Tag: Adrien Brody

The French Dispatch

Seven years, Wes? SEVEN YEARS?

No. Don’t blame this on the Pandemic. The French Dispatch is your first live action movie in 7 years. Honestly, I thought The Grand Budapest Hotel came out earlier than that, so 7 years is a little shocking, because it certainly feels like a decade. Yes, I know we had Isle of Dogs, but that was stop motion.

Come on Wes. You used to churn out these films like buttah.

And it took a long time for this quirky little number to get made and released. This should not have been a 7 year wait. Did you have to wait for Timothée Chalamet‘s schedule to clear up?!

panic
That Timothee, so hot right now.

The French Dispatch is sort of about a newspaper insert from a small town in France, that tells news of the world and Europe in their periodical, specifically for the people in Kansas, due to very specific plot reasons. You know. Quirkiness.

The writers for the paper are great though, and the main editor, Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray), has been running it for 50 years. He wants his writers to not be unlimited in their potential and will not try to limit their word count or cut sections out if it ruins their vision. As long as their articles sound like they wrote it that way on purpose and they don’t cry in his office, he will be fine.

This movie is actually about its final issue, because with Arthur’s death, in his will was to dismantle the paper and cease operations completely. This movie is about the final three main stories of the paper, a smaller city piece, and of course, an obituary.

Starring literally ever actor ever a Wes Anderson movie and more, a whole lot of people are involved in these three stories. Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Lois Smith, Tony Revolori, Denis Ménochet, Larry Pine, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Liev Schreiber, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, and Anjelica Huston.

mirror
A lot of people close together staring towards the camera. Classic Wes shot.
Alright, so was the wait worth it? Or did I overhype it?

I probably overhyped it. I went in not knowing anything about the film, and honestly, a few smaller stories is not usually what I hope for in a film. A bigger plot with subplots, sure.

Technically there is one bigger plot, but it is also relatively minor compared to the three main stories. So why do I care if it is three main stories? Well, if two of the stories are great, and the other is okay, then the whole film doesn’t feel really great anymore.

I definitely feel the stories weren’t even in quality or whimsy. The middle story in particular left a lot to be desired for me, despite elements I liked. My favorite would be the first one, in the prison, although narratively, I don’t know how this person became a normal writer for the paper, and why they are telling this story in their issue that is so far in the past. The third story was fine, but confusing for a bit and that is…less fine.

Overall, this might be the most Wes-Andersy film ever that he has made, and it is incredibly weird. Probably his most black and white and just…strange. He did try a lot with this film, and I guess wanted to tell stories he didn’t think were strong enough for a solo film.

The cinematography, colors, and dialogue are superb of course, but that was to be expected.

3 out of 4.

Splice

I vaguely remember seeing the trailers for Splice many years ago. I remember it looked weird, would probably be a bad science horror, and quickly then forgot about it.

So now, why am I watching Splice? Well, I needed an emergency filler film to review today and I happened to own it.

Why do I own it? Not sure. I probably picked it up when the local Blockbuster closed, probably bought the Blu-Ray for only a $1-2. A price so small that I could put it on my shelf and risk watching it sometime in the future.

And here we are! Roughly 2.5 years after buying it, a review on Splice!

Chicken
This was originally planned to be an awkward sequel to Jurassic Park, I think.

Science is crazy! It can literally do anything, as long as there is a will and way and some smart people with money backing them.

Which is what is happening at the NERD research group. Dr. Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) and Dr. Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) are science partners and real life sexy time partners. They are also making animal hybrids, creating new species. It isn’t a pretty sight, as you can see above. But once they successfully got a weird male species and a weird female species, both that they created, to mate? That is when they felt pretty great.

Clearly the next step is getting some sort of human hybrid too. The possibilities of their research are limitless. It can be used for…well, growing spare body parts I guess. Or other weird gene shit. But guess what?! Their funding is getting shut down by the guys upstairs (Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlett). Da fuq!

Well, as any scientist knows, they just have to show them the results to get the funding back. So, just a test, just to see, they do it anyways. They spliced together human and animal DNA. Then begin a series of steps that lead to the formation of Dren (Delphine Chaneac), an animal human hybrid. Which animal? Eh, just vague assortment of other animal characteristics. Lets get crow a tail, some wings, some tentacle thing, some gills. You know, everything you might need to be a successful hybrid in the world.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Brandon McGibbon is also in this movie as the brother of Clive and he also is a scientist on their team. Everyone is super close!

Adult
But when dealing with Dren, make sure there is enough space for Jesus.

Ah, bad science movies. To be fair, there isn’t a lot of actual science in this movie. To me it felt like someone was coughing during the important moments of a presentation, so the how or why gets kind of lost but the talk keeps going. They don’t even try, is the real point I am making. Zoom in on some beakers, and some pictures of chromosomes, add in some science talk and move on.

Of course, not only is the science depicted badly, but everyone in the movie is a scientist or runs/funds a science lab. All of them are terrible at their jobs too. We assume these people got advanced degrees and they are bumbling around like idiots!

So for the most part, all of that is bad. What about the good?

Well, eventually in the movie, the plot became a bit more interesting when we had the adult form of Dren. A lot more cooler things could be done, including quite a few uncomfortable scenes. I was pleased that this was more of a thriller than a horror film. I remember the trailer basically taking place all in a small lab room, which made it seem like a small cast survival horror and just seemed ridiculous. But they are able to try and flesh out their characters a bit and give some reasoning for their actions. At least a few.

It had some tense moments, and a lot of bad ones, but overall told an okay story. Not one that is really scary in any way, just uncomfortable at times.

2 out of 4.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hah. Wes Anderson. For those that don’t read every post I make, Wes Anderson is a strange guy for me. Every movie I reviewed for the site that he directed, I have love love loved. But that was only two movies. The other one I saw I just didn’t really get, and thought it was weird. Yet still, I was excited for this new one.

So excited, I am pretty pissed off that they forced The Grand Budapest Hotel to be a limited release. It broke some records for its release. Like, most money gained from a super super limited release. But only two cities? That is crap. There is no reason for that. I am lucky I even got to see it so soon as I had to drive three hours to see it, weeks after its “release date”. Maybe I am more annoyed because it wasn’t even advertised as a limited release, so I have to imagine it was just a last minute change.

Camera
But I guess I expected Anderson to be a dick if he could, so there is that.

This story in a story is about The Grand Budapest Hotel, as you might have guessed. It used to be a…grand old place, but recently, it has gone under some bad times. The clientele is no longer the elite, the staff is no longer extremely efficient, and really it is in shambles. That is why a young writer (Jude Law) is so interested to meet its current owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), to hear his story about he acquired the hotel and his vast fortune.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a man amongst boys. He used to be the concierge, a god amongst men. Working morning to night, every day, he made sure the rich guests felt welcome at the hotel and would do anything to please them. Including the extremely rich Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who stays at the hotel for weeks every year.

Well, she dies, mysteriously. Also, her will was changed last minute as well it seems. Apparently M. Gustave was left her priceless painting, pissing off the ungrateful and evil family. Now, they also think M. Gustave killed her!

It is up to the help of his Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) to help prove his innocence, get him out of jail, and in general, save the day!

Also featuring a shit ton of people. Here they are, roughly, in order of importance: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldbloom, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

Escape
This scene represents birth.

Ahhhh, quirky Wes Anderson movie!

This one took a little bit to get going, trying to figure out just what the movie would be about. It takes place over three time periods, technically, so the story needs time to get started.

But when it does? Man. This movie was hilarious. Ralph Fiennes, although I don’t know how to say his name, is a terrific actor and a charismatic character in this film. You can’t take your eyes off of him whenever he is on the screen. And it works so well. Much laughter, much ridiculousness.

This film has a lot of Anderson standards, with his camera work and use of colors.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a bit more crass than his other recent movies. Some nakedness, some death scenes, all a bit extreme. But I think that made it a little bit better.

Definitely as good as the trailer made it seem to be, and one of the best early movies of 2014.

4 out of 4.

The Brothers Bloom

So a strange part of this website is that I am now in a position where I have students. Weird right? My icebreaker is pretty easy, I make them state their favorite movie, and out of 75 students, only six of them I had not yet seen before. I put them on my short list, and I was even more stoked to find out that some of them are in the useful range for reviews. So I picked The Brothers Bloom, because its the only one I also hadn’t ever heard of. Woo mysterious films!

Brothers Brothers Brothers
The Bloom Brothers actually end up playing an important role in this movie. Funny, eh?

Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and his younger brother (Adrien Brody) grew up as orphans, and shipped from foster family to foster family. They were interested in illusions and magic, but they became quite adept at being con artists, starting when they were kids. Gotta love making cash.

But many years later? They are still up to it. Their schemes are way more elaborate, lead by Stephen who plans them perfectly. He loves it the most, and is great at it, but little Bloom is getting tired. Wants to quit. Alright, well one more con.

And this one involves a woman! They’ve never conned a woman before. One Penelope (Rachel Weisz), a weird shut in rich heiress. Easy scam, pose as antique dealers and get all her monies. But as any con movie you have ever seen goes, those cons are generally several layers deep and go wrong. Well in this one, it is of course true, but that ‘main’ storyline ends kind of early. Then crazier shit happens, and it builds and builds, getting pretty damn serious and having no knowledge on what is the actual con anymore. Fun eh?

Rinko Kikuchi is also in this as their main woman assistant, and Robbie Coltrane as another ‘foreign’ helper.

Womenz
Hey, who cares if they are get conned if they at least have fun, right?

One of the main aspects of Stephen’s cons is he, at the end, wants everyone to walk away satisfied in some way. Sure they get conned, but hopefully the experience was worth it. Similarly, he generally wants to make his brother happy, and that is his biggest driving factor.

Which is awesome. And I loved the first half of the movie. But as I pretty much already said, it gets kind of dark and serious, and it is hard for me to really understand and grasp it all. I couldn’t follow the ‘cons’ or potential cons, and I felt time moved pretty weirdly.

It was a definitely a bold move and experience, but something I couldn’t really follow well. Adrien Brody was kind of meh for the movie, but I did like the charisma of Mark Ruffalo.

2 out of 4.

Detachment

There is a good chance I would never have heard about the film Detachment, unless it wasn’t suggested to me by a reader. Well, I might have seen it on my own if I was stalking Christina Hendrick‘s imdb page and watching whatever she was in. But I doubt that would have happened either.

So hooray for people telling me about movies. You know, unless they suck. And all I was told about this movie was that it was a bit “sad”. Alright, I can handle sadness.

young girl
Oh, also potential sexy time with a clearly underage girl.

Substitute teaching. For people not good enough to be teachers? Or is it for people who are afraid of getting close to others, and want to move around a lot. Based on the title, you can probably guess about Henry Barthes (Adrien Brody). He is put into a shitty school in NYC that is losing money for bad test grades every year, and teachers who have stopped caring. One teacher goes on and quits, so Henry is brought in to sub the English class for a month before a permanent teacher is found.

Lots of teachers here with their own problems. The Principal (Marcia Gay Harden) pretty much knows she is done at the end of the year, the guidance counselor (Lucy Liu) is tired of kids not caring about their futures and throwing their lives away, one teacher has given up and feels invisible (Tim Blake Nelson). But there are some teachers that still manage to carry on, such as Mr. Seaboldt (James Caan) who uses his own form of comedy to get through and enjoy the day. Ms. Madison (Hendricks) seems like a competent teacher who believes, but might be a bit too rule nit picky.

Sorry for that awkward paragraph explaining most of the minor characters. Had to fit them in!

But also because I don’t want to give too much away. Over the three weeks, he changes the lives of a few students, including Meredith (Betty Kaye) who gets picked on for weight and from a rough home. He also befriends Erika (Sami Gayle), who isn’t a student, but a very young prostitute living on the street, who he lets into his home to help get her back on her feet. Definitely not sketch.

But that is all you get, damn it!

Hendricks
I was also told she was a twat in this movie.

So is this movie sad? No. It’s fucking depressing. I was shocked at how early on I was captivated by the film, wondering where it was going and what would happen to all the characters. About a half hour into it, I accidentally saw how much time was passed and assumed I had been watching the movie for at least an hour. I mean that in the best way since it could be taken bad.

Although I kind of saw what was going to happen with the ending before it did, it still left me with questions about the future of some members. I guess it ended on a little bit of a good note, but barely given the inevitableness of the plot.

This movie made it hard for me to look away and affected my emotions so well, it is either the result of great acting / directing, or just manipulative music. I am willing to bet the former. Definitely a great addition to a drama collection.

4 out of 4.

The Experiment

Oooh. What is that? Another surprise movie for me. Before last night I had no idea there was ever a movie based off of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

Please read about it. There is a good chance you have heard of it before, but just might not remember it.

But yeah! The Experiment. A modern and fictionalized exaggeration of real events. Go go go!

BRODYFACE
Hooray science!

In case you are an asshole who doesn’t know about the experiment and didn’t click the link, it was a social experiment done at Stanford. A group of guys were chosen to be inmates, and a group of guys chosen to be prison guards. It was an experiment that was supposed to last 14 days, but lasted only six before the plug had to be pulled. Why? People adapted to their roles super quickly and performed things they didn’t think capable. Forms of tortue, abuse, no physical violecne only mental. Prisoners became complacent and passive and only obeyed orders. It worked way too well.

So yeah, that is happening here too. Adrien Brody is a very passive guy, kind of a hippy, but needs money. So does Forest Whittaker, who lives with his mother. They befriend in the original application process, because in this experiment they are offered $14,000 for fourteen days of work. Of course Forest becomes one of the guards, and Adrien a prisoner.

