Tagged: John Aylward

 

Summary: A former superstar High School basketballer is asked to return years later to coach the team that are now perennial cellar dwellers. In order to be any use to the team though he must try to overcome his alcoholism.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th March 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: 30th May 2020

Country: United States

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby

Cast: April Adams (Betty), Ben Affleck (Jack), Justice Alan (David), Tom Archdeacon (Ethan), John Aylward (Father Edward Devine), Yennifer Behrens (Sofia), Chris Bruno (Sal), Rachael Carpani (Diane), T.K. Carter (Russ), Nancy Linehan Charles (Anne), Da’Vinchi (Devon Childress), Nico David (Ryan), Marlene Forte (Gale), Janina Gavankar (Angela), Matthew Glave (Coach Lombardo), Ememia Golfieri (Sarah), Layla Golfieri (Sarah), Melvin Gregg (Marcus Parrish), Cynthia Rose Hall (Nancy), Chieko Hidaka (Haley), Ben Irving (Bobby Freeze), Dan Lauria (Gerry Norris), Charles Lott Jnr. (Chubbs Hendricks), Hayes MacArthur (Eric), Al Madrigal (Dan), Chad Mountain (Pat),  Edelyn Okano (Denise), Jeremy Radin (Father Mark Whelan), Jeremy Ratchford (Matty), Will Ropp (Kenny Dawes), Shay Roundtree (Ken), Todd Stashwick (Kurt), Jayne Taini (Susan Norris), Eric Tate (Sully), Glynn Turman (Doc), Fernando Luis Vega (Sam Garcia), Sal Velez Jnr. (Miguel), Michaela Watkins (Beth), Brandon Wilson (Brandon Durrett)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: M (Australia)

 

 

OUR THE WAY BACK REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ The Way Back Review:

The Way Back should have been a straight up slam dunk to be one of my favourite films of this year. It had so many things that I enjoy in its corner – there is the fact that I adore sports movies such as Varsity Blues and Coach Carter and then there is the Ben Affleck factor. Yes, I am a huge Affleck fan and have been ever since I fell in love with Kevin Smith’s movies way back in High School.

But there is something that majorly goes wrong with The Way Back and that thing made me feel like I was driving a sports car but unable to get out of second gear. The most disappointing thing about all of that though is it is an error that I feel could easily have been solved with a simple re-write of the script.

At the very heart of The Way Back is a film that could easily have been an Oscar winner. Affleck (Argo) plays Jack Cunningham a man whose life reads like a character from a Bruce Springsteen song. During High School he was a basketball phenomenon and it seemed like his history was written in the stars – he was going to be one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Flash-forward a couple of decades and Jack is now a faded man who works hard and drinks himself into oblivion every night.

Jack is given a shot at redemption though when the Headmaster at the Catholic school he attended, Father Devine (John Aylward – North Country,) contacts him and asks him to take over the coaching duties of the school’s basketball team – a team that now dwindles at the bottom of the league and is largely known as a laughing stock to the teams they play against. Despite a lot of hesitation Jack accepts the role and while the skills are still there so is his alcoholism and his resentment of the world that causes outbursts and chronic swearing that worries Father Mark Whelan (Jeremy Radin – Shark Week) who is charged with watching over the team and Jack.

The Way Back should have left me on the same emotional high that Coach Carter left me on years ago. The difference is that with Coach Carter the film was filled with inspiring speeches by Samuel L. Jackson while the writer gave us, the audience, an opportunity to get to know the kids on the team. They were all given characterisation and the result was we all cared about them.

With The Way Back we never get that opportunity. Yes we are introduced to characters like Marcus (Melvin Gregg – Snowfall) and Brandon (Brandon Wilson – Beyond The Lights) but we are never given an in-depth introduction into what makes them the way they are until it is much too late. The result is for the most part I just saw them as teenagers with a bad attitude who were wasting their God given talent.

