Past Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

What did it take to pull off probably the most important operation in the entire history of the CIA – the killing of Osama Bin Laden? In 2012 the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” was released and this entire story was all about locating and then killing the worst mass terrorist in World History. I had never seen a movie like this before, showing first hand the real working lives of the people who work for the CIA, that showed the extreme danger they live with. How hard they have to work, the risks they take to keep the world safe from terrorism. The working hours these people put in every day are endless and the importance of what they do is beyond measurement. If they make a mistake or miss something important, thousands could die in a terrorist attack or something even worse. This reality creates stress and tension within a working environment far beyond any normal job and it is this accurate depiction that is the best part of this film.

Jessica Chastain stars in this film as a CIA agent only known as Maya and this is considered Chastain’s breakout role as an “A” level movie actor. Very often there is one scene in a movie that lauches an actor into a super-star status (see below) and the argument Maya has with her boss Joseph Bradley, played by Kyle Chandler is one such scene. The acting in this scene, especially with Chastain is so good and real that it would take only one scene like this to win an Academy Award. Chastain was nominated for a best actress Oscar in 2012 for this film, but inexplicably did not win, probably only because it was her first nomination. Chastain was also great in the movie “Mollys Game”, released in 2017 but was not even nominated for an Oscar. Go figure the insanity of Hollywood.

Along with Kyle Chandler is the late James Gandolfini as one of the heads of a CIA team that eventuallly locates and kills Bin Laden in 2011. Zero Dark Thirty is one of the best films of its kind ever produced and an important review of history. I highly recommend this movie, released in 2012.

Movie Review: The Forgiven

The new movie “The Forgiven” once again answers the questions as to why it is so hard to write a screenplay. One reason is that the story has to make sense, hold the viewers attention and the actions of the main characters have to, for the most part, be consistent with what a person would really do within a crucial situation.

In this story a couple, Jo and David Henninger are vacationing in Morocco near the Sahara Desert. David is an alcoholic and their marriage is not going well. They get into a accident and hit a young boy at night. What follows are a series of mostly boring scenes that seem to do nothing more than fill in the two hours. The main part of the story involves local Arabic ritual with the boy’s father that no American or any foreigner would ever do. This is a big reason why this story fails in a big way because in order for a story to work, we all have to relate to and ultimately believe what the characters are doing.

This movie stars Ralph Fiennes as David and Jessica Chastain as Jo and I wondered why these two major actors agreed to make this below average movie considering the script is bad and they would have to be shooting on location for months, in the middle of nowhere – not to mention the extreme heat and bad conditions.

The ratings for this film are a low 60% range on both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and I agree with these ratings and do not recommend this movie.

Movie Review: The 355

The reason why the ratings are so horribly low for “The 355” despite the fact that
Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Chastain and Lupita Nyong’o are in this – is that the there is no logic, no continuity, no real story – just a series of excuses for Karate, gunfire and explosions. This is why screenwriting is so hard, because a huge part of the process is to not only write something interesting, but also make it understandable and actually hold water. Logic Please.

This movie is another one of those examples where some kind of deal making was going on, because how did they convince 4 bankable well known female actors to make this mess where both the worst part about it is the ending, which is also the best part, because its finally over.

We have all seen the spy-like-trickery movies in the past and there is nothing new here. There is another computer device that everybody is after in this story, that seems to have the ability to easily hack anything – including Jet Airlines. How many times have we seen something like this? Too many.

It was hard to understand why this movie was made and with critical reviews as extremely low as 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and only 4.6 on IMDB, this film will be out of movie theaters probably by next week. Considering the salaries of the 4 stars they hired, this will most likely be a big time money loser.

Do yourself a favor and miss this bad movie that should have gone right to DVD.