Archives for posts with tag: Bradley Cooper

Grade A+

An emotionally troubled musician/singer (played by Bradley Cooper) whose career is on a downward slide meets a young singer (played by Lady Gaga) who is highly talented but doesn’t believe much in herself.  They instantly form a connection that quickly grows into love; and Lady Gaga joins Cooper on his tour as one of his performers, collaborating on new songs and the start of a new life together.  Lady Gaga’s star rises at breakneck speed while Cooper’s addictions and physical impairment weighs heavily not just on Cooper but everyone around him.  The love Lady Gaga and Cooper have for each other is strong, but it may not be enough to save their relationship.

My most memorable, movie moment of “A Star Is Born” is the scene that shows Cooper’s solution to unburden Lady Gaga of his troubles.   Although it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who pays close attention to the movie, it is still painful to see.

This is one of those rare movies that has characters who come off as so real that the audience gets emotionally invested in them from the beginning.   Add to this spectacular acting and singing performances by Cooper and Lady Gaga, great songs, brilliant direction by first timer Cooper, and masterful editing, “A Star Is Born” will take its place as one of the best movies ever made.

— M

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Grade B+

The Guardians Of The Galaxy are back in Vol. 2, which focuses on who and what the father of Chris Pratt (the leader of the “G.O.T.G.”) is.   On the run from petty, golden colored creatures, the Guardians run into a man (played by Kurt Russell) who saves them and explains to them that he is a Celestial being — basically a god, virtually immortal with great powers.  Pratt, always wanting to know who his father was and why he was abandoned, now has an answer to his questions, as well as someone he can yell at for being an absentee father.

It isn’t long before father and son hit it off; but Russell hides a secret that may rip the Guardians apart and destroy the Universe.   As if that wasn’t bad enough, the golden colored creatures and other assorted enemies make their appearances at all the wrong moments.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” is the scene when a major character makes the ultimate sacrifice to save a loved one.   It almost brought a tear to my eye.

If you loved “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” you will like this sequel.  It comes close to reaching the quality of the first, but comes up a bit short.  The jokes are more numerous but some feel forced and aren’t that funny.  Some of the action sequences also feel too cartoony; but overall I very much enjoyed “G.O.T.G. Vol. 2” with its irreverent humor, nods to the 1980s, and sentiments to family and friendship.

— M

 

Grade B +

Based on a true story — in Hollywood speak, that means about 25% is true (and I’m being very generous here) —  “War Dogs” is about two young guys from Miami who sold weapons to the U.S. military despite having no business doing so.  Going after the smaller contracts that are peanuts to the Pentagon but worth hundreds of thousands to the young dudes (played by Jonah Hill and Miles Teller), their rocky, sometimes hilarious and dangerous foray into gun running bring riches and a feeling of invincibility, a combination that can be lethal.

Greed and more greed puts Hill and Teller into the dirtiest realms of their business, where they will be in the crosshairs of gangsters, the U.S. government, and each other.

My most memorable, movie moment is the scene when Hill is trying to buy weed from a bunch of thugs.  After paying, the thugs pretend not to know what Hill is talking about and refuse to give him his drugs.  Hill laughs, calmly walks to his car, removes a submachine-gun from his trunk, and fires off about a dozen rounds in full auto into the air, sending the thugs scurrying away like cockroaches!

“War Dogs” has the same feel as “Pain & Gain” and “The Wolf Of Wall Street.”  The pacing moderately fast, some of the scenes are over the top and outrageous, the tone constantly changes from comedic to serious to scary…overall it has a somewhat hazy, drug-induced, dream quality to it.  This would be a great movie for guys to watch while high on drugs or alcohol.

— M

Grade A

The lives of two men, a bank robber and a cop (played by Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, respectively), will violently collide and alter their lives and of those near to them.   Gosling and Cooper both have sons who are one-year-old when the fateful day happens; and the sins of the fathers will come back to haunt their sons 15 years later.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Place Beyond The Pines” is the scene when Cooper is pulled over by a fellow cop, played by Ray Liotta.  Cooper has snitched on some cops, you see, and one of those cops is Liotta.  Liotta, known for his intense, fearsome stares, has not lost his touch, as evidenced by this scene.

“The Place Beyond The Pines” is an odd duck because it doesn’t follow the typical 3 act structure of virtually all movies.  It feels like 2 acts followed by 3 acts.  Let me explain.  The first 1/3 of the movie is Gosling’s story, then the last 2/3 of the movie is Cooper’s story as well as the two sons of Gosling and Cooper.  Basically, at the 50 minute mark, it’s like watching another movie…a sequel to the first 1/3 of the movie, if you will.  We get this huge build up, and then the movie flatlines as we are introduced to a whole new set of characters.   Surprisingly, this does not harm the movie overall.  Why?  Because almost everything else works like magic.

