Posts Tagged ‘angelina jolie’

Owen (Jake Weber) is a forensic accountant with a pre-teen son named Connor. (Finn Little) The D.A that Owen works for has been killed, and now the assassins, Jack (Aiden Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) are after Owen.  They shoot Owen and his car careens off a cliff, but miraculously Connor survives, and runs for help.  Connor finds a smoke jumper named Hannah (Angelina Jolie) who is in a fire tower after a traumatic event involving a fire that she was fighting.  Does Hannah help Connor, can they both evade the assassins, and a growing fire coming closer to both of them? 

This movie is built on false advertising.  Those Who Want Me Dead is billed as an action movie starring Angelina Jolie.  The movie features a forensic accountant, ethical assassins, a hero sheriff, a pregnant sheriff’s wife, and a smoke jumper who does no smoke jumping.  The action seems to involve everyone BUT Hannah, and this is no exaggeration, the pregnant sheriff’s wife is more of an action hero than Hannah is.  Hannah spends most of her time being a mother figure to Connor.  See Brad, Angelina IS a good mom, this film proves it. Worse than all of this, the movie just ends without answering any of the questions it bothers to raise.  Salt is an action movie starring Angelina Jolie, watch that instead of this sentimental drivel. 

Angelina Jolie is to be pitied, even her surgically altered face is to be pitied, it is proof that Hollywood is not interested in actresses over 40.  The pity is, she is a good actress, and she can be an action hero, if given the right script, this is the WRONG script.  Jolie seems like a bystander in her big comeback movie. Finn Little is good as Connor, he shows the right amount of emotion, along with some toughness.  And he does a convincing American accent. Nicholas Hoult is pretty good as the younger assassin.  And it’s good to see him in something besides an X-Men movie.  What is Tyler Perry doing in this movie?  Don’t ask, no one explains his character or his function, he has one scene, and he is gone. 

The direction is poor, the pacing is exceptionally slow for an action film, there are so many disparate storylines that the viewer has to wait for the story to come together and once it comes together, the movie doesn’t get any more exciting.  The set piece or the climax, is almost anticlimactic, and the movie limps to an uninspired ending. 

Those Who Wish Me Dead: Doesn’t Catch Fire. 

Unbroken

Louis Zamperini (CJ Valeroy, Jack O’Connell ) is an Italian immigrant with a penchant for getting into small time trouble.  He finds solace in running, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough to make the Olympics.  With his brother Pete’s  (John D’Leo, Alex Russell) encouragement and lots of training, he qualified for the 1936 Olympics while still in high school.  He finished sixth in the 1936 Olympic Games. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1941 as a bombardier, and on a search and rescue mission, Louis engines fail and spends 47 days on a raft with fellow flyers Phil (Donhall Gleeson) and  Mac .(Finn Whitlock)  Louis and Phil’s ordeal gets worse when they get captured by the Japanese,  and become POW’s ?  Do they escape?  Are they rescued?

Louis Zamperini’s life is so amazing, Olympic runner, fighter pilot, POW, that he deserves a great movie to tell his great story.  Unfortunately this is not that story.  It tries to be part Chariots of Fire, part The Great Escape with some Life of Pi thrown in for good measure, unfortunately the story is too hackneyed, and goes from point A to point B, to point C with no flair and little drama, even though the story is not told in a linear way.   It’s not anywhere as good as either Chariots of Fire or The Great Escape, and I don’t know whether to blame the screenplay or the direction, probably both are to blame.  I’m disappointed, because I was really looking forward to seeing this film, and it just fell flat. The movie was written by the Coen brothers, and I am shocked, because they  usually add lots of flair and drama to their stories.

The acting is oddly flat and emotionless, I wanted to see something other from Jack O’Connell and Domhall Gleeson than what I saw.  I’m neither a xenophobe nor a chauvinist, but are there no young American actors to play American heroes?  Why do I have to listen for a British or Irish accent to slip in to an American accent in the middle of a movie?  I shouldn’t have to.

Director Angelina Jolie drenches this movie in a sepia tone, that’s supposed to tell viewers it’s a movie of historical significance.  It doesn’t work.  The length of the individual scenes is too long, and that brings the pacing to a crawl, and that hurts the overall film.  The special effects were sloppy, I actually saw the green screen in one scene, that shouldn’t happen in a major motion picture.  Repeated showings of torture actually dilute the intended effect of the scenes. She gets nothing from her young actors, which is disappointing, because I think she is a good actress.  I won’t say that this is a vanity project, but I will say that she needs a lot of work as a director.

