I understand that hiring a criminal defense lawyer might scare some people because these situations are normally like that, they are scary. However, that does not mean that you should avoid going to a good criminal defense attorney, to begin with. If you have someone who is good with their work, why not go ahead and hire them, right?
Speaking of attorneys, you can check criminal law in Boston and that should give you an idea about these things and you can decide how you want to work on that, too. But for now, let’s just focus on why hiring such a lawyer is a wiser thing to do.
Always a Great Suggestion
If you are looking for good suggestion or advise, you can rely on these lawyers to deliver just that for you and that will be good, to be honest. You cannot go wrong with these lawyers at all and that is what makes them so convenient and good. So, always look into this and you would do just fine, to be honest. They are good at what they do so you know you will not be hiring someone average.
They Can Help You in Times of Need
Although being in any sort of criminal conduct is a terrible thing to go through but if you genuinely want some assistance, a good criminal defense attorney is always going to be able to help you in times of need and you really would not have any issues, either. It is just a matter of who you are hiring and how you want to work with them and that should get you all sorted in no time as well. I can tell that this might be confusing for you but hey, it will only help you better.
The gaming industry has become more popular than ever before lately. That is all possible thanks to the ever increasing graphics quality provided by graphics cards, and the latest consoles with great features hitting the market every year.
Since the quality of games you can play on your computer or console has increased drastically, players play for hours straight to earn a living, and become the best in their favorite games. When you are busy playing your games, you need a comfortable seating option which takes care of your back and does not let you tire soon.
This is where the gaming chairs come in. These chairs are specifically designed for gamers, and you can invest in one as well to reap its benefits.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of investing in a gaming chair when you build a game room.
Unlike office chairs which have insufficient padding, gaming chairs are made comfortable by installing the highest quality materials in them. This is done to let you sit comfortably for hours on end while playing your favorite games.
So, comfort is surely the best thing people buy the gaming chairs for.
Usually, low quality office chairs do not provide you with enough back rest when you are sitting on them. This way, your spine has to do all the work and bear all the weight of your upper body while you are sitting. Sitting in uncomfortable posters for a long time can cause unwanted lower back pain.
On the other hand, gaming chairs are made very comfortable, and extra bag support is added in them to help you sit comfortably for long times without feeling any pain in your back.
So, these were some of the biggest benefits of investing in a gaming chair.
In order to become truly healthy in some way, shape or form, you need to ensure that you are getting the proper intake of nutrients at any given point in time. There are a lot of nutrients that you are going to need, from carbohydrates and fat all the way to protein. Protein is one of the most important, but the problem is that we often end up getting it from rather suspect sources. A big part of the reason why that is the case has to do with the fact that we tend to eat protein in the form of red meat which is actually not that good for you.
You still need protein of course, you just need to ensure that you get it from an appropriate source. Fish is actually the single best protein source that you can ever put inside of your mouth, and if you use tools for fishing to catch fish then this means that you can eat the freshest fish in the world which would be so healthy that you would start to feel like a new man the moment that you start to consume it.
The best thing about getting all of your protein from fish is that it has the potential to give you your required nutrients in a really low calorie way. Not only that but it is full of fatty acids that you can only get from fish and they are all really good for you. Try using a fish finder to see how it can benefit you. Suffice it to say that you have never eaten fish that is as good as what you have caught on your own.
There is no way to overlook the fact that going to theaters and venues for musicals is always a fun thing to do and while I am not saying that musicals are something that are for everyone, they can be a lot of fun when you are doing things the right way, and the best part is that there are so many opportunities that you will come across, too.
With that said, a great thing that I would suggest is a Grand Ole Opry Tour and I understand that this might not be for everyone but hey, you are looking at a good experience overall, and there is no point to not go for it because your own experience matters a lot in such a situation.
Below are a few reasons.
You Want to Enjoy Your Time Out
You can start by looking at the obvious and that is that you will be able to enjoy your time out and it is always going to be a lot more fun than you might think. I understand that some might be hesitant in the start but the more you are focused on it, the better it will be eventually, and you cannot really overlook it.
You Like Musicals
If you like musicals or other stage shows, then going to this place is a great thing to do because the experience is always what makes this place so, so good. Now, I do get that a lot of you might feel strange or not in the favour but it is all about having the fun and why not go and have fun when you have the chance to do just that. Things will eventually work for you and that too, without any problems.
The general perception that is often born inside of people’s heads when they are out looking for a home that they can move into at any given point in time is that they should ideally go about maximizing the size of their potential home in some way, shape or form. A big part of the reason why that is the case has to do with the fact that people often assume that having more space is good for you, and while this is reasonably true at the very least to a certain extent it should be noted that in certain situations buying a tiny house might be a lot more worthwhile for you.
