Tag Archives: Kevin Spacey

Suicide Squad – Weekend Outlook

August is coming in like a lion with the release of one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. It will break the August opening record. Alternatively, somehow Christopher Walken and Kevin Spacey agreed to be in a movie about a man who gets turned into a house cat, and the best movie of the weekend is being released by Netflix and will probably never going to see a theater.

Suicide Squad

In contrast to the dour, happiness sucking waste of time that was Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad at least proves that DC knows how to have a sense of humor (as twisted as it may be) but that still didn’t make for a great movie.

I knew that the bad guys weren’t going to turn good all of a sudden, but I didn’t think that they would let themselves be held captive by a woman that makes Trump look like a bleeding heart liberal. Seriously, Amanda Waller and by extension the United States government is pure evil.

Visually, the film was great. it had a realism to the effects that was appreciated. It was a gritty and mesmerizing film to watch. However, the story just doesn’t work. There are too many characters and the flow of the movie is constantly interrupted to give us some back story on an extraneous character that is only going to get 5 minutes of screen time and is totally superfluous to the plot. These characters make very stretched choices and nothing feels real. However, that has always been my beef with DC vs Marvel.

Don’t get me wrong, I had fun with the movie, I laughed when I was supposed to and the theater seemed energized. Theaters are selling out, riding a wave of publicity and social media buzz, and the film will certainly break Guardians of the Galaxy‘s previous August record of $94.3 million. They are set up for more films in the future, with the Justice league and a Harley Quinn solo film, but I think I’ve been spoiled with Marvel films that seem like more than just vehicles to sell popcorn.

If you’re looking for a PG-13 film that should have gotten an R rating and want to watch a lot of disturbed individuals do a lot I’ve violent things then this is the movie for you. Maybe I’m just looking for a better class of heroes and villains. Take it or leave it, it’s your choice.

Nine Lives

I think you could find a funnier way to spend an hour and a half if you just binge watched cat videos on YouTube. I can’t believe that these serious actors agreed to be in such a dumpster fire. This won’t crack the top 5 this week and will likely be on the top of my worst movies of the year list. Instead, stay in and save your money. Turn on Netflix and watch a good kids movie.

The Little Prince

Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne teams up with Netflix to bring us this animated take on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved novella about a pilot (voiced by Jeff Bridges) who crash lands in the Sahara desert and encounters a mysterious young boy who claims to be an extraterrestrial prince. James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, and Paul Giamatti also lend their voices to this production.

Weekend Box Office Prediction:

  1. Suicide Squad – $139 million
  2. Jason Bourne – $28 million
  3. Bad Moms – $14 million
  4. Star Trek Beyond – $12 million
  5. The Secret Life of Pets – $10 million

Trivia Tuesday – June 14, 2016

It is steaming hot down here in Florida and it is time for another round of Trivia Tuesday. I will show you 5 movie clips and I want you to do your best to identify what movie the clips come from. I heard from some of you last week and you said that they were a little hard, so I gave you some freebies in this one.

Also, there is a bonus 6th clip that will give you a hint about a theme/thread that runs through all of the clips. If you can tell me the theme, you are automatically entered to win. Win what you might ask… I’m not sure yet. What would you all like to see? I’m thinking about a winner’s banner that I place on the site so you have a place of honor for the week.

Post your answers (right or wrong) in the comments below. I’d love to hear which of these is your favorite. I’ll post the answers in the comments tomorrow. See you at the Movies!

If You Liked… Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Who doesn’t like Shawshank Redemption? This is always my go to answer when someone asks me for my favorite movie. I love it because it blends a gritty realism with an ethereal storytelling and a epic twist ending. If you have not seen it, shame on you. It used to be on TBS at least twice a week, but you need to buy it because once you watch it, you will have a new favorite as well. Just in case you haven’t seen it, I will try not to spoil the ending, but here is a quick summary. Click here if you’ve already seen the film and just want to see my recommendations.

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The Shawshank Redemption (directed by Frank Darabont of The Walking Dead fame) is one of those movies whose estimation has only grown with time. It wasn’t a box office hit in 1994, but it was a critical success and received 7 Academy Award nominations but LOST in every category, being beat out for best picture by Forrest Gump. However, in 2008 (14 years after its original release) it took over the #1 slot as greatest film on the IMDb’s Top 250 from The Godfather and it still holds that place to this day.

Ellis ‘Red’ Redding (Morgan Freeman) is our co-pilot and narrator for our long stay in Shawshank State Penitentiary. He admits that he belongs there for murder, calling himself the only guilty man in Shawshank. The year is 1947 and our central character is banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who has been convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. We see him entering Shawshank to begin serving his two consecutive life sentences. The movie is based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Through the story, we experience a 20 year friendship between these two men.

Shawshank2

You’d be hard pressed to find a more genuine ode to male bonding than this drama spanning two decades from 1946 to 1967. When Andy arrives, he is subject to beatings, humiliation and all manner of horrors within the prison system. He endures the harassment seemingly unfazed. Slowly he learns to adapt, utilizing his talents as an auditor to garner favor from the powers that be. In time he inspires his fellow inmates, making friends with them, in particular Red who originally bet that Andy would be the first new inmate to crack.

The film is highlighted by several amazing performances. Morgan Freeman embodies his character with reverence, heart, and warmth. Tim Robbins is every bit his equal in a role that is more difficult to warm up to. If the actor appears a bit of an enigma, that is only because the character is meant to be that way. There is a quiet way about him that makes the other inmates uneasy and tells us and them that he does not belong there. Actor Bob Gunton is a villain for the ages as Warden Samuel Norton. A stern man that exploits the prison for his own gain as low-cost labor. He presents himself as a god-fearing man, although his true nature is gradually disclosed. The depth of his evil seems to know no bounds.

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Like a flower growing up through a crack in the sidewalk, the narrative is uplifting even though we are presented with the most oppressive of surroundings. My personal favorite scene features Andy locking himself in the warden’s office and using the central microphone to blast an opera record through the grounds. As Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro echoes through the penitentiary, Roger Deakins cinematography captures the emotion as the inmates look upwards, embracing the audible gift. It is hard to describe the feeling, but the scene always brings me to tears. Shawshank is brimming with moments like this where the hope of the human soul triumphs over adversity in the most inspiring way.

So, assuming you love Shawshank like I do then you may be struggling to find movies that give you a similar sense of awe and inspiration. I hope to help with that by giving you a handful of recommendations based upon different aspects of Shawshank Redemption.

The Green Mile

Maybe you are looking for another film based on a Stephen King story, set in a prison, featuring a wrongly convicted protagonist, and directed by Frank Darabont. That is a lot of similarities. Add in the great acting of Tom Hanks and Michael Clark Duncan and you have The Green Mile.
Maybe you are looking for another film based on a Stephen King story, set in a prison, featuring a wrongly convicted protagonist, and directed by Frank Darabont. That is a lot of similarities. Add in the great acting of Tom Hanks and Michael Clark Duncan and you have The Green Mile.

Good Will Hunting

Perhaps you don't care about similar actors or settings. Maybe you just want to recreate some of those feelings of confliction and see a character make some amazing changes and eventually embrace hope. I think you will find few movies as uplifting and powerful as Good Will Hunting, the debut effort of now Hollywood superstars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Throw in the humor and heart of Robin Williams and this is a movie you shouldn't miss.
Perhaps you don’t care about similar actors or settings. Maybe you just want to recreate some of those feelings of confliction and see a character make some amazing changes and eventually embrace hope. I think you will find few movies as uplifting and powerful as Good Will Hunting, the debut effort of now Hollywood superstars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Throw in the humor and heart of Robin Williams and this is a movie you shouldn’t miss.

The Shining

Lets take that Stephen King influence and go even darker than the Shawshank penitentiary. The Shining catalogs the disturbing mental collapse of Jack Torrance as he works as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel which holds onto some of the tragedies from its past. Directed by legendary Stanley Kubrick this is the kind of suspense/horror film that nightmares are made of.
Lets take that Stephen King influence and go even darker than the Shawshank penitentiary. The Shining catalogs the disturbing mental collapse of Jack Torrance as he works as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel which holds onto some of the tragedies from its past. Directed by legendary Stanley Kubrick this is the kind of suspense/horror film that nightmares are made of.

Se7en

Shawshank is the best of Morgan Freeman's filmography. Which is saying a lot for a guy that has been nominated 8 times and won Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby. But I would go to the gripping crime drama Se7en if I wanted to see a great Morgan Freeman performance along with a young Brad Pitt, a disturbing Kevin Spacey, and the deft directoral touch of David Fincher.
Shawshank is the best of Morgan Freeman’s filmography. Which is saying a lot for a guy that has been nominated 8 times and won Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby. But I would go to the gripping crime drama Se7en if I wanted to see a great Morgan Freeman performance along with a young Brad Pitt, a disturbing Kevin Spacey, and the deft directorial touch of David Fincher.

I.Q.

Perhaps you are craving something of a lighter fare. A film that was also released in 1994 and stars our everyman Tim Robbins. I.Q. is an entertaining romantic comedy in which Walter Matthau plays legendary physicist Albert Einstein and helps a mechanic woo his niece played by Meg Ryan.
Perhaps you are craving something of a lighter fare. A film that was also released in 1994 and stars our everyman Tim Robbins. I.Q. is an entertaining romantic comedy in which Walter Matthau plays legendary physicist Albert Einstein and helps a mechanic woo his niece played by Meg Ryan.

I hope this gave you some ideas for your next movie night. Please let me know your thoughts below on Shawshank Redemption as well as any of my recommendations. This is a place for sharing.