Tag Archives: brad pitt

Trailer: World War Z (2013)

UK release date June 21.

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse

A U.N. employee is racing against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic.

Directed by Marc Forster.

Running time not yet released.

The Tree of Life (2011)

“The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.”

Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain

The Tree of Life is the most beautiful film I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe the most beautiful film I’ve seen, period.

In what can only be described as an epic, director Terrence Malick has brought breathtaking visuals and awesome photography of the highest standards and layered it over a fairly simple plot.

Modern day Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn) starts to question his relevance and reason for being, on the anniversary of his brothers death. Through his childhood memories The Tree of Life explores his adolescent years during the 1950s in Waco, Texas. With the sweet and sensitive grace of his mother completely contrasted against the brash, hard and unforgiving nature of his father, his pubescent years are very much a struggle for Jack who is simply torn in finding the right path to take.

The actors are all superb. Brad Pitt plays an emotionally withdrawn, business oriented man striving for success. In the film depicted as taking the path of nature, he is hard on his children and tells them that to be successful in this world, sacrifices are to be made. You won’t get anywhere by being a pushover. Jessica Chastain would be this ‘pushover’ he is referring to. The wife of Pitt and mother to his 3 children, Chastain’s character is seen to adopt the much more loving and homely way of grace. Believing that life is nothing without love, she tries to influence her boys in making the decision to stay on the path of grace which can only leave you feeling like life is worth something.

However their 3 boys are very much torn between their parents. All 3 of the actors that portray the children are brilliant, Hunter McCraken, Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan. Hunter, who portrays a young Jack, is especially great. His efforts at keeping within his mother’s way of grace are difficult for him, especially with his father hammering home he’ll make it nowhere with this mentality. He battles constantly and starts to lose his way when his father leaves for business and he automatically becomes the man of the house.

Unfortunately for Sean Penn I felt he was dealt a rough card. His character is obviously going through a massive period of doubt and breakdown in his life, and the undeniable emotion that Penn was striving for wasn’t quite as well transcribed to film. Perhaps the editing could have been a bit nicer to his character, but I felt that he was dealt a bit of a bad hand which left his character looking a bit useless and detached on screen.

The bad things I can say about The Tree of Life are minimal. Its non-linear narrative can be confusing at times, often jumping from one time period to the next with no explanation as to why, and its theme of religion is fairly prominent, which isn’t to everyones liking. While you don’t have to be religious to understand the messages given or to even watch the film, I get the impression some people may find it too preachy. I certainly didn’t, but going to see this film in the wrong mindset leaves space for criticism, perhaps the main being the religious aspects of the film.

The major thing about the film that has been its main criticism is the artistic direction. For me, this is in no way a bad thing. Malick’s beautiful direction and unquestionable passion for this film has meant some have written it off as a pretentious effort at explaining the origins of the universe and religion. To me, this complaint is because they couldn’t reach out and find any other faults. The acting was superb, the visuals were stunning and they were simply left feeling confused about the story, so they turn their finger and point it at the cinematography. This isn’t why you didn’t like the film. You didn’t like it because your mind was closed and you’d made your decision within the first 5 minutes. (But that’s just my opinion)

The best thing to do before watching this film is to make sure you have no preconceptions or expectations, this is why I think I left feeling changed at the end. Don’t watch the film for the wrong reasons. Don’t watch it to escape from your own life for a couple of hours, because in the end the film will point back at you. Watch it to challenge yourself in asking questions about your own life.

Star rating:  8.5/10

Directed by Terrence Malick.

Running time 138 minutes.

Fight Club (1999)

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Cast:  Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter

Fight Club

Edward Norton and Brad Pitt make for one of the best male duo onscreen leads ever.

When an unnamed, white collar, everyday man (Norton) finds himself at a dead end in life, he meets soap maker Tyler Durden (Pitt) and sparks up a friendship. The two create an organisation whereby they can relieve their aggressions in life and feel alive once again, Fight Club.

As more members join, Fight Club morphs into Project Mayhem and the organisation quickly spreads nationwide. Along with this, a dissolute women called Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) is bounced between both men, creating another dimension to the relationships in the film.

Fight Club is an extraordinary and revolutionary film, and one of my all time favourites.

There is so much I love about the film, it’s stylistic, smart, original and captivating. It swiftly moves along in pace and the narrative device is a brilliant touch, as is the script which is packed with fantastic dialogue and clever witticisms. The actors are quite simply superb, Norton and Pitt both bounce off each other’s energy and their chemistry is tight, just the way it needed to be. This is one of Norton’s best performances and I couldn’t imagine anyone else in Pitt’s role, the personality and aura of Durden that he captures is spot on. Carter is perfectly cast as chaotic and slightly off-balanced Marla and her performance throughout was magnetising to watch, I often think she would be like this in real life.

