I could elaborate on each specific detail of this great movie, but it's so straight forward that I feel all I should do is send you all to the cinema to watch it.
I could elaborate on each specific detail of this great movie, but it's so straight forward that I feel all I should do is send you all to the cinema to watch it.
It's beautiful, but it's also hollow and pompous and a waste of some obvious talents that did participate in its making.
On top of all that, we get a tight story of a Greek tragedy proportions set in modern china, depicting a dark and un forgiving world that borrows a lot from the classics of Melville. If you remember Melville's attitude to the famous "honor among thieves" you'll know what to expect from this movie too. But do come with an open mind - you'll be blown away.
Don't get me wrong, it's an important story, the story of how hard it is to really get away from your village, from the place where you were born. Or in other words, as I said in the title, how your village refuses to leave you, even when you did get away. A story about how your place of origin is more than just a social background. I do wish it was more original, but even as is it's a good movie.
One more point I wish to make: this story is being told in a very theatrical style. Using the actual setting of the village and the harsh nature around as a stage, and maintaining strict loyality to the theatrical unities of time and place. But this is a very cinematic theater, and that's the way theater should look like in cinema.
As for the other aspects of movie making, it's all very professional. The pace is as relentless as it should be, the special effects are as one expects them to be. Bottom line it's a well done action comedy that will give you exactly what you want from an action comedy, as long as you don't expect too much, like a plot that makes sense.
Its a tour de force of acting, by the leading couple. Steve Coogan and John C Reilly, which I always consider under rated, and he proves me right with a superlative performance. The two playing their corresponding wives are also doing wonders with subtle nuances that only film camera can capture (when one lets it). And also worth mentioning is Rufus Jones as their tour manager. As a rule this is a well done movie through and through. Jon S. Baird has a short career, behind him but if he keeps going like this he still has a long one ahead of him. Making sure we see all these subtle moments while still giving us the feeling we're watching something taking place on stage.
But there's one thing I wanted to point out, one thing that made me love this movie to pieces. Again and again it shows us how slapstick is funny on stage, but far from funny when a real heavy suitcase falls down the stairs, or in other words, when it happens in real life to real people. This distinction is so clear throughout the film that I find, it adds a deeper layer to a story about the real life of stage and screen actors and icons.
It's a great film based on a few false premises, some of which I already discussed here more than once. See on my review page what I've written about Infinity War, or Captain Marvel. In my personal book, every time a comics superhero dies, somebody made a mistake he (or she), didn't know how to fix. The control directors and script writers have over this sort of material is un limited. So if people don't like the character, and I mean real people not review writers that have a personal grudge against superheroines, because the actress is Israeli or because she was made too strong. If real people don't like the character, you wrote it wrong. Let's agree, it didn't happen here. People love the MCU characters, they were all beautifully written, and each actor performing them did wonders. They became as real as fictional characters can. So I knew what happened in this movie had to happen. I even wrote so in my review for infinity war. I must admit, I didn't guess the way they'll go about it, but I knew the many franchises, stemming from the MCU couldn't end. It wasn't a secrete, they kept on working on some sequells while working on this movie. And still, they did surprise me (and everybody else too). But, this sort of a surprise, dosn't cut it for me. Let's carry on with the toy box imagery, that the Russo brothers spoke about in their own IMDb interview. Think about going to play with your friend, he/she shows you a boxful of amazing toys, "I love them to pieces" they say, and the very next thing they take out a hummer and break some of them to smithereens. Surprise you? didn't I" yes, you sure did, but you're an idiot. And the fact, the entire movie prooves you're not, is making it even worse.
There's no reason in the world to drive the franchise this way, apart from the ego of the people having all the toys, their stupid wish to surprise us and to proove they really can do whatever they want.
I may have high esteem for their abilities. I have to agree, it was a great movie - I really didn't like it. And all the reasons for the ending we got, that I can think of, are making it even worse.
What they did, is not a new idea, it's used often in sci-fi and fantasy film. Since the story is fantastic, one makes sure the special effects are as vivid and gory as possible. This works fine when it's being used in moderation, but when one has a movie building for the arriving apocalypse, where does one draw the line. How much blood has to flaw from the screen, for the spectators to feel that the apocalypse is real? Does anyone coming to see Hellboy, even wants it to feel real?
And it started so nicely, even before the start when I realized they didn't use 3D for this film, I was sure they didn't go for the "real feeling" having a story so fantastic one can't expect to feel real to begin with. In fact, most of the movie went by and I was OK with what I was seeing. Acting was good, they did make Hellboy a bit too whiny, but I could take it. And then the final 15 minutes or so arrived. I'm not doing spoilers, that's my rule so I'll only say that these final minutes went well above my personal lines. And as I said, well above the needs of the movie. Even the dark sense of humor, which carried the movie so well up to the crescendo bit, dies away, when it's needed the most.
