Harry Brown DVD Movie

Free Movies DownloadHarry Brown is more “The Crow” than “Death Wish”, as his vigilante behavior is mostly motivated by revenge. Whereas the Bronson film explores a man fed up with criminals in general, Harry’s anger is largely focused on those connected to his friend’s death. Another similarity is a subplot involving Emily Mortimer (Redbelt) as an investigator who suspects Brown is more than just a bystander to the killings.

The film slowly heats to a boil until its halfway mark, when it begins to explore very gritty and violent situations. From the moment Harry attempts to buy his first gun, the movie pulls you in and never lets go. The film offers a few minor twists, and though the story isn’t especially original, a terrific performance by Michael Caine easily carries it the distance.

The cinematography is great, and the soundtrack is very stark and haunting most of the time. My only real complaint is that the use of CGI for certain scenes of violence was unnecessary.

The only reason I’m giving Harry Brown four stars instead of five, is that the concept isn’t very original. But it’s still a very interesting look at a man who has reached his tipping point, played by an excellent veteran actor. This is a film worth watching for Caine’s performance alone.

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The Killer Inside Me (2010) DVD Movie

Free Movies DownloadI had long been a fan of Thompson’s book, but it had been years since I last read it and I was excited to see that a movie had been made of it. From the looks of the trailer I thought it had a chance to be a good movie. When I saw it this week I was not disappointed. I loved the way Casey Affleck played the main character, Lou Ford (the ‘me’ in the title) and it was very much how I remembered the book. I felt I had more sympathy for Affleck’s portrayal of Lou Ford than I did when I had initially read the book. Despite the violence that really packs a punch (literally and proverbially), I could not help but feel for the character of Lou. I enjoyed very much the style the movie was made in, but it was Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Lou Ford that haunted me.

Since seeing the movie, I have been rereading the book and I was amazed at how faithful and successful the filmmakers were in adapting book to screen. With minimal changes, the movie captures the book very well. I would encourage anyone who liked this movie to read the book (and vice versa). I would think this would have to be one of the best adaptations of a novel to screen in recent years.

I thought the melange of music that was in the movie worked very well, especially the vintage country tunes of the period. The original score is very effective; understated, sparse and subtle. It lends a touch of sadness to the movie that works nicely. Even the opera arias Lou listens to on the phonograph work well (even though I never thought of Lou as an opera buff), especially when the tune of one of them becomes something he plays on the piano. It all adds quite a melancholy touch.

I recommend this movie. Maybe you will be haunted by Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Lou Ford as I was. I thought it was all very well done and I found myself thinking on it afterwards. So much so that it had me reading the book again. I highly recommend both the book and the movie.

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Solitary Man (2010) DVD Movies

Free Movies DownloadThe film follows Michael Douglas as he comes to grips, or doesn’t, with his age and the fact that his personal life as passed him by. The movie begins with Douglas receiving the news that he needs some test performed on his heart because his doctor has some concerns. Time then flashes forward six years, where Douglas is now divorced with a daughter in her early 30s (played expertly by Jenna Fischer), a grandson who is five, and a girlfriend (Mary Louise Parker) who he is using for her father’s power. Hints are dropped that Douglas was involved in some sort of scam that caused him to lose his extremely profitable business and threw him into a scandal that destroyed his reputation. The rising action begins when Douglas must escort his girlfriend’s daughter to his alma mater for the weekend. While in Boston, Douglas makes a terrible decision that threatens to unravel whatever life he has left.

Though this film received little attention, I thought that it was absolutely excellent and worth an Oscar nomination (being that they’re handing them out willy nilly now). Susan Saradon plays Douglas’ ex and does so expertly with just the perfect amount of anger, pity, and old love. Douglas plays the philandering 60+ year old who still thinks he’s 20 perfectly. The end of the movie leaves people guessing, but can also be used as a conversation starter and had me thinking about the film long after I left the theater.

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The Joneses (2010) DVD Movies

Free Movies DownloadNot since American Beauty has such a film really nailed making a distinctly and delicately nuanced point about human behavior. In today’s fake world — fake from otherwise unsalable chicken parts pressed into the meat called chicken nuggets to toilet paper manufacturers cutting the size of the toilet roll down more and more while at the same time jacking up the price — it seems everything is unfortunately subject to much closer scrutiny than in the past. I was born in 1956 and from 15 on grew up near Rushville, Indiana, so I can still remember when the work ethic was strong and people actually believed and helped one another. It was a time of you did and meant what you said. This film brilliantly reflects just how far we have come from that long ago era.

David Duchovny and Demi Moore really shine as Steve and Kate Jones, a couple who move into an upscale community, complete with all the coollest gadgets, toys and cars. They look like such a NICE couple, like the kind you remember from Normal Rockwell paintings, or from the Andy Griffith show in the early 1960s. Just nice, honorable, pleasant people, the kind you’d want to have as your next door neighbors. But things are not as they seem. Without giving away the plot — which is really refreshingly unusual — we soon find that we do indeed need to be skeptical of them. But everyone in their neighborhood is totally taken in, and soon they are all competing with the Joneses to keep up with or even surpass them, with some distastrous and painful results.

