Posts Tagged ‘Joel Edgerton’

A Nigerian in Mexico

Gringo

Director: Nash Edgerton

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Amanda Seyfried, Harry Treadaway, Sharlto Copley, Alan Ruck

Joel Edgerton’s brother Nash Edgerton directs this colourful and crazy action comedy Gringo about drug running, kidnapping and evil American corporates. Set in Chicago and Mexico, Gringo plays on all the usual preconceptions about America versus Mexico.

Edgerton plays the obnoxious and self-obsessed American boss Richard Rusk who along with the fiesty blonde man eater Elaine Markinson played by South African Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) who together with fellow employee and fall guy Harold Soyinka, an American Nigerian wonderfully played by David Oyelowo (A United Kingdom, The Paperboy) travel to Mexico to conclude a rather shady drug deal only for Soyinka to be left across the border.

Harold Soyinka ingenuously fakes his own kidnapping only to be really kidnapped not once but twice by a nefarious Mexican drug cartel and Rusk’s brother Mitch, a gung ho mercenary played by another South African star Sharlto Copley (Maleficent, District Nine).

What follows is a dangerous action adventure with enough plot twists to entertain audiences punctuated by some truly witty dialogue, all held together by an hilarious performance by David Oyelowo.

His character Harold Soyinka also crosses paths with a naïve Californian couple Miles and Sunny played by Harry Treadaway and Amanda Seyfried. The best scenes in Gringo are between Seyfried and Oyelowo as they both try and figure out what mess they have got themselves into.

Westworld star Thandie Newton (Jefferson in Paris) has a brief part as Bonnie Soyinka who is not only cheating on her husband but ruining him financially.

Gringo is by no means an excellent film but if audiences don’t take the story too seriously then they should enjoy it. Director Nash Edgerton blends equal part action with comedy creating a serious crime caper with a unique twist. Although he doesn’t necessarily paint Mexico in a flattering light. Think kidnapping, tequila and drug running.

For all its faults, Gringo is a fun film to watch and gets a rating of 7 out 10. The plot is convoluted and at times confusing but the action is sudden and unexpected.

 

 

 

Raunchy Russians

Red Sparrow

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthais Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons, Ciaran Hinds, Mary-Louise Parker, Joely Richardson, Sakina Jaffrey, Douglas Hodge

Based upon the novel by former CIA Jason Matthews and adapted into a screenplay by Justin Haythe, Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence starts off Red Sparrow promisingly splicing a dodgy spy deal in Gorky Park with a fantastic ballerina sequence clearly inspired by Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

Set in Moscow and Budapest, Red Sparrow has a robust cast which should have delivered a lot more.

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) stars as ballerina turned spy Dominika Egorova who is coerced into joining the SVR (Russian intelligence) by her creepy uncle Vanya played by Matthais Schoenaerts (Far From the Madding Crowd) if she wants to keep looking after her sick mother Nina played by an unrecognizable Joely Richardson.

Dominika is sent to Sparrow school supervised by the manipulative Matron played by Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) where she is vigorously taught the art of seduction and psychological warfare. Joel Edgerton plays Nate Nash an American CIA operative whom Dominika has to get close to.

What follows is a raunchy and long two and 20 minute tale about double crossing spies in Budapest and Moscow, with enough undercurrent tones which makes this film distinctly anti-Russian.

What bothered me is that the Russians actually make brilliant films, see Burnt by the Sun and there are some talented Russian screen actors out there but to populate an entire film about Russians with American, British and Australian actors is always questionable.

Red Sparrow would have been an engrossing spy drama if the script was more illuminating and resorted less to gratuitous sex scenes to spice up a convoluted story line.

The only actor who made a distinct impression, besides the remarkable Oscar winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as the scheming General Korchnoi, was Mary-Louise Parker as the vodka swigging double agent Stephanie Boucher who audiences briefly glimpse in a London hotel room.

Red Sparrow despite some definable onscreen chemistry between Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Lawrence, plays like a bad 1980’s spy drama, without a hint of nuance or narrative thrust. Director Frances Lawrence could have also toned down the torture sequences which were embellished for dramatic effect much like the steamy nudity.

Red Sparrow was entertaining but could have been so much better, but also the timing of this film being released just after the Oscar season is unfortunate marketing.

Red Sparrow gets a Film Rating of 6.5 out of 10 and could have been edited by at least 30 minutes.

The Winter Hill Reign

Black Mass

black_mass_ver3

Director: Scott Cooper

Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, David Harbour, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Juno Temple.

black_mass_ver4

Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper brings to life a gripping and violent cinematic adaptation of the 2001 non-fiction book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill based upon the exploits of Irish-American crime lord and fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger played with a menace not seen on screen since Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, by Oscar nominee Johnny Depp.

black_mass_ver6

Cooper assembles an all-star cast including Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate) as Whitey Bulger’s brother and senator William Bulger, Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) in a career defining performance as conflicted FBI agent John Connolly, Dakota Johnson as James Bulger’s wife Lindsey and David Harbour (Quantum of Solace) as Connolly’s co-worker John Morris.

black_mass_ver9

Audiences should look out for Kevin Bacon as FBI boss Charles McGuire and a stunning cameo by Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine) as coked up Florida businessman Brian Halloran and Corey Stoll as the non-nonsense prosecutor Fred Whysak.

black_mass_ver10

James “Whitey” Bulger superbly played by Depp in his most menacing performance yet, is a pure psychopath whose relentless ambition is to rid his own South Boston gang, known as the Winter Hill gang not only of informants, who he casually kills at the drop of a hat but of their main opposition the Italian mafia in the form of the Angiulo Brothers which control North Boston.

Bulger and his band of thugs control South Boston and he soon becomes a so-called informant at the request of oily FBI agent Connolly whose childhood loyalty to Bulger is blinded by the real monster that Bulger has become. This is a man who strangles a prostitute with his bare hands, who casually shoots his friend in the head after a bar room altercation, yet will simultaneously sit down and play cards with his elderly mother. Insight in to the source of Bulger’s psychopathic behaviour comes from a line in Black Mass, when he admits to doing trials for LSD during an eight year prison stint in Alcatraz and Levenworth.

black_mass_ver5

The tipping point in Bulger’s blood thirst occurs when his young son unexpectedly dies from Reyes syndrome after an allergic reaction to aspirin. Bulger’s manipulation of his alliance with Connolly is brilliantly portrayed in Black Mass with Australian actor Joel Edgerton giving a remarkable performance akin to that of Matt Damon in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.

Connolly is heavily beholden to Bulger and his professional and personal judgement suffers after his close association with such a violent mobster, highlighting the extent of corruption endemic in American cities in the 1980’s. Even Connolly’s wife Marianne played by Julianne Nicholson last seen in August: Osage County remarks on her husband’s new clothes and his flashy almost cocky swagger.

Joel Edgerton deserves an Oscar nomination for his role in Black Mass as does Johnny Depp, although at times the menace portrayed by Depp obliterates any audience empathy for his character. For James “Whitey” Bulger is a true psychopath, blood thirsty, unpredictable, paranoid and completely ruthless. Audiences should be warned of some exceptionally violent scenes in Black Mass, akin to Scorsese’s Goodfellas or Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

black_mass_ver8

Scott Cooper skilfully directs Black Mass and uses the multi-talented cast to bring to cinema the true story of American gangsters in South Boston in the 1970’s and 1980’s while remaining faithful to the source material, based on a meticulously researched screenplay by Jez Butterworth and Mark Mallouk.

Whether Black Mass will garner nominations in the upcoming awards season remains to be seen, but as a film it is worth watching and brilliantly acted. Highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Kill the Messenger and The Departed.

 

The Cusp of Fame

Life

life_ver3

Director: Anton Corbijn

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Stella Schnabel, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ben Kingsley, Peter Lucas

Like Simon Curtis’ s film My Week With Marilyn, director Anton Corbijn’s handsomely made film Life offers a glimpse into a slice of iconic screen legend James Dean’s life, a couple of months before his untimely death on the 30th September 1955 as seen through the lens of acclaimed photographer Dennis Stock.

Corbijn’s films including The American and A Most Wanted Man are considerably measured in approach and give the actors a chance to inhabit their characters on screen. The casting of Dane DeHaan (The Devil’s Knot, Lawless) as the reluctant star James Dean and Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis, Twilight) as the struggling photojournalist Stock who sees in Dean a potential symbol for the rising counter-culture in the American society exemplified in the Beat Generation especially writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg who become infamous in the latter years of the 1950’s.

DeHaan who also starred as Lucien Carr in Kill Your Darlings, which also focused on this particular era is beautifully cast as the selfish, enigmatic and moody James Dean who is literally on the cusp of fame.

life_ver2

Life, which takes place in 1955, as Dean has just starred in Nicholas Ray’s film East of Eden and is on the brink of getting the part in Rebel Without a Cause.

rebel_without_a_cause

DeHaan intensely inhabits the role of James Dean and Pattinson is brilliant as the struggling photographer Stock who on a whim decides to follow his itinerant subject from Los Angeles to New York and then to his home town of Marion, Indiana.