One last point, in favour of the movie - I like what the movie was saying: "a monster is not a question of appearance, a monster is a question of deeds". I simply think they didn't have to spill so much blood to say it.
Other aspects of the movie, are more or less all right. I won't elaborate on CGI, as I said more than once it's a mere technical issue by now. Acting is of the highest quality, plot has a few holes in, but it's almost coming with the teritory, of recent comics adaptations. That's why I rate it just 8 stars. Tighter plot, would earn higher rating in my book. The jokes are all right, not always so funny, but I did smile very often when watching it. And for me it's a decent bottom line. Especially since what's important here is the family issue, and that's covered all the way through.
And still, there's pouring hate against it. So many people say it's a bad movie, it's bland, boring and I could mention worse names stuck to this movie. And I just saw it, with many others and none complained, in fact they all seemed to have fun. So I was wondering where does all this hate come from, and I can't avoid the conclusion that too many people here feel like they have to fight against the onslaught of raging faminism. As far as I'm concerned, this is so silly I think of all the hate my review is bound to get here as my personal budge of honor.
Botom line: It's a good movie, a good introduction of a superhroine that suffers from a problematic starting point, due to no fault of the creative team of this movie. In fact I'm much more worried thinking how will Avengers Endgame team handle this impossible starting point. But in this case they did all they can, and they came up with a real fun movie.
It's not easy writing cartoon characters and making them human enough for us to care for them instead of laughing from them, but Garth Jennings pulls it off. He gets his stellar cast performing one surprising real life singer after the other. The fact that the actors do sing their songs helps a lot, making each song their own.
At the bottom line it's funny at the right moments and moving at the right moments, even though the story is never really original and never really surprising, it does make us care for every single character on screen, and in my personal book, it's quite an acievement
First among them is, as far as I'm concerned James Cameron, who wrote the script and produced the film. And if one looks at the first two installments of Terminator (which I consider a single movie seperated into two parts), at Avatar and at this movie the idea of the human soul in the machine and its victory over it shines through. The strength of the human spirit is an issue in most of Cameron's movies, but since I didn't see them all, I will not discuss them here. Also true of Cameron's career is his obsession with complete control over the world he presents in the movie, hence the importance of the 3D technique in Avatar and in this movie.
Personally I don't like Robert Rodriguez as much as I like James Cameron, mainly because I often think that he cares too much for the stunning visuals of his film, and too little for plot and character development. But in this case I think teaming up with James Cameron helped him to get a better balance. This is definitely a visually stunning movie, but the characters are all well written, (at least the leading ones) and the story makes sense inside the borders of the world it presents.
The cast of the movie is mostly superlative, though some of the smaller characters are very superficial, it doesn't hurt the story so much, as their roles are very limited which means that not having a developed character makes sense cinematically. It's hard to pass judgement on the quality of Rosa Salazar's acting as we don't really sea her face but rather her cyborg face designed to look as part of the Manga world from which the source material arrives. Still during the movie it never felt like she wasn't human, or real, and that's quite a lot. The other three real roles in the film are Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Keean Johnson. All three are very professional to say the least.
As far as all other aspects of movie making, I can't find a single fault, it's all done at the highest quality. So to sum it all up, a real good sci-fi about the real strength of the human soul when pushed well above the limits we're familiar with.
Cinematically we get a story presented in a very theatrical style, pointing to the theatrics of politics, and of royal politics. But this theater is a very cinematic theater, we get a very nuanced performance of the three leads, nuances that would often be lost on the stage of theater. And we do get three leading roles here. All three are superb, and the fact that Olivia Colman is written down as the lead is arbitrary in my book. She might have a little more screen time than the other two, (one would have to check it with a stop watch to be certain), but plot wise, both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, are her equals, and Olivia Colman herself has acknowledged it more than once. And as I said , they're all amazing. And actually, this trio makes the movie. I mean, every aspect of movie making is done here at the highest level: cinematography, editing, soundtrack, lighting, - it's all here, but without this trio none of it would matter, they make this story come to life, and they make us care.
One final point, I rated this movie 8 (bordering on 9), it could have been higher, if the point it was making was a bit less subtle. I feel that the final scene did make a point, but it was only half made, almost muted. And in my humble opinion it should have been a bit more forceful. Maybe thats the British understated way, but the rest of the story was fairly blunt, with the acting cast, and most of all the leading trio keeping it British. So I think, such a blunt story demands less subtlety at the finish line.
Disney have the right to coat everything they create with their own personal flavour, one may even consider it a sign of their own style. But when their own style is covering creations belonging to others, it becomes a problem. When it completely and utterly buries these creations, it becomes too much for me.
