Tag: Bradley Cooper

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

by on May.14, 2017, under Movie Reviews

guardians of the galaxy volume 2Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a blast, go see it. Let me just start with that…

So, ok, it picks up soon after the first film leaves off ultimately landing on Peter Quill being united with his long lost father, Ego. Now, there’s a lot more that happens leading up to that as our favorite band of misfits in space has managed to piss off an entire civilization while Nebula pursues Gamora in hopes of killing her, oh and then there’s some big stuff going on with Yondu to boot. Suffice it to say there’s a lot happening in the film.

The story is multi-layered and flows well to an emotional, exciting and very satisfying conclusion. James Gunn is back as one of the writers in addition to doing an excellent job directing the film. They’ve already started working on Vol. 3 by the way and for good reason, you just want them to keep going after seeing this one.

The action and effects are at the top of their game. This particular series in the Marvel universe feels a lot like this might be their Star Wars. Well, they’re owned by Disney who owns Star Wars, but you get where I’m going. The craftmanship and design of the foreign planets the Guardians travel to all feel unique and interesting. The worlds themselves feel like they have historical value when you see them, I’d be interested in hearing the backstories they came up with when developing them, that must’ve been fun to write.

The performances from the cast are all at the top of their game. It looks like they had fun making this one given the material and the passion each actor brings to the table. The stellar lineup here includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel (yes, he’s Baby Groot too), Bradley Cooper (who plays the voice of Rocket), Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and Elizabeth Debicki.

Try to catch it in the theater if you can, it’s great on the big screen. On a side note, I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that much during a Marvel film, the humor is great and don’t forget to hang out through the credits! Marvel nerds like myself will be pleasantly surprised by the easter eggs.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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War Dogs

by on Aug.28, 2016, under Movie Reviews

war dogsInspired by real events, War Dogs centers around two American men in their 20s who end up as arms dealers for the US military. Yep, that’s right, these guys sold weapons and ammo to our very own armed forces. The film goes on to explain how this came to pass but let’s just say it boiled down to bullshit, contacts and some research on the internet. Ultimately, everything went south for our intrepid entrepreneurs when they sold Uncle Sam a bunch of bullets made in China which is so not cool to our government.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller portray Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz who sort of stumble into the world of weapons surplus and sales. I wasn’t sure I would find the film interesting based on the premise but I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie entertaining and well-paced. The locations bounce around between the states and more extreme locales in the middle-east. It’s a wonder these guys were never killed and left for dead in the desert somewhere considering how out their element they were. It’s also a wonder that the government doesn’t do more homework on who they’re getting their armaments from.

The script and dialog are tight as is the directing of the film. Bradley Cooper plays a supporting role and is also listed as one of the producers in the credits. The way the film plays out to its conclusion I thought was satisfying and surprising from the statistics presented at the end. It’s hard to imagine that you can sell illegal weapons, get caught and go to jail, only to get out and go back into business again doing the same thing. Yet, there’s more excessive punishment in some states for owning a small amount of marijuana. Wow. We really need to work on our priorities more.

The actors are tight, each one of them owning their share of the screen while not stepping on the toes of their counterparts. Although Cooper’s not in for very long, he’s creepy and menacing when he’s onscreen in a convincingly performance. Hill is a bit of a smart-ass but in a more serious way that reveals his character is kind of scam artist and in the end, a loser beneath the smarmy surface. Teller plays his character passionately as well and shows more of his range as an actor.

Overall, I don’t know if I’d bother seeing this one in the theater, but it’s definitely worth catching when it hits the small screen.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Guardians of the Galaxy

by on Aug.03, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This latest installment to the Marvel movie universe offers a sci-fi action film that you can enjoy whether you’re a fan of the original comic or not. I have to admit, I was aware of the comics and the characters but I never read too much of the original series other than having comics where some of the characters were introduced. I found that it didn’t matter anyway as I knew enough backstory that I understood the in-jokes and enjoyed the movie as a stand-alone as well.

The $170M budget is well spent as the film visually is breath-taking with some very elaborate effects, great action scenes, and beautiful alien worlds. There are quite a few of those worlds by the way as the storyline jumps around a bit both in time and location making the film challenging to watch. It’s a movie I’ll need to watch a few times to pick up on more of the subtleties.

The story is solid with some great dialog that didn’t bog things down or seem out of place. There isn’t a lot of backstory for the characters which is the only weak point in terms of story telling improvements as it would’ve been nice to know more about Rocket and Groot especially. There are some bullet points in here that help fill in a number of the blank spots. Additionally, some nods to the Avengers are in here too with an appearance from Thanos (who’s being put into motion for Avengers 3).

