobil: The Movie, because I said major release, major damn it. I am talking about things that probably felt they were good enough to come out and get awards or nominations or sweet Holiday money.

And it looks like Spies in Disguise is trying to get that sweet, sweet, Holiday money. Hard to make any money these days against a Star Wars release, but there is some to go around and not a lot of kid friendly movies coming out this Christmas day.

And hey, this one has Will Smith, and some people still think he is the best thing since 1999.

pigeon
But have you seen him as a bird???????????????
It turns out our main character isn’t going to be the cool spy, but the weirdo inventor! We know that Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) is the main character, because he gets a backstory at the beginning of the film, with his mom clearly going to die soon, who encourages him to keep up his science stuff and save the world with hugs.

Years later, Walter is working for the spy agency, but his gadgets are rarely picked. One of his is finally used when Lance Sterling (Will Smith), famous amazing spy that everyone loves, emits his gadget because Walter switched out Lance’s bag. Whoops.

This gets Walter fired, but because Lance is getting framed at the same exact time, Lance finds himself at Walter’s house needing help to disappear. And sure enough, Walter can do that. He doesn’t really warn him, but really he just wants to turn him into a pigeon for some sick fetish game.

Hah! Pigeons.

Anyways, now they have to save the world, when their very capable spy is a pigeon. Role credits!

Starring Karen Gillan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Ben Mendelsohn, Masi Oka, and DJ Khaled.

penis
Pigeon penis. 
Walter wants to change the world, but no one wants to listen to him. He has to put a spy’s life in danger in order to get it done and is shocked to be fired.

Better question, why does he even have a job at this place if they don’t want to use his stuff? Like, who are the hire ups to kept him working, with zero guidance or feedback? If he didn’t produce, you’d think they’d tell him to stop it and design specific stuff or get walking. But nothing? And why does a spy in the agency have the ability to even fire him at all? They clearly have oversight, and I don’t think agent would be a boss level about the scientists to fire them. That is just silly.

Oh, that’s all stuff I shouldn’t care about? Okay.

They made Will Smith into a pigeon and then didn’t do enough fun stuff with the pigeon. His character is way too antagonistic after the point when he should have stopped being so mad and learned to try to make the best of his body. The science is too dumb that is being showcased to make him a pigeon, along with the other gadgets used. And the pigeon transformation seems to work differently at the beginning and end of the movie. Because.

This could have been an okay movie.

But you know what? They even had a character named Ears act so stupid, just because DJ Khaled was his voice, and it never seemed to match the actual character. Did they let Khaled just improvise? Stop that, his ego doesn’t need that.

1 out of 4.

Captain Marvel

Here we are, the first “marvel” film of 2019, and maybe the last of them to be reviewed. Whoops.

Now technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Sony movie. And maybe this will come out before Avengers: Endgame. It depends on if it finally breaks that damn record. I’m trying to hold out.

But let it be known, that damn it, I saw Captain Marvel opening weekend! I just didn’t write a lot in the spring and I am catching up. It’s not out of hate, or sexism, or anything like that. It is just I don’t want Disney to profit off of my reviews if I don’t get invited to see them early anymore.

Brie
Yes, this website is why Disney makes so much money. 
Kree good. Skrulls bad. That’s what Vers (Brie Larson) was taught. She is a warrior in the Kree kingdom, following the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), trying to protect the galaxy and the universe. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is her mentor, and commander of their group of super soldiers. He looks out for her, but she is having problems unlocking her potential.

Either way, they know they need to stop the Skrulls. They can change shape and pretend to be other people! Anyone might be a Skrull, and it is important to have secret phrases to deal with the threat. Threats like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), leader of the group of Skrulls and a threat to the Kree way of life, and other planets! They go to a planet, pretend to be the citizens, slowly take over, and boom, their planet.

