JT Film Review

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas Review
Review #167

4.5/5 stars

Director –  Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer

Cast – Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon

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This is a helluva ambitious movie. Helluva.

Written and directed by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer, it is an adaptation on the 2004 novel of the same name. It consists of six intertwined stories, ranging from the 1800’s to a post apocalyptic future. There are physical links between the stories… letters written in one time period are read by a character in another, a character in one story is worshiped as a deity in another, that sort of thing. The lead actors also all appear in several stories as characters with different ethnicities and even genders.

But the real link between the stories is thematic. The point of the movie is that people’s actions have consequences, and choices we make “reverberate through time”, etc. It’s not a new theme. It could easily be quite corny too, but success is all in the execution.  Cloud Atlas avoids being cheesy,  (more or less), and I would even describe it as inspiring. It easily avoids being boring, too, which seems odd as it’s almost three hours long.

It is definitely what I would call a “lie down movie”, though; one of those long films you can go to in a near-empty theatre, lie down on the seats, and let the movie wash over you. (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was another one.) The movie intrigues us, draws us in, and gets to the point in due time. It drags a bit in the middle, to be sure, but not for long. It’s six stories are all interesting in one way or another. They weave together well, despite the occasional jarring transition, and the actors all commit to their roles one hundred percent.  If you don’t like any of the stories, there’s a new one coming along in a couple of minutes!

I would like to touch on the ridiculous accusations of racism that have surrounded the movie. Many white members of the cast appear in a couple of stories as ethnicities other than their own. This is done with prosthetics and makeup, and has drawn comparisons to black-face. Some people are asking why actors of the ethnicity portrayed were not hired to play those parts, and normally they would have a point. But in a movie like this, where actors of all colours play different parts, the accusation fall flat. You can not say putting Hugh Grant in vaguely Oriental makeup is racist when the next scene features Halle Berry as a white British woman. Context is key here, and there is no racism here. No chance.

OVERALL

Cloud Atlas is huge, audacious, and effective. It’s six stories complement each other wonderfully, and the actors are obviously into the spirit of the thing. It sounds so flippant to say it, but Cloud Atlas is inspiring. It might confuse some and alienate others, but it is much more approachable than some are saying. Highly recommended.

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‘Cloud Atlas’ on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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November 21, 2012 Posted by | 4.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Drama, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall Review
Review # 166

4/5 stars

Director – Sam Mendes

Cast – Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Albert Finney, Bérénice Lim Marlohe

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Daniel Craig is Bond for the third time in Skyfall. We get the feeling that he’s always wanted to portray Bond as a tired, broken man; and the 23rd Bond movie gives us that with gusto.

We start off with a Bond who is believed dead, but who is really taking some quality time on some un-named Caribbean island. He is a wreck of a man, at least compared to what he once was. Trouble at MI6 leads him back, where he finds his skills have grown very rusty indeed. When undergoing re-assessment Bond finds he can’t hit a target the way he used to; he strides forward angrily, firing round after round. Not one hits a vital area.

But duty calls, and perhaps out of misplaced trust in him, M decides to throw 007 back into the field despite his dismal aptitude scores. He is after terrorist mastermind Silva, a man who has already blown up MI6’s headquarters, and seems to have a strange amount of knowledge of the inner working of Britain’s top spy program. But when it comes down to the final count, we see it’s not skill so much as will that makes the difference here.

Never before has a Bond movie had such a cast. We have the regulars, Dench, Craig, etc. But add onto that Fiennes in a great “English gentleman” role, Bardem as a great villain who sets the perfect tone, Finney as a reliable old caretaker (rumoured to have been planned as a winking role for Sean Connery), even Whishaw as a young and sly Q. This is a cast that screams prestige, and throw in Sam Mendes  as director and we really have something to raise the eyebrow. The movie is well paced, has great action, and even throws a nod to the Bonds of the past. This is the old man’s 50th anniversary, you know.

