Tag Archives: gary oldman

DARKEST HOUR (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Darkest Hour is a British war drama directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten. It is an account of the early days of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister, when Nazi Germany swept across Western Europe, threatening to defeat the United Kingdom during World War II. This threat lead to friction at the highest levels of government between those who would make a peace treaty with Hitler and Churchill who refused.

Darkest Hour starts in May of 1940 with the opposition Labour Party in Parliament demanding the resignation of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) for being too weak in the face of the Nazi onslaught. Chamberlain tells Conservative Party advisers that he wants Lord Halifax (Stephen Dillane) as his successor, but Halifax does not want to become Prime Minister yet. Chamberlain must choose the only other man whom other parties will support: Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman), the First Lord of the Admiralty.

Churchill, who was not well liked, tried to dismiss his new secretary Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) for mis-hearing him, which caused his wife Clementine, (Kristin Scott Thomas) to strongly reprimand him. After Churchill’s acceptance, King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) reluctantly invited him to form a government that would include Chamberlain and Halifax.

Despite being right about the danger from Adolf Hitler, Churchill’s poor reputation remained because of his record in the Admiralty, the Gallipoli Campaign in the First World War, his views on India and his support for Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis. Churchill’s first speech is aggressive, promising “Blood, toil, tears and sweat,” for which he is chastised by the King and practically ignored by Parliament. Churchill refuses to negotiate for peace, believing that the Germans are untrustworthy.  Eventually, a plan was devised to cause a vote of no confidence that would allow Halifax to replace Churchill as Prime Minister.  The British Expeditionary Force is trapped at Dunkirk and Calais. Against the advice of the War Cabinet, Churchill orders Brigadier Claude Nicholson in Calais to lead the 30th Infantry Brigade in a suicide attack to distract the enemy while the soldiers at Dunkirk evacuate.

Defeat in France causes the War Cabinet to support negotiating with Germany. George VI unexpectedly visits Churchill, the King, not wanting to rule in exile should Britain be invaded, encourages the Prime Minister to continue the war. Still uncertain of what to do, Churchill decides to ask London Underground passengers; the civilians want to continue to fight. Churchill meets with the Outer Cabinet and other members of Parliament, who also support him. The evacuation of troops from Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo, is successful.

As Churchill prepares to address Parliament, Halifax asks Chamberlain to continue with their plan to resign, but Chamberlain decides to listen to the address first. Towards the end of his speech, Churchill proclaims that “We shall fight on the beaches” should the Germans invade. Chamberlain decides to support Churchill, and Parliament applauds the Prime Minister’s defiance.

Darkest Hour is a great movie and a tells a pretty accurate history of Churchill’s appointment to Prime Minister and the extraordinary rescue of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk.  I highly recommend this movie to all.  Check it out — this is one of Gary Oldman’s greatest performances.

[Darkest Hour is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling and Production Design]

 

 

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Surprisingly, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a comedy written by Tom O’Connor and directed by Patrick Hughes, is very funny and very entertaining. The movie left me wanting more. The action was spot-on as it showed two know-it-all bodyguard/hitmen who protect as well as kill for a living, respectively battle it out between themselves. Each with their own set of personal issues, presented a hilariously dark look into their twisted lifestyles. Somehow, being brought together was the best thing that could have happened to them.

Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), a Japanese arms dealer. All seems well but as Kurosawa is about to board a plane, he is shot in the head. Having lost a client, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and after two years is now making a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus, is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Court of Justice. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution’s last hope is notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for the exoneration of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), who is currently incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.

Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher (Joaquim de Almeida), assigns Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung), a greenhorn agent who is Bryce’s estranged ex-girlfriend, to lead a squad of Interpol agents tasked with escorting Kincaid to The Hague to testify. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel is killed. The two retreat to a safehouse, where they deduce someone in Interpol must have betrayed them to Dukhovich. Realizing that they need someone who is completely unaffiliated with Interpol and can remain trustworthy, Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he has had multiple conflicts with Kincaid in the past and believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years ago, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his good name. Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich’s men.

At this point, interaction between Bryce and Kincaid (the story of The Hitman’s Bodyguard) begins.  Lots of action, lots of funny one liners and brilliant performances by Ryan, Jackson and Hayek.  The cinematography was magnificent, as well as the special effects.  I really enjoyed the movie and the message was a profound lessen for all.  I highly recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard to all.

