Tag: Paul Dano

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** 12 Years a Slave (2013)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “For all its harsh realism, it never let me forget I was watching a prestige movie.”

12-years-a-slave-egifior

“I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!”

Slavery is bad, you guys.  Did you know that?  If not, you should probably watch 12 Years a Salve.  Because it’s really determined to teach you that.  So determined in fact, it’s willing to forgo all subtly, all nuance and all attempts to surprise you in any way.  Because it really, really, really wants you to know that slavery is bad.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of slavery.  I’m making light of this movie and it’s oh so earnest approach to this Issue (with a capital “I”).  It doesn’t matter how important the subject matter of a movie is, that’s no excuse for bland, predictable, box ticking film making. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK 2*** Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s all goofy, not very good CGI aliens, little winks to the camera about the wackiness of high-tech meeting the old west, and one awkward battle scene after another. ”

Aliens 1
“Don’t yank on it, it’s not your pecker.”

In 2011, Jon Favreau had played a major part in establishing what is now the behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe, by directing two mega successful Iron Man movies. In 2011, Daniel Craig had helped reinvigorate the James Bond series and after only two movies, was already considered one of the best to ever play the titular spy. In 2011, Harrison Ford decided to soil the pants of Star Wars nerds everywhere by taking a role in another alien centric, sci-fi movie. In 2011, Olivia Wilde was one of Hollywood’s next ‘it’ female stars. In 2011, Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell and Keith Carradine all held status as some of the leading character actors of their respective generations. In 2011, the nerds had won and comic book movies were officially ruling the big screen, with fatigue yet to set in. Yet, with all of that going for it, Cowboys and Aliens kind of shit the bed.


It’s the old west, and Jake Lonegran (Craig) wakes up with no idea where he is or how he got there. What he does know is, there’s a strange metal brace clasped to one of his wrists. When some no good cowpokes stumble across Jake, they think the brace is a handcuff, which means they think Jake is an escaped prisoner, which means they think there might be a bounty on his head. When they try to take him down, Jake reveals himself to be one of those movie bad asses who can perfectly land any bullet or punch without even looking at the target or breaking a sweat. Winning the day, he takes their clothes, a horse and one of their dogs, and heads to the nearest town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Youth (2015)

Youth 1
You say that emotions are overrated. But that’s bullshit. Emotions are all we’ve got.

There’s a fairly common Oscar and award season narrative for older actors.  It doesn’t happen every year, but it’s semi regular.  An older actor, who has been liked or loved for many, many years, takes on a role that’s all about coming to terms with aging.  In an industry where people try to cling to youth for as long as possible, when an actor decides to embrace their age in anything half decent with a little sadness and contemplation, awards attention floods in.  This year, the actor is Michael Caine, and the movie is Youth.


For the 20th year in a row, retired music composer Fred Ballinger (Caine) is holidaying at the same resort in Switzerland. His routine of various forms of massage and soaking on the pool is interrupted when a representative of Buckingham Palace arrives.  Queen Elizabeth would like Fred to conduct a performance of his most famous piece of music at Prince Philip’s birthday.  Fred declines for personal reasons and the signs of his deep and long depression over his absent wife begin to show. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Love & Mercy (2015)

love-and-mercy-poster
“I want you to leave, but I don’t want you to leave me.”

N.W.A were a legitimately dangerous, exciting and revolutionary force in music.  Yet, for all of that, when they were given the Hollywood biopic treatment, Straight Outta Compton ended up being surprisingly vanilla, predictable and rose coloured.  Straight Outta Compton might be the box office winner when it comes to 2015 musician biopics, but the one that should be remembered is the story of  Beach Boy Brian Wilson that made a musician seem genuinely dangerous, exciting and revolutionary, in Love & Mercy.  


Split between two specific periods of Wilson’s life, there’s 60s Brian Wilson (Paul Dano).  Despite their many hits, he’s decided that the music of the Beach Boys needs to evolve beyond the cheesy surf sound they pioneered.  So while the rest of the band tours the world, Brian stays in the studio, meticulously building what will become Pet Sounds.  When it is a critical success but commercial bomb, he retreats even further into musical experimentation and psychedelics. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Love & Mercy (2015)

love-and-mercy-poster
“I want you to leave, but I don’t want you to leave me.”