For one thing, a tiny house kaufen can enable you to decrease a lot of the clutter from your life. Instead of having to worry about things like whether or not you have enough objects that you own, you can just make do with what you have. Having a tinier space means that you would have to put a lot less effort into finding a way to make the most of the room that you have at your disposal by purchasing more items than you know what to do with.
Living in a tiny house is basically a form of minimalism that is becoming increasingly popular in the modern day, to the point where a number of people are turning into converts who would always be willing to give such small houses a try. You will find that your life will start to be a lot more enjoyable when you live in a tiny house and this is the type of thing that needs to be seen to be believed.
No one enjoys being in debt. This can include any kind of debt from student loans, to a loan for starting a small business, buying a house, investing elsewhere, and so on. This is because debt always has to be paid with interest, which can only grow higher the longer the debt goes unpaid. If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of having too many debts to pay off and no idea what to do to clear your financial debts, then you should continue reading the rest of this article and start doing what you can today to make things a little easier for yourself.
If we are talking multiple debts, then you want to figure out which debt you need to start paying off first. This can include a loan with the highest interest rate out of the rest, the debt which has not been paid for a while and is now going to result in the lenders seizing your collateral, or the debt that can be paid off the quickest. Out of these options, you need to choose what is most important to you there.
You should try to look into means of secondary income. This includes freelancing, having a side business, or anything that might bring some extra income to help you pay off your debts.
You should avoid using your credit card wherever you can.
You will need to scale down your lifestyle and try to have as few personal expenditures as possible because luxuries and privileges should not be a priority in this situation. So, you have to cut corners wherever you can.
Consult with a lawyer to try and explore your options, and if there is no way out, then declaring bankruptcy might be your final option.
Hair clippers definitely cost you some money to buy, and that is why you must consider a few important things before buying them. There are lots of different brands and varieties of hair clippers in the market that choosing the right one can be downright overwhelming.
Before you make the buying decision, you should consider the main purpose of buying hair clippers. If you are a professional, you will definitely need to invest in high-quality clippers. However, if you are buying a clipper to cut your own hair, you can do well with a medium quality product as well.
So, let’s discuss a few of the most important things to consider when buying hair clippers.
They Must Be Reliable
Buying low quality hair clippers just because you will be using them less often is not the wise choice to make. That is because they can easily break at an unexpected time. So, never buy a cheap hair clipper if you want to get the best results.
Always invest in a reliable hair clipper which will last you a long time as well. This way, you will have to make the investment only once, and will be able to use the product for a long time.
They Must Be Easy to Use
If you are looking to buy a hair clipper for home use, you can buy mid range products since they can last you a long time.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a professional hair clipper to use in your barbershop, you will have to invest in the highest quality hair clippers to get the best out of them.
So, when you are in the market looking for the best hair clipper, you’re buying decision mostly depends on the frequency and purpose of using the product.
There is nothing really wrong with plastic surgery. For a lot of people, this procedure is as common as it can be and the best part is that you can simply make sense of everything, too. The whole point that you should be able to understand is that you need to have all the information at hand before you get into it. Again, this is not something that you can just let go off easily.
Speaking of that, you can check a few things to know before surgery and that should help you a lot in the process because that way, you will be aware of what you should be looking at and what you should be avoiding.
Below, you can look at the things that you should know.
There is Going to Be Some Down Time
First things first, you will have to be aware of the fact that there is going to be some downtime as it is one of the things that are always going to be a case. However, the downtime varies from surgery to surgery. So, not all of them are going to be the same and that is what you should know.
Finding The Right Place is Important
You will also need to understand that finding the right place for a surgery is going to be very important and you cannot really go around without it. I know a lot of people who do not pay attention to this and that is never what we would suggest. Therefore, it is wiser if you have been taking care of this and you are updated about the situation, too. It will only help you have a better time with your plastic surgery, which is important.
It is safe to say that getting rid of mold on your own is never an easy thing, to be honest. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in the process, and if you are facing such issues, it is better that you are taking care of it the right way and that is by hiring someone to do it for you.
You can get in touch with us at Atlanta mold remediation and that should get you started in no time but right now, let’s just look at why you should hire a mold remediation services because honestly, it is the better and wiser thing to do, as well.
Let’s not waste time and have a look.
Getting Rid of Mold is Difficult
The first thing that you need to know is that getting rid of mold is always a difficult process. Especially if you have no proper experience in getting rid of mold, in the first place. The good news is that these professionals can help you a lot and they will take care of everything for you, as well. I can tell you already that this is not going to go wrong, either. So, a professional service is always good.
They Can Control And Reduce The Spread Further
Another thing that you must understand is that mold can spread further, as well. Therefore, it would be better if you can hire the professionals so they can help with the control and further spread of the issue because having such services that can give you access is always better and you will not have any other problems that will come in the way, either. Just be sure that you are taking care of this.
There’s nothing new about needing a good worker’s compensation lawyer. These lawyers are a lot more common than one might assume and the best thing about them is that they can make your life a whole lot easier and simpler, too. Especially if you are dealing with a trickier situation and you need professional and legal help.
Hiring this help is not going to be an issue for anyone, to be honest. There are a few questions that you should ask, however, especially if you have been thinking about calling a workers comp attorney because it is better that you are focused on this, too. So, let’s not waste time and have a look.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
The first question that you should ask anyone is just how long you have been practicing law because in all honesty, this is one of the more important things to figure out. Hiring someone who has not been in the law for a long time is only going to create more problems for you and we want to avoid that at all costs.
What Do You Think About My Case?
Once you have presented them with you case, the next step would involve you asking them about what they think of your case. It is a simple and straightforward question that gets answered on time and once you have asked it, you can just go right ahead and see if they are worth taking the shot.
Again, these things are a lot simpler and you can even add your questions if you are not sure how to get started or where to get started from. It is all about convenience, so always focus on that.
For anyone into romantic comics or manga, you would be glad to know that the choices are limitless, and you can find these scattered all over the internet. The whole goal is to find the one that you are looking for and get started. Even that is not going to be difficult, in the place. But I get it that most people have issues finding what they are looking for.
That is what we are trying to avoid here as you can easily find the romance comics and that should be more than enough for you. In this article, we want to talk about a few mistakes you should avoid whenever you are going for these comics because choosing the right one is a lot more important than you might think.
Trusting Sites That Are Unsafe
The thing is that you are going to find a lot of sites of sites on the internet that are not really safe to use and there are a lot of issues that you might run into. The important thing that you must understand is that trusting such sites is not something that I am going to suggest to anyone because you are only putting yourself at a risk and we are trying to protect you against those.
Not Checking For Viruses
Another thing that we are going to suggest that you should always check for viruses before you go ahead and download something. After all, the wiser thing is to be careful rather than regretting things later down the road. We don’t ever want to go through that process because it would be harmful in more ways than one and we have to avoid that.
If you have received news that you are about to be a father, then you are probably feeling many emotions right now. Fatherhood can be a huge blessing, and you want to make sure that you are equipped in every manner possible once the baby does arrive. This includes making sure you have the finances, a nursery, baby clothes, and so on. There are hundreds and thousands of articles and books that will help you prepare for all of the serious and main aspects of fatherhood, which is why we will instead talk about light-hearted things like getting you ready for dad jokes and humor instead.
We have all heard different dad jokes throughout our lives, with the most common one being “Hi hungry, I’m dad” as a response to “I’m hungry.” That is the ultimate beauty of dad jokes, they are lame and obvious and at the same time, the exact sort of thing we expect from our fathers. Yes, you have to think about a lot of things like your kid’s future, college, getting them ready for the outside world, and all of that. Yes, these are all very important, but if you want to make more lasting memories, then just being able to make your kid laugh, especially when they least expect it is important as well. We do not realize it, but it is these small moments of laughter and shared connection that they carry on with them later as they go through life. So yes, be sure to prepare for all of the important and serious stuff, but at the same time, make sure to be physically and emotionally present when your kid is around because they will remember and need that the most as they are navigating through life and the world.
When you are in your 20s, there are a lot of opportunities that might come your way as far as business is concerned but you also have to understand that taking advantage of these opportunities is absolutely important and you can never really ignore or overlook that.
Now, it is safe to say that you might come across a lot of business opportunities but remember, not every opportunity is going to be a good one and to be able to tell which one is good and which is not is something that can be tricky for a lot of people but we are here to change that.
We are going to talk about a few things that should tell whether the opportunity is useful or not.
Lots of Potential
First things first, whenever you are looking at these opportunities, you can see that there is a thing called potential. Some of these have a lot of potential and mays of making money not just in short term but also in the longer term, and therefore, you must keep that in mind when you are about to start this.
Good Risk And Reward Ratio
Another thing you will realise is that there is a good risk/reward ratio involved in the opportunities that are good and there are no false promises of making you rich overnight. Because let’s be honest, there’s no getting rich overnight and that is the truth.
With that out of the way, you just have to be certain of the fact that if you are looking to get things sorted out, do look at these factors, and you will be able to have a better understanding about these opportunities.
