Ridley Scott has revealed the title of the sequel to his Alien prequel Prometheus. Interestingly enough, the title does not contain the word Prometheus at all. Rather, the film will be known as Alien: Paradise Lost. Referencing John Milton’s poem of the same name, Paradise Lost tells of the biblical fall of man. Only time will tell if we will live to tell of it. For more news, stay tuned right here on RDR!
Black Mass (2015)
Directed by Scott Cooper
Starring:Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch
Terrifying, but Fun
by Mason Manuel
The tale of “James Whitey Bulger” is hardly a new one. A gangster who you can’t help but love, who is loved by his community and friends. He would be a pretty great guy if not for the fact that he is killing people all the time. Crime biopics have a knack of falling into the same by-the-numbers plot following the rise and fall of the subject. Yet, while Black Mass does not necessarily throw off this tired formula, some great performances and intense sequences make it a film worth enjoying.
Based entirely on a true story, the film follows the relationship between the F.B.I and their deal with the devil, Bulger. Bulger’s boyhood friend, John Connely has become an F.B.I agent and uses his past relationship to get an inside voice in the crime rings of Boston. At first the deal works out smoothly. The F.B.I gets the credit for taking down the Italian mafia while Bulger slowly sinks his roots deeper into other criminal enterprises. Soon enough Bulger turns from a small time gangster to a major kingpin of the underground. What’s worse, Connely does not have the ability to shut Bulger down because he is protected as a high profile informant. So, rather than try to fight and do the right thing, Connely decides that a few white lies to protect Bulger being persecuted for murders will keep himself protected as well. Knowing that he has Connely under his thumb, Bulger decides to grow and become one of the most notorious criminals the world has ever seen.
Director Scott Cooper has a knack for giving decaying settings life and vigor. The shambling poor district of South Boston (Otherwise known as Southie) is beautifully realized with its constant gray skies and palpable feel of urban sprawl. Much like his previous film Out of the Furnace the environment the charecters live in has as much depth as the character’s themselves. Speaking of which, the performances from almost all of the actors are on point and occasionally terrifying to watch, most notably with Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Bulger. His seething eyes, pale skin, and intense glare will make even the most steadfast audience member shift uncomfortably in their seat. That being said, he also comes off as a huge sweetheart. When he is not killing enemies and heads of rival gangs, he makes sure to visit his mother, help old ladies pack their groceries, and be a loving father to his young son. His personality switches on a dime and shows great power in Depp’s acting ability. The other actors have their moments as well, but some get lost in the fray until the back half of the film. Surprisingly, Joel Edgerton’s John Connely never really makes a mark, despite being a key player in the proceedings. He, almost more than Bulger, has a terrific rise and fall story becoming a celebrated agent to becoming as shady as the people he gets information from, but Edgerton’s acting never makes him feel very real or worth investing in.
When trying to recreate real characters, a production should do everything it can to make sure that the original people are honored. I can only imagine that this is why almost all of the lead actors are caked in a ridiculous amount of prosthetics. Obviously most notable is Depp as Bulger; there are many times where his frightening performance is defeated by the simple awkwardness of seeing him in a shoddy receding hairline wig and facial additions. Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons is given jowls and a beer gut that looks completely out of place and distracts from the ongoing events. Whomever is doing this old man makeup should never ever do old man makeup again; I feel like I am watching Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar all over.
Luckily, with a combination of great acting and Jez Butterworth & Mark Mallouk’s adapted, brutal screenplay, Black Mass is an excellent gangster film. It may not do anything that is incredibly new but its familiar story never feels boring or cliché. The characters all have their own way of justifying their actions, and seeing the lengths they will go to accomplish their objective can be terrifyingly fun to watch. RDR gives this wise guy a 6.9 out of 10.
We have not done a show review before because most of the shows we watch are stupid and we like them for stupid reasons. We are taking our first foray into episodic media because we love Patrick Stewart and #Picardbeatskirk. But since “Blunt Talk” has already aired a good portion of its’ season we are going to simply review the first half of the episodes all in one big bunch. So, without further ado…
Starz comes back into its comedy line with Blunt Talk starring Sir Patrick Stewart as the flawed Walter Blunt. While not new to comedy, Stewart has not been known for it and you know what they say, “Drama is easy, comedy is hard.” Thankfully, Stewart does not disappoint this time around and with a smart writing team behind him, the show is executed wonderfully.
Walter Blunt is your run-of-the-mill, ordinary, drug addict, sex addict, attention addict, basically every kind of addict. He also happens to be a distinguished war veteran and a fairly decent person at heart. But the world won’t see it that way after one night following a show, Walter Blunt is found soliciting sexual services from a young transsexual prostitute while high on cocaine. After attempting to fend off police with a mixture of British service martial arts and Shakespearian theatre, Blunt finds himself being attacked by most of the world. Finding himself in the middle of the crisis, he surrounds himself with his writing staff and his personal manservant. They offer a mix of drugs and spooning as means to cope with his latest toubles but this time that is not enough. The network wants to cut Blunt’s show “Blunt Talk” off air for good. Walter decides he must find a way to save his show by being the most honest, white knight reporter ever, even more so than Anderson Cooper who has “always been a good lad.” The problem is that he is less than a knight in a reporter’s armor. Rather than film a devastating hurricane in person, he tries to fake it in a porn studio. Rather than curb a friend’s drug addiction, Blunt enables it so that he can mooch off said friend for more crack rocks. These shenanigans mixed with his almost childish demeanor makes Walter Blunt a character truly complex and conceited enough to be worthy of a talent like Stewart’s, even If his physicality sometimes distracts from the role he is meant to play.
Blunt Talk is unique in that the show does not focus on the main character’s redemption; not really, anyways. Much like the lead, the show chooses to feed and further worsen Blunt’s problems. This can be a strength and weakness in a number of ways. On one hand, the frying pans that Blunt puts himself in are hilarious and fun to watch worsen. On the other, it is difficult to invest in a “hero” that has almost no interest in helping himself. Even Dr. House had moments of compassion and self-realization, if only to throw himself deeper down the rabbit hole as time went on. Even if Blunt’s misery is meant to inspire our laughter, there should still be an effort at emotional connection for viewers. That being said, while Blunt mostly appears to care little for his compatriots particularly in the case of his manservant Harry. The two used to be brothers in arms with Blunt being Harry’s CO. Harry appears to enjoy taking orders to an almost ludicrous length. He supports all of his master’s addictions and even contributes to them. I look forward to further fleshing out of their relationship to see if there is something more from their old war days that makes Harry so overtly devout.
Other secondary characters have much less gravity to their respective stories sadly. If not for a quick IMDB seach, I would not even be able to tell you their names, for how unremarkable they are. Rosalie Winter plays Blunt’s number two on the creative staff, and she is most stand-outish of the crew due to her policy on open marriages and her devotion to the marriage she already has. Celia and Martin who are supposed to be critical parts of Blunt’s team are so underdeveloped, they have not been given last names as of yet. Hopefully the back half of the season explores these people a bit more but until then we are left with nothing.
But enough about these secondary characters, what about the man of the hour; Mr. Blunt himself? Patrick Stewart definitely has his work cut out for him with this strange persona to embody but he flawlessly pulls it off. The one issue I have with Stewart in this role is his physical age. Walter Blunt is supposed to be an ex-military, geriatric, playboy but his aging face and bald head almost makes him like a Grandpa playing pretend. There are scenes where he physically beats up a much younger police force and pulls off physical tasks that would be difficult for men half his age. It simply doesn’t work when they try to show Blunt as someone with a strong military background. In the future, they should try to rein him in more and play him as someone who used to be strong, but now has more of a strategic mind, like Bond from Skyfall.
Blunt Talk is a fun, insane show with crazy surprises around every corner. Not every character is fleshed out as much they should be and there is some much needed development as far as motivations go, but there is still enough time left to where the first season may be focusing on Blunt first and later move on to the others. It is, at the very least, enjoyable and worth cutting into your Netflix time. RDR gives the first
Today we travel the Afghan country side armed with naught but our whit and weapons of mass destruction.
Hold on to your guts. Jessica Cameron’s directorial debut is making great waves in the Indie horror community, winning over 20 awards and still going strong before its’ official release. The second trailer has just been released which you can behold in all of its’ bloody glory above. Warning: the following contains super duper graphic content. You may want to hold hands or something.
Time to check out some Metal Gear Solid V! Our audio kinda sucks but the game is sweet. We will follow with more soon. Be sure to follow us on twitter @reeldudereviews and facebook at /reeldudereviews. Stay tuned!
