The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I saw a trailer for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I was astounded by the screen in front of me.

I honestly didn’t know this was a movie coming out, and my first impression was, “…is this another goddamn Alice in Wonderland movie sneaking its way out?”

I have an easily hate relationship with those two movies. Alice in Wonderland was telling a story so awkward, because it decided to be a secret sequel, and Through the Looking Glass is just legit one of the worst films I have ever seen.

This film just seemed to be equally CGI heavy, with a British slant, and some sort of fantasy uncomfortable world.

But why a CGI fantasy movie about the nutcracker? Was there clammoring for a nutcracker based movie? I mean, it seems to only be loosely based on the play/ballet as well. It certainly is not going to be a ballet showcase. So, a serious non dancing version of a famous dance? Like…Why.

That would be like taking a Tony award winning musical and turning it into a not really musical movie. A very poor decision.

Group
Speaking of poor decisions…the agents of these famous people!

This yarn is about a girl named Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is really smart and charming in her own way. The kind of girl that boys will chase later in life when she is successful, not when boys are stupid and in school. Her mom died in the last year, and that made things really sad. She has an older sister (Ellie Bamber), a younger brother (Tom Sweet), and a dad (Matthew Macfadyen) who is trying to keep things normal by avoiding the issue almost completely.

So they are taken to a big Christmas Eve ball party for their British aristocratic friends and neighbors. Clara had received an early present before the ball of an egg with a lock, but no key. Her mom had left it for her before she died. Clara is more focused on the key than silly dances.

And sure enough, thanks to the plot, at some point Clara wanders into a different wintry world. No, this is not a world with lions and witches and wardrobes. This one has nutcrackers, mice that seem extremely intelligent, toy soldiers, and sugar plum fairies (Keira Knightley). A world of four lands that have come together to be swell together, or something. A land that her mom used to be the queen of and now it is her time to lead! Once she gets the key and fixes a few issues of course.

Also starring Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and also Jayden Fowora-Knight as a major role, his second role after Boy Playing Tennis in Ready Player One.

Rats
“Go my rat minions! Go and steal the cheese!”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms…first, the title is terrible. Honestly, why did they not just call it The Nutcracker? That is good, iconic enough, and can get those ballet people in. This title is too hard. THE nutcracker and THE four realms. The first THE could be cut out and it works better. But they wanted the play title too badly. And the second half? The four realms? That does nothing for anyone.

Alright, this is a movie about the nutcracker and four kingdoms. Will we have very location specific places? Different worlds? One of candy, one flowers, one of ice? Yeah, probably. But guess what. Most of the film that takes place in our magical land, takes place just at a castle and one of the realms that is now forsaken.

I have no clue if the “castle” is actually one of the realms or not. Because we don’t do a damn thing with the other 2-3 realms. Why the fuck is the title and advertising focusing on four realms, when we don’t even get to play in four realms? What are they setting up? What is the point?

And the point is nothing. There seems to be very little point in this movie. I guess it is about a young girl who has to use her daring and smarts to save the day. Save the day of a fantasy kingdom that has relatively low stakes. And that effects her regular life about zero. Where no one is close to dying, and everything just feels…flighty.

Speaking of flighty, the only strong connection to the Nutcracker ballet (besides aspects of the story) is the soundtrack, which features music from the nutracker. Some of it is obvious, a lot you may not notice, but they did not fit the story that great. If the music takes out of the story, then it might not be doing its job.

Near the end, a scene with a giant robot fighting toy soldiers (sigh, yes) spliced with other action shenanigans ends up feeling dead. It felt like an unfinished movie. There was no sense of dread or suspense, and it just didn’t feel like it matched what was supposed to be an intense scene.

And you know what? To top it all off? There was a small dance scene to music, where the characters involved were dancing a waltz. But the music was not a waltz song. Come on guys. You’re not even trying.

This film is forgettable, regrettable, and probably something that Disney is really going to bury in the future. I expect no sequels, no great toy tie ins, and just a lot of disappointment from everyone involved.

0 out of 4.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

It has been six years since we had Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, six years! That was back when my reviews were extremely shitty, not just shitty.

And yet, I still like the original film. The second film pissed me off so much that I didn’t watch the third film. And hey, in these six years, I still have not “gotten around to it”. Fuck the second film.

But again, new people, new pirates, some more Jack Sparrow, and Dead Men Tell No Tales is ONLY a little bit over 2 hours, not a complete marathon like the rest of them. Fine. You have piqued my interest once again, what can you give me? Something good, I hope?

Original
Shit, this just looks like the first movie now…

Before the movie can truly begin, you have to be treated to some weird ass flashback, with a boy named Henry looking for a lost ship. That ship? The Flying Dutchman. On that ship? Apparently an older and crusty looking Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). And this boy is his son, from Elizabeth (Kiera Knightley). I have been told all of this is explained in the third film, but you will be confused as fuck without that knowledge.

Then we get a film really beginning, with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and some crew (Kevin McNally, Adam Brown, Martin Klebba) robbing a bank! Also in this same town is an older Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), recently arrested for being the only surviving member of his crew. He claims a ghost ship led by a Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) took them out, and he wants to get Sparrow. Also on this island is a “Witch”, aka a girl who knows some science, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who wants to find Neptune’s Trident thinking it is her destiny thanks to some orphan shit. Oh hey, Henry also wants the trident to free his daddy. And Sparrow wants to not die to a ghost pirate looking thing, great! Team work! Fun!

On that note, I put most of the plot in that one paragraph!

But I left off Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is basically a pirate King at this point, rich, glorious, no problems in the world. Until that Salazar gets to him and is about to take him out, until he agrees to help him find Sparrow. Turns out Salazar is not a ghost pirate like one would assume, but instead a pirate hunter who was bested by a young Jack Sparrow!

And yeah, Neptune’s trident, that is the goal this time.

Ghost
Remember, he is not a pirate ghost, he is a pirate hunting ghost.

The last two pirate movies must have started the same way: “Hey, people liked Turner and Swann, let’s bring them back but with younger actors and the same old Jack Sparrow!” Because hey, we got a young guy that looks like Turner, and a girl in a corset dress, so all the same demographics can be met. These films all feel like the same damn thing now. After they introduced tentacle face as a bad guy in number two, it seems like we need a weird and terrifying supernatural villain for anything to work.

And honestly, this movie was putting me to sleep. Dabbed around the movie were a few interesting scenes and shots, but it was an effects driven film with really poor pacing issues and a lackluster plot. If you are not familiar with the third film too well, the beginning will be quite terrible. I mean, I figured it out quickly, but it still started the film on a slow point. The bank heist scene was very similar to Fast Five, with a more comedic twist.

But the villain was, for the most part, pointless. A stitched together plot as a way of giving us a Jack Sparrow origin, which no one is asking for. What’s worst? Their decision to tell of Salazar’s backstory with Sparrow was just SO. POORLY. PLACED. And interlaced with poor Bardem having to awkwardly growl out his lines as a camera moves around his face, while everyone else is on a boat just probably thinking “what the fuck, why are you doing this right now?” He was monologuing to one person, who also gave no fucks.

And finally, when it comes to poor plot, they just had to make everyone related to someone else it seems. Except for poor Sparrow, who just had to be related to whatever actor they got to play his younger self for a few minutes.

As for the Sparrow character, he really sucked in this movie. I cannot tell if he has always been this bad, but in the first film I thought he was a jerk, but charming and really confident in himself. In this movie, he just felt like a drunk fool the entire time.

Okay graphics, bad plot, bad pacing, bad film. I also have realized that this movie is coming out the same weekend that we got Alice Through The Looking Glass last year. That was bad, this is just not good. But they both have a Depp in common.

1 out of 4.

Collateral Beauty

Have you seen the trailer to Collateral Beauty? Well, please do so. Here is one and here is another. They are both great. I saw it first a few months ago and knew I had to see that movie, right away preferably.

It has actors I like in it, the story looks neat, and looks like a perfect holiday film, without being cheesy Christmas. And it looks like it would make me cry.

But man, it turns out this movie is incredibly fucked up and inappropriate.

