1997 Movie Review: THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, 1997

THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Taylor Hackford

Cast: Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Connie Nielson, Jeffrey Jones, Craig T. Nelson,
Review by Surinder Singh

SYNOPSIS:

Hotshot lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) accepts an invitation to join a prestigious New York law firm notorious for it’s track record of getting its guilty clients cleared of all charges. Lomax is drawn in by the money and power that comes with the job; a seduction cleverly orchestrated by the firm’s boss John Milton (Al Pacino). But as Lomax delves deeper into the firm’s legal dealings he discovers there’s more to Mr. Milton’s success than meets the eye…

REVIEW:

It’s fair to say that Pacino did his share of mentoring during the nineties. As well as winning his Oscar and churning out some great central performances, he also played a number of supporting roles aside the new generation of leading men. In Donnie Brasco (1997) he supported Johnny Depp and with Any Given Sunday (1999) he did the same for Jamie Foxx. It’s always important for a screen-acting veteran to take stock in the new generation because it gives them the chance to see how good they really are! Perhaps one of the greatest tests for any upcoming actor is: “can I hold my own against Al Pacino on screen?”

As Kevin Lomax, Keanu Reeves was offered the challenge! Reeves arrives on screen looking suitably sharp and suave, he oozes confidence as soon as he enters the courtroom. We are shown someone so ambitious that he’ll happily tear up a poor young girl on the witness stand to win his case. It’s not long until he attracts interest from like-minded people in his field. As the film’s title suggests we’re witnessing someone on a moral journey in a job that continuously puts morality up for question. Reeves plays Lomax brilliantly as a man who is quite comfortable with drawing a line of professionalism between himself and the case. At this point in his journey it’s not important whether his client is guilty or not, only that he wins!

The film really gets going once Lomax is in New York and poised to begin his case with the new law firm. Enter Al Pacino: in a wonderful scene on top of the huge sky-rise looking down at the world below, Milton acquaints himself with his new employee Lomax. Director Taylor Hackford does a great job of balancing a realistic drama set against a modern day New York with the supernatural and mythic elements at play. The scene is totally plausible but at the same time positions Pacino’s Milton as the Master of the Universe. He’s more than just a successful man; his power clearly reaches further than Lomax is presently aware of.

Many actors in the past have played the Prince of Darkness: Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Robert De Niro in Angel Heart (1987) and of course Tim Curry in Legend (1985). By default, any actor who takes on such a notorious character will be compared to the previous incarnations. Pacino is charismatic and carries his character with a sense of cool that draws you in from the moment you meet him. Pacino may be a small guy but in The Devil’s Advocate he owns every space he walks into and everyone in it! Pacino’s Milton is by far the most contemporary and convincing incarnation of Satan for many years.

Like he did in Donnie Brasco, Pacino plays a mentor and takes Keanu Reeves’ Lomax under his wing. Milton explains his philosophy leaving his new apprentice in awe: “Look at me! Underestimated from day one. You’d never think I was a master of the universe, now would ya?” Rather than exert superhuman physical powers, Milton is the puppet master who prefers discretion: “I’m the hand up Mona Lisa’s skirt. I’m a surprise, Kevin. They don’t see me coming!” Lomax sees this simply as advice to help him progress as a lawyer. All the while his new mentor who is ten steps ahead is manipulating him!

The movie is full of devilishly splendid set pieces. Lomax is advised to seek out a man named Moyez (Delroy Lindo) a witchdoctor who’s on trial for the ritualistic butchering of animals. Moyez offers Lomax a helping hand (via a strange ritual with a decapitated tongue) and sure enough the prosecution cannot get a word out in the following trial. The scene gives supernatural depth to the power of Milton and his associates, showing the unsettled Lomax the extent to which his “unfaltering success” is being secured. Perhaps the greatest set piece is the killing of Eddie Barzoon (Jeffery Jones). As he jogs through Central Park we hear Pacino’s piercing voice off-screen, the feeling of an impending doom takes over until we see the poor Barzoon fall to his bloody fate.

