Tag Archives: Scott Glenn

Sucker Punch (2011) Review

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Sucker Punch

Time:
109 Minutes (Theatrical)
138 Minutes (Extended)
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains violence
Cast:
Emily Browning as Babydoll
Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea
Jena Malone as Rocket
Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie
Jamie Chung as Amber
Carla Gugino as Vera Gorski/Madame Vera Gorski
Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones
Jon Hamm as The Doctor/The High Roller
Scott Glenn as The Wise Man/The General/The Bus Driver
Director: Zack Snyder

Locked away, a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantasy world where she is free to go wherever her mind takes her. Determined to fight for real freedom, she finds four women – Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) — to join together to escape the terrible fate that awaits them. With a virtual arsenal at their disposal, the allies battle everything from samurais to serpents, while trying to decide what price they will pay for survival.

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Sucker Punch released 10 years ago remains a very polarising movie. Zack Snyder is a very divisive director, to this day it remains the strangest movie that he’s created. Having seen the extended cut of the movie, I can say that I am in the group of people who likes this movie, even though I can somewhat understand some of the mixed responses.

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This is the only movie (until Army of the Dead) from Zack Snyder that isn’t based off an original source material. Before I go into the different versions about the movie, I’ll talk about the movie as I saw it. Some of the part of why the movie didn’t get so well received was expectations. From the marketing, trailers and posters, Sucker Punch looked to be like a videogame influenced Charlie’s Angels with a group of young women with weapons taking on giant robots and dragons. Now these action sections are actually all imaginations taking place in the mind of the lead character. With that said, I do think that you still might be able to enjoy it as an action fantasy movie. I can’t go too deep into the movie without spoiling anything so I’ll try to be as vague as possible about the plot. The action scenes are entertaining, though you are aware the whole time that what’s happening on screen during these moments are just in the head of the main character played by Emily Browning. While these scenes are fun, there’s not much to explain the setups of those scenes, and I wasn’t able to pick them up even on a second viewing (unless I’m missing something). It could very well be that it’s just an excuse to have large action sequences and even if that’s the case, I wouldn’t want those moments removed.

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Zack Snyder has described Sucker Punch as Alice in Wonderland with machine guns, and that’s a very fitting description of the movie. It’s quite an ambitious movie, especially because the narrative is far from straightforward and doesn’t spoon feed you what’s happening. There are already plenty of deep dives into what this movie is. Essentially, Sucker Punch is intended as a female empowerment film, a commentary and examination of trauma, misogyny and abuse, and the story is essentially about escaping. Even if you don’t like the movie, I do think Snyder deserves a lot of credit for really trying something risky and trying to say something. That’s not to say that the script doesn’t have its issues. The characterisation isn’t great and most of the characters are underdeveloped and underwritten. The narrative isn’t always coherent, but I wouldn’t trade that out for one that was 100% clear cut. The version of Sucker Punch I watched was the extended cut. I will say that although I haven’t seen the theatrical version, from what I could gather from looking online, the cut down version on paper looked a bit messy. When Zack Snyder makes a movie, every single time there have been more than one version, it’s been shown that it is best releasing the version that was filmed instead of cutting it down. For Sucker Punch, the extended cut actually fully realises the message and intent by the end, and with such a bizarre story it needed to be told fully. On top of that, instead of it being PG-13, it is now R, which means you never feel any restrictions. With that all being said, it has been confirmed by Zack Snyder himself that there has been no official release of a director’s cut, hence why it’s called an extended cut instead. Nonetheless, this is the version of the movie to watch.

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The cast all play their roles very well. The main cast played by Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung were quite good, especially Emily Browning as the lead character. Other actors like Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn are also good. Even if some of the characters were underwritten, the performances made up for them.

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Zack Snyder’s direction is great, from beginning to end you can definitely tell that this is one of his movies. In fact you could say that this is the most Zack Snyder movie that Zack Snyder has ever made. Some have criticised this movie with the tired criticism of ‘it’s style over substance’, to which I’d counter with ‘style is substance’. Snyder excels at visual storytelling, and the biggest example of that in the movie is the incredible opening sequence, which tells so much within the 5 minutes without any dialogue being spoken. Larry Fong’s cinematography is fantastic, there are some very stunning visuals from beginning to end. There are many stand out action sequences, including a war sequence, a fight against giant samurai, and the like. Even if you don’t like much of the story, I think you would still be able to get a lot out of the action, even if some of them do feel video game-esque (especially with the CGI) and don’t really have any tension. The soundtrack is very well picked for this movie and works excellently for it.

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Sucker Punch is a pretty polarising movie. The performances were really good, I loved Zack Snyder’s direction, and I like what Snyder was really going for with the plot. If you do choose to check it out, I recommend checking out the extended cut. Not all of the movie works, and there’s definitely some messiness to it, but a lot of it does work.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Review

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The Silence of the Lambs

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] contains content may disturb
Cast:
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
Ted Levine as Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb
Director: Jonathan Demme

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer (Ted Levine) who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter’s confidence before the inmate will give away any information.

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The Silence of the Lambs was a massive hit upon its release, it even won the big 5 Oscars with Best Picture, Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, and that was particularly special considering it was a horror movie, with those movies in the genre not being considered ‘award friendly’. Almost 3 decades later, it is still an absolute classic and essential viewing, with its acting, writing and direction being top notch.

