Early Man

By all means, tell me that the movie is done by the people who did Wallace and Gromit. Yes I will watch it every time. I won’t always like it, but I respect it enough to give it the shot it deserves. It’s very weird, very British shot.

So why not Early Man, which is going to combine cave man jokes with very British football jokes. Ones I probably wont even fully understand.

And the best news about it is that the cast only has 3 or 4 recognizable names. They are giving roles to actual voice actors, instead of just laying us down with 40 celebrities, some which probably would have only had five or so lines.

Training
Lava is always a nice bonus, in any movie, regardless of context.

A long time ago, dinosaurs! Also this movie is saying cave people. Let’s let it slide. Meteor wipes them all out, not the people somehow. They find the hot meteor left over that created a giant valley, where it is really hot, so they decide to kick it to each other. They invent the game of football, get really happy, and live their lives in the valley.

Now, some time later, we can meet our new crew of cave people. They don’t know soccer anymore, they are relatively stupid as well. Dug (Eddie Redmayne) is young and a thinker, but the rest of the crew are content. They are content until some mammoths with armor come trampling in, as the rest of the world has decided to stop by and say hello. They are stone age cave people meeting for the first time a bronze age civilization, who is intent on mining out their secret valley for minerals, and letting them die.

Thanks to Dug who infiltrates their society, he learns that they play this game of football on the grand, coliseum like scale. This is their main religion! The only way they can probably get out of their jam and get their home back is by challenging their champions to a game. Dug saw these football paintings on their walls, but they never knew what it meant. But if their ancestors played the game, then they probably can figure it out as well!

Also starring Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Miriam Margolyes, Nick Park, Rob Brydon, Johnny Vegas, Selina Griffiths, Simon Greenall, Gina Yashere, and Kayvan Novak.

Soccer
With that much armor, this thing looks a lot more like…football, than football.

Early Man is one of those basic “ragtag team of misfits pull together to do a sport thing better than professionals, due to teamwork, friendship, and shenanigans!” You know the kind. Despite being the type of thing that we have seen before, Early Man still manages to bring something new to the table.

It has a lot of tiny jokes throughout, a lot of puns they worked towards. And yes, there are some modern British football jokes that mostly would have flown over my head. But I got one or two.

The characters are likable. The caveman crew has a lot of complete characters, who have their individual good jokes or moments to shine. I don’t feel like we only have a few supporting people. The whole crew got to feel supporting, always a great thing in a movie like this.

This is not going to be a game changing animated film. But it is still really well done, at points clever, and tells a fun story. Hell, even the final soccer match seems to deviate away from the norm for these sorts of things. Still some surprised out there for everyone.

3 out of 4.

The Journey

Think about a movie called The Journey. What sort of genre would you think that movie is?

Well, first, I know I would think of maybe…adventure? Yeah. Adventure. If not an adventure film, maybe a war/action movie. If not a war/action movie, then something spiritual, a religious film. If you thought historical drama, I would think you were a liar, and I would no longer make bets with you.

And that is what The Journey is. A “True story” or, a true-ish story. But I will get into detail on that.

Walk
The journey they speak of is more of a drive and a walk through the woods.

Northern Ireland and Ireland have had a lot of issues in the past. Religious stuff which led to extremism which led to people bombing places, straight up government based military groups, to get people to see different points of view and you know…go on a war basically. It also led to this song from The Irish Rovers about a dysfunctional marriage.

This is set after a lot of the physical conflict, when people were still pissed, in the mid-2000’s. The territories were on the verge of creating a new agreement, to put a lot of the past behind them. Not rejoin as one unified country or anything, but at least start working together better and look more unified (I think, hard for me to tell as a non European).

Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) is the head of the Catholic people, and Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), former member of the IRA, is I guess leader of the protestants now. Honestly the whole thing is fuzzy to me what their titles are, but they have the ability to enact change. On the verge of the agreement being signed, Paisley has to return to his home for a celebration on his 50th Wedding Anniversary. The other side is worried that when he gets back with his people, they will convince him that the agreement is bad and he will pull out last minute.

Thank the weather gods, they have cancelled Paisley’s flight, and to show a sign of goodwill, the other side agrees to let him use their plane in Edinburgh for him to get home. But, McGuinness argues he must join him on the trip. Due to rules of travel, if both leaders are in the same vehicle, it is unlikely that anyone will try something nefarious. McGuinness and others think that if they get Paisley talking, they can find common interests between them and really work out and finalize this agreement.

The problem is, these gentlemen have never talked before in their lives. But this journey to their airport, and plane ride, will be their last chance to pull this thing together.

Also starring Freddie Highmore, John Hurt, Toby Stephens, Ian McElhinney, Ian Beattie, and Barry Ward.

Bate
And if they don’t agree quickly, Norman Bates will finish the job!

In real life, this agreement did take place. And in real life, these two people never talked to each other or cared for each other. In real life, they did take a car ride and plane ride together, and in real life, they suddenly became really close friends. And in real life, both of them are now dead.

The things that might not be real include their stops on their journey and the events that happened to them along the way, like the flat tire. The things that definitely did not occur is any of the conversation they decided to highlight in the film. It is a complete guess, it is where the storytellers can become storytellers. To guess the sort of conversation these great men might have had, how they would have acted towards each other, and how they would have slowly come to terms.

I am not saying it is bad that they are guessing, just setting the picture, because I obviously don’t need my movies to be 100% factual all the time. I do like my movies to be entertaining, or at the very least feature some nice acting moments.

I went in expecting I would be bored out of my mind throughout this film, but it surprisingly kept my interest once it got going. It wasn’t entirely easy to follow all the time, because of referring back to historical events that have no effect on my upbringing, but that is okay. I became involved with what they were saying and felt like a passenger in the vehicle.

And yet I could still only describe this film as okay. I would never watch it again, and I would never really recommend it to anyone. Spall and Meaney do some pretty good acting based on their previous works that I know of, and definitely give it their best jobs. But I am still just left asking why this movie was made, as, historical, this significance doesn’t mean squat to me.

2 out of 4.

Denial

I won’t deny it, I am writing this review like a month late. The site was down for over a month, I was busy, and honestly, I kept forgetting about the film itself.

That isn’t a good way at all to start talking about the film Denial, because if I can barely remember it after watching it, that isn’t saying a lot. Nor does my visible rating.

I will get into it later, but Denial actually does tell an interesting AND important story. It is worth existing. The execution is just the issue. And people watching it and not telling others about it. Yeah, I am also part of the problem, whoops.

Sweatervest
I am not denying that Denial exists, I am just forgetful sometimes.

Take out your time machine, because we are going way back. Way, way back, to the mid-1990’s! Dr. Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) is a historian and Jewish history scholar, focusing of course on the Holocaust. She has written many books about it and believes one should not argue with a Holocaust denier because that gives them some level of credibility and they don’t even deserve that much.

And then David Irving (Timothy Spall), a very famous Holocaust Denier and Hitler scholar started to argue with her. He hijacked one of her lectures. He posted it online to make her seem week. And then he sued her for libel, because she called him a liar and worse in one of her books.

But Irving didn’t sue her for libel in America. Nope, he did it in Britain. See, normally in America, for a libel suit, the party who claims libel has to prove it. In Britain, the party who is being sued has to prove what they said is true instead. An interesting twist.

Well, Lipstadt says fuck that. She won’t settle or retract. She has to prove that not only was Irving as a Holocaust denier wrong, but he intentionally gave incorrect information in order to lie. Aka, prove that he wasn’t stupid, but there was malice and intent in his words. That is a hard thing to do. Especially because if they do it wrong, they are going to be potentially putting the Holocaust itself on trial, which is not a good place to be at. It is disrespectful!

Needless to say, an interest and real case. Also featuring Andrew Scott, Tom Wilkinson, Alex Jennings, Caren Pistorius, and Jack Lowden.

Lawroom
British court of Law is also funny in other ways.

The story for Denial is a good one, yes, sure. It offers a TON of moral questions for the trial. What methodology will they use to prove the Holocaust existed without putting the Holocaust on trial itself? How can they prove he knows the truth and is choosing to lie? Couldn’t they just bring in a bunch of survivors to tell their stories?

No. Apparently no at all to the last one. The lawyers don’t want to put them up on the stand and have a denier heckle them and denounce their harsh experiences. The hardest part for Lipstadt is letting go and trusting in lawyers who know more about British law than her.

Again, a fine story. And fantastic acting. Weisz, Wilkinson, and Spall. Especially Spall! Spall always plays these villain roles, but this one is something else and he has all sorts of mannerisms and ways of speaking that just fill him out completely. And he lost an incredible amount of weight it looks like to, a surprise to see.

The issues I have with this movie is that it feels like it also has an incredible amount of filler. There are a lot of down moments, some solemn given the topic, but just slow and repetitive feeling moments. Add in an ending that almost feels anti-climatic, or a bit too made for TV and the movie just seems to lose a lot of impact.

It could have been a truly great film, but there are too many minor points to keep it from rising to the top.

2 out of 4.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Let’s take a time machine back six years ago. The world was different, because not everything was in 3D. Only a few films tried out 3D, thanks to Avatar being the cash cow and visually stunning film that it was. This is when people still thought 3D was actually kind of cool if done right.

Then Alice in Wonderland came out, and it made a shit ton of money. Why did everyone rush to see it? Well, I guess Johnny Depp was a bigger deal six years ago, sure. But because it was released in 3D, so everyone went to see it thinking it would be as pretty as Avatar. It wasn’t.

And say what you will about the plot of Avatar, its story was miles better than the pile of refuse that they gave us with Alice in Wonderland. You would think making it into a bad story would be impossible, given the book. But no, instead they made a sequel to the original Alice in Wonderland, setting this one many years later, with Alice returning to Wonderland with a whole mess of new and awkwardly similar problems. It gave me problems, most of all calling the movie Alice in Wonderland, when it was a sequel to Alice in Wonderland. That is confusing.

But hey, Disney is on a live action kick. So they figured, let’s do a sequel. Alice Through The Looking Glass. This one will probably no be based on the book either, since it is a sequel to the surprise sequel. So who knows what they will fill it with hoping to be edgy. Let’s just say I am going in assuming the worst here, and that is based on a lot of precedent.

Rust
Clay? Rust? Red lava? Earthy minerals? Who cares, I am barely a geologist anyways.

The sequel takes place years after the original, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a free girl, roaming the seas the captain of her own sailing vessel like her dad. She is exploring the new world and making trade agreements! It is actually quite fun. Unfortunately, when she gets back she is in a pickle. Hamish (Leo Bill), the man she turned down now runs the company. Her mom (Lindsay Duncan) has traded away the bill of her house for money, and the only way to get it back is for Alice to give up her boat