Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Ramirez’

Off the Rails

The Girl on the Train

girl_on_the_train_ver2

Director: Tate Taylor

Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Pepron, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow

The Help director Tate Taylor tackles the cinematic adaptation of Paula Hawkins shocking suburban thriller The Girl on the Train which had book clubs the world over guessing what really occurred.

Golden Globe nominee Emily Blunt plays the prying and lonely Rachel, a boozing thirtysomething woman who is recovering from her failed marriage to the malevolent Tom, played by the rakish Justin Theroux (Mulholland Drive).

As Rachel travels the trains between suburban New York and the city, she watches Megan Hipwell, wonderfully played by the gorgeous rising star Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven, The Equalizer) as she pouts from her sumptuous home while playing coy with her hunky husband, Scott played by Luke Evans.

The action of the novel takes place in suburban Oxford which is Americanized to suburban upstate New York in the film. Soon the plot begins to unravel as Megan through a series of flashbacks is portrayed as a mixed up bored housewife who appears to be having an affair with her dashing psycho therapist, played by Edgar Ramirez (Point Break, Zero Dark Thirty).

The manipulative Tom has moved on from the sad and pesky Rachel and is now living with the doll-faced Anna, played with an uncharacteristic blandness by Swedish star Rebecca Ferguson who was so brilliant in Florence Foster Jenkins and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

Then the unthinkable happens in a seemingly ordinary suburb: the beautiful Megan goes missing and Rachel for her desire to get involved in a mystery besides the real reason she is sipping martinis all day, is soon embroiled in a dangerous murder where she can’t quite remember what really happened on that fateful night when Megan Hipwell disappeared.

girl_on_the_train_ver4

The Girl on The Train is a book club novel made into a Book club film, with a brilliant performance by Emily Blunt and suitably adequate performances by all three of the hunky male co-stars. However the best performance is certainly by Haley Bennett as the doomed but utterly sultry Megan Hipwell, who is the victim of a terrible crime.

Audiences should watch out for great supporting roles by Allison Janney as a tough cop and Lisa Kudrow as the woman who unlocks the real reason why Rachel and Tom’s marriage went off the rails.

The Girl on the Train is recommended viewing but audiences should be warned this film is not as gripping as the brilliant David Fincher suburban thriller Gone Girl, which featured an Oscar nominated performance by Rosamund Pike. Nevertheless this is an entertaining and watchable thriller saved by excellent performances by Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett.

 

 

Daring Women

Joy

joy_ver2

Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Bradley Cooper, Elisabeth Rohm, Dascha Polanco

Director David O. Russell’s third collaboration with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, Joy is about a feisty daring divorced young mother of two who gambles her entire life savings on her own invention of the Miracle Mop. Loosely based on the true story of Joy Mangano who invented and patented the miracle mop back in the mid-eighties, the film version is a quirky dysfunctional tale of a family who do their best to distract Joy from her primary goal, that of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Joy’s dizzy mother Terry played by Virginia Madsen is engrossed in glossy eighties soap operas while her father Rudy and greying Casanova, wonderfully played by Robert de Niro, his second appearance in a David O. Russell film after Silver Linings Playbook. Joy’s grandmother is the rock of her world, Mimi played by the irrepressible Diane Ladd (Rambling Rose).

When Rudy starts dating a wealthy Italian widow Trudy, beautifully played Isabella Rossellini in one of her most prolific roles yet, Joy seizes upon an opportunity to ask Trudy to invest in her idea of the miracle mop. However after many unsuccessful attempts to sell her product, primarily outside K. Mart, Joy’s ex-husband, the amiable Venezuelan wanna-be singer, Tony played by Edgar Ramirez (Point Break) suggests that they go and approach a Pennsylvania business man directly.

In a series of chance encounters, Joy meets the head buyer for K. Mart the suave and tough Neil Walker, underplayed by Bradley Cooper, who returns for his fourth collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence after Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Serena. The daring Joy persuades Walker to give her a chance doing a home shopping advert where she can have the golden opportunity to sell the miracle mop to Television consumers a precursor to the Home Shopping Network. Amidst many dodgy business dealings involving elusive suppliers, Joy soon matures into a really tough business woman despite doubts by Trudy who has been her main patron and financial backer.

