Saturday, February 27, 2016

Triple 9 - Review

Triple 9

If I told you I was going to see a film where the cast was so impressive that it included three former Academy Award nominees, another Academy Award Best Actress winner, another actor who was in three Academy Award nominated for Best Picture films, another actor who was in two Academy Award nominated for Best Picture films and another actor currently in one of the most popular and successful shows on cable TV ever, you probably would be wondering aloud who are these actors and secondly when is this movie coming out?

Well, to answer the first part of that question the cast included Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus (AKA “The Waking Dead”) , Teresa Palmer, Michael K. and Gal Gadot……………… Very Impressive huh? And now to answer the second part of that question, the film was released yesterday on Friday and it is called “Triple 9”.

“Triple 9” (police code for an office is shot – usually seriously) is a police thriller that takes place in current day Atlanta Ga. From the onset the director tries not to hide the basic fact his film’s core story is from the point of view of “a crew” of former military soldier’s, now big city cops who are just dirty to their very core. But their reason for being dirty is that they are blackmailed by a Russian Jewish Mafia Moll named Irina Vlaslov (Winslet), who is a former Israeli citizen now US citizen who runs a kosher meat processing company as a ruse for her illegal criminal activities.

Essentially, Irina Vlaslov is demanding “the crew” do something for her they can’t refuse, which is to execute a virtually impossible heist where she needs something at a heavily guarded US Homeland Security storage facility. The “crew” reluctantly decides that the only way to pull this daring heist off is to get all of the local Atlanta police moving away from their intended crime heist location by manufacturing a 999 police code for "officer down – killed”.

Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie (Affleck) who is designated to be killed take matters into his hands along with the help of his street smart police cop uncle (Harrelson) , setting off a breakneck action-packed, double-crossed, greed infuse and a twister of a revenge plot in the running time of 1:55.

MY REVIEW: “Triple 9” has some good moments that are titillating, compelling, edgy, dark and very gritty. And while it also has a well-executed shootout and car chase scene to keep you glued to your seat, its problem, should you be inclined to see something at the theater this weekend, it is heartless and it is murky gaudy incoherent heartless at that. Meaning? Well, you really don’t find yourself rooting for or against anyone because the director doesn’t really do a very good job of making the film concise and taunt and in the end you really don’t care what the ultimate conclusion will be when it comes, especially when you can pretty much see the ending coming a mile away.

Now if a somewhat over the top violent, blood soaked with some occasional well place  gallows humor film is your thing, than “Triple 9” will do the trick. As it does not bore you for one minute from beginning to end.  And while it has just enough moments of sanity that allows you to believe this story is a genuine possibility (almost), it will leave you feeling this was a whole lot of double cross effort for what?

I guess because I love crime films a lot and have been spoiled by the likes of some classic criminals and cops films like “Heat”, “Collateral”, “Training Day”,  “Seven”, “The Departed”, “Man on Fire” and “Reservoir Dogs” to name just a few, “Triple 9” is like having a late night craving when your girlfriend calls saying she is coming over with your favorite pepperoni with extra cheese pizza only to find out she bought the pizza at the frozen food section at the local food store. It’s still pizza but just not as appetizing and delicious as you had anticipated it would be.

2 – 3/4 Stars

Monday, February 22, 2016

Lester's 2016 Oscar Winning Predictions

 Lester’s 2016 Oscar Winners Predictions
                              SW = Should Win & WW = Will Win                                      

Best Supporting Actor (SW) - Mark Rylance – “Bridge of Spies”
Best Supporting Actor (WW) - Sylvester Stallone – “Creed”  (LOCK)
Possible Surprise (s) - Mark Rylance – “Bridge of Spies”

