First Man

When I first heard about First Man, I didn’t realize it was a biopic on Neil Armstrong. I thought it was just a space movie with cool visuals, and would be about the first man on Mars or something like that.

The poster is just really sexy like that.

Despite not knowing the real topic, I knew I was really excited. Damien Chazelle has yet to disappoint, with his first two big breaks being, well, big breaks. Whiplash was breath of fresh abuse, and La La Land is goddamn La La Land, my favorite movie of that year.

So yeah, let’s try a real person story about a space man!

Group
A bunch of men that totally want to break out into dance, but can’t in this movie.

In the 1960’s, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) became an Astronaut for the NASA program. He was already a test pilot for other companies as an engineer, not a military man, and he needed to get a new start. His daughter, Karen, had died when she was two, of some cancer. That sucks. That sucks a lot. He needed to get away.

Not just from the fact that his daughter died. But other friends as well. When doing science in the sky, and reaching the upper parts of the atmosphere, things can go wrong. They HAVE gone wrong for Armstrong, but he generally keeps a clear head on these sorts of things and lucks his way into not dying.

Is he afraid of dying? Is he ready to die? Is he afraid if he gets too close to people, he will become a wreck should they die in an accident? His wife (Claire Foy) loves him, and is helping raise their family, and is fully aware of the many risks of space travel. But she supports him, even when he is hard to reach. Physically, and emotionally.

And of course, eventually, Armstrong does some pretty impressive historical stuff.

Also starring a whole lot of white people. Most of them playing real white people too, I assume! Played by Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciarán Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Shea Whigham, Olivia Hamilton, and Corey Stoll playing the Buzz Aldrin.

Love
I assume this dance is not my tempo.

Chazelle started us out on his film trajectory by giving us people who wanted to achieve stardom at all costs. The next film also involved achieving stardom, but in a city full of stars, people who already made their life successful. And now, in this film, we still have that achievement desire behind the scenes, but instead of reaching a city of stars, it is a whole sky full of stars. An interesting path and one that is keeping Chazelle fresh by clearly trying very different things.

The most interesting aspect of this movie, to me, is that it isn’t really about the moon landing. It is called First Man. Why? Because it is about the First Man on the moon, not the successful events, just the person himself. Neil. Armstrong.

That might sound like a normal biographic movie, but I assure you, this one feels different. We see things from his point of view and mindset, without having to actually go into first person point of view. It is easy to feel the claustrophobic nature of the capsules. Of viewing the edge of space for the first time. To walking on the moon, to losing a child or friend, to having to make life saving decisions despite not knowing the right answer.

It is so damn personal and at the same time it is hard to connect to him. Armstrong comes across a very distant person, dealing with a lot on the inside and less likely to talk about his feelings or actually deal with the reality his job is creating. He is a humble person and a quiet person, not looking for fame, but looking for something else hard to pinpoint.

First Man is a great film, with terrific acting, and is likely to be a lock for several nominations, especially in the sound mixing areas this upcoming Oscars.

3 out of 4.

Justice League

Justice League promised to be The Avengers, but for the DCEU. Obvious comparisons are obvious.

Unfortunately, unlike Marvel, most of the films that led up to Justice League were either shit or average. The only one to break the mold a bit was Wonder Woman, but it still couldn’t fully escape the terrible grasps of these franchises by having a completely shit and eye sore ending.

So I didn’t go out of my way to see Justice League. One of those fool me four times, shame on me sort of things. It didn’t help that it had behind the scenes director changes, a lot of issues with reshoots, and extreme studio interference. Clearly another great film to fit the theme week of ones I should have watched last year.

Team
Is this the whole team? Eh, close enough.

Batman (Ben Affleck) really wants to bring all these super people together, to fight off giant threats that they cannot do on their own. Remember Superman (Henry Cavill)??? He totally died, but didn’t die as they made clear at the end of the last movie, so they gotta work together to beat future gods.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is generally on board. They just have to find more people. These people beings who will eventually go by their names of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).

Unfortunately, the next biggest threat is just some god dude from the Wonder Woman mythos. His name is Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), who is maybe where the band got their name from. He was here a long time ago, got defeated by the races of men, Amazons, and the Merfolk. There were some power cubes that they all split up to defend, and now he is back, wanting all three cubes, to have so much power.

So their goal is to prevent him from getting all the cubes, and once he still gets them, then hopefully defeat them and split up the cubes. Pretty basic plot.

