Eric Kopeloff

Eric Kopeloff

Eric Kopeloff Quick Links

Film RSS

Snowden Review

Excellent

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.

The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.

Continue reading: Snowden Review

Savages Review


Bad

Oliver Stone takes a stab at returning to a nastier, more edgy filmmaking style, but simply can't escape his moralising ways. Indeed, this film looks great, with whizzy camerawork and kinetic editing, and a willingness to travel to some very dark places. So it's even more annoying that it's all such a cop out. Not only are the plot and characters undermined by half-hearted preachiness, but the film has an appallingly trite voice-over narration plus a climactic plot point that feels like a cheat.

The story opens with a scene of domestic bliss, as sexy beach babe O (Lively) cuddles with her hunky ex-military boyfriend Chon (Kitsch) in their spectacular seaside home in Orange County. Then Ben (Taylor) arrives home - he's Chon's best friend and O's other boyfriend, a tree-hugging scientist who has created the perfect marijuana plant. They've made their fortune as local drug dealers, and now a Mexican cartel wants in on the action. They're visited by a goon (Bichir) who makes them an offer they can't refuse. So when they Chon and Ben say no, the cartel henchman Lado (Del Toro) kidnaps O to whip boys in line. But they go into action mode instead. Calling the shots is cartel boss Elena (Hayek). And there's also a Federal agent (Travolta) working everyone against each other.

The plot has promise, and the film starts well, with sun-drenched photography and some strong character-establishing scenes with Kitsch, Johnson and Lively. But once we learn each one's main trait (Chon's tough tenacity, Ben's peace-loving passion and O's annoying stupidity), the script abandons them completely. We never have a clue why Chon and Ben would fall for O, let alone risk their lives to rescue her. We never know why Lado is such a cold-hearted brute. And we can't understand how Travolta's character has survived this long. The only person we enjoy watching is the scene-chewing Hayek, who seems to be the only actor having any fun.

Continue reading: Savages Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review


Very Good
Michael Douglas returns to his most iconic role for this 20-years-later sequel to Oliver Stone's 1987 hit. Of course it couldn't be much more timely, as it dips into the current financial chaos and the drama behind the scenes.

Jake (LaBeouf) is a rising-star broker working for a Wall Street veteran (Langella). His girlfriend Winnie (Mulligan) is the estranged daughter of the legendary Gordon Gekko (Douglas), who recently completed his prison term for insider trading. But Jake's idea to reunite Winnie and her dad takes a turn when they begin a kind of teacher-student relationship. Jake then takes a job for an archrival investor (Brolin) to orchestrate his downfall. But this is 2008 and banks are starting to collapse around them. And maybe Gekko is up to his old tricks.

Continue reading: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review

W. Review


Terrible
As President Bush's second term winds down and the race for 2008 spins at fevered pace, now is the time to make a statement -- reflecting on the failures of the current administration and projecting our hopes for the next.

Oliver Stone's W. is not that statement.

Continue reading: W. Review

Stay Review


Excellent
I don't see dead people, and, more than likely, I never will. Maybe one day, when I die, I'll see plenty of them but while I am of this earth, it's a no-go. This is not to say people don't see spirits, ghosts, and specters; walk down any street in Manhattan and you're likely to see a woman telling you she can see them and hold pretty strong conversation with them. Hollywood saw this and also saw dollar signs. Blame M. Night Shyamalan for most of this. He made a great movie and has spawned legions of gutter-sludge rip-offs. Once in awhile, however, we get an arty riff on this formula. The last one was Jonathan Glazer's haunting Birth, and now we have Marc Forster's hypnotic Stay.

So, this suicidal college student walks into a psychiatrist's office... no, seriously. Sam (Ewan McGregor) has the misfortune of substituting for a few sessions for a colleague (Janeane Garofalo) when she gets a little loopy with the drugs. Her first patient, and seemingly only patient, is Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling). On only their second meeting, Henry announces that he is going to kill himself in three days, at midnight. Sam spends the rest of his time, divided between his ex-patient/girlfriend (Naomi Watts) and trying to figure out why Henry wants to kill himself. And don't forget Henry's dead parents (Bob Hoskins and Kate Burton) who show up in the real world. Describing past that would be like trying to explain a Lynch film (notably Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive), and no one should have these secrets ruined.

Continue reading: Stay Review

Eric Kopeloff

Eric Kopeloff Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

Occupation

Filmmaker


Lana Del Rey Has The World In 'Love' With Her New Single

Lana Del Rey Has The World In 'Love' With Her New Single

The singer releases her new album later this year.

Eric Kopeloff Movies

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

Savages Movie Review

Savages Movie Review

Oliver Stone takes a stab at returning to a nastier, more edgy filmmaking style, but...

Advertisement
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Movie Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Movie Review

Michael Douglas returns to his most iconic role for this 20-years-later sequel to Oliver Stone's...

W. Movie Review

W. Movie Review

As President Bush's second term winds down and the race for 2008 spins at fevered...

Stay Movie Review

Stay Movie Review

I don't see dead people, and, more than likely, I never will. Maybe one day,...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.