I felt it was the same for Jack as a character as well. I am sure that screenwriter Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night) thought it was cute and artistic the way he kept the true story of Jack’s secret from the audience, but to me it felt like the major flaw of the film. Most of the time I was frustrated that Jack was passing up the great opportunities that life had given him in order to simply just get drunk each night. That frustration would have been eliminated if he had given us glimpses of the emotional issues that made Jack the way he was instead of holding those cards close to heart before finally springing them on the audience.

The one thing that does save The Way Back and makes it worth a second viewing is the acting performance of one Mr. Affleck. I am not just saying this as a devoted Affleck fan, but he is in Oscar winning form here. He is totally believable as a former sports star who has hit rock bottom and he delivers some truly emotional scenes that do have an effect on you as you are watching them. Many actors would struggle to deliver the pure emotion that he can generate in a scene on his own fuelled by drunken outbursts but his work here was enough to cause a tear to well up in my eyes more than once. Affleck of course knew why his character was the way he was… we sadly didn’t.

I really got the feeling throughout the film that with Affleck in this kind of form this film could have Oscar-winner written all over it if only a few minor re-writes had occurred in order to make me care more about some of the characters at hand. This is one I will certainly re-visit though just to see Affleck deliver a full lesson in character acting.

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:  The Way Back (2020) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Way Back Reviews: N/A

Trailer:

A Million Ways To Die InThe West 2

Summary: As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Screenwriter: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

Cast: John Aylward (Pastor Wilson), Preston Bailey (Young Albert), Johnny Bautista (Carl), Alex Borstein (Millie), Amick Byram (Marcus Thornton), Ardy Brent Carlson (Cowboy Ardy), Jean Effron (Elsie Stark), Jamie Foxx (Django), Ralph Garman (Dan), Gilbert Gottfried (Abraham Lincoln), Christopher Hagen (George Stark), Neil Patrick Harris (Foy), Evan Jones (Lewis), Rex Linn (Sheriff/Narrator), Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), Seth MacFarlane (Albert), Ewan McGregor (Cowboy At Fair), Aaron McPherson (Ben), Liam Neeson (Clinch), Jay Patterson (Doctor Harper), Ryan Reynolds (Man Killed By Clinch In Bar), Giovanni Ribisi (Edward), Brett Rickaby (Charlie Blanche), Mike A. Salazar (6-Year-Old-Albert), Amanda Seyfried (Louise), Sarah Silverman (Ruth), Patrick Stewart (Dream Voice), Wes Studi (Cochise), Charlize Theron (Anna), Debbie Waters (Mother Of James Addison)

Runtime: 116 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s A Million Ways To Die In The West review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81

Stars(3)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s A Million Ways To Die In The West review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

Television fans worldwide had always known that Seth MacFarlane was a comedy genius. His show-pony, the hilarious Family Guy had revealed a dark sense of humor that wasn’t always politically correct but was always worth a laugh or two. Then came Ted, a film that centered around a foul-mouthed, alcoholic, drug abusing bear, a film that also proved that Mr MacFarlane’s comedic talents could also transfer to the big screen.

Now comes MacFarlane’s real test, that difficult second film… very often the film that will make or break a filmmaker. Just to raise the bar even higher MacFarlane has decided the tough task of making a comedy western, a genre that works well in the shape of Blazing Saddles but has also delivered some severe duds along the way. Besides that he has also decided to star, direct, write and produce the whole shebang. The good news for his fans though is he delivers the goods.

MacFarlane (Movie 43, Ted) plays Albert, a kind-hearted sheep farmer who is a bit of a loser when it comes to life. He spends most of his time concerned at the million or so ways that the old west can kill you while also seemingly fail at being a sheep farmer considering his sheep are normally found wondering all around the town he calls home.

To add to his loser status he suddenly finds himself dumped by his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried – Epic, The Big Wedding) who decides that she is better suited the much more successful and moustached Foy (Neil Patrick Harris – Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, The Smurfs 2). Worse still is the fact that Foy has challenged Albert to a gun duel and despite his surroundings he has never fired a gun before in his life.

Enter Anna (Charlize Theron – Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman) the attractive gun-slinger who rides into town and takes an interest liking to Albert. She is more than happy to train him for the gun fight and along the way they learn that they also share the same interests… and sense of the humor. The one thing that she fails to tell him though is that she is married to, Clinch (Liam Neeson – The Lego Movie, Non-Stop), a tough, violent outlaw who is not impressed when he finds about Anna and Albert.

