The Dudes Reviews: Blackhat

One hat, two hat red hat, Blackhat….. Chris Hemsworth leads the cast as convicted white collar hacker Nicholas Hathaway enlisted by the FBI and the Chinese Intelligence to take down a globe-spanning network of criminals threatening the safety of the world’s economy and nuclear energy in Blackhat.

Director Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies) gets on the cyber-hacking bandwagon nearly twenty years too late unfortunately, but the movie does have some great action moments if you can start to follow the logic of the thing but at times the techno babble just off as useless and warranted.

Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) delivers a slightly better performance than the lead as Lien Chen, partner to the furloughed Hathaway, though she could have easily been given more to do as a female leading lady by Mann or the story architects.

Blackhat is a named after a hacker term for someone who can decode high level security (Steve Urkel). How that translates to the screen is often “udbhwudbudbsudbsudb” and at times this is where the movie dictates its own very slow pace. Close-up shots of USB flash drives, 1’s and 0s scrolling across the screen a la The Matrix all look cool — for a second — but this sets the tone as being a bore from the intro to ending.

The movie opens on one computer terminal, follows the signal down to the Tron-like circuit board and into a CPU.

Falling asleep yet? Because I nearly put my self in a coma watching this mess.

Have you ever been so mad that you were calm? This happened to me the night I saw this “gem”, I figured that at least the intro would be super cool considering it’s a hacker film we get a glimpse of this virus being sent from one side of the world to a Chinese power plant to initiate a meltdown though the “magic” of the internet. While this could have been shot or visualized better, I do get the point overall it felt absolutely pointless.
Later on in the film, I would get the requisite shots fired and explosions along with a Chinese food restaurant hand-to-hand fight scene that I’ve come to expect while enjoying my popcorn, made me hungrier actually.

Perhaps I’m a bit heavy handed describing the pace of the first two acts, but the movie did have some redeeming qualities.

Hathaway is just your typical Patrick Swayze looking, god-like hacker in prison that has his MIT roommate Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) enlist him to find the shadow network that is affecting stock markets. The reason why is that they made the code together at the revered Cambridge institution and need to find their way around it. The mission takes them across the world to see who is profiting and who is dying along the way.

While watching people dial in to proxy servers via a terminal command prompt to me is as thrilling as watching paint dry, the FBI agents on the case, including Viola Davis (Prisoners, Future Oprah in Biopic and the upcoming Suicide Squad as Amanda Waller) and Holt McCallany (Fight Club, Gangster Squad, The Losers) keep up the good cop / bad cop action and move the story along as Hemsworth’s federal guardians. Davis calls out a sketchy stockbroker withholding information in a particularly Amanda Waller-esque blackmail.

We are used to Thor’s Norse speak, but the Australian affects a street tough Chicago accent in Blackhat. Mann even throws himself a shout-out to Heat which in a way kinda reminded me of that one time I actually liked my own Facebook post.

In summary, if Blackhat were to hang itself on the coat rack of logic, there are plenty of holes and lots of places where the connections are not made from story to motivation. On the plus side, when we do get some action it comes quickly, surprisingly and with consequences.

But Sorry, Thor, I wanted to watch you tap into some Cyber Roadhouse Voodoo but what you achieved was a Voo-Don’t and it was hard to feel like I cared how you progressed in this film honestly.  Oh and Hollywood?  You must have so many checklists these days. It might be time to drop the clipboard and let people take some risks, we all know what happened with the not so Amazing Spider-man 2: Rhino Get’s His Groove back .

So yeah there’s not much to say in terms of redeemable factors with this film instead of coming out it warm and fuzzy I left feeling cold…. Don’t want to feel cold your self?  Try Netflix. You’ll still be cold, but you’ll be watching Netflix at least I recommend John Dies At The End…. Cheers.

2015 movies to get excited for.

