Archive for July 6th, 2012

6th July
2012
written by Adam

Best friends Ben and Chon (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch), are the “legal” growers and proprietors of some of the world’s strongest marijuana. With the business sings Ben is able to contribute to peaceful and charitable causes; meanwhile, Chon, a former Iraq vet serves as the enforcer to keep the business safe. Between them, the two also share the love for one girl Ophelia, O (Blake Lively). When a Mexican drug cartel moves in on Ben and Chon and kidnaps O, all bets are off. As Lado (Benicio Del Toro), the evil henchmen, and ruthless drug lord, Elena (Salma Hayek), step up the pressure, Ben and Chon are voted least likely to bend or brake. But how to rescue O, how to stop the cartel, and what to do about crooked DEA agent Dennis (John Travolta) are questions that loom large over head. Based on the popular novel by Don Winslow and Directed by Oliver Stone, Savages starts strong and provides a merciless and gritty look at the evil associated with drug warfare from several angles, even in the face of kindness and charity. Plus, with an unconventional love story in the mix, the story gets a little thicker. Unfortunately, deviating from the book, an explanation to Lively’s character and motivations has been nixed which makes her role a bit thinner. Performances from the rest of the ensemble are all in great form with extra note going to Del Toro, nobody does creepy quite like Benicio, and man, is he skin crawling creepy! Sadly, for all of its action, adventure, acts of valor, and unrelenting classic Stone quality, it’s the last five minutes where Stone completely destroys the entire film. Pulling a similar gambit move as he did in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, everything that was so poignant loses all of it’s bite in what feels like a studio/test audience re-adaptation. For lack of a spine despite the rest of it’s interesting qualities I’d say you’re looking at a matinee, Savages is rated R.

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6th July
2012
written by Adam

Writer, Director, and Actor Woody Allen is up to his usual bag of tricks, this time exploring the particulars of love, romance, and fame while in Rome. Peering into the lives of several couples we meet newlyweds who’ve just moved to Rome, two Americans living abroad, an ordinary middle aged Italian couple, and an Italian and American who are engaged to be married. All stricken with challenges that will test their relationships, challenges such as prostitutes, straying movie stars, sexy best friends in town, and the relentless paparazzi; will the couples have what it takes to weather the storms they each face, or will they crash upon the rocks of a broken heart? Featuring a diverse all star cast including but not limited to Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page and Alison Pill we’re certainly given quite a bit to watch. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few lines and moments, we’re just not given a whole lot to laugh or chuckle about. It’s clear Allen is trying, and the jokes are there, they’re just not funny. Often, where dialogue feels like it should flow instead we’re given performances that feel more akin to cold reads or stiffness. But the film isn’t a total loss, Baldwin on the other hand does manage to charm with his timing and comedic sensibilities, and Penelope Cruz in a slinky red dress will certainly catch plenty of gawkers slack jawed. Really more of a rental when put up against Midnight in Paris, sorry Woody, try again. To Rome With Love is rated R.

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