Tag Archives: tom hardy

Movie Review – Capone (2020)

Time for a review of a modern day take on the old timey gangster movie 3.5 readers, see?


I don’t know what to make of this movie, other than, who the hell wanted this?

Al Capone, the man who basically invented American organized crime, has been featured in films and TV shows for decades, so much so that there probably wasn’t much of a chorus of voices calling for another Capone story.

But not having much else to do, I gave it a shot.  The premise is that it takes place during the last year of Capone’s life. He’s 48 and in bad shape.  Though late forties isn’t normally the time when the average man turns into a doddering codger (at least by modern standards), Al is in poor health.  He suffers from syphilis of the brain, which has lead to strokes, which has led to declining mental health.

By the start of the film, Al has been released from his ten year stint in prison for tax evasion. He has run off to his estate in Florida with his wife and family, and is constantly annoyed by the presence of workmen who are packing up his precious statues so they can be sold, the family apparently in need of the dough.

Overall, the movie is a vehicle for Tom Hardy to flex his acting chops.  Hardy is able, through facial contortions, make-up, prosthetics and voices.  He becomes almost like a living breathing cartoon version of a gangster brought to life here.

But other than that, there isn’t much to the movie and honestly, it was a chore to watch it. I checked my clock regularly, just praying for the damn thing to end.

Plot wise?  There isn’t a lot to it.  There are occasional mentions of Al having stashed $10 million away, and sometimes various characters try to break past Al’s scrambled mind to find out where he has hidden the loot.  An old henchman played by Matt Dillon wants to find it, on the auspices that he’d like to help Al seeing as how Al and his family are in need of money, yet said henchman doesn’t exactly come across as the type of person you’d want to trust with your loot.

There’s also a doctor who is being pushed by G-Men into trying to get the info out of Al, though what the Feds have on the doc is never explained.

That’s the movie in a nutshell.  Threads are pulled but never sewn back together in the end.  The side plot about hidden money might have been interesting if it was ever explained one way or another where it is, or if it isn’t anywhere, then why.

There’s also a side plot that Al has an estranged, secret son who wants to reconnect with his father, though why the son is estranged we never know.

The climax of the film features a demented Al stalking the grounds of his Florida estate in his bathrobe and diaper, using his tommy gun to pump rounds into the workmen who have so vexed him.  You wait for the G-men who have been watching him to swoop in and arrest him but, spoiler, even that is a red herring as we learn that was just one of Al’s fever dreams.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of coughing, choking, and shit.  So much shit.  Al shits the bed. He shits his pants.  He is forced to wear adult diapers and shits those too.  I mean, though Capone is often portrayed as a Robin Hoodish folk hero, he was a gangster who killed and stole and committed atrocities for personal profit, so yeah, who gives a shit if he is left to spend his last year sitting in his own poop but holy crap…did I need to see it?

I mean, seriously, was there a great public outcry for a movie about Capone pooping in his bed?  I think not.

It is hard to watch because, setting aside that the character is Capone, it is sad, in general, how health problems can destroy the body and mind.  It just isn’t something I want to see.

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy.  Hardy is skilled and talented, but I think there was a better vehicle for him.

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Movie Review – Venom (2018)

There’s a monster in all of us, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “Venom.”

Ahh, Venom.  That misunderstood anti-hero/villain who Hollywood will never understand.  He made an appearance in “Spiderman 3” and was a dud then.  Here, the effort is better but…well…it’s not quite as awesome as you might hope.

Tom Hardy plays way, way, way against type as down on his luck loser journalist Eddie Brock.  Blah, blah, blah, hijinx ensue and he ends up sharing his body with the alien entity known as Venom.  Basically, it’s a modern day Jeykll and Hyde tale.

Venom takes control and Brock is along for the ride, frightened and humorously terrified as the alien makes him murder bad guys indiscriminately and even, yes, eat them.  You’d think this kind of “OMG what’s going on I’m just a nerd!” role would go to a more comedic actor rather than Hardy, who is known for being a stoic who broods who barely speaks.

Still, I can’t knock a guy for trying something different, just as I can’t knock Michelle Williams for starring as Brock’s girlfriend.  The role seems beneath Williams though I understand why she took it – i.e. appearing in a super hero movie is like the gold standard now.

Is it fun? Yes.  Is it worth your time? Yes.  Is it being all it could be? No.  Alas, I don’t think fans will ever get that long awaited Venom vs. Spidey movie we’ve all been waiting for.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Revenant (2015)

The Old West. Beautiful landscapes. Bitter cold. Dangerous animals…

and men wearing various hollowed out animal carcasses as hats and coats.