In retrospect, Bond has come along way from his beginnings in many ways, yet in many other ways he has not. Women can now be field agents, though they may prefer a desk job when all is said and done. 007 still sleeps with every skirt he comes across, and he still has to (inevitably) watch the villain blow them away. He doesn’t have as many cool toys as you may expect, though one particular car makes a crowd pleasing re-appearance. But the most fundamental way that Bond has changed in the last decade or so is to have an added sense of world-weariness. He kills, puns, and fornicates his way across the world, but you get the sense he doesn’t enjoy it as much any more. People argue that Fleming’s books always had a bit of this, but the movies have generally had a more light-hearted approach.  That is gone now. Bond is hewing closer and closer to Bourne.

This isn’t a particularly ground breaking comment, to be sure. But you have to wonder how long this trend will continue. Skyfall has a wonderfully low-key third act, that works very well despite a slight loss of urgency. When a terrorist is seeking M and Bond, they sneak off to a semi-abandoned mansion in Scotland. They take the fight to a remote area, to gain the upper hand and to cause less damage. (This is a wonderfully unexpected turn of events. Since when has Bond cared about collateral damage?) This is not the Bond we expect, and it works, but for how long can it? The reason it works so well is that it flies against convention, but I find myself hoping that what we have here is a strange side route, to be relished for its uniqueness; then we can jump back onto the main road for some “kiss kiss bang bang”, as they say. Indeed, we get a sense of that direction from the final scene. Moneypenny is at her desk, M is in his (!) office, Bond is being handed a dossier marked “Top Secret”, and we even have the coat rack back. Has the Bond train been diverted to its more fun and swashbuckling main line? I must admit, I hope so.

OVERALL

Skyfall is a bit of a departure from the usual Bond tone, but not too much so. It has the perfect tone for what it’s trying to do, and manages to wring a decent bit of fun out of the whole thing. Craig is settling wonderfully into his role, and the rest of the cast is superb. The final scene leaves us waiting with bated breath for the next one, and in the end, what more can we ask for. Skyfall is one of the better Bonds, made all the more interesting by its (comparatively) low-key third act. Bring on Bond 24!

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‘Skyfall’ on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave your comments below!

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November 14, 2012 Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Shoot ‘Em Up Review
Review # 165

3.5/5 stars

Director – Michael Davis

Cast – Clive Owen,Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti, Stephen McHattie

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Right from the very first scene, you will know if this movie is for you. Clive Owen (Mr. Smith), an innocent bystander, sees a man threatening to kill a pregnant woman. Mr. Owen then kills this man with a carrot. He is immediately set upon by henchmen/fellow goons of the dead man, and, via a bullet to an oil pan, he creates a makeshift slip and slide to fling himself past them all. In between these two events he finds time to help the lady give birth, and sever the umbilical cord by shooting it.

Need I say more? Do let me continue.

He carries the baby with him through the rest of the movie, because slimy baddie Paul Giamatti wants it dead for some reason. When we are told the reason, we realize it makes no sense and thus we discard it. The plot just doesn’t matter. Luckily the movie knows this, and takes itself exactly as seriously as we take it, that is, not at all. It should also be mentioned that Monica Belucci tags along as a hooker with a heart of gold. She helps hard ass Mr. Smith with such non-manly things as breast-feeding. They also participate in the mandatory sex scene, but one which quickly morphs into a horrific gun fight. You know all you need to know about the tone of the movie when I tell you that they do not stop screwing when the bullets start flying. You get the sense it just spices things up a bit.

Simply put, this movie makes Sin City look like a down-to-earth thriller. Shoot ‘Em Up is preposterous trash, a C-movie with a miraculously high budget. It is lucky to have stars who know the movie is absolute bull shit, and act accordingly. It gets a bit draggy towards the end, but that can be forgiven. The stunts, shootouts, and acrobatics are so absurd we can’t help but giggle, and go along with the fun. And fun it is.

OVERALL

I can not stress this point enough. In Shoot ‘Em Up, Clive Owen kills a man with a carrot. Voila.

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“Shoot ‘Em Up” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave your comments below!

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October 25, 2012 Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black Review
Review #164

4/5 stars

Director – James Watkins

Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Cirian Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Roger Allam

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Hammer is back! The infamous production company most famous for Christopher Lee’s Dracula series (and a myriad of other lo-fi British horror films), has been dormant since the 1980’s. About five years ago the company was resurrected, and makes its return to the gothic horror films upon which they made their name.

The Woman in Black is also an attempted resurrection of sorts for its star. Radcliffe is of course best known as the star of the recently finished Harry Potter films, and now presumably wishes to cast that mantle aside. A period-ish piece about supernatural happenings may not seem like a complete 180 turn, but there we have it. Is Radcliffe a bit young for the role? I would argue that yes, he is. But Radcliffe is a very competent (if slightly wooden) actor, and he carries the film capably. Any doubts we may have about his character’s motivations are down to the script, and he actually does more than we could have hoped to help.

But does the movie work?

I think it depends on how you approach it. If you expect a slow burn of a horror movie, with nuanced characters and a solid story, you will be a bit disappointed. However, if you are in the mood for a traditional haunted house movie with tons of jumps and chills running up and down your spine, it will most certainly provide them. And that word, “traditional”, perhaps describes the movie the best. While the cinematography and effects are all shiny and modern, the story would have fit perfectly in the good old Peter Cushing era, or even any of the old Hollywood horror pics. Our lead hears a bump upstairs? Up he goes to investigate! A sunken face appears at an upstairs window? Up we trot!The whole movie is in that tradition. If you can go with it, you will be in for a good time.

(Is there something particularly scary about things being upstairs? Well maybe it’s just this movie… we’ve seen plenty of scantily clad leads going into creepy basements.)

Adding some welcome dramatic weight to the whole thing are veteran Brit’s Cirian Hinds and Janet McTeer. We also see Roger Allam pop up briefly, just to reaffirm the Britishness of the movie. Janet McTeer is the standout I think. Her character is a bit of a mess. She has seen some bad things, has had her son taken from her by the titular spirit, and believes herself to be possessed. She is tortured, and we see it. Radcliffe is supposed to be a tortured soul as well. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of that perhaps.

OVERALL

The Woman in Black is a fun traditional horror film. It features performances that range from solid to excellent, and definitely offers its fair share of scares. Dspite a strangely out-of-place ending, it is a very effective movie. Highly recommended to horror fans.

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“The Woman in Black” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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October 22, 2012 Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Horror, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) (1981)

The Road Warrior Review
Review # 163

5/5 stars

Director – George Miller

Cast – Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Emil Minty, Michael Preston

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Filmed in Australia, The Road Warrior is a dirty, rough and tumble, bizarre gem of a movie, perfectly utilizing the Australian Outback’s harsh landscape. Mel Gibson returns to his star making role as “Max”, in what we know in North America as The Road Warrior, known everywhere else as Mad Max 2. The movie follows Max, a loner badass who wanders the desolate dystopian landscape searching for precious gasoline, which has become the only thing of value in this desperate world.

Being a sequel to a movie no one in America saw, we are brought up to speed in a brief prologue, summing up, if not the events, then the tone of the previous movie. Shrunk down to the center of the screen and shown in black and white, it offers the perfect contrast when we smash cut to a close up shot of Max’s wide, intimidating grill. From that moment on the movie kicks into high gear and floors it, right until the final shot.

And what a trip! What a bizarre, adrenaline pumping trip! I originally had no interest in this movie; the stupid looking punk outfits and hairdo’s made the whole thing look like B-level trash. But George Miller knew what to do with the material; he built a consistent world, shot it classy, and keep everything moving. Nothing is treated as if it’s crazy; which just goes to make the crazy stuff digestible.

It has a strangely touching sense of honour and pride about it too. The characters (except for our lead, at the beginning anyway) believe in things, we can sense it. There is a ragtag group who Max falls in with, and we can see that he longs for their family warmth. He deserts them initially, but then comes back. Whether or not he stays is truly at the heart of the character. Well, calling Max a character may be a bit of an overstatement. He’s The Man With No Name, down under. Clint Eastwood, but fallible.

OVERALL

The Road Warrior is fun, fast, and has production values it shouldn’t have gotten in a logical world. It’s no wonder that this series launched Mel Gibson to international stardom. George Miller made a unique movie here. Recommended to action fans, sci-fi fans, and fans of a good time.

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“The Road Warrior” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave your comments below!

