Tagged: Peter Sarsgaard

The Magnificent Seven

 

 

Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Screenwriter: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk, Akira Kurosawa (original script), Shinobu Hashimoto (original script), Hideo Oguni (original script)

Cast: Alix Angelis (Clara Wintrhop), Mark Ashworth (Preacher), Walker Babington (Dicky), Jackson Beals (One Eyed Lucas), Emil Beheshti (Maxwell), Haley Bennett (Emma Cullen), Thomas Blake Jr. (Earl), Matt Bomer (Matthew Cullen), Sean Boyd (Topper), Sean Bridgers (Fanning), Vic Browder (Arcade Jones), Ryan Brown (Ken Pigeon), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jack Horne), Griff Furst (Phillips), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Vasquez), Cam Gigandet (McCann), Luke Grimes (Teddy Q), Ethan Hawke (Goodnight Robicheaux), Clint James (Fenton), Cedric D. Jones (Curtis), Vinnie Jones (uncredited), Jonathan Joss (Denali), David Kallaway (Turner/Blacksmith), Derek Lacasa (Len Pigion), Dylan Langlois (R.L. Garrett), Carrie Lazar (Leni Frankel), Byung-hun Lee (Billy Rocks), Heath Lemme (Heath), David Manzanares (Referee/Eddy), Rictchie Montgomery (Gavin David), Jody Mullins (Caleb Frankel), Matthew Posey (Hank Stoner), Chris Pratt (Josh Faraday), Dodge Prince (Anthony), Chad Randall (Bartender/Powder Dan), Dane Rhodes (Sheriff Harp), Peter Sarsgaard (Bartholomew Bogue), William Lee Scott (Moody), Martin Sensmeier (Red Harvest), Billy Slaughter (Josiah), Denzel Washington (Chisolm), Kevin Wayne (Monday Durant)

Runtime: 133 mins

Classification: M

OUR THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

One question always has to be asked when a remake of a film surfaces… why was the remake made? Was it because a director thought he had a more creative or ‘modern’ way to tell the original story? Was it because a team of filmmakers thought that current day technology could improve on what was made decades ago? Sadly, none of these questions seem to answer that question about the remake of the legendary western The Magnificent Seven (which itself was a remake of Seven Samurai).

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) this remake sees honest lawman Chisolm (Denzel Washington – American Gangster) recruited by innocent widow Emma Cullen (Haley BennettThe Equalizer) whose husband was murdered when he stood up against corrupt gold mining company owner Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard Green Lantern) who has taken a town hostage as he takes land via violent means.

When Chisolm is convinced to take on Bogue and his men in a bid to rescue the town he puts together a group that includes gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt – Guardians Of The Galaxy), burnt out Civil War veteran Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke – Good Kill), tribe hunter Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio Law & Order: Criminal Intent), knife expert Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee Terminator Genisys), native warrior Red Harvest (Martin SensmeirLilin’s Brood) and the wanted outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Cake).

There are of course positives and negatives to this remake. One of the positives is getting to see Denzel Washington play yet another strong leading man, and I would be lying if I said it’s not great to see a big budget Western back on the big screen, hopefully this is a start of a lot more.

Sadly though the negatives outweigh the positives. While the film holds up its entertainment value and looks visually good the disappointing thing is that this is modern remake doesn’t offer the audience anything different to what we have been watching in this genre for the last fifty years. There’s no new tactical ways for a battle to be fought out or even any new creative ways to shoot the movie by Fuqua and his team.

The other big disappointment is the screenplay. While the film does at times raise the suspense and tension it misses other key moments that really could have made this a better film. It is really believable that a native American warrior would fight on the same team as a tribe hunter without any form of hostility or tension? Likewise there needed to be a better explanation to why Chisholm joins the fight in the first place… the explanation comes way too late in the film. Don’t even get me started on the weak CGI graves at the end of the film either.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment though is how the screenplay lets down the cast. Denzel Washington gets a chance to star in this film… the rest don’t. Chris Pratt is obviously there for comic relief (a hat that certainly doesn’t fit his character) and ends up just playing the same character he did in Guardians Of The Galaxy. The rest of the cast seem to end up playing clichés though with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo completely wasted in his role. The only other upside with the acting is with Emily Bennett who does more than enough to suggest that she can be a leading lady in the future.