Joy is an uneven yet quirky film about one daring woman in particular who embraces the American dream, despite the odds and eventually through sheer tenacity succeeds into become a multi-million dollar corporate business woman who embraces the Capitalist work ethic and proves that hard work and determination certainly pays off.

As a film, Joy is by no means David O. Russell’s best work, not nearly outshining Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle, but what makes the film so watchable and enjoyable is Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic performance, anchoring the narrative down despite a proliferation of flighty and less reliable characters. It is also refreshing to see Robert de Niro and Isabella Rossellini share so much screen time.

Joy is recommended viewing, a fantastic feel good film with a great supporting cast and a fine truly inspiring performance by Jennifer Lawrence who as usual under the directorial guidance of David O. Russell never disappoints.

 

 

Nature Versus Man

Point Break

point_break_ver2

Director: Ericson Core

Cast: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone, Delroy Lindo, Tobias Santelmann, Nikolai Kinski, Clemens Schick

The 2015 remake of the 1991 surf thriller Point Break, which originally starred Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves and directed by Kathryn Bigelow moves the action from California to the French Riviera and features a more international cast including Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty) as Bodhi and Australian actor Luke Bracey (The November Man) as Johnny Utah yet does not live up to the original.

Nevertheless, Ericson Core’s version of Point Break comes across more as a globetrotting extreme sports adventure film than a hard core action film and whilst the stunts are fantastic, the storyline does not feature anything fresh or innovative, but remains loyal to the original plot of an FBI agent who infiltrates a group of extreme sports men, headed by the alpha male Bodhi as they jet set around the globe and attempt some awe inspiring stunts while their criminal acts appear to be philanthropic.

point_break_ver8

The onscreen bromance between Bodhi and Johnny Utah is an essential ingredient which director Bigelow captured so well in the first film, however in this version, the actors Bracey and Ramirez do not quite accomplish that genuine competitiveness. Their fragile friendship is strained too early in the film and soon the narrative and characterisation gets lost amidst the spectacular stunts and action sequences mainly in the French and Italian Alps.

Whilst the rest of the cast assist with making this bromance believable including Ray Winstone as Utah’s FBI handler and a cast of European actors which make up Bodhi’s crew including Norwegian actor Tobias Santelmann (Hercules) as Chowder and German actor Clemens Schick (Casino Royale) as Roach with Natassja Kinski’s younger half-brother Nikolai Kinski (Saint Laurent) playing a wealthy reckless playboy Pascal al Fariq who funds their various international heists from Mumbai to Mexico.

point_break

The extreme sports in this version of Point Break range from snowboarding to wingsuit flying, high speed motor cross and surfing 70 foot waves in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Viewers get the impression that Ericson Core’s version of Point Break tried to dazzle 21st century audiences yet got carried away with the visual possibilities especially since he originally was director of photography for such films as Daredevil and The Fast and The Furious. This version of the film is by no means as good as the original directed by Kathryn Bigelow who went on to win an Oscar for The Hurt Locker.

2015’s Point Break does have that international multicultural feel which the original film does not, but somehow the narrative of a gang of dare-devil extreme sports men chasing the elusive eight feats of man conquering nature gets lost amidst the stunts. In the end Nature ultimately proves a worthy contestant.

Australian actress Teresa Palmer (I am Number Four) plays Samsara whose initial love interest with Johnny Utah is soon smothered by the general overwhelming masculine desire to push these natural limits beyond their own human capabilities. Despite its visual appeal, 2015’s Point Break is fun to watch but in no way eclipses the original film which was far better directed and a more exciting action thriller.

Timeline of Terror

Zero Dark Thirty

Superb Tradecraft

Superb Tradecraft

Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant yet riveting film Zero Dark Thirty is a masterful film, held together by a central performance by Jessica Chastain as CIA Intelligence Operative Maya and a superb script by Mark Boal, who also collaborated with Bigelow on the equally impressive The Hurt Locker.

This complex film opens with the flight recordings of the United 93 plane that crashed in Pennsylvania during the September 2001 US Terror attacks sparking an obsessive and frustrating hunt for the Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden by the CIA and specifically Maya initially from the hostile environment of Pakistan then based at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The narrative charts a veritable timeline of terror that has characterized the first decade of the 21st century, from 9/11 to the London Transport bombings in July 2005, to the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in September 2008 to the suicide bombing at the American military base, Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009.

