Utah (Luke Bracey) is an extreme sportsman whose friend dies and so, naturally, he becomes and FBI Agent. But, just as he is graduating, there is a mysterious case that requires an extreme sportsman and he fits the bill – what a coincidence! And so, with his boss, Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo) and his FBI kind-of partner, Pappas (Ray Winstone) he goes out to get Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and bring him and his group to justice.
It’s a terrible film, really. The plot is rubbish, with a bunch of men giving each other intense looks and earnest high fives, and a girl who is hanging around apparently only to sleep with Utah at some point. I’m not sure why they had to remake the original which I recall being very good anyhow… But, go see it. Because it is so stunning; the waves, the snow, the mountains, all of it is just stunning and beautiful and no doubt there is a tonne of CGI, but I don’t care. It was magnificent to watch, and I could handle all of the crappy acting and plot just to watch the scenery.
Dr Larch(Michael Caine) runs an orphanage with a side business of providing the occasional abortion. Homer (Tobey Maguire) is one of the orphans who, after several attempts at being adopted out, becomes a permanent fixture of the orphanage and a favourite of Dr Larch, learning some doctoring skills. Then Candy (Charlize Theron) and her boyfriend Wally (Paul Rudd) visit for a procedure and Homer sees his chance to see the world. Well, a bit more of Maine, at least. Wally goes to war, Candy and Homer hang out a LOT, the other workers at Wally’s parents’ orchard have issues and it’s all a big story.
And yet… despite all the things happening, all of the big and major and life-changing and extremely dramatic things, I felt very little throughout. I just didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters, I shared none of the emotion of any of them. It did have that epic feel of a typical Oscar Best Film, and there is no surprise that it was nominated. Thank goodness American Beauty won that year.
The Cider House Rules won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Caine) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or published and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Lasse Hallstrom) Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
Chili Palmer is a loan shark who is not the lowest on the ladder, but has no ambitions to be up top. After a series of events send him to Hollywood, his interest in the movies leads him to Harry Zimm, a producer of horror films who has had some success, but now is financially having some problems. But Chili’s past is not prepared to let go, and he will need to be alert to prevent his own demise.
It’s a fun read, but you need to be alert to keep all the strands in play; to remember who is doing what and why, and to try to predict what will happen next. Most of the characters are pretty flawed, yet it is only the really bad guys that you don’t like. I’ve not read a lot of Elmore Leonard, but after this I will be seeking more out.
Get Shorty (1995) Film Review
This is one of those films that is pretty much the same as the book, almost scene for scene – and it really works. It captures the story beautifully, and with a slick style that suits Chilli Palmer (John Travolta) to a t. With a cast including Rene Russo, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo and James Gandolfini and a script that takes the mickey out of Hollywood all the way, how can you go wrong?
Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is a drug dealer in Brooklyn, working in the projects. He suffers from chronic stomach pain, possibly an ulcer, possibly just stress from his situation. When his boss, Rodney (Delroy Lindo) tells him he needs to step up to stop a rival dealer taking his territory by killing him, Strike confides in his straight-laced brother. The dealer is killed, but it is not clear who the murderer is.
The film tells a great story, but since the gritty realism of The Wire, it does feel quite dated and almost a bit sanitized. But it is this and other films by Spike Lee that have allowed things like The Wire to be created.