Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tag: Joel Edgerton

Gringo (2018)

Title: Gringo
Rating: R
Directed by: Nash Edgerton
Written by: Anthony Tambakis, and Matthew Stone
Starring: David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, and Joel Edgerton
Release Date: 3/9/2018
Running Time: 110 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
A dark comedy mixed with white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, explores the battle of survival for businessman Harold Soyinka when he finds himself crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In memory of Tracy Scott and Curtis Hanson

Special thanks to Tyler for this submission


Red Sparrow (2018)

Title: Red Sparrow
Rating: R
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written by: Justin Haythe
Based on the novel by: Jason Matthews
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons
Release Date: 3/2/2018
Running Time: 139 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
Dominika Egorova is many things.
A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs.
A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit.
A master of seductive and manipulative combat.

When she suffers a career-ending injury, Dominika and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future. That is why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including an American CIA agent who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Special thanks to Emmy, and Cameron for this submission


It Comes at Night (2017)

Title: It Comes at Night
Rating: R
Directed by: Trey Edward Shults
Written by: Trey Edward Shults
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr.
Release Date: 6/9/2017
Running Time: 91 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
Imagine the end of the world. Now imagine something worse. Centering on a teenaged boy (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) as he grapples with mounting terrors—external and otherwise—in the aftermath of an unnamed cataclysm.

Secure within a desolate home with his vigilant, protective and heavily armed parents (Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo), 17-year-old Travis navigates fear, grief and paranoia amid scarce resources as a desperate young couple (Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough) seeks refuge in his family home with their young child.

Despite the best intentions of both families, panic and mistrust boil over as the horrors of the outside world creep ever closer. But they are nothing compared to the horrors within, where Travis discovers that his father’s commitment to protecting the family may cost him his soul.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No


Loving (2016)

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Title: Loving
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton and Will Dalton
Release Date: 11/4/2016
Running Time: 123 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple,
Richard and Mildred Loving (portrayed in the film by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga),
who fell in love and were married in 1958.

The couple had grown up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more
integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of
Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and
then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city
of Washington, D.C. While relatives made them feel welcome there, the more urban
environment did not feel like home to them. Ultimately, the pull of their roots in
Virginia would spur Mildred to try to find a way back.

Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which
in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Richard and Mildred
returned home and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No


Midnight Special (2016)

MidnightSpecialPoster

Title: Midnight Special
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard
Release Date: 3/18/2016
Running Time: 111 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

A provocative, genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human, it follows a father, Roy (Michael Shannon), who goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy with mysterious powers that even Roy himself cannot comprehend.

What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Risking everything, Roy is committed to helping Alton reach his ultimate purpose, whatever that might be and whatever it costs, in a story that takes audiences on a perilous journey from Texas to the Florida coast, while exploring the bonds of love and trust, and the nature of faith.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No


Jane Got a Gun (2016)

JaneGotAGunPoster

Title: Jane Got a Gun
Rating: R
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Written by: Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis and Joel Edgerton
Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor
Release Date: 1/29/2016
Running Time: 98 minutes

IMDb
Buy on Amazon

Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) has built a life on the rugged western plains with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) and young daughter. When Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after a run-in with the relentless John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his gang, she knows they will not stop until her family is dead. In desperation, Jane turns to Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton), a man from her past, for help. Haunted by old memories, Jane’s past meets the present in a heart-stopping battle for survival.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Note: The credits roll over the continuation of the last scene showing Jane, Dan, and the kids riding off into the sunset.

Dedication: The producers would like to acknowledge CAYLEN JOHNSON and the contributions he made to the film. May he rest in peace. November 25th, 1981 – August 24th, 2013


Black Mass Review – 1 out of 5 Stars

BlackMassPoster
Scott Cooper has almost magical powers when it comes to making terrible movies. He takes stories that would at least seem entertaining to watch and he screws them up in ways that make them absolutely unwatchable. With Out of the Furnace and his latest movie Black Mass, he takes bits and pieces of better films and he uses them to trick you into going along for the ride. The movies are well made and the stories are intriguing enough as to where you might believe for the first part that what you’re watching is something that is good. As these movies chug along, you slowly start to see through everything and you begin to realize how awful the characters and the dialogue and the storytelling are. Once these films end, Cooper leaves the audience with a disgusting, foul aftertaste that finally hits them with how utterly trashy what they just watched was. Out of the Furnace fit that description and now he does it again with the clichéd, miserable and gimmicky Black Mass. It’s yet another self-loathing, poorly crafted crime drama that’s only real message is Cooper wallowing in the filth he created.

