Tag: Kyle Chandler

Manchester By The Sea

Movie titles can get pretty descriptive. The ones that can really sell you on a setting with just a title do a lot of work and can help draw people in.

Something like The Assassination Of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? That is a descriptive and specific title, you know the main people involved and the event in question!

That is an extreme example. For Manchester By The Sea, it just really wants you to know which Manchester the film is set in. “Is it the Manchester by the forest? Is it the Manchester in the mountains? Is it the Manchester in Iowa?” No damn it. It is the Manchester by the sea!

Casey
And this is presumably a Casey by the sea!

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a seemingly miserable prick. He lives alone, works a basic janitorial job for a complex and deals with shitty tenants, and sometimes he is shitty in return. He just wants to drink and forget his worries. And this is how he was before his brother (Kyle Chandler) died.

Lee has to head up to his hometown of Manchester to help deal with the aftermath. Funeral arrangements, will stuff, and checking on the kid, Lee’s nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Lee has a problem in Manchester, something that happened in his past that the locals talk about and spread rumors. And nope, you aren’t getting that spoiler in this review.

Needless to say, Lee wants this whole thing to get finished as soon as possible so he can get back to his new life and out of this town. And then he finds out his brother left him as the guardian of Patrick, not their uncle like they talked about. This will also shake up Lee’s life, forcing him to either dump the kid off with a friend or worse, Patrick’s mom (Gretchen Mol) who was a trainwreck throughout his youth.

Or, strange as it may seem, maybe just movie back to his old town and be this guy’s guardian?

Also starring Michelle Williams as Lee’s ex-wife, Tom Kemp, Anna Baryshnikov, Kara Hayward, C.J. Wilson, and Matthew Broderick.

Selling A Boat
If you look close you can see them in a boat. A boat ON the sea.

All I wanted to do was see some realistic acting and maybe cry a little bit. Instead, I got fantastic and realistic acting, and bawling my eyes out.

Thankfully the film reveals what happened in Lee’s past about halfway through the film, and the moment and scene really got to me in the theater. I felt horrible and I was forced to imagine how it would affect my own life. Even after the flashbacks were over, I then had to consider every scene of the film from that point forward in relation to Lee’s past. Normally regular dramatic scenes became sadder from this knowledge and the cries came intermittently.

In the final conversation between Affleck and Williams you would be hard pressed to find a viewer who doesn’t become emotional as a result. They bring so much into their characters. Affleck of course, being the main character, and it is expected, but I was surprised at how much pain I felt with Williams who had significantly less screen time.

The film wasn’t just sad, but it was awkward. There were awkward situations/reunions, uncomfortable conversations about death, and it was a funny film. That’s right, laughter, I laughed about as much as I had cried. I officially classified this as a drama/dark comedy, but honestly it could still be considered just a regular comedy. The balance between the two was extremely precise in this film that it really fits both molds.

Other notes: The setting was gorgeous, the cameras were well placed, the actors and people involved all felt like they belonged. This was a snapshot on a community as much as it was on a single person. Affleck will most likely be nominated for an award for the film, and hopefully Williams for Supporting Actress. I still haven’t seen all the potential contenders to know if anyone will actually win though. Affleck just continues to impress with every film he is in.

Also, there are accents. Accents!

4 out of 4.

Carol

As it happens every year, this year I find myself lacking in the Best Actress potential nominee department. Somehow these films with strong lady leads allude me, it is probably cause I am a man.

But damn it, this year I got to see Carol before they announced Oscar nominations. Sure, it might presumptuous for me to assume that it will get nominated for anything, but it literally received two nominations for Best Actress for the Spirit Awards. One film, two spots of the five. That is pretty damn good. I admire that they didn’t try to shoe horn one of their leads into a supporting actress role, like plenty of films attempt depending on how crowded a potential category is. And after all, competing against yourself must feel a bit awkward. But for 40% of the nominees to be for Carol, I’d have to imagine at least one of them be given some love for the Academy Awards.

Not that strong independent women need to be shown anything at all, technically. Fuck, feminism is hard. What do I say? Just start the review? Okay okay.

Shop
See? I am so feminist, I won’t even mention that thing that is on Carol’s head.

Film is called Carol? Fine, I will talk about Therese (Rooney Mara) first then. Therese is young and living in her own apartment in NYC in 1949-51, I couldn’t figure out the year. She works part time at a department store for the Christmas holidays, selling dolls and trains. She has a cheap camera for taking photos, thinking she might be a photographer one day. She is dating a fine young boy, Richard Semco (Jake Lacy), who wants to marry her and taker he on vacations to Europe.

