You Were Never Really Here (2017)
I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie. It appeared like it would be either really good or just really bad. I have enjoyed most of Joaquin Phoenix’s work, so I thought I would give You Were Never Really Here a shot.
The film is about a hit man who gets in over his head when he is hired to rescue a young girl from a sex slave ring, and make the people involved suffer for what they have done to her.
The movie was directed by Lynne Ramsay and the noteworthy cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman, Alex Manette, Ekaterina Samsonov, and Alessandro Nivola.
You Were Never Really Here is unflinching and unplugged. The film does not pull any punches. The subject matter is as dark as it gets. This movie is certainly not for everyone. The movie was unique. The way that it was filmed raised the level of intensity. The soundtrack and natural background noise in the movie really set the gritty tone. It was rough at times, but it was very necessary to tell the story.
Phoenix is ruthless and almost robotic. It is a cold, hard, Oscar-worthy performance. He throws everything into his character and continues to reveal to us his wide range of talent and ability as a versatile actor.
I have heard comparisons of You Were Never Really Here to Taxi Driver (1976), and I have to say that I liked You Were Never Really Here better. I can see the comparison in only the mean streets and loud, tough city. The atmosphere was reminiscent of Taxi Driver in the way that it was filmed. However, I feel like Taxi Driver tried too hard and often fell short. There was a lot more unnecessary shock value in Taxi Driver. I felt like there was more depth and purpose to You Were Never Really Here (2017).
This movie was in limited release and therefore I had to go way out of my way in order to see it. Because it was such a dark film, I can understand that it was only in limited release. Not everybody can handle this type of movie. However, I am glad that movies like this one are still able to get made.
You Were Never Really Here will leave you thinking about it long after it is over. That is often how you can tell that a movie was worth seeing, when it sticks with you. If you are a fan of Joaquin Phoenix and you like grittier films, then you will most likely enjoy You Were Never Really Here.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Bad Samaritan (2018)
John Wick (2014)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Street Kings (2008)
Training Day (2001)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Triple 9 (2016)
Running Scared (2006)
Run All Night (2015)
Harsh Times (2005)
24 Hours to Live (2017)
Ethan Hawke in a shoot ‘em up, no holds barred action thriller is just the type of movie that I would want to see. So I did. It appeared like it would have a lot of similarities to Crank (2006). Crank is off the hook in all senses of the word, so 24 Hours to Live sparked my interest.
The film is about a hired killer out for revenge after he is brought back to life after being shot. The medical treatment he received is only keeping him alive for 24 hours, so he must seek his revenge in a hurry.
The movie was directed by Brian Smrz and the noteworthy cast includes Ethan Hawke, Liam Cunningham, Rutger Hauer, Paul Anderson, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Tanya van Graan, Qing Xu, and Jenna Upton.
The movie was fun, but convenient at times. The action was sometimes a little choppy. Lots of good ruthless ideas. Some worked and some fell flat. Not enough follow through. The film was a bipolar rollercoaster of really good sometimes, followed by a sort of fizzle and then back to better again. In a strange way, the film felt like a financial rollercoaster also. Sometimes it felt a little cheap and B-rated, while other times really expensive and classy. It just could not hold its momentum. Along with that problem, it was occasionally a bit hard to follow. Overall, it just felt like it was lacking something.
Hawke is dual-wielding and he’s got nothing to lose. His role was awesome and he pulled it off well. He is the same old slick, and smooth likable guy. His character developed well, but the supporting cast, not so much.
Cunningham was very enjoyable, but could have been better. He just was not used enough.
The film was reminiscent of Crank (2006), minus the extreme intensity throughout and not near the same caliber film.
24 Hours to Live was a fun concept. It was an entertaining flick, but a bit disappointing because it did not reach its full potential. However, it was nice to see Ethan Hawke carrying an action movie by himself again.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Running Scared (2006)
Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
Training Day (2001)
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
R.I.P. Paul Walker
The actor most known for his role in The Fast and the Furious movies died yesterday afternoon (11/30/13) in a car accident in Valencia, CA. His friend Roger Rodas was driving. Walker had been at a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide earlier in the day. Both men were found dead in the wreckage of a red Porche. Walker was only 40 years old.
It’s sad and shocking news. I’ve been a fan of Paul Walker’s movies ever since I saw him in Pleasantville (1998). It’s awful to see him go way before his time.
Paul was not known for dramas, rather he was most known for action movies and thrillers.
My favorite Paul Walker movie is Running Scared (2006). Other great Walker movies include Eight Below (2006), The Lazarus Project (2008), The Fast and the Furious (2001), Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013), and The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007).
Walker was supposed to be in Fast & Furious 7 in 2014.
