The Gunn Range: Movie Blog

Home » 2016 » November

Monthly Archives: November 2016

Bradley Cooper To Star In WWII Film ‘Atlantic Wall’

Image result for bradley cooper american sniper

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard Bradley Cooper’s name beyond his contributions to the voice of Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. Cooper is one of the notable stars with the talent and name recognition to back everything up which was confirmed even in his small role in this year’s film War Dogs. 

Cooper’s next project involves war yet again, but this time he will be a paratrooper that has to survive across enemy lines. I just want to know whether or not the film is fiction or non-fiction, especially since there are thousands of untold stories during war times.

The idea of a reluctant hero tasked to deliver a message days before the infamous D-Day is something we’ve never seen on screen yet and it will get a solid director to bring the story to life with The Accountant director Gavin O’Conner.

Cooper is set to star in the third remake of A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga and will reprise his role as Rocket for Marvel in Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Source: Variety

Tom Holland Joins Daisy Ridley In Sci-Fi Film ‘Chaos Walking’

Image result for tom holland daisy ridley

There’s nothing better than hearing about young and impeccable talents getting the chances they have earned. Tom Holland, our new Spider-Man, will be joining the YA adaptation of the book series of the same name. Holland will be joining a cast that will also star (my wife) Daisy Ridley with the direction of Edge of Tomorrow’s Doug Liman.

The premise is as follows, a germ has killed all the women – so we think – on Earth, but to make it all the worse, every living organism can hear each other’s thoughts.

Holland’s character will be given the company of his loyal dog where they will find the fortunate sight of Daisy Ridley’s character. To make this project all the more awesome is the fact that Oscar-winning writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman, has worked on the script alongside Jamie Linden (Money Monster).

We will see Ridley in the next episode of the Star Wars sagas while Holland will be seen next in the period drama The Current War alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

The Accountant Proves To Be A Champion For Autism Without Being Gimmicky – Movie Review

Image result for the accountant

Ben Affleck finally gets a crack at being Will Hunting if he fused with Jason Bourne if not just to spite his best friend Matt Damon. Like those two films previously mentioned, Affleck gives a really strong performance as Christian Wolff as a mathematically gifted savant who’s strengths lie in numbers and not social ques. The film is directed by Warrior helmer Gavin O’Conner which normally makes for a promising sell for the film, but sadly, the overlong plot keeps going to an undisclosed destination like we were being kidnapped for ransom. Maybe that’s too harsh, but it feels like I’m driving in a car for two hours without having actually gone anywhere.

Affleck, like when he brought life to the most recent Batman, proves to us with every performance that he an actor that has worked on his craft. His ability to bring to the tensely constricted emotion, or lack thereof, to his character is what kept me going. Beyond Affleck’s performance, and maybe Anna Kendrick early on, I can’t say I cared about much else. The film is like looking at a lit candle and hoping the wax melts sooner than later. With the ridiculous, lazy usage of backstory narrative, the film becomes less compelling with each character’s history. Not to say that there aren’t some character’s who had solid scenes with what they were given, but it’s not enough to keep the story flowing cohesively for an audience to handle for over two hours.

What I can say is this, the director along with Affleck handled the idea of an autistic antihero with care and respect. Nowhere in this film did I find parody, satirization, or disrespect anywhere for any character. That lead me to believe that the idea of a protagonist with a “disability” is without a doubt a possibility for future films if done respectfully and cleverly. The hardships you see Wolff’s character face are what make the movie compelling, but also pose as the reasons why the film should have been more compelling to us the viewers. The predictability of where the story goes in the third act takes me out of the film completely and leaves no real closure or satisfaction.

In the end, The Accountant is a solid rainy day movie, but for what the film presented as a plot, the movie’s execution should have been much stronger. The action was minimal, character arcs were too often and lazy, while never taking us to the heights you would hope. J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, Jon Berthal, and Affleck are ideal candidates for a film like this, but the dry nature of the movie desaturated the talents involved thanks to the lackluster script. Is this a “bad” movie? It’s actually not, but it’s definitely far from what many fans would have wanted from what the trailers and talents involved presented. If anything, it should excite you more for Affleck’s solo Batman movies more than ever since we see Batman (Affleck) and Commissioner Gordon (Simmons) interact with each other!

SCORE: C 

Movies By The Decade: The Best Movies of the 1960’s

Image result for the sound of music

With each decade leading up from the past one I have realized I am leaving too many great films off the list. Even if just make them honorable mentions or recognize other great films from that year in this decade, expect to see more great films mentioned on the lists for the coming future. That is, if I don’t start breaking down from all the writing, and research I will have to do extra because I love you guys.

The 1960’s, like each decade showed a massive progression of the types of films we could create through all genres and styles. The 60’s was a time of cultural transition in vibrant and colorful ways beyond imagining in prior years. Protests, civil rights movements, fashion, and music were all reflective to what was going on in America during this time. The fact that foreign film reigned supreme for a span of time is also something to consider. Movies were at their lowest point with only 121 American films in 1963 while there was a whopping 363 foreign films released in the US that same year.



1960

Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock:

Every year and decade has their staple film(s) and iconic works of art that have embedded themselves like tattoos into pop culture. Alfred Hitchcock only cemented his legacy by being one of the most recognizable pop culture directors in history due to films like Psycho. We know the iconic shower scene and the music that encompasses it, but beyond the recognizable single scene is layered look into mystery-horror that doesn’t need monsters to scare you. It has one of the best twists in movie history that holds up to this day while serving as a reminder to love your kids and respect your mother…

Honorable Mentions:

  • Sparticus directed by Stanley Kubrick
  • The Apartment directed by Billy Wilder
  • The Magnificent Seven directed by John Sturges

1961

West Side Story directed by Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise

One of the greatest musicals of all time to be put onto the silver screen, the Romeo and Juliet inspired musical comes strong all throughout with performances that you will never forget with the music to match. It’s choreography went to new heights which musicals on film hadn’t fully done consistently prior to it and told a story on forbidden love through the eyes of two groups living in New York during the 60’s. It’s a story that can always find relevancy no matter what era you’ve grown up in and you can expect to want to snap your fingers more often than not.

  • The Hustler directed by Robert Rossem
  • The Guns of Navarone directed by J. Lee Thompson
  • One Hundred and One Dalmations directed by Clyde Geronimi , Hamilton S. Luske , Wolfgang Reitherman , Hamilton Luske
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s directed by Blake Edwards
  • Yojimbo directed by Akira Kurosawa

1962

Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean

One of my favorite classic films of all time, there’s something about the epic nature of Lawrence of Arabia, and the stoic nature of the blue-eyed  lead that was Peter O’Toole. The romanticism of the story and direction it goes with it’s characters sets a bar for many epics before and after the film’s conception. You feel every bead of sweat and ray of desert sun that the characters feel while battling culture barriers, harsh elements, and war, only to realize that the film itself is about understanding.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird directed by Robert Mulligan
  • The Manchurian Candidate directed by John Frankenheimer
  • Cape Fear directed by J. Lee Thompson
  • Lolita directed by Stanley Kubrick
  • Dr. No directed by Terrence Young
  • The Music Man directed by Morton DeCosta

1963

The Birds directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Though the production of this film has been marred with controversy with each passing year, the film itself is a classic in it’s own right. The legacy of Hitchcock would soon be tainted due to his off-screen accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment towards his leading woman Tippi Hedrin, but beyond the negative press on what may have happened, The Birds is a tremendous horror film that has that Hitchcockian fright and terror he is known for created. As I alluded to before, 1963 was not a strong year for movies in America by any stretch, but that allowed this film in particular to stand out among the crowd.

  • Jason and the Argonauts directed by Don Chaffey
  • The Haunting directed by Robert Wise
  • The Great Escape directed by John Sturges

1964

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb directed by Stanley Kubrick

A terrifying, satirical look at the “what if’s” on how it would turn out if the wrong person had access to a button that could destroy nations. It’s a classic Kubrick film that goes for more than just comedy, but in fact a more digestible look at what if someone went absolutely insane while having the power to wipe out a whole group of people. It’s terrifying to think about because it’s not far from what has or could happen across the globe. This black and white classic may have more quotes in it than you thought there’d be and it’s capped off with a terrific war room scene among others.

  • A Fistful of Dollars directed by Sergio Leone
  • Mary Poppins directed by Robert Stevenson
  • My Fair Lady directed by George Cukar
  • Goldfinger directed by Guy Hamilton

1965

The Sound of Music directed by Robert Wise

1965 didn’t have much to offer in exceptionally great films, but it did have one that stood above the rest on a pedestal that would only increase it’s legacy from then on out. Julie Andrews’ iconic role as Maria, a nun and caretaker of seven children of a wealthy, Austrian widower as she sings the title song with gusto and memorable flair. It’s one of the most popular musicals of all time and grossed a whopping $286 million back in ’65 which helped cement Robert Wise as one of the most underrated directors in history.

  • Doctor Zhivago directed by David Lean
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas directed by Bill Melendez

1966

Django directed by Sergio Corbucci

This may be a more boring year than 1965 and that’s saying something, but one that I found recently to be a real treat after realizing this was an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. To make Django Unchained even cooler, it was fun to see star of the original make a brief appearance in the film during the introduction to DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie.

  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf directed by Mike Nichols
  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas directed by Chuck Jones

1967

The Graduate directed by Mike Nichols

Dustin Hoffman jumped onto the scene with this comedy with heart as Benjamin Braddock, a track start and academic dynamo who begins an affair with an older woman. The story is brought together thanks to it’s Hollywood New-Wave style and story which got a boost thanks to this film. It’s told with Simon and Garfunkle as the music in the background only to end with one of the best ambiguous endings in film history, but that’s not a bad thing. The heart of the film reaches everyone of all ages more deeply than most people tend to realize and the film stands the test of time as a pure Hollywood classic.

  • The Battle of Algiers directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
  • The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly directed by Sergio Leone
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner directed by Stanley Kramer
  • To Sir, With Love directed by James Clavell
  • The Dirty Dozen directed Robert Aldrich
  • Cool Hand Luke directed by Stuart Rosenberg
  • The Jungle Book directed by Wolfgang Reitherman

1968

2001: A Space Odyssey  directed by Stanley Kubrick

In one of Kubrick’s many masterpieces, this one takes the cake for most inventive and thought provoking. This sci-fi epic took the ideas all people have in the universe and meshed it together to create something so deeply profound you often have to mentally prepare to take it on. It’s a visual splendor with a tension and isolation that makes it’s villain all the more terrifying.

  • Bullitt directed by Peter Yates
  • The Planet of the Apes directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Rosemary’s Baby directed by Roman Polanski
  • Night of the Living Night directed by George A. Romero
  • Oliver! directed by Carol Reed
  • Romeo and Juliet directed by Franko Zeffirelli
  • Funny Girl directed by William Wyler
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang directed by Ken Hughes

1969

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid directed by George Roy Hill

One thing I loved about the new wave of film in the 60’s was the addition of famous songs to serve as the theme of the film. Sure, this may have started the decline of original scores for a little bit, but could you imagine a Quentin Tarantino movie if there wasn’t mainstream music? Robert Redford and Paul Newman are one of cinemas greatest pairings on screen and their natural chemistry carries the film while delivering perfectly timed humor as well as slight drama. It’s a fun film to be seen and maintains that same level of fun and precision a great film often has.

  • True Grit directed by
  • The Wild Bunch directed by John Sturges
  • Easy Rider directed by Dennis Hopper
  • Midnight Cowboy directed by John Schlesinger

Moana Delivers As An Inspiring Heroine Through The Eyes of a Beautiful Culture – Movie Review

Image result for MOANA

[UPDATED]

If there is one studio who isn’t afraid to embrace a culture in their films, it would have to be Disney. Following a rebellious soon-to-be leader of her people, we are taken into the world of title character Moana, but whatever you do, don’t call her a princess. No, she is far more than that, and you can count on her ability to inspire you, your children, and a culture that hasn’t been given the treatment on film it deserves. Her journey leads her to try and find the demigod Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a shape shifting immortal who could be the key to fixing all that darkness swallowing up her beautiful island home.

The directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, are no strangers to working on Disney films with iconic female protagonists. Their work includes, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog, as well as Aladdin and Hercules, all staples of the brand that is Disney. The recruitment of Hamilton star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is not too bad for a film either. You can most certainly feel his presence in the film with songs that could easily translate to the stage in epic fashion. It was when I got home I had to make sure I wasn’t crazy, so I checked to see if the lead actors were actually singing their songs, and it wasn’t just me imagining things in a theater full of parents with their kids, it was all real. As I saw the soundtrack on iTunes,  I read down the artist list in amazement as I read the names of Dwayne Johnson and Moana voice actress Auli’i Cravalho as the ones who performed their character’s songs.

Why is it that last sentence is so important? Well, it’s because the songs were sung wonderfully! Auli’i Cravalho is only 16 years old, but her delivery as Moana in song and dialogue were that of a veteran or someone well beyond her years. What she did to the humanity of Moana, as well as her songs, was what gave this movie such heart and emotional pull. Her charisma seeps through her character like water in the desert sands, but the difference is that there is nothing dry about this movie that I could find. Sure, there’s one song that feels out of place to the grand scheme of things, but the scene it goes with is stylistic in ways that give respect to the Polynesian culture as well as the stylings of films such as The Road to El Dorado or Atlantis. But if you must know, yes, The Rock is terrific as Maui. As well conceived as the character is, Moana herself is the star of the film, and rightfully so. Heck, the film is named after her, and it’s her story that we watch.

The Disney brand is safe and thriving yet again with Moana. With a period in time where women and cultures are working on being recognized by the public all the more each day, Moana gives them a chance to put a stamp on their value. From one of the first songs to even the tattoos looking like they were risen (like a real tattoo), there is attention to detail alongside the emotional depth of the songs, story, and characters. I can admit there were even times I felt my eyes swell simply because of the visual storytelling or the notes hit by Auli’i Cravalho later on in the film which has only happened one other time this year and that was with Kubo and the Two Strings. Once the Oscar race actually starts, I’m not sure which one I would pick between both these animated films, but one thing’s for certain, they are terrific films that have earned your money.

SCORE: A+

Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Look Oscar Worthy In New ‘Fences’ Trailer #2 – Trailer Review

The second official trailer for Denzel Washington’s adaptation of the award-winning stage play of same. Fences tells the story of a father who’s love for his family comes with grey morality and melodramatic narration. Washington has performed in the play on stage many times and felt inclined to adapt the play for film and it looks terrific.

It seems almost too fitting for this to come out late in the year because the Oscars this could win just from the trailer alone are a booger shy of amazing. Washington doesn’t bring bad performances to movies, nor does Davis, and now we get a glimpse to see where the story wants to take us.

This trailer showed us more of the dynamic the mother, father, and son have with one another as well as the neighbors they share. The raw emotional depth oozing through this trailer makes for an exciting wait for

John Wick Director Chad Stahelski Set To Reboot ‘Highlander’ For Lionsgate

Image result for highlander

John Wick directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski are the hot button directors as of late and rightfully so. The directors collaborated on their feature film and smashed it out of the park which has garnered attention from studios such as Fox and Lionsgate. Leitch is set to direct Deadpool 2 for Fox while Stahelski will take on the task of rebooting the cult film Highlander. 

Other names in the running for the film (since 2009) included Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond, Fast 5), but the production company changing hands since then warranted a different director since Lin was busy with other large blockbuster films.

Highlander (1986) told the story about an immortal Scottish swordsman and starred Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown and Roxanne Hart. I can’t say this is movie I enjoy a ton, but a remake could bring into the minimal fanbase if the movie is good. Stahelski is no stranger to action as he and Leitch were stunt coordinators for countless films such as The Crow where Stahelski himself was the stand-in for Brandon Lee after his death.

If there’s one thing we can expect from the film, it’s that it will have really quality action. It will be interesting to see how Leitch works without his partner and what he can get from actors beyond the physical action pieces.

Source: Variety

%d bloggers like this: