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Tag Archives: Josh Brolin

Labor Day

Adele Wheeler (played by Kate Winslet) is trying to hold it all together. She’s had a few tough years with one thing and another. First, she meets the man of her dreams, Gerald (by Clark Gregg) and their marriage is blissfully happy. But a series of bitter disappointments leads to the erosion of their marriage and Gerald leaves Adele on her own to care for their young son, Henry (by Gattlin Griffith, Dylan Minnette and then Tobey Maguire). Adele has become reclusive and Henry, now a smart, insightful 13 year old, watches his mother struggle with her emotions and her health – he looks after her very carefully. His father, Gerald, is still around but he’s remarried and focusses on the new family far more than on him. Adele and Henry are close and inclusive, so the rest of the town don’t really know too much about them. Henry looks after the day to day needs of the house and Adele does what she can, but their life is tough. One day, a stranger (by Josh Brolin and Tom Lipinski) appears in town. Adele and Henry offer him some help. He invites himself into their home and they discover there’s been a prison break nearby and this man is the fugitive, Frank Chambers. Terrified, Adele and Henry do as they’re told and hope Frank will just take what he needs then be on his way. But, a long weekend is coming – Labor Day – and with the road blocks set up around town, Frank’s not going to get away without help from Adele and Henry. He hangs around the house and slowly they get to know him better. Adele and Henry are caught between their growing fondness for Frank and the law. Should they turn him in? or would their life be a whole lot better if he was part of it?

This is a nice movie. It’s a slow burn but worth the endurance as the story plays out. There are several layers here – the desolation of Adele after her life disappointments, barren relationships and deep love for her son; the awakening curiosity and adolescent innocence of Henry blended with his already well-developed empathy and emotional intelligence; the hard-edge of Frank which masks his own vulnerabilities and emotional needs. These characters are all really interesting and the performances are great. The peripheral characters are important too – Maika Monroe, Brooke Smith, Alexie Gilmore and Brighid Fleming all provide important contributions to the developing story.  Micah Fowler is very good as Barry also. Kate Winslet was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work here, which is understandable and much deserved. This movie is a surprise and the ending is good – it’s not what I was expecting, it’s better. Well done.

Made in 2014. Directed by Jason Reitman

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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Movies

 

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

In the heady days of the early 1990’s in the heart of the financial world – Wall Street, Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) is a mover and a shaker – one of the most successful and ruthless of financial market traders ever to operate out of “The Street”. But this comes to a stunning end when he is found guilty of insider trading and money laundering, then spends the next eight years in prison to consider his mistakes and contemplate his future. In 2001, Gordon is released a “changed man” but by 2008, his daughter Winnie (by Carey Mulligan) is estranged from him. She is a political activist journalist in NYC and is engaged to ambitious junior trader Jake Moore (by Shia Labeouf). Jake hopes Winnie and her father will reconcile, so he contacts Gordon while he is promoting the book he wrote (“Is Greed Good?”) after his release from prison. The global economy is on the brink of crisis and Gordon foretells this while he is speaking on the book circuit. But Gordon’s standing is tarnished, both in the eyes of the financial community and with his own daughter, so his life has a lonely edge these days. To make life a challenge, Jake’s firm collapses during the financial crisis – with the help of rival banker Bretton James (by Josh Brolin) – who also happens to be an old adversary of Gekko’s. So ensues a “tit for tat” story where each man sets out for revenge for the wrongs done to them by the others and become top dog of The Street … no, The World.

This movie is the sequel to the 1987 stunner movie “Wall Street” where we first heard Gordon Gekko utter those famous words – “Greed … is good”.  I understand that reviewers generally feel this sequel is not nearly as good as the original “Wall Street”. Perhaps that’s true, but it is still a good movie. There are several references to the original story throughout the movie, which is fine – and appropriate – and often quite fun. Best of all is the cameo by a key character in the original “Wall Street”, Bud Fox (by Charlie Sheen). There are great performances here – Michael Douglas totally owns the role of Gordon Gekko and I am pleased to say he reprises him in all his cold, heartless and ruthless glory for some sections of the movie, which is marvellous – he shines from the screen in these scenes. His earlier, “Gordon’s found a heart and a conscience” persona is not quite as compelling, but it’s interesting and almost endearing all the same. For me, the other characters are mostly peripheral, but Winnie is performed beautifully by Carey Mulligan. The two other key actors, Josh Brolin and Shia Labeouf play their characters Bretton James and Jake Moore as they need to – and Brolin’s is definitely the stronger of the two performances. Their interractions are fine and their story is easily watchable, but that’s all. Susan Sarandon appears as Jake’s mother, which is a nice touch. All in all, this movie is pretty good and it belongs to Michael Douglas – just as it should.

Made in 2010. Directed by Oliver Stone

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Movies

 

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Milk

Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn) is an active political figure in 1970’s San Francisco, who became the first openly gay person to hold significant public office in America. Harvey moved to San Francisco from New York after he met his partner Scott Smith (by James Franco). Together they opened a camera store in Castro Street which became a popular meeting spot for the gay community and was also the activity hub where Harvey managed his attempts to run for public office.  Throughout these times, he became known as the Mayor of Castro Street as he amassed an effective campaign team, managed by Scott Smith and supported by Cleve Jones (by Emile Hirsch). As his loyal supporters grew in number and his activities gained more notoriety, so did his awareness of the possibility of achieving real change for people who up until that point had led rather secretive lives.

Using flashbacks from a statement Harvey recorded and current affairs archival footage, the film traces Milk’s career from his 40th birthday to his death in 1978 when he was assassinated by fellow San Francisco Supervisor Dan White (by Josh Brolin). It provides us with a dramatisation of the efforts and challenges Harvey went through to achieve significant change in America.

Sean Penn and James Franco are really great in this movie. Penn totally becomes Harvey Milk, his appearance is strikingly similar and his performance clearly and accurately portrays Harvey’s gentle nature, his canny understanding of politics, his courage and his determination for change.

It’s very good.

(Made: 2009)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Movies

 

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