Tag Archives: Richard Gere

[Oscars 2013] – Predicting The Nominations

9 Jan

An actual Oscar statuette to be presented during the 79th Annual Academy Awards sits in a display case in Hollywood

I still have a few 2013 releases to catch up with, and I though I wanted to make my Oscar nominations predictions post having seen all of them, the nods are due early tomorrow morning so I’ll have to post them now.

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[Review] – Arbitrage

2 Oct

Title: Arbitrage
Year: 2012
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Writer: Nicholas Jarecki
Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker
MPAA Rating: R, language, brief violent images and drug use
Runtime: 107 min
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 73

I’ve been looking forward to watching Arbitrage for quite some time. The film, which premiered at Sundance this year, had gotten some really neat reviews and the buzz surrounding Richard Gere‘s lead performance was pretty loud, many predicting an Oscar nod for the never-nominated actor. Well, I’ve just seen the film and let me tell you something: it’s very, very good. And the fact that it’s very, very good is pretty much all about the cast which is tremendous and Mr. Gere does indeed give a superb performance as Robert Miller, a hedge-fund magnate in New York.

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[Trailer] – Arbitrage

26 Jun

Watch the first trailer for Arbitrage, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, after the cut.

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The Double

12 Dec

Title: The Double
Year: 2011
Director: Michael Brandt
Writers: Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
Starring: Richard Gere, Topher Grace, Michael Sheen, Odette Yustman, Stephen Moyer, Stana Katic
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images and language
Runtime: 98 min
Major Awards: –
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 14%

The Double to me was the kind of film that, had it been done right, could have actually made for a rather entertaining time at the movies, but the fact was that it was just really badly made, the characters were written as if by following a step-by-step out of a Screenwriting for Dummies handbook, and any discernible motivation for their actions in the film was apparently lost in the process, and any time it seemed as though this one would maybe touch upon some complex issue and give the film some texture it went into generic mode, settling for really dumb twists and turns you could see coming from a mile away and moments made to feel dangerous that you couldn’t really care for.

That’s kind of the general reaction I had to this film, that I just didn’t really care for it or any of its characters, not to mention that I kind of got the sense that it was the reaction the film had to itself. When it shares its big twists with us it does so quite boringly and turns into a rather silly film concerned with trying to make Richard Gere seem like a dark and complex character and Topher Grace looked shocked about learning information we had already been given. And no disrespect to those two actors since I think they’re both really fine players when given the proper material, and Mr. Gere certainly tries his best here, but neither of them really has the charisma to pick up the load in this one and make it work despite the predictable genre rhythms it throws at us, failing at making us believe it’s stuff we haven’t seen before.

The title of the film tells you what it’s about, a double agent, that’s the big reveal I mentioned the film throws at you with a kind of shrug at the end of its first act, and a reveal that gives itself away if you spend a couple of minutes on YouTube watching the trailer. It’s obviously still neat to see Mr. Gere playing lead in a spy movie, as Paul, a retired CIA agent called back to duty after the Soviet assassin he had been after for most of his career starts killing again. He’s paired with Ben, a young FBI agent who’s plenty talented, is well-versed on the case but hasn’t been out in the field all that much. And like I said, Mr. Gere really tries his very best here, and there are some moments that he’s just acting so well that you kind of start getting into it, but then the plot comes back into gear again and you lose that interest just as fast.

If all of this had been milked for all its good parts a decent enough flick could have maybe emerged from it, but, as it stands, The Double is just nothing worth singling out, the thrills aren’t thrilling, it’s certainly not a smart kind of espionage thriller, and all of the twists and characters it introduces don’t work because instead of feeling as natural components of the story we’re being told they just seem, like I said, like what a basic Screenplay for Dummies book would tell you to insert at that point in the film. And that’s kind of what it feels like, like little exercises in basic screenwriting techniques by Michael Brandt (who also directed) and Derek Haas, practicing before making the actual film, which is surprising considering these are the two that wrote the great remake of 3:10 to Yuma four years ago.

As the story goes along the film depends a lot on the relationship between Paul and Ben, with Mr. Gere being commanding as always and Mr. Grace falling short because of the crappy material. It just sucks because none of this is really worth our time, the characters never make us care about what happens to them, the twists are never great and they start piling up after a while in a rather unimpressive fashion. I’ll give it away because the film never once acted as though it cared and the trailer gave it away anyways: it happens that Paul and Cassius are one and the same, that’s the big reveal at the beginning of this film, and after that not-really-all-that-shocking shock is out of our bodies we get a tedious film of Mr. Gere trying to look grim in a relationship that has no real electricity with Mr. Grace, who of course starts suspecting his partner of what we already know he did.

There’s yet another “big” twist here that’s delivered at the very end of the movie and that’s quite dumb, but maybe even if it was dumb it would’ve been a cool note to end the film on, but the thing is that you’ll already have lost any little bit of interest in these characters and this story by that point, so you’ll go “oh, well look at that” leave the theater and forget about The Double the minute you’re out the door.

Grade: C

Brooklyn's Finest

7 Apr

Title: Brooklyn’s Finest
Year: 2009
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Michael C. Martin
Starring: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Vicent D’Onofrio, Ellen Barkin, Lili Taylor
MPAA Rating: R, bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language
Runtime: 132 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

Going into this one Ithought it would be kinda bad, coming out I was thinking to myself that not only was it okay, but it actually could’ve been really good. It could have been good because the performances are really decent and Antoine Fuqua delivers that grim tonality he knows how to achieve so well, it ended up being just okay because the script was too full of clichés and it ended up downgrading the whole film by a whole notch.

Fuqua knows how to paint conflicted officers of the law, and that’s the trio we are presented with here, three cops who aren’t bad guys like Denzel Washington was in Training Day, but who are conflicted and who live in such a dark world that they’ll just do whatever it takes, and they’ll meet each other somewhere along the line to less than stellar results.

Richard Gere here plays Eddie, a vet who’ll be retiring soon, he’s conflicted as shit. Don Cheadle is Tango, who’s undercover in the grim drug business of Brooklyn, so deep in fact, that he probably doesn’t know where the line is, and whether he’s crossed it. Ethan Hawke is the final cop, Sal, a narc who has huge trouble at home with a wife pregnant with twins, that will add up to the seven children they already have.

And then there’s the Wesley Snipes character, Chaz, he’s a drug dealer trying to go legit after spending time in the joint. He befriends the undercover cop Cheadle plays and the two tough guys develop a really strong bond. This is Mr. Snipes’ first role in a theatrically released film since Blade: Trinity back in ’04 and he’s quite good.

The acting is actually solid all around, and all four of these guys give tremendous dimension to their characters, Eddie’s trouble with alcohol is nicely acted by Gere even though he’s the weakest out of all characters, the scenes between Snipes and Cheadle are seriously good, and Hawke is spectacular as guy totally devoted to his wife and willing to do anything to give his family the life they deserve, his performances is the one I liked the most out of the bunch.

The level of sheer violence in this film is huge, blood is everywhere and the film doesn’t say sorry even once while it goes on that savage trip, in the ways I’ve described this film could have been just as good as Training Day, which was rather amazing, however, the script lets us down.

The violence is there, the acting is, as well, but what isn’t there is that, unlike Training Day, everything is more obvious, we know how things will most likely turn out, especially in the case of Gere’s character, in Training Day we were so deep into the conflicts of our characters because they were convincing conflicts set up amazingly by the writer, in this one the screenplay is nothing like that, everything is too obvious and the coincidences by which these characters meet don’t seem like fate but rather like necessities.

Grade: C