The Frozen Ground (2013)
Nicolas Cage and John Cusack have both been pretty much hit or miss for about the last 6 years. Oddly enough, their downfall started around the same time. I have been a huge fan of both actors ever since I can remember. Even though they are both not consistently in great movies any longer, I still give them the benefit of the doubt every time I watch one of their new movies. I guess I just hope that one day they will bounce back from whatever funk they got themselves into and start making great movies again. One can always hope right?
So, that is the attitude that I had before watching The Frozen Ground. I would have been less enthusiastic about wanting to see the movie if it was only Cage or Cusack in it. But, it’s not just Cage or Cusack, it’s both. If both of these struggling actors are in the same movie then it is bound to be awesome right?
The film is based on actual events that took place in 1983. It’s about an Alaska State trooper who teams up with a woman who was able to get away from a serial killer named Robert Hansen. Together the duo works to find Hansen and bring him to justice for the murders that he has committed.
The Frozen Ground has an overall dark tone which is fitting because of the dark subject matter.
The movie was missing a lot. It was hard to follow and full of wasted talent. There was hardly any character development, so you couldn’t really feel anything for the characters.
It is yet another letdown from Cage and Cusack. The list of bad movies that each actor continues to make just keeps getting longer.
It really felt like both Cage and Cusack were just going through the motions. However, the writing and filmmaking overall, really did nothing to help their cause. Occasionally both actors would show a slight spark that would quickly go out. I think that if they keep making movies like this one, their careers could be doomed. It’s a real shame.
The film started out like it could have potential, and then it got boring quickly. The scenes were choppy and the acting and dialogue all felt forced.
Don’t waste your time or money with The Frozen Ground. If you would like to try to preserve the memory of when Nicolas Cage and John Cusack both made good movies, don’t watch this one.
I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)
The movie should have just been called The Butler, but director Lee Daniels somehow felt that he had to put his name in the title. I’m not sure if there is a real reason for his name being in the title, but to me, it just seems a little narcissistic.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler is very, very lightly based on the life of Eugene Allen. The film changed Allen’s name to Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker). The film paints a pretty disturbing picture of the struggles and pain that Gaines and his family faced during his childhood and throughout his life as a butler at the White House for 34 years. The movie showed how the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on his life.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, James Marsden, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Clarence Williams III, John P. Fertitta, Colman Domingo, Yaya Alafia, Minka Kelly, and Nelsan Ellis.
The movie modifies many of the facts about Allen’s life in order to make it more entertaining and therefore less true.
I left the film wondering just how much of it was true. After doing a little bit of research, I found out a number of things about the movie that are completely fiction. It’s a little upsetting to me how this film tries to pass itself off as based on a true story. I don’t want to spoil anything about the movie for anybody, but let me just say that a lot of it is pure fiction.
I really felt for the main characters after seeing what they went through, and thinking how terrible things were for them. After finding out that a lot of the details in the movie are made up, I question just how honest the rest of the movie is. I feel like I was a little duped. I felt bad for Cecil Gaines, but that was not even his real name. I felt bad for some of the things that Gaines went through, but found out that some of those things didn’t even happen. Because the writers and director played so fast and loose with the facts and tried to pass it all off as truth, they succeeded in ruining the movie for me.
The film was very slow and dragged on at times.
There were so many big names in this movie that a few of them were underused. A lot of the supporting characters do not get fully developed. They are in the film in almost cameo-like roles, and then they are gone.
Forest Whitaker is superb in the lead role. His performance alone is enough to make the film worth watching. Even at the film’s slowest and almost boring parts when the movie seems like it is unraveling, Whitaker is enough to bring everything back together again.
Oprah Winfrey was miscast. Her character hardly seemed believable and this took away from my enjoyment of the film. The rest of the supporting cast all did a fine job.
Overall, I felt like the movie was too slow at times. If they had trimmed some of the fat and gotten rid of a few scenes, the film could have been better. I am a little annoyed at how many facts were changed as they are trying to pass this movie off as inspired by a true story. Most people read “true story” and think that it is true. If they dressed this movie up to make it more entertaining, I cannot imagine how slow it would have been if they had stuck more to the facts.
Setting all of the things about this film that I did not like aside, Whitaker and most of the rest of the cast all do a great job. It’s fun to see all of these big names in the same movie even if some of them are not in it long enough. The film does an excellent job of showing people overcome hatred and violence and that is always a good shot to the arm for the human spirit.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
The Paperboy (2012)
The Paperboy delivers a story riddled with nonsense, boredom, trashy characters, gratuitous vulgarity, and wasted talent. It was amazing the amount of scenes in the movie that were completely unnecessary.
The film is about a newspaper reporter (Matthew McConaughey) who teams up with his brother (Zac Efron) and a work colleague (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a prisoner (John Cusack) who is on death row. Along the way, they get help from the prisoner’s pen pal girlfriend (Nicole Kidman).
The movie takes it’s time setting the stage for what it is going to be about. Once you understand the goal that the characters are trying to accomplish, the story takes a left turn and does not come back to the main point until it is no longer relevant. In other words, the film is left without a purpose and you are left watching characters develop for a story that is hard to follow and no longer matters.
Much of the movie is narrated by Macy Gray. Gray was an extremely poor choice for a narrator. She is definitely no Morgan Freeman. It seemed as if she had trouble reading her lines. She mumbled her words very slowly and at times, she was hard to understand. This took even more away from the film and made it harder to follow.
Many times I was so bored with the movie that I wanted to turn it off. Other times I wanted to turn off the movie because of how unnecessarily vulgar and pointless it was becoming. I should have turned it off. I wish that I had turned it off, but I wanted to see if it would get any better, and I wanted to be able to tell my readers my honest opinion of the entire film.
The Paperboy had a very capable cast. They are all mostly good actors, but with the material that they had to work with, they were all doomed. Nobody had a chance to give a standout performance because the writers had made sure of that with their dreadful dialogue and horrible storyline.
Do not waste your time or money on this worthless excuse for a movie.
I give this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run and hide!
I think that this movie could easily have won the prize for worst movie of 2012. I was trying to figure out which movie was worse, this one or Killing Them Softly. The Paperboy takes the cake. Beware!