Tag Archives: Woody Harrelson

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

via impawards

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for me felt like an examination of how deep the connection a mother has with her children and how far she’s willing to go for them. In the film, Frances McDormand’s character Mildred Hayes boldly put up three billboards that questions the authority for seemingly not doing anything about her daughter’s murder.

McDormand’s portrayal of grief – misplaced or not – that is not only seen but felt. It is so palpable on screen it makes you feel her anger and frustrations. All of her solo scenes are nothing short of sublime.

 

Then there’s Dixon – a xenophobe police officer in Ebbing. I’ve to admit that I was a bit uncomfortable with Sam Rockwell’s character. A portrayal which reminded me so much of his evil character ‘Wild Bill’ in The Green Mile. He was so effective here that his character angers me so much..

It’s funny that this picture so thoughtfully reminded me of the very divided America now under Donald Trump. Dixon (Rockwell) feels like a personification of what everything Donal Trump represents pre-reading the letter Chieft Willoughby have written for him.

This isn’t just about the fight of Mildred Hayes for justice. I want to believe that this goes deeper than that. This is a representation on apathy and how evil humans could get. Was I convinced by that ending? By Dixon’s redemption? Not quite, but as Chief Willoughby told Dixon thru a letter – all we need is love. Cringy but worth contemplating.

Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, Peter Dinklage, Kathryn Newton, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, Clarke Peters, Brendan Sexton III
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The film received seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for McDormand and Best Supporting Actor nominations for Harrelson and Rockwell at the 90th Academy Awards.

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Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

HungerGamesPosterI was not even aware of this book until last year when news erupted about its film adaptation. Suzanne Collins, author of the book wrote the screenplay of the film along with director Gary Ross and Billy Ray. There are likely many who have not read the book and do not know their Panems and Districts. Panem is the name of the nation that has risen from the ruins of once then North America. The people from its 12 Districts are subject to select one boy and one girl to participate in the annual ‘Hunger Games’ taking part in a battle where there is only one participant who will emerge as the winner. The Hunger Games is a televised reality show complete with sponsors and commentaries. This, according to the ‘Capitol’ leaders serves as a reminder of the people’s failed uprising against them that happened decades ago.

The film let us in to the colorful universe of Panem and its poor twelve districts. It features the central female protagonist Katniss Everdeen, played by Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence who yet again delivered another beautiful performance similar to her lead stint in Winter’s Bone. Katniss is the caretaker of her sister Primrose whom she promised to protect no matter what and her widowed mother who is too depressed to do anything. She is a skilled hunter who uses her skills to feed her starving family.

When Primrose name was selected in her first year of eligibility to the game, Katniss stepped up for her sister and volunteered as a tribute. The baker Peeta Mellark was the boy chosen for their district. Both were brought to the Capitol, went through make-overs and a bit of training and eventually were brought to the battleground where violence soon claimed the lives of those who are participating in the game.

The film is almost three hours and you won’t even feel that it was that long because there’ just so much in it. It was never boring and the story itself is way engaging that you’d really feel the characters, like she / he are representing your district. The cast ensemble is impeccable. Everyone seemed to really play his or her part really well. My favorite characters in this film would have to be Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), the mistress of ceremonies during the reaping for District 12 and Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from District 11. Her death was very heartbreaking that I can’t help but tear up a little. Jennifer Lawrence whose vulnerability and pain as she portrayed Katniss was the ultimate torch that carry the film altogether.

Gary Ross made some very interesting visuals in the film that contradicts the darkness of its main theme’s premise. There is no hesitation nor inhibition about the brutality of the game and the screenplay is just in its perfect state. The only criticism I may have about this film would have to be development of Katniss and Peeta’s love story. Overall, the film is as beautiful as its book but what the movie delivered is a world that captured the essence of its source into an effortless and magnificent cinematic experience.

Rating: 9.5/10

Director: Gary Ross

Based on the book of Suzanne Collins

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Alexander Ludwig, Amandla Stenberg, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jack Quaid, Leven Rambin, Dayo Okeniyi, Jacqueline Emerson, Paula Malcomson, Willow Shields

This film review was first posted at Pinoy Exchange. Read all my film reviews at Pinoy Exchange Official PEx Movie Reviews.

Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

Having read the Hunger Games book trilogy and easily becoming a fan, I came expecting something about the sequel that would let my mind linger a bit longer about it. The film brings us back to the world of Panem and its 12 Districts. The 74th Hunger Games winners Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are now comfortably residing at the Victors Village joining their mentor Haymitch. This victory is not without a price as we all know after what have happened during the stars-crossed “lovers” time at the arena from the last Hunger Games. Apparently, their final act of killing themselves both (by eating poisonous berries) instead of killing each other became a catalyst for every district to revolt yet again against the oppressive Capitol.

To combat this, the ever-so creepy President Snow ordered Katniss to play the crowd and convinced him that she indeed did not intend to create rebellion as she has become the “beacon” of hope for the people from the word of Snow himself. Being Katniss and all, she obviously did not succeed thus resulting to a twist of reaping the players of the 75th Hunger Games a.k.a the Quarter Quell from the pool of winning male and female tributes from each district. This would make Katniss go back to the arena but not ofcourse without Peeta volunteering. This leads to an agreement between Katniss and their mentor Haymitch to just try to save Peeta at whatever cost. This was the plan until a secret unravel in the very eyes of Katniss leaving her helpless and with just a little hope.

I’m actually satisfied with the outcome of the film. It was just okay. I thought this time unlike its predecessor; the film lacks agility, the fierceness of its characters and the emotional sub-plot of the book. It felt a bit too rush. Director Francis Lawrence was probably trying to make it as concise as possible making me wonder how Gary Ross would have handled it. I am not saying it’s not good, though, there were some great moments in the film but I was left with an uncertain thought about it. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as usual taking your to an emotional wrecking ball and so as the outrageous Effie Trinket played by the gorgeous Elizabeth Banks. I also love the support of Josh Hutcherson making my first judgment that he’s indeed the perfect actor for the role! Donald Sutherland makes President Snow all the more creepy while Woody Harrelson as Haymitch delivered yet again. My favorite in this film though was Jenna Malone who played Johanna Mason. She’s very refreshing. I’m still disappointed with Sam Claflin as Finnick but he’s fine. There was great acting in this film as a whole.

But the best thing, in my humble opinion about this film is that it didn’t lose its steam – there is still the charm from the first film. You would still care about Peeta, Katniss, Prim, Gale, the tributes and the rest of the oppressed people from the Districts.  If the first Hunger Games feels like a dissection of a lot of things political, this was a film that continue its promise to bring about a good story telling this time, a bit cliché but nevertheless entertaining.

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Jeffery Wright, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen, Amada Plummer, Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Alan Ritchson, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, E. Roger Mitchell, Maria Howell, Elena Sanchez, Bobby Jordan, John Casino, Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson, Patrick St. Spirit, Stef Dawson

Rating: 8.5/10