Tag Archives: movie

Chronicle Review

Chronicle (2012)

Directed by Josh Trank

Starring Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell

Super

By Mason Manuel

First-entry superhero movies of today have the troublesome burden of dishing out an origin story while still fichronnding time for the hero to have a new adventure of their own. While this is all well and good in moderation, the protagonist is usually someone hard to step into the shoes of. We are not aliens from Krypton, victims of radioactive spider bites, or chosen bearers of mystical rings. For the most part, we are just regular people. So the interesting and scary question Chronicle tries to answer is, how would someone use superpowers if they were someone like… you? The screenplay written by Max Landis and directed by Josh Trank takes a fascinating dive into the human character of three very different boys when they are suddenly given the reigns of an unstoppable power. Continue reading Chronicle Review

Advertisements

Spectre Review

Spectre (2015)

Directed by Sam Mendes

Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, and Christoph Waltz

spectre

A Ghost of Its Former Self

            When Skyfall was finally released in 2012, many Bond fans including myself were blown away. Not only did the action thriller continue to show a more raw and vulnerable spy than ever before, but it had been directed by a man who had barely shot an action scene in his life. I stand by my statement at the time, naming Skyfall the best Bond film only behind From Russia with Love. With that in mind, Spectre had a great deal to live up to. Not only was it following one of the best entries in the franchise but it had to move on from Bond’s interesting relationship with Judi Dench’s M. Unfortunately, Spectre does not overcome its grand predecessor, and while certainly fun, it leaves much to be desired. Continue reading Spectre Review

The Walk Review

The Walk (2015)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon

walk 2

High Flier

I like to believe that at some part of every persons’ life, they have their moment. That day, hour, minute, or split second that changes their life forever. The sad thing about these moments? They don’t linger. It’s often a one and done and if you didn’t have your wits about you when it happens then you could have possibly just missed the greatest moment of your life. Capturing the wonder of such an event on screen is no easy task, and yet I am pleased to say that director Robert Zemeckis has succeeded in doing so with flying covers. The Walk is a visceral experience that, despite some clunky storytelling and acting, legitimately makes you feel 110 stories high. Continue reading The Walk Review

Mercy: The Story of the Artist Review

mercy

A Bloody Good Time

What a lady killer. Or a killer lady. Or a … something. Either way, Mercy Noble is the coolest female horror protagonist to walk the screen since the first Scream came out. Kirsten Wight portrays your average run of the mill millennial killer to perfection with deadpan eyes that hint at something darker behind them. Her terrific performance, mixed with an impressively engaging story for a short makes Mercy one of the best Indie horror films this year. Continue reading Mercy: The Story of the Artist Review

Bridge of Spies Review

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan

Can’t Bridge the Plot Lines Gap

By Mason Manuel

When I heard the news that Spielberg would be teaming up with Tom Hanks to bring a new historical drama to the screen, I was all but frothing at the mouth in excitement. Saving Private Ryan is in my opinion the greatest war film ever made and the thought of being given a new one, this time focusing on the Cold War as opposed to WWII wad a dream bridgecome true. Perhaps because of this, I walked out of the theatre slightly disappointed. While my hype levels were certainly too high to be met, the worst thing is that Bridge of Spies has so much potential and never fully capitalizes on it. Continue reading Bridge of Spies Review

Sicario Review

Sicario (2015)

Directed by Denis Villenevue

Starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin

  Not a Hit…Man

                                                                         By Mason Manuelblunt 3

            Are my puns getting tiresome? If you have to ask I guess… yeah. You know what else is getting tiresome? Underdeveloped female characters. Especially when they have so much potential by being played by talented actresses. Unfortunately this plus some drastic pacing issues makes mediocrity of what would otherwise be a rather entertaining movie. Continue reading Sicario Review

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) Review

Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Starring: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson

Music of the Heart

By Mason Manuel

Based on the hit Broadway play, Phantom of the Opera has a lot to live up to in terms of its potential and fan base. Placed tentatively in the hands of Joel p1Schumacher and a relatively unknown (at the time) cast, the film could easily be called to coin toss picture of 2004. But despite all the odds working against it… Phantom is a faithful adaptation that does the play justice and can sit as both the director’s and the performers’ masterpiece. If you have trouble reading something that says Joel Shumacher created a masterpiece, please, allow me to explain. Continue reading The Phantom of the Opera (2004) Review

Black Mass Review

Black Mass (2015)

Directed by Scott Cooperbt1

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.bt2

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.

black final