Posts Tagged ‘Curtis Jackson’

Californian Honour

Den of Thieves

Director: Christian Gudegast

Cast: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, Curtis Jackson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Brian van Holt, Evan Jones, Kaiwi Lyman, Dawn Olivieri

First time director Christian Gudegast who was one of the screenwriters on another Gerard Butler film London has Fallen recasts Butler as the tough talking LA cop in the Californian crime drama Den of Thieves which is heavily influenced by the far superior Michael Mann directed thriller Heat.

Gerard Butler plays Big Nick O’Brien who heads up an elite team of L. A. detectives who are hell bent on busting a sophisticated crime ring which robs banks headed up by Merriman wonderfully played by Orange is The New Black’s Pablo Shreiber (13 Hours, The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi).

Merriman along with his second in command Enson Levoux played by Curtis 50 cent Jackson (Get Rich or Die Trying) put in place an elaborate plan to rob the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve Bank where they not only print new dollar bills, but also destroy old money, hoping to steal $30 million dollars before it gets incinerated.

What follows is a fascinating cat and mouse game between Merriman and O’Brien, which director Gudegast teases out the plot for maximum tension to create a gritty crime film that stretches from the seedier sides of L. A. to Long Beach, where there is no honour among thieves.

All the while, there comes between the two main protagonists, a nonchalant middleman and occasional barman Donnie Wilson wonderfully played by O’Shea Jackson Jr, (son of rapper Ice Cube), clearly taking inspiration from Kevin Spacey’s Oscar winning turn in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects.

If audiences are looking for a macho action film, then go and see Den of Thieves.

There is a sufficient amount of action, plot twists and bromance to keep the action going, particularly the malevolent rivalry between O’Brien and Merriman which propels the crime caper to a tantalizing and violent climax shot in a Los Angeles traffic jam on a sun-drenched Californian underpass.

Den of Thieves gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is worth seeing particularly aimed at male viewers.

 

Feminizing Espionage

Spy

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Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Alison Janney, Miranda Hart, Morena Baccarin

There is a confession to be made. I am not a huge Melissa McCarthy fan having missed most of her films which have made her famous including Bridesmaids, The Heat and Tammy. So it was with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity that I went to see director Paul Feig’s comedy thriller Spy mainly because I am a huge Jude Law fan. So I thought it would be interesting to see whether such a diverse cast such as Melissa McCarthy, Oscar Nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley, Sherlock Holmes), action star Jason Statham (The Expendibles 3, Transporter Trilogy), Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, Danny Collins) and Rose Byrne (Annie, Marie Antoinette) could elevate such a film as Spy.

Despite its exotic locations from Varna in Bulgaria, to Paris, Rome and Budapest, Spy is a second rate thriller which attempts with some hilarious if not crude consequences attempts to feminize the espionage genre, and more specifically rip off the ultimate Spy films, The James Bond Franchise.

The 007 franchise have nothing to worry about as Spy is so second rate and middle of the road, even the predictable narrative could not have threatened the Bond films as a serious competitor.

spy

Let’s face it. Spy is really a comedy especially with the likes of Melissa McCarthy, British comedian Miranda Hart and Bridesmaids co-star Rose Byrne thrown in. But Jude Law? Seriously after making appearances in such exceptional films as The Talented Mr Ripley, Hugo, Sherlock Holmes and Anna Karenina, I wondered what he was doing in such a ridiculous film.

Spy is a fun filled and crass comedy which should appeal to all Melissa McCarthy fans however I would have thought that writer and director Paul Feig could have been more inventive when ripping off the James Bond franchise. The storyline is predictable, vaguely funny and even the villains Sergio de Luca and Rayna Boyanov played by Cannavale and Byrne are not seriously menacing but come off as clichés of the more heinous megalomaniacs

Even Alison Janney (The Way Way Back, The Hours) as CIA director Elaine Crocker does not save this film. Although Jason Statham is suitably funny as the rogue spy Rick Ford who is constantly threatened by females in his line of duty. Audiences should watch Spy on a Saturday afternoon as it’s certainly not the most taxing film to watch but enjoyable in its own lazy and crude style. Look out for a cameo by Curtis Jackson also known as 50c

Noble Stags

Last Vegas

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Director: Jon Turteltaub

Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert de Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Michael Ealy, Mary Steenburgen, Roger Bart, Romany Malco, Curtis Jackson, Joanna Gleason, Jerry Ferrara

Four Oscar winners team up for The Hangover with Pensions version aptly titled Last Vegas. Veteran Hollywood stars Michael Douglas (Wall Street, The Game), Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, Meet the Parents), Morgan Freeman (Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption) and Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, The Big Chill) play four friends in the autumn of their lives who reunite 58 years later for a debauched bachelor party in Sin City as one of them prepares to marry a bride half his age in a bid to retain his vanity.

National Treasure Director Jon Turteltaub’s comedy about men in their seventies who rediscover the spunk in them is both hilarious and poignant as Last Vegas charts the character journey of these friends, referred to in 1950’s Brooklyn as the Flatbush Four, when they were kids stealing a bottle of Whisky named Noble Stags from a drugstore.

As the gang reunite 58 years later for an explosive Vegas weekend, it’s the  brilliant scenes between smooth talking Billy played by Douglas and mean looking and grumpy Paddy played by De Niro, that stand out in this comedy. Both these hugely talented actors flesh out their onscreen characters in Last Vegas who share a rivalry and a bitterness dating back to a mutual infatuation with a childhood sweetheart. That rivalry is reignited when they meet has been Vegas Lounge singer Diana wonderfully played by the glamorous Mary Steenburgen (The Proposal, Philadelphia).

In between the rivalry between these two, is Kline’s character Sam who has been given a hallpass by his wife to get laid in Vegas and Freeman’s character Archie who develops a winning streak at the roulette table in an effort to escape his smothering son Ezra played by Michael Ealy.

If the fountains at The Bellagio were for rejuvenating then this film is definitely a mature version of  the hugely successful The Hangover trilogy with ample jokes about prostate, hair transplants and Viagra as the Flatbush four conquer Vegas from poolside Bikini Contests, to roulette to a fabulous Bachelor’s party whose guests include acrobats from Cirque du Soleil, strippers and Drag Queens (look out for a wonderful cameo by TV actor Roger Bart (Revenge, Desperate Housewives) along with Rapper turned actor 50 Cents (Curtis Jackson) of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ fame.

hangover

Last Vegas proves that it’s never too late to have fun especially in Vegas and at the expense of the naive and youthful, embodied in the character of Dean superbly played by Jerry Ferrara of Entourage TV series fame. This is a wonderful and hilarious comedy proving that all these Oscar winners especially Douglas and De Niro are still at the top of their game, helped by the ever talented Freeman and the expressive Kevin Kline.

Recommended viewing for those that enjoy a more mature and poignant comedy, less vulgar than The Hangover, but just as funny. Last Vegas definitely promises a sequel especially with the onscreen chemistry of these four versatile Hollywood stars.

 

 

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