In Dubious Battle (2016)

In Dubious Battle
Director: James Franco
Writer: Matt Rager
Based on: John Steinbeck‘s novel of the same name
Cast: Nat Wolff, James Franco, Vincent D’OnofrioSelena GomezAhna O’ReillyAnaleigh TiptonJack KehlerScott HazeSam ShepardJoel Marsh GarlandJohn SavageRobert DuvallEd HarrisJosh HutchersonJulian De NiroBryan CranstonAshley GreeneKeegan AllenZach BraffAustin Stowell
Seen on: 24.4.2017

Plot:
Jim (Nat Wolff) just joined a political party who’s goal it is to empower workers. There he meets the charismatic and politically experienced Mac (James Franco) who takes him under his wing. Together they make their way to a fruit plantation where they hope to instigate a strike without the workers noticing that that’s what they came there to do. When they hear about a case where a plantation owner (Robert Duvall) reduced the workers’ pay from 3 to 1 Dollar, they know they have their in.

In Dubious Battle profits from Steinbeck’s strength as a writer and an absolutely stellar cast that makes the film worth seeing even though Franco directing Franco is not the best thing to ever happen.

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Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Jaeden LieberherMichael ShannonJoel EdgertonKirsten DunstAdam DriverBill CampScott HazeSam Shepard
Seen on: 19.4.2016

Plot:
Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are on the run with a boy, Alton (Jaeden Lieberherr). They are running from a cult and from the government, obviously intent to not be stopped, but to what ends isn’t obvious. What is obvious though is that this isn’t simply a kidnapping and Alton isn’t simply a kid. He has powers that defy understanding, even his own.

Midnight Special is a weird animal. Over long stretches I enjoyed it, although it does have lengths, but then it becomes so increasingly Christian in its imagery that I was a bit taken aback by it more and more.

[SPOILERS]

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August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
Writer: Tracy Letts
Based on: his play
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregorMargo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Misty Upham

Plot:
When their father (Sam Shepard) dies, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all gather home with their mother Violet (Meryl Streep). Everyone comes with their baggage: Barbara and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) are separated but haven’t told their family and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) doesn’t deal very well. Ivy has a secret lover. Karen brings home her newest fiancé (Dermot Mulroney). And Violet, a mean-spirited pill-addict, likes to stir things up.

August: Osage County isn’t always easy to watch but it is always well-acted and engaging. Toward the end I thought that it got a little much but altogether it was a really good film.

augustosagecounty

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Safe House (2012)

Safe House
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Liam Cunningham

Plot:
Matt (Ryan Reynolds) is in a charge of a CIA Safe House in South Africa. Which means that he spends most of his time sitting around an empty house and being bored, hoping for a promotion or some kind of action. But that changes when rogue and recently apprehended agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought in. As if an actual guest in his Safe House wasn’t enough excitement, they are attacked right after Tobin’s arrival. And suddenly Matt finds himself in deeper shit than he ever hoped for.

Safe House was amazingly and deeply boring. It’s amazing that a movie with so much actual action can be so unexciting.

safe-house

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