Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper

War Dogs

Movie:  War Dogs

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   It is Miami Beach in 2005, and 22 year old David Packouz (Miles Teller) is scuffling along trying to support his young beautiful wife Iz (Ana de Armas).  He has quit or been fired from six jobs since he dropped out of college, and is eking out a living as a masseuse for $72 an hour when he can get a client.  Suddenly, his life is changed dramatically when childhood chum Efraim Diveroll (Jonah Hill) comes back to town.  As they reminisce about high school capers, Efraim offers David a job working for him, in his new company called AEY.  Turns out Diveroll had figured out how to make a nice living by accessing the Dept of Defense procurement offers, and was putting in bids for small business contracts and winning enough of them to make a good living.  But with additional help, Diveroll figured they could make a play for bigger and more lucrative contracts.

Soon David and Efraim were indeed quite successful, and enjoying the fruits of their labors with matching porsches and luxury apartments in the same building.  David and Iz have a baby, and the future looks very bright indeed.  But then they reach for the brass ring, a contract worth multi millions of dollars, and bids are submitted by many big arms companies.  The contract is referred to as the Afghan Deal, and would provide U.S. support to Afghan troops against the terrorist threats in Afghanistan.  In order to make a plausible bid, the two young men realized they needed to enlist the support of a source who could provide scarce ammo and weapons at a low cost to them, which brought them into an unholy alliance with the notorious Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper).  With Girard’s contacts, AEY wins the Pentagon contract for the Afghan Deal, and soon they are dealing with all the details and problems associated with any major contract with ties in foreign countries.

This movie is interesting on several levels.  For one thing, it is based on a true story which was published in a book entitled Arms and the Dudes.  In terms of the acting in this film, it is very good.  Miles Teller is a rising star, and Jonah Hill plays a complex and colorful character with real gusto.  Bradley Cooper is a rarity in Hollywood, as he play a minor but key character in this story, and is mesmerizing in his few scenes.  Few mega stars are willing to branch out and play supporting roles while on the top of the ladder in the film industry.  Look for Ana de Armas’s star to rise.  She is about to appear in another major film Hands of Stone this month.  Bottom line:  this is an compelling story that will hold your interest to the very end, and afterwards you will wonder what the heck has been going on with procurement practices for weapons deals in our country.

Dialogue Nuggets:  David – “My name is David Packouz, and I am an international arms dealer.”

David – “When life kicked me, I stayed down.  But not Efraim, he kicked back.”

Efraim – “Everybody is fighting for the same pie, and ignoring the crumbs.  I live on the crumbs.”

Efraim – “Bush opened the floodgates in Iraq.  It’s a f*cking gold rush!”

David – “They call guys like us war dogs.  It was meant to be derogatory, but I kind of liked it.”

Captain Santos, U.S. Army, to David – “I’m in the ass-crack of the world defending your freedom, and I have to work with you shitbags?”

David – “Our entire business was riding on the word of an 11 year old translator.”

Efraim – “David, we’re gunrunners.  Let’s go run some f*cking guns!”

Captain Santos – “You drove through the Triangle of Death?  Great f*cking job!”

Henry Girard was a legend.  When they hung Saddam Hussein, it was said Henry sold them the rope.”

Weird Cameo – The real David Packouz is in the film very briefly in a scene as a singer.





Movie:  Aloha

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Come to beautiful Hawaii, the tropical paradise of the Pacific.  Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) has returned to Hawaii and Hickam AFB, although he is no longer an air force officer.  And his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) is now married to Major John Woodside (John Krasinski) and has two children.  So as Sam the piano player once famously said to Ilsa, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.

These days Brian Gilcrest is a contractor, working for billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray) on a hush-hush space satellite program.  As a VIP of sorts, Brian has Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), F-22 fighter pilot, assigned as his escort officer to assist him in his duties.  Captain Ng is a native of the state, 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese and 1/2 Swedish, and insists on giving Brian a running commentary on the island’s history and customs.  Gilcrest, having been stationed there as an air force officer, believes he knows enough about Hawaii without her help.  As if the satellite program wasn’t enough to worry about, Gilcrest is tasked to negotiate with the native Hawaiian tribal government on rights to a new gate for the air force base.

If there wasn’t enough on Brian Gilcrest’s plate, he has four star General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) on his back to not screw up the high visibility satellite program, code named Brave Angel.  While we don’t get a lot of background, there is obviously some history between the two men from the time when Gilcrest was on active duty.

This is a very good movie, character driven with darn good acting.  The only problem is there are too many major plot lines struggling to be resolved in just two hours.  There is the troubled Brian Gilcrest coming back to Hawaii with all sorts of unresolved feelings for former flame Tracy, and her issues for Brian and the husband as well.  The attractive and ebullient Captain Ng has inserted herself into Brian’s life and mission.  There is a brief treatment of the native Hawaiians and their attempts to maintain relevance in their own land.  Oh yeah, and then there is the enigmatic and charming Carson Welch and the all important satellite project.  It just feels like none of the story lines had enough chance to breathe on their own, but it was a brave effort anyway.  Worth seeing, especially in the summer season of movies that mostly blow stuff up.

Huh?  What the….:  Emma Stone as half Hawaiian and Chinese?  Those other Swedish genes really kicked butt!

Actor To Watch:  This movie would have benefitted with more of Alec Baldwin in it.  He has become one of the best character actors in the business, with a real flair for comedy.  If he ever gets the right vehicle he should win an Oscar.  Just saying.

Dialogue Nuggets:   Gilcrest – “Colonel, I am here to save you and your big, white obsolete whale.”

Gilcrest – “I don’t even remember why we broke up.”   Tracy – “We broke up because you didn’t show up for a vacation!”

Gilcrest – “I saw that missile coming and I didn’t get out of the way.  I didn’t care.”

“We have stuff to deal with before the famous Gilcrest exodus.”

Tracy – “Was he angry?”   Daughter – “He decapitated Santa Claus!”

Carson – “You can’t stop the future with one silly desperate act.”

Gen Dixon – “One more thing, Mister Three Day Beard Guy.  Stay away from Allison Ng!”

Gilcrest – “Well, I remember the good times.”   Gen Dixon – “THERE WERE NO GOOD TIMES!”