Jackie Brown Movie Review – 1997

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Crime, Drama, Thriller

Year: 1997
Creator(s): Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Forester

Mild Spoilers

Written By: William R Wortham

Most crime dramas are good examples of plausible real life cruelty and psychological extremes. Flicks like L.A. Confidential are good psychological pieces on both criminals and corruption, and often based off true events. Jack Brown is a boring film about people randomly smattered about with a predictable ending. Oddly enough if you want to skip seeing a majority of the film just read the synopsys of this, because you aren’t missing much. Compessing every scene and character development into one paragraph is pathetic. Yet, somehow, this films seems to do this with great ease.

It’s a very cut and dry detective story that leaves nothing to the imagination. Max Cherry (Robert Forster) is a standard PI whos’ approched one day by Jackie Brown. After some flash backs and very long drawn out scenes things will slowly develop. I found a lot of them totally uninteresting because they were worthless converstations about generic things. This sours any kind of story development by distancing emotionally impactful scenes with scattered scenes. The whole point of a film is to keep people guessing, not drag things out beyond developmental archs.

One of the more tedious moments was when one of the side characters dies. It didn’t build drama well, and considering how shallow the characters are it was easy to predict. Common sense would have behooved many in this film and its like they blantantly ignored all of it. Unlike Hitchcock where you can’t see whats going on or its left up for grabs as to what happened, many scenes don’t do much to convey any emotion. It’s very blunt and the rest of the shots throughout the movie are the exact same.

All the characters are one-dimensional, with most of the character development basically summerized in a few minutes. This works for some movies, but it kills it for me when the top 5 main characters are as deep as a puddle. I can’t care about characters who are so predictiable and who lack any form of intelligence. Many in the film are more emotionally driven rather than by any kind of logic. Most gangster films involve smart criminals who get away with things due to subtle dialoge and cohersion. This had none of that.

On a postive note, for a Tarantino film, it’s totally out of the norm. Its lacking in huge amounts of gore and blood, unlike most of his films. In Pulp Fiction, no one was really a good guy or bad guy. Everyone was equally selfish, and eventually met a brutal end. Jack Brown is one of the few that ends on a high note and it might please some audiences. All of the characters, even though boring, were a lot less over the top compaired to his other movies.

I don’t know if I can recommend this movie, or hate it either. It was really well shot and everyones performances were up to snuff. Underwhelming scenes, a guessable story, and underdeveloped characters kill the rest of the film. If you want something simply written with farmiliar faces watch this film. I would skip it if you hate things that are completely banal.

4.5/10

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Fury Movie Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

It’s sometime during World War 2 and a tank battalion loses everyone but one tank. In the mists of the fight one of the crew members gets killed. So they roll into the nearest US base and are immediately assigned a new gunner. Unfortunately, he’s a typist and doesn’t know a thing about tanks. They haze the rookie by making him clean out their gut and blood covered tank hoping it would toughen him up to what he’s about to face.

I liked this movie, but it was very intensely gory. This is basically Saving Private Ryan if the beaches of Normandy lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some areas don’t involve the in your face gore, but it shows it very subtly. Which is neat since most movies now-a-days are either shaking the camera in order to give it a ‘realistic’ feel or showing blood and guts every 6 seconds and so in your face for so long it becomes obnoxious. This shows a image and the gore is hidden in the image. It’s weird, but it slowly builds up a very dreary and morose atmosphere. Like there’s one scene where it’s showing a artistic shot of a tank rolling through mud. If you look long enough you can see the uniform of a soldier. Then as it slowly rolls over the uniform it can clearly be seen that the soldier is still in it, but others have run over him about a million times already. It’s gross and brutal, but it shows the unforgiving nature of war rather then spend half the movie about the soldiers wanting to go home, like many others do.

The thing I liked about this film the most was the different characters. They didn’t rely off of stereotypes or tropes of most war movies. In turn it gave many of them a more genuine feel. Like Jon Bernthal (Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis) was a hardcore redneck who knew he wasn’t ever going to be rich and wasn’t worth for much other then labor or, as he put it a few times, killing. This isn’t seen much in movies, or at least this kind of character isn’t given that much screen time. Many war movies they are the first to go insane and become just another ‘bad guy’ and get killed. Shia LaBeouf (Boyd “Bible” Swan) was a crazed Bible thumper who is suffering from various parts of PTSD while still trying to do his job. This is another one you don’t see too often merely on the fact that strongly religious people are either mocked, chastised by newly found atheist allies, or flat out made to look like their completely insane. While it was obvious he had problems, the character didn’t wane from his beliefs and still respected his fellow allies. Even if they gave him a weird looks while he recited Bible verses they respected him enough to keep their mouth shut. Brad Pitt (Don “Wardaddy” Collier) was a cool to the core Sergeant who didn’t give any fancy “we’re going to win” speeches. This, from my experience, are what seasoned veterans are like. They might not be as cold, but they weren’t like Patton, who was a little flashy. Logan Lerman was the everyman. Instead of having long speech about how killing was wrong and how he had to do it for whatever reason his change was gradual and without dramatizations. Which was nice to see. Due to all this it built a foundation for a more believable look into soldiers lives during wartime. Michael Pena was basically the guy with really bad PTSD and sever depression. Now in a lot of movies he’d go insane or be given a medical discharge from the movie, then never seen from again. This was refreshing because it showed they could be worked with while doing their job.

