Archives for posts with tag: Tom Hardy

Grade B+

 

Near the beginning of WWII, hundreds of thousands of British soldiers and their allies were trapped by the German forces on the beaches of Dunkirk.  The ships to rescue the allied forces were few and far between, and those few that were sent were under attack from German bombers and U-boats.  The British, desperate to save at least a small portion of their trapped soldiers, decide to commandeer small, civilian boats to assist in the rescue.  This is the story of “Dunkirk.”

Told from three timelines that eventually intersect, “Dunkirk” will confuse the typical moviegoer who doesn’t fully pay attention.   One timeline starts a week before the civilian rescue; one timeline starts about a day before the civilian rescue; and the third timeline starts about one hour before the civilian rescue.   This is a complicated way of telling the story, but it is effective and absolutely necessary to keep the tension high throughout the movie and to get the audience emotionally invested in the major characters from the beginning.

Timeline one: Tom Hardy plays a British, Spitfire fighter pilot who flies to Dunkirk to engage German bombers and fighters.

Timeline two: Mark Rylance plays a civilian who takes his small boat to Dunkirk to save the soldiers trapped on the beach.

Timeline three: a young, British soldier spends days trying to escape Dunkirk in any way he can.

When I started seeing things that were familiar — the same parts of the movie told from different angles and with either more or less detail — even I was trying to figure out what was going on, but quickly figured out what Director Christopher Nolan was doing, and became very impressed with his choice of storytelling.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Dunkirk” was the scene when Hardy was still flying his plane that ran out of gas, providing air cover for the soldiers below him.

This movie would have been given an A rating had it not been for the confusing ending.  **SPOILER ALERT** Why did Hardy fly so far away from the British soldiers to land his plane, leading to his capture by the Germans?  Why not glide to an open spot on the beach close to the British?  I understand there were still tens of thousands of allied soldiers on the beach and he didn’t want to hit any of them as he landed, but come on!  Are you telling me the soldiers on the beach wouldn’t have gotten out of the way?  I am guessing Nolan wanted a dramatic ending — and it was dramatic — but that drama was ruined because it made no sense to me.  What better way to up the morale of the British and French troops by safely landing on the beach after downing several fighters and bombers despite being low on fuel and actually running out of fuel?  This man’s a hero!  Still killing the enemy with a fighter plane that ran out of fuel!  Still protecting his fellow soldiers as he glides over the beaches and shores!  And then he…keeps gliding far away from the allied troops and lands where the Germans are.   Huh? What?  Are you kidding?  Sorry, Nolan, you made a bad choice.

— M

Revenant: one who returns after a long absence, or after death; a ghost.   Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role in “The Revenant,” a scout/hunter in the early 1800s in the American wilderness who is badly injured in a Grizzly Bear attack.  Deep in hostile, Native American territory, DiCaprio’s hunting party decides to leave him and go on to the safety of the nearest fort.   Three men are left with Dicaprio (one of whom is the son of DiCaprio’s character, and another who is a hunter played by Tom Hardy) so that they may take care of the injured man and, if and when DiCaprio dies, give him a burial.  Days pass and DiCaprio manages to hang on, much to the disappointment of Hardy, who only thinks of himself and his need to escape the precarious situation he volunteered for.   Hardy decides to put DiCaprio out of his misery but DiCaprio’s son intervenes; Hardy kills the young man, then takes off with the other hunter under false pretenses of an impending attack by hostile, native tribes.

With the mantra of “as long as you keep breathing, you fight,” that is what DiCaprio does.   Slowly, very painfully, DiCaprio pulls himself out of the shallow grave that Hardy put him in.  What follows is a savage fight for survival against hunger, the freezing cold, and a war party of natives looking for a kidnapped daughter.    Each step, each breath takes DiCaprio closer to the man who killed his son.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Revenant” is the long, agonizing, cringe-inducing bear attack that DiCaprio endures.  Words cannot do justice to this scene…you just have to watch it.

Another memorable moment of this movie is the long, beautifully choreographed and directed scene of DiCaprio’s hunting party being attacked by an Arikara war party.  The camera goes into the heart of the fight, moving in all directions, going from one character to another, showing the brutality up close and from a distance, making the audience really feel as if we are in the middle of this barbaric struggle.

Of course, I have to mention the scene that had DiCaprio disemboweling a dead horse so he can go inside the body and keep himself warm during a snowstorm.  This memorable, movie moment reminds me of a scene in “Empire Strikes Back” that any “Star Wars” fan should be familiar with.

“The Revenant” has recently won many awards at the Golden Globes, and has received many nominations for the Academy Awards.  All the accolades this movie has garnered is not from hype.  This is a great movie about revenge and the will to survive, not just for DiCaprio, but also for Hardy.  To a lesser extent it is also about the destruction of Native American life and culture by the European settlers.   “The Revenant” is destined to be a classic.

— M

Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini are cousins who work in a bar that is owned by vicious gangsters.  For the most part, the bar operates on the level; but sometimes, it is used as a drop bar, where illegally made money is stored overnight by gangsters.   One night, a pair of masked, armed robbers take the night’s drop of over 5 grand as Hardy and Gandolfini are closing shop; and the Chechen, gangster owner of the bar wants the thieves and the money they took.   The boss suspects that Gandolfini was in on the robbery; now Hardy and Gandolfini are in a bind to find “The Drop” that was stolen and prove their innocence to the mobster.