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October 15, 2012 Posted by | 5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 1980-1989 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Review
Review #161

3.5/5 stars

Director – Timur Bekmambetov

Cast – Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson, Alan Tudyk

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That’s quite a title. It catches the eye, and does half of the advertising for you. You know right away if you’ll enjoy the movie, whose plot is also perfectly summarized in the title. The president hunts vampires, there you go. The vampires, of course, decide to fight on the side of the south because slavery provides them with cheap, available food. Bring on the boom-boom-pow.

I have to admit that I had a great time watching this movie. While it is tempting to describe the movie as “so  bad it’s good”, I will resist. That term has always bugged me… It implies that despite a movie being very bad, it was enjoyable. While I understand where the term comes from, surely if the movie was enjoyable, it was good! Now I understand that it means that perhaps the story was ludicrous, or production values very poor, or something along those lines. But still…

This particular movie certainly has a ludicrous story, but the production values aren’t that bad. The characterizations are almost non-existent, but wisely actors were cast who could bring a strong sense of character to underwritten roles. But it is the gung-ho attitude and ballsiness of the movie that make it so enjoyable. During one particular fight scene, a vampire starts throwing horses at the hero. Throwing. Horses.

That right there should tell you if the movie is for you or not.

OVERALL

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a gutsy movie that doesn’t cease to entertain. I honestly didn’t expect to like the movie at all. Maybe it has to do with who you see it with, but I had a ball. Just “check your brain in at the door”. Whatever the hell that means any more.

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“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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September 25, 2012 Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPCOMING MOVIES – Gambit (2012)

Upcoming Movies – Gambit
(Opening Date: November 21, 2012)

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Coming up later in 2012 we have Gambit, a Coen Brothers “remake” of a 1960’s Michael Caine film of the same name. This isn’t Fargo Coen Bros., this is Burn After Reading Coen Bros., who are arguably not as succesful. The story follows Colin Firth as he tries to con his boss into buying a forged painting, and for some reason he needs Cameron Diaz to help. See the trailer below!

 It’s great to see Colin Firth back, and Alan Rickman is always a welcome prescence. Cameron Diaz actually seems to have picked a somewhat classy movie, which is weird, but she can be very good. It’s a light and airy (if somewhat muddled) trailer, but it  certainly peeks my interest. Leave your comments at the bottom!

Tomatometer Rating Guess: 75%

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September 20, 2012 Posted by | Upcoming Movies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daredevil – The Director’s Cut (2003)

Daredevil – The Director’s Cut Review
Review #160

3/5 stars

Director – Mark Steven Johnson

Cast – Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau

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A blind Ben Affleck fights crime in 2003’s Daredevil. He is a lawyer, which puts him in an interesting ethical position. By day he defends the down-trodden and upholds justice, and then by night he kicks ass of those he believes are criminals. He isn’t awfully scrupulous about who he beats up, either… in one scene he beats up a whole biker bar to get to someone. He’s a very violent superhero, apparently not as particular about his rules as Batman, for example. Baddies end up kicked off steeples, faces smashed in, and thrown under trains. Hardly in the best tradition of the bar, surely.

Daredevil, or Matt Murdock as he is known at the bench, received his powers as a young boy, after an accident at the dock yards where he is blinded by an unnamed toxic substance. (Smack a “Hazardous Material” sticker on a barrel and it’s amazing what you can get away with.) He finds he is able to “see” with a primitive radar, and finds his other senses greatly enhanced. Soon after, his father, a boxer who is past his prime, is killed after refusing to throw a fight. This spurs Matt on to fight injustice no matter the cost.

On a side note, why the hell does every superhero have to be an orphan? Superman, Spider-man, Batman, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Wolverine… Those whose parents weren’t prematurely killed still have father issues, Iron Man and Thor for example. It seems an oddly specific affliction to give a group of characters. But, I digress.

Daredevil’s life becomes purely dedicated to rooting out evil-doers. His house is full of crime fighting gear and multiple replacement costumes. I sometimes wonder where these people find their tailors. I love it when movies go into a costume origin, ala Spider-man or Batman. Even the Fantastic Four. We don’t get that here, but I suppose we wouldn’t want too much of that. The origin story is (perhaps wisely) whizzed through, gotten out-of-the-way as neatly as possible. That is done well here, and the way Murdocks radar sense is shown is quite interesting. we get right into the story.