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One of the aspects of Silence of the Lambs that works so well is that it’s so realistic and feels like it could happen actually happen in real life. Manhunter did a realistic sort of take on a different Hannibal Lecter story, however parts of that movie felt a little bland. The Silence of the Lambs however manages to make the investigation and overall story interesting. From start to finish you’re absolutely locked into everything that’s happening.

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Jodie Foster was really great as Clarice Starling, this ranks among Foster’s best performances. It’s quite easy to like Clarice as a protagonist, and her story arc was really good. There’s a reason that the movie focusses a lot of time on her face, Foster is very expressive, and the movie definitely took advantage of that to great results. Anthony Hopkins doesn’t get a lot of screen time but his less than 15 minutes of screentime was a multi award winning performance, and for very good reason. The movie doesn’t surround him a lot but he really makes an impression. Looking at it now, he does go a little hammy at times, and it does seem a little out of place considering that the rest of the movie is really realistic, and Hopkins’s Lecter is a lot more theatrical compared to everything else. Also I was never really unnerved or scared by the performance and the character. But for the most part, Hopkins nails the role and steals every scene he’s in. Foster and Hopkins were absolutely magnetic together, their interactions are some of the best scenes of the movie. While a lot of people found Hopkins to be scary, the scariest performance in this movie comes from Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill, the serial killer that Foster’s Clarice is hunting down. Buffalo Bill seemed like a real life serial killer, from the performance, to the character himself, everything about him is unsettling. Levine sadly doesn’t get enough praise, which he deserves especially considering all of the gruelling prep he had to do to prepare for the role. The rest of the supporting cast including Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford also do some solid work.

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Jonathan Demme’s direction was really great, and he put this movie together very well. The story and writing itself was quite realistic and the way everything looks complements this. There are many close up shots that are done from Clarice Starling’s point of view, I really noticed it particularly on my latest viewing. It really does a good job at making you feel uncomfortable, even if it’s not a grisly scene or featuring Hannibal or Buffalo Bill. The only aspects that are little lacklustre is that occasionally some set designs that aren’t special and might not be that interesting but that’s it, it works for the more grounded take of the movie anyway. The soundtrack from Howard Shore is iconic and excellent, really adding adds a haunting atmosphere to this film.

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The Silence of the Lambs is a classic and for very good reason. It’s a gripping thriller with Jonathan Demme’s great direction, an interesting story, and some great performances, mainly from Foster, Hopkins and Levine. I’ve now seen it 3 to 4 times and it’s gotten better with every viewing. If you haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet you definitely should, it’s a fantastic film.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) Review

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The Bourne Ultimatum

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer
Paddy Considine as Simon Ross
Édgar Ramírez as Paz
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Joan Allen as Pamela “Pam” Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa to the United States, he must stay one step ahead of those who would capture or kill him before he has a chance to discover the truth.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is quite possibly the best film of the Bourne franchise. Like with the other films of the trilogy they are quite similar, regarding the action, acting story, etc. However I personally feel like this is the strongest out of the films by a little bit, maybe it’s just my personal preference. Imagine if Bourne Supremacy if it was a full on action movie and the issues with the shaky cam in that film were dealt with. This third instalment makes the Bourne trilogy one of the best film trilogies.

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This film is quite similar to the previous Bourne movies. So chances are, if you didn’t like the previous Bourne movies, you won’t like this one. Whereas Bourne Identity is a mystery movie and Bourne Supremacy is a thriller, Bourne Ultimatum is the best action movie out of all of them. This movie’s pace is quite fast, and doesn’t slow down a lot, even the smaller character moments or moments of dialogue feel like they progress the plot, in a good way. There is no moment that feels unnecessary or wasted. There is no pointless romance thrown into the movie just because, even when Damon is paired with Julia Stiles, the film doesn’t waste time on any romance. Greengrass also did well to never drop the tension throughout the film. The conclusion was also great and satisfying, when we find out what happened with Jason Bourne and why and how he became an assassin.

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Matt Damon is once again excellent in the role of Jason Bourne. He continues to be believable as this assassin whether he’s in action scenes or the fewer smaller moments. The supporting cast also are great. In the previous film Joan Allen was trying to hunt down Bourne with Brian Cox, both with different reasons. Joan Allen returns to her same role in the movie, along with David Stratharin, who’s also trying to find Jason Bourne. Both of them are truly great in the movie. Other actors like Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez and Albert Finney are also great in their roles.

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In the Bourne Supremacy, while for the most part the shaky cam was handled well, there were a couple scenes which weren’t handled the best. Greengrass doesn’t have any of those moments in Ultimatum. I can’t think of any moment in this film that didn’t work. As I said, this is the best action movie out of the three Bourne films. This has a wide variety of action scenes, there’s motorbike chases, foot chases, car chases, fight scenes, you name it. Speaking of fight scenes, there is a brutal fight between Jason and a character named Desh which is the best fight in the series yet and is one of the best scenes in the franchise yet. Greengrass massively improved the way he shot his fight scenes since Supremacy.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is truly a great Bourne movie, with its fast paced yet well filmed action, excellent acting from its talented cast and well told story. Even though as I said many times this is very similar to the other movies in the series, this might actually be my favourite film in the series. We’ll just have to see if Jason Bourne this year can top what they did with The Bourne Ultimatum. It won’t be an easy task though.