Nearly ten years after Peter Jackson wrapped up his vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy with the Best Picture-winning Return of the King, he’s taking us back to Middle Earth with the first entry in The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey. With a few familiar faces in front of the camera and a handful of fresh ones to lead the adventure, Jackson manages to capture some fantastic moments here but still can’t shake the feeling that this story didn’t need to be stretched over three movies.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Director: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
There are many jokes to be made about how, despite this film’s title, many elements of it actually feel familiar and quite expected, but we were almost spared those comparisons because this project came close to looking drastically different from what ended up on screen. Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro spent years developing the story of The Hobbit with Jackson, Fran Walsh, and co-writer Phillipa Boyens in order to direct it himself, but with MGM floundering in bankruptcy and the project not receiving an official greenlight, del Toro had to step down and take on other projects in 2010. The ship eventually righted itself at MGM and Jackson reluctantly stepped into the director’s chair, and decided to stretch the story from two films into three, presumably so he could incorporate elements from the appendices from “The Lord of the Rings” and make this trilogy his last hurrah in Middle Earth.
Many critics will likely write about how this movie feels slight in comparison to The Lord of the Rings, but that’s just the nature of adapting the source material. The stakes in LOTR are as high as they come – the safety of the free world is up for grabs – but here, the mission is to find a better land for a band of dwarfs who, by their own admittance, already have a pretty good life as it is. There’s no real urgency in this journey, and the treasure at the bottom of the faraway mountain with a giant dragon guarding it is barely more than a setup for future entries into this series. This movie is lighter and a little funnier, representative of the fact that the book it was based on was essentially a children’s story.
Martin Freeman, who you may know from the brilliant BBC series “Sherlock,” is wonderful as a young Bilbo Baggins, bringing just the right amount of stuffiness and agitation to the part as he’s thrust out of his safe little hobbit hole and joins a company of dwarfs who seek to reclaim their homeland. Richard Armitage plays Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarf leader, and though he spends most of the film brooding over the loss of his land, he generally does a good job. Thorin is one of the only distinguishable dwarfs among the company of 14, and thankfully Jackson doesn’t spend any amount of time trying to make us identify with each one; he keeps them bunched into groups, and wisely only concentrates on Thorin’s backstory.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf, disappearing for large chunks of time before popping in and saving the day in increasingly ridiculous ways, while Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, and Christopher Lee all have extended cameos while the dwarfs hang out in Rivendell before they stray too far outside of The Shire. Fans of LOTR might get a kick out of seeing this group of returning players, but along with an Elijah Wood appearance in the movie’s opening scene, they didn’t seem entirely necessary. In fact, much of the nearly three hour runtime of An Unexpected Journey feels that way, as if Jackson has to remind people of why they liked the first trilogy instead of moving on and telling this story on its own. There are some pacing issues, as the middle section of the film tends to fall on the boring side, but an inspired cave battle and the return of Andy Serkis’ Gollum are highlights that bring things back up to speed. (Serkis, who is fantastic yet again as the devious Gollum, actually directed the second unit action sequences.)
Fans of on screen battles should be relatively pleased, because there are a ton of them as this film rolls on. From dragon raid flashbacks to orcs to goblins to Necromancers, there are battles aplenty, and Jackson relishes the opportunity to have his heroes behead as many villains as possible. (I counted at least five.) Though the stakes may not be as high this time around, Jackson continues to impress with his immense sense of scale and scope. Still, there’s a feeling that not every single detail of this journey needed to be seen.
Howard Shore returns to compose the score, and while much of it sounds like the same music that we’ve already heard from him (I’m sensing a pattern here), the “Misty Mountains” theme is catchy, captivating, and a terrific piece of work. It’s used over and over again throughout the movie, dominating the aural landscape, but it’s tough to nitpick about how often we hear it because it’s so great.
When the ending comes and – spoiler alert – the company is still ridiculously far away from their destination, it doesn’t quite feel like a slap across the face, but if you listen very closely as the closing credits roll, you can almost hear greedy studio executives cackling in the background, counting their pile of gold they’ve just made as we’ve paid for one third of a journey. An Unexpected Journey has some memorable moments and some that I’d rather forget (Radagast the Brown, anyone?), and though it doesn’t exactly feel like Jackson was phoning it in or anything, it’s tough to be thrilled by a story that doesn’t have much of its own arc. As a passive fan of the LOTR trilogy, I’m more curious than excited about where Jackson and his team are going next. Until next time…
Adapting the story from Lee Child’s novel “One Shot,” writer/director Christopher McQuarrie reteams with his frequent collaborator Tom Cruise for Jack Reacher, a murder mystery with a morally murky protagonist at the center. It’s a decent thriller with an interesting story, and though it features the occasional shining moment, it’s mostly just a by-the-numbers procedural tale that will keep you entertained for a couple of hours. The movie isn’t nearly as boring as its idiotic and generic title, but when all is said and done, it’ll be lost in the hoopla of more prestigious films as 2012 comes to an end.
Jack Reacher Writer/Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog
McQuarrie makes a strange decision from the start and chooses to show us who the killer actually is in the first minute of the film, leaving us to spend the next hour or so waiting for the main characters to figure it out. The opening scene is loaded with suspense, as Jai Courtney’s sniper character coolly looks through his scope and slowly picks off innocent people from a distance. (This scene takes on something of a different feeling with the Newtown, CT shooting still fresh in the minds of the audience, but I applaud Paramount for not altering the film or delaying its release date.) When a poor sap is framed for the seemingly random murders, he requests one thing and one thing only: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). The patsy knows that Reacher – a former Army investigator who had a run-in with the guy once before turning into a drifter and dropping off the grid for two years – is the only one who will examine the case thoroughly enough to clear his name. So Reacher teams with the Pittsburgh district attorney’s daughter (Rosamund Pike) and goes to work, but it takes them so long to jump to catch up to what we already know that the movie feels like it’s spinning its wheels for a while.
Despite the fact that Cruise doesn’t physically match the description of the Reacher character from the book in the slightest, he does a decent job here. He’s tough, he kicks ass, he’s smart, and he cracks wise here and there. But frankly, this kind of movie seems somehow below a megastar like Cruise at this stage of his career, and I kept thinking that Jack Reacher would be decent franchise fare for a younger up-and-coming actor. Cruise always feels a bit too handsome to be a wandering drifter, and he never quite disappears enough into the character to make me believe he’d be the type of guy who only owned one shirt. There are actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Christian Bale who can embody other characters so well that you forget the actor exists, but once Cruise became a superstar it feels like he’s always allowed a bit of that persona to seep out in his performances. I get it. That’s part of his charm. That’s a reason people (myself included) like him. But he seems miscast as Reacher, and I could never quite buy in to the film because of it.
McQuarrie stages his climax in a rock quarry (heh, quarry…McQuarrie) and handles the action well enough, but even when things are at a boiling point, the film never reaches the heights of McQuarrie’s legendary on screen shootout in The Way of the Gun. The action never feels neutered or anything, but it just doesn’t have the same crackle or immediacy that the writer/director’s other work has had. Because of Cruise’s superstar status, we sort of know that things are going to turn out well for him, and though you could argue that about practically any action movie, it’s worth mentioning that the stakes don’t seem tremendously high here. It doesn’t help that a few plot points skip past so quickly that they end up being a bit confusing, too; at one point, Reacher is framed for someone’s murder and kicks off a huge car chase, but it wasn’t clear to me exactly how he was set up. The plan of the master villain (Werner Herzog) is ultimately revealed, but his scheme seems like it isn’t worth the risks he took to make it happen. Again, the same could be said for a lot of movies, but the fact that this aspect was something I was thinking about while watching the film means I wasn’t sucked into the story like I would have been otherwise.
Like the film as a whole, the supporting cast is good but not great. Pike is serviceable but can’t ever compete with Cruise’s magnetism and sheer star power, David Oyelowo and Richard Jenkins seem a bit more rigid than usual, and Robert Duvall even shows up in the third act to aid Cruise in his quest. Herzog is fine but actually isn’t in the movie that much, but it was interesting to see Jai Courtney (soon to be playing John McClane’s son in A Good Day to Die Hard) in a high profile role for the first time, showing some promise for the future.
There are some classic McQuarrie moments, from bits of dialogue to action scene choices I can’t recall seeing before. (At one point, Cruise beats up a bad guy using the limp body of another bad guy, and there’s a phone call scene before the climax that’s pretty damn spectacular, including the threat of “drinking [someone’s] blood from a boot.”) Weirdly enough, it’s also the third big release of 2012 that I can think of that involves a scene in which the hero or heroes are inexplicably aided by common people, sharing a bizarre 2012 thematic connection with The Amazing Spider-Man and Battleship.
It’s hard to recommend seeing Jack Reacher during a holiday season crowded with some of the year’s best movies, but it’s very watchable and would make for perfect lazy afternoon viewing if you’re a big Cruise fan looking to see him work some guys over. Otherwise, save your hard-earned $13 and add it to your Netflix queue. Just try not to get it confused with John Carter or Paramount’s upcoming Jack Ryan. CHARACTER NAMES ARE NOT MOVIE TITLES. Until next time…
Following up his wildly acclaimed 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino returns to the big screen in 2012 with Django Unchained, a sizzling genre exercise that allows the filmmaker to check off a box that has eluded him thus far in his career: the western. It’s one of QT’s most direct and linear productions to date, but as you might suspect, this isn’t your average cowboy tale. Stuffed with great performances, impeccable direction, and an amazing screenplay, the film might be a bit too stuffed; it drags a bit in some sections, but don’t let its runtime scare you away. This is one of the very best movies to hit theaters this year.
