Archive for the 'Alyn Darnay of Chaos Films' Category

Labor Day

Friday, January 31st, 2014

*½

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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Labor Day

Written & Directed by: Jason Reitman
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Tobey Maguire

Labor Day is a labor to watch, laborious, protracted, and an almost complete time suck. I’m tremendously appalled that a director of Jason Reitman’s stature would produce what amounts to cinematic toilet paper. The only saving graces to this, least I say film, are the vague observations it makes about the nature of family, the allure of a father image, and the necessity of human touch. And believe me, even that’s stretching it.

What appears to be a chilling ‘home invasion thriller’ quickly descends into a bad Nicholas Sparks novel, but without the heart he endows his work with. Here’s the storyline:

Set in small town New England, Labor Day struggles to be a story of love, passion, and betrayal as viewed through the eyes of a teenage boy. Looking back on the events in his life at age 13, Henry (Narration by Toby Maguire) muses on the time he lived alone with his reclusive divorced mother (Winslet) and the pivotal moment when a stranger changed the course of their lives. It is the end of summer and the start of the Labor Day weekend. Henry and his mother take their once weekly excursion to the market and encounter an injured man (Brolin) who asks for refuge in their home. Over the intervening four holiday days, they’re sort of taken ‘hostage’ by this man, an escaped convict, who ultimately charms the mother and wins over the boy.

To say we’ve seen this all before is to insult the films we would compare it to. There’s no denying that Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin are a very compelling pair, they are good actors both, but even their appeal and chemistry can’t quite rescue Labor Day from the insipid melodrama it becomes. However, to their credit we really do want to see their characters find happiness together. Tobey Maguire’s narration is so superficial it’s almost laughable (not his fault, it’s the script), and the flashbacks to the past are so predictable and unnecessary they slow the already staid action to a snail’s pace.

I think the fault here lies with Jason Reitman, he’s just to damn good to sink to the level of lightweight melodramatic escapism. Why do it when he’s so good at giving us subversive dramedies about disenfranchised and disconnected individuals (Up in the Air, Juno, Thank You for Smoking)? This direction he’s taken is off his usual mark, perhaps that’s why this film seems so disjointed. He’s created a piece of sentimental craptrap.

My take, stay away. Don’t spend your time or money on this film. There are better movies to catch up on that you’ve probably not seen yet. Or better yet, if you really want good melodrama, re-watch The Notebook.

 

 

All is Lost

Monday, November 11th, 2013

***½

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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All is Lost

Directed by: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Robert Redford
There is no doubt that the expression “the sea is a cruel Mistress” is one of life’s truisms. It is a harsh environment devoid of most everything man needs to survive, most importantly fresh water, one of life’s biggest ironies.

When one undertakes a journey of any distance on the open sea, he or she must carry everything needed to survive for long periods should the very worst occur. And when the environment strikes at you with all the force and misfortune it can muster, you must be smart enough, trained enough, and clever enough to outwit it and survive. I know, it’s happened to me, and I’m still here to write about it. Lucky, to be here to write about it actually.

That is the premise of Robert Redford’s latest entry into his film legacy, and performance-wise one of his best. So intense and visceral is his performance that virtually no dialogue is spoken, and yet Redford manages to make us understand him and keep our eyes glued to his every move, every gesture, and every expression. He is a work of acting art, to be studied and admired. He’s almost sure to be nominated for an Oscar.

“All is Lost” is an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is crippled and then destroyed at sea. Unlike other similar films, like “Life Of Pi” or “The Reef”, this is a much more rich, solitary experience, a tribute to one man’s ingenuity and resilience delivered on film with astonishing depth and high quality.

Here’s the story-line:

Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, 1700 miles of the coast of Sumatra and outside normal shipping lanes, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his power, navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.

In his life raft, using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him onward in hopes of hailing a passing vessel until he faces every sailor’s nightmare, staring his own mortality in the face.

The cinematography is up close and personal, with some great scene choices made by director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), who despite trying to keep the film moving along at a interesting pace, ultimately creates a film that at 107 minutes is too long by the end. Knock off about 15 minutes and it would have been pure cinematic gold.