Love
Ah love, Knightley knows all about that one.

Like I said, please watch the trailer. Now here is the real plot.

Yes, Howard (Will Smith) used to be good at his job. He ran an advertising firm, preached that every ad should speak to three absolutes: Love, Time or Death, and people loved him. And then, he had his daughter die. Now, the majority of the film takes place TWO YEARS LATER. And now, he is still dealing with his grief. He is barely audible, he spends most of the time just making dominoes just to knock them down, not even looking at them as they fall.

And this leaves most of the company to his three main friends/colleagues. Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Peña). Whit is recently divorced and his pre-teen daughter hates him. Claire wants to maybe get a surrogate baby. And Simon, well, Simon might be dying.

All of them have their own issues, but they are still doing their jobs, and right now their company is failing. They have an offer to sell their company though, for $17 a share, which is more than what they really are worth! They just need Howard’s approval, but he refuses to do anything. So they think, sure, maybe they can just show he isn’t right in the head to make decisions without him.

So they develop a scheme, hire a P.I. (Ann Dowd), and she finds out that he has sent letters to Love, Death, and Time. Whit decides that the best option now is to hire actors to be these three entities, make him look crazy in public, record the display, digitally remove the actors, and bam, they can sell the company and do good things.

Yay morals. Featuring Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore as the actors, and Naomie Harris as a grief counselor.

Suit
Two of these characters are considered more of a main character than Will Smith.

My eyes could not believe what I was seeing. I had to both shake my head and put it in my palms at various points in the film. What trailer did I see and why did it lie so hardcore to get viewers?

Oh yeah. Money.

I haven’t seen a trailer so deceptive of a movie since Hercules, but in that case it was a nice surprise. It didn’t change the plot of the film. In this case, people go in expecting a heart warming tale and get a story about very dickish people and they don’t get punishment. Seriously. There may still be heart warming elements, but they come to people who are not worthy of our sympathy.

Here is a fact. Yes. I teared up a bit in the film. But making me cry does not a good movie make. It is frankly really easy to do nowadays, especially if part of the plot involves a dead daughter. But I cried during Jem and the Holograms and could still see its shitty elements.

Look, trailer lies aside, the main ending after all of it is pretty easy to figure out. Except for one element and that is because it doesn’t make any sense. It could have maybe been considered an okay film, but I have to shake my head about the last final reveal. It seems tacked on and never explained, and makes me question how it even got to that point. Almost as bad as the reveal at the end of Now You See Me.

There are a lot of big names in this film and I was really excited to see it after I saw the trailer. But it is easy work for basically everyone involved. Smith feels like a supporting character until the end of the movie. No one is giving I their all and everyone seems to be collecting an quick paycheck.

Collateral Beauty is emotionally manipulative while being morally terrible. That is not a good combination anywhere. And especially not around the holidays.

1 out of 4.

Everest

Here is a dumb question you can ask your friends and coworkers if you want them to dislike you a little bit more than they already do.

“Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth?” This will make them ponder and come up with some bad guess, and you can quickly toss in a “It was still Mount Everest, it just wasn’t discovered, dipshit!” And again, you will lose friends.

My main problem with this joke, as a geophysicist/movie reviewer, is that it assumes that Mount Everest was always the tallest mountain on Earth, and that things don’t change. But we know they change, we know India and Asia weren’t always smashing into each other, so there is a real answer to the question of what used to be the tallest mountain before Mount Everest took over.

Turns out this knowledge is hard to get to and a bit awkward. But know there is a real answer out there. Just modern technology hasn’t always existed.

Oh yeah, I am supposed to talk about Everest. I think I should watch it on a large screen to give the large mountain its necessary honor.

Touch
Like a very gentle soft touch on its top most tip.

About 50-55 million years ago, India collided with Asia. It was probably the fastest moving tectonic plate ever, as it split with what is now Madagascar, presumably looking for a new climate. India was on an oceanic plate that was subducting under Asia at the time, which is the why it moved so fast. Once they crashed, the Himalaya mountains decided to be a thing, as the two land masses crumbled into each other, upward and forward! They grew fast and grew hard, making some really tall mountains that are still growing today. Mount Everest, aka Sagarm?th?, aka Chomolungma, currently sitting at 29,029 ft above sea level. Everest’s main purpose seems to be looking tall and killing crazy white assholes.

