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Author Archives: Brock Winspear

You Were Never Really Here (2017)


You Were Never Really Here (2017)

I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie.  It appeared like it would be either really good or just really bad.  I have enjoyed most of Joaquin Phoenix’s work, so I thought I would give You Were Never Really Here a shot.

The film is about a hit man who gets in over his head when he is hired to rescue a young girl from a sex slave ring, and make the people involved suffer for what they have done to her.

The movie was directed by Lynne Ramsay and the noteworthy cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman, Alex Manette, Ekaterina Samsonov, and Alessandro Nivola.

You Were Never Really Here is unflinching and unplugged.  The film does not pull any punches.   The subject matter is as dark as it gets.  This movie is certainly not for everyone.  The movie was unique.  The way that it was filmed raised the level of intensity.  The soundtrack and natural background noise in the movie really set the gritty tone.  It was rough at times, but it was very necessary to tell the story.

Phoenix is ruthless and almost robotic.  It is a cold, hard, Oscar-worthy performance.  He throws everything into his character and continues to reveal to us his wide range of talent and ability as a versatile actor.

I have heard comparisons of You Were Never Really Here to Taxi Driver (1976), and I have to say that I liked You Were Never Really Here better.  I can see the comparison in only the mean streets and loud, tough city.  The atmosphere was reminiscent of Taxi Driver in the way that it was filmed.  However, I feel like Taxi Driver tried too hard and often fell short.  There was a lot more unnecessary shock value in Taxi Driver.  I felt like there was more depth and purpose to You Were Never Really Here (2017).

This movie was in limited release and therefore I had to go way out of my way in order to see it.  Because it was such a dark film, I can understand that it was only in limited release.  Not everybody can handle this type of movie.  However, I am glad that movies like this one are still able to get made.

You Were Never Really Here will leave you thinking about it long after it is over.  That is often how you can tell that a movie was worth seeing, when it sticks with you.  If you are a fan of Joaquin Phoenix and you like grittier films, then you will most likely enjoy You Were Never Really Here.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Bad Samaritan (2018)

John Wick (2014)

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Collateral (2004)

Street Kings (2008)

End of Watch (2012)

Training Day (2001)

Crank (2006)

Crank: High Voltage (2009)

Gladiator (2000)

Her (2013)

Triple 9 (2016)

Running Scared (2006)

Run All Night (2015)

Harsh Times (2005)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

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Beirut (2018)


Beirut (2018)

Beirut looked intriguing to me because the always dapper Jon Hamm was finally given the main lead in a serious film.  He has always been likable in every role that I have seen him.  Of course, his boost to stardom was in the leading part in the Mad Men (2007-2015) series.

The film is about a hostage situation that summons a former U.S. diplomat back to war-torn Beirut in an attempt to save his old friend.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and the noteworthy cast includes Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Mark Pellegrino, Dean Norris, Shea Whigam, Douglas Hodge, Larry Pine, Ben Affan, and Mohamed Attougui.

The filmmakers did a superb job creating a believable Beirut in 1982 and thereafter.  The not-so-peaceful Middle East was very apparent in the movie.  There was a sort of gloomy undertone to the film and this gave the movie a much darker feel to it.

It was nice to see Jon Hamm in a leading role carrying a film.  He brought a level of class and finesse to his character that made the movie exciting, where it otherwise may have lacked with someone else playing his part.

Rosamund Pike did a good job in the movie.  However, I felt like her character could have been developed better.  She is a strong actress, but this film did not allow her a strong presence.  I felt like her performance in Hostiles (2017) and Gone Girl (2014) were far better than her performance in Beirut because she was able to give those other characters more substance.

Beirut is not a movie that you are going to want to watch over and over again because of the subject matter.  However, it is a well-made, above average film that is worth the watch.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

12 Strong (2018)

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

The Kite Runner (2007)

Chappaquiddick (2017)

The Post (2017)

Lincoln (2012)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Darkest Hour (2017)

No Escape (2015)

American Assassin (2017)

Super Troopers 2 (2018)


Super Troopers 2 (2018)

I absolutely hated the first movie, Super Troopers (2001).  It was beyond stupid and I enjoyed nothing about it at all.  I know, what a wonderful reason to go see the second movie, right?  I guess I saw the movie for the sake of reviewing it.

With the addition of Rob Lowe, Seann William Scott, Clifton Collins Jr., Will Sasso, and loving Jim Gaffigan as a comedian, I thought that this sequel might have some humor in it.

The film is about a group of misfit state troopers who are sent to patrol newly gained American land that once belonged to Canada.

The movie was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar and the noteworthy cast includes Brian Cox, Robe Lowe, Steve Lemme, Erik Stohlhanske, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Damon Wayans Jr., Seann William Scott, Clifton Collins Jr., Will Sasso, Jim Gaffigan, Marisa Coughlan, Lynda Carter, and Emmanuelle Chriqui.

Poop jokes.  Puns.  Awful.  Garbage.  Feces.  Too much unnecessary male nudity.  Jokes about shaving testicles, guys making out, and putting fingers in butts, to say the least.  Really?

This review writes itself.

I do not know what is sadder, the fact that this movie made wide release, or the fact it had a big successful opening weekend.

Super Troopers 2 is easily one of the worst movies that I have ever seen (and that is saying a lot).  I laughed once during the entire movie.

There was no real humor or substance to anything in this movie.  I do not know how some of the actors in the film could stoop to such a low level.

Honestly, it took a lot of skill to make a movie this awful.  Do yourself a favor and see anything else!

I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.  (If I could give a negative number, I would).

 

If you liked this film then you are part of the problem and here is a list of other garbage that you might also enjoy:

 

Super Troopers (2001)

Meet the Spartans (2008)

Funny People (2009)

Fifty Shades of Black (2016)

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Bad Moms (2016)

Bad Grandpa (2013)

Chappaquiddick (2017)


Chappaquiddick (2017)

Prior to seeing this movie, I had no knowledge of Ted Kennedy’s infamous scandal.  This is not something that is talked about in school.  I remember having class discussions about the assassination of JFK.  However, I never heard a word about how JFK’s brother, Ted tarnished the family name.  It makes you wonder about all of the things that get left out of the history books.

Chappaquiddick is based on the true story of when in 1969 Senator Ted Kennedy fled the scene of a car accident in which his woman passenger was left to drown in his submerged vehicle on Chappaquiddick Island.

The movie was directed by John Curran and the noteworthy cast includes Jason Clarke, Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan, Kate Mara, Bruce Dern, and Clancy Brown.

The movie let the story speak for itself.  It was slow and methodical and seems factual.  This is certainly not a feel-good film, nor is it a movie that you are going to want to rush out and see a second time.

Ted really disgraced the Kennedy name.  I always hear about the bad luck that surrounded the Kennedys, but there was also a lot of scandal that surrounded them.  I believe that you make your own luck in life.  Obviously, a lot of the things that happened to the Kennedys were awful, but it does make me wonder how much of the scandalous stuff they brought on themselves.  Just think about how many conspiracy theories revolve around the Kennedys.

The almost full theater that I was in was eerily quiet after the film ended.  I think that was because the story was a sick display of what people with a position of power, especially in government, are capable of.

This was a disturbingly vile true story of how America was duped and Ted Kennedy successfully swept manslaughter under the rug.  He seemed to show no remorse for being responsible for a woman’s death.  All he cared about was protecting his political career.

It is a travesty that Ted was able to go on to be one of the longest running senators in history.  It goes to show just how corrupt the government can be.

I have not been a big fan of Jason Clarke.  He just has not been very likable in anything that I have seen him in.  He played his part of Ted Kennedy well in this movie, however.  To the point where I do not like him because of how bad his character is.  That is how you know an actor is decent; when he is a believable bad guy.