Unbroken:  Should be taken in for repairs.

Movie Review: Gia (1998)

Posted: October 19, 2013 in Drama
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Gia Carangi is (Angelina Jolie)  a pretty, young, girl from a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia.  She is out on a date with her friend TJ (Eric Michael Cole) when a photographer discovers her and takes some head shots.  She mails the head shots out, moves to New York, and barges into the Wilhelmina modeling agency and demands to see Wilhelmina Cooper. (Faye Dunaway) Wilhelmina finds something unique in Gia’s look, and her career is on her way.  Gia meets a female model named Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Gia seems to be destined for happiness.  But Gia has abandonment issues, whenever her mother, Kathleen (Mercedes Ruehl) or Linda leave her side, Gia’s fragile ego falls apart.  Gia replaces the pain of separation with drugs, cocaine and heroin. The people working with Gia on the photo shoots don’t seem to care, but soon her drug use overwhelms her, and soon no one to wants to hire her.  Gia meets with the head of another modeling agency, Mike Mansfield. (Scott Cohen)   Mansfield wants Gia to give up her drug habit, and so does Linda, can Gia keep herself clean, if not for her career, at least for her lover?

This is undoubtedly a cautionary tale, maybe too obviously a cautionary tale. A beautiful model, with a booming career and loads of money and someone who loves her, can keep it all, if only she can quit her drug habit.  Gia is ia tv movie, and it plays like a tv movie, or maybe an afterschool special.  Don’t let this happen to you kids.  And kids shouldn’t get involved in drug use, but they don’t need to be bludgeoned  over the head with such a blatantly anti-drug message either.

Angelina Jolie overdoes it in this role, and I generally like her as an actress, but she’s either angry or crying all the time, there is no middle ground in this character, Angelina’s foot is on the gas all the time, she’s in full F-U mode throughout the film. Maybe the real Gia was like that, most of the time, but no one is a total emotional wreck all the time, and besides that, it is exhausting to watch.  Her performance reminds me of Girl Interrupted, but her performance in Girl Interrupted is much more modulated, and therefore better.  Mercedes Ruehl gives a really good multi-faceted performance as Gia’s mom, she loves Gia, but is exasperated by her mood swings, neediness, and drug use.

The directing is annoying in this movie, in a movie like this, a biopic, the viewer shouldn’t notice the direction, but I really noticed it.  Jump cuts, nude scenes filmed in black and white, the same scene shot from different angles, and so the direction becomes a distraction.  The length, at two hours, is too long as well.  There’s drug use, sex and nudity, so this is definitely not for the kids, even as it tries to be a cautionary tale.

Gia.  Far from model behavior.

salft

 

Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a national hero.    She is a CIA agent so loyal to the United States that she refuses to give up secrets even when tortured by the North Koreans.  Salt is now living in the US, with her scientist husband, Mike Krause (August Diehl)  Just when her life seems at her happiest, a Russian agent named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychschi) is arrested and brought in for questioning at CIA headquarters.  Orlov says that Salt is not a CIA agent at all, but one of a number of Russian sleeper agents, trained by Orlov himself to bring down American society from within.  The plan is for Salt to kill the Russian president, and then for the Russians to blame an American CIA agent for the political assassination.  Salt is not waiting to find out what the CIA thinks of Orlov’s story, she begins to run from the time Orlov fingers her as a double agent.  Now one of Salt’s biggest supporters, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) is tasked with capturing her.  Is Salt really a double agent, bent on destroying the US from within?  Or is there something deeper going on?

I liked this movie.  It’s not like the story of a rogue CIA agent hasn’t been told already, it has, most expertly in the Bourne series, but this movie has enough plot twists and turns to get the viewer involved and keep him or her guessing.  The difference here is Jolie. I do not think any other woman could have handled a role so heavily reliant on action, and she is a good enough actress, to play the role with enough nuance to make one wonder, is she a double agent or isn’t she?  Liev Schreiber gives a good supporting performance as Salt’s superior, he is involved in one of many plot twist that make the movie interesting.  This movie suffered only because it happened to be released a week after Inception, and Inception is one of the most intelligent movies ever written.  If not for Inception, this movie would have had a lot more buzz and a lot more box office, instead of being everyone’s second choice. There will most likely be a sequel thanks to some seemingly tacked on dialogue at the end of the movie.  No matter, if Jolie is in the sequel, I’ll go see it.

Salt,   Has plenty of flavor.