Peppermint

When is the last time Jennifer Garner was in an action movie? I really don’t know. Quickly glancing, my guess is in 2007 when she was in The Kingdom, but I could have missed something else over the last 11 years.

She has been “mom” in so many movies for so long, it is hard to imagine her doing anything badass. Hell, she is the current voice for the Mama in Llama Llama, a simple as fuck show on Netflix.

I just cannot imagine her kicking butt and doing anything believable. I can imagine her making me cry, sure. I can imagine her caring for her kids. But the lady who made me teary in a Christian movie (a hard task), Miracles from Heaven, has to do a huge shift in momentum for me to imagine her wrecking house.

All I am saying is that Peppermint has a hill to climb from the get go.

Sad
I too may weep when it comes to the family dying scene.

Riley North (Jennifer Garner) is not a porn star name, but a young mother who just wants to do whatever she can to protect her family. That probably doesn’t make it feel less porn star yet.

Their family is struggling a bit, but they are making things work. Her daughter (Cailey Fleming) is having issues with friends. Her husband (Jeff Hephner) is trying to find additional sources of income. Some low life comes to him with an idea, about stealing from a drug dealer in a fool proof plan. He turns it down overall, but apparently the dealer (Juan Pablo Raba) already got word about it, and wants to make sure a message is sent. And that message involves being gunned down in public, taking out the daughter as well but not fully killing Riley.

Riley takes things to trial, clearly pointing out in a line up the culprits, but yet the crime lord has great lawyers, and has the D.A. and judge in his pocket.

So what’s a girl to do? Maybe get some fat stacks of cash, run away around the world, and train for about five years in combat, shooting, whatever, in order to come back for revenge to take down anyway who let this corruption happen.

Also starring John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Annie Ilonzeh, and Method Man.

Gun
Mommy’s got a gun, bad guns on the run, shoot ’em as they come.

In retrospect, Garner is the perfect person for this role. After the last decade of being a mom, in this movie, her extreme mom-ness mattered. She needed to have that loving, do anything for family look, and she has nailed that over the years. She also has some experience with action films and shows before that time, so working with stunt crews, choreography, etc would probably be second nature, even after this time. Peppermint called for a vengeful mom in order to work, and Garner fit the role very well.

Now, the film on its own does do a lot of strange things. It tells the story out of order early on, which mostly feels unnecessary. We get to see all of this build up of the case that she is so angry about, with these players. We especially got a lot of action with their lawyer. And yet when she is doing her revenge killings, we barely see any of the actual people involved getting punished. We get to see the judge get murdered, we see one of the shooters in a quick tussle, but the lawyer is completely ignored. A man who threatens her, has dialogue, is killed off screen and not even shown a death. It doesn’t make sense.

Instead most of her violent vendetta is shown against the gang itself, who sure, were involved with the death of her family. But didn’t actively do the dead or the cover up, just orchestrated it. It was very strange to not give us that initial satisfaction. They also made it way too easy for these initial things, deciding to brush it all over by turning her into some female batman who had some money and some years of training.

The film is still definitely entertaining. There are twists I tried to guess and was surprised with how they turned out. An okay film overall, one that you can reasonable accept and go along with.

And to answer the question you probably had, no, I did not cry when the family died. That probably says a lot about the film, I imagine.

2 out of 4.

The Cloverfield Paradox

Here we are, the epitome of strange film franchises.

Cloverfield was brilliant with its advertising, although it did leave a lot of people pissed off at the final product. 10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere, announced about a month before it was released, and then ended up being pretty stinking good, thanks to great acting performances.

And The Cloverfield Paradox, originally was supposed to come out in April, got pulled from the release schedule. It then got bought by Netflix. And as we all found out on Superbowl Sunday that yes, it had a release right after the game, with only rumors released earlier the same day that it might happen. And of course a 30 second advertisement letting the viewers note that its release date was very soon.

It was brilliant, but again, it was dropped from the calendar and sold to Netflix for a reason. I knew that going in, I knew that I shouldn´t expect much. And I also knew that the fourth film in this franchise is coming out sometime in October, so no matter how bad this one ended up, it wouldn´t kill the franchise.

Scream
No matter how many times these characters scream, no one will hear it in a theater.

