Jeff Bridges

Review – Hell or High Water

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Review – Hell or High Water

By guest columnist David Leninhawk.

Hell or High Water at times feels like a film from the 1970s. It has a simple story, but that story is told with a focus on interesting and well-drawn characters and with the smallest amount of formula necessary. It is dark in tone while being bright and hot in visuals. The acting is about as superb as can be. The violence is abundant, but not gratuitous.

This is a film too smart and well-made for the modern era of American moviemaking. If it weren’t for the constant visual references to the 2008 financial crisis (a plot involving mortgages and predatory loans, constant billboards advertising payday loans and foreclosure notices), one would be forgiven for not knowing this was a modern film.

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Movie Issues: Seventh Son

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Movie Issues: Seventh Son

This week the crew gets down and dirty and goes on adventure with the 2015 fantasy flick, Seventh Son. The movie where Julianne Moore plays the queen of evil witches, who escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter, Jeff Bridges, decades ago. He must hunt her down and destroy her before she turns the world into darkness. He recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him. Yea…. it’s one of those. Fun special effects, decent plot and interesting characters, but was a huge flop. Sometimes it can’t be helped. But please download and enjoy!! Read On

Movie Issues: The Giver

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Movie Issues: The Giver

The Giver is a social science fiction film directed Phillip Noyce, based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Lois Lowry. In a perfect world where there is no conflict, racism, or sickness, every member of society has a specific role, and 16-year-old Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory. Soon Jonas uncovers the truth behind his world’s past, and discovers that many years earlier, his forefathers gave up humanity in order to have a stable society. Now he must come to terms with what he’s learned and either except it or try to find a new path. Staring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, and Katie Holmes.

THE GIVER Read On

TRON: Legacy – A Look into the Visual Effects

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TRON: Legacy – A Look into the Visual Effects

Thanks to Digital Domain and a budget of about $300 million, TRON: Legacy has some of the most eye-popping visual effects seen today. In the video below, witness how the film’s creators accomplished some of these effects through different techniques and technology. The video shows how they created the huge world of TRON piece by piece, some of the motion capturing, and how they managed to incorporate a younger Jeff Bridges into the movie.

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TRON: Legacy

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TRON: Legacy

“The most important sequel of all time!” blares the cool opening Tronned-up Disney logo and trumpet report. My companions and I (the men of which were Huge TRON Fans) boned up on the original TRON a few days prior, and were primed to accept 127 minutes of eye candy and 3D wonders. I represented the distaff TRON veteran; we also had a first-timer gal who rightfully did not see what the retro-fuss was about. None of us was disappointed in the eye candy, which was ample and lush, and in most other ways (story, dialogue, design) TRON:Legacy is vastly superior to TRON. Obviously, the technological improvements are significant, the acting was all done by real actors, and the writing is mostly tolerable. Legacy is visually sumptuous while retaining a very tight, cold grip on its near-monochrome aesthetic. It tips its gleaming black hat to the design concept of the original, but makes it sexy and a little more practical, a logical extension of the 8-bit universe we visited in 1982. The costume pieces are all fitted with actual lighting elements for a great effect. Jeff Bridges’ character has an Obi-Wan robe late in the film that I cannot wait to see some Comic Con genius replicate. TRON: Legacy will get design nominations for sure.

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True Grit

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True Grit

Full disclosure: The first two times I tried to watch this Coen Brothers remake of John Wayne’s 1969 film, I fell right asleep.

I’m a fan of the Coens’ sensibility nearly across the board, and of stars Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. I was impressed by Hailee Steinfeld’s turn as 14 year-old spitfire Maddie Ross and tickled to see my long-ago acting teacher have a nice long chewy courtroom scene with Bridges. Is it just that it’s a western that sent me packing with the sandman? Twice?

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Comments Off on The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

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I don’t know what to recommend you spend for this movie. As a Coen brothers fan, I want all Coen movies to be seen by everyone. As a movie goer struggling to write reviews that will touch the people in the heartland, my automatic response is that some people just won’t like it, because they will be distracted by the things I found wrong with it, but not notice all the things that are so right with it. If you have never seen a Coen brothers movie before, do not start with this one. As a Coen brothers fan, I was disappointed – but only because their movies like Fargo and Hudsucker Proxy and Raising Arizona are such delicious treasures that an “average” one like this is a let down, but it is not by any means, a bad film. I must stress that. Two of the people I saw it with found it to be sublime and perfect. I was entertained and amused, but…well, you’ll see.

I missed writing down the name of the music archivist during the opening credits and never saw it again – but he did some amazing work. The soundtrack is really interesting and special and sold out all over town! Roger Deakins, the god among cinematographers who made The Shawshank Redemption so beautiful, is not doing anything particularly magical ALL the time, but there are some seriously cool shots.

The Big L is populated with the Working Title Films stable of actors, all good, all doing something different, and all doing something great. John Goodman is so good at being the abrasive idiot of a VietNam vet that he is, he transcends just annoying his fellow characters and starts to annoy you. But you have to forgive him because he’s great! Jeff Bridges is new to the fold, and here he is The Dude. He’s the perfect LA stoner adult who just can’t be bothered with the crazy wacky world around him. Accidentally, he is swept into the world of a man with the same name as himself (Jeff Lebowski) and we are swept along as well.

The look is sort of signature Coen- but I found it unpalatably Hollywood. Maybe because it was shot in LA, they wanted to make it flat and fake. A friend suggested the movie is in Dude-O-Vision – we see the action in the film as he does. The Dude is inundated with interesting people – the film is chock full of great characters that never get borne out – but out of sight, out of mind. Strange recurring themes like Chinamen and the randomness that plagues all real people, and the bizarrities of the truly stupid people of the world are explored lovingly. There is a lot to like and enjoy about this film. John Turturro plays a creepy bowler named Jesus (not Hay-soos, but Jee-zus) and he is so showcased and so unused. Very frustrating. Julianne Moore’s vaginal art world woman was interesting if perhaps not too much so. The Nihilists, chock full of rock and roll cameos, could have been really interesting but instead they were just…left overs.

The part where I come up with “I don’t know” is where, when the movie is over (and I had to be told it’s over in an inconsistently trite manner), I felt empty, unsatisfied, unresolved…not that I have to have pure resolution, but I felt like I had eaten a great meal and then thrown it up. It was disheartening. Perhaps, along with my friends theory of Dude-O-Vision, that habitual stoners feel like that at the end of the day as well – vaguely unsettled. They had a good day, sure, it was a cool groove, man, but what, now it’s over? What happened?

MPAA Rating R -strong language, drugs, sexuality, brief violence.
Release date 3/6/98
Time in minutes 117
Director Joel & Ethan Coen
Studio PolyGram Films