While it included a slew of familiar faces, and A Lister Brad Pitt, I’d say everyone did exceptionally well. Brad Pitt did a great job playing a hard nosed war machine who pretty much knew what he was doing and how to corral a bunch of rough necks. Shia LaBeouf did exceptionally well as the stressed out religious Bible thumper and seemed extra weird for this performance. Jon Bernthal needs to stop impressing me or I might start rallying behind the guy to get him a Oscar nod. He’s demonstrated a various amount of range from the movies I’ve seen him in, especially since he was a nervous wreck in the last film I saw him in: Snitch. While, yes, he is usually cast as a bad guy in this movie he’s the redneck who’s crass to everyone and was rather convincing. He was great as one of the good guys who knows what good is but does it in his own way. Logan Lerman has always been a subtle leading man while picking roles who were more conservative then the characters they interacted with. So this married up to his other roles, but it was a stronger performance due to the subject matter. Michael Pena was good as the standard depress and over worked soldier, but many will have seen this performance before. However when he does get lines he nails them out of the park and makes the character different enough to warrant the audiences attention. Other then that everyone’s elses role was small, but not negligible. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to compliment or constructively criticize others, but the movies doesn’t much leave the tank they are in.

Fury is above average when it comes to WW2 movies. This is a very worn genera, but this breaths new life into these kinds of movies just by simply telling a different kind of story. It’s different approach in character development, its presentation of the tragedies involved, and even the way it shows other perspectives of war without making the people involved look psychotic is welcoming. All of the acting involved was top notch. The visuals were stunning, grotesque, and a little different then most. All in all this is a great WW2 film and it would be a good idea to add it to your collection once it comes out.

7.5/10

World War Z Movie Review

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Some random American family is introduced in the beginning. They eventually find out about the infection and hold up in a apartment complex. They bumble through a few things and are eventually saved form the terror that is now Philly. The father is eventually given the task of helping a group find the a workable cure. A Harvard grad on board has some wild idea that they need to go out and find the origins of the virus in order to make said cure.

This movie is just bland and predictable, if you’ve ever seen any action movie ever. It starts off by a massive outbreak and everyone is trapped in a apartment complex. They somehow make it out via helicopter and to a US Navy rescue ship. Surprise. While on the Navy ship the main character is pressured into helping find a cure. Surprise. He, and a few other people, are shipped out to some dirt hole where it supposedly started only to be told other nations knew about it before hand. Surprise. Well, OK, not surprise, but you should get the point by now.

The cut and dry execution takes away from the realness of the situation, and/or other factors involved. Like there’s one scene where they get to a infected WHO (World Health Organization) building, where they study all the worlds deadliest diseases. In most buildings that store deadly diseases require a fail safe mechanism just in case one of the viruses gets out. Some suck all the oxygen out of the building within minutes and kills all the bacteria by liquid chemicals in the emergency fire system. Some adds a chemical to the air that literally burns everything in sight. In this one, in order to continue on with the story, there wasn’t any fail safe and the protagonists had to rumble through the now infected building to find what they were looking for. So if there was a fail safe they wouldn’t have been able to explore that section of the building and the movie would have ended sooner. I know this is nit picking a little, but anyone who knows anything about WHO knows this is one of their prized things: safety. So this, amongst other things, becomes unrealistic and unbelievable while everything is trying to be rooted in a realistic setting and being completely plausible.

Some of the good things about this film is that the action is rather fast paced, and constant. The splashes of blood are abound as well, without being disgustingly gory. That as well as the decent acting keep most of the audience watching. For a zombie movie I was impressed how they left out much of the gore and was still able to make it tense in many scenes. One thing that carries over from most horror movie is people not thinking and sometimes dying laughably bad deaths. This only happened a few times and how they died kinda added back some of the plausibility of the zombie outbreak.

For the most part the acting was OK. Most of the characters seemed OVER the fact that everyone they knew and loved had turned into bloodthirsty creatures. So it felt a little strange. You don’t know if they’re still in shock or took a second after fighting and sat there and said “screw it.” and don’t care about anything anymore. David Morse was a good surprise to see in the middle of the film and did bring a creepy vibe to the ‘oh what’s happening behind the political scenes’ conspiracy paranoia that follows the film. Peter Capaldi and Pierfrancesco Favino come later in the move, but provide a better, and more on edge, roles then seen in earlier parts of the film. They legit seemed more tense the some of the other actors who have claimed to see their loved ones eaten in front of them. Brad Pitt was alright, but I’d still say some of his best works are his more weirder roles like Cool World, or even Tweleve Monkeys. This is more or less a fun movie to see and not really one you can immerse yourself while watching the characters.

I don’t really know how to recommend a movie that’s this predictable. It is entertaining. It does have a few dozen tense moments. However it’s missing a few dozens things from it to make it that would make it scary. So it seems like “Zombie-movie-lite” for those who aren’t use to the genera yet or don’t care for gore. I will say that the ending is one of the more different ones I’ve ever seen in a zombie movie to date. So that was pretty neat to see. If you want to see this wait for Netflix or rent it somewhere.

5.5/10

7.3/10 – IMDB

63/100 – Metacritic Critic Reviews

6.8/10 – Metacritic User Reviews