Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a private investigator who is also a bit of a stand over man. After beating Holland March (Ryan Gosling) to stop him investigating a missing girl, it turns out Healy needs his help to find that very girl. Along with March’s awesome teenage daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), they find themselves trapsing their way through Hollywood parties and all kinds of conspiracy to figure it out.
This should have been so much better. It’s a decent script with great twists, it’s a top cast, it just doesn’t quite get there. Perhaps it is because it was written and directed by Shane Black – looking over his writing credits, he’s a brilliant man – many of my favourite films including Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Long Kiss Goodnight – but perhaps he shouldn’t direct as well? I don’t know what it is that makes this fall short, but it does.
The LA Police Department is crooked – beating confessions from the criminals, setting them up, being on the take – and they’ve been getting away with it for a long time. Then along comes clean-cut, glasses wearing Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), a man who is going to do things by the book. Then there is Bud White (Russell Crowe), a thug of a cop who does what he is told, but has a depth that he only exposes to his girlfriend, high-class prostitute Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger). Several conspiracies start to come to light, exposed by or involving celebrity cop Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), tabloid reporter Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) and the big police boss Dudley Smith (James Cromwell).
Watching this twenty years ago, I didn’t get why it was so loved and so respected. It’s got a lot going on, but I just couldn’t engage. I felt that way about it this time until about half an hour from the end – and then everything seemed to click. Now, a day later, parts are still popping into my mind. I can’t say that I loved the film, but I get it. And there is a lot to like and respect about it – very clever and interesting. Definitely worth it.
L.A. Confidential won Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Basinger) and Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Curtis Hanson), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Music – Original Dramatic Score.
I remember when this film came out, everyone was going on about how terrible Russell Crowes’ accent was, and I just want to say that it didn’t bother me. There were accents all over the shop, I had no idea who was supposed to be from where, and didn’t really care.
The film tells the story from when Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) and his mates are fighting under King Richard the Lionheart in France, only when the king dies, they nick off home, pretending to be some nobles whose they find dying along the way. After delivering the news to the new king, Robin goes to tell the noble’s father that his son is dead. The father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) convinced Robin to stay and assume his son’s identity to ensure that the land is not taken away from the widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett). And the story continues up to the point where Robin and his mates become outlaws.
In general, I didn’t mind this movie. It’s wasn’t amazing, and personally if I was to watch a film about a rebel in the olden days in Britain, I’d sooner watch Rob Roy or even Braveheart. What really bugged me was that Cate Blanchett had a very average role to play, and there was absolutely no chemistry between her Marion and Crowe’s Robin. It felt like it was close to being a good story but never quite made it.
Based on the life of mathematician John Nash, A Beautiful Mind follows the young mathematician through college and into a career working in cryptography. However, he has schizophrenia, and struggles to separate life from his delusions.
I think this is a wonderful film. I’m not a fan of Russell Crowe, but he was perfect for this role. Tormented, with a sneaky peak of a sense of humour behind the socially challenged personality. Years ago I heard this discussed on a medical show that was looking at the best and worst representations of mental illness and this was in the best category, and I reckon that’s about right.
A Beautiful mind won for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Connelly), Best Director (Ron Howard) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Russell Crowe), Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Best Music, Original Score.
There are terrorist attacks happening across Britain and Europe. Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CIA agent working across the Middle East, in regular communication with a guy back in the US, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). And aside from this, I have no idea what was happening during this film. There were plans being laid and I don’t really know what was happening.
Which is a problem. I had no idea what was going on, I had no connection to the characters, I didn’t care who the good or bad guys were. It was tedious and frustrating. I’d love to hear from anyone who enjoyed this film to know why, because I just don’t get it.
Clarke Kent(Henry Kavill) has been raised by the people he believes are his parents on a small farm in Kansas. However he is actually from the planet Krypton… ok, hang on. If you don’t know about Superman, who are you and where have you been forever? Certainly, there has not been as much about Superman lately, but there was a radio series in the 40s, a television series in the 50s, an animated series in the 60s, a series of feature films in the 70s and 80s, another television series in the 90s, (The New Adventures of Superman), yet another television series in the 00s (Smallville) and a recent reboot, Superman Returns (2006), which was not a huge success at the box office. Oh, and the comic book which has been published since 1938. So, if you don’t know about Superman, get on board.
I totally and utterly loved Man of Steel. It’s long (143 minutes) but couldn’t have been a moment sooner. One issue is that there is such huge and important back-story that is needed for audiences who have not grown up with all of the versions above. It’s not like The Incredible Hulk where the whole back-story was covered excellently in images during the opening credits; there is far too much information for that. The solution? Flashbacks. Flashbacks for me often mean corniness and slack storytelling. Certainly, there were a few parts which were a bit sentimental, but that’s all part of the story being told.
Luckily, the action started early in the film. There is some cool stuff up on Krypton, but even once they arrive on Earth, it skips straight to the action. And what action! I just love it. Explosions, fistfights (but between super strong people), planes, helicopters, spaceships, the whole lot. Lots of ground being smashed up and buildings falling down; the whole kit and caboodle. Awesome.
Man of Steel opens in Australia on Thursday June 27. See it at the cinema, and see it in 3D. I reckon.
Long, slow, boring and then suddenly totally compelling. I’m not sure why the first three-quarters of the film had to bore me to death, but somehow the last fifteen or twenty minutes totally made up for it.
Russell Crow plays John Brennan, a man who has a beautiful wife, a lovely child and an idyllic life. Suddenly, out of the blue, his wife is arrested for murder. She is convicted, and they run out of appeals. Then (and this is probably heading toward a spoiler alert) he decides that the only way he can life his life is to break her out of prison.
I grew to really hate the character of John Brennan, and wanted him to fail in everything he tried; yet in the final moments of the film, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted him or the police to succeed. I do not think this is a great film, yet it totally sucked me in. Perhaps it is better than it appears.