But then she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett). Carol is older and richer and lives out in New Jersey. She has a husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) but they are getting a divorced, and a young daughter (played by Sadie Heim and Kk Heim. Yes twins, and no, Kk is not her official real name). Why divorce? Well, the love is gone. And Carol might have had “a thing” with the godmother, Abby (Sarah Paulson), Carol’s childhood friend. Yes, a thing means a romantic relationship, when she was already married, to a woman.

Well, due to reasons, Carol and Therese become friends, Therese never really knowing she could find a woman desirable. But this was set 65 years ago and that would not fly. In fact, it is very bad news for Carol’s divorce, as her husband is using her past moral indiscretions as reasons to file for full custody of their daughter, not joint. This wedge is meant to bring her back into the fold, but Carol would rather flee the North east to be away from him, to be herself, until the trial where hopefully it would all just be heresay. But she wants Therese to go with her. Travel west, see the country side. Enjoy each others company. You know. Regular road trip stuff.

Some other guys are in the movie, but they aren’t lesbians, so fuck them. John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, and Nik Pajic.

Dance
I would be appalled as well dancing with Chandler.
You just know he is constantly whispering “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” in her ear.

Carol was intricate, intimate, and insanely detailed [Editor’s Note: Yes, that was already covered by intricate.] Carol seems like the type of film that must be based on real events, with the actresses involved recreating the scenes word for word, smile for smile, as it happened in real life. From the first frame, you will begin to feel that old timey movie atmosphere wash over you. It feels like a film that literally came out of the 1950’s, but with the cameras used and credit style. Of course my own viewings of 1950’s cinema is excruciatingly low, so I am not a complete authority on that. But damn it, it still made me feel that way.

Since my rating is already obvious, my only real complaint about this film is that it took me quite a long time to get really involved with it. The beginning is slow, mostly the scenes of Therese without Carol where she is hanging out with her boyfriend and his friends. Yes it is important to establish her life outside of the future romance and not make her a love sick puppy, but they dragged on. Potentially on purpose, to show the boredom that had crept into her life.

But the scenes between Carol and Therese? Everything was golden. Their eyes, their body language, their tones. Fuck, I could stare at Rooney Mara starring at Cate Blanchett all day. It was that real. These two women were complete power houses in their own right. I can see them both being nominated for Best Actress for the Oscars as well, not just Blanchett for playing the titular role.

Carol will probably be in the running for Best Director as well. I think this is a heavy category this year, with Spotlight and The Revenant, but Todd Haynes completely dominated this film. Everything was on spot and meticulously planned. He is the type of guy who has great attention to detail, but isn’t insane about it like Wes Anderson.

Finally, if I wanted to be vague, I could describe this film as “Cate Blanchett has a mid life crisis, leaves her husband, and travels west” and you might think I was talking about Blue Jasmine. What’s that? Blanchett won Best Actress for that film? You don’t say.

3 out of 4.

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Sometimes, the best publicity for a movie is a battle with the MPAA. Just ask Harvey Weinsten and the movie Bully. That is what (intentionally/unintentionally) happened with The Wolf Of Wall Street. It was supposed to come out on November 15, but after being given an NC-17 rating by the board, Martin Scorsese had to go back and cut some more material out of his three hour biopic of of one Jordan Belfort.

Which is why it was pushed back to Christmas (pushing back Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to January 17. Same distributor, didn’t want to compete against itself). I couldn’t be happier that it got pushed back, either. Compared to last years Les Miserables and Django Unchained, this year’s releases needed a kick in the butt to be anywhere close as good.

Talk Wolf
A raunchy, naked woman filled hard kick in the butt.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), for all intents and purposes, was a self made man. His parents were accountants, and he wanted to go to Wall Street in the late 1980s to become a stock broker. He quickly got a job, became good buddies with the boss (Matthew McConaughey), and was taught all of the ins and outs of the business. Including the not so legal ins and outs.

Well, his first actual day as a stock broker, Black Monday happens, and the firm he works for quickly goes under. Back to being on the bottom, Belfort finds out about “penny stocks,” companies too little to be sold on the actual stock market, where the commission for a broker goes from 1% of the sale to 50% of the sale. If he can land some big fish on these worthless stocks, he could probably make fat cash quickly, with everyone none the wiser.

