March Blind Spot: True Romance (1993)

24

true romance poster

“You just said you love me, now if I say I love you and just throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may and you’re lying to me I’m gonna fuckin’ die.”
– Clarence Worley

SYNOPSIS: A lonely pop culture fan falls in love with a call girl and accidentally takes drugs from her pimp. The two go on the run to Los Angeles to sell the drugs and live happily ever after. Only they don’t know that Sicilian mafia and LAPD are after the drugs. – via IMDB

true romance

GRADE 7.5Man, can’t believe it took me so long to watch this! I had a total blast. This movie is so… crazy… yes, that’s the word. It is littered with trademark Tarantino dialogue, so naturally it is awesome to listen to. Not only that, it is carried by an impressive cast, too, who all do a great job. Given that, I do feel that they were rather underused at the best of times. The score is something that stands out, too, because it is so quirky, but it fits with the movie completely. The story is just balls to the wall silly, yet you are engaged from the off, and I was super interested to see how this whirlwind relationship between Alabama and Clarence would work out. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. The movie was entertaining and shot well, and carried by some solid performances. It wasn’t too long, either, just long enough to share the story with the audience, get you in, and not skip over too much, but never long enough to bore you. I really wish there had been more of Brad Pitt’s stoner Floyd, and I thought Gandolfini was excellent here – the scene with him and Arquette was fantastic, too. The film was fast, unusual (though nothing not seen before), and came together very well. Tarantino really is a masterful storyteller. Arquette and Slater also worked wonders together, playing off each other, and you could buy into their loopy little relationship, purely because it seemed to work so well for them. True Romance is a fantastical tale that is entertaining and endearing at the same time, smart and witty, and is well worth a watch should you ever come across it. It definitely won’t be a waste of your time.

Sporadic Scene: Se7en (1995) – Sloth

7

So, let’s not even pretend that Se7en didn’t have an awful lot going for it, because it did. It had a great cast hunting a whacko serial killer on the run, exercising his right to recreate the Seven Deadly Sins. However, after finding corpse after corpse, there it the one discovery that gets the audience – and I think that Fincher executed this flawlessly: Mills and Somerset go into an apartment and investigate a terrifying, gross and mutilated corpse, and when they are right up there with it the corpse coughs. Yes, that’s right, cue plenty jumps and squeals.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a link to the scene and an explanation as to why.

Rapid Review: Fury (2014)

30

fury poster 2

“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”
– Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier

SYNOPSIS: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. – via IMDB

fury tank

GRADE 9Wow. Wow. I know that I was looking forward to this, I was very excited and all that, but wow. I love a good war movie, always have, always will I think. I love them like I love a good mob film, so either way, I knew that this should be good, I’ve been anticipating, and you all know I will watch anything with Brad Pitt in it. Fury didn’t fail to blow my mind, and I was reeled in and engrossed for every second of this film. What a goodie. There is so much that I want to say about it, but I am not quite sure if I can articulate it all. Let me see what I can do. Fury had everything going for it, I must admit. It has a great cast to carry the film, and let me tell you, not a single one of them disappoint. Brad Pitt embodies a soldier, a man who loves his men, but who has hardened due to the horrors witnessed. Jon Bernthal is reprehensible yet excels at it, Logan Lerman is definitely a young actor to keep your eyes on, Shia LaBeouf delivers another solid performance (he really isn’t a terrible actor people, even if he is weird), and Michael Peña also brought the goods to the table. The movie had some phenomenal sets, and not once did Fury hold back on depicting the horrors of war. Not once, and there were some really rough things that happened. It is a slow paced film, but never once gets boring. There are scenes that play out for a while, but instead of feeling like a filler or a waste of film, they drive home certain points that are being made. I enjoyed the character development of these men living together in a tank, though the most development certainly went to Pitt’s Collier and Lerman’s Norman – both characters who impressed me. The score worked so well with everything that was going on, and there were plenty times that I was at the edge of my seat and tensed up. The camera work was simply stunning, and things were so realistic at times it was frightening. I was horrified at the best of times at what I was seeing, and I thought Ayer was wonderful in the way he maintained all the emotion and injected it into all the scenes. I thought the pacing was good – like I said, slow and deliberate, and that was so great for me. Fury is such an intense film to go into, it was simply breathtaking, amazing, wonderful, gritty, dirty and nasty and truly heart-breaking. It conveyed all these emotions, and is definitely one of the best films of 2014 (struggling to find another 2014 to compete with it on the same level, actually). It is not like Fury will revolutionise the way we look at war movies or anything like that, but it was solid, consistent and knew what it wanted to do from the off. Also, one cannot neglect to mention the credits rolling at the end, they were done well you just sit there, watching, still turning over what you watched as well as seeing the work put into that. The music complements it, and the red and black and violence? Perfect summation of a great film. Obviously I cannot recommend this film enough. Go, go now. Go see it. 

