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Archive for the ‘Ralph Fiennes’ Category

lego-batmanSo I had my choices of movies that opened this weekend to see. They were John Wick: Chapter 2(which I am waiting to see with a friend,) Fifty Shades Darker (be a cold day in hell for me to see that movie by myself,) and The LEGO Batman Movie.   Now the one similar thing between Fifty Shades Darker and The LEGO Batman Movie is that a single guy going to see either of these movies by himself is borderline creepy, albeit for different reasons.    So if you had in the aforementioned cold day in hell and the fact that I love Batman, The LEGO movie it would be.  I was hoping for another surprise like last year’s Zootopia.  Instead I got something that was closer to Minions with more steady laughs but no laugh out loud moments.

LEGO Batman, voiced by Will Arnet (Despicable Me,) is the King of Gotham constantly foiling the evil plans of the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover.)  But one thing that Batman hasn’t been able to overcome is his fear of loss relating to his parents.  That is why he fights crime alone and lives alone with Alfred, voiced by Ralph Fiennes (Spectre.) His life takes a sudden change when he accidentally agrees to adopt orphan Dick Grayson, voiced by Michael Cera (Superbad,) when Batman was distracted by the new Gotham Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon, voiced by Rosario Dawson (Sin City.)  As Batman tries to hide his fear from his new friends The Joker is working on the ultimate plan to get revenge on Batman.

My basic problem with this film is twofold.  One, to me, the movie is aimed at children under the age of 12.  Two, while there are lots of little jokes, especially Batman lore related, nothing really makes me laugh out loud and it seems like there was no real story development because it is very basic.  Of course since I believe the target market is 11 and under, that works.

The story of the movie has the feel of an afterschool special movie made in the 70’s and 80’s.  The whole purpose of the story is to tell kids the importance of family and how you can’t do things alone and that it is ok to ask for help from anyone, including your enemy. This is all fine and good I suppose for the Millennial and Gen-Xer parents out there wanting to enforce that kind of crap…I’m sorry, feelings in their kids.  The problem I have is that in this day in age of Pixar films and non-Pixar Disney films and a few Dreamworks films that cater to both the child and the adult child, this film is aimed strictly for the kids and for me belongs on the Disney Channel and not at the movie theater.  But then again I don’t have kids so what do I know.

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The most telling thing for me and this film is that today I had a long day of work and barely five hours of sleep.  No matter how tired I am if I am into the movie I have no problems staying awake.  However, for this film, I dozed off for I would think 10 minutes at least because I have no idea how The Joker’s Gotham city bad guys got dumped by the Joker for all of the phantom zone villains but it did (This will make more sense when you see the film.)

I will say all of the Batman related jokes were giggle worthy but if you know nothing about Batman and its movies or the TV show then you might miss out on them and then the entire film won’t be funny at all.  The special effects were also amazing and on par with the LEGO Movie.

This will be an entertaining film for your kids but I can’t say for sure that you will like it.  This movie basically takes a great character from the LEGO Movie and tries to give that character its own film but the story is to basic and the lack of humor makes it basically a one trick pony for one and half hours.  But go see it because it won’t be the worst film you see this year.

Oh yes one more thing, there normally would be a whole paragraph on how annoyed I am that movie studios and their marketing departments are wasting the movies best material in the ridiculous amount of trailers released before the movie and why that it is bad.  But I am beginning to accept the fact that this will be happening all the time in the present and future so I should just get used to it.  So stupid.

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SpectreSo I should never get my expectations high for a movie because rarely are they met when they are high. Although, truth be told, some parts of this movie met and exceeded my expectations.  But then again a lot of the movie had me shaking my head with a quizzical look on my face.  So while I liked the movie, and I have it on Blu-Ray, it left me wanting a lot more.

James Bond, played by Daniel Craig (Golden Compass,) is back and after years of trying to find the organization responsible for his beloved Vesper Lynd’s death as well as the old M.  It looks as if he is finally making headway after the old M, played by Judi Dench (Casino Royale,) leaves a death message via video to tell him to find a particular man in the event of her death.  Despite the orders of the new M, played by Ralph Fiennes (Hail, Caesar!,) not to go anywhere he begins the final hunt to find the organization known as Spectre and its leader Ernst Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards.)

