Casey Affleck

Triple Niner, uh I’m sorry, did I catch a niner in here?

Dirty cops, the Russian Mob, a detailed heist that involves killing a cop to create a diversion. Through in an all-star cast and you should have the recipe for an incredible and intense film. One that could truly be remembered as one of the greats. Triple 9 has all these ingredients, but are they cooked properly? Well, let’s talk about that.

Triple 9 is directed by John Hillard, the guy that did Lawless, and was written by Matt Cook, I have no idea what else he wrote. It has one the most talented casts I have ever seen assembled, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiodor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Freaking Winslet. If that is not a list line up, I do not know what is.

The film follows a crew of corrupt cops and criminals who are being sent on heist missions by the Russian Mob, led by Irina Vlaslov (Winslet) whose husband and head of the mob is locked up abroad. Irina uses her sisters (Gadot) ex-husband Michael (Ejiofor) to steal what she needs to free her husband. When a final mission is deemed undoable, the crew decided the only way to pull it off is to cause a distraction by killing a cop (Affleck) which will send all officers on a triple 9 (roll credits) leaving them free to run their final heist. Unfortunately when your crew is full of criminals, no twist is left unturned.

Again that sounds like a great pitch right? Unfortunately it is not a great film. In fact, it is pretty boring. And unnecessarily slow! Don’t get me wrong, when the action gets going, it is pretty fun to watch, but there is so much unneeded wasted screen time in between. Most of these characters are also pretty poorly written. Leaving the audience with no one they really want to root for, seeing is how they are mostly all scumbags. Sure they have their redeemable qualities here and there, and reasons for doing what they do. But in the long run, you just don’t like them.

That’s not to say that the cast did not do incredibly well. If there is one major positive about this film it is that the cast is all on point with one minor exception. Woody Harrelson, who is great in his own right, plays the character a little too, Woody like. If that makes any sense. He is just a bit over the top and it something he has been doing a lot. I don’t know if this is a director’s decision or his own, but come on Woody, just be great, don’t be cartoony.

But again, everyone else is spot on with the roles they are given. Ejiofor keeps you enthralled all film long and Casey Affleck has such a unique ability to disappear into roles. Something his brother has never really been able to do. You always know you are watching Ben Affleck, but with Casey you always see the character. Anthony Mackie is a top tier talent, and incredible in here. I love watching him onscreen. Kate Winslet is Kate; I didn’t even realize it was her until I sat down to write this. That’s how good she is.

Speaking of this cast, let’s talk about one thing, real quick, I’m getting a little side tracked. But this film literally has Falcon, Baron Mordo, Scud, Tallahassee, Batman’s little brother, and Wonder Woman all in the same film. That is a little crazy. But speaking of Wonder Woman, walking into this I was really hoping that this would be the performance that sold me on Gadot as Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, it was not. Not that she was bad; she was good at being hot and delivering 3 lines. But nothing of substance.

All in all Triple 9 was kind of a letdown. It is obviously not the worst movie I have ever seen, it had its ups. But unfortunately not as high up as I had anticipated it. Maybe wait to catch this one on FX, or USA or something like that. Not something you need to shell out the cash for.

An action cop drama with little action, and a boring story. Great cast, fun performances, but ultimately a letdown. Especially as a follow up to the directors previous film, Lawless. Action scenes are fun, and well done, but everything else from dialog, to story, to character development falls flat. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 2.4.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Casting. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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The Event known as INTERSTELLAR

Nolanites rejoice. The time is upon us. The highly, HIGHLY anticipated Christopher Nolan film Interstellar. I was privileged enough to catch an early showing of the film, in 35 MM FILM. They way Nolan has intended it to be shown. Now this is going to be a very difficult film to review. The beauty of the film is that going into it, you know very little. You have a basic understanding of the plot, and we know the top billed stars. Other than that the film was shrouded in mystery. Now please excuse me while I rant a little, but, in my youth, that’s how film was. We didn’t have scoops, or set photos, or plot details. One night you’d be at the theater, and you’d see a trailer, and that is what you had to go on. Today there is all sorts of scoops and stories, and while it’s fun, and entertaining, it takes away some mystery. Some mystery that Nolan has brought back to us. The best thing about Nolan’s Interstellar is exactly what most of its cast has told us. It’s not a film, it is an event.

Now let’s look at the surface of the Interstellar. Written, directed, and produced by Nolan, it stars the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, and mystery actor. The story falls in a world where we have lost everything. Our food source is withering away, and we live in a practical dustbowl. When circumstances lead Cooper (McConaughey) to a voyage to save our dying race, he must race against time, space, and ethics to save us, or find his way back home.

Sound generic? It is not I assure you. Interstellar is riddled with theories and stories. It nearly plays out as three separate films. Act I II and III could all pan out to play as their own movies. The acting is spot on. McConaughey is on his way to another nomination, and perhaps trophy. Chastain is on her game, as is Caine. The breakout performance is done by McConaughey’s onscreen daughter, Mackenzie Foy. She is incredible! There is a surprise cameo role that I knew nothing about. I’m not going to blow it, and if you read the cast list you might find it. The cameo role got me so good, I gave Interstellar a .3 bonus.

Interstellar is very thought provoking. About what is out there, are we meant to go on? It never tries to be a message for you that this is fact, just a vision of an opinion. Nolan does a great job telling the story and leaves you thinking. You will walk out of this one with a lot to talk about. I know my brother and I stood in the parking lot for a good 20 minutes discussing the film. And we could have gone on for hours.

No film is perfect, they have their flaws and this one does too. The pacing can be off at times. Not to the point that the film drags, while you feel every minute of its 2 hour and 45 minute run time, it is not slow. It just seems to jump around a lot. From intense, to long winded exposition. And the exposition can get very confusing. I’m not one for quantum physics and space odyssey theories. While the script took nearly a decade working its facts, and scientific authenticity, to the layman it can be very confusing. Luckily I had my brother with me who is very into the worm hole and black hole theories, so after the film could fill me in some. But be prepared, where as in Nolan’s Inception if you pay close enough attention you can follow it, this one can get a little tricky.

So that’s it, without any spoilers, the best I can give you. Because this is a film you need to go into blind. Not knowing the story that lies ahead or what is in your future during those 2 hour and 45 minutes. I scored Interstellar 5.9 with a .3 bonus for its surprise casting, giving it a 6.2, JEEBUS-TACULAR. So go blindly into the film, if you are looking for something like the old days of my youth, grab your best gal and head to the cinema this Friday night. Don’t go for drinks or dinner before, save that for after. Because you are going to have a lot to talk about after this one.