In today’s world of every morning having a new disaster headline (Jersey Shore Reunion for instance) it can be a little hard to keep your chin up. With so much negativity around, we here at RDR combed through some of our favorite feel good movies to get you out of that slump and back onto that camel hump… we couldn’t think of anything else that rhymed with slump.
Ahh I miss young Freddie Highmore. Not that old Highmore is doing poorly, but young Freddie had such an adorable air about him. August Rush shows how one boy with a love for music can connect across all cultures and even reunite him with his estranged parents. With a wonderful Zimmer-composed soundtrack as well as some great performances from Highmore and Robin Williams, August Rush will give your stomach butterflies through and through.
Based on the popular young adult novel of the same name, Wallflower explores the danger of being unique in a youth’s world heavily regulated by peers. It also explores its’ beauty, showing how being different can help you realize that it’s not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. There is also a super cute trio in the form of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller so if anything, see it for that.
Remember Up? Well this as just as cute but this time it’s French and it focuses around a grumpy old guy and his I’m-not-going-to-take-any-of-your-bull-sh*t caretaker. By the end of this film, you won’t be sure if your tears are from laughter or sadness.
Leave it to director David O. Russel to realize the brilliant pairing of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Playbook starts off a little dark with Cooper’s character being hospitalized for undiagnosed bi-polar disorder after he nearly killed the man that his wife was cheating on him with. But as soon as Lawrence pops in, their mesh of dark humor and mutual understanding of being looked upon as broken people creates a beautiful connection between the two that is heartwarming to say the least.
This masterpiece took the world by storm upon its’ release due to its’ reinvigorating use of silent movie era tactics, showcasing some stellar acting without the use of any dialogue (for the most part). Taking home a large number of Oscars for its’ brilliance, The Artist will make you smile just for the character’s silliness alone. Think of it as watching Charlie Chaplin film, but with a plot that has a hint of seriousness to it.
Remember when people though Matthew Brodrick was going to be this cool, suave movie star instead of the nerdy, stuttering mess he is today? If not, check out this John Hughes directed fun-fest focused on the value of taking a day off. Every kid’s role model, Ferris Bueller is the coolest thing around and knows that he won’t be a kid forever so he takes matters into his own hands. Bringing along his friends for a fun filled day in Chicago, the trio learns a little about having fun and a bit more about themselves. Enlightening and empowering, this film will give you guaranteed feels.
4.Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King
THE BEACONS ARE LIT!!! GONDOR CALLS FOR AID! Technically I am cheating here as humanity is not the only race that comes together against all odds, but this is my article so I’m counting it dammit. Two Hobbits with the world against them must overcome all odds while at home, races that have been tense with each other for centuries must find a way to band together over a common enemy. IF you are not crying by the time Viggo Mortenson starts singing then you may be possessed by the one ring.
In my opinion this is director Steven Speilberg’s masterpiece. Fun fact, he did not make this film to impress, he made it for a school project. I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure none of my macaroni portraits for my school projects ever made the whole world laugh and weep altogether. In this award winning masterpiece, Oscar Schindler played by Liam Neeson uses his immense wealth to buy Jews from the Nazis and save them from being placed into concentration camps. What originally starts off as a way to get cheap labor turns into more of an ark (The original novel was actually named Schindler’s Ark) and saves countless lives, allowing for family lines to survive and live on past Hitler’s tyranny.
A man wrongfully convicted. A prison that has all the characteristics of hell on earth. Morgan Freeman’s delicious narration. There is almost no better formula for a devastatingly wonderful film. This is definitely one of those movies where you have to wait till the end to get the happy feels, but if you can take the two and a half hours of grief that our protagonists endure, you’ll be pumping your fist in victory when the credits roll. Also, did we mention Morgan Freeman narrates in it?
Schindler’s List and Shawshank are incredible films, but their message stays inherently miserable until the end. With The Breakfast Club there are hard times to be sure, but there are also moments of victory, sticking it to the man, and overcoming all of life’s obstacles. Not only that, but everyone can relate to one of the characters. We have a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, all with their own hopes and dreams. What begins as what should be just a boring day in detention ends up as a journey into exploring the teens’ fears and opinions of themselves and others. And by the time you see that fist rise into the air, you’ll know I’m right. Sooo Don’t you, forget about me…. Don’t don’t don’t don’t!