 

CRIMINAL (2016) – My rating: 8.5/10

CriminalCriminal really fell way under the radar. I was so impressed with Kevin Costner’s performance as Jericho Stewart, a criminal with no morals. This is Costner as I have never seen him before. Even his voice changed. If you didn’t know it before, you will know now if you see Criminal, Kevin can act his tuchis off! Criminal is about an anarchist, Xavier Heimbahl (Jordi Mollà) who instructs his associate, who is also a hacker known as “The Dutchman” (Jan Stroop) to create a wormhole program that would allow it’s owner access to the world’s nuclear defense codes by bypassing all computer codes via this wormhole. After following Xavier’s orders, the Dutchman panics and attempts to make a deal for $12M with Bill Pope (Kevin Reynolds) a London based CIA agent who secures the money and hides the Dutchman in an undisclosed safe house. Xavier catches Bill, tortures him and leaves him for dead without finding where the money or the Dutchman is being held. In the meanwhile, Bill’s supervisor, CIA Chief Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) is desperate to find the money and the Dutchman before the Russian, Xavier Heimbahl does. Quaker consults Neuroscientist Dr. Mahal Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has developed a treatment that could theoretically plant the memory patterns of a dead man onto a living one. Keeping Pope’s brain stimulated to preserve its knowledge, Dr. Franks requests that convict Jericho Stewart be the subject of the procedure, as Stewart’s criminal behavior is the result of childhood brain trauma, leaving him with an underdeveloped frontal lobe, hindering his emotional development and impulse control, that they can use to ‘graft’ Pope’s knowledge into Stewart’s mind.

Of course there’s lots more to this story and as I said, Kevin Costner really gives a solid performance.  Gal Gadot plays Bill Pope’s wife who encounters the deadly Jericho who is beginning to remember what’s in Bill’s head.  There are some great and funny scenes, as Jericho rocks Criminal with his lack of ethics, morals and compassion.  Criminal is definitely worth seeing.  I, for one, was really entertained and enjoyed the movie.  The ending was truly worth the entire film.

ROBOCOP (2014) – My rating 8.5/10

RoboCop2014Having been around the block once or twice, I’ve seen the original RoboCop and all it’s sequels.  Back then the concept was new and everyone was excited about seeing RoboCop.  We all loved the way it bashed the corporations and effectively caught the bad guys.  Of course, Hollywood went overboard and made one too many of these RoboCop sequels and it didn’t do too well at the box office.  I looked up the original 3 on IMDB and found the 1st one earned a 7.5 rating while the second and third only earned 5.6 and 3.8, respectively.  Now 27 years later, Hollywood has decided to try it again.  With new technology available, how far can they go?  Well I believe they made a perfect remake that toned down the family ousting of the old 1987 version and the corporation criminal element.  In other words, Alex Murphy’s family wasn’t given the old heave ho and the corporation wasn’t kill thirsty.  Don’t get me wrong, the corporation is still about making money at any cost but just not so invested in killing all who stands in their way.  The hot wheel motorcycle Alex Murphy (RoboCop played by Joel Kinnaman) drove was truly hot.  The technical material that made up Alex, was pretty much the same as the original.  I loved that Gary Oldman, who usually plays the bad guy and Michael Keaton teamed up to represent the corporation.  I won’t say more about the film because I don’t want to give anything away.  It was exciting and entertaining and I recommend it on the big screen.

PARANOIA (2013) – My rating: 6/10

ParanoiaI was terribly disappointed in this movie.  I expected a great film instead I got a mediocre, unrealistic drama.  The best thing about this movie was the absolutely gorgeous creature (Liam Hemsworth) cast in the role of Adam Cassidy.   Not even the lovely Amber Heard could hold a candle to this beautiful hunk of a man.  I found his looks so distracting that focusing on the plot became difficult.  Gary Oldman did the best he could with his character (Nicolas Wyatt) as did Harrison Ford who played (Jock Goddard), the jilted CEO who became a rival of his former employee.  There’s plenty of threats thrown around and the pawn in the middle, of course, is Adam, who was sort of forced into espionage and deception.  Eventually he gets in too deep to just walk away.  I felt the characters could have been stronger and the means to the end was a little corny.

After seeing The Butler, this movie paled by comparison.  Paranoia wasn’t exciting nor did it satisfy my thirst for a good thriller.  It’s not a total waste but I suggest waiting for the DVD.