Tag Archives: Joel Edgerton

Review: The Great Gatsby

The-Great-Gatsby-PosterBaz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is brimming with stellar components – it’s just too bad they never really come together.

Like the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, “The Great Gatsby” is told from the perspective of Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway. He comes to New York City to work as a bonds salesman and settles down in a little cottage on Long Island right across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Nick doesn’t fit into the ritzy West Egg lifestyle, but soon enough he’s tagging along with Tom to drink it up with his mistress Myrtle (Isla Fisher) and her friends, and attending the hottest parties in town – the ones held at his neighbor’s home, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The film’s excellent performances, booming music selection, and mesmerizing visuals all work wonders on their own, but do little to support or enhance one another, ultimately making storytelling feel secondary to the spectacle.

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Interview: Director and Cast Talk Controversy, Courage & Torture

Zero-Dark-Thirty-Main-ImageWho’s ready to take on a ton of pressure? Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal certainly must have been. Not only did Bigelow and Boal have to follow-up their Academy Award-winning work in The Hurt Locker, but the pair chose the most challenging material to do it with – the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Forget all the required research, possible political scrutiny and delicacy of the material; making the project even more demanding, bin Laden was actually killed just a short while before Boal completed his script detailing the failed hunt for bin Laden in the Toro Bora mountain range.

While participating in a press conference in New York City, Bigelow recalls, “While Mark was working on the screenplay, actually quite far along in the screenplay, May 1, 2011 happened and we realized, after some soul searching, that it was going to be a little difficult to make a movie about the failed hunt for Osama bin Laden when the whole world knew that he had been killed.” And so the plan changed and Boal refocused his script on the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad – the raid that ultimately resulted in his death.

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Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Zero-Dark-Thirty-PosterUsing his experience with an American bomb squad to develop a fictitious story for “The Hurt Locker” is one thing, but writer Mark Boal’s decision to tackle the death of Osama bin Laden takes journalistic moviemaking to another level, one that comes with an immense amount of societal and ethical pressure, on top of the challenge of just making a good movie. But it’s a good thing Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow were the pair to take on that challenge because it’s highly unlikely any other duo could have pulled it off quite like them.

“Zero Dark Thirty” focuses on Jessica Chastain’s Maya, a top-notch CIA analyst sent to Pakistan to join a team tasked with tracking down high-ranking members of Al Qaida, with an ultimate goal of taking out Osama bin Laden. At first, Maya doesn’t take to the CIA Black Site’s brutal interrogation tactics, but as the years go on and colleagues lose their jobs and, in some cases, their lives, Maya’s determination peaks and she does whatever it takes to gather solid intel.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is a heavy-duty piece and Bigelow wastes no time putting the audience in the appropriate headspace. The film kicks off with a montage of 9/11 phone calls playing over black and the sequence is cut perfectly, rousing the heartache of that day through a sense of hysteria, but also by giving certain audio clips time to breathe, establishing a personal connection. By the time the film hits the “2 Years Later” title card, your heart is already pounding through your chest.

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Review: The Thing

When you’re trying to live up to the standards, or perhaps exceed those set by John Carpenter’s The Thing, you’ve got your work cut out for you. While Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s version offers a nice thrill, it doesn’t come close to, well, replicating the elements that made Carpenter’s piece iconic.

It’s 1982 in Antarctica. A team of Norwegian scientists travel across the snowy tundra trying to track a mysterious signal. Upon pinpointing the position of the transmission, their vehicle plummets into a massive abyss and the group uncovers something out of this world.

In comes Dr. Sander Halversen (Ulrich Thomsen). With his trusty assistant, Adam (Eric Christian Olsen), and a newly recruited paleontologist, Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), by his side, he travels to the location to examine the specimen, some sort of creature encased in the ice. With the help of the on-site Norwegian scientists, they dig it up and bring it back to the campsite where Sander takes a tissue sample confirming they have indeed made a monumental discovery. While the group celebrates their newfound fame, the ice thaws and the creature escapes.

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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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SDCC 2011: All Good Things Must Come To An End … With A Giveaway!

I can’t believe it, but this is officially it; my coverage of San Diego Comic Con 2011 has come to a close. For five incredibly long days, the experience went by in a flash. The action was non-stop from the moment I touched down in San Diego and while it was extremely exhausting and probably one of the most trying working experiences I’ve ever gone through, it was beyond worth it.

So, what’d you think? Did you like my coverage choices? Were the formats I chose to report in effective? Do let me know because I’m thrilled to say, it looks as though I’ll be returning to Comic Con next year!

I do know I learned quite a few things for myself while out west. First off, I need to pack more food than a box of granola bars, or at least make time to pick up some items at a local supermarket. Between running around collecting coverage and then writing it up, there’s little to no time to grab a bite. Second, if I want to cover a panel, I’ve either got to get on line at about 5am or hunt down a press pass. I arrived for The Walking Dead panel over three hours early and the line to get into Ballroom 20 was already about 10,000 people long!

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SDCC 2011: Friday Wrap Up And Photos

That’s that for Friday at San Diego Comic Con and I’m back at home base, well, the hotel. Today was a particularly busy one as I got a taste of exactly how long those lines for Hall H and Ballroom 20 can get. I thought I was jumping the gun by showing up three hours early for the 11:15am panel for The Walking Dead, but apparently about 10,000 people had the exact same idea, as the line stretched from the convention hall all the way down to the bay. Lucky for me, I was able to work some press related magic and get a seat, but for those other 10,000 people, they supposedly didn’t have a shot of getting in for another three panels.

Anyway, not only did I catch all of The Walking Dead, but a bit of the Torchwood: Miracle Day panel, too. Sure, I don’t watch Torchwood and had little to no clue of what the cast was talking about, but everyone seemed to be having a blast, especially the show’s stars, John Barrowman and Eve Myles. After that one wrapped Frank Darabont and the gang took the stage on behalf of The Walking Dead. The panel was packed with interesting information, but the highlight was definitely getting to see the season two trailer not once, but two times.

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