The Cohen mixes fact and fiction in their latest movie, with real life Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix being thrown into a fiction story. But is it worthy of the movie treatment?
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is having a rough day. While he’s trying to solve the messes and avoid scandals on various film projects he also has to find out what has happened to Baird Witlock (George Clooney), who seeming disappeared while filming his latest movie. All this while avoiding the gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Tacker (both played by Tilda Swinton).
The third film in the Cohen brothers “Numbskull Trilogy” The film is a diverting and entertaining experience. But the main plot regarding the kidnapping of Baird Witlock (George Clooney) by a group called as The Future is arguably the film’s weakest link. There is much more fun to be had watching Mannix (Josh Brolin) going round his different movie projects and sorting out the actors and directors on his various projects. Each of the different films predicted are enjoyable to watch and features nice set pieces, such as the sailor musical featuring Channing Tatum in an elaborate sing and dance number, which is a joy to watch. I guess the kidnapping is meant to be the strand that ties all these plots and films together but instead it slows the actions and makes you wish you were back on the set of Hollywood already.
There is a struggle within the film regarding old Hollywood. While the Cohen’s lovingly recreate old Hollywood pictures –the biblical epic, the show stopping musical, the old fashioned western- there is also the more sinister side on show. Whether it’s the sexism of the female star who must avoid a baby scandal or Mannix himself-a man not afraid to hit a woman to “shake some sense into her”, you can spend an age arguing over the Cohen’s true feelings on one of the golden ages of Hollywood.
With such a strong and accomplished cast as this, the standout actor is Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle. Although Ehrenreich is relatively unknown by most audiences I had previously seen him in Beautiful Creature. While the film was by no means a hit, to me Ehrenreich stood out and I’m glad to see the performance was not a fluke. As the nice but dim Hobie, Ehrenreich is charming and provides much of the film’s comic relief. It now seems that Ehrenreich’s talents have been acknowledged by the Hollywood bigwigs as he’s since been cast to play a young Han Solo.
Rating 3/5 – a fun but slight experience with a memorable performance from Ehrenreich as a singing cowboy actor
The Oscar race is starting, and early buzz has Sicario as an early favourite. But does the film justify the hype?
After a gruesome discovery during a kidnapping raid in Arizona FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) agrees to volunteer as part of Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) special team to get the cartel responsible. However she finds that Graver’s team does not follow by the rules and she is constantly being kept in the dark about the situation and about Matt’s mysterious partner Alejandro (Benicio del Toro).
Director Denis Villeneuve has produced a tight and tense movie full of many thrilling moments. It has a strong opening with a disturbing house of horrors in Arizona. The film has many gruesome moments throughout the film as we see the horror of the cartel in Mexico. A taut stand-off in a traffic jams also provides some thrills as does a raid in a tunnel at the film’s climax shot in night vision cameras.
Of the cast Blunt is typically strong as protagonist Kate, a relatable figure who is the audience’s eye through the morally ambiguous world. We are figuring out the real story just as she is. However the most magnetic performance comes from del Toro as the intriguing Alejandro. If the movie is awash with nominations come award season expect plenty to go his way.
My attention was gripped throughout the movie and while I liked it I didn’t love it like others have. Maybe it’s because it was raved about so much beforehand that expectations were too high? It also felt like there needed something extra at the end, an extra twist perhaps. It could be that I’m so used to morally corrupt authorities in movies that it doesn’t seem much of a surprise that Alejandro and co are not all that they seem. It probably would have been more of a twist of they were stand up good guys!
Rating 3.5/5 – exciting, thought – provoking with a spellbinding performance from del Toro
Sin City, where men are men and women are whores. Back in 2005 Sin City was a box office hit and the sequel directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller arrived earlier this year. But can it match its predessessors success?
Based upon Frank Miller’s Sin City graphic novel series, this sequel follows four stories set in the town of Sin City. Marv (Mickey Rourke) teaches some frat boys a lesson. Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky gambler goes up against the corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin taking over the role from Clive Owen) is reunited with his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green). Meanwhile Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) plans to get revenge on Senator Roark for his part in the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis).
I liked the first Sin City but I think Rodriguez and Miller left it too long to bring this sequel to life. I think there would have been more of a market for it if they had made this a couple of years after the first film. As it is I’m not sure if anyone was eagerly awaiting this film now.
The best story focuses on Dwight and his crazy ex lover Ava. This story is mostly good because of Eva Green, who once again plays a bat shit crazy femme fatale with aplomb, throwing herself into the role (and shedding most of her clothes as well). She pumps life into this movie and is thoroughly entertaining.
The rest of the movie just falls a bit flat in comparison. While it’s good to see fan favourite Marv back again it got slightly repetitive having Marv pop up every story, as if the film is running out of ideas. I did like Johnny’s story until the end which just left me thinking is that it? Nancy’s story was also lacking even though it seemed like a good idea on paper. tellingly Nancy and Johnny’s story were both original stories written for the movie rather than from the comic.
While the film still looks stylish it’s not as visually enticing as was back in 2005. Overall it’s not a bad film, just not an essential one.
Rating 2.5/5 – Eva Green is fabulous but the film itself is a step down from the original