Killing Them Softly (2012)

Director: Andrew Dominik

Writer: Andrew Dominik (Screenplay) George V Higgins (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta

 

Plot: Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.


Tagline – In America you’re on your own

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow & Uninspiring

 

Story: Killing Them Softly starts when Frankie (McNairy) and Russell (Mendelsohn) rob Markie’s (Liotta) mob protected card game, putting a bounty on themselves. With the men not happy with this incident, they hire Jackie (Pitt) to clean up the mess, he enjoys killing his victims, softly, with his Driver (Jenkins) filling in the information about the hit he will need to take out, while the  man Jackie wanted to help with the job, Mickey (Gandolfini) isn’t the man he used to know.

 

Thoughts on Killing Them Softly

 

Characters – Jackie is a hitman assigned to clean up a mod owned robbery, he has his own ways to get the job done which will see him slowly calculated kill his targets, but he will get the job done smoothly. Frankie is one of the thieves that commits the robbery, he has bought in his own friend to help with the latest job, he must try to stay low while he waits for the bounty to go away. Russell is the loose cannon that is bought in by Frankie, he isn’t liked by the boss, but is given the chance to help with the job. Mickey is the former hitman that just isn’t the man he once was, he can’t be seen in public which doesn’t help with his job. Driver fills in the information for Jackie, he shows him where the job could be done too. Markie is the host of the poker game who sees the money stolen, knowing what it will mean for him.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is the highlight of this film, which isn’t saying too much, he does keep the cool persona we know him for through the film, but isn’t as incredible as we could have seen from him. The supporting cast all struggle in this film without getting any moments that will make us want to support their characters.

StoryThe story follows a hitman hired to clean up a gangster robbery but unsuspecting thieves, only for him to see the people are not the same as they once were. This story goes at a slow pace which just doesn’t ever get going before ending without seemingly finishing. We have too many characters being introduced to enjoy this film which just seems to be a lot of talking and never hitting the criminal world style that you would be expecting from the gangster underworld.

CrimeThe criminal side of this film just seems to follow different people in the criminal world, they are at different levels and are force to be against each other.

SettingsThe film is set in a city which is filled with the chances to be a criminal without making any location feel iconic.


Scene of the Movie –
Frankie drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much pointless talking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow non-moving crime thriller that just drags along even with Brad Pitt trying his best to make something of nothing.

 

Overall: Slow and dull.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – F – Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Director: Dean Parisot

Writer: Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Gerald Gaiser, Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Story)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Angie Harmon, John Michael Higgins

 

Plot: When an affluent couple lose all their money following a series of blunders, they turn to a life of crime to make ends meet.


Tagline – Giving Big Businesses a Run For Their Money!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy Lacking That Spark

 

Story: Fun with Dick and Jane starts as we meet Dick (Carrey) who is about to get a promotion to vice president of the company he has worked for, for year. The problem comes that this promotion is designed to put the blame on the company’s problems on him instead of the men who really are involved, Jack (Baldwin) and Frank (Jenkins).

Dick loses his job and his wife Jane (Leoni) has quit her job, the two struggle to find new jobs and before long they are facing being evicted, which turns them to a life of crime to save their home.

 

Thoughts on Fun with Dick and Jane

 

Characters – Dick has been working for a company for his whole working career, he has been waiting for a chance to get to the next step which he gets only to see himself become the fall guy, making him unemployable in the field. He can’t get a job anywhere and out of pure desperation he turns to a life a crime to support his family. Jane is the wife of Dick who quits her job with his new promotion and can’t get a new job, she believes in Dick and ends up teaming up with Dick to commit crime. Jack and Frank are the CEOs that have taken advantage of Dick to get away clean after their illegal trading.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to play into the full energy comedy that he is known for here, this isn’t the best he has given, but his fans will enjoy what he does, Tea Leoni does struggle with comedy and it is clear to see because she just doesn’t work with Carrey’s comedy. Alec Baldwin and Richard Jenkins get to enjoy their roles in the film playing into what they could be for these real people.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are forced into a life of crime after losing everything when a business they are employed with gets closed down with the CEOs leaving the employees broke. This is a remake which has been bought into the modern era of greedy businessman who have taken advantage of their employees only to be left nothing. The story does seem to be going in fast forward with the crime montage flashing over what is happening. This does have a good outcome for everyone involved, but just doesn’t engage for the audience.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film mostly revolves around Jim Carrey bringing in his routine which is enjoyed by people who are fans of his work, the crime side of the film shows just how CEOs can try and get away with things and how one couple looks to crime to survive.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us any settings which feel overly iconic which the film could have had to make us become more invested in what is happening.


Scene of the Movie –
The first robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crime montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime comedy that skips over too much of the interesting material only to leave us feeling like we blinked and missed too much.

 

Overall: Basic crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Mike Cerrone (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger, Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, Jerod Mixon, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A nice-guy cop with dissociative identity disorder must protect a woman on the run from a corrupt ex-boyfriend and his associates.


Tagline –  From gentle to mental

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Carrey Comedy

 

Story: Me, Myself & Irene starts as we meet highway control officer Charlie (Carrey) who is popular in his work and gets married only to discover that his wife has had triplets that are black, he does accept them as his own even after his wife leaves him, which loses him the respect of the town, but not of his kids Jamaal (Anderson), Lee (Brownlee) and Shonte Jr (Mixon).

When Charlie finally snaps it turns out he has a dissociative identity disorder creating a version of himself Hank that will do anything Charlie wouldn’t. to cover up the problem Charlie is set on an escorting job to take Irene (Zellweger) back to her home state to deal with an open warrant to her name, but Charlie finds it hard to keep Hank at bay.

 

Thoughts on Me, Myself & Irene

 

Characters – Charlie is a happy-go-lucky highway trooper that the town has always walked all over after his wife walked out on him, he tries to be good to everyone without realizing they are treating him bad. Hank is the loud abrupt version of Charlie that will say and do anything inappropriate and will fight where Charlie doesn’t. Irene is the woman that gets accused on crimes that Charlie must escort, only for it to turn out that she has involvement with a criminal out to stop her talking.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to enjoy his double role here effortless swapping between the two through the film. Renee Zellweger does handle the comedy in this film well, while the more established names in the supporting roles do well with their roles.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets pushed too far which brings out his twisted darker side, he must help escort a wanted criminal across country only his darker side helps them out along the way when a mob boss and dirty cops are trying to kill her and Charlie along the way. This does have a road trip element along the way as Charlie goes to different states along the way.

ComedyThe comedy comes from Jim Carrey mostly he gets to play opposite characters and each work well, his sons also get good laughs too breaking stereotypes.

SettingsThe film takes across US states which unless you know certain locations you will be left wondering how far they are travelling.


Scene of the Movie –
First Hank appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t that threating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Jim Carrey based comedy that gets plenty of laughs along the way, the road trip side of the film works even if the villains don’t.

 

Overall: Fun comedy showing Jim Carrey’s talents.

Rating

 

 

Chris Hemsworth Weekend – Cabin in the Woods (2012) Revisited

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker

 

Plot: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.


Tagline – If you hear a strange sound outside… have sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stand Out Horror

 

Story: The Cabin in the Woods starts when five college friends Dana (Connolly), Curt (Hemsworth), Jules (Hutchison), Marty (Kranz) and Holden (Williams) head off for a break in the cabin in the woods, with plenty of booze and laughs.

With the friends starting to act strangely we learn of an operation being run below the cabin, with Sitterson (Jenkins) and Hadley (Whitford) pulling the strings for a much bigger picture, where the teens are selected as sacrifices with the rest of the world getting their plans to suit their cultures.

 

Thoughts on The Cabin in the Woods

 

Characters – When we look at the teenagers, we have Dana who is making up for her own relationship woes with a teacher, being set up with Holden, but downstairs she is classed as the virgin. Curt is dating Jules, he likes his sport especially American Football and is well educated, at the cabin he turns into the jock figure. Jules is the best friend of Dana trying to support her through her problems, she turns into the slut at the cabin. Marty is the stoner, the fifth wheel if you like, he has the funniest lines of the whole movie, best scenes and has found a way to stay immune to the toxics effecting the others, pointing out the horror clichés mistakes. Holden is the friend of Curt’s sent to hook up with Dana, he is a good guy with what he does though, even if we don’t learn that much more about him. This characters are designed to become the stereotypes in the horror genre.

When we look at the people conducting the operations we have the two leaders Sitterson and Hadley who have been doing this for years, Hadley is waiting for a merman which is an on running joke through the film, while Sitterson knows how to fix every single problem. We do have the newest member of the team Truman that questions what is going on with Lin trying to help him understand the situation they are working for. This is all before even showing us the creatures will we be seeing through the film, each one bringing a new level of horror unlike anything we could have imagined.

PerformancesThe stars of the movie are good throughout, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams and Fran Kranz as the teenagers are great with Connolly and Kranz stepping up to steal the show, you do get an early glimpse of what Hemsworth can do for comedy too. Jenkins and Whitford have excellent chemistry together giving us the dry comedy needed for their side of the film.

StoryThe story here turns what we know from your generic horror movies on its head, we know how the cabin in the woods slasher movies go but turning the story into an idea of human sacrifice in a satirical way does make this stand out from the crowd. The story does play into fan service for horror fans by doing this because it does play into clichés for a purpose, though it does go against clichés too and shows us how certain clichés haven’t transferred into the modern horror era. There are so many details you can talk about here and even the later stages go crazy, you will be hooked watching.

Comedy/HorrorThis is a horror movie, there is no questions, we have so many iconic figures from horror concepts, the comedy does show when it comes to going against the ideas of horror, mostly satirising what we know without parodying it.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, first we have the cabin with the surroundings we know about, it is used for moments of horror too, the underground facility shows us how the operations are unfolding and how the people operate.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do look great, with the final 30 minutes uses such large amounts of practical and CGI going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Lift opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t not like anything about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror movie that plays into the horror clichés to make them noticed, much like what Scream did in the 90s, this took things to the next level and with a final 30 minutes which will leave you jaw dropped.

 

Overall: The modern masterpiece of Horror.

Rating