The Magnificent Seven may be enough to entertain a modern audience and provide the odd bit of suspense throughout. But for seasoned fans of the Western genre the film offers nothing new and will easily be seen as a fair bit weaker than the original.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

John Sturges’ classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven made stars out of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn (who all later appeared in Sturges’ epic WWII adventure The Great Escapein 1963). Sturges’ film was inspired by the Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai, regarded by some critics as the greatest action movie ever made. Kurosawa was inspired by the Hollywood westerns of the 50s, and, ironically, his film influenced many westerns that followed including the spaghetti westerns of the late great Sergio Leone. The 1960 film was a huge success and spawned a couple of sequels and even a short lived television series. And now we get this remake from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, etc) who knows his western tropes and has in turn borrowed heavily from some the great directors of the genre, from John Ford through to Eastwood, Peckinpah and Leone.

It’s 1879. The small but peaceful farming town of Rose Creek is under threat from ruthless and greedy mining magnate Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a robber baron who is desperate to corner the market on all mining activities in the region. Anyone who opposes him is either viciously beaten or killed, and the megalomaniacal Bogue has assembled a veritable army of mercenaries and lawless types to enforce his will. But the newly widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, from The Equalizer, Hardcore Henry, etc) wants to stop Bogue. She approaches bounty hunter Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) and pleads with him to help. Chisholm agrees and sets off to round up an assortment of gunslingers to make a stand in what could well be a suicide mission. (Sounds familiar? It was a key plot device of films like The Dirty Dozen and the recent Suicide Squad.)

This time around the seven he assembles are a much more racially diverse bunch. Apart from Chisholm himself there is Faraday (Chris Pratt, from Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World), a wise cracking card sharp and gunslinger; the boozy Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a sharp shooter who is still damaged by his experiences of fighting in the Civil War; his knife wielding offsider Billy Rocks (Korean action star Byung-hun Lee); the hulking John Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio, from Full Metal Jacket, etc), a renowned and feared Indian hunter; the Texican gunman Vasquez (Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo); and the comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), who has been cast out of his tribe. This motley crew have just seven days to train the frightened townsfolk in the skills necessary to fight back against Bogue and to defend their village.

The build up to the key siege of the town is a little slow. There are several scenes of the men sitting around in a saloon and drinking and talking, and these scenes slowly tease out character details and backstories, and show the slow camaraderie that develops between them before all hell breaks loose. There is fair amount of humour here to leaven the violence.

Unlike many recent remakes that have tarnished the memories of the original film (think Ben Hur, etc), this new take on the classic The Magnificent Seven is quite good. It exploits the tropes of a traditional western in its formula. Many of the classic westerns of yesteryear explored the myth of one good man standing up to evil on the wild frontier and dispensing justice. But writers Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, etc) and Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective, etc) also effectively use the formula to explore some more contemporary themes of corporate greed, courage, loyalty, heroism, sacrifice, and even a hint of feminism that will resonate strongly with modern audiences.

As he showed with Olympus Has Fallen, Fuqua knows how to stage some exciting and spectacularly visceral action sequences. There is an early gunfight in the dusty streets of Rose Creek that is tense and well-staged, and it sets the scene for the climactic attack on the town. This rousing 30 minutes action sequence is the highlight here, a gritty and violent and superbly choreographed set piece full of gun play, carnage and pyrotechnics that doesn’t disappoint. In the original, the villainous Calveros brought just thirty bandits to attack the village; here Bogue brings a veritable army of a hundred men, plus a deadly Gatling gun, to the fray. This version of The Magnificent Seven has the highest body count of any western since The Wild Bunch.

The film looks good thanks to the widescreen cinematography of Fuqua’s regular cinematographer Mauro Fiore that captures the harsh beauty of the epic landscapes. The film also features the last soundtrack composed by the late James Horner, and the music also pays homage to Elmer Bernstein’s memorable theme music for the 1960 original.

Performances are a bit of a mixed bag. This is Washington’s third collaboration with Fuqua (following his Oscar winning turn while cast against type in Training Day and The Equalizer) and the director seems to be able to tap into the meaner side of an actor known for playing essentially decent characters with strong moral fibre. Pratt brings a jocular and easy going charisma to his role and he provides most of the comic relief. Sarsgaard comes across as the cliched bad guy with no redeeming features whatsoever, and he does all but twirl his moustache with a cliched performance as Bogue, who is filled with contempt for the poor struggling and hardworking farmers. Hawke brings some pathos and nuances to his performance as the former soldier wrestling with a form of psychological disorder following his experiences, and he is the most complex character here. Bennett’s performance as the feisty Emma reminded me a little of Hailee Steinfeld in the recent remake of True Grit.

