Killing Them Softly (2012)

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Killing Them Softly is basically exactly as the title implies.  I don’t have much of a fond opinion on this one, as I kinda guessed the entire script as I was watching.  It also was not fast paced, or even moderately paced, at all which really caused my interest to wain while watching.  It had all the elements of a neo-noir film but just didn’t really get anything done.  I also felt there was a lot of this abstract conversation that were occurring through out the movie from the characters which became hard to follow.  Then with almost every scene you would hear snippets of past or current president’s speeches where the sound bits reiterated the story as it was going.  Which was a good concept but I felt it constantly just told me what I already knew.  I think it would have been better if those sound bits possible led to what might happen at the end of the plot as opposed to exactly what had just happened.

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Yeah this almost crashed and burned for me.  They had a really solid cast but I felt like most of the actors were not truly used.  Ray Liotta’s character was ok but basically he is just type cast as these characters so thats what ever.  James Gandolfini was even it and he didn’t kill a single soul.  Disappointed.  At least Brad Pitt was decent….

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I don’t have much more of an opinion on this one.  It kinda was just another movie that I will most likely forget I have watched which will result in me watching it again until I notice I’ve seen it before, I have done that like 4 times with Clash of the Titans (2010). Sad I know.

Overall: 15/25

Slow, neo-noir crime film that seems like it never really gets going or ends.  There are a lot of pretty shots and some decent cg effects.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

IMDB Score: 6.2/10

I think they should have PAID ME.

– Ben

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The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

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So this crime drama was split into three different acts all in sequential order. So I will discuss each one separately with out giving to much away.

Act 1

This was by far my most favorite act of the three.  It was also the only act featuring Ryan Gosling, who I felt was perfectly cast.  I honestly can say I really enjoy watching him act, he can really embody the character I would imagine playing the roles he is cast in.  This character though was awesome to see how a life altering change strove him to undertake a questionable career.  Him playing a motorcycle stunt man turned bank robber really reminded me of him in Drive (2011) which I was a fan of.  Now only unclear part of this act was the time setting I really didn’t notice this was supposed to be set in the era that it was until the final act spelled it out for me.  Some of the choices for setting, costume, and props now seem out of place for the time. I might just be totally confused on when this film actually took place.  Was it the late 80’s, early 90’s, or the late 90’s?  I just couldn’t pin point it.

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Act 2

This is where we learn of Bradley Coopers role in this film and it really centers on him where as the first act was totally focused on Ryan.  Now I’m not a hater of Bradley but I just didn’t love him for this role.  I can’t really explain it, I just don’t see him cast as an officer.  His acting was fine just didn’t particular love the casting option.  This act basically just picks up where act 1 left off so my complaints remain the same.

Act 3

Act 3 takes place 15 years later and involves Bradley, his character’s son, and Ryan’s character’s son.  This act I didn’t like at all.  It felt really drawn out and looking to hard to close the plot lines.  Plus I felt it really danced around a lot only to climax into exactly what I expected.

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Overall: 18/25

I was hooked at the start then my interest wained towards the end.  Not a bad film but not a great film.  It had some nice almost Shakespearian line storyline but the ending really failed for me.  My most major problem is that it was 140 mins, just to long for this film in my opinion.  If it was more like 110 to 120 mins I would have been more pleased.

Rotten Tomatoes:  81%

IMDB: 7.4/10

Eva Mendes does not get naked 😦

– Ben

There will be blood (2007)

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I have been putting off watching this for years for some unknown reason.  Boy I wish I hadn’t.  Talk about a movie boner.  This film blew me away on so many levels.  First off Daniel Day-Lewis is hands down my favorite character actor.  His performance was just absolutely stunning.  He fit the role of a greedy, independent oil man to a tee.  He was just ruthless to everyone in the story to the point you hated him yet still loved him.  Not very often do you find a character as such.  Another shining star of this film was Paul Dano, playing the very out there Evangelical pastor Eli Sunday and his twin Paul.  But forget Paul he only had one scene, but Dano’s playing of Eli was just thrilling.  He had all the hand gesturing and charisma I would expect from a very in your face preacher.   I throughly disliked and didn’t trust his character the whole film which really speaks volume to Dano’s abilities in making me hate such a character so much.

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Now the setting and costuming was perfect as well.  The huge wooden derricks, the steam engines, the frontier housing, and characters outfits just matched exactly what I would expect for the time and place.  Only complaint I had was that the setting was very much Texas looking, which it was filmed there, so that threw me off a little when it was supposedly taking place in southern California.

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Overall: 23/25

A thrilling epic into the American spirit, capitalism, and greed.  Day-Lewis will blow your mind and Paul Dano will make you not want to go to church anymore.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

IMDB score: 8.1/10

I’m finished.

-Ben

Maron (2013 TV Show)

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I found this beauty a few weeks ago and just wrapped up the final episode of season one.  It reminds me a lot of Louie on FX, or FXX I don’t know anymore.  Marc Maron has a type of humor I really enjoy.  I never really had listen to any of his famous podcasts (storyline of each episodes is based around the podcast he’s currently recording on that episode) or watch any of his stand up but I found myself laughing pretty hard at this show.  He likes to joke a lot about himself and his experiences which all tend to be quite entertaining.  This show seams to really mirror what he might be doing in real life.  Almost has a documentary like feel to the story telling, but the jokes have been fantastic. Its basic premise is just the daily life of Marc Maron and all the dumb shit he does or causes. Oh he has a ton of cameos by other comedians which really makes the show great.

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Overall for Season 1: 21.5/25

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

IMDB Score: 7.8/10

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– Ben

The Ninth Gate (1999)

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Well this one really reminded me of the da vinci code just due to the similar story matter.  Instead of the illuminati we had Lucifer and this truly devilish girl, reminiscent of the the albino Silas in da vinci code.  This was a pretty typical Polanski movie.  Lots of nice scenes shot all over Europe with a thrilling suspenseful musical score.  I enjoyed it but its seemed a little long and drawn out.  Just when you think it might be wrapping up it continues, and even though other critics found the ending bland.  I liked it. It really left it up to your imagination of the resulting consequences of Johnny Depp’s character.  Per usual Depp played a very dark and mysterious character and to top it off he was shown drinking quite often.  Not drunk but drinking none the less.  Oh he also appears to smoke American Spirit cigarettes through the whole movie, legit.

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One character I really like though was Emmanuelle Seigner’s The Girl.  She just had the prefect attitude and look to play this devilish angle like character.  Polanski made her look just incredibly evil and a total temptress.  Plus you get a glimpse of her breasteses, always a plus.

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Those eyes though…

Overall: 18/25

It’s a decent thriller and suspenseful movie just way to long, but enjoy the scenery and Depp’s typical character.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 41%

IMDB Score: 6.7/10

– Ben

Sonatine (1993)

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Oh where to begin….

This was definitely different from what I had expected. From the short Netflix description this Japanese gangster film seemed like it might have a lot of action and possibly some crazy Yakuza fight scenes.  Not the case, don’t get me wrong there was a few action sequences but nothing like what I had expected. Especially with Takeshi Kitano, both as actor and director, and his reputation as a solid amount of action just was there.  For example check out Battle Royal (2000), his character is just ruthless in that one. This was much more of a character study, and for that I really like it.

Kitano’s directing talents really showed up for this one, one scene in particular stood out to me.  Right after an assassination of one of his underlings in front of him, by a rival gang leader that failed to see Kitano’s character Murakawa hiding behind a boat, the camera pans out to a very wide shot of the beach on Okinawa.  In the screen, Murakawa is playing frisbee by himself, tossing it up towards the sky to have the wind blow it back to him.  The last throw results in the frisbee blowing out of the screen and Murakawa slowing following it to exit the scene leaving just the beach in the picture.  What a way to captivate his character’s playful personality yet still showing the effect of the recent assassination on him.

One criticism I did find with this movie was in the possible translation from Japanese to English subtitles.  The were some instances in which dialog was clearly lost especially in conversations with Murakawa’s women.  They are sitting on a dune talking about if she can return to the their hide out, in which Murakawa responds “You can, but you won’t bitch”.  The way they were talking and there was no evidence that Murakawa would have an issue with her. This very direct statement just seemed out of place.  Which I will assume is due to the inflection and dialog being lost in translation… ha I made another movie reference.

Overall 20/25

Solid, lots of pretty camera work and location shooting, but a little on the slow side.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

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– Ben