Friday, 26 August 2016
REVIEW: WAR DOGS
The Dogs Of War Street.
114 Minutes. Starring: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Anna de Armas & Bradley Cooper. Director: Todd Phillips.
Who let the douche out?! Sorry..."dogs". Excuse me. "Dogs"! This is national canine day after all and every pup has their afternoon. And just like Pacino robbing banks this 'Scarface' is out to take your money with all his little friends. When there's a will, there's a Carlito's way and in playing a South Beach boy from Miami trying to sell heat like he did stock with DiCaprio off Scorsese's 'Wall Street', this wolf is out for blood money. War is never pretty. But Jonah Hill's 'War Dogs' character shows us the real ugly side of it, which actually give us one of the realest and best pictures of the year. Sliding between the Summer blockbuster season and a fall Oscar one like another round in the chamber. The Academy pup, stock student of Leo's 'Wolf Of Wall Street' has now become the howling, leading man master, mentoring or maybe even manipulating a whip-smart 'Whiplash' student Miles Teller whose definitly had enough of experts trying to bang his drum. Symbol please! What started out with the big swing of Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball' now lands Jonah Hill right at the mound from the dugout, with all bleachers on him. Now forget making money, this dog is exchanging stock for balling. Forget selling you a pen. He could sell anything. Water, well. Ice to and Eskimo. Arms to the U.S. military.
From the acting masters of "why the hell do we even like these Stratton Oak wolves", comes a performance so great from Jonah you can't hate what he brings to the table. Even if he gets so bad even his eight by ten of 'Scarface' on his wall looks down on all he's laying down and racking up with a disapproving eye. Yep Hill wants to be the next Tony Montana. And this movies Miami neon artwork certainly does a good, homaged job of that. But this King of Comedy kid whose faced franchises like 'Superbad' and the twentysomething 'Jump Street's' really knows how to reload himself as a dramtic actor. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio knows this, but now Jonah Hill is showing you he's the A lister. With more buck for his bang and armed with a "that's not a gun" Crocodile Dundee moment and attitude and a Vince Vaughn laugh he redefines as his classic own (Am I right? Am I right?! Look at this guy!), this self made rich-kid in a fat cat suit plays this role to a golf tee. But it's targets he's hitting not balls, aiming for a different type of green. In the same vein as live fast millenials becoming dumb rich quick like those 'Wall Street' inspired 'Boiler Room' boys there's even a moment were he kicks a guy out of a en-masse job interview come board meeting in the same cappilary as Ben Affleck. Matter of fact this whole film rolls off the same money machine as 'Anchorman' director Adam McKay's 'Big Short' ensemble last fall/this new year. No, not an 'Ant-Man/Giant-Man' sequel, but another applied adaptation based off a classic book by original 'Moneyball' writer Michael Lewis. As 'Hangover' director Todd Phillips expands on a real Rolling Stone article about two guys under 30 who struck a $300 mill weapons deal with the Pentagon and shows us the morning after headache that comes with drinking with the devil in war profiteering and money mongering. In the same slick satirical directing way that McKay did with classic comedy actor turned 'Foxcatcher' serious Steve Carell. And you don't even need the six degrees of Tatum seperation to link him to Jonah.
And in rolling the dice for six figures again where else for Phillips to go and cash in than Sin City? As Todd hits Las Vegas with producer and co-star Bradley Cooper again. One Alan lookalike short of another 'Hangover' when they promised they'd never drink again. Trying to take the house from the craps table, decked out in Burgundy scotch. And Cooper is on formidable form once again, even if his supporting role time is more like a choice cameo somewhere between a Jared Leto Joker and a "you see all his scenes in the trailer look". But this is far from career suicide for Bradley as he throws a spanner in this squads production line. It'll actually go down somewhere between a classic playing of the background and a hidden gem for the Academy Actor that knows Oscar when he knows a David O. Russell. The silver lining to this American Hustle, with his trademark slicked back hair looking a little more slimy, Cooper takes it back to the origins of his 'Wedding Crashers' sleaze. But this time the Hollywood hearthrob is still likable too, despite being fitted with a cross-eyed prescription of a pair of spectacles you wouldn't want to see anywhere near a family member and classic lines like "I'm not a bad man. But in certain situations I think to myself, what would a bad man do". A line you know is only uttered by...you guessed it, bad men. The worst of the worst. But this cast is the best of the best all the way down to rising supporting actress Anna de Armas of Keanu Reeves 'Exposed' fame, 'Knock, Knock' knocking on Hollywood's door. Here she offers more fight to a usually typecast long disgruntled girlfriend role. Standing behind a genuinely great Miles Teller who still can't seem to tell the truth in this movie. Miles ahead of his contempories however, Teller really is Mr. Fantastic, even if Fox's 'Fantastic Four' franchise failed to live up to it's promising potential they should still stretch it out for this face. The 'Whiplash' student the Academy should not have passed, now whipping massage towls at baby oil rich Florida gator skinned lizards. When it comes to Oscars, Miles is about to 'Bleed For This' in this years boxing drama that looks to have more creed and fight to it, hitting the 'Rocky' franchise with a southpaw that only Ali could see. But this is more than his ringside warm up. In the green corner and serving Morgan Freeman duty as narrator of this money morality tale that shows us that if you're making yours off mortality than you really are on the darkside of the American nightmare. Trumping Bush and Cheney's America that the devil cursed this film may look like fun and war games, but it actually takes a shot at all the bullets that should be accounted for in more ways than one. Yeah this film is slick, but it doesn't hide the grease either. Don't slip or you'll fall for anything. War is anything but civil this age and these dogs will show you today. TIM DAVID HARVEY.