N.W.A were a legitimately dangerous, exciting and revolutionary force in music.  Yet, for all of that, when they were given the Hollywood biopic treatment, Straight Outta Compton ended up being surprisingly vanilla, predictable and rose coloured.  Straight Outta Compton might be the box office winner when it comes to 2015 musician biopics, but the one that should be remembered is the story of  Beach Boy Brian Wilson that made a musician seem genuinely dangerous, exciting and revolutionary, in Love & Mercy.  


Split between two specific periods of Wilson’s life, there’s 60s Brian Wilson (Paul Dano).  Despite their many hits, he’s decided that the music of the Beach Boys needs to evolve beyond the cheesy surf sound they pioneered.  So while the rest of the band tours the world, Brian stays in the studio, meticulously building what will become Pet Sounds.  When it is a critical success but commercial bomb, he retreats even further into musical experimentation and psychedelics. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Prisoners (2013)

prisoners-poster

He’s not a person anymore. No, he stopped being a person when he took our daughters.

I don’t think Jake Gyllenhaal ever had a complete decent into shittyness and rom com world that he needed to be redeemed from.  But after a lot of early critical and box office success, he seemed to be in the wilderness for a while.  In the last few years though, whether by choice or necessity, he’s made a lot of really interesting choices in the roles he’s taken, and his acting bona fides seem more solid than ever.  Recently, last year, he was showered with praise for his creepy as shit turn in Nightcrawler.  But I think the first time I noticed hearing rumblings of this new, indie, alternative Jake Gyllenhaal, was when he made Prisoners.


Keller (Hugh Jackman) and Grace Dover (Maria Bello) are having Thanksgiving dinner with their neighbours Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis).  Their collective four kids go for a walk around the neighbourhood, and when the two youngest girls (one from each family) don’t return, Keller’s teenaged son remembers them playing around a rundown old RV.   With the RV now nowhere to be seen, the police are called and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes the case.
(more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12-years-a-slave-egifior
Slavery is bad, you guys.  Did you know that?  If not, you should probably watch 12 Years a Salve.  Because it’s really determined to teach you that.  So determined in fact, it’s willing to forgo all subtly, all nuance and all attempts to surprise you in any way.  Because it really, really, really wants you to know that slavery is bad.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of slavery.  I’m making light of this movie and it’s oh so earnest approach to this Issue (with a capital “I”).  It doesn’t matter how important the subject matter of a movie is, that’s no excuse for bland, predictable, box ticking film making.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is Solomon Northup, a husband, father and free black man in 1841 New York State.  He’s tricked into a drunken night out and wakes up from his hang over in chains.  He’s been kidnapped and sold into slavery in New Orleans.  Paul Giamatti plays a slave trader, Benedict Cumbabatch plays a nice owner (well, as nice as anyone who thinks they can own people can be), Michael Fassbeneder plays an evil owner, Paul Dano plays a racist prick and Brad Pitt plays a Canadian with a terrible beard.  This is an amazing cast that never really amounts to what you would expect from such a pedigree.

The pacing and economy of 12 Years a Salve is surprisingly brisk. At just on two hours, it gets right to the point, with Northup tricked into slavery within about the first 10 minutes, and there he stays until a brief reprieve in the closing minutes.  And I think that pace is part of the problem.  While losing freedom and being forced into slavery is obviously a terrible fate for any person, it would have been nice to spend a bit more time with Northup living his life as a free man first, to make the impact of having that all taken away hit a little harder.  It’s hard to miss characters, like his family, who you never got to know in the first place.

The hero is the personification of will, determination and a spirit that cannot be broken.  The villains are there to be evil racists and twirl their moustaches.  And Brad Pitt is there to be the token open minded, forward thinking whitey.  Within seconds of each character being introduced, you’ll be able to predict exactly what their part is to play, what they’ll do and when they’ll do it, so this story can stay on the most predictable of rails at all times.

Where 12 Years a Slave is most successful though, is in its brutality.  There are several physical, verbal and emotional attacks of whites against blacks that made me squirm in my chair while I watched, and that’s a good thing.  Seeing these things be said and done, and the racial intolerance that motivates them, should make people feel uncomfortable in 2013.

But for all its harsh realism, it never let me forget I was watching a prestige movie.  At one stage, when a slave woman is being whipped, at first I was surprised by how horrific this act seemed, based on the mists of blood that would spray into the air with each crack of leather.  Then a second later, I was thinking about the amazing dental plan Fassbender’s character must have for his slaves, because the victim’s teeth were so perfectly white and straight.  Somehow, I don’t think that’s what director Steve McQueen wanted me take from the scenes, but that’s what I remember.

12 Years a Slave
Directed By – Steve McQueen
Written By – John Ridley