This battle takes them all to planet Earth. It is important to note this is 12-13 years before the events of Iron Man, before Y2K wrecked house. And Vers, when she gets to Earth, is going to have even more memory problems than before, and has to work with local human security, like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pre-eye patch, in order to stop the Skrull threat and unlock her true potential.

Also starring Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Algenis Perez Soto, and Rune Temte.

Skrulls
I don’t know why they’d want to shapeshift. They don’t like green? Elphaba-syndrome much? 
Captain Marvel is fun and entertaining while also introducing a lot of backstory into the MCU. I bet you never knew you wanted to know how Nick Fury lost his eye, but once that question is answered, you’ll never be the same.

Danvers is a great and strong as fuck character. It has been awhile since we got a character that seemed like they could destroy the world if they wanted to. She has powers comparable and potentially surpassing Thor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange, who I’d put as the biggest three in the MCU. Scarlet Witch should be higher, but they have more downplayed her actual abilities while talking them up, and odd choice. But Captain Marvel has the power and the talk. She will fuck up all the shit.

Like a lot of other recent solo movies, this one failed to feel like it did a lot different than the other previous 20 movies to warrant a higher grade. 3s are great, and better than the occasional 2 these MCU movies can make.

Again, more importantly, this adds the Skrulls to the MCU, which are going to allow some bigger huge storylines in the future, especially if they want to kill more superheroes and it be okay.

3 out of 4.

Ready Player One

I probably first heard about the Ready Player One four or so years ago, as a book recommendation from a friend. I figured I would rush right out and read it, due to their very appealing sell, but I also had found out that no, they are going to be making a movie out of it. Eventually.

So I did the right thing, and knowingly did not ready the book, knowing one day, Steven Spielberg was going to make the movie. Years later, it appeared!

Now I did hear eventually a general plot synopsis. And I did get to see parts of the book. Especially cringe worthy scenes of nostalgia for nostalgia sake, or lines that were very transphobic. All of it certainly turned me off from the book, knowing I would probably hate it at this point if it wasn’t very well written.

Sign. Somehow I became a book snob when it comes to prose. Blame Patrick Rothfuss. And let’s get on with the nostalgia.

Tech
Our star is living in a van down by the river?

RPO takes place a few decades in the future, in 2045. Life sucks by now, overpopulation, war, all the reasons you can imagine. People are living in stacks of trailers to get by and deal with the number of people. Columbus, Ohio is one of the central hubs now! Why?

Well, Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Morrow (Simon Pegg) created a game called Oasis. It is a completely VR experience, where a user is transported into a digital world where they can live their fantasies. They can be anyone. They can be tall, short, strong, fat, boy, girl, something more fluid, whatever they want. The way to buy gear and get better is through in game currency, through leveling up. If you die in game you lose all your items and go back to level one.

Anyways, everyone loves Oasis. It helps them escape their bleak miserable worlds. Wade (Tye Sheridan), our hero, is one of the people in the game hoping to find the three hidden keys to unlock and easter egg. Before Halliday died, he inputted a secret competition, so that the best of the best would compete his crazy challenges. The first one to get all three keys would gain a controlling share of the Oasis, money, and worldwide honor and praise.

But one company, IOI, is hoping to find them first, to change the Oasis into a money making ad tool, and also, do this thing with people slaves. Just general bad stuff.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Hannah John-Kamen, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, and T.J. Miller.

Oasis
Hello, totally not Kratos thing!

Ready Player One is a CGI-fest film, taken to the next level, and is animated enough to qualify for Best Animated Film, should they want to go that route. It has obvious references to pop culture throughout it, using the fact that the main creator was a very autistic pop culture junkie, who wanted all of the biggest things in his world. Pop Culture knowledge was supposed to be some sort of saving grace for the characters in the movie, but only one example really helped save the day. Or at least, one non common example.

There is a lot of problems with this film. It is going for a pure popcorn flick, so it isn’t really trying hard on certain levels. Acting is never really believable, and they turn Mendelsohn into a cartoon villain, quite literally with his behavior. It just feels so juvenile.

A lot of artifacts are brought up and clearly used later in the film, but one has to wonder why they exist. Why would they put in an item that kills everyone in the game so everyone goes back to level one? Why? Why would someone make special real life suits for you to wear to feel everything that happens? Most people would just feel pain and hurt in the constant warring atmosphere, its popularity doesn’t make sense.

The game makes you wonder who are the real people behind certain avatars, and well, yeah, for the most part they are all average to attractive looking people. No uglies in this VR world, despite their fears. Come on, almost 30 years from now, in a land where most people just play video games all day? Where are the fatties at?!

One thing that Ready Player One had going for it is that it didn’t feel like a 140 minute film. It was relatively interesting to watch, but it is not something that made me very excited or happy or sad while watching. I just felt indifferent. Throwing a quick scene of a character I recognize into a film isn’t going to increase its grade, it is just going to distract me from the story that is relatively weak.

Ready Player One is a convenient movie (one where things just keep lining up nicely), that relies on nostalgia and an average story and flashy effects to sell the tickets. Easily something that can be better watched at home.

2 out of 4.

Darkest Hour

With a title like Darkest Hour, you would assume the movie would take place sometime in the 1-4am range of whatever time zone that film is in. But what do we know.

Well we do know is that The Darkest Hour is a film that came out six years and features at least one more article in the title. I never reviewed The Darkest Hour, but I remember when it came out and in retrospect, I really wish I reviewed it just for this review comparison. Unfortunately, it was right before I started my website, and I was too cool for that shitty looking movie then. Russians, aliens, power, seems perfect. Damn it.

Back to this film, Darkest Hour. This one is a film that people have actually talked about, buzzed about, raved about, but never done a full on analysis between it and the previous film. I feel like this is the easiest thing they could have done. Maybe no one watched The Darkest Hour?

Victory
According to him just two people watched The Darkest Hour.

In early May, 1940, the British Parliament was getting sick of World War II. Their troops were dying. Hitler was taking over Europe, and everything looked grim. So they wanted Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”) to resign as the Prime Minister so they could get someone with a bigger drive to save them from utter turmoil. And despite his background, despite his history, they knew the only man for the job would be the controversial Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”).

And of course Churchill knew this, he has waited his whole life for this, he just wishes it was under better times. His wife (Kristin Scott Thomas rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”) supports him, and he just has to, you know, save all of the British troops from annihilation in France, develop a competent war council, and determine if his country will end up signing a peace treaty with one of these warlords.

The king (Ben Mendelsohn rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”) is not a fan of his, his ¨allies¨ (Stephen Dillane) want him to just make peace and end things, and well, nothing is going right. This is the same month that will end with his troops retreating to the coast in Dunkirk, France, with no real ability to get help and return home. Thankfully throughout all of this, we have our person new to the crew (Lily James) as his typist so that we can catch up on any important backstory.

Oh, and yes, the film takes place entirely in the month of may, no D-Day like I originally imagined.

Also featuring Samuel West and Richard Lumsden.

Think
That smoke is coming out of his eyes like a bizarre dragon, not his cigar.

Watching the trailer for The Darkest Hour, I realize I totally did watch that movie. Again, it was just incredibly forgettable, and before I had this site, so no review of it exists. I can´t believe I watched it.

On the other side of the line, I am so glad I watched Darkest Hour. A thrilling biographical film, filled with wonderful performances, gripping true story, and wonderful history.

Gary Morphman Oldman is insane in this film. I don´t mean he acts insane, as he has plenty of characters who do that, but in his transformation into Churchill. At no point in the film did I think that it was just Oldman playing a character and doing it well, it just felt like Churchill the entire time. The words, the walk, the look, the makeup people are probably getting nominations for this one. Sure, yes, you can see him in his Oldman eyes, but it is one of the finest full on character transformations in recent years. Similar to the transformation of Daniel Day-Lewis into Lincoln.

The rest of the cast could not get up to Oldman´s level, unfortunately. Our main antagonist felt a lot less realistic and not fleshed out, so he became a one note pony and it got a bit old. The King was okay, Chamberlain was okay, Lily James was okay enough, but didn´t have a strong purpose either.

This is certainly a better movie in my mind than Dunkirk, because it has a lot more of a human and story component behind it, while Dunkirk is visually pleasing and thrilling, the story just lacks so much.

In case you didn´t read that, Oldman great, rest of cast okay, story better than Dunkirk.

3 out of 4.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I wrote a shit ton for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like, 1300 words or so. I had to explain my history with Star Wars, my avoidance of hype, and the film itself, so it was a lot to say. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it had its issues. I won’t reharp on any of that here.

I will instead just talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and spin-offs. When they announced the new episodes and the spin-offs, I was honestly more excited about spin-offs. Finally, stand alone stories that don’t involve a Skywalker. Of course then they announced a Han Solo prequel, which eh, whatever I guess. And I will sound hypocritical when I say I sincerely hope one of these movies ends up being a solo Obi-Wan Kenobi film, because I loved Ewan McGregor in that role.

The first spin-off makes sense. It is something giving us a whole lot of new characters, while also keeping it relevant to the main story line. It is a safe beginning, while also allowing them to show new characters for merchandising. Erm, for diversity. That is what I meant to say.

Yen
Oh please tell me I can have a Donnie Yen action figure now?!

Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a brilliant scientist, and unfortunately with that, great at building weapons. He was working for the Empire, but felt pretty bad, went off grid to live with his wife and daughter as a farmer. But then, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) finds them and forces Galen to head back to the Empire to work on this Death Star thingy. This leaves his daughter alone, parentless, and pissed off.

Now older, Jyn (Felicity Jones) is a bit of a rebel. Not a Rebel, just a rebel. And then she gets taken up by some Rebels, including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his sarcastic strategy robot, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). She gets pushed into a plan by the Rebel Alliance, wanting to use her to get to her father, Galen, before the Death Star is completed to put a dent into those dirty Empire scums.

And along the way they meet the blind Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) who loves him some force, his friend Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) who looks like Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 sort of, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) a pilot who wants some redemption. Also featuring Forest Whitaker, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, and returning Jimmy Smits and James Earl Jones.

Girl
Oh yeah, and a strong female lead above this giant group of male characters.

Despite an over 2 hour run time, Rogue One flew by like a sweet, enjoyable breeze. The new characters were all three dimensional and most importantly, I cared about them. Even the one who ended up being sort of a recurring dick.

Jyn was a complex character and not just someone who seemed naturally good at every situation. I loved, loved, loved, Yen as Chirrut and happy to see him included in such a big movie. And K-2SO was a robot for my own heart. He wasn’t as amazing as HK-47 from KOTOR, but gosh darn it, he must be my favorite droid after him.

Despite knowing how the film has to end (right into Episode IV‘s lap), the journey becomes a thing of beauty. There is danger at every turn and there is a real feel that at any point, a character might not make it. If this dealt with any character from the original trilogy, then you would know they can make it through to tell their story. But these are new people, unknowns, they are expendable. And it was refreshing to see.

There are a lot of call backs to the original movies of course. This film is almost like a giant wink to those extreme fan boys out there, and I admit that I wrote down the parts where people laughed and clapped that I didn’t understand. Don’t worry, I asked them afterwards for each reference.

Rouge One is certainly a step in the right direction and will be a wonder for Star Wars fans and regular movie goers alike. But at the end of the day, this film doesn’t offer a lot of completely new elements to the franchise just yet. Like I already said, it was a good safe story to tell, keeping us in familiar territory. Once Star Wars gets away from the Skywalkers, Solos, and Death Stars, when it can tell a truly original story set in their universe, then it might truly reach a new greatness.