The first ten minutes of this movie sets up my emotions for the entire film.  The opening scene, which is always that trademark James Bond action sequence, is probably the best Bond opening in the history of Bond movies.  It was ridiculously exciting watching these two guys fight in a flying helicopter.  I can’t remember a scene that was that fun.  Even before that when he shoots a briefcase in a building that ended up having a bomb in it which destroys that building that causes it to fall on the building Bond is in, which collapses the roof and sends him sliding down and ultimately land comfortably on a sofa was hilarious.   So the beginning was starting off brilliantly.  Then as if to ruin everything we get the opening title sequence with three minutes of tentacle porn ( to give credit where credit is due, the phrase comes from Screen Junkies Honest Trailer Spectre, but it’s awesome so I am using it,) with a title song that just gave me derp face.  I was sitting there listening to this song that musically was wonderful and Bond like, but then Sam Smith started to sing and my face went blank (not a fan of his voice at all.)  Then the lyrics sounded as if we are giving a eulogy to Bond…The Writing are on The Wall…really?  Compare this one to the one from Skyfall from Adele and it’s no comparison.  Yet the Academy nominated this song for Best Original Song.  I don’t get it.

But again, this is the whole movie for me.  Time after time I am watching this great action scene and then it’s followed up by borderline boring plot and story development.  The first time we get to meet the bad guy is at a meeting which is painful to watch but then right after it, we get awesome car chase in the streets of Rome ( I think its Rome.)  Another time we get 10 minutes of heading to and meeting the new Bond girl, Madeleine, played uninspiring by Lea Seydoux (The Grand Budapest Hotel,) which is slow, but then we get awesome chase scene where Bond rescues her from the bad guys by chasing their cars while he is in an airplane.  Awesome stuff!  So the entire movie I go from excited school boy to watching something akin to Pride and Prejudice where I have a permanent confused look on my face.

Perhaps the biggest travesty of all is the final scene.  We have 20 plus minutes of great action where Bond saves the girl again.  Bond tracks down the bad guy and shoots down his helicopter and Blofeld is literally on the street, waiting to be taken out by Bond.  New M has sealed off the entire block, Bond can gleefully get revenge for the man responsible for killing his love Vesper and his boss and making his life hell.  All he has to do is pull the trigger and bam, we have come full circle and closure.  What does he do?  Looks at annoying new Bond girl who is judging him for wanting to kill the bad guy and decides to throw his gun down and walk away.  Really? So all those deaths mean nothing now?  Can we get no revenge or satisfaction?  Apparently not.

This movie also committed a foul with its bad guys.  I didn’t get enough of Blofeld and I wanted more of him.  I get that if you go back to the old Bonds, you rarely see him.  But in the Danial Craig Bonds we get to see the bad guy a lot so I was hoping to see him more.  Blofeld’s henchman Hinx, played competently by former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy,) was killed off ¾ of the way in the movie.  It was a great fight between him and Bond, but I was hoping to see him make it to the final fight and it didn’t happen.  The last comment about the bad guys is that I do not know if there has ever been a more obvious bad guy in the history of bad guys then the character C, played by Andrew Scott (Pride.)  After his first scene, I felt like he was going to be one of those annoying politician types that get in the way.  But after the second scene he was in I realized that he was totally a part of the world wide evil organization.  It was obvious and yet we had this big reveal at the end of the movie that I assumed stunned no one.  It’s just odd to have that obvious of a bad guy who I think wasn’t supposed to be that obvious of a bad guy, if that makes sense.

As much as I am hating on this movie, I did like it.  The action was really fun and the story, as slow as it was, seemed to follow a logical conclusion, except for the whole revenge killing of course.  I loved the supporting cast of Q, played by Ben Whishaw (The International,) and Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.)  Don’t mean to interrupt the love with more hate but I did not like seeing and old looking Monica Bellucci in the film.  I know she was supposed to play the grieving widow but…yeesh.

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Anyway, I like it enough to own the movie.  I am interested in seeing if Daniel Craig does indeed follow through with his promise of not doing anymore Bond films.  If that’s the case I will be mildly interested in seeing where they take it.  As much as I didn’t like the direction they took the film when Casino Royale came out, it has grown on me and I am more of a fan of the Daniel Craig Bond then I was in 2006.  But Clive Owen still would have been a better Bond.

To see my movie review compatriots review of Spectre click on the link here.

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hail caesarBy all of the trailers I watched for this movie I thought I was going to laugh out loud for 90 minutes. After watching the movie I can say that I will never trust a trailer again.  Never will I say, “Oh that looks funny,” or “wow, that looks like lots of fun action.”  Instead I shall be skeptical because you never know what you are going to get.  In this case you get a story about a guy who is decided whether or not to switch jobs.

Josh Brolin (Everest) stars as Eddie Mannix who is an executive at Capital Pictures in the 1950’s with a knack for fixing issues at the studio, especially with actors and the situation they get themselves into because of their vices. This very day he has to deal with the star of the studio’s epic movie about religion Baird Whitlock’s, played by George Clooney (Syriana,) who has been kidnapped for ransom.  He has to convince director Laurence Laurentz, played by Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,) to turn the studio’s western action star Hobie Doyle, played by Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures,) into a sure fire dramatic actor.  Lastly he has to deal with DeeAnna Moran, played by Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2,) whose public wholesome image is about to being ruined by her soon to be public pregnancy. While balancing all of this he has to decide if he wants to take a new job with a big government contractor.

