Tag: Jude Law

Captain Marvel

Here we are, the first “marvel” film of 2019, and maybe the last of them to be reviewed. Whoops.

Now technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Sony movie. And maybe this will come out before Avengers: Endgame. It depends on if it finally breaks that damn record. I’m trying to hold out.

But let it be known, that damn it, I saw Captain Marvel opening weekend! I just didn’t write a lot in the spring and I am catching up. It’s not out of hate, or sexism, or anything like that. It is just I don’t want Disney to profit off of my reviews if I don’t get invited to see them early anymore.

Yes, this website is why Disney makes so much money. 
Kree good. Skrulls bad. That’s what Vers (Brie Larson) was taught. She is a warrior in the Kree kingdom, following the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), trying to protect the galaxy and the universe. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is her mentor, and commander of their group of super soldiers. He looks out for her, but she is having problems unlocking her potential.

Either way, they know they need to stop the Skrulls. They can change shape and pretend to be other people! Anyone might be a Skrull, and it is important to have secret phrases to deal with the threat. Threats like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), leader of the group of Skrulls and a threat to the Kree way of life, and other planets! They go to a planet, pretend to be the citizens, slowly take over, and boom, their planet.

This battle takes them all to planet Earth. It is important to note this is 12-13 years before the events of Iron Man, before Y2K wrecked house. And Vers, when she gets to Earth, is going to have even more memory problems than before, and has to work with local human security, like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pre-eye patch, in order to stop the Skrull threat and unlock her true potential.

Also starring Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Algenis Perez Soto, and Rune Temte.

I don’t know why they’d want to shapeshift. They don’t like green? Elphaba-syndrome much? 
Captain Marvel is fun and entertaining while also introducing a lot of backstory into the MCU. I bet you never knew you wanted to know how Nick Fury lost his eye, but once that question is answered, you’ll never be the same.

Danvers is a great and strong as fuck character. It has been awhile since we got a character that seemed like they could destroy the world if they wanted to. She has powers comparable and potentially surpassing Thor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange, who I’d put as the biggest three in the MCU. Scarlet Witch should be higher, but they have more downplayed her actual abilities while talking them up, and odd choice. But Captain Marvel has the power and the talk. She will fuck up all the shit.

Like a lot of other recent solo movies, this one failed to feel like it did a lot different than the other previous 20 movies to warrant a higher grade. 3s are great, and better than the occasional 2 these MCU movies can make.

Again, more importantly, this adds the Skrulls to the MCU, which are going to allow some bigger huge storylines in the future, especially if they want to kill more superheroes and it be okay.

3 out of 4.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

No one knows how to Guy Ritchie like Guy Ritchie. He likes to go to the extremes, have some fast talkers, and go super British. But he has apparently mostly left his original line of work and decided to focus on remakes and cultural icons.

Sherlock Holmes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and now his take on King Arthur.

Sure, I am excited, the knights of the round table are interesting, tons of lore, and tons of cool sorcery could be afoot. But I really just want some more of his original stories, more than anything. Hopefully this doesn’t use up more of his time with another franchise.

Honestly, this looks like he just swung his sword at a rock instead.

Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) is more than a man with a badass name, he is the ruler of Camelot! And he is being attacked and raided by warlocks and mages. Uther is able to take out the threat, but his brother, Vortigern (Jude Law) betrays him and his family, summoning a demon to take the throne. But Pendragon’s baby son escapes, classic Moses manuver.

This son is found by prostitutes in another land and named Arthur (Charlie Hunnam). This is where he was born and raised, not knowing of his noble heritage. That’s right, he is from the STREETS. Now we have Guy Ritchie movie, loving those streets, even if they are over a thousand years ago.

Oh and uhh, then a lot of stuff happened with a sword, magic, wars, tons of fighting, and big group of friends.

Also starring Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Craig McGinlay, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Tom Wu, Annabelle Wallis, Freddie Fox, and Aidan Gillen.

Fight me
Arthur walking around, fists out, with that “fight me” look on his face. Classic Guy Ritchie.

Another fun confession time: My movie synopsis was quite short, yeah? It is like I have no fucking clue what happened during the movie, which is true. I don’t. First of all, the theater I was in had two issues: One, the bulb was almost dead, and two, something with the polarizer was wrong too, so the 3D screening I went to was incredibly dark. SUPER DARK. I watched a trailer after the film surprised at the darkness, wondering where the hell the white sky had gone in my viewing.