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You hear the synopsis for this movie and you can’t imagine how anyone could possibly mess this up. It’s the story of South Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) and his crime streak from the mid 70’s to the early 80’s. With the help of childhood friend John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), Bulger became an informant for the FBI and in doing so they helped to take some of his enemies off the streets. It was the secret relationship between Bulger and the FBI that led to him becoming the king of the criminal underworld.

That is such an amazing premise for a movie and I can name so many directors who would’ve taken this story and done something outstanding. There doesn’t seem like a director out there who wouldn’t at least make this film watchable. At best, you end up with Scorsese or Fincher creating this energetic, lively crime thriller. At the least you should end up with Gangster Squad or Pain and Gain where neither of these movies are perfect but there stories are wild enough to make them somewhat fun. I will go on record and say that this movie is so bad that even Michael Bay would’ve done a better job directing and writing it. Black Mass feels like one of those stories that’s accident proof, the story is so big and so epic that even a less experienced director can make something interesting out of it and the better directors can turn this into something incredible. And yet, Scott Cooper has found a way to screw it up at every turn he was given.

Let’s start by focusing on the core of this movie, Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger. I’ve hated a lot of his work recently from his racist performance in the insufferable The Lone Ranger to his grating turn in Tusk. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have anticipated this performance so much but I really wanted this to be his return to form. I remember when people respected him and actually gave him performances that didn’t require goofy make up and outlandish accents. If he did give his heart and soul into this performance, I would tell you because I was rooting for him going into the theater. Spoiler alert, he didn’t and this is like every other performance he’s given over the past few years, the only difference is that it’s being featured in a “serious” drama.

I don’t have problems with makeup heavy performances when they’re done well. Steve Carell had tons of makeup when he played John du Pont last year in Foxcatcher and that was one of my favorite performances of 2014. The true difference between Depp’s performance and Carell’s performance is that the makeup isn’t carrying the part in Foxcatcher. Carell uses the makeup to go inside the character and become something that you can’t take your eyes off of. I never saw Carell in Foxcatcher, I saw John du Pont. The total opposite can be said for when I watched Depp in Black Mass. For two hours I didn’t see Whitey Bulger on screen, I saw Johnny Depp playing Whitey Bulger. He has an unbelievable accent and he has campy make up more suited for a Clint Eastwood film. It’s such a self-indulgent and gimmicky part that requires so little effort on the part of Depp and yet people have become entranced with it. He never seems like he’s real or a part of the same movie as anyone else and the film always seems more focused on making you shocked by Depp’s performance than making you shocked by the actual character. The movie is just scene after scene of Depp showing off how “intimidating” and “daring” he is without giving any insight into the heart and soul of Whitey Bulger. To do to a lesser extent something DiCaprio, Bale and Gyllenhaal among others excel at; he requires tons of makeup and ridiculous, inauthentic voices. So no, this isn’t Depp’s comeback and if anything, it’s worse because at least in Tusk or The Lone Ranger there was nothing really big at stake. In Black Mass, his cheap, artificial performance wrecks the core of the drama. The character of Whitey Bulger is never realistic and never sympathetic; he’s just there for Cooper and Depp to fake being cool and threatening.

