Tag Archives: Brad Pitt

World War Z adapts to the zombie genre

31 Jul

WORLD-WAR-Z

World War Z wastes no time. The exposition is about five minutes, and then all hell breaks loose as Gerry (Brad Pitt) and his family find themselves in middle of mass hysteria and death as the infected run wild through the city. Gerry is a former UN investigator that is forced into tracking the origin of the virus with a small team. Most good zombie films have been attached to some social/cultural/political metaphors to describe the contemporary condition. There are hints of all of these ingredients in the film, but rabid consumption and depression from lack of stimulus resonated the most with me. I am not a zombie fan and I have not read Max Brooks’ novel, but I will pick up the book and I look forward to the seeing a sequel. It is a serious story that equals 28 Days Later, but like its predecessor finding a suitable ending that will satisfy everyone is its biggest shortcoming.

WORD COUNT: 158

Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: C+

Killing Them Softly turns up the volume

4 Dec

KILLING-THEM-SOFTLY

I want to start by simply saying that I liked this film, but I know many people are going to hate this movie for a variety of reasons. Brad Pitt is a hitman hired to kill who is responsible for someone robbing a mob sanctioned card game. Killing Them Softly is not your ordinary gangster film. Director Andrew Dominik takes the genre and turns it on its head with a series of aesthetic choices that I thought were bold and original. Especially, the stylistic depictions of violence and drug use.

Dominic elects to include tracks from the Bush vs. Obama election throughout the movie to emphasize and identify America’s weakened condition. I did not mind the messages being communicated but their insertions were Brechtian in nature, which made it difficult to stay connected. I assume the director was trying to alienate his audiences on purpose, but I think the film would have been stronger with the volume turned down.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Babel is a testament to good story telling.

28 Nov

Babel is an emotionally draining film that connects four stories, continents, and cultures. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu creates a interesting film by using non-linear editing to introduce the main characters. A married couple (Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt), an Mexican housekeeper, a couple of children herding sheep, and a deaf school girl and her father from Japan.  These characters and the obstacles they face are connected by a gun.  The premise of this story is rich and contains many layers of intrigue. The strength of the film is the director’s ability to bring this complex multicultural story together in a way that builds tension. Babel is a powerful film that explores the interpersonal connection people have with one another, whether they realize it or not.  Pitt gives a wonderful performance, but I felt Blanchett was a little too strong early on in the film. Babel is a testament to good story telling.

WORD COUNT:152

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B-

The Mexican is more like Mexican’t

27 Nov

This Mexican is simply one of the worst movies I (Chuck) have ever seen in a theater. It makes my bottom ten list despite the fact Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, and Gene Hackman star in this feature that pretended to be a romantic comedy.  The relationship in this film is the farthest thing from romantic.  Roberts and Pitt have minimal screen time together, which makes it difficult for audiences to invest in their relationship.  The disconnect between the two characters is found throughout the film. Director Gore Verbinski should have recognized these obvious flaws in J. H. Wyman’s script and negotiated some re-writes that but it seems like everyone was interested in collecting an easy paycheck for a movie guaranteed to make money with its star power.  As for the film being billed a comedy, there is only one joke (El Camino line) that is remotely funny.  A better title would have been The Mexican’t
.

WORD COUNT: 157

Chuck’s Grade: F

Adam’s Grade: D

Se7en is so good it could be a sin

18 Oct

David Fincher’s Se7en is one of the most visceral and visually captivating films I’ve ever seen. Darius Khondji (Director of Photography) and Fincher collaborate to create an urban environment that is almost unlivable. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is a detective preparing for retirement and his replacement, Det. David Mills (Brad Pitt) is a hot-head transfer that doesn’t understand Somerset’s city. The detectives become involved in a sadistic serial killer case known as John Doe, whose murders methods correspond to the seven deadly sins.

Andrew Kevin Walker’s brilliant script uses some standard crime-thriller fare, but overall writes a unique screenplay that focuses on the aftermath of the murders. His genius is keeping the killer a mystery, until the final thirty minutes, not to mention devising one of the greatest endings of all time. Fincher and Walker have created a dark and unforgettable masterpiece that seduce people into repeated viewings. Se7en is so good it could be a deadly sin.

WORD COUNT: 158

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Fight Club is a beautiful and unique snowflake

5 Oct

Fight Club is a very faithful adaptation to Chuck Palahnuik’s popular book. The plot follows an unnamed protagonist played by Edward Norton, he is “everyman” who find himself living a life with no meaning. He attends support groups for ailments he does not have and becomes embroiled in a relationship with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter). He befriends a man Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who helps him find his true self through fight club.

David Fincher creates a stylistic world filled with rich characters and plot that twists, turns and leaves you guessing until the very end. As Tyler Durden says, “We are a generation raised by women, sometimes I wonder if another woman is the answer we really need.” Fight Club depicts a real angst many men feel in today’s desensitize society filled with consumerism, loneliness, and nihilism. Everything in the film is top-notch: acting, directing, cinematography, set-design, and story. This is my (Adam) favorite movie of all time.

Word Count: 160

Adam’s Grade: A+

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Tree of Life grows on you

30 Aug

This is the first time I have sat in a theater and watched people leave during the first half hour of the film. Audiences were either blown away or bored to death. For me, the film is a masterful achievement. Terence Malick reminds me of Kubrick when he creates so much intrigue through silence. The vague plot is about Mr. and Mrs O’Brien (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) raising three sons during the mid 1950’s. The parents are not the driving force as you would expect, but instead the three boys. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, articulate visuals, poetry, and a grandiose motif.

Tree of Life can be frustrating for many viewers because of its odd construction. It may even be considered pretentious when Malick inserts an Earth’s creation sequence. The film is long and the pace is snail-like. I would not recommend this film for the weak, but it was a visual wonder for me.

WORD COUNT: 159

Adam’s Grade A-
Chuck’s Grade: B+

TONY SCOTT’S TRUE ROMANCE (director’s cut)

22 Aug

As an undergraduate Theatre major in the 1990s, director Tony Scott’s film True Romance (director’s cut) was one of those films that wanted me to become part of the film business in some way. My classmates and I would quote lines from this film and talk about the scenes between Hopper and Walken or Oldman and Slater. There were so many little things in this film that made us root for Clarence and Alabama.  From the moment Clarence asks a barfly stranger to go see three Sonny Chiba films–I was hooked!  What was this film that had all the things in it that I loved. Today, I am still loving Tarantino’s script and it would be hard to argue that this film boasts one of the greatest casts ever assembled. The director’s cut has always been one of my favorite films of all time and Scott’s cut demonstrates his gift for telling a great story.

WORD COUNT: 155

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Adam’s Grade: B+

Jesse James: Fascination turns to Obsession

15 Aug

Writer/Director Andrew Dominik’s “Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” is a western unlike anything you’ve seen before. Dominik creates a stalker/celebrity movie into a period piece. It’s a story of the last few months of Jesse James (Brad Pitt) and his outlaw gang. Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) is a nineteen year old who wants in on the gang because he is fixated by James. The film is a slow paced character study, but it works because it gives audiences time to watch the tension grow between Robert and Jesse, as well as reveal a more personal side of the James gang. Something often absent in Westerns.

The title reveals the film’s “true story” outcome, but the climatic scene holds your attention as Robert Ford makes a name for himself. I believe everyone should experience this film because of its masterful cinematography, acting, writing and directing. Its one of my favorite Westerns.

WORD COUNT: 154

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: B+