Showing posts with label Michael Pena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Pena. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Gangster Squad



It’s nearly Christmas. You’re really excited and have been waiting for ages. You think that your parents have got you an amazing LEGO Castle with some of your favourite minifigures. Every time you go to the cinema your parents show you a little sneak peek at a couple of the best looking bricks. You can’t contain your excitement. Then some idiot shoots a load of people in the LEGO factory and Santa puts Christmas back. The Castle you are told needs some tweaking. You wait and wait, still excited. The day finally arrives. You rush to the cinema to open your Christmas Present and… wait. It’s not the amazing LEGO Castle at all but some cheap imitation. Your Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone minifigures are there and there’s even one that looks a bit like Sean Penn, it looks great too but it isn’t what you were hoping for.



Originally slated for release in autumn 2012 Gangster Squad was put back following the tragic Aurora shooting in Colorado. After some reshoots to remove a pivotal cinema shoot up the film was released in the UK in January 2013. I’d been really looking forward to it since early 2012 but my anticipation was never going to be met. The film tells the real life story of The Gangster Squad, a small Police Unit given free reign to catch L.A. Gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Sergeant O’Mara (Josh Brolin) brings together a crack squad of rough, strong and smart Police to meet Cohen on his own terms and free L.A. from his grasp.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Crash



A surprise winner of Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, Crash features an intertwining narrative set over two days in Los Angeles. Not to be confused with David Cronenberg’s 1996 film of the same name (as I did), the movie features a series of stories, each with a theme of racism. A large ensemble cast that includes the likes of Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Brendan Fraser and Terence Howard compete for screen time but each is given just enough to serve their purpose.

I’ve never felt an urge to watch Crash and only really did so as part of my Best Picture Series. While it isn’t a bad film, I’m more than a little surprised it won film’s top award in 2005. Unusually for me I’ve only actually seen one more of the Best Picture nominees from that year, Capote, which itself was fine but not what I’d consider film of the year quality. Crash’s win may come down to the fact that 2004 was a poor year for film as it is one of the weakest Oscar winners I’ve seen so far.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

End of Watch



LAPD Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) patrol one of the most crime ridden areas of Los Angeles; South Central. Their close relationship and dedication to their job runs in parallel with Taylor’s fondness for filming everything they do on the beat. Cameras are attached to the Officer’s uniforms, car and Taylor even uses a handheld camera when investigating a crime scene or just driving around. When a couple of busts seem to share a link with some highly decorated or ‘blinged out’ weapons, Taylor suggests the pair carry out some detective work which gets them embroiled in a war with a Mexican drug cartel.

Although full of many of the usual buddy cop clich├ęs and with problems around the filming style detracting from the drama, End of Watch is an above average Action-Drama which combines a great central relationship, two good performances and a gritty realism. Its main selling point though is the found footage style which is where the film occasionally fails.