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To Depp’s credit, it wasn’t like he was totally responsible for killing this movie. All the other characters besides Bulger are given the depth and insight of a History Channel reenactment. The movie even goes as far as to have a variety of interviews with people involved narrating the story. Most people like Adam Scott’s FBI character or Jesse Plemons’ mob character only exist to give soulless exposition dialogue. The characters that aren’t used strictly for that are given too little screen time for you to care. The example of this would be William Bulger, Whitey’s brother played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch has one of the few believable performances in the movie and he does the best that he can with what he’s given without coming off as fake and hollow like Depp or Edgerton (I’ll get to him soon). However, there’s so much that the film is trying to juggle character wise that he never gets the chance to shine through or really matter to us. The phone call between Depp and Cumberbatch should matter at the end of the movie but the film is so sloppy that it just comes off as anti-climactic. Nobody’s given enough time to have personality and the people who are given time like Bulger or Connolly are terrible.

Edgerton’s John Connolly is more shocking in how bad it is because unlike Depp, Edgerton is an actor who has shown he can act. He did a great job in his wonderful directorial debut The Gift this past summer. Besides that, he’s been solid writing The Rover and giving fine supporting performance in Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby. That said, it’s baffling how terrible he is in Black Mass. First off, the writing really isn’t helping him. I have a fun drinking game for the adults out there. Take a shot every time Connolly says something along the lines of, “me and Bulger have the kind of bond that’s unbreakable.” It becomes humorous how many times Edgerton mentions this to people when they ask him about Bulger. “Trust me you guys, we’ve known each other since we were kids on the streets of Boston, that’s the kind of friendship that never dies”. It comes to a point where the movie just keeps going back and forth between Depp doing something “edgy” and Edgerton making sure everybody knows about the magical, childhood bond he has with Bulger. When he’s not doing that, he’s having angry/sneaky conversations and asking people who the informants are on Whitey Bulger. I swear to God he’s one of the most repetitive, predictable characters I’ve seen in a drama in years. But even if I forgive that, Edgerton is still awful. He finds a way to actually compete with Depp for who can have the most inauthentic, over the top Boston accent. The way Edgerton talks as Connolly is like a bad improv actors take on a Boston accent. John Connolly in this movie is one of those perfect storms of a really horribly written character and a performance that feels so laughable and insincere.

I think that beyond how messy it is and how much it feels like Oscar bait, the thing that I hate the most in Black Mass is the same problem that I had with Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, it’s a very ugly, mean spirited movie. Everest (which I just reviewed) was a mess but at its heart that movie was well intentioned if deeply flawed. Black Mass is movie that is a mess that is also trying to make the audience feel like garbage afterwards. I clearly have no problem with bleak movies when they’re done well but they are the absolute worst films you can watch when they’re done poorly. Cooper doesn’t want the story to at all glamorize or take excitement in the criminal underworld. The movie is humorless and all the funny aspects are purely unintentional. The movie takes place in one of the best eras for music and it instead uses this forgettable, dour score.

So what though? Prisoners and Foxcatcher were humorless and I enjoyed both of those movies. The problem with this movie is that while it takes a joyless stance on Bulger’s actions, it still manages to glorify his actions like the cover of a tabloid magazine. There’s not a single lead character in the movie that seems like a good person who you can relate to. There is no Patrick Denham to The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort. There is no Dave Schultz’s to Foxcatcher’s John Du Pont. As I’ve said, most of the scenes use Bulger’s crimes as an excuse for Johnny Depp to show off how dark and serious he’s being. The violence in this movie is gratuitous and made disgustingly clear. The movie is one of the few cases where I can truly claim that it is misogynistic in a review. The only women who are shown in this movie are the ones who serve as helpless, little punching bags to make the male characters look more damaged.

There isn’t a single bit of warmth or subtlety to anything Cooper is doing here and he makes something that is as unappealing as it is unintelligent. Cooper loves showing the torture and the executions and creating an uninventive, nasty world that rewards moviegoers with the equivalent of bathing in a tub filled with mud. The final message (if there even is one) is something you can gain with much more ease by reading the writings of a depressed ten year old, life in constant suffering and the only people who can win are monsters.

Black Mass has made me hate something I thought I could never hate. Most of the characters are flat and Depp’s performance is soulless and unbelievable. The story is messy and done in the least original way possible. And worst of all, Black Mass glorifies the ugliness and brutality of life without showing any sense of wit or humanity. It’s one of the worst pieces of awards bait I’ve seen in years and you should avoid it at all costs. This and Out of the Furnace should be held up as some of the worst possible ways you can create a drama.

Rating:(1/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 9/18/2015

Rating: R

Cast: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon and Adam Scott

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Screenplay by: Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth

Based on the Novel by: Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill

Black Mass (2015)*

BlackMassPoster

Title: Black Mass
Rating: R
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth
Based on the novel by: Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill
Starring: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch,Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon and Dakota Johnson
Release Date: 9/18/2015
Running Time: 122 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: during the credits

 

After Credits? No

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The Gift Review – 4 out of 5 Stars

TheGiftPoster
At its core, The Gift is an ugly film. This sounds like a bad thing to say about something but in this case this is what makes The Gift so great. You may have watched the sub-par trailers and looked at the forgettable title and expected your average stalker thriller but this film will surprise you right from the opening minutes due to how quiet and natural everything feels. Star and director Joel Edgerton’s film debut creeps up on you and before you even know what hit you; you’re sinking deeper and deeper into this brutal story about terrible people and the horrific, unchangeable consequences of their sins.

This movie reminds me a lot of Gone Girl or Ex Machina in that it’s much easier to talk about this film if I reveal plot points that are meant to shock in the film. I’ll try not to spoil anything here but I think you’d have a far superior viewing experience without knowing the synopsis or seeing the trailer. If you have even an inkling of interest in watching this movie, go in blind and then come back to this review. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are newlyweds moving to California for Simon’s new job. The area is near the place where Simon grew up and as it happens, he comes across Gordo (Joel Edgerton), an old student he knew from high school. At first everything seems fine and Robyn even seems to enjoy his company but after a while he begins to show another side that may be much more sinister. After Simon asks Gordo to leave them alone, odd things start happening around the area and they start receiving letters that reveal that Simon’s past history with Gordo might be much crueler than first expected. Simon must come to terms with what he has done if he wishes to save his life.

This movie tries to discuss two major topics, the first being of the quiet intensity of life in the suburbs. This idea might remind many of you of the amazing Gone Girl from last year in how it took these two seemingly happy people living the perfect life in the usual neighborhood and transformed there vices into something insane and grandiose. The Gift is far less satirical and much more subtle and creepy in how it dissects this hidden rage.

Robyn is a designer who has to leave her job to become Simon’s stay at home wife while he’s away at work. We find out half way through that she has had mental issues in the past and she has a problem with taking too many pills. Simon doesn’t take her job, her opinions or her issues seriously and it’s clear that even though Robyn is trying as hard as she can to be happy with this lifestyle, she feels trapped in a cage. She feels the pressure to be this simple person her husband wants her to be and she is equally horrified that she might not be that person and that she might be transformed into that person.

When Gordo shows up in her life, he provides her with an escape from a variety of things. Firstly, Gordo allows her to communicate with a person beyond the bubble who doesn’t behave or respond like the seemingly simple couples Simon talks to at their house parties. She seems him as this mystery that keeps her from being focused on this set in stone lifestyle she seems to be leading. Secondly, his appearance also allows for her to release some of the anger she’s been hiding about Simon. Gordo and his hidden past with Simon gives her a reason to be suspicious of her husband and it allows her to see him for what he really is. He allows for her to rip apart Simon in a way she’s been afraid to for such a long time and its fascinating watching her discontent for everyone surface in the form of their odd friendship. In this, The Gift exposes disillusionment and discomfort within suburban life.

For his directing debut, Edgerton goes a long way technically to express these feelings Robyn has to the audience. He does a great job keeping the soundtrack from being too loud and flashy, he keeps on shots for an uncomfortably long period of time and he shoots the house from her perspective in this way that makes you feel like someone might be secretly watching her at every second. Through this, he not only makes a scary looking thriller but he also presents the claustrophobia in her life and the feeling of paranoia she has about everyone. There was some points in this movie that reminded of the way Amour used long shots and lack of music to put the audience into this place of near hell. It does a great job making you feel uncomfortable with her as she has to face this variety of things that seem out to get her whether it be Gordo or her husband or the repressed neighbors.

The other thing this film tackles is the way a sin from the past can morph into something far worse over time. As you might’ve guessed, Simon isn’t exactly the heroic type who bravely protects his wife and takes down the bad guy. There are numerous points where Gordo is a much more sympathetic person than Simon. Robyn goes snooping around and discovers that Simon was the school yard bully when he was in high school. Gordo is creepy but regardless Simon is a monster in his own rights. He is shown to be willing to destroy lives to get what he wants and he takes some sort of pleasure in crushing people who he sees as worse than him. Without saying here what he did to Gordo, Simon did something that ruined that basically his life and made him an outcast to society. You could almost say that Gordo is the creature built from his bad deeds sent out to destroy him. In a twist ending that is as shocking as it is disturbing, Gordo puts Simon in almost the same position he put Gordo in years ago. Simon has to live with this mystery that destroys his dreams and the pride he fought for. The movie ends by blurring the lines between victim and offender to the point where both Gordo and Simon are terrible, destroyed people who went past the point of no return.

The Gift additionally has three terrific lead performances. Rebecca Hall always seems to give a good performance in sloppy films so for once it’s great to see her talents used in such a top notch movie. She has to play the most sympathetic and relatable character in the movie and her performance captures the uncertainty and anxiety of the audience as we all try to figure who’s doing what and who to trust. Joel Edgerton definitely has the easiest part to play but he delivers it in a way that’s inspired. The crazy person he creates here is different because he’s a creepy wacko who also happens to be sympathetic and even at times normal. He can be scary but in other points you can also tell that he has a sad past and you can even see him as someone who might even come off as somewhat pleasant if you were to maybe talk to them for only two minutes or so, he’s manages to go back and forth between intimidating and pathetic.

However, I have to give the edge to Jason Bateman as Simon for the best of this ensemble. You’ve seen him before in great comedy work but this is definitely his most serious work to date. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such an honest and raw portrayal of a bad person. Bateman brings a touch of humor and charm to the part and at first you can even see how a girl like Robyn could fall for someone like him. What makes this part so different is how the film very slowly pulls off his cool, confident exterior to reveal this egocentric animal that is driven by greed and selfishness. He’s not doing things as blatantly freaky as Gordo but this guy is deeply unlikable in a way that’s grounded and true to real life. He’s the bully who grew up and became successful. And even when he’s being terrible, there’s still the sense that this is still a human being. In one of my favorite scenes, Simon does a horrible thing and he then goes and breaks down in front of his wife as though he just realizes how unchangeable and how messed up he really is. Much like Edgerton, Bateman plays it in a way that makes it seem like a realistically dangerous person you could imagine meeting in real life, he’s certainly evil yet he manages to still make him a little sympathetic.

As for some complaints, I think I would’ve liked to see more of Robyn’s character near the end of the film. In the last ten minutes, the film becomes more about Simon and Gordo’s arc rather than hers and a little bit of the sense of her as this guide for the audience is lost near the ending as she becomes this giant pawn in the messed up game between the two of them. You also need to recognize that this flick is a very slow movement towards a dark, bitter finale and there’s nothing about the ending that will leave you satisfied or pleased. The moment never comes where someone realizes there wrong doings or gets to leave the scene. This isn’t a criticism but it’s more of warning in case you’re expecting something that will have a moment of perfect clarity. So with that said, it’s a film that’s very easy to appreciate and respect but I can’t imagine this being something I will ever feel the need to return to.

Of the things out right now in major theaters, this is the best film you can watch. The Gift makes sure that no one from the characters to the audience leaves happy. This film is a long, twisty road of pain, frustration and fear that never really ends but rather fades into total darkness. There are some great performances from everyone on board and what it has to say about marriage, happiness, history and terrible people is as truthful as it is depressing. Get some soda and some popcorn and sit back and enjoy one of the coldest, grittiest films of the year.

Rating:(4/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 8/7/2015

Rating: R

Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton

Directed by: Joel Edgerton

Screenplay by: Joel Edgerton

Gift, The (2015)

TheGiftPoster

Title: The Gift
Rating: R
Directed by: Joel Edgerton
Written by: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton
Release Date: 8/7/2015
Running Time: 108 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No


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