Archives for posts with tag: Ethan Hawke

Grade A

 

Based on the true story of a rugby team and a few family members and friends whose plane crashed into the Andes mountains.  A brief search for the plane and its occupants were made and soon called off when nothing was seen.  Low on food and with no rescue coming, the survivors resorted to eating the dead.  After several weeks of hopelessness and cannibalism, a few of the survivors decide to walk the treacherous grounds for a desperate attempt to reach Chile and send help back to those still by the crash site.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Alive” was the scene when the survivors, after deciding to eat the dead, go out of the broken plane and line up to start taking chunks of flesh from the frozen bodies that were left outside.

“Alive” doesn’t delve much into the details of the cannibalism part of the story, rather it concentrates on the courage of the survivors and the spiritual nature of their struggle and ghastly actions.  What could have easily been an exploitative movie became an uplifting one, showing the audience that people, despite horrific circumstances, can still be hopeful, dignified, and courageous.

— M

 

 

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Grade B+

A family headed by Ethan Hawke moves into a house where four members of the previous owners were hung in the backyard, and a fifth member — the youngest daughter — is still missing.  Unlike most movies that start off like this, Hawke knows the history of the property!  And he specifically chose this house so he can get inspiration for his new book and give his flagging, writing career a boost.  Of course, he doesn’t tell his wife or two kids.

Right from the start, weird things happen.  Hawke finds a Super 8 camera, several film reels, and a projector in the attic.  He plays them, and all the reels are of families being snuffed out in horrible ways, with the exception of one child per family being spared the gruesome deaths, although the spared children are all missing.  Believing he has possession of a serial killer’s work, he analyzes the film to piece together the puzzle of who the killer is, who the victims are, why one child is missing from each family that is murdered, and what is the purpose of the killings.

As Hawke gets deeper into his investigation and research — his main purpose is to write a best-seller out of his newly found evidence — his children begin to see visions of dead children.  Worse than that, Hawke may have put himself and his family into the crosshairs of a killer, or killers, who may not be of this world.

“Sinister” is a rarity among current, horror movies in that it offers genuine scares.  Sure, a few of the scares are cheap; but the majority are set up very well that gives the audience a sense of dread that can last for minutes.  That’s called good directing, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and acting.

One of my most memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Hawke is doing a sweep of his house at night after hearing noises that sounds like an intruder is inside.  Carrying a baseball bat, Hawke moves from one part of his dark house to another (why he doesn’t turn on the lights I have no idea!), and as he does so, the ghosts of children appear where he is not looking.

**SPOILER ALERT–ENDING OF THE MOVIE DISCUSSED**My most memorable, movie moment of “Sinister” is the scene when Hawke wakes up from his drugged state and finds himself, his wife, and his son tied.  His daughter holds an axe, staring at him, and she says, “Don’t worry, daddy, I’ll make you famous again.”

— M

In the future, America will have one night where virtually all crime is legal.  From 7 P.M. to 7 A.M., citizens can roam the streets or break into homes to do whatever violence they please.  The purpose is to give an outlet once a year for the hatred and violence that brews in the hearts and minds of most people, thereby pacifying the people for the rest of the year and lowering the crime rate and the cost of fighting crime.  High ranking, government officials are off the menu, though.  I know!  They just took the fun out of this whole thing!

Ethan Hawke stars in “The Purge” as a successful, security expert who sells “the haves” with anti-home invasion products — as for the “have nots,” well, they’re just s*#t out of luck during the 12 hour purge.   Hawke spends this year’s Purge in the safety of his home with his wife (played by Lena Headey) and bratty daughter and a son who may as well be a second daughter judging by his looks.  The son, by the way, is also piss poor in a fight.  Yeah, I know, he’s just a boy.  But damn it, he put the whole family’s life on the line and now that the s*@t’s hit the fan, girly-boy needs to man the f&#k up and fight harder than what you’ll see him do in the movie!  Plus I don’t like kids anyway, so hell yeah, I’m going to be a tough critic on the little snot factory.  Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Let me back up.

So, Hawke and family are all set to spend a quiet night at home and wait out the Purge.  But then a homeless man who has been injured comes to the uppity neighborhood of Hawke’s and starts screaming for help, begging to be let in.  Hawke’s son disarms the security system and lets the man in.   Seeing that Hawke isn’t too happy with his presence, the homeless dude disappears within Hawke’s very large house.   So now Hawke and Headey, with guns drawn, search the house to find this stranger and boot him out.   After all, this guy could be a rapist, murderer, or worse…a politician.