Review: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

39

OCEAN'S ELEVEN POSTER

“If you’re gonna steal from Terry Benedict, you’d better goddamn know. This sorta thing used to be civilized, you’d hit a guy, he’d whack you, done.”
– Rueben Tishkoff

SYNOPSIS: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. – via IMDB

This movie is just a load of fun; there are no two ways about it. It is smart, witty, well shot, excellently cast and so well written. You are captivated by the story from the get go, and it does not disappoint. It also has an exceptionally awesome cast, and they all bring the goods to the table here. It’s really rewarding to see something that could have bombed come together so well.

Brad Pitt never ceased to entertain me with the amounts of food that he consumed throughout the film, having had to work it into his character. Don Cheadle was just a bag of laughs (crazy Brit that he portrayed, accent and all). I particularly enjoyed Casey Affleck and Scott Caan together. Every actor contributed to this film perfectly (and the ensemble cast is just too big to discuss each and every contributor), and Andy Garcia really gave forth that scary don’t-mess-with-me Mafia vibe. Also, watching Clooney and Pitt together was very rewarding, they just work together.

Steven Soderbergh carried this film with zest and flair, and it was very clever and fresh. For a film that was a remake, this just goes to show that they are not always destined to bomb out and fail! The pacing is fantastic and I cannot recall a single dull moment in it. Everything is set out as you need it, and it is smart and funny while doing it. The movie looked really good, the soundtrack was smooth and suited exactly for what this was – a bag of fun heist flick! Ocean’s Eleven is sharp, and worth the watch every single time.

Review: Sleepers (1996)

16

sleepers movie poster1

“A number of the inmates, as tough as they acted during the day, would often cry themselves to sleep at night. There were other cries, too. Different from those full with fear and loneliness. They were low and muffled, the sounds of pain and anguish.Those cries can change the course of a life. They are cries that once heard, can never be erased from the memory.”
– Lorenzo Carcaterra

Four friends from Hell’s Kitchen, New York are inseparable in the mid-1960’s. Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra (Joe Perrino), Michael Sullivan (Brad Renfro), John Reilly (Geoffrey Wigdor) and Thomas “Tommy” Marcano (Jonathan Tucker) spend their days together leisurely, getting up to no good. There is a local priest in the area named Father Bobby Carillo (Robert De Niro) with whom the boys get along really well, and who is constantly looking out for them. Father Bobby’s plans get sidetracked a little when the boys get involved with King Benny (Vittorio Gassman), a local gangster. It is small things at first, but issues arise, and more than ever Father Bobby tries to help the boys out.

