A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
I had never even heard of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints until I rented Charlie Countryman (2013) at the Redbox. When you rent Charlie Countryman, you get A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints as a bonus movie. They give you a two-for-one, a double sided disc for the price of one movie. It’s a Shia LaBeouf double feature. They are both indie films. This was all the more intriguing to me, so I watched each movie the other night. You can guess what one of my next reviews will be.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was based on the book with the same title. Surprisingly enough, the man who wrote the book, Dito Montiel, also directed the movie. The movie is a film adaptation of Dito Montiel’s life growing up in Astoria, New York in the 1980s. The story is a look into a messed up childhood in a rough part of the city. It follows the struggles of inner city teenagers, Dito (Shia LaBeouf plays young Dito, and Robert Downey Jr. plays grown up Dito) and his friends as they are becoming adults. The circle of friends are pitted against drugs, violence, sex, love, hate, loss, and hardship. All the while, Dito wants to escape New York and try to make a better life for himself somewhere else.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Channing Tatum, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson, Melonie Diaz, Martin Compston, Scott Michael Campbell, Anthony DeSando, Adam Scarimbolo, Peter Anthony Tambakis, Laila Liliana Garro, and Eric Roberts.
I’m surprised that this movie got past me 8 years ago, because the cast is excellent. I should have been aware of this film earlier. It’s another low-budget independent film that slipped through the cracks.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was hard to watch, at times, but it was also hard to stop watching. The film was an excellent depiction of how rundown certain areas of the country can be and how it affects the people living there. It’s indeed unfortunate, but it’s in-your-face honesty. Some people won’t be able to handle the honesty of this movie. The trashy characters, obscene language and other vulgarity, along with the sex, nudity, and mindless violence, among other things, will be too much for some.
But, you have to take the sweet from the sour. There is indeed a silver lining in this story. The headlining actors in this film are exceptional. The movie makes you feel like you are in the slums with the characters experiencing it all. The actors portray a remarkable friendship and camaraderie that helps you come back to the reality that people often try to be good even if they are bad.
The story is rigid and rocky, but the writing and acting make it all worthwhile. Here is an unknown gem for those who are willing to give it a chance.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you might also enjoy the following movies:
(Poster not yet available.) (This is a Redband trailer, so viewer discretion is advised.)
22 Jump Street (2014)
Without question, 21 Jump Street (2012) was one of the funniest movies of 2012. The movie was already a reboot of the popular television show from the late 80s and early 90s, 21 Jumpstreet, starring Johnny Depp. 22 Jump Street is the sequel to the reboot, and it looks like it just might be as funny as its predecessor.
I’m sure that we can expect the same raunchy, outrageous, hilariousness as 21 Jump Street. It should be a laugh filled adventure.
The film is set to release on 06/13/14.
White House Down (2013)
I expected White House Down to be basically the same movie as Olympus Has Fallen (2013). Besides the actors, almost everything about each film looked very similar. It is very weird to me that two movies that are so much alike would be released the same year and so close to one another. For some reason I got it in my mind that White House Down was going to be the ugly cousin of Olympus Has Fallen.
White House Down follows a former military man (Channing Tatum) who brings his daughter with him to the White House where he managed to get a job interview to try to become a Secret Service Agent. He brings his daughter along with him to the White House because she is a huge fan of the President (Jamie Foxx). While there, they decide to take a tour. During the tour the White House is attacked and the man does what he can to protect his daughter and the President.
The film was directed by Roland Emmerich and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Michael Murphy, Rachelle Lefevre, Lance Reddick, Matt Craven, and Kevin Rankin.
This movie surprised me. It exceeded my expectations. I liked it a little bit better than Olympus Has Fallen. It was not quite as predictable as Olympus Has Fallen and I felt that the actors did a better job. Also, it seemed like White House Down had fewer flaws than Olympus Has Fallen.
The film was intense and exciting. The attack on the White House was eerily realistic. There was a lot of good action. As with most action movies, some of the action was a bit unbelievable at times. But, for the most part, this didn’t take away from the film.
Tatum was likable as he usually is. Foxx was better than I thought he would be as the President. When the two teamed up together, they were both pretty entertaining and even funny at times.
The rest of the actors played their parts well. Besides Tatum and Foxx, Woods and Jenkins stood out above the rest.
Overall, White House Down is a fun ride worth taking.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked White House Down (2013), then you will probably enjoy the following movies:
This is the End (2013)
When you get a cast together that includes James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson, you just know that you are in for a raunchfest. The rest of the cast were basically all cameo appearances and they included Channing Tatum, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, David Krumholtz, Chritopher Mintz-Plasse, Jason Segel, Rihanna and The Backstreet Boys.
Seth Rogen basically took a page from Adam Sandler’s book and got all of his buddies together and decided to make a comedy about the end of the world. Arguably Sandler has been doing this at least once a year, but his movies lately have been making you wish that it was the end of the world.
Each actor plays themselves in This Is the End. They all go over to James Franco’s house for a party. The rapture crashes their shindig and they are forced to stay holed up in Franco’s house trying to survive.
The film started out a little stale and immediately I was worried that it was going to be a complete disappointment. Eventually the god of laughter smiled upon me and I found myself convulsing with amusement. However, it seemed like I was simply having laughing spells. The movie would be really funny and then it would get too cheesy and stupid and then funny again. The Comedy seemed to cycle through all types of humor. Sometimes it was hilarious and other times, not so much. It was crude, crass, vulgar, stupid, tasteless, and just plain dumb. Sometimes these things worked and sometimes they didn’t.
Overall the movie was too inconsistent. After a while, the inconsistency caused the film to drag on. The humor dissolved and all that remained was tacky stupidity. I did have a good time laughing while it lasted.
I rate this movie a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
White House Down (2013) (click on the title for my full review)
It never ceases to amaze me how often very similar movies release in theatres just a few months apart from each other. White House Down appears to be basically the same story as Olympus Has Fallen (2013). Is it a coincidence how both movies have titles that are so alike?
White House Down is directed by Roland Emmerich who is known for directing The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Patriot (2000), and Independence Day (1996).
White House Down stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, Rachelle Lefevre, Jimmi Simpson, Lance Reddick, Garcelle Beauvais, Peter Jacobson, and Matt Craven.
The movie does look good. I will probably have to check it out in the theatre.
The film is set to release on 6/28/13.