But until then, this is a good great stepping stone between the trilogies, with strong characters, and a film many will enjoy.

3 out of 4.

Mississippi Grind

Originally, I was trying to avoid Mississippi Grind. I figured I could just wait a few months and get to it when I get lazy. But sure enough, this movie has earned some award nominations from the Spirit Awards, the awards for independent films. And for last years awards I did a pretty pathetic job of watching those movies. I started too late, when I was busying myself with the Oscar nominated movies, so I rarely was able to watch films from just Spirit. They needed to overlap!

Now, this film might be one that overlaps too. It might be nominated for Oscars, technically. I just don’t see it because it is such a small movie and no one seemed to care about it when it was released.

But here is a reason to care about it. Ryan Reynolds has been working really hard to release movies this year, and this is number four for him. Four films this year! All of them starring Reynolds. Not bull shit cameos, but lead man roles. I only enjoyed The Voices, because Self/Less and Woman In Gold were shit. But at least he is working hard before Deadpool comes out and disappoints us all.

Gamble
You shouldn’t be willing to bet it all on comedic and financial success. That’s a shit bet.

Mississippi Grind is about Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Curtis (Reynolds), two very old timey dude names. But only Gerry is old. He is a loner, divorced with a step kid, and he surprisingly likes to gamble. He lives in middle of nowhere Iowa, but he still plays small time poker games. Must have lost too many big steak hands in his past or something. Gerry and Curtis meet in one of these games, as Curtis was just driving through. He is charismatic, likes to tell stories, and likes to meet people. He doesn’t care about winning, but he is still addicted to gambling and the people. Gerry is addicted to gambling and money.

After night of friendship and drinking these two become the most unlikely of friends. And guess what, Gerry finally has someone who shares his love of gambling! Curtis invites Gerry to travel with him, towards a big poker tournament in New Orleans. Sure, they need a shit ton of money to enter it, but they will just stop at tournaments along the way, winning money and having a blast. They can do more than poker. They can bet on horses, on dogs, play craps, whatever the fuck they want.

Fuck responsibilities. Fuck jobs. Fuck old loved ones. Fuck cares. Let’s gamble and live life.

Also featuring a lot of people in smaller roles, so I will only mention Alfre Woodard, Analeigh Tipton, and Sienna Miller.

Deal or FUCK YOU
Some dudes too I guess. But who cares about those fucks.

I feel like I know Curtis and Gerry, I really do. These strangers met and talked and hung out, and I feel like I was maybe the third, silent stranger on their trip, laughing, yelling, and doing dumb shit. You could probably say that for most movies, as you are always watching them, but for some reason it feels a bit personal with these two shitheads.

I call them shitheads of course, because I am an asshole, and addictions are a real thing. But they just cannot stop gambling and they bet on everything. They bet on their last $100. They bet with other people’s money. They steal and lie and keep on going. They are despicable people, but despicably your friends.

I think Mendelsohn and Reynolds did some top notch acting. They were very believable, and Reynolds wasn’t stuck just playing some pretty boy.

The biggest downfall would have to be the story. It is one we have all heard before, in a way, and there are definitely better gambling films out there. But the simpleness ends up being one of its strengths, when you realize gambling is only part of the film, with the people being the main part.

Potential spoiler? I was worried this movie would turn out being like Fight Club but with gambling. It wasn’t. Everyone was real. That’s good. A Fight Club twist would have been terrible.

3 out of 4.

Animal Kingdom

Today we are going to flash back to the year 2010. Animal Kingdom was nominated for a shit ton of awards, including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Not only was it nominated for a shit ton of awards, it also won a shit ton of awards. It is a highly decorated, Australian crime drama film.

Fast forward a years, to the end of 2011. I saw Animal Kingdom in a Blockbuster on Blu-Ray for sale. I bought it, thinking it looked interesting and determined I would watch it shortly. I mean hey, it won awards, it must be good!

About a week later, I was about to make good on my promise, put it in the PS3 and started to watch it. Twenty minutes later, I had to stop the film as I realized I had no idea what I was doing, I was too busy multi tasking, and then I got tired and said I would get back to it eventually.

WELL EVENTUALLY IS FINALLY HERE TODAY, FOLKS! I have owned it on Blu-Ray for almost four whole years and I have wanted to watch it since I bought it. Clearly, there is no better film I could have picked to showcase on the last day of my Fucking Finally week.

Chase
Given the title, it should come to no surprise to you that everyone runs around on all fours.

This is a story about a family. A family who all happen to be criminals.

J (James Frencheville) lives with his Mum. Or at least he did until she OD’d. Now he is going to movie into a home with his grandmother, Smurf (Jacki Weaver). Don’t worry, that is just a nickname.

Also in the house are a few of his uncles! There is Baz (Joel Edgerton), good at robbing places. There is Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), who sells drugs and makes quite a living off of them. The oldest uncle, Pope (Ben Mendelsohn) is not in the home, he is in hiding and wanted by the police. And the youngest uncle is Darren (Luke Ford), who kind of just exists and does what he is told.

Somehow, with this noble family of thugs, a bad thing happens. Baz gets shot and killed by the police, for “no reason.” This pissed off the brothers. They wanted to get even and kill a couple cops. And using J to steal a car, they set up a trap and got their revenge.

Well, now J is involved with his family way deeper than he ever planned. Suddenly, a detective (Guy Pearce) is investigating them. They have a family lawyer (Dan Wyllie) telling him to not say a thing, everyone assuming he will be the weak link that gets them nailed.

J just wants to hang out with his girlfriend, Cole (Laura Wheelwright). And more importantly, he doesn’t want to die from crooked cops, angry family, or AIDS. He didn’t mention the last one, I am just assuming.

Gma
She has the grandma sweet guilt look down pat.

[Editor’s note: The ending of this review was lost hours after I originally wrote it. The ending of this review might be shit as I try to badly recreate it. It just sucks ya know?]

First and obvious question, was the film worth the wait? Yes, thank goodness, it was still an enjoyable film. Now I will admit, one of the main reasons I still wanted to watch it was because of Edgerton. I didn’t know who Edgerton was when I first tried to watch this movie because I hadn’t yet seen Warrior. But now that I know him, I want to see more of his movies. Little did I know his character would die in the first 15 minutes. Oh well.

Acting wise, everyone did a pretty good job. I am happy it focused a lot more on the drama aspects instead of an action movie. The first 45 minutes were a bit slower than I’d like, but the last hour was still captivating despite the lack of “pew pews.”

I am happy to report that I don’t regret buying the Blu-Ray. It adds some prestige to my shelf, as I don’t have many Australian films anyways.

3 out of 4.

Black Sea

Day 2 of Blackweek!

Day 1 featured Blackhat, so we are going to remove our clothing and take a dive in the Black Sea instead.

I’d make a corny joke about what this movie is about and act surprised when it is something different. But how could I do that? It is called Black Sea! That is a real place, right there above Turkey. Huge as shit, important to history. Can’t miss it.

If this movie doesn’t feature the actual Black Sea, I will quit my job as a movie reviewer!

Drivin
And drive a submarine into the job territory known as “Film Critic Land”.

Under water salvaging can be a tricky job, but someone has to clean that ocean litter. I have been told prisoners are not up to the job, so instead, real people do it and get paid! Like Robinson (Jude Law). Or at least, he used to get paid. Now he is laid off, his company doesn’t want him anymore, his job “redundant.”

But the good news is, now that he is jobless, he has free time to do crazy things. Like get a crew together and search for a rumored Nazi gold! Apparently a U-Boat sunk off the coast of Georgia (IN THE BLACK SEA) with millions and millions of dollars worth of gold bars in it. Some shit involving Germany and Russia. No one has been able to find it, but no one has had Robinson’s skills.

