“The Drop” – new wave of American-European film

Having recently watched this movie I could not contain myself from writing this post about it – that’s how much I liked it. Coming from the director of another interesting Belgian film “Bullhead” Michaël R. Roskam, “The Drop” also signifies the tragic career end for James Gandolfini. Nevertheless, let’s get a little into the plot.

Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy), a shy bartender who works for his cousin Marv (Gandolfini), finds a pitbull puppy in a dumpster one day. Thus, he meets a lady – Nadya (Noomi Rapace), who is helping him to take care of the dog. Alongside that story, Bob and Marv have problems with the owners of the bar, Chechens, who are trying to get things straight about people constantly trying to rob them. A fella appears, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts), who not only claims to be the owner of the dog, but also seems to be Nadia former boyfriend AND has a eye for the money of the bar. That’s when we discover that Bob Saginowski is not a shy and silent as we think he is.

The film is an adaptation of a short story by Dennis Lehane called “Animal Rescue” and is beautifully adapted into film. For some people the dialogues and the way scenes are shot may seem a bit weird, as I learned from watching it with a friend of mine. Even if the movie seems peculiar in the beginning however, do finish it – I promise you it’ll be worth it in the end. It could be that my compliments towards it were born while watching the brilliance of two of my favorite actors, Hardy and Gandolfini, but having re-watched the film couple more times I realized it is pretty well done by itself. Many people won’t agree with me, but I put this film into the category of “dark comedy”. To see if you agree or disagree, watch the film and see for yourself – it will be worth every minute spent.

X-Men: Days of The Future Past and How I Feel About It

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Being a fan (though not a huge one) of X-Men film sequence, there was no way I could skip X-Men: Days of The Future Past. Being a movie geek and hearing all the buzz being created around the film, there was no way I wouldn’t sit down and write a review of it, especially after so many people praised this movie so much. I personally have quite mixed feelings about it, so I decided to sort them out in this post.

Don’t get me wrong, there many things about this movie that make it great. First of all, I was very happy to know that Brian Singer finally returned into director’s seat for the X-Men series film. The last movie Brian directed for the franchise was X2: X-Men United, which by the way still is my personal favorite of the whole film series. Also, this was probably Hugh Jackman’s best Wolverine performance ever since that movie as well. Hugh is jacked as never, alive and kicking, even though he get’s most of the screen time as usual you don’t get tired of seeing him fight bad guys and raging out.

The performances of both James McAvoy (young Xavier) and Jennifer Lawrence (Raven) also deserve a special notion. I’m not sure how genuine were all the tricks that Lawrence had to do in the film (meaning how much of the jumping she did herself (my guess would be not much, since she such a big fan of pizza)), but acting of those two was definitely at the top, making the characters more believable. I’m not a big time comics fan, in fact I’m not one at all, but from from my perspective almost all of the characters present in the film were quite well developed.

A strong character, surely noted by everybody was Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters). Peters managed to put life in this alive and charismatic character, which was supplemented by a great Magneto escape scene, which was the character’s culmination in this film. Speaking of CGI, it was great throughout the whole movie – not too much and always mixed with live-action scenes.

Now, I want to talk about things I wasn’t too thrilled about. First of all, my main complaint about this film is Charles Xavier being alive again without any explanation. Let’s not forget, that this film is not a sequel to the film X-Men: First Class, but it is also the continuation of original film trilogy, that ended with X-Men: The Last Stand, where Professor X dies from the hands of Jean Grey. The return of old Xavier ( played by Patrick Stewart) in Days of the Future Past was never explained to us, but I guess it’s really hard to keep everything in mind when creating a plot so complicated. Also, HOW DID HE BECOME BALD? Professor’s paralyzed legs were explained in First Class, but never the baldness and personally, that a detail I’m dying to know about. Hopefully X-Men: Apocalypse, the next movie of the franchise planned for 2016, will clear out that part a bit more.

Another thing I didn’t like so much were many notable characters that had their presence in the film, but were given way too little screen time. I’m talking about Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy) and of course older versions of Professor X and Magneto. Despite I’m not happy with the amount of screen time they got, I can easily explain this director’s move with the fact that these characters were shown a lot in previous films of the franchise and now it is time for the new actors to take over. From the new characters, I think Quicksilver should have played a bigger role in the whole operation and it seems a bit far fetched that they let him go after he releases Magneto (Michael Fassbender) from the Pentagon prison – yeah he’s a kid, but wouldn’t he be just a little bit useful for the rest of the film too, considering the do-or-die situation?

The last thing that captured my mind is actually quite and important one, and it is the persona of Bolivar Trask. Portrayed beautifully by Peter Dinklage, this character still leaves a lot to ask about and I personally think he is the most undeveloped character of the film. That has nothing to do with Mr. Dinklage’s work, who I think could play Kobe Bryant and still be persuasive, but rather with the script. Yes, he is the main protagonist of the film, but why does he hate mutants so much he wants to destroy them all? What is his story? William Stryker had a wonderfully explained background, but Trask – we know basically nothing about him. Again, maybe the next film will clear this out a bit more.

So there you have it, I lay down all the positive and negative parts about this film I could see and it’s up to you to decide what you think of it. All I can say is that if you’re a fan of X-Men film series, this movie is definitely worth spending your precious time for, but it can also be very entertaining if you know nothing about X-Men universe whatsoever, so go ahead and watch it.

 

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God(zilla) Be With Us

Alrighty, I wanna start this blog with making a short review on a movie I watched recently and that has been on everybody’s mind for quite a while now. Of course, I’m talking about Godzilla, the biggest opening of 2014 ($211.588.384 box office as of 05.20.2014). Honestly, I don’t even know where to start when speaking of this movie as I have pretty mixed feelings about it.
One of the main reasons I wanted to see this movie was the participation of Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo). Trailer of Godzilla completely mislead me in that way, making it look like the actor is a huge part of the film. Really, if you only wanna watch this movie because of Bryan Cranston, don’t even bother – his character dies after like 17 minutes of the film. REALLY? But hold on, compared to this, the role of Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) seems like a spit in the face – I don’t think she makes it past 6 minutes. Wow. Apparently the budget of $160 million was spent almost entirely on special effects. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any major complaints about acting in this film just because the main roles aren’t played by famous actors. Only Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai), who constantly looks confused and lost is making me a bit sad. Seriously, you see this?
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What else? I can say the movie was OK overall, I mean the special effects kicked ass and I jumped from my seat every time Godzilla was roaring. However, it did seem a bit slow and I hated the fact they made Godzilla invincible. I mean, he got pretty battered from fighting other monsters (of course he smashes them), then a building twice his size falls on him, but in the end he still walks away in the sea, gracefully as never. From the latest news, I guess I can understand why they didn’t want to kill him – they’re making a sequel (slot machine sound). All I can say is I hope the next movie will not only be great in terms of special effects, but will also be more dynamic and contain at least one famous actor who doesn’t die after 20 minutes of the movie. That’s right, when I pay money for a big budget movie like that, I expect to see some familiar faces!

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