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Brad Pitt

Ad Astra (2019)

DIRECTOR: James Gray

CAST: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler

REVIEW:

Ad Astra (Latin for “to the stars) joins the likes of Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian as serious, hard sci-fi space movies that seek to portray with docudrama realism and verisimilitude the realities of space and the difficulties and dangers inherent therein. To that end, it’s aimed at a markedly different audience from the action-oriented likes of Star Wars and Star Trek, and its slow-burn deliberate pace requires a commitment of attention from serious-minded viewers.

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Fury (2014)

1D434B26DIRECTOR: David Ayer

CAST: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena

REVIEW:

One of the most intense, gritty, and brutal WWII films since Saving Private Ryan (possibly even surpassing it for graphic bloodshed), and one of the best war films to come along in years, Fury dispels the notion that the Allies’ post D-Day race toward Berlin (a race they lost to the Russians) was any kind of cakewalk.  Leave it to the likes of Patton to show montages of Allied columns roaring triumphantly down roadways as rousing music plays; Fury takes us down to the ground, spending much of the action inside one tank with one small crew slogging their way through Germany.  Of course, that is no criticism of Patton, just that the two films show the war from complete opposite perspectives.  Those who enjoyed (if “enjoyed” is an appropriate word) Saving Private Ryan should appreciate Fury.  In fact, Fury goes even further than Steven Spielberg’s epic in being completely devoid of any flag-waving patriotism or idealism.  This is a war movie that lives up to the saying “war is hell”.   Continue reading

12 Years a Slave (2013)

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen

CAST: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti

REVIEW:

12-years-a-slave-posterA powerful and haunting film and a stirring and important historical document, 12 Years a Slave may do for American slavery what Schindler’s List did for the Holocaust, using one man’s true story to portray the incalculable horrors of an evil system. While this film does not quite match the power of Steven Spielberg’s epic, it brings the grim, stark realities of slavery home in ways that are hard-hitting and eye-opening.  Nothing is sugarcoated—nor should it be—and there are moments of jarring brutality depicted unflinchingly to the point of being difficult to watch. Continue reading

World War Z (2013)

world-war-z-poster-bannerDIRECTOR: Marc Forster

CAST: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, David Andrews, Fana Mokoena, Ludi Boeken, Pierfrancesco Favino, Peter Capaldi, David Morse

REVIEW:

Fans of Max Brooks’ book of the same name, a pseudo-documentary collecting accounts of survivors from a worldwide zombie apocalypse, are not likely to be impressed with Marc Forster’s screen adaptation, which owes little more to the written source than the title, basic premise, and some plot ideas. Taken as a standalone film, World War Z is still flawed but fares better. Its scattershot focus gives it a fragmented, episodic feel, but it’s entertaining and boasts some impressive set pieces and tense sequences. Continue reading

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh

CAST: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Elliott Gould

REVIEW:

After such more serious, heavier material as Traffic and Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven (a loose remake of a 1960 heist caper starring the “Rat Pack” consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford) seems like a bit of a vacation, but if it’s fluffier and more lightweight and insubstantial than what’s typically expected from Soderbergh, it’s at least a breezy, entertaining heist caper that provides an engaging couple of hours.  Ocean’s Eleven isn’t really anything too challenging or special, but it’s a smoothly enjoyable diversion. Continue reading

Spy Game (2001)

DIRECTOR: Tony Scott

CAST: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Larry Bryggman, David Hemmings, Ken Leung

REVIEW:

Spy Game is a little bit like a John le Carre or Len Deighton story filtered through a Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer (or Tony Scott) visual sensibility, intriguing ideas and twisty-turny plot meeting fast-cutting whizz-bang filming and editing.  What results doesn’t always mesh perfectly together, but it contains enough intrigue and fast-paced turns to engage us for an entertaining couple of hours.  Continue reading

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