Tag: Rebecca Hall

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

This year was a big year for Wonder Woman. She had her DC film debut, as the first solo female superhero film in some time (Never forget, Catwoman and Elektra). She broke some records in terms of profit, and easily, she is the best of the current DCEU films.

By a long shot. The ending was still poor and CGI crazy, but for the most part it was still a great film.

But this year we are also getting Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, a film about Wonder Woman, however not a film anyone would expect. We get to learn about how Wonder Woman came to be, her eccentric creator and his interesting lifestyle with the women he dubbed to be wonderful.

Walk
And this is when he takes those wonderful woman off to see the wonderful wizard of oz!

William Marston (Luke Evans), as you may have guessed from the title, was a professor! He taught psychology and even taught classes to just women. It was very progressive for the 1920’s and 30’s. He had a DISC theory about humans, which stood for Dominance, Influence, Submissive, and Compliance, but I won’t get into all of that.

His wife, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) should have been a professor, but was having issues with her PhD, so she worked closely with her husband in their laboratory. They enjoyed studying the human condition and what makes them tick. On that note, they also hired one of their students to be an office aide, who would work with them over long hours, an Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). She was pretty, young, influential, and William wanted to sex her.

But Elizabeth might have also wanted to sex her.

This is not a love triangle of chasing emotions, this is three consenting adults eventually deciding to enter into free and open relationship with each other, in a world that wouldn’t look too kindly with their situation. And this is just the beginning, because at some point, Wonder Woman gets created out of this. And also the lie detector. Yes, they invent the lie detector.

Also starring Connie Britton, JJ Feild, Oliver Platt, and Chris Conroy.

WW
Oohh, shiny.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is a story that happened many decades ago, but could not have been told until very recently. At this point, the world has somewhat caught up to what these three people discovered years ago and can find what they did accepting without a lot of shame.

I am NOT saying that everyone who watches this movie will be comfortable with what occurs, but it treats the subject matter in a fair light, noting the pros and cons of what occurred, along with the fallout. To modify an overused line, this is a better love story than Fifty Shades of Grey (and Twilight, yes).

The acting from the three leads was incredible and believable. This is the best thing Evans has ever done. I previously said that this year with Beauty and the Beast, which was true at the time, but this is Evans finally in a role that shows actual dramatics, without relying on song and CGI. For Heathcote, I don’t know most of her work, but it definitely stands out from some of the shitty movies I have seen her in. Hall is a very accomplished actress, but I would put this near the top of her work as well, definitely showcasing a different sort of range for her.

This movie will make people uncomfortable, but it really feels like a story that needs to be told. It could have gotten to Wonder Woman aspects quicker, to help draw in some of the less patient viewers, but it is a story about unconventional love and how it has changed the world.

4 out of 4.

Christine

Some single word titled films have become iconic. You know, like Jaws. Jaws is so famous world wide, you would never expect to see a newer filmed called Jaws about a completely different topic.

But here we have Christine. Christine, about a real person named Christine. Not about a Satan controlled Car. Just a name here.

Seems like a bold choice. They will now forever be compared to a Stephen King movie, regardless of content. They have made googling harder. All over a name, which there is no law that says a movie has to be the main characters first name. But hey, I don’t make the big PR money.

Camera
I make the sitting alone at a table writing money.

Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) (They should have named this film Chubbuck) is a woman in her late 20’s working for a news station in Sarasota, Florida. It is also set in the mid-1970’s. Christine has a segment about the community, problems they face, or good things that happen. People seem to enjoy it. But nice stuff doesn’t bring in the ratings.

So station manager (Tracy Letts) continues to encourage the team to get the more gritty stuff. After all, if it bleeds, it leads. Christine has a crush on George (Michael C. Hall), their lead anchor. And Christine is terrible at relationships. She lives alone, never has a long term love interest, and hangs out with her mom (J. Smith-Cameron) a lot of the time. And the other amounts of time, she hangs out by herself. She has one decent friend, Jean (Maria Dizzia), a camera woman, but that is it.

And then, the owner of the news show finds himself in town. Apparently he is scouting local talent. Apparently he is going to get a news station in Baltimore, a much bigger market, and he is looking for people to take. This puts Christine on her edge, trying to make her segments better, including succumbing to listening all night to police radio feeds.

Eventually? All of the pressures, stress, and unfair practices end up just getting to be too much. Based on a true story. And also starring Kim Shaw as a sports anchor.

Anger
Clearly the biggest issue is that no realizes that sex sells more than violence.

Honestly, most of Christine is forgettable. It is really just about one woman, going through hard times in her life, socially and at the work place, and trying to cope with it all. Alone mostly. Through depression, without medical help. Oh, and she does have a medical issue to, that limits her potential for children in the future. That news didn’t help either.

For those that don’t know how this story ends, ignore this paragraph. But this is a true story because it is about the real Christine, who in the 1970’s, attempted to end her life on live television. And so it should be obvious where the conclusion leads up to. This isn’t really a spoiler, because it is only about her for that one famous reason. And because of that knowledge, most of the film I just found myself waiting for the conclusion that we were all expecting.

Rebecca Hall gives a great performance. It isn’t over the top, but it is passionate. Everyone else doesn’t matter in this flick, so none of them really stand out at all.

This is not a film for an amazing story. It is just a character study, and it shines with a single performance, but the rest feels rather drab.

2 out of 4.

The Gift

A long time ago, in the before time, the summer of 2015, I saw a poster for The Gift. I was a bit intrigued, not because of the box, or the title, or the cast.

I was intrigued because it was written and directed by Joel Edgerton, who is totally an actor, and hasn’t written nor directed anything before this. Well, I take some of that back. He has directed some shorts I haven’t seen, and written some shorts I haven’t seen. Oh, and he helped write the story for The Rover with the actual director. I guess that is something. Needless to say, he isn’t just jumping in cold because he can do it as a famous Hollywood actor. He has some minor experience and this is his first attempt to show he can do things on his own.

And no matter what bad career decisions Edgerton makes, I will still like him as an actor for the feelings he made me feel with Warrior.

Dinner
And for those excellent nachos he brought over for dinner one time.

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved to one of the many suburbs around LA and are loving life and each other! They had a misscarriage. That sucks. But Simon has a sweet high paying job, Robyn doesn’t have to work, their house is basically a mansion, and oh hey look, there is Gordo (Edgerton).

Gordo apparently went to school with Simon, although Simon doesn’t really remember him. But Gordo says he really looked up to Simon. Simon was the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas. So as a welcome gift, Gordo gives them things. Some gifts, if you will. Robyn likes it, but Simon finds it weird, and doesn’t even like it when they have him over for dinner. Turns out Simon did remember Gordo, and they used to call him Gordo the Weirdo. Nicknames are hard, okay.

Either way, they find out that Gordo’s house is super big but he is alone as well. He has rooms with women’s clothes and kid stuff. Apparently he is going through a divorce and it is a tough time for him. Despite all this, Simon decides to call it off. He wants Gordo out of their life, it is too awkward everything that is happening and shit needs to stop.

Well, after this, they find out that he totally lied about that house. It wasn’t his. And their dog is missing. And Simon AND Gordo are lying about their past together. Anyways, all of this gets Robyn pretty discombobulated and their picture perfect life is going to start falling apart real quick.

Window
The reason we invented big open windows is so we could do creepy things, right?

The Gift is a movie that needs to be unwrapped slowly. If you unwrap it too fast, it will all fall apart, so it requires a slow unwrapping to allow everything to fall into place. Of course, you the viewer don’t get to decide watch speed, so you have to accept the slower nature of the film. I was a bit surprised with how much happened early on. I only tagged 3 people because everything else was pretty damn unnecessary. Unfortunately, after the first act of fast moving plot line, the 2nd act goes pretty slow, while the third is mostly slow until finally the end.

The Gift is a drama based around a mystery. What happened between Gordo and Simon? What is Gordo trying to do now? Does he have a plan or is he just doing whatever weird shit pops up in his mind? Once we get the final reveal, it is a bit sickening and terrible at the same time. I can appreciate the results, but when I look back on the how, I get pretty annoyed. It is one of those perfect Rube Goldberg machines going on, but instead of random shit on your floor, dealing with people’s emotions and expected actions. It requires the level of brilliance of a person that is really hard to accept.

So an okay drama in the end. Clearly Edgerton had the idea for the twists he wanted to do and based a movie around that. Nothing wrong with that approach. It just really drags in the second act, with only a few scenes worth it after the fact.

2 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {http://amzn.to/1GMHfsc}.

Transcendence

Yay Sci-Fi movies. I hadn’t heard a lot about Transcendence, outside of seeing the trailer only once or twice. But it looked cool! Even better, it isn’t based on a book and doesn’t star Tom Cruise. I don’t hate him, he just is in a lot of Sci-Fi films lately, and I demand diversity.

Sick Depp
And all of these white people fill my diversity quota.

Transcendence takes place in the not so distant future. Let’s say, tomorrow or so. A.I. has gone a long way in the last day, and there are many companies trying to make a self-aware computer system. The most famous of these individuals is Will Caster (Johnny Depp), who is almost a celebrity, but not one who really wants it. He just wants a happy life with his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall).

