Currently browsing the "josh Brolin" tag.

Quickie Review: Once Upon A Deadpool

There are multiple jokes in Once Upon A Deadpool about lazy writing. So I’m going to rip a page out of Deadpool’s book and compose a review befitting this feeble yet entertaining excuse for a limited (re)release. Once Upon a Deadpool is exactly what it claims to be: a comical retread that downplays the raunch of the R-rated Deadpool 2 just enough to transform it into a PG-13 flick that is, well, family-friendlier. There’s a ban on the use of the “F-word” word; judicious bleeping; strategic pixelating; and a few new zingers that simultaneously mock and celebrate an array of mutant and superhero movies.

Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 has a lot in common with Deadpool 1: it’s irreverent, self-deprecating, cynical and sarcastic; incessantly mocking the superhero genre, while leveraging the very plot devices and character quirks that have come to define superhero movies in general and Marvel movies in particular; and, it’s weird, gross, and generally entertaining. But yes – there’s a ‘but’ coming… the R-rating could easily stand for ‘Redundant’ (in addition to, um, other stuff that makes Deadpool 2, like its predecessor, an anti-superhero flick for older teens and adults only). The shock value humor that made Deadpool such a ‘WTF’ hit in 2016 simply can’t be replicated in a sequel. Instead, we get more of the same. More of Ryan Reynolds breaking the fourth wall as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool whose superpower is, as he describes it, “unbridled cancer”; More overt and covert pop culture references; More melodramatic 80s music; More opening credit gags and CGI extravaganzas.

Even the storyline provided by the studio is, intentionally, a load of bull:

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Infinity War

I don’t know what to say. Really. There’s little to say, without giving too much away. So here’s the spoiler-free gist: The Avengers – and their superhero allies from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe – engage in what may be their deadliest showdown of all time. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Spider-man, Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and others too, join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Gemora, Groot, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, etc.) to defeat a mighty alien named Thanos who aims to eliminate half the universe. Thanos’s misguided plan for population control rests on his ability to collect all six brightly-colored “Infinity Stones” that can manipulate elements of time, space, reality, power, the mind, and the soul. If Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeds – all hell breaks loose, and a lot of people die. In other words, the stakes are higher than high for this epic action adventure sci-fi fantasy flick.

Avengers, assemble! And bring reinforcements! Victory is not guaranteed.

Quickie Reviews: Only the Brave; Marshall

Only the Brave is a solid, engaging drama that is all the more impactful in light of the recent wildfires in California. Fire is as much a character in Only the Brave as the 20 Granite Mountain Hotshots– and their families – to which the film pays tribute by sharing the true story of the elite firefighting unit, and their sacrifice on June 30, 2013. Nineteen of the men died trying to protect their community from the historic Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. One survived. The movie, based on a 2013 GQ article, features a strong ensemble cast led by the ruggedly charming Josh Brolin as Hotshot supervisor and father figure Eric Marsh. Miles Teller (Whiplash, Bleed for This, and the upcoming Thank You For Your Service) gets one of the more prominent sub-plots as Brendan, a young man with a troubled past who’s determined to turn his life around. He gets his second chance with the Granite Mountain Hotshots (think Top Gun with firefighters instead of fighter pilots).

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers are prolific filmmakers, but for me their films are hit or miss. I loved No Country for Old Men, and Fargo was amazing. But then there are those utterly forgettable flicks – The Lady Killers, or Burn After Reading. I’d put Hail, Caesar! somewhere in between. It’s plenty entertaining but it isn’t going on the shelf with The Big Lebowski. It’s a lovely walk around 50s era Hollywood with a star-studded cast having a lot of fun. And if for nothing else, you should see it for Channing Tatum’s dance number.

Sicario

If you’ve ever wondered how violent and insidious the Mexican drug cartels and our persistent war against them are, this is the movie for you! From the first frame you’re plunged into a blood-soaked world where law enforcement is impotent, and successes come with collateral damage. Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, an FBI agent who’s trying unsuccessfully to stem the tide of killings on the US side of the Arizona border. Following a bombing that kills several of her fellow agents, she is invited to join a multi-agency task force tracking down the perpetrator. It’s headed by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) who keeps her (and the audience) in the dark about his strategies and motivations for much of the operation. Benicio Del Toro joins them as Alejandro, the titular sicario, Spanish for hitman, though he’s given “consultant” status. And before you know it, they’re all in Mexico where mutilated bodies hang from bridges as warnings from the cartels, blazing in with the help of the Mexican federal police to extract someone for Alejandro to torture some information out of back home. It is not a pretty picture.

Everest

The biggest star of Everest is the mountain itself. So if you plan to see the movie, you’ve got to spring for the IMAX 3D. Bring popcorn – and oxygen! In many ways, the movie is reminiscent of Gravity (which I liked visually, but disliked narratively), only this time, the action takes place on a mountain instead of deep space. It’s an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into what drives certain adventure-seekers to pay big money to forego hot showers, oxygen, and terra firma, in a potentially fatal effort to summit the world’s tallest peak. The movie is based on the true story of one deadly day on the mountain: May 10, 1996. Climbers from two expeditions got caught up in an unexpected, violent snowstorm while making their final ascent toward the summit.

Inherent Vice

I have liked Paul Thomas Anderson’s films a lot in the past (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, There Will be Blood), and Inherent Vice has a lot of the elements he is known for — a great ensemble cast, intertwining story lines, a sense of the world being off kilter. But in this case, it just never seems to come together. By the end of two and a half hours, you are as befuddled as the pothead protagonist, all the while thinking that it has to ultimately make sense. My suspicion is that adapting this (or any other) Thomas Pynchon novel seemed like a great challenge, since no one has done it before. But I think this film should serve as a cautionary tale for future screenwriters who think they’ll be the one who gets it right.

Men in Black 3

The third MIB is definitely not the charm. It’s the weakest of the bunch, mostly because it’s not particularly funny, dramatic or cool – elements that helped make the original premise so engaging, entertaining and quirky. MIB3 has a few funny lines, but overall, it’s kind of a downer.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones basically phone it in as they reprise their roles as Agents J (Smith) and K (Jones), partners in a government agency that monitors alien activity on Earth. Agent J is the hip one; K is the surly one. And in MIB3, we learn why K is such a dour dude.

True Grit

True Grit is a chick flick wrapped in a western. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin may be the higher-profile actors in this period piece, but it’s teenage newcomer Hailee Steinfeld who drives the plot and exhibits the “true grit” that the title refers to.