Gary Cole, a highly underrated actor — he was fabulous years ago as the convicted killer Jeffrey Macdonald — brings touching tenderness to a role that could merely have served as a plot device. Glenne Headly as his wife is equally great as a woman desperate to make a career of home sales. The scene where they are in bed together is painful to watch, as both actors do a really excellent job of showing a couple who have long since passed the point of emotionally looking together in the same direction.

But the film is really carried by David Duchovny and Demi Moore. Their reaction shots to each other and the way they play off each other is quite breathtaking to watch, as opposed to many of today’s prettier and younger actors who are barely competent. Duchovny has come a long way in my opinion since the pilot of The X-Files. His used car salesman Steve Jones who has fallen into a great money job and yet develops a late-blooming conscience is believable from start to finish. Demi Moore, a really great actress who in my opinion made some bad career choices the the ’90s that held her back for awhile, gives a strong performance as a woman who for the first time is confronting the ethics of what she does for a living and believably goes back and forth about it. Duchovny’s character causes her to think, and the thinking he evokes awakens in her the compassion she never before paid attention to. That is why the scene in which she comforts Amber Heard, the actress who plays her daughter, is both touching and understandable.

Many reviewers in the press seem to think the movie cops out in the ending. I thought it was all tied up too neatly, but the message of redeem yourself before it’s too late I thought was a an excellent one. It seems to me that this film was a rarity in that it asks you to question who you are, rather than what you do or don’t have. In a world of shoot ’em up/crash ’em up/kill ’em up movies that are little more than product placement and/or mindless vapid so-called entertainment, this film makes you THINK. And in my opinion, a film that makes you think is a very good thing.

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Date Night (2010) DVD Movie

Free Movies DownloadIn order for a movie packed full of unlikely plot-developments and general silliness like DATE NIGHT, a cast that’s easy to love who have razor sharp comic timing and mastery of their tone is needed. Fortunately, Steve Carrell and Tina Fey meet all three requirements, and thus, DATE NIGHT works on many levels.

Carrell and Fey play a nearly middle aged married couple with kids. They have a comfortable suburban life, and are still fond of each other, but they are also clearly just a bit worn out by life. “Date Nights” for them consist of going to a local steak restaurant, with worn-out décor and no sense of romance whatsoever. And in time-honored, clichéd tradition, they wonder if they are still in-love with the other…because they see their closest friends getting divorced. I hate the way Hollywood likes to make us think that no long term marriage could possibly still be happy and fulfilling. True, raising a family and nurturing a career and paying bills and time do take their toll…but mature couples embrace those things. They don’t shake their heads with regret over the wild and crazy times they may have missed.

Anyway, I clearly digress. One day, Carrell decides to shake things up just a bit, and invites his wife to go “into the city” to try out a hot new restaurant they’ve heard of. Naturally, when they arrive, with no reservations, they are treated with withering disdain by the staff…but Carrell hangs in there, and when the name “Tripplehorn” is repeatedly called by the hostess to no avail, Carrell declares that he and his wife are the Tripplehorns and they are seated and begin to enjoy a lovely evening together. Then they are approached by a couple of thuggish men, who escort them to the alley and begin to rough them up. Because apparently the real Tripplehorns are engaged in blackmail, and they are being hunted by some bad men. Thus, Carrell and Fey embark on a pretty wild and crazy Date Night…one in which many silly moments of physical comedy happen to them and equally as many unlikely plot twits.

If you’re going to see this movie for a coherent crime drama about two amateurs who foil a crime syndicate…you’ll be disappointed. But if, like 99.99% of the people attending, you’re hoping for some good laughs and high-quality banter…you’ll be mostly pleased. Carrell & Fey deliver and then some. Although these two performers have not really worked together before, they both share a past history with Chicago’s famed Second City Improv group, and their comic sensibilities blend together quite nicely. They can take some pretty mundane writing, and produce some remarkable laughs. While I won’t go so far as to say that Carrell and Fey (the actors) are clearly affectionate towards each other…you can certainly see the appreciation for each other’s skill on their faces. Carrell, in particular, gets a real twinkle of delight in his eyes when Fey delivers a great line. There is nothing serious in their performances, but there is a warmth and camaraderie that are infectious.

They are ably assisted by many good cameos, including a hilarious scene with James Franco and Mila Kunis and a recurring appearance from Mark Wahlberg, who plays a government security consultant (e.g. CIA) who has a lovely apartment and an apparent unwillingness to wear shirts. While Wahlberg isn’t really asked to do much except allow Fey and Carrell to react to him…he shows a humor about himself that is often missing in his persona. The invaluable William Finctner shows up later, as does Ray Liotta, playing the character Ray Liotta always does.

The movie also features an unlikely but very funny car chase. Your enjoyment of it will greatly depend on your willingness to utterly suspend disbelief….but if you do, it’s funny enough to cause a pain in your side. Other moments of physical comedy fall flatter, even when Fey & Carrell are funny, the stuff they are asked to do sometimes isn’t. Again, in lesser hands (say, oh, Gerard Butler & Jennifer Aniston), this movie would be nearly intolerably shrill. But in the end, it’s a wonderful tribute to the skills of its two stars and while it’s not a classic screwball comedy, it is still well worth your time.

