Posts Tagged ‘Garret Dillahunt’

The Downtown Heist

Ambulance

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell, Jackson White, Moses Ingram, Colin Woodell, Cedric Sanders

Running Time: 2 hours and 16 minutes

Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Transformers and Armageddon director Michael Bay returns to the big screen with a California heist film Ambulance set in downtown Los Angeles and features to foster brothers Danny and Will Sharp played respectively by Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) and Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen).

Danny lures Will into helping him with one last heist job at a Federal building in downtown Los Angeles and soon everything literally goes pear-shaped and amidst a massive shootout, Danny and Will escape in an ambulance transporting a wounded police officer played by Jackson White and accompanied by a beautiful headstrong paramedic Cam Thompson played by Eiza Gonzalez last seen in Baby Driver.

Captain Monroe, played by Garrett Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave, No Country for Old Men) and his band of armed policemen try to pursue the Ambulance until Danny Sharp unwittingly calls in the assistance of the Mexican gang to distract the police as the chase continues through the myriad of freeways, off ramps and roadways of downtown Los Angeles.

Director Michael Bay frames the city shots of Los Angeles with some sweeping takes including all the downtown skyscrapers whilst also managing to capture the trauma and anxiety of what is happening inside the Ambulance including keeping police officer Zach alive while the vehicle is being shot at and chased incessantly.

As the situation becomes increasingly desperate, the outlandish narrative takes too long to wrap up even though the action keeps audiences glued to the screen. At 2 hours and 16 minutes, Ambulance could have been edited by at least half an hour.

If audiences enjoy a good action, car chase bank robbery film, then Ambulance is just for you. It’s filled with crazy car chases, sweeping road carnage and enough plot twists to keep audiences guessing right up until the medical vehicle reaches its intended destination.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II both are very good in their respective roles particularly the latter as he realizes how crazy his estranged foster brother really is. Let’s face it, Jake Gyllenhaal can play crazy in a cool kind of way!

Ambulance is an entertaining heist action film, big on flashy images of a city scape twisted by glass skyscrapers and fast cars on freeways featuring some desperate characters trying to get out of a really tense situation.

Ambulance gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and while not entirely plausible, it certainly is a perfect popcorn action flick.

Sold Down the River

12 Years a Slave

twelve_years_a_slave

Director: Steve McQueen

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong’o, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Quvenzhané Wallis, Michael Kenneth Williams

Based upon Solomon Northup’s groundbreaking novel, 12 Years a Slave published in 1853 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_Years_a_Slave, British director Steve McQueen brings the critically acclaimed film version to the big screen exposing the cruelty, violence and brutality of the slave trade in the Antebellum Deep South prior to the American Civil War. Audiences have to bear in mind that 12 years a Slave is set in 1841, the first half of the 19th century when America having broken away from Britain was expanding its nation commercially especially in the Southern States like Georgia, Louisiana and basically most South Eastern states below the Mason-Dixon line from Virginia downwards.

Nevertheless, director McQueen emphasizes the emotional and physical imprisonment of both slave and slave owner in a terrifying master servant relationship which is based entirely on commerce and the expansion of agricultural land in the vast cotton-picking states of the American South East where slave owners viewed slaves as their personal property to be bought, sold or exchanged for debts as part of payment for arable land. Despite the commercial exchange and vicious currency of slavery, this does not excuse the devastating effects it had on the African American people who become slaves often ripping families apart as well as being subjected to all sorts of human rights abuses which would be unimaginable in a 21st century America with Barack Obama as president.

Slavery is a tough subject to contextualize onscreen and British director McQueen takes the challenge head on and show through the extraordinarily horrific experience of Solomon Northup (superbly played by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) who as a free man in Saratoga, New York travels as part of a minstrel band to Washington DC where after a drunken night is drugged and sold into slavery and literally shipped down the Mississippi river to the slave port of New Orleans.

Northup first becomes the property of seemingly benevolent land owner Ford played by Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate), but after an altercation with the vicious plantation manager Tibeats an excellent cameo by Paul Dano, is transferred as part of a debt owing to the even more sadistic plantation owner Epps brutally played by Michael Fassbender. On Epps’s cotton picking Louisiana plantation, Northup meets the vulnerable but tough Patsey (an excellent performance by screen newcomer and Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o) who becomes the forbidden object of desire by the psychotic, bored and lustful Epps.

It is really Nyong’o’s Patsey who endures rape, torture and a particularly cruel whipping scene which elevates 12 Years a Slave into a shocking and harrowing portrayal of the absolute horrific conditions of 19th century slavery in the deep South, conditions so horrendous that the Northern states eventually intervened in a bid to abolish slavery resulting in the bloody American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War.

12_years_a_slave_2

McQueen’s film while at times lacking in narrative structure, is still an absorbing historical portrayal of humanity’s capacity to inflict cruelty and suffering on their fellow humans, a point which Brad Pitt’s character Bass emphasizes and who eventually assists Northup in his bid for emancipation. Shot in the suffocating heat of a Louisiana summer, 12 Years a Slave is atmospheric, brilliantly acted and deeply disturbing and a testament to man’s own ability to survive under vicious circumstances.

