Tag: Richard Jenkins

Nightmare Alley

The last time we got a Guillermo del Toro film is when he directed the one about fucking a fish.

Will someone fuck a different creature in Nightmare Alley? Hard to say based on the title alone. I did not know until a little bit before hand that Nightmare Alley was an older book, and also an older movie from 1947. So we are getting a remake. And honestly, this is the exact reason for remakes in my mind. Often remakes are made for successful film that they just want to try again because people liked the first one. They should do more remakes either based on films that failed, or at least just more unknown work to give them a new fresh light.

Not to insult those of you who know and love the original Nightmare Alley film, but honestly, it isn’t super well known now, regardless of how big it may have been in the past.

This new version promised to be closer to the book. Alright, whatever, I am just hear for the movies. Specifically, Guillermo del Toro movies.

carnyNo, this isn’t a screengrab from the next Indiana Jones flick…
Who is that mysterious stranger, Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper)? The one with the smooth outfit, the clean face, the twinkle in his eyes, the hat? The one who burned down that house for some reason and is willing to just…drift.

Stan finds himself at a traveling show, a carnival, full of lies and deceit. But he sees a geek show, and agrees to help load up for the night for a small payment. And then he gets offered a job to stay along more, because he looks like someone who just needs to be there.

So he stays, he listens, and he learns. Quickly. He learns the tools of the trade. He has plans and ambitions. He has been kept quiet and hidden for so long, he thinks he can take some of these skills and become famous. A celebrity. But if he becomes a man who deals with deceit, eventually, he will be deceited right in the ass.

Also starring Cate Blanchett, Clifton Collins Jr., David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, Tim Blake Nelson, Toni Collette, and Willem Dafoe.

blindI bet his eyes aren’t even closed under there. He is using those eyes and his blindfold eye. He is a phony!

Nightmare Alley is so damn aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is polished (some would even say, polished as fuck). I know it is getting harder and harder to really tell how much of a movie is made in front of green screens, but it feels as if this film was mostly main in real places and scenes, using fine cameras to make everything pop. That is what I truly hope and believe, especially since I know del Toro is a fan of using as many practical effects as possible, generally. But maybe most of it is CGI’d, who knows. It looks wonderful.

The big cast works really together. Some in much smaller roles than expected, but still bringing in their all to tell this strange story. It was good to see Perlman get some work in a non straight to video film. Blanchett is in particular quite a force, basically stealing the movie away from Cooper’s character after she walks into it. She is given a really strong role and one that is hard to top. Cooper also does a wonderful job. It takes awhile before his character starts to talk. I wondered if he would be a silent protagonist for the whole film (like Cage was recently in Wally’s Wonderland) but once he started to actual talk, getting him to stop was the harder part.

The actual story for the film is also a pretty good one, if not slightly familiar in some ways. The ending is the type of thing you can see miles away, because they foreshadow everything really hard. However, it is okay knowing how it ends up, because finding out the lengths someone can fall and also rise is often the most exciting part of a film.

Nightmare Alley, shockingly, has no puppet animals, or strange creatures, or any non humans getting fucked. Is this growth? Nah. That was a one time thing for del Toro. Until it isn’t.

3 out of 4.

The Shape of Water

People don’t like Guillermo del Toro like I like Guillermo del Toro. Wanna know how I know? Because I gave Crimson Peak 3 stars. Great film, you should check it out. Decently creepy, and very beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are never going to get the Hellboy 3 he invisioned (now that the reboot is coming), but it seems to me like The Shape of Water is him telling an offshoot Hellboy story without needing Hellboy. Or at least, a prequel about Abe before he joined the B.P.R.D.

And I am a bit annoyed that this review is coming to you so late in the year, well after the wide releases, because I wanted to be in the forefront, waving my del Toro flag around, hoping that my eyes bleed from beautiful awkwardness.

There it is, love at first sight.

Way back a long time ago, long long ago. Let’s say the 1960’s. Yeah, that sounds good. Somewhere in Baltimore, close to DC, lived a mute girl by the name of, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins). She led a simple life, generally alone in her world. She would wake up late at night, bathe, masturbate, eat, and head to work because she worked as an overnight cleaning lady.

