Trailer Talk with Shah: THE DETAILS – 2012

I like Tobey Maguire. And I like that he’s stuck around after the horrible-ness that was SPIDERMAN 3. This time around, he does one of those black dram-ody films with THE DETAILS.

‘The Trailer doesn’t give us much, other than a guy with issues who apparently is a respected doctor among his peers, however, also cheats on his wife. Multiple times.

One of those times happens with be with Ray Liotta’s wife, who then blackmails him for it. On top of it all, it seems like Maguire’s character is also dealing with a raccoon infestation.

The Trailer for THE DETAILS then kind of spirals into this edited mish mash of repeating scenes and loud dialogue, maybe meant as Maguire’s frustration with trying to deal with everything? Not really sure.

It’s kind of disorientating, and doesn’t really give us much insight into the story. Elizabeth Banks plays Tobey Maguire’s wife in THE DETAILS, but she’s barely seen in the Trailer.

The scenes meant to be funny, come off as jarring and shrill. As much as I want to like this movie, the Trailer makes it very difficult to do so.

THE DETAILS might be a rental for me, long after it releases in Theatre’s on November 2nd, 2012

Are you going to catch THE DETAILS as see what former Spiderman is up to? Let me know in the comments below.


Ramblin’ Reviews by Shah: BLUE VALENTINE – 2010

So there are the typical love stories about flowers and gummy bears with warm feelings and charming witty-ness and yaayy! And then there are the stories that are reality; examples of temporary euphoria, emotional apprehension, flawed personalities, previous baggage and the harshness that is life. Should those stories be any less portrayed in films? BLUE VALENTINE says ‘no’.

Starring my favorite actors of Ryan Gosling & Michelle Williams, BLUE VALENTINE is a small, touching, and, at times, horrible love story about two people who fell victim to circumstance, rose out of it beautifully and got in their own way. A very small story about a chance encounter leading a young couple down a whirlwind relationship that doesn’t go exactly how they expect.

They’re initially young with dreams fueled by the exuberance of being in love. However the future is different, and they might be happy, but they’re constantly dealing with the fact that they settled for the life they have.

It’s no secret that Gosling is one of my favorite actors. I’m even told that I might have a man-crush on him. But even if that’s true, it’s justifiably so. Gosling can probably become one the best actors of his generation. Contrary to his typical pretty boy look, Gosling plays a pathetic husband and father with receding hairline with no goals or ambitions in life, just going through it a day at a time. And he destroys the role. It’s a brutally honest portrayal of a man muddling through life, and trying to be happy. His lack of self worth affects his relationship with his wife, which makes up the core of the story.

Michelle Williams doesn’t do a lot of films, but man when she does, she really blows minds. Playing a wife who is constantly reminded of her youthful errors, which is further exasperated by the fact that her husband doesn’t share her regrets, is painful to watch. It’s the role of a lifetime, and deservingly so, considered it garnered her an Oscar Nomination.

BLUE VALENTINE is not for the faint of heart. There are excruciatingly painful moments that will literally cause the audience to hold their breath in anticipation of the scene to play itself out. Surprisingly though, at the same time, there are moments of pure laugh out loud hilarity; not to meant to be so, but it’s quite subtle. I wonder how effective those moments are for people that haven’t been in relationships that have caused healthy fights.

Director Derek Cianfrance stems from a Documentary background, and it shows throughout BLUE VALENTINE. The underplayed drama, explosive chemistry between the characters… are all toned down, not an ounce of melodrama, further enhancing the extreme serious-ness of that scene.  It’s like watching your neighbors fighting in front of you… you’re not sure if or when you should intervene, or even make them aware that you’re there. BLUE VALENTINE is able to invoke those ‘stop everything you’re doing until this is over’ reactions that very few films are capable of.

Sure, an explosive action or Sci-Fi film with breathtaking visuals can be exciting as hell… but it’s hard to replicate that with a story about relationships. Cianfrance does so seamlessly.

Following a back and forth from present to past using flashbacks, we get to experience the highs and lows of this couple, who are at a crossroads. The best thing about BLUE VALENTINE has to be it’s ambiguous ending.

It’s a painfully horrible story to watch due to its intense realism about a couple that’s struggling to continue to be in love with one another, BLUE VALENTINE is a serious story, with intense performances and realism that is unparalleled in this genre so far.

