Tag Archives: Josh Lucas

American Psycho (2000) Review

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American Psycho

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Cast:
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman
Willem Dafoe as Detective Donald Kimball
Jared Leto as Paul Allen
Josh Lucas as Craig McDermott
Samantha Mathis as Courtney Rawlinson
Matt Ross as Luis Carruthers
Bill Sage as David Van Patten
Chloë Sevigny as Jean
Cara Seymour as Christie
Justin Theroux as Timothy Bryce
Guinevere Turner as Elizabeth
Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn Williams
Director: Mary Harron

In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as a gruesome serial killer by night. The cast is filled by the detective (Willem Dafoe), the fiancé (Reese Witherspoon), the mistress (Samantha Mathis), the coworker (Jared Leto), and the secretary (Chloë Sevigny). This is a biting, wry comedy examining the elements that make a man a monster.

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With it being just after its 20th anniversary, I thought it was worth watching American Psycho again. I liked it when I saw it, it’s a great movie. I’d probably now consider it to be one of my favourite films of all time. While it was a little polarising upon its release, it became quite a cult classic over time, and is now widely held in high regard. Dark, satirical, over the top and hilarious, it has become one of my favourite movies.

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Now on the surface, it seems like a disturbing horror thriller about a serial killer. You really can’t watch this movie as a straight up thriller however, because it’s not that at all. This film is a dark comedy and has some over the top ridiculous moments, so you can’t take this movie too seriously. It’s very much a satire, especially of 80s Wall Street Yuppie Culture. With viewings after the first one however, it works much better as you pick up even more details that the movie has that you didn’t realise on the first viewing. The ending is a little ambiguous and is easily debatable. I know of a couple of different interpretations of the movie, and without going into it, both versions give the movie layers, making it more than just a darkly funny movie about a narcissistic serial killer. The use of voiceover is pretty much pitch perfect, showing Patrick Bateman’s innermost thoughts, often to hilarious effect. The writing is very strong, and has incredibly quotable dialogue. From what I heard, the book written by Bret Easton Ellis was way more violent and controversial than what the movie showed, and based on some things I heard about it, writer/director Mary Harron and co-writer Guinevere Turner managed to get the right material from it and make the best movie possible. At an hour and 40 minutes long, I was entertained from beginning to end.

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Christian Bale gives possibly his best performance to date as lead character Patrick Bateman. He brought this character to the big screen excellently, and completely embodied him. He was absolutely hilarious and absolutely magnetic on screen. The movie is very reliant on him being great, as he’s at the front of the movie from beginning to end, from the deliveries of lines, the comedic timing, and he definitely brought it. Taking on this role was such a big risk for Bale at this point in his career, in fact he was advised that playing it would be career suicide. However, the risk paid off, and it launched his career even further. It’s basically impossible picturing anyone else in the role of Bateman. There was a case where Leonardo DiCaprio nearly replaced Christian Bale, and as great of an actor that DiCaprio is, I can’t see him or really any other actor delivering what Bale did here. Other actors like Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon and Jared Leto do well in their supporting roles.

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Director Mary Harron directs this movie and she did an excellent job. She managed to capture the feeling of the 80s really well with her direction, especially when it came to the excess. Speaking of the 80s, the music choices were fitting and the use of it in the movie worked perfectly. The violence is bloody and over the top but often times its cartoonish, and most of the time is easily funny, especially when watching much of it on multiple viewings.

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American Psycho is a movie that gets better the more you see it. A dark comedy, excellently written and directed, with a career best performance from Christian Bale at the centre of it, it’s one of my favourites. 20 years later it still holds up quite well. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, especially if you are a fan of dark comedies.

Ford v Ferrari (2019) Review

Time: 152 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby
Christian Bale as Ken Miles
Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca
Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles
Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II
Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe
Noah Jupe as Peter Miles
Remo Girone as Enzo Ferrari
Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington
Director: James Mangold

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

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Ford v Ferrari was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. With director James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) helming this and with a cast that included Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal and more, there was a lot of talented people involved. With that said, I wasn’t necessarily interesting in racing or race cars, so I wasn’t hyped because of the premise, but I was still interested for the talent involved in it. I actually liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would, what could’ve been a standard racing biopic is elevated immensely by the direction and the acting.

Just to preface this review, I’m not really interested in cars or racing or anything like that, nor did I have any prior knowledge of the real life events. Thankfully it’s still reasonably accessible to those people like me, you can still follow along with what’s going on without being too bored or confused. The first half of the movie is the whole creative process, and I think most of us can be interested in that if it’s handled well, whether fully understand everything that’s going on or not. The last third act for the most part is a massive racing sequence, and it’s quite a rewarding experience. In many ways, Ford v Ferrari is a standard biopic, and at times it definitely feels like it. However it was injected with quite a bit of humanity. While I’m aware that a lot of biopics also have those manufactured emotional moments placed to make the audience care a little bit about the characters, I think Ford v Ferrari does just enough for it to elevate it above most similar movies. Ford v Ferrari is rather long, it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes in fact. While the pacing is generally good and faster than you’d think it would be, I still feel like it could’ve been a little shorter. The early portions are fine but after the initial setup, that’s when the movie really picks up. A very small gripe but we don’t exactly get a sense about how much time has passed. We are told that they have 90 days to build the car but the way the movie progresses, it feels like it didn’t take more than a month.

The performances are really good, and Ford v Ferrari has quite a talented cast. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are great, and they share some convincing onscreen chemistry together. Bale particularly is great, and a real scene stealer throughout. You have some solid work from the supporting cast as well. Jon Bernthal is really good here, he’s a prominent supporting character, and thankfully gets far more screentime than he receives in most of his movies where he’d usually get up to 10 minutes max. Other actors like Josh Lucas and Tracy Letts also play their roles well.

So I said earlier about how Ford v Ferrari is really a standard biopic at its core, however a big reason why it worked so well was James Mangold’s direction. The movie is basically perfect for what it’s trying to be on a technical level. It’s a good looking movie, and they captured the time period and setting really well. And that’s even before I talk about the racing scenes, which you can probably tell are among the highlights of the movie. The racing scenes are engaging, tense and really gripping, it’s very well filmed and it really allows you to see everything and never becomes confusing. It seems that very little CGI was used. This movie cost just under $100 million and you can definitely feel it throughout, they seemed to have utilised that very well. The score by Marco Beltrami does well to helps raise the tension even further.

Ford v Ferrari may not reinvent the genre and you can probably guess 95% of the plot beats or the structure, but I can’t deny that I still had a good time watching it. What made it stand out so much was the performances (especially from Damon and Bale), but also James Mangold, who gives such humanity and energy to what could’ve just been a mediocre biopic at best, and making it something great. If you’re just looking for a racing movie with a bunch of racing tense driving scenes, the whole movie isn’t won’t be like that, but you’ll definitely get your fix here. If you’re like me and aren’t particularly interested in cars or racing, I’d still say that you can get invested in the movie and it’s well worth checking out.