Ralph Breaks The Internet, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms & The Grinch Movie Reviews

Three more quickies today as I try to catch up on reviewing the 2018 films I’ve seen. Two of these were okay (just okay) and one was pretty dreadful…

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Directed by Rich Moore & Phil Johnston

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

My Opinion:

I love the first Wreck-It Ralph. I think it’s easily one of the better Disney films of recent years and I appreciated that it felt like such an original idea. Hell, it’s almost as good as Pixar’s films! (Almost). And being a lover of the Eighties, I of course loved the classic video game element. Therefore, it was likely that I wouldn’t enjoy this sequel as much. It doesn’t have the magic of the first film (as is often the case with sequels). And it also loses the simple video game innocence of the first film by making the Internet the focus of this one (and having all the brand names in your face constantly). I hate the Internet. Okay… I’m on it all the damn time… (like now). But I’d still rather be living in the pre-Internet Eighties again.

I’ll start with the best thing about this sequel: Ralph & Vanellope. I love these characters and they’re just as loveable in the sequel as in the first film. Actually, Vanellope is even better in this one – she’s much sweeter since becoming friends with Ralph. They make this movie worth watching and I did really enjoy seeing them again even though I didn’t like the story itself all that much. I also enjoyed the “Oh My Disney” bit. It kind of goes against saying I wasn’t crazy about all the commercialism but I admit that I love Disney. I’m a Disney whore! I love going into the damn Disney Store. I’m such a child. So, I did really like seeing Vanellope with all the Disney princesses. Those bits were a lot of fun and I liked spotting so many other Disney characters & references. Oh and I loved that one cameo (don’t want to spoil it)! Screw it – This is a Disney film. They’re allowed to Disney-fy the crap out of it! I liked those bits just fine.

Where it fails is when it talks about eBay & memes & viral videos & etc etc etc. And the end gets a bit bizarre and didn’t really work for me at all. I really missed the innocence of the first film. This was okay but where can they go from here? It was just a little disappointing but my expectations weren’t too high anyway since Disney sequels are rarely all that great. Oh, but the end credits scenes were brilliant! There are two: one partway through the credits and one at the very end. I highly recommend staying for them as they’re pretty much better than the entire movie itself.

My Rating: 7/10

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (2018)

Directed by Lasse Hallström & Joe Johnston

Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann & The Nutcracker by Marius Petipa

Starring: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
This is a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker, about a young girl who is gifted a locked egg from her deceased mother and sets out in a magical land to retrieve the key.

My Opinion:

Wow – this has very negative reviews & ratings on IMDb. I don’t fully understand why. I think people were definitely too harsh on this one. No, it’s certainly not great and is quite weak for a Disney film but it was lovely to look at and had a fun story. Hell, I enjoyed it more than that live-action and completely pointless Beauty And The Beast. At least this is a story I didn’t already know and isn’t a re-hash of a far superior film.

Maybe the story was a little too weird for audiences these days? People don’t really go for anything slightly bizarre anymore. As I said, it’s quite a lovely looking film and I liked that it felt a bit like Narnia at first. It makes for a good winter movie in the lead up to Christmas. I also thought the main girl was very good, just as she was in Interstellar (she was the only good thing about that overblown Nolan film).

And Morgan Freeman is in this. Yay! (Am I allowed to admit to loving him again yet? Are people over the “oh my god, he said flirty things to women!” bullshit?). And Helen Mirren – I like that saucy minx too. Unfortunately, Keira Knightley is in this as well. Have I mentioned that she annoys me? (Yes, I have. Many times). Speaking of her and how I said in my previous review that I’m a Disney whore: Knightley recently got on her high horse again and said she doesn’t let her kid(s?) watch Disney movies because they’re a bad influence and blah blah blah. Screw that. How about you talk to them & teach them the difference between reality & fantasy and then let them watch what every other kid watches and enjoys? Are they not allowed to watch this movie, then???

Anyway. This movie was okay but it was also missing something. I can’t quite figure out what it was missing, though. It has the right elements to make it a family classic but it’s already fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing it. Maybe it’s Knightley’s fault! Her role is too big. She got on my nerves, especially with that stupid voice she put on. Yeah, let’s blame her. Otherwise, this is a decent enough family Disney movie that doesn’t quite deserve the horrible reviews it has had.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Grinch (2018)

Directed by Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney

Based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury

Narrated by Pharrell Williams

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows the Grinch as he plans to ruin Whoville’s Christmas celebration by stealing all the town’s decorations and gifts.

My Opinion:

Ugh. No. Okay – I’m a big fan of the 1966 American TV classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Who isn’t?! That show has been a yearly American tradition for ages now. It’s one of the most beloved holiday TV specials. That’s why they shouldn’t have done this film. They were never going to live up to something that is, quite frankly, almost complete perfection.

Speaking of movies fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing them, I can barely remember a thing about The Grinch now. I remember liking his adorable and long-suffering dog Max, but the same goes for the 1966 version anyway. I think the biggest problem with this version is this: The Grinch isn’t enough of an asshole. TV Grinch was gloriously mean. Then, to make it even worse, this movie added a bullshit backstory to help explain why The Grinch is a bit of an asshole. We don’t need a stupid backstory! Can’t someone just be an asshole for the hell of it? I mean, I’m a bit of an asshole for no good reason. This is probably why I’ve always slightly preferred The Grinch before his heart grows. He’s damn funny at the beginning of the 1966 version. He’s boring as shit in this lifeless adaptation.

Oh well – I guess it’s still not as bad as that Jim Carrey monstrosity, which is one of my most-hated movies of all time. Just leave The Grinch the fuck alone, Hollywood. That’s what he wants anyway! Oh, and why the hell did they have Pharrell Williams only narrate this movie and not do the music as well? His music is one of the things that makes Despicable Me so great. Illumination is clearly never going to live up to that film ever again.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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My Top Ten Morgan Freeman Movies

Happy Birthday to Morgan Freeman, who is 80 today.

Freeman is easily one of my favorite actors. Who doesn’t love Morgan Freeman??? Plus that VOICE of his! Perfect for God in Bruce Almighty. And just thinking of his Shawshank Redemption narration gives me happy goosebumps.