Oh, but maybe you care about those assholes? Well in that case, the film itself takes place in 1996, based on a real life disaster that took place that year and had like, five books written about it from survivors. Lot of primary sources to work with.

But our main character is Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), owner of Adventure Consultants out of New Zealand leads groups up Everest for large sums, helping them the whole way. He was the first to do this as a commercial business. There is also Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), main guide of Mountain Madness, who started doing the same thing later. In 1996, it was extremely popular though, and there were dozens of groups up there, all trying to use the few mountain paths to make it to the top, around the same time, causing a lot of problems.

Speaking of people, we have a few more notables. Like the fact that Rob’s wife (Kiera Knightley) is at home, pregnant, ready to give birth not long after his return. And Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), a journalist who is going to write about his experience. And Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), a regular guy who worked three jobs to save up money to hike Everest, making his second attempt to the peak to help school kids realize that dreams come true! And Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), from Texas, a cocky dude who feels good when he climbs, but is depressed back at home. And and and and of course Anatoli Boukreev (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), one of the guides working with Fischer, and a general bamf climber.

Honestly, plot reviews are easy in this case, because I don’t have to describe bad things happening. I just have to talk about who is involved. And since it is such a big cast, here are a few other people involved!

Emily Watson played the base camp leader with Elizabeth Debicki as their team doctor. Thomas M. Wright, Martin Henderson, and Tom Goodman-Hill play the other 3 guides and Sam Worthington plays a literal Guy who works with Adventuring Consultants, and in real life later becomes their director and CEO. Naoko Mori plays Yasuko Namba, who had climbed 6 of the 7 main peaks with Everest as her last, and Robin Wright as the wife of Beck Weathers.

Climb
Color coding the hikers is a good strategy, but I feel bad for anyone who got stuck with red.

Apparently, sometimes, I get a little bit emotional over some geology. Because at least one scene in particular had me bawling my eyes out. I mean I found myself crying in the dark theater, surrounded by strangers, crying for like two minutes. It wasn’t even at the end of film, it was probably about 80% of the way through. I am just an emotional wreck since I had a baby, I guess.

Everest is an intense, dramatic, and gorgeous film. It was made in particular to be experience first hand on an IMAX screen. Sure, in the beginning, it is a bit weird as we get some character introductions, watching them hike to base camp and the weeks of training before they finally climb. It isn’t just a group of people running up a hill and facing constant threats. They don’t slowly die one at a time like it is a horror film. This is based on a true story and the attention to detail is astounding. It is easy to get things right when you have multiple books to figure it all out.

The last 40 minutes is extremely gripping. Not knowing the actual story, I didn’t know who would make it out alive so I was afraid for everyone. They all feel like real people and it is easy to connect with many of them before their eventual ascent.

Finally, I think my favorite part of this movie is that it isn’t about a group of people trying to battle nature and show their dominance. It is really about a mountain, who gives zero fucks about the insignificant life forms that sometimes explore its slopes. It is about how nature is unforgiving and doesn’t care about how much prep work occurs, it will do what it wants, when it wants. It is about how life doesn’t care if you are a good person, or a bad person, a newbie or a trainer climber, you are just as likely to get killed in a heart beat.

Nature is a fucking beast. And Everest is fucking good.

4 out of 4.

The Imitation Game

2014 has been the year of the Doppelganger. Not Doppelganger Movies, that was just two Hercules movies.

No, 2014 gave us Enemy and The Double (which may have been 2013) and The One I Love. Clones everywhere.

But The Imitation Game, despite its clone sounding title, is totally not about clones! What’s up with that? No, instead we are getting a historical drama about Alan Turing, a British man who did things during World War II. Yes, this is another World War II movie, but instead of bombs and death, we instead get math and death.

Computers
“The square root of a bullet is still a bullet.” – Albert Einstein

You see, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was one of those very eccentric individuals who also did smart man things. Aka, the perfect type of person to make a movie about, because acting!