As a genre, the western has been dead for many years despite some attempts to bring it back to life on the big screen with films like Tarantino’s superb and violent Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and the visually stunning The Revenant, etc. This reimagining of the classic The Magnificent Seven is a solid western, full of action, gunplay, and featuring a strong ensemble cast that should appeal to audiences.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  The Magnificent Seven (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Magnificent Seven Reviews: You can also listen to our The Magnificent Seven reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #195.

Trailer:

Night Moves

Summary: One of the most distinctive and talented directors of contemporary American cinema, Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy; Old Joy) directs Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning in this tense drama. The three play a group of environmental activists who, though from very different backgrounds, are united by their radical politics. Josh (Eisenberg) is a militant who is determined to protect the earth by any means necessary. He leads them in a sabotage plot that will have far-reaching repercussions. In the aftermath, the conspirators are filled with paranoia and dread leading to an inevitable and shocking climax.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Screenwriter: Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt

Cast: Traber Burns (Felix), Barry Del Sherman (Corser), Jesse Eisenberg (Josh), Dakota Fanning (Dena), Kai Lennox (Sean), Logan Miller (Dylan), Autumn Nidalmia (Mable), Joel Polinsky (Goose), Peter Sarsgaard (Harmon), Alia Shawkat (Surprise), Katherine Waterson (Anne)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR NIGHT MOVES REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Night Moves review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2.5)

 

David Griffiths:

It doesn’t take watching many Kelly Reichardt films to realise that she is one of the most gifted filmmakers going around. Films such as Wendy & Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff tell their stories with poetic niceness despite the harsh look at life in general they both have. Now Reichardt tries to do the same her new film, Night Moves, but sadly she doesn’t quite pull it off.

Reichardt takes the audience into the world of eco-terrorism, doing bad for the great good if you will, a journey we previously took in last year’s release The East. This time around we see the shy and uncertain Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and scheming ex-marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) conjure up a plan to blow up a dam wall and return nature to its original path.

They take the woman with the money Dena (Dakota Fanning) but when the trio’s best laid plans take a turn for the worst they soon find themselves on the run and wary of each other.

With Night Moves you can kind of excuse the slow burn lead up to the actual bombing. Its slow pace actually works here and enhances scenes such as Dena trying to acquire the explosives to complete the mission, but Reichardt’s usual style of filmmaking just doesn’t fit or deliver the intensity that is required for the second half of this film to work. What should have been an intense aftermath just seems to plod along.

Even the screenplay itself doesn’t deliver its payload to the audience. It nicely sets up a seemingly in place relationship between Josh and Dena but then doesn’t capitalise on the jealousy that should have been generated when Harmon beds Dena while he believes that Josh isn’t around. Likewise the near ‘madness’ and breakdown experienced by Josh and Dena in the aftermath of the terrorist attack are never explored enough, and as a result the film along with the audience’s interest in it just seems to slowly peter out.

The people you have to feel sorry for here are the cast. Throughout their careers Eisenberg, Fanning and Sarsgaard have repeatedly shown that they are capable of delivering truly dramatic, intense performances but here they are simply left to flounder by a script that never even gets out of first gear.

Night Moves feels like a film that wants to deliver a strong message but just doesn’t have the power to do so. A weak script and some misguided direction (something I never thought I would ever have to see about Reichardt) leaves this film in the ‘average’ bin. And audience members will mostly likely leave the cinema a little bit peeved that they never got to see the explosion itself or the result of the dam wall coming down.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Night Moves (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Night Moves′: For our full Night Moves review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 .

Trailer:

Lovelace

Summary: Before the internet, before the porn explosion – Deep Throat was a phenomenon: the first scripted pornographic theatrical feature film, featuring an unknown and unlikely star, Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried). Escaping a strict religious family, Linda discovered freedom and the high-life when she married charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). As Linda Lovelace, she became an international sensation, fully inhabiting her new identity and becoming an enthusiastic spokesperson for sexual freedom and uninhibited hedonism. Six years later she presented a contradictory narrative to this world, and herself as the survivor of a far darker story.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th September, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Screenwriter: Andy Bellin

Cast: Hank Azaria (Gerry Damiano), Wes Bentley (Thomas), Adam Brody (Harry Reems), Bobby Cannavale (Butchie Peraino), Johnny Carson (himself), Dwight V Coleman (Dwight), Walter Cronkite (himself), James Franco (Hugh Hefner), Brian Gattas (Robert), David Gueriera (Larry Marchiano), LisaGay Hamilton (Marsha), Cory Hardrict (Frankie Crocker), Peter Holden (Alex), Bob Hope (himself), Eric Hunter (Keith), Adam Kedis (Ray), Debi Mazar (Dolly), Don McManus (Arty Shapiro), Richard Nixon (himself), Chris Noth (Anthony Romano), Robert Patrick (John Boreman), Ron Pritchard (Sammy Davis Jnr.), Eric Roberts (Nat Laurendi), Peter Sarsgaard (Chuck), Chloe Sevigny (Feminist Journalist), Amanda Seyfried (Linda), Sharon Stone (Dorothy Boreman), Dustin Szany (Dustin), Juno Temple (Patsy)

