Posts Tagged ‘Nick Nolte’

The Salient Usurper

Angel Has Fallen

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Cast: Gerard Butler, Danny Huston, Nick Nolte, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Morgan Freeman, Frederick Schmidt, Piper Perabo, Tim Blake Nelson, Martin Behrman, Lance Reddick

Shot Caller director Ric Roman Waugh directs the follow up to 2013’s Olympus has Fallen and 2016’s London has Fallen with muscular Scottish actor Gerard Butler (Den of Thieves, 300) reprising his role of Secret Service Agent Mike Banning in Angel has Fallen also starring Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) as President Trumbull and Danny Huston as the ruthless Independent Defence Contractor Wade Jennings.

When Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of President Trumbull in a dramatic drone attack, chaos reigns as Banning fights to clear his name and discover the real perpetrators behind the merciless attack which annihilated all of President Trumbull’s other secret service agents.

In a similar gritty style to Olympus has Fallen and London has Fallen, Angel has Fallen is extremely violent action packed and absolutely thrilling to watch made more enjoyable by the appearance of veteran actor and Oscar nominee Nick Nolte (Warrior, Affliction, Prince of Tides) as reclusive Ex-Vietnam veteran and father to Mike Banning, Clay Banning, who proves just as able as his macho son to ward off any unseen attackers in his West Virginian hideout.

As the action moves from rural West Virginia to the corridors of power in Washington D. C. and to an explosive hospital scene in Maryland, Angel has Fallen is a suitably thrilling conclusion to this violent but enjoyable trilogy. For viewers that saw Olympus has Fallen and London has Fallen, Angel has Fallen follows the same generic pattern of a high body count, tense action sequences and betrayals that shock the audience as Banning realizes that there are few allies in the secret service and that his trusted friend Jennings is his most worthy adversary.

Female stars to lighten the macho cast include Piper Perabo (Looper) as Banning’s wife Leah and Jada Pinkett –Smith (Collateral, Magic Mike XXL, Matrix Reloaded) as the decisive Agent Thompson. Other stars include Tim Blake Nelson as the slimy Vice President Kirby and Frederick Schmidt (Mission Impossible: Fallout) as Travis Cole, Wade Jennings’s second in command.

Angel has Fallen gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended viewing for hard core action fans and this film’s rather predictable storyline is saved by a brilliant performance by Nick Nolte who lifts the entire story out of obscurity and makes this action packed thriller worth watching.

Be sure to stay after the opening credits for a very humorous scene….

The Creator’s Wrath

Noah

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Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte

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Oscar winners Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and Jennifer Connelly team up again after their successful onscreen pairing in Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, in Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s allegorical tale Noah, which has less to do with the bible story and more to do with humanity propensity for destroying the planet.

This visually packed tale of Noah, the ark and the great flood which ensues is inventive, patriarchal and slightly disappointing considering Aronofsky’s reputation for turning out shocking, if not provocative films like Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler and his most successful film yet Black Swan, which earned Natalie Portman a Best Actress Oscar in 2011.

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Russell Crowe looks increasingly perplexed throughout the film of Noah, almost if he knew this cinematic tale might turn out controversially. The script is stilted and not thrashed out properly and even though the film is in 3D, many of the characters are one dimensional. Which is a pity considering that Aronofsky smaller films do focus on flawed characters trying to grapple with their own success or failure.

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British actor Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain and Logan Lerman as Noah’s son Ham stand out in the acting stakes in this version of Noah, while Crowe, Connelly and even Emma Watson come across as pathetic individuals caught up in an event greater than their own destinies, even though their destinies are tied in with the flood which devastated a ravaged earth, thanks to the descendants of Cain, who have wrecked havoc on the planet’s natural resource.

The whole dynamic of the creation narrative rests on  conflict. Adam and Eve enter the Garden of Eden and are confronted by temptation in the form of a serpent. Their children Cain and Abel battle jealousy and envy with Cain killing Abel, leaving a third brother Seth, of which Noah is descended to recover the familial equilibrium. Then the Creators Wrath returns and after a prophesy from Noah’s Grandfather, a wizened Anthony Hopkins that he should build an ark to survive the impending flood, Noah sets his three sons on a mission to complete a gigantic arc to save themselves and a handful of creatures so that a new population can inhabit a cleansed earth. The irony is that Director Aronofsky should not convince big budget Hollywood to give him free reign on an essentially biblical story.

Purists would not be pleased at the cinematic result which is Noah, not to mention that the narrative does not withstand the special effects and somewhere in between the flood, the entire plot is lost. Noah is an overlong allegorical and patriarchal tale with a hint of biblical connotation but is no cinematic masterpiece. Director Aronofsky should return to making small budget shocking films like the psycho sexual ballet thriller, Black Swan. Even Oscar nominated cinematography Matthew Libatique’s trademark sheen is lost on the 3D version of Noah.

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If Noah had been less about visual effects and more about a conceivable plot, then the film would have been vaguely interesting. Even Emma Watson’s (The Bling Ring) turn as Ila, Noah’s eldest son’s girlfriend and mother-to-be is not nearly as captivating. Where is all the sex, debauchery and shock value normally associated with Aronofsky films?  Noah is fascinating, but not fantastic cinema and would be better if left in 2D with a more fleshed out, stimulating narrative. Noah also stars Douglas Booth and unrecognizable Nick Nolte.

2004 Toronto Film Festival

2004 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

TIFF 2004

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Canada.
Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

Being Julia

Opening Night Film: Being Julia directed by Istvan Szabo, starring Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, Lucy Punch & Max Irons

Hotel Rwanda

People’s Choice Award: Hotel Rwanda directed by Terry George, starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

Its all Gone Pete Tong

Best Canadian Feature Film: It’s All Gone Pete Tong directed by Michael Dowse starring Paul Kaye, & , Pete Tong

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

Hollywood Hard Hitters

Gangster Squad

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Director: Ruben Fleischer

Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Holt McCallany, Michael Pena, Sean Penn, Sullivan Stapleton, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Josh Pence

Based upon the fascinating non-fiction book, Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, the beautifully yet violent cinematic rendition of the story of how an elite group of LA cops formed a Gangster Squad to tackle the effects of organized crime in post-wars Los Angeles, is thrilling to watch, engrossing and thoroughly entertaining. Featuring an all star cast including Ryan Gosling as Jerry Wooters, Josh Brolin as Jack O’Mara, Emma Stone as Grace Faraday and Sean Penn as the malevolent gangster Mickey Cohen who terrorized the Hollywood Boulevard in the early days of the city of angels growth is both visceral and heartfelt.

Giovanni Ribisi and Michael Pena also star as electronics expert Conwell Keeler and Officer Navidad Ramirez respectively in this brotherhood tale of elite cops fighting the influences of organized crime in the form of the vicious New York immigrant Mickey Cohen. Whilst Paul Lieberman’s novel goes into a truly in depth analysis of the origins of organized crime in Los Angeles, before and after the 2nd World War especially as California and Nevada become ripe for the East Coast families to increase their criminal activities. In this case Chicago crime emissary Jack Dragnet, played by Jon Polito is soon wiped out by Mickey Cohen who will go to any lengths to become Los Angeles’s crime boss.

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Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Gangster Squad skips over much of the social history in favour of making a sleek, glamorous and violent film about the sharp shooting and mischievous Squad which successfully undermined Mickey Cohen’s grip on the city of Angels in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Not nearly as measured and brilliant as Barry Levinson’s film Bugsy about Bugsy Seigel’s establishment of Las Vegas in the late 40’s, Gangster Squad comes off more as a nostalgic pastiche of all great Gangster films from the same genre most notably The Untouchables, Bugsy and the brilliant L. A. Confidential.

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Gangster Squad features a smooth talking Ryan Gosling in what is really an ensemble piece about a group of men who go to any lengths to undermine the mob king in their town often at their own personal costs. Gosling’s screen time with Emma Stone is fabulous along with some particular brilliant and captivating action sequences, Gangster Squad is held together by a brilliant cast, fabulous sets and a superb retelling of an emerging city out of the clutches of crime and into those of glamour and cinema, which is what Los Angeles is more famous for today.

Recent more grittier films about Los Angeles downtown crime film like End of Watch also starring Michael Pena shot in a Southlands TV series style has not changed the image that LA is still a city plagued by foreign criminal organizations or crazy criminals as immortalized in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and not so much by East Coast immigrants as it was in the first half of the 20th century.

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Paul Lieberman’s book Gangster Squad is a brilliant read as his detailed history of the city of Angels in the mid 20th century is perfectly captured and exceptionally well researched.  The Hollywood film version of Gangster Squad is by all respects a brilliantly recreated 1940’s handsome cinematic experience complete with Slapsy Maxies also starring Nick Nolte as Chief Parker and Anthony Mackie as Officer Coleman Harris and worth watching for the quirky dialogue, well orchestrated action sequences,  and will surely delight those fans who loves similar styled mobster movies!

 

Fraternal Force

Warrior

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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.

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