So he gets a backer, a mysterious Lewis (Tobias Menzies) agrees to fund the expedition for 40% of the profits. He gets a crew, half British (like him!) and half Russian (for reasons). They get a really shitty beat up sub and head on down!

But first, they have extra crew. Like Tobin (Bobby Schofield), a neighborhood kid who Robinson brought along for other reasons. And Daniels (Scoot McNairy), a representative of Mr. Lewis.

Our crew only has one translator though between the sets. And a whole lot of money on the line. People migh get all antsy and want to make their cuts a bit bigger. And hey, maybe there are even more twists and turns in line. MAYBE.

Also featuring Grigoriy Cobrygin, Ben Mendelsohn, and Konstantin Khabenskiy.

Gold
The movies initials may be BS but this Nazi gold sure is for real!

For the most part, I wouldn’t say I am ever really a fan of submarine movies. I mean, did you see Phantom? That totally was a real movie a couple years ago. Like a submarine itself, submarine movies are kind of limited in terms of what one can do with them. Only so many things can happen on a sub, so a lot of submarine stories end up using the same sort of events. There can only really be one Das Boot.

Despite this, Black Sea had a lot going for it. Enough unique members with a few different desires to make it not a complete one man Jude Law show. It wasn’t just a weird murder mystery thriller. That is what I was most afraid of. And speaking of Jude Law, he did a pretty swell job.

My main issue with it all is the ending. It was lame and cheesy and expected. I was getting pretty excited with how things were going, I was getting super into the story. Then the ending. Meh. I should also note the beginning of the movie is pretty dang slow. It takes awhile to get on the damn submarine, but once they do it, it goes up pretty quickly.

2 out of 4.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

I think we are finally done with them. The ones I talked about a lot earlier in the year. You know, The Jesus Movies.

We had Noah. We had God’s Not Dead. We had Heaven Is For Real. We had the Son Of God. And now we finally have Exodus: Gods And Kings.

Obviously, this one is a story from the earlier part of the bible, not a modern tale or a new testament tale, so it will be closer to Noah in terms of size and scope. Which is good, because Noah is the only one of those I enjoyed!

But also, this movie has controversy. Non religious related controversy. Nope, we got race related controversy. This movie features Hebrews and Egyptians, yet the majority of all the actors involved are white people! White people! How dare you Ridley Scott! As I said before in my The Last Airbender review, I don’t give a damn. I just want someone to act good in the role given to them. I don’t care about the color of their skin. I don’t think being the right ethnicity for a role should be a requirement. What is next? Needing to actually have cerebral palsy? Needing to actually be gay?

It’s called acting. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Just Goatee
And you can act anything, even a man with a goatee.

Moses (Christian Bale) is just a dude, living in an Egyptian palace, and good friends with Ramesses II (Joel Edgerton), a prince of similar age who he has grown up with. Seti (John Turturro) was the Pharaoh at the time and getting old, so it is obvious that his son would rule after he was gone. But thanks to some shitty cryptic prophecy, there was some tension between the boys.

That, and the fact that apparently Moses was a Hebrew. Once that secret came out, and Moses saved a slave over punishing them, he was exiled from the Kingdom. Bitch. Ramesses’ mom (Sigourney Weaver) wants him dead, Ramesses is more whatever. Exile should kill him.

Moses eventually makes it to a far away village. He meets Zipporah (Maria Valverde), gets his marriage on and becomes a goat herder. Hell, he also sires a child. Why not? He is fine with his peaceful existence, although still kind of hating on Gods. Until he climbs a sacred mountain of course for the lols and gets fucked over a bit. Like, almost dies. But hey, a kid and a burning bush talk to him about leading his people out of Memphis. So I guess that happens.

Last parts of the movie you probably know all about. Some plagues, some dead people, some running, and a lot of Red Sea crossing.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn as an Egyptian, and Ben Kingsley and Aaron Paul as Hebrews. Kingsley can do whatever he wants, he is a good mimic. Aaron Paul is super weird in his role. Ridley Scott must have liked Breaking Bad.

