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Posts Tagged ‘Gladiator’

Body of Lies – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 5 January 2012

Body of Lies (2008)  Directed by Ridley Scott ( Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and American Gangster (2007)), starring Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and many others) and Russell Crowe (The Insider (1999), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Next Three Days (2010)) with Mark Strong (Syriana (2005), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)), written by William Monahan, based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius.  In this spy thriller, set in the Middle East and the war against terrorism, DiCaprio portrays Roger Ferris, a scraggly bearded, Arabic-speaking and rather naive CIA field operative, as best he can; Russel Crowe is his overweight, out-of-touch-yet-convinced-of the-righteousness-of-his-actions, suburban Washington D.C. boss, in charge of Middle East operations.  Body of Lies is replete with terrorist bombings, spy plane footage of deserts and colorful, dangerous Middle Eastern marketplaces and a plot that has far too many weak points.  Ridley Scott’s directing seems old, and though high in cinematic technicity, is not enough, even with DiCaprio and Crowe, to cover over the weaknesses.  Mark Strong, however, as head of the Jordanian intelligence service, is really very good: sharp, smart, suave and even amusing.  See Body of Lies for its film technique, but don’t expect much of an intelligent look at a complex situation.  Stephen Gaghan‘s Syriana starring George Clooney and Matt Damon is a better choice. (PR)

See our posts on the film Syriana, and on The Next Three Days and State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and on the film American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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Traffic – Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas (Oscars for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and more)

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Traffic (2000)   Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich (2000), Solaris (2002), The Informant! (2009) and many others), starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, and others.  Traffic, a multi-Oscar-winning crime drama about the drug trade in Mexico and the U.S. in which multiple interconnected story lines are woven together is a tension-filled tour de force characterised by the excellent directing of Soderbergh, some excellent writing, by Stephen Gaghan, and superb, understated acting on the part of Benicio del Toro.  The four stories which make up the film consist of 1)in Tijuana, Mexico, the struggle between the corrupt army, the federal police and two important drug cartels, in which del Toro excels; 2)in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, the story of a newly-nominated U.S. “Drug Czar” with a 16-year old addict daughter; 3)in San Diego, California, the efforts of the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) to arrest and prosecute a major drug trafficker and protect a key witness in his drug trial and, 4)also in San Diego, the efforts on the part of the wife of the arrested trafficker to maintain their business.  The ensemble of the cast is really quite good: Michael Douglas and Amy Irving in the Washington “Drug Czar” story-line; Don Cheadle and Luis Guzmán in the DEA story-line; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid in the San Diego drug trafficker story-line, and, of course Benicio del Toro in the Mexican story-line.  Soderbergh not only directed the film, but also shot it, with distinctive color-based atmospheres for each story-line.  The end result is an excellent, unsentimental drama, full of tension, that is a must-see. (PR)

Traffic won the following Academy AwardsBest DirectorBest Supporting Actor (del Toro), Best Film Editing (Stephen Mirrione), and Best Adapted Screenplay; it was also nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Gladiator, by Ridley Scott.  Traffic, and Benicio del Toro won numerous other awards, as well.

See our posts on the films Syriana, The Informant! and Solaris, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and also the films, The Pledge, with Benicio del Toro, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Game, starring Michael Douglas, and Vantage Point, starring Dennis Quaid.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library…  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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The Next Three Days – Starring Russell Crowe

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Next Three Days (2010)  Directed by Paul Haggis (as screenwriterMillion Dollar Baby (2004), Flags of Our FathersLetters from Iwo Jima and Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and as screenwriter and director: Crash (2004), In the Valley of Elah (2007)), starring Russell Crowe (Gladiator (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), American Gangster (2007), State of Play (2009)) and Elizabeth Banks.  In this thriller, directed by the talented writer-director Paul Haggis, Russell Crowe portrays a junior college English teacher who frees his perhaps erroneously convicted wife from jail.  As good as Crowe can be, however, is just not good enough to redeem The Next Three Days, unfortunately.  The film is slow, at best uneven, with many logical holes, loose ends and poor character development.  The premise of a normal guy pushed to extremes can be very interesting indeed, however, in The Next Three Days, and despite Crowe, Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List (1993), Chloe (2009)) in a very brief scene, as an American ex-con turned author, and a writer-director of Haggis’ caliber, the end result is truly a disappointment. (PR)

See our posts on the films In the Valley of Elah, written and directed by Paul Haggis, and American Gangster and State of Play starring Russell Crowe, as well as our post on the film Chloe, starring Liam Neeson.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

American Gangster – Starring Russell Crowe & Denzel Washington

Posted by the editors on Monday, 28 November 2011

American Gangster (2007)(DVD) Directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Robin Hood (2010)), starring Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind (2001), State of Play (2009)) and Denzel Washington (Glory (1989), Training Day (2001), Inside Man (2006)), with Josh Brolin (In the Valley of Elah (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), Milk (2008), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)), Ruby Dee (A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Do the Right Thing (1989)), John Hawkes (excellent in Winter’s Bone (2009)), Cuba Gooding Jr. (As Good as It Gets (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001)) and others.  A crime drama, based loosely on the life of Frank Lucas, a large-scale Harlem drug dealer in the late 1960s and early 70s.  Aside from questions of historical veracity, after all the film is not a documentary, American Gangster is a consummate work:  The acting is excellent on the part of virtually all the cast, Ridley Scott’s directing is superb, the care taken in the set and context design is close to perfect, the writing is sharp, the music apt.  The screenplay, written by Stephen Zaillian, after many workings over by others, fascinates in its details and in its counterpoint between good, evil, morality, family and isolation, temptation and determination.  American Gangster is an excellent film that merits watching, and owning, and is all the more interesting in repeat viewings. (PR)

See our posts on State of Play, with Russell Crowe, In the Valley of ElahNo Country for Old Men, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Josh BrolinWinter’s Bone with John Hawkes and As Good as It Gets with Cuba Gooding Jr.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Create a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

State of Play

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 2 October 2011

State of Play (2009)(DVD)  Directed by Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September (2000), The Last King of Scotland (2006)), starring Russell Crowe (Academy Award for Best Actor for Gladiator in 2001, A Beautiful Mind  (2001), American Gangster (2007))Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001))Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris (2011))Helen Mirren (Elizabeth I (2005), Arthur (2011))Jason Bateman (Juno (2007), Hancock (2008))Robin Wright Penn (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, to be released)) and others.  State of Play, a relatively believable political thriller based on a BBC TV mini-series, offers Crowe as an old-hand, old-school, altruistic journalist, and Affleck as a, at least initially, seemingly altruistic Congressman.  Easily watchable, political, yes, thriller, well, relatively speaking…  Initially cast with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the starring roles. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray disks.  Have a wonderful personal film library..

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nothingisinvisible@live.fr

Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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