June 25, 2013

Trailer Breakdown: "The Counselor" Teaser Gives Us Leopards, Eyeliner, Brad Pitt's Hair, and Crazy Bardem

 A teaser for Ridley Scott's The Counselor just hit the web! Here is my brief breakdown of this 45 second clip.

Oh hey, Leopard. What's up? 
Oh nothing, just chilling out being a leopard and symbolizing wealth or power or something like. Hey ya got anything to eat?

Now the casting for Diaz's character was a little weird because (and please correct me if I'm wrong)  the role was originally going to Angelina Jolie before it went to Diaz. People were really skeptical about her playing such a "Jolie-type role" but I don't know. She's looking all kinds of femme fatal and crazy with that intense eye liner.

My favorite star, Brad Pitt's hair makes an apperance again (seriously, get his hair an agent.) Brad Pitt's a good looking guy but I think at this point in his life he's embracing his age and wrinkles. Not worrying about botoxing and trying get back to his prime. Besides, he's Brad Pitt. He can do what he wants.

Now lets all take a moment, and appreciate how good looking Michael Fassbender looks, mmkay?

Good? Got that out of your system? Great, lets continue....

 Obviously, Penelope Cruz is a gorgeous woman. She's looking very natural and makeup free, which makes me believe she's not playing her typical fiery latina. In fact, when they were announcing the cast, some thought she was going to have Diaz's part and Diaz was going to have her part.

No, really, Cameron Diaz looks like she's going to be cutting bitches.

And taking names.

And Lord, check out Javier Bardem looking crazy. From early screenings I hear he steals the show. The man is truly a chameleon.

I remeber last year I breifly skimmed the script and found it a tad confusing. Some hated it and some thought it was great and intriguing. I'm going to have to look it over again, but I will definitely put this on my must-see list.

Check Out the Trailer HERE

Trailer Breakdown: Why You Should Be Excited For "The Wolf of Wall Street"

A storm came through the internet last week and it was in the form of a 2 minute and 15 second trailer for the new Martin Scorsesse/ Leonardo DiCaprio film Wolf of Wall Street. If anyone told you they were expecting anything close to what we were shown then they are probably lying and you should dismiss anything they say for now on....

 No, really, you should, because no one was expecting all the beautiful, exhilerating, hilarious goodness that The Wolf of Wall Street trailer provided. And for fans of the book by Jordan Belfort, this must be like Christmas. I haven't even read the book and after this trailer I was racing to my nearest bookstore to buy myself a copy...

So here are the highlights of the trailer...

Slightly tanned? Slick back hair? Stern expression? Next to Leo lifiting a drink to toast, does anyone feel this is a common look in his films?

“The year I turned 26, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of $1 million a week.”


Now this part kind of brought back some bitterness. The fact that McConaughey was not nominated for Killer Joe or, yes, even Magic Mike, but Jonah Hill is on top with DiCaprio....

"What's wrong, daddy?"

Wait. Is that Kanye playing in the background?
Make that 3 common things in Leo's films.......


Sweet Jesus, we're tossing tiny people.

And more partying...




Seriously, if that part alone doesn't make you want to see this then you are a lost cause, I'm sorry.

For the love of God, they have a monkey in a button down and khakis!

And of course we have to end this epicness with McConuaghey who I can already tell will be snatching weaves and stealing scenes in this movie.
I've actually watched this trailer so many times that I know this little hum/chest beat thing they do by heart. No shame.

*A few weeks before this trailer came out, I had asked people if they thought Leo could do comedy (sorry, I don't count Catch Me If You Can as  comedic role.) A lot of people laughed and said they just couldn't see it. However, it's clear that with the right script and director (and lets be honest, Leo would dress up like a pumpkin for Scorsese) Leo can be play a comedic role. And that's why we are so excited by this trailer. It's a type of role we've never seen Leo do before. He's dancing for Christ sake! How can you not love it? He's taking a risk, going outside what we usually expect from him and I think it's going to pay off, I really do.

June 24, 2013

Review - World War Z: The Film That Was Supposed to Suck, But Really Didn't

Unless you were living in a pueblo, somewhere, in the outskirts of Arizona, then you've probably  heard about the massive problems that Brad  Pitt's World War Z faced during its filming. With production problems and major re-shoots, World War Z was labled a  flop before the film was even released. All signs were pointing to a huge disaster and this was my mindset when I saw it last weekend. It was like I was attending a Elementary school play. I knew it wasn't going to be great, all signs pointed to it not being great, and all I wanted to do was make an appearance, see it, and just go about my day.

Except, this was not the case. In fact, I wouldn't even call it the worst film of the summer. I can easily say that World War Z is not the awful movie that people predicted.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former employee for the UN who must solve the mystery of the strange
virus (or bacteria, not sure) that is turning people into "zombies." With his wife and children anxiously awaiting his return to safety, Gerry must visits several parts of the world to figure out what is happening and how they can contain and stop the outbreak.

The movie jumps right into the action, which moved the story along really well. Why worry about in-depth back stories and deep family dynamic when zombies are taking over the world? I felt that the Lane family portrayed by Pitts character, his wife, and 2 daughters, felt authentic and believable without being too melodramatic. This is one thing the film gets right when it
comes to its characters. The film doesn't take the time to give you a 101 analysis on each person (ain't nobody got time for that) but you feel for them and you root for them. I was listening to the SPILL crew the other day and they do bring up a good point. Usually in these types of films, the main character does certain things or makes decisions that are completely stupid and nonsensical. And that has always been my number one complaint with the horror genre.