I can’t really find any faults with the film, although when Fight Club first hit theatres it received a lot of mixed reviews. Many comparisons were drawn between this and A Clockwork Orange due to its heavy use of violence and the worry that it can be seen to glorify it. If any acts of violence had followed the release of the film it would have undoubtedly been blamed on the content, just like it was 30 years prior to this with A Clockwork Orange. Both of the films were also based on books but to me, the most important comparison drawn would be that they both did something to cinema. They changed it for the better.

After watching Fight Club my levels of expectation regarding originality, concept and overall cinematography in film was raised. Both films were simply inspiring and different to others at the times of their release, each having a huge impact on society whether it was deemed positive or negative by the critics.

David Fincher directs the film, and what a fantastic piece of art he has created. Previously having directed Se7en and The Game, people were excited to see his artistic talents flare in another film. He confessed that he mixed the two styles of these films together and from it created Fight Club. From the second it starts the style is apparent, drained colours, clever camera positions and swift editing. Everything about the film is smart and enticing, even in the scenes that are unsettling you can’t help but watch.

The whole concept of this film is brilliant. It’s not just about the fighting as there is so much more that this film offers. I fully recommend it.

Star rating: 10/10

Directed by David Fincher.

Running time 139 minutes.

Thelma and Louise (1991)

“I know it’s crazy, but I just feel like I got a knack for this s#*t.”

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Harvey Keitel

There aren’t many people who don’t know who Thelma and Louise are. For the few that don’t, they are the most iconic female outlaws in film due to their infamous road trip across Middle America in 1991.

Thelma and Louise

After two Arkansas girlfriends decide to take a spontaneous trip for the weekend, they manage to get themselves into serious trouble when one ends up killing a would-be rapist. On the run from the law, the two beeline for Mexico, where they believe they can live there as outlaws for the rest of their lives.

Thelma Dickinson (Geena Davis) is a passive, quirky housewife. Being married to Darryl (Christopher McDonald) who is controlling and abusive, she hasn’t really got much to show for herself, apart from a well kept house and straight record. Louise Sawyer (Susan Sarandon) on the other hand is the total opposite. More of a wild child, she is only really tied down by her monotonous waitressing job. She’s a take no nonsense, straight talking type of girl, with concealed troubled past.

After a stressful day at work, Louise has an idea to get away with Thelma for the weekend on a fishing trip in the mountains. Thelma leaves some microwave meals with a note for Darryl, opting for punishment rather than permission, and Louise doesn’t even tell her boyfriend Jimmy (Michael Madsen) she’s going. Being a travelling musician, his continual lack of commitment to the relationship is just another reason behind the weekend getaway.

On the first night though, they run into trouble. Stopping off in a bar the girls enjoy a drink, but as Louise gets up to leave Thelma is nowhere in sight. She goes out to the car park where Thelma is being forcibly cornered by a man. Instinctively Louise shoots him, killing the would-be rapist. This quick and emotionless reaction from her hints toward a darker side that we are yet to discover.

From here on out, the film is all about the duo’s attempt at escaping the law and trying to reach Mexico. Along the way they have their fair share of mini adventures – some great, others disastrous – including a meeting with a sexy young man named JD (Brad Pitt). It’s easy to see how this role sprung Pitt into mainstream film, his intriguing character brings a new life to the screen which he conveys effortlessly.

The chemistry between Davis and Sarandon is fantastic, grouped with witty dialogue and a perfectly paced nature, director Ridley Scott made sure that this film was definitely not categorised as ‘just another road picture’.

Both lead actresses flawlessly transcribe the personal transformation that each character undergoes. Ironically evolving into a carefree spirit, we see a side to Thelma that allows Davis to shine on screen. She perfectly captures the once downtrodden but blossoming, electric attitude of Thelma with ease. Sarandon also does a fine job in portraying a troubled, hardened character, with an increasing sisterly love toward Thelma.

As well as entertaining an audience, some argue that the film acts as a feminist outcry against the social confinements that women face. Having females as lead characters allowed Thelma and Louise to emotionally connect with each other, in a way in that two male leads couldn’t. Because of this, most men find it hard to relate to the characters, or complain about the stereotypical males in the film.

There is one male character that redeems this view though, Hal (Harvey Keitel), the leading detective of the case. He is sympathetic towards the women as he slowly pieces together the events of their crime, realising it was just an unfortunate situation. Yet his efforts to convince the women to turn themselves in are quashed by a squad of policemen who are determined to catch the women at whatever cost. Whatever the views on the levels of feminism in the film though, it shouldn’t distract from the countless sub-genres of the film that add to the wealth of entertainment, that being action, drama, crime and quite simply, road trip.

The film is more about the journey, than it is the destination, and oh, what a ride they take! The cinematography throughout is beautiful, with the closing shot of the film being one of the most iconic of all time.

Both ladies were nominated for an Oscar for their performances in the 1991 film, yet lost out to Jodie Foster for her role in Silence of the Lambs.

Thelma and Louise is a definite must watch. I can’t recommend it enough.

Star rating:   8/10

Directed by Ridley Scott.

Running time 129 minutes.