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Darkest Hour (2017)


Darkest Hour (2017)

I have to admit that prior to seeing this film, my history knowledge of Winston Churchill was a little fuzzy.

Gary Oldman is a wizard when it comes to his ability to become whoever he is supposed to be portraying on screen.  I became more interested in seeing Darkest Hour after I found out that Oldman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, even though I am fed up with the Academy Awards.

Darkest Hour is based on the true story of when British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler when all of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazis in 1940.

The movie was directed by Joe Wright and the noteworthy cast includes Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, and David Strathairn.

Gary Oldman successfully transformed into Winston Churchill.  He was a mumbling, bumbling, blabbering, grumpy old man.  It is hard to believe that anyone else could have done half as good a job as he did in his role.

The U.K. in the 1940s was duplicated convincingly and artistically in Darkest Hour.  Watching the movie, it was very easy to be pulled into that time and place.  It was as if you were there witnessing Winston Churchill make history.

It is always interesting to me how movies with similar subjects get made around the same time.  It is no accident that Dunkirk (2017) came out the same year as Darkest Hour.  Hollywood likes to capitalize on one concept by showcasing similar movies in the same year.  I guess that they assume that if one movie does well, everyone will be curious about the other movie of the same type and will go to see it while the idea is still fresh.

Darkest Hour is about what is going on behind the scenes while Dunkirk is happening.  In this case, the two movies do make good companion pieces to each other.

The problem with Darkest Hour is that everyone in the movie besides Gary Oldman felt like an afterthought.  His character development improved as the movie went on, but there was not much care placed on the other characters.

The other main thing that was wrong with the film is that it just felt like it took way too long to make its point.  It probably could have been 30 minutes shorter.  I think that this would have made it more enjoyable.

It felt historically accurate and Oldman’s performance was superb.  Without him, this movie would have really struggled.

The film felt a little bit like The King’s Speech (2010).  This is not one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again.  It was tasteful and informative, but I will be OK with only seeing it once.

Darkest Hour is a well put together World War II period piece.  It is a good depiction of some historical events, however it is overly drawn out and therefore falls a little short.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Dunkirk (2017)

The King’s Speech (2010)

Lincoln (2012)

Leon: The Professional (1994)

True Romance (1993)

Schindler’s List (1993)

The Pianist (2002)

The Imitation Game (2014)

The Aviator (2004)

Cinderella Man (2005)

J. Edgar (2011)

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The Disaster Artist (2017)


The Disaster Artist (2017)

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought it was just going to be just another James Franco and Seth Rogen disaster of a movie.  I feel like James Franco is a very talented actor who has made many terrible choices when it comes to the films that he decides to be a part of.  I think that he has this need to want to be funny all of the time, when in reality, he is a much better serious actor than comedic actor.  He seems to not take his career very seriously.

I blame Seth Rogen for James Franco’s often wasted talent.  The two are best friends and it seems like Rogen has sucked Franco into the world of stupid and crude humor.  Sometimes it works for them, but usually it does not.  Either way, James Franco belongs in films opposite heavy hitting actors like Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand, like he was in City by the Sea (2002).  He rises to the occasion and does his best work when he is surrounded by talent.  His skillset is dumbed way down when he tries to be funny and is the most talented person in the room.

James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco has followed in his big brother’s footprints.  Dave got his break in comedy and often, seems more believable than James when it comes to crude and stupid humor.  Dave is likable, but is only famous because of his older bro.  Dave lacks the acting gift that his brother continues to take for granted.

Needless to say, I waited to see The Disaster Artist on DVD.

The movie is based on a true story about two unlikely friends who move to Hollywood to try to become big movie stars.  After they fail desperately, they decide to make their own movie together to try to get famous even though they are in hopelessly over their heads.  The Disaster Artist is the story of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero and how they came to make the movie The Room (2003).

The movie was directed by James Franco and the noteworthy cast includes James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Paul Scheer, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Melanie Griffith, Bob Odenkirk, and Tom Franco.

It is almost as if James Franco and Seth Rogen were sitting around one day, likely smoking pot, and they thought as a joke, it would be funny to make a movie about the worst movie ever made.  Then, they went ahead and did it.

The movie The Room, The Disaster Artist is about the making of, has become a cult classic and apparently, widely known as one of the worst movies ever made.  Ironically, The Disaster Artist won some awards for mimicking one of the worst movies ever made.  James Franco won a Golden Globe for his role in the film.  Let that sink in for a moment.

James Franco likely would have been nominated for an Academy Award for The Disaster Artist, but has had some bad publicity about sexual misconduct, as of late.  This is easily why the Academy left him out.

Like the title suggests, The Disaster Artist is a true disaster.  James Franco’s character is unusually bizarre and humorous, and has a dreadfully annoying voice with a terribly bogus accent.  However, after a while, the voice is pretty comical.  He played his senseless character very well.  I am not sure that is saying much though.  James Franco delivers a grand performance of being awful.

It is a tiny bit weird seeing the Franco brothers acting opposite each other, but also likable.  Because of their dumb characters, it was just stupid overall.

The fact that James Franco directed did not mean a whole lot in this movie.  I think it just says more about how he does not even try to be good anymore.

The film was cheap because it was trying to be cheap.  But, it was still cheap and less than B-rated cheap.

Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson both had fun cameos.

When Seth Rogen tries to be serious, it does not work.  Serious is out of his league and his desperate attempt to mask this, bleeds through.  This makes his character less believable and therefore takes away from the film.

It is worth noting that Dave Franco and Seth Rogen have been in 5 movies together and James Franco and Seth Rogen have made 6 movies together, excluding television and documentaries.  This is not similar to Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn getting cast together often because it works.  This is more like Adam Sandler getting his buddies together to make a comedy to pay the bills.  It gets old and worn out.  Still, I think it would be fun to watch the Franco Brothers get together and make a serious movie as a way to try again.

Once again, for James Franco, the talent is there, but he just does not channel it into the right work.  The Disaster Artist is in fact, a misadventure full of squandered talent and wasted time.  Is it skill to duplicate a train wreck and the whole process of a train wreck?  Not in my book.  It is entertaining at times, however.

I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

 

Here is a list movies that I recommend that are better than this one:

 

Ed Wood (1994)

Bowfinger (1999)

City by the Sea (2002)

Neighbors (2014)

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

127 Hours (2010)

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Get Shorty (1995)

The Aviator (2004)