To make matters worse for Hardy, he finds and takes in an abused and discarded, pit bull puppy that he finds inside the trash can of a woman played by Noomi Rapace.   Rapace gives the puppy first aid, and teaches Hardy a little about raising a dog.  An uneasy friendship starts, and it slowly leads to an uneasy romance.  Topping off this side of the drama is a man who suddenly develops an interest in Hardy’s puppy; a man who makes overt and veiled threats to destroy the newly found happiness of Hardy.

I found myself liking Hardy’s character quickly.   He is soft-spoken, likes dogs, generous, stays out of trouble…but as the movie progresses, it is clear there is a lot more to this man than what I’ve described.  Sure, Gandolfini is a bigger star than Hardy, and “The Drop” is Gandolfini’s last movie; but Hardy is the star of the show, giving a restrained performance that sometimes comes off as bad acting, but in reality it is a crucial piece of storytelling that pays off in the latter part of the third act.

One memorable, movie moment of “The Drop” is the scene when the mobster boss visits the bar and shows Hardy and Gandolfini one of the boss’ victims — who is still alive — inside a van.  It’s a gruesome sight, and a hint as to what could happen to Hardy and Gandolfini if they had a part in the robbery.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Drop” is the conversation Hardy had with Gandolfini about the new puppy, with Hardy going on about how enormous the responsibility is for taking care of the pup.  Gandolfini tells Hardy, “Well, it’s a dog.  It’s not like some long, lost, retarded relative shows up at your door in a wheelchair and a colostomy bag hanging out of his ass…says ‘I’m yours now, take care of me.'”   Ha ha!  Ha ha ha ha!   But seriously, I’m with Hardy on this one.  I had dogs before, and if you’re a good owner, you will have a lot of responsibility in properly caring for a dog.  On the other hand, if you’re a piece of crap of a human being, then owning a dog is a very simple matter: you leave it outside, chained, and give it food and water; and when the dog is no longer of any use to you, you throw the body in a dumpster somewhere.

Those who enjoy suspense/thriller/drama flicks should watch “The Drop” because it’s a fine example of those types of movies.  The third act of the movie really ramps up the tension, and you just know things are going to go badly for at least one person; but you don’t know for who, and how it will come about.

— M

 

Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play best friends who happen to be spies who have no relationship entanglements.  Reese Witherspoon is the woman who accidentally comes between them.  The ground rules the spies set for themselves before they vie for the same chick gets tossed out the window as both men start to fall for Witherspoon and each one wants their Reese’s pieces.   Welcome to “This Means War.”

In this corner we have Pine, a super bachelor with a kick ass bachelor’s pad (that I wish I have)!  He’s slick, so slick some women may consider him slimy.  He’s an overgrown kid who just wants to have commitment-less fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

In that corner we have Hardy!   British: used in this movie as a four letter word and is not fully explained, which makes it more funny.  He’s a romantic, looking for “the one.”  But he’s got this weird thing going on with some of his front teeth, like a few are bigger than the others.

In the middle of the ring we have Witherspoon: single, beautiful, a big heart, a romantic, and also looking for her true love.

Who gets who?  I won’t tell, so just watch the movie!  It’s fun, lighthearted fare.   It’s a mish mosh of romance, action and comedy.   At about 97 minutes long, the movie moves fast; but slows down just enough to develop the characters to make it all work.   I was surprised at the short, action sequence at the end.   I guess I’m used to overlong, overblown endings of action flicks.  Damn, you, Michael Bay, for getting me hooked on 45 minute, non-stop action finales!

So what’s my first runner up for the most memorable movie moment in “This Means War?”  The scene where Witherspoon is in her kitchen singing along to “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.  She is so cute dancing around her place shaking her cute, little butt to the music as Pine and Hardy infiltrate her home to plant surveillance equipment to give each one a leg up on how to win her heart.

And for the most memorable movie moment:  when Hardy teaches a bullying father a lesson in humility.  Okay, we have to go back to a scene where Hardy’s son (from a previous marriage) is fighting the son of a bullying father in a martial arts class.  Hardy’s son gets beaten like a black driver gets beaten by the NYPD.  The bullying father yells and screams his adulation at his son while Hardy is trying to make his own son feel better about the match.   Hardy, bent over so he can talk closely with his son, suddenly gets a hard slap from the bullying father.   The face Hardy makes at the bullying father is similar to the one I make when I gas up my car and see that the prices went up again.  Bullying father scolds Hardy and tells him “pain is weakness leaving the body!”  Hardy’s son walks away and Hardy decides to take the high road and go after his son instead of making the bullying father answer for being an idiot.  Oh, it was painful to watch, because you knew Hardy could have destroyed the bullying father.

Well, later on there is a rematch of the sons in the dojo, and Hardy’s son — obviously taught some moves by his father — beats the son of the bullying father.   And when no one is looking, Hardy gives extremely fast, “Fist of The North Star” punches to the bullying father within a fraction of a second, stunning him and giving him so much pain he can barely breathe.  Revenge!   Hardy, being the gentleman, helps the bullying father to sit down, and tells him that “pain is just weakness leaving the body.”   Hell, yeah, I like this guy!  Despite his two Chiclet-sized front teeth.

Revenge is a dish best served anytime you can get away with it.

M

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