Tag Archives: Russell Crowe

[Review] – Les Misérables

8 Jan

Les Misérables

Title: Les Misérables
Year: 2012
Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: William Nicholson, based on the music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boubil, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tveit
MPAA Rating: PG-13, suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements
Runtime: 157 min
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Metacritic: 63

I remember when I first decided to start a blog to review films I vowed I’d try to see as many films from any given year I could, so that I could get a real overview of the whole year in film and not try not to skip those films which I knew were just disasters waiting to happen. I also vowed that I’d see at least one more film each year than I had seen the previous one. In 2010, my first year doing this, I saw 210 films, which I thought was a pretty good number. In 2011 I saw 256 releases from that year, upping the quota from the previous year by a whopping 46 films. That number, 256, always seemed pretty huge and I doubted I’d be able to pass it this year. Well, Les Misérables (though I’m seeing it in January) is the 256th 2012 release I’ve seen, and I still have a few more films to go, so I guess 2013 will be the real challenge.

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[Trailer] – Man Of Steel

11 Dec

Man Of Steel

The first full-length trailer for Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel has just been released and it looks absolutely epic. Watch it below.

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[Review] – The Man with the Iron Fists

11 Nov

Title: The Man with the Iron Fists
Year: 2012
Director: RZA
Writers: RZA and Eli Roth
Starring: RZA, Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, David Bautista, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Byron Mann
MPAA Rating: R, bloody violence, strong sexuality, language and brief drug use
Runtime: 95 min
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Metacritic: 54

Everything about The Man with the Iron Fists sounded just deliciously insane and just prime for my enjoyment. It’s the directorial debut of the RZA, the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan who most recently had an arc in Californication, he also co-wrote the film with Eli Roth which is a weird pairing that yet somehow makes a lot of sense to me. Then you find out that it’s actually a martial arts film set in 19th century China about a group of lone warriors who are forced to unite against a greater evil to save their village? I was sold.

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[Trailer] – Les Misérables

9 Nov

A full trailer for Les Misérables has just been released and, as one might imagine, it looks pretty damn epic.

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[Teaser] – Les Misérables

30 May

Yesterday some photos surfaced online, and now the marketing push gets even stronger with an actual teaser for Les Misérables, which you can watch after the cut.

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The Next Three Days

23 Nov

Title: The Next Three Days
Year:
2010
Director:
Paul Haggis
Writer:
Paul Haggis, based on the original film written by Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans
Starring:
Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, Jason Beghe, Liam Neeson
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence, drug material, language, some sexuality and thematic elements
Runtime:
122 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
7.2
Rotten Tomatoes:
41%

The Next Three Days premiered on Friday, and after its first weekend at the box office it’s set to stand as a seriously low-grosser for the usually bankable Russell Crowe, as it seems on point to make less than $7 million for its first three days, the less of any of his films since the horrible A Good Year, however, don’t let that be a sign of anything, because this one’s better than that one. The pacing may be a pit too slow but, for me, Mr. Crowe and his co-star Elizabeth Banks, who I’m a huge fan of, totally sold this one for me.

The pacing problem is one I think may throw off a lot of people from this film, and it’s because Paul Haggis, who had otherwise made the Oscar-winning Crash and the seriously good In the Valley of Elah, directed this one in a way that just tried too much to make us understand every single step of it, always taking too long to explain stuff to us to the point in which I felt like screaming “Alright, we get it!”, and, to be honest, this is a film in which even though explanations are given by the dozens, the events of it seem too hard to believe for the most part, not because the steps are wrong, but because I didn’t buy the main character. And considering the cast this one had lined up, I was expecting much more than the end result we got, which was a very okay film, but nothing like the stuff Mr. Haggis had delivered before that.

Mr. Crowe’s character, John, is a school teacher who’s wife is convicted for a crime she says she didn’t commit, and which he deeply believes she couldn’t have, and he then does everything he can to get her free. That’s the basic gist of it, and while there are times in which this one works, mostly because Mr. Crowe is a seriously good actor, there are also a lot of times in which we don’t buy an English professor doing all of this and all of sudden looking as though he did it for a living.

