Entries in Brad Pitt (3)

Monday
Jul292019

DOUBLE TROUBLE // A FILM REVIEW OF "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD"

BY MATEO MORENO

Quentin Tarantino’s film career has spanned several different genres, made old stars new stars again (Hello Travolta, Hello Forster) and made the film soundtrack very cool again. For his 9th (give or take) film, he jumps back into the backlots of Hollywood 1969, right around the Manson murders. But it’s not so much about the murders. It’s really about the way life was around the Manson era. The way Hollywood was a dancing, bright and flashy, violent scene to be in. Tarantino is one of the masters of finding scenarios that have been done over and over and exploring them differently, making them look different through his lenses. And he does exactly that in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, his glorious new ‘ode to Motion Pictures, and the troubles that surround it.

There’s a duel story being told here: one of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCarprio), a famous TV gunslinger whose career is starting to dry up, and his long-time stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick wants to reclaim the feeling of his glory days but doesn’t quite know how to do it. Cliff hasn’t been a full-time stunt double in years, so he’s also become Rick’s driver, and he loves it. Taking him from place to place. Though the two of them are close friends, they are complete opposites. Rick is an emotional roller coaster, drinking his way through his sadness, while nothing at all seems to bother Cliff: he’s cool as a cucumber. Rumors abound the film, especially around Cliff, who is rumored to have killed his wife and got away with it; a flashback scene smartly plays up the moment in question without a resolution.

The film plays with time and a distorted reality, sometimes feeling like a film within a film. Whose reality are we watching? Why is there sometimes narration, and if we see an image of the past, like a scene between Cliff and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), are we to believe it exactly, or is it simply a Point of View memory? Worlds do start to come together, as Rick now finds himself next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Cliff starts seeing Mason girls just wandering around the bus stops. However, the most fascinating part of these moments is that we don’t end up following them to the Ranch. We stay with Cliff and Rick, and only when their paths decide to cross into that world, do we explore it.

The movie bursts with small details of old Hollywood and has long sequences that play out perfectly, not necessarily moving along the plot, but adding a ton of character depth (such is the sequence with Rick and a young child co-star on a film set). Where the film goes, it takes it’s time getting to, and that’s one of the reasons to love this film. It feels just like and nothing like a Tarantino film at the same time. Every shot is there for a reason, and it’s all building to…well, I won’t spoil it in any way. But know that it’s a thrilling, nostalgic ride that only he can do. So, stick out your thumb. Hitch a ride. Take a look. You won’t know what you’re missing unless you take a look.

MATEO'S GRADE: A

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Quentin Tarantino.  STARRING Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Mike Moh, Kurt Russell, Tomothy Olyphant. Now playing in cinemas.

 

Saturday
Jun222013

THE END OF THE WORLD // A REVIEW OF "WORLD WAR Z"

BY LIZ WHITTEMORE

 

Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Max Brooks,  WORLD WAR Z comes at the height of zombie crazed America. With producer and leading man, Brad Pitt, at the helm of this film, you’ve got a great mix of action and story to please masses. Pitt plays Gerry lane, a former UN Investigator who has just retired to spend more time with his wife Karin (The Killing’s Mirielle Enos) and family. Opening with reports of a widespread virus, Gerry is called back to duty in exchange for the protection of his family on a massive Naval ship in the middle of the ocean.

 

 

Gerry embarks on a world tour with a young genius doctor that the government is convinced can find an antidote. While he hops from continent to continent, he concocts a theory that the infected only attack healthy hosts, leaving the weak to perish in their own time. Along the way we meet a young rebel soldier named Segen played brilliantly by newcomer, Daniella Kertesz. Her honesty is delightful to watch. NERD ALERT: One of the central characters who shows up towards the end of the film is none other than the newly announced 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi from Dr. Who and he plays a Doctor working for an organization called the "W.H.O."  Fate it was Doctor.  END OF NERD ASIDE.  World War Z never lets up in pace. The CG is outstanding. I love that much like the zombies in 28 Days Later, these are super fast moving. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll love this film. If you’re a fan of Brad Pitt, you’ll really love this film. I was truly impressed with him in this role. Maybe not for this flick, but will someone please give this guy an Oscar already.

 

LIZ'S GRADE: A+

Directed by Marc Forster Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof Starring Brad Pitt, Mirielle Enos, Daniella Kertesz

Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequence, violence and disturbing images

Release Date June 21 2013

BOTTOM LINE: The action starts immediately and never lets up. World War Z proves that just because there are zombies, doesn’t mean there has to be excessive gore. It’s the story that sticks with you.

Tuesday
Dec112012

A TOUCH OF CLASS // A film review of "Killing Them Softly"

 

BY MATEO MORENO

 

Killing Them Softly, the new film by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) is a sort of hybrid mix of talkie indie and bloody gangster flick.  It’s as if Richard Linklater and Martin Scorsese were one person, and I say that as a compliment.  Sure, parts of Killing run a bit too long, some of it is a bit preachy, but it’s also a compelling and harrowingly gritty piece about how things go wrong then things go wrong…

Scoot McNairy plays Frankie, a dumb young hoodlum who’s brought in by Vincent Curatola’s Johnny Amato to help him rob a card game.  It seems that the man running the game, Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), once robbed his own game and got away with it.  It’s a widely known fact at this point, so Vincent decides that they’ll rob it and get away with it, because everyone will blame Markie for doing it again.  Frankie decides to partner with his drugged up Australian buddy Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) and all seems to go off without a hitch… that is until an elite killer named Jackie (Brad Pitt) who “few people know” is hired to track them down.  And he never misses his man.

Director Dominik has shot a beautifully tragic tale of corruption, politics, and greed here, with a jarring sound design and gorgeous cinematography by Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty).  The opening credit sequence is completely unsettling, and many sequences that follow (including a brutal beating and even more brutal car wreck) are shot with an art like precision.  McNairy and Mendelsohn are both great in their respective roles, playing off each other is great ways.  Medelsohn is especially great trying to keep a conversation going while getting very, very high.  Ray Liotta brings a delicate and tragic performance to the table, giving more in a focused stare than most actors do with an entire performance.  Brad Pitt himself is a layered cool, calm, brutal, and seems like a guy you’d actual take advice from.  That is, if he wasn’t a brutal killer.  Turning in great smaller roles are James Gandolfini as a tortured gun for hire (his first scene with Pitt is nothing short of excellent) and Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) as the reliable middle man.  All of that being said Killing Them Softly isn’t perfect.  Some scenes of long conversation go on a bit too long, and the layered political message comes on sometimes a bit thick.  But it’s original, frank, and stirring.  It’s an original, even if it doesn’t quite feel “brand new.”

 

Written and Directed by Andrew Dominik Starring Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsoh, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Vincent Curatola, Richard Jenkins Rated R Content Disclaimer (Adult Situations, Adult Language, Graphic Violence) Now playing in select theatres

Mateo’s Grade: B+

Bottom Line: Fresh and bold, it's a very talky, explosive film that takes a new spin at the gangster epic.