Aboard the Cloverfield space station, we have a team of international scientists working together to try and save the Earth. From what? From a global energy crisis. They have a large particle accelerator up in that space station to hopefully figure out how to get some sort of permanent, renewable, energy source that can save the world.

And they do not have a lot of time. Countries are ready to go to war for the limited resources left, and they only have three shots left of fuel to get things right. We have scientists from all over ( ) working to just make this thing work.

But wait! It finally reaches the good levels before shutting itself off! Did they solve the crisis? Maybe. Something still went wrong, and when they look around they notice that the Earth is completely missing. Did they move to a different part of the galaxy? Did the Earth disappear due to their science? Their compass is broken too, so they find themselves lost in space, where strange events start to take place on their space ship. People appearing, items missing, and a lot more paranoia.

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, and Roger Davies holding himself together on Earth.

Arm
You got to hand it to this scene, it really strong arms the point.

I want to say that The Cloverfield Paradox is a film with a good idea and bad execution, but in reality, maybe it was a bad idea as well.

It is very obvious that this film was never intended to be connected to Cloverfield. More so than the previous film. Basically, everything on the space station was a different movie, but we had a character they added on Earth to communicate occasionally with, which connected the film to the previous Cloverfield. That and the last 30 seconds or so. So for the most part, this is just a space ship thriller movie.

But it did not do a good job of really deciding what it wanted. Was it a thriller? A drama? A strange comedy (Which was mostly O´Dowd. And his jokes/puns got annoying quickly, unfortunately)?

It featured a scene very early on of a news report that felt like a flashing neon sign letting you know what the movie was about to do, a very weak plot device. It then had our characters running around, coming up with solutions to problems that are never really fully explained. The viewer can understand the main problem, but most of the problems that happen in the film are just plot devices and never feel natural.

This film spent most of its time trying to set up something and just failing to deliver over and over again.

It was pulled from theaters for a reason, and put on netflix with no warning for a reason. Everyone everywhere has now seen it (Which is why I did not rush the review out) and it is a clunky, lame mess. Not even the several high caliber actors could save it. Instead, this film is more likely to be remembered for its stunt, not for adding anything valuable to what is turning out to be a very stupid franchise idea.

1 out of 4.

A Dog’s Purpose

Dog films are all the rage now. Just look at the last two reviews on my website. But in reality, despite this mini awkward dog theme, actual dog movies are NOT popular like they were in the 1990’s and 2000’s. They pop up every once in awhile and usually try to kill a dog by the end of it in order to get all pet owners to cry and feel nostalgic about past pets and current pets.

It is easy money. A Dog’s Purpose is based on a book that a lot of people liked and read, so it should have made money. Then it had a silly controversy a whole week before it came out, people decided not to see it, and here I am today, hoping it is terrible because it came out in January.

But really, I want to note that the idea behind the movie is brilliant. If dying pets makes people love the movie, buy it on DVD and give the movie money, then why not have the main dog more than once? Why not a whole handful of times?

There is tear jerking, and there is tear sucking out of you with an industrial vacuum.

Boyhood
I think an alternative title for this movie might have been Doghood.

The movie has dogs, people, and a lot of both. If you are the type of person who gets sad over the death of pets, you are goign to get really fucking sad in this movie.

Because our main dog (Josh Gad) who goes by many names, so I will just call him Dog, is going to die over and over again. This Dog is wondering what his purpose in life is. He likes to play and have fun he guesses, and there are humans that tell him to do things, but what is he here for?

So he hangs out with a kid who grows up into an adult. He hangs out with a lady in school. He is in an abusive home. He is a dog for a cop! He does so much more, but really, he just wants that stomach scratched.

Featuring a hot mess of people though, so here we go: Britt Robertson, Bryce Gheisar, Dennis Quaid, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, K.J. Apa, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Logan Miller, Luke Kirby, and Peggy Lipton.

Doggie
I wonder how many humans die in this movie? More than dogs?

A Dog’s Purpose is a waste of time. For dog lovers, cat lovers, and human lovers alike. Now, I have never made a movie before, but I have to imagine that making the audience care about a pet has got to be pretty easy. I imagine it is one of the easiest tasks ever to make someone cry in a theater by having the pet go bye bye, second only to a relative.

