Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Mahershala Ali, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozowa, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo
Written By: Alex Litvak, and Michael Finch. Based on characters by Jim Thomas, and John Thomas.
Directed By: Nimród Antal
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Release Date: July 7, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
I Sort of Did This One
In July of 2020, I covered the 10th anniversary of Predators for MovieBabble. I started by live tweeting while rewatching the film. Then, I wrote a ridiculously detailed deep dive type article you can read here, if you’d like. It was a really fun process. ** FAIR WARNING: Either of those links will lead to spoilers. I literally discussed every detail.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I’d suggest staying right here and continuing the one you’re reading. This one I’m typing right now. Hi there. Good to see you.
With all the writing I’ve done on this movie already, it’s kind of strange it has taken me so long to do this post. Yet, here we are.
A bunch of unconscious, not-so-nice characters, are dropped from airplanes into an unfamiliar jungle environment.
How did they get here? Why are they here? And where are they? They must band together to answer these questions, and more that come up along the way. That’s easier said than done, though, as it seems many of them would rather fight each other.
Cast: Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Michael Chiklis, Adhir Kalyan, Luis Chavez, Max Van Ville, Mykelti Williamson, Andrew Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Erica Vittina Phillips, Curtis Armstrong…
Written by: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg Jr., Stephen Susco
Directed by: John Stalberg Jr.
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Released: January 24, 2010 (Sundance), wide release in June
MPAA Rating: R
Today being April 20, aka “4/20,” it seemed like the perfect day to rewatch, and write about, a stoner comedy. It just so happened to be the next movie up chronologically, as well, so… here we are.
Henry Burke (Bush) is a prodigy of sorts, with a 4.0+ grade point average, and a full ride MTI scholarship waiting in the wings. He is also quite serious. Travis Breaux (Marquette), on the other hand, a childhood friend of Henry’s, is a hero among his fellow “stoners,” and doesn’t take anything seriously.
So, Henry smokes his first joint (with Travis in their childhood treehouse), at the worst possible time. The day before campus-wide drug testing is announced. Henry panics, because if he fails the drug test, he will be expelled, his scholarship will fall through, and basically his entire future is blown.
Travis comes up with a plan to make sure everyone fails the drug test. They’ll steal kief (essentially concentrated THC) from a local infamous dealer (Brody), mix it into brownie mix, and dose everyone. If everyone tests positive, no one will be singled out (and the results would likely be questioned). Oh, it also happens to be the day of the annual school bake sale. Convenient, right?
So, that’s basically the plot. It sounds like it would be a bad movie, I know, but it’s actually pretty decent, mostly due to the great performances.
Adrien’s Role: Edward “Psycho Ed” Highbaugh, Esq.
A quick backstory on Ed tells us he graduated high school at age 15, and became a lawyer “before he could drink.” Then, he went on a trip to Mexico, smoked pot laced with PCP, and damaged some part of his brain. He came back home, revolutionized cannabis growing with his smarts, and became a local legend.
This is easily one of Adrien Brody’s best performances. Yes, I am completely serious. “Psycho Ed” is a perfect blend of genius, mad man, villain, and hero, and he brings the quality of the movie up several notches. I realize I’m biased, since he’s my favorite actor and all, but Ed really is the best part of this movie.
Yes, he’s doing somewhat shady stuff. Yes, he’s considered ‘crazy.’ Yes, he looks like the love child of Hugh Jackman and Snoop Dogg (actually, put that one in the plus column). But darn it, there’s an intelligence and depth to him, too…. His approach to growing, security and the like are all very innovative. This is a brilliant man.
Me, from something I wrote some years back
There is a lot of good acting going on in High School, which I think is somewhat unique for the “stoner comedy” subgenre. Brody, as I mentioned, is brilliant, but he’s not the only one.
The leads are both excellent. Colin Hanks is fantastic in a “straight man” role, but he does get his turn at being hilarious, as well. Yeardley Smith has a small, but definitely memorable, role. Mykelti Williamson (of Forrest Gump fame) and Andrew Wilson (brother of Owen and Luke) are both solid as friends (and roommates?) of Psycho Ed’s.
Michael Chiklis is almost unrecognizable as the school principal, and his performance is genius. He and his band do a song during the end credits that’s impressive, as well. Sort of a 1970s-styled rock song called “Get Me High.” Because, of course.
If you’re someone who wants to see a variety of Brody’s performances, you don’t want to miss High School. It’s a side of him not seen in any other film.