Alan Tuning is most famous for kind of leading the science way towards real life computers. Back in the 1940s, they didn’t even have the internet, so presumably all their free time went towards doing crossword puzzles. Especially Mr. Turing! A professor at Mathematics, he loved puzzles and solving cryptography. So he gets himself into an interview with the British Royal Navy to join their puzzle solving squad. Namely, trying to crack the German Enigma Machine.

The Engima was thought to be uncrackable. They had a copy of it, but they didn’t know the code. The code changed daily, right at midnight, and their first message intercepted would be at about 6 am. So they have to go back to square one, even if they solve that days code, every morning. It would be a tireless effort, but these men (Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard) are up to the job! Just not with the anti-social awkward Turing. Who also doesn’t want to help their daily efforts, but instead build a machine that can crack the code almost instantly and help the Allied forces win the war!

Hurrah!

And he was gay. That is important, because homosexuality in the UK was illegal at the time, so his mere existence was causing him to be an outlaw, yet a huge savior of World War II.

Also featuring Keira Knightley as Joan, a WOMAN on the team (kind of), Charles Dance as the head of the Navy, Mark Strong as a MI6 agent involved as an overseer, and Rory Kinnear as a detective trying to find out what Turing is really up to.

A WOMAN
Being a woman in a male dominated field of doing puzzles really makes you stand out.

I am pretty sure a lot of this movie was fictionalized to increase drama and make everything a lot more exciting…and I am completely fine with that. Man, was this film tense and exciting. And well acted! Not just the Cumberbatch either, but the other guys and gals, they did pretty good too.

As for Cumberbatch, it is interesting that in an episode of Sherlock, he referred specifically to Alan Turing’s life and issues they had after finally solving the Engima machine. It was a huge plot point and involved moral ambiguity (which I am always a fan of), and shit, now he is Alan Turing doing the same thing he talked about in another role! Crazy! And a bit eerie. But even more importantly, like a lot of his recent roles, this role was very different from his past jobs and you could tell a lot of fantastic acting was going on there. So good the acting. Acting that shows a love of the craft and maybe a love of the subject matter.

Is it the best at acting? Nah, probably not. But it is up there for sure.

I found the whole thing easy to watch and follow, and it was great that we also got a story of Turing when he was in grade school before he got his PhDs. It is great having WW2 movies that aren’t just about how war is terrible and people are dying and all of that. Which is I guess what The Monuments Men tried to do and failed.

4 out of 4.

Begin Again

After the very recent disappointing musical that I saw, I quickly began looking at the other musicals to come out this year that might be of interest.

So Begin Again is a smaller musical coming out this year. I am not getting my hopes up that it will be a traditional musical in any way, because it is begin directed by John Carney. Carney brought us Once about five years ago, and although it was turned into a Broadway musical, the movie version is very musical lite. Just a few songs and a lot of emotion.

I can only assume this will be similar.

Ear Phnes
Try to say the movie title five times fast. Hell, just try to say it once.

Begin Again is a story about love, music, and losing it all.

Like Dan (Mark Ruffalo) who has lost it all, his love and music. He is getting outted at the record company he made with friend Saul (Mos Def) for not being able to bring in a successful act for several years. He also is living alone, his ex wife (Catherine Keener) has custody of their teenage daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld). He has lost everything he has ever loved, until he hears a sound…

Like the sound of Greta (Kiera Knightley) reluctantly performing on an Open Mic night because her friend (James Corden) forced her too. She is having a rough time as well. She moved over to New York with her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine). Dave and Greta are song writers together, but a song Dave sang was featured in a popular movie, so now they want to sign him to a contract. Yay success, but boo the price that fame brings.

Dan hopes that Greta will be able to get his life back on the right track in every direction.

Maybe they will also make some sweet and sexy music too, along the way.

Also, CeeLo Green is in this movie for a small part, so we can have half of the original The Voice judges in here.

Phone
Just like how they totally didn’t make this scene for Apple product placement, I am using this picture for the same not reason.

