Early Man

By all means, tell me that the movie is done by the people who did Wallace and Gromit. Yes I will watch it every time. I won’t always like it, but I respect it enough to give it the shot it deserves. It’s very weird, very British shot.

So why not Early Man, which is going to combine cave man jokes with very British football jokes. Ones I probably wont even fully understand.

And the best news about it is that the cast only has 3 or 4 recognizable names. They are giving roles to actual voice actors, instead of just laying us down with 40 celebrities, some which probably would have only had five or so lines.

Training
Lava is always a nice bonus, in any movie, regardless of context.

A long time ago, dinosaurs! Also this movie is saying cave people. Let’s let it slide. Meteor wipes them all out, not the people somehow. They find the hot meteor left over that created a giant valley, where it is really hot, so they decide to kick it to each other. They invent the game of football, get really happy, and live their lives in the valley.

Now, some time later, we can meet our new crew of cave people. They don’t know soccer anymore, they are relatively stupid as well. Dug (Eddie Redmayne) is young and a thinker, but the rest of the crew are content. They are content until some mammoths with armor come trampling in, as the rest of the world has decided to stop by and say hello. They are stone age cave people meeting for the first time a bronze age civilization, who is intent on mining out their secret valley for minerals, and letting them die.

Thanks to Dug who infiltrates their society, he learns that they play this game of football on the grand, coliseum like scale. This is their main religion! The only way they can probably get out of their jam and get their home back is by challenging their champions to a game. Dug saw these football paintings on their walls, but they never knew what it meant. But if their ancestors played the game, then they probably can figure it out as well!

Also starring Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Miriam Margolyes, Nick Park, Rob Brydon, Johnny Vegas, Selina Griffiths, Simon Greenall, Gina Yashere, and Kayvan Novak.

Soccer
With that much armor, this thing looks a lot more like…football, than football.

Early Man is one of those basic “ragtag team of misfits pull together to do a sport thing better than professionals, due to teamwork, friendship, and shenanigans!” You know the kind. Despite being the type of thing that we have seen before, Early Man still manages to bring something new to the table.

It has a lot of tiny jokes throughout, a lot of puns they worked towards. And yes, there are some modern British football jokes that mostly would have flown over my head. But I got one or two.

The characters are likable. The caveman crew has a lot of complete characters, who have their individual good jokes or moments to shine. I don’t feel like we only have a few supporting people. The whole crew got to feel supporting, always a great thing in a movie like this.

This is not going to be a game changing animated film. But it is still really well done, at points clever, and tells a fun story. Hell, even the final soccer match seems to deviate away from the norm for these sorts of things. Still some surprised out there for everyone.

3 out of 4.

Mindhorn

I believe I told my wife that I wanted to watch Mindhorn on Netflix for a review. Her response was something similar to “What the fuck is Mindhorn?”

And of course I gave her the netflix description of it, and she said “That sounds fucking stupid.” Yes, yes it does. And that is of course why I watched it.

Also the title is powerful. Mindhorn. Mind. Horn. Mindh. Orn.

MINDHORN.

Eyepatch
I am now in your brain, learning your secrets.

Mindhorn is a British television show about Detective Mindhorn, played by actor Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt). He has some telepathic powers, and he solves crime. It is the hottest TV show around. It is on the cover of magazines, everyone talks about it, and it is getting a spin-off led by one of its minor characters played by Peter Eastman (Steve Coogan).

And now? It is 25 years later, Thorncroft is living in poverty, doing commercials, no one caring about Mindhorn anymore. It lasted three seasons and was cancelled and Thorncroft was a dick, so he left all his friends behind to try for something better. And shit, the spinoff lasted over 10 seasons and is what everyone cares about now.

But things will change. Because on the Isle of Man, where the series was filmed, a MURDER has occurred. By a “lunatic” Paul Melly (Russell Tovey), who will only speak to Detective Mindhorn. He thinks that Mindhorn is real and will only deal with the character. So Thorncroft is brought in, to act and help deal with the boy. But Thorncroft needs money and fame, so he will make this last as long as it needs to be to get people saying his name again.

Also starring Richard McCabe, David Schofield, Simon Farnaby, Kenneth Branagh, Jessica Barden, Andrea Riseborough, Essie Davis, and Nicholas Farrell.

Lawncare
If this movie was in 3D, this would be an intense, frightening scene. Because of the shots, not the weed wacker.

Mindhorn takes an interesting premise, makes it British, adds some comedy, and still doesn’t fully deliver an amazing movie.

It had amusing moments, it had interesting characters (a lot of the side characters were brimming with personality), but I feel it was also plagued with pacing issues and not being strong on the humor. It is adequately bizarre (not extremely bizarre), even a bit zany, just not incredibly humorous. That is one of my biggest issues.

As for pacing issues, at times it feels clunky. It is easy for mystery-esque movies to lead you all over the place with only tiny details mattering by the end, but this one isn’t even a real mystery. The police believe they know who the killer is right away, and when things inevitably change, we have a new obvious killer, and the majority of the film is just trying to get the proof. So not really a mystery, despite set up like one.

It makes the film just so hard to define. That isn’t a negative, given some of my favorite movies this year have hard to define genres. But when it comes out like a mystery and is instead just a slightly eccentric comedy, you just find yourself wanting a lot more in the film.

2 out of 4.

Offensive

We here at Gorgon Reviews are not easily offended. Sure, I have still not seen A Serbian Film and my Human Centipede reviews are sort of my holy grails because of how much I wanted to avoid them, but language, violence, all of that is not offensive to us. That is why I can use “fuck” in my reviews.

I went and saw Offensive at WorldFest because the topic interested me the most of other movies at that time. I wanted to see a low budget thriller.

But I am glad I saw this film for another reason. During the screening a few audience members were talking, quite a few times, so the director Jonathan Ford ran down the aisle, not sure who exactly was talking, and quite sternly yelled “Whoever it is talking will you shut the fuck up!” It is great to see someone so passionate about their work, and a bit of a fantasy as a movie watcher who hates talkers.

Either way, they shut up, and hopefully left seeing Offensive slightly offended by their own actions.

Face
“Offended at Offensive? That’s quite an offense.”

Bernard (Russell Floyd) and Helen Martin (Lisa Eichhorn) are moving to a small town in France! An old friend of Bernard’s dad died recently and because he had no family of his own, he left his estate and wealth to the Martins. However, there is a small caveat that Bernard and Helen must live there for at least a year first in order to receive the whole thing. They can’t just sell it and continue to live their normal lives.

And sure. They decide why not. They are old, a change can be good, fresh countryside air, a small quaint community. They move to the farm, appreciate the space they have, and hey, they even have an nice neighbor (Timothy Morand) who knew Bernard’s father and what his father did for their community. (It involved Nazis and World War II). Bernard’s dad once SAVED the community from tyranny!

Speaking of bad things, there is a group of kids who roam this community. About seven or eight teenagers, probably 14-19. They have cell phones, atrocious giggles, and a bad attitude. How bad? Well, they like to prank the community, which can get people hurt. They will set fires, throw bricks onto driving cars, push people around, verbally abuse, and more. All while recording it to share with each other and laugh about how pathetic everyone else apparently is. And guess what? The local police community does absolutely nothing about them. They are allowed to basically run this town into their own abuse filled playground!

And you know what? Bernard eventually gets pushed around too much. Especially when they go after his wife. And it looks like he needs to be a savior to this town again, just like his father was decades before.

Also starring Fred Adenis as corrupt cop, and Etienne Fouillade and Anaïs Parello as the head teenage shitheads.

Fire
This is how it feels when asshole teenagers get on their cell phones in a movie theater.