While A Million Ways To Die In The West does ultimately work it is on occasions hit and miss… although the hits do outweigh the misses. The typical MacFarlane humour is there that his fans have come to know and love, the cheap shots at everyday life and the occasional black humour moment that makes you laugh despite the fact that you feel it is not a topic that you should be laughing at. To his credit this type of humour works throughout the film but at times it also feels that MacFarlane works too hard to get his comedic point across. For example do we really need to see Foy kick over a hat full of diarrhoea to get the joke, or do we need a close-up of a sheep penis to find the fact the sheep relieves itself on Albert hilarious?

Then there are the parts of the film that work amazingly well. Albert is set up as a character that you are going to like and while some of the characters, such as Clinch, could be described as clichés there are interesting peripheral characters such as Edward (Giovanni Ribisi – Gangster Squad, Ted) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman – Gravy, TV’S Louie), a Christian couple that don’t have sex before marriage despite the fact that she works as a prostitute. It’s these kinds of side stories that certainly keeps the audience focussed on the film and laughing throughout.

When it comes to the acting side of A Million Ways To Die In The West a few of the cast get really smooth runs. Liam Neeson plays Clinch well but it feels like he is in cruise control while at times it almost feels like Charlize Theron is playing herself. Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi and Neil Patrick Harris all nail their comedic timing, while MacFarlane has shown that he is a good actor when he steps in front of the camera. Hopefully we see him do more of that in the future and not just concentrate on voice work.

A Million Ways To Die In The West is not the kind of comedy that will appeal to everybody, some of the jokes may go into some people’s ‘too crass’ pile, but for others this is going to be the kind of film that you will get laughs at throughout. Maybe not as good as Blazing Saddles but still a worthwhile comedy with a good romantic subplot.

Stars(3)

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

 

IMDB Rating: A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West′: For our full A Million Ways To Die In The West review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81

Trailer:

Gangster Squad

Summary: Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

Based on the book by Paul Lieberman, GANGSTER SQUAD is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th January, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rubin Fleischer

Screenwriter: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman (book)

Cast: Austin Abrams (Pete), John Aylward (Judge Carter), Mick Betancourt (Detective Sgt. Will Hendricks), De’aundre Bonds (Duke Del-Red), Mac Brandt (Bruiser), Josh Brolin (Sgt. John O’Mara), James Carpinello (Johnny Stomp), Dennis Cockrum (Elmer Jackson), Jack Conley (Sheriff Biscailuz), Jonny Coyne (Grimes), Max Daniels (Jeffrey Clark),Darrell Davis (Officer Wyler), Christopher Doyle (Edgar Beaumont), Isabel Dresden (Hedy Lamarr), Mireille Enos (Connie O’Mara), Jim Fitzpatrick (Terry McMurray), Troy Garity (Wrevock), Tanner Gill (Hookey Rothman), Ryan Gosling (Sgt. Jerry Wooters), Frank Grillo (Jimmy Reagan), Don Harvey (Officer Funston), James Hebert (Mitch Racine), Austin Highsmith (Patty), Pat Jankiewicz (Nico), Evan Jones (Neddy Herbert), Neil Koppel (Max Soloman), Anthony Mackie (Officer Coleman Harris), Holt McCallany (Karl Lennox), Nancy McCrumb (Betty Page), Jack McGee (Lt. Quincannon), Brandon Molale (Jimmy ‘Bockscar’ Knox), Anthony Molinari (Lorenzo Molinari), Nick Nolte (Chief Parker), Michael Papajohn (Mike ‘The Flea’), Robert Patrick (Officer Max Kennard), Michael Pena (Officer Navidad Ramirez), Josh Pence (Officer Darryl Gates), Sean Penn (Mickey Cohen), Jon Polito (Dragna), Giovanni Ribisi (Officer Conway Keeler), Esther Scott (Letty),  Sullivan Stapleton (Jack Whelan), Emma Stone (Grace Faraday), Yvette Tucker (Carmen Miranda), Wade Williams (Rourke), Jeff Wolfe (Giovanni Vacarezza)

Runtime: 113 mins

Classification:MA15+

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Gangster Squad’ Review:

Whenever you hear that the editors have taken to a film in a bid to appease the censors and make it ‘okay’ for audiences to watch you know the film is likely to look like a mess. ‘Taken 2’ was a perfect example last year and now the same thing has happened to ‘Gangster Squad’.