Best Supporting Actress (SW) - Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl”
Best Supporting Actress (WW) - “Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl”  
Possible Surprise (s) – Rooney Mara 
Best Lead Actress (SW) -  Brie Larson - “Room”
Best Lead Actress (WW) – Brie Larson - “Room”  LOCK 
Possible Surprise (s) - None
Best Lead Actor (SW) – Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Revenant”
Best Lead Actor (WW) – Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Revenant”   LOCK
Possible Surprise (s) – None  
Best Director (SW) - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – “The Revenant”
Best Director (WW) - Alejandro Inarritu – “The Revenant”  (Close)
Possible Surprise (s) - Adam McKay - Tom McCarthy - George Miller 
Best Picture (SW) - “Room”
Best Picture (WW) - “The Revenant”    (Very Close)  
Possible Surprise (s) - “The Big Short” & “Spotlight” - 3 Way Race

Technical Categories              

·       Best Adapted Screenplay –  “The Big Short”
·       Best Original Screen Play –  “Spotlight” (LOCK)
·       Best Animated Feature – “Inside Out” (100% ABSOLUTE LOCK)
·       Best Cinematography – “The Revenant”  
·       Best Costumes Design – “Cinderella” (Close “Mad Max”)
·       Best Documentary - “Amy” 
·       Best Documentary Short Subject – “Body Team 12”
·       Best Film Editing – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
·       Best Foreign Film – “Son of Saul(LOCK)
·       Best Make Up / Hairstyle – “Mad Max: Fury Road” 
·       Best Production Design – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
·       Best Original Song – “Till It happens to You” – “The Hunting Ground”
·       Best Original Score – “The Hateful Eight”
·       Best Sound Editing – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
·       Best Sound Mixing –  “Mad Max: Fury Road”
·        Best Visual Special Effects – “Mad Max” (Close “Star Wars”)
·        Best Animated Short Film  – “Sanjays Super Team”
·        Best Live Action Short Film – “Ave Maria”                                                      

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Deadpool - review


Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Ed Skrein, and Brianna Hildebrand the people at Marvel Comics bring to life one of their manty characters in this case one of the more unconventional anti-hero oddly named "Deadpool" which is in reference to a game he like to play with his best friend who owned a local bar.

Essentially, the story is about a former American Special Forces operative turned street level mercenary Wade Wilson. One day while spending time with his girlfriend “Vanessa” (Morena Baccarin) “Wade” passes out only to discover he has a terminal illness. Seeking out all options he chooses an unusual rogue remedy experiment that not only cured him it also has given him accelerated healing powers, but at the terrible price of his handsome looks leaving him permanently disfigured esthetically. Angered by his “fried skinned” looks, Wilson aka “Deadpool” who is now armed with new super abilities takes out on a dark and twisted sense of humor pursuit by hunting down the man who destroyed his personal life with any chance of him ever getting back with the love of his life Vanessa.

Review: “Deadpool” is not a simple black and white tale of revenge, instead it a compilation of many things starting with being very funny with a foundation mix  at times with smart and clever retorts  that also sometimes overly burden the pace of the film with those same retorts by being a bit obnoxious and needlessly juvenile.  The thing that keeps it moving at a reasonably entertaining pace is the charm and charisma of Ryan Reynolds imagining of “Deadpool” who makes his character authentically real and funny as his seemly delivers some of the most imaginative combination of profanity obscenity slurs you will ever here or have heard before. You can genuinely sense him smirking his very smart-aleck persona through his red mask.

With an abundance of recycled special effects fight scenes that seemed to be a mix of “The Matrix” and any of the “X Men” films, “Deadpool” is still some good old fashion basic Saturday going to the movie entertainment as it takes us through the 1:45 minute running time of some very cheeky, wisecracking, perversely violence and sometimes very sweet subplots. It also takes us through some of the most politically incorrect scenes I have seen and heard in a while. And while the film’s structure seemed uneven at times from a story development perspective it is never boring.

Minor spoiler: There are two cameos in this film, one I won’t reveal and one I will. The one I will reveal is that of legendary Broadway veteran Leslie Uggams who played a funny blind African American who was “Wade aka “Deadpool’s roommate when he comes back from his rogue surgery. It’s obvious she was blind given people’s reaction to his appearance whenever he is seen in public without his mask.

Conclusion: Simply put, for its very imaginative and original out of the box thinking, I found Ryan Reynolds and his Deadpool much lively fun to see, lively funny to hear and lively enjoyable to experience.

3 – 1/2 Stars