Runtime: 93 mins

Classification:MA

OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘LOVELACE’:

David Griffiths: Stars(3.5)

Please check Dave’s review of ‘Lovelace’ that is available on The Helium Entertainment Channel

Nick Gardener: Stars(3)

Please check Nick’s review of ‘Lovelace’ that is available on The Good The Bad The Ugly Ep 51

Adam Ross: Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  Lovelace (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Lovelace′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Ep 51 for a more in depth review of ‘Lovelace’.

Trailer:

Blue Jasmine

Summary: After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th September, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Woody Allen

Screenwriter: Woody Allen

Cast: Alec Baldwin (Hal), Tammy Blanchard (Jane), Cate Blanchett (Jasmine), Louis C.K. (Al), Bobby Cannavale (Chili), Max Casella (Eddie), Andrew Dice Clay (Augie), Alden Ehrenreich (Danny), Ali Fedotowsky (Melanie), Sally Hawkins (Ginger), Emily Hsu (Amy), Daniel Jenks (Matthew), Tom Kemp (Nat), Andrew Long (Ed), Annie McNamara (Nora), Max Rutherford (Johnny), Peter Sarsgaard (Dwight), Carl Schreiber (Tristan), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Flicker), Charlie Tahan (Young Danny), Kathy Tong (Raylene)

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification:M

OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘BLUE JASMINE’:

Greg King: Stars(4)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Blue Jasmine’ that is available on www.filmreviews.com.au

Nick Gardener: Stars(4)

Please check Nick’s review of ‘Blue Jasmine’ that is available on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 49

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(4)

IMDB Rating:  Blue Jasmine (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Blue Jasmine′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 49 for our in-depth review of ‘Blue Jasmine.’

Trailer:

Lovelace

A new clip from the film ‘Lovelace’ has been released ahead of the film hitting cinema screens this week.

Director: Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple, Chris Noth, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny, James Franco, Eric Roberts

Chad Michael Murray

The wheeling and dealing has been getting into full swing at Sundance, below is a list of the films that have currently been sold and who has bought them.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – DIR: David Lowery STARS: Casey Affleck, Keith Carradine, Ben Foster, Rooney Mara

Purchased by: IFC Films

Austenland – DIR: Jerusha Hess STARS: Jennifer Coolidge, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Keri Russell

Purchased by: Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics

Before Midnight – DIR: Richard Linklater STARS: Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Ariane Labed

Purchased by: Sony Pictures Classics

Blackfish – DIR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Purchased by: CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures

Concussion – DIR: Stacie Passon STARS: Ben Shenkman, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Robin Weigert

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Dirty Wars – DIR: Rick Rowley STARS: Nasser Al Aulaqi, Saleha Al Aulaqi, Muqbal Al Kazemi, Abdul Rahman Barman

Purchased by: Sundance Selects

Don Jon’s Addiction – DIR: Joseph Gordon-Levitt STARS: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Julianne Moore

Purchased by: Relativity

Fruitvale – DIR: Ryan Coogler STARS: Kevin Durand, Michael B. Jordan, Chad Michael Murray, Octavia Spencer

Purchased by: The Weinstein Company

History Of The Eagles Part 1 – DIR: Alison Ellwood STARS: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

Purchased by: Showtime

Inequality For All – DIR: Jacob Kornbluth

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Jobs – DIR: Joshua Michael Stern STARS: Amanda Crew, Josh Gad, Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney

Purchased by: Open Road Films

Kill Your Darlings – DIR: John Krokidas STARS: Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Radcliffe

Purchased by: Sony Picture Classics

Lovelace – DIR: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman STARS: Peter Sarsgaard, Amanda Seyfried, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Morning – DIR: Leland Orser STARS: Elliott Gould, Laura Linney, Leland Orser, Jeanne Triplehorn

Purchased by: Anchor Boy

Newlyweds – DIR: Shaka King STARS: Amari Cheatoe, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Purchased by: Phase 4 Films

Prince Avalanche – DIR: David Gordon Green STARS: Emile Hirsch, Lance Le Gault, Joyce Payne, Paul Rudd