Looking at this list, he’s only been in one movie that I really love. But I’ve seen quite a few of his films as he’s one of those actors who will make me watch a movie that I might not have watched if it starred someone else. It’s a pretty mixed bag – he doesn’t stick to any one genre. I think he’s fun when in comedies but probably like him most in things such as Shawshank & Million Dollar Baby.

Here are My Top Ten Morgan Freeman Movies (not performances) counting down to my favorite:

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

22. Hard Rain
21. Chain Reaction
20. Nurse Betty
19. Dreamcatcher
18. Wanted
17. Now You See Me
16. Gone Baby Gone
15. War Of The Worlds
14. Bruce Almighty
13. Outbreak
12. Ted 2
11. Lucy

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves & Driving Miss Daisy

9. Oblivion

8. Seven

7. Unforgiven

6. The Bucket List

5. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

4. Deep Impact

3. Million Dollar Baby

2. The Lego Movie

1. The Shawshank Redemption

Saw But Don’t Remember Well So Can’t Include Them:
Kiss The Girls
Glory
Lean On Me

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Teachers, That Was Then… This Is Now, Clean And Sober, Johnny Handsome, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Lucky Number Slevin, Evan Almighty, Invictus, Red, Last Vegas, Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, Transcendence, Now You See Me 2, Ben-Hur, Going In Style

Million Dollar Baby (2004) IMDB Top 250 Review

Happy Birthday to Clint Eastwood, who turns 87 today. This time last year, I did a week of Clint Eastwood reviews (you can see My Top Ten Clint Eastwood Movies HERE, updated to now include Million Dollar Baby).

I still wouldn’t exactly call Eastwood a favorite actor of mine but I’m glad that I finally explored some of his biggest films last year as I liked them a hell of a lot more than I expected to. Million Dollar Baby was still a big omission, however, so I’m glad I’ve finally watched that now as well. And, again, I like another Eastwood movie far more than I was expecting to! And, of course, the awesome Morgan Freeman is in it as well (who I would call a favorite actor & whose birthday is tomorrow – guess what Top Ten List I’ll be doing tomorrow…). 😉 Okay – I’ll shut up & review the movie now.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Based on Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner by F.X. Toole

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brían F. O’Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome, Michael Peña, Benito Martinez, Grant L. Roberts

IMDB Top 250 Rank: 172 (as of 01/01/13)

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
This film is about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt him from his past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional.

My Opinion:

I avoided watching this film for years. I was like “It’s a boxing drama? Pass!”. (Kind of funny that I’ve just watched Rocky for the very first time the same week that I watched this. But I digress). Mainly, though, I avoided this because, when it came out, some annoying assholes decided to spoil the whole damn plot. So I’ve always known exactly how this ends. And that pisses me off. I know it’s not always possible to avoid spoilers but, in the case of this film, there was an uproar since what happens went against the beliefs of some people and they felt the need to warn the public (or something like that) before the film had even been fully released (if I remember correctly). Annoying.

Anyway! This is a great film. I expected to possibly find it contrived (films that try too hard to pull on the heartstrings & just come across as phony piss me off as much as people who spoil films). I expected to not be affected by this film since I knew the whole damn plot already. But it’s a good, heartfelt drama that came across as quite genuine and had fantastic actors playing likeable characters you wanted to see succeed. I sure as shit can’t say I exactly “enjoyed” it (holy hell! I don’t do well with serious dramas). But it’s not the overhyped Oscar bait I had kind of feared it might be.

Come to think of it, I guess this means I should also update My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners list at some point with both this & Rocky. That list includes all 50(ish) Best Pictures that I’ve seen and I have to say that both these damn boxing dramas potentially break into my top ten. Easily top 20 for sure. I’ll have to think about it some more! They’re certainly my favorite boxing movies (Raging Bull didn’t thrill me…). 😉

It’s a shame that Hilary Swank kind of disappeared into bad movie obscurity after this & Boys Don’t Cry (a movie that manages to be even more depressing than this one). Clearly these sort of heart wrenching dramas did suit her but you can’t blame her for trying other things – Starring in nothing but these sort of films would probably mess with your head eventually. I really liked her character in this. Her enthusiasm and single-minded determination are infectious in the same sort of way that made us all like Rocky Balboa and to want him to succeed.

Swank & Eastwood make a great team and their relationship by the end of the film is beautiful & heartbreaking. Million Dollar Baby probably gets somewhat ignored compared to Eastwood’s full-on “guy” movies & bromances but, as great as I think he was in dude movies with the likes of Lee Van Cleef, his mentor/protégée and ultimately father/daughter-like relationship here is a welcome change (and just as good & valid as the bromances). Swank & Eastwood make this film.

But there’s still some male camaraderie for anyone needing that as well. Freeman plays Eastwood’s ex-boxer friend (and… co-owner? or maybe just a trainer living in the gym Eastwood owns. feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Anyway, I love Freeman and he’s as great as always and another reason why I ended up liking this film much more than I’d been expecting. There’s a story on the side involving skinny little Jay Baruchel wanting to be a boxer & Freeman taking him under his wing. I really liked this story as well (plus that cool confrontation involving Freeman & one of the young boxers). The main story involving Swank is of course the most important but it was good to get a bit more to the movie besides just that.

I just have to end by saying: Oh man – I hated the f*%k out of Swank’s family in this! Which made her character all the more likeable. To put a horrible upbringing behind her & to try to live her dream is the uplifting sort of message people look for in a good story. Which is another reason why I think some people were probably angered by the ending of this film. What IS the ultimate message at the end? But life isn’t always fair & a Hollywood ending in real life is rare. I do watch movies for escapism and do prefer a happy ending but I also can’t get angry at a movie telling a story in a realistic way. I think some people felt cheated by this film. I think we were given a good film with powerful performances & a message of determination and friendship. It’s not an easy watch but it’s a good film I’m glad to have finally seen.