My big problem with this movie is that it was sold to me as a comedy and I didn’t find it all that funny.  There were some very funny scenes but they were short lived and they then moved on to the dry slow plot line.  I also got the feeling that if I was in the business of making movies in Hollywood I would find this just hilarious.  That being said there were some very funny moments in the film.  The scene involving western actor Hobie Doyle being thrown into the dramatic movie in a large sitting room was pretty good.   Then the whole 1950’s dancing sailor number with Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) in an obvious homage to the Fred Astaire dances films was quite humorous especially with the intentional homosexual undertones thrown into the entire number.

scarlett-johansson-plays-a-vixen-during-the-golden-age-of-hollywood-in-the-coen-brothers-new-film-hail-caesarHowever, the few scenes with Scarlett Johansson were not funny at all and I’m not sure they were meant to be which saddened me because she is ultra hot and a good actress.  But that goes back to the trailer that implied that her and the others, especially Joseph Silverman played by the man I love to dislike, Jonah Hill (Forgetting Sarah Marshall,) would be on the hunt for Baird Whitlock. Jonah’s character is in the film for a grand total of maybe two minutes and it’s just one scene.  The scene you see in the trailer.  Now I get that the trailer shouldn’t give too much away and you shouldn’t get too much information in the trailers and sneak peaks that are constantly released, but I don’t think that the trailer should be basically lying about the film and what it’s about.  This story is about the wacky things Josh Brolin’s character has to deal with in a day at a major motion picture studio, not the story about the most famous actor at the studio being kidnapped.

Don’t get me wrong, the actually story about Eddie Mannix (Brolin) is interesting and again the situations are wacky.  But I just wasn’t expecting a period piece with some dramatic over tones.  I was expecting a slap stick comedy involving crazy situations actors and actresses would get themselves into as they try to save one of their own.  Maybe it’s my own fault because I knew that this was a Joel and Ethen Coen Brothers film and I have never seen them do slapstick, although I did laugh my ass off a lot for the movie Fargo.

Since this is a Coen Brothers film I can say that the production quality was wonderful.  The film looked and felt as if it was shot in the 1950’s.  The clothing, furniture, backgrounds, hell everything, was awesome to watch and fun as well.  I would imagine that the way the cast portrayed the Hollywood studio scene of the 1950’s will make anyone who is still alive from that era die with laughter, figuratively of course, hopefully.  The Brothers even did justice to the whole Hollywood Communist tie-in for the movie even though it really didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  But it’s there and it provided some chuckles.

I won’t say I disliked the film, but I definitely am not a huge fan of it.  It scores points for the design and look of the film and Josh Brolin does a great job as always, but my biggest disappointment is that the film not what it is advertised, at least to me, and it took away from the enjoyment of the movie.  Then again as of Feb, 6th 2016 Rotten Tomatoes website has given it a Fresh Rating of 79% from the reviews.  Most be lots of inside jokes I don’t get.

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schindlers listIn my opinion, this is the best movie ever made. Steven Spielberg makes a masterpiece in every definition of the word. This movie is as close to the real thing as we who did not suffer or discover this tragedy of biblical proportions will ever get, thankfully.

This movie details the triumph and the tragedy of the Jews who were saved by the Nazi party member Oskar Schindler whose original goal in moving to Warsaw was to make as much money as possible and then leave.  What Schindler ended up doing was showing the true nature of humanity when surrounded by madness.

This movie is put together in such a way that few movies have done before or since.  Spielberg puts the audience member there, in the work camp, in the death camp, on the firing line.  He does this with such skill that I was actually shaking at one point in the movie.  Spielberg shows us the true horror of this even in way that only a documentary or an interview with a survivor or a liberator could only know.  This is a very difficult feat to accomplish by people who make documentaries let alone a fictional movie based on factual events.  With this movie Steven Spielberg became the greatest director of my generation and I will argue of all time.

 

Three actors also should receive special recognition for this movie.  Ben Kingsley (The Last Legion,) portrayed Itzhak Stern, the man who ran Schindler’s plant, and also the man who helped keep so many of his people alive.  Kingsley portrayed this character as a stoic man who lived with death everyday and managed to keep fighting.  He never strayed in his portrayal of man who could have been killed for the actions that he was doing.  Kingsley just did an outstanding job.

