Calvary

Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors who took a really long time to get noticed. He had nice dramatic roles and a sweet Irish accent, but lets face it. His looks probably held him back. But now that he has a distinguished old guy look, his talents are more noticed and he is getting leading roles.

A few years ago, he got The Guard, and now he gets the movie Calvary. Both black comedies / dramas in a way too. I guess it is okay to have a genre niche.

Butcher
I am surprised the “Movies With Scenes In A Meat Locker” genre hasn’t taken off more fully, either.

Let’s pretend you are Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson). You are an old man, running a small Irish Catholic church in a tiny community. There are only a few other priests in the area, like Father Leary (David Wilmot). That means a lot of soul saving falls on one man.

During mass on a Sunday, in confessional time, a person says that they were abused by a Catholic priest when they were younger and goes into great detail. The priest has since died, but the man is still angry. He wants to get back at the Catholic Church, and to do that, he wants to kill a good priest to send a strong message. He wants to kill Father James Lavelle. In exactly one week he will come back to kill him, in order to get his affairs in order. Then he leaves.

Huh. That is terrifying. There are only a few people in the area, so it can only be a few people. But who?

Here is a vague list of actor names of characters, instead of talking about all of them individually. I even threw in a woman, too. (Chris O’ Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, Domhnall Gleeson, Marie-Josee Croze).

Oh yeah. Let’s not forget that he also has a daughter, Fiona Lavelle (Kelly Reilly), as part of his marriage before he became a priest.

As the story gets closer and closer to Sunday, more and more sinful activities seem to take place in his town, as if the whole world is going to Hell, and there is nothing the Father can do about it.

Family
In true Irish fashion, his daughter of course is a ginger.

Despite the similar genres, The Guard and Calvary aren’t very similar. This film is much heavier on the drama and symbolism, while The Guard has more comedy, lewd behavior, and shooting of guns.

Gleeson puts on a heck of a show though, and even though I recognize his face in plenty of sinful characters from the past, I feel like it fits the best in a Catholic suit garb. Whatever those robes are called. He fit the character really well, including the few times in the movie where he broke down and did non Priesty things.

The supporting cast was especially up there for me, especially Dowd and Moran. Moran in general was just impressive with his character, and Dowd was impressive being in a more dramatic role which is rare for him. I have only seen Gillen in Game of Thrones, but his character is also pretty great. It is also nice to see Reilly in a controversial role after her last terrible role in Heaven Is For Real.

Overall, this is a really great and powerful movie. It might be pretty easy to get lost in some of the symbolism, or really figuring out where it is all going. I know I didn’t understand the whole thing without some additional research (and some of that research feels bullshit). Definitely a movie you might have to watch more than once to get the full impact of it.

3 out of 4.

Heaven Is For Real

Alright, let’s just get this over with. Heaven Is For Real. Just in time for Easter. My least favorite holiday (note: I dislike most holidays).

Why is it my least favorite? Because I find it the most pointless, and hate that things are closed for it. Not to mention its ever changing day every year. And the shitty movies that deal with it, like Hop, or, well, this one.

Young Boy
This kid acts pretty strangely for a four year old. In fact, I bet he is secretly six.

This story is more about Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) than anyone else. Todd is a pastor at a small town church in Nebraska. He is super religious, a handyman, a volunteer firefighter, and pretty dang poor. He has bills, but you know, he trusts Jesus. He also has a few set backs that sidelines him for the church for some time.

But the biggest sideback comes from his son, who has a huge fever during flu season. This fever lasts for several days. Turns out Colton (Connor Corum) has had his appendix burst, so he has just been in pain. They take him to the hospital, people pray, he is fine, yay living. But then Colton starts to act a bit weird. He claims he saw outside of his body, that he went to Heaven and met Jesus. He met other family members who were dead, then he returned.

This is all very strange for Todd and his wife (Kelly Reilly) to accept. After all, he never was officially dead ever. Just was under surgery, just was in an induced sleep. But he “knew things that he couldn’t possibly know” so he must be telling the truth! None of this could be based on his upbringing, what everyone else told him was real or anything! Nope, proof, right there!

Also starring Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale as an influential couple in the town and church.

Heaven is an Old Man
Ah, the big turning point in the movie! I mean, if I was six years old, maybe.

Don’t worry everyone. This movie isn’t as bad as God’s Not Dead. No, this one at least has some pretty scenes, decent CGI, nice camera work, and better acting. Come on, Kevin Sorbo was always hammy, so he isn’t great now. No, we get Greg Kinnear, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in As Good As It Gets!

There isn’t a lot I can say about this movie either. They kind of go over everything. They literally explain most of the theories as to what could have happened, all of those theories make sense. Then all of those theories get ignored every time the boy says something. The problem with it is that he never says anything that is proof. All of the information that was kind of shown in the trailer? That is basically all the movie shows too. No cutting tape ruining it either. The dad shows the kid a picture of the grandpa when he was younger. “Yep, that is him”. That is all. He doesn’t describe him at all, just declines the old version and picks the young one.

Same with his description of Jesus. I mean, the fact that the Jesus he saw being white kind of proves that it was all just a bullshit dream anyways, right? Right?

My biggest reason why this movie doesn’t get a pass is the ending. It kind of just ends. Doesn’t really prove anything, just ends a little bit after a sermon that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is an ending that is an extreme let down. The problems faced by them in this movie seem to be ignored. They owe like, 50,000 in bills, stuff going to collections. But whatever. They are having another baby, the town like him, and the movie ends.

For fucking sake, at least finish your dang story.

Overall, I’d say this story has the least amount of things happen in it that I have ever seen in a movie, for it to make the big claim that it does. Like absolutely nothing happens. It also features a lot of people getting angry over nothing and yelling without any real spark.

1 out of 4.

Flight

At this point, if you mention Robert Zemeckis around movie people you will probably see a strong positive reaction. After all, he brought directed Back To The Future, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away.

So when news came out of his new movie, Flight, one of his first R rated picture which he claims will be his darkest movie ever, it obviously had a lot of hype.

I got this
“Uhh, we seem to be turning. Yep. Gravity is a bitch.”

The hype doesn’t die with the trailer, which makes it seem pretty amazing and dramatic. A pilot, Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is able to use his instincts to crash land a plane with very few casualties. Not only that, but the same conditions were run with different pilots in simulators, and each and every one of them crashed and burned. Whip Whitaker is a hero! However, he had some alcohol in his system, so he might be facing legal trouble. The trailer makes it seem like this is a story about a hero who is being used as a scapegoat by a big corporation, despite saving almost a hundred lives!

Turns out the trailer is very misleading. The movie earns its R rating right away by giving not only full frontal female nudity, but also cocaine use. Whip Whitaker is not only an alcoholic, but an illegal drug user and cigarette smoker to boot. He was very unfit to fly, but it was still not the cause of the eventual accident.

Instead of a false manhunt, this movie is more about doing whatever possible to protect the pilot from getting reprimanded, despite the serious problems in his life. After the crash he decides to quit drinking, bu that only lasts about a day. He feels sorry for himself and pushes away the ones he loves. This movie also features John Goodman as his dealer/best friend, Don Cheadle as his criminal attorney, Bruce Greenwood as his union representative, Nadine Velazquez as a flight attendant, and Kelly Reilly as a heroin addict he meets in the hospital.

Court Room
Band aids are the classiest facial accessory you can bring to a hearing.

Outside of the misleading trailer, the rest of the movie was a big “meh” fest. There was a lot of religious talk in the film, because that is usually what happens after a large disaster. However, the entire focus of the movie is on Whip and his drinking problem. That is literally the only thing people care about (and only because of the legal trouble he faces). Once again, drinking becomes the worst thing to ever a person can do, while completely ignoring his smoking and cocaine use. A similar point was driven home with Seven Psychopaths, but at least then it was in a hilarious way.

Personally, I don’t drink at all, never have, never really plan to. Just never had an interest. I get annoyed when it seems the majority of my friends prefer to drink in every possible social setting, but hey, it’s their choice and I will fight for their right to. The movie is actually a giant walking ad for AA, which I also feel is one of the worst transgressors of Separation of Church and State in America. The 12 step programs all feature acknowledging one’s own weaknesses and putting your life in a higher power.

The film also had a problem in that the ending was entirely predictable as soon as they first went to an AA meeting halfway through the movie. I knew how the hearing would play out, and no longer cared about the him as he continued to dig himself into a hole. Denzel Washington did however act amazingly in this movie, it just wasn’t enough to justify the over two hour propaganda fest that I had to sit through.

2 out of 4.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

Wooo, sequels!

A Game Of Shadows is the sequel to the very successful first Sherlock Holmes movie that came out two years prior. I remember the day it was released to theaters, they announced they would already o a sequel, unbeknowingst to Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. at the time, making them both cancel projects. Did you know that RDJ was supposed to be in Cowboys & Aliens originally? Me neither.

Drag
As far as I am concerned, from the trailers, this is the only thing that happened in the movie.

This time, the movie is narrated by Watson (Jude Law), as he appears to be typing up a story. What kind of story? Well one that begins with Holmes stalking Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) down the street. He sees that she is delivering a package, and has goons following her. Whoops, those are her bodyguards. Holmes is still narrowly able to catch up to her before she delivers the nice package, a bomb. Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) is up to some shenanigans, has been for some time, and Holmes tends to always put a stop to him.

Some things happen, including the fact that Watson is getting married tomorrow, to the same Mary (Kelly Reilly), and Holmes forgot about the Stag party. He invites his older and equally annoying brother Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry), and they go out to a bar and gambling den (void of any of Watson’s friends). Mostly to see a gypsy Simza (Noomi Rapace) who Adler also had a letter to deliver to. Oh look, another assassination attempt.

Turns out that her brother is working for Moriarty as well, and they have no idea why. This leads them to Paris to try and stop another assassination attempt, then Germany and Switzerland. The battle of wits is played out between Holmes and the Professor, all the while other big spoilers happen, and a very unexpected honeymoon disaster.

Drag
Holmes was Mary the whole time! No wonder he hated the idea of marriage!

Woo, [rushed out] sequels!

They even said it themselves. Or at least when I hear “fast tracking” a sequel I think of them doing it as fast as possible, spending less time on the script and other areas in order to release it fast enough to ride off the popularity of the first. I mean, it makes sense, but usually means a movie isn’t as good as its predecessor (not that it matters, because the sequel will still make bank).

I did find parts of the movie entertaining, but it wasn’t the same as the first in all aspects. I thought the elements of thriller and mystery were lessened greatly, which took away part of the experience. Sure, I didn’t know what was going on, but not because of the mystery, mostly due to the confusing unraveling of the plot throughout.

It made sense during the beginning, but most of it seemed kind of unrelated, a problem I usually have with stories that span “all across Europe.”. Usually not enough time I feel is spent at the new location to accurately get the appropriate emotions I should get form each scene, and then we are whisked away to a new location.

Although not a bad movie by any means, I just felt that it lacked a lot of what I liked from the first.

2 out of 4.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of those characters that everyone knows. Like Robin Hood, but with Asperger’s Syndrome. and nothing like Robin Hood.

The movie tries to create a Holmes that is closer to the actual source material, and not like the more famous “pipe and hat, smart guy” that some other show popularized. Because apparently Holmes can fight too!

Holmes
He also is trusting of such silly things, like jail cells.

At the beginning of the movie, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and John Watson (Jude Law) are trying to stop Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from killing a woman, and attempting to summon a demon.

Well they catch him, and successfully put him in jail. Later, he is successfully hanged for his crimes and the movie is over, yay!

Or not? A few days later Holmes is visited by Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a former adversary, and still current thief. She needs his help to find a man, and is working for a mysterious professor. Oh yeah, and Lord Blackwood’s body cannot be found, and it makes it seem like he escaped from the inside. Especially when other people start dying, and you know, see him.

This causes the Temple of the Four Orders to get involved, a secret society dealing with magic and the dark arts, and want to put a stop to Blackwood, so they try to hire Holmes. Long story short, bad things happen, where Blackwood puts the entire British parliament in danger, with plans on then taking over the US and the world.

Oh yeah, and we get the bumbling Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) and Mary (Kelly Reilly) the potential fiance to Watson in here as well.

Adele
It should be noted that most of her outfits look out of place, even in old-timey England.

This movie probably gets the distinction for being the easiest to understand Guy Ritchie movie. They are all British, but since it is helmed by RBJ, it is the least British. Not saying that all American actors are easy to understand, because Brad Pitt in Snatch was definitely the least understandable character.

Much like how my paragraph probably made no sense just then.

But still! Its hard for me to to give the genre “Adventure” to most movies, but I find it entirely suitable. With action, drama, and comedy, the first Holmes movie was entertaining in all aspects.

The second one? Well, we will see. I heard it had Thor in it.

3 out of 4.