Whilst 12 Years a Slave won People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and has nine 2014 Oscar nominations, it is really the breakout performance of Lupita Nyong’o who shines amongst a British American cast including Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti and Benedict Cumberbatch and Quvenzhané Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild as Northup’s daughter Margaret.

This is recommended viewing for lovers of historical films, but be warned 12 Years a Slave is cruel, violent and shocking, which is exactly McQueen’s intention in showing up Slavery as one of Mankind’s most atrocious historical eras, a completely ruthless and harrowing practice, offering a contemporary cinematic counterpoint to the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind.

 

Texas is No Place for Survivors

No Country for Old Men

It is a difficult nut to crack. No Country for Old Men initially purely for its shock value, then for Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on morality in border town Texas. Even the second viewing was hard to contemplate. From its relentless scenery to its unrelentless take on the Mexican-Texan drug trade, the Coen brothers never compromise of their  vision of an America without any heroes and essentially its Superb!

Rich in imagery and dark in imagination coupled by great performances from the cast from Javier Bardem to Josh Brolin and Kelly McDonald. The Coen brothers seminal work is a masterpiece in psychological immorality and genuine disconnectedness of the main characters. From Tommy Lee Jones’s cynical police chief to the cold blooded ruthlessness of Javier Bardems psychopathic killer Anton Chiqua the film betrays a sense of ruthlessness and immorality little before seen on the big screen. Panoramic visions of Texas and neighboring Mexico make little t0 assuage the view. To make the viewer feel better.

Not for the faint-hearted

Even in the second viewing the Coen brothers disturbing point of view is fascinating and simultaneously appalling for those who watch it, but in a true Cinematic tradition, their film is both a masterpiece and a harrowing account of the cost of greed and revenge. Its a tough showdown but ultimately rewarding tale of disillusionment, disgrace and courage faltered in a land ravaged by death and destruction.

Javier Bardem’s performance is intimate and contained, rich in evil and retribution, filled with that abysmal sinister quality of a man which clearly operates outside the law. He is a non-conformist, who is bound by his own sense of justice and revenge. A sense not grounded in reality but pure evil, unadulterated.

Josh Brolin is equally brilliant as a man who makes a conscious decision not to redeem himself in any way possible and accept the consequences however grotesque for  a man who crosses a moral boundary with no way of turning back.

Tommy Lee Jones mirrors the path of the psychopathic killer, from drinking the same milk to staring at the same emptiness of a TV screen not quite tuned into the world. A cynical sheriff, a man who has becomes speculative, a watch on all the macabre episodes, not realizing the gravity of the events, but only its significant consequences…

Utlimately, there is no sense of redemption in a film like No Country for Old Men, no cathartic assurances, just a deep valued sense of tragedy which its dark vision never compromises on, leaving the viewer wasted, but realizing that they have watched a film exceptionally profound. No Country for Old Men won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay from the novel by Cormac McCarthy and of course Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem’s spine chilling portrayal of a hitman.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
May 2022
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • ‘Hunt’ Review: Trust No One in This Unpredictable Korean Spy-vs.-Spy Game
    On Oct. 26, 1979, South Korean president Park Chung-hee was assassinated by the chief of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency — a coup that ended the autocrat’s 16-year grip on a country that has wrestled with corruption and scandal ever since. The still-mysterious circumstances of that inside job (which inspired 2005’s “The President’s Last Bang”) […]
    Peter Debruge
  • ‘Money Heist Korea’ Trailer Dropped by Netflix Ahead of June Release
    A crew of thieves including Tokyo, an ex-soldier, unite under the leadership of a mastermind known as the Professor to plan an unprecedented heist – stealing money yet to exist! If that sounds familiar, it should. The twist is that Netflix hit series La Casa De Papel (Money Heist) has been given a cool Korean favor. […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Renée Zellweger Says ‘The Thing About Pam’ Prosthetics Caused Her to Break Out in Rashes
    Judy Greer admits seeing Renée Zellweger for the first time in full makeup, prosthetics and wardrobe as convicted murderer Pam Hupp while shooting “The Thing About Pam” presented a a unique set of challenges. “We both looked at each other and started laughing,” Greer, who plays controversial prosecutor Leah Askey in the true-crime series, said […]
    marcmalkin
  • PhilmCo Media Backs ‘1660 Vine’ Movie Musical About Social Media Influencers
    Sixth months after Peter Samuelson and Jonathan Prince launched PhilmCo Media, the production banner is gearing up its first project “1660 Vine,” a musical film that producers hope to adapt as a Broadway show. “1660 Vine,” follows a group of influencers who move into a Hollywood apartment complex to help each other pursue social media […]
    Wilson Chapman
  • The Long Road to ‘Spinning Gold’: Why It Took Three Decades to Bring the Story of Six Decadent Disco Years to the Screen
    The story of Casablanca Records has been told by many — in books, articles and by the larger-than-life characters who lived through the salad days of mid- to late-1970s rock and disco music. Its ascent as a hit factory — home to KISS, Donna Summer, the Village People and Parliament Funkadelic — was short and […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • 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