My Rating: 8/10

My Top Ten Movie Presidents 

In celebration of the release of Independence Day: Resurgence and Elvis & Nixon, I figured I’d do a list of My Top Ten Presidents In Movies. Which is a bit stupid since I’ve not seen either of these movies. 😉 I had planned to go to the Independence Day sequel on Tuesday & then do this list but, after the REALLY BAD reviews for it, I decided I couldn’t be bothered. So I watched an equally bad movie at home instead! (San Andreas… Hilarious!)

Anyway, I’ll shut up & just get on with the list. It’s a mix of real & fictional presidents. As always, they’re only on the list if I’ve actually seen the movie. So here are My Top Ten Movie Presidents (roughly ranked according to how much I like the character. kind of. sort of.):

10. Edward Herrmann as Franklin D. Roosevelt in Annie (1982)

9. James Adomian as George W. Bush in Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

8. Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln in The Lego Movie

7. Jack Nicholson as President James Dale in Mars Attacks!

6. Terry Crews as President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in Idiocracy

5. Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove

4. Donald Pleasence as the President of the United States in Escape From New York

3. Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck in Deep Impact

2. Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt in the Night At The Museum movies

1. Robert V. Barron as Abraham Lincoln in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Honorable Mentions:

The presidents in…

The Simpsons Movie
Dave
Independence Day
Air Force One
Big Game
Frost/Nixon
Back To The Future Part II
Beavis & Butt-Head Do America

A Few I’ve Not Seen:

Elvis & Nixon
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Lincoln
Primary Colors
The American President
Olympus & London Has Fallen

Unforgiven (1992) IMDB Top 250 Review

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Unforgiven (1992)

IMDB Rank: 93 out of 250

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Starring:
Clint Eastwood
Gene Hackman
Morgan Freeman
Richard Harris
Frances Fisher

Running time: 131 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming. A dark Western that deals frankly with the uglier aspects of violence and how easily complicated truths are distorted into simplistic myths about the Old West.

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My Opinion:

I always thought this was a cool Metallica video…

Hey – It’s me! Finally doing another IMDB Top 250 review myself. And I’m here with another WESTERN! Ugh. The two things I’d been dreading most from the Top 250: War movies & Westerns. Well, the war movies have turned out to be really good (The Bridge On The River Kwai & The Great Escape being my favorites). I’ve only reviewed two Westerns so far and…. they were pretty damn good as well! (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and especially Once Upon A Time In The West, which I liked quite a bit and will keep comparing to Unforgiven throughout this review). So, is Unforgiven as good as these? Umm… No. It’s okay but I’m not sure if it should quite be up there with the classics.

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I’ll repeat, though, that this has never been a genre I’ve been into so I wasn’t as likely to enjoy it as much as some would. This is one that Eric of The IPC loves and he begged me to let him review it here but, unfortunately, I have to work through the Top 250 that I’ve never seen and review them myself. For a more positive review, you can read his HERE. (Plus he MAY be reviewing a Western classic on his site tomorrow that I enjoyed far more than Unforgiven). 😉

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I think what didn’t work for me here is that Unforgiven felt too “modern”. I have very little experience with Westerns but what I HAVE seen have all been from the 80’s or later (Back To The Future III & City Slickers are awesome! Lol). After seeing one Leone film, I’m thinking that spaghetti Westerns may be more my style & I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of them. Maybe I’ll prefer a young Clint Eastwood in something like The Good, The Bad & The Ugly? Once Upon A Time In The West just felt & looked so grand and epic (and, my god, that amazing SCORE…). I didn’t get that sort of feeling from Unforgiven although I’m sure the filmmaking was just as impressive (I won’t pretend to know anything about filmmaking). I don’t know. I admit that my mind wandered during both these Westerns (and I may have gotten bored and tweeted for a while) but Once Upon A Time In The West is the one that’s stuck with me more whereas I’m already struggling to remember much about Unforgiven and it’s only been a month since I watched it. Hmm.

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I’ll say that Clint Eastwood gives a good performance and I of course loved Morgan Freeman as always – I’d watch him in anything. Gene Hackman’s bad guy, though certainly a huge asshole, felt a little too one-dimensional to me. I’m also still a little confused as to what the point of the character played by Richard Harris was – it seemed an unnecessary role. As for everyone else, I don’t think any characters really stood out except for maybe Frances Fisher as a fairly feisty prostitute who wants the men who’ve hurt a fellow prostitute to pay for what they’ve done. Ah yes – prostitutes. Must be a Western! Seriously, is that all women were back then?!

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I was hoping to feel something more for the characters than I did. I did enjoy Eastwood & Freeman but didn’t QUITE feel a strong connection between them. As for the story, I found it a lot more simple than I was expecting. It’s pretty straight forward but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I’ll admit I’m still not 100% sure what the hell was going on in Once Upon A Time In The West. However, certain images and scenes from that one have really stuck with me and I can’t say the same of Unforgiven.

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Summary:

I didn’t mean to sound so negative in this review. Unforgiven is a good movie. Odds are, I’ll never LOVE a Western – they just aren’t my thing. I do have a lot of respect for Clint Eastwood as a director and actor, however, and he’s done a good job with both here. I enjoyed his scenes with Freeman and thought the ending was good. If you’re a fan of Westerns but for some reason haven’t seen this one, I’d recommend it. My ratings, as always, are based mostly on my personal feelings about the movie. If I were to rate this on worthiness alone, it would be higher.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Lucy (2014) Review

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Lucy (2014)

Directed by Luc Besson

Starring:
Scarlett Johansson
Morgan Freeman
Amr Waked
Choi Min-sik

Running time: 89 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

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My Opinion:

I normally try to wait a day or two to write a review as it sometimes takes me a while to collect my thoughts & decide how I feel about a movie. However, I’m short on time so am writing this review immediately after seeing Lucy. Bear with me while I try to decide what I thought of it as I’m still not sure myself.

