Pacific Rim

Who doesn’t like a good fisticuffs bout between giant robots and huge alien monsters?! Seen it before and we’ll definitely see it again, but I don’t think we’ll ever tire of it. Pacific Rim put forth a valiant effort in trying a different approach to the crowded giant monster battle scene and it may have paid off.

“Jaegers” are the giant robots created to keep the monsters, “Kaiju”, at bay and protect the populations. Jaegers are piloted by a dual member team. Raleigh, played by Charlie Hunnam, is one of these skilled pilots. However, bad experiences have sent him as far from piloting one as he can get. That is until, of course, his skill set is needed once again and Marshall Pentacost, played by Idris Elba, comes calling to save the world.

There is exactly as much corny feeling dialogue and drama as you would expect from a primarily action filled movie, with some forced humor thrown in as well. The plot is your generic “do this or the world ends”. The action doesn’t disappoint though and the battles stay interesting by not always resorting to hand to hand combat. What stood out the most, in a good way, is the environment they built around the fact that the Kaiju and their attacks had become an understood part of life and the way humanity had adapted to it. However, it still contains the makings of your cliché action film.

GMBM Verdict  :  Awesome action. Big battles. Charlie Hunnam. Good Movie. 

Starring : Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi
Rating   PG-13      Released  2013
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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

The Drop

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

Imperium

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 RadcliffeToni ColletteSam Trammell

Rating  R     Released  2016

The Hundred Foot Journey

This is a story that begins with terrible loss, yet out of this tragedy great success is found. This Indian family move from Mumbai to England (at first) then finally settle in France after a fateful mishap. Brakes always brake for a reason you know. This drastic move provides young chef Hassan Kadam with an opportunity of a lifetime after his father purchases a restaurant just across the street from an already decorated Michelin star restaurant.

Hassan is a wide eyed talent in the kitchen. His ability to create and innovate in the kitchen while maintaining the foundations of standard dishes brings high praise to him and his family’s restaurant. With every dish cooked, served and eaten, my mouth begins to water. It’s such a light-hearted film you can’t help but enjoy it. From delicious entrees to the father’s loving banter to the start of new love between two chefs, this movie captures it all.

If you want that movie you can just sit back, relax and enjoy, The Hundred Foot Journey delivers. It will put a smile on your face throughout and, as any good movie, will leave you smiling (and maybe even looking up cooking schools).

GMBM Verdict  :  Food is the way to our heart and so is this film. Good Movie.

 

Starring: Helen MirrenManish DayalOm PuriCharlotte Le Bon

Rating  PG     Released  2014

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Caught in a loveless marriage, John and Jane Smith realize that they have more in common than previously believed. The Brangelina era started here with this film and you can see why. Their chemistry on camera in undeniable. This is an action film that also plays out the story of a couple working through a marriage that’s on the rocks.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been married about five or six years. However, each has their own demanding business that draws them from the other only to see each other for brief periods of time during their 7pm dinners. Little communication and coldness plagues the relationship until one day their jobs cross paths with the other and things take a turn for the exciting.

You can tell why Brad and Angelina became a thing around the time this movie was released. They have clever banter back and forth that is delivered with quite playful chemistry. While the Smith marriage might be in shambles during the fighting, you can still tell that they fight consciously aware they are still spouses. It’s the chemistry between these two film giants that really draws you in to the quirky-ness and playful tone of the action and really lets you enjoy this movie.

GMBM Verdict: Brad+Angelina = Good Movie. 

 

Starring: Brad PittAngelina JolieVince Vaughn

Rating PG-13     Released  2005

Everybody Wants Some!!

So you just graduated high school, got that scholarship to play college baseball and you’re finally out on your own. What do you do? Who’s there to help guide you? What classes/parties/girls/guys/beers do you choose?! Good thing you’ve got teammates to help with that.

Blake Jenner (no relation) plays Jake, a college freshman who is about to begin the plunge into the best four years of his life. The movie starts on move-in day and it’s 3 days before classes start. He and his other freshman newbies immediately meet their upperclassman teammates when they step foot into the baseball house. From there, it’s a short, deep, yet succinct snippet of the beginnings to their new lives as collegiate student-athletes in the 1980’s.

This film does well to capture the real relationships between teammates and especially incoming freshman who are wide-eyed to the world of college. From real life advice and teammate initiation to stoned existential conversations and themed parties, Everybody Wants Some is a real, funny, genuine look at the beginning of a new stage in a young person’s life. It’s a quality college movie set in the 80’s, but its message reaches to more than just that generation.

 GMBM Verdict  :  You should want some! Good Movie.

 

Starring: Blake JennerZoey DeutchGlen PowellTyler Hoechlin

Rating  R     Released  2016

McFarland, USA

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 CostnerCarlos PrattsJohnny Ortiz

Rating   PG     Released  2015