Posts Tagged ‘Scoot McNairy’

AAvengers: Captain America: The Winter Soldier set the Avengers franchise in a new direction and Marvel announced phase Three schedule covering films up to 2019.marvel-avengers

B  – Boyhood: What could have been a gimmick turned out to be the best film of the year.boyhood poster

CNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth was neither documentary or a narrative film, but was one of the best movies of the year.20,000 Days on Earth

DDoug Liman: Edge of Tomorrow was the enigma of 2014.  The Doug Liman directed movie received solid reviews and great word of mouth but underperformed at the box-office.edge of tomorrow

EEgypt & Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott’s biblical epic was released on Boxing Day in the UK and few weeks earlier in some countries.  The film has been banned in Egypt as the courtiers censors are unhappy with “historical inaccuracies”.Exodus Gods and Kings

FFincher & Flynn: Director David Fincher turned Gillian Flynn’s bestselling Novel Gone Girl into an excellent movie.Gone Girl

GGuardians of the Galaxy –  Made up of a cast of largely unknown characters, it was considered a risk for the franchise.  Not only was the film great fun but was the Highest grossing film at the US box-office (and 2nd highest worldwide) for the year.Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

HThe Hobbit: After more than 20 hours screen time, The Battle of the Five Armies brings Peter Jackson’s time in Middle Earth to an end.Peter_Jackson_Hobbit

IThe Interview:  The release for the movie The interview was cancelled following threats from hackers.  Barack Obama and George Clooney joined the debate and the film received a limited Christmas day release earning $1million from 331 scenes in independent theatres.the-interview-poster

JJennifer Lawrence: With an Oscar win and two other nominations as well as a starring role in two of the biggest movie franchises, Jennifer Lawrence is probably the biggest young star in Hollywood.  She was also the most outspoken victim of hackers who stole nude images and posted them online.jennifer-lawrence

KKickstarter: the big names to come from kickstarter in 2014 were the Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff’s ;Wish I Was Here.  Blue Ruin and Obvious Child also raised a little to help get them released.veronica-mars-movie

L Luc Besson & Lucy: After numerous movies with his name attached as a writer or producer Besson is back in the director’s chair with the surprise hit Lucy.  Making back its $40million budget back in its opening weekend.Lucy

MMcConaissance: Matthew McConaughey’s resurgence was completed with a best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

NNightcrawler: Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his career in Dan Gilroy’s feature debut.Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal

OOprah Winfrey: as well as producing two movies: Selma and The Hundred-Foot Journey Winfrey proved her Hollywood power by lending her support to the independent British film Belle.Oprah Winfrey

PPaddington: What could have been a disaster turned out to be charming and funny.paddington

Q – Quvenzhané Wallis: The young star of Beasts of the Southern Wild retuned with a small part in 12 Years a Slave and starring role in the remake of Annie.Quvenzhané Wallis

RThe Rover: After his début feature, Animal Kingdom in 2010 David Michôd is back with The Rover, a movie full of subtext, foreboding and great acting from Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. The Rover

SScarlett Johansson: It’s been a busy year for Johansson with the UK release of: Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef, Under the Skin and the surprise hit of the year Lucy.Scarlett Johansson under the skin

TAlan Turing: The imitation Game finally told the long overdue story of war hero and farther of computing, Alan Turing.the imitation game

UUnreleased: A region 2 DVD of Snowpiercer is available from a well know online retailer but the film is still yet to receive a UK release.Snowpiercer

VVampire: Forget Twilight, with Only Lovers Left Alive and What We Do in the Shadows there are two original ideas to kick-start the genre.Only Lovers Left Alive

W – Mia Wasikowska: After appearing in Stoker my favourite film of 2013 Mia Wasikowska is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actresses with appearances in Maps to the Stars, The Double, Only Lovers Left Alive and Tracks in 2014.Mia Wasikowska

X – X-Men: Days of Future Past: Bryan Singer returned to the X-Men franchise with a seminal story form the 80’s. It beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the world box-office, dragging the franchise from the shadow of Marvel Studios.X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-chess-game

Y – 12 Years A Slave: Winner of Oscars for Best picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o in her first feature film.Lupita Nyongo

ZThe Zero Theorem: Terry Gilliam is back after five years, and back to what he does best, making interesting films that look like the cost a lot more to make than they actually did.The Zero Theorem


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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was one of my favourite films of 2007 so when I heard that director and star Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt were re-teaming I was in. The original crime novel Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins was first published in 1974, the film has been updated to the modern day and is set against a backdrop of the financial crisis and the transition from Bush to Obama. 

A low level mobster (Vincent Curatola) hires Frankie and Russell, a pair of small time crooks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) to hold up a mob run card game. As planned initial suspicion falls on Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) who is know to have previously staged a hold up. In an effort to restore order, mob enforcer/hit man Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is sent in to clear things up.

On first viewing the dialogue may sound like Tarantino without his vigour or humour (there is comedy but it is very dark). The music, especially during the slow-motion killings could be seen as a rip-off of Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The television reports of the 2008 election and financial crisis seem heavy-handed. But there is far more to it. With all the glamour and romanticism stripped from the genre we are left with a downbeat tale that is a perfect metaphor for the time. At the centre of the story is Brad Pitt’s Jackie Cogan, a hitman who despite being good at what he does has a problem. He is hates it when his victims beg for mercy and is especially squeamish about killing people he has previously met. This is where fellow hitman Mickey (James Gandolfini) comes in, his problems provides both prospective and comic relief. Richard Jenkins plays a mob equivalent of middle management, a sort of buffer between Pitt and unseen bosses. They talk about their inability to make a decision and how in finding a solution what is seen to be done is more important than what is actually done,. Cogan’s goal isn’t revenge, it is getting the poker games back in operation, it is returning to the status quo. This is when I suddenly realise the whole movie is a metaphor and as such couldn’t help watching it differently. The other stark thing about this movie is the lack of woman. The most notable female character is a prostitute who appears in one scene, but this is a man’s world, a world of low rent, low life crooks.

With a runtime of just 97 minutes the movie is short by modern standards, but is perfect for the genre movie it is on the surface. If reports that the first cut was double the length are true it shows the maturity of Andrew Dominik as a filmmaker. With his previous movie clocking in at 160 minutes, it would have been easy to do the same again, that would have been a mistake.

An effective and affecting crime movie, the social and political commentary have earned the movie its greatest praise and largest criticism. An interesting movie on one level and an enjoyable one on another, it isn’t for everyone and those who don‘t like it will really hate it. Give it a chance, I can’t guarantee you will like it but its worth the risk and even if you don’t like it Brad Pitt’s great performance is fantastic.

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