The story itself is fairly generic, and I won’t bother repeating it here, especially as its lack of flair really brings the movie down. There are some mildly interesting characters, from Bullseye, an anarchic Irishman with astonishing aim, to Jon Favreau’s character, Matt’s best friend. Some are less interesting, like Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, a rich girl who doesn’t like how her father tries to control her. (More daddy issues…)

The movie works best when delving into the murky side of New York society. There is a great morally ambiguous reporter (played by Joe Pantoliano), who is trying to find out Daredevils identity. The man who “owns the town”, Kingpin, is played excellently by Michael Clarke Duncan, who knows just the right amount of showmanship to bring to the role. There is another great little character, played by Coolio, whom Murdock defends in a murder trial. There is a flashy griminess to the movie that works very well with the source material.

Never in a superhero movie has it been more evident that the superheroes we all know and love are vigilantes, through and through. This is due to the juxtaposition of Murdock’s legal life and his other, extra curricular activities. Does he truly believe that all men deserve a trial by twelve men, good and true? I don’t think he does, and by extension he brings into light that most other superheroes mustn’t either. I suppose the Nolan Batman does bring his catches to the cops… but in general, superheroes seem to be our right-wing feelings brought to the fore. “If we know he’s guilty, just bring him to justice your own way!” The dangerous thing is how right it feels…

OVERALL

Daredevil: The Director’s Cut is an improvement over the original, and has a grimy likability. It’s story falters dramatically, however; it just doesn’t have anything that interesting. The actors bring their best to their parts, but can’t stop some cheesiness that finds its way in. Not an awful movie, but not great. A decent little middle-of-the-roader. I would recommend it to superhero fans, though!

NOTE: This review is part of a series called Superheroes: Bottom to Top, wherein I review every super-hero movie I own, from the lowest rated to the highest (according to Rotten Tomatoes). Up next is X-Men: The Last Stand.

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“Daredevil” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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June 19, 2012 Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Superheroes: Bottom to Top, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Batman Forever (1995)

Batman Forever Review
Review # 159

2/5 stars

Director – Joel Schumacher

Cast Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, Drew Barrymore, Michael Gough

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– follows Batman Returns

– followed by Batman and Robin

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Batman Forever is a movie of twos. Bruce Wayne struggles with his dual identity of playboy and crime fighter, and he takes on a partner, Robin. There are two villains up against our heroes, The Riddler and, of course, Two-Face (self-explanatory). In a way, it is the start of the second major Batman series. While it technically furthers the continuity of the Burton series, it has a different look and a different Batman. It is also  (if you’ll excuse the near-pun) too much, too long, and too garish.

After the Burton movies (Batman and Batman Returns) Warner Brothers wanted to brighten things up a bit, and Schumacher sure gives us that. Kilmer is quite different from Keaton, but surprisingly he is less humorous. And that’s the thing with the movie… the whole thing is largely humorless. It has none of the charm and off-beat weirdness of Burton’s movies, it’s brighter and more pop-oriented; as a result, the movie feels like just another ’90’s action flick. Visually, it is both gaudy and dull (though granted, Batman and Robin makes this one look quiet and restrained).

Plotwise, we follow Robin’s attempt to join Batman, and Bruce Wayne/Batman’s inner turmoil. He feels guilty about his parents death, and is, well… just plain mopey. This concept doesn’t work as the heart of the movie, especially as it was already done in Batman. It is never really resolved either. There’s no heart here. They attempt to make Robin interesting, but his story (dead parents, must kill the villain for revenge) is also just a retread of Batman. Combined with the cookie cutter feel of the film, we get a very dull movie here indeed.

It just makes me all the more anxious to see The Dark Knight Rises, a movie that looks like it will be one of the few great franchise three-quels. I know it’ll be better than this!

OVERALL

Batman Forever is a surprisingly dull movie. It is overlong and under-stuffed. Visually it is a pale imitation of Burton’s world, and there’s little to no meat in the story. Not really recommended.

NOTE: This review is part of a series called Superheroes: Bottom to Top, wherein I review every super-hero movie I own, from the lowest rated to the highest (according to Rotten Tomatoes). Next I will be watching Daredevil.

