Tag Archives: Frank Grillo

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_Solider-PosterWe’re talking about a hero with superhuman powers and a weapon with the ability to pinpoint villains via satellites capable of reading DNA and identifying a propensity to attack. It’s a downright outrageous scenario, but, dare I say, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” still feels like one of the most grounded Marvel movies out there.

After the destruction in New York in “The Avengers,” Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is attempting to lay low to a degree in Washington, D.C., by continuing to try to acclimate himself to the modern world while lending a hand at S.H.I.E.L.D. when necessary. However, when Steve comes to learn of an initiative to wipe out terrorists via enormous helicarriers that can detect evildoers before they even strike, his faith in the organization waivers. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) himself has cause to believe that something isn’t quite right at S.H.I.E.L.D., it falls on Captain America to figure out who to trust so that the technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

First and foremost, Evans is just an absolute natural as Steve Rogers/Captain America. There is a cringe worthy throwback to skinny Steve, but otherwise, Evans sells him as an exceptionally capable, believable and thoughtful hero with an honest heart. Whether you’ve seen “Captain America: The First Avenger” or not, in “The Winter Solider,” Captain America experiences an arc that rocks the power to resonate regardless of how many times you’ve seen him in action.

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Review: Disconnect

Disconnect-PosterWith a handful of weighty storylines, “Disconnect” can be a lot to digest, but thanks to impeccable transitions, well-calculated story overlap, and a congealing tone, the film doesn’t feel like a sampling of stories, rather a look inside a well-developed world.

“Disconnect” highlights three scenarios, all with connectivity at the core. Kyle (Max Thieriot) is an 18-year-old kid making money by performing on an adult-only website. When journalist Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) stumbles upon his page, she sees his unique story as the ideal expose. Jason (Jason Dixon) and his buddy Frye (Aviad Bernstein) are your typical high school kids, honoring the social ladder and addicted to Facebook. The pair gets a kick out of bullying class loner, Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo), by creating a fake profile and convincing Ben that a girl has a crush on him. Then there’s Cindy and Derek (Paula Patton and Alexander Skarsgård), a couple targeted by an identity thief eager to exploit their passwords, bank accounts, and deepest secrets.

Director Henry Alex Rubin doesn’t waste a second, pulling you right in using a single shot to follow Kyle through his home. The place is packed with kids who seem fairly typical and in good spirits, but then comes the reveal – the building is actually a teen-driven online porn operation. But still, Kyle clearly feels good about his work and it’s no wonder; he’s particularly nice to look at and quite the charmer. While you’re remorsefully admiring Kyle for being the best of the best, when Nina steps in to offer him a way out, you’re presented with a surprisingly conflicting scenario. Clearly the right thing to do is to help Kyle live a more noble life, but he’s happy and really is being taken care of by his boss. There are glimmers that suggest Kyle isn’t the brightest of the bunch and every now and then Thieriot loses his charm and feels more like a threat, but the chemistry between him and Riseborough is powerful enough throughout that their scenario forces you to juggle all the various potential resolutions at once, hoping both can wind up having what they want while also knowing it’s just not possible.

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Review: The Grey

Liam Neeson and director Joe Carnahan are back together again, but this time around, they’re working with material that’s far less fun than The A-Team. But less fun doesn’t make The Grey a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Rather than turn The Grey into an utterly unrealistic survival adventure story, we get something far darker and, while it still has those handful of moments that make you think twice, it completely sells the severity of the situation.

Neeson’s Ottway works for a petroleum company in the icy tundra of Alaska. Amidst the other ex-cons, fugitives and “men unfit for mankind,” Ottway’s job is to keep them safe by shooting down invading wolves. When it’s time to return to society, Ottway and a number of his colleagues board a plane to Anchorage. Along the way, turbulent weather takes hold and the plane comes crashing down in the middle of nowhere – actually, in the middle of wolf territory.

The few survivors are thankful to be alive, but soon come to the harsh realization that they’re being hunted. With no food and few supplies, the group has to band together to keep each other safe from the wolves who look to viciously pick them off one-by-one.

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Review: Warrior

It’s tough for a sports movie to keep out of cliché territory. No matter what, if the main player pulls through and wins big, you can’t help but to mumble, “Yeah, right.” While Warrior isn’t devoid of that concept as it’s almost intrinsic to the genre, the piece achieves an exceptional degree of realism. Yes, The Fighter is the one that’s based on the true story, but between the two, Warrior not only feels more authentic, but it’s a slightly more enjoyable watch, too.

After 14 years, Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) heads home to what’s left of his broken family. A former star wrestler, Tommy decides to enter Sparta, a tournament described as the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts fighting. Incapable of putting their tumultuous past behind them, Tommy asks his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), proudly sober 1,000 days, to train him again, but only under the condition that Paddy keep the relationship business only and never touch on Tommy’s experience living with his now deceased mother or his time in the Marines.

Meanwhile, Tommy’s estranged brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), is a family man and high school teacher. While he loves his job and students, teaching physics just isn’t bringing in enough to support his wife (Jennifer Morrison) and two little girls, so Brendan resorts to an old skill to make some extra cash, MMA. When the school principal (Kevin Dunn) finds out about Brendan’s moonlighting, he deems the behavior unacceptable, reports Brendan to the superintendent who suspends him without pay. Now that fighting is his only way to keep his family afloat, Brendan turns to an old trainer buddy, Frank (Frank Grillo), who agrees to lend a hand and help get Brendan back in fighting form. However, when Frank’s #1 fighter suffers an injury, he needs to send a replacement to Sparta and, after a bit of pleading, decides to give Brendan a shot.

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