Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Straight outta Compton (2015)

F*** tha Police

I heard this film being described as my generations film. I scoffed at that at first. Then, I thought about it. It might actually be. I don't remember the first time I heard Metallica... I don't remember the first time I heard the Foo Fighters... I don't remember the first time I heard the Beatles, or Nine Inch Nails... But I remember the first time I heard NWA.

I was sitting in amongst a basement full of teenagers partying and partaking in the still newly amazing misadventures of alcohol, and my buddy came jogging down the stairs holding a tape in his hand (I do not have time to explain what a tape is to anyone, besides all you young cats probably think its retro cool again haha). On the tape written in black marker were 3 letters N.W.A.

The first track that screamed over my crap stereo was F*** the Police. I remember actually tilting my head towards the stereo and just absorbing what was coming out. I loved it. Before the end of the night I was reciting lyrics, yelling out the main points, and well, feeling like a bad ass. To anyone that thinks a film like this is only for a certain portion of the generation or population, reconsider, this music was powerful enough that it reached many more people than you might think.

You think he's thinking Arbys? 
So this is a bio pic. We chart the gathering of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E (with a few other side players) as they form a movement and a group that changed modern music. Along the way - the man will try to hold them down (those pesky police always trying to arrest them) and a manager will mislead them, but despite all of that they might just survive to enjoy their success.

My one problem with this film is as follows : STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is a greatest hits package. In film form. Dr. Dre goes through the film basically chilling, and knocking people out when they bother him. Ice Cube, loves his Moma, and smashes up a record exec office, but only after they try to screw him. And Eazy E... well, actually his character is 3 dimensional. Even getting into his passing.

Now understanding that Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were involved with the film it's possible that they cleaned out their "True Story" position of the tale... or maybe tried to make Eazy E look bad... but I think he comes out the more realistic. More than likely though, it was decided in hollywood, that showing gangsta's being gangsta is cool... as long as you don't get too deep into it (Note the absence of the woman abuse subject). But you can chase a guy down the hall in a hotel with a machine gun after you've slept with his girl...

That said. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is a really fun movie. By sidetracking the lengthy back story and moving instead towards all the big moments that fans have heard about for years, it gives the film a kinetic energy that is infectious. The acting is bang on (Ice Cubes own son plays him in the film and nails it). Paul Giamatti as their manager is a blast. The music is well, as expected. I seriously had a hard time not standing up in the theatre. I seen heads bobbin everywhere.

The whole crew. Man they look almost bang on. 
And seeing all the moments - Dr and Eazy in the booth for Boys in the Hood, Snoop, 2Pac, just to name a few are all great, and add a sense of history to a film that occasionally plays out a little too friendly. One of the funnest bio pics every to hit a screen, and a film that I think people who might dismiss it, will find themselves drawn to check out.

True story. A Mother of a Girl I work with, and an avid country fan, walked up to me and out of nowhere asked if I had seen STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. When I said yes she went off on how amazing the movie was and that she had cried at the end. I would not have had her anywhere near a list of fans of this film... goes to show you... some stories transcend age, race, and gender. NWA. Who knew.

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Biographical Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars

One line review: Woke up quick at about noon, just thought that I had to be in Compton soon...


Boonsweet is out this Bitch!

MIssion Impossible (5): Rogue Nation (2015)

Still Cruisin'

Listen. I enjoy Tom Cruise the actor. I'm ok with that. If you are not ok with that I understand. But seriously, this guy is going on decade 4 ... 4! and still having worldwide success. Pretty impressive. You know what else is impressive the MI franchise. Over the years each film has managed to be very unique and awesome, while continuing the series... does that trend continue?

Well, lets start with the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION story. A new super villain/organization has popped up and they seem primed to take down the IMF (Impossible mission force... yes thats silly, but this the 5th film so it doesn't need to be discussed), as well as possibly take over the world. Sigh, world conquering aspirations... you really do have to love you a good super villain. Anyway, while this is going on - Jeremy Renner's - William Brant has to deal with a political movement with the government to disband the IMF force... because wouldn't you know it, it seems people think the IMF is no longer relevant in the new PC world of espionage.

Mario cart - is real. 
So. Villain. Check. Sexy Heroine for Cruise to pine after... Check - Rebecca Ferguson is Ilsa Faust (hey its no Octopussy, but still a good hero chick name) drops into the franchise, and is one of the funnest parts of this film. She can handle the physical and looks great. The "is she bad is she good" angle has been done a 100 times - who cares. Still fun.

Listen I have to say it. And I am sure the argument can be made against me - I welcome your challenge! This is the weakest film in the franchise. There is no way around it. Yes part 2 had it's issues, and part 1 was a slow old school burn... but I think both of those films had something to offer. I think universally 3 or 4 are considered the best (with my own opinion being 3). The thing here is this movie offers absolutely nothing new to the series. Plus the opening hand to hand fight, was rather horrible cut. You gotta set that stage folks!

It felt like UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING where, sure it was a fun movie, but it was obviously filler until they could come up with a better film.

This film tries to feel like the last flick, GHOST PROTOCOL, and that is a problem for me as every film before it was it's own adventure. From the lush slow mo addiction of John Woo's direction, to the hyper intense lens of J.J. Abrams in part 3... and the scope of Brad Bird's part 4... this film just feels like a watered down version of 4. The action seen are good... but not great... the story is good... but not great... the one liners are good... but not great...

Basically ROGUE NATION is just another MI film. The one thing I felt really held this film back is that it is essentially a buddy flick between Cruise's Ethan Hunt and Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn with most of the film focused on them. And the whole Benji is a computer guy oh man look at him so uncomfortable in the middle of all this action, man that's so funny, how uncomfortable he is. Sure it's comical. But it's not that funny. I like both these actors... I like both these characters... but the ensemble needs to be there. Not including Jeremy Renner's character more, was a serious misjudgment.

That said.
That said. A sub par MI film is still above most other big budget action flicks. And the central heist in the flick is a blast. Easily the best part of the film for me. The other solid good point (beside the aforementioned Rebecca Ferguson and Cruise) is the villain. Although, after saying that he is also a fail.

The problem is they don't really get into his motivations. Sure we know the bad guy thinks he's saving the world, and we know he's super bad ass... but really, he gets maybe 6 lines of dialogue that don't involve bitching at or about Ethan Cruise. They really had a chance here, but choose to instead film the film with more Benji and Ethan. I could have done without the entire opening action sequence, to instead give some solid back story and build up for the Villain. As it is by the end he's just a paper cut out for cruise to burn down.

Listen, this good be a wee bit of me being spoiled. Right. You know. Like when you see that kid at the restaurant and he slaps the burger of his plate because he wants his Mom's steak. Ya. Maybe that ol' Boonsweet right now... just years of being spoiled by a Mission Impossible franchise that always delivered. So YES I HAD FUN! I ATE MY POPCORN, and dang-git I will try to be more simple and just enjoy cool exploding things.... and I mean the Cruise stunt riding is nuts in this film... can we call this guy the North American Jackie Chan? I say it's close enough to bring up. Oh and him hanging from a plan 5000 feet off the ground... real. NOT CGI. I repeat - Real.

That's right folks. Real. 

Still the weakest link. I waited a couple weeks to write this review... and I had to really think about any part of this film that stood out as special to me.

Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Action movie scale 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 7, 2015

Gone Girl (2014)

Well, okay, I strangely find my like of Affleck growing.

K. In fairness I was never a big Affleck hater. I mean Good Will Hunting, Sum of All fears, Phantoms, Argo, I mean I get the man has kind the range of work but, overall I think I have been more entertained than not. And for the record I do not fear him as Batman. Seriously, stop breaking the internet over shit you haven't even watched yet punks!

Moving on. I have not read the book. But here's what I know, the book is a national bestseller, has all kinds of praise, and well, from most reports the movie follows the book very closely, so I feel I can at least critique the book, or original source material after having watched the finished work especially since the Author of the aforementioned Novel actually penned the screenplay.

Man is this a movie with no payoff. Twisted and strange - yes. Payoff - No.

Ok your story. Semi boring guy has a hot semi boring wife who goes missing and the whole town and then country thinks he killed her. Only there is something much more sinister at play... (Insert Dun-Dun-DUnnnnnnnn!).
Really, you sure, the waters warrrrrrrmmmmmmmm....

So this is a film by David Fincher who helmed Seven, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (american). Two films I loved and I will give him credit for playing down his usual flare to let this film be simply about his actors. Affleck Shines as the husband who didn't really love his wife anymore but is not a murderer... and His wife as the weird sexy girl with... something well, off... Rosamund Pike who I haven't really seen in that much is terrific here. The supporting cast, all of it.

But as a movie, as a whole movie... Gone Girl just well, isn't that entertaining. Yes, it's different. The ending is different, how the plot plays out is cool... but in being so different, traditional parts of a story such as rising action, climax, resolutions... all of that is basically thrown to the wayside. And YES I KNOW some critics are gunna be all - Omg different is so cool, this bold, unique, uncompromising filmmaking... blah blah. The fact remains, aside from the acting there is very little of a movie here... the first thing I thought well the credits roll was - How the hell did they stretch this movie to 2 1/2 hours? and well we're at it... why?!