BQB here with a view of the Oscar frontrunner, The Revenant.

Be forewarned there are SPOILERS ahead, so don’t come after me for revenge if you read on and the movie’s ruined for you.

You know, 3.5 readers, I’m not sure the average person grasps the concept of time.

To think, two hundred years ago, men were trudging through the frozen wilderness, fighting for their lives just to skin some beasts and sell their fur for a few measly bucks.

You’ve got it pretty good today in comparison now, don’t you?  Yeah. Think about that the next time you start yelling at Siri for giving one of her bullshit answers to your clearly pronounced question.

Our story begins with a band of fur traders.  Domhnall Gleeson plays their boss, Captain Andrew Henry.  Leonardo DiCaprio is the company’s scout, Hugh Glass and Tom Hardy? He’s Fitzgerald, the villainous douche of the film.

Tom may be stuck playing villainous douches forever because he plays them so well, just as he did with Batman’s Baine.  Oh wait, then again, he did play Mad Max, so I stand corrected.

I won’t spoil the details so….yadda yadda yadda…long story short, Glass has the ever loving shit mauled out of him by a bear, Fitzgerald, villainous douche that he is, leaves Glass behind and Glass hauls his horribly wounded body across the wilderness to seek his revenge.

There’s a bit more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil it, even though I warned you about spoilers.

Great use of a CGI bear. I’ve had mixed feelings about CGI for awhile now.  It can provide amazing effects, or it can make a movie look cartoonish and silly, depending on how it was use.

Here, it was used in such a way that I really believed that a damn Grizzly bear was beating the shit out of a Hollywood leading man.

Great performances all around.  Hardy, as Fitzgerald, is a douche, but you’re also left with an understanding of how horrible the frontier was.  Would you have done the things that Fitzgerald did to survive or is there a limit to the depravity you’d take part in just to save your skin?  Fitzgerald didn’t have a limit and none of us will ever really know unless we’re put in a life or death situation.  Let’s hope we’re never put in one.

Domhnall Gleeson had a banner 2015. Ex Machina.  Brooklyn.  Shit, he’s even friggin General Hux in Star Wars.  And now The Revenant.  And before all this he was what?  Ronald Weasley’s brother in those Harry Potter movies???

Holy Crap, someone get me that guy’s agent.

Finally, let me just say as an avid movie buff, it’s been a pleasure to see Leonardo DiCaprio grow up on screen over the years.  He was the extra add on cute kid in the Growing Pains when all the other Seaver children started getting older.  Then he was Jack in Titanic.  Then his career could of gone anywhere but he put on some muscle, started getting movies like Blood Diamond and so on.

I think the best role he ever had was as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.  That scene where he takes too many drugs and his body ends up like a pile of useless jello but he tries to move around at the same time…hilarious and horribly tragic at the same time.

He deserved an Oscar for that but that wasn’t his year.  Hopefully, this one will be.

I mean, not that his life is lacking or anything.  He probably sticks his head out the front door every morning and gets mauled by a hundred hot chicks but still.  He’s overdue for an award.

A thumbs up from BQB and consider seeing it on the big screen, just so you can get a full view of the mountains and scenery and nature and shit.

The movie itself is also worthy of winning Best Picture.  It’ll be great to see a deserving film take home the prize after that pile of crap Birdman walked away with it.

STATUS: Shelf worthy.

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Movie Review – Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Violence!  Mayhem!  Action!  A superflous monster truck type vehicle whose only purpose is to carry drummers and a guitar player!

Buckle your seat belts, 3.5 readers.  It’s time for Bookshelf Q. Battler’s review of Mad Max: Fury Road.


At the outset, this movie was a bit of a gamble for Hollywood.  These days, movies are all about beauty, beauty, beauty and anyone or anything ugly?  Adios.  Sayonara.  Today’s average movie goer wants to see nothing but attractive people and sets and Hollywood is often too scared to take a risk for an “outside the box” type of film.  (And yes, believe it or not, even though this movie is a sequel to a trilogy, it still qualifies as unique in this day in age).

Yet, Mad Max takes place in a world ravaged by a nuclear apocalypse.  The once fertile world has become a desolate wasteland.  Between the dirt and sand as far as the eye can see and the rusty cars driven throughout the film, movie goers who are used to dazzling colors will need a moment to adjust.

