Saturday, July 19, 2014

Frank (LA Film Fest 2014)

Yes, Frank is a movie in which Michael Fassbender spends about 95% of the runtime wearing a huge paper mache mask over his head. That’s the film’s hook, and though it does eventually explore its enigmatic title character, Frank is primarily the story of Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a young musician who works in an office but spends most of his time trying (and failing) to write compelling songs. When he sees a keyboard player trying to drown himself in the ocean, he happens into becoming the new keyboardist for the unpronouncable “Soronprbs,” an experimental rock band led by Frank (Fassbender), who – yep – wears that mask even when he showers and sleeps.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy

Frank Grillo is already a part of the Marvel cinematic universe - he played Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and has a contract with the studio to reprise his role in a few more movies - but his performance in The Purge: Anarchy could also serve as a roundabout audition for another Marvel character: The Punisher. While there isn't any official discussion about Grillo taking on that role (yet), his trenchcoat-wearing, brooding badass in this film is a dead ringer for Frank Castle. They're both out to avenge fallen family members, but lucky for Grillo's Sergeant (who never gets a name in Anarchy), it's Purge night - so that makes his vengeance legal.

The Purge: Anarchy
Writer/Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Kiele Sanchez, Zach Gilford

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

After a brief credits sequence explaining how the virus from the last film wiped out most of the human population, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes begins with an extreme closeup of Caesar's eyes. The camera slowly pulls back, revealing every tiny detail of his face. Even though I know intellectually that actor Andy Serkis is providing performance capture work to play this character, the movie doesn't even give you a split second to think about that: there is no Serkis, there is only Caesar. It's a ballsy move on director Matt Reeves' part, too, because if the graphics aren't quite up to snuff, you'll instantly be able to tell. He's essentially daring you to find a flaw, but in this shot - and in fact, in every shot involving apes in this movie - there are none to find. The visual effects team at WETA has outdone themselves once again, giving us a movie in which the apes look completely and totally real.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell