Tag Archives: Julia Stiles

Hustlers (2019) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Hustlers Review

Director: Lorene Scafaria
Writers: Jessica Pressler (magazine article), Lorene Scafaria (screenplay)
Stars: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles

Review by Stinky the Destroyer

Like her male counterpart, Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Lopez once again provides the public service of inadvertently body-shaming the rest of us middle-aged mortals. Even at the ripe old age of 50, her looks are almost intimidating. She’s kind of like ‘70s-era Rachel Welch – with arguably better acting chops – and her grand entrance in Hustlers is eye-popping, to say the least.

But she’s not the whole show here. Hustlers is loosely based on a true story in which several high-end strippers come up with an elaborate scheme of using their ‘assets’ to fleece wealthy clients by drugging them and accessing their credit cards. Their story is told in flashback through the recollections of Destiny (Constance Wu), a neophyte who learns the ropes under the tutelage of ringleader Ramona Vega (Lopez). Along with a few others, they form a close-nit crew who live the high life at the expense of their victims…at least until recklessness and bad decisions threaten to unravel everything.

Someone needs a wallet for Christmas.

None other than Martin Scorsese was apparently once approached to direct the film, which is understandable since Hustlers has a basic story and narrative structure quite similar to Goodfellas and Casino. Like those films, the main characters aren’t exactly upstanding citizens. However, Destiny and Ramona display just enough congenial qualities that we’re sort-of invested in them. It helps, of course, that most of their targets are gullible, arrogant douchebags.

I suppose video voyeurs might be disappointed to learn that, despite a few flashy dance numbers and a bit o’ lap grinding, the only explicit nudity comes courtesy of a guy who nosedives from a balcony. Instead, smart writing, a fleet-footed pace and solid performances (especially from Lopez) are what ultimately make Hustlers interesting. Sorta like Scorsese with strippers.

Blackway (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

BLACKWAY.png

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Joe Gangemi (screenplay),  Gregory Jacobs (screenplay)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins,  Julia Stiles,  Ray Liotta

Plot:  An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes
IMDB Score: 5.2

Why I watched it: The cast.
Random thoughts: Alright we have some work to do before the review, first this was filmed as “Go With Me” and they changed it for the DVD release.  Now I hadn’t heard of this film before it came out on DVD, when I saw the cast I thought hell why is this just being dumped out there.  Now the other thing when you read the plot description, it’s not only misleading it’s lying, Hopkins helps Stiles but he’s not an ex-logger he’s still working.

I wouldn’t call the Ray Liotta’s character a crime lord, he’s a psycho bully.

What I liked: Make no mistake this is a Western, the Liotta character is a stock Western character, an evil man who runs a town cause everyone is too scared to stand up to him. I think why this film didn’t do well is that it’s different it’s billed as a thriller but it’s a very slow paced film and it’s more about character.  It’s an uneven film but i do like some of the characters, Anthony Hopkins is very good here as a guy who does things and says things but we don’t really know why,  it’s hard to do films about quiet men cause we have to guess so much about them.

We learn bits about him but not everything.  I do like that this film is about a logging town that feels like it, people doing hard work and living a somewhat bleak life.  I think Alexander Ludwig does very good work here, he’s the muscle but he’s not a super hero, he’s a sweet guy who may be a little simple, he stutter’s and seems shy but I like his work with Stiles, he’s an honest guy helping out a person cause his father figure tells him to.  He’s a follower but not dumb.

The film unfolds and it’s not a standard thriller, it’s more drama, there’s a final fight but really there isn’t a lot of action, this is a film where our main characters are trying to find the bad guy to stand up to him, so a lot of the film almost feels like a road film.
What I didn’t like: The Blackway character played by Ray Liotta is a tad boring, I love Ray Liotta but here he’s just playing to type and really we know nothing about him except he’s crazy and mean.  Stiles is bland here, she’s the only main character not doing much to show character, we know she has a past that can’t be good cause she’s returning home, and when home is a small town we know the character is running away from something.

She’s not bad here just nothing special.  The pacing does feel more European and some people will get bored, now I stayed with it cause I liked the acting but it could of picked up the pace.

Final thoughts: Blackway is a simple story but one that rubbed me the right way, I liked it and I liked it was only 1 hour 30 minutes, really liked some of the acting and I thought it was interesting.

Rating: 6.5/10