Then there’s the ugliness.  Don’t get me wrong, Charlize Theron aka Impersonator Furiosa is an ultra hottie and Tom Hardy is a handsome enough fellow (I can note that a man is pleasant looking without being accused of being accused of gayness, can’t I?  Come on, it’s 2015 people!) they’re “uglied up” with soot and dirt while the bevy of baddies chasing them are grotesque, maimed, deformed etc.

But the gamble paid off.  The post-apocalyptic world will likely not be a pretty place and Director George Miller captures that aspect and then some.  And despite the aforementioned drab colors, the movie features some of the best action, fight scenes, and special effects that I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I could tell you more about that but I wouldn’t want to SPOIL it for you.

I discuss the craft of writing often on this blog and “show, don’t tell” is the one of the writer’s cardinal rules.

Holy Smokes, 3.5 readers.  For most of the first half of the movie, there’s a ton of showing and very little telling.  Even with few words being spoken, the action tells us everything we need to know.  (Watch the scene where Max and Furiosa meet for the first time and get back to me.)

The set up?  Mad Max is taken hostage by a group of wackos ruled by “Immortan Joe” (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne who, fun fact, played “Toecutter,” in the very first Mad Max film way back in 1979.

Joe has some health problems, has to use a breathing apparatus and well, let’s just say like most of his lackeys, he’s not going to win any beauty contests any time soon.

Furiosa hijacks Joe’s wives (it’s a step up for them, believe me) and heads for “greener” pastures, namely the long lost homeland she was kidnapped from as a girl.  Max gets snagged into the mess and ends up as the unwilling hero who eventually becomes willing.

The best part?  With the exception of a few scenes, this movie is essentially one gigantic chase epic!  It’s Joe’s flunkies in their rusty bolt buckets vs. Furiosa’s war rig.

Is this movie for everyone?  Probably not.  It does earn its R rating.  If you’re a teetotaler when it comes to movies, you might want to find another flick to take in.  I hear Pitch Perfect 2 is good.  Go see that instead.

But for the rest of you action lovers, you won’t be disappointed.

Some final thoughts:

1)  It reminded me how sad Mel Gibson’s major meltdown was.  Millennials, have you ever heard of Mel Gibson?  He was the original Mad Max.  In fact, the movie made his career.  He went on to great movies like the Lethal Weapon franchise and Braveheart just to name a few.  Then he sort of just went nutsy cuckoo, going off on all manner of inappropriate crazy rants and long story short, he’s far from his original Hollywood golden boy status.

2)  I get the impression this film was the cumulation of everything Director George Miller wanted to do in this post-apocalyptic world but lacked the special effects technology in the late 1970’s and early 1980s.

3)  Speaking of, how cool and rare is it that a director of a movie franchise gets to direct the modern day sequel?  (It’s not really a remake or a reboot so I guess sequel is the best label).

George Lucas, for example, met the wrath of fickle fans.  He gave us Star Wars but fans have been crying for a new director ever since they laid eyes on Jar Jar and now JJ Abrams is at the helm.

Miller directed the original Mad Max Trilogy (Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome) and thirty-six years later, he brought his vision back to the big screen.  Artists are often separated from their art in the name of profit all the time, so a director being allowed to stand by his work is refreshing.

4)  Where does Mad Max fit in when it comes to the science fiction world?  It’s not space opera.  There’s no technology.  In fact, the absence of technology is the entire point of the film.  Ultimately, the franchise’s major credit is that it gave birth to the Sci-Fi sub-genre of Post-Apocalyptic fiction.

5)  Speaking of, let’s try our best to make the world a better place, ok?  I know I’m just a blogger with 3.5 readers but global nuclear annihilation is a threat that’s just as real today as it was when the original films were made long ago. (Maybe even more so if you consider the fact that North Korea, a country that just executed a dude with a friggin’ anti-aircraft gun, has them.)

If you think about it, a Mad Maxian world where people revert to being savages clinging to rusty broken down cars is probably the BEST CASE SCENARIO of a nuclear war.  In actuality, few people, if any would be left, let alone enough to start small civilizations.

We only have one world people and believe it or not, despite the many differences we claim to have, we’re all pretty much the same.  We want success, stability, happiness, something to look forward to.

We all really need to reach a point where we can share the same planet without the subtle threat of “Cross me and I’ll blow the crap out of you” lingering in the background.

Save the world from ending up in the clutches of Immortan Joe, folks.

In conclusion, two men enter.  One man leaves.  That is the way of thunderdome.

(Really wish they could have worked that line into this one somehow.)

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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