Regression

Alejandro Amenabar’s first film in six years stars Ethan Hawke as a man who’s accused of a crime he doesn’t remember. Release Date: 28 August (UK/US) IMDB Page: 

Queen of the Desert

Werner Herzog takes on the real life story of Gertrude Bell, whose experiences in the middle east rival those of T.E. Lawrence. Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, and James Franco star. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Z For Zachariah

This post-apocalyptic drama gets its premiere at Sundance in January, and revolves around survivors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB: 

Legend

Tom Hardy plays the Kray twins in this chronicle of the notorious 1950s London gangsters. Brian Helgeland writes and directs. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page:

Icon

Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace is documented in this biopic. Ben Foster sounds like the perfect choice for the main role, and his co-stars include Dustin Hoffman and Lee Pace. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

The Early Years

Paolo Sorrentino follows up the acclaimed Great Beauty with a film about two friends holidaying in the Alps. Paul Dano plays a filmmaker friends with retired composer Michael Caine. Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz, and Harvey Keitel lend support. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Mississippi Grind

Writer-director team Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden(Half Nelson, Sugar) return with this road movie about gambling, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn. Another film on the Sundance line-up, we’ll soon hear whether it lives up to mentor/protege classics like The Color of Money. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Demolition

Trader Jake Gyllenhaal has an emotional crisis after his wife’s death, precipitating some intense self-examination to find out where he went wrong in life. Director Jean-Marc Vallee is following on from recent success with Dallas Buyers Club and Wild. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the 1960s TV series features Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin. Ritchie’s comic touch is well suited to this update, as is his instinct for staging original set pieces. Release Date: 14 August (US/UK) IMDB Page: 

Our Kind of Traitor

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris are a couple embroiled in a battle of wits between the Russian mafia and the British Secret Service. Accomplished TV director Susanna White(Boardwalk Empire, Generation Kill, Bleak House) should make the jump to the big screen with ease. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Ex Machina

A newly developed form of A.I. is the subject of this film from Alex Garland, who directs for the first time after penning several acclaimed movies(Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Dredd). Alicia Vikander leads, and 2015 is almost guaranteed to be her breakthrough year on the international stage. Release Date: 10 April (US) 23 January (UK) Trailer:  IMDB Page: 

Slow West

Fassbender again, playing an enigmatic stranger who accompanies a teen on a quest through the American frontier of the 1800s. John Maclean’s directing debut will be at Sundance. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Carol

Helmer Todd Haynes returns to the 1950s with this screen version of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, about a forbidden love affair between two women. A bounty of actors at the top of their game feature, including Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

The Hateful Eight

Tarantino’s latest western has endured a protracted journey to production, but shooting is finally underway. There are so many things to get excited about, such as comebacks from Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen. Let’s hope post-production finishes in time for next December. Release Date: December TBC (US) Teaser:  IMDB Page: 

Trainwreck

Can we still get excited about a Judd Apatow film? Amy Schumer wrote the script, and features in a cast that also has space for Daniel Radcliffe, Brie Larson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Hader, and Tilda Swinton. Release Date: 17 July (US) 28 August (UK) IMDB Page: 

Every Thing Will Be Fine

Any film from the director of Wings of Desire is something you should be excited about. James Franco plays a writer who accidentally hits and kills a child with his car. Charlotte Gainsbourg also stars. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Jane Got a Gun

Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor star in a western from director Gavin O’Connor(Warrior). Bounty hunters seek Portman’s husband, and she asks her former lover for help in protecting him. Release Date: 4 September (US) 25 September (UK) IMDB Page: 

Midnight Special

Father has to go on the run with his son when he discovers that his child has special powers. This could prove a departure for writer-director Jeff Nichols(Mud, Take Shelter), who has enlisted Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, and Michael Shannon for his cast. Release Date: 25 November (US) IMDB Page: 

Life

Dane DeHaan plays James Dean in a film about the method actor’s time with a photographer for Life magazine(played by Robert Pattinson). Director Anton Corbijn proved that he had a deft touch for dealing with real life subjects when he made Control, a film about Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. Release Date: 25 September (UK) IMDB Page: 

Miles Ahead

One of the performances to watch for in 2015 is Don Cheadle’s turn as Miles Davis. Not much is known yet about this biopic that Cheadle also directs and co-writes. Cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg and Ewan McGregor. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

The Last Face

Sean Penn is behind the camera for the first time since Into the Wild. Aid workers Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem are swept up in civil unrest in an unnamed African country. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: 

Trumbo

Has Bryan Cranston finally found his big silver screen role as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo? This story about the McCarthy witch-hunt in Hollywood in the 1950s boasts a strong supporting cast, including John Goodman, Helen Mirren, and Louis CK. Release Date: To Be Confirmed IMDB Page: