Monday 29 January 2018

Movie review: Den of Thieves (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Den of Thieves (2018)



Smart and coherent storyline, which develops nicely over time.

Resembles some other movies I've watched:
  • Triple 9 (2016) [Liviu review]
    • All bad guys die in Triple 9, while here only Donnie Wilson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) manages to escape.
    • The same as bad guys in Triple 9, Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) pretends taking a shot at 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler) so he gets shot to death.
  • The Usual Suspects (1995) [IMDB]
    • Important details unravel somehow the same over time.
    • Donnie Wilson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) is a small replica of Keyser Söze by the way he manipulates everyone.
  • Hell or High Water (2016) [Liviu review]
    • The general attitude; the mix of irony and drama.
    • Just as Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) loses his partner in the end and gets upset about it, so does 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler) lose a member of the team and is sad about it.

Whenever the story is about to drag something happens and it takes off again.

Really funny at times.

Action and special effects - enough to keep it going and keep one focused on the story. Could have used more, of course :)

Drama - enough to engage the viewer, while not get one bored.

Rather average acting skills when analyzing each performance alone - all actors try pretty hard to do a good job, but can't quite rise to a high level... However, the screen time is very well balanced among all characters/actors, which makes the overall acting/performance seem a lot better than the sum of all raw performances.

Very good directing and postprocessing - raises the overall quality of the movie, enhances the overall acting, makes the story seem interesting at times when it might not be etc. - I have this feeling they've done a lot of magic with somewhat limited resources.

With a better cast, they could have produced a classic. Imagine for starters Jeff Bridges or Russell Crowe playing 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler), Tom Hardy playing Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber)...


Worth watching for sure.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Movie review: Molly's Game (2017)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Molly's Game (2017)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia; Molly Bloom (author)]

The first 2/3 of the movie is funny, fast paced, daring, very entertaining...

... but then, although still entertaining, the movie
  1. starts dragging a bit at times and
  2. focuses on clearing Molly's name:
    • she's an angel,
    • she's so innocent,
    • she's got a good soul,
    • she's a champion,
    • she's not greedy,
    • she has made little money and has declared all of them to the IRS because she wanted everything to be legit,
    • she protects her clients' privacy with the price of her own freedom (why? oh, because she doesn't want to see their families ruined when their dirty secrets get exposed!),
    • she had no idea what she has got into and with whom when organizing high stakes poker games etc.
    Oh, come on! Really? I get she has a lot of dirt about a lot of important and/or wealthy people, including Hollywood celebrities, but the hard effort to clear her name is just too much... What should I do? Pity her? Cry as if I'm watching soap operas? :)) Donate money to her so she does not starve to death? :))

    The only thing I'm buying is she has not offered sex for money, because it's obvious it would have been bad for business.

Coherent storyline.

Very good acting.
Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba do a great job.
Out of the other actors with little screen time, I'd mention:
  • Kevin Costner, who uses his screen time to the full - excellent play! Best of all.
  • Michael Cera - strong impact on the story - I think he portrays Tobey Maguire
  • Chris O'Dowd and Brian d'Arcy James, who are so funny...

Follows the Hollywood pattern of a movie targeting the Academy Awards. I'd predict it gets nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jessica Chastain), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Idris Elba), Best picture, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Nota bene: I bet Idris Elba gets nominated at the Academy Awards, also given his performance in The Mountain Between Us (2017) [IMDB], which I haven't seen, but, given the trailer and the story etc., I speculate it provides excellent performance from both Elba and Winslet and targets the Academy Awards...


Worth watching. Entertaining.
I wish the last 1/3 of the movie were as good as the first 2/3.