Quick Hit: Heavy on the sappiness, implausible story lines, but decent acting that leads to a misogynistic conclusion.
(Couples Retreat, Hall Pass), and some make it about the “Grass is greener effect” (The Change-Up).
Some movies seem to have a mixed message, and The Longest Ride is one of those for me. It tells the story of a young bull rider, Luke Collins (played by Scott Eastwood) that meets a talented young art lover Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson of Tomorrowland fame). Their stories are intertwined with that of Ira Levinson (played by the always fun Alan Alda) and his wife Ruth. Because this is a Nicholas Sparks
Some problems I have are the fact that Alan Alda only seems to exist in order to serve the primary couple, the fact that the camera is so in love with Eastwood it seems to forget there are other characters, the inclusion of a cowboy villain who seems to be there just to check a box, the inclusion of FOUR rain scenes, that creepster seduction barn scene, and then the ending. Spoilers to follow!
Let’s talk about this ending here. Sophia gives up her dream of an art studio for Luke, leading to a discussion with Ira about sacrifice in relationships. This is all well and good. However, let’s dive a little deeper into this. Does Luke give up anything for Sophia? Nope – he rides the damn bull, then goes to see her. Does Ira give up anything for Ruth? Nothing like she gives up for him. Ira I excuse here, because obviously he gave her several chances to leave if she wanted to. However, Luke has no excuse. What happens if he dies in that last scene? How does that change the movie? We should all think about that – that basically, in this movie, the men can do what they want and the woman have to sacrifice for love.
Because of that ending, it only gets a C- from me.
For more on this movie, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: Masters of their craft continue to be so – need I say more?
where not a lot happens. How often can you say that? Based on a true story of insurance lawyer turned international negotiator, the premise seems incredible. But what could have been a dull forgotten story is instead portrayed in a thrilling manner that showcases the best talents of almost all those involved.
well as keeping the music to an absolute minimum at times, maintains an atmosphere of danger and suspense that most horror movies wish that they could approach. The scenes in East Berlin are tragic, with a deep bleakness that resonates within you, and your eyes latch onto the color emanating from a neon sign for hope of brightness.
Tom Hanks is also very good. Lots of other actors would have played up the role of Donovan by making him a larger than life character, but Hanks brings a good-natured earnestness that is inherently believable by simply acting down. You believe that he actually wants to help first defend Abel, and then to negotiate the trades for our American boys.
character. You can see how good he is in a thrilling beginning scene as he gets captured in his apartment. Standing there in very few clothes, he exudes an intelligence that shows that he knows so much more than any of the CIA agents. Yet, often times, he says more with his body language and his facial expressions than most other Oscar winners. Without him, Hanks performance would have been wasted, because we wouldn’t have loved and cared about this Russian spy.
Bridge of Spies is a great movie, but I don’t think it will be for everyone. Lots of those that have grown used to the modern blockbuster will be turned away, because this is a slow movie that turns up the tension with words. For me, it’s an “A-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: A movie that is easy to have mixed feelings about.
government. His writing is penetrated throughout with these themes (some other more successful adaptations of his work are Blade Runner and Minority Report). The film sells that, and sells it hard. Despite the lack of a great story, the mood and acting make it watchable.
The acting throughout is pretty good. Actually, scratch that. RDJ makes this film. In a time when most of us are used to seeing him as Tony Stark, it’s good to see an actor draw on his true life experiences as a past drug addict to portray the manic episodes that portray an intelligent addict. Without him, most of the film would be rather dull, despite the fact that Reeves plays a pretty good version of a beaten down man (isn’t that what he plays best?).
The standout in this film though is obviously the animation style (which I have held off until this point – anybody confused on the pictures?). Richard Linklater pioneered this with an animator, and it is called “interpolated rotoscoping” – in this case, with a digital assist. Basically, they take animators and trace over the original footage frame by frame. The technique lends a feeling of surreal to the movie. It’s hard to tell what is real, what is hallucination. Indeed, from the very first scene where Freck is trying to rid himself of the bugs, it’s clear that you aren’t watching a movie like ones you have seen before. The real winner for effects goes to the scramble suit. It perfectly captures Dick’s description, and must have been an animation nightmare. . Not only is this an impressive feat in its own right, but they somehow manage to keep Keanu recognizably Keanu throughout the scrambling. Kudos to the animation team here.
I don’t think this movie is for everyone, and even if you like it, you were probably in a time in your life where you wanted something like this. Watch it ten years later, and you might not anymore. So, since the movie was average overall, I give it a C+.
Check out more on this movie at IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"