Archive for Crime Story

Unified Pictures, Media House Capital, A Single Shot Productions,

Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Joe Anderson, Jeffrey Wright, Ophelia Lovibond, Amy Sloan, W. Earl Brown

John Moon (Sam Rockwell) is a hunter, though convicted a few times of poaching, he seems fearless as he hunts down game illegally. But a mistaken shot finds a beautiful young woman dead. John panics and decides to hide the body, but in the process finds a great deal of money hidden in a cave where he tries to hide the money. John has an estranged wife and daughter who quickly become the target of the bad backwoods criminals that find out that John has their money. Things just getting worse as John tries his best to resolve it without anyone more dying.

This is an unusual story. The backwoods West Virginia dialect is a little tough to follow, but it does feel very realistic. With a simple single storyline, you’d think this would get boring, but it never seems to. The story of one bad decision which leads to a landslide of events is actually quite interesting. This is another film that has been in my queue for ages, but has finally floated to the top of my queue. As intriguing as the story is by itself, I must say that Sam Rockwell’s performance is pretty good. He played the loner guy really well. William H Macy has a smaller role as the small town lawyer, but he never disappoints in bringing the role to life. There is a lot of intrigue and suspense and it was a nice surprise to pop this DVD in the player this afternoon. Not a well known movie at all, but certainly worth watching. I enjoyed this.

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Black Bear Pictures, Boies / Schiller Film Group, Hwy61,

Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez , Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, Stacy Keach, Bruce Greenwood

Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a ne’er do well prospector with the dream of hitting it rich. With the help of his friend, the locate property in Indonesia and stake out a claim which looks like a really big deal. This looks like the big break he’s been looking for. But it’s complicated as the lies, secrets, double-crosses, and more pile up as everyone is out to take advantage of everyone else in this story based on real events.

The closest thing I can think of to McConaughey’s performance in this docudrama is Michael Keaton’s performance in The Founder. There are a lot of similarities in the stories, at least as far as the performances of the two actors. This is a very different story though, and I think Matthew did a good job transferring this character to the screen. This is one of those stories that is like a snowball rolling down a hillside that keeps growing bigger and rolling faster until it is able to flatten everyone. We’re not sure right up to the very last second who is the good guy and who is the sucker. It’s got twists and turns just like “The Sting”. It’s a roller coaster ride, that’s for sure, and a decent little film. It didn’t blow me away, but it sure kept interested throughout the whole film, and it surprised me after all in the end. This is a crime story most of all, but with lots of secrets. A serious game of one-ups pulled one after another. It’s a good enough movie if you’re interested in how NOT to make a million dollars.

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Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Huahua Media,

Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Austin Hébert, Patrick Heusinger, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany, Robert Knepper, Robert Catrini

“Jack Reacher” (Tom Cruise) in 2012 present Tom Cruise as an ex military police, lone vigilante type real badasss. [Click Here for Ed’s Review] Jack is back, this time under suspicion for murder, and watching people near him getting taken out at a speedy pace in this sequel to the 2012 film. Turner (Cobie Smulders) is in the office and is his primary contact, but when he arrives to see her in person he finds that she has been arrested for espionage, and those who are out to get him are after her too. It turns out it could be a huge conspiracy involving high up military personnel as well as a primary private contractor involved in a massive corrupt scheme. But Jack isn’t ready for another surprise as he finds out that he’s also wanted as a deadbeat Dad, since a woman filed a claim against him for a daughter he never knew anything about. She’s 15 now, and a true street rat named Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who is suddenly mixed up with Reacher and Turner as all three of them are on the run and trying to stay alive in this ultimately violent and extremely intense action film.