In his cell, Adrien is bunked with Clifton Collins Jr., a guy who seems to know how to be a prisoner already, and Ethan Cohn, a fat diabetic graphic novelist looking for new material.

The main mean guard (At the start) is played by Cam Gigandet, who quickly takes in his new role. They are given five rules that the prisoners must abide by, and the knowledge that if a prisoner breaks a rule, they must punish them accordingly (non violently). If they don’t within 30 minutes, a red light will flash and the experiment will be over and they will not be paid.

The real question is, how far will this experiment go? How much are humans different than animals, really?

whitaker
“Mmm. You got a pretty (Shiny) mouth.

Just kidding, those aren’t the real questions. You know how far they go.

I liked that the movie relied not on special effects or any CGI, but just the actors themselves. A lot of them do very good jobs, showing the emotion that both sides go through, and change into their stereotypes.

BUT. It is pretty different from the actual experiment. Films change actuality. But in this case, I think the actuality is a cooler story than the film version. In this movie there was attempted rape, death, and yeah, some physical violence. Also some nice urinating on people stuff. Gross right? That kind of stuff didn’t happen in the real experiment. (Would it have happened over six days? Maybe. Have to wait for an unethical country or Texas to try it again).

Had it made it “realer” in terms of what happened in the 70s, I think it might have been a better movie. The ending also seemed to take away from some things. Was pretty unnecessary.

3 out of 4.

Predators

Looking at all of the tags, I know you are thinking the same thing. How the hell does a movie called Predators not also include Chris Hanson?

Chris Hanson
Because he’d catch them all too quickly and make them have a seat.

The movie begins with Adrien Brody falling in the sky. He is strapped to the chair and flipping out, cause he is falling through the sky. He kinda gets a parachute off, allowing him to note die, but also, only kinda. I generally don’t expect to see Brody as a big action star, but he pulled it off pretty convincingly in the jungle.

Who else fell from the sky? A bunch of soldiers and criminals I tell ya! Alice Braga, the only woman, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins (Rapist like guy who is in prison jump suit) and Topher Grace. Topher Grace?! Yeah. He is just a doctor. Awkward.

Also, later they meet a past survivor. One Laurence Fishburne, kicking ass, and taking names.

So why are they out in the middle of no where? Eventually they find out that they are prey, for some type of aliens war games. Humans who speak English tend to call them Predators, which is good to know! I am sure their alien name is something like Graafbbfzx. These Predators only tend to kill bad humans though, not innocent ones. So, the title makes more sense when you realize that even the prey are “predators” in their own right. We see what you did there, movie people.

But an alien that only prededates on other predators? So it is like an army of strong, alien, highly technological, Dexters.

Predators
I can kind of see the resemblance too.

What can you expect from a movie based on some 80s movies? A pretty decent action movie, actually. By making all the humans bad people, I have no problem with a force running around killing humans. Usually I think Humans > All Aliens, but hey, if they are bad people, who cares right? So I can enjoy the (many) deaths that occur, and the tactics the humans use to try and survive and kill them first.

Thankfully the plot didn’t have much going for it. A very easy thing to imagine, since we already have to imagine aliens with great technology, we can easily imagine they can have a planet where humans can live, and teleport them from Earth to this place, and you know, death. Also there was a samurai sword fight scene out of no where. These Predators at heart at just warriors, and duelists. They give humans a fair fight, and I like that too. What is the fun in massive slaughter?

2 out of 4.

Wrecked

At first glance, one would look at this movie and think “Hey, that reminds me of 127 Hours. Kinda”. Yep. Kinda. Story mostly involving one dude, trying to escape from an impossible situation, and it sucks. Unfortunately, 127 Hours had a bigger budget, and also based on a true story.

Wrecked starts off with Brody waking up from the crash site, dead people around him, stuck in his seat.

Adrien Brody Crash
And Bloody.

He of course has some sort of amnesia, and has to both get out of the valley, and figure out who he is. The movie overall was kind of boring though. Although some nice hallucinations occurred to try to keep it more entertaining, and there was a nice dog for him to talk to. There was no story line before Wrecked began, as it was figured out as his memories returned to him slowly. So while Brody was left feeling confused for most of the movie, so were the viewers. Not in a suspense way, more the annoying way.

Wrecked just seemed too long. It is hard for any type of character development to occur when someone doesn’t actually know who they are. The eventual reveal at the end wasn’t exciting either. Felt super let down.

1 out of 4.