Tag: Paul Giamatti

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 | ***CLOSING DOWN WEEK*** Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The opening scene has more kick ass action, more gloriously ridiculous stunts and gun trickery than most action movies have in their entirety. And it only gets more crazy from there.”

Shoot 1
Recently, in my neighbourhood, I saw something that’s all too common these days. A video shop that was closing down. They had a big sign out the front, “4 movies for $10”. I looked in my wallet, saw $30 and decided I wasn’t leaving that shop until I found 12 movies I thought were worth having on my DVD shelf. Some were movies I’d seen before. Some were movies I had a vague idea about and thought would be worth the $2.50 gamble. Some were oddities I’d never even heard of, but they looked interesting enough. So, thank you, Network Video Brunswick West. I never rented anything from you or even had a membership, but I did find some cool, interesting and mysterious things on your almost empty shelves.

“Fuck you, ya fucking fuckers.”

These days, the self aware, over the top action movie is exemplified by the Fast and Furious series. They make billions of dollars and have bridged a long thought insurmountable gap between action jocks, movie geeks and even some critics. But before this series perfected the overblown, self aware, bat shit nuts approach to action, a couple of other movies had to test the water and get audiences to think a little differently about what an action movie could be. These were movies like the Statham-tastic Crank series, and Shoot ‘Em Up.


A heavily pregnant woman is being pursued by murderous gunmen. Witnessing her dilemma, Smith (Clive Owen) decides to intervene. Amongst a hail of bullets, Smith manages to help her give birth while returning fire the entire time. While the mother ultimately catches a bullet in the head, Smith escapes with the baby. But not before briefly coming face to face with the boss of the woman’s assailants, Paul Giamatti as Hertz. (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 | 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