Firstly the filmmakers had to change a major scene in the film because of the cinema massacre in the States and then it feels like the editor savaged it again in a bid to try and please the shifting belief on guns in the United States…a big problem considering a large chunk of ‘Gangster Squad’ is set in a time when gun culture was celebrated. The result is a film that doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to be as aggressive as ‘The Departed’ or comical like ‘Dick Tracy’.

Based on a novel by Paul Lieberman ‘Gangster Squad’ is set in Los Angeles in 1949 and finds former boxer turned gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn – This Must Be The Place, The Tree Of Life) carving a name for himself by cutting down anyone who gets in his way. With Cohen and his cronies virtually ridding Los Angeles of any other gangsters officials such as Chief Parker (Nick Nolte – Parker, The Company You Keep) begin to realize that if something isn’t done soon than Cohen will soon ‘own’ the City of Angels.

The fact that Cohen also has many Police Officers on his payroll means that Parker now has to technically go outside of the law and put together a secret hit squad to get rid of Cohen. He places trusted hard-working cop Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin – Men In Black 3, True Grit) in charge of the squad. And while O’Mara is eager to take down Cohen his heavily pregnant wife, Connie (Mireill Enos – TV’S The Killing, TV’S Big Love) is not so pleased that her husband is going to war with such a dangerous man.

In the end Connie relents and decides to help her husband pick a group of men that will not only protect O’Mara but also be unapproachable to Cohen. Together she and O’Mara pick tech-savvy Officer Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi – Ted, Columbus Circle), the determined Officer Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Man On A Ledge) and a relic from the old West Officer Max Kennard (Robert Patrick – TV’S Last Resort, Trouble With The Curve).

The posse is then completed when Kennard’s partner and protégé Officer Navidad Ramirez (Michael Pena – End Of Watch, Tower Heist) and the reluctant Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling – The Place Beyond The Pines, The Ides Of March) decide they also want to be part of the action. While the group seem to have the odds stacked up against them their mission is further clouded by the fact that Wooters is having a relationship with  Cohen’s girlfriend, Grace Faraday (Emma Stone – Movie 43, The Amazing Spider-Man).

Director, Ruben Flesischer (TV’S Escape My Life, 30 Minutes Or Less) really is behind the eight-ball with ‘Gangster Squad’. At times his style of filming action works, although it is easy to see that he has been influenced by watching the work of Guy Ritchie, but he is let down by a script that delivers some truly awful lines and an editor that seems intent on sabotaging the film with some edits so corny that people during screenings have broken out into laughter.

The story behind ‘Gangster Squad’ could have made a truly sensational film… especially if someone like Martin Scorsese had taken over the reins as director, but in order for the story to have worked this movie needed to be a lot more aggressive and violent. Mickey Cohen was not a nice man and the version here seems tame when compared to the real life stories. Likewise with the guys in the hit squad, they are portrayed as ‘fluffy teddy bears’ when they are really a bunch of ruthless guys who are willing to do anything to bring down Cohen.

The only actor who really gets anything to work with in ‘Gangster Squad’ is Sean Penn. He relishes getting to play Cohen but the rest of the cast suffer as a result of the poor script. Josh Brolin still seems like he is playing Tommy Lee Jones’ son while Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are well and truly below par.

‘Gangster Squad’ could have been one of the films of the year but sadly an inept screenwriter and editor drag it right down amongst the other average films.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Gangster Squad′: Check Episode #15 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Gangster Squad’. Also check http://www.helium.com/items/2408688-gangster-squad-review

Rating: 2.5/5

IMDB Rating: Gangster Squad (2013) on IMDb