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Posts Tagged ‘Brad Pitt’

Brad Pitt (foreground) and tank crew (left to right): Shia LeBouf, ** , Michael Pena, I*.

Brad Pitt (foreground) and tank crew (left to right): Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal.

“FURY”  My rating: B (Opens wide on Oct. 17)

134 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Fury” is on one level one of the great war/action films, a face-first plunge into the blood, guts and terror of combat.
But writer/director David Ayer (“Training Day,” “End of Watch”) is aiming for more than just a stomach-churning visit to war’s visceral horrors. He wants to show how combat dehumanizes the individuals who must do the dirty work.
It’s impossible to watch the trailers for “Fury” — with a grimy Brad Pitt in charge of a World War II tank crew — and not be reminded of the Nazi-killing good ol’ boy Pitt portrayed in “Inglourious Basterds.”
That 2009 Quentin Tarantino film was an exaggerated, almost hallucinogenic comic fantasy of warfare. Ayer, though, plays it straight, eschewing overtly comic elements and pushing for an unflinching earnestness.
Only trouble is, he may have pushed too hard.
We are introduced to the five-man crew of Fury, a Sherman tank, on a German battlefield in the spring of 1945, during the last gasps of the war. The tank commander, Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Pitt), makes short, silent work of a passing German officer (a knife in the eyeball does the trick nicely). He then climbs back into the tank occupied by three living crewmen and the headless corpse of a fourth.
We’re all accustomed to war movies stocked with various American “types”: a Jew, a Hispanic, a black, a college boy, a redneck. We’re meant to identify with them.
Just try identifying with the creeps who live in Fury. The mechanic Grady  Travis (“Walking Dead’s” Jon  Bernthal) seems more mumbling Neanderthal than modern man. The gunner, Boyd “Bible” Swan (a nearly unrecognizable mustachioed Shia LaBeouf), is intensely religious — he abstains from drink and women but seems to find sexual release in blowing Germans all to hell. The driver, Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena), is a bit closer to normal — until you realize that he and Travis are most likely brothers-in-rape.
After years of fighting, whatever civilized veneer these guys had has been stripped away. No longer all-American boys, they are more of a renegade biker gang, killing prisoners and then retreating to their Sherman tank like wolves to their lair.
TO READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW VISIT THE KANSAS CITY STAR WEB SITE AT   http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article2811409.html

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WW Z“WORLD WAR Z” My rating: B- (Opening wide on June 21)

116 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Even before it hit theaters Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” was making headlines for its behind-the-scenes drama: a mid-production change in direction, major rewrites, more than $20 million in reshoots, a nine-month delay in releasing the picture and, finally, the disowning of the finished film by Max Brooks (son of funnyman Mel), on whose novel it is based.

True, fans of the book will scarcely recognize it in the final version of director Marc Forster’s film. But as a pure movie experience “World War Z” is generally satisfying: breathlessly-paced, competently acted and audacious in its efforts to give us zombies of the sort we’ve never seen before. (Face it…the whole zombie thing was running on creative fumes.)

What makes “World War Z” really interesting is its “macro zombie” approach to the genre. The zombies in this film aren’t treated as individuals but as a part of a huge voracious hive which moves and attacks like a swarm of insects.

Rather than giving us the usual close ups of zombies chowing down on the necks and limbs of screaming victims, the film offers a tsunami of the undead pouring over walls and flowing down streets like unstoppable floodwaters.  This makes for a very different zombie flick, one that got a relatively tame PG-13 from the MPAA ratings board yet still packs a big visceral punch.

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 “MONEYBALL” My rating: B+ (Opening wide on Sept. 23)

133 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

It doesn’t sound all that cinematic: A baseball general manager uses statistical analysis to bridge the money gap between major market teams and the provincial have-nots.

Flow charts? Graphs? Sexxxxy.

And yet “Moneyball” is one of the year’s best films, a thinking person’s sports movie overflowing with humor, drama, terrific characters, drop-dead wonderful dialogue (courtesy of the writing dream team of Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin) and a low-keyed but absolutely wonderful performance from Brad Pitt.

Heck, Bennett Miller’s film even made me appreciate Jonah Hill. It’s that good.

Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill

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“THE TREE OF LIFE”  My rating: A-

138 minutes | MPAA rating:  PG-134

“The Tree of Life” is a sublime, transcendent movie experience.

“The Tree of Life” is like watching your car rust.

That both of the above statements are true only goes to show the uniqueness of the latest effort from the reclusive Terrence Malick.

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