Crossing Over (2009)
Crossing Over is a Wayne Kramer written and directed movie that fell through the cracks. Kramer is known for Running Scared (2006), The Cooler (2003), and most recently Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013). Running Scared was excellent and The Cooler and Pawn Shop Chronicles were both very solid films. Crossing Over did not appear to me like it would be any good. I wanted to give it a try however, because Kramer usually makes quality movies and the noteworthy cast includes Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis, Alice Eve, Alice Braga, Mahershala Ali, Josh Gad, Michael Cudlitz, and Marshall Manesh.
Crossing Over is about multiple stories of immigration to the United States. It follows multiple immigrants from all over the world who are trying to become legal citizens in Los Angeles. Some go through the proper process of trying to become legal citizens, while others try to do so illegally or skip the process altogether. Sometimes their stories intertwine and other times they do not. The film also follows the lives of the people who are trying to help these immigrants to become legal and also the ones who are trying to deport them. It deals with how sometimes mixing different cultures together can clash and how sometimes it can bring people closer together. It is all different perspectives on immigration in America.
The movie jumps all over the place from story to story. There is not a lot of character development because the movie is trying to tell too many stories instead of concentrating on one. As a result, it is hard to feel anything for the characters and it turns into a jumbled mess.
Ford gave a standout performance in the film. He was not given a lot to work with, but he managed to be likable anyway. He single-handedly tried to hold the broken pieces of the movie together, but there is only so much that one actor can do.
Overall the movie was hard to enjoy because it jumped around way too much. It was a waste of a quality cast and it was a waste of time. This is by far Wayne Kramer’s worst movie.
I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
Note: Michael Cudlitz has been in 3 Wayne Kramer movies: Running Scared, Crossing Over and Pawn Shop Chronicles.
Jim Sturgess and Josh Gad were both in the film 21 (2008) together.
It’s always interesting to me to find different movie connections.
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.