Its James Dean’s encounter with Jack Warner of Warner Brothers where he first realizes that he is a pawn in the powerful studio system. Warner is played with panache and brutality by Oscar Winner Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Sexy Beast) who even says to Dean “You belong to me now.”

DeHaan superbly shows James Dean’s reluctance at being controlled as he mysteriously leaves New York to visit his relations in Indiana, not before Stock poignantly manages to capture that iconic black and white image of James Dean, wearing a trench coat, strolling nonchalantly through Times Square New York in the rain, smoking a cigarette.

Whilst the script of Life is by no means as witty as My Week with Marilyn, causing the narrative to meander considerably in the middle act of the film, it does offer viewers a glimpse at an enigmatic superstar who after three films become such a Hollywood icon just as his life was cut short in a fatal car crash: Life of James Dean.

giant_ver3Ironically Dennis Stock’s images of James Dean were immortalized much like the star he was photographing. Audiences should look out for cameo appearances by director Julian Schnabel’s daughter Stella Schnabel as Norma and Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi as Dean’s initial love interest, actress Pier Angeli along with Joel Edgerton as John Morris.

What is clearly emphasized in Life, was James Dean’s ambition to be an actor which he was passionate about without wanting to participate in his film’s publicity, premieres and red carpet obligations that he would notoriously shy away from.

Watching Life in a 21st century, celebrity obsessed context, James Dean would never have survived had he been born half a century later, despite his immense talent and gorgeous baby-faced good looks. Life is a fascinating portrait of two men, of subject and photographer, who both at some point realize that their unique friendship would be fleeting, yet have a lasting impact on the public perception of what constitutes a screen icon.

Recommended viewing for those that enjoy languid biopics without the wit or profound resonance often associated with films about hugely famous people. By no means a masterpiece, Life is certainly fascinating viewing and affords a moody opportunity to see DeHaan and Pattinson onscreen together.

 

Packing for the Promised Land

Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus_gods_and_kings

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Christian Bale, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Ewen Bremner, Maria Valverde

After the success of Gladiator and Robin Hood, British director Ridley Scott tackles the Book of Exodus in his ambitious cinematic reworking aptly titled Exodus: Gods and Kings, dedicated to his deceased brother director Tony Scott (True Romance, Top Gun, Man on Fire).

Exodus: Gods and Kings, starts when Moses is a muscular young man taken into the ancient Egyptian court of Seti the supercilious Pharoah played by John Turturro whose son and heir apparent Ramses played by Joel Edgerton becomes like a brother to Moses. All sibling affection soon vanishes, when Moses visits the enslaved Israelites who are forced to build pyramids, sphinxes and tombs to the Egyptian kings.

exodus_gods_and_kings_ver6

Moses played by Oscar winner Christian Bale leaves Egypt and sets off for Midian where he meets his future wife Zipporah played by Spanish actress Maria Valverde. While in Midian, Moses is visited by God in the form of a vengeful boy who promises to free the Israelites from Egypt and set curses upon the ancient land. God makes Moses a leader and instructs him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the promised land of Canaan.

After several years of marital bliss, Moses returns to Egypt to discover that the brutal and vain Ramses has taken power and forced the Israelites into an entrenched and vicious slave labour, while the ancient Egyptians live an idle life.

exodus_gods_and_kings_ver3

Once the ten plagues of Egypt have cursed the land of the Nile completely, Ramses will banish the Israelites from Egypt into the desert of Sinai and cinematically these ten curses upon the House of Ramses are brilliantly recreated from rivers of blood to the seminal deaths of the first born Egyptian sons including that of Ramses heir, whilst the Israelite first born sons are spared during the Passover.

In Exodus: Gods and Kings, naturally the narrative is completely biblical and sure to be controversial depending on which religious context the viewer is watching this film in. Besides the religious and historical aspects, Exodus: Gods and Kings is an ambitious saga which unfortunately suffers from the weight of its own importance along with a poorly written dialogue which makes the character development flimsy and almost predictable.

This is a pity considering the fantastic ensemble cast which Scott commands including Sigourney Weaver whose part as Tuya barely registers in the overall narrative along with Ben Kingsley as Hebrew leader Nunn and an unrecognizable Aaron Paul (The Need for Speed) as Joshua.

Besides the two main leads with Bale going through the motions as Moses and Joel Edgerton is slightly better as the confused and curse stricken Egyptian king Ramses, Ben Mendelsohn shines as a camp Viceroy Hegerop who lives a debauched life away from the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis.

Maria Valverde is convincing as Moses long suffering wife Zipporah who is also basically neglected in an overtly patriarchal narrative which gives little credence to any of the female characters in the story. Sigourney Weaver’s Tuya suffers a similar fate, merely feeling a presence without any significant motivation.

exodus_gods_and_kings_ver8

As a film, Exodus: Gods and Kings could have been so much better, including more lavish cinematography, better acting and a more intelligent handling of the Book of Exodus which is complex enough as a religious text, thus making it even more difficult to translate this biblical story into a relevant 21st century cinematic narrative.

In terms of Ridley Scott’s excellent filmography including A Good Year, Gladiator, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Exodus: Gods and Kings can be considered his least successful film, yet it will be his most provocative and talked about.

Whether it’s a complete disaster of biblical proportions or a genuine retelling of Moses leading the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan, Exodus: Gods and Kings will be judged historically entirely by the viewer’s frame of reference, religious beliefs, gender and socio-political perspective. Recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Gladiator or long biblical spectacles such as the 1956 Charlton Heston epic The Ten Commandments.

Lavish, Lustful Long Island…

The Great Gatsby

great_gatsby_ver6

Director:  Baz Luhrmann

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan

The much anticipated glitzy remake of the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby by Australian director, Baz Luhrmann is spectacular to watch, wonderful to marvel at, yet ultimately flawed much like its central character, Jay Gatsby.  Based upon the American classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby published in 1925, chronicling America and specifically New York’s Jazz Age, Prohibition and the excesses of wealth prior to the Great Depression in 1929, Luhrmann expertly captures the era with gorgeous costumes designed by Catherine Martin and supplied by the Italian Luxury Fashion House Prada along with suits by Brooks Brothers, the 21st century film version of Gatsby is brash, excessively long and gorgeous to look at, with fabulous over the top parties, superb music and lots of creative divergence as expected from the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet.

At the centre of the 21st century version of The Great Gatsby are three fine performances and that is the ménage trio of Jay Gatsby, played with a slightly Howard Hawks neurosis by Leonardo di Caprio, (The Aviator, Django Unchained, Romeo and Juliet), the Louisville heiress Daisy Buchanan played with a slight childish melancholy by the ever charming Carey Mulligan (Wall Street 2, Money Never Sleeps) and then her brutish, polo playing husband Tom Buchanan, an outstanding performance by screen newcomer Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Animal Kingdom).

great_gatsby_ver2

Luhrmann and costume designer Martin do a superb job of luring the audience into a decadent world of the bootlegging roaring 1920’s New York with the lavish excessive parties, the ensuing deviance that prohibition encouraged and naturally the modern jazz age. The film is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, Daisy’s cousin and neighbour to the initially enigmatic Gatsby, played with the usual awe and wonder of Tobey Maguire, of the original Spiderman Trilogy, who facilitates a meeting between Daisy and Gatsby over tea in one of the film’s more memorable scenes with flowers and decadent cakes at his Long Island cottage.

The Long Island-Manhattan social scene becomes more intricate as Tom’s mistress Myrtle wonderfully played by Isla Fisher and first introduced at in a raucous party at a Manhattan apartment hinting at the excesses which the sexually ambivalent Nick Carraway is seduced by both in terms of drugs, alcohol and loose morals, yet it is really Carraway’s enchantment with Gatsby himself which really plays into the subtext of such a fascinating portrait of lust and decadence, that eventually leads him to later write the story of the huge influence Gatsby had on his now destroyed life. As Carraway is drawn into the opulent world of the super-rich and of the myriad possibilities, betrayals and affairs that this affluent society leads him to witness, it is Gatsby himself who leaves Carraway with an impressionable dream of “You can do anything if you set your mind to it”.

great_gatsby_ver19

Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is flawed and uneven, especially noticeable in the second half of the film as he goes beyond the spectacle of the age and grapples with the deceit and lies that his main characters are capable of. The infamous scene at the Plaza Hotel, where all is revealed is really expertly played by Joel Edgerton as the jilted yet scheming playboy husband, who treats all his possessions including his lovely wife with a sort of contemptible jealousy. Luhrmann’s directorial trademarks are evident in The Great Gatsby, but not nearly as tightly pulled together as his brilliant Moulin Rouge which saw stunning performances by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, yet he still manages to recreate The Great Gatsby in a style any other film director could not have imagined.

great_gatsby_ver5

The Great Gatsby is recommended for the fantastic costumes and sumptuous production design, but not where literary traditionalists are concerned, the film is clearly aiming at a much younger glitzier and more diverse audience, notably succeeding in its lavish portrayal of excess. The only criticism is that more editing was required to cut The Great Gatsby into a perfect diamond and not as a sparkling flawed gem.  The film is a celebrated depiction and inventive homage to the Jazz Age, without much substance, but loads of style. Personally I would like to see Luhrmann tackle the rather more brilliant novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, but that would see the director venturing too deeply into the complexity of human relationships without the added glamour.

Recommended for lovers of Gershwin music and for an aesthetic appreciation, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is sure to divide and impress audiences simultaneously, much like he did with revisionist adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 1997. Also starring Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as Meyer Wolfsheim.

Fraternal Force

Warrior

 warrior_ver3

Pride and Glory director Gavin O’Connor mixed martial arts film Warrior saw Nick Nolte garner a 2012 Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor and is an engaging film about two estranged brothers who eventually reunite not so much in a domestic arena, but in the world of SPARTA or Mixed Martial arts fighting.

Brendan Conlon is a popular Pittsburgh physics high school teacher battling to pay the mortgage played by Australian actor Joel Edgerton, last seen in the gripping Melbourne crime thriller Animal Kingdom. His character is introduced as he teaches a class of students an important law of physics – Force = Mass+ Acceleration, and this formula could really signify the relationship that Conlon has with his younger brother Tommy Reardon played with an appealing physicality by British actor Tom Hardy, recently seen in This Means War and as the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Reardon after an elusive tour in Iraq has returned to the US under a cloud of suspicion, which serves as one of the narrative threads of the film and seeks shelter with his father recovering alcoholic and ex-boxer Paddy Conlon brilliantly played by Nick Nolte.

As Warrior progresses, the relationship between the father and his two estranged sons is explored amidst an ongoing battle not just to heal old wounds but to also to prove their fighting skills, both physically and emotionally as the showdown for the Sparta championships in Atlantic City takes place. A couple of directorial flourishes adds to the build up  and suspense of this fighting narrative whilst carefully maintaining the right balance of physical aggression and emotional depth  as events in both Pittsburgh and Atlantic City unfold and the brothers are forced to confront themselves and more importantly deal with all the pain that an abusive father has caused them.

The suspense is terrific in Warrior and while some of the plot points like Tommy’s Iraq escapade is slightly contrived, the film as a whole is a gripping testimony to the fraternal force that binds the two men as they compete in a physical arena, while their father has to contend with his own personal demons. Warrior is highly recommended for those who liked films like Rocky, Million Dollar Baby and The Champ and is held together by a superb performance by Nolte along with rising stars Edgerton and Hardy whose physical endurance and emotional range is equally captured to make the film’s final showdown riveting entertainment.

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
September 2018
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
  • Kesha Releases Song ‘Here Comes the Change’ for Ruth Bader Ginsburg Movie
    Kesha has released the song “Here Comes the Change” as a rallying cry for empowerment that will be featured in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie “On the Basis of Sex.” The song dropped on Wednesday, three months before the Dec. 25 opening of the movie, which stars Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer. The tune was […]
    Dave McNary
  • Marvel Female Superhero Project in the Works at ABC From ‘Wonder Woman’ Writer
    ABC has given a production commitment to a series that will feature female Marvel superheroes, Variety has confirmed. The project hails from Allan Heinberg, who wrote the screenplay for “Wonder Woman.” The exact details of the project are being kept under wraps, so no word yet on exactly which characters from the Marvel universe will be […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Film Review: ‘The Last Suit’
    A Polish-born Holocaust survivor decides to travel from Buenos Aires to Lodz to fulfill a promise he made nearly 70 years earlier in Argentine writer-director Pablo Solarz’s touching, albeit occasionally heavy-handed, drama “The Last Suit.” Thankfully, this late-life road movie also boasts plenty of poignant and humorous moments that will play well with older viewers […]
    alissasimon
  • TV News Roundup: Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ Drops First Trailer (Watch)
    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released a new trailer for its upcoming horror film “The Haunting of Hill House” and ABC has cast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a guest star in the Season 5 premiere of “Fresh off the Boat.” DATES TBS‘ “The Guest Book” is returning on Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT with back-to-back […]
    Nate Nickolai
  • Animation Is Film Festival Announces Opening Night Movie, Competition Titles, Jury
    Mamoru Hosoda’s “Mirai” will open the second Animation Is Film Festival, slated for Oct. 19-21 at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. Hosoda will attend the screening, which will be the North American premiere of the film, which debuted in Cannes. “Mirai” is also among the initial films in competition announced by the festival, produced by independent […]
    Terry Flores
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90