Tag Archives: angelina jolie

The Tourist – Review

4 Sep

At first glance of The Tourist, you would notice that everything about the movie seems pretty cool. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in a Hitchcockian thriller film involving mistaken identities, shot mostly in Venice. Sounds like a pretty fun movie, if anything, it seems like it would provide a nice escape for a few hours. What you would actually be in store for is an abysmal film where the actors, direction, and the screenplay are all completely uninspired and anything but thrilling.

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Elise (Angelina Jolie) is in deep trouble with Scotland Yard. She has criminal connections to a mysterious man named Alexander Pierce, who has stolen £744 million from a mobster, Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), operating out of Russia, and he owes that stolen money in back taxes to the British government. Pierce tasks Elise with fleeing France and heading to Venice, but along the way she has to pick up a man with the same build and features as Pierce to throw off the authorities. She chooses a math teacher from Wisconsin, Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), and gets him involved not only with Scotland Yard, but also with the Shaw.

Where to begin? Well, let’s start off with the good. Venice looks absolutely beautiful, and it’s obvious that it’s one of the most beautiful places to film. The water and the design of the buildings, from the modest to the lavish looked great. Another thing that looked great were the costumes. The most kind way to describe this movie is elegant. Jolie’s dresses were beautiful, but the running joke with them got old way too fast. Johnny Depp’s suit that he wore during the end was also very stylish. This is really one of the only movies where I took special notice to the costume design.

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But, that’s very little good compared to the overwhelming stink of The Tourist. Let’s talk about the story. In theory, this is a cool idea for a story that very much reminds me of North by Northwest, which objectively is one of Hitchcock’s best movies. What made that movie so intriguing are the interesting characters and the almost light heartedness of the entire situation. In The Tourist, I didn’t care at all what happened to any of the characters nor what the outcome of the movie even was going to be. Angelina Jolie seemed completely uninterested, and she even said that the only reason she took the movie was because it would be a quick shoot in Venice, and who wouldn’t want to get paid to go to Venice and make a movie? The only person who seemed to be taking their role seriously was Johnny Depp. It was refreshing to see him in a role that isn’t a rehash of Jack Sparrow.

Nothing really seems to be salvageable. There seems to be some attempts at comedy, and I’ll even say that a few of Depp’s lines made me laugh, but no one else really seems interested enough to give a comedic performance. The story is so predictable that even the situation can’t be played off as comical. Then there’s the thriller aspect. The direction of the movie is so slow paced and dull that there is little that is thrilling about it. With this in mind can this movie be called either a comedy or a thriller? I don’t think so.

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It’s disappointing to see two very talented people in such a beautiful city making such a terrible movie. The costumes and the locations are all great, but everything else is garbage. Only Johnny Depp’s underhanded performance makes anything entertaining at all. This is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a very long time, and I can’t even recommend this as a movie that’s so bad it’s good. It doesn’t even qualify for that.

 

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The Good Shepherd – Review

13 Dec

There’s been a lot of movies about the CIA and spies, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched one quite like The Good Shepherd. It’s more than just a cloak and dagger spy film. It’s also a story about relationships that should not exist, paranoia, and missed opportunities. It’s also almost three hours long. To some, this length will be a positive, to others it will be a major hindrance.

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In the early days of the CIA, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) devotes his life to the agency and constantly surrounds himself with a collage of friends and enemies. The twist is that he doesn’t know who are his friends and who are his enemies. While he covertly fights for America, his home life becomes a nuisance, constantly interfering with his work. With the Bay of Pigs Invasion proving to be a failure, Wilson begins to question his position in life and whether or not he chose the right path.

Throughout the entirety of The Good Shepherd, the viewer sits through all sorts of historical events. There’s the Blitz of World War II and growing conflict with Russia, all the way up to the Bay of Pigs. Needless to say, a lot happens. In a way, this could make the plot unbelievably confusing, as is the case with a lot of films like this. What makes the story easy to get a grasp on is the fact that all of the espionage isn’t really the focal point of the story. Sure, it’s an important part but what is the crucial plot point is the stability of the characters. This could be through relationship, physical, or mental.

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There are so many great performers giving excellent performances. Matt Damon is the star of the show, and makes it really easy for the viewer to both dislike but also sympathize with his character. Angelina Jolie gives a strong performance, and speaking of strong performances, John Turturro gives an outstanding performance even though he doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time. Other stars include Alec Baldwin, John Hurt, Robert De Niro (who also directs), and Billy Crudup. The aforementioned actors have the least amount of screen time, although they make the most of the their roles.

Now, as I said before, this is a very long movie clocking in at two hours and forty five minutes. Personally, I love long movies because I feel like it’s a grand story with a lot to say. That being said, this definitely could have been trimmed down, at least a little bit. Or, even better, it could have made a great miniseries. That’s really what this movie felt like: and HBO miniseries. There’s so much that happens throughout the years of this movie that go by so quickly because of time. It also has moments where the plot slows down and it gets really boring, which just reaffirms the fact that The Good Shepherd would have been a better miniseries.

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I’d like to briefly touch on how amazing the movie looks. The costumes and the sets all look fantastic and very believable. Selling a movie like this would be very difficult unless everything is spot on. Styles and technology changes, and we all get to see that happen as the movie progresses. It’s very interesting and done very well.

I read a review that said said something along the lines of: “It is easier to respect that like The Good Shepherd.” I can see how some critics and viewers could see that, and I couldn’t really argue with that. My opinion is that this is one of the best spy films I have ever seen. It’s not particularly violent and there isn’t too much suspense, but I will say that it is very real, and that’s why I liked it so much. Sure, it can be dry and it is very long, but it’s expertly crafted and surprisingly easy to follow. If you have a free afternoon, you may want to check out The Good Shepherd.