On top of this, in the very specific case we're discussing here, a case supposedly of their own creation, as this sequel was never written by P. L. Travers. What we get is as close to a carbon copy of the original without really being the very same movie. And again, for me, the sin in this case is even worse, because it's a final stamp confirming that the origin of the original is dead and buried. Now the Disney version is all there is. With tons of suger coating, with lovely bits of animation, with a forced ending and with a hint of a blooming romance, as if we didn't have too much of Disney in it already.
Thing is, I think I know why it doesn't work as well as the first installment of the franchise. So I decided I'd throw in my two cents. I don't even expect most of you to agree with me. It doesn't work this way anymore. Not on this site. But here goes:
The first problem is, that JKR tried here to tell a story straight as a film script, as compared with the books that preceded the HP movies. Movies don't work exactly like books do. We all know that. Books are faster, and can cover longer time span in a shorter time. She didn't even use the cinematic ploy for gaps in story telling - narration. And personally, I'm greatful she didn't. But the plot is not allways flowing sometimes it even jumps from one point to the other without explaining how it got there. In the books, it was often used when she wanted to insert the real reason later on in the development of the plot. As I already said, movies work differently.
Problem is, the characters didn't carry us from one point to the next as well as they did in FBaWtFT. Why, because unlike Harry Potter and his two friends, both Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein, are portrayed as extremely shy and introvert. Their characters are well built, in fact I consider some of their dialogues to be briliant, but they lack the charisma needed to carry the audience with them, unless the movie is dedicated to them like the first installment of the franchise was. In this one, there are way too many new characters competing with them for our attention and lacking charisma they simply get lost all too often. Here lies another problem, most of the new characters are either too one dimentional or too superficially constracted. One exception is Zoe Kravitz as the tormented Leta Lestrange, but she gets too little screen time to matter. When she does get her screen time she does shine. Another problem is the villain. Unlike many others I don't have a problem with Johnny Depp. He's theatrical, I think the role calls for theatrics. But he can't be as scary as Lord Voldemort, who's always in our minds when we're in the world of Harry Potter. Those who see Grindelwald as an early version of Lord Voldemort, may be right but he's also completely different in nature. He's not a demon, he's in fact very human and in a way more terrifying for it. But the immediate effect must be less scary.
Bottom line: it's not a bad movie, but it does have some problems, and the biggest one is being compared with Harry Potter and with the first installment of this franchise, which was much better.
As I said it here beforehand this became so ridiculous, that certain movies ended being plainly stupid (Into the Wood), but sometimes they do get their story all right, and then all their strengthes combine well into a charming story. In my book, this one such case. What we got here is a charming fantasy, with the recently required strong female character, that seems to extract some special hate on this site, and I can't understand why. Again, I already said it here, but I realize I must say it again: this is a commercial trend, but the entire movie business is commercial, and other commercial trends didn't get such quantities of passionate hatred.
One last remark, In my personal book, I've never seen Keira Knightley doing a better job. I personally think that the Sugar Plum Fairy over the top character suits her acting abilities to perfection. I heard her saying she doesn't know if she'll ever find another such role. I hope she does, we all deserve it.
Other aspects of movie making: let's not speak about CGI anymore, I think it's a mere technical issue, and there'll always be those who say the CGI was lame. It wasn't but it's not a surprise, it's the way it is. The actors are very good, and I liked the fact Tom Hardy gets to play a comic character with his own face. I hated his mask when he was Bane. It was part of the character, but it killed half the potential of real acting in that film. Here he gets to really act, and he's great. Michelle Williams is as charming as ever, and perfect for the role, and Riz Ahmed is a very good villain. Jenny Slate should get more screen time, she's a great sctress, who doesn't get half the credit she deserves.
Altogether, a great, slightly different sort of comic movie, if it wasn't a bit rushed with the convertion of Venum, I'd rate it even higher.
Without Jack Black, this is a nice but way too preachy movie about growing up with loss, and about outgrowing loss. With him, all the preachiness is gone, you simply can't take it seriously enough to be preached at. The moment you remove the preachiness, all you're left with is fun, and that's what we got here. A fun fantasy comedy with some added value to boot.
But I was still curious how did they up their antics for the second installment, like they're required by the Hollywood code of sequels. I'm glad I was, as they dared going upward in a surprising way. As it was mentioned here by previous reviewers, this installment is much slower. In a way it's even predictable, but it's still riveting. Because it's not about the action it's about the man - Robert McCall, the pensive character created by Edward Woodward back in the 80s. The one that tought everything out carefully and always came on top because he was better at his job than all the others. Yes he's border line super being, like Antoine Fuqua likes them, but he's much deeper than a simple killing machine. His strict moral code, his obsession with order, his devotion to his friends and his compassion all shine through this film, and it's all the better for it.
So, if it's not about the real CRM, but rather about the character of the books, what does it mean? What is it about? It's about growing older and forgetting what being a child is. It's the same point Spielberg has made so eloquently in his misunderstood masterpiece Hook (1991). He used the same tool, he borrowed a literary hero who became an icon of neverending childhood and examined him as a grownup. And then he too forced him to remember his actual literary childhood. Mark Forster also dealt with Peter Pan in his past. He dealt with the events leading to the creation of that icon in Finding Neverland (2004). That's not what he's doing here, as I already said. This time he makes the grownup Christopher Robin face up to the wisdom of his childhood friends, in a world where memories are real enough for other people to see and hear them. - In a movie.
He pays much more attention to the real world we live in than Spielberg did in Hook. In fact he makes it so real, that the imaginary is forced to enter it, and even take part in the "real" events. Spielberg also did it in Hook, but only fleetingly Forster blurs the lines completely, because his real world is so very real, he can do it and trust us to understand.
The only point I have against this movie (a would be 10 otherwise) is the fact its getting rushed twice, especially in the second time when I couldn't help but feel the ending was forced upon the movie, lest it ends with anything short of the full fairy tale happy end.
Before I finish I must give credit to one of the best voice acting I've heard in a very long time, that is Brad Garrett who steals the show completely as Eeyore. Ewan McGregor is great, Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael, are very good even though they get very little screen time and so is Jim Cummings, but Brad Garrett is the perfect Eeyore and his voice will ever ring in my ears when I see Eeyore in the future
It's very much like watching a slowmo of a train wreck. We all know it's going to end badly, and yet we can't look away. In fact the director could've decided to finish his movie five minute later, and it would've been a down right tragedy, but he chose to end it when he did, so we can still believe there's a chance for a happier ending. It's not a rational belief, but it's the ending we all want to take place.
The actors are all very real, some of them not professional, or doing their first steps as actors, none of them is a big star, but they all play their part perfectly. The film plays like a documentary, and in a way it is trying to be a document of this train wreck called the life of native Americans in modern day U.S.
Countering her is Kate McKinnon, who does again the silly (but not always silly) and over the top shtick, she's almost a carbon copy of her role in Ghost Busters. Jane Curtin and Paul Reiser are always a nice surprise in a movie and they're as good as you'd expect them to be, and so is Gillian Anderson. Ivanna Sakhno is the real surprise of the movie as the cold blooded assassin, giving a very nuanced performance in a role where less would've been expected.
Altogether, this is a well done cute spy comedy that left me with a wide smile, and I wish I could leave more movies like this.
This is obviously a bio pic. but it's not a documentary. It's a work of fiction. It's the directors work, and it's the story the director chooses to tell. As is she tell the story truthfully. One may argue about the exact precision of the minute details, but even the longish review arguing against the errors made by the film does agree all the facts in the film are true. The argument dwells mainly on interpretation. Well interpretation is the directors to make. Interpretations are not historical facts. The story is about how Mary Shelley grew into the writer who wrote Frankenstein, it's not the story of Frankenstein it's a story of a strong woman in a period when being a strong woman was much harder than we realize, and it's told by a director who's interest is exactly at that point.
Considering these facts, this movie is a great success. Elle Funning is superb giving what I consider her coming of age performance taking her look of fragil beauty and imbuing it with inner strength and personality. She was always tallented but she's doing a hell of a job here. And judging the precision of her English accent is beside the point, unless you're an incarnation of Professor Higgins. The other actors are also very good. True Tom Sturridge is giving a very hammy performance as Lord Byron, but I personally always imagined Lord Byron as a hammy character. Ofcourse not everybody shares my opinion, but it's a legitimate opinion and both the director and Mr. Sturridge thought it suited the role, I think they had the right to do so.
Another point I want to make is the film noire usage of background atmosphere and weather conditions to mirror the state of the characters - it's done very well and it suits the story too. Which obviously is also a result of superb cinematography all credit to David Ungaro.
To sum it all up, I really wish I could discuss it all with the reviewers I mentioned but it's impossible on this site. I did publish my own email address here once but it's no longer visible because the site management decided to take it away. And I wish they didn't. But the film itself, in my own opinion is a work of art of the highest quality. And it hits all the nails its aiming for right on the head.
The basic point of this movie is a confrontation between a woman striving to be as rational as possible, being a judge, and facing the limitations of pure rationalism when she has to rule on a question of faith. While faith also struggles to come out from this confrontation unscathed, as manifest by the young boy who has to live with the ruling of the judge. Very cleverly the story doesn't end with the judges ruling but with both sides of the debate having to live with the consequences of the ruling. The story is told with very English reserve that suits it very well. That's all one needs to know, before seeing it. If you get the chance do see it.