Like most films about the Spirit of Evil (walking amongst us in modern times) The Devil’s Advocate is essentially a story about someone saving their soul from Evil. The idea that through all Evil’s temptations we eventually choose the path to light and salvation. On reflection this movie is unlike the others in the way it delivers the age-old story to you in a fresh, contemporary and engaging manner. The performances are strong and Pacino’s performance completely convinces you he’s the modern incarnation of the Prince of Darkness. Plus, on purely popcorn terms this movie is a solid thriller that doesn’t rest too heavily on religious fact and while the symbols of Christianity are ripe throughout they do not alienate the audience.

The Devil’s Advocate is a great movie to watch over and over. Not exactly ‘light-entertainment’ but a strong contemporary thriller that will satisfy. It also contains arguably the best portrayal of Satan on film…yet another testament to the awesome acting talent of Al Pacino!

 the devils advocate

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Film Review: ATOMIC BLONDE (USA 2017) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

atomic blonde.jpgAn undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

Director: David Leitch
Writers: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City” written by)
Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Advertised as a female James Bond film with Charlize Theron as a top ass-kicking M16 spy, ATOMIC BLONDE tries its best to assume a British setting though Theron and most of the cast speak with an unchanged American accent. Who really cares, as the film delivers senseless action with dazzling visual and choreographed fight scenes courtesy of director David Leitch in his first solo directorial debut, himself a stunt coordinator and stuntman for stars like Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

The film is written by Kurt Johnstad, based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, published by Oni Press. The film opens with a commentary of how the cold war has ended in 1989 flowing the collapse of the Berlin Wall and then goes on to say that the film is not about this subject. The film is about the cold war revolving the good guys, the British M16 and the Americans in this case trying to retrieve a list of double agents that if fallen into the wrong hands would…..It does not really matter as Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock says. The point is that top level female spy, Lorraine Broughton (Theron) has been assigned to aid fellow spy and wild card David Percival (James McAvoy) with this mission. As it turns out Percival has supposedly got the list from Spyglass, a Starsi agent (Eddie Marsan) and he is to be escorted out of Berlin. Not so easy, as every Russian and German spy is also out to get the list.

With the film setting in the 80’s, one can expect a solid 80’s soundtrack. And the film has a great one at that, and not surprising as the music is by Tyler Bates who has put together similar memorable soundtracks for films like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1 and 2 and the two John Wick Films. The song are also appropriately chosen to fit the plot for example with Depeche Mode’s ‘Behind the Wheel’ during the defection segment and Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ at the film’s climax.

The film’s excellent cast includes McAvoy (SPLIT), always good in portraying crazies. Eddie Marsan who plays Spyglass steals the show with a dead serious performance amidst the over-the-top action. German veteran actress Barbara Sukowa has a cameo as the coroner who delivers a key line: “In Germany, we do not make little mistakes.”

The film’s best action sequence lasts a full 10 minutes as Lorraine fights off multiple attackers in ultra-violent hand-to-hand combat on a staircase while protecting Spyglass. If this is not enough, an exciting car chase follows right after where villains in cars appear out of nowhere to chse the two. Director Leitch dishes sexiness to the limit with same sex scenes between Lorraine and a French spy (Sofia Boutella).

The plot of ATOMIC BLONDE is quite difficult to follow and there is no use trying as the plot is pointless. The story’s twist in the end of who is the double agent makes little sense either. But cold war spy films in the 70’s were often difficult to follow. ATOMIC BLONDE delivers dazzling senseless action, that is the point of the film and that it succeeds.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI7HVnZlleo

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Film Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (USA 2017)

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fast_and_furious_8.jpgDirector: F. Gary Gray
Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson (based on characters created by)
Stars: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans

Review by Gilbert Seah

 
With so many in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise with the false promise that the last FAST AND FURIOUS would be the last one, this 8th edition, nicknamed F8 provides much, much more of the same, louder and noisier as most sequels promise. (I had lost count and thought this was the 9th.)
This latest edition assumes that the audience is familiar with most of the characters and does not bother with any flashbacks or explanations.

With so many characters, it is probably a good idea not to do so. The film allows the audience to guess what has occurred in the past and for a film like this, it is only the action and fast cars that count – not the characters.

The plot of THE FATE AND THE FURIOUS, not that it really matters, follows the events of Furious 7. Dominic Toretto aka Dom (Vin Diesel) and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have gone on their honeymoon, and the rest of the crew have begun to settle down to a more normal life. But when a mysterious woman, later to be revealed as Cipher, a super villain (Charlize Theron) convinces Dom to work against the people that he is closest to, the rest of the crew must face trials they have never seen before – including some former enemies – in order to bring back the man who brought them together in the first place.

In case one has forgotten. the other crew members include Like DSS agent, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Deckard Shaw, a rogue specialist (Jason Statham), mechanic Tej Parker (Chris Bridges), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), former criminal Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) among others.

As far as the film goes, this is male chauvinist pig material all the way – all the more for decent women and men to hate this kind of film. The beginning race for example is started by a scantily dressed female in extreme shorts waving down a flag. Vin Diesel exploits his male macho body to no end. Apparently Diesel is an a**hole in real life as mentioned to be by a fellow critic who had interviewed him. His co-star Johnson also called him horse s***. Johnson is a pleasure to watch on screen but I can hardly say the same for Diesel.

It is odd to see that the script by Chris Morgan which clearly lacks any hint of character development whatsoever take on the issue of the importance of family. Helen Mirren has a cameo as he mother of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) stressing the importance of family values and the inclusion of his brother (Luke Evans) into his activities. Deckard spends a chunk of screen time saving Dom’s baby. Dom says his baby is the most important person in his life.

Oscar Winner Helen Mirren (THE QUEEN) shows that even a dame of the British Empire is willing to take an easy pay check for a cameo role in big budget Hollywood rubbish like this one. The term is called slumming and many famous stars have slummed before.

THE FATE AND THE FURIOUS (budget of $250 million) is slotted to make more than $100 million this weekend. The film is nothing more than silly special effects that though looks stunning in iMAX (the film contains a record number of cars trashed) does nothing for the movie industry or the human race.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwMKRevYa_M

_________

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Happy Birthday: Charlize Theron

charlizetheron.jpgCharlize Theron

Born: August 7, 1975 in Benoni, Transvaal, South Africa

[on the revelation that her mother shot and killed her father while he was in a drunken rage, which was ruled self-defense] I was always Mama’s girl, and I always felt like her protector.

2_days_in_the_valley2 Days in the Valley
1996
dir. John Herzfield
Cast
Danny Aiello
Greg Cruttwell
99. MOVIE
THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATEThe Devil’s Advocate
1997
dir. Taylor Hackford
Cast
Al Pacino
Keanu Reeves
The Legend of Bagger VanceThe Legend of Bagger Vance
dir. Robert Redford
Stars:
Will Smith
Matt Damon
CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPIONThe Curse of the Jade Scorpion
2001
dir. Woody Allen
starring
Allen
Helen Hunt
15 MINUTES15 Minutes
2001
dir. John Herzfeld
Starring
Robert DeNiro
Edward Burns
THE ITALIAN JOBThe Italian Job
2003
dir. F Gary Gray
Starring
Mark Wahlberg
Edward Norton
HANCOCKHancock
2008
dir. Peter Berg
Starring
Jason Bateman
Theron
Astro Boy Movie PosterAstro Boy
dir. David Bowers
Stars:
Freddie Highmore
Nicolas Cage
Kristen Bell
THE ROAD Movie PosterThe Road
dir. John Hillcoat
Stars:
Viggo Mortensen
Theron
Kodi Smit-McPhee
MOVIE POSTERYOUNG ADULT
dir. Jason Reitman
Stars
Charlize Theron
Patrick Wilson
MOVIE POSTERSNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
dir. Rupert Sanders
Stars:
Kristen Stewart
Chris Hemsworth
MOVIE POSTERPROMETHEUS
dir. Ridley Scott
Stars:
Noomi Rapace
Charlize Theron
MOVIE POSTERCELEBRITY
1998
dir. Woody Allen
Stars:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kenneth Branagh
MOVIE POSTERTHAT THING YOU DO!
1996
dir. Tom Hanks
Stars:
Liv Tyler
Charlize Theron
MOVIE POSTERA MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
2014
dir. Seth MacFarlane
Stars:
Charlize Theron
Liam Neeson
actorARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Season 3
2005-2006
Stars
Alia Shawkat
David Cross