The darkness, and the overuse of CGI, seemingly terrible 3D, and ugly color scheme, put me straight to sleep. I didn’t sleep throughout the whole film, I woke up quite a lot. But every time I woke up, it still seemed uninteresting and I could not keep my eyes open. And that is terrible. I do know that a huge reason I passed out was thanks to the bad cameras, but I wonder how much of the story actually put me to sleep as well.

And I am never going probably go out of my way to see this movie again. Seeing it in theaters, I sat through trailers spent hours of my life on it. As a reviewer I have to watch a lot, so giving something a second or third viewing is usually restored to things that I actually like. Sure, when it is out on DVD, there is a chance. Maybe someone else will make me watch it with them.

But the experience did not work for me, and normally “slept through the whole thing” would be a 0, but I have to give it some benefit of doubt.

1 out of 4.


Like a lot of people, I am beginning to mistrust Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy.

Paul Feig did give us Bridesmaids, sure, but The Heat didn’t feel right with me. He also has his strange obsession with McCarthy, so when it was announced he would do a Ghostbusters reboot, it was obvious he would be casting her in it. McCarthy has had a few terrible movies, namely Identity Thief and Tammy, where it seemed through all her work she could really only play one type of character.

So of course when you see a trailer for a badly named movie like Spy, you assume it is going to be one long running fat joke. Where it is absurd that she should be in the position she is in and you know, more fat jokes. It isn’t an absurd assumption, given that is what Tammy was, a movie McCarthy even wrote for herself, unable to get herself out of her own type casting.

If this was a gif, you all would hate me.

Being a spy is a tough job, but thankfully you have a handler back at HQ who helps you out on each and every mission. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is a spy, and a damn good one at that. But he wouldn’t be anywhere without his handler, Susan Cooper (McCarthy). She helps protect him from surprising bad guys, helps him escape, and just keeps him aware of all of his surroundings! Things can still go wrong, sure, like when Bradley accidentally kills Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi), who is supposed to be the only one alive who knows about some tiny nukes that he wants to sell. Whoops. Oh well, other than that, they are a great team!

Until he dies. She wasn’t too helpful then. He was killed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), daughter of that other dead dude. Looks like she knows where the nukes are! She also knows every single spy that we have on record, names and what they look like, so it is incredibly unlikely of any of them being able to get close to her. Now Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) has no idea what to do, so she agrees to let Susan go undercover to find out more information, with her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) serving as her handler. She is supposed to avoid Rayna and instead follow Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), but, you know, shit happens.

On top of the whole, being a spy thing, she also has to deal with the fact that some of the agents have quit. Namely, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), one of their best, and he wants revenge on Rayna since knows all about him. Too bad she also is the only one who knows about the nukes! Can’t let her be killed as well. Oh golly gumdrops.

Also, hey! We have Will Yun Lee and Zach Woods.

I normally only comment on facial hair, but come on, this is astounding.

Good news, everyone! Spy is not just one long fat joke. Sure, independently, on your own, you could giggle when a larger person does something athletic, but that is on you buddy. No, these jokes come from a deeper level. A lot more of them are based on how she has the body of a middle aged cat lady and the like. Way better than fat jokes.

In all honesty, Spy ended up being a pretty funny movie. Byrne still seems to have come out of nowhere in the comedy world, but she is still knocking it out of the park. Statham was in this movie and he was able to play a very Statham character. And yes, McCarthy of course carried it very, very well.

The action was also pretty decent. I didn’t know how it would end either, because they set it up pretty early that anyone could be killed, not to mention them wanting to earn the R rating.

One thing the film lacks is rewatchability, as in, I don’t ever see myself buying the film because I know I will never be in the mood again. But our female leads are fantastic, even Hart, and Statham provides some nice laughs as well.

3 out of 4.

Black Sea

Day 2 of Blackweek!

Day 1 featured Blackhat, so we are going to remove our clothing and take a dive in the Black Sea instead.

I’d make a corny joke about what this movie is about and act surprised when it is something different. But how could I do that? It is called Black Sea! That is a real place, right there above Turkey. Huge as shit, important to history. Can’t miss it.

If this movie doesn’t feature the actual Black Sea, I will quit my job as a movie reviewer!

And drive a submarine into the job territory known as “Film Critic Land”.

Under water salvaging can be a tricky job, but someone has to clean that ocean litter. I have been told prisoners are not up to the job, so instead, real people do it and get paid! Like Robinson (Jude Law). Or at least, he used to get paid. Now he is laid off, his company doesn’t want him anymore, his job “redundant.”

But the good news is, now that he is jobless, he has free time to do crazy things. Like get a crew together and search for a rumored Nazi gold! Apparently a U-Boat sunk off the coast of Georgia (IN THE BLACK SEA) with millions and millions of dollars worth of gold bars in it. Some shit involving Germany and Russia. No one has been able to find it, but no one has had Robinson’s skills.

So he gets a backer, a mysterious Lewis (Tobias Menzies) agrees to fund the expedition for 40% of the profits. He gets a crew, half British (like him!) and half Russian (for reasons). They get a really shitty beat up sub and head on down!

But first, they have extra crew. Like Tobin (Bobby Schofield), a neighborhood kid who Robinson brought along for other reasons. And Daniels (Scoot McNairy), a representative of Mr. Lewis.

Our crew only has one translator though between the sets. And a whole lot of money on the line. People migh get all antsy and want to make their cuts a bit bigger. And hey, maybe there are even more twists and turns in line. MAYBE.

Also featuring Grigoriy Cobrygin, Ben Mendelsohn, and Konstantin Khabenskiy.

The movies initials may be BS but this Nazi gold sure is for real!

For the most part, I wouldn’t say I am ever really a fan of submarine movies. I mean, did you see Phantom? That totally was a real movie a couple years ago. Like a submarine itself, submarine movies are kind of limited in terms of what one can do with them. Only so many things can happen on a sub, so a lot of submarine stories end up using the same sort of events. There can only really be one Das Boot.

Despite this, Black Sea had a lot going for it. Enough unique members with a few different desires to make it not a complete one man Jude Law show. It wasn’t just a weird murder mystery thriller. That is what I was most afraid of. And speaking of Jude Law, he did a pretty swell job.

My main issue with it all is the ending. It was lame and cheesy and expected. I was getting pretty excited with how things were going, I was getting super into the story. Then the ending. Meh. I should also note the beginning of the movie is pretty dang slow. It takes awhile to get on the damn submarine, but once they do it, it goes up pretty quickly.

2 out of 4.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Hyping up these things is getting hard. But mostly because the next few are pretty meh, until I hit 1500.

What? Yes, what I am saying is welcome to my 1300th review, bitches. Time for a Milestone Review.

I think I have the next few figured out too. I am continuing with my theme of mid-2000s movies that I heard were terrible, never saw before, and want to give them a chance.

I remember seeing trailers for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Even my 10-12 year ago self thought the film looked too CGI and weird. But now it is a decade later. Maybe it was one of those films ahead of its time, like Speed Racer?

Or, maybe it is just terribad and perfect for the mid 2000’s.

One man’s CGI fest explosion is another mans CGI fest explosion.

Alternative history. And not just a history where I watched this movie 11 years ago. I’m talkin’ 1930’s. I don’t know the exact differences, but technology is a lot better in this timeline. We got Zeppelins. We got scientists. We got shenanigans.

Specifically, some famous scientists are disappearing and and no one knows why. Also not a lot of people care. So there is that. Some dude disappears at the start of the film even!

It’s amazing they could land (perch? float next to?) so well in that weather (snow storm? smog gas? volcano explosion?).

Wait, one person might care! Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is playing another character with the initials PP. She is a journalist and she just so happens to be looking into the missing scientists! Crazy! She is the one who cares.

She gets a secret message to meet up for information on who the next scientist to go missing will be. After heading out, she is surprised to find Dr. Walter Jennings (Trevor Baxter)! Some Dr. Totenkopf is getting all of the scientists, and Walter thinks he is next because he is the last of the group who worked on a secret project. SUDDENLY! GIANT ROBOTS ATTACK THE CITY.

Marching two by two, just like Moses said they would.

The robots seem to be indestructible. I don’t think they are technically attacking, they are more just walking the streets and looking like an army. The police collectively shrug and realize they can’t win, so they call on “Sky Captain,” a dude who owns his own private air force in New York called the Flying Legion. The Sky Captain is just Joe Sullivan (Jude Law). He is able to take out one of the robots using a bomb and making it fall down. I guess that is good enough for them.

The rest of the robots GTFO of town, back to outer space or who knows what. Joe saves Polly and takes the broken robot back to his base. Turns out Joe and Polly have a past together. They used to date, but Joe blames Polly for interfering too much and almost getting him killed. But she has information, so she can tag a long for now.

The Flying Legion head of science expert (Giovanni Ribisi) starts looking into the robot, while Joe and Polly go to investigate Dr. Jennings again!

If you came here for this like everyone else, then I have some disappointing news.

So, Jennings is almost dead. Damn. Too late. But before he croaks, he gives Polly two vials. Very secret these vials. They are apparently what Dr. Totenkopf is after. Joe don’t know ’bout the vials either, how sneaky. So that sucks, scientist is dead. Oh well, YOLO, back to the base, they find out science guy has found out secret information!

Oh no, the base is also now under attack, but by drone robots! But that means the scientist might not be able to tell us the news he found out! Yep, he gets taken during the defense. Oh noes!

Turns out he found out the origin of the robot control signal, so they know where to go to stop them. And it is on Earth! And hey, before he was taken he left them a map. Pretty sweet. So they head down to Tibet and the Himalayas!

What a relaxing plane ride!

Over in the mountains, Joe meets up with his old friend Kaji (Omid Djalili) and they all laugh and have good times. They get double crossed by some peeps, and almost blow up! Next thing they know, they are in Shangri-La. The evil doctor used monks to mine uranium. K. But the doctor is in another castle, so they have to go find him again.

And nowwwwwwww we finally get to meet Commander Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), who commands her own Royal Navy flying force thing. They help Joe find the secret island of Dr. Totenkopf. Using submarine boats, they break in and find it inhabited with weird dinosaur like creatures. Shit, they also find robots hoarding animals into capsules. Two by two, a whole lot of different species.

Oh shit, they are going to Noah the Earth!

Did you guys notice me say Moses earlier?

Looks like the evil Dr. wants to reset the world. He is loading all the animals into a rocket. The rocket will blast off, blow up a lot of the world, then eventually return and repopulate. The World Of Tomorrow. In case you are wondering about the vials, as you should be, they actually contain the “perfect human” DNA. A new Adam and Eve.

So does that mean the doctor wants to kill himself? Not at all. He died twenty years ago. OHHHH SNAP.

That’s right. But the robots he made have been continuing with the plan, doing shenanigans, killing people, and all that jazz. Fucking robots.

Look at them. Always fucking shit up.

Needless to say, our heroes get stuck on the rocket going up into outer space. Full of animals, angry robots, and dead scientists. Oh no!

So Joe figures, hey, he is a captain of the SKIES. He should save everyone and blow up the rocket alone on the ship. Well, Polly doesn’t listen. Again. They free all the animals and also fuck up the ship. Thankfully, there is just one escape pod left.

And do they reach it? Do they?

Not if Zordon’s son has anything to say about it.

Mannnnnn. I can’t believe this movie got so many great reviews.

SCatWoT was one of the first movies ever to use CGI like this. To give us an old timey, futuristic, retro feel. Everything was intentionally done with a specific style in mind. And that style could have not felt more boring to me.

Fuck. This movie dragged on. First of all, it was only rated PG. So the action was only PG levels of exciting. This probably a false complaint.

The real issue is they were going for this super old feel. Maybe specifically a 60s/70s sci-fi b-movie feel. But it was incredibly dull the entire time. I just wanted it to end. Paltrow was down right terrible in this movie. I don’t know if it was her or the director, but there was close to zero emotion the entire film.

Angelina Jolie is obviously barely in this movie, despite most of the advertisements featuring her and her eye patch. I really assumed she was the sky captain.

BUT IT WAS JUST SO SLOW. Which obviously is my main complaint. The entire movie just felt brown and grey, very unexciting colors. I was hoping with that much CGI it would be a bit flashier and exciting, especially on Blu-Ray. But no. Slow. Dreadfully boring. And fuck, this is one of the worst movies I have had to review for a milestone review.

Which is the issue here. I found it hard to be funny, because I had to type out the whole plot outline, and found it a struggle just to remember what in the fuck happened.

I dunno if anyone ever watched this movie. But re-watch it. If you liked it, let me know why. If you still like it and can ignore nostalgia, I just. Just help me out here.

0 out of 4.

Dom Hemingway

The first and only time I heard about the movie Dom Hemingway was as a trailer before The Grand Budapest Hotel. The latter movie was fantastic, so that felt like a good sign for Dom Hemingway.

But the trailer? The trailer made me want to see Dom Hemingway right after I watched my Wes Anderson picture. You should watch the trailer right now. t

So, a few months and a move later, I can watch hopefully a very interesting character driven movie.

Public Drinker
With characters who drink in the public with no regards to laws or facial hair restrictions!

Dom (Jude Law) has been in prison a long time, twelve years in fact. He hasn’t said a word about his former boss after the gig went south, but he is still kind of pissed over it all. Dom used to be the best safe cracker in the biz, now he is stuck in prison, missing his wife who died of cancer and daughter who was just a teenager when he left.

But then the call came through. Dom is free to go. So he reconnects with his old buddy Dickie (Richard E. Grant) and demands that he go see his old boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir) to get the money he is owed, plus interest, and maybe a little bit something extra for keeping quiet for so long.

But Dom? He is a drinker and a drug user. He has a lot of sex and rock and roll to catch up on thanks to the last twelve years, and his mouth and filthy habits might get the best of him. Like when he sees Paolina (Madalina Diana Ghenea), Mr. Fontaine’s girlfriend. Smoking. He wants that. He also wants to re-kindle the relationship with his daughter, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke). He also wants a shit ton of money and to never stop partying.

Good gosh, what will become of this sad little man? Also starring Kerry Condon as a very strange extra role and Jumayne Hunter as a new gang leader who might need a safe cracker.

Whatever it takes. That safe is getting opened. Maybe.

Dom Hemingway started out as everything I had hoped it would. A 1-3 minute conversation from Dom to what appeared to be the camera about his penis and how hard it was. Yes. That is exactly what I need.

But seriously, the beginning of the movie was fantastic. Dom living life up large, all the way to getting to Mr. Fontaine’s house. I thought I was on a wild ride that wouldn’t stop. Then a small twist happened, and the rest of the movie began to change as a result. Dom was left a broken shell of a man who had lost his way, with nothing going right. That part, although still acted really well, just kind of felt off from the first half. The second half definitely had some exciting moments, but it felt a bit slower and less exciting than the first half.

So that is where I am at. Jude Law? Fan-fucking-tastic. Really great. He killed this character and it was great. I want more Dom Hemmingway. I want a movie where he is just hanging out in prison for twelve years. I don’t want any character development, I just want the black comedy that I knew this thing could be.

The movie delivers on some aspects, but the ending just…loses so much interest for me. Hard to describe. But I think it failed to maintain the high bars it set early on.

2 out of 4.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hah. Wes Anderson. For those that don’t read every post I make, Wes Anderson is a strange guy for me. Every movie I reviewed for the site that he directed, I have love love loved. But that was only two movies. The other one I saw I just didn’t really get, and thought it was weird. Yet still, I was excited for this new one.

So excited, I am pretty pissed off that they forced The Grand Budapest Hotel to be a limited release. It broke some records for its release. Like, most money gained from a super super limited release. But only two cities? That is crap. There is no reason for that. I am lucky I even got to see it so soon as I had to drive three hours to see it, weeks after its “release date”. Maybe I am more annoyed because it wasn’t even advertised as a limited release, so I have to imagine it was just a last minute change.

But I guess I expected Anderson to be a dick if he could, so there is that.

This story in a story is about The Grand Budapest Hotel, as you might have guessed. It used to be a…grand old place, but recently, it has gone under some bad times. The clientele is no longer the elite, the staff is no longer extremely efficient, and really it is in shambles. That is why a young writer (Jude Law) is so interested to meet its current owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), to hear his story about he acquired the hotel and his vast fortune.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a man amongst boys. He used to be the concierge, a god amongst men. Working morning to night, every day, he made sure the rich guests felt welcome at the hotel and would do anything to please them. Including the extremely rich Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who stays at the hotel for weeks every year.

Well, she dies, mysteriously. Also, her will was changed last minute as well it seems. Apparently M. Gustave was left her priceless painting, pissing off the ungrateful and evil family. Now, they also think M. Gustave killed her!

It is up to the help of his Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) to help prove his innocence, get him out of jail, and in general, save the day!

Also featuring a shit ton of people. Here they are, roughly, in order of importance: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldbloom, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

This scene represents birth.

Ahhhh, quirky Wes Anderson movie!