Also starring Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Connie Nielsen, and Diane Lane.

Steppenwolf
It was hard to find a good picture of the villain. Clearly I still failed.

When it comes to Justice League, there are so many places you can point to in order to determine what went wrong. And you’d be right! All of those reasons are why this movie was so poor!

First of all, Steppenwolf. What a goddamn terrible villain for us care about. Some CGI’d dude who is just super strong, and oh no, he might destroy the world. He has no great backstory, and he doesn’t even feel threatening on any scale. Sure, they show he is strong, but also, he doesn’t feel like a real threat. Not one bigger than Ares in Wonder Woman at least.

The CGI is a travesty. And so much of the film is just drenched in it. From the terrible Amazon horse fight scene, to the climatic battles, this one just reeks of cheap graphics.

Our characters come together and never feel like a team. It is clunky. Aquaman is shown as badass and strong, but never really embraces the powers unique of Aquaman. I have no idea if I care about Cyborg still, which is less a human with powers and more a…robot. But then again, Batman is on this team, so whatever.

And fucking Superman is in this movie. Once he finally shows up, he basically does most of the work on his own. They point out that he is indeed faster than The Flash, and the strongest, and can do no wrong. Steppenwolf is a villain who can kick most of the Justice League’s ass. Unfortunately, the one he cannot can also do it on his own.

Justice League is just a farce of a great movie. It is amazing how the DCEU just hates its characters so much that it continuously pumps out these mediocre or worse films.

1 out of 4.

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow is one of those films that seemingly comes out of nowhere and feels like it is part of something bigger. Like, is this an extended universe? It is certainly based off of a book, although I would have guessed a graphic novel.

In fact, from the trailers, one might just assume this is the Black Widow standalone film we have been waiting for. Russian school to train girls to be assassins and to use their bodies as weapons. Secrets. Yeah, this is just Black Widow.

But instead of Scarlett Johansson, we got Jennifer Lawrence, so that Disney doesn’t try and sue anyone’s ass off.

Red Dress
And if they sue anyone’s ass, they would potentially think twice before taking hers.

Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is one of the best ballerina’s in Moscow. She has risen up by her boot straps to train hard and become the best. Her mom is sick and relies on her job for doctors and a place to live. Oh, Dominika is also the niece of Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), someone high up in the Russian politics/military ladder, so maybe not entirely by her own bootstraps.

Then one day, an accident occurs, her leg gets broken on the stage, and her dancing career is done. That means her mom’s life is in jeopardy. Thankfully, her uncle knows a program that she can join. If she can find herself helping the Russian government, then the Russian government can find themselves helping her.

This is unfortunately a Sparrow program, to train young men and women officers to seduce anyone to get information needed, along with the ability to kill them should it come up. Oh good, selling his niece’s body to the government, what a swell family.

All of this ties into a separate plot, about American Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a member of the CIA who was also in Russia, dealing with a mole in their government, who accidentally put a target on his and the mole’s back.

Also starring Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons, Sakina Jaffrey, and Ciarán Hinds.

Mirror
See, I could probably withstand one Jennifer Lawrence. But two? One in mirror land?

Red Sparrow is one of those films that is going to appear to be much smarter than a normal movie, and it is unashamed about that. Because after all, the viewer has to be tricked and sold lies as well so the bigger reveals are more exciting.

However, before things could be revealed, I was left annoyed and bored with the movie already. It has layers and layers and layers of plot. Characters coming and going with some importance to the story. And you have to suffer through it all in order to get to the “cool ending.”

But it tries way too hard to be layered. It is so easy to get lost in it, that interest is unfortunately lost. I just didn’t care by the end about any of the characters. I didn’t care who would get quadruple crossed, who the mole was, or how people would get out of their tough situations.

It is over two hours long and full of itself.

It still had some decent moments early on, when I cared about where it was going. Some very different acting from Lawrence, and Schoenaerts does an amazing visual Putin. But this film is now forgettable for me, and not the Black Window solo film we deserved.

2 out of 4.

Silence

What’s that? Do you hear that? Shhh, listen!

That’s right, that is the sound of Silence, blistering in the wind.

It is also the sound of Martin Scorsese, old and still not giving a fuck. He is making movies that he wants to make and he is making him epic. When his last film came out, The Wolf of Wall Street, it was hacked down to 3 hours from a much larger length. And the same was true for Silence.

It ended up around 2:41, making it just a few minutes shorter than American Honey, and thankfully the only two films to be pretty darn long this year. But on average, the movie lengths have still probably gone up. You know, thanks to the behemoth that is O.J.: Made In America.

Priests
And this is just a sign of the behemoth that Garfield’s hair will become.

In the mid-1600’s, we meet a couple of priests, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver). They are young and have strong hearts for Jesus in their Monastery in Portugal. From another Father (Ciaran Hinds), they find out that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), their former mentor and teacher, was still alive in Japan.

But he was no longer there to try and and convert a nation. He apparently has actually denounced his faith and is living there a Buddhist now. Shocking rumors, for sure, but his last letter was from a long time ago, and about Christians being tortured and killed.

Strong in their faith, the two priests decide to head to Japan, a very anti-Christian nation. Not only to find the missing priest, but to see what became of his life, try their best to not get killed, and also maybe restore Christianity to the nation that was flourishing with followers just decades ago.

Including a major role from Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro, a secret Christian with a weak mind, Issei Ogata as the main Inquisitor, and also Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, and Yoshi Oida.

Guy
Speak softly, confess frequently, and carry a regular sized stick.

Silence, despite its gargantuan length, starts captivating very early on. You don’t get bogged down in Portugal. After two quick scenes and Ferreira’s letter, our boys are in China, meeting a guide to the island. And once there, they are basically smugglers, only able to come out at night, not sure who they can trust.

It is just a very tense film where it feels like anything can happen. Loosely based off of a real individual, the story is very personal and it made me start to feel like I was there with the priests. By having the point of view specifically with Garfield’s character, all of the fears and mysteries are revealed when he finds out the truth. The truth about Ferreira, about any of his friends when they are away, about who to trust, just everything. It is a great journey, even with large swaths of it involve him hiding up in some cave or shack or building.

The film also features some incredible shots of jungles, mountains, and seas. It is fully immersive in 1600’s Japan and creates a wonderful experience regardless of the story.

And yes, it is a film about Christianity and how right or wrong religion is at certain parts of the world. And no, it is never a problem. This year was a great comeback for “Religious films”. Yes, we had God’s Not Dead 2 and I’m Not Ashamed, the normal cheesy crap. But Miracles From Heaven ended up really average, which is something positive. And along with Silence we of course had Hacksaw Ridge.

Can you believe it? In a span of a few months, Andrew Garfield starred in two extremely good religious films about Christianity and someone sticking to his faith and principals against incredible odds and struggles. What the hell are the chances there, that two films like that, could get 4 out of 4’s? This is the direciton the genre needs to go, and Scorsese and Gibson gave a giant push in that direction.

4 out of 4.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her/Them


Movies in 2014 brought us some incredibly new and wonderful experiences. Boyhood took 12 years to film, doing a little bit each year to watch the actors grow old. Birdman was edited in a fine way to make it seem like just one long continuous shot. Both fantastic films, my 1 and 2 from the year.

But there was another movie that was unique last year that interested me. The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby. On its own, it doesn’t seem like that innovative of a film. However, it is collectively three films in one.

On the surface it is just about a relationship. Specifically, the three versions are called Him, Her, and Them. Him is the plot from mainly the guy’s point of view and Her is the girl’s point of view. Them is a more typically told story, telling bits and pieces of their sides and is a much more standard film.

And I wanted to see it all of 2014. I wanted to watch it as soon as it hit Blu-Ray. It has been on Netflix for months, all three parts! Welcome to Day 3 of my Fucking Finally week.

Love
First comes love…

Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) have had a long relationship. They even married! Serious stuff. But no one would describe their lives as remarkable. Eleanor came from an academic family, but left her PhD program in Anthropology, when she got pregnant. Conor is the son of a restaurant God in NYC, who also has bad relationships, and is now attempting to run his own restaurant without his dad’s help.

But then one of the worst things happen. They lost their baby boy, really young. Their grief came in different ways, driving a wedge between them. After a few months, Eleanor wants to take a brake from their relationship, frustrated where things are going, and that is really where our story begins.

In Him, we mostly get to see Conor flailing about trying to deal with his emotions by repressing them like a motherfucker. They still come out in bursts, like when he has attacked unruly customers. His best friend and chef (Bill Hader) is even getting sick of his shit.

