Currently browsing the "John Goodman" tag.

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is a monster movie spectacle. If you like the likes of King Kong, Godzilla, and Jurassic Park, with a bit of Apocalypse Now thrown into the mix, then you’ll surely be satisfied with Kong: Skull Island. If the aforementioned titles don’t get your cinematic juices flowing, then you can skip this latest spin on a really, really big ape and the island he reigns over. I didn’t not like it, but I wasn’t blown away either, because I’m simply not a monster movie maven. It took me decades to get around to seeing the original Jurassic Park. This film has a similar vibe. Humans invade the turf of giant creatures and pay a hefty price.

Patriots Day

The Boston Marathon bombing is like so many of our recent tragedies. We remember where we were when it happened and were glued to the news, trying to come to terms with the horrifying display of carnage born from hatred. Then over the following days we watched and waited as the perpetrators were identified, killed, and captured. Patriots Day is essentially this story told through one Boston cop’s eyes. Mark Wallberg is Sgt. Tommy Saunders, a cop who’s made some mistakes and has been forced to be a Marathon traffic cop, so he just happens to be there when the bombs go off, which throws him into the middle of the hunt for the perps who may be planning more attacks. You know what’s going to happen, so there aren’t many surprises, but the film is fast paced with enough detail to make it extremely absorbing, and it works!

CinemaClash Podcast: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Knight of Cups, Embrace of the Serpent, and more!

I’m not a big fan of horror movies, but 10 Cloverfield Lane is more of a psychological drama filled with twists and turns and solid performances that keep you on the edge of your seat for a surprisingly entertaining – or at least, attention-holding – two hours. For more (spoiler-free) insight and debate on 10 Cloverfield Lane, Knight of Cups, Embrace of the Serpent, and more, check out the latest CinemaClash podcast with me and my cinema nemesis Charlie Juhl:

Trumbo

Trumbo is set in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s during the Red Scare, when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was convinced that there were Commie spies planting propaganda in movies, and a lot of once bright careers were destroyed as a blacklist kept them from getting any work. The film centers on Dalton Trumbo, one of the highest paid screenwriters in town who begins the film at the height of his career. But after refusing to testify in front of the HUAC, he’s sent to jail and once released has to find creative ways to continue his craft. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays Trumbo, and his Oscar-worthy performance elevates a less than exciting script.

The Monuments Men

It was hard not to wonder WHY the release of The Monuments Men was delayed by several months, missing out on the awards-season bru-ha-ha. Now I (think I) know. It simply isn’t good enough. It’s not bad by any means, but it is disappointing, especially when you consider the raw materials that included an interesting story and an A-list cast led by George Clooney, who also directed the film.

The Monuments Men is based on the true story of an unlikely platoon of soldiers– museum directors, architects, artists, curators and art historians – who went to the front lines during World War II to help rescue, preserve and return some of the world’s greatest artistic masterpieces, jeopardized by Nazi thieves.

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis is one of those indie films that you either love – or don’t. I wanted to. But I didn’t. Fans of folk music and the Coen Brothers will surely appreciate the film’s soundtrack and gritty portrayal of a week in the life of a young folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961. But others may find it kind of slow and depressing.

Flight

A word of advice: Don’t go watchin’ this movie anytime close to air travel, and for heaven’s sake, don’t even THINK about watching it while ON a plane. Snakes are more comforting than the thought of an incapacitated pilot.  I just finally got around to watching Flight so I could verify whether (or not) Denzel Washington’s performance lives up to best-actor buzz. Sure enough, he is excellent as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who fails to recognize or admit that he’s a drug abuser and alcoholic.

Argo

I’m always a bit wary of adding to the hype and expectations of any movie that generates “Oscar buzz” before Halloween. But I really liked Argo. A lot. Enough to tout it for Best Picture and Best Director consideration. It’s one of those movies that has everything going for it. Good story. Good characters. Good pacing. And a solid mix of drama, humor and intensity. It’s like watching All the President’s Men meets Apollo 13.

The plot is preposterous – and that’s why it works. The story is based on actual events that were kept classified for nearly two decades. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried – unless perhaps you work in the intelligence community. Kinda makes you wonder what crazy covert ops we’ll find out about 20 years from now.

The Artist

I have my favorite movie of the year now, and I expect that The Artist will be at the top of a lot of other reviewers’ lists, too. I’ve been told I gush about it. And I do not gush often. Considering that it is in black & white and is a silent film, you might wonder why.