Purchased by: Magnolia Pictures

Show Trial: The Story Of Pussy Riot – DIR: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin STARS: Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Purchased by: HBO Documentary Films

S-VHS – DIR: Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener STARS: Kelsy Abbott, L.C. Holt, Hannah Hughes, Lawrence Michael Levine

Purchased by: Magnolia Pictures

The Look Of Love – DIR: Michael Winterbottom STARS: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Stephen Fry, Imogen Poots

Purchased by: IFC Films

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear – DIR: Tinatin Gurchiani

Purchased by: Icarus Films

The Rambler – DIR: Calvin Reeder STARS: James Cady, Natasha Lyonne, Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher

Purchased by: Anchor Bay Films

The Spectacular Now – DIR: James Ponsoldt STARS: Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Shailene Woodley

Purchased by: A24

The Summit – DIR: Nick Ryan

Purchased by: Sundance Selects

The Way, Way Back – DIR: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash STARS: Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet

Purchased by: Fox Searchlight

Toy’s House – DIR: Jordan Vogt-Roberts STARS: Moises Arias, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Purchased by: CBS Films

Twenty Feet From Stardom – DIR: Morgan Neville STARS: Lou Adler, Stephanie ‘Stevvi’ Alexander, Patti Austin, Chris Botti

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Two Mothers – DIR: Anne Fontaine STARS: Ben Mendelsohn, Xavier Samuel, Naomi Watts, Robin Wright

Purchased by: Exclusive Releasing

We Are What We Are – DIR: Jim Mickle STARS: Ambyr Childers, Kelly McGillis, Michael Parks, Wyatt Russell

Purchased by: Entertainment One

Summary: Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone.  They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank’s son chooses a different option: against the old man’s wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health.  What follows is an often hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th November 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jack Schreier

Screenwriter: Christopher D. Ford

Cast: Bonnie Bentley (Ava), Frank Langella (Frank), Rachel Ma (Robot), James Marsden (Hunter), Susan Sarandon (Jennifer), Peter Sarsgaard (Robot (voice)), Jeremy Sisto (Sheriff Rowlings), Jeremy Strong (Jake), Liv Tyler (Madison)

Runtime: 89 mins

Classification: M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Robot & Frank’ Review:

Take a quick look at the poster for Robot & Frank and you could be excused for thinking that you are about to head into a film that is so low on the budget that they have used a dodgy robot left over from the Pixar design team. If that makes you turn around and leave the cinema though it means you’ll be missing out on seeing one of the films of the year… because Robot & Frank is an absolute gem.

Frank (Frank Langella – Unknown, The Time Being) is a former prisoner who even is his old age is finding it hard to give up the habit of having to steal every now and then. He lives a very lonely life, he’s been divorced for thirty years and his son Hunter (James Marsden – Bachelorette, TV’S 30 Rock) visits when he can and his daughter Madison (Liv Tyler – The Ledge, Super) phones in quick thirty second video calls from wherever her travels have taken her this week.

Although he would never admit it Frank does struggle with life, things like household chores become too much for him and his only escape from his life is to go to the library and visit Jennifer (Susan Sarandon – That’s My Boy, The Company You Keep) whom he has a crush on. However things are about to get a lot better for Frank when Hunter buys Frank a Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard – Green Lantern, Knight & Day) that is supposed to make life easier for Frank… he just has to accept that.

Together director, Jake Schreier (Christopher Ford Sees A Film) and screenwriter, Christopher D. Ford (Eugene!, The Fuzz) have created a very special film indeed. Despite the fact Frank is a criminal you can’t help but feel for him, especially when you realise that he is a very lonely man indeed. The fact that you find yourself relating to him means that whether the threat is coming from the police or from the ‘evil’ Jake (Jeremy Strong – Lincoln, See Girl Run) you want to see Frank and Robot outsmart them.

The other big win that Schreier and Ford can celebrate is the fact that despite his plain look and monotone voice the character of Robot also becomes quite likable, so much so that you realise aside from its science fiction based plot this is ultimately a ‘buddy’ film… and a very good one at that.

Frank & Robot is so good that it shouldn’t be completely dismissed that Frank Langella’s name could come to the fore during Awards season. Langella puts in a truly remarkable performance that really allows him to shine as his co-stars, including Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler and James Marsden are all given limited screen time.

This little indie classic will warm the hearts of even the hardened cinema fan and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t earn itself a couple of Awards.


Other “Robot & Frank’ Reviews By Dave Griffiths: http://www.helium.com/items/2390485-robot-frank-review

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

IMDB Rating: Robot & Frank (2012) on IMDb