But that’s not really Mr. Crowe’s fault, his performance is still seriously solid. As is Ms. Banks’ as Lara, his wife who all evidence points was the one who did the crime and must now do the time. And she apparently must start doing the time soon enough, as she is set to be transferred to a state prison in three days, time in which John must find out how to free her from the prison she’s currently being held in. But yeah, the fact that an English teacher can do that in three days seems kind of implausible. The steps of the plan, as I said, are carefully explained, too carefully at times, making it seem like an instruction manual for people who will actually go ahead and try this out in real life, but for the most part they’re all quite interesting and everything, that’s not the issue, the issue is that I just can’t believe John Brennan doing this because Mr. Crowe just doesn’t feel too much like John Brennan considering what we have seen him do in other roles.

So that’s my thing with this film I guess, the fact that even though Mr. Crowe’s performance was quite good, it felt like the kind of performance that oozes this sort of broodiness and that when it explodes the action scenes that will follow will seem believable. As such, I didn’t believe the parts in which John seemed unknowing of what to do and desperate about his circumstance, I always knew that he was capable of everything, and that’s because Mr. Crowe just seems like that guy.

I know I have been going on and on about this, but that’s just because that’s all I left with once I finished watching the film, and I felt that this would have been a much more competent affair had it granted some more credibility to its lead character. This will also feel a bit too much like a feature length instructional how-to video on jailbreaks, but I don’t have as much beef with that, even though at times it drags along too much, but at least it’s interesting. This was, however, a remake from a French film, and not a Haggis original, so the writer-director’s awesomeness streak is technically still intact, and I’ll still be waiting impatiently for his next project.

Grade: B-

Robin Hood

17 Jul

Title: Robin Hood
Year: 2010
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Brian Helgeland, based on the story by himself, Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris
Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Kevin Durand, Mark Addy, William Hurt, Danny Huston, Max von Sydow
MPAA Rating: PG-13, violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content
Runtime: 140 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

In press junkets or interviews we heard time and time again that this Robin Hood was completely different from the ones we had seen before, that Russell Crowe had nothing to do with Sean Connery, that Cate Blanchett had nothing to do with Audrey Hepburn, and that, it turns out, was exactly right, this version of Robin Hood is unlike any version we’ve seen before, it’s a prequel, Robin Hood isn’t the folk hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor yet, we just see Robin lead an uprising, forming an army to fight off the French, which, as we were told in the trailers, is what will build his subsequent fame.

This is indeed action-packed, and there’s a helluva lot of CGI action sequences that look great, but I just think we should have seen the story we all know, when instead the movie ends and tells us that that was how the legend began, but seriously, we should get the legend and not the prologue to it, we know the legend, that’s how we fell in love with this character, this telling isn’t bad, it’s just not that great, Mr. Crowe gives it his best but that’s just not great enough, and as for Cate Blanchett who plays Maid Marion, well, firstly let me just state that, to me, Ms. Blanchett is one of the five greatest living actresses, but Marion isn’t a maid in this story, this is all set before that, and as such this is a completely different character, and because of that she’s played differently, and that threw me off, I loved the Maid Marion character from all the past films, this one I liked because it was played by Cate Blanchett, but that’s about it. When this film was still in the speculation stages the many names that were thrown around for this character included Scarlett Johansson, Emily Blunt, Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and Kate Winslet among others, Sienna Miller was actually cast at one point I believe, and from that all I can say is that actress-wise we would have always had a great Maid Marion, it’s just that without the “Maid” part of her title, I didn’t feel I knew her.

And there’s nothing bad with introducing characters in new ways, I just didn’t love what they did to them this time around, I mean, it’s extremely well-done, the action is shot really well and the violence is quite cool, we’ve come to expect that from most Scott/Crowe collaborations, but I will say that I would have probably liked the film more had it not been named Robin Hood, sure, naming it that gave them a whole lot of better marketing options, but it also gave the audience expectations, expectations that weren’t necessarily shattered, but rather, I would say, they were avoided, and you can’t do that when you have such a heavy name as your title.

The film is a bit too long, that’s also very true, but I didn’t mind that much, I just liked it that we were given one seriously beautifully photographed film and a very intelligent actor in the lead role, yes, I have my troubles with the film and I have listed them above, but they’re mostly troubles with what this film did to the Robin Hood name, but as a stand-alone outing, this one, for me, worked well, plus, there’s a scene in which Will Scarlett says to Little Jon that he should never go for the most beautiful girl but instead go for the more plain-looking one, he uses the exact same words Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind used when describing his theory to get girls, I thought that was a pretty genius nod to a previous film of this one’s lead actor.

Grade: B