What’s Seattle Saying – January 11, 2013

WhatsSeattleSayingLogoEach week, Should I See It will be looking to its left and to its right, collating the thoughts of many of the film reviewers and writers located in and around the Seattle community.


  • Gangster Squad
  • A Haunted House (not screened for national critics)
  • Rust And Bone
  • Zero Dark Thirty (now playing everywhere)

See what the Seattle critics say about these films…after the cut!

GangsterSquadPosterGANGSTER SQUAD

Starring: Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling
Rating: R (for strong violence and language)
Genre: Crime Drama
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Director: Ruben Fleischer

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and-if he has his way-every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.- Warner Bros Pictures.


X - No Adam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
“With throwbacks to the gangster films of days gone by, it’s a little hard to take this “historically inspired” film terribly seriously.

X - NoBrian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
“Stylishly sleek yet simplistically shallow…this colorfully flashy gangster flick simultaneously dazzles the eyes…and dulls the mind.”

X - NoRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“‘Gangster Squad’ is the kid who desperately wants to be like the other kids, observes how everybody else acts and then mimics the behavior and the lingo in hopes of being taken for one of the gang..

X - NoBrian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
“Instead of bringing anything new to the gangster movie party, the movie runs down a checklist without innovation.”

Check - YesSpencer Fornaciari, The MacGuffin
“Gangster Squad doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it doesn’t have any aspirations to do so. It just takes a tried-and-true formula and executes it very well.”

X - NoSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.comPoorly paced, lazily edited, reviling in cliché and shot to look as shiny as a newfound penny, Gangster Squad is 2013’s first disaster…”

X - NoTim Hall, The People’s Critic @ SeattlePI.com
“As frustrating as Gangster Squad was, I wondered what could’ve been.”

X - NoBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“…in the end it has the appearance of a poser, unsure of itself and decreasing in entertainment value as it boom, boom, blams to its conclusion.”

X - NoSoren Andersen, The Seattle Times
“All the people in the picture are playing at their characters, rather than actually playing the characters. Everyone looks grand in their period clothes, but they’re making make-believe that is not in the least bit believable.”

X - NoMichael Ward, Should I See It
“While not a massive failure, Gangster Squad is instantly forgettable and unremarkable and the first significant underachiever of 2013.”

Gangster Squad arrives with a star-studded cast and a repositioned release date following the tragic Aurora, Colorado school shooting of July 2012. At one time, Gangster Squad was thought to be a potential big-time Oscar contender, but now that it has been released the film has more than underwhelmed critics nationally and locally. Only one critic on our panel liked the film, and at press time, Gangster Squad has a 32% score from Rotten Tomatoes’ panel of critics.

HauntedHousePosterA HAUNTED HOUSE
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins
Rating: R (for crude and sexual content, language and some drug use)
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Director: Michael Tiddes

In an outrageous send up of the Paranormal Activity movies, The Devil Inside and other “found footage” movies, A HAUNTED HOUSE features young couple Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) who have just moved in to their dream house. As they settle in, they quickly find they’re not alone. But it’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s Malcolm’s girlfriend who is possessed by a demon. Malcolm hires everyone from a priest to modern day ghostbusters to rid her of this unwelcome intruder, determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship… or, more importantly, his sex life.- Open Road Films.


Nothing. Nothing at all. Not screened for critics, no one on our panel watched A Haunted House.

Two weeks into 2013 and we have our second film not screened for film critics nationwide. A Haunted House, dipping into the same pool as the Scary Movie franchise, finds Marlon Wayans starring in a new horror spoof film, which those who did see it today, claim is rampant with childish humor and alarming homophobia and mean-spiritedness. A Haunted House scores a dismal 10% with the national reviewers who were sent out by their editors on the day of release.

RustAndBonePosterRUST AND BONE
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts.
Rating: R (for strong sexual content, brief graphic nudity, some violence and language)
Genre: Foreign/Drama
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Director: Jacques Audiard

Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident. – IMDb




Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“If “Rust and Bone” falters at times, it does sustain its sunny, drowsy atmosphere. And watching these two actors becomes justification in itself…”

Check - YesLaremy Legel, Film.com
““Rust and Bone” is certainly steeped in humanity. Editing and clarity issues keep it from being an all-timer, but if you’re a lover of international cinema, you’ll find much to enjoy here.”

Check - YesErik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Rust and Bone is a well made movie with strong performances and complex characters, and it may be one of the better movies of the year.”

X - NoBenjamin Rendell, The MacGuffin
“One wonders what Audiard was trying for here. With so many different ideas going on, it is hard to even tell what kind of insight into his characters he wanted to get across. If there had been a central storyline to go with, perhaps the other ideas could have gelled better. But as is, this is just a meandering mess.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
“…on the whole Rust and Bone works, it enlivens the spirit and stirs the soul just as it was designed to…”

Check - YesBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“…a brutal drama that teeters on the edge of success and failure throughout, but his ability to know just the right moment to pull it back and when to go for the gut results in a stand out movie.

