Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Cranston’

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Split (2017), Kubo & The Two Strings (2016), The Nice Guys (2016), The Infiltrator (2016), The Witch (2016)

February 1, 2017

The list of movies I’ve seen and haven’t reviewed is starting to pile up, so I’m just gonna post some quick ones to wipe my slate clean.

Split (2017) – This was a different movie experience for me. While I was waiting in line at the concession stand one of the guys working there said something to another customer that he thought was innocent but it totally spoiled Split for me and it completely changed how I viewed the film. Rather than going in with no expectations other than that M. Knight Shyamalan was almost certainly going to throw us his trademark curveball, I went in with a good idea what that “twist” was going to be and I honestly can’t imagine how much it would have changed my experience if I didn’t have an idea where the story was headed the whole time. Still, even with that massive spoiler, I found Split to be very entertaining. James McAvoy does phenomenal work as Kevin, the antagonist that suffers from multiple personalities and kidnaps three young girls. The film is tense and scary, but still manages to provide laughs despite the incredibly dark subject matter. Along with The Visit in 2015, it seems as though Shyamalan has finally righted the ship after putting out a string of films that are among the worst of the past decade. Split was very enjoyable, despite the annoying spoiler, and I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys suspense thrillers.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Nice Guys (2016) – This was one of the most surprising and entertaining 2016 films I’ve seen. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as scummy P.I. types in the 1970s that team up together to track down a missing girl related to a murder surrounding a porn film. The two actors have great chemistry together and Gosling, in particular, is fantastic playing against type as a bumbling idiot and provides a number of laughs. The real star of the film is Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s 13 year old daughter and she can’t help but immerse herself in the case and shows a maturity level far beyond her age – she’s the heart and soul of a film where the two leads are morally challenged. With few notable credits to her name before this movie, it’s safe to say Angourie will be getting a lot of calls now and the next step is playing Betty Brant in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. To date, The Nice Guys rates as the best comedy of 2016 and one of my favorite films of the year.

7.5/10 (Highly Enjoyable/Must See)

Kubo and The Two Strings (2016) – This was an entertaining and funny animated adventure that finds a young boy on a mystical journey while trying to avoid his mother’s evil family. The animation is gorgeous and there are memorable characters, but Kubo doesn’t quite reach special levels of awesome. Still, a fun film that is definitely recommended for families.

6/10 (Recommended)

The Infiltrator (2016) – Bryan Cranston crushes another role, this time as a U.S. Customs officer that goes undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. It was fun seeing Cranston play it straight and then get grimy when he went undercover. Cranston has had a couple of low profile roles the last few years, but did some great work in the movies, even getting nominated for his work in Trumbo. While that might have been the better role, The Infiltrator was a lot more fun to watch.

6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

The Witch (2016) – This horror movie from early 2016 got a lot of favorable reviews, but I struggled through it. The pacing was a really slow burn and the pay off wasn’t satisfying enough to justify it. I thought it was kind of confusing and not all that scary, but I didn’t hate it either – there was definitely some solid suspense going on. Anya Taylor-Joy was fun to watch in the lead role and she seems to be carving out a genre niche. Plus, the idea of Black Phillip was pretty cool. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this movie unless you’re a horror fan, and even then, prepare for a slow, not incredibly interesting or particularly scary movie.

4.5/10 (Forgettable/Watchable)

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My Top 5 Actors and Actresses in 2016

November 18, 2016

I just finished watching Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston and it inspired me to think of my favorite actors of the current film era. This list in no way reflects a life time of work – so legends like Pacino, Nicholson, and De Niro are notably absent – it is simply a list of the actors or actresses I’d most like to see in a movie if it came out tomorrow:

1. Leonardo DiCaprio
2. Christian Bale
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
4. Daniel Day-Lewis
5. Bryan Cranston

Comments: Leo has been the most consistently awesome actor of the past 15 years. The Wolf Of Wall Street, Django Unchained, Inception, and The Departed were all my favorite films of their respective release years – and only The Wolf Of Wall Street represents one of his five total Oscar nominations. Dude is crushing. Bale was a great Bruce Wayne (and a good Batman) but he’s on this list for his work in The Fighter, American Hustle, The Big Short, and American Psycho. Cumberbatch has leaped up on my list because of his brillaint work as Sherlock Holmes and his Oscar nominated performance in The Imitation Game. Plus, he was perfect casting for Marvel’s Doctor Strange, giving an unheralded superhero an extra level of credibility. Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t always star in movies, but when he does, he usually gets nominated for Best Actor and then he usually wins – he’s the only actor in history to win Best Actor three times. Cranston’s peformance in “Breaking Bad” is one of the best you will ever see. He’s just now establishing himself as a big name in the movies, getting an Oscar nomination in his first major starring role in 2015 for Trumbo. I haven’t seen The Infiltrator yet, but I’m sure he’s great in it and I suspect he’s going to be one of the most consistent actors in the next 5-10 years.

Honorable Mentions: Tom Hardy, Denzel Washington, Michael Fassbender, Jake Gyllenhall, Ryan Gosling, Idris Elba, Eddie Redmayne, Christoph Waltz

1. Jennifer Lawrence
2. Amy Adams
3. Meryl Streep
4. Kate Winslet
5. Scarlett Johansson

Comments: Jennifer Lawrence was basically unknown in 2010 when Winter’s Bone came out and garnered her first Best Actress nomination. She’s been nominated for an acting Oscar in four of the last six years, including a Best Actress win for Silver Linings Playbook, and has starred in the ultra successful Hunger Games franchise, establishing herself as the most talented and most successful young actress in the world. Adams has 5 acting nominations since 2006 and her performance in Enchanted was far better than that movie deserved. It’s highly likely that she will be nominated for this year’s Arrival as well. Not much to be said about Meryl Streep. She’s the GOAT. 15 acting nominations in her career – and only one win (a crime!). Kate Winslet has become this generation’s Meryl Streep. None of her movies really jump out at you as great, but her work in them is undeniably phenomenal. She has 7 acting nominations since 1996, but only one win (The Reader). Scarlett Johansson has quietly put together a very impressive and largely overlooked resume. Maybe it’s her overwhelming beauty or the fact she’s played an Avenger five times in the past six years, but Scarlett has been giving great performances since Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn’t There in the early 2000s. She’s still searching for her first Oscar nomination.

Honorable Mentions: Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Marion Cotillard, Natalie Portman

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Madagascar 3 (2012)

June 30, 2012

Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short
Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath (Madagascar, Madagascar 2, Megamind)

Quick Thoughts: I skipped the first two installments in this series but was still able to jump right in with this story and felt like I already knew who these characters were. The story find the animals wishing to return to the Central Park zoo after a brief stay in Africa, but I in their attempt to return home they find themselves stuck on a train with a traveling circus and a new cast of animals to share the limelight with. Martin Short and Frances McDormand are perfectly cast in their new roles, both providing plenty of comedy.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Not exactly something I’d want to own and watch repeatedly, but I’ve clearly overlooked its predecessors.
Sequel Potential: These movies keep doing well enough to warrant further sequels but at some point it’s going to be difficult to to continue moving this story forward. Spin offs might be the way to go as the penguins already have their own T.V. show.
Oscar Potential: A notch below Pixar’s Brave, which means it should probably whiff on a Best Animated Feature nomination.
Nudity: N/A
Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 76% Audience: 81%
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
Recommendation: A solid family film that is geared toward the kids, but still enjoyable for adults, and a pretty remarkable film for a third installment.