But a terrorist group strikes. They don’t like this A.I. progression. They think humans need to watch out for that shit. That shit is weak, they say. So an attempt is made on Will’s life and it is basically successful. He has about four weeks left, decides to give up the A.I. research and live his life with his wife. But she says fuck that. No. She is going to put his consciousness into their A.I. system to save him. After all, brains are basically just a series of electric impulses right?!

So she gets their other smart friend, Max (Paul Bettany) to help make code and lots of data, and yay it works! Max is freaked out instantly, but not Evelyn. She has saved her husband. They quickly hook him up to the internet in order to provide more power, and then eventually he becomes a threat to the world. Yay!

A few other people in this movie, I guess. Cillian Murphy is a FBI detective, Morgan Freeman is another A.I. genius. Kate Mara and Falk Hentschel play A.I. terrorists, and Clifton Collins Jr. plays a handy man, more or less.

Bewilidered
Why does he look so bewildered? Because Morgan Freeman doesn’t understand technology, or his role in this film.

The only reason I am having a hard time writing this review, is because I am having a hard time figuring out where to begin with the list of things bad with this movie.

The idea behind it is not a bad one. It can be a great plot. The problems with the story come from how vague everything is. The trailer sets it up to be a very smart movie, but it ends up being a dumb movie about alleged smart things. Maybe afraid of people picking it apart, they went the extremely vague route for all parts of the science. Now, everyone can be pissed off at them for the same reason!

The flow of time is really weird in this movie. Apparently two years pass without any of the pissed off people doing anything about it. Really?

Acting wise, no one seems to care too much about this film, everyone collectively sailing it in. I guess Rebecca Hall is the only one with emotions in the movie, given her situation, but the robotic feeling from everyone’s a pain. I can’t remember, but Kate Mara might only have five lines in the entire movie.

The issues with the bad science means that the ending doesn’t make a lot of sense. They know how to fix it, but again, it’s hard to know why since everything is so vague. Speaking of vague. There is a point right at the end, where the computer says he only has enough energy for one of the two things. If I told you, it would be a spoiler. But if you heard it, you too would know that it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Fuck. TL;DR This movie is senseless.

1 out of 4.

Iron Man 3

The sheer existence of Iron Man 3 puts us in a difficult situation. For super hero trilogies, we often see the first film have high reviews, the second film overlap the first, and the third one disappoint. However, in this case, Iron Man 2 was clearly the inferior film to Iron Man!

Basically, I don’t know what to expect. I know I always try to keep the source material out of my reviews, but with superhero movies it is much harder, because I tend to be familiar with the comics. I am overly pumped that we are getting The Mandarin as the enemy, his own personal Dr. Doom. Marvel was afraid to add him earlier, because he is a magic guy, and they have tried to keep their movies (pre-Avengers) separate thematically. That is why Iron Man always had to face tech based threats, the Hulk faced other genetically altered villains, etc. Well, I for one and ready for the theme shift!

Sexytime
This is a completely new way to interpret “I want to be in you”.
Iron Man 3 takes place after The Avengers (you saw that film right? And the first two Iron Man movies? They would help). There is no giant threat to Earth currently, so its mightiest heroes are back working by themselves, personally dealing with those events. Well, Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) almost died in another dimension, so he is freaking out emotionally. He is having problems sleeping, so he fills his nights building more and more iron suits; always improving, always testing new theories.

This has put quite a toll on his loved ones, including his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), and even body guard (Jon Favreau).

Not to mention the FUCKING MANDARIN (Ben Kingsley) is out and about, terrorizing America. There are bombings and threatening videos over television networks! Egads!

But what does The Mandarin have to do with the AIM corporation, led by a now charismatic Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), with ‘botanist’ Maya Hensen (Rebecca Hall), and his super weird body guard (James Badge Dale). Regenerating plant tissue sounds cool, but not something I’d invest in.

Mananandarn
Ah, he is so fucking chill. Taking over the world, fucking up the Iron Men. You know.
It is hard to write this review. It really is. I have conflicting ideas with how I felt about the movie. I realize that twists and turns are expected in a movie, and that saying there is a twist is a spoiler on its own, but I have to talk about the big one in vague terms.

It is shocking. It is unexpected. It is completely out of left field.

And I don’t know why it is in the movie.On one side, it pisses off fans of the comics, and on the other side, it won’t have a lasting effect on those who aren’t comic fans. There really is only two categories, and it seems weird to alienate the fans without having anything to gain. From the movie point of view, it is kind of awesome. It just shits pretty heavily on the source material.

I think the one real complaint I have with the movie is the director seems to really hate Iron Man. The armor breaks a lot, almost constantly, leaving us with a Tony Stark movie more so than Iron Man. So much for the “invincible” title that is generally associated with his name. It is almost sad how little time he is spent in the suit kicking bad guy butt.  Yet somehow, it is still action packed and crazy. There is plot reasons why the suits may have been weak, but I am not sure if I buy them.

The ending itself is also a bit unexpected. Many questions will arise from it and the future of the franchise. After The Avengers 2, Iron Man might not get a fourth film, and instead become part of other characters movies. Pepper Potts also ends up in a strange place at the end of the film, which should be fully explored later, but I fear it wont.

But you know? Despite all of that, I really think I loved the movie. It was funny, the action was great, and it was entertaining as fuck. Sure, there are some plot hols, but you will survive. It is clear, however, that Disney had extended their reach deep into the film. They introduced a kid character and his role definitely overstays its welcome. Go away kid.

I think Tony agrees with me there.

3 out of 4.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I am shocked that it took me so long to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona. First off, it has actors/actresses I like in it. Second, I actually kept putting it on my schedule, and just putting it off. Thirdly? Someone once called it ‘Ménage à trois: the movie” to me. I mean, seriously. How did I just not stop what I was doing and watch it immediately?

The other fun note about this movie? While I worked at Blockbuster, there was like, eighteen copies of this movie for sale the whole time. Eighteen! I ended up buying a Wal-Mart copy, because it was the same price and new.

Trois
Is this the trois moment? Is it?!

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are going to Barcelona! And now we have the movie title. They are going to stay there for a few months with relatives of Vicky (Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn) because they have a big house and their children are all gone. Sweet. Vicky actually has a legitimate reason, some how her masters studies involves Spain. Cristina is just there for the support and adventure!

They also have different views on love, complete opposite, so much so that the narrator deems it important! Cristina is a free spirit, and rushes through things, flames out quickly. Vicky likes real romance and patience and long commitments. That explains why she has a fiancé (ramping up the French here people. For a movie about Spain) with Doug (Chris Messina).

But one night at a museum, they run into a local artist Juan (Javier Bardem), who looks like he just wants to seduce whoever is easier. Even invites them to an Island for awhile. Clearly things are going well for Juan and Cristina, but she gets sick, so Juan has to spend a lot of time with Vicky instead. Moment of weakness, and boom, sex. Awkwardness arises when Cristina then gets better and continues her relationship with Juan, whoops. Even moves in with him. He kind of likes both, with Vicky realizing that she doesn’t love her husband anymore.

But nope. Then the crazy ex-wife Maria (Penelope Cruz) shows up. She has to stay with them too, because she is on suicide watch. And well, maybe Juan has feeling still for her. And Vicky. And Cristina.

Damn, that is a lot of lovin’.

dinner time
Yeah, jokes on you, that previous picture had Cruz not Hall.

Of course this is a Woody Allen movie. For whatever reason I didn’t know that before hand, but now that I do afterwards it makes perfect sense. He does have that mini obsession with Scarlett Johansson after all, like a lot of men. Most of us don’t put her in movies though.

This film was definitely both quirky and natural, which is a weird feeling. But after it all, I wondered what was the point. Is it to live life however you want, regardless of what other people think? To always question where you are in life? I don’t even know.

What I did see was an okay story, that did go places I wasn’t expecting, but doesn’t seem like the type of film I’d ever see again.

2 out of 4.

Everything Must Go

Sometimes Will Ferrell makes serious movies. I can say that now, because with Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go, there is at least two. Sure both movies of course have comedic elements, but they are overall serious movies. It is always good to see an actor leave his comfort zone. Especially if he can do that and excel. Will Ferrell can excel.

willy ferrel land of the lsot
And time travel!

This was a really great movie. All the emotion you would expect is there. Everyone felt real, no one overacted, it was all very simple. I am surprised that the kid was played by Notorious B.I.G.’s son. Also found it weird his only other acting gig is playing….Notorious as a kid in that movie. Would you want to play your dead dad in a biography movie? [IMDB links are screwed up as of this posting. It has his name as two different ways and says they are different people. Each one listing only 1 role. That is incorrect.] Err, besides the point.

Will Ferrell was great in this. He can be a serious and dramatic actor, not relying on slapstick or comedy or dumb lines. that. He has quite a few scenes where it is just him, or just him and one other person.

In the first few minutes of the movie, he loses his job, gets caught vandalizing, has his wife leave him, and is locked out of his house with all his things. So he lives on his lawn, drinking his beers, being poor, and mad at the world. In it you can tell he is a depressed human being, and they obviously note quiet clearly his alcoholic tendencies. (I mean. By saying he is an alcoholic. No subtlety there). I’d say watch this with The Beaver if you want to see two new movies in a row that are sad and depressing. Or just watch it by itself if you hate “The Gibs”.

gibson braveheart
But who could hate a face like that?

4 out of 4.