And yet, after watching A Dog’s Purpose, which had at least five dogs, I think, I found myself unable to make a connection with most of them. In fact, some of them, the deaths came sort of out of nowhere. And not in a “Oh no, tragedy, death!” shocking sort of way. Just a “Oh, this is the end of this plot line I guess, let’s move on” sort of way. They just did a poor job of making me care.

Maybe a big element to get someone to care about the pet is time with the pet, but a common narrator sound just isn’t good enough. I wasn’t feeling the stories, I wasn’t feeling the other humans, I just didn’t care.

And a dog movie, where the dog dies so many ties, that fails to make me cry? Just feels a bit shallow and rushed. No emotional connection, means not a good drama film.

0 out of 4.

Kong: Skull Island

I find it very odd to see a lot of hype for the movie Kong: Skull Island. King Kong has happened over and over in film’s history, and given everything I know about the internet, they hate reboots, reimaginings, and remakes of other films, so they shouldn’t care about this one.

But alas, here we are. I don’t have too many fucks to give about it of course, after King Kong 11 years ago. Overly long and it didn’t really do anything different.

I guess this one is bringing in some hardcore CGI and bigger acting names. Maybe that is it. Or people are freaking out over the potential of a Godzilla and Kong showdown in the future. Needless to say, if this film doesn’t do anything different, I will probably be mostly annoyed.

People
I don’t care about context, these two people are not dirty enough.

Kong: Skull Island makes sure you get to see a giant ape really early in the film, when two crashed World War II pilots land on the island, start to fight, and then he shows up. But this isn’t set during that war, this is actually set in 1973, during the end of the Vietnam war.

Bill Randa (John Goodman) is some sort of scientist, who believes there is a lot to discover on this skull island they have found in the South Pacific. Ancient civilizations have talked about it, there are constant storms that surround it, but he wants a mission to explore what has never been explored. Let’s call it a geologic mapping mission. With a military escort.

He is able to gather a team. He has his own crew, a geologist (Corey Hawkins) and a biologist (Tian Jing), along with some extra scientists from another company (John Ortiz, Marc Evan Jackson). They have a legendary British explorer to help explore the jungles, James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), who is in it for some money. A prize winning photojournalist, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who helped show the truth about Vietnam to the public. And of course a helicopter team lead by LTC Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), straight out of ‘Nam.

Most of them assume it is just a real exploratory mission. But really, Randa has an agenda and believes to be giant monsters on this island, and he wants to bring an end to them. They’ve got weapons of many sizes. Unfortunately, when setting off seismic blasts to detect the crust, they wake up these beasts on the island, and they do not like having explosions all over the place. Spread out over the island, the crew has three days to make it to the north side before they can be rescued.

Also featuring John C. Reilly, and a whole lot of soldiers: Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, and Eugene Cordero.

Japanese
Turns out this Kong film has a lot of Japanese influence.

At its heart, Kong: Skull Island is an action adventure flick that wants to show us giant animals fighting some dudes with bombs. Which on its own could be enough for most of the people who want to see it. I will say there are some scenes that look a bit awkward based on CGI usage. It doesn’t always mesh well. But the more pure CGI scenes like Kong fighting with the giant lizards look amazing.

The film also doesn’t pussy foot around Kong. We get to see him in the first few minutes. Within 15 more we are on the island and Kong totally fucks up the helicopters putting our characters in a perilous situation. We get a lot of Kong and they don’t tease him out.

You know what we don’t get a lot of? Character development. Basically every character in this movie is weak on that level. There is no gain. They don’t change. Well, some of them die. We have exactly one character who people will care about and does change and that man is played by John C. Reilly. His character is wonderful, an amazing addition to the film, and worthy of praise.

But Kong: Skull Island is just going to be a interesting film that could have been a lot better. With its post credit scene trying its best to imitate The Avengers it leaves some hope for the future. But have to hope they improve the scripts first.

2 out of 4.

The Finest Hours

I am pining (Pine-ing, if you will) for a conspiracy here, so hold on to your butts, let’s see what I can do.

Chris Pine is a weird guy. He does a lot of weird movies. Did you see Stretch? You should go see Stretch. At the same time he is a bit of a Hollywood pretty boy, so Disney wanted to get him in some of his movies.

They got him a small role as a Prince to make him feel important in Into The Woods, offering him the lead roles in future movies. Which brings us to The Finest Hours. I guess I am teasing a bit, because, I won’t get to the point of this intro until after the second picture.

Pine Face
Chris Pine-spiracy.

This is one of those Disney true story period dramas that they do quite often, and half the time in Sports. So they picked a 1950’s Ship Disaster, where two large Oil Tankers near Massachustes were ripped in half during the same storm. And during this same storm, the local Coast Guards had to attempt to save the lives of as many people as possible.

Our hero is 23 or 24 year old Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a guy who grew up in a small town near Cape Cod and who has been sailing most of his life. So he joined the Coast Guard to save lives. There was a big storm the year prior where he was unable to do that and it has haunted him. So it comes to no surprise that he is willing to risk his life to go out into a bigger storm to do it again. His commanding officer (Eric Bana) isn’t from the area and is inept, meaning that he shouldn’t have sent out anyone due to the waves and the shifting bar. But then we wouldn’t have a movie.

Webber and his crew (Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro) take a small 32 foot boat to find the half of an oil tanker that is apparently a few miles off the shore. They don’t have an exact location, it is night time, and of course en route they also lose radio communication and their compass.

Meanwhile, on the ship itself, it is a giant vessel, in half, floating throughout the big waves. The crew consists entirely of workers, with the captain and “real leaders” being on the other half and totally dead. The de facto leader goes to Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) a quiet type who runs the bottom of the boat. I am sure there is a real name there. He has to stop the crew from trying to mutiny and turn on each other, while also have them attempt the possible: to steer half of the ship to a shoal or a beach somewhere so they can maybe get rescued. They do this with the constant flooding and fear their engine/power will go out, which means no lights on their boat and no whistle to call for help.

The crew is made up of over 30 men, including Graham McTavish, Michael Raymond-James, Abraham Benrubi, Josh Stewart, John Ortiz and Keiynan Lonsdale.

Also featuring Holliday Grainger as Webber’s new fiance to give us that love interest and pseudo Interstellar moment, and Matthew Maher, aka the Holy Bartender from Dogma, with a sizable role as angry tow truck driver.

Crew
And dozens of extras who only grunt and scream and work. Dozens!

Back to the beginning. Disney wanted to woo Chris Pine because they wanted him to be a superhero in the Marvel movies. It makes sense. He is a big actor, in Star Trek and all. So they offered him a gritty-ish historical film to woo him hardcore and play to his interests. But Pine was sleeping around. Pine is now signed on to play a role in the Wonder Woman! Sure actors have played both sides of the field, but not since it has gotten to its current big status. So, thinking that Pine has made his decision, they decided to make The Finest Hours not as great as it should have been. They don’t care about a flop. They have Star Wars money.

For a film with a lot of issues, I feel I need to mention to best parts first. Casey Affleck was wonderful in this movie. His character was unique and had a consistent personality and was a great watch. Well done Affleck! McTavish also did a good job of grizzled pseudo-assistant.

The rest of the film? Well, first of all, it probably should have had permanent subtitles throughout. We have accents all over the place, so many characters require a bit of a stretch to figure out their words. Add on a loud angry storm, with people trying to yell things, and shit. Half the movie feels almost inaudible.

The next sense that is betrayed have to be your eyes. The entire film is mostly ugly on the color scale. It is grey, dark grey, and occasionally white, but usually grey white also. An already dark movie is made worse with 3D, adding to the overall darkness. And yes, as you might have fussed, the 3D adds absolutely nothing to the film, making it an unnecessary hindrance. Every single wave looks fake, so it is hard to really get drawn into any of the tension. I spent good chunks figuring out where the green screens were and how much of the water was actually real.

Romance
I don’t think anyone is real in this picture.

As for the actual plot itself, the romance, despite real, feels incredibly shoe horned. They realized they made a very man focused film, so only one woman, a fiance, has any real screen time and has to do everything as a result. We have to see her be strong and do things that were unheard of at the time for women. Showing great women is movies is a good trend, but not if it is badly done and at the detriment of the film. Not every film has to have it.

These scenes just made the rescue more drawn out every time they cut away from the two groups. And the intro of the movie is entirely about their romance, which also feels overly long, while also not allowing the audience to feel emotionally connected to either of them.

As a final moment of disappointment, a big advertising/selling point of this film is that there were 32 survivors on the boat and the rescue boat was small with only room for 12. They made it seem like there would be a nice moral/ethical dilemma once the boat was found. In reality, it was entirely ignored and the issue was solved by just fitting everyone on the boat quite easily. More great potential suspense floundered.

The true story of The Finest Hours is great. It could have been a very inspirational tale. But it was filled with cheese and shoddily made, giving what feels like a half-assed feel good film.

1 out of 4.

Steve Jobs

Few people are lucky enough to have a film be made on their life. For the most part, they have to wait til they are both dead and a decade or so after they kick the bucket. Obviously, some people wait hundreds of years, because they are old famous people and movies weren’t a thing in the 1600s.

Steve Jobs is a luckier than most men (outside of the being dead from Cancer thing). He had two movies about his life in the last two years! And he only died four years ago! Not only does he have Jobs and now Steve Jobs, he also had quite a few documentaries.

It is clear that Steve was a living legend who had tons of stories about him. It is true that he was a flawed character with a lot of issues, problems, and broken friendships. But he also did a lot of good things, so this makes him an interesting character for people to want to see.

Now, this movie was delayed for awhile. Blame Ashton Kutcher. But at a time, this was supposed to be directed by David Fincher and starring Christian Bale. The script was always Aaron Sorkin I believe.

Fwends
I believe that Seth Rogen can play a character who doesn’t get high at all. I believe it so much.

1984. 1988. 1998. These 3 years were some of the most pivotal in Steve Jobs’ (Michael Fassbender) life. There were tons of big moments before and after of course. Before that he helped build a computer with Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and helped create Apple into a powerhouse corporation. There was the failed computer the Lisa. After 1998 he introduce the iPod and the iPhone, crazy popular Apple products in our current era.

But in 1984 he was about to introduce the Macintosh computer, after the best Super Bowl Ad ever. Sure he came to the team late, but he is a visionary damn it. In 1988 he was going to release the NEXT computer, a perfect cube, away from Apple due to the falling out after the Macintosh. And in 1998, his triumphant return to Apple, about to release the iMac computer. He wanted to make the products sexy again. That may have been a line from Jobs, whoops.

Each setting of the film, each roughly the same length in time, takes place the the minutes before his press conference, with all the drama and tension of his life coming together to fuck with him. That includes Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), a former lover who always needs more money from him, to take care of the daughter he originally doesn’t claim to be his. It also involves an Apple CEO, John Sculley (Jeff Daniels). There is Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), one of the better computer engineers, and Avie Tevanian (Adam Shapiro) a different engineer. His ever faithful assistant/planner Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), a tech reporter (John Ortiz), and of course his daughter, Lisa (Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, Perla Haney-Jardine).

I didn’t remention Wozniak, but he is totally hanging around each time too. But I kept the above vague so you could hear the major players but not the many of their plot lines. Because I care and I am not an asshole CEO, like some people.

Vision
“How big is my metaphorical penis you ask?”

I am a big fan of Sorkin’s writing. The dialogue between characters is often quick and forces me to stay on my toes. Several times in the film, standing on my toes didn’t seem to be good enough. The conversations at point were so rapid fire that I practically had to dance to avoid the bullets from striking my legs, like a western stereotype. I think that metaphor works, if not, re-read it and think harder. The best way to describe some of these scenes would be an intense action fight, with words as bullets. I rarely feel that tense during a drama, let alone a biography.

The acting was definitely on point in this film. This is some of Rogen’s best work. Daniels had one majorly great scene with Fassbender. Stuhlbarg? I don’t know anything about Stuhlbarg, but he did a great job. I didn’t even recognize Winslet the whole film, that’s how in character and different she was. And of course, Fassbender. Early on, it just looked like Fassbender acting in a film, but somehow during the movie, he transformed so fully into Steve Jobs that I couldn’t remember who was the main actor. Of course by the end he looks so much like Jobs that it is easy, but I am talking before that, when he still had longer hair. He nailed the shit out of the role.

For comparison sakes, Kutcher did a great job as Jobs too. He had a walk, he went fully into character, but I usually thought it was still just Kutcher. But Fassbender still did a better job. And besides, I saw Fassbender’s penis in that one movie, so for most comparisons he is sure to win.

A lot of this is highly fabricated. The plot lines are real, but there is no way the timing worked for most of this. Regardless, where it excelled was how true to life they made his character. Jobs was egotistical, a know-it-all-, an asshole and a dick. He wasn’t the most pleasant person to work with and that all came across in the film. This wasn’t some fluff piece. This just tried to present the man behind the myth, flaws and perfections and everything in between.

One final comparison: This is not as good as The Social Network. Sorkin is the common link between the two, and the fact that they are both based on real people. I am not saying Fincher is the reason and that Danny Boyle could not pull off a better movie. It was fine, and even if Fincher directed this it probably wouldn’t have been as good. Just don’t go in expecting that and you should enjoy the show.

4 out of 4.

Blackhat

Welcome to Blackweek! Yes, that is the official name of the week, no you can’t make me change it.

It is simple. Every movie this week begins with Black. Part of the reason you may have realized is that in January, literally three movies came to theaters called Blacksomething. So all three of them are featured, plus two more! Boy, do I love me some theme weeks.

So we got Blackhat, a (shudder), January movie, one of handful of January movies I have yet to see. I was forced to see the trailer a long time before it came out, and was immediately turned off from it. It is a “hacker” movie but with more action than computers it looks like. It is directed by Michael Mann, which is a dude with a lot of followers for some reason. I can’t say I have any strong opinions on him one way or another.

But did I mention this movie had a terrible trailer?

Vest\
But a snazzy bullet proof vest.

Shit is going crazy everywhere. Some HACKER is hacking into technical mainframes of nuclear reactors and things and causing explosions. EXPLOSIONS! That is in China. In Chicago he is hacking into stock markets and changing the prices around. Oh man, we got a world villain here. So we need China to bring people over to investigate and work with the FBI. Yeah. So we got Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) who was put in charge. That is good. His old roommate was a really good hacker. Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), currently in prison for hacking related crimes. He is so good, you know. But now they need his help to get this other guy. Who are the we? Oh well, Chen’s sister, Chen Lien (Wei Tang). I have no idea how Chinese names work apparently. Also our FBI person, Viola Davis!

And then you know. Shenanigans. Terrorism. More and more explosions and action action action!

That is literally all I can say about the plot.

Here is some more characters. John Ortiz, Holt McCallany, Andy On. Eh. I’m done.

Down
We could easily make this a comedy if those escalators were going the opposite way.

My entire plot description wasn’t long so I will keep this part brief as well.

Blackhat wasn’t an entertaining movie. It wasn’t exciting action wise, character wise, or anything. It was a huge steaming pile of dull.

I was hoping it could actually be bad enough to find parts funny, but I didn’t laugh, just yawned. I mean, the entire thing is ridiculous as we already know, making some hacker also be an action star because why not. Of course they are involved. I think there is a really detailed plot description on Wiki. Read that instead of watching this movie.

Hemsworth is wasted. Wang was kind of interesting. Davis was giving us nothing new.

And yeah. Good start to Blackweek. With a yawn!

1 out of 4.

The Drop

Of all the movies coming out this week, The Drop was the one I was most excited for (Outside of Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? but who knows when I will get to see that one!). Mostly because I didn’t have to see a trailer for it at all. Not a once. I got to go in mostly blind and just see what kind of story it would give me.

Exciting! All I knew was the main actors, setting, and some sort of thriller maybe.

So, to make sure no one gets to experience it like me, let me tell you about the plot and stuff!

It also features some guy who you might really want to see in movies before it is too late.

Gandalf
“Ain’t sayin’ no names or nuttin.”

Although they didn’t explicitly tell me the setting, I can almost guarantee this one takes place in Boston, in a drop bar. What is a drop bar? Well, a lot of illegal money changes hands in the city. Gambling, hookin’, drugs, you name it. Not the type of money you can just deposit without drawing questions from the tax man.

