Tigerland (2000)

Tigerland
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Ross Klavan, Michael McGruther
Cast: Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr., Tom Guiry, Shea Whigham, Russell Richardson, Nick Searcy, Afemo Omilami, James MacDonald, Keith Ewell, Matt Gerald, Stephen Fulton, Michael Shannon, Cole Hauser
Seen on: 18.9.2021

Content Note: slurs abound, especially racist and misogynistic ones

Plot:
It’s 1971 and a fresh batch of recruits has come together to be trained for the Vietnam war. Their reasons for being there differ greatly, but only a select few of them chose to join the military. Jim Paxton (Matthew Davis) is one of them, hoping the experience will give him fodder for a book. Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell), on the other hand, was drafted and uses every opportunity he can find to subvert the training. Bozz tries to keep his distance from everybody else, but Paxton is too intrigued by him to stay away. And he is not the only one paying close attention to everything Bozz does as the military machine tries its best to whittle him down to size.

Tigerland is an unusual war movie in that we never ever make it to the war. Instead the film is entirely focused on dismantling both the army itself and, a little less successfully, hero narratives. I was really impressed by it and especially Farrell in it.

The film poster showing Bozz (Colin Farrell) in military garb, behind him other soldiers in a splash of ink.
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Waves (2019)

Waves
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sterling K. Brown, Lucas Hedges, Alexa Demie, Clifton Collins Jr.
Seen on: 18.7.2020

Content Note: domestic abuse

Plot:
The Williams family has it pretty good, and father Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) is proud of their success. He works hard to maintain it and also pushes his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) to succeed. Tyler is a promising wrestler, but when a shoulder injury and a possible pregnancy from his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) threaten all his carefully made plans, his life starts to unravel before his eyes. Meanwhile his sister Emily (Taylor Russell) flies mostly under the radar, but sees her brother struggling, as does his stepmother Catherine (Renée Elise Goldsberry). But neither is sure how to reach him.

Waves tells an interesting story with good characters, but above all, it manges to use all cinema has to offer to create a sensory experience that should be seen, heard and felt on a big screen.

The film poster showing Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) hugging his daughter Emily (Taylor Russell) on a picknick table, water all around them.
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The Experiment (2010)

The Experiment
Director: Paul T. Scheuring
Writer: Paul T. Scheuring
Remake of: Das Experiment
Based on: Stanford prison experiment
Cast: Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Cam Gigandet, Clifton Collins Jr., Ethan Cohn, Fisher Stevens, Travis Fimmel, David Banner, Jason Lew
Seen on: 26.6.2019

Content Note: homomisia, orientalism

Plot:
Travis (Adrien Brody) is a pacifist in need of money. That’s why he agrees to participate in a study that simulates a prison to find out about the violent tendencies of people. He and 19 others get put into two groups of prisoners, while 6 men, among them Helweg (Travis Fimmel) get appointed as guards. They all get a set of rules to follow and things are on their way. But pretty soon, the “guards” turn vicious and the “prisoners” have to fight for basically their lives.

The Stanford prison experiment is a famous sociopsychological study that has seen its fair share of criticism, but has nevertheless persisted in its claim to fame. The Experiment takes that real-life science project, dials the bad things about it up to eleven and believes it has something meaningful to say about the human condition in that way. In short, it is a very bad film.

The film poster showing Travis (Adrien Brody) holding on to iron bars.
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Triple 9 (2016)

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr.
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) used to be in the special forces, but now he works as a private contractor. And currently he’s been contracted by Irina (Kate Winslet) who runs the Russian mob in Atlanta. Although Michael is not particularly happy with his assignment, she forces his hand to pull off an impossible heist. Together with his crew, a mix of dirty cops and professional criminals, they realize that the only chance they have to pull it off is if they kill a cop as a distraction for their heist. But things don’t go as planned.

Triple 9 was one of the quietest releases ever, especially considering cast and crew involved in the film. After having seen it, though, it seems pretty clear that they simply didn’t want to waste any more money on a movie that fails in almost everything.

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Stung (2015)

Stung
Director: Benni Diez
Writer: Adam Aresty
Cast: Jessica Cook, Matt O’Leary, Clifton Collins Jr., Lance Henriksen, Cecilia PilladoEve Slatner
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Julia (Jessica Cook) has recently taken over her father’s catering business and is on her way to the first bigger client with her employee Paul (Matt O’Leary). Things start off well, the hostess Mrs Perch (Eve Slatner) seems happy, her grandson Sydney (Clifton Collins Jr.) is a little weird but jovial, the party gets going nicely. But then a swarm of wasps invades and they are not regular wasps. Within a short amount of time, there is only a handful survivors who have to stand agains 3m tall wasps.