She had a friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer.) who worked with her and did all the talking for the duo. She also had a neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), an eccentric artist who a lot of strong opinions on everything. But she has no one to love, to really be intimate with, outside of the occasional Giles snuggles.

Well, at work one night, a strange shipment comes in, and their head of security (David Hewlett) says it is their most important thing ever! It comes with its own team of scientists, led by Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and some sort of federal agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). And sure enough yeah, it is some sort of Creature from the Black Lagoon! Or at least an Amphibian Man
(Doug Jones) from the Amazon Rain forest and rivers where he was worshiped as a god.

Oh fun! A creature that people are afraid of, who is being abused, who also has communication problems and is alone. Well, Elisa seems to have a connection to him. She feels his pain and wants to put him at ease. And when his life is on the line and other countries want him dead as well, she is going to have to put a lot more of herself out there than ever before.

Also starring Morgan Kelly as a below adequate pie flinger.

Michael Shannon desires only above average pie flingers.

At this day and age, it is very hard to give us a sort of “star crossed lovers” story and have it believable. We get it. People can be with anyone at this point. Romance against all odds.

So what about a woman and an amphibian man. Not a man who turned into a fish creature, but you know, some entity that evolved on its own, completely separate from humans, despite being humanoid. See, this is the new stuff that storytellers need to be tackling, the things that the Republicans have been warning us against.

Hawkins gives an astounding performance as our mute lead, and I am surprised there currently is not a giant campaign against her taking actual mute actresses work, or whatever. She does an amazing job, doing so much with those eyes and her smile. Shannon and Stuhlbarg are a bit cartoon-y, but that is okay given what they end up doing. Shannon’s villainness started off slow but really escalated near the end during the climax. I was very scared in the scene with Spencer.

Jenkins continues his eccentric small characters that he has been doing recently, and Spencer is unfortunately playing a role she keeps getting put into. She needs a better agent to showcase her range instead of the same thing over and over.

The film is stunning to look at, the Amphibian Man is detailed in every facet (and orifice). Doug Jones is finally being acknowledged for his astounding work in the creature field. There are so many positive things to say, but really, just see it for yourself for a different experience.

By and by, this is probably the finest piece of interspecies erotic ever written.

4 out of 4.


How many times do I have to watch JFK get shot? I mean, I am a young guy, so not as many times as some people who were alive back in the early ’60’s. But just last year we had Jackie, Parkland was about his death, and he probably died in The Butler.

And now we have a film about a president, who has been in other films recently, like Selma, All The Way, and uhhh, The Butler, again. But usually he is a smaller part. This movie, LBJ, is about LBJ and only LBJ.

Just kidding, a lot of it is about JFK getting shot, because it is super important to him getting presidency. Sucks to not be the 100% star of your own film. But LBJ would look at this and probably say something like “Doesn’t matter, Had Presidency.”

Sworn In
Blood still on the coat.

In Dallas, JFK (Jeffrey Donovan, Mr. Burn Notice himself), is shot and soon dead in a hospital. His wife (Kim Allen) is in shock, his brother Bobby (Michael Stahl-David) has become withdrawn, and a nation is on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

And in walks Lyndon Baines Johnson (Woody Harrelson), vice president, Texan, to swear himself in during a tumultuous time. And not just because of an assassination. Civil Rights riots are at an all time high, and the Southern Democrats are not willing to let the equal rights act go through. But it was one of JFK’s visions, and the best way to honor him would be to get his vision into reality.

But Johnson isn’t just some goddamn JFK puppet. He is a doer, not a talker. He ran the Senate well and made sure things happened. So even though he was never voted the president, he is going to rock that White House, pass some bills, and try and make America better.

Also starring Bill Pullman, Brian Stepanek, C. Thomas Howell, Michael Mosley, Rich Sommer, Wallace Langham, Richard Jenkins, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Ladybird.

“You know presidents, bunch of bitchy little girls” – Bruce Campbell, probably.