Seriously!? You're really going to walk into the insanely dark room with just a flashlight and no protection!? This isn't some Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoon, idiot! Use your head!

This was not the case with World War Z. What I liked most about Pitt's character was that he was smart and actually thought things through before acting. Sure some moments were obviously pulled off by the grace of movie magic, but I never had that frustration I get when a fully functioning character makes stupid decisions.

Now, zombie films are not my expertise, so I can't judge whether this was a good flick when it comes to portraying the undead. For me, zombies that can run, leap, jump, and climb, are terrifying enough. Those bad boys in World War Z were pretty insane and I thought that the movie illustrated how
deadly these zombies were. I was properly freaked out. The film has a lot of tense moments which really had me at the edge of my seat. And I was not expecting that.

The real problem I had with the film was the ending. As I said before, the movie goes right into the action and the first two acts really deliver on many levels. However, the end, the final show down, the grand finale, left me a little cold. Like there should've been something more. I am always hesitant to nitpick plots to films that are based on books, because I don't know if it was part of the original content. However, when the credits started rolling I just felt empty. I wasn't expecting a big, cataclysmic ending with zombies falling from the sky, but I did feel a little unfulfilled and disappointed.

Update: Since, finding out that there will be a sequel, I feel a little better about the ending.

The real star of this movie is Brad Pitt's hair. Those golden locks tucked behind Pitt's ear should've had their own credits in the movie. Sure Pitt is getting beaten up and chased by zombies, but look at that hair shine. Maybe, those zombies just wanted to touch his head. I mean, that's plausible, right?

Initially, when I saw World War Z  I said it wasn't good but it wasn't bad either. That ending had me feeling kind of cranky so I filed it under "just okay." Now thinking back to it and really evaluating certain points of the film that I liked, I now think that WWZ is a good, solid film, but nothing spectacular. It is certainly not the hot mess that people were expecting, and I hope that the mistakes that occurred during the making of this film will not be repeated for the sequel. I think it's funny, that the film I was expecting to blow me away ended up disappointing me (Man of Steel) while a film I was totally expecting to fall short actually delivered (World War Z. )

Against all odds World War Z managed to be a major success. And for that I tip my hat off. A solid film with a weak ending, I give World War Z a strong 7/10.

*Check out Moviefone's article on how World War Z avoided becoming a huge disaster at the box office HERE

June 19, 2013

First Look: Images from Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" + Why McQueen Is Shaking The Film Industry

New stills of McQueen's third film 12 Years a Slave were released and unsurprisingly people are buzzing. The film, based on the novel by Solomon Noethup about his life in enslavement, has a high callibar cast including the star power push of Brad Pitt. Naturally, people are already buzzing about Oscar season and whether it will be a contender (it's being released on December 27th, so it's cutting it close.) Here are a few images provided by IndieWire

Clearly, putting a story like this in the hands of breakout director, Steve McQueen, is going to stir many emotions. McQueen's directing style is so raw, authentic, and intense, that it pushes ones comfort level to a place that you never thought it could go. In Hunger it was the emaciated Michael Fassbender playing Bobby Sands slowly withering away in a hospital bed as he dies of starvation or the sex obsessed Brandon in Shame who has a full on breakdown during a threesome. These moments made my heart stop for a brief moment and had my breath staggering. I couldn't relate to these people in any way shape or form. However, McQueen's filmmaking hits so close to the home that it's almost unsettling. And that is what we need in film today. We need someone like him making more films that give us honesty, truth, and depth. Films that make us think and lingers in our minds afterwards. I was shaken by Shame. I didn't know what I just saw. I was racking my brain around it for weeks and even longer than that. I can still talk about that film today with the same passion I had right when I saw it the first time. McQueen has a level of artistry and creativity that puts him above many independent filmmakers.

McQueen is not only blunt in his film making, but also in real life. I have heard several people label him and his films as pretentious. I think some are taking his honesty and unwillingness to abide by typical Hollywood standards as something of a renegade or someone who thinks highly of himself. Granted, McQueen is not afraid to speak his mind (and his dry British sense of humor probably doesn't help either. I attended a Q & A and you couldn't tell sometimes if he was joking or being serious.) However, he's not coming from a bad place. He's unapologetic and he sees things a bit differently than the average filmmaker. During a Hollywood Reporter roundtable interview, McQueen had a lot of people squirming when he asked about the lack of casting for black actors.

McQueen is the type of director that I can see many actors wanting to work with. He helped showcase the talent of Fassbender and I have a feeling that he will do the same for Chiwetel Ejiofor (who really does deserve the recognition by now.) McQueen has a way of pushing actors and really getting the best performances out of them. And knowing McQueen's flair for the realism, I know that  I'm going to see certain actors a bit differently after 12 Years a Slave.  The man has a vision and he is very straight forward when it comes to that vision. He's the type of director who leaves little room for negotiation when it comes to the integrity and the creative freedoms of his films. And, in my opinion, I think it's time we had a filmmaker like him to mix things up. No holds barred McQueen is the best McQueen.