Quick Hits : Joe, Tim’s Vermeer, and The Drop

Directed By – David Gordon Green
Starring – Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, and Adriene Mishler

I got a lot of flack for watching this film. Why? I got flack because it stars Nicolas Cage. Why do people hate him so much? The guy is amazing. Half the films he makes are so shit that I can’t even stand to watch the trailer but then the guy will turn in a brilliant performance that knocks you on your ass. Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, Matchstick Men, Adaptation, and now Joe, all fantastic films that are anchored by brilliant Nicolas Cage performances. The man is a working actor and work he does. Cage gives a pretty incredible performance as the title character Joe, an ex con who hires a teenager to help him with work. The teen is played by Tye Sheridan who is starring in yet another film where he befriends a man with questionable character. The reason for this befriendment is because the boy’s father, Wade, is pretty much a complete fucking scumbag. The guy had no redeemable qualities and Joe was there to save the boy. Gary Poulter plays Wade and gives a knockout performance despite never acting in a film before and living on the street. Green picked him off the sidewalks to play the role and while he died after the filming of the movie, his performance as Wade will live on forever.

The film is violent, dark, and unrelentingly depressing but also creates an atmosphere and real sense of feeling. It’s a great film made by a filmmaker who seems to be finding his niche again.

4/5

Directed By Penn and Teller
Starring – Tim Jenison

Holy hell did I enjoy this film. By the end I was almost ready to pick up my paint brush and start painting something. Tim Jenison invents TV broadcast equipment and is an all around smart as shit person. One day he decides that he’s going to try to paint a replica of a painting by one of the greatest painter of all time, Johannes Vermeer. A Vermeer is worth millions due to the fact that it is so photo realistic despite being painted almost 400 years ago. Tim, who is not a painter by any means, is going to try to paint a Vermeer solely with the help of a mirror and an ungodly amount of time and patience. There really isn’t much to analyse here. The guy is just fascinating to watch and I was surprised by how well Penn and Teller made this film. Teller filmed it and Penn narrated and I’m sure produced. Those guys are just too talented to exist anymore. It’s like not even fair.

The film is a joy to watch if you’re even slightly into painting and even if you’re not, it’s still a fucking blast. I had a huge smile on my face throughout the whole damn thing. It’s my favorite documentary of the year.

4.5/5

Directed by – Michaël R. Roskam
Starring – Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, and Ann Dowd

I’ve been waiting for this film for a long time. I’m a pretty big fan of Michaël R. Roskam’s Bullhead and own it on Blu Ray. When the trailer dropped and I saw that it was adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel I got even more excited. When I found out it has the last on screen appearance of James Gandolfini I marked my calender. The fact that some of my favorite European actors are in it as well certainly added to my anticipation. Well, consider the film a success but one that came with a few flaws. The acting in the film was top notch anchored by Hardy and Gandolfini. We seriously lost a serious talent in Gandolfini who was really coming into his own. It’s a shame we lost him. Hardy builds on his already stellar year with yet another deep and solid performance. I just had a few issues with the story arch and the fact that there are basically two stories to focus on that somehow intertwince by the films end. I enjoyed the film a lot, but the story just wasn’t as good as Lehane’s previous work such as Mystic River or Shutter Island. The camera work and acting however are top notch.

3.5/5

Film Review : Prince Avalanche (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.5
RT Score – 84%
VOD

I’m calling it right now. Paul Rudd is going to break through with an amazing acting performance in the next year or two because he was pretty fantastic in this. David Gordon Green directs this after having two monumental bombs in The Sitter and Your Highness. I haven’t seen his previous films but I enjoyed Pineapple Express enough to give this a watch and was pleasantly surprised. The film revolves around Rudd and Emile Hersch as two road workers painting lines and pasting reflectors on a stretch on roads leading in and out of the Texas wilderness. The film doesn’t really give us more than that story wise but the magic is in the visuals, music, and conversations that the two of them have. Both give very low key but enigmatic performances. Rudd plays a loner out to make money for his family at home. I understand that sentence didn’t make sense but that’s his character. Hersch plays the brother of Rudd’s girlfriend and is basically an idiot with a heart. The two play off each other very well and both deserve credit for their performances.

The film is a bit of a mystery though. It’s very odd in the way the two of them interact with the only other characters in the movie. Green usues some interesting techniques to film some of the conversations and you never really know if the two are meeting some off people during their job or if they’ve gone crazy from isolation and inhaling fumes. Green directs with a great sense of nature and incorporates a GREAT score by Explosions in the Sky. Overall the film worked for me and is a great subtle film to enjoy and kind of lose yourself in the wilderness with two very good actors.

3.5/5