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:
The King’s Speech (2010)
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)
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)
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
The Place Beyond the Pines was not exactly what I expected it to be. The film was unique because there were multiple layers to the story as well as to each of the characters. The storyline flowed nicely even though each layer of it seemed to change who the main characters were. The mood of the movie was rough and intense throughout with a darkness that few films are capable of.
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle stunt driver whose life gets turned upside down after finding out that he is a father. In order to try to provide for his kid, he quits his job and begins robbing banks. Avery (Bradley Cooper) is an honest cop. Eventually both men’s paths cross.
The film is written and directed by Derek Cianfrance.
Gosling is cast against type. He does not usually play the rebel outlaw type, but he proves once again that he is capable of widening his range as an actor because he nails his part.
Cooper has a strong presence and when his character arrives, it changes the whole dynamic of the movie.
I felt like Mendes did a good job, but we could have gotten more out of her character. I fault the writers for that. She did great with what she had to work with, but her character could have been developed better.
Liotta seems to have resurfaced after being pretty washed up the last few years. In this film he carried himself like the Ray Liotta of old. He did not seem like the train wreck that he was becoming. This was a welcomed surprise.
Both Cooper and Gosling continue to make smart decisions when it comes to which films to act in. This film is guaranteed to keep them both in the spotlight.
The Place Beyond the Pines is a movie filled with tough subject matter mixed with raw emotion portrayed by a fantastic cast of actors who are very passionate about their work. This combination makes for a very exciting and suspenseful film about people leading hard lives.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (click on the title for my full review)
The film looks like a cross between Drive (2011)(good) and Killing Them Softly (2012)(bad). In Drive Ryan Gosling is a stunt driver turned driver for hire. In The Place Beyond the Pines it appears like he is a stunt motorcycle driver turned bank robber. It seems that Eva Mendes plays a very similar character in The Place Beyond the Pines that Carey Mulligan plays in Drive.
Overall the movie looks pretty dark in a similar way to that of Killing Them Softly. Also, Ray Liotta and Ben Mendelsohn are in both of those movies. Both actors played very scuzzy characters in Killing Them Softly and I think they have continued that trend in The Place Beyond the Pines.
The wildcard in The Place Beyond the Pines is going to be Bradley Cooper. In recent years Cooper has proved that not only is he a supremely capable and extraordinary actor, but he has also chosen his movies very wisely. Gosling is great and Liotta has that ability as well, but we have seen them in this type of movie before. Cooper, I think, will be the deciding factor as to whether or not this movie is any good.
On paper, a movie with this cast should be a slam dunk. It does look good enough to see in the theatre, but I’m going to be a little skeptical.
The movie directed by Derek Cianfrance and it is set to release on 3/29/13.