Voice Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Eric Anderson, Juman Malouf, Michael Gambon, Robin Hurlstone, Hugo Guinness, Willem Dafoe, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jarvis Cocker, Owen Wilson, Wes Anderson, Karen Duffy, Brian Cox, Adrien Brody, Mario Batali …
Written by: Roald Dahl (book); Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach (screenplay)
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Genre: Wes Anderson is his own genre, as is Dahl. IMDb says “Animation/Adventure/Comedy”
Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Released: October 14, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
One of my favorites. I love Wes Anderson, and, as you know, I love Adrien Brody. When they work together, it’s like Heaven on Earth for me. Adrien had a simple voice cameo in this one, but I wanted to include it anyway.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlett, and Abigail Chu
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Released: October 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Splice has gotten a lot of attention lately, after it was added to Netflix’s streaming service in the U.S. (in July, I believe). If you have noticed reviews popping up all over, that’s why. The reason I’m doing one now, is… well, it happened to come up next chronologically, and that’s how we roll here.
Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) are geneticists [and a couple], working with a pharmaceutical company to engineer new medications. Their goal is to blend various traits from different species, until a certain protein can be synthesized. So, they splice (hence the title) various genes in an attempt to achieve this.
The couple successfully make Ginger and Fred, a pair of creatures who… well… honestly look like deformed penises. Things start out promising for the pair and their company, N.E.R.D. Then, Elsa gets the idea to engineer more creatures, with human DNA added in this time.
After some small successes, things go a little sideways. Hopefully, I’ve avoided spoilers in this summation. If you feel otherwise, I apologize.
By this DVD’s placement on my shelf, I thought this was where it fell chronologically. Apparently, it actually came out in 2007. So, I’m a little late, here. My apologies.
Cast: Children of Casa del Niño Sordo and their families, narration by Adrien Brody (English), and Esai Morales (Spanish).
Writer: Andy Lauer
Director: Andy Lauer
Executive Producer: Brad Pitt
Genre: Documentary, short form
Running Time: 14 minutes
Release: March 20, 2007
MPAA Rating: not rated
This will be a short review, because it’s a short film.
Casa del Niño Sordo (“Deaf child house”), is a school, and clinic for Deaf children in Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico. The majority of children there lost their hearing (whether partially, or completely) due to diseases easily prevented by vaccines. Vaccines they weren’t able to get.
The organization known as The Tehuacan Project was formed in order to provide these children with hearing aids, and specialized education to help them adjust afterward. They also offer counseling to parents during the entire process.
I put this one off for as long as I could. It’s time to face the music and get it done. I really didn’t want to re-watch this one, but I finally bit the bullet. Horror isn’t really my genre (other than maybe the Halloween movies).
To be honest, Giallo wasn’t quite as bad as I remember, but it sure isn’t good.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker, Beyonce Knowles, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union, Mos Def, and Norman Reedus
Written by: Darnell Martin
Directed by: Darnell Martin
Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Released: November 24, 2008 (U.S.)
MPAA Rating: R
Adrien’s Role: Len Chess
Adrien plays a slightly sanitized version of Leonard Chess, founder of Chess Records, a pioneering blues and rock n’ roll label. Adrien’s version of Len Chess is mainly concerned with getting black artists heard. The real Chess was more concerned with making money, and not giving the artists much of it. Continue reading “Cadillac Records”
Cast: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, and Maximillian Schell
Written by: Rian Johnson
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Genre: Comedy, Adventure/Caper, a bit of Romance
Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes
Released: September 9, 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
As some of you know, I also write for a movie blog called MovieBabble. I recently did a piece about The Brothers Bloom over there. *Note: that piece contains some minor spoilers, as it’s a retrospective for the 10th anniversary, not a review. If you’d like to read it, you can find it right here.
Adrien plays “Bloom” (no first name is ever given), a semi-willing partner in con to his brother, Stephen (Ruffalo). The two have run scams for years, with Bloom usually playing the charming one who approaches the mark. Bloom wonders who he really is, after a lifetime of his brother writing roles for him. And he wants out.
Released: September 6, 2008 (Toronto Film Festival)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated (I would say PG-13, leaning toward R)
Adrien trained with a dialect coach for this film, but ended up using his own voice/accent, with a few random words pronounced accurately. Sort of like an American newscaster (you know what I’m talking about).
I’m not sure why this happened, given the character he played was a real person born and raised in Spain. Perhaps trying the accent was distracting him too much from the emotional parts, so they scrapped it. Whatever the reason, it’s distracting to have the lead sound American, when everyone else sounds Spanish.