MSDSLEE EC057

“This is a true story about friendship that runs deeper than blood. This is my story and that of the only three friends in my life that truly mattered.” – Lorenzo Carcaterra

One ridiculously hot summer’s day, the four friends make a massive mistake. Michael sees an opportunity when a hot dog stand opens in the street below, and figures that someone will steal a hot dog. Either they will get away scot-free, or the vendor will chase the thief and all the friends get to eat free then, too. Stealing the hot dog, the vendor chases him down. Michael, John and Tommy all steal some hot dogs, and their plan soon evolves beyond that into stealing the entire cart, which they do. Lorenzo eventually catches up to them and they have to get rid of the cart. Taking it to the subway station, they wish to hold it on top of the flight of stairs and give the vendor enough time to grab it, giving them all the time that they need to escape the man unscathed and well fed. Instead, the cart slips and damn near kills a man. The boys are sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys. Father Bobby tried everything he could to get the sentences suspended, but the best he could do was get them shortened. Their lives will be irrevocably changed.

sleepers nokes and bobby

“You got rules and you got discipline. That’s the beginning of the story and that’s the end of the story. Do we understand each other?” – Sean Nokes

The boys go to Wilkinson’s, where everything they expected gets shattered. Sean Nokes (Kevin Bacon), Adam Styler (Lennie Loftin), Henry Addison (Jeffrey Donovan) and Ralph Fergusen (Terry Kinney) break the boys down. They are raped, molested and seriously abused. They learn early on that resistance is futile, though from time to time they try to fight back. Naturally, it ends in disaster and pain for them. Father Bobby comes to visit where the rest of the boys’ families don’t at their behest, and Lorenzo pleads with Father Bobby not to come back and see them. The boys swear to keep their entire ordeal a secret. Years later Tommy Marcano (Billy Crudup) and John Reilly (Ron Eldard) encounter Nokes in a restaurant and they exact their revenge, shooting him to death with a lot of witnesses present. Michael (Brad Pitt) is now a district attorney and calls a meeting with Lorenzo (Jason Patric), who is now a newspaper reporter. Their revenge plan has been set into motion, maybe a little different than they may have planned, but either way it is underway. Michael wishes to prosecute the case, though underhandedly he is planning to mess up the whole affair, making sure that Tommy and John walk, though it cannot look that way.

sleepers the plan

“Revenge. Sweet lasting revenge. Now it’s time for all of us to get a taste.” – Michael Sullivan

King Benny is called in for assistance, and it is all hands on deck. Michael has been researching for years, and is ready to play the role of prosecutor as well as secret defender. Danny Snyder (Dustin Hoffman) is representing the boys, and is doing pretty much everything that Michael has put together to ensure that the case goes smoothly. Tommy, John and the neighbourhood have no idea that the entire trial is a setup, and Michael has become public enemy number one. Will he be able to free his friends while exact the revenge that they have all thirsted for for so many years? Will the entire truth about what happened at Wilkinson’s ever come out? Will the neighbourhood band together to help the boys, no matter what the situation? Will the Wilkinson guards ever really pay for their indiscretions?

sleepers lorenzo and king benny

“Father Bobby would have made a good hitman. It’s a shame we lost him to the other side.” – King Benny

Sleepers scores a 6.5/10 for me. This film had that aspect of making me so damn angry to see what was going on, no matter what is said and done at the end of the day. Watching the four cheeky friends growing up was nice, their stupid mistakes and their good sides. Robert De Niro was great for his role as the Catholic priest. It is like he was designed for the role and the role for him. He didn’t pretend to be too pious but also nothing disrespectful. It was a fresh approach to priests in film, and I can certainly imagine that it would garner a better response in real life if you had someone that was more like that. I did feel that he was rather underused though. However, all the funny stuff was over with the moment that those boys went to juvie. Dammit, so was my sense of humour. There are very few things that can really set my teeth on edge and my temper off in a moment, but child molesting is one of them. The brutality suffered at the hands of those guards was disgusting to witness, though thank goodness they didn’t show everything, just enough to get that rise out of you. Anger and sadness is what comes to the fore watching their incarceration and their inability to do anything about it. Kevin Bacon was good in his role, which also sort of depressed me, if you know what I mean? I never wanted to see him as one of those totally nasty wastes of life. I felt vindication for those boys when they shot and killed Nokes, though I honestly feel that he got off way too early. Brad Pitt impressed me as his role as attorney as well as double agent with his own solo play, and needs to be given credit for that. The film shows a lot of the underworld as people don’t usually see it: dangerous, but with purpose. Their own neighbourhood and the inhabitants that would be protected, the dangers that are ever present, but also the way that people know what is right and wrong and what they can and cannot do as well as all the fun that is also to be had with your people, people that are shunned by the world but are yours nonetheless. I would recommend this for a watch, but be warned that there is plenty to get edgy about.

