The Nice Guys

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Director: Shane BlackThe Nice Guys

Writers: Shane Black; Anthony Bagarozzi

Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya Dalosta, Keith David, Lois Smith; Kim Basinger.

Harking back to the funky-soul disco era of the 1970s, The Nice Guys is a private detective, who-done-it comedy, with a bit of action on the side.

The scene is set when Misty Mountains (yes, her name referring to her boobs) comes to a dramatic end – assets revealed in life but covered in death, because hey, she’s human and this is a classy film.

Now, Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley) is being followed.  She hires Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), muscle who is paid to deter those, well, who need deterring.  His line of enquiry leading to Holland March (Ryan Gosling), a private detective also on the case.

Delving into the world of ’70s pornography, dirty deeds are uncovered circling closer and closer to those targeting Amelia.

A classic storyline, yet, it’s the characters Healy, March and March’s daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) who are the focus of the film.  And the success of the film comes from the perfect casting of Gosling alongside Crowe.

It’s a pleasure to see Gosling playing a light-hearted character after all his seriousness in the past (Half Nelson (2006), The Ides of March (2011), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) and more recently, The Big Short (2015)).  Gosling’s character, March, is a funny bastard.  Either he’s a natural comic or director Shane Black deserves a tremendous amount of credit as March was the highlight of the film for me.

Russell playing, Healy: as always the steadfast meat-head with a heart of gold.

The two characters had a great chemistry, like the small dog yapping at the big.  I wondered if there was a genuine annoyance from Russell Crowe regarding Gosling.  But with a clever script, there were many moments for laughter.

Add the background scenery of horses get-up as unicorns, protesters playing dead in gas masks and some well-placed action (I was about to get bored near the end until the action kicked in); you’ve got an entertaining film.  I’m still grinning about March falling, yet again, and somehow surviving.

But, honestly, there wasn’t a lot of depth here.

There were definite moments of wit and cleverness but the story barely held together at the end.  The action got ramped up so I forgave the fading narrative.  It depends on what mood you’re in.

If you’re looking for a, who-done-it with wit and action, this is a great film.

Products from Amazon.com

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John RequaWhisky Tango Foxtrot

Screenplay: Robert Carlock

Based on: ‘The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,’ by Kim Barker

Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Peacocke; Christopher Abbott.

Comedy/War/Drama?

Kim is a 40 year old copy writer who spends her time on an exercise bike going no-where.  No matter how hard she peddles, Kim just isn’t getting anywhere.  Her life is going backwards.

Presented with an opportunity to get out from behind a desk and report in front of a camera in Afghanistan, Kim leaves her boyfriend and comfortable life for the chaos of the Kabul Bubble where shit literally flies through the air.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot (I’m thinking military speak for WTF) is a juxtaposition of genres: war, comedy and drama.

It’s hard to categorise Whisky Tango Foxtrot.  There’s some dark humour here: Kabul International Airport A.K.A Killed In Action.  But I would say this movie is a drama with the main character, Kim Barker (Tina Fey), having a midlife crisis.

At the beginning, I was concerned the film was falling firmly on the ‘My life journey’ style of film, but thankfully, with the introduction of characters in Afghanistan, the film took off on its own journey with the focus on the characters and the reality of life in the ‘ka-bubble’.  

I wouldn’t call the film a comedy, even though Tina Fey (known for her parts as a comedian) is the protagonist, but there are funny moments with the misunderstandings between different cultures, and the inherent humour of Iain, the Scottish photographer.  Yes, this is mostly a drama with the elements of war: gun fire, bombs blasting and drones flying, played over with a sometimes cheesy soundtrack.  It was a strange juxtaposition between this romantic drama and comedy set on a backdrop of the war in Afghanistan.  This wasn’t a MASH situation.  There were some serious thought-provoking moments.  And it worked.

I enjoyed watching this film because I liked the characters.  The translator, Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott) was a standout with warm eyes and a genuine soul; then there’s the security guy Nic (Steve Peacocke), fellow journalist, Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) – yes the film was heavy on the Aussie actors not that it’s a bad thing!  Then there’s the photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman), the politician Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina), the general Hallanek (Billy Bob Thorton) and then the people of Afghanistan.

This was a well-rounded story, and yes, it was heart-warming.

It was just some of the moments were strange.  For example, Kate reporting in front of the camera only to realise she’s standing near a dead body hidden under rubble but for an arm.  Not funny, just a bit strange.

The mission undertaken by marines with the green of night vision but with a romantic soundtrack playing, also strange.

But the strength of the storyline with the careful handling of the characters by directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011); Focus (2015)), Whisky Tango Foxtrot was an enjoyable film to watch.

Products from Amazon.com

 

Captain America: Civil War

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe RussoCaptain America Civil War

Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Based on: Captain America by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt; Daniel Brühl.

With no expectation going in, I was pleasantly surprised by gutsy action and a well-thought out storyline.  And yes, I’m just going to say it, Captain America: Civil War was heart-warming.

To be honest, the Captain America character has never appealed to me.  As Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) says, ‘Sometimes, I just want to punch you in your perfect teeth’.

However, the film celebrates difference of opinion and differing values and cultures and that’s a definite positive of this film.

Civil War is about friendship and the difficulty in accepting differences between friends.  Who’s to say they’re right and who is wrong?  People have their reasons whether it be loyalty, the idea of doing the right thing, of looking after the little guy; and then there’s the bad manipulating the good.

The huge number of strong characters could have led to confusion, but the well-paced storyline gave every character their point and time in the spotlight.

I liked the addition of the cat-man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).  And the threat of cheesiness was nicely averted with humour; the characters able to make fun of themselves and each other, particularly Iron Man and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) – just hilarious!

I admit I was a little confused at times regarding the history of the characters and how they came to fight together, which means I need to go back and re-watch some of the previous films.  And that’s a lot of watching.  Civil War is the third in the series of Captain America.  And then you have Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).  Plus there’s all the Iron Man series and of course the films casting all the other characters…  So there wasn’t really anything new here, either.

But when I find I’m entertained at the beginning, the middle and the end, I say that’s a good movie.