The thought of two comedians (Gaffigan and Helms) in serious roles in this film made me nervous, but they were both likable for the parts that they played.

The filmmaking of Chappaquiddick was not overdone.  They told the story and did not sugarcoat it.  With how far left Hollywood leans, I am a little surprised that this film even got made, and furthermore, made wide release.  The movie felt impartial politically, which I felt was tasteful.  Too often movies will attack one political party with slanted views and opinions to further their agenda.  Chappaquiddick seemed to just stick to the facts and try to tell both sides of the story without choosing a side.

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

JFK (1991)

Bobby (2006)

Jackie (2016)

Lincoln (2012)

All the President’s Men (1976)

The Post (2017)

Wag the Dog (1997)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Ides of March (2011)

Munich (2005)

Beirut (2018)

The American President (1995)

State of Play (2009)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Citizen Kane (1941)

Blockers (2018)


Blockers (2018)

My expectations are always low when I go to see a movie like Blockers.  It looked like raunchy, stupid, situational, and just gross humor.  Sometimes that is OK.  Therefore, I gave it a shot.

The film is about three parents who band together to try to prevent their three daughters from having sex on prom night.

The movie was directed by Kay Cannon and the noteworthy cast includes Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gina Gershon, Ramona Young, Gary Cole, and Hannibal Buress.

Blockers is raunchy, funny, stupid, and disgusting.

Some of the crazy nauseating things that went on in this movie kind of makes me worry for millennials and any generation after them.  I am not sure if this is a sign that I am getting older or if each generation is getting grosser and more messed up.  Either way, I have generally been OK with sick humor, but sick humor these days, is just getting disgusting and out of hand.

Besides being overly gross, the movie actually had a somewhat positive message.  There were a number of laugh out loud moments, if you are a fan of sick humor.

On a comedy level, the movie was entertaining.  Sometimes you just need stupid humor.  The movie was very predictable, but that did not take away from the comedy.

This is definitely not a film to see with your kids or your parents.  It is also one of those movies that people will have trouble admitting to others that they thought it was funny.

There was a bit of unnecessary nudity, but what would you expect from a movie called Blockers?  It was everything you would expect from a movie of this genre.  Foul language throughout mixed in with all kinds of inappropriateness.  You cannot walk into a movie like this and expect anything different.

John Cena and Leslie Mann were both actually quite funny in Blockers.  Ike Barinholtz also had his moments.

The adults in the movie were funnier than the teenagers.  The teenage actors in the movie were easily forgettable, in fact.  That was a little disappointing.  Often, it is movies like this one that help to boost a young person’s acting career.  People find them to be funny and then all of a sudden they start popping up in everything.

The film premise of parents trying to prevent their kids from having sex, is a good message.  However, they made it as dirty as they could by calling it Blockers.  As messed up as the movie gets at times, there is still an underline moral to the story.

I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Knocked Up (2007)

The 40-year-Old Virgin (2005)

Game Night (2018)

Daddy’s Home (2015)

Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)

Road Trip (2000)

The Wedding Crashers (2005)

The Hangover (2009)

Old School (2003)

Step Brothers (2008)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

This is 40 (2012)

The Change-Up (2011)

Stealing Harvard (2002)

Orange County (2002)

Big Daddy (1999)

This is the End (2013)

Darkest Hour (2017)


Darkest Hour (2017)

I have to admit that prior to seeing this film, my history knowledge of Winston Churchill was a little fuzzy.

Gary Oldman is a wizard when it comes to his ability to become whoever he is supposed to be portraying on screen.  I became more interested in seeing Darkest Hour after I found out that Oldman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, even though I am fed up with the Academy Awards.

Darkest Hour is based on the true story of when British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler when all of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazis in 1940.

The movie was directed by Joe Wright and the noteworthy cast includes Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, and David Strathairn.

Gary Oldman successfully transformed into Winston Churchill.  He was a mumbling, bumbling, blabbering, grumpy old man.  It is hard to believe that anyone else could have done half as good a job as he did in his role.

The U.K. in the 1940s was duplicated convincingly and artistically in Darkest Hour.  Watching the movie, it was very easy to be pulled into that time and place.  It was as if you were there witnessing Winston Churchill make history.

It is always interesting to me how movies with similar subjects get made around the same time.  It is no accident that Dunkirk (2017) came out the same year as Darkest Hour.  Hollywood likes to capitalize on one concept by showcasing similar movies in the same year.  I guess that they assume that if one movie does well, everyone will be curious about the other movie of the same type and will go to see it while the idea is still fresh.

Darkest Hour is about what is going on behind the scenes while Dunkirk is happening.  In this case, the two movies do make good companion pieces to each other.

The problem with Darkest Hour is that everyone in the movie besides Gary Oldman felt like an afterthought.  His character development improved as the movie went on, but there was not much care placed on the other characters.

The other main thing that was wrong with the film is that it just felt like it took way too long to make its point.  It probably could have been 30 minutes shorter.  I think that this would have made it more enjoyable.

It felt historically accurate and Oldman’s performance was superb.  Without him, this movie would have really struggled.

The film felt a little bit like The King’s Speech (2010).  This is not one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again.  It was tasteful and informative, but I will be OK with only seeing it once.

Darkest Hour is a well put together World War II period piece.  It is a good depiction of some historical events, however it is overly drawn out and therefore falls a little short.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Dunkirk (2017)

The King’s Speech (2010)

Lincoln (2012)

Leon: The Professional (1994)

True Romance (1993)

Schindler’s List (1993)

The Pianist (2002)

The Imitation Game (2014)

The Aviator (2004)

Cinderella Man (2005)

J. Edgar (2011)

A Quiet Place (2018)


A Quiet Place (2018)

Before seeing this film, I thought right away that it looked like an M. Night Shyamalan movie.  Perhaps it would be reminiscent of Signs (2002).  I assumed that Shyamalan was the director until I saw that it was directed by, produced by, and stars John Krasinski.

I am really picky when it comes to horror movies that I get excited about.  This one sparked my interest.  I saw this on opening night, but I did not get to review it until now.

A Quiet Place takes place in the not so distant future where people are being hunted by vicious creatures that attack when they hear sound.  The film follows one particular family that is trying to survive.

The movie was directed by John Krasinski and the noteworthy cast includes John Krasinski, Emily Blunt (Krasinski’s wife), Millicent Simmons, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward.

Krasinski has come a long way from his days of selling paper in The Office (2005).  I really only started taking him seriously after seeing 13 Hours (2016).  I think that he has successfully transitioned from comedy to more serious acting and this movie is further proof.

A Quiet Place was way better than Signs.

The chemistry between Blunt and Krasinski felt very genuine.  Such a simple thing like that is easy when it is a real life couple onscreen.  However, that connection can make all of the difference.

This is not a bloodbath horror movie.  That is what I especially enjoyed about A Quiet Place.  The film keeps you in suspense throughout basically the entire movie.  It is edge-of-your seat excitement with enough jumpy scenes to make it worth your while.

The film is unique because it really does not contain a lot of dialogue.  I feel like this adds to the suspense.  The theater that I was in was eerily a quiet place.  Our eyes were glued to the screen, and the hair on the back of our necks stood up as we were desperately wanting to know what was going to happen next.

A Quiet Place was a breath of fresh air for the horror genre.  It is a reminder that a good spooky story meticulously executed is all that it takes to be a quality scary movie.  It seems like such a simple concept, but most horror movies these days have trouble achieving this.  There really was nothing wrong with this film.  It was chilling from start to finish.  Alfred Hitchcock would be proud.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

The Conjuring (2013)

High Tension (2003)

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The Purge (2013)

Sinister (2012)

The Others (2001)

Signs (2002)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Looper (2012)

13 Hours (2016)

Ready Player One (2018)


Ready Player One (2018)

Some aspects of this film intrigued me prior to seeing it, while other things about the movie worried me.

It interested me that a lot of characters and parts from famous films would be scattered throughout Ready Player One.  However, I was concerned that every aspect of the movie would be overdone.

Why would I worry that a big budget film might be overcooked and therefore tasteless?

Hollywood has become obsessed with gathering together big budget group movies.  It started with superhero movies and those superhero movies had to keep getting bigger and fuller.  It is no longer just Batman or Superman, or even just Spiderman anymore.  Batman vs. Superman also was not even good enough (of course, we knew it wouldn’t be).  It is now The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Justice League, Suicide Squad, and X-Men, to name a few.  Hollywood will take a concept that worked once and bleed it dry for everything that it is worth.  It will be purged of all entertainment value.  All that will be left behind is an overdone, and overblown metastasized mess that should be cut off because it is destroying the host that is the superhero genre.

What does this have to do with Ready Player One?

Because Hollywood has to keep trying to outdo itself, it keeps adding too many ingredients, and we no longer recognize what we are being fed.  The trailer for Ready Player One had me worried that the movie would just be too much.

Ready Player One is about a future where a virtual reality videogame world called “The Oasis” is better than the real world.  The creator of “The Oasis” has hidden secrets inside of his game.  The world has become obsessed with finding those secrets and taking control of “The Oasis” and the trillions of dollars that it is worth.

The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and the noteworthy cast includes Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, Clare Higgins, and Laurence Spellman.

I got to enjoy this film in 3D and I believe that greatly improved my movie watching experience.  The special effects are firing on all cylinders in this one.

To say that I was pleasantly surprised by this movie would be an understatement.  Were things overdone at times?  Yes.  But, let’s say they were tastefully overdone.

If you grew up playing videogames, then you will likely enjoy this movie more than someone who did not play video games, as a child.  In other words, if you are in your fifties or older, you might not get much out of this movie.

Some of the characters and places that were recreated from other films in this movie were nothing short of incredible.

Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, and Ben Mendelsohn all did a great job in this movie.

I enjoyed how Spielberg walked the line of videogame and reality in Ready Player One.  The videogame world created inside of the film feels just like the real world inside of the movie.  In a lot of ways, Ready Player One is like nothing we have ever seen on screen.  However, you can bet that the concept in this film will return again soon to a theater near you.

Overall, Ready Player One was peppered with nostalgia.  Characters and icons from our childhoods were brought back to life with a vengeance.  It was an exciting and epic Steven Spielberg story of good vs. evil in a fight to save the fictional world.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Back to the Future (1985)

The Shining (1980)

Mud (2012)

Thoroughbreds (2017)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Trailer for Tag (2018)


Tag (2018)

Tag is a comedy movie about a group of friends who have been playing an elaborate game of tag for 30 years.  They take the game to the extreme.

Definitely in the dumb comedy genre.  This movie looks like it will be good for a few laughs.  The great cast look like they had a lot of fun during the making of the movie and my guess is that will show on screen.  Sometimes you just need stupid humor.

The film was directed by Jeff Tomsic and the noteworthy cast includes Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Leslie Bibb, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Hannibal Buress, and Brian Dennehy.

The film is set to release on June 15th, 2018.

Trailer for Hereditary (2018)


Trailer for Hereditary (2018)

Here you go.  Let this trailer keep you up at night, creepy soundtrack and all.

Like horror movies of old, Hereditary looks quite eerie.  I do not often get excited to see a scary movie, but I am looking forward to this one.

Storyline: After a mother dies, the rest of her family that she left behind begins to feel her presence around them and then bad things start happening.

The film was written and directed Ari Asher and the noteworthy cast includes Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, and Alex Wolff.

The movie is currently set to be released on June 8th, 2018.