This one took a little bit to get going, trying to figure out just what the movie would be about. It takes place over three time periods, technically, so the story needs time to get started.

But when it does? Man. This movie was hilarious. Ralph Fiennes, although I don’t know how to say his name, is a terrific actor and a charismatic character in this film. You can’t take your eyes off of him whenever he is on the screen. And it works so well. Much laughter, much ridiculousness.

This film has a lot of Anderson standards, with his camera work and use of colors.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a bit more crass than his other recent movies. Some nakedness, some death scenes, all a bit extreme. But I think that made it a little bit better.

Definitely as good as the trailer made it seem to be, and one of the best early movies of 2014.

4 out of 4.

Anna Karenina

If you have never heard of Anna Karenina, then you might have your finger far from the pulse of the Russian Literature community. So you might be like me.

“But this is Tolstoy!” all two of you yell in anguish. Yeah, well, he is dead now, so how great can he have been?

This is not the first time a movie has been made from the book, no, it is the thirteenth time. Of the previous 12, I of course have seen zero of them, so this Joe Wright adaption shall be my first.

Taken abak
I think this is a literal example of a crowd being taken aback by something amazing.

There is a lot of plot going on in Anna Karenina. Maybe even too much. I am even surprise they can fit so much story in these movies. I have the basic gist of the story, but I cannot fill in a lot of the details on my own.

Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is a Russian aristocrat and in the spot light, married to Karenin (Jude Law). It is an okay life, she is rich and all, the sister of an eccentric Prince Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) who is married to princess Dolly (Kelly Macdonald).

But something is missing. Passion is missing.

Passion is what she feels when she meets the Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), and then embarks on an affair, that will lead to divorce, hearsay, gossip, sexytimes, and a life filled with love. But with love, comes great sorrow.

Many other characters and players in this, but going over all their plots would literally kill me. But hey, Domhnall Gleeson is in this movie, so is Olivia Williams.

That woman in the top right is shunning SO HARD right now.

Here is a fact that I realized watching this movie, that is both unfortunate and wonderful. I don’t think someone watching this would consider it a straight adaption of the story and novel. Sure the setting is there, the character and plots are the same, but there is more than that going on in the movie from the visuals. It is not that I began to question if scenes were actually happening, but just they way they were presented were strange. Almost a giant metaphor, I think that they were trying to say that when you are an aristocrat, you must always put on a performance/show or else you might lose your prestige.

Alright, did that paragraph confuse you? I am sorry. It is just hard to describe.

But I think a problem with this movie is that I didn’t know the story or its many sub plotlines, and I quickly got lost in the flashy colors and grand scenes. I am not sure of half the things that happened, because the filmmakers probably assumed I knew about it. After all, wickedly famous novel, many movie adaptations? Well I am sorry, but I couldn’t get it to work.

The acting however was very well done, and I would say I loved the costumes and cinematography. The final message sucks and reminds me a bit of Gone With The Wind but I guess that is life. I just wish it was a bit easier to follow.

2 out of 4.

Side Effects

If you saw the trailer for Side Effects, you probably found yourself confused. It tells you practically nothing; something about pills, a doctor/therapist/pharmacist getting in trouble, and maybe someone dying. There really isn’t enough here to convince the average person to check out the film. But what if “mysterious” is what the movie was going for? A trailer for a few weeks many months away, then nothing, and let the lack of any ads drive people in droves to figure it all out.

Yeah. That’s a terrible strategy.

Jude Thinkin
No amount of thinking will make this a good strategy, Jude.

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a lonely woman. She used to suffer pretty hard from depression. Why? Because her husband (Channing Tatum) was sent off to jail for four years for insider trading.

Well he is finally back and they can get their life back on track and everything will be great again! Right?! Wrong! Bam, Emily crashes her car on purpose and sent to the hospital. There she meets Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who reluctantly lets her back home despite the attempt on her own life, but only if she will come to therapy sessions a few days a week and take some anti-depression pills.

But every pill has its own side effects associated with it, which could lead to irrational behavior and other strange issues. Also featuring Vinessa Shaw as girlfriend of Dr. Banks, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as her former psychiatrist.

Trouble with a capital T
“I just don’t understand doc, what’s wrong with sticking your dick in crazy?”