But that illegal activity is just the tip of the iceberg. Drugs. Money laundering. Drugs. Drugs. Prostitution. Tax fraud. Bribing officials. You name it, this guy did it. With the help of his very awkward buddy, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), there ain’t nothing they can’t accomplish, or at least nothing that can’t be bought.

The Wolf Of Wall Street has a huge cast of characters, most of them actually quite important and memorable. Rob Reiner plays his dad, an angry accountant, and Kyle Chandler the FBI agent trying to bring him down. Cristin Milioti plays his original wife, and Margot Robbie plays his new wife. Jon Bernthal plays a drug dealer, and Jon Favreau his lawyer. Finally, last but not least, P.J. ByrneKenneth ChoiHenry ZebrowskiBrian Sacca and Ethan Suplee play his original start up friends and workers who carry him to the top.

DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE
I don’t think I need to say anything for this one.

The Wolf Of Wall Street can best be summed up by three words: Unforgiving, Real, and Amazing.

I initially groaned at the three hour run time, and although it can be difficult to make it through if you drink a lot of fluids during the movie, the viewings at home when you can pause will be easy peasy. The three hours are full of so much tension and energy (while also constantly moving the story forward) that it all flies by in a jiffy. In the last twenty minutes or so, the extreme length became noticeable as the movie slowed down. But slowing down makes sense at that point in the movie, to fully understand that Belfort’s bubble had finally been burst.

The acting performances by everyone involved was incredible. DiCaprio, despite looking like himself, felt like a completely new man. Every time he got up on the microphone, I was in awe at the intensity and heartfelt that he showed. The second “chest bumping song” scene is unforgettable. On the other side, Hill didn’t look or sound like his normal self at all. Dare I say, he has actual acting talent?

The movie definitely earns its R rating, and it is pretty clear why originally it was given the NC-17. It was incredibly dark and funny, so much that I couldn’t tell if I really wanted to laugh or run and hide from the screen. It is a twisted version of the American Dream, a train wreck that somehow rampaged through the country side, and something that I could not take my eyes off.

Although I doubt it will be considered the best film of 2013, it can certainly be considered the most ambitious.

 

4 out of 4.

The Spectacular Now

I only saw the trailer for The Spectacular Now once, but I knew immediately I just had to see it. So many reasons really, but I could tell ahead of time it might be something that I would enjoy.

Damn it, now my bias is showing. I am so embarrassed.

Prom
Not as embarrassed as these two when they realize that car is rolling down hill.

Teenage romance. A typical film plot line, but maybe not so typical in this film.

We have Sutter (Miles Teller), life of the party, everyone’s favorite joker, he lives in the NOW. Oh hey, movie title. He could apply to college, but that can happen later. Not like college is anything special. His girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) was one of a kind, and everyone loved them and they loved each other. Until his easy goingness got him in trouble and she dumped his ass, this time for good.

So Sutter does what Sutter does best. He drinks away his problems, and has the night of his life, maybe. He passed out, waking up on a lawn thanks to Aimee (Shailene Woodley) with his car no where in sight. Also, who the fuck is Aimee?

Some girl in his grade, he doesn’t really know her, but she knows him. Life of the party. Well, Sutter is on the rebound, and thinks he is a nice guy, so he starts to hang out with her and invite her to things. But that dang alcohol keeps going down into his stomach, so next thing you know, he has kissed her and invited her to prom. Did I mention he still kind of likes Cassidy still? Yeah, he is a jerk.

Broken homes, broken dreams, Sutter has a lot of growing up to do. He is going to be eighteen soon, and his life needs to change for the better before it is too late.

His family is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, mother, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, older sister, and Kyle Chandler, missing father. Shit, even Bob Odenkirk is in this movie, but just a little bit.

Hair
Huh, I wonder if she made her prom dress out of the same material of that shirt? Or I guess she really likes yellow.

Ughhh. Fucking movies these days going for realism. A different amount of realism than they were back in the day. Back in the day, actors might have mumbled their lines, or messed up their words, and they would keep them in the take, because that shit is natural. That doesn’t happen as much anymore.

No, this is realism in a different way. I am sure each take took multiple times, but more ad libbing or something is now allowable for these actors. There is no way a lot of these dialogue scenes were read word for word, it just can’t be true. They flow really well and they all seem like things people of that age would say. I know its hard to understand, but it is hard to explain. I smiled throughout the film, due to the realism of the characters and the dialogue.

