Archive for Josh Brolin

Avengers: Infinity War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet Xandar, Thanos and his lieutenants—Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard’s destruction. As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills Loki. Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on Knowhere. Rocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create an enchanted battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the Stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill retaliates, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. After Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, Strange surrenders the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing Stark. Thanos departs for Earth.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background

REVIEW:

The moment has come! The big payoff! The reason we have sat through seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe films, though they have all been enjoyable to varying degrees. 10 years in the making, complete with developing an entire universe, setting up some high stakes, and teasing us with the big bad, Avengers: Infinity War has arrived! Will it be the payoff all of us comic nerds, as well as the general public have been expecting?

What is this about?

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

What did I like?

Spread the wealth. From the moment this film was announced, it was clear that the cast was going to be huge. What we didn’t know was how the balance of screentime would play out. Would we get a heavy dose of Iron Man and Captain America, while Hulk and Dr. Strange are relegated to what amounts to glorified cameos? I can assure you that is not the case. Every character that we have been introduced to in the MCU to this point, with the exception of Hawkeye, Ant-Man (who has his own sequel coming later this summer, which takes place before this film, apparently), and a couple of others who i can’t think of at the moment, is included in this film. While not all time on screen is equal, each character is allowed to show their strengths and why we have grown to care about them over this time.

Mad Titan. Yesterday, I saw Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2 and, while he was good as that character, he feels more at home as Thanos. That’s not to say Brolin can’t play a cyborg mutant from the future, or that he should always seek out roles where he is a delusional psychopath with delusions of grandeur who has a strange misconception of what kind of balance the universe needs. Rather, he just seemed to have more fun as Thanos. I think he even said so himself. I can’t blame him. One the one hand, he could be a really strong time traveling cyborg who has to listen to Deadpool all day or be a universal titan that is nigh unstoppable. The latter seems to be the better option. As far as his plot is concerned, i think this is one of Marvel’s stronger villains. I won’t spoil it for you, but he does lay out and execute his plans with precision, rather than dawdle and monologue the way some earlier MCU villains have done (some in his employ).

Impact. The impact of the MCU has been felt ever since the first Avengers was released and other studios started taking notice of universe building. Now, if you notice there are many duplicators and imitators. DC has come the closest to recreating the formula, but something just isn’t right with them. When all is said and done with this film, though, the way it ends is sure to make a lasting impact on fans and probably moreso on those that aren’t fans. I can’t go into much detail about it without dabbling into spoiler territory, but i can say that something happens that will send shock waves through the audience, as it is something no one saw coming.

What didn’t I like?

Short end of the stick. Earlier, i mentioned the enormous cast and how not everyone was given equal screentime. For some reason *COUGH* ego*COUGH*, Iron Man gets the majority of the screentime. Meanwhile characters such as Bucky (Winter Soldier), Black Widow, Nebula, etc. have maybe 5 min on screen. In Nebula’s defense, she was a prisoner being tortured by Thanos for most of her time. This brings me to Black Panther. He, and the nation of Wakanda, play an important role later in the film, but that is all we get. Some have speculated that since this was filmed before the release of Black Panther, the studio had no idea of the impact that film would have and thus didn’t give T’Challa much to do in this film. There is an argument to made there, but my point is many characters, both major and minor didn’t receive as much time as they could have because of the amount of characters in this film. I’m not saying there were too many, just that, and I’m going to sound like Thanos here, ironically, more balance needs to be brought.

Offspring. Unless you are a fan of the comics, then you probably have no idea who Thanos’ “children” were. Myself, not being up to date on Thanos’ history, didn’t know who they were, either. Apparently, they are, much like Nebula and Gamora, the last children from worlds Thanos has conquered and destroyed who now serve him. That little bit of history doesn’t mean much, other than explain why they are fighting so hard for this big purple guy. They view him as their father and will do anything  for him. The way they seem to be portrayed in the film is equivalent to Stormtroopers, mindless clones who only serve one purpose.

Ground support. Granted, there isn’t much they could do and i just went on about too many characters, but i can’t help but think that the Defenders (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones), the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , along with anyone else that could help out with this (Inhumans, Deathlok, etc.) The world is in danger! I find it hard to believe that these heroes/anti-heroes would just sit idly by, especially Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. (note…i have not been watching this season). Real talk…the only reason none of these guys are making an appearance is because Marvel is desperately wanting to keep the MCU away from the Netflix universe. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense!

Spoiler alert. This isn’t a complaint against the film, but rather internet culture. As you know, i am nearly a month late getting to see this. Life/work kept me away from the theater. In this day and age, spoilers are very hard to avoid, especially when you are in a Facebook group for comic book and movie nerds. However, i believe it was the Sunday after the film’s release that i was checking out the Venom trailer and had the film spoiled for me. How was it spoiled? Well, right as the trailer is about to end, some @#%$!^ inserted a 10 second clip of himself telling the world what happened. I ask you…who does that?!?

Final thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War? Man, what a ride! The emotional roller coaster this film takes you on from the opening beat down of the Asgardians, to the triumphant return of Steve Rogers (that entrance was…wow!), all the way to the events that happen in the second half of the film are sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. There are some things that could be cut as well as some scenes that probably should not have been cut. All in all, though, i had a great time watching this and can’t wait for the next one. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Deadpool 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decide to start a family together, the target tracks Wilson down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge, but blames himself for her death, and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus.

Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that negate their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, the cybernetic soldier Cable finds his family murdered by Collins in the future, and travels back in time to kill the boy before he ever becomes a murderer.

Cable breaks into the Icebox and attacks Collins. Wilson attempts to defend Collins, but is defeated by Cable who takes the Skee-Ball token that was a final gift from Vanessa. Wilson is able to force himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near to death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team of mutants to break Collins out of a prison transfer convoy and defend him from Cable, whom he calls X-Force. The team launches their assault on the convoy by parachuting from a plane, but all of the team’s members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck they are in and they escape.

Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’s first kill, and agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again. They arrive at the orphanage to be overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster. Colossus, who had at first refused to help Wilson due to his murderous ways, arrives and distracts Juggernaut long enough for Wilson and Cable to confront Collins. After Wilson appears to fail in talking down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice, Collins’s future is changed and Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-travelling device, which he needed for returning to his family in the future, to strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart before they arrive at the orphanage. This time, when Wilson leaps in front of the bullet it is stopped by the token and he survives. Collins still has his change of heart.

The headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi driver friend Dopinder, and Wilson accepts that he and his friends have formed their own strange family. In a mid credits sequence, Wilson has Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio secretly repair Cable’s time-traveling device to allow him to: save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter; visit the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and kill that film’s version of Deadpool; and kill actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering acting in the film Green Lantern

REVIEW:

Well, here we are getting ready to go guns blazing into the summer movie season. Avengers: Infinity War got us kicked off, Solo: A Star Wars Story is waiting in the wings, but the one that people are really wondering about is Deadpool 2. After the surprise success of the original, some are wondering if there will be a sophomore slump or, perhaps this will be an even better flick. That is something each individual must decide for themselves, but these are my thoughts on the matter.

What is this about?

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

What did I like?

Action. Some films, like Logan, can get away with having very few action scenes. Those that it does have really count, though. The Deadpool franchise, however, needs these scenes if for no other reason than to keep us from having too much of his mouth. Funny enough, the best action scene in the film doesn’t even involve our titular character, but rather a couple of big guys, one of which would be a spoiler if I said his name. Aside from that, though, there really isn’t much to say other than Deadpool kicks ass and takes names.

Domino. When it comes to the character of Domino and how she was portrayed on the screen, I’m torn. On the one hand, this is the first time she’d appeared on the big screen, so kudos to that. Her powers aren’t exactly easy to show to John Q. Public. Unlike having optic blasts, blue fur, metal bone claws, etc., being lucky isn’t a run of the mill power. I feel the film did a good job of showing her pull off the, pardon the phrase, “Domino effect”. On the other hand, and this is nothing against Zazie Beetz, I feel the race switching was pointless. Making it even worse is that she comes off as the opposite of her comic counterpart. Instead of being white, she’s African-American. The black spot on her eye? It’s a white spot on her other eye. As a matter of fact, everytime I look at it, I can’t help but think of Barf from Spaceballs! Still, having a badass chick that can handle Deadpool, and even throw some quips back at him is awesome!

No one is safe! Deadpool went after everyone, starting with Ryan Reynolds and just kept going from there. This film does the same, but ups the ante a bit. I hear there was a joke about the Disney/Fox merger, but they were advised to cut it. Instead we get jokes about the DC Universe being dark, Josh Brolin being Thanos and, of course Ryan Reynolds failed “Deadpool” in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his bad decision to make Green Lantern (both films I am a fan of, btw). The jokes all land and I felt as if Reynolds himself had a hand in writing, or possibly ad-libbing, some of these.

What didn’t I like?

Pick on the little guy. You’d think with this topic, I’d be referring to the kid, Firefist, and how seemed to be picked on through the whole movie, resulting in the climax, but that isn’t where im going with this. I want to mention how T.J. Miller was just laying into Dopinder in the scenes where they were working together. Dopinder has become on of those characters, I think he actually does exist in the comics, that has taken on a life of his own after the first film and was a welcome bit of comic relief (in a comedy). Miller’s picking on him came out of nowhere, though. Perhaps there is some deleted scene that can explain why he was doing this?

It worked once. Many of the jokes in the film are rehashes from the first film, if I’m being honest. Some are the exact same joke! Others are just an extended version of the same joke, just done a different way. For instance, in the first film, Deadpool cuts his arm off and a baby hand replaces it (while it is growing back). This go around, he gets ripped in half, and there is a rather long sequence where he is sitting on the couch  with baby legs (and no pants/diaper). This goes on even when Cable enters the scene and attempts to bring some sanity to the proceedings. Should there be a third film, let’s hope we don’t get more of the same jokes again.

Low budget CG. It is no secret that these Deadpool movies aren’t as flush with cash as say, The Avengers franchise, but one would expect that there would be at least enough cash flowing to get some decent CG. There are two times that this really came off as bad to me. First was anytime Colossus was talking. Maybe I didn’t notice it in the first film, but there was something off about how his face moved when he was speaking. While I’m on this note and before I go on…why doesn’t he go back to his human form in these movies?!? The second was in the aforementioned big guy fight. I was taken back to the really bad Gateway 2000 CG in The Matrix Reloaded watching what should have been an awesome fight. Maybe they’ll fix this before it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray.

Final thoughts on Deadpool 2? There really isn’t much to say, honestly. If you liked the first one, then you’re going to like this one. Nothing about this flick is going to suddenly make you a Deadpool fan, though I’m sure google searches on Cable, Black Tom Cassidy, and Firefist went up this weekend (I looked up Firefist, myself, so don’t feel bad). Josh Brolin as Cable works, but I think they should have gone with Stephen Lang, a guy that literally looks the part. The X-Force scene(s)…well, you’ll be entertained, I’ll put it that way. Morena Baccarin is still gorgeous! Long story short, this is a solid film worth watching in the theater. More than likely, if you’re reading this than you’re a fan and have already seen it, so I don’t need to tell you to rush out and check it out, now do I?

4 out of 5 stars

Hail, Caesar!

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Four-time Oscar (R)-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Fargo) write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an all-star comedy set during the latter years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.

What people are saying:

“The Coen brothers transcend genre, from noir to thriller to dark comedy, they can nail it. But I particularly enjoy their takes on farce (especially when George Clooney is involved). This movie is not perfect, but I laughed out loud throughout, particularly when everyone embraced the silliness of the story as part of the whole point. It may not be the Coen brothers’ best ever, but it doesn’t have to be to be enjoyable.” 3 1/2 stars

“Hail, Caesar! is great fun. Lively jabs at organized religion, Hollywood and the power structure. The cast must have had a blast during filming. Anyone who is interested in Hollywood in the 50″s blacklist era should enjoy. ” 4 stars

“A silly, jumbled, yet consistently entertaining chapter in the Coen Brother’s directorial saga, “Hail, Caesar!” commends the golden age of Hollywood with a star studded cast and an eye for historical detail. ” 3 1/2 stars

“If you love montages of old films(specifically from the 50’s) -this is perfect. Between Ethel Merman and Will Rodgers, to the creation of a scene of Ten Commandments. It is funny. I agree that it can be hard to follow at times. But, putting political satire in a movie is not new. Still, the scene with the Soviet submarine is hysterical!!!” 4 stars

“Very intelligent film. The filmakers deal honestly with many subjects. If you are looking for the typical crass Coen Brothers film, this one falls short. It still is iconoclastic but the icons it looks at are those things that are worshiped by a typically disconnected 21st Century intellectual, Take a look and see which icons you would have preferred the filmmakers to have left alone.” 5 stars

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

“Just Another Saturday Night”

Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking The Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car, and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling that since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy,” which Marv mishears as “Bernie.” They flee; Marv follows, stealing a police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up. With the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called “Bernini Boy” and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy’s throat, he considers his coat and realizes he can’t remember how he acquired it.

“The Long Bad Night (Part I)”

Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner), with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game led by the all-powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out. One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella), warns him to flee the city, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roark’s goons suddenly attack him. He fights them off and tells Marcie to meet him at a hotel before he is escorted into the Senator’s waiting limousine. In payment for the humiliation he suffered at the card game, Roark takes back his money and uses a pair of pliers to break the fingers of Johnny’s playing hand. They toss him from the car, and the Senator shoots Johnny in the leg. Roark then reveals that he recognized Johnny as his illegitimate son. However, he remarks that he only considered his dead son Roark Jr. his flesh and blood. He leaves Johnny alive, preferring to let him suffer, and Johnny swears revenge.

“A Dame to Kill For”

Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of Sally (Juno Temple), a hooker who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta), he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees. When Ava arrives, she begs forgiveness for leaving him, and implies she is afraid for her life before her massive chauffeur, Manute (Dennis Haysbert), arrives to escort her home. Unable to get her out of his mind, Dwight sneaks into Damien Lord’s estate, where he observes Ava swimming, but is caught and beaten. Dwight is returned home, where a nude Ava waits for him. He tries to throw her out, but can’t resist her and they make love. She tells him that Damien and Manute torture her physically and mentally, and she knows Damien will kill her soon. Manute arrives and viciously beats a naked Dwight, sending him out the window with a single punch.

Determined to rescue Ava, Dwight recruits Marv to help him, and they mount an assault on Lord’s compound. Marv attacks Manute, putting him in traction and tearing out his eye. Dwight confronts Damien Lord, who denies Ava’s accusations, and an enraged Dwight beats him to death. As he reacts in horror, Ava appears and shoots Dwight several times, taunting him and thanking him for helping her murder her husband and take over his fortune. She shoots him in the face and forces him to fall out of a window, where Marv rescues him and takes him to Old Town. Dwight’s old flame, Gail (Rosario Dawson), recognizes him and saves his life. With the help of Gail and the deadly assassin Miho (Jamie Chung), Dwight undergoes reconstructive surgery on his face and plots his revenge.

Meanwhile, two detectives, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven), investigate Damien’s death. Ava claims Dwight was an obsessive ex-lover, and he killed her husband in a jealous rage. Bob is skeptical but Ava seduces Mort, who believes her every word. They begin an affair and Ava pressures him to find and kill Dwight. When Mort, obsessed with Ava, attempts to track Dwight down in Old Town (an action that would break the truce between the police and the prostitutes), Bob attempts to stop him. An enraged Mort shoots Bob in the face, then commits suicide afterward. Out of options, Ava reluctantly partners with the mob boss Wallenquist (Stacy Keach).

Dwight (with his reconstructed new face), accompanied by Gail and Miho, poses as Wallenquist’s man from Texas. Inside Ava’s estate, however, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight’s car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .45 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims shakily at Dwight as Ava unexpectedly grabs one of Manute’s guns, shooting Manute several times. She attempts to convince Dwight to pair with her, and that the pain he suffered revealed his true intentions, but Dwight shoots her mid-kiss, and she dies in his arms.

“The Long Bad Night (Part II)”

Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd), who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last $40 and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny rushes to his hotel but finds the Senator waiting for him, along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roark, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roark’s game the following night. Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roark to taunt him about his dead mother. He once again cons Roark into going all in, then reveals his winning hand. Johnny taunts his father, reminding him that tonight’s story of how the same man beat him twice will follow him for the rest of his life. His vengeance completed, Johnny smiles resignedly, a single tear running down his face as Roark shoots him in the head, commanding his men to get rid of the body.

“Nancy’s Last Dance”

Four years after “That Yellow Bastard”,” Nancy Callahan is in a deep depression over John Hartigan’s death. She is obsessed with getting revenge on Senator Roark for having driven Hartigan to kill himself. As she wallows in despair, the ghost of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) watches over her, unable to reach her but still attempting to help. On the same night that Johnny joins the backroom poker game, Nancy attempts to shoot Roark from the stage of Kadie’s, but she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger.

Nancy hallucinates a visit from Roark, and shortly thereafter cuts her hair and smashes a mirror, using its shards to cut her face. She decides to get Marv to help her kill Roark by showing him the scars and making him believe that Roark was responsible. As they step out of the club, they meet a motorcycle gang there to shoot up the place. Marv kills two but leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark’s compound: Marv slaughters Roark’s bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, but Nancy continues on alone to confront Roark. Roark shoots her first in the side, then the leg, and is about to finish her off. Suddenly, Hartigan’s ghost appears in the mirror—startling Roark long enough for Nancy to recover and kill him.

REVIEW:

What say we return to the streets of Basin City with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For? It has been a few years since the first film and there are two things that immediately pop into my head. What took so long and why now? I’m sure as I watch this film other queries will arise, so let’s see if this is worth staying in on a humid summer Wednesday night, shall we?

What is this about?

Cornering the market on sex and blackmail, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) matches rich men with prostitutes before snapping their photographs and selling the pictures to their wives — but he’d give anything to go legit.

What did I like?

Goddess. I am a straight, red-blooded, male, so it should come as no surprise that I found Eva Green to be extremely attractive in her segment of this film. However, it takes some guts to spend most of the time in various states of undress. With a body like hers, though, can you blame her? If they ever do a movie on the Greek/Roman gods, she needs to be cast, or at least considered for the role of Venus/Aphrodite. Now, putting aside her most perfect body, the segment itself is the most fleshed out part of the film, hence the reason it is the title’s namesake, I’d imagine. I was enthralled watching, waiting to see what other kind of treachery, deceit, murder, and whatnot would transpire.

Violence. In Sin City, there was quite a bit of violence. People were shot, decapitated, maimed, etc, all in the glorious, and unique, black and white aesthetic this film uses. Keeping with that motif, the filmmakers kept it going this time, rather than falling in the trap of making this look like a “regular” flick and, because of this, the violence contained in this picture appears to have that much more of an impact.

Connective tissue. Nearly 10 years ago, the original film was released. Unless you are one of those people who watches it on a loop and has every line memorized, then it is a sure bet that you don’t have the events fresh in your mind. Thankfully, the filmmakers kept this in mind and threw in some flashbacks and reminders for us. So many times, films that are released many years after the original just assume we remember everything, which is rarely the case!

What didn’t I like?

Indestructible. It was brought to my attention that one of the major characters, Marv, is nigh indestructible. What’s wrong with that? Well, the same thing that the current society has with Superman. He comes off as too powerful, even when he shows signs of humanity. There is also the little fact that Marv’s indestructibility is never explained. He just…is.

Identity crisis. In a bit of confusion regarding the timeline of these two films, we get a prequel to the character of Dwight McCarthy, Manute, Olde Town, etc. My issue with this has to do with casting. They chose to cast Josh Brolin as Dwight on the grounds that this guy had his face changed. When it comes to the face changing, the only difference is that he has a different hairstyle. I don’t know why Clive Owen chose not to return, but it would have been nice to have him take over the role with the face change.

Paternity. One of the things that got on my last nerve was how every chance he got, Roark mentioned his son being killed. Once or twice was enough, but this was just too much. Doubling down on this idea, it should be noted that the “yellow bastard” is all over his office. There is no way we can forget!

Final thoughts on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For? Many people didn’t seem to like this film for some reason. Perhaps it is the bad taste left in their mouth from knock off films such as The Spirit. I think I have become a fan of this film…perhaps even more than the original (I need to go back and watch that again, before I can say for sure). There isn’t a flowing narrative that connects all the stories together as in the first one, and I feel that is the major negative, but for the most part, this is a solid flick. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Labor Day

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1987, Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet) is a depressed single mom who lives in a rural home with her 13-year-old son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). While they are clothes shopping, a bloody man approaches Henry and makes them take him home to look after him. The man is revealed to be Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), a convict who is wanted by the local police after breaking out of jail. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Frank is a Vietnam veteran who returned home and married his pregnant girlfriend, Mandy (Maika Monroe), who soon gave birth. A year after the baby’s birth, Frank and Mandy had a fight, where she unintentionally revealed that he isn’t the baby’s father. During the fight, he accidentally pushed her against a radiator, resulting in her death. Simultaneously, the baby drowned and Frank was sent to jail for Mandy’s murder.

Adele and Frank fall in love and plan to go to Canada with Henry. They begin packing the house and cleaning on Labor Day. Meanwhile, Henry develops a friendship with a mature, but manipulative girl named Eleanor (Brighid Fleming), and goes to see her one more time before they leave. She manipulates him into thinking Adele and Frank are going to abandon him and he accidentally reveals Frank’s past. The morning they are going to leave, Henry takes a note to his father’s house and leaves it in his mailbox. While he is walking home, a policeman (James van der Beek) offers to drive him home, and Henry has no choice but to accept. The policeman is suspicious of the packed car and nearly-empty house, but eventually leaves. Adele goes to the bank to get all the money out of her account, and while she is gone the neighbor comes over to give Adele some cinnamon rolls, and speaks to Frank. She is suspicious of who he may be. Henry’s father finds the note he left, and calls the house wondering what is going on. Before Adele, Frank, and Henry can escape, the police arrive and arrest him. He ties Henry and Adele up before he goes out to surrender, so that they won’t be charged with harboring a fugitive. It is not revealed who called the police to report Frank’s presence at the house.

Years later, adult Henry (Tobey Maguire) has become a successful baker and is contacted by Frank, who is getting out of jail. Henry tells him that his mother is still single, and Adele meets Frank at the prison upon his release

REVIEW:

You know, they always say don’t let a stranger in your car and for kids not to talk to strangers, right? Well, Labor Day is going to make housewives rethink that and just go out picking up random guys that look like convicts, I think, if they haven’t started already.

What is this about?

What begins as a short ride turns into a life-changing event for divorced single mother Adele Wheeler and her 13-year-old son, Henry, when they give a lift to a bloodied man on a fateful Labor Day weekend.

What did I like?

Simple. Lady gets divorced. Lady goes into seclusion and depression. Lady meets escape convict in supermarket, brings him home and they fall in love as he is hiding out. See, nothing complicated about that plot, is there? Sometimes it is best to just strip things back to the bare bones, rather than making things so deep and complicated that the audience is lost and confused. There is an adage that was taught to me in junior high, K.I.S.S. No, not the band, but Keep It Simple Stupid. More than a few films would benefit from following this little nugget of knowledge.

Not a bad guy. Josh Brolin’s character is actually not a bad guy. He’s in jail for an accidental murder. For some reason, I feel sympathy for prisoners. Think about it, we put tax evaders, shoplifters, and people who get caught pirating movies and music in the same prison as hardened thieves, murderers, rapists, etc. What kind of sense does that make? Yes, there are a few bad guys, but I would wager that there are guys like Brolin’s character than not. It is a different take on the escape convict to have one that is guilty of his crime, but not a bad guy who wants to kill everyone who looks at him funny.

Dad is around. So many times when couples are divorced in movies, depending on the story, the father is usually a mean, violent drunk, or not around. Another thing that this film does right is let the father come around. Now, the guy isn’t in the film much, because he isn’t the focus of the film, neither is the kid, really, but the fact that they make sure to let the audience know that Clark Gregg’s character isn’t some deadbeat dad, is a plus in my book. Although, I have to wonder who in their right mind would leave Kate Winslet?!?

What didn’t I like?

Frumpy Kate. I’ve been in love with Kate Winslet ever since I first saw her in Titanic. Most of the stuff she makes is not my cup of tea, but I can usually find a scene or two that I like, if you know what I mean. None of those kind of scenes are in this, though, but that’s now what I have a problem with. My issue is that, while it is necessary for this character, there was really no reason for Kate to look all greasy and frumpy. She reminded me of the sister of this girl I once dated. The only thing missing was the 8 kids and innumerable animals running around the house. OF course, she was divorced, too, so that may just be something divorcee’s go through. Who knows? I know that I just wasn’t a fan of the look. At some point during the picture, they could have dolled her up at least once!

Spider no more. Tobey Maguire handles narration and appears in the last scenes as the grown-up version of the kid we watch for most of the film. Tobey is a good enough actor, and I could see the kid growing up into him, but his narration just didn’t work for me. There is something about his voice that doesn’t work in narration format. I had the same problems with the Raimi Spider-Man films (which I will still take over these new ones we have, but that’s a topic for another day).

Want some pancakes with that sap? As a romantic drama, one goes into this expecting a certain amount of sap, but good gravy! There was enough sap in here to supply IHOP with syrup for a decade or more! A sappy love story is what you expect when you watch this, and the way Brolin and Winslet fall for each other is cliché, but sweet. I just wish it wasn’t so saccharine. I can’t pinpoint what it was that made it so, just know that you will feel sticky after watching…unless you’re a female, then you’ll just want get all cuddly and whatnot.

I’m not really sure why Labor Day wasn’t released over Labor Day weekend, other than the fact it wasn’t going to be a big hit on the last official summer weekend. Still, the marketing pretty much wrote itself, but oh well. This is a film that is made for the lonely romantics out there. Everyone else who watches is basically just watching some pictures move. Do I recommend this? Not really, I mean, as the sum of its parts, it is ok, but nothing spectacular. Watch, if you must!

3 out of 5 stars

Oldboy (2013)

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1993, alcoholic advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) ruins a meeting with a potential client, Daniel Newcombe (Lance Reddick), by hitting on his girlfriend. Afterwards, Joe gets drunk, and goes to a bar owned by his friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli ), who refuses him entry. While stuck outside, he spots a woman with a yellow umbrella, before being knocked unconscious.

He awakens in an isolated hotel room and finds he is a prisoner. His captors provide him with basic hygiene items and meager portions of processed Chinese food, along with a pint of vodka with every meal to prevent withdrawal. Through the TV, Joe hears that he has been framed for the rape and murder of his ex-wife and that his daughter, Mia, has been adopted. After being prevented from committing suicide, Joe starts writing Mia letters, gives up drinking, and spends the next 20 years planning his revenge. He becomes a skilled boxer by watching televised matches, and compiles a list of everyone who might be responsible for his imprisonment, with Newcombe being the prime suspect.

In 2013, Joe watches an adult Mia being interviewed by a TV show called “Unresolved Mysteries of Crime”, and claiming she’d be willing to forgive him if he returns. Suddenly, he is drugged and awakes in a box in a field, with money and a cell phone. He spots the woman with the yellow umbrella, whom he chases to a nearby clinic; there he meets Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen), a nurse who offers to help him. Joe refuses help but takes her card. He later visits Chucky and tells him what happened. He receives a mocking phone call from the mastermind behind his imprisonment, The Stranger (Sharlto Copley). After learning Newcombe died in a plane crash, Joe investigates the other names on his list, and learns they are all innocent. He eventually passes out from dehydration, and Chucky calls Marie, who gives Joe medical treatment.

Marie reads the letters Joe has written for Mia and offers to help him. With her, Joe is able to locate the restaurant that provided the food he was given in captivity and follows a man who arrives to take a large order to an abandoned factory, which is where he was held captive. Joe confronts the owner, Chaney (Samuel L. Jackson), and tortures him into giving him a taped conversation in which he discusses the terms of Joe’s imprisonment with The Stranger. Joe is then forced to fight off all of Chaney’s men, one of whom stabs him in the back. Joe then returns to Chucky’s bar, where he meets The Stranger himself and his bodyguard Haeng-Bok, the woman with the yellow umbrella, who has kidnapped Mia.

The Stranger claims that if Joe is able to discover his real identity and his motives for imprisoning Joe, he will not only release Mia but also give Joe proof of his innocence along with $20 million in diamonds. He also promises to shoot himself while allowing Joe to watch. After The Stranger leaves, Joe rushes to Marie’s house and saves her from Chaney and his men. Marie digitally identifies The Stranger’s ringtone as being the theme song of Joe’s college, and, through a yearbook, Joe is able to determine that The Stranger’s real name is Adrian Pryce. Back when they were classmates, Joe saw Adrian’s sister Amanda having sex with an older man and mentioned it to many students at the college. The man was later revealed to be Adrian and Amanda’s father, who was having incestuous relationships with them both. Shortly afterward, Adrian’s father murdered his wife and Amanda, attempted to murder Adrian, and then committed suicide. Adrian, the sole survivor, blamed Joe and swore revenge against him.

Joe hides Marie in a motel, where they have sex, while Adrian finds and kills Chucky. Joe later goes to Adrian’s penthouse and kills Haeng-Bok. Adrian congratulates Joe on discovering the truth. Then Adrian reveals to Joe that “Mia” is actually an actress on his payroll and that Joe’s real daughter is Marie. Horrified by what Adrian has engineered him to do, Joe begs for death, but Adrian instead gives him the diamonds and, having exacted his revenge, commits suicide. Joe writes Marie a letter, stating they can never meet again, and leaves her all but a few of the diamonds, which he gives to Chaney in exchange for returning to captivity—supposedly for the rest of his life.

REVIEW:

In 2003, a Korean film was released that went on to be revolutionary in terms of horror and thrillers. That film was Oldboy. Fast forward 10 years and we get a US remake by acclaimed thriller director Spike Lee (note the sarcasm there). I am by no means a fan of Lee’s, but I will try to keep this objective as best I can.

What is this about?

After being unaccountably held captive for years, Joe Doucett is suddenly released. Now, his only mission is to hunt down and punish his captors. Aided by a young stranger, he sets about unlocking his past in this remake of a popular Korean thriller.

What did I like?

Violence. I’m not a fan of films that go out of their way to show blood, guts and gore, unless it is done in a comedic and over the top way such as Machete, for instance. In an effort, to keep the spirit of the original, Lee left in the bloody violence, at least a part of it, even though American audiences seem to squirm at the mere sight of blood, if you go by the watered down versions of films we’ve been getting these days. Thank goodness someone realized that American audiences aren’t as sensitive as they are perceived to be.

Torture. Staying in that same general vein, there is a scene in which Josh Brolin’s character tortures Samuel L. Jackson. Yeah, its a torture scene, big deal, right? Well, this is something to take note of because Brolin has him tied down to a table and rather than chop his head off, he carves out chunks of skin, slowly but surely, and then takes a can of salt and dashes it on the wounds. Talk about painful!!! After he gets his information, he washes away with some water, but damn, that had to hurt!

Witch in training. Elizabeth Olsen is primed for a real breakout couple of years with some of the projects she has lines, most notable The Avengers: Rise of Ultron, but I was wondering what it is that qualifies her for such lofty roles. I got my answer watching her in this. From what I gather, she is quite the capable actress. able to convey a wide range of emotions to the audience and she’s not bad looking either. I find her to be a mix between Maggie Gyllenhaal, that chick on Bates Motel (her name escapes me right now), and her obviously less talented sisters. I won’t go so far as to say her performance saved this film, but she is a reason to watch.

What didn’t I like?

Pacing. I honestly don’t think this film could have started any slower. After a brief introduction to our protagonist and his downward spiral, we are shown him in this one room eating chicken and dumplings with vodka for 20 years. 20 years in the same room! I get stir crazy sitting in the same room for 20 minutes, I can only imagine what 20 years was like. That’s beside the point, though, as this could have very easily been done in montage form, pausing now and then to show the pain anguish he was facing, rather than dragging on and on as it does.

Incest is best. The recurring theme of incest is a bit much for me, partly because this is the second film in a row that has dealt with it. Now, I will say if I’d been stuck in a room for 20 yrs and then this hot young thing threw herself at me, I’d have done the same thing that Brolin’s character does to her. As far as he knew, she was just another girl. Hindsight gave me cause to pause on that, though. It is the tragic story of our antagonist’s motives that got me. His dad was having sex with his daughter at some school dance or something and got caught. I can imagine that would be something that would change a man, but damn.

Scaled back. I can’t remember if I’ve seen the original Oldboy or not. I want to say that I have, but I’m not 100% sure. At any rate, I know that this film doesn’t work on the same levels as its source material. There is a dark, menace to that film that isn’t as prevalent with this picture. I attribute that to Lee’s directing. A more accomplished director would have been able to pull it off, but instead we get a watered down version of the original, in the same vein as the 1998 version of Psycho, which was a word for word, shot by shot remake. It didn’t get the best of receptions, either.

In conclusion, Oldboy is a departure for Lee. Believe it or not, there are no racist undertones in this film at all. As a matter of fact, I believe this is most unethnic cast he has used, which is odd for him. This is not my usual genre of film, and my disdain for Lee did not make this any more enjoyable. That being said, this is not a totally unbearable film, but I do think you’d be better served watching the original.

2 out of 5 stars

 

Gangster Squad

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1949 post-WWII Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has become the most powerful figure in the California criminal underworld, and intends to continue to expand his criminal enterprise across the Western United States, forcing out his rivals in Chicago. The police have not been able to stop Cohen’s ruthless rise, as Cohen has eliminated witnesses and bribed both the courts and the police, controlling both illegal and legal sides of L.A. The film begins with Cohen brutally executing a man by splitting him in half.

After saving a young girl from Cohen’s thugs (who Cohen pretends to forgive and burns in an elevator), Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is personally selected by Chief Bill Parker (Nick Nolte) due to O’Mara’s special operations background and training at Camp X during World War II to wage guerilla warfare on Cohen, dismantling his crime empire and forcing him out of Los Angeles. With the help of his reluctant and pregnant wife, Connie (Mireille Enos), O’Mara recruits fellow officers in his squad. Initially he is joined by hard-headed detective Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), wire-tapper Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), and legendary gangster-killer Max Kennard (Robert Patrick). Kennard’s partner, Navidad Ramirez (Michael Peña), follows the squad and they reluctantly allow him to join. Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), O’Mara’s close friend, turns down the offer, as he is disillusioned from the war and his time on the police force.

Wooters has been keeping close to his old friend Jack Whalen (Sullivan Stapleton), who is his informant from within Cohen’s operations. After meeting for drinks, Wooters becomes infatuated with Cohen’s etiquette coach and girlfriend Grace Faraday (Emma Stone). Wooters and Grace begin a secret romantic relationship. After Cohen orders a hit on rival Jack Dragna (Jon Polito) that results in the death of Pete (Austin Adams), an innocent boy Wooters knew. Infuriated, Wooters mercilessly executes one of Cohen’s men and nearly murders Cohen in his rage. He saves O’Mara’s squad after an unsuccessful hit on one of Cohen’s casinos, and later joins them.

With organization and better planning the unit strikes several successful blows at the heart of Cohen’s criminal organization. The media refers to them as “The Gangster Squad”. After wire-tapping Cohen’s house, Keeler deduces the central location of Cohen’s wire gambling business, the heart of his empire. The squad successfully burns down the business, but Cohen’s men inform him that they didn’t take any of his money. Cohen believes they are a group of honest cops, and believes someone ratted him out and tapped his house. As his men sweep the house for bugs, Grace runs away, fearing Cohen knows of her relationship with Wooters.

The Gangster Squad is lured into a trap in Los Angeles’ Chinatown by Cohen’s head hitman Wrevock (Troy Garity), who was also responsible for Pete’s death. Wooters interrupts the ambush just in time to save O’Mara, but Wrevock escapes. Karl Lennox (Holt McCallany), Cohen’s right-hand man, kills Keeler in the unit’s operation. Wooters asks Whalen to get Grace out of town, but Cohen reaches him first, looking for Grace, and kills him. O’Mara’s house is later hit by a drive-by, and Connie gives birth to their son under the stress. Chief Parker tells O’Mara, as a result of their failure, that their careers with the LAPD are over. O’Mara gets Connie out of town, but refuses to leave with the job unfinished. Grace tells Wooters she is willing to testify against Cohen for Whalen’s murder, prompting O’Mara, along with the remaining members of his unit, to go to the Park Plaza Hotel to arrest Cohen.

Cohen and his men engage in a firefight with the police unit, with Wooters being wounded in the process after killing Wrevock. Cohen and Lennox escape, but O’Mara pursues them, which results in their vehicle crashing into a fountain. Kennard gets shot by Lennox, but manages to kill him with help from Navidad, before dying from his wounds. O’Mara prepares to arrest Cohen, but Cohen tempts him into fighting each other in a bare-knuckle boxing match, while a crowd of onlookers and journalists gather. O’Mara finally beats Cohen and has him arrested, ending his reign as a crime boss and the spread of the mafia into the Los Angeles area. The Gangster Squad was never mentioned in taking down Cohen, their surviving members remaining a secret. Cohen is sentenced to 25 to life at Alcatraz, and is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters continue their relationship, while Navidad and Harris become partners on the force. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life with his wife and son.

REVIEW:

Over the weekend, I rewatched one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, The Rocketeer. One of the reasons I like that film so much, is because it is set in an era that I love. As a matter of fact, many of the films that I treasure that aren’t in space or the west, seem to involve a simpler time, gangsters, tommy guns, jazz, and loose women. Is it any wonder that Gangster Squad was right up my alley, then?

What is this about?

It’s 1949 Los Angeles, and gangster Mickey Cohen has moved in, with the intention of controlling all criminal activity in the city. He has bought local judges and police, and no one is willing to cross him or testify against him. Everyone except Seargant John O’Mara, a former World War II soldier, whose goal is to settle with his family in a peaceful Los Angeles. Police Chief William Parker decides to form a special unit whose mission is to take down Cohen, and chooses O’Mara to lead the unit. O’Mara chooses 4 cops and asks another cop and vet, Jerry Wooters to join him but Wooters is not interested. But when he witnesses the murder of a young boy by Cohen’s people, he joins them, and they decide to take apart Cohen’s organization. Cohen wonders if a rival is going after him, but eventually he realizes it’s the cops.

What did I like?

Era. This is the era that I love the most. I was so glad that the filmmaker’s brought it to life, along with a jazzy soundtrack and old Hollywood feel. It was a great honor to this bygone, simpler era that they chose it to make this grand spectacle of a picture. In a way, I wish they would have gone more into detail about some of the afflictions of the time, such as prohibition, returning from the way (which they did touch on), etc., but that’s just a personal preference, and not an indictment of the finished product.

Violence. After the Colorado theater massacre last summer, the release date was pushed back, and a scene involving a shooting in a theater, which I will touch on a littler later. The violence that we see actually doesn’t get bad until the climactic shootout, which is where you would expect it. I found it very similar to the Grand Central Station scene from The Untouchables. Anything goes and anything went. Bullets and blood flew, and I was eating up every minute of it!

Cartoon. My friends over at Spill.com called this film very cartoonish when it comes to the characters and action. I can see where they are coming from. However, sometimes people just prefer over-the-top, cartoony action. Why else is there a cult following for Dick Tracy (of which I am a huge fan of). To be sure, some people will not enjoy this style as much as me, and that’s ok, but you have been warned.

What didn’t I like?

Mush. It wasn’t that long ago that we saw Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone team up in Crazy, Stupid Love. They obviously have some chemistry, which is great. However, the whole story with them seemed a bit too mushy for the tone of this film. It was like watching this adrenaline pumped, testosterone flick suddenly stop and turn into a chick flick in those scenes. I wasn’t a fan!

Minority report. At this point in history, minorities weren’t necessarily looked upon as full equals. This explains why Michael Pena and Anthony Mackie were relegated to supporting characters. This doesn’t bother me, really, however, I know that there are some that are sure to be all bent out of shape about something so small and won’t be able to get over it.

Theater. As I mentioned earlier, there was a theater scene that was cut and reshot in front Grumman’s Chinese Theater because of the Colorado shooting. I won’t earn many fans for this, but I don’t think it should have been reshot. First, let me say that the scenes itself isn’t bad. I also applaud the decision to move a violent film such as this back a few months. I don’t think that the filmmakers should have caved in and reshot it. What happens in a film is not necessarily related to what happens in real life, but because our society has become so scared of any and everything, they changed it. I’m surprised they kept it as violent as it was.

From the moment it was announced, I was as giddy as a school girl to see Gangster Squad and it did not disappoint. A flick that is just sheer retro fun is just what we need. Sure, it is a bit uneven and it does seem as if some of the cast is taking it too seriously, specifically Josh Brolin, but I won’t hold that against him. I highly recommend this as a must see! Go check it out ASAP, but remember this is an era that I love, so I may be a bit biased in my opinion.

4 1/3 out of 5 stars