Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Summary: A newly released convict (Dwayne Johnson) set’s out to avenge the murder of his brother. Ten years ago the brothers were engaged in a heist but were double-crossed by a mysterious gang immediately afterwards. Now a veteran drug addicted detective and an egocentric hit man are both tracking this man hell bent on revenge.

Plot (B+): To say that Johnson’s character is a man on a mission is a complete understatement. He is more like a man possessed by some unholy force and nothing is going to stop him until he kills everyone that screwed him and killed his brother. This is immediately visible during the opening scene as you see Johnson pace back and forth in his cell with intensity. It’s safe to say that Faster has some religious, both dark and light, undertones to the film. The plot itself is a straightforward revenge flick with a slight twist at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and looked forward to seeing it for some time. To clarify, only 2 or 3 people in this film are referred to by their actual names. Johnson’s character is simply referenced as “the Driver” since he was the driver during the heist with his brother. I thought this was very cool because it clearly states that this movie is not solely about the characters per se. It’s about revenge and when someone is bent on getting it nothing else really matters. There is a sub-plot, which centers on the egocentric hit man who is hired to kill Johnson’s character. While I understand the connection between the Killer and the Driver I felt they focused a bit much on the Killer’s personal life.

Action (A): I was very happy to see Johnson back in the action genre saddle because it fits him perfectly. He took a break from starring in action films but this was a great comeback. Most of the action scenes are either gunfights or just watching Johnson blow someone’s head clean off. Lastly, the film had several cool driving action sequences, which kept the movie flowing at a faster pace.

Acting & Dialogue (B+): Dwayne Johnson is a good actor and I don’t give a shit what people say. His transition from wrestling to acting was extremely smooth and natural even if that was years ago. Although, Johnson’s character doesn’t not speak much his body language says EVERYTHING. He walks with a purpose. When he confronts each new target his posture is stiff but it gives the notion that he’s ready to attack then and there. Most of all, his eyes are filled with an intense fiery rage which strikes fear into the hearts of his victims (Note: I’ve seen this look before from his wrestling days and it worked perfectly). This rage has been festering for ten years and it gives audiences the inclination that he is no longer human but more of a dark super natural force. Essentially, he is the bringer of death. Billy Bob Thornton plays the veteran Cop who’s days away from retirement but wants on this case for his own reasons. Thornton was particularly good in this role and played his character much like Robert De Niro played the obsessed psychopath Gil Renard in The Fan. Thornton’s Cop is smart but he can’t catch a break with his estranged wife, their cubby son, his job, and in life.

Sex Appeal (6.5): Maggie Grace (the whinny and stupid daughter from Taken) is stunningly beautiful in this film. She walks around in lingerie and is practically flawless. (Sidebar, I saw her in a flea market in Santa Monica last summer. I was going to “accidently” step on the back of her heel and pretend that it was accident so I could talk to her, however, I sadly chickened out.)

Director (B+): George Tillman Jr. created a fine piece of work and I would say that this is one of his best. The other film being Men of Honor, which starred Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. Tillman also directed Notorious (the Notorious B.I.G movie), Soul Food, and Scenes for the Soul. Tillman’s ability to keep the pace moving and not focusing on one particular thing for too long was executed with great precision. As I said above, Johnson did everything at lightening speed and that was a great metaphor for the entire film. Tillman’s ability to focus in on that really won me over.

Overall: B+

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Lantern Trailer

Check out the new Green Lantern trailer in the trailer section below! It looks very cool and I really like Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. He brought that cocky attitude as usual but it works for the character because that's who Hal Jordan is. While at first I wasn't crazy about the full CGI costume it has grown on me. With that said, I don't care fore his eyepiece because it looks extremely fake. If anything they could have given me a real one. I'm extremely happy to see a new and very different comic book hero finally come to the silver screen!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Single Man

Summary: George (Colin Firth) is a British English professor living in 1962 L.A. at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Instead of focusing on his job or the looming potential death of the United States his mind and heart are centered on one thing: the death of his lover, Jim. As stated by George throughout his opening monologue, each day is difficult yet typical. However, when we see George he decides to do something a bit different.

Plot (A): Within the opening minutes of the film it becomes very difficult not to feel a deep sense of sympathy for George. It’s even harder to hold back your emotions as you see George lay down next to a dead Jim in a dream. It’s within those opening moments that you understand the suffering the main character internally experiences and yet can't express to the outside world. A Single Man has an extraordinary storyline because it hits so many aspects of life. It’s very touching yet rough for those who are in love and have to watch George's pain for the loss of Jim. For those who grew up during the 60’s, it's reminiscent of what life was like specifically in relation to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, and the constant sense doom that always lingered. Also, for anyone who was gay at that time it expresses how they could not live life in the open thus being forced to conceal their true self behind an illusion. Overall, A Single Man touches on an emotional, historical, and social level of life in the 1960’s.

Action: N/A

Acting & Dialogue (A): The film predominately focuses on Colin Firth’s character and his interactions with the people in his life. Firth is absolutely amazing in his role. He eloquently combined his British charm with the sophistication of an English professor secretly living as a gay man in the 1960’s. As in some of my favorite films Firth’s character discusses his inner thoughts with the audience. This constant running monologue, as always, allows for a deeper connection between viewers and the character/story. Firth’s performance was so highly applauded last year that he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Julianne Moore plays Charley, a former lover of George, but who is now his best friend. And when I say best friend I mean she’s a self-indulgent divorcee with a shit load of money and a drinking problem. Moore is equally superb although her screen time is minimal. For me, it was the way she spoke which stuck out the most. Picture a pretentious WASP from the Upper East Side saying, “That’s marvelous darling.” a bunch of times and then you'll get the essence of her character.

Sex Appeal: N/A

Director (A): This is Tom Ford’s only directing gig thus far and I have to say he made one hell of an entrance. One of the things that I really liked about Ford’s direction was his ability to brighten up the color in George’s face when some memory, smell, or person made him happy. It’s hard not to notice George’s color brighten up significantly when he is happy. The constant recurrence gives the notion that there is hope for him yet. Just like the monologue, and perhaps even more so, this simply action connects us to George’s emotions on a deeper level. Ford wonderfully mixed the present with flashbacks of random events in George and Jim’s relationship: i.e.) when they first met, hanging out on the beach or in their house, and sadly yes, the moment George received the news about Jim’s death (Firth was great in that scene). I don’t see any new projects on Fords IMDB page but that could and probably will change.

Overall: A