In order to keep the money safe, it is stored at a different bar every night, a huge network of them. Very few people know which bar will be before the day of and it is seemingly random. It helps prevent theft of that money and keeps the bars in check too.

This movie is about one of those bars, a drop of cash, and the people who work there. Namely, Bob (Tom Hardy) the kind and slightly slower bartender and his Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), the owner/former owner.

It also features a neighborhood lady Nadia (Noomi Rapace), a kind of weird maybe ex (Matthias Schoenaerts), the mob (Michael Aronov), a detective on the case (John Ortiz) and a puppy. Yes, a damn puppy.

Doggy!
The puppy is of course secretly key to this whole damn thing.

This one was it. This is the last movie that James Gandolfini will ever appear in, as the only other thing with him in it not released is apparently a part in some never picked up pilot for Criminal Justice. And I think he went out on a good one. Enough Said was only okay, but The Drop? This is a good movie.

Speaking of actors in the movie we are talking about, what in the fuck Tom Hardy? His voice is so weird and unique in this movie. Once the opening narration started, I imagined it belonged to anyone but Tom’s character, but there you go. Whether it is accurate to the area, I don’t know (or give a fuck). It was interesting and it really seemed to work.

The story itself is a slow moving one and one that seems worth the wait. Arguably, the characters are all just so odd or weird on their own that even though it is not a comedy, the bizarness of the situation and accents kind of make it amusing. You know, in a darker or weird way.

Despite it wrapping up the story pretty nicely and being unique, I think I’d want some more of this setting. Fuck it. Give me a sequel.

But then again, in a year I might forget all about this movie. Hard to say. Yay Tom Hardy.

3 out of 4.

Silver Linings Playbook

FINALLY.

That is all I can really say about Silver Linings Playbook. From the first time I saw this trailer, I knew I wanted to see it, and I wanted it to see it hard. Why? I mean, shit, look at the Trailer damn it. It has everything I’d want in a movie. Laughter, probable good acting, trashing books, serious shit, and a Jennifer Lawrence jiggle.

Mmm food
Well, and the rest of her too, I guess.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) is a pretty normal guy. Exercises, interacts with his friends, and sometimes talks to a wall. Oh whats that? He is in a mental institution? Alright, that isn’t normal at all. But he seems to have it all together. The courts seem to agree (despite the doctor warnings), and he is released to his mother (Jacki Weaver) after eight months in to live with his family.

Pat sees this as the opportunity of a life time. He has been getting fit, taking good care of himself, and now he plans on reading a lot of books to impress Nicki. Who is Nicki? His (ex?) wife of course! Before “the incident” they were in love, and damn it, they will be back together soon. What’s a restraining order anyways? His dad (Robert De Niro) has his own history of anger, along with some minor OCD when it comes to luck/fate with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But while working on improving his mind and body for Nicki, his friend (John Ortiz) invites him to a fancy dinner with his wife (Julia Stiles), a good friend of Nicki! But why did they bring Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) to the dinner? She had her husband die, and is kind of slutty. Clearly she is the crazy one of the group, not Pat.

But is she crazy enough to help him get around the restraining order by delivering a letter to his love? Maybe! Only if he does something for her first. Also featuring Chris Tucker as a new friend of Pat’s from the institution.

Jogging
Presenting for the first time ever, my Halloween costume for 2013.

I am almost certain I didn’t decide this before watching, but I loved this movie. Basically everything about it was top notch. The storyline, the acting from our leads and De Niro. Hell, Mr. Tucker, who only does a movie every 5-6 years now, once the highest paid actor in Hollywood, he was pretty great in his supporting role as well.

When ever Jennifer Lawrence popped out of the bushes to surprise Cooper, I could only think of Navi, but in the nicest way possible.

The movie also did a fine job of riding the line between comedy/drama and going into a romantic comedy. First, it kept the comedy up the whole movie, and the dramatic parts were also throughout. Some Comedy/Dramas like to split the movie in half, not this one. Closer and closer to the end, it was able to get an ending that was great, without being entirely cliche. That means only about 40% cliche, for those counting at home.

This movie has officially restored my faith in Bradley Cooper, that was nearly diminished after All About Steve and The Words.

4 out of 4.