The idea behind Offensive is a pretty good one. Revenge tales make audiences feel good, sometimes queasy, and they let the audience live in a fantasy that they might wish they would do, but probably never do. Because people are afraid of breaking from the mold. Offensive takes that idea and gives us that fantasy against teenagers, a bit of a taboo subject because, you know, killing kids is frowned upon with their hormones and growing minds and all.

But they made these kids so incredibly annoying. Their group laugh is just one that will make you cringe every time, and you know what? Their laugh alone makes it worth it. Sure, maybe also the stealing, the setting of fires, the deaths they caused and regular physical violence. They made these kids uncaring assholes who just really needed to be violently destroyed so that everyone can chill.

Story was fine and dandy, but the overall acting had a lot to be desired. Floyd and Eichhorn just did not feel believable at all, which is a shame given they are the leads. They were fine at the moments when actual violence was involved, but in the regular general concern for their safety? Meh. And they didn’t even feel like a couple, let alone a pair that had been married for decades before that point.

The narrative itself also speeds up certain events for convenience, but are pretty implausible in a mostly possible story. Our old man has incredible endurance apparently, able to dig multiple graves on his own at night in a relatively short time, and make it look like it wasn’t just dug up earth. It is one thing that sticks out because of how impossibly hard that task actually is, but the film presents it as a great solution to where the bodies need to go.

Offensive is a good story, but hurt by weak acting performances. Still a unique concept on the indie thriller genre.

2 out of 4.

100 Streets

I think 100 Streets was made completely as a joke. At some point in the review, I will get into why the whole concept is pointless, or at least it is in regards to the titles.

But if you have Idris Elba in a movie, you are totally not allowed to talk about streets.

Quite famously, one of the more recent authors of the 007 books, Anthony Horowitz, said that Elba was “Too Street” to play James Bond in a movie, giving the world confusion, rage, and quite apparent calls of racism.

So that is reason one why this movie is probably a joke, and one I am just starting to get.

Elba Streets
Elba is so street, he is on a balcony above the street. With a gun of course. Typical, streety, Elba.

The plot of 100 streets is about the lives of three households, all within 100 streets of each other in London. Let’s start with the bigger stars. Max (Idris Elba) is a retired Rugby player, captain of a team, very famous in London and rich. He has a wife, Emily (Gemma Arterton), and two kids, but they are currently separated. So he lives alone. He has a drug problem and is focused too much on things outside of the family. So she is seeing someone else and annoyed at his existence.

We also have George (Charlie Creed-Miles) and his wife Kathy (Kierston Wareing), who are struggling. They are poor, kind of. George is a nice guy, he sings, he drives a cab, he coaches. They are looking to add a kid into his life, but some stuff in George’s pass come up, and also he accidentally kills someone.

And finally, we have Kingsley (Franz Drameh), a drug dealer who has been arrested. He has a pregnant girlfriend and lives with his mom, but he is trying to better his life and considers himself an urban poet.

And this is their story, with parts interconnected, including other people who connect their lives. People like Ken Stott, Ryan Gage, Tom Cullen, and Ashley Thomas.

SEXY
This would be sexier if she was with her husband, Elba, known gangster and criminal.

How big is London? I know it is a giant city, tons of people, one of the biggest business areas in the world. But if I had to define it by its number of streets in one direction, is it ever more than 100? I don’t know, I can’t tell. I know NYC probably isn’t bigger than 100 streets in a direction. Something like Houston would be, but it is sprawling outwards and giant.

Either way, 100 streets is a giant amount of distance, so it might as well be about three random groups of people who occasionally run into each other. A normal multi plot film. If it was 15 streets, maybe they’d have something, but I still think that is a big chunk in a residential area.

As for the movie, it is overly dramatic and incredibly uninteresting. There can be sad moments, slightly chaotic moments, but it is just so hard to care about any of these people. We can care a bit about Kingsley and his plot line, as he is the guy super down in the dumps, basically living on the streets and screwed. And as soon as he finds a way to better his life, his own karma comes up and bites him in his ass.

The plot lines never really feel like they conclude. They are just moments in a few lives, and they aren’t great moments. A lot of drama, some okay moments, and a lot of “Who gives a fuck?”

1 out of 4.

High-Rise

High-Rise is another movie based on a famous book that I have never heard about before. Shit, this book came out in the 1970’s. It took forty years before a movie was made about it, despite having general praise. And it wasn’t even done by America, but the UK got involved to make this bad boy.

And that is all I knew going into it, outside of the setting. That being a single apartment tower.

That might be all I need to know too. Single apartment tower films have tended to be good lately. The Raid: Redemption and Dredd. If it is anywhere close to their level of quality, we got a trifecta here. (I’m ignoring Everly, but that is a guilty pleasure film of mine).

Hiddledick
I named this picture “Hiddledick” and felt very proud of that fact.

High-Rise takes place in a sleek and modern UK. In fact, it takes place in a new apartment tower that has all the commodities. There is a school, a supermarket, a pool and a gym, a spa. On the top levels, there are nice apartments and on the bottom, well, they are more modest and common I guess.

And the film begins with Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) walking around in this tower, all decrepit, falling apart, full of dead bodies. Just a sneak peak. The film then goes back three months to when we moves in and life is perfect.

The tower is designed by Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), a great architect and meant to be the future. Laing moved there after the death of his sister, starts a relationship with a single mom (Sienna Miller) and becomes an almost father to her son (Louis Suc). Laing also befriends a low level guy with a lot of energy (Luke Evans) and his pregnant wife (Elisabeth Moss), despite the class difference.

Eventually, when residents find out that the police seem to be avoiding the tower, then changes start to occur. And you know. Laing all alone with a lot of dead bodies.

Also starring James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Peter Ferdinando, and Augustus Prew.

Paint
No, no, no, this shade is just all wrong.

What the hell did I just watch? I really had a hard time grasping it. I read the very detailed wikipedia outline after the fact, and it cleared up some issues, but it didn’t answer a lot of things. Was the book this vague and…weird? Probably weird at least. I just didn’t get it at all. This whole thing was probably a metaphor for something, but the film is so hard to follow that I can’t really figure it out.

Honestly, if they could have just answered the why things fell the way they did, I would have been a happy camper. But the film leaves to much up to the viewers imagination.

The film itself is shot wonderfully though. The camera use was well done and the music did a great job of guiding my feelings. The acting seemed fine for the most part, in particular I was driven towards Evans’ character the most.

High-Rise is chaotic yet slow, and a film that might require a reading of the book.

2 out of 4.

The Lady In The Van

Now, I am not trying to be sexist here. But let’s think about The Lady In The Van. Is it creepy? Maybe a bit. I imagine a cat lady, even though if you live in a van, you probably don’t want cats in there as well. That’d be poopy.

But if this was titled The Man In The Van, most likely it would be some sort of scary horror film. Lady is intriguing. What is she doing in the van? Man is sketchy. What is he doing in the van? He should stop it immediately regardless!

I guess I should be thankful this is about a lady. Early year horror films are janky, but dramas early in the year might not be.

Overall, this babble is brought to you by: Genders. Men are scary, yo.

Brit
How British in this movie you may be asking? Well…

Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith) is just a really old lady, and she needs help. Sure, she lives in a van, but she is self employed selling pencils and notes on the street. Not a beggar, no sir. People wouldn’t take too kindly to that. This is 1970’s England, and it is perfect! She parks her van in a nice suburb area. Where the people are relatively well off and in that range where they will help her out and let her use the water closet, to make themselves feel like they are doing good in the world. And Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) just moved in.