Review: Killing Them Softly (2012)

17

killing them softly poster

“Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America. And in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country. It’s just a business. Now pay me.”
– Jackie Cogan

Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) has a plan to hit down a poker game of Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta). He is unafraid of the Mafia and what they will do seeing as Markie previously paid two guys to rob his poker game and later claimed from insurance. He was immediately suspected, but persuaded hitman Dillon (Sam Shepard) that he had nothing to do with it. Later he admits it to various people, though he suffers nothing. With this history, Squirrel is convinced that the Mafia will look no further than Markie to rectify his plans. He hires Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) to knock over the joint for him.

killing them softly heist

“I don’t know what it is with these guys; they can’t keep their mouths shut about nothing.” – Jackie Cogan

The two successfully hold up the game and rob the player and leave. However, retribution is in order, and the Mafia representative , Driver (Richard Jenkins), hires Dillon’s partner Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), and explains the situation. Jackie understands that Markie was not involved with the latest robbery, he feels that Markie’s death would restore the mobsters’ buoyancy in the local gambling scene again, seeing as it has been so disrupted. Driver is uneasy about the suggestion. Russell shares his robbery participation with Kenny Gill (Slaine) in Florida, who lets Jackie in on what he knew.

killing them softly negotiations

“I like to kill them softly, from a distance. Not close enough for feelings.” – Jackie Cogan

Frankie is freaked out, knowing that someone is going to strike back to bring about a balance in the system again, and is furious that Russell would be as stupid as to blabber about what they did. Jackie cannot kill Squirrel because he knows him, so he brings in Mickey Fallon (James Gandolfini) in to do the job. Fallon is on parole in New York. It seems that no one is safe from Jackie’s reach and intent to clean up everything in the situation.

killing the softly

“Don’t tell me what I do.” – Mickey Fallon

Jackie needs total control over the show, and starts getting edgy with Mickey and his lack of professionalism as well as all the complications that are arising in a simple clean-up matter. Will anyone escape Jackie’s madness? Will the whole debacle be sorted out, everyone pay their dues, and others be forgiven? What is Jackie’s plan behind this? What is it about Jackie that Dillon trusts, subjecting everyone to the same laws as he is?

A 5/10 for this. I don’t know, I was not particularly enamoured with this. I truly enjoy watching Brad Pitt, but I thought this film was a little bit too all over the show. Also, it was not compelling. I didn’t care what was happening, and thought that the entire premise fell flat. It felt extremely long, too. Brad Pitt was alright, but even he didn’t do much in the way of saving this film for me. It was very disappointing. The story was not as deep as they portrayed it to be, and there was no real character development. The ending was alright, but felt a little bit rushed. Nothing about this movie stuck with me, and the more I sit here and think about it, the more I realize there was nothing memorable, nothing to identify with, no real characters, no great soundtrack, average camera work, all of that. Sucks, cause I really wanted to be impressed. A decent cast, and I wanted to see Brad Pitt do something excellent again. This is definitely not it. Not something I plan to watch again anytime soon and not something that I would recommend.