With regard to talent, Chris Pratt does a convincing and fun job playing the lead as Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) with Zoe Saldana turning in an intense performance as Thanos’ stepdaughter Gamora. Bradley Cooper is the voice of Rocket the Raccoon, Benecio Del Toro reprises his role as The Collector, along with Josh Brolin lending his talents as Thanos. The only actor that falls a bit short is Dave Bautista as Drax with a lackluster delivery at best making him look like an amateur. Vin Diesel’s voice work for Groot doesn’t really have any kind of an impact here either. Diesel’s inclusion to the lineup seems like a waste of budget as any actor with a deep voice could’ve played that role with equal efficiency and delivery. The lineup also includes Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.

Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth catching on the big screen. And if you’re any kind of fan of Marvel comics, do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave before the end of the credits.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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American Hustle

by on Jun.01, 2014, under Movie Reviews

Christian Bale and Amy Adams play hustlers that get busted by the FBI with their only option to cooperate with the bureau so they can avoid their own jail sentences. Bradley Cooper plays the FBI agent who’s in charge of working with them in order to bring down corrupt politicians and the mob in order to further his career ambitions.

This is a great film to watch unfold so I won’t spoil anything with more detail. The writing is smart, stylish and interesting. The storyline will keep you guessing at times as to who’s hustling who. The dialog is well crafted with each character sharply defined and fun to watch. The way the story unfolds is really satisfying as well…

The actors are top notch across the board. I can see why this film had so many award nominations. David O. Russell is really at the top of his game. Bale is uptight and yet cool as a cucumber in equal amounts where necessary, Amy Adams is alluring and passionate in her role, Bradley Cooper plays the slightly twisted and naive, yet ambitious agent convincingly too. Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence are both strong in their parts and prove that they both have significant range in their talents.

A period piece set in the 70’s, they did a hellauva job recreating the time periods from the clothing, to the cars, to the hair styles, you feel like you’re there. The music and set designs are spot on too with everything having the slick feeling of that time period. This is a really well directed and crafted film, really enjoyable to watch.

If you like smart movies with a great cast and David O. Russell’s style, you’ll dig this film, I did.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Hit and Run

by on Aug.25, 2013, under Movie Reviews

Hit and Run, written, directed and starring Dax Shephard (he also has an editing credit) is a fun, exciting car-chase romp with a bit of a dark romantic comedy twist to it as well…

Starring Kristen Bell (who co-produced) as Shepard’s love interest, the story revolved around the two: she, an aspiring scientist who lands a big job in LA, he, a former getaway driver/bank robber that is in witness protection and isn’t allowed in LA due to his seedy past. Both circumstance collide of course, setting the stage for Bradley Cooper’s ex-partner character to seek revenge on Shephard who testified against him.

The writing is well done albeit formulaic without any real surprises but adequate nonetheless. The storyline runs in a pretty linear way with some comedic moments thrown in to lighten up the ride here and there. The swinger party in the hotel with the senior citizens is a prime moment of levity as is Bell’s psycho ex-boyfriend (although he mysteriously just kind of disappears at the end without any resolution for his character).

There are some car chases and exciting action moments laced throughout with the ultimate goal of testing the 2 lovers through a series of tense moments as they realize that they don’t know each other so well after all. Don’t worry, the satisfying happy, Hollywood ending is there as you’d expect which of course doesn’t make the film very challenging to watch but satisfies the desire for the type of movie you can just sit back and pop popcorn in your mouth to.

Hit and Run turned out to be a fun way to kill some time on a lazy afternoon.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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The Midnight Meat Train

by on Jun.08, 2012, under Movie Reviews

Based on the Clive Barker short story (it’s a good one, I read it as part of his Books of Blood in ’84), the story follows a photographer trying to make his way professionally by shooting the city’s dirty underground heart. During his journey into the city’s depths, he discovers a serial killer that butchers people during the last train ride of the night…

Now the premise might sound familiar as there have been similar stories. But, remember this is a Clive Barker story and he does like to take the train off the tracks so-to-speak, and so he does. Suffice it to say that despite the twists, there are also some moments of foreshadowing that become a little too obvious too soon, but aside from that, it’s a pretty enjoyable ride.

Some great direction with this one as it has many visually compelling moments. It’s horror well done to the point where it’s very extreme but still very watchable, not all films in this genre can pull that off. The stylized moments work well such as the high-speed train segments and some of the more surrealistic moments with Bradley Cooper’s character. It built up some of the tension nicely. There are some pretty grotesque moments as the serial killer also happens to be a butcher by trade (natch).

Vinnie Jones is great in this, fits the role nicely to the point where while watching him, you kind of expected him in there in the first place subconsciously. Bradley Cooper puts in a compelling, intense performance, as does Leslie Bibb. Brooke Shields, Roger Bart and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson also appear and each puts in tight performances.

Not for the weak of heart but if you are a horror fan, this is definitely one to check out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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by on Apr.08, 2011, under Movie Reviews

An eternal question

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The Hangover

by on Dec.31, 2009, under Movie Reviews

It gives me the greatest of pleasure to recommend the movie The Hangover to folks young and old.

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