Alan is a writer of plays and, of course, mildly successful. He has finally moved away from his Mam (Gwen Taylor), who might need to be put in a home herself soon. He is our narrator as well, and he describes that he has two halves. The one who writes, and the one who lives. Sure enough, he befriends this lady in the van, who has lived an apparently long and complicated life. He already writes a lot about old ladies, thanks to inspiration from his Mam, and he has to figure out if he wants to write about Miss Shepherd as well, or just experience her like a normal person would.

Miss Shepherd is also very secretive about parts of her life. She hates it when anyone plays music and will rant wildly if it occurs. She is being blackmailed by a cop (Jim Broadbent) for maybe killing a person. Yeah, that is important.

Guess how long this old lady stays on the street/ in his driveway? Guess! Over a decade, that is the only hint I will give.

We have a lot of neighbors who are in the story, played by Frances de la Tour, Roger Allam, and Deborah Findlay. There were also quite a bit of cameos. People who I thought were way too famous to be in this movie for one line or one small scene and never seen again. They include Dominic Cooper, Sam Spruell, James Corden, and Russell Tovey.

Sneak
And this is the lady sneaking out from behind her van.

It turns out all the people who had small cameos in this movie were there for a reason. And no, it wasn’t because James Corden is a douchebag who only gets 1 line in British films and doesn’t deserve a Late Night talk show program. The director, Nicholas Hytner, also directed The History Boys about 9 years ago. It was his last film and all of these random famous people cameos came from that film. The more you know!

Also, this movie is technically a 2015 film, despite getting released in America so late. So it was up for all the fancy awards and it was nominated for…one golden globe! It was also nominated for some British awards, as expected, given it has Maggie Smith in it, who is basically the British Meryl Streep. They love nominating these ladies.

Speaking of Smith, she was fantastic in this role. I have never seen her so old or decrepit. I was getting worried about Smith herself, given how pale and old she looked. Thankfully I remembered that make up departments in a movie were a thing and she doesn’t actually look like she is one step away from death. But damn do they pull it off in this movie. She is funny and naggy and cantankerous. Everything you’d hope for in a movie old lady, but not in someone you actually know.

The rest of the movie leaves something to be desired. Jennings plays an incredibly closeted British man well, but as a narrator and co-lead he is never really exciting enough. He is basically playing the audience half the time, just watching things happen around him, due to his timidness (or Britishness, really). The split personality thing was confusing for the most part, never really enjoyed how they had that play out. It was made weirder at the ending when they tried to explain it a bit more in the conclusion, too. The many other characters give an occasional smile, but don’t do a lot outside of show up once in awhile to be nosy.

Overall, you can probably watch this for Smith as she gives a wonderful eccentric performance. But this is not something you would want to watch ever again.

2 out of 4.

45 Years

Surprisingly this year I am far more caught up on Oscar nominated films than the years prior. Of the major categories, I am only missing two films, Trumbo and of course 45 Years for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Best Actress and Supporting Actress are almost always weaker categories for me. And so, damn it, I swore I would see 45 Years before Trumbo. The only sad part about that is thanks to release dates, my review of 45 Years will still come out after Trumbo, but I did see 45 Years first!

I am a bit excited about 45 Years because I only ever heard of it when it was announced as a nominee! I love surprises! Except for surprise parties. No one likes those.

Think
Surprise love letters are also frowned upon.

45 Years is about three people, but only two of which have a person playing them.

Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband, Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) have been married a long time. Specifically, 45 years! They have no kids and mostly live by themselves in a loving marriage. They planned on having a big party for their 40th Anniversary, but a surgery came up and wrecked their plans. So instead they are going all out for 45. After all, they don’t know if they can make it to the next milestone

But then Geoff received some news. They discovered Katya’s body. Katya was Geoff’s girlfriend before Kate and she died 50 years ago. It involved mountain climbing and she fell off into a river or mountain or something. It was very tragic, but her body has finally been found and it is perfectly preserved.

That is weird and strange. It has been so long and it was so tragic, but Geoff has mostly forgotten about her. Obviously Kate never knew her, but she really doesn’t want to know her either. This is the week before their big party and they should be taking it easy and planning. But now Geoff wants to go and see the body for closure, at his age despite his health.