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First of all: Scarlett Johansson. She’s turning into quite the interesting actress lately, eh? The second I heard about Under The Skin, I was intrigued & looked all over for a cinema anywhere near me that was showing it. No such luck! Anyway – I finally saw that last week (I’ll be reviewing it on Wednesday if you’d like to know my thoughts on it) and I was impressed with Johansson’s performance. Add in her voice-only role in Her, which I thought was the highlight of an already amazing film, and I’ve had to re-evaluate the somewhat negative opinion I had of her. Bravo to her for taking on these roles. It’s great to see a female lead carrying films that are more than just some dumb Kate Hudson-type rom-coms. Her is my favorite but, of the other two, I think Under The Skin is the superior film to Lucy. However, I do think people have been too harsh on Lucy and, in a way, I thought Johansson did an even better job as Lucy than as an alien in human skin.

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Damn – I suppose I have to talk about the movie as well as its star. Well, there’s good & bad. It’s been reviewed enough now that I think everyone knows the story is a bit iffy and it can seem silly at times. I’m not sure if the weird mash-up of violent action movie & movie-that-thinks-it’s-really-deep-and-smart QUITE works. However… You know what? Screw it. I enjoyed it. Yes, I did. I think… Um. Yes. I did. There have been plenty of negative reviews for Lucy so I’m going to focus on just the positive & tell you what I liked about it:

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– We have a strong female lead, which is something I always go for in movies. I think Emily Blunt’s role in Edge Of Tomorrow was still a better one as she just naturally kicks ass without the help of a drug but I’m liking seeing girls starring in some kick ass action films!

– There’s some weird & wonderful Matrix-y shit going on here & I liked it. I loved the scene in the airplane bathroom and all her confrontations with people as she grew more powerful.

– I like that this movie at least TRIES to be something a bit different. Everyone moans about Michael Bay & his braindead blow-shit-up movies but then we get something like Lucy and people still complain. It at least has a good concept even if it doesn’t quite know how to fully explore it or where to take the story but it’s fun to watch and its themes might make you think afterwards. But, hey – it’s just a movie! Movies are meant to entertain us. I think people forget that sometimes. I had fun watching Lucy.

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Summary:

I’ve really struggled writing this review. I’ve not read too many reviews yet as I was planning on watching this but I KNOW some people will absolutely hate this film. It’s definitely not for everyone, especially those who set their expectations way too high. If you like your violent action movies with a twist of sci-fi weirdness & some added university lectures complete with educational film strips, you might like this one. However, I’m not actually recommending it to anyone reading this. If you do watch it, just watch it with an open mind & try to have some fun with it. I did.

My Rating: 7/10

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Of the two reviews I’ve read in full, I liked Lucy more than Cara but less than Eric. Let me know if you’ve done a review for this as well – I’m curious to know more opinions on this one. 🙂

Top Ten Actors I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything

Here we are! My final list of the four started by the fabulous Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. You can see her list of “The Top Ten Actors I Would Watch In Almost Anything HERE. This is a great thing you started, Abbi! I believe others have made similar lists so let me know if you want me to add your link. I know Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger also did her list of actors HERE. 🙂

I did my most annoying actors & actresses last week but, surprisingly, it took THIS LIST of my favorite actresses to piss people off the most (yes – I grew up with Drew Barrymore & I love her. So sue me!). 😉 Thanks for all the wonderful comments on these – I’ll be replying to each & every one of you soon.

Now here are my Top Ten Actors I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything (in no particular order plus I’ve narrowed it down by only including living actors):

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Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Movie: The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Jack Nicholson
Best Movie: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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Morgan Freeman
Best Movie: The Shawshank Redemption

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Chris Hemsworth
Best Movie: Rush

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Tom Hardy
Best Movie: The Dark Knight Rises

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Michael Caine
Best Movie: The Prestige

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David Bowie
Best Movie: The Prestige but I also love Labyrinth & The Man Who Fell To Earth

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Christoph Waltz
Best Movie: Django Unchained

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Michael Fassbender
Best Movie: Shame (is he wearing an Iron Maiden shirt?? We’re meant to be!) 😉

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Ian McKellen
Best Movie: The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

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Patrick Stewart
Best Movie: X2 or Star Trek: First Contact

**That’s 11 but Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart count as one! 😉

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Luke of Oracle Of Film. He’s already reviewed Batman Begins (review HERE) & The Dark Knight (review HERE). Thanks again for doing all these, Luke! 🙂 Now let’s hear his thoughts on the final film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, IMDB rank 38 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: THE REVIEW

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman
Plot: Batman is long gone, the Harvey Dent Act putting rest to all organised crime. However, when a dangerous mercenary hell-bent on vengeance arrives in Gotham, it seems like the perfect time for the Batman to rise once again.

The Dark Knight Rises has taken a bit of a beating recently. I admit that there are so glaring plot holes in the story that not even rasping ‘Because Batman’ can truly fix. Fans, after being euphorically lifted by the magnificence of the Dark Knight, were left underwhelmed at the finale in the Dark Knight trilogy. These reactions all surprised me, because, in my books, The Dark Knight Rises is the best Batman movie to date.

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Look past the plot and you realise that Nolan’s aim is creating a more thematic conclusion to the trilogy. This is about every Batman fan’s number one question: when does it end? Does Batman simply hang up the cape one day or does he die in the line of battle? Nolan opens his story with a Gotham no longer in need of a Batman. Dent’s death inspired the Mayor to create a tougher police force, wiping organised crime from the city. The Batman faded away, believed to be a murderer. However, just when the city had gotten lazy, anarchist Bane arrives in the town and uses the luxury of the rich to turn Gotham in on itself. Batman, fuelled by past glories, returns and is quickly subdued. Gotham surrenders to the rule of Bane and Batman is a thing of the past. Christopher Nolan keeps the tone measured perfectly, always hitting the correct notes, whenever he needs an emotion card to be played. When he wants us to feel despair, we have our hearts in our mouths. When he wants us to feel sadness, we feel our throat choking up. And when he wants us to soak in happiness and the awesomeness of seeing the Dark Knight back in action, we are in the palm of his hand, letting the guy who remastered the mythology of the Batman, show us how good cinema can actually be.