Conor sort of starts to stalk Eleanor a little bit as well, following her around but never having the courage to talk to her until he resorts back to a kid in middle school and passes her a note, quite creepily. His story also features Ciaran Hinds as his father, and Nina Arianda as an employee who has feelings for him.

Stalk
Then comes stalking after heartbreak and sadness…

In Her, we don’t even see Conor for the until the awkward scene above. James McAvoy is barely in this film and it is definitely all about Eleanor.

It starts with her injury and then her going on her own to the hospital. Eleanor decides to go home with her parents and sister. The mom (Isabelle Huppert) is French through and through, always seen with a glass of wine. Her dad (William Hurt) is still a psychologist at the local university, and her younger sister (Jess Weixler) has a little boy of her own, but no man or boyfriend in her life. She was already living with the parents still. Her family tries to get her help, but can’t seem to provide enough help on their own, the awkwardness of the whole situation. Some psychology degree, am I right?

So she does go to the local college to take a few classes. There she develops a nice bond with another psychology professor (Viola Davis), who is able to talk to her like a real person about normal things, since she knows nothing about Eleanor’s last few months. Her time alone allows Eleanor an attempt to find herself, and interact with Conor on her own terms in her own ways. Slowly, surely, and eventually full of hope.

In Them, it is the longest of the films at just over 2 hours. However, it is literally just everything you seen before. You still get the scenes between them, but this time you also get some of their individual scenes.

Them is packaged in a way so that it can be their complete story in a regular time frame for a regular movie. A movie about sadness and grief and how two different people cope. Technically, some of the scenes between them we see from a few different angles, but it is just a cram packed version with less individual detail on each character. Although, when watching it, it still felt like it featured a lot more of Her than Him.

Rekindling
Then comes alcohol to end all of the sadness!

Five hours, twelve minutes. That is how long watching these three movies took overall. That is if you want the full experience. The good news? You don’t have to see all three for the full experience!

In fact, you shouldn’t watch all three, and definitely not in the same week. You should only watch Him and Her, or Them, not all three. If you just watch the first two, you will get a very unique experience and you will get it in three hours, nine minutes. A much more reasonable amount of time. If you are feeling lazy or want a very regular saddish drama, then just go for Them. Its like a not very effective cliff notes.

Now, I watched them in Him, Her, and Them order because it just seemed to make sense. I knew the films were about the woman leaving, so it makes since to keep some mystery and watch Him before Her. Doing so allowed the film to answer questions are different times and felt like the best experience.

This only matters if you care about my recommendation of course. The best experience would just be Him and Her, no Them, because it is mostly repetitive. It sucks that I cannot wipe Him/Her from my memory before Them to give an unbiased review of it. But Them on its own didn’t feel like a great movie. Obviously I had the issues of it being full of scenes I had already seen (does that sound weird?), but it also cut out a lot of other scenes that I felt were necessary.

That’s right. Watching the condensed two hour version felt lacking. Shocking discovery, I know.

Them is Shit. Him and Her combined are a good experience. If you were going to watch just one of Him and Her, it won’t be good. It would just be odd and you don’t want to be odd.

Oh yeah, for whatever reason, the movies end differently. I have no idea why this happens, but Her has the best ending, in my ever so humble movie reviewer opinion.

Him and Her: 3 out of 4.

Them:1 out of 4.

Hitman: Agent 47

Video game movies are big these days, said no movie executive ever. There has never been a more consistently bad source to generate movie ideas from. And to think, just eight years ago, a movie studio already made that bad choice for this franchise. In 2007, Hitman came out and everyone ignored it. I know I did. It is an average to good game series, depending on your creativity, but anyone could look at it and tell it wouldn’t make a great movie that also was truly representative of the game itself.

That is not saying that you can’t make a movie about Hitmen. They are pretty frequent actually. It is just this hitman in particular and his story that no one would care about in a film.

But now we have Hitman: Agent 47. The only reason I can imagine this existing is because the actually Hitman game series has a new release this year as well, and they are trying to do this big worldwide assassination network, and this movie might give them positive buzz before that comes out in December.

These are the type of people who like to say that there is no such thing as bad PR. Technically true, but also fuck you, don’t make shitty headlines.

Man
This shooting style makes more sense when you realize the third eye on the back of his head.

If you listen to the narrator, you may learn that back in the mid 1900’s, some dude made a special science serum thing that could turn people into wonderful killing machines! It made them emotionless, not worrying about fear or guilt or any of that silly stuff that prevent people from killing people. Oh and of course it made them stronger, faster, the whole nine yards. It was awesome. But then Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) runs away. He gets the hell out of there. Moral reasons, or something. Who knows. Now he is missing and no one has any knowledge on how to recreate his formulas, basically ending the “Agent” program then and there.

UNTIL NOW OF COURSE. Syndicate International, totally not an evil sounding organization, is close to finalizing everything and they need to find Litvenko to figure it out completely. Sure, they have parts finished, but they will never be as great as a real, pure, Agent. So SI realized they might be able to find him if they can find his daughter, Katia (Hannah Ware), instead. Brilliant! Especially if she knew where he was. She has been searching most of her life too.

What’s that? Dude in a suit and red tie (Rupert Friend) is trying to kill her as well? And some big bushy eyed John Smith (Zachary Quito) fellow is protecting her and telling her crazy stories about assassins and agents? This is all probably incredibly confusing for her, just now being introduced to the concept and what those types of men are looking for.

And yeah. A lot of people die. Angelababy plays the handler of Agent 47 and Thomas Kretschmann is the head of the Syndicate.

Other people
“Emotionless lethal killer is after me? But I love Hayden Christensen!”

Hitman is a movie that should be all about “dat sweet action,” but for some reason, tries to give a detailed and complex plot to go with the action. There is nothing wrong with plot. Plot is fantastic. I love plot. I also love my plot to be a bit sensical. A narrator does its best job to just throw information out of the screen, right away, to catch you up on all this backstory. Why have backstory at all? Who knows, because it is a stand alone film, there has to be better ways of creating a plot than over a minute of computerized awkward exposition to start the movie. The bigger problem with that narration is that because it went very quickly, it wasn’t even that helpful. It told a few facts about things that happened, but barely explained any of the why, and it just left me confused first few minutes into the film.

And things didn’t make any real sense until about a half hour (Guessing) into the film, once all the twists and turns were finally settled. After that they did a good job of mostly focusing on the action, because the remaining plot was quite simple after that point. But if anything, watching a very simple action movie should not leave the confused. Confused at how a few people can fall and land on train tracks made of wood and metal and surrounded by lots of rocks? Sure. Science shenanigans. But not confused as to why every single character with a name is acting the way they do.

That is the main problem. A shit plot. Because a lot of the action scenes are quite entertaining. There are obvious throw backs to the game, including outfit changes, sneaking objects, and the multitude of weapons.

But even our main character, who played the scoundrel Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, doesn’t seem to be a great fit either. He technically has the look, aka a bald head and suit. Somehow his emotionless acting doesn’t seem to fit for a character that is supposed to lack emotions. Every time he speaks, it just sounds like a scrawny young adult in this situation, never a bad ass killing machine.

Hear that Hollywood? Plot isn’t always the most important part of a movie. Sexy action is. So keep it simple, keep it elegant, keep it extreme. And then we can give you money for entertaining us.

1 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Margot At The Wedding

The reason I bought Margot At The Wedding for a dollar is because I recognized the people in it. The reason I finally watched it was because someone else chose it for me from my list of unwatched movies. But the reason I was actually looking forward to it was because of the director/writer Noah Baumbach. He is most famous for working with Wes Anderson, but I watched a film he did about his own child life called The Squid and The Whale, and absolutely loved it.

Basically, I am excited about the potential of a great drama. He also wrote/directed Frances Ha recently, so the potential is pretty dang high.

Angst
Yep, just look at all of that angst.

This film is about Margot (Nicole Kidman) at a wedding. Huzzah!

She is questionably single, and taking her only son Claude (Zane Pais) back to where she grew up for a wedding. Not just any wedding, but her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is still living in that old middle of nowhere house. Her husband, Jim (John Turturro), and her are going through some tough times, but that can’t possibly affect this wedding, can it?

Nah. But having a lover on the side in that homedown, Dick Koosman (Ciaran Hands), can. Add on a war with the very redneck-y and cruel neighbors, past family drama, and bad communication skills, and you got yourself a dramatic wedding. Especially with Jack Black as the groom.

Also starring Flora Cross as Pauline’s daughter, and Halley Feiffer as Dick’s daughter.

Tree
Totally thought her son was a girl for like, at least the first 10 minutes of the movie.

I think I would describe this movie as cruel. Cruel and vague.

Why cruel? Well, every adult character in this movie is deplorable. Every single one of them. Most of all Margot of course, but everyone has faults and they all come out to the extreme during the movie. Constant arguing and constant passive aggressive behavior. It certainly took a huge toll on my “Give a fuck” meter.

Why vague? Well, there were problems in the past, and problems now with relationships, but figuring out what happened is a big struggle. The most I can figure out is that Margot wrote a novel about her family, told the world secrets, and they got mad at her. I have no idea what is going on between her and her husband, outside of the cheating. They intentionally kept a lot of the details in the dark for too long, which made it more annoying than anything else.

I guess the acting was decent, but the story was blahhh.

It had a lot of indie tropes, my favorite of which is “camera behind character walking”. Man, indie movies love that shit. That is what most of The Wrestler was, after all.

Overall, this is just another movie you can skip. Noah is a very hit or miss writer. Better than mediocrity all your life, I guess.

1 out of 4.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

SPY MOVIES.

But this is not your James Bond type of Spy Movie. This is the more subtle, information based spy movie. Of course more secret government organizations. But it is also British, and with other European people. As a hardcore American, that is a negative to me. Because we are the best.

But honestly, I knew absolutely nothing about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy before I watched it, just that it was probably a book.

TTSS
Reading is sooooo European.

The movie begins with Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) sent to Hungary by the head of the Circus (British Intelligence nickname?) (John Hurt) to meet a native to buy secrets! Too bad he gets shot and captured though. That is not the plan, so the head gets canned, and his aide, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) get into forced retirement, and the head dies soon after from being old.

They get replaced by Tinker (Toby Jones) and his new right hand man, Tailor (Colin Firth) and also Soldier (Ciaran Hinds) and Poorman (David Dencik ) also move up the ranks. Bet you thought that last code name would be Spy? Yeah, what teases. Spy would also be a poor code name.

Speaking of poor nicknames, they move up the ranks due to Witchcraft! Russian secret intelligence they have found and traded to the Americans for even more intelligence. Smiley is brought back out of retirement from Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), as there are reports of a mole in the British government, someone who has been there for quite some time.

He has obvious suspects, but starts with those who left around the same time as him and works his way inward. He gets a team of people, including someone played by Benedict Cumberbatch, to do some secret espionage stuff to find out who the mole is, and if the initial outing of Smiley and others was all part of someones plan.

Other secrets to find out! Just what the mole was doing, the true purpose of the Hungary visit, and how jerky some peopl can be.

TTSS
LOOK AT HIM. Not even an unrelated caption. Just do it.

In other news, this is efinitely not a movie I could watch again and again. It is a slower pace, obviously, and strictly feels like a very tame game of chess. The actors involved all do wonderful jobs, but personally I didn’t see a need to give Gary Oldman more props than the rest of the cast (Nominated for Best Actor for the film). When everyone does a fine job, I just find it harder to praise a single person.

However the plot I never really seemed to care for. Couldn’t relate to older British intelligence officers, go figure. I was just hoping the American’s wouldn’t get screwed over or made seem stupid in the movie. And well, it kind of happened. Whoops.

Decent movie, but just not my kind of film.

2 out of 4.

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance

Generally, most people will tell you they were disappointed with the original Ghost Rider movie. Ghost Rider himself is a cool concept, and a bad ass character, but for people to go home feeling bored? That isn’t good at all.

With most of the Marvel movie characters that they no longer own, such as Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Ghost Rider, there are contract stipulations that state they must use their movie rights or else they will go back to Marvel. From the looks at it, it looked like there wouldn’t be another Ghost Rider movie, and Marvel would actually get a character back! Hooray, even if its one they can’t use that much.

Then there was news that they wanted to do another movie anyways, regardless of how bad the first one was. A RUSHED movie. Well, no way Nick Cage could be involved. Wait what? Nick Cage signed on too?

That is pretty much the only constant between Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, so the outcome should be different, right?

Ghost Rider Eyez
These eyes. Cry out every night. For you.

This film takes place in Romania, and yo\u do not need to see the first one to see the second. Every character is different, even kind of changed how he turned into Ghost Rider. Instead of Mephistopheles, it is Roarke (Ciarán Hinds), but still a generic Satan/Devil, just played by a different guy.