Django Unchained Writer/Director: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Tarantino is on a tear with revisionist history after this film and Inglourious Basterds, and it appears that viewing cultural enemies like Nazis, or in this case, slave owners, down the barrel of a gun fits right in with the director’s style. He offers a spaghetti western story wrapped in his familiar pop sensibilities, a crowd pleasing tale that pulses with the boiling blood of revenge. It’s a simple tale well told, and though it runs a bit long at over two and a half hours, the movie never fails to draw in its audience. Like a masked bandit during a train robbery, Tarantino holds us captive as he takes us through the American South just two years shy of the Civil War as we follow his almost mythical hero on his rise from slave to one of the biggest badasses of the director’s entire filmography.
Jamie Foxx is terrific, giving his best performance since 2004’s Collateral as the title character. He’s fiery, quick on the draw, and a bit of a rouge, traits which play to the actor’s strengths and result in a great character. His transformation from slave to bounty hunter is nearly instantaneous, and I was thankful that we didn’t have to sit through endless montages of Django improving his accuracy as the story goes on; he’s already a natural. And though the character doesn’t go through a very pronounced arc throughout the film, his dogged persistence and ingenuity make up for it. We pretty much know how this is going to play out, but Foxx makes it fun to watch nonetheless.
Christoph Waltz – the Austrian actor Tarantino plucked from obscurity and turned into an international superstar with the role of Hans Landa in Basterds – is a delight to watch as Dr. King Schultz, the dentist-turned-bounty-hunter who takes Django under his wing. He delivers Tarantino’s dialogue like no one else can, and he’s magnetic and mesmerizing as a good guy in this movie. He’s also absolutely hilarious, providing many of the movie’s biggest laughs. His chemistry with Foxx was tangible, and he also played well with the wide-eyed Washington, who does a great job with a small part as Django’s enslaved wife, Broomhilda.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays slave owner Calvin Candie, the film’s main villain, and while many have been heaping praise on Leo’s performance, I think if anyone should be in talks to receive acting awards here, it should be Waltz. (Keep in mind that DiCaprio is my favorite actor working in Hollywood today, so I’m not saying that lightly.) Leo was solid for sure, but Waltz was downright legendary. DiCaprio clearly enjoyed the opportunity to play against type in such eccentric fashion, and the problem with Candie might actually be that he wasn’t quite bad enough. Yes, he does horrendously terrible things, but in a Tarantino film, you’d expect his level of villainy to be so palpable that it’s nearly unbearable; he takes pleasure in other people’s pain, but never reaches that legendary status. Samuel L. Jackson appears late in the movie as Stephen, the head slave at Candie’s plantation, and though I wouldn’t say he steals the film outright, he at least grabs it and makes a break for the door. It’s likely the most fun he’s had on screen in a while, and he gets to shine in some killer moments.
The movie is shockingly funny; not “shockingly” because it’s a Tarantino film (his films are often filled with iconic comedic moments), but because the premise taken at face value could imply a very serious and totally different movie than this one turns out to be. But I laughed more here than I did in many of this year’s full on comedies, which is a testament to Tarantino’s skills as a writer and his ability to juggle tone. He gives the film real stakes and some serious dramatic moments, but also doesn’t shove his head so far up his own ass that he can’t recognize the potential for hilarity. When a group of KKK members have a detailed five minute conversation about whether or not they should wear masks during an upcoming raid, it’s the perfect blend of social commentary, great writing, and laugh out loud comedy that only Tarantino can create.
My biggest complaint is the pacing slows way down when the main characters reach Candieland, and though the film didn’t ever lose me completely, it seemed as if it could have lost twenty more minutes on the cutting room floor and been better off because of it. The first hour whips past, building relationships and setting up the main rescue mission, but once the stakes are in place and the plan is in motion, things slow to crawl. Until, that is, one of the most impressively staged gunfights of the past few years rips through the second half of the movie, leaving piles of bodies and buckets of blood in its wake. It’s a hell of a wake-up call for those who may have grown tired of the battle of wits taking place between the main characters as they slyly talked their way around their real intentions in Candieland, and when those shots ring out, Tarantino makes sure that this is a scene that you come out of the theater excited to see again.
