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Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)


Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Dark humor in an edgy looking story jammed packed with character actors galore.  Why wouldn’t I want to see this film?

The movie is about a broken woman whose daughter had been raped and murdered less than a year earlier and the crime is still unsolved.  She decides to purchase advertisements on three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri, essentially publically calling the police out for not doing their jobs.  This gets the attention of the police station and stirs things up around town.

The film was written and directed by Martin McDonagh and the noteworthy cast includes Frances Mcdormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Christopher Berry, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters, and Darrell Brit-Gibson.

The casting is superb.  The characters are excellent.  Rockwell and Harrelson are likable jerks (as they often are).  They play their parts well.  Mcdormand steals the show with her best performance in years.

The multiple characters stories join together well in a web of darkness.  The movie allows its cast to take their time to develop their characters in an overly dysfunctional drama.  They really did not disappoint.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a blunt force.  It has the right amount of dark humor carefully thrown into the mix to break up the brutal honesty of the film.

This film is a miserably twisted tale that goes to some dark places.  You can really feel the pain and anguish on screen.  However, it leaves those places leaving you feeling better about the whole thing afterwards.

There is more cussing in this film than I have heard in a newer film for a while.  The dialogue and writing are top notch.  I enjoyed how the film did not really edit itself.  It may not be much for the politically correct crowd.  If you cannot handle harsh language, this movie is not for you.  Given some of the horrible situations in this film, I feel that the language was justified and also more realistic.  It served as another tool to get the point across.

The movie pushes the boundaries on what you expect.  Lots of surprises keep you guessing throughout.  It’s witty and charming, but in a dysfunctional, hellish way.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Fargo (1996)

North Country (2005)

The Way, Way Back (2013)

Mr. Right (2015)

Choke (2008)

Matchstick Men (2003)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

Triple 9 (2016)

Zombieland (2009)

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The Battle of the Sexes (2017)


The Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Although I did not live during the time that this film is supposed to have taken place, I knew a little bit about the battle of the sexes.  OK, all I really knew was that men and women played tennis against each other in the 1970s to prove which sex was better at sports.  I did not know any specifics.  I knew nothing.

The movie is a true story about how the best women’s tennis player, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and former men’s tennis champion, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) come to play an exhibition tennis match against each other for the battle of the sexes in 1973.

The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Andrea Riseborough, Bill Pullman, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Jessica McNamee, Austin Stowell, Wallace Langham, Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman), and James Mackay.

The movie was written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

The Battle of the Sexes was very formulaic and predictable.  However, it was a true story that I was truly unfamiliar with.  An exhibition tennis match suddenly becomes a fight for equal pay and equal rights.  It is a feel-good film about working to right a wrong in society.  The movie is an exploration in sexism and surprisingly, sexuality.

This would have been a great time to experience in American History.  To witness this symbolic tennis match (even just on TV), would’ve been witnessing an important time for women’s rights.

The movie does a good job showing just how slanted peoples’ views of men and women were back in the 1970s.  Even though lots of people believe that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to equals rights for all, this film is definitely a big reminder that we have come a long way.

Emma Stone and Steve Carell were superb pitted against each other (as they were together in Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011).  The costume design in the movie was excellent.  Stone and Carell looked very much like the people they were portraying.  So much so, that it was a little scary.  The 1970s was recreated very artistically down to every detail.

The movie had a nice recipe of goofy humor, and serious drama.  Like many sports films, it was quite predictable.  It is a formula that we have seen 100 times and it doesn’t get old.  We still enjoy watching the underdog.  It’s a David and Goliath story.  Danielle and Goliath, if you will.

 

I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Invincible (2006)

Rocky (1976)

The Natural (1984)

Rudy (1993)

Gangster Squad (2013)

Zombieland (2009)

Now You See Me (2013)


Now You See Me Poster 2

Now You See Me (2013)

Now You See Me is a film about a group of 4 magicians brought together by an unknown person.  They are convinced to become a team and eventually they land their own show in Las Vegas.  When one of their tricks involves stealing a large amount of money, they become part of a cat and mouse chase with the FBI.

Now You See Me Group doorway

The film was directed by Louis Leterrier.  The cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, and David Warshofsky.

Now You See Me hypnotized me with its excitement.  It was certain to amaze.  The cast of characters were all clever and quite entertaining. For a while I was caught up in the illusion of the promise of something great.  Eventually I was let down.  The ride was a thrill.  The destination however, was a disappointment.

Now You See Me Eisenberg

I enjoyed seeing Eisenberg and Harrelson teamed up together again for the first time since Zombieland (2009). 

NOW YOU SEE ME

This is the 4th time that Freeman and Caine have been in the same film.  The previous 3 films were The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Now You See Me Caine Freeman

Now You See Me could be Dave Franco’s best performance to date.

Now You See Me Franco

It was nice to see Laurent in another American made movie.  This is the first film that I have seen her in anything since Inglourious Basterds (2009).

Now You See Me Laurent Ruffalo

The story was unfinished and sort of lacked a point.  The movie became dependent on sleight of hand in order to entertain.  You can only one-up a magic trick so many times before it starts to get a little worn out.

The ending of the film acted like it was a big grand conclusion when in reality it just fizzled.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie was fun and amusing.  It was worth seeing, just not in the theatre.  The film is like any magic trick, once you know the secret behind it, it is no longer exciting.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

Trailer for Rapture-Palooza (2013)


Rapture-Palooza Poster

Rapture-Palooza (2013)

The movie is a comedy about the end of the world brought on by the devil.  A couple of friends join together to try to save the world by defeating the antichrist.

The movie looks a little Zombieland (2009) -esque,  at least in the comedy sense.  But, I’m sure it won’t be anywhere near as funny or as clever as that film.

Rapture-Palooza is directed by Paul Middleditch and stars Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Ken Jeong, Rob Corddry, John Francis Daley, Thomas Lennon, Tyler Labine, Rob Huebel, and Ana Gasteyer.

I’m not gonna rush out to the theatre to see this one, but I’ll probably catch it when it comes to DVD.

The movie is set to release on 6/7/13.

Zombieland (2009)


Zombieland Poster

Zombieland (2009)

When I saw Zombieland for the first time, I was absolutely shocked at how much I loved it.  A friend had recommended it and I watched it shortly after it came out on DVD.  I went into it knowing nothing at all about the movie and it caught me completely by surprise.

Zombieland car escape

After a zombie apocalypse, there are few human survivors remaining.  Zombieland follows Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) as they fight their way through zombie-ridden America in search of safety, solace, and Twinkies.  They run into Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) along the way and their journey gets bumpy.

Zombieland Group

Zombieland put Jesse Eisenberg on the map.  The only other movie that I had seen him in before was The Village (2004) and at that time I had no idea who he was.  His performance in the film blew me away.  He proved that he had the power to carry a movie by himself and when he teamed up with Woody Harrelson, it was priceless.

A year after Zombieland, Eisenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing the part of Mark Zuckerberg in the film The Social Network (2010).  He has since been popping up all over the place with Now You See Me (2013) (also with Harrelson) coming out later this year.

Harrelson was tremendous.  He played a great tough-guy and yet he was hysterical.  Not many people can pull off that combination.  On screen you could really tell that he had a lot of fun with his character.

Zombieland Harrelson Banjo

My friend who recommended the movie to me actually dressed up like Tallahassee for Halloween because he loved the character so much.

Zombieland also served as a big stepping stone for Emma Stone.  She was very likable in the movie.  Like Eisenberg, she became super popular after Zombieland came out.  The only difference is that she was already a little popular from a few previous roles.

Abigail Breslin didn’t need a stepping stone.  The youngest of the group, she had already earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Little Miss Sunshine (2006).  Zombieland served simply as a tool to further her acting career.  She was only 13 when she made the movie, but she held her own along with the rest of the cast.

Zombieland Stone Breslin Ride

Bill Murray has one of the best cameo appearances that I have ever seen in a movie.  It was completely random and hilarious.

Amber Heard also has a small part in the film.

The film was directed by Ruben Fleischer.  Fleischer has since directed Eisenberg in 30 Minutes or less (2011) and Stone in Gangster Squad (2013).

Zombieland is a comical masterpiece.  It has already become a cult classic and has recently spawned a TV show.  It is a movie that I could watch over and over again.  The film is not so much about zombies as it is about the camaraderie between the main characters as they try to survive among the living dead.  It is a hilarious thrill ride that will keep you laughing all the way to the end.

Zombieland zombies

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Trailer for Now You See Me (2013)


now you see me poster

Now You See Me (2013) (click on the title for my full review)

The movie is about a group of famous magicians turned bank robbers.  It appears that the sleight of hand in the film will mess with your mind and keep you entertained just like real magicians are supposed to do.

The casting is a reunion of sorts.  Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson are together again for the first time since they were teamed up in Zombieland (2009).  Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are reunited for the first times since the Dark Knight Trilogy.  The film also has Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Michael Kelly, Elias Koteas, rapper/actor: Common, and James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco (proved himself in 21 Jump Street (2012).

It looks like a cross between Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and The Prestige (2006).  Looks like it could be missing something, but maybe we will be pleasantly surprised.