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Brian Helgeland Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Brian Helgeland Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Karen Posada

By

2010/12/21 at 12:00am

Salt

12.21.2010 | By |

Rating: 4.0

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.
Release Date: 2010-07-23
Starring: Kurt Wimmer, Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/salt/

 Go to our film page

Salt is THE summer’s action flick. No other actress can do an action film like Angelina Jolie, she gives an amazing performance in this one. We haven’t seen a movie by her since Wanted and that was pretty much a preview to what you can expect from her in Salt. The script was made originally for a male lead, it is rumored that Tom Cruise turned it down, which is a good thing because I doubt a male lead would have made it as successful. The movie will keep you guessing the entire running time up to the end. The one question running through your mind at every turn of the movie is: how will she get out of this one?

Since the beginning we realize that CIA officer Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a tough female, the movie begins with her capture by the North Korean government, they try to beat the loyalty out of her, but can’t. We shortly meet Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber)her boss at the CIA and friend, he’s along on her side throughout most of the movie trying to help her. After we get a brief backstory on Salt’s life both the private and professional sides of it, we are in Washington D.C. in CIA headquarters where we meet Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor). As a CIA counter-intelligence agent he is not sympathetic to anyone specially to Salt after she is accused of being a sleeper Russian spy and she runs away to avoid being captured. This is when the action begins and where we are left to wonder: ‘who is Salt?’

Salt is married to an entomologist who is fully aware of her career path and the risks that are involved. He is one of the few reasons we ever see this character be soft, the rest of it is all tough CIA training from the fights to her assertive actions.In fact, this female character is the one that carries all the action of the movie, the other two secondary characters Winter and Peabody do very little physical work. Salt’s independence and kick-ass attitude is what keeps her going.

Jolie prepared for this character by talking to former CIA agents such as Melissa Boyle Mahle who worked for the force for 16 years. She spoke of Jolie’s relentlessness of getting every aspect of the character right, asking her how she felt and what she went through; she learned how spies live. Although Mahle says Jolie in the film makes it look way more fun and glamours than it really is. Oleg Kalugin a former KGB member and spy said Salt is very real, and she is tough like a Russian spy. Tom Ridge former Secretary of Homeland security spoke of the realities of the film as seen by current events and how the government has dealt with it since the Cold-War.

If you are into action films this one is for you, it is pure entertainment. There’s bits and pieces of romance in the way but it doesn’t disrupt the action. You can compare it to current events but remember this is hollywood, which means that nothing is to be taken to heart. The main subject here is loyalty, towards family, country, beliefs etc; which is what keeps the movie going and will keep you wondering.

Jack Rico

By

2010/09/21 at 12:00am

Robin Hood

09.21.2010 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content.
Release Date: 2010-05-14
Starring: Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.robinhoodthemovie.com/

 Go to our film page

The new adaptation of Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett hits the big screen after much anticipation and hype. Is this the definitive version to ever be done by Hollywood? Not by far, but it is a noble intent. This adaptation is a prequel, that is, an account of the origins of the green hero before he stole from the rich and helped the poor. The film has some fine moments but also lacks of a fresh new approach to an old story.

The plot begins with the death of King Richard of England (Danny Huston) and Robin Longstride (Crowe) traveling to Nottingham, a city that suffers from corruption and oppressive taxes from the sheriff, to start a new life. There, Robin falls in love with the widow Lady Marion (Blanchette), meets Friar Tuck (Mark Addy) and fights in the war against the French.

To be fair, I found the film to be entertaining and visually absorbing, but due to weak development of the story and shortcomings of some secondary characters, there were moments of confusion in several of its sequences. For example, for most of the film, I could not distinguish who were the British or the French, I couldn’t understand the dialogue very well at first due to the rough and the villains motives weren’t fleshed out properly.

However, if you’re looking to entertain yourself, any imperfections the film might have are put aside for the high level entertainment value. I particularly left satisfied enough to recommend it for a few reasons: one because Crowe and Blanchette are tremendous actors, second because the director Ridley Scott captured beautiful scenes, and third, the locations and details of the movie transport you to back to that period. Robin Hood is worth the watch.

Karen Posada

By

2010/07/21 at 12:00am

Salt

07.21.2010 | By |

Salt

Salt is THE summer’s action flick. No other actress can do an action film like Angelina Jolie, she gives an amazing performance in this one. We haven’t seen a movie by her since Wanted and that was pretty much a preview to what you can expect from her in Salt. The script was made originally for a male lead, it is rumored that Tom Cruise turned it down, which is a good thing because I doubt a male lead would have made it as successful. The movie will keep you guessing the entire running time up to the end. The one question running through your mind at every turn of the movie is: how will she get out of this one?

Since the beginning we realize that CIA officer Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a tough female, the movie begins with her capture by the North Korean government, they try to beat the loyalty out of her, but can’t. We shortly meet Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber)her boss at the CIA and friend, he’s along on her side throughout most of the movie trying to help her. After we get a brief backstory on Salt’s life both the private and professional sides of it, we are in Washington D.C. in CIA headquarters where we meet Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor). As a CIA counter-intelligence agent he is not sympathetic to anyone specially to Salt after she is accused of being a sleeper Russian spy and she runs away to avoid being captured. This is when the action begins and where we are left to wonder: ‘who is Salt?’

Salt is married to an entomologist who is fully aware of her career path and the risks that are involved. He is one of the few reasons we ever see this character be soft, the rest of it is all tough CIA training from the fights to her assertive actions.In fact, this female character is the one that carries all the action of the movie, the other two secondary characters Winter and Peabody do very little physical work. Salt’s independence and kick-ass attitude is what keeps her going.

Jolie prepared for this character by talking to former CIA agents such as Melissa Boyle Mahle who worked for the force for 16 years. She spoke of Jolie’s relentlessness of getting every aspect of the character right, asking her how she felt and what she went through; she learned how spies live. Although Mahle says Jolie in the film makes it look way more fun and glamours than it really is. Oleg Kalugin a former KGB member and spy said Salt is very real, and she is tough like a Russian spy. Tom Ridge former Secretary of Homeland security spoke of the realities of the film as seen by current events and how the government has dealt with it since the Cold-War.

If you are into action films this one is for you, it is pure entertainment. There’s bits and pieces of romance in the way but it doesn’t disrupt the action. You can compare it to current events but remember this is hollywood, which means that nothing is to be taken to heart. The main subject here is loyalty, towards family, country, beliefs etc; which is what keeps the movie going and will keep you wondering.

Jack Rico

By

2010/06/22 at 12:00am

Green Zone

06.22.2010 | By |

Rating: 3.5

Rated: R for violence and language.
Release Date: 2010-03-12
Starring: Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.greenzonemovie.com/

 Go to our film page

‘Green Zone’ is the army version of the Bourne movies. It’s a full blown political thriller a la Tom Clancy with high octane action. The acting is superb, but the action is relentless. From the tense opening scene, and then for almost two hours, it’s non stop bullet battles, zig-zagging car and helicopter chases, and enough explosions to uncomfortably increase your heart rate and blood pressure! Is it as good or better than The Hurt Locker, another action war drama? No way. But it is definitely more entertaining. 

The plotline is simple and easy to follow: a U.S. Army officer (Matt Damon), based in Iraq, goes rogue when he questions the validity of the Weapons of Mass Destruction he’s been sent to look for.

Paul Greengrass, the director of the last two Bourne movies and United 93, loves that jitter cam. It’s the directing style where the camera jumps up and down at a staggering pace. It works well here and creates a tension throughout the whole film.

The acting is top notch here. Matt Damon is one of the best actors we have today and even in these genre films, he manages to embody credibility and a connection with the audience. You really do immerse self with him in this war and the corruption around him.

Compared to other action war films such as The Kingdom, this is the most entertaining one due to the amount of action the movie possesses, but it also doesn’t match up to the level of substance that The Hurt Locker accomplishes. Green Zone falls apart at the end with the type of Hollywood rubbish that we just detest. Nevertheless, you don’t see this film to see it win awards, but rather for diversion. There, it really works.

For people who enjoy thrillers and action films this movie is a must see this weekend.

