Tagged: Josh Pence

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

Fun Size

Summary: Wren (Victoria Justice) is on the verge of moving into the high school popularity stratosphere when she is asked to go to a Halloween party with the coolest guy in school. The only thing standing in her way is her style-cramping 8 year old brother who may just turn out to be even cooler than her date.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th November, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Josh Schwartz

Screenwriter: Max Werner

Cast: Osric Chau (Peng), Patrick de Ledebur (Mike Puglio), Jeremy Isaiah Earl (Officer Savage), Abby Elliott (Lara), Annie Fitzpatrick (Mrs. Brueder), Ana Gasteyer (Jackie), Stefan Gatt (Hulk), Chelsea Handler (Joy), Victoria Justice (Wren), Kerri Kenney (Barb), Johnny Knoxville (Jorgen), Brandon Landers (Buddy D), Mariana Lessa (Lica), Jane Levy (April), Thomas Mann (Roosevelt), Thomas McDonell (Aaron Riley), Thomas Middleditch (Fuzzy), Jackson Nicoll (Albert), Holmes Osbourne (Mr. Brueder), Josh Pence (Keevin), Maria Perossa (Hailey), James Pumphrey (Brueder), Erin Scerbak (Andrea), Morgane Slemp (Melinda), Rachel Sterling (Kassi), Peter Navy Tuiasosopo (Mr. Mahani), Lori Pelenise Tuisano (Mrs. Mahani), Nicholas Varricchio (Jonathan), Allison Weissman (Mackenzie), Krista Marie Yu (Jordan)

Runtime: 86 mins

Classification:PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Fun Size’ Review: 

How do you put this nicely? ‘Fun Size’ is one of the worst films ever made! The film lacks so much direction it’s not even clear where it wanted to end up or even what kind of film it wanted to be. It tries to be ‘Superbad’ or ‘Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle’ but ends up being as wild as an episode of ‘Seventh Heaven’. 

Wren (Victoria Justice) feels she has had a hard life since her father died, she has had to endure her mother, Joy (Chelsea Handler) having to date an immature 26-year-old old guy named Keevin (Josh Pence), and a younger brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) who does nothing but annoy her with petty things. 

When it comes around to Halloween Wren and her friend April (Jane Levy) are thrilled to get an invite to Aaron Riley’s (Thomas McDonell). But when Wren is left looking after Albert and accidentally loses him the pair are left driving around with ‘geeks’ Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau). 

So bad is ‘Fun Size’ that director, Josh Schwartz and screenwriter, Max Werner should be allowed to make another film ever again. The film lacks all forms of humor and while the inclusion of characters such as Fuzzy (Thomas Middleditch) tries to lift the film into Kevin Smith territory it fails on all levels. You can see the moments where the audience is supposed to laugh but instead you can only hear the tumbleweeds blow through the cinema. 

Even worse is the fact that the script loses itself. There is far too much time spent on Joy’s time with Keevin at her party when the main focus needs to be on Wren. Likewise there are huge chunks of the film that doesn’t make any sense. For example, does anyone believe the police would arrest Albert for letting off a firework when Jurgen (Johnny Knoxville) has manhandled him, locked him up and then asked for a ransom? 

And just to make the film even more of a mess it seems the characters of Roosevelt and Peng are like walking clichés from ‘Not Another Teen Movie’. 

Acting-wise, Victoria Justice should just use this as a vehicle to get other work… as long as she’s brave enough to include this dud on her resume, while Thomas Mann announces himself as the new Michael Cera. As for the other actors… well there is nothing there for them to really be proud of. 

Unless you are looking for a way to punish yourself, avoid ‘Fun Size’ at all costs. 

 

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Fun Size′: Check Episode #10 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Fun Size’

Rating: 1/5

IMDB Rating: Fun Size (2012) on IMDb

Summary: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th July, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: 28th November, 2012

Country: United States/United Kingdom

Director: Christopher Nolan

Screenwriter: David S. Goyer, Bob Kane (characters), Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan

Cast: Alon Aboutboul (Dr. Pavel), Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Rob Brown (Allen), Michael Caine (Alfred), Marion Cotillard (Miranda), Marvin Duerkholz (Logan), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent), Chris Ellis (Fr. Reilly), Will Estes (Officer Simon Jansen), Tyler Dean Flores (Mark), Morgan Freeman (Fox), Gus Lewis (Bruce Wayne Age 8), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Blake), Burn Gorman (Stryver), Tom Hardy (Bane), Anne Hathaway (Selina), Reggie Lee (Ross), Ben Mendelsohn (Daggett), Matthew Modine (Foley), Cillian Murphy (Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow), Liam Neeson (Ra’s Al Ghul), John Nolan (Fredericks), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Josh Pence (Young Ra’s Al Ghul), Daniel Sunjata (Captain Jones), Juno Temple (Jen)

Runtime: 165 mins

Classification: M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review:

Let’s be honest when director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) created The Dark Knight he set the bar pretty high for his Batman trilogy. How do you put together a finale when the second film of the trilogy is globally described as a cinematic masterpiece? With The Dark Knight Rises Nolan had his work cut out for him, but so talented is he that he yet again manages to create a film that is a serious contender film of the year.

The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after the finale of The Dark Knight. While Gotham remembers Harvey Dent as a hero Batman (Christian Bale – The Flowers Of War, The Fighter) is remembered as a murderer and is still considered an outlaw. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman – Lawless, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) knows the truth but doesn’t have the courage to speak out.

Meanwhile Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has hidden himself away from the public, the only person he allows to see him is the trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Caine – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Car 2). Bruce is unaware that he still has supporters out there though, people like young police officer Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 50/50, Inception) who are just waiting for the day for their hero to rise.

Bruce’s interest in the world returns when he meets a cat burglar, Selina (Anne Hathaway – One Day, Rio) who seems to be a small part of a scheme put together by the extremely dangerous Bane (Tom Hardy – Lawless, This Means War).

Nolan brings an entirely different feeling to The Dark Knight Rises then what he allowed to come through in The Dark Knight or Batman Begins. While The Dark Knight focused on the psychological (like its ‘bad guy’ The Joker) The Dark Knight rises mirrors Bane with its focus on violence mixed with a sensationally creative storyline that has its audience guessing at every turn.

Like he did with Inception Nolan also allows the visuals of The Dark Knight Rises to visually stimulate his audience. The early shots from the plane look amazing, as does many of his cityscape shots. As a director/screenwriter he really is someone he has realised that even action movies need to have substance if they are to be taken seriously.

Christian Bale, as usual, puts in a dominant performance as Bruce/Batman, but even he is overshadowed by a brilliant performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Despite his performance in Inception he is still underrated, yet here he once again shows the world just how good he really is.

The actor you have to feel sorry for is Tom Hardy. He is seriously held back by his character, Bane. He looks physically intimidating but a lot of his characterization is ripped away by the fact that the mask he has to wear completely denies him the opportunity to use his voice or facial expressions to show emotions.

Of course many eyes are on Anne Hathaway as Selina/Catwoman. She does an okay job but you can only wonder whether someone like Angelina Jolie would have done a better job. Michael Caine also does some wonderfully emotional acting but poor old Morgan Freeman (The Magic Of Belle Isle) and Marion Cotillard (Rust & Bone, Contagion) seems underused in their roles.

The Dark Knight Rises is a film that must be seen on the big screen, once again Christopher Nolan has delivered a film that can instantly be filed under film classics.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’: http://www.helium.com/items/2350626-movie-reviews-the-dark-knight-rises-2012.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

IMDB Rating: The Dark Knight Rises (2012) on IMDb