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The Ghost Writer (2010) DVD Movie

Free Movies Download“The Ghost Writer” is excellent! This is how the story goes: When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start–not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang’s long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident. The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA — a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant and mistress, Amelia. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA — and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. Was Lang in the service of the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister? And was The Ghost’s predecessor murdered because of the appalling truth he uncovered?

The cast led by Ewan McGregor (as The Ghost) & Pierce Brosnan (as Adam Lang) is excellent! The directing by Roman Polanski (who also wrote the screenplay and produced) (who also directed “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), “Chinatown” (1974) & “The Pianist” (2002, which won him the Best Director Oscar, he also produced) is excellent! The screenplay by Robert Harris (based on his novel) & Polanski is excellent!

The music by Alexandre Desplat (who also did the music to “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (2009), “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” (2008), “The Queen” (2006), “Julie & Julia” (2009), “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009), the upcoming “The Tree Of Life” (2010) & “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I” (2010) is excellent! The cinematography by Pawel Edelman (who also did the cinematography to “The Pianist” & “Ray” (2004) is excellent! The film editing by Hervé de Luze (who also did the film editing to “The Pianist”) is excellent! The casting by Fiona Weir (who also did the casting to “Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire” (2005), “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix” (2007), “Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince” (2009), the upcoming “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Parts I & II” (2010 & 2011) & “Invictus” (2009) is excellent! The production design by Albrecht Konrad is excellent! The art direction by Cornelia Ott (who also did the art direction to “Valkyrie” (2008), David Scheunemann (supervising art director) (who also did the art direction to “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) & the upcoming “The Apparition” (2010) & Steve Summersgill (who also did the art direction to the upcoming “The Apparition”) is excellent! The set decoration by Katharina Birkenfeld & Bernhard Henrich (who also did the set decoration to “Valkyrie” & “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004) is excellent! The costume design by Dinah Collin (who also did the costume design to “United 93” (2006) is excellent!

This is a excellent mystery-thriller that keeps you guessing and thinking and on the edge of your seat. This is one of the best movies of the new year. This is one of Roman Polanski’s best movies in a while.

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Robin Hood (2010) DVD Movies

Free Movies DownloadThe story of Robin Hood has been told in films with different plot twists. In Douglas Fairbanks’ version from 1922, Robin Hood is the Earl of Huntington, going off on Crusade with King Richard (played by Wallace Berry). Huntington returns to oppose Prince John, who is threatening to take the throne from his brother.

Errol Flynn’s version has Robin Hood staying in England as a Saxon nobleman opposing Prince John for the same reasons as Douglas Fairbanks’ Huntington. Kevin Costner keeps the Third Crusade in the story but adds a Muslim warrior played by Morgan Freeman. There are many approaches to telling the story of Robin Hood.

Ridley Scott’s version is perhaps the most ambitious. The film begins with Richard the Lion Heart’s siege of the Castle Chaulus Chabral in Normandy. This is where we meet Robin Longstride, a skilled archer, who has followed King Richard into battle for many years. The king looks for an honest man and is confronted with Longstride who has been running a game of chance and is accused (by Little John) of cheating. Robin is not cheating but, ironically, his honest answers to the king land him and his companions shackled. So much for honesty and kings.

The death of King Richard allows Robin and his companions to escape and flee back home. Along the way, they run across a party led by Robert Loxley retuning the crown back to England. Loxley has been attacked by an English nobleman named Godfrey (magnificently played by Mark Strong) who is conspiring with King Philip of France to invade England. Loxley is mortally wounded but Robin and his companions rout Godfrey and his men. The dying Loxley asks Robin to return his sword to his father. Not being a nobleman, Robin impersonates Loxley and returns the crown to the hands to Prince John.

The story develops with Robin and his men going to Nottingham where Robin is, conveniently, asked by Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) to pretend to be his son in order to preserve the household for his daughter-in-law Marion (Cate Blanchett). The story centers on stopping Godfry and the intended invasion of England by King Philip. A sub-plot concerns the rights of Englishmen centered on a documents of rights that Robin’s father (long ago executed) was instrumental in conceiving. The document is the Magna Carta in all but name.

This Robin Hood brings the 12th century to life in all of its grim realities of hard work and, by our standards, hard living. The production design is beautifully conceived, down to the rushes strewn on the floor of the manor house. The performances are magnificent down to supporting roles. It was nice to see Mark Addy (of The Full Monty) as Friar Tuck and Oscar Isaac made an effective quarrelsome King John. John Hurt has a strong role as William Marshall, a courtier of King Richard, and Eileen Atkins made a strong Queen Eleanor. Danny Huston made an exciting Richard the Lion Heart.

The film ends with Robin declared an outlaw for supporting the rights of Englishmen. The film ends where Errol Flynn’s version begins. I have not heard if Ridley Scott intends to take up the story but we are left in anticipation of what is to come. This Robin Hood is well acted and beautifully photographed. The story is refreshingly different from the other Robin Hood’s but it is a story that has differed from film to film and television.

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