Posts Tagged ‘josh brolin

02
May
18

‘Infinity War’ Shows That a Good Thing Can’t Go On Forever

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I gots no mo’ money for Marvel.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johanson, Chris Pratt, and every-other Marvel character actor save Jeremy Renner and Paul Rudd.

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

*WARNING! THE FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!*

Everybody dies!

Wait. Let me start over.

Comic book heroes and heroines for me growing up were mostly on TV. The only access I had to comic books happened to be my dad’s collection which harbored “Flintstones,” “Twilight Zone,” “Boris Karloff,” and others while the TV showcased the supers – “Superman,” “Spider-Man,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” While writing this sentence I just realized the irony of TV shows turned into comic books and comic book heroes turned into TV. But enough about me – my point is that I never really grew up following any Marvel or DC series so please understand that when I grade, or review, these films I come from a middle ground between cinema and understanding the comic book world as much as I can. With that being said let me go into this one:

I can’t really say where any of this left off because the Marvel movies go in the order they want to go instead of “The Avengers,” “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Trying to watch them strictly in that order is tantamount to playing “Another Brick in the Wall Part 1,” “Part 2,” and “Part 3.” Sure, you get the gist but there’s that feeling that a lot of crap is missing between the parts; same thing here. I could also go on and ask why “Captain America: Civil War” wasn’t renamed for the “Avengers” (it’s not a Captain America story!) but at this point it really doesn’t matter.

Our story starts off with purple galactic villain Thanos (played/voiced by Josh Brolin) having already obtained one Infinity Stone obtaining the second (a blue one) from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) while Thor (Chris Hemsworth) pleads against this. There’s some fighting and Hulk is tag-teamed to kick some Thanos only for things to go badly: Hulk is hurt and magically transported back to Earth to warn of Thanos while Loki is killed and Thor left to die in the vacuum of space. Moving on…

Meanwhile on Earth the Avengers, post-banishment, are scattered to the four winds. The Hulk arrives at Dr. Strange’s (Cumberbatch) place and together they go to contact Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) who then wants to contact Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) but instead winds up in a melee against alien thugs sent by Thanos to retrieve the Infinity Stones left on Earth, one notably held by Dr. Strange because it can shift time. Joining that fight is Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who follows along to help Stark/Iron Man save Dr. Strange but even moreso to keep Thanos from getting that stone.

And on the other end of the galaxy happens to be… the Guardians of the Galaxy. Responding to a distress call they pick-up the free-floating body of Thor who commands them to a special place whereby he can have another hammer made that can defeat Thanos. Good idea in principle. Gamora, Drax, and Peter Quill decide to hunt down Thanos to try and keep him from getting another Infinity stone and which leaves Rocket and Groot to help Thor out.

Am I missing anyone? Oh yeah – Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon are flying around evading capture by the authorities. Scarlet Witch (Olsen) and Vision (Bettany) are hunkered down in the Scotland. Hawkeye and Ant-Man are on “house arrest.” And let’s not forget Black Panther presiding over Wakanda.

“Everybody got that?” -Dark Helmet, “Spaceballs”

What follows is a mess of a film. Not even a fun mess like, say, “Smokin’ Aces.” A character from one set of circumstances will fall into the scene of another and vice-versa. Instead of all of the Avengers coming together its more like, Superhero Clique Number One stumbles upon either Thanos, a representative of Thanos, or one of the other superhero cliques. It’s two-and-a-half hours of this, folks. If all you want out of a film is superheroes fighting each other or taking swings at the latest villain, then this is your movie. There’s a lot of that to be had. If you’re wanting something a bit more… this is only slightly less disappointing than the prior “Age of Ultron.”

The biggest issue with this mess is that, overall, it’s dumb. It reminds me of the TV version of Stephen King’s “It” where Pennywise, the clown in the sewer, was finally shown to be a giant alien praying mantis. I was entirely with the whole shebang up to that point. “What?!? A friggin’ praying mantis?!? You gotta be kidding me!” “Infinity War” is very much like that. How come the 20+ superheroes can’t get together to take down the -supposedly baddest villain in the universe? Speaking of dumb if these Infinity stones are that important to Thanos then why even bother with Ultron? Here’s a creation, oversaw by Thanos, set to destroy the Earth by using a nuclear device to blow-up a city in Earth’s stratosphere. It’s like it was an afterthought. “Well, I couldn’t blow up the Earth… What? They have TWO Infinity Stones? I could use those. Good thing that Ultron didn’t blow it up.” Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

“That ending was trash.” – Guy sitting a few seats away from me in the theatre.

Honestly there’s nothing more that I can tell you about this film. If I spoiled it for ya, sorry. I will say that not EVERYONE dies – I counted at least seven supers that survived but yeah, a lot of people die. If you want to know how, and why, check the movie out. Should you watch it? Sure, but prepare to be disappointed if you’re wanting some form of the “hero” arc. With that in mind I paid a little over $5 and I was still mad. Just sayin’

My grade: C-

 

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13
Jul
09

Movies on DVD Review: The Dead Girl

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Five powerful vignettes.

Starring Toni Collette, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Rose Byrne, James Franco, Mary Steenburgen, Bruce Davison, Marcia Gay Harden, Kerry Washington, Brittany Murphy, and Josh Brolin. Directed by Karen Moncrieff

For those of you looking for a straight-forward movie, this probably isn’t for you. Instead writer/director Karen Moncrieff presents six 15-minute films that comprise the whole.

“The Mother” – Arden (Collette) is a meek, sullen woman constantly harassed and harangued by her domineering mother (Laurie). When Arden finds the body of a dead girl on the outskirts of her property, she incurs questioning by the police and the wrath of her mom. She meets a grocery store clerk (Ribisi) and runs off with him.

“The Sister” – Leah (Byrne) is a forensics student who prepares the body of the dead girl for autopsy. She’s on antidepressants and takes counseling for the fact that her parents (Steenburgen and Davison) will not stop looking for her younger sister, who has been missing for years. She finds solace in fellow student Derek (James Franco).

“The Wife” – Mary Beth Hurt plays a woman who helps run her husband’s storage unit facility. When he goes absent and she’s forced to do his job she discovers a storage unit that has a dresser filled with bloody clothes. He returns and she tries to question him about it, as well as if she should go to the police or not.

“The Mother” – Melora (Harden) is the mother of the dead girl, Krista (Murphy). She finds her daughter’s last place of residence and meets Rosetta (Washington), her daughter’s roommate and lover. Rosetta tells her about Krista, why Krista ran away, and that Krista has a baby girl named Ashley. Melora goes to pick up Ashley from her Hispanic caregiver and tries bonding with Rosetta.

“The Dead Girl” – Krista (Murphy) is a prostitute, drug addict, and mother. She ran away from her home in Washington and lives in SoCal. After a fight with her boyfriend (Brolin) to get a ride to Norwalk to drop off a plush bunny for her kid, she makes it back to her place and finds that Rosetta has been hit by her boyfriend. She takes a motorcycle, exacts revenge, and then winds up without gas on the highway. She’s picked up by Carl (Nick Searcy), the husband from “The Wife” segment.

Overall, I liked it. As I’ve said before it’s not a film whole, but the pars themselves are worth it.

My grade: B

14
Nov
08

Movie Review: W

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Another Oliver Stone satire.

 

Stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss, Toby Jones and Thandie Newton. Directed by Oliver Stone.

 

Filmmaker Oliver Stone (“Platoon,” “JFK,” “Nixon,” “The Doors”) has returned to the land of biopic satire with “W.” Based on the current sitting President (as of this writing), “W” is a character study into what makes George W. Bush tick. Or rather, why he did what he did/ why he does what he does.

 

“W” follows the story of George W. Bush from his days of hazing at Yale in the Sixties to his first unsuccessful political run to helping his dad’s campaign to running for Governor of Texas in the Nineties. The pace jumps back and forth along W’s timeline from his current administration back to the events the possibly influenced who and what he is now. The film is not so much the destination, but the journey.

 

Josh Brolin, whose previous played a Texan in “No Country for Old Men,” literally disappears into the title character. Sure, he may look as much like Bush as Bruce Greenwood looked like JFK in “Thirteen Days,” but when you watch his swagger and listen to his Bush accent, it’s reminiscent of the difference between Daniel Day-Lewis and the character of Daniel Plainview; you would never know it was the same person. As Bush, Brolin is the epitome of a man who is the black sheep among his family: smoking, drinking, partying, and quitting any job given to him. Whether he’s right or he’s wrong, he’s dead-set on whatever he does.

 

Helping (or hurting) him along this journey is his best friend, Karl Rove (Jones). Jones was a great pick for being a “sidekick” character. Dick Cheney (Dreyfuss) stands behind the war, conflicting with Colin Powell and holding a control over it that would make Emperor Palpatine proud. James Cromwell does great as the elder Bush, a man who is never seemingly happy with his son or what his son does (but then again, not many would). Stacy Keach plays a pastor that W confides with and helps out by giving him a televised ministry. The reason of importance: during his governorship, Bush feels he received the call to run for the Presidency.

 

And the big question the movie tries to ask: why? Why did Bush run for the Presidency? Was he really called by God to do so? Was he destined to do so? Was he trying to get out of the shadow of his father and prove himself? Did he really believe what he was doing was the right thing? The movie doesn’t answer as much as it tries postulating these ideas. Something to chew on yes, but one doesn’t always go out to eat just for the appetizers.

 

As said previous, this movie is more of a character study than an explanation of a person. Pro-Bush people may believe that Stone is trying to rip “W” apart. Anti-Bush people say that he didn’t go far enough. The truth of the matter is that Oliver Stone never really rips into anybody in any of his movies. He takes how he perceives an individual and skewers it to whatever he’s trying to say, which is a form of satire in some way. I loved “JFK,” but it wasn’t the absolute truth. “The Doors” was pretty good with the exception that a good chunk of it is complete bunk.

 

But is “W” accurate? According to Internet sources, yes it is. How true the staff meetings were, or the eventual animosity between Colin Powell and Dick Cheney became, I don’t think any of us will really know for a while, if at all. The main events of drinking, partying, failing, and quest for redemption; that’s all true. Having his past buried; that’s true as well. Most of this stuff shouldn’t need to be debated, because the real meat of what Stone could’ve used to cut into Bush was entirely left out. Overall this film was a little more than lite entertainment but nothing more than a kid making fun of the school bully while he’s out of sight.

 

My only real complaint about the film was Condoleezza Rice. I’ve not seen Rice on TV that much, but Thandie Newton portraying her grated on my nerves. Maybe she really was that way but the clipped speech and accent didn’t work for me.

 

At best, a rental.

 

My grade: B