Reviews by Jonathan: Lawless

Lawless is exactly the movie you expect it to be. It’s a violent, predictiable, period gangster drama, that plays out like every other violent, predictiable, period ganster drama you’ve ever seen. So if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s exactly what you get……and it is awesome.

Now don’t get me wrong, Lawless is by no stretch of the imagination a great film. It’s awkwardly paced, a bit cheesy at spots, and certain plot elements don’t really add up (though I imagine some aren’t supposed to). The movie works however, because its weak points are covered up by an INCREDIBLE cast, and amazing direction that drives home the atmosphere of the time period and really makes you buy that this is the setting it says it is.

Lawless is loosely based on the true story of the Bondurant brothers, who during 1930’s prohibition era Virgina, illegially sold moonshine. The brothers became legendary for stories of them being invinsible, and immortal. Naturally the law catches up with them, and….well, you know the drill, as I said there’s really not much new or interesting to discuss in terms of plot.

As I mentioned, the cast of Lawless is incredible. Not only does it feature three of the most talented and versatile actors working today (Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, and of course Gary Oldman), but this is the first film that has proved to me that Shia LaBeouf can actually act, and do it well. Playing the youngest of the brothers, Jack, he doesn’t really stand up to the pros in this movie, but he holds his own enough that he doesn’t feel totally lost as the lead actor among some of the greatest actors working today. It’s hard to say that there’s a scene stealer in a film with such an amazing cast, but if there is, Guy Pearce as the villian Charlie Rakes, would be it. He completely owns the role, making what could have been just another crazy psychopath into an almost terrifying presence, and is easily one of the year’s best villians. Gary Oldman is sadly only in the film briefly, and isn’t given very much to do. Some would say that he is wasted in the film, but he makes it work, not only being a lot of fun in the brief time he’s on screen, but having one of the coolest character introductions I’ve seen in a long time. Tom Hardy Plays the eldest Bondurant, Forrest. As usual Hardy is great, being calm and collected, violent and tough, and humorous and innocent all in one role.

The atmosphere in Lawless is perfect. I really bought that this was 1930’s Virginia. Some purists may cry foul that this is a period piece shot on digital rather than film, but i say if it works it works, and it most certainly works. The soundtrack is appropriate, not quite outstanding or memorable, but it supplies the appropriate ammount of ambiance to drive home the atmosphere. The direction is phenominal in every aspect. The film is beautifully shot, and tightly edited. Though as I said previously, the pacing could have used a little work, I’m not sure if I should blame that on the writer or the editor.

If you’re looking for a new, groundbreaking take on the gangster drama…….this is not it. But Lawless works as what it is, a flawed, predictible, and thoroughly entertaining film. This is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a good Michael Mann style film in a while, so if you know what you’re in for and it sounds good to you. I very much recommend this one.

Reviews by Jonathan: The Bourne Legacy

I love the Bourne trilogy. It’s one of the best trilogies out there, though that’s not really saying a lot; every film is extremely solid. The first is interesting, entertaining, and even has some heart to it. The second loses the heart, but makes up for it with a lot more energy in the direction and editing. The same can be said of the third film. They all add up to one solid trilogy, with strong writing, strong direction, and a strong cast. The Bourne Legacy, the fourth part in the series, aims to revamp the series with a new director, new composer, and most importantly, a new main character.

The beginning of the film got me excited, it opened with a similar shot to the opening of The Bourne Identity, so right away the film had me as a fan of the series. It lost me just as quickly. The main problem with The Bourne Legacy is a lack of energy. While the original films had their slow moments as well,  they didn’t feel as slow.  There was clearly a lot of energy put in by the crew to make every scene feel fast paced and intense. This was true whether it was an action scene, or a group of government agents talking about convoluted spy movie stuff. Therefore, the movies felt action-packed, even though they really weren’t. This movie feels slow. It feels like it’s just a group of people talking. Even the action scenes, which you would think you couldn’t possibly mess up, are dull, overlong, and uninspired.

