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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Kingsman: The Secret Service

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WARNING: Mild Spoilers

Harry Hart owes a life debt to a fallen friend, Lancealot, whilst working for a socially elites group of people who are Britain’s best undercover spies called: Kingsmen. They all take names from King Arthers fairy tales, and some even exude qualities of their mythical counter parts. Regardless, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin grew up as a social delinquent. He eventually gets arrested and calls on the Kingsmen to get him out of trouble. They do and decide to recruit him for their undercover training program.

I consider most British comedies wittier then most American comedies due to well placed sight gags or very well crafted dialogue. This one lacked in some areas on good gags and smarm, but it made up for with well crafted crass humor. Colin Firth played the straight man to Taron Egerton‘s young and foul mouthed teenager. Many examples can be seen in the various trailers out there. Other times its simple pokes at American stereotypes or in your face violence. Oddly enough I found myself snickering at some of the violent scenes involving a racist church group they eventually investigate. Other times it was at the blatant references to just about every other spy film ever made while still trying to formulate a ironic style of humor while still honoring the genera.

I didn’t care for the film’s jumbled development. Many times Taron Egerton’s character jumps between lovable dumbass to killing machine back to being a arrogant prick. You’d think after months of training he’d know how to do something simple like open a parachute. Also the anti-US American undertones were a tad obnoxious. They were consistent and only seemed to be berating the ‘evil corporate American companies are trying to kill you’ lunacy that seems to plague every other story now-a-days. Also it isn’t plausible that one of the crucial parts of the story involves mass genocide and all the billionaires in the world just being OK with it. Because once society has toppled what good is their money? Who will run their power plants or make their food? Oh wait. No one will, because everyone is DEAD. There’s a definite spike between different styles of humor after a main character dies. In the beginning it’s a mixture of mellow, wit, wry, and crass humor. After the main character dies then it becomes oafish and pure crass. It isn’t that its too jarring, but it’s REALLY noticeable. So if you think all of a sudden the jokes become crappier then thats just letting you know you’re near the end of the movie.

Colin Firth was decent as a stern sophisticated person without giving into his past experience with roles. Mark Strong played a good guy for once and while not showing a lot of strength in anything he did seem to know how seem convincing he was a master of all trades. Mark Hamill is a bumbling professor and plays it rather well. It’s different since he usually plays a stronger male role, even as a villain. Taron Egerton was good as a jackass, but most of his acting was reactionary due to the script so I don’t think it’s a good example of his acting. Samuel L Jackson was great as the villain, but it seemed like he needed to tighten up some areas and be a little more aggressive or assertive. Other wise he was rather good and made someone with a lisp rather creepy.

Most spy films that try to be comedies fail by hiring writers who don’t know how to blend the two genera or the comedy becomes too experimental. This was a nice balance of everything without having one genera overpower the other. The characters were likable, even if mildly cliché. The story might be bland to some people, but how everything is set up separates it from the rest of the genera. Kingsman might not go down as a comedy classic, but it will definitely be brought up in conversation frequently.

See it in theaters.

7.5/10

Django Unchained Movie Review

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A slave named Django is bought by Dr. King Schultz. Django reviles that he was sold separate from his wife. He’s then taken under Dr. Schultz wing and makes him into a bounty hunter. Many of the plantation owners, and slave owners, hire wanted men, unknowingly, for odd jobs around the plantation. In turn Django and Dr. Schultz go and hunt them down for the bounty and revenge.

For the most part I was disappointed with this film. If it wasn’t reminding the audience of the racist past, various untrue Southern stereotypes, then it was saying nigger a ton of times. There’s a difference between saying it creatively and making it part of the character or even a reflection of the time period. However it felt forced since it seemed like it was everyone’s favorite adjective, verb, and noun. That is just stupid to do. I don’t object to the use of the word in the historical context, but, well, if it seems like if Tarantino cast a baby for something it would be the first word out of its mouth.

Yes it’s suppose to be a creative take on history, but there were a lot of historical inaccuracies that I couldn’t let go. Like if you cursed in the South back then, or anytime prior to the 1920s or so, you’d be beaten by your fellow hillbilly because it was severely rude to curse in public, and in many times in private as well. Even men of questionable characteristics lived by this. So everyone in the movie, with some except to Christoph Waltz character, would have been socked in the mouth, multiple times. Also another thing you didn’t do was curse in front of women. That happened a lot in this film for some reason. There were many others, but in order to avoid a flame war I’m not posting them here.

The good part of this film is the style. It is 1 for 1 representative of the 70s movies made back in the day. The faulty sound and visuals add to the stress in more intense scenes. Other times it used some of the weird styles of 70s films. Like it began with a song about Django and it almost sounded like Tom Jones was singing it. It’s kinda terribly written. Also many of the scenes were well shot and very entertaining to watch. They consisted of quick cuts and would flow into continued running shots, which are difficult to due and do make some great visuals.

This, like all Quentin Tarantino films, has a slew of familiar faces. Some get under used, and some shamefully get NO LINES AT ALL. So it seems like they are either underused or intentionally pick these roles in order to film with Tarantino. Sorry I don’t get it. Like James Remar had NO LINES. Yet he’s always a great bit actor. Besides that Leonardo DiCaprio did a great job at being the bad guy. He was convincing enough to make me wonder if there will be more chances for him to be a complete dick. Jamie Foxx didn’t deliver all his lines well so it came off slightly generic or almost stale in some areas. Christoph Waltz, well, he deserved the Oscar. Its rare for someone to pulled off the smooth smart good guy and do it both well. Sophistication oozed from him while looking like a murderous bounty hunter and injecting twists along the way.

As stated I don’t care for this film. I don’t know why it got all the hype it did. It was very well shot, but the story killed it. Now I usually like revenge films, but the constant reminder of how ‘evil’ every other Southerner was back then was sickeningly cliché. On top of that it used just about every other trope to it’s fullest extent. From the damsel in distress to the underdog making a successful comeback. It even had cliché moments like the good guy watching his bad guys house blow up and look back at the camera and smile. It’s riddled with cliches, historical inaccuracies, is completely racist, and unoriginal in almost every extent. The constant reminder of racial ties is sickening and inaccurate of the time. Also the need for characters to spell things out for everyone on things that are COMPLETELY OBVIOUS is super irritating.

If you like revenge films see more noteworthy ones like Man on Fire, The Crow, Leon: The Professional, or even Lucky Number Slevin. Until then I’d skip this one.

5.0/10