Really, you usually dress up like a grandma in your movies... and no razzies.... dang
I have heard some people say that the problem audiences may have identifying with the film is the fact the characters are all so vile. I mean, they are all messed up, unworthy people. But I think for me, especially at the start, that made the film all the more interesting. In a way it may have felt more real than most thrillers, but the plot is so nuts that any connection to the real world fades quickly. I think this is one of those films that people jump at - Much like say INCEPTION... where the film feels so different and plays so different that you have to jump up as a film lover and well love it.

But then over time... you find that it didn't really leave that much of an impression... and well, even though you bought it, it hasn't been off your shelf since you brought it back from walmart... where you found it in the 10$ bin.

Gone Girl is not a thriller.... really... it's not a crime drama.... really... it's not a critique on society... really... in fact it is nothing really. It's nothing. It's just a @#%$ up story about @#%$ up people... for 150 minutes.

I'm gunna say it. I hate myself a little... but I'm gunna... you take the A-list cast out... cut out the one scene of violence... and tag on a slightly less gloomy ending, and you have a hallmark thriller... Probably called something like Till Death Do us Part... 

Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Thriller Scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

Great acting, A really cool twist ( at the half way point of the film - what?), make it worth watching, but maybe lower your expectations just a bit.

Chuck B is out.

Lost River (2014)

Something twisted this way comes....

Ryan Gosling is a pretty damn fine actor. If you don't think so while then you clearly have avoided his body of work, and more than likely have only seen him in The Notebook as such I get it. However the man is talented. Though after meeting with Director Nicolas Winding Refn for the amazing Drive he then fell in love with the man's art over substance and created one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life - ONLY GOD FORGIVES. To this day probably the most hate I have ever dumped on one film.

And as you are Loyal Booniacs, you knows I try my best to find the best in the films I watch... Determined to be anything but a "Hater" haha... but sometimes... this shit gets to me. So when I heard Ryan G was going to be writing and directing his first flick. I was a little worried. I knew his association with Nicolas Refn would more than likely lead to a very artistic and color drenched film experience. Which is fine. But would it have substance?

The Lost River story goes: A Son and His Mother struggle to survive extremely poor in a decaying if not destroyed neighbourhood. Along the way the son might find trouble with rival street gangs over left behind copper in destroyed/abandoned buildings. He might also find love with a equally disillusioned girl. All the while his Mother struggles to make ends meat in a modern Grand Gignol stage show. Ya. Thats your plot.

I can't feel my face... Guys.. I can't feel my face!
Ok. A word of warning, lost river an art house film. No doubt about it. Slow burning houses with creepy poetic rhythms playing. Voice overs out of no where. Camera cuts to random objects and scenery. That said. Really when done right, there is nothing wrong with arthouse. Sure its not for everyone, but hey, neither is blood soaked 80s cinema.

There is a beauty here. Real and earnest. The cast is nothing short of amazing. From Christina Hendricks (from MAD MEN) as the mom, to an unrecognizable Matt Smith (and no if you don't know where he's form I'm not telling!)... and every part inbetween is littered with talent. The script is a strange and human thing. As well, as it should be with such a flick. In fact considering this came from the mind of Ryan Gosling I must say I was impressed with both the depth of his depravity and his understanding of the humanity of such things. Me thinks the man has quite the dark side.

There is some thing here... Director wise. Hell perhaps even writing wise... that suggests the possibility of something great within the creator. Now is this the film? I don't know. Honestly its close. I was thoroughly transfixed by most of this film. A man who has seen art films from every corner of the world try to convince me how original and unique they are... was occasionally fully in the sway of this film. And unlike Ryan G's director buddy... he does not forget the most important aspect of art... your audience is your medium... not the other way around.

Um. Guys. So about that 711. 
Ok I went a little deep there. But I wanted to get a little artsy too.... dammit! Its a fancy way of saying making art for yourself is a nice way of saying you no longer care... or know how to connect with an audience. No one... no one will ever convince me that art should be made absent an audience, because is art... is essence meant to be appreciated? And maybe by someone other than the creator... and his/her six buddies that think its great...

Yes. I ranted there. That is just because I am a little stunned to fond how much I liked this film. It is not one for all tastes. If you liked Drive, and have sought out films such as Beyond the Black Rainbow then this is right up your alley. A brilliant soundtrack. Some very good to great acting... and a new voice behind the camera.

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Weird WTF movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW: Crazy Ryan G is my kinda G.