So it’s not surprising to anyone when I say that I’ve not been a Tom Cruise fan for many years, especially after the Mission Impossible disasters which I absolutely loathed. But I have to admit that he does a really good job with his Reacher character. It’s been a long time since we’ve had someone as rough and tough as this guy. He reminds me a lot of Charles Bronson in his heyday, and there is a feel a lot like the Death Wish films from the 70’s. The prime difference here is that Bronson was a private citizen who is wronged and heads out to exact revenge. But Reacher is an inside guy with his military background who has become discouraged with the corruption and heads out on his own against the system, but still with a strong feeling of right and wrong. Much like the Bourne films too, but Reacher is maybe not as smart as Bourne, but he’s certainly tougher than anyone I’ve seen in a long time. I actually really liked the original Jack Reacher, and I liked this one just as much. It’s every bit as exciting, and the addition of Cobie Smulders and Danika Yarosh really help, as both of them are really good here as well. I think Cobie was pretty good in this tough guy role, but Yarosh really blew me away with her acting skills. She really did an excellent job. All in all this is a very action filled crash fest with lots of fist fights, gun fights, and car chases, with some of the best cat and mouse scenes I’ve seen in a long time. If you like action, this is a really good film. I recommend this one for fans of the action genre. It’s a great sequel to a good original film.

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Transfilm, Archery Pictures, Canal+ Distribution,

Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a Washington D.C. power lobbyist who is the best in the business. Everyone wants to work with her, but this time she’s taking on a gun control bill and is facing an uphill battle which may turn out to be the biggest in her career. She’s set on winning at any price, but the price may be too high as she may destroy herself along with lots of good friends along the way in this look at the lobbying profession and the special interests and corruption at the highest levels of government.

This movie brings out all kinds of opinions from the folks that see it. That’s one of the good things about it. This is about lobbying and political blackmail, and though it’s revolving around a particular gun control bill, it’s not about gun control, really. With stunning dramatic scenes and courtroom scenes as the attempt to bring Elizabeth down once and for all, it makes for a very exiting film right out of the pages of the newspapers. From the sly back deals that cost us millions as the Democrats bought votes for ObamaCare, to the corruption in California where Governor Jerry Brown just did completely illegal on the side pork barrel deals worth a billion dollars or more to get enough votes to increase gasoline taxes by nearly a half a buck a gallon and a new car registration fee of about 50 bucks a year on every car registration to help raise money to pay the government pension deals that we are being sunk by. In California it’s completely illegal to offer bribes or funding to influence the vote of a legislator, yet it was very publicly done. The final vote waas acquired by convincing a Republican legislator who is being termed out a deal to protect the business he is going back to getting him to break ranks and vote for this devastating bill that cannot be overturned by a referendum. That’s the kind of thing this movie is about, and it’s a good look at the bribery, blackmail, and much worse that goes on in the lobby business every day. For that reason, I found it an interesting film, but even without that, there is very good dramatic and suspenseful story going on as well, even if you are not interesting in the lobbying stuff. Especially the courtroom scene that comes in the last part of the story is very well done. This is a role that was built for Jessica Chastain, and with a whole crew of backup actors who also perform very smartly, this is a very well told story and probably worth watching. It’s quite a change of pace from the usual stuff, and interesting to watch.

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Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment,

Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’Mara, JB Blanc, Ray Chase, Enrico Colantoni, Roger R. Cross, Jeremy Davies, Rosario Dawson, Brian T. Delaney, Alfred Molina, Jerry O’Connell, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Jeff Parise, Laura Post, Nicholas Turturro

The Justice League, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. band together to fight a group of evil super villains, including John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan, who are using magic to create evil and chaos. It’s an all out battle of good and evil.

As you know, I’m not a big superhero/comic book fan by any means. But I really hated sitting through this movie. It’s TV type low quality animation with low quality voices and dialog, and a very boring story. This is stuff that is typical Saturday Morning cartoon stuff but R rated. Sometimes the R rating is because the depth of the story is too difficult and mature for kids, but this is just a lot of swearing. There’s no reason why it needed tp be like that, as it’s simply wasted. So not for kids (boys) who might like it, and not interesting enough from adults, there may a few fans of this type of film, but it didn’t work in the least for me. I even found myself so disinterested in the film, that I turned it off and tried again the next day. After looking at the reviews of the guys that loved this, I thought maybe I was wrong, and I try to never review a movie that I haven’t seen start to end, so I watched it again yesterday. It was just a bad the second time through. I would suggest avoiding this like the plague.

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