The Book of Eli

"Stay on the path."

Right from the start, it was clear that Albert and Allen Hughes knew how to put films together. Whether paying homage to filmmakers they admire or playing with their own showy techniques, they know how to play with the visual tools they have available. In their post-apocalyptic film The Book of Eli, they make a very compelling film that’s exciting and entertaining while still maintaining the visceral edge they love to employ. But sadly, it’s the last film they worked on together, having since parted ways as filmmakers. Will they reunite down the road? Who knows. Will they increase their output now that they’re working solo? Not so far. Time will tell, but for now, this stands as the final Hughes Brothers film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close the chapter on our Hughes Brothers series with their 2010 film The Book of Eli

We talk about the incredible world the brothers create with this film and how fascinating it is, and how unfortunately it’s weighed down by a huge issue that neither of us can buy into. We talk about Gary Whitta’s script, how it was found and what some of our other problems are with it – though still celebrating the great elements in it too. We discuss Denzel in his fabulous performance here, even if one element of it still is our biggest problem. We also talk about the rest of the cast and how well they work in the film here. We celebrate the look of the film and all of the team who helped bring it to fruition. And we tip our hat to the fantastic camerawork, stunt work and sound work that came together to bring some incredible fight sequences to life. 

We have some issues with this film to be sure, but it’s still a completely engrossing film to watch that we have a great time with. It’s probably not for everyone but for anyone who is a fan of dystopian stories, it’s worth the watch. We have a great time chatting about it as we wrap up this series. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — "Frances McDormand has proven herself to be a powerhouse actress before, but in this trailer, she’s kicking ass and taking names. Martin McDonagh makes films with incredible characters and it looks like he’s at it again here. Plus, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage! I’m totally in!"

Pete's Trailer: The Book of Henry — "Man, did this trailer ever take off in a direction I wasn’t expecting. Excited to see Jacob Tremblay in just about anything again, but that he ends up in another strong mother/son thriller? I guess that should be expected."

From Hell

"No man amongst you is fit to judge the mighty art that I have wrought."

The Hughes brothers hadn’t really had a big hit by the time they were offered to direct the adaptation of Alan Moore’s and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel “From Hell,” detailing the characters involved in the ‘Jack the Ripper’ slayings in 1888 London. It offered an opportunity to tell a gritty story that still dealt with the people struggling at the bottom of society, something they’d already proved successful at. But the graphic novel’s incredibly dense and despite the many rewrites the script went through, it still ended up a film that is hard to call a great success for the brothers. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on the Hughes brothers with their 2001 film From Hell

We look at the film and our thoughts on both the good and bad elements of it, and discuss the graphic novel and how by its very nature was not an easy thing to adapt. We discuss Albert and Allen and some of the decisions they made going into this film. We talk about the cast and why some of them work better than others (Heather Graham is definitely the one who stands out as a sore thumb unfortunately). We chat about the cinematography and the film technique they used to achieve the fascinating dream sequences. And we discuss Trevor Jones score and how well it works, as well as how it felt like there were sequences that needed score that didn’t get any.

It’s a fascinating film, if not as successful as we’d have liked it to be. Perhaps a longer tale told would work better? Who knows. Until that happens, though, check this one out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Carrie Pilby — "I don’t know if this will be any good, but I like the quirky characters and the overall vibe of the trailer. Plus Nathan Lane and Gabriel Byrne? I want to see it just for them. Here’s hoping it’s worth it."

Pete's Trailer: War Machine — "So, I guess we know where Netflix is spending all it’s money. Brad Pitt this time in a satire of America in Afghanistan from the top down. What’s the deal with his hand? Crazy cast: Brad as Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Tilda, Anthony Michael, Lakeith, Ben, Topher, and ‘he’ll keep calling me, and calling me, and calling me…’ Alan. Got ‘em all? Before it comes out, go read The Operators."

Menace II Society

"Being a black man in America isn’t easy. The hunt is on and you’re the prey."

When 20-year-old twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes directed their first feature film in 1993, Menace II Society, they immediately showed audiences everywhere that they were storytellers who weren’t afraid to tell risky stories and filmmakers who understood the language of the medium. The film seemed dangerous. It was vicious. Gritty. Brutal. And it was authentic, which perhaps is the greatest testament to what these young filmmakers set out to do. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Hughes Brothers series with their 1993 debut, Menace II Society.

We talk about the energy they bring to the film (with a lot of homages to Scorsese) and how that energy drives home the message of the film. We look at how the Hughes brothers got their start and got to this place where they were making this film. We discuss the actors – from Tyrin Turner to Larenz Tate, from Jada Pinkett (and her baggy clothes) to MC Eiht, and from Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Duke to Charles S. Dutton – and look at what they bring to the table. We touch on the cinematography that Lisa Rinzler lenses for the film here, working with the Hughes brothers to bring their vibrant world to life. And we talk about how well this film did for itself in ’93. 

It’s a fantastic film that definitely has held up some 24 years after its release. It has the same vitality and energy that it did back then and warrants a watch. Check it out then tune in! 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Here Alone — "Are they zombies? Or just sick people? I don’t care. It’s got a great look and feel and I want to see it."

Pete's Trailer: Song to Song — "That’s right, Andy and I were just talking about how we aren’t all that crazy about Terrence Malick films when this comes along. Maybe the setting in and around the music scene will make it easier to swallow? The cast certainly doesn't hurt."