And that is only the first problem that comes up. Kate is noticing a change in her relationship and Geoff’s behavior over this knowledge, one that makes her feel like second fiddle despite their many many years together.

Time for awkward old people talk.

Talk
Shit, is he friend zoning her?!

Movies about old people are weird for me. I am still a relatively young adult male and so I haven’t necessarily had enough adult experiences to relate to everything. The passing of family and loved ones, for instance, is one thankfully I have yet to experience.

This one is still a bit different. This is about a death before a marriage occurred. Before the couple even met. And something that normally wouldn’t come up again so much later in life, but a missing body brings it to the for front. It is a unique occurrence and one that rarely anyone would ever experience

Thankfully, the two actors here do a phenomenal job together conveying years of anguish and loss over these events, almost entirely through their facial expressions and tone of voice. This isn’t a dialogue heavy film. It is a strict drama and it is slow (painfully at times).

If you want to see 45 Years, you will want to see it for its great, subtle and realistic acting. But as I just mentioned, it is slow and I question how much of some of the middle parts ended up being relevant to the plot. I can’t just watch a movie of people being old and sad. I do need changes to occur and plot to develop a bit more than what ends up happening.

The final scenes in the anniversary party are good though. Some long scenes of just straight up speeches and acting and it stays incredibly sad. Not a film I would ever want to watch again. But still sad and if it wasn’t such a stacked year for Best Actors, Courtenay probably would have been nominated too.

3 out of 4.

Macbeth

Forsooth! Verily! Haberdashery!

These are the words I imagine to be in Shakespeare plays. A lot of crazy language that is hard for a simpleton like me to understand. Thankfully all of their plots are explained in modern English online, so you can read up ahead and just nod along during the movie/play and pretend that it all makes sense.

At least for Macbeth, it happens to be probably his third most famous story after Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, so that is good. Macbeth is known for its play and film curses, which are silly. I actually saw an old TV movie of Macbeth before. Came out in 1979 and a much younger Ian McKellen played the starring role.

What that means is that this is the SECOND time that Michael Fassbender has played a role that McKellen played first. First it was Magneto, and now Macbeth. Hmmm. I Wonder what else Fassbender will try to steal?

Monster
This film sponsored by: Monster. Unleash the beast!

Trouble dost follow our poor Macbeth (Michael Fassbender), one of the Thanes of the great King Duncan (David Thewlis). The King had a few traitors, trying to take over, causing a few wars. Not so good, thankfully people like Macbeth, all weary and haggard, still battled some battles and saved the day.

After the last battle, Macbeth is visited by a few witches (Kayla Fallon, Lynn Kennedy, Seylan Baxter), who speak cryptically. They call him a title that is not his own, and then call him King! And for his warrior companion, Banquo (Paddy Considine), they say he will have a better life and that his sons will be Kings.

Sweet deal for both of them, unless Macbeth cares about future children. Next thing Macbeth knows, the King is staying in his grovel of a village and has given him a new Thane ranking! Like the witches said! Macbeth tells his wife, who of course only goes by Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) about the premonition, and she is like “Fuck that, let’s kill him and get this show on the road!” And then you know. Things start to happen.

It wouldn’t be a Shake spear drama without some murder and some guilt and ghosts. You know, like Hamlet!

Also featuring Hilton McRae as Macdonwald, Sean Harris as Macduff, and Jack Reynor as Malcolm, son of Duncan.

Wife
“With all these Mac-daddies running around, why do I also have to take the Mac crown? ” – Lady Macbeth

Macbeth is bound to be one of the prettiest and more stylized movies of the year. The costumes were great and everything felt age appropriate. I never considered Macbeth living in basically wooden shacks before he got to go to the castle, but it makes since given the era. Everything was put up to 11 when it comes to the cinematography. The fights weren’t just people yelling and swinging swords at each other (although we did get that). We got slow motion, colored backgrounds, monologues from internal thought. A lot of the monologues were overlain with scenes of the characters wandering around and doing shit. Vocal montages, if you will.

I know my great use of descriptors like “doing shit” will really draw you in, but every shot being a portrait clearly was their goal.

Unfortunately the film suffers in another aspect. Understand-ability. Most obvious would be the dialects from a few of our actors. Very northern Scottish stuff, could be a struggle at times. Second comes from the fact that it is already Shakespeare dialogue, which is known to us silly Americans for its confusion. Thirdly, I have to imagine that at least half of the play is omitted from this film.

Most annoyingly, it doesn’t begin with the “Double, double toil and trouble” witch thing. What even is the point? But outside of that, there is a lot of crazy shit going on and they don’t even try to help explain things. Neither the missing dialogue/conversations nor the actual dialogue. The prophecy from the witches was whispered and easy to miss completely.

I think if you don’t know what Macbeth is about from previous source material or from looking up the plot summary, you will be lost throughout this film. A film needs to make sense so that the viewer can understand the story. I hate having to know the book to understand the film, as they should stand on their own. Don’t care how famous the tale might be.

Well acted? Fuck yes. Cotillard and Fassbender are outstanding. Even more props to Harris, who had a smaller role but knocked it out of the park. It makes me angry that he was also the shitty Geologist from Prometheus.

But a very confusing rendition of the story, despite the beauty behind.

2 out of 4.

Legend

What makes a Legend? Is it their walk, their background, their story, their Will Smithy-ness?

Or does it involve being a bad ass mofo mobster, enough that one day someone will make a movie about you?

Like, Whitey, he was bad ass, and Johnny Depp played him in Black Mass.

Is your Legend-ness downplayed if you have to share the spotlight with a partner? Obviously it is easier to become famous if you are a duo act, instead of a solo act. And in Legend, our criminals are real life twins. Which means we get one actor playing two people, which is probably one of my favorite things ever in movies. One of those things you just can’t do in a play.

Twins
However this picture makes it look like a bad romcom.

Ronald Kray (Tom Hardy) and Reggie Kray (Tom Hardy) are twins and gangsters and running this small town of London. Well, soon. Ronald just got released from a mental hospital, because a psychiatrist said he was sane after some arm twisting, but he is very messed up. He was some level of schizophrenic, and openly homosexual. He liked the truth. He also wore glasses, which is helpful for telling them apart early on. Reggie, no glasses, wasn’t insane, but still a gangster. He just had a good head on his shoulders, could think things through and wanted to maybe, eventually, go clean.

This story, narrated by Frances Shea (Emily Browning), tells of their rise to actually control the London underground, their falling aparts, their separate arrests, and what finally brought them down to justice. Oh, and she is totally dating Reggie, of course. Because he is the cute one.

Nipper Read (Christopher Eccleston) is the main constable trying to bring him down (and Joshua Hill is his side constable). Adam Fogerty plays their muscle, Shane Attwooll some competition, David Thewlis their business partner, and Taron Egerton one of the gay lovers of Ronald.

Cry
No, don’t cry Emily. Yes you have to kiss a killer Tom Hardy. But at least he isn’t wearing a mask.

If there is one reason I am glad to be writing this review, it is that Legend will serve as a great example for future movie reviews. For quite a few films, I have seen great acting in overall mediocre films, which is sad. But rarely do you see great acting in actually bad movies.

Hardy. Is. Excellent. Twice! The brothers are very unique individuals, they talk differently, they have different mannerisms, and one even wears glasses. I actually hard a hard time believing that Hardy was playing Twins because they started to look nothing alike in my eyes. It is such an amazing show being put on him, especially as he seamlessly argues and fights with himself. This isn’t a dumb Parent Trap situation. This is great fucking shit. I will admit I found them hard to understand 70% of the time and would have loved subtitles, but I will take that as my own fault.

The rest of the film falters, and it does so big time. It is too long, over two hours and seemingly drags. I was sitting in the theater just wondering when they would finally mess up and get caught. Hurry up and lose. The narration from Browning felt unattached from the rest of the film and mostly unnecessary. Giving it from her perspective made it feel Romance instead of a Crime/Drama. And I have to mention the music, which I basically never do in a review. The score sounded as if it was taken from a soap opera or an extremely older film. Jazz is one thing, but the music was always painfully obvious and distracting, never helping the scenes out.

This is bad that the acting from Hardy was so good but the rest of the film is meh. Most of you will watch this movie, solely for the fact that Hardy is in it. And you know what? Do that. Watch that man do his best. Watch him work. And then forget the rest.

1 out of 4.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

I have been told by my peers that Shaun the Sheep is a pretty popular kids television show. About a sheep! And shenanigans! Sheepanigans!

So these people were excited that a movie was coming out. But much like my recent review of The Unbeatables, Shaun the Sheep Movie came out a long time ago in the UK. The delay wasn’t as extreme, but it came out in theaters in February for the British and obviously early August for America. Unlike the last animated film, they didn’t even have to replace the voice actors with Americans, because it is a movie has no words! That makes me feel like it is just petty on their part. Booo pettiness!

This is also one of those movies I knew nothing about going in. It has that classic looking stop animation that the Wallace and Gromit studio is known for, which makes sense given that it is the same studio behind this film. Hell, apparently Shaun is a spin-off character from that franchise. I am seriously behind on my stop motion British genre films.

Gasp gasp
But I am strangely up to date on my sheep based films.

How do you describe a movie like Shaun the Sheep? Well, hopefully with good grammar and real human words.

Shaun the Sheep lives on a farm! He has an owner, who raises the sheep, a cow, some pigs, and has a dog too, Bitzer. Bitzer runs things around the farm. Sometimes he herds sheep too.

Well, their life is pretty standard. Wake up, eat, get herded, go back to sleep. Not a lot changes and everyone finds it dull. Duller than a pair of kids scissors covered with tape.

So Shaun gets the idea to have a “Day off”, by sort of tricking their owner to think it is still night time, locking him away so they can do whatever they want all day! No one will get hurt, just a few tricks and sheepanigans. But of course like all well laid our plans, something goes wrong. Now Shaun and the sheep and Bitzer have to go on a journey, AWAY from the farm their home, into the big city and you know, do things. Things!

Run
And look! A dog that is actually more dog than human! There are levels of humanization in the animal kingdom!

My review of Shaun the Sheep is going to be short and straight to the point (despite all my fluff already). Shaun the Sheep is a funny and witty stop claymation film. I am always awed by clay/stop motion work, given the extreme amount of time and dedication it takes to getting it all done and done well. One of those things I tried to do as a kid because of all my free time and getting no where fast and giving up after an hour. The camera work despite the just very small sets is also well done, given a few types of shorts I couldn’t even imagine were doable for the genre.

Given the lack of dialogue outside of human mumblings to sounds like words, all of the jokes take place as sight gags or slap stick, and it is great that it leans a lot more in the sight gag department. There is almost always something happening in the background that is interesting, making it a movie you definitely have to pay hard attention to in order to get the full experience. (Which should technically be true for all movies. It just happens to be more true in this film).

If there is one main disappointment I had it would be its length. It sort of seems too long because of the no dialogue. About a third of the way into the film I was fighting back sleep. I was entertained from the movie, but not enough variation in sound was making it hard to fight back the tiredness. After the movie was halfway through, I had no problems anymore. That is when stuff started getting hectic to appease my millennial mind that always needs things exploding to keep my attention.

Despite this, Shaun the Sheep movie will most definitely end up nominated for Best Animated film, but as of now, it will also lose to Inside Out.

3 out of 4.

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