Django Unchained is a wonderful mix of exploitation, western, and revenge films, and though it doesn’t have too many narrative surprises, it definitely lives up to the hype. In a year in which many high profile movies didn’t meet lofty expectations, it’s nice to finally feel blown away in a theater again. It’s still a little early for me to rank this among QT’s other work, but I have no problem saying that it’s absolutely one of the best movies of 2012. This is the one I’ve been waiting for all year, and it looks like audiences are about to get a hell of a Christmas present when this movie opens on December 25th. Until next time…
After winning the Academy Award for Best Picture for The Hurt Locker in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal are back with a film about the United States’ ten year hunt for Osama bin Laden. Though we already know the outcome, Boal and Bigelow manage to make the film riveting, suspenseful, and intense throughout, similar to the way Ben Affleck thrilled audiences with his own political period piece, Argo, earlier this year. Based on firsthand accounts from people who were involved at every step of the real story, Boal uses his background as an investigative journalist to take us inside the search for the world’s most dangerous man and, though a bit of dramatic license is occasionally taken, show how finding him came down to the fortitude of a single woman.
Zero Dark Thirty Director: Kathryn Bigelow Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong
Jessica Chastain plays Maya, a CIA agent recruited out of high school assigned to track down bin Laden. She meets up with Dan (Jason Clarke), a no-nonsense soldier who spends his days torturing detainees for information. In the early minutes of the movie, Dan makes Maya an accomplice in this behavior and though she clearly doesn’t enjoy it, she realizes that this dirty work done behind closed doors is an integral part of finding their target. It’s a star-making performance for Clarke, who shined on the short-lived FOX TV series “The Chicago Code” and as one of the Bondurant brothers in this year’s bootlegging drama Lawless. Dan seems to have taken lessons at the Vic Mackey School of Torture, showing the same sort of ruthlessness that Michael Chiklis displayed as the hard-nosed enforcer of FX’s “The Shield.”
The film introduces us to the core group dedicated to tracking bin Laden with Maya and skips through the years detailing various dead ends and red herrings before she finally stumbles upon a single name: Abu Ahmed. He’s a courier for the Al-Qaeda mastermind, and Maya thinks that if she finds Ahmed, she’ll find bin Laden. But pressure from the government higher ups and random bombings around the world (some hitting closer to home than she’d like) leave everyone scrambling to keep up, and only Maya is left thinking if they knock over this key domino, all the others will fall around it. It’s as if she’s caught in a season of “The Wire,” filled with all of the ups and downs of a long term investigation told briskly in under three hours. Where Bigelow and Boal kept us at arm’s length through the eyes of the unhinged protagonist in The Hurt Locker, they totally pull the audience into the story here, and Chastain’s powerful lead performance steers the story toward its inevitable conclusion (while at the same time revealing how scarily close that outcome came to never happening at all).
I’d say this role is a star-making performance for Chastain as well, but after her amazing 2011 (in which she starred in seven theatrical films in a single year), the truth is she’s already a star. Her work here ranks among her finest performances so far, as she exudes dedication and strong-willed resolve to follow her gut even when everyone turns against her. I could spend an entire separate review heaping praise on the amazing supporting cast, but with names like Mark Strong, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini, Harold Perrineau, and Jennifer Ehle in the mix, there are too many people in that list that I love, and it would take far too long.
I’ve heard some complaints in the critical community deriding the choice to open the film with a 9/11 callback, with the thrust of these complaints being along the lines of: “We get it. We know how bad bin Laden was and how terrible 9/11 was. Why does that need to be in the movie?” But I’d like to defend the choice to open the film with that audio montage. For those of us who lived through 9/11, we all bring our own memories and experiences into the theater when we sit down to watch Zero Dark Thirty. By keeping the screen black and just playing audio, it allows us to visualize our own memories about that terrible day and puts us back in that mindset to understand the villain that we’re about to spend the next two and a half hours chasing. But also keep in mind that this film will outlive us all, and for audiences in the next generation who don’t have vivid recollections of where they were, what they were doing, and what they saw that day, this montage sets the stage for those viewers; by using real voices on those phone calls and not just actors, it gives the film a sense of importance separate from the simple “based on a true story” that your average sports drama might receive.
The final scene, an almost real-time retelling of SEAL Team Six breaking into bin Laden’s Pakistani fortress and actually doing the deed, plays at times like a haunted house film. The general public still doesn’t know much about what exactly happened inside that compound, so Bigelow and Boal insert a few jump scares here and there (nothing too egregious) and take that opportunity to give the audience a couple of surprises in a film in which we otherwise essentially know how everything else plays out. It’s shot in night vision and evokes the same kind of disconnected intensity of The Hurt Locker, and unlike Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds – which let audiences get collective catharsis through the revisionist history of watching Hitler absolutely annihilated by machine gun fire – Zero Dark Thirty barely shows its villain during his assassination. Since we spend the whole movie looking at the search for bin Laden through Maya’s eyes, the film’s real money shot isn’t a bullet to his head; it’s seeing her identifying the body and watching the weight lifted from her shoulders in the movie’s closing moments.
