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Review: ‘Hell or High Water’ Rides High With Grit & Wit

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Hell or High Water Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he southern vibe is strong with the crime picture Hell or High Water. Dreary farmlands of West Texas lie barren with small town folk being foreclosed upon. Two brothers rob small banks with intent to repair their family. Two Texas Rangers follow their trail as they sling love-hate zingers of stereotypes at one another. Every civilian owns a gun, a cowboy hat and an attitude. But Hell or High Water also has enough smarts and energy to whip this genre upside the head before it gets too philosophical or meanders too long on its own southern pride.

Hell or High Water Review MovieSpoon.com

Chris Pine shows off his acting chops in ‘Hell or High Water.’

Chris Pine and Ben Foster play brothers Toby and Tanner, two boys on a robbing spree of small Texas banks. Both have different goals, as Toby wants enough money to pay off his many debts to his family while Tanner just digs the thrill of thievery. Guns drawn and ski masks donned, they work out an efficient plan of robbing different towns, using multiple cars and changing their money at the casino.

For being small-time crooks bent on stealing enough to make ends meet, they’ve worked out all the angles. At least Toby has, as he spends most of his downtime contemplating his future and family. Tanner just laughs at such madness, deviating from the plan and robbing a bank whenever the whim strikes him.

Hunting this duo in crime is a pair of colorful Texas rangers: the last-days-before-retirement Marcus (Jeff Bridges) and his all-business Comanche partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham). Bridges embodies his usual charming demeanor of slurring his words, but he ventures more out of his comfort zone as a crass coot that is not afraid to sling a few playful insults, no matter how racist or politically incorrect they may be. He intentionally pisses off his partner Alberto at every turn in hopes that he’ll lob a few shots his way. They have a unique and lovable relationship, masked only by their playful jabs and dedication to the case.

Jeff Bridges Hell or High Water Review MovieSpoon.com

Jeff Bridges continuously brings something new to his roles.

As if those characters weren’t enough, the civilians of West Texas have a charisma all their own. When Marcus arrives at the scene of the first robbery, a passing motorist stops to tell the them that if he runs into the robbers he’ll hang them. A salty old waitress serves Marcus and Alberto with so much sass that she doesn’t so much take your order as she orders for you. And when Toby and Tanner hit the bank on the wrong day, a well-armed group of citizens are more than willing to trade fire.

Another character worth noting is West Texas itself. The constant theme of West Texans being rundown by the greed of banks can be felt not just in the characters, but in the environment as well. Many of the driving scenes pass by abandoned businesses, debt relief billboards and trains light on cars. Not a single mention could be made of small town citizens being screwed over by banks and the vibe could still be felt throughout. The locations are as telling to watch as they are visually stunning.

Read more to watch the trailer for Hell or High Water:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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