Hours (2013) will be Paul’s second to the last movie to be released. It is set to be released later this month. The last movie that he made was Brick Mansions (2014).
The world lost another great actor. He will be missed.
Paul Walker movies that I have reviewed include:
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.
Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013)
Back in 2006 I was blown away when I watched the film Running Scared (2006). I saw that movie in theatres three different times. It was that good. Paul Walker was the main star and Wayne Kramer directed. Yesterday I watched a preview for Pawn Shop Chronicles and thought it looked like it could be pretty awesome and it has a solid cast. Paul Walker is one of the main stars, but when I found out Kramer directed, that made me want to see it.
Pawn Shop Chronicles follows multiple stories involving drugged-out hillbillies, newlyweds, and an Elvis impersonator as their lives all intertwine because of their transactions made at a pawn shop.
The noteworthy cast includes Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Rankin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elijah Wood, Chi McBride, Thomas Jane, Norman Reedus, Lukas Haas, DJ Qualls, Michael Cudlitz, Ashlee Simpson, and Matt O’Leary.
The movie is a disturbingly dark comedy and weird, white trash, hillbilly adventure.
Kramer continues the trend of super intense filmmaking with unique, quirky, fun characters in a brutally twisted storyline.
Just like Running Scared, the camera work and editing is very unique and fast-paced which helps to make the movie more thrilling.
The movie is very graphic. It was pretty shocking at times. F-bombs, nudity, and disturbing images were all overused.
Within the first ten minutes of the film, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. But, then the movie hit its stride and got much better.
Walker plays a way different type of character than he has ever played. It was actually pretty refreshing to see him try something new for a change. It was a stretch for him, but he pulled it off nicely.
For you Reedus fans out there; his role will disappoint you because it is hardly noticeable. I felt like he was way underused.
This is Fraser’s best movie in over a decade. I was happy to see him in a likable role again.
Dillon stole the show, in my opinion. It never seems like he misses a stride. Every once in a while when he finds the right character, he gives a breakout performance that reminds us all that he still has the ability to take over a movie.
For the type of film that this is, it is an exercise in quality filmmaking. It will keep you guessing. It is a funny, messed up, shocking adventure like no other.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Vehicle 19 (2013)
I had no expectations before watching this movie. Paul Walker has made some surprising films in the past, so I thought that I would give Vehicle 19 a chance. Which movies has Walker surprised me in before? Good question. The answer is Running Scared (2006), The Lazarus Project (2008), and Eight Below (2006).
Vehicle 19 follows Michael Woods (Paul Walker), an American who travels to a foreign country. He is in for a bumpy ride when a mix-up with the rental car company lands him in a vehicle with a cell phone, a pistol, and a bound and gagged woman in the back seat.
The movie was written and directed by Mukunda Michael Dewil. There are no other noteworthy cast members.
Paul Walker is the lead in this boring waste of time, foreign, low budget one man show filled with cheap car chases, laughable special effects, a dull storyline, and uninteresting dialogue.
The soundtrack was painfully annoying and did not help the film’s cause.
For a movie classified as an action/thriller, it was deathly slow at times.
The plot was basically the equivalent to the punch line of a bad joke. It was not entertaining, it lacked a point, and I quickly wanted to change the subject. Often when the main character encountered a problem in the movie, the solution was all way too convenient.
The acting was bad. The writing was worse, but the filmmaking as a whole was just a disgrace. Luckily the movie’s runtime was only 85 minutes. However, that was an 85 minutes that I will not get back.
Do yourself a favor and steer clear of this train wreck that somehow became a movie. It is not worth your time or money.
I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? RUN!
Happy Birthday to Chazz Palminteri! He turns 61 years old today.
Chazz was born Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri. It’s a good thing he goes by Chazz because I don’t think anybody could become famous with a name like Calogero.
Palminteri is known for his gangster/crime dramas. He usually plays the tough-guy gangster in charge.
The two also acted opposite each other in the gangster movie satire comedy Analyze This (1999).
Chazz was on the right side of the law in The Usual Suspects (1995).
He didn’t seem to know which side he was on in Running Scared (2006).
His performances are usually pretty explosive, so it should be amusing so see him in videogame form. Tomorrow you will be able to play the new Uprising add-on for Sony Playstation 3’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II. This add-on has already been available for Xbox 360 gamers for about a month. As part of the map pack there is a new Zombies experience called ‘Mob of the Dead.’ Chazz contributes his voice to the character Salvatore ‘Sal’ DeLuca. He joins the likes of Ray Liotta, Michael Madsen, and Joe Pantoliano who are all most known for their roles in gangster movies. Famous gangster movie icons killing zombies, let me just grab my controller.