Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Counselor

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Seriously, does anyone actually think Cameron Diaz is a good actress?

The Counselor – 2 out of 5

I guess if you have a weak script, you can try and cover it up with lots of explosions or pointless nudity but, if you don’t want to do that, just add a bunch of really talented actors (and Cameron Diaz) and maybe the audience won’t notice that the film really doesn’t have much going on in the story or plot.

But it does have Javier Bardem with ridiculous hair!

Fassbender, seen here turning into The Joker.
Okay, so this movie opens with Michael Fassbender (playing a character called the Counselor) going downtown on Penélope Cruz (who plays the Counselor’s love; Laura) and it pretty much doesn’t get any better from there. The Counselor gets told by his buddy Reiner (Javier Bardem) that he isn’t using his status as a lawyer as profitably as he could be. So, now the Counselor wants to get involved in the drug trade and meets with a man named Westray (Brad Pitt) and gets in deep in a deal that will, if successful, pay off GREATLY. How greatly? Did you not see how I capitalized the word? Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie if the deal went down and the Counselor made a bunch of sexy cash. After a member of the cartel is murdered, the act is weakly (very weakly) linked to him and now his life is threatened and he needs to get out of the country fast…but the cartel won’t let him leave that easily.

How exactly does she get work?

Even Javier can't figure out her appeal.  Seriously, he looks
The one thing that really stuck out in my mind when I saw the trailer for this film was the fact that Ridley Scott directed it and the fact that the trailer literally tells you nothing about the story and, instead, focuses on how many stars are in it. After watching it, I realized the reason they don’t talk about the story is because of how weak it was and how stupid the film’s main plot point is. It’s possible this movie could have been decent—hell, if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Fassbender, Bardem and Pitt, I would have written this film off as a 1 out of 5—but the story isn’t strong at all and it’s hard not to laugh at the film’s catalyst for “tension.”

Pitt can hypnotize all mortal men with that stare...might be the only reason I gave it a
2 out of 5.

The whole caused for problems in this film is a single death that very, very, very, very weakly is connected to the Counselor and then the cartel decides he needs to die. Basically, the man who works for the cartel is murdered and the drugs he was in charge of getting is stolen and the Counselor once represented the man’s mother and did her a favor by getting him out of a speeding ticket. After he is killed the mother said, “Ah, obviously my lawyer who’s done nothing but right by me has killed my son and now he must die.” The link that basically creates the story for the film is the cartel and the boy’s mother thinks it’s suspicious that he gets the dude out of jail in time to die. That’s honestly the best explanation the movie offers for deciding that the Counselor needs to be hunted by drug dealers. It’s pretty laughable and makes the cartel look like a bunch of brain-dead monkeys in the film as they give into internet commenters-like knee jerk reactions rather than actually take a moment and realize that their business is ruthless and it isn’t beyond the question that a third party may be out there to kill in order to destroy their business. It really felt like no care was placed into finding a reason to put the Counselor’s life in danger…fuck, more care was put into the carpet munching scene with Fassbender and Cruz than was put into the rest of the film.

Seriously, production was making love to this scene and ignoring everything else.

"Oh, look up there, it's a better movie!"
But a shitty story doesn’t matter because, like I said, if you cram enough stars into the film, who will notice the bad story? Actually, a lot of people. There’s a bunch of talented actors populating the film (and, for some reason, Cameron Diaz with an accent that seems to come and go with every other word) and each of these actors are doing a fantastic job. However, their great performances only highlight how little was done to this story because you see these characters having grandiose reactions to plot elements that really didn’t need such reactions. For example, when the Counselor is informed the cartel thinks he killed the kid and now they want his head, he flips out and forgets to say, “Um, the cartel does realize that their very business makes them a target of other drug kingpins and it would be silly for me to invest my money and risk my life to kill the kid that I just got out of jail and have represented his mother. The cartel does realize they have enemies, right?”

It's like the production acknowledged that they had to add more recognizable and talented
people in order to cover up the fact Cameron Diaz was in the film.

If only the movie allowed the leopards owned by Javier Bardem's
character to drive an SUV...it would have improved the story.
The Counselor clearly wants to be a slick, yet gritty, crime thriller with colorful characters and Javier Bardem’s wacky hairstyle. It clearly wants to be a Quentin Tarantino flick as it tries to create dialogue similar to the Pulp Fiction director and will incorporate scenes that feel out-of-place but should play a part (for example, a scene where Reiner describes Cameron Diaz’s character having sex with a car…yeah, you heard me right. THAT also received more attention than the plot of the film.) but, unlike Tarantino, writer Cormac McCarthy and director Ridley Scott can't match Tarantino’s magic and their approach just feels like a sloppy attempt at mimicking the man that gave us such epics as Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained. While the film has a great cast who are all doing their jobs fantastically (and then you have Cameron Diaz, for some reason—it’s like production said, “Stop, we have enough talent in the film, just pick whoever for the role of Malkina), the cast can’t save a film that feels like it was only giving half-effort in the script department…however, they were the only reason I gave it a 2 out of 5...that, and Brad Pitt hypnotized me.

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