Check - YesMoira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
“It’s a movie that reminds us that not everything broken can be fully mended — and that Cotillard, who unforgettably makes Stephanie at once steely and fragile, is one of the most mesmerizing actresses currently on screen.”

Somewhat surprisingly passed over at the Academy Awards, where many felt Marion Cotillard was a pretty solid lock for a Best Actress nomination, Rust And Bone is a challenging and polarizing film that has taken its time maneuvering around from city to city. Arriving in Seattle some six weeks after its New York and Los Angeles debut, the film has been widely embraced by the critical community, scoring a Rotten Tomatoes rank of 80%. Locally, the film was met with an embrace by all but one member of our local panel.

ZeroDarkThirtyPosterZERO DARK THIRTY
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke
Rating: R (for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language)
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 157 Minutes
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.- Columbia Pictures


Check - YesAdam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
“Gritty, tense, and unrelenting to the final frame this is not a feel good film; however, the film does provide for important insight answering many of the who, where, what, why and hows of our current political situation.”

Check - YesBrian Taibl, BrianTheMovieGuy.com
“ZD30 feels almost documentary-like in nature which, as of late, has stirred the controversy pot in terms of where exactly the filmmakers got all their seemingly correct info – but that only adds fuel to the already brightly burning fire at the belly of this exceptionally gripping flick.

Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“It all works, no doubt about it. From Bigelow’s edgy instincts about how to stage action to Alexandre Desplat’s eerie music, this movie will put its grip on you. It made me uneasy in a variety of ways, and that’s probably its goal.

Check - YesBrian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
“Even though we know the outcome, there is vibrant anxiety as the famous Seal Team 6 members go room to room searching for the world’s most wanted man. Bigelow pulls no punches, letting the violence be what it is; horrific and part of the way things are.”

Check - YesErik Samdahl, FilmJabber
“Zero Dark Thirty is superbly written and directed. As good as The Hurt Locker is, it feels inconsequential when compared to this movie. The movie looks great, and Bigelow and Boal’s “no bullshit” storytelling approach grabs hold within the first minute and never lets go.”

Check - YesSpencer Fornaciari, The MacGuffin
“Kathryn Bigelow is going to score big with Zero Dark Thirty; it is an impressive piece of filmmaking. What is set under the guise of being about the hunt for Osama bin Laden ends up being much more of a character study of the individuals involved. While it technically is a war movie, it feels more like a game of cat and mouse, such as something like The Hunt for Red October.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
All that needs to be said is that Bigelow’s movie is a triumph, and seeing it should be the first priority of every potential viewer no matter what their political persuasion.

Check - YesBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“I expect most audience members will walk out with a larger interest in all the hunt for Osama bin Laden involved — the good, bad and deplorable — and want to learn more as a film covering so much ground can only be so specific. For a dramatic retelling of one of the most highly publicized manhunts ever, that is truly saying something.”

Check - YesMoira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
“Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal bring an uncanny urgency and suspense to a story that, like “Argo” earlier this year, has an ending we already know. “Zero Dark Thirty,” with its harrowing close-up depictions of waterboarding and other tortures (and implication that such torture was a necessary means to an end), isn’t easy viewing — but just try to look away.”

Check - YesMichael Ward, Should I See It
Zero Dark Thirty is an incredible experience, serving as a second entry in director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal’s documenting of the American war machine in a post-9/11 world. The Bigelow/Boal pairing have netted another classic, a divisive and controversial expose recounting, in amazing detail, the United States government’s efforts in capturing and killing Osama Bin Laden.”

Expected to be a significant contender for the Academy Awards, Zero Dark Thirty did land five Oscar nominations yesterday, including Best Picture, but shockingly missed an all but guaranteed Best Director nomination for Kathryn Bigelow. While Oscar morning did not deliver as Columbia Pictures expected, this highly controversial and much debated film will still retain a high profile through Oscar season. Now playing everywhere, audiences far and wide will finally get to see a film many feel was the best of 2012, including yours truly. Rotten Tomatoes reviews rank the film with an impressive 93% approval, while every Seattle-area reviewer unanimously endorses the film.


The praise remains unanimous for Best Picture hopeful Zero Dark Thirty, while French drama Rust And Bone hits with all but one of our panelists. The long-awaited Gangster Squad shot blanks with all but one of our critics and no one bothered to even try to check in to A Haunted House.


  • Broken City
  • The Last Stand
  • Mama
  • Silver Linings Playbook (receiving a “Now Playing Everywhere” release)

What’s Seattle Saying surveyed critics include:
Adam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
Brian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio, Star 101.5 FM Radio and Brianthemovieguy.com
Robert Horton, Everett Herald
Brian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
Laremy Legel, Film.com
Erik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Staff Reviewers from The MacGuffin
Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Kathleen Murphy, MSN
Tim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The Seattle Times
Ian Dinsmore, Seattleite
Mike Ward, Should I See It



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