Zero Dark Thirty is a brilliant spy thriller and unlike Argo, is deadly serious in every respect and is grounded in much historical research and investigative journalism, noted in the detailed script by Mark Boal. As in The Hurt Locker, Bigelow once again casts her central character in a completely hostile and extremely dangerous environment and the petite Maya as the tenacious CIA operative who skilfully leads the hunt for and final execution of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind many international terrorist attacks, most notably 9/11 and the 2005 London bombings.

1 SHEET MASTER

Bigelow as a director takes on a larger canvas than in the Iraq War in The Hurt Locker and shows that the decade long hunt for America’s most wanted enemy was an international affair from Pakistan to Poland to Kuwait involving CIA black sites, detailed surveillance and lots of political wrangling.

Tradecraft

A notable narrative shift is from the film’s first half set under the Bush administration where torture, rendition and revenge were the CIA’s chief instruments of capturing Al Qaeda terrorists to the second half set after November 2008 under the Obama administration where detailed surveillance, dedication and  almost positive certainty of terrorist tradecraft which ultimately lead to the riveting  elimination of Osama Bin Laden at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011, Zero Dark Thirty is deadpan in its presentation of one nations hunt for a master terrorist and the extraordinary sacrifice and lengths these CIA operatives went to in finally achieving their goal.

Jessica Chastain performance is simply superb and has already garnered a 2013 Golden Globe Award and truly shows her talent and diversity in the role of Maya but also points to Kathryn Bigelow ability  to bring out the best performance ever in her leading actors, as was the case with Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. The final sequence involving the storming of the Abbottabad compound, believed to be Bin Ladin’s hideout by elite American soldiers is truly nerve-wracking cinema, shot with Bigelow’s trademark directorial detachment cut through with absolute documentary styled realism.

Zero Dark Thirty has a great supporting cast including Jason Clarke as the CIA torturer Dan, Kyle Chandler as CIA Pakistan operations chief Joseph Bradley along with Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle and James Gandolfini, but it is really Chastain’s obsessive portrayal of CIA Operative Maya, a woman battling to gain respect in a male dominated espionage arena, that shows her true talent. The pace of Zero Dark Thirty is fast and yet measured enough to show the time involved assisted by an original score by Alexandre Desplat and with cutting edge sound editing, the audience is immediately immersed in a deeply fascinating portrait of America’s covert hunt for that nation’s Enemy Number One. Highly Recommended and definitely Oscar worthy.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
June 2020
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  
  • ‘Shakedown’: Film Review
    Like many of us stuck at home, moviedom — or our recent virtual version of it — has been rummaging through the archives intrigued by films it never quite made the time for. So consider the streaming of  Leilah Weinraub’s “Shakedown” (which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018) an example of a movie […]
    Peter Debruge
  • NBA and Other U.S. Sports Leagues Inch Toward a Return to Playing Games
    After two months of speculation, negotiation and doomsday planning, it appears that major sports will be back this summer. Owners in the NBA, whose shutdown on March 11 was a turning point for the entire industry, are voting Thursday on a proposal to host 22 teams in Orlando for a modified regular season and playoffs. […]
    ssoshnick
  • Television and Film Production in Asia Slowly Opens Up
    Clocks in Asia seem to be synchronized differently from the rest of the world and from each territory. In the last week of January, China was the first country in the world to shut down its film industry after the coronavirus was shown to be capable of human-to-human transmission. The entire city of Wuhan was […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Gives $3 Million to Colin Kaepernick’s Rights Organization for People of Color
    Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, donated $3 million to Know Your Rights Camp, an organization established by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick dedicated to empowering people of color. Dorsey said he gave “$3mm to Colin @Kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization to […]
    Todd Spangler
  • At NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ Lester Holt Offers More Than Just Headlines
    TV viewers know “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt will deliver the latest headlines in the national news cycle. Over the past few nights, however, he’s been offering something else: empathy. Over four recent nights, Holt has served up short essays aimed at putting the nation’s recent chaos – a mix of an unavoidable pandemic, […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90