Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Perry’

Rivers Lead to Towns

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Aiden Gillen, Jake Weber, Medina Senghore, Tyler Perry

Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted) lights up the screen in Taylor Sheridan’s adaptation of a novel by Michael Koryta entitled Those Who Wish Me Dead which centres on a fire jumper Hannah played by Jolie who becomes the protector of a young boy named Connor played by Finn Little after he witnesses his father being murdered by two heartless assassins Patrick and Jack played respectively by Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite, A Single Man) and Aidan Gillen (Bohemian Rhapsody, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword).

The father Owen, a forensic accountant came across some dodgy financial dealings and was targeted by a crime boss Arthur played by Tyler Perry (Gone Girl).

Unfortunately, the writer of Hell or High Water and Wind River, Taylor Sheridan who also directs this explosive action thriller does not provide sufficient background information on the motives for the killings or even frame the plot within a larger context which is the inherent weakness of a film, which should have been great, but turns out to be average. This is despite the star power of Angelina Jolie who simply looks too beautiful to be a fire jumper in the Montana wilderness.

Jolie should stick to doing more prolific roles like Maleficent.  Even Nicholas Hoult who was so good in the Oscar winning film The Favourite opposite Rachel Wiesz and Olivia Colman, was wasted in a film with minimal dialogue although due to Hoult’s massive physique he was impressive as the ruthless assassin Patrick who has to battle Hannah as she attempts to protect Connor during a raging forest fire.

Jon Bernthal (The Wolf of Wall Street) stars as the county sheriff Ethan who gets caught up in the middle of the action as the assassins go after Connor as he is left to fend for himself with the help of Hannah in the Montana wilderness. Hannah keeps telling Connor to run to the rivers which leads to the towns and to safety.

The action scenes in Those Who Wish Me Dead are very impressive and the forest is almost a character on its own, however the dialogue and the back story for this confusing action thriller needed to be clearly developed. Which is considerably disappointing since director Taylor Sheridan was the writer and director of such brilliant films as Wind River and the Oscar nominated Hell or High Water.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is an explosive action thriller with Angelina Jolie taking the lead as the gung ho gorgeous heroine, which is light on dialogue and heavy on action and suspense. This film is fun and enjoyable but the story is too weak to make the viewers empathise sufficiently with the plight of the characters.

For those that enjoy an action heavy adventure story, catch Those Who Wish Me Dead in cinemas now. This Montana set action thriller gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is now showing in Cinemas

Ahead of the Decision Curve

Incisive Political Drama

Vice

Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Jesse Plemons, Shea Whigham, Tyler Perry

Thanks to a preview screening organized by United International Pictures at Suncoast Cinecentre, Durban, I was fortunate enough to see director Adam McKay’s highly anticipated biopic Vice about Republican Vice President Dick Cheney featuring an utterly unrecognizable Christian Bale as Cheney and Oscar nominee Amy Adams as his ambitious wife Lynne.

Inventively directed by Adam McKay, Vice does for Republican politics what The Big Short did so brilliantly for the 2008 Financial Meltdown on Wall Street. McKay, besides extracting superb performances out of Christian Bale and Amy Adams, also incisively cuts into the heart of Republican politics especially from George W. H. Bush’s Presidency in 2000 and right through the crucial months which followed the devastating attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in September 2001 to the eventual invasion of Iraq in 2003.

This is 21st century contemporary history which affected the world and writer and director McKay taps into the zeitgeist of those crucial turning points which changed American History and effectively portrays Vice President Dick Cheney to be a ruthless and opportunistic politician who believed in the executive powers theory which basically sees the President and Vice President of a country make executive decisions without any checks or balances from Congress or the U. S. House of Representatives.

Vice is an incisive look at American Politics and is much about how America got Trump into the Oval Office in 2016 as it is about any potential Republican failings in terms of U.S. foreign policy.

At the centre of this comedic biopic are two utterly transformative performances by Oscar winner Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Oscar nominee Amy Adams (The Master, Doubt, American Hustle) as this unassuming Wyoming couple who become the most powerful couple at the White House during the Bush administration from 2000-2008, always staying a step ahead of the decision curve.

Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri) is equally charismatic as the young George W. Bush who asks Dick Cheney to be his running mate for the 2000 elections.

Director Adam McKay also assembles an excellent supporting cast including Oscar Nominee Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) as Donald Rumsfeld and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell. 

The film’s narrative is incisively told in a cleverly constructed pastiche of dubious politics touching on some controversial subjects like torture and rendition with some extremely graphic images thrown in.  Vice is a fascinating portrait of an unassuming bureaucrat who becomes so powerful that he fabricated reasons to invade a sovereign state and start the American invasion of Iraq, a move which definitely destabilized the Middle East as a whole.

For lovers of excellent political films, then viewers have to see Vice.

It’s an incredibly well researched indictment of the Republican Party made all the more pertinent by the disruptive Trump presidency which is currently dominating global media headlines.

Adam McKay’s Vice is brilliant and thought-provoking making Christian Bale a hot contender for another Oscar win as his transformative performance dazzles in every frame much like Gary Oldman ‘s vivid portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Vice gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and accurately portrays how decisive strategic political actions by a global superpower like America can be indirectly attributed to the rise of global conflict and international terrorism in other regions of the world. Terrifying and fascinating stuff!

Amazing Amy…

Gone Girl

gone_girl_ver2

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Scoot McNairy, Missi Pyle, Lisa Banes, Patrick Fugit, Sela Ward, Lola Kirke

Zodiac, Seven and The Social Network director David Fincher brings to cinematic life the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl in an intoxicating style with superb performances by Ben Affleck (Argo, Hollywoodland) and Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, Pride and Prejudice) as Nick and Amy Dunne.

The Dunne’s seemingly perfect American suburban marriage is deconstructed under acute media scrutiny when Amy Dunne goes missing from their home in North Carthage, Missouri on their fifth wedding anniversary. Initially a break in is suspected. Then possibly a murder…

As the town of North Carthage gathers around to search for the elusive Amy, Fincher in a series of flashbacks gives a deceptive back story to the Dunne’s marriage, an American relationship come undone by the effects of the 2008 financial recession. As the couple leave their hip lifestyles in New York and move back to the Mid-West, it is revealed that Amy was the source of a series of children’s books Amazing Amy which her parents profited hugely off, making her the enviable product of a million dollar trust fund.

Amy Dunne is beautiful, gorgeous and has a range of creepy admirers. Being an only child, and now a missing woman, Amy is an enigma and her husband Nick Dunne, the suave charming fortyish hunk naturally becomes the main suspect.

Gone Girl in the tradition of The Jagged Edge is a manipulative and expertly directed thriller with Fincher extracting the most he can from his two leading performers, whilst simultaneously commenting on the current invasive trend of intense media scrutiny which defines American culture, made worse by reality TV, the internet and the cult of celebrity.

This form of media scrutiny has permeated all aspects of American culture and indeed influenced the contemporary world. Just analyze the media circus surrounding the current trials of Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani in South Africa as an example.

Gone Girl is as much an indictment of the current state of news media, as a stylish and slightly comical look at a disappearance which begs more questions than answers, a story of a couple whose lives are torn apart by the media due to an event which is as deceptive as it is real.

Fincher assembles an eclectic supporting cast including comedian Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt a notorious defence attorney, Sela Ward as an investigative talk show host Sharon Schieber along with Kim Dickens as a small town detective Rhonda Baney who is trying to make a break in an extremely puzzling case. Then there is also Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings a suitably creepy school friend of Amy’s.

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What makes Gone Girl so utterly superb is the extraordinary talents of Rosamund Pike, who really sinks her teeth into the complex role of Amy Dunne. That’s another of Fincher’s directorial gifts, he always gets the lead actress to deliver exceptional performances like what Rooney Mara did in the Oscar Nominated Swedish thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

This is by far Rosamund Pike’s best screen performance and will certainly elevate her onto the A-List of Hollywood actresses. She sizzles in this role and along with a duplicitous performance by Ben Affleck, who both make Gone Girl a truly superior adult thriller, whose narrative tension and plot twists rests solely on the acting of these two brilliant stars.

Gone Girl is must see viewing, a provocative thriller, a deconstruction of a marriage, an indictment of the ever widening dichotomy between truth and fabrication. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

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