My take, if you’re into sailing or boating, if you like Robert Redford at his best, or if you’d just like to see an adventure film on the high seas, this is the one for you. If not, be sure to catch the Blu-ray when it hits the shelves.

About Time

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

****½

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)
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About Time

Written & Directed by: Richard Curtis
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie

The secret to making a great film is to endow it with great characters that are slightly strange, intensely interesting, somewhat silly, and immediately recognizable as people we have met or know probably exist. Then you mix those characters with a compelling story that takes us to a place we’ve not been to before yet seems oddly familiar, and top it all off with a simple moral that everyone can understand to be true.

Nobody is better at creating that mix on film than writer/director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral). For the past 30 years or so he has been making meticulously crafted personal films that resonate with audiences in such a way as to allow us to laugh at ourselves and our foibles, to share a tear over the characters innately human journeys, and that live unforgettably long after we have left the theater. At least that’s my take on this brilliant filmmaker who chooses to give us big little films that ring more human than most. It feels like he never rushes to get a film out, never feels stressed with a deadline, and takes such care of every element that nothing is left to chance. And that goes right down to his tasty and totally relevant music scores.

“About Time” is his latest movie, and hopefully not his “self proclaimed last film.” This movie is a worthy addition to the Curtis legacy and another treat for the audience, and though it’s a wonderful romantic comedy, it seems to me to be more about the tender relationship between son and father than the film’s love stories between its men and women.

Here’s The Storyline…

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers a life changing hidden family secret. On the eve of his departure from home in Cornwall to pursue a legal career and to find love in London, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life. He tries it to mixed results, but learns he can jump time if he wants.

Once in London Tim locks eyes with winsome Mary (Rachel McAdams), he’s found the woman of his dreams. But as soon as they’ve fallen in love, an unexpected glitch in the time travel renders them complete strangers again. Now, in order to win back Mary’s heart, Tim will have to travel into the past time and again. Will he win her love or upset that whole apple-cart? Therein, lies the fun of the story.

The cast is just wonderful, seeming more an ensemble than separate parts that make up the whole. As you’d expect both Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams are standouts, if there are any, and Domhnall Gleeson will win you over with his charmingly shy performance.

My take…Go see it, and take someone special.

Captain Phillips

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (3 People gave this 4.33 out of 5)
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Captain Phillips

Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener, Corey Johnson, Michael Chernus

Once upon a time, pirates roamed the high seas and commercial vessels were on constant guard, always leery of being attacked by a hostile ship flying the Jolly Roger. You’d have thought that by now all that kind of stuff no longer existed. If you did think that pirates no longer roamed the seas looking for ships, think again, because off the coast of Somalia modern day pirates run rampant. Case in point: the MV Maersk Alabama, an American cargo ship that was hijacked on the high seas and whose then Captain, Richard Phillips, was held hostage by Somali pirates in April of 2009. The events of that incident and Phillips book comprise the story of this incredibly tense, nonstop nail-biter of a film.

It’s a tribute to the masterful directing of Paul Greengrass, that even though you know the outcome, it doesn’t matter. You can’t take your eyes off the screen. Another reason for this is a guy named Tom Hanks, who once again proves he is one of the top actors of all time. His performance is flawless, and in the last four minutes of the film he shows us how amazing he really is, you will never forget it.

Can you tell I liked this one? So far it ranks number 2 on my best of the year. Here’s the storyline in a nutshell:

“Captain Phillips” is a multi-layered examination of the hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a small crew of Somali pirates. It is simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex portrait of the relationship between two men, each with opposite goals; commanding officer, Richard Phillips (Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Abdi) who takes him hostage. Set on an incontrovertible collision course 145 miles off the coast of Somalia, both men find themselves paying a human toll for forces outside of either’s control.

The fear, panic and emotional pain every character in this film endures is utterly tangible. Finally, here’s a film that grabs the audience and doesn’t let go until the very last second, if then. It’s also one of those times when the movie outshines the book, not that the book is bad it’s not, it’s just that Greengrass’ vision for the film is just riveting and the performances of Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi are so compelling that it puts you right there in the boat with them. One more word about Abdi, he so embodied the character and endowed him with such humanity that as horrible as the actions of the character are, you kind of liked him as someone forced to take desperate action. Now that’s pretty hard to do. I hope we see him again in an equally good film.

Ok, so my take on the film; sail right on over to that theater, plunk down a few doubloons, and get ready for some high seas excitement. Har-Har!!!

The Artist and the Model (El artista y la modelo)

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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El artista y la modelo

Directed by: Fernando Trueba
Written by: Fernando Trueba & Jean-Claude Carriere
Cast: Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch, Claudia Cardinale

There’s no denying that I Love Movies. Been an avid fan since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and I have never stopped being transported to other places and into other people’s lives every time I walked into a theater. Most of the millions of films I’ve seen in my life have been fun to watch, a few have affected my life, many have been an agony to sit through, and there was only one I walked out on. So when I tell you this film, “The Artist and The Model” is one of the best I’ve seen in some time, you can probably take my word for it.

At it’s core the film is about a famous French sculptor’s search for that elusive idea that creates art, yet it traces his love of nature and truth and his discovery of a new muse at the end of his lifetime that once again sparks his brilliance. It is both touching and loving at the same time, yet never looses the feeling that there is real danger surrounding him on every level.

It was filmed in seductive black and white to recreate the period of time, the ivory toned plaster of the sculptor’s work, and to capture the absolute beauty of the female form, as the camera turns it all into a refined and stunning work of art. The choice of black and white was obvious, yet in this day and age, risky. My kudo’s to the filmmakers for taking this chance.

Here’s the storyline:
In the summer of 1943, an elderly sculptor lives with his wife in the south of France, safe from the War that rages around them. Tired of life, he sits out the war in a dour depression, drinking alone at the local pub, and spending the evenings quietly with his wife. Suddenly his desire to return to work is rekindled by the appearance of a beautiful young Spanish woman named Merce, who has escaped from a refugee camp. In return for food, shelter and a small sum of money the wife, a famous ex-model herself, convinces her to pose nude for him in the hopes that it will inspire him to once again work. Merce’s beauty and innocence throws open his creative door and gives him no choice but to undertake his last and most sensual artistic endeavor.

This is a stunning reflection on the 3 most enduring themes of storytelling, the meaning of life, the approach of death and the validity of art. “The Artist And The Model” is itself a sensitive and seductive piece of art in its own right. The film has already been nominated in 13 categories at the 27th Goya Awards, including Best Film and Best Director, additionally; director Fernando Trueba has won the Silver Shell for Best Director.

It’s a Don’t Miss film!

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5) “The Artist And The Model” is unrated, Running Time: 104 min. In French and Spanish with English Sub-Titles.

Rush

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Rush

Click the image for more photos & behind the scenes footage of Ron Howard!

Alyn Darnay gave it 3.5 and Amadarwin gave it 4.5 stars, read both reviews below:

Alyn's take Amadarwin's take

 

The Body (El Cuerpo)

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)
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The Body

Written and Directed by: Oriol Paulo
Cast: José Coronado, Belén Rueda, Hugo Silva, Aura Garrido, Jaime Pena

Sometimes a little mystery from across the pond makes its way over here just to thrill and confuse us. This quirky item from Spain is just such a film. From the very opening, a moody, dark, misty shot, to the first-rate conclusion, it’ll suck you in and keep you guessing. And, after you do figure out ‘who done it’, you’ll still be twisting as to why it all happened all the way to the end credits. It’s a true Hitchcock/De Palma style psychological thriller complete with a missing body, morose Detectives, power wielding executives, a killer or two, forbidden love, and lots of clever misdirection.

Yes, it’s in Spanish, and yes it’s with English subtitles, but the visuals are so striking and the acting so compelling, you’ll know what’s happening even if you miss a few sentences here and there. This is an exceptional thriller, the type of film that’s been missing from cinema for a while. Nice to see it back again, and so well done.

Here’s the storyline:
It’s a dark night, no moon, misty fog lies upon the ground and all is still. Suddenly a man appears fleeing something in a panic, he runs onto a dark road and is hit by a truck. When the police arrive they discover that he is the Night Watchman at the nearby morgue. When they backtrack to his workplace they find that one of the bodies, Mayka Villaverde (Belen Rueda), a married society woman with lots of corporate holdings, has disappeared before an autopsy could be performed. The deceased’s husband, Alex (Hugo Silva), is under suspicion of stealing the corpse to hide his complicity in her death. Over the course of a long evening in the morgue, a detective (Jose Coronado) struggles to wring a confession out of the husband and the suspect is tormented by bizarre discoveries of evidence that point to his guilt. Someone is setting up incriminating clues around the building, and Alex is convinced it’s his wife, still alive and spoiling for revenge.

Ok, so you can see the plot is rife with delicious clues and contradictions that you as the audience and they as the detectives must muddle through to get at the whole truth, if there is one. The performances are terrific as well, as sharply drawn as the visuals the director uses to illustrate the story. You’ll find “The Body” to be classic detective fiction with a dusting of the paranormal that leads to a relatively simple, but completely un-guessable, explanation.

My take, it’s only playing at a few theaters around town, see it while you can, it won’t be around long and you don’t want to miss the fun of it.

Much Ado About Nothing

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 1.00 out of 5)
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Much Ado About Nothing

Directed by: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher and Jillian Morgese.

‘Much Ado About Nothing” is really “Something”. Something very special. First of all, it was made by the extremely talented, 3rd generation Hollywood screenwriter and director Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Firefly, Buffy, Angel). Then, Whedon called upon the members of his regular ensemble of talented actors, and filmed this modern-dress version of Shakespeare’s comedy in 12 days within the confines of his Santa Monica estate. Lastly, he did it as his vacation, sort of a labor of love, between the shooting and the editing of his Mega-Hit “Avengers” movie. Personally I’d have gone to Italy, but I’m really glad Mr. Whedon didn’t. I’d have missed the best version of this play, ever.

Why Shakespeare? And Why this story? And why now? Whedon summed up his interest in the play in an interview he gave a while ago, “It’s a very cynically romantic text about love, and how we behave, and how we’re expected to behave. It’s a party, but there’s something darker there as well”. Yes, darker and brought to you in glorious living Black & White. Yet, it’s still a romantic comedy given a modern spin with a lively spirit that raises it and its actors to the point of exhilaration.

Here, if you don’t already know, is the storyline:

Returning from a victorious campaign against his brother, Don Pedro visits his friend Leonato, the governor of Messina. He brings with him two officers, Benedick and Claudio. Claudio immediately falls head over heels for Hero, daughter of Leonato, while Benedick spars with an old flame, the beautiful, self-proclaimed spinster Beatrice. What transpires next is a comedy of errors as everyone either tries to create romantic bonds or tries to destroy them. Will the two couples find true happiness? Will love prevail? Who knows, but it’s great fun to watch.

Being Shakespeare, it takes a short while to get into the film; the language from the original text is for the most part intact. However, if you’re worried about understanding it, don’t let that stop you from seeing the film, the actors are all so good, you’ll understand it with virtually no problem.

It’s hard to pick any standout performances, since the ensemble works so well together but, Amy Acker and Alex Denisof as the bickering lovers are just wonderful and they play their parts with a euphoria we seldom see on screen any more, and the always interesting Nathan Fillion is just plan hilarious. Whedon also deserves kudos for his direction of the film, it is totally his vision and that proves to be the brilliance of this version of the story.

My take, romance is always fun to watch; it never runs smooth and easy. This story shows just how rocky it is and has always been. It’s Shakespeare for a modern audience. What could be better than to see the past come alive as true today as it was hundreds of years ago? See the movie.

The Hangover Part III

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

HOIIIREVIEW
Click the image for some great behind the scenes shots!

Check Out Both Reviews!

Alyn Darnay (He Said) gave it three stars and Madison Monroe (She Said) gave it four!

HOIIIADHOIIIMM