Review: World War Z (2013)

18

World-War-Z-NewPoster

“Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one’s better, or more creative. Like all serial killers, she can’t help but have the urge to get caught or what good would all those brilliant crimes do if no one takes the credit? So she leaves crumbs.”
– Andrew Fassbach

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is retired from the UN. He now lives at home with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two children, Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins). He is a stay at home dad and loves it. However, the news is sounding bad when it reports of terrible disease spreading like wildfire. In traffic in Philadelphia morning, there is an outbreak of vicious proportions and attacks that Gerry cannot explain. It seems to take about twelve seconds for the bitten to turn into whatever launched the attack. The Lanes take off, and Gerry is contacted by Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), who is an old friend. He is going to do what he can to rescue Gerry, whose family in the meanwhile has picked up a new addition, a young boy named Tommy (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido).

world war z zombie outbreak

“If you can fight, fight. Be prepared for anything. Our war has just begun.” – Gerry Lane

Gerry and his family are finally picked up, but it seems the relationship is quid pro quo. The family is transported to a fleet of U.S. Navy vessels, and space is limited. The only way to keep his family safe and on the boat means that Gerry needs to work with the government. Gerry needs to assist virologist, Dr Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel), to discover the origins of the virus. As soon as he knows that, he can develop a vaccine. Gerry leaves to a military base in South Korea, where it is rumoured to have begun. It was the first transmission that mentioned zombies, at any rate.

world war z protecting family

“Your Secretary here says you were his best investigator when you were with the UN. I wanna send you in, with a team. Help Dr. Fassbach find whatever it is he needs.” – Naval Commander

When there, the team is attacked and Fassbach accidentally shoots himself and dies. Gerry and the remainders make it inside, where they learn more about these zombies. Noise attracts them, head shots are the sure-fire way of taking them down, and that if possible they should be burned. Captain Speke (James Badge Dale) introduces Gerry to a seemingly crazy former CIA operative Gunter Haffner (David Morse), who is a prisoner and a survivor who is pulling his teeth as the answer to stop the infection. He tells Gerry to go to Jerusalem, where a safe zone seems to have been erected prior to the outbreak becoming an official problem. Thinking they may have insider and special knowledge, Gerry moves along there.

world war z jerusalem

“Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.” – Jurgen Warmbrunn

Mossad Director Jurgen Warmbrunn (Ludi Boeken) explains to Gerry that they had no prior knowledge of the zombie outbreak, but had an intercepted communication from an army general in India. The troops were apparently fighting the undead, and they prepared. Gerry is desperate to find out where the virus originated as well as establish a way to end it all. When the sanctity of the safe haven is compromised due to the loud, joyous singing of the rescued Israelis, Gerry makes an escape with Segen (Daniella Kertesz), of the military. He cuts her hand off after she is bitten, and after that and some other observations, he feels that he may very well be seeing the chink in the zombie chainmail. Following his escape in an airliner, he wishes to go to a research facility, but the plane crashes and Umutoni and his people take Gerry for dead, and throw his family and the new kid, Tommy, out.

Will Gerry be able to figure out enough about the virus to tell the people with the know-how what he saw so that they are able to fix it? Will he find the origin of the outbreak so that they will be able to manufacture an antivirus? Will his family be safe from the outbreak now that they have been kicked off of the safe haven of the U.S. Navy vessels?

I would rate World War Z a 7/10. I was looking forward to this movie. I think that I was one of the few people that were not dreading it, but was actually excited to see what the film brought, and I was not let down. I thought Brad Pitt was again excellent. I think he is a wonderful actor that gets underestimated too often. A lot of people blow him off as his success being directly related to his appearance, though I find that grossly unfair. He is very talented. The zombies in this film were most definitely a fresh and new variety, and not the type that I want to come in contact with ever. This is quite a vicious zombie apocalypse, and the spread thereof is so fast. Gerry having to look into where the disease started and how it spread was interesting – finding patient zero. These are such dangerous times and such an important task at hand that needs some serious dedication. I had a friend who said that the end disappointed him a little, and I must say that while it did not disappoint me as terribly as it did him; it sort of left a little to be desired. It went from being incredibly smart, and quite clever, to just suddenly and unexpectedly drawing to a close. This is a very solid and decent entry to the zombie genre, and definitely worth checking out.