As expected, in this movie music plays a central role in almost every scene, but it isn’t a standard musical. No one is singing and dancing throughout the streets (kind of). Although, there is copious amounts of singing, dancing, and listening to music in the streets, it is all completely natural. All performances are performances, whether on a stage, in a “sound studio” or at home with a small recording device.

The music is also really fucking good. I don’t remember how much music was in Once, because I mostly just remember that one famous song, but Begin Again has a crap load of songs. And it is more than just artsy fartsy indie music too! I am not saying it is completely diverse, but it is there. Each song felt great. The soundtrack of regular background music also felt pretty unique.

Basically, I am saying that I am mad the soundtrack isn’t out yet because I want it hard.

The acting was pretty good as well. I mean that in regards to Knightley/Ruffalo/Steinfeld mostly. I am happy that Steinfeld is finally in a good role that can showcase her talent, unlike her last few movies. Ruffalo did give off a kind of creepy vibe for about half the movie to me. And this is completely different side of Knightley that we haven’t really seen before. I mean, singing songs!

I wouldn’t describe anyone else as being that spectacular. Most of the other side roles could have been anyone, including Levine’s character.

Overall, this is a fantastic movie, and personally, I liked it a lot more than Once. But then again, I only saw Once once, and I was way more immature then.

3 out of 4.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Isn’t it strange that Tom Clancy died, and within the next two days, they released the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit?

Isn’t it strange that this is the first Jack Ryan movie to be made not actually based on any of Tom Clancy’s books, just the character itself, as a sort of reboot?

Skydance Productions certainly has some questions it needs to answer…

Run
You can run Skydance, but you can’t hide. Tell us what you did with Clancy!

In this story, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) was working on his PhD in Economics in London when 9/11 happened. Filled with patriotism, he decided to enlist in the marines, stopping his PhD, to help save freedom. Unfortunately, he faces an injury in Afghanistan and gets booted out early, but not before proving himself to be a hero.

After a long time in rehab, he is asked to join the CIA by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). He doesn’t want to make him an agent. He just wants him to finish his PhD, work on Wall Street, and monitor things in case terrorists plan to hijack Wall Street or use its money for terrorism or…something. Pretty simple. He also starts dating his physical therapist Cathy (Keira Knightley), because that is totally okay.

Turns out, years later, Jack actually finds something and becomes important@ Good old Russia is not only planning a terrorist attack, but an economical attack at the same time to bring us back to the Great Depression era and cause riots throughout the country! Ah, Russia. I missed you as a villain. Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) is a proud Russian man, and will do anything to help his country through their times of woe. So of course he is willing to carry out this plan for them.

Darn it. Now Jack has to become operational, no longer just sitting as a desk job. He has to fight for his life! All the while his girlfriend is freaking out that he kept the CIA a secret. Clearly she just wasn’t as patriotic as Jack.

Jump
You have to be super patriotic to leg kick a black man.

On an unrelated note, I realize that Jack Ryan is an established and long running character, but I am tired of Jack being used as the main character name in movies. Last year we got Jack The Giant SlayerJack Reacher, and Oblivion, which said Jack about thirty times in the trailer alone. I am all Jack-ed out. I am pretty sure no one is named Jack anymore.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ended up being better than I thought. Honestly, the trailers made it look a bit ridiculous, and almost implied that they were trying to play him off as some sort of super human with a huge brain and brawn. I guess I didn’t give enough credit to Branagh, who directed Thor, and also starred as the main villain in his own movie. That has got to be a cool feeling.

The thriller aspects for the movie are what really did it for me. They really wanted this to be a smart, intellectual thriller, kind of spy versus spy kind of deal. So they made the main character and villain smart. They had great chemistry together, a sort of battle of wits.

But I also left feeling that it all wrapped up too easily and too nicely. There was only one real “spy like” point in the movie, everything else was basically your standard mindless action. The villain lost far too easily.

If this turns into an official rebooted franchise, I do hope they replace Pine. I didn’t actually hat him in the role, but he was the fourth person to play the role in five movies, so I’d rather keep the actor carousel going.

2 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.

SHunn
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.

Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World

End of the world movies are pretty popular now a days. I say that as if they ever weren’t popular. But yeah, probably because of some 2012 topical shit, people like to think about their last moments on earth if they knew it was coming. Perfect Sense recently had a disease that made people lose their senses, and Melancholia actually had a planet coming to hit Earth. Sucks.

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is about the end of the world, thanks to another celestial object hitting it, and needing a friend during it.

Dog
Well, if dog is a man’s best friend, the chick must be looking for her friend. Logic!

But yeah! 70 mile asteroid coming to hit Earth in 14 days, their last chance of stopping it has failed. Because knocking it off course was apparently too hard to do. Either way, end of the world, eventually the electricity will be shut off, and rules are out the window!

Dodge (Steve Carell) is a middle aged office worker, with nothing really going on his life. In fact, when he heard the news with his wife, she just left the car and was never seen again. Hmm. This leaves Dodge in a stupor, as he listlessly continues with his life as if nothing has changed. Nothing but a meteor, and a crying girl on the fire escape. Penny (Kiera Knightley) is upset because she won’t see her family ever again. British and all!

Well eventually they come to an agreement. If she helps him get to his old high school sweetheart, he will get her to a person who owns a plane. Yay! Too bad she has to awkwardly leave her boyfriend behind (Adam Brody). Speaking of awkward, this whole thing is awkward. Awkwardly spending their last two weeks before the crash, and also featuring Martin Sheen and Derek Luke, how would you spend your last days?

I’d spend them naked.

Friendlys
Or high and working at a restaurant.

I thought originally this movie would be a more comedy based, since the other ones were pretty serious or romance based, and it turns out this is more of the same. It has some amusing moments associated with it, but not really enough to go straight up comedy. Basically the restaurant scene was really the only completely humorous scene, and a few more at the beginning. But it definitely took a more serious tone halfway through it.

I kind of found it hard to keep interest in it as well, and the romance between the main characters really didn’t feel natural. That could be intentional, since this is not a natural time in anyone’s life, and as the title states, they just want anyone to maybe spend the end with. Kind of like a new years eve kiss, but a much more extreme example.

I think overall it is okay, but didn’t end up being enough to make it more interesting than other recent end of the world flicks.

2 out of 4.

Never Let Me Go

Hey look, another sad movie. So here are some more jokes to make me feel less depressed.

Never Let Me Go is the sequel to the Titanic. It is the year 1975 and Jack is now a frozen zombie monster, searching for Rose who promised to never let him go, yet doing so anyways. It is a tale of humor, drama, and horror, as we find out the story you thought you knew of the Titanic was all a lie.

Zombie Yeti
Really I am just glad a search for zombie yeti worked.

But seriously, Never Let Me Go is based off of a dystopian book of the same name. It is taken from a fictional song played a few times in the movie. In it the world is a better place! Life expectancy is now in the 100s, as a cure for most diseases has been found. And by cure, of course I mean just get rid of the ailing body part and replace it with a new one! Where do they get these organs from? Oh of course, Organ Donation Farms. More or less. Easiest way to grow new organs is to grow a new human. Schools/Compounds are set up everywhere where these clone humans are raised to be very healthy, so that in their mid-twenties they can give “donations” until they are “complete”. Whoa. Must suck to be those people. Which is why the film focuses on three kids from one of these places!

The main girl is played by Carey Mulligan, who really likes the boy played by Andrew Garfield, and the other friend who gets the boy, Keira Knightly. I can admit I have never heard of Mulligan before, but she was fantastic. All the actors did a fantastic job.

It is told in three parts: Of their life in school when they are young and learning, of their life after school in the early 20’s where they can live on their own, and of Carey’s life as a Carer, someone who helps the clones accept their fate and get better post donations. You may watch this going WHY, WHY DON’T YOU JUST RUN! The movie answers it so well at the end, that I would be a major asshole if I spoke of it.

Major Asshole
Major Asshole!

Thankfully, all of you are going to watch it now. Because it is great. Might not have heard about it much, so that’s why I am telling you this movie was great.

4 out of 4.