Jack Rico

By

2010/05/13 at 12:00am

Robin Hood

05.13.2010 | By |

Robin Hood

The new adaptation of Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett hits the big screen after much anticipation and hype. Is this the definitive version to ever be done by Hollywood? Not by far, but it is a noble intent. This adaptation is a prequel, that is, an account of the origins of the green hero before he stole from the rich and helped the poor. The film has some fine moments but also lacks of a fresh new approach to an old story.

The plot begins with the death of King Richard of England (Danny Huston) and Robin Longstride (Crowe) traveling to Nottingham, a city that suffers from corruption and oppressive taxes from the sheriff, to start a new life. There, Robin falls in love with the widow Lady Marion (Blanchette), meets Friar Tuck (Mark Addy) and fights in the war against the French.

To be fair, I found the film to be entertaining and visually absorbing, but due to weak development of the story and shortcomings of some secondary characters, there were moments of confusion in several of its sequences. For example, for most of the film, I could not distinguish who were the British or the French, I couldn’t understand the dialogue very well at first due to the rough and the villains motives weren’t fleshed out properly.

However, if you’re looking to entertain yourself, any imperfections the film might have are put aside for the high level entertainment value. I particularly left satisfied enough to recommend it for a few reasons: one because Crowe and Blanchette are tremendous actors, second because the director Ridley Scott captured beautiful scenes, and third, the locations and details of the movie transport you to back to that period. Robin Hood is worth the watch.

Jack Rico

By

2010/03/12 at 12:00am

Green Zone (Movie Review)

03.12.2010 | By |

‘Green Zone’ is the army version of the Bourne movies. It’s a full blown political thriller a la Tom Clancy with high octane action. The acting is superb, but the action is relentless. From the tense opening scene, and then for almost two hours, it’s non stop bullet battles, zig-zagging car and helicopter chases, and enough explosions to uncomfortably increase your heart rate and blood pressure! Is it as good or better than The Hurt Locker, another action war drama? No way. But it is definitely more entertaining.  Read More

Alex Florez

By

2010/02/23 at 12:00am

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

02.23.2010 | By |

Rating: 1.5

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.
Release Date: 2009-10-23
Starring: Paul Weitz, Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: Not available.

 Go to our film page

The minute a genre becomes popular, Hollywood does its very best to milk it.  To squeeze every last dime out of our pockets.  And it will continue to do it as long as there continues to be an audience for it.  Let’s take ‘SAW’ as an example.  This week, the franchise releases its 6th installment with numbers 7 & 8 already on the way.  Let us remember that the first film hit theaters in 2004. Can they crank them out or what?

However, what seems to be all the rage these days are vampires. They’re everywhere: movies, TV shows, books, toys and on Halloween in every costume party in America.  To what do we owe this resurgence? Why the public obsession with a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night drink the blood of the living? I have my own opinions about it but Hollywood could care less so long as we keep opening up our wallets.

For those that haven’t yet had their fill, this week you’ll have the option of seeing Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, but do so at your own risk.  The film, based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan, will do little to excite the average viewer.

Here’s the gist: A 16 year-old unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, he vanishes from the safety of a boring existence, and puts at risk his relationship with his best friend to fulfill his destiny.

Think of Cirque du Freak as the vampire version of ‘Harry Potter’. Unfortunately, the magic just isn’t there.  A supporting cast that includes mexican actress Salma Hayek as ‘the bearded woman’ doesn’t even manage to spice things up. I will say however, that John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Walk Hard) who plays Crepsely – The vampire who mentors young Darren and shows him how to develop his vampire abilities – shows his acting range and takes on a role we rarely see him in.

Unless you already a diehard fan of the books, I advise to stay away from the film.  The characters are dull and uninviting. You will leave the theater without a care in the world and a few dollars poorer.

One final note: Isn’t actor Chris Massoglia the spitting image of a young Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)?

Jack Rico

By

2009/11/03 at 12:00am

The Taking of Pelham 123

11.3.2009 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: R for violence and pervasive language.
Release Date: 2009-06-12
Starring: Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.catchthetrain.com/

 Go to our film page

“The Taking of Pelham 123” is good summer film fare, but it isn’t great. Not that this is a bad thing. The only reason you should go out and see this film is if you are a fan of either Denzel Washington or John Travolta, and are looking for some respectable acting. Otherwise, the action sequences are scant, and even though the premise is captivating, some implausible moments occur that deter you from investing too much of your time and brain power.

Denzel Washington stars as New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber, whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. John Travolta stars as Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train’s passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there’s one riddle Garber can’t solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape? That is what the film is all about.

If you ever had the chance to see the original ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, you’ll see in this new version that there are many changes to  the storyline. Director Tony Scott, who we spoke to in New York before the release of the film, commented how this project is not a remake but a new movie altogether. The changes do make the film better, but there is something to be said about the tone of the original that made it a good watch. Nevertheless, both stand on their own as good films, not great.

Latin actors Luis Guzman and Ramon Rodriguez played role characters and had some visible screen time, but not enough to for me to engage you in this particular review.

If I had to pick from the original and the new version to watch tonight, I’d go with the new one, because it provides more entertainment than the first. It won’t blow your mind away, but it’ll keep it from getting bored.

Alex Florez

By

2009/10/22 at 12:00am

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

10.22.2009 | By |

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

The minute a genre becomes popular, Hollywood does its very best to milk it.  To squeeze every last dime out of our pockets.  And it will continue to do it as long as there continues to be an audience for it.  Let’s take ‘SAW’ as an example.  This week, the franchise releases its 6th installment with numbers 7 & 8 already on the way.  Let us remember that the first film hit theaters in 2004. Can they crank them out or what?

However, what seems to be all the rage these days are vampires. They’re everywhere: movies, TV shows, books, toys and on Halloween in every costume party in America.  To what do we owe this resurgence? Why the public obsession with a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night drink the blood of the living? I have my own opinions about it but Hollywood could care less so long as we keep opening up our wallets.

For those that haven’t yet had their fill, this week you’ll have the option of seeing Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, but do so at your own risk.  The film, based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan, will do little to excite the average viewer.

Here’s the gist: A 16 year-old unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, he vanishes from the safety of a boring existence, and puts at risk his relationship with his best friend to fulfill his destiny.

Think of Cirque du Freak as the vampire version of ‘Harry Potter’. Unfortunately, the magic just isn’t there.  A supporting cast that includes mexican actress Salma Hayek as ‘the bearded woman’ doesn’t even manage to spice things up. I will say however, that John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Walk Hard) who plays Crepsely – The vampire who mentors young Darren and shows him how to develop his vampire abilities – shows his acting range and takes on a role we rarely see him in.

Unless you already a diehard fan of the books, I advise to stay away from the film.  The characters are dull and uninviting. You will leave the theater without a care in the world and a few dollars poorer.

One final note: Isn’t actor Chris Massoglia the spitting image of a young Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)?

 

Jack Rico

By

2009/06/11 at 12:00am

The Taking of Pelham 123

06.11.2009 | By |

Rated: R for violence and pervasive language.
Release Date: 2009-06-12
Starring: Brian Helgeland
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.catchthetrain.com/

Go to our film page

The Taking of Pelham 123

“The Taking of Pelham 123” is good summer film fare, but it isn’t great. Not that this is a bad thing. The only reason you should go out and see this film is if you are a fan of either Denzel Washington or John Travolta, and are looking for some respectable acting. Otherwise, the action sequences are scant, and even though the premise is captivating, some implausible moments occur that deter you from investing too much of your time and brain power.

Denzel Washington stars as New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber, whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. John Travolta stars as Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train’s passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there’s one riddle Garber can’t solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape? That is what the film is all about.

If you ever had the chance to see the original ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, you’ll see in this new version that there are many changes to  the storyline. Director Tony Scott, who we spoke to in New York before the release of the film, commented how this project is not a remake but a new movie altogether. The changes do make the film better, but there is something to be said about the tone of the original that made it a good watch. Nevertheless, both stand on their own as good films, not great.

Latin actors Luis Guzman and Ramon Rodriguez played role characters and had some visible screen time, but not enough to for me to engage you in this particular review.

If I had to pick from the original and the new version to watch tonight, I’d go with the new one, because it provides more entertainment than the first. It won’t blow your mind away, but it’ll keep it from getting bored.

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