Before TOP GUN: MAVERICK, director Joseph Kosinski did a movie with a few of the same actors that did not receive as much attention. Released in 2017, ONLY THE BRAVE is the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite fire fighter crew in Prescott, Arizona specializing in clearing fire-fueling plants and starting controlled burns to cut off the spread of wildfires. Warning: the story is tragic, and this is a crier. But it’s a great movie.
It’s technically impeccable. As on his previous movies TRON: LEGACY and OBLIVION, Kosinski has Claudio Miranda as his director of photography. Miranda also shot THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and LIFE OF PI, so obviously he has chops. I don’t know what amount of pyrotechnics vs. cg they use, but many fire scenes are much more convincing than THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD (though I liked that movie). It’s a high level of filmmaking craft, but the thrills and adventure and shit are honestly backdrop for a story about people, with uniformly strong performances and very effective characterization in the script adapted by Ken Nolan (BLACK HAWK DOWN and, uh, TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT) and Eric Warren Singer (THE INTERNATIONAL, AMERICAN HUSTLE, an episode of Æon Flux) from the GQ article “No Exit” by Sean Flynn. (read the rest of this shit…)
21 BRIDGES is a police thriller with some action. It reminds me of the kind of stuff studios made in the ‘90s, when maybe it would’ve starred Denzel or Wesley Snipes or maybe Samuel L. Jackson if he’d been offered it during that window when he could be the main character and starred in THE NEGOTIATOR. But it was made in 2019, so it stars Chadwick Boseman and is produced by his CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, AVENGERS INFINITY WAR/ENDGAME directors Joe and Anthony Russo (as well as Boseman himself).
Boseman plays Andre Davis, NYPD detective, son of a murdered cop, infamous for shooting and killing 8 perps in 9 years, but he insists they were all justified, and it’s obvious he’s the type of good guy we can trust on that. The types we can’t trust are all over the movie, and they’re obvious too.
Tonight’s Andre Davis Mystery involves two criminals, one more reasonable and moral than the other, busting into a restaurant to steal a stash of cocaine. The one guy there basically tells them they’re making a mistake, that they will die, and then willingly gives them the keys and the location of the vault. Not like he’s scared of them, more like there’s no reason to interfere, they’re not going to get away with it. (read the rest of this shit…)
The trailers for AMERICAN ASSASSIN had me confused. Here is this mainstream, slick and expensive looking movie, Michael Keaton is in it, they’re advertising it before respectable movies. And then the plot is that a guy’s fiancee is killed in a terrorist attack, so he trains himself into a super-duper-badass warrior and master of covert ops and goes on a personal mission undercover into the terrorist cell to get revenge on the motherfuckers. That sounds exactly like a movie I would watch if it starred Scott Adkins or Jason Statham or The Rock or somebody. But this just stars some guy. Some actor.
Well it’s on video now so I had to find out the deal. Turns out the actor is Dylan O’Brien and additionally it turns out that Dylan O’Brien is the guy that starred in those movies THE MAZE RUNNER that somebody has probly watched at some point. Also it turns out that there is still a serious TV show based on TEEN WOLF and the show has Teen Wolf’s wacky buddy Stiles in it and Dylan O’Brien plays this Stiles. We are learning alot here today in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)
Let’s say you are a pretty decent commercial Hollywood filmmaker and you have accepted the conventional wisdom that you are now living in a “brand” and “i.p.” culture, a world where studios only want to make – and people only want to see – movies based on famous titles of TV shows and comic books and things that they remember from before. And let’s say that the toy company Hasbro has stumbled into running a movie production company after Michael Bay turned their Transformers toys into a gigantic movie franchise. And that now they are convinced they can do the same thing with the classic board game Battleship.
Well, that actually happened one time to Peter Berg (THE RUNDOWN), who had not directed a movie for a couple years after his not-brand-based Summer Fling HANCOCK floundered in 2008, and his response was “Why not?” Or maybe “I guess?” or perhaps “Okay. Fine.” Since the game is very simple, with no story or characters and I’d say less than five identifiable characteristics that would need to be used in an adaptation, he and screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber (RED 1 and 2) could just use it as a fake name to slap onto an expensive wannabe blockbuster than any sane person would know was gonna be broadly rejected only because of the board game name that they didn’t need to put on it. But that’s life.
SAVAGES is the new crime film from Oliver Stone, about two young idealistic pot entrepreneurs taking on a ruthless Mexican cartel (which is one of the most common types of cartels). The tale is narrated to us by O (GREEN LANTERN’s girlfriend Blake Lively) who is the shared lover of botany genius/philanthropist Ben (Aaron KICKASS Johnson) and Iraq vet/muscle-of-the-operation Chon (Taylor JOHN CARTER Kitsch). The two grew up together as surf bums in Laguna Beach and then one day decided to bring home marijuana seeds from Afghanistan and create a new strain. And the shit blew up like Apple. (read the rest of this shit…)
JOHN CARTER is your typical Civil-War-veteran-transported-via-magic-cave-to-Mars-to-fall-in-love-with-a-princess-and-fight-a-war tale. I mean, how many movies can we have on this topic?
Oh wait, I was thinking of can-you-fuck-your-friend-all-the-time-and-not-fall-in-love romantic comedies. That’s the more common one. The civil war veteran on Mars deal is not that big of a genre this year, and this new (partly) live action take from Disney might be the last one. It’s not shaping up to be the smash hit required to make back its big budget, and the box office trainspotters are already giggling and high-fiving each other as they dig it a shallow grave in an unused lot behind Space Mountain. That’s too bad, ’cause it’s a hell of alot of fun. (read the rest of this shit…)
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