Liam Neeson (Batman Begins,) who portrayed Oskar Schindler, did a great job showing the development of a character who in the beginning was only interested in money and womanizing to the end who realized that his gold Nazi pin could have gotten him one more life.  Neeson scenes that best show this transformation is first when he has to go to the train station to pull Stern off of a train that is headed to death camp.  When Schindler does get Stern off of the train he lectures Stern on what would have happened to the plant and to him if Stern had been sent off to the camp because of a simple mistake.  We go from this scene to the end where Schindler is looking at all of his possessions and realizing that his money and his possessions meant peoples lives, he who had done so much could have done more and couldn’t face himself because of what he didn’t do.  Masterful.

The best job has to go to Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows,) portraying Amon Goeth the work camp commander.  I feel it would be incredibly difficult to take on a role that would require him to be a believable evil man.  His constant struggle with trying to do what is right, while doing all of these horrible acts and realizing that he is going to lose this struggle for his sole is very compelling.  The two scenes that best show Fiennes portray of Goeth can be seen when he approaches his female servant Helen Hirsch, where he struggles to show the good side of him to her and the scene where he at first forgives a young boy for not cleaning his bath tub.  Goeth looks into the mirror, looking into his sole almost to see if there is something there.  His decision will determine whether or not this 14 year old boy will live or die.  Fabulous cting by Fiennes.

I would like to recommend this movie to everyone.  But I feel that there are some people out there who could not handle the reality of this movie.  Certainly anybody under the age of 16 could not understand the depth of emotions that this movie carries.  However, if you feel you are up to it, and you can explain it to a teenager, then please rent this movie.  I was really hesitant about doing this review because I feel that my words can in no way give the honor that this movie deserves.

***Update: This is a review I wrote in 2005 transferring from the old website to the blog.  That being sad I can’t stress how wonderful this film is and it should be seen, at least once.***

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harry potter deathly hallows pt1I skipped this movie at the theaters cause anytime there is a Part 1 at the end of it I am automatically annoyed at its premise.   The conclusion being that I have to wait if I want to see the end of the movie which would be painful if I enjoyed the movie.  I rather they Back To The Future II me and surprise me at the end of the film…and tell me I have to come back and see the next film.  Anyway, I decided to wait two weeks before Part 2 comes out to see Part 1 and I am highly annoyed, and it is because I can’t wait to see the next film.  However, the reason I want to see Part 2 is because after watching Harry and his friends and allies get thier ass kicked around the screen for the better part of 2 hours I’m hoping that Harry grows a pair and starts kicking the hell out of people.  I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how close the movie is to the books and what the ending is going to be, but good God, it was like I was watching them do thier imitation of the Polish Army when it was getting thier ass kicked by the Wehrmacht (thats the German Army under the Nazis,) or the Buffalo Bills when they were getting destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys 52 – 19 in Super Bowl 26, watching The Situation totally be a douchebag during Donald Trumps roast (Ok, I have used history, sports, and even used that fucking idiot The Situation as examples of the degree of ass kicked Harry and his friends received, if you can’t figure it out now…then nevermind.)  All I have to say is Part 2 better not dissapoint with the retribution or I will completely dislike this film series.

So to summarize, if you haven’t seen this movie, after the death of Dumbledore, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson,) and Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint,) are on the run, looking for the Horcruxes to destroy, and like I said above, getting thier asses kicked around most of Great Britain.  While at the house of one of the aforementioned ass kicked ally, Harry and the gang learn that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is looking for one piece of the Deathly Hallows, which is the most powerful sacred set of items in all of wizardom.

Yeah, the movie is, in terms of plot, story, character development, fine…I suppose.  My biggest problem is that I am a guy, who (1) is watching Harry Potter and wondering if I am losing man points (I am) and (2) hoping that since I am sucked into said franchise and losing man points, the end will have the kind of action, revenge, that is necessary to have to retrieve said man points.  You see, no matter the film, I dislike watching my heros of the film getting thier ass kicked or lose and not get some kind of reward at the end.  Example of this would be say, Clint Eastwood’s character in the movie The Unforgivin.  He gets his ass kicked, literally, and looks weak and helpless all the way until the last 15 minutes of the film where he kills everyone.  I can also take an ass kicking if there are individual acts of heroism, say for example, Black Hawk Down, where the Airborne gets kicked around Mogadishu, but individuals act heroically and we kill way more of them then us.

What I don’t like is watching guys I like get pounded for 2 hours and then end the film with despair, not even a hint of coming back.  The end of Part 1 was, hey I just got destroyed and my mortal enemy just got what he was looking for, more ass kicking to continue in Part 2.  Yea!

So this review is unfinished and to be continued in Part 2, but, like I said, if Harry doesn’t grow some of his namesake on his sack, then I will be very annoyed with the entire series.

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