LBJ is not a linear film nor does it actually begin with his death. We get to see parts of Johnson’s life before he decided to run for president as Senate majority leader, losing to Kennedy in the primaries, agreeing to accept the VP position, attempting to bring about the Civil Rights Bill as VP, then the president dying, taking over his duties, and trying to be president. Technically, just a few years of his life, and a lot of it is focused on his relationship with the Kennedy brothers.

And again, that is all out of order, telling the story of the last president to voluntarily not run for a second term.

In terms of acting, Harrelson knocked it out of the park. He still had a bit of his woody crude streak going on, but for all I know, maybe LBJ was just like that. The make up work done to him was incredible and he really transformed into this president, I quickly forgot it was actually Harrelson. A very well done performance. Jenkins and Stahl-David also do relatively good performances, and I am still on the fence as Donovan as JFK. It is one that is just very hard to see.

The story is the weaker aspect of the film. It is a very standard feeling biography. It is only on the most important years of his life, it hits upon a very big current issue, and it puts a weird spin on it with him just wanting to be loved. Apparently. I don’t know how much of it is true, but it comes across as false. Thankfully the film is only a little bit more than 90 minutes, which almost seems strange to have it so short despite being a presidential bio film.

For LBJ, stay for the acting, but maybe read up on a history lesson to get a more complete view of the man that isn’t bogged down on specific themes.

3 out of 4.

Bone Tomahawk

Westerns! According to Spielberg, Super Hero movies might soon go the way of the Western. Everywhere, and then rarely. K, thanks Spielberg.

All of this is irrelevant to Bone Tomahawk, which is a new western (definitely not a super hero movie). It was also independently released, you can tell, because it wasn’t even rated. Ooh, a Non Rated Western? That has to be intentional. There has to be some fucked up shit in there. You know, NC-17 rated stuff.

What will it be? Violence? Sex? The word “Cunt?” Who knows! Only the one with the best facial hair I imagine.

Fuck. I hope that is real and I hope all future movies let him keep it.

Set in the vague past, we need to talk about a small town out in the West with your standard group of people. We have Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell), whom has lived a good life of protectin’ people and growing facial hair. He has a “Back Up Deputy”, Chicory (Richard Jenkins, who I didn’t recognize at all until writing this review), and older fella who likes to talk. Like old people.

They got a rich guy, John Brooder (Matthew Fox) with no family, a fear of Indians, and a lover of the ladies in the town. Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) is also relatively wealthy, but he has a broken leg, and is being tended by mostly from his wife, Samantha (Lili Simmons), who is basically a nurse.

But when a drifter (David Arquette) comes to their town, their life begins to get a bit rougher. They lock him in the local jail, not sure if they should trust him. Next thing they know, the drifter, Samantha, and Nick (Evan Jonigkeit) are missing. Apparently they were taken by an angry Indian tribe, nicknamed the Troglodytes, because they live in caves. No other tribes will interact with them because of their cruelty and cannibalism.

Well, not in Hunt’s town. He is able to gather a crew of men (the four mentioned!) to get them back, despite injuries and oldness. That is the only thing they can do, lest a wife and a friend get eaten up. That is not a pleasant way to go.

Also with one scene from Sid Haig.

There are rag tag groups, and then there is this group. Rejectag.

Bone Tomahawk is like a slow fuse. A long, slow fuse. Bone Tomahawk is 132 minutes long and the type of film that is in desperate need of a better editor. I can imagine at least 20 minutes of material being cut out to make the story just a smoother experience for everyone involved. I am not talking 20 minutes of beautiful scenic shots, I just mean actual character conversations.

The first scene is great, tense, gets you the mood. Then it takes a long time before people get kidnapped and their journey begins. An incredibly long time. Enough time for me to forget about the intro completely.

The journey itself was fine. The four actors provided nice conversations and good back stories, but still I figured more things would happen outside of the one or two issues they encountered pre-Troglodytes.

The action was very brutal however. A lot a talk about how one death scene was the craziest of the year, and I think most everyone who watches it will feel uncomfortable throughout it. Straight up medieval torture. The other shootouts are not long and drawn out, just real people blasting in holes in people where no one can really be a hero.

Bone Tomahawk could have been an excellent western. It just needs to trim a lot of fat first to get ready for bikini season.

2 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

White House Down

Some people enjoy eating competitions, fireworks, and BBQs for their Fourth of July celebrations. Not me. As a heavy movie consumer, I tend to spend a lot of time watching patriotic movies. You know which ones I am talking about. The kind that cause you to get out of your chair and start chanting U-S-A at the top of your lungs, or maybe even run down your street with an American flag (usually reserved for the Olympics). I am talking about the big heavy hitters, like Top GunRocky IV, The Mighty Ducks II, Red Dawn, and of course Independence Day.

Which is why I’m glad we have new movies coming out around the same time as the festivities, that only want to help us express that pride we have deep down inside ourselves. What is more patriotic than a movie involving an attack on the White House, by Americans, for Americans? My fellow Americans, I give you, White House Down (Trailer).

Guns Means Patriotism

The movie takes place in a time when America is dealing with a lot of conflict in the Middle East. AKA, modern day America. President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) wants to be a great man and known forever in history. He has decided to pull all of the troops out of the Middle East and also offer up a peace treaty for around twenty countries in that area. It is a pretty bold move that has a lot of people angry, including the vice president who will quit if it goes through.

John Cale (Channing Tatum) might not think too highly of the new order either, after all, he served three tours in Iraq/Afghanistan himself. But now he is back to living in DC, working as a body guard for the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins). His dream is to work for the secret service, the highest honor in the land, especially since his daughter Emily (Joey King) is obsessed with politics, and he wants to get back on her good graces.

But while on a tour at the White house (lead by Nicolas Wright), a bomb explodes on the Capital building, putting most of DC on lock down. Too bad a group of mercenaries have all infiltrated the White House to take the president prisoner. Why you might ask? Plenty of reasons, just pick one. Surely it isn’t just for money though. Either way, it is time for John Cale to prove himself capable of being a member of the Presidential Guard, or else there might not be a country to save.

We also have Maggie Gylenhaal as a head secret service agent, James Woods as the Head of the Presidential Detail, Jimmi Simpson as a big bad hacker, and Jason Clarke as a mad mad mercenary.

Yep. Everyone in this picture will kill someone by the movies end. For America.

I am not allowed to review White House Down without mentioning Olympus Has Fallen, which I loved. It had great action, it was tense, but it still had its weak moments. Olympus Has Fallen was a much more serious film, whereas White House Down is going for Action/Comedy and is much closer to being a Die Hard variant. It isn’t rated  but even the smallest details seem to be throw backs to Die Hard. Just look at Tatum himself. His garb mimics Bruce Willis in the first film, with the white tank top and ruffled hair as seen here.

Roland Emmerich is used to bigger disaster films, so I am surprised he was able to contain the destruction to basically only two buildings. Despite the small scale, I found myself at the edge of my seat as Tatum and Foxx were running around the White House trying to be action stars. Foxx’s character wasn’t as much of a bad ass, as he is the President, but he has a few moments.

But here is what I didn’t like. The run time is over two hours, far too long for this kind of movie. I think the main problem lies in the pre-explosion intro, which dragged on and on, trying to set up everyone’s story. None of the twists are really too surprising, as it fits a very common formula. I didn’t see the last twist coming, only because a twist there felt nonsensical. The final twist was also a bit rushed and a bit anti-climatic.

Regardless, I am willing to state that both White House invasion films from 2013 are probably worthy of a watch, at least once. This one has a limo chase seen on the presidential lawn, while Olympus Has Fallen has a limo fall into an icy river of death. The difference in limo usage probably highlights the main differences in the films. I wouldn’t describe this as a “dumber” version of OHF like other critics, but it definitely takes itself less seriously.

I am looking forward to 2014 when I get to see two versions of Hercules. (Hint: You can already tell which one will be better).


3 out of 4.

Liberal Arts

The reason it took me so long to see Liberal Arts is because for whatever reason, I refused to watch it outside of a RedBox rental. Yet somehow it was rented out for months, and I just got slapped in the mouth over and over again.

