Master and Commander
Come aboard in this gritty tale of a ship captain and his crew. We join Captain Jack Aubrey aboard the H.M.S Surprise in the early 1800’s during the Napoleonic Wars. A leader who’s crew hang on his every word and would follow him to the ends of the earth has been tasked with pursuing and capturing an enemy ship and it takes them, well.. to the ends of the earth.
Pitted against an equally cunning and possibly more equipped foe, Captain Jack will face his toughest challenge. His entire life has been aboard this ship and he knows nothing but success. They’ve grown together, bled together. Now, he’s set on a path that will test him and call into question what he holds most dear.
Master and Commander is a well made movie, combining attention grabbing action with emotionally gripping characters and a meaningful plot. It ranges from heavy sea battles full of shrapnel to the close-quartered daily life of a crew aboard a ship at sea to monster sea storms. This excellent mix of action and storytelling sets it apart from the rest and makes it a timeless film you can still enjoy years later.
GMBM Verdict : Come for the action, stay for Russel Crowe in a man-bun. Good Movie.
Starring : Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, James D'Arcy
Rating PG-13 Released 2003
Bleed For This
The film starts right off the bat with a fight. But from this we see the family atmosphere surrounding Vinny. We see his drive and work ethic. We see how much he wants to prove himself, to be the best. You may think, “Oh, just another boxing movie?” But you’re wrong. Yes, it’s a movie about a boxer, and even includes a training montage. But its so much more than that. Its so much more than just a hype movie. You really feel inspired.
Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) is a blue collar boxer from Providence, Rhode Island. His rise to stardom is quick after he becomes a two time world champ. However, a terrible accident leaves him at rock bottom and with a decision to make. With the help of his trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) he begins one of the most incredible comebacks in sports. The biggest lie we are told is “It’s not that simple”, pushing us to give up. Well, Vinny begs to differ, “Sometimes it is that simple.” Never give up.
While Bleed For This is another in a long line of sports and fighting movies, don’t pile it in with all the others. This movie can stand out on its own. From unique cinematography to a focus on personal achievement and getting you to connect well with Vinny and Kevin, this film does its job of inspiring its audience. And it does it well.
GMBM Verdict : Good Movie. It’s that simple.
Starring : Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal
Rating R Released 2016
In Brooklyn, New York, underground money transfers are a constant. They are an understood part of the way the neighborhoods work. Money changing hands from locals up to mobsters. End points are necessary for these transfers, aka “drops”. And in Brooklyn, local bars are chosen to be these drops.
Tom Hardy plays a mild mannered bartender in Brooklyn named Bob. He and his cousin, Cousin Marv, work together. They don’t own the bar however, some Chechen mobsters do, and skim profits from the top, as you’d expect mobsters to do. One night the bar gets robbed, stirring a police investigation and frustration from the Chechen mobsters. It’s well known the bar is owned by the mobsters, so the robbery seems a strange decision. The mobsters’ response? Bob’s bar is now the next drop. Super Bowl Sunday no less.
The Drop is a somewhat slow moving film. Beginning with a mild mannered Bob, we just see a normal guy who works his job and takes care of his rescue pit bull. Even when the plot pieces are coming together, its all very calm, however, the whole time feeling like something is up and doesn’t quite fit right. The film does well to show the underlying workings of the traditional Brooklyn: gritty, hard working, “better keep your nose down” kind of Brooklyn.
GMBM Verdict : Drop this into your queue. Good Movie.
Starring : Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini
Rating R Released 2014
Bridge of Spies
Set in the late 50’s during the dawn of the Cold War, Bridge of Spies brings you a tale of two national super powers struggling to show dominance while toeing a fine line of diplomacy as to not start a thermonuclear war. The United States and USSR were constantly trying to gain the upper hand on each other through covert measures, and these measures often required people who were caught and put on trial as traitors, as in this film. Two entire civilizations opposing each other because each’s ideology of how the world should be wouldn’t leave room for the other.
In steps Donovan, an insurance lawyer played by Tom Hanks. He is given a no win situation when offered the thankless task of defending accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel, played by Mark Rylance (and played well enough for an Oscar). From there we see an American civilian thrown into the deep end of the Cold War and very much being out of his depth seeing as he has no experience with such fragile national security affairs. However, because of this, we see what kind of man Donovan really is. We see how he approaches his situations he’s given and when all he wants to do is go home, he still proves himself to stay true to his character. Amidst turmoil and ostracization at home, he persists.
Bridge of Spies is a thriller, however, you are not going to get your over the top action scenes you get from other war time movies. Spy thrillers deal with covert operations and by definition cannot draw attention to themselves. This movie is no different. It is a slower film, moving methodically through the plot but with purpose and without all the extravagances that a lesser, poorly written screenplay would depend on. It attaches you to its characters, hoping for them to succeed. Yes, even Mr. Abel.
GMBM Verdict : 1 Oscar and 2 thumbs up from us. Good Movie.
Starring: Mark Rylance, Tom Hanks, Alan Alda
Rating PG-13 Released 2015
Right off the bat, lets just warn you.. there is graphic nudity paraded as art to start the movie. So, from the get-go you really know this isn’t a conventional film. Cold faces, straight lines, grey colors all set up this heartless feeling. Director Tom Ford really did well to create an atmosphere void of rich, deep feeling. Not the void of something that never was, but a void as if it once was there, and had been lost.
Amy Adams is an art gallery director who is in her second marriage and early on she receives a proof-read of a book written by her former husband, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Her first marriage, full of love but not a “practical” relationship in her eyes, was ended years ago. This was the first she had heard from her ex in many years. The rest of the film revolves around Amy Adams pouring herself into the manuscript, as told by faux-memories played out for the audience.
Nocturnal Animals never really was a big hit in the box office, but that’s exactly why GMBM is here, to open up some of those lost films for you. The film is definitely unique. It’s heavy and dark and really delves into some of the toughest parts of humanity. That being said, it’s a well acted, well made film. And as I continue to write this and let the movie soak in, it continues to grow on me. Let it soak.. let it provoke some thought.
GMBM Verdict : Not for the faint of heart. Good Movie.
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
Rating R Released 2016
While radical Muslim terrorist attacks are frightful and take a great amount of news-space, white supremacist terrorist groups have also dealt serious damage on our own home soil in recent years. A desire to purify the “once great European race” has led to terrible events including the South Carolina church shooting and that of the OKC bombing.
And that is the premise of Imperium. Daniel Radcliffe is a desk man for the FBI but wants more from life, wants to make a bigger difference. An opportunity comes across for him to do that via an undercover infiltration operation. A potential dirty bomb has come to the attention of the FBI and they pursue a lead that points directly at white supremacist groups in the Northeast of the United States.
While an interesting concept, it is difficult to watch. Not due to the quality of movie or acting, but due to the fact that it deals with some very heavy aspects of society. They really went for realism and I appreciate that. As the movie deals with the white supremacists, they don’t shy away from the words they use, how they act, or their symbols they hold dear. I think you get my point. This realism does help the film however. It keeps you on the edge of your seat in suspense and your heart beating fast as you realize how important it is that he doesn’t get found out and hope he successfully completes his mission.
GMBM Verdict : Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter no more. Good Movie.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Sam Trammell
Rating R Released 2016
Do you love to run? Do you despise it? Well, good thing it doesn’t matter which side you’re on because this movie isn’t truly about the sport of cross country. This movie shows the real value of family, community, courage, and hard work through the medium of a dark horse cross country team from Central California.
Kevin Costner is a high school PE coach on his last strike in a place he never thought he would end up. He takes a rag-tag group of kids under his wing to give them the chance of something bigger, outside of the city they feel so stuck in. It’s your classic inspirational movie with a twist. Underdogs in more ways than one, the McFarland cross country team is the embodiment of overcoming obstacles and pain.
Watch McFarland for an insight into Mexican American culture and values and the true power that sticking together can breed miracles. Based on a true story, McFarland, USA rises above the rest because of the culture it is set in. Put this in your must watch list.
GMBM Verdict : Great Story, Great Movie.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz
Rating PG Released 2015
You have to keep moving. Whatever you do, don’t stop. You’re only as strong as your next move. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly are great examples of this in this movie, Begin Again. Mr. Ruffalo is a down on his luck music producer with an eye for exceptional talent and Keira Knightly is a New York newbie with an exceptional talent. And as per usual, they happen to meet through… lets call it fate.
This movie is centered around music and because they are both outsiders to the mainstream industry they now have to get unique in order to generate a following and get her music out to the public. In one specific scene, Begin Again re-ignited my love for music and reminded me of it’s ability to turn the mundane events of life into moments of great emotional connection. Or as the script puts it, “all these banalities, they’re suddenly turned into beautiful, effervescent pearls.”
Begin Again is a simple, feel good movie about finding ways to follow your dreams even when you’ve been knocked down. This is another movie with a great soundtrack as well, with some excellent original songs. It is like one long music video. Also, Adam Levine is a d**k. Enjoy!
GMBM Verdict : Good Movie. Simple verdict for a simple movie.
Starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine
Rating R Released 2013
The age old story of going off the grid and finding yourself. That’s what Samuel is attempting to do here in C.O.G. Recently graduated from Yale, excellently educated and wary of religion, he and his friend decide to pack everything up and find out how the “real people” live and work. This lands him in Oregon after quite an interesting bus trip. Buses are always full of a variety of interesting folks if you’re ever looking for writing material.
This movie has been on my To-Watch list for a while ever since I saw the preview during a binge session of watching movie trailers on Youtube. You know how those go… Anyway, I have wanted to see it for a while so I was excited to check it out. Unfortunately that excitement didn’t last too long. It was a slow moving, pivoting film that I couldn’t quite get into. I haven’t read the essay it was based off by David Sedaris, but the film just didn’t do it for me.
It wasn’t a waste of time, like Lobster, however not the best use of my time. If you’re looking for a slowly progressing “self discovery” movie about a kid in Oregon’s apple country that feels more like a book, then I think I’ve found your film. But as for the rest of us, you won’t miss out on much if you pass on C.O.G.
GMBM Verdict : Maybe the book is better? Bad Movie.
Starring: Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare, Corey Stoll
Rating R Released 2013