Before seeing Prisoners, I guaranteed to people that it would be good. Sometimes it is as if I just know. I did not have any doubts about this movie at all. I am not narcissistic. I just sort of have a sixth sense. I am like Haley Joel Osment’s character in The Sixth Sense (1999). However, instead of seeing dead people, I see good movies.
Can’t you just hear me whispering softly? “I see good movies.”
Bruce Willis responds, “In your dreams?”
I shake my head no.
“While you’re awake?”
“Good movies like, in graves? In coffins?”
“Walking around like regular movies. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re good.”
Bruce Willis asks, “How often do you see them?”
I whisper, “All the time. They’re everywhere.”
Prisoners is about two little girls who go missing. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is the father of one of the girls. He will stop at nothing to find out who took his daughter and will do whatever is necessary to get her back.
The movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrance Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Wayne Duvall, Len Cariou, David Dastmalchian, and Dylan Minnette.
Prisoners was gripping. It did not take long to pull me in to the disturbingly chilling story. It’s the next day and I’m still thinking about the film.
It should go without saying that it’s not exactly a feel good movie. Two little girls disappear. There is nothing good about that. Because of the subject matter, some aspects of the film are hard to like. However, the film was so well-made that it doesn’t pull any punches, and rightfully so. You have to see the bad in order to appreciate the good.
The movie is brutally violent and gory. There is plenty of language and blood. It captures the eeriness of the twisted plot perfectly.
Jackman plays a broken man who does not hesitate to do whatever is necessary to get his daughter back. His performance was excellent. It might be his best and more realistic role yet. It is Hugh Jackman unplugged like you haven’t seen him before.
Gyllenhaal plays the detective on the case. He is obsessed with his job and has solved every case that he has been assigned to. He is not about to fail now. This movie is equally Gyllenhaal’s movie as much as it is Jackman’s.
The rest of the supporting cast all play their parts well and Leo stands out among them.
The film is just over two and a half hours long, but I was so in to it that I did not notice. Time flies when you’re have fun, or watching a good movie. Prisoners never gets boring. It absorbs you and keeps you guessing until the end.
Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and Leo all gave Oscar worthy performances and the film itself is the best movie that I have seen so far this year.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale on 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Prisoners, then you will probably enjoy:
Mystic River (2003)
Man of Steel (2013)
With the countless number of sequels, remakes, and superhero movies that are being spewed out these days, I have become very skeptical and picky when it comes to deciding which of these movies I will see and which I will avoid like the plague.
Honestly, Man of Steel was a difficult choice at first. My initial reaction was derision. I rolled my eyes and scoffed. How many Superman movies does this world really need?
Superman and Batman are probably my favorite superheroes. What I always enjoyed about those characters was the fact that they both had alter egos and they both were always trying to do good by helping people.
The thing is I like Batman better than Superman. Batman is more real. He puts on a costume and goes out, mostly at night, to right wrongs in his city. Batman is fed up with the scum in his city and he tries to clean up the streets. Superman on the other hand, is an alien from another planet who ends up on earth. Superman looks human, but has a number of superpowers that make him almost godlike. He disguises himself as a human, but puts on a costume when its time to fight the bad guys. He is faster than a speeding bullet, can fly, has x-ray vision, and is virtually invincible except around kryptonite, etc. etc. Superman is a godlike alien from another planet. Batman is a human vigilante. Which is more believable to you?
Following my initial reaction about the new Superman, I learned who all was cast in the movie. I raised one eyebrow as I contemplated the film’s potential. The cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Ayelet Zurer. Great cast right? Except Henry Cavill is a dud and he was cast as Superman.
In my opinion, they needed a far superior actor to play the lead role. Sort of like Christian Bale played Batman. Instead they surrounded an almost nobody with an awesome cast. The part will boost Henry Cavill’s career, but that doesn’t make him a better actor. They needed someone like Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon.
Still, the strong cast was enough to make me want to see Man of Steel. It also helped that Christopher Nolan produced the film and both he and David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay and story. Of course, Nolan and Goyer also both wrote The Dark Knight Trilogy, which Nolan also directed. However, Nolan did not direct Man of Steel, Zach Snyder did instead. Snyder is a capable director, but Nolan is far superior.
Man of Steel is about a boy who finds out that his parents on earth are not his real parents. It is believed that he was sent to earth from a different planet. These details are revealed to him by his earth parents after he figures out that he has super powers. Now he must learn what he was sent to earth to do and what type of man he will become.
The film was bursting at the seams with special effects. The aspects of Superman that I do not enjoy were highly prevalent in the movie. I don’t like the overuse of super powers and Michael Bay-esque explosions, along with multiple superhuman aliens in an endless battle of invulnerability. Everything in their path becomes obliterated and it all seems so unrealistic. With that being said, I expected the film to be that way. But, I also hoped that the film would concentrate more on the humans on earth than the aliens on Superman’s home planet. That hope was shattered. It became more about Superman stopping an alien invasion on earth than Superman just stopping bad guys on earth.
Although there were a few things about the movie that I did not like, I will admit that those things were done tastefully. The special effects were amazing. They were too much at times, but they were also insanely awesome at times. The cast was great, but Henry Cavill could have been replaced with someone better. Everybody else’s performance made up for his. It’s not that he was bad, but he just could have been much better. The supporting cast should not be better than the main character. That is not a solid foundation for a film.
Crowe, Costner, Shannon, Adams, and Lane all made the movie worth watching. They used their acting super powers to totally make the film.
Man of Steel is a worthy update to previous Superman movies. Even a superhero skeptic like myself, enjoyed the movie. With the obscene amount of action in the film, it will certainly be better on the big screen.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Prisoners (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
Two little girls go missing. The father (Hugh Jackman) of one of the girls finds and captures the man that he thinks took them. He will stop at nothing to get his little girl back.
The film is written by Denis Villeneuve and directed by Aaron Guzikowski.
Kidnapping is not a new idea for a movie, but this one looks pretty intense. The cast is top-notch and the movie looks like it has potential.
I think that I’ll have to check this one out when it hits theatres.
The film is set to release on 9/20/13.
End of Watch (2012)
End of Watch (2012) is the ultimate buddy-cop drama done in the style of Training Day (2001), Harsh Times (2005), and Street Kings (2008). All of those films share the same type of gritty, blunt, in-your-face intensity and show just how unpleasant rundown areas of Los Angeles can be. Those movies share similarities in style because they were all written and or directed by David Ayer.
In End of Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are young, up-and-coming brothers in blue patrolling the hellish streets of Los Angeles, California. They are pitted together against pure evil. They take a bite out of crime and crime bites back
A lot of the movie is filmed with smaller handheld cameras which I think helps to make the film seem a little bit more realistic. If the person is shaky then the camera is shaky.
The film takes many of the horrible things that we pretend don’t happen and throws them in our faces so that we cannot deny their existence any longer. It takes dark subject matter and forces you to have an opinion about it. When your eyes are opened to the world that exists in the movie, you begin to wonder if there is some truth to that world in the real world. Does that sort of thing actually happen in real life? Are people really like that? The answers to those questions are what make the movie so chilling.
Gyllenhaal and Pena are both tremendous in the movie. Their characters play off of each other so well that it really makes the film enjoyable to watch.
The language and violence in the film is very potent. Much of the movie is exceptionally rough and harsh. There is some humor thrown in to weaken the blow, but End of Watch is a powerful movie to watch. This type of show is not for everyone.
I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.