Hopefully you noticed I still tried to keep the plot description vague, because frankly, it helps. Going in to see this movie, I knew nothing, which is how I prefer to watch films anyways. I am glad the trailer was vague and didn’t give the entire movie away. So I tried to keep the favor for you readers, but give you a bit more detail to hopefully spark some interest. Because, as it turns out, Side Effects is pretty darn good!

Not only is it directed by Steven Soderbergh (Who has given us the Ocean’s Trilogy, The Informant!“, and “Magic Mike“. Okay, one of those doesn’t belong), but it is apparently going to be his last film for awhile. Officially, he is retiring, but I am sure that within a decade he will be back.  The only person to successfully quit the film industry has been Rick Moranis.

Side Effects is more than a simple “Who Dunnit” story by focusing more on the why and the how. Throw in some ethical debates about the role of doctors and medicine, and you might also earn a minor in philosophy by the time the movie is through. While watching the movie, I found myself getting angry in the best way possible. I was mad at the events happening on screen, at the loopholes and the needs for a scapegoat, but most importantly I was mad that it was incredibly realistic. The actual events in the movie I don’t think would ever happen in real life, but the reactions to those events were so spot on, I almost did a little “This is what’s wrong with the country!” rant in my head.

If you want to have some emotion evoked in your movie watching experience, I suggest checking out Side Effects. Give Steven Sonderbergh a reason to come back to film in a few years.

3 out of 4.

Rise of the Guardians

Holidays are now in full swing and the makers of movies are finally tired of the same old crap. Do we really need another movie about Santa or the Spirit of Christmas? Or trying to explain why a bunny celebrates with eggs? How the tooth fairy is able to gather teeth all around the world? No, the consumer is tired of all of that. We need new tales, new ideas, but preferably with characters we already know. Which is probably why Rise of the Guardians will be such a success!

Tooth love
Yeah, I kind of like the Tooth Fairy in this film. I would do things, horrible things.

The Guardians are a team of holiday figures and legends who have banded together to protect the children of the world! Formed by the mysterious man on the moon, it consists of North (Alec Baldwin) aka Santa Claus, Bunny (Hugh Jackman) for Easter, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Sandman (who doesn’t talk).

They haven’t had any problems the last 900 or so years, with the last threat being a man named Pitch Black (Jude Law), aka the Boogeyman. But they banished him so long ago, he can’t cause any problems. After all, you aren’t even visible to humans unless they believe in you. He still has some scary powers, just harder for him to cause wide scale havoc.

Unfortunately, those last 900 years he has been in hiding, planning to take out the guardians by making the kids of the world stop believing in them, Yes, no more happiness, only fear! Mwhaha! But then there is Jack Frost (Chris Pine), forever trapped a teenager in his weird life. No one has ever really believed in him, so he is used to being ignored. Despite that, he still tried to bring fun and excitement to the world, one snowball at a time.

Adding a new entity to the battle is not what The Boogeyman had planned for, but can some snow and ice really stop the eternal darkness? To me, personally, it seems like it would help bring upon eternal darkness. Yes, I am saying snow is dumb.

Pitch Black has a very Hades vibe going on, but darker. Probably because no fire on his head.

As I have stated before in many reviews (Tooth Fairy, Hop) I can’t stand when they make a movie about holiday figures, but don’t make it work in the world they created for the film. That is, why would adults no longer believe in the Easter Bunny, if he is really the entity out painting eggs and hiding them around yards? If the parents aren’t doing it, then clearly it is something else. No reason for them to not believe in it, when there is plenty of evidence that they actually exist.

Besides that, there are some other plot holes. For some reason, the guardians lose their powers if kids don’t believe in them. Why? Not sure, since clearly Jack Frost and Pitch Black have not had problems in the power department, despite the clear lack of belief. Arbitrary penalties for nonsensical rules.

Outside of the large plot holes, I found the movie on its own to be pleasant. The animation was almost mouth watering. I loved the attention to detail on the characters and the large fight scenes between Jack Frost, Pitch Black, and The Sandman. I think all the actors did well voicing their respective characters, especially Baldwin as a sort of Russian, extreme Santa Claus.

Oh, and yetis. There are yetis in this movie. Yetis can single-handedly save a bad movie if utilized properly (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor). I am sure they will be selling stuffed versions for Christmas, so I will put it on my wishlist.

Rise has great visuals and a decent storyline, as long as you ignore the prevalent plot holes. If anything, I can say it is entertaining and a movie families will definitely enjoy.

2 out of 4.