Moreau (Idris Elba), a drunken French priest is seen trying to warn a clergy that the Devil has sent men to capture a woman and a boy they are hiding, but they don’t believe him. And then they get fucked up, but thankfully the woman (Violante Placido) and the boy Danny (Fergus Riordan) get to escape, with Moreau’s help, but he loses them. So he finds out Johnny Blaze and asks for his help. He doesn’t want to, he just wants to be left alone. After all, he only hurts people anyways. But if he helps him, he is promised that they can undo his fiery curse. Sounds good.

So he catches up, right before the mercenaries lead by Ray (Johnny Whitworth) are capturing them. After killing a few he gets distracted, and wants to kill the kid sensing a great evil, but it is knocked unconscious and stopped. After escaping a hospital, he finds the woman and Moreau again, and they device a plan to find the kid and get him back. Eventually the find out the kid is actually the son of the devil, and Roarke is hoping on unlocking his full power (and those deep dark eyes!). Moreau wants to take him back to his church, lead by Methodius (Christopher Lambert) and freeing Blaze of his Rider curse.

But when everything inevitably goes wrong, can Johnny Blaze free the kid from his fate, after he has freed himself from his curse? Also, angels and spirits of justice?

Ghost Rider face change
Don’t even ask me about this moment.

Blahhh. Honestly, the plot doesn’t sound that bad on paper. Especially if I fully explain more of the curse, as it is figured out in the story. I am even fine with where the film ends. It just would be a much better ending for the first film, and not the second film.

He turns into Ghost Rider three times in the movie, and none of them really seem that important. The fact that in his first encounter he gets knocked out from a blast just seems silly, after what we see of him in the first encounter and first movie. The second fight is way too long, and the character does many pointless things when his goal should be to kill them all as quickly as possible. The third fight is more of the same, but with a powerful enemy to fight, who actually turns out to not be that special.

When you have a character who really can’t be stopped / killed, there is no fear for survival or suspense. Just kind of lame. Action was boring. Plot was confusing in that it made it seem like the first film never happened, despite maintaining the same main actor for the character. That is some shit. I hate ret-cons. Also lots of unexplained plot directions. Give it a pass, but the third film might be better.

1 out of 4.

The Woman In Black

Ah fuck.

The Woman In Black is based off of a book too. Seriously. I think that is at least 50% of my movies nowadays. Should I go back and tag all movies based off of books to figure this out? Just might have to.

HP
Oh hey look, Harry Potter.

Set in some Olden part of ye Englande, it begins with three kids playing. Oh no! Wait that isn’t weird. It is weird when they all decide to jump out of the window and kill themselves. Huh. And then a woman in black.

Enter Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), who is in no way a ghost buster. No, he is a lawyer. Lives with a four year old son, Joseph (Misha Handley) and the nanny (Jessica Raine). Wife died during child birth, and everyonce in awhile, Arthur likes to imagine her still alive. Weirdo.

Either way, he has to go to a different town and handle the the closing and purchase of a new house. Who use to live there? Some woman Alice, her husband, their son, and their sister, Jennet (Liz White). No one seems to like him, except for the wealthy landowner (Ciaran Hinds, possible the most British looking person ever) and his wife (Janet McTeer).

So guess what? He hears weird noises, and scares himself a bit. He sees a woman in black, outside, but she disappears. Next thing you know, some kids are all “ahh our sister is dying” because she drank something poisonous. Well he doesn’t save her. She dies. Rumor has it anytime someone sees the woman in black, the child closest to the scene will be driven to kill themselves. That makes sense.

Blah blah blah. Some people getting possessed. Some people in bad mental states. Some people raising children falsely. A very weird muddy graveyard. And a solution to the curse!

British
Seriously. Could anyone look more British?

The Butler did it!

Just kidding, there is no butler (with speaking lines).

But seriously, I thought this movie was lame. Even for a person who claims to get scared easily, I wasn’t ever really scared. This film seems to implore the “Lets just have normal things happen unexpectedly for fake tense moments to have the person jump but never really scare them” technique 9 out of 10 times. It kind of got annoying, and very predictable. Real normal unexpected surprising events for jump scaring don’t always come out with the music, but in this movie, they will.

The story wasn’t the worse. But how they figured out the “solution” to the curse seemed to come out of no where. That was the only scary-ish movie just because it looked a bit gross.

And the ending? Ugh, it was dumb. Very unsatisfying ending. Don’t worry, it is not “it’s all a dream”. I’d rather that be the ending than what happened.

1 out of 4.