The film shows drinking in a negative light, but they also explain why the drinking happens, and you don’t hate the main character, you feel sorry for him, and you understand. Until he is a dick to Aimee, no, then you hate him again. So much rage.

The film doesn’t follow the standard path films of this description tend to take. There are some obvious moments, but there are other moments that come out of no where, like a bus from Mean Girls. The acting by our leads was fantastic, and I was also impressed with Kyle Chandler in his smaller role. Shit. It had a lot of stuff going for it. I am worried I might start thinking Miles Teller is a real actor now.

4 out of 4.

Broken City

For my initial impressions of Broken City, I obviously can only look at the trailer. Lot of high energy music, camera flash noises, very exciting. Sexy scandals! Government cover ups! Black mail! Potential boredom!

To be honest, the strange flashing parts near the end of the trailer gave me a bit of a headache. Thankfully, as we all know, trailer music never makes the actual movie. Presumably there wont be awkward shutter noises either.

Cars
Here is the most actiony shot of the movie I could find on the internet. Consider it an action epilogue.

Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has done a bad bad thing. He killed a man, multiple shots. He claims he was defending himself, the other man had a gun. He was just a cop at the wrong place at the right time. The town claims it was cold blooded murder, but they had no real evidence. He was found innocent, but the public outcry was so strong, and new evidence was covered up, so the police chief (Jeffrey Wright) and mayor (Russell Crowe) had to let him go anyways.

Well, seven years later, he is a PI with an office and an assistant (Alona Tal) and a huge debt! Well, the mayor said he would remember his name, and he gives him an offer. $50,000.00 to tail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), take pictures of who she is sleeping with, and find out the name of the man. Half now, half later. He also needs it quickly, because the election is a few days away, and the new guy (Barry Pepper) is giving him a lot of crap.

But why would the mayor care so much about the affair this close to an election? There has to be more important things afoot, damn it. Also featuring Kyle Chandler as the campaign manager for the new guy, and Natalie Martinez as the long term girlfriend of Billy.

Drinkers
“Women be cheatinnnnnnnnnnn” – Crowe

Don’t watch the trailer, don’t watch the trailer, don’t watch the trailer? You saw the trailer? Don’t watch the movie. No point.

Turns out the trailer gives a lot of it away, in terms of how the movie is going to end. It is sparse on the actual plot details and many of the characters, but outside of that, the jig is up. When the movie ended, I was mad. Why would they do that, given the trailer?

I am supposed to judge a movie on its own, but I feel like if the trailer gives you too much information, and is plastered everywhere, it should be included if it does something so egregious. I was disgusted and appalled. Heck, after the movie I found myself more confused because the trailer had scenes that were not in the movie. I had to go back and watch it to make sure. They were there, but the context was so out of place, it was pointless.

Yes, I am saying the trailer both gave too much away, and created scenes that just were not true. It can do both.

I didn’t hate the acting from Marky Mark either. Zeta-Jones felt wasted in the movie, Crowe looked weird with that skin tone/hair.

However, a lot of the plot bugged me. The actions of the characters confused me. I don’t think they explained why he was just invited into a murder scene by someone completely random. Why people let him stick around. I had no idea what was happening in the plot, and yet the whole time I felt like I knew the ending. That is a strange way to see a movie.

Confusion is not a substitute for suspense, movie makers.

1 out of 4.

Zero Dark Thirty

It took me awhile to get excited about Zero Dark Thirty. I mean, what, Osama Bin Laden died a year and a half ago? It didn’t help that its original trailer was boring as crap (The second one was a lot better!). I was also a pretty big skeptic when I heard it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. How can I trust a movie about this subject so close to the actual event? There is no way that a lot of the actual information was declassified that quickly, given the subject. Unless of course, because she made The Hurt Locker, she clearly deserves the information and resources to make another war movie?

Just seems a bit unfair is all I am saying.

Horseshoes
You know what else is unfair? Jobs that let you wear shorts. I want in on that racket! Fucking social norms.

The story begins a bit classier than I expected with the September 11th attacks. I was a bit worried they’d use that to help rile up the emotions, but it didn’t recreate the crash, show the fall, any of that. Just kept a blank screen and used real media outtakes to explain what happened. Okay, maybe that is still a cheap trick, but it could have been worse.

A few years after that, Maya (Jessica Chastain) has just arrived in Pakistan, after spending most of her career in the CIA so far working on Al-Qaeda intelligence. Her new partner is Dan (Jason Clarke), who she gets to meet during a nice torture session. Weee torture!