Two little shenanigans though that I can’t let go: 1) Cooper’s son is a problem teen, and Cooper doesn’t implement any kind of measures to keep his teen from having an out of control party while Cooper is away; 2) a character buys a motorcycle in cash, and immediately rides off…no license, no registration, no plates, no insurance…how far does this guy think he can go before he sees flashing blue and red lights behind him?

“The Place Beyond The Pines” is like a slow burning, dramatic mini-series that takes its time to develop the story and characters.  At some point, you, the audience, gets hooked; and you just have to watch it all the way to the end.  That’s a good thing, because this movie is one hell of story.

— M

Clint Eastwood directs another winner with “American Sniper,” based on the true story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.  Bradley Cooper plays Kyle, a natural-born soldier and hero who racked up the most confirmed kills of any American sniper.  Cooper fights a war on two fronts: the Middle East where he takes to combat like a fish to water, killing so many of the enemy and saving countless lives of American soldiers that he earned the nickname Legend; and the home front where, in between his four combat tours, most of his problems emerge (PTSD, keeping to himself and shutting out his wife, feelings of guilt because he’s not in the war killing the enemy and saving his fellow soldiers).  In his quest to do more than his part in the war against terror, he alienates his family, and risks losing them for good.  A hard choice has to be made, or it will be made for him.

And now for my choice of my top three memorable moments of “American Sniper”: third place goes to the scene when Cooper is holding his baby while having a fight with his wife, played by Sienna Miller.  The baby is clearly a doll.  This entire dramatic scene is ruined because of this plastic, rug rat.  Once you notice the doll, it’s all you can concentrate on.  Cooper even tries to give life to the doll by using his finger to move the doll’s arm!  Supposedly, both baby actors weren’t available.  Okay, I get that things don’t always go as planned in filmmaking…but why the hell did Eastwood use angles that would clearly show the baby was a doll!  This is clearly a master f*#k up from a master director.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper and a few American soldiers were on a rooftop, and Cooper shoots an enemy sniper over a mile away and kills him.  Unfortunately, this gives away the position of the Americans to the terrorists below, who swarm the building and begin to surround the outnumbered Americans who were quickly running out of ammo.

Taking first place for my memorable, movie moments of “American Sniper” is the scene very early in the movie when we see Cooper providing cover for Marines who are doing a sweep of the enemy.  Through his scope, Cooper sees an Iraqi woman and a boy (maybe seven-years-old) come out into the street.  She hands the boy an explosive device, and the boy takes it and runs toward the Marines.  Cooper reluctantly kills the boy, then kills the woman when she picks up the explosive and runs toward the Marines.   This is probably the most powerful moment of this movie, inviting debate over many subjects.  However you feel about this war or any war, keep in mind that according to Chris Kyle, he never killed a child, nor would he ever.  He did kill that woman, but a child was not with her.  I understand children get killed in war all the time; but assigning the death of a child to Kyle for dramatic effect tarnishes Kyle’s heroism and legacy.

Some viewers would see Chris Kyle as a war monger, a racist who would call Iraqis savages.  Based on my research, the “savage” term was used against the terrorists, and not the civilians who were just trying to live out their lives as peacefully as possible.  Some people who watch this movie would think of Chris Kyle as a coward for killing people from a long distance.  To those people, I say do your research.  In real life, Kyle was out in the streets many times risking his life to help Marines who were pinned down and taking fire from the insurgents.

“American Sniper” is a great movie about a patriotic American who risked his life countless times to protect fellow soldiers, Iraqi and Afghan civilians from insurgents.  I know we all have our views on war and killing; and some disagree strongly with why Chris Kyle did what he did.  Forget all that…no one can deny this man’s numerous acts of valor.  For this, Chris Kyle deserves to be respected and remembered.

— M

Chris Pratt plays an Earthling who was kidnapped as a boy by aliens; and now he cruises the galaxy as a hard-partying, rock and roll listening, smart-ass, fearless hustler who comes into possession of an orb that secretly has the power to destroy worlds.   Naturally, creatures from all parts of the galaxy want to take the orb, either to use it to destroy worlds, or to sell it to the highest bidder.   To make matters worse for Pratt, he also has a bounty on his head.

Enter Bradley Cooper, who plays a talking Racoon with a short temper, and Vin Diesel, who plays a tree-like creature with deadly powers and a very big heart.  Together, Cooper and Diesel are a team of bounty hunters who try to capture Pratt, only to be foiled by Zoe Saldana (playing a former henchwoman of a galaxy thug named Ronan) who is after the orb so she can hand it to the good guys and save the galaxy.   The ruckus the four people and creatures create in their attempts to achieve their goals leads to their arrest by law enforcement and a stint in prison, where the four meet a very large prisoner played by Dave Bautista.

Through a series of hilarious, sometimes heart-warming and often action-packed events, the motley group of five become “The Guardians Of The Galaxy” as they make a pact to keep Ronan from destroying the galaxy, even if their mission is most likely doomed.

Third place in my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper is drunk, flips out and has a fight with Bautista.  Cooper points a weapon as big as his body at Bautista, ready to fry him, but Pratt intervenes.  Cooper tells everyone he’s had it with being made fun of, being called vermin and rodent, that he didn’t ask to be physically altered over and over again; but he’s going to stop people laughing at him when he starts pulling the trigger.   This added a whole new layer of depth to Cooper’s character, and this is when I really liked him.  In fact, the Cooper character is my favorite in the movie.  I see part of myself in this little dude.

Holding the second slot in my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians…” is the scene when the Guardians are in a ship that is going to crash and will kill everyone in it.  One of the Guardians takes action that will save the others but will most likely cost that Guardian’s life.  Cooper asks why the Guardian is doing this.  The Guardian essentially says that they are all family.  It almost brought a tear out of my eye as I watched this part.

Coming in first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is the scene when Ronan is about to destroy a planet, and Pratt starts singing and dancing!   Ronan is so shocked at Pratt’s actions that he stops his planned destruction of this world to ask Pratt what the hell he is doing.  Pratt says, “I’m distracting you.”  Ha-ha!

Hey, some of you probably watched the trailer for this movie and thought, “this looks stupid.”  That’s what I thought, too!  Well, this goes to prove you can’t judge a movie’s quality by its trailer, because my first impression was wrong and now I love this movie.   This movie is really funny, has a lot of action, great special effects, connects with you emotionally, has fast pacing, and has a killer soundtrack.

Now I’m waiting for the Blu-ray to come down to $10, and this movie is mine!

— M

“The Hangover Part III” continues with the escape of Ken Jeong (Mr. Chow), and the kidnapping of Justin Bartha (Doug).   Are the two events connected?  You bet your hallucinogenic drugs they are.   Jeong apparently has stolen millions from a drug dealer, and that drug dealer wants to know where Jeong is.   The only lead the drug dealer has are the 4 guys who had ties to Jeong: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha.  Bartha is held hostage and will be killed unless the remaining 3 friends bring Jeong and the stolen millions back to the drug dealer.

Although not as funny as the first movie, this third installment has enough laughs and craziness to be worth a cheap, matinee ticket.  Pay more than that and you may start to be upset.   I paid $9 for a double feature, so this movie cost me $4.50 to watch.  Not bad.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Hangover Part III” is the scene when Jeong is about to kill Cooper and Helms, and Galifianakis gets in front of his friends and tells Jeong he has to kill him first.  The character Galifianakis plays is someone most of us would kill if he ever put us in situations like in these movies; but when he is willing to sacrifice himself to save his friends…well…you tend to cut the fat boy some slack — some, as he is still a weapon of mass destruction.

This is an okay movie, not really worth writing too much about.  I suggest you watch this movie high on your favorite booze or drugs.  It’ll make the experience better.

M

With so many scared, talentless, idiotic and drug addicted Hollywood executives, we are given tons of re-makes and movies based on television series.  I’m surprised that it took Hollywood this long to make a movie based on the 1980s hit series that I watched when I was a teenager.  And I’m glad they did make this movie, because it has a similar feel to the tv series; and it is fun, highly entertaining, very loud, over the top, and as improbable as a politician being faithful to his wife.

Two things make “The A-Team” work: a fast pace and very likeable characters (Hannibal, Faceman, B.A., and Murdock).  You just want these guys to win.   Special effects, big name movie stars, fancy editing, cool music…those are nothing compared to the importance of the audience connecting with the main characters.  A movie that fails to create characters that the audience will emotionally connect to — be it negatively or positively — is a movie that is in danger of being a “rice cake”: no substance and leaving you unsatisfied.  Well, “The A-Team” is no “rice cake.” I enjoyed watching it and I recommend it to any fan of the series.

Oh, Dirk Benedict (the original Faceman) and Dwight Shultz (the original Murdock) make appearances in this movie.  George Peppard couldn’t be part of the movie due to circumstances beyond his control.   Mr. T didn’t want to be in the movie partly because characters are killed in this movie.  Hmm…true, the series didn’t kill anyone, as far as I can remember.  But I also remember we made fun of the series because of that.  No matter how many times a car would flip or how many bullets were flying, no one got killed!

As I said, this movie is highly unrealistic, so I don’t know why this one scene bothered me: when Hannibal disappears into the darkness as two Rottweilers run toward him to maul him.  A struggle is heard, followed by dogs whimpering, then the two Rotties run away, their collars now joined by a pair of handcuffs.  I think I just wanted to see exactly how Hannibal did it, no matter how ridiculous the manner.

My most memorable movie moment of “The A-Team” is the sequence where the A-Team steals a military, cargo plane carrying a tank; and they get chased by 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that try to shoot the A-Team down with missiles and machine-gun fire.  This is one of the most ridiculous, action sequences I’ve ever seen; and I wouldn’t be surprised if the idea for it was created by writers and Hollywood execs having a 48 hour orgy in a mansion where the hookers and drugs flowed freely.  And you know what?  I liked it!  The ridiculous, action sequence, that is.  Not the 2 day orgy with hookers and drugs.  Although I would like that, too, just without the drugs.

M

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