That doesn’t make any sense. But if you saw my review for Happythankyoumoreplease, you would have seen my comparisons between Josh Radnor and Zach Braff, getting their indie movies on. But now Josh Radnor did a second one? Come on, Braff is way behind now. Stop it Radnor.

But please, continue being the old dude at college parties. That’s for cool people.

Jesse Fisher (Radnor) is a 40 something man living in NYC and just being kind of miserable. He has a job, has a life, but there is no fun. But when his professor, Peter Hoberg (Richard Jenkins), announces his retirement (in mother fucking Iowa) and wants one of his favorite students to show up. Sure. Why not. It is his favorite professor too.

Well, during the festivities, he meets Edie Parker (Elizabeth Olsen), a 20-year old college student who is all sorts of perky and happy. In fact, they go on a date. Not weird. Kind of weird. Nothing happens. But they agree to write each other and exchange music.

That gets them all excited. Then they see each other again. For sex? Maybe for sex. He also meets an old teacher he used to like (Allison Janney), a depressed individual who likes the same books he does (John Magaro) and a person who may not be real who is helping him achieve his desires (Zac Efron).

Aww yeah. Again, maybe sex will happen. Maybe.

Is this sex? I don’t even know.

So what happens when Josh Radnor tries to out indie Zach Braff? Well, it actually works out really well.

First off, Elizabeth Olsen is the younger sister of the twins. She also seems to be totally sane. She won a lot of awards for her role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but I haven’t seen it yet. Well, clearly I should, because Olsen rocked this movie as well.

Liberal Arts deals with a lot of tough subjects. There are multiple supplots outside of the “Go to college, maybe deflower someone who really likes you” subplot, yet they all also deal with Radnor’s character. One man, many subplots. I love the random ones with the depressed kid, and a dazed and confused Zac Efron. It also took me awhile to recognize him as Efron, not at all expecting him to have a role like that.

There are plenty of awkward scenes as well, dealing with a man who is trying to find his place in life, and going back to his roots to figure it out. Everyone acts well in it, and it doesn’t go the way you’d expect it. Shit, there is even a discussion about Twilight in it, without mentioning the book title.

I’d say check it out. You will realize that Radnor might be a better director/writer than a sitcom star.

3 out of 4.

The Company You Keep

Robert Redford is starring in a movie!

That should be the first thing out of your mouth, seeing The Company You Keep. The other thing you will notice is it has quite a hefty list of famous actors thrown into the mix. Robert Redford doesn’t act much anymore, but when he does, he calls out all the stops.

Robert Redford
See? This is him literally calling out all the stops.
From watching movies, I have learned that the 1960’s were a terrible time. But hey, terrible times lead to great movies about how terrible it all was. War, protests, the whole shabang. Some protesters couldn’t stand being peaceful though, like the Weather Underground movement. These group of youngsters thought they saw their government committing terrible crimes, so they wanted to get their attention back at home by blowing stuff up, and maybe even murder.

They also were never caught in the act and prosticuted. Until now.

Sharon (Susan Sarandon) has just been picked up by the cops, wanted in the murder of a cop from the ’60s. They have everything on her and all of her phone logs. Thanks to some reporter with gusto, (Shia LaBeouf), an article was published linking lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) to the crimes and a nationwide manhunt for his arrest. Hooray! Take that violent political activist from the ’60s!

But did he really do the crimes he is being accused of? If he is innocent, why would he run? After all, the FBI (Terrence Howard) and newspaper editors (Stanley Tucci) all seem to think he’s guilty. Yet for some reason, he is being erratic, and looking really hard for one Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie). Hmm, I wonder what she has to do with all of this mess.

There are far too many famous (and famous-ish) actors to just throw their name casually in the plot, so I will just list them all here: Richard JenkinsAnna KendrickBrendan GleesonBrit MarlingSam ElliottStephen RootNick Nolte and Chris Cooper.

Stephen Root is standing next to lettuce. Yep, nothing to see here.
The first thing I noticed is that Robert Redford no longer looks identical to Brad Pitt. But hey, now we know what Brad Pitt will look like in about 20 years.

Looking at Redford’s work schedule, he hasn’t been in a movie since 2007, but he has at least two more on the pipeline. The more notable one is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Even better, the reason he is in the Marvel Sequel is just because he hasn’t ever played a role like it and thought it would be fun. I love it when actors tell the truth.

As for The Company You Keep, it has an interesting story behind it, but in the end it is just okay. It takes a little bit to get going, and kind of fuddled up in the middle, but it all makes a lot of sense by the end. Not that I actually liked the ending, as I thought there were multiple cop outs from various characters in the film. Acting was fine, just like Lawless, I didn’t hate Shia by the end of it, but he wasn’t exceptional in it either. Seeing him with facial hair (well, the small amount he could pull off) was an interesting change at least!

In other news, watch it only if you are missing Robert Redford in your normal life and like slow moving political-ish thrillers.

2 out of 4.

Jack Reacher

I found myself disappointed again, going to the theaters to see another movie based off of a literary character I had never heard of before. The first teaser trailer for Jack Reacher I actually enjoyed, despite the silly title. But hey, some author gave him that crappy name, so that is what they are stuck with. But once I got the full trailer for Jack Reacher, I really didn’t care if I saw the movie or not. Seemed like your standard action movie, potentially also spoiling the most amusing parts in it.

Damn it trailers, why must you exist at 2-3 minute lengths? You give far too much away!

“I’m hear to kick ass and fuck bitches, and I’m all out of fucks to give.”

The movie begins with a cold open in Pittsburgh, where a man open fires from a sniping position and kills five random citizens before making his get away. However, with the large number of clues left behind, Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) and District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) are able to find the culprit and make the arrest within 16 hours after the incident. Despite the facts, the sniper, James Barr (Joseph Sikora) refuses to admit guilt, and asks for one thing. Jack Reacher.

Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a ghost, having been living off the grid in the US for the last two years, without a smudge on his record. Formerly a member of the military police, he has had a past with Barr in Iraq, and makes his way on Pittsburgh on his own to find out just what happened. Helen (Rosamund Pike), Barr’s attorney, daughter of the DA, wants to use Jack as her lead investigator to help her side of the case. She doesn’t want to get him off or anything, but maybe just avoid the death penalty. Oh, and Barr is now in a coma. Hard to help out your own case when you can’t talk!

What will Jack conclude? Did Barr finally snap and take out a few civilians? Or is something else at play here? You know, since he is being followed by random thugs and gang people (Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog). Robert Duvall is also around eventually, as your everyday friendly gun shop owner. Yay small businesses!

Bus stop
Look familiar? This scene literally takes place on a different day as the other picture.

The first words spoken in the movie don’t happen until 8 minutes in. It wasn’t just eight minutes of opening credits either! No, we got to see the shooter set up, take his shots, and leave. We saw all the clues gathered and the shooter arrested and taken to jail, all before anyone said a word. The only way to describe the snipe scene is creepy. You get to see through the cross hairs, hear the breathing, and watch as the sniper figures out his victims and shoots, all in one long scene.

And boy did it really set the tone for the rest of the movie.

Jack Reacher is not a CGI-driven action movie full of explosions with a one man super hero who spits bullets and is amazing at everything. No, there is actually a bit of thought involved and he has weaknesses. The story takes its time to develop, going at the best pace to make sure the plot actually makes sense. The actual reason for the shootings I found to be disappointing, but I appreciated the build up to the reveal, even if it involved talk of conspiracies and corrupt government agents.

This is also a non comedic role for Tom Cruise. I usually find his more serious stuff to be lacking and a bit dull, yet I think he really carried this picture in a calm and confident way. Don’t worry, there are some amusing scenes, but it isn’t the main focus of the film.

I’d recommend this movie if you are looking for an action movie that isn’t completely mindless and what looks like a faithful interpretation of the book.

3 out of 4.

Killing Them Softly

What can I say about Killing Them Softly? On the internet, where I live, there seems to be a pretty heated discussion on whether or not this movie is weird. Why? Because it is just incredibly weird overall. Like, over the top, doesn’t go the way you think it will, very long scenes, weird.

Also, it has not so subtle messages about the economy, taking place during the McCain/Obama elections of 2008.

Ray Liotta
Here is a not so subtle picture of Ray Liotta, being pissed.

In New Orleans, a lot of people like to gamble. Rich people. Many people run games. Including Markie (Liotta). Except the first time he ran a game, it got hit up by thugs, robbed everyone. Much much later, after everyone got the money back through whatever means, he admitted he hit his own game. No one cared anymore. Hilarious. So that is where Squirrel (Vincent Curatola) comes in. He realizes that if they were to steal from one of his games, they will automatically think it was Markie, not another party, and kill him for it. They can get away easily! He just needs two men to do it!

He has one guy in Frankie (Scoot McNairy), but his friend Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) is kind of a wild card. Australian, druggie, other shit. Talks a lot too. What if he just spoils the whole thing?

Well, the plan happens. They make money. Everything good is happening!

But what if they find out? Lot of powerful people behind the scenes, very bureaucratic. They get their task man (Richard Jenkins) to hire a hit man (Brad Pitt) to fix all of the loose ends, and get their money back. Maybe he might even bring in a second hit man (James Gandolfini) just to handle it all.

Why did I wait to show you Brad Pitt? Because you had to wait a long time to see him in the movie too.

But now I can talk about why this movie is so frustrating. There are some incredible scenes. Some slow motion assassinations, with a lot going on, kind of reminded me of Dredd, but less over-exaggeration. The dialogue was interesting and realistic. People talked about random shit that didn’t seem to move the movie forwards. That is because real people have real problems, and who cares about killing people when your life is going to leave you.

The movie’s action was actually really light. I would say there is about 10x as much just sitting around talking then there is action, as it is most of the movie. However, the movie also did a lot that bugged me.

In one scene, a character hadn’t slept much in a few days, and was a bit drugged up, so we got to see a conversation in his point of view. The camera actually got darker when he closed his eyes and was about to sleep. But it was only the two people talking. So the majority of that conversation was the other character asking his questions multiple times until he was awake enough to answer. It was frustrating for him, but far more frustrating for the viewer. I personally got a headache in that one scene.

It is a hard movie to watch, for sure. There were six people in my theater, but four of them left before the end of the movie. That is not a good retention rate.

But at the same time, there is something about this movie that is intriguing. I just think it was advertised as something its not, and belongs more on the indie market. Watch it if you want, if you don’t want to, then don’t. Easy enough.

2 out of 4.

The Cabin in the Woods

My first thought when I heard of The Cabin in the Woods was of course, Evil Dead.

What? Evil Dead?

Yes. If you were awesome, you’d know why too. Not to like, immediately insult most of my readers or anything.

Why yes, yes that is Thor sitting on the chair.

Woo, trip to the woods! We got Curt (Chris Hemsworth) and his girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison) who just died her hair blonde! We also got a stoner, Marty (Fran Kranz, who you may remember from Dollhouse). On this weekend retreat, they really want to hook up their friend Dana (Kristen Connolly) with this new guy, who is also athletic, Holden (Jesse Williams).

Things are weird there though.

What else do we got? We got some scientists, kind of! Two head guys (Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford) talking confusing stuff about how the Netherlands and Sweden. They are being bugged by an assistant (Amy Acker) and have a new guard for their door (Brian White) who doesn’t want to be there.

And that is all you get, fuck you!

Well, they at least look like scientists. The validity of their science is another thing.

Pissed off at the shitty plot outline? Well good. Then you can go watch it and see what is up.

Never have I personally seen a more polarizing film amongst my friends, who all mostly got to see it before me it feels like. I didn’t see anyone say it was okay. It was purely a love or hate affair, which intrigued me. What does that usually mean? It means the film is either artsy, or weird. This one I would definitely describe on the weird side of cinema.

It just goes against the grain of what you expect, and rustles some of your jimmies doing so. Personally, I had a good time watching it. Wasn’t perfect. But super weird. So just give it a shot, and well, don’t get too upset when weird stuff happens.

3 out of 4.