Beard Wave
The goatee grew a bit bigger. That is a lot of the character development.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is 2.5 hours long. Why? Because Bible, I guess. I can’t tell you how long it takes to read the same story, but I bet I could do it all in less than 2.5 hours. Even with all the ye olde language going on. This is a long movie and it feels even longer. Honestly, I feel like it is over a whole hour of movie before we even get to the burning bush. We get a tiny war, to get some plot. We get some mistreated slaves, we get an awkward attempt to exile Moses, and a long boring time before we get the stuff we care about.

The plagues! Of course that is all we want. The trailers show enough of the Red Sea scenes to make them not not as interesting. The plagues were cool, but they were also rushed. They weren’t fully explained either, they kind of just happened and the story kept going. Too much vagueness, not enough explainin, and a whole lot of downtime.

It was hard to stay awake. The acting from everyone, by the way, was completely fine / good in locations. It is just the story that I had issues with and that is due to its extreme boringness.

1 out of 4.

The Place Beyond The Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines by itself is an interesting title. It is actually the literal meaning of Schenectady, a town in New York where this film both takes place and is filmed. Damn these clever directors and writers!

The title is also mysterious enough on its own right to potentially gain viewers by itself. Every time there is a bad movie title, I tend to harp on it, so I felt it was my duty to point out the excellent ones as well.

Gosling
Hey girl, even though I am surrounded by flashy lights and neon signs, all I can see is you.
What would you do to support the ones you love? More importantly, what if you just found out you had loved ones who needed support?

Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle rider for a traveling fair, the guy who gets into the tiny steel ball and rides around. It is a lonely life, always traveling, but he can sometimes find love in the random towns that he stays at. Like Romina (Eva Mendes), who he had a nice time with last year, but now lives with a man (Mahershala Ali) and has a son. Well, Luke’s son it turns out.

Luke doesn’t know how to handle this situation, but he doesn’t want to be a scumbag father, like his own, so he quits his job and settles in Schenectady. He finds a job as an auto mechanic with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), but it still isn’t enough. He needs a large sum, and he needs it now. So why not rob a bank? Who does that really hurt?

This film also tells of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a law school student turned cop, who doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his own father (Harris Yulin), a member of the state supreme court. Even the small towns may have local corruption, and that corruption may cause conflict in his household with his wife (Rose Byrne) and other cops (Ray Liotta).

Pines also features Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan, but I don’t want to tell the specifics of their parts.

Cooper
Hey girl, I know I am no Ryan Gosling, but check out these cheekbones. Hey, wait, come back!
The “Sins Of Your Father” theme is a popular one for shows, movies, and novels, yet I always feel like it never really resonates with me and always falls flat. The Place Beyond The Pines might have the best showcasing of this theme I have ever witnessed, making me truly understand the full extent of what it means, and how it can be conveyed.

The movie is split up pretty nicely into three parts, with the end of part one coming out of left field. It was well acted up to that point, but it was still missing a major umph to get my full attention, and it was sure to bring it. After that, I was hooked and couldn’t look away from the screen, wondering what other secrets and twists it had in store for me.

Everything about this movie felt amazing to me, especially the acting. Eva Mendes is basically the only woman character in this movie. Lately, she seems to be put in movies more often for her looks than her talents, but she definitely delivers in this film.

I have talked to about five-six people about this movie, and at least from the “guy perspective” everyone loved it. The one woman I talked to thought it was decent, but not the best. The themes presented may be easier to latch on to for men, since it falls so heavily into the son/father relationship category, but despite that I think this movie can be enjoyed by everyone.

It might just be the best drama I have seen so far in 2013. This with Silver Linings Playbook has elevated Bradley Cooper into an elite acting category, and it will take more than a new Hangover to knock him down from it.

4 out of 4.