91. WATCH – SEX SCENE – Watch scene from THE ASTRONAUT’S WIFE with Johnny Depp

90. WATCH – AS A SERIAL KILLER – Top 100 female actress role of all-time. Charlize wins OSCAR for playing woman serial killer Aileen. WATCH scene NOW!

89. SEE – SEX SCENE #2 – Top 100 sex scenes of all-time. A younger Charlize Theron makes her mark on Hollywood with this sex scene in TWO DAY IN A VALLEY with James Spader.

88. WATCH – CAR CHASE SCENE – Watch THE ITALIAN JOB finale chase scene with Charlize, Mark Wahlberg and Jason Stathan. Gunman on motorcycles chase the team through a tube which leads out into the

87. SEE – VANITY VAGINA PHOTO

86. SEE – BIKINI PHOTO

85. SEE – BREASTS PHOTO

84. SEE – BUTT PHOTO

83. SEE – FACE PHOTO

82. SEE – HOT PHOTO

81. SEE – LEGS PHOTO

80. SEE – LINGERIE PHOTO

79. SEE – MINI SKIRT PHOTO

78. SEE – NAKED PHOTO

77. SEE – NIPPLES PHOTO

76. SEE – PANTIES PHOTO

75. SEE – SEXY PHOTO

74. SEE – SHORT SKIRT PHOTO

73. SEE – UNDERWEAR PHOTO

72. SEE – 2010 PHOTO

71. SEE – 2011 PHOTO

70. SEE – AD PHOTO

69. SEE – AILEEN PHOTO

68. SEE – AND WILL SMITH PHOTO

67. SEE – APPLE BONG PHOTO

66. SEE – BANG PHOTO

65. SEE – BEACH PHOTO

64. SEE – BEDROOM PHOTO

63. SEE – BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTO

62. SEE – BELLY BUTTON PHOTO

61. SEE – BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO

60. SEE – BLACK DRESS PHOTO

59. SEE – BLACK HAIR PHOTO

58. SEE – BOOTS PHOTO

57. SEE – BOYFRIEND PHOTO

56. SEE – CALENDER PHOTO

55. SEE – CARICATURE PHOTO

54. SEE – CENTERFOLD PHOTO

53. SEE – CLEAVAGE PHOTO

52. SEE – CLOSE UP PHOTO

51. SEE – COLLAGE PHOTO

50. SEE – COSMO PHOTO

49. SEE – CURLY HAIR PHOTO

49. SEE – YOUNG PHOTO

48. SEE – SUNGLASSES PHOTO

47. SEE – SWIMSUIT PHOTO

46. SEE – TATTOO PHOTO

45. SEE – TONGUE PHOTO

44. SEE – UPDO PHOTO

43. SEE – UPSKIRT PHOTO

42. SEE – VOGUE PHOTO

41. SEE – WPHOTO

40. SEE – WALLPAPER PHOTO

39. SEE -WATCH AD PHOTO

38. SEE – STUART TOWNSEND PHOTO

37. SEE – STYLE PHOTO

36. SEE – MODEL PHOTO

35. SEE – MONSTER PHOTO

34. SEE – MOVIE POSTER PHOTO

33. SEE – NO MAKEUP PHOTO

32. SEE – NOSE PHOTO

31. SEE – OSCARS PHOTO

30. SEE – OUTFITS PHOTO

29. SEE – PLAYBOY PHOTO

28. SEE – POSE PHOTO

27. SEE – POSTER PHOTO

26. SEE – PURPLE DRESS PHOTO

25. SEE – RED CARPET PHOTO

24. SEE – SEX PHOTO

24. SEE – SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE PHOTO

23. SEE – SEXY DRESS PHOTO

22. SEE – SHOES PHOTO

21. SEE – SHORT HAIR PHOTO

20. SEE – SHORTS PHOTO

19. SEE – SMILE PHOTO

18. SEE – STILETTOS PHOTO

17. SEE – STRAIGHT HAIR PHOTO

16. SEE – LEGY DRESS PHOTO

15. SEE – LIFE PHOTO

14. SEE – LIPS PHOTO

13. SEE – LIPSTICK PHOTO

12. SEE – MAKEUP PHOTO

11. SEE – MARIE CLAIRE PHOTO

10. SEE – MAXIM PHOTO

9. SEE – JEANS PHOTO

8. SEE – KEANU REEVES PHOTO

7. SEE – KEVIN BACON PHOTO

6. SEE – LEATHER PHOTO

5. SEE – LEGY PHOTO

4. SEE – GQ PHOTO

3. SEE – HAIRSTYLES PHOTO

2. SEE – HEADSHOT PHOTO

1. SEE – HEELS PHOTO

BONUS PICS AND VIDEOSSEE – CURVES PHOTO

SEE – DARK HAIR PHOTO

SEE – DIOR PHOTO

SEE – DIPPED IN GOLD PHOTO

SEE – DOG PHOTO

SEE – DRAWING PHOTO

SEE – DRESS PHOTO

SEE – ELLE PHOTO

SEE – EYES PHOTO

SEE – FASHION PHOTO

SEE – FEET PHOTO

SEE – GLAMOUR PHOTO

 

Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

the_huntsman_winters_war.jpgTHE HUNTSMAN – WINTER’S WAR (USA 2016) **
Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt

Review by Gilbert Seah

The prequel to SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is a film that is written for no reason but as an excuse to milk the box-office for more money in the fairy tale blockbuster special effects genre. The plot involves the sister, Freya (Emily Blunt) of the Evil Queen, Ravenna (Charleze Theron) that was the enemy of Snow White, becoming queen and training kidnapped children to be her army so that she can conquer more lands. Her Kingdom has only one rule – no love is allowed.
Love inevitably blossoms between two children that grow up to become Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain. Eric and Sara marry in their own way. The Ice Queen Freya separates them. Eric embarks on a quest to find the magic mirror (that mirror, mirror on the wall who can tell the fairest of them all mirror) in order to save Snow White’s Kingdom. The clumsy story goes on with the quest looking similar to Frodo’s in LORD OF THE RINGS, complete with 4 dwarfs as well.

The dwarfs do enliven the sorry plot. But nothing really keeps one really engaged despite the glossy production, Snow white is noticeably missing in this prequel to Snow White. Her name is only mentioned and that she had been usurped the throne from the Evil Queen. But Snow White was nevertheless unmemorable in the first film and I would bet many would even have forgotten who played that role (Kristen Stewart), so leaving her character out might have been a good decision.

The prequel instead adds Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt, two hot actresses of today. The former plays the huntsman’s love interest while the other, the evil queen sister, the ice queen (similar to FROZEN), which the audience can foresee will end up with a battle of the siblings. This does happen at the film’s climax.

Theron continues the bitchiness with royal effect while Blunt has to settle with a milder villainous performance. Hemswoth does what he is paid to do – look his best and that he undoubtedly does well. Sloppiness shows in the filmmaking when the actors speak with different accents – English, Irish and American.

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who was on the special effects team in the first film takes over the director’s reigns in this one. Colleen Atwood who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design returns to do the elaborate costumes. No doubt the gowns of the two queens are nothing short of stunning with gold, icy white and feathers while the huntsman dons metal and silver. Whenever on queen appears, it seems like a fashion show is about to commence. But these costumes are not sufficient to make the film.

The climatic fight scene is a battle in which all the heroes and villains (male and female) come together in a special visual effects extravaganza that is more a show of lights and magic than action and suspense. It is inevitable who wins here, so no surprises here at all.

The film ends with the narrator saying that while fairy tales come true, none truly ends, promising an unwelcome sequel to this mess. If that is not enough, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is already in the process of a reboot for HIGHLANDER.

 

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