Even though I really liked Zero Dark Thirty, I’m hoping Bigelow steps away from war movies for a little while after two back-to-back efforts in that genre and continues to stretch her directing muscles elsewhere. The calculated way in which she stages that final raid is technically impressive, but it lacks the soul that the rest of the movie has. She’s at her best when dealing with characters, not events. But she’s having quite the run late in her career, and with ZDT being a frontrunner for Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, two wins could cement her as the voice of a generation chronicling American forces’ activities overseas. But even if she spends the rest of her life making war movies, she’ll always be the director of Point Break to me. Which, in case that wasn’t clear, is totally a good thing. Until next time…
If you’re the type of moviegoer who enjoys films that are poorly made, terribly acted, only semi-competent in executing action sequences, but ones with tons of charm and enthusiasm, Miami Connection just might be your new favorite movie. Made in 1987 and promptly forgotten, someone at Drafthouse Films bought a copy of it using Ebay and is now releasing it for the world to see. The plot involves a synth-rock band named Dragon Sound full of Tae Kwan Do black belts who battle drug lords and a gang of motorcycle-riding ninjas to stop the cocaine trade in Orlando. And the final product totally lives up to that ridiculous premise.
Miami Connection Co-writers/co-directors: Y.K. Kim, Richard Park Starring: Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, Kathy Collier, William Eagle
Miami Connection is the brainchild of co-writer, co-director, producer, and star Y.K. Kim, who makes a living off screen as a martial arts grandmaster, inspirational speaker, and dojo owner in Orlando. On screen he plays Mark, an easygoing backup guitarist for Orlando’s own Dragon Sound who is far better at martial arts than he is at playing the guitar. John (Vincent Hirsch), the lanky bass player, is in love with the group’s female singer Jane (Kathy Collier), and all goes well until Jane’s jealous brother Jeff (William Eagle) – known for hanging with a rough crowd – gets involved and starts muscling John out of the picture. Unbeknownst to Dragon Sound, Jeff is involved with a gang of cocaine dealing ninjas based in Miami, and when they team with the scorned band that Dragon Sound ousted at the club where they play their music…you can smell the street fights already.
The action bounces back and forth between being totally sanitized and gruesomely violent with no warning and zero consistency, which actually becomes sort of fun after you get used to it. You never know whether someone is going to get kicked in the chest or beheaded, and with either one a possibility at all times, it makes enduring some of the more questionable elements of these scenes (things like lighting, camera placement, and editing) a bit easier to swallow. The settings for action scenes also vary drastically, ranging from some sort of low-lying marshland to a railroad station to what appeared to be a combination of a castle and a junkyard. As someone who lived in Orlando for a year in the 2000s, I assure you that no such place still exists (if it ever did in the first place).
But in spite of these flaws (or perhaps because of them), no other movie so earnestly wears its heart on its sleeve, and the genuine affection for the filmmaking shines through even though it certainly doesn’t live up to generalized standards of being a “good” movie. (That’s a whole separate topic covered by Matt Singer at Criticwire.) From the lyrics of the band’s amazingly-terrible-yet-catchy-as-hell songs (things like “Tae Kwon Do is our way of life”) to the wise old restaurant owner character who tells the group the true meaning of martial arts, it’s clear that Kim was using this film as a vehicle for spreading the gospel of his art. Miami Connection is the rare action movie with a mission statement, and as cheesy as it gets at times (OK, the entire time), there’s just something about it where you can’t help but smile.
The acting is excruciatingly bad and the over-dubbed voices are godawful, reminiscent of the director’s work on a film called L.A. Streetfighter from a couple of years prior. The plot doesn’t even try to make sense much of the time, and extended sequences of the band cruising the beach trying to pick up chicks or practicing martial arts on the University of Central Florida campus seem to be just things that these actors would normally be doing anyway, regardless of whether a camera was there to see it or not. (Only two members of the cast were actually professional martial artists, and the rest were students at Kim’s school.)
The movie raises so many more questions than it answers, and if you’re open to films like these, you’ll likely have a blast with your friends laughing about the inconsistencies and questioning character motivations. It’s a ludicrous film, but the unadulterated passion that went into making it somehow takes it to another level. It’s not nearly as audacious as Buckeroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension, another film that featured the lead characters in an 1980s rock band, but it’s not trying to be; the only think Y.K. Kim wants the audience to get from this is that maybe, just maybe, Tae Kwan Do could be the answer to life’s problems. If you’re looking for something fun and insane to watch, Miami Connection could be the answer to yours. Until next time…