Long story short, Maya begins grasping at straws, trying to get a lead anywhere. She thinks she has found the name of Osama’s secret courier, but her boss (Kyle Chandler) isn’t having any of it. Well, it turns out she is right! Eventually she is able to figure out who he is, find him, find a nice Mansion/Fortress in Pakistan, and heat signatures show an extra man inside who NEVER leaves. I wonder who it could be!

Zero Dark Thirty of course also goes through the extraction of Osama, featuring such fine gentlemen in the Seal Team, like Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, and Taylor Kinney.

Raidddd
“Hey, let’s show mostly scenes of the actual take down of Osama! You know, a small minority of the movie!”

Let me break the movie down for you, with fractions! I would say that the first quarter of the movie deals with torture as a way of gaining information. Three eights after that involves slow, non torture means of getting what they want. Another quarter of the movie takes place after they find the fortress and deciding what to do and who is in there, with the last eighth involving the Seal Team and their assult.

That second part? I didn’t really like that part. It felt very slow and I almost fell asleep in my seat. But that leaves a pretty solid five eighths of the film, which is a lot better than most movies out there.

Unfortunately I am still left wondering how much of what I watched is accurate, and how much is just dramatic license in the greatest manhunt in modern history. The acting was decent, but didn’t feel like anything worth writing home about. Word on the street is that they are hoping to do a prequel to this movie, yet I have no idea what it would be about. Al-Qaeda before 2001? I don’t think that counts as a prequel, I think that is just a different movie.

But hey, at least it ends with the US coming out on top. That is the take home message, right? Right?!

3 out of 4.

Super 8

Super 8, by JJ Abrams, has been one of the more hyped releases for awhile now. (Outside of Twilights, Harry Potters, and Hangover 2). Honestly, I have been asked a LOT when this movie is finally coming out, as they pushed it back at least once from October to now.

But I think a lot of the hype is warranted.

Oh Face
Feel free to commence “OH Facing” now.

The film takes place at the end of the 70s, Disco is still good, and technology is still not rampant. If it was, these kids would have a jillion youtube hits. Riley Griffiths is a kid with a dream, to make a movie on his 8MM camera and be shown in a local festival. So he gets his friends, borrows a camera, and starts his dream. Doing a zombie flick. Yay zombies! They even convince AJ Michalka (sister of Aly!) to join their project and be the detective(Gabriel Brasso from The Big C)’s wife.

Afterall, ever good production needs some T&A. For the kids, that is her. Also involved are Zach Mills, Ryan Lee, and Joel Courtney, son of a cop (Kyle Chandler), great at makeup, and actual main character (Got cha!).

While filming a scene at the local train station, they see a train coming past. They quickly rush to film their scene, thanks to the great production value! But a dude in a truck rams the train and everything goes to hell. The End.

Or not. Holy shit wreckage everyone running, and the camera filmed it all! But what were those weird noises? Did they see a creature? What about these cube things? Whats going on? They of course decide to tell no one they were out there, run away, and (sort of) try to solve the mystery, while at the same time weird things (thievery) and deaths begin to happen around time.

So yeah. That is what this movie is about. Making movies. Young life love and friendships. And holy shit alien monster thing.

I really liked it though. A lot of the kids are more or less unknown actors, who have only one (this) or a few film credits. So the majority of the cast was just fresh and new, giving it a more real feel. Unless you watched the Friday Night Lights series, then you probably don’t know Kyle Chandler either. What I really liked was just the emotions everyone conveyed in the movie. Their fear seemed real (probably had Rob Reiner yelling at them, for some reason), and their strive to work together just gave that “ah, youth! nostalgia!” feeling.

You won’t be screwed into never seeing the monster. You will get more than enough to appease that palette, don’t worry.

This could be the next E.T, and it only took 30 years. Is it? I don’t know, I never saw that movie.

Super 8 Kid
Don’t give me that look kid. I just never saw it. That is what happens when it comes out before you are born and the parents never show it to you when you’re a kid. What? hey. Come back here. Readers! Stop leaving my site saying I have lost all my movie credentials! Noooooo!

You guys should watch it. It is about 2 hours long. Some parts in the middle are a bit more boring than the rest, but if you sally forth, you can make it, I swear. Also, in the credits you get to see the Zombie movie in all its awesomeness.

4 out of 4