The cast is easily the highlight of the film. Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne with Aaron Cross, a subject from a similar program to the one Bourne was a part of. Renner plays the character with his usual charisma, making Cross a slightly more likeable character next to the cold, efficient Bourne. Rachel Weisz does a great job as the love interest of the film; she sells a lot of the more intense scenes in the film, and is also a very likeable character. The rest of the cast is solid. Edward Norton doesn’t exactly give it his all, but he does about as good as you’d expect from him. Most of the other characters are fairly forgettable, apart from the short cameo appearances from a few characters from the last movies.

The plot of the film is…..well it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Bourne movie, the government wants Cross killed, he goes on the run, teams up with Weisz’s character, the government sends an assassin after them eventually, it’s all really really formulaic at this point. There is at least one short strench of the film that was very exciting and intense. Unfortunately, it lasts for about 15 minutes then it’s back to normal. One of the big problems the film has is pacing. The first act lasts way too long, and nothing really seemingly happens until a good 30-45 minutes into the film. Maybe it just felt that long. Then the second act finally starts, and it also takes way too long, then there’s the standard Bourne chase scene which lasts way, way too long and like the rest of the movie is dull, flat, and boring.  The movie ends. Nothing really feels resolved at the end.  It feels like they lost the last act of the film in a fire and then decided to just extend the rest of the film and call it a day. The film at least ends on a high note by remembering to end with Bourne’s theme song Extreme ways.

Overall, The Bourne Legacy is a dull and lifeless film, that forgets to have the heart of the first film, or the energy of the second and third. It tries to excite fans by referencing events, characters, or camera shots from the first three films, but ultimately feels like nothing but a shallow immitator of the real thing.

AcChat – Carolina Groppa of The Haunting of Whaley House

AcChat is a brand new set of articles which features interviews from many different actors and actress from a variety of films, The first AcChat comes from Carolina Groppa of The Haunting of Whaley House, so please enjoy! 

MG: Hi There, Thanks for taking the Time to fill out this Q and A:
CG:It is my total pleasure! Thanks for wanting to hear what I have to say…

MG: First of All, can you tell us your name and who you play in The Haunting of Whaley House?
CG: My name is Carolina Groppa. I play the level-headed and way too responsible, Gisele James.

MG: So how did it come to be that you would appear in The Haunting of Whaley House?
CG: My good friend Jose Prendes mentioned the script to me, and I basically harassed him until he let me audition. Naturally, I kicked ass. About a week later, I got a phone call from him saying that I was his Gis! It was a glorious day filled with flying doves and crying angels

 MG: Can you tell us how long you were on set as characters?
CG: I shot for about 6 or 7 days out of the 12.

MG: Is there one part of the character that reminds you of yourself?
CG: If my friends wanted to go into a haunted house in the middle of the night, I would, much like Gisele, think it’s an atrocious idea. So much so, that I would not even go. I don’t mess around with ghosts. To me, Gis is an over achiever and maybe too responsible for her own good, and I definitely identify with that.

MG: Can you tell us about your schedule during the production and what moment really stood out for you?
CG: Well, let me just say that shooting an entire feature length film in 12 days is absolute madness and anyone that agrees to it is certifiably insane. That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyday was challenging, but a blast. No particular moment stands out, but I had reoccurring realizations of, “Oh mah gawww! We are totally doing this right now!” and I couldn’t be prouder of my good friend, Jose, and what he was able to accomplish is such a limited amount of time. (by the way, there goes my once a year compliment to Jose.)

MG: What was it like to Work with the Cast and Crew on Set?
CG: Honestly, there’s noting better than being able to make a movie with friends. I knew a majority of the people well, and the ones I didn’t, quickly become dear friends, like Arielle, Graham, and Alex. Stephanie Greco, the lead, and I have known each other since high school drama days, so watching her star in this film filled me with pride and glee. It’s a long journey, this one of ours, and to watch someone you’ve known since baggy pants and lip liner were fashionable blossom into an incredible actor is tremendously rewarding.

MG: After you’re experiences on The Haunting of Whaley House, what is next for you?
CG: I’m also a producer, so I’ve got a few projects I’m currently juggling, one of which is a documentary about romantic relationships on the autism spectrum. It’s really special and dear to my heart. You can learn more about it here

MG:Thank you for taking the Time out to do this Q & A, I really do appreciate it 
CG: You are most welcomed! Thank you for virtually having me! 🙂

Thanks to Carolina Groppa for doing this incredible first AcChat, Join us next time when we will be interviewing Arielle Brachfeld.