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“Batman Forever” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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June 18, 2012 Posted by | 2 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Superheroes: Bottom to Top, Year - 1990-1999 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review
Review #158

3.5/5 stars

Director – Gavin Hood

Cast – Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will i. am, Lynn Collins, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Ryan Reynolds, Tim Pocock

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– follows (by release date) X-Men: The Last Stand

– followed (by release date) by X-Men: First Class

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And we’re back, with the least successful movie of the X-Men franchise (both critically and, I believe, financially).

I have to admit, this movie was more fun than I had expected. It is an action movie through-and-through, and more of one than any of the other X-Men series. That is actually its biggest strength, but also what pulls it down. There isn’t as much emotional punch as I could have hoped, and the final sequences struggle to maintain consistency. The movie can be a bit unfocused as well, but there are plenty of good moments. Sure it’s not as coherent as we could have hoped, but there is a certain adrenaline pumped energy to the whole thing that keep us going. I enjoyed myself, in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

Plot-wise, we follow Logan (Hugh Jackman) as he grows up with his brother, Victor (Liev Schreiber), and as they learn to deal with certain abilities they have. They can regenerate from seemingly any injury, and have bone-like projections from their hands. They were born in the mid 1800’s, and participate in all the major wars from then on right up to Vietnam. They are “headhunted” by a military man (Danny Huston) who is putting together a secret team (or some such thing) of mutants. They roam the killing, carrying out missions, and doing a lot of killing. This is right up Victor’s alley, but Logan has reservations about all the bloodshed. This leads to disagreements between the pair. Logan eventually finds it all too much, and despite his incredible killing prowess he loses himself in the Canadian wilderness, re-imagining himself as a lumberjack. (Note: as a Canadian I scream “Stereotype!”, but then move on…) While in the Canadian wilderness, Logan falls in love with a woman and they live happily for years, until she is killed by Victor, who is a little pissed at his bro. Logan goes for revenge.

The opening of the movie, showing the death of Logan’s father, is played too fast, and does not give us much emotional impact, but from there the movie segues into an excellent credit sequence. We follow Logan and Victor from the Civil War to WWI, WWII, Korea, and then Vietnam. This is followed by action scenes that are fast and unique. It feels at times like a demo reel of different mutants abilities, and in a good way. One by one we get to see the individual mutants show off their skills, and it’s quite exhilarating. Logan leaves the group, and the movie changes gear. His life is peaceful and he has found love, but then it is all taken from, him and this time… it’s personal. As it always seems to go.

The movie is fast paced, and this helps hide the lack of a real story. It’s a revenge pic, but it smartly does not try to be much more than that. The action scenes are surprisingly effective. We feel the power of these mutants as they tear into both each other and their opponents. Hugh Jackman proudly stalks his way through the movie, and Liev Schreiber growls like no tomorrow. He in particular transforms from how we’ve seen him before. He always seems to be prowling low to the ground, feral and dangerous. Other mutants appear throughout the movie. Too many really, it starts to get cluttered.  And we start to notice similarities… besides their main abilities (regeneration, teleportation, etc.) they all seem to have super strength too. Still, that is the way with super heroes.

There has been much talk (mainly online, of course) of how certain characters have been changed. Apparently Deadpool’s character is different in the comics, or something like that. There are also some discrepancies with a cameo character at the end of the movie, (discrepancies mainly created in X-Men: First Class). I can’t comment on Deadpool (as I now nothing of the comic books), but other problems to exist and they can’t really be ignored. But I feel that they are made up for by the sheer energy of the movie.

OVERALL

I feel surprisingly positive about this movie. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is no great movie, not by a long shot, but it gets the job done, and does a moderately good job of showing more of a character we all love. It is fast-moving, stylish, and fairly fun; although it can certainly hit a cliché or two now and then. Recommended to the comic book type of folks, and even to those who enjoy a bit of action.

NOTE: This review is part of a series called Superheroes: Bottom to Top, wherein I review every super-hero movie I own, from the lowest rated to the highest (according to Rotten Tomatoes). Next up on the list is Batman Forever, if I can get through it…

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TRAILER

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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June 3, 2012 Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Superheroes: Bottom to Top, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment