Hugh Jackman

All posts tagged Hugh Jackman

Recent DVD Release: Prisoners

Published January 28, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette.

Rated: R.  Crime/Drama.  Running Time: 2 hours 33 minutes.

Hi everyone, hope you all had a great holiday season.  We’ve been away a while with family, work, vacation etc., but we’re ready to get back into the swing.  We rented Prisoners last night, an intriguing (albeit a bit too long) morality play that makes you contemplate some serious issues and has you asking the question, “what would I do?”  Keller Dover (Jackman) is an outdoorsman, survivalist and decent family man.  His best friend and neighbor, Franklin Birch (Howard), seems equally decent and both men are married with two kids.  The families have a little Thanksgiving day gathering, and before long the two little girls (one from each family) end up wandering off unsupervised.  This is where Prisoners begins in earnest, as the families desperately search for the missing girls.  The focus quickly centers on a beat up camper that was seen parked nearby earlier.  The camper’s driver, Alex Jones, another damaged man/child played by the seemingly one-dimensional Paul Dano, is apprehended by local cop, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) and becomes the prime suspect.  Extensive searching and questioning turns up nothing and the police eventually have to let Alex go.  The clock is ticking and Keller decides to take matters into his own hands.     

Prisoners has a similar feel to Mystic River or Gone Baby Gone.  These films share that initial moment when your heart sinks and you feel nothing but absolute sympathy for the family involved.  Then your mind wanders and you think, “what if it was me?”  Suspenseful, intriguing and in its totality quite clever, Prisoners is a moral dilemma.  The audience won’t know whether to encourage Keller Dover or to lock him away.  Personally, I am a bit of a sucker for vigilante justice (i.e. my love of the Death Wish movies), but it strikes a different chord when you’re unsure of the recipient’s guilt.  Jackman gives a truly electrifying performance as the desperate Keller Dover, alongside some fairly forgettable characters.  Ross is right about the length, it ran a bit too long for my taste, especially in the middle.  The ending was worth a wait, but not the wait they imposed on us.  Prisoners kept us guessing and questioning ourselves for a good while, but no one can keep Ross Gallo guessing too long.  The man is a savant.

I’m not sure about savant; idiot maybe.  If you have kids, you have to relate to Keller Dover’s plight.  I’m pretty sure if you’ve seen the previews for this movie, that I’m not ruining the plot by telling you that he tortures the hell out of Dano’s Jones.  If it was my kid missing, would I go that far?  My guess is yes.  The filmmakers make it extremely uncomfortable, because there are serious doubts about Jones’ guilt.  The race against time is on though and I found myself being unable to decide if I wanted him to continue or not.  I’m certain this is the place where they wanted the viewer to end up.  Hugh Jackman is excellent and carries the movie.  It is through him that we “live” the anger, doubt, horror and anguish.  The supporting cast is mostly wasted, though for you Saving Grace fans, it was cool to see an all grown up Dylan Minnette who played Grace’s nephew Cole on the TNT hit.  Too long, but worth a watch for sure.  Maria hit it on the head with the Mystic River feel.  Though not the exact same plot, the cold, drab winter and tortured father are similar; as is the “did he do it or didn’t he?” suspect.  Check out Prisoners to find out the movies answers, and probably some within yourself as well.

Prisoners was no shining cinematic achievement, but if you’re in the mood for a suspenseful mystery, it’s worth a try.  It had a few good twists and turns.  And Jackman’s emotionally charged performance cements his place as one of Hollywood’s eminent talents.  He single-handedly keeps Prisoners above average.  But the combination of the lengthy plot and forgettable supporting cast bumps it back into mediocrity.  This isn’t the genre of movie I would rush off to see in theatres anyway, but it was a good RedBox investment.

Ross’ Rating- 3.25 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s Rating- 2.75 Gummies.

Fairly Recent DVD Release: Movie 43

Published September 5, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Charlie Saxton, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Live Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, J.B. Smoove, Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBryer, Aasif Mandvi, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Bell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler, Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Terrence Howard, Josh Duhamel, and Elizabeth Banks.

Rated: R. Comedy. Running Time: 1 hour & 34 minutes.

Ross and I rented Movie 43 on a whim.  We were en route to our home from cocktails & dinner.  Neither of us was expecting much at all.  I remember seeing the previews and thinking, “Wow, that’s some cast” (see above listing).  But then it fell off the radar.  And I figured, if no one is talking about it, could it really be worth watching?  The answer is: YES.  The movie makes up for any later transgression in the first skit.  Five minutes in, Ross and I were laughing so hard that neither of us could speak or breathe.  That being said, if you don’t like immature humor, skip this one and you should probably leave my blog for good.  We had no idea what to expect, but what unfolded on the screen left us bewildered, delighted and quite intrigued.  Once the movie got rolling, we realized it was a series of interconnected sketches featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.  I kept asking myself, “How did they get all these people!”  There were some promising moments of hilarity & ingenuity…but taken in its entirety – this movie was bad.

I had no idea what we were in for when we rented Movie 43, but with that cast, you had to expect something decent.  I don’t know if I agree with Maria that the movie was bad.  If a movie entertains, makes you laugh or cry or feel exhilarated, I think that’s enough.  I will say the premise, an ever increasingly insane Dennis Quaid (playing a version of himself?) pitching his movie idea to a generic movie executive, Kinnear, is silly.  The “movie” is just a series of skits.  There is no way anyone could think they could make a coherent, full standing movie.  However, many of the vignettes are clever and hilarious.  None more than the first one, a first date for Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet.  If you follow MRSRAG at all, you know that Maria and I rarely, if ever, give out spoilers, and we’re not going to do it here.  But this first skit has a shocking surprise, a side splittingly funny one that keeps on giving.  Beyond the great opener, a few of my favorites were, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts as parents who are homeschooling their teenaged son, complete with all of high school’s worst possible scenarios.  A girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) getting her  period for the first time.  And Terrence Howard as a basketball coach circa the 1960’s (think Pleasantville or Hoosiers) giving a pep talk to his all black team before their first game against an all white squad.  While maybe “bad” isn’t the right word to describe Movie 43, it is hard to believe the creators convinced all these “A” list actors to associate their names with it.  

It was entertaining, but at times, hard to watch.  I’m actually surprised that Ross enjoyed it more than me, since he has some difficulty with awkward humor.  I will say that Movie 43 is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  And the “A” list actors is what put some of the skits over the edge for me.  Watching these Academy Award nominees and winners act out these absurd storylines was not only amusing, but shocking.  It took me a full day to get over the movie.  I kept asking Ross, “Was that real?”, “How did they get everyone to sign on?”, “Did I drink a lot last night?”!  It is in one word: unbelievable.  There were several vignettes, most of which my partner has described, that were pure comic genius.  They must be viewed.  But if I really look at this film in its entirety, it missed the mark.  And that is truly unfortunate because it contains so much potential.  Bottom line, go rent this for a $1.27.  The belly laughs are well worth that price.

An extremely tough movie to review.  Ultimately I have to recommend that you see it.  If you’re in the mood for some raunchy, clever, original comedy, Movie 43 should get the job done.  It certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and it won’t end up on your Top 20 list, but it’s not quite like anything you’ve ever seen before.  And, you will probably never see a larger collection of stars in one project.  There is one last scene I have to mention; a skit where a man is obviously going to propose marriage to his girlfriend.  “I have something I want to say.”  “Me too”, she replies.  “Ok, let’s say it together.  One. Two. Three….”  She beats him to the punch, and I almost fell off the couch!  You may want to keep some pillows handy for that one.

Maria’s Rating:  2.5 Gummy Bears out of 5. (Mostly for Jackman & Winslet)

Ross’ Rating:  3.25 Gummies.