To make matters worse, a group of about 8 heavily armed preppies track the homeless guy to Hawke’s house, and now they want Hawke to hand over the homeless guy.  If Hawke doesn’t do it, the preppies will force their way in and kill everyone inside.

“The Purge” is the best, independent movie I’ve seen in many years.  At a cost of about $3 million (I’m assuming Hawke and Headey took a big pay cut in exchange for a bigger back end), this goes to show you that good writing and directing and acting are better than having a big budget with a  mediocre script.  Yes, many of the fight scenes ended the same way (the writing got lazy in those parts), but overall “The Purge” is a must-watch.  The movie deals with many subjects such as: what your neighbors really think of you beneath all those fake smiles and compliments; what morals and values you are willing to compromise to keep yourself alive and safe; how people view and treat those who are poor; and how easy it is to turn your back and ignore the suffering of others as long as it’s not happening to you.

With a run time of under 1 1/2 hours, “The Purge” moves fast, locking in the audience’s attention early in the movie even before the Purge begins.  Hawke’s drive home, Headey preparing dinner and yapping with the neighbors…all these scenes have a lot of tension because of what will begin when the sun goes down.  That is good writing, directing and editing.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Purge” is the scene when Headey makes a decision on what to do with some of her home invaders.  Since this happens near the end of the story, I won’t go into any details.  Depending on who you are and what your views are regarding certain things, you’ll agree and like what she does, or you’ll disagree and tell yourself that it didn’t make any sense.

Whatever you’ll feel about the ending, “The Purge” will stay with you long after it’s over, and you’ll probably ask yourself if you were in that situation, would you go out and participate in the Purge?  If so, who would you go after?  Me: I’d go after that neighbor who always likes to park in front of my house with the ass-end of his big, SUV partly blocking my driveway.

— M

 

 

“Brooklyn’s Finest” has Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, and Ethan Hawke playing cops in NYC who are under tremendous pressure.  Gere is an old-timer, about to retire, does the minimum possible until he retires, and he’s suicidal.  Cheadle is an undercover cop rooted into the lives and business of drug dealers; he’s burnt out, wants to get out of his undercover work, and he’s being forced by his bosses to set-up a drug dealer friend who saved his life years ago.  Hawke is a dirty cop who will do whatever it takes to get more money so that he can better take care of his kids, his sick wife, and his unborn twins.

Whether you like or hate cops, “Brooklyn’s Finest” is a very good movie that gives us samples of what some cops’ lives are like.   There is virtually non-stop tension in this movie that still manages to continue up to the last shot of the third act.

One of my memorable, movie moments is the scene where Hawke is confessing to a priest about a recent sin he committed.  The priest tells Hawke to ask for God’s forgiveness.  Hawke replies, “I don’t want God’s forgiveness.  I want his fucking help!”  How many of us feel this way?  Plenty, I’m willing to bet.  I know I do.

Another memorable, movie moment of “Brooklyn’s Finest” is the last part of the third act, where the three policemen converge on the same housing project.  One is there to rip off drug dealers, one is there for revenge, and the third is there to rescue kidnapped women.  Years before this movie came out, I made an indie flick called “Six” where the last act was similar to the one in “Brooklyn’s Finest.”  So, it was a pleasure to get a glimpse of what the ending of “Six” would’ve looked like if I had a real budget.  I think people criticized the ending of “Brooklyn’s Finest,” calling it too contrived, or forced.  Hey, I thought it was good; but then again, I may be partial.

I strongly suggest you watch the deleted scenes.  Most should have been left in — they were that good.  Some deleted scenes offer juicy surprises as to what the director, Antoine Fuqua, had in mind for how some of the characters end up.

My most memorable, movie moment is the scene where Hawke’s partner in the NYPD tells him that Hawke doesn’t know how good he has it.  Hawke has a wife, kids, a house, etc.  I think some of us can connect with what is said to Hawke.  Sometimes we focus too much on the bad, and forget how good we really have it.  That is one of my many faults that I struggle to correct many times.  We want more — for ourselves and our loved ones.  We want to do more, help more.   And in some cases, all that wanting leads to desperate measures that can destroy us — or worse, destroy the ones we hope to help.  I’ve been through that on a much smaller scale than what Hawke’s character went through, which is why he’s the character I sympathize with the most.

M

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