I expected Stung to be in the same vein as Arachnophobia and after having so much fun with The Pack’s stupidity, I was really in the mood for a trashy film. But unfortunately Stung was completely disappointing and pretty boring.

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Knight of Cups (2015)

Knight of Cups
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Cast: Christian Bale, Wes Bentley, Cate Blanchett, Imogen Poots, Natalie Portman, Jason Clarke, Teresa Palmer, Joe Manganiello, Isabel Lucas, Nick Offerman, Joel Kinnaman, Nicky WhelanAntonio BanderasFreida PintoKatia WinterMichael WincottThomas LennonClifton Collins Jr.Shea WhighamNick KrollRyan O’NealKevin CorriganBrian DennehyJoe Lo Truglio, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ben Kingsley
Seen on: 15.9.2015

Plot:
Rick (Christian Bale) is a screenwriter living in LA. He moves from party to party, woman to woman. He seems to be looking for something, but who knows for what?
[Actually the first note I wrote down for this film is: “I don’t think I could write a plot description for this film”, so you’ll have to live with that little bit.]

I don’t like Terrence Malick movies. I decided to watch this one anyway because Cate Blanchett! Christian Bale! Natalie Portman! And so many other actors I love. But it turns out that Knight of Cups is everything I hate about Malick movies turned up to 11, while nothing I used to still like about them works for me anymore.

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Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins Jr., Morgan Freeman

Plot:
Will (Johnny Depp) and Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are computer scientists working on A.I.s. When Will gets very sick, Evelyn enlists the help of Max (Paul Bettany) to try and scan Will’s brain activity and upload it and with it him to their system to try and save his life that way. Against all odds, the experiment is a success but Will doesn’t seem to be quite himself anymore.

From the trailer I was pretty damn certain that Transcendence wouldn’t be the most positive film about technology out there. But I thought that at least it would be entertaining. But unfortunately it was boring. So boring I fell asleep for a bit during the showdown.

transcendence

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Hellbenders (2012)

Hellbenders
Director: J.T. Petty
Writer: J.T. Petty
Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Clancy Brown, Andre Royo, Robyn Rikoon, Macon Blair, Stephen Gevedon, Larry Fessenden, Dan Fogler
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) is part of the Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints, a special order of priests from various faiths who have one thing in common: they sin regularly – which makes them uniquely suited to do exorcisms. But they have gotten a bit lazy and their sin-count is continuously going down. Which couldn’t come at a worse time.

Hellbenders promised to be blasphemous and fun. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me at all. It was way too dumb and boring.

hellbenders

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Parker (2013)

Parker
Director: Taylor Hackford
Writer: John J. McLaughlin
Based on: Donald E. Westlake (as Richard Stark)‘s novel Flashfire
Cast: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr.Michah Hauptman, Bobby Cannavale, Emma Booth, Nick Nolte

Plot:
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional criminal and he’s good at his job. After the successful robbery of the Ohio State Fair, the crew he works with sets him up, though. Leaving him for dead, they take off with his share to fund the next heist. But Parker survives and decides to go after them. He finds out that they are in Palm Beach and with the help of real estate agent Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), finds their hiding place. And then he goes after them.

Parker is pretty much exactly what you expect from a Jason Statham film. Which means that it’s fun, entertaining and a little dumb. What surprised me about it, though, was that it’s pretty gory and that Jennifer Lopez what actually pretty good.

parker

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Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

Sunshine Cleaning is a movie by Christine Jeffs, starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin.

Plot:
Rose (Amy Adams) is a single mum who works as a cleaning lady. When her lover Mac (Steve Zahn), a policeman, tells her about the money that’s in crime scene clean-ups, Rose convinces her sister Norah (Emily Blunt) that this would be the perfect opportunity to make some money. Leaving her son in the care of her father (Alan Arkin), who is a freelance salesman, Rose and Norah get to it – with the help of cleaning supplies shop owner Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.).

Sunshine Cleaning is a really sweet comedy with great characters (and with some dark bits) . It’s one of those movies that got no marketing to speak of and it really didn’t deserve it. If you happen to catch it (and you should try to) you get a wonderful story about two sisters finding their place in life.

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