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The biggest complaint that I heard of the Dark Knight Rises is a very slow middle act. Batman disappears from the plot totally and we get the story of freedom fighters, struggling to take the city away from the all-knowing Bane. Sure, it does feel a little jarring, when we are given break-neck action, only for Nolan to hit the brakes and leave us out in the cold. But, it is all for a good reason. For one, it makes us feel the absence of the Batman. The tone is kept grim and despairing as we realise that, in ending the trilogy, anything could happen. It also means that when the Batman returns, it is one of the most uplifting movie moments of 2012. The second reason for letting Nolan slow the action right down is that the supporting cast are given precious moments to look cool. Gary Oldman, always threatening to steal the show from everyone else, gets a much larger slice of the action. Newcomer Joseph-Gordon Levitt shows himself as one of the newer action heroes on the block. Looking at the trilogy on a whole, this is a refreshing change of pace and lets every card get played, rather than letting certain sides of the story get lost for a more mainstream style of blockbuster.

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Another great addition is the villains. Bane has always had a rough deal in the Batman universe, going from the most cold-hearted mercenary in comic history and being resorted to a slapstick thug in ‘Batman and Robin’. Even the games, which have a habit of showing most villains in a positive light, turn Bane into a junkie. Here, on-the-nose casting lets Tom Hardy bring Bane back to one of the most intimidating figures in the trilogy. We have had some great nemesis figures for Batman to face off against, but none have come as close to victory as Bane. The Joker may have broken Batman’s spirit, but it was Bane that actually broke his body. Also, Nolan takes my least favourite villain, the Catwoman, and makes her relevant to the story. She actually makes sense and, while she still sticks out like a sore thumb at certain beats, her addition eventually becomes a key part of the conclusion. There is one more bad guy here, but the less said about that the better. The thrill is in the mystery.

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I could rave about how the massive moments really send the Dark Knight Rises into the history books. The final fight on the streets of Gotham, the first fight between Batman and Bane, the heart-breaking explosion over the waters of Gotham… But it is the smaller beats that really make the film. My favourite moment is when Alfred confesses his secrets to Bruce Wayne. It is the quiet disappointment of Christian Bale that gets to me. He is too far gone to break down, but we can see the exhaustion in his eyes, the losses he has faced destroying his soul. This is a man on the way to his deathbed. Easily forgotten, but another testament to how impressive Christopher Nolan’s depiction of the Batman really is.

Final Verdict: Yes, I’m giving every Dark Knight movie five stars. Why? It is the greatest movie trilogy of all time and that’s not an easy competition to win.

Five Stars

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The Dark Knight (2008) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Luke of Oracle Of Film. He’s chosen to review Christopher Nolan’s entire Batman trilogy. He already reviewed Batman Begins last week (review HERE) & I’ll be posting his review for The Dark Knight Rises this same time next Thursday. Thank you for doing these, Luke! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about The Dark Knight, IMDB rank 7 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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THE DARK KNIGHT: THE REVIEW

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eric Roberts and Morgan Freeman
Plot: The Batman (Bale) works with the District Attorney and the cops to put away Gotham’s most dangerous mobsters, accidentally provoking the wraith of the maniacal Joker (Ledger)…

When I first watched the Dark Knight, I was disappointed. In my opinion, Nolan had delved too far into his realistic vision and had lost the essence of Batman. The battles between Batman and the mob felt less like a superhero action and more like a political thriller with a kick (The Dark Knight has been compared to Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’). I felt that Batman had lost that Gothic appeal and the charm that made originally fall in love with the character was missing. It didn’t helped that this movie was over-hyped to be one of the greatest superhe… no, movies of all time.

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Then I saw the bigger picture. The Dark Knight is one of those movies that somehow gets better with every watch. You notice certain details and elements that you missed before. There are so many secrets tucked away inside the Dark Knight and I am sure I will learn of quite a few more as of yet. While I still think it is the weakest of the three movies (it suffers from not being the origin or the finale of the trilogy), it is still a terrific piece of cinematic art, with political messages and comic book references sprinkled all over this masterpiece. Nolan tells an interesting story, where it is suggested that Batman is slowly becoming the villain, as Bruce Wayne gets lost in his war on crime. The actual story is one full of twists and turns, throwing unexpected shocks at us. Characters are killed off in a heartbeat, arcs are completed with agonising horror and we are given one of the most complex superhero movie villains of all time, and probably quite a while to come yet. The one beat that falls short is the twist of Harvey Dent. As a comic book fan, I knew where that line of story was going, and I felt it would have been much more powerful, if they gave the District Attorney a new name. Sure, it would have annoyed the fans, but imagine if that final reveal was totally out of the blue. It would have been amazing.

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And what a script! I didn’t realise this until recently, but this movie is full of quotable lines. Sure, we all remember the popular ones, like ‘Why so Serious?’ and ‘I am not the hero Gotham needs, but the hero it deserves!’, but there are so many more that slip under the radar. Almost every line given to the Joker could easily be the quote of the year “Do you know how I got these scars?” “Oooh, you’ve got a bit of fight in you, I like that!” But the dialogue is so sharp that Christian Bale’s Batman also has a just-as-perfect line to follow it up with. While people remember the Dark Knight trilogy for its visual impression, the awe-inspiring soundtrack and the outstanding performances from every actor involved, I shall always praise the Dark Knight trilogy for one of the finest group of scripts I have ever witnessed. It is truly incredible work from David S. Goyer.

The Dark Knight also feels like it is engaging the audience at several times. The best thing about the Joker is that his social tests give Nolan the opportunity to throw several moral dilemmas at us. The Joker puts a group of convicts and a group of civilians in two separate boats and gives themselves the option of blowing each over up. We get the time old superhero dilemma of which hostage should be saved. The Joker is the life of this movie and Heath Ledger’s amazingly outside-the-box performance really makes this a key part of the trilogy. While I am still a more comic book based Joker fan, it was a refreshing change and suited Nolan’s realistic vision far better. Heath Ledger remains unpredictable right until the end (which ironically is quite difficult with the Joker, as if anything’s possible, it is harder to shock with him), meaning that we are totally invested in the character throughout the entire film. Despite public outcry at Ledger’s casting, Nolan knows he is onto something good and gives the actor as much space as he needs to have us in the palm of his hands. Some of the most memorable scenes are ones where Heath Ledger is allowed a sinister monologue, the hairs on the back of our necks standing up on edge, attention caught by the clown.

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However, to say Ledger steals the show would be suggesting that everyone else dropped the ball. In truth, almost everyone else meets the late Heath Ledger, blow for blow. Christian Bale is far more comfortable as the Bat this time around, channelling the aggression and frustration that Batman works so hard to bury. Gary Oldman feels much more useful to the plot, this time around, and it is easy to overlook the fact that he is probably one of the best actors Nolan has at his disposal. Christopher Nolan also has a habit of casting actors I think little of and making me change my mind. Aaron Eckhart is at his best here, as Harvey Dent, the District Attorney determined to make a change, even with the odds stacked against him. Meanwhile, Maggie Gyllenhaal doesn’t quite sway me, but an interesting character arc means that we are still totally behind her character and interested to see what Nolan has up his sleeve. A perfect ensemble of actors.

Final Verdict: Nolan goes from strength to strength, making this Batman more thoughtful than before. It also boasts some of the finest acting ensembles in quite a while.

Five Stars

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Se7en (1995) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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For today’s IMDB Top 250 guest review, we have the very tall, boob-loving Eric of The IPC. Eric is awesome and his blog is scarily funny (or funnily scary? funnily is such a weird word. say it ten times fast! weird). Anyway! I’m very annoyed that I will now have a Gwyneth Paltrow image on my blog. Luckily (funnily?), Brad Pitt makes up for that slightly. I also hate films that try to be all clever and put a number in the middle of the word. It’s Seven, dammit! But I digress… Go visit The IPC if you haven’t already – there’s always a party going on there! With lots of beer. 🙂

Warning if you’ve not seen Se7en – Eric’s review is SPOILERIFIC from the start!

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE.

Now let’s hear Eric’s in-depth analysis of David Fincher’s Se7en, IMDB rank 23 out of 250

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SE7EN… who hasn’t seen this movie?? I mean, I suppose some people haven’t but – why?? This movie is excellent. Totally. It is a little gruesome, I suppose but we can grab ourselves by the nuts and tough it out. I guess – if you haven’t seen it, it’s a balls out gritty take on the seven deadly sins with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and an excellente Kevin Spacey. Oh – and I’ll go on record and say Gwynneth Paltrow is hot. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen this, there’s going to be a big time spoiler down below so… in any case – this movie is awesome and the big finale finds Pitt getting a postal delivery out in the desert. Morgan Freeman is nearby and figures out what the delivery is and he screams “DON’T OPEN THE BOX!!!! JOHN DOE HAS THE UPPER HAND!!!” and Pitt famously whines ” WHAT’S IN THE BOXXXXXXXXXX??” So – what’s in the box??

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About ten years ago the company I work for merged with another company and I had to fly all over the country going to meetings about this and that and do fucking work 15 hours a day and it was a real drag but I made a couple of friends and etc. etc. One of these guys was a real wise-ass and we had some yucks and some beers and one day I decided I would send him a gift for his birthday. I don’t know about the dudes who read Cinema Parrot Disco but guys I know (including myself) ten to wear their underwear until the backside is riddled with holes and the front is just a couple pieces of thread that barely covers their dingaling.

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So I took one of these underwears and poured a can of chili in it and put it in a box out in my garage in the 120 degree heat for a few weeks one August and then I put on a hazmat suit and wrapped the stinking thing in tin foil, sealed it up and sent it to him. When he got it he started texting me “What’s in the box???” and I was all “You’ll love it” and he opened it (with his son, poor kid) and didn’t exactly love it but – is that what’s in Brad Pitt’s box???? Not exactly.

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Is it David Fincher’s fucking balls??? What happened to the guy that did SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB??? I’ll give him PANIC ROOM and maybe even BENJAMIN BUTTON but what the fuck with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and the miserable DRAGON TATTOO remake?? PISS, FART, POOP. Let’s go Fincher – let’s get your shit together. Come back to us!! So – is it Fincher’s stones in Pitt’s box? Nope.

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In a burst of cinematic brilliance, the big reveal is that John Doe has fulfilled that last of the seven sins – Envy – by cutting off Pitt’s wife’s (Paltrow’s) head and sent it to him in a fucking box!! WHO SAW THAT COMING???? NO ONE, that’s who!!! What a fucking deal that was!!! AMAZING!!! Come on Finchy!! Let’s get back to it!!! Here’s some cookies. Oh well – there you go – WOO HOO!!! SE7EN!!!

CPD Classics: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Review

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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Directed by Frank Darabont

Based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Starring:
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman
Bob Gunton
William Sadler
Clancy Brown
Gil Bellows
Mark Rolston
James Whitmore
Jeffrey DeMunn

Music by Thomas Newman

Running time: 142 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Andy Dufresne is a banker sent to Shawshank State Prison after being convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. While there, be becomes friends with fellow inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. Through years of hardship, Andy maintains his innocence and never gives up hope.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

First off, I’ll point out that this is in the IMDB Top 250 so I figured it would be a good one to do today to help kick off all the guest IMDB Top 250 reviews that I’ll start posting next week (More about that after the review). And what a place to start! The Shawshank Redemption takes the number one spot, having been voted as the best movie of all-time by IMDB users. So why is that….?

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I’m a Shawshank lover. Yep – I’m one of those mainstream masses who is perfectly happy to see Shawshank at number one above the likes of The Godfather and Citizen Kane. Yep – it’s a “feel good” movie. Yep – it may sometimes try a little too hard to be a “feel good” movie. You know what? I don’t care. Because this movie DOES make me feel good! And there’s nothing wrong with that. And most importantly, to me, it has these amazing feel good moments yet it doesn’t feel contrived. Most of us film lovers can see right through that. If Shawshank was guilty of that, it wouldn’t have stayed in the number one spot for all these years. It tells a pretty straight forward story in a straight forward way. I suppose thanks can go to Stephen King for that, my very favorite author and whose adapted works will be featuring more than just this once in my CPD Classics series.

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But clearly the combination of Stephen King & Frank Darabont just WORKS. The Green Mile is also absolutely fantastic and I think The Mist is a great underrated film. Oh, and I have to mention a third very important element: Thomas Newman. I ADORE so many Thomas Newman scores. He’s amazing & doesn’t quite seem to get the credit he deserves. Now isn’t the time to go into him, though, as I think I should devote an entire post to him someday.

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I don’t know if I need to go into any detail with this review. I would assume that most everyone has seen this movie by now and, if not, I think it’s extremely well known what happens in it anyway. I love this film and I’m clearly not alone in feeling this way, although I rarely see it mentioned amongst bloggers here so I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts on this one in the comments below. Is it too mainstream for the blogging crowd? Too obvious & “feel good”? Am I now going to be considered uncool and you’ll all run me out of (WordPress) town?

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I think there are a lot of things that make The Shawshank Redemption such a widely loved film and the movie just gets so many things “right” that they all combine to give us something spectacular: Feel good moments like the beer & opera scenes (which never fail to move me no matter how many times I watch this movie). Andy & Red’s friendship. The lesser characters such as Brooks & Heywood (and the heartbreakingly beautiful “Brooks Was Here” theme from Thomas Newman). Seeing the posters on the wall change, showing the passage of time. Alexandre Dumbass. The pet bird. Rita Hayworth. And, of course, the overall message of hope.

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More than anything, though, I think it’s Stephen King’s story and Darabont’s ability to give us scenes of pure beauty in a movie based someplace as awful as a prison, along with Thomas Newman’s amazing score plus superb narration from the always lovely-to-listen-to voice of Morgan Freeman which may all be most to thank for making The Shawshank Redemption as near to perfection as I think any film could ever really get. That’s why The Shawshank Redemption is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 10/10

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(That’s the first 10 I’ve given on my site)

IMDB Top 250 Guest Reviews: Thanks once again to all who signed up to help me finish my IMDB Top 250 Challenge by doing guest reviews. I’m still amazed by the huge response and can’t believe I’ve already received some reviews! So I’ll be starting to post them next week (I’ll e-mail you to let you know when yours will be posted). There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone else would like to join in! You can find a list with the remaining movies HERE.

JOHN HUGHES BLOGATHON: Also, a quick reminder that March is when I’ll be having the John Hughes blogathon (so the Top 250 thing will go on hold for a month). I’ve had several reviews so far – thank you everyone! I’d like to receive the rest by the end of this month at the latest so that I can get them all scheduled & let you know when yours will be posted. Reviews can be e-mailed to tableninemutant at hotmail dot com. AND – I’d be happy for anyone to still join!!! You can do any film you want. See more details HERE. 🙂

The Lego Movie (2014) Review

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(I had to use this amazing Mondo poster by artist Tom Whalen. Link here: GeekTyrant)

**SPOILER-FREE REVIEW**

The Lego Movie (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller

Starring:
Chris Pratt
Will Ferrell
Elizabeth Banks
Will Arnett
Nick Offerman
Alison Brie
Charlie Day
Liam Neeson
Morgan Freeman

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh (Yo Gabba Gabba! Yes! And Devo, of course)

Running time: 100 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect the “Kragle”, a superweapon, from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but warns Lord Business of a prophecy where a person called the “Special” will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

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My Opinion:

I don’t know how many of you will have read it but when I reviewed Mr Peabody & Sherman recently, I was pretty mean. My main problem (besides one terrible character) was that the movie didn’t seem to know what sort of an audience it was aiming for and ended up making something I think only those between the ages of 6 and 10 will enjoy. I moaned, as I always do, that only Disney and, especially, Pixar seem capable of making kids’ movies that people of all ages love. Well, I’m very happy to report that The Lego Movie achieves this perfect balance as well. And, although aimed more at boys, it’s one that girls will also love thanks to the characters of Wyldstyle and, my personal favorite, Uni-Kitty. Hooray for The Lego Movie! 🙂

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I’m actually going to say nothing whatsoever about anything in this film. My ONLY complaint about this is that I think the trailers showed too many of the funniest scenes, meaning I didn’t get as many surprises as I’d have liked (although there were still some great ones). I absolutely LOVED a few of the surprises but think I’d spoil it for anyone who’s not seen this yet so, unfortunately, I can’t discuss those things! I can be vague and say that I loved loved loved the ending, though – especially the very final thing. It’s so satisfying when a movie gets the ending so right!

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The characters are strong and there are a lot of them & they’re so varied that everyone will have a favorite (go Uni-Kitty!). The “hero”, Emmet Brickowski, is completely ordinary & totally loveable. Wyldstyle is cool & a strong female character great for the young girls watching, Morgan Freeman is of course perfect as the Gandalf-like Vitruvius as he has the coolest voice EVER (well, maybe after James Earl Jones), and there are several superheroes which will make a lot of geeks happy (I say “geeks” in a nice way because we’re all geeks here. And we rule!). One lesser character really cracked me up and, oh my god, the cameo(s) I didn’t know about…. LOVE! (Everyone probably knows by now but, hey – I don’t want to be the person who ruins it for the few people who maybe don’t know everything about this movie by now).

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Summary:

I know I’ve not said a lot about this movie but that’s the whole point. If you’ve not watched every single trailer by now and if you’ve not read much about this film yet – DON’T. I think you’ll enjoy being surprised by just how funny and, quite frankly, epic The Lego Movie is. A lot of talk online says this is the perfect little kids’ introduction to the teachings of Joseph Campbell. It is. It’s an epic adventure with a really great message told in a very unique & un-preachy way. It’s been seen plenty of times but not quite in this fashion and not often in a “kids’ film”. Awesome.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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Now You See Me (2013) Review

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Now You See Me

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Starring:
Jesse Eisenberg
Mark Ruffalo
Woody Harrelson
Mélanie Laurent
Isla Fisher
Dave Franco
Michael Caine
Morgan Freeman
Michael Kelly
Common

Running time: 115 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

Four magicians, brought together by mysterious circumstances, are investigated by the FBI after performing a magic show together in which they seemingly pull off a bank heist.

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My Quick Opinion:

I’ll keep this short as, unfortunately, there’s not a lot to say about it. I went in with low expectations and knowing it was going to be a simple movie with a bit of magic that would at least keep me entertained for a couple of hours. I wasn’t exactly expecting The Prestige – one of my all-time favorite films. But Now You See Me is a much further cry from the brilliance of that film than I was hoping.

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Everyone does a decent enough job in their roles but the characters are very one-dimensional. I love Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman and always enjoy watching them but they’re wasted in this film. Woody Harrelson is probably the most entertaining of the four magicians but he’s really just doing the sort of role he often does. The actual highlight of the film is probably Mélanie Laurent as an Interpol detective. But that could just be because I have a bit of a girl crush on her… I felt they could have done a lot more with her character, though, as it didn’t feel very well developed. Same goes for Mark Ruffalo’s character. All of the characters in this felt very underdeveloped, actually. Disappointing.

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Summary:

A lightweight “magic movie” that will keep you entertained for a couple of hours but won’t have you leaving the cinema asking any questions. Unlike The Prestige, which I thought about for days afterward. Hell, I still do. I left Now You See Me feeling quite empty, though, like the box after the rabbit has disappeared. (Ha! Was trying to get a “magic” reference in here somewhere. That was pathetic, though. Lol!).

I just expected a BIT more from such an impressive line-up of actors. At the very least, since the story and characters are a bit weak, I expected more really fun and cool MAGIC than we actually get. Mindless fun but a little TOO mindless. And once you’ve seen it, I have a feeling that it’s one where things really don’t add up if you were to watch it a second time. But it’s really not worth the time thinking about too much – this movie isn’t asking you to think about it beyond the final credits. Oh man – I’m being more harsh than I’m meaning to be! It was a fun watch. Nothing less but certainly nothing more. Rent it.

My Rating: 6/10

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Here’s a sexy photo of Mélanie Laurent:

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Oblivion (2013) Review

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Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring:
Tom Cruise
Olga Kurylenko
Andrea Riseborough
Morgan Freeman
Melissa Leo
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Plot:
I’m being lazy & copying what’s below from Wikipedia. You can click on the link if you want to see more of the plot description but it tells you the plot of the entire movie. I think you’re better off going to this movie knowing only the following basic information – to discuss the plot further gives too much away:

2077: Following an invasion by alien Scavengers (Scavs) sixty years earlier which destroyed the Moon and nearly destroyed the Earth, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is Tech 49, one of the last few humans stationed on earth. He lives thousands of feet in a work tower above the Earth where he and his communications officer and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are part of an operation to extract the planet’s remaining resources, especially water. Jack and Victoria supposedly have no memory of the past, having undergone a mandatory “memory wipe” five years prior. They now maintain contact with civilization via a video link with their commander, Sally (Melissa Leo), and are due to join the rest of humanity on Titan in two weeks. Jack suffers from recurring dreams and flashbacks of New York before the invasion and an unknown woman. Assisting Jack in his work are weaponised ‘drones’, airborne machines that scour the landscape to destroy the remaining alien resistance.

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My opinion:

I saw this almost a week ago & have been putting off reviewing it as I didn’t know how to go about it & also still haven’t fully decided what I thought of it. First of all – Tom Cruise. I don’t tend to watch Tom Cruise movies much these days. I haven’t been a fan since, I suppose, the days of Top Gun. To me he’s become one of those actors that I just always see as himself – I don’t see him as the characters he’s playing in movies. Tom Hanks has become this way for me too although I still like him fine. And Nicolas Cage! As I said in my review for The Croods, Nicolas Cage can be too Nicolas Cage-y. Likewise, Tom Cruise is far too Tom Cruise-y in Oblivion. 😉

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But this is a sci-fi movie. I love sci-fi – it’s possibly my favorite movie genre (even though the concepts are more than my little brain can cope with half the time). So I wanted to see it despite Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness. The movie starts out good and I was thoroughly enjoying the first half. The look of the film is great. The drones and the work station where Cruise and his assistant live are very sleek and cool and… science fiction-y looking! (Yes, I’m great at descriptive words – I just add a “y” to the ends of things. Should really work on my writing skills someday!). I totally want to swim naked in the pool in their work station and wear the dresses & high heels Cruise’s assistant wears for work every day (although I did wonder why she didn’t just stay in her pajamas every day – surely that’s one of the benefits of working from home!). Um, am I talking about dresses & high heels? Sorry – I don’t go girly-girl TOO often! Back to the movie…

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Like I said, the first half is good and I was thoroughly enjoying it. Unfortunately, the second half does NOT live up to the first half. It turns into a combination of every classic sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen. Which SHOULD work. But it doesn’t. I just didn’t want to see something I’ve already seen in other, more superior sci-fi movies. I found the ending disappointing & predictable. Now, I’m not saying the movie is BAD. If I was new to the genre & hadn’t seen so many classic 70’s sci-fi films, I’d think Oblivion was very good. So it might be good if it manages to get a new generation into sci-fi but I can’t see that happening as this movie doesn’t seem aimed at a slightly younger crowd, especially with its choice of stars. And for those who love Morgan Freeman, like I do, you may be disappointed in how little he’s actually in the movie. He was wasted in this.

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AND… I’m sorry but is New York City the ONLY city that exists in our future?! (Even in a “totally destroyed” way except for a few pieces of identifying landmarks). I have nothing against the city but why is it used so often in these types of movies? There are lots of other big cities around the world & in America, right? And Tom Cruise wearing a baseball cap & reliving some Super Bowl game he read about or whatever isn’t going to really appeal to a worldwide audience or keep the movie feeling very sci-fi & timeless. (I’m not being anti-American as I’m American – I’m just being anti-sports. I hate sports! Especially football. So I’m sure it’s just me who was annoyed by this bit). And… Led Zeppelin? Again? Didn’t Argo do that already (and more effectively)?

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Um. It’s not a bad movie, really. I don’t think. But my thing against Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness & slight snobbishness about already seeing and loving lots of classic sci-fi films makes me think I’m possibly judging Oblivion a little unfairly. I was entertained, especially in the first half, and it looked fantastic. And it was totally science fiction-y! 😉 I’ve gone back & forth on the rating I’d give it – was going to go with a 6 but that’s what I gave Trance and it’s definitely a better movie than that is. And at least it’s reminded me that I really need to watch some of the sci-fi classics that I’ve been meaning to watch for years.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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