Entries tagged with “Josh Brolin”.


There are films based on graphic novels (comics books) heroes and action stories and the genre is flourishing making happy studios and fans of all ages. And there are the ‘Sin City’ films which are graphic novels on screens.  ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ directed by (who also created the books that inspired them) and is only the second in this genre. I liked it. I will try to explain the reasons and the difference.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

 

The first thing to notice with ‘Sin City 2′ (as for the first one almost one decade earlier) is that it does not pretend to be anything else that it is. It is a comics story which is directly designed for the big screen rather than for the paper support of the graphic novels. The story (there are actually three almost independent story threads) is simple and relies mostly on action. No psychological or character development is to be expected from its heroes, they are from the first time they appear on screen until the moment they die or the end of the movie (what comes first) ‘The Drunken Righteous’, ‘The Dangerous Vamp’, ‘The Corrupt Senator’,'The Nice Face Gambler’, etc. The actors either wear masks () or they are their own masks (, , , , , ). Most of them create their own characters as graphical novel heroes. The only one who holds some mystery and hides – at least for some time – her real intentions is the character played by . All seem to enjoy themselves greatly to be in the film.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

All this concept is supported by a superb cinematographic solution which places the actors on sets that seem to be drawn in comics style and uses mostly black-and-white with touches of selected colors as in the mid 20th century comics books combined with the cinema masterpieces of ‘film noir’ from the same period. The execution is perfect, and the action scenes not only support the stories but also create moments of aesthetic wonder and fit perfectly in the atmosphere. The concept and the execution make of ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ a rare combination of good entertainment and stylish cinema.

 

A few weeks back I wrote about Bridge of Spies and I was mentioning the fact that I expected more than an OK+ story about the Cold War from a script written by the  and brothers. This feeling was now enhanced by viewing Hail, Ceasar!. The trailer was so promising – the anti-establishment brothers made a film about the Hollywood.  as the drunken (not even, actually) star in the historic super-production.  as the blonde brainless starlet. The bigger the expectations, the deeper the disappointment, they say. The brothers seem to have ran out almost completely of ideas and spices.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475290/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475290/

 

Hollywood loves making fun of itself, but never forgets to mix a dose of nostalgia. This is what made The Artist such a huge success, plus of course the French charm. It’s 2016 however, and nostalgia should not be consumed in overwhelming doses. Yet, the Coen brothers seem almost to crawl in repentance to the big studios they succeeded to teach in the past a few things about digging for gold in the classical fabric of American stories. There is only one scene where the Coen spin and spirit succeed to remind the good old days – that’s the ‘ecumenical’ discussion in preparation of the Christ movie with the participation of Catholic, Easter-Orthodox and Protestant priests plus one rabbi. It looked and sounded like a good joke. The difference is that we used to have ten or more such good jokes in the Coen brothers films, now it was just one. The social content which is also present in many of their films is now reduced to a parody of the black-listing of the 50s combined with an incarnation of Communist hysteria (in a Malibu villa by the ocean of all places) which is maybe the second good joke in the film. Still insufficient.

 

(video source Universal Pictures)

 

In a season that was so deprived of comedies that The Martian got a nomination in the category at the Golden Globes, Hail, Ceasar! is still the funniest show in town, but it’s more by lack of competition. and looked genuinely bored in a film which should have been fun to make. is no comedy actor. The ones lucky to get more interesting parts are the amazing and who left me with the dilemma of guessing which film director he took revenge upon when building his character.

I am waiting for the Coen brothers to return.

 

 

Screening ‘Labor Day’  (which was not brought to commercial theaters in Israel) released on Labor Day 2013 on the eve of Labor Day 2014 was a smart move for the distributors, that brought me to the cinematheque in my hometown. I am not sure that this was the smartest move for me in this American holiday weekend. Based upon a novel by Joyce Maynard, the film directed by Jason Reitman succeeds eventually to squeeze a tear, but demonstrates also that succeeding to squeeze a tear does not necessarily make a good film.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1967545/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1967545/

 

Kate Winslet is a divorced mother who raises alone her pre-teenage  kid and whose feelings of loss and distress turned into deep anxiety. Josh Brolin plays an escaped convict who finds refuge in their house during the long Labor Day holiday weekend. What starts as a conflictual situation turns gradually in a love story as the man has his own sad history and the two find in each other what they always needed. It’s of course a story which cannot end well, not on short term at least, and the principal problem is that the premises of the melodrama are unnecessarily exaggerated for both heroes’ stories, and everything is awfully predictable after the very first few minutes.

 

(video source MOVIECLIPS Trailers)

 

Director Jason Reitman imposed a very minor style in cinematography and telling its story. All characters are uneasy, and this includes the teenage boy whose off-screen voice is used much too extensively on my taste in order to fill in some of the details of the narration, or to guide the feelings of the viewers. I think that I understand many of Reitman’s decisions but I cannot say that I liked the result. Kate Winslet is excellent in playing ladies in deep distress, and she does a fine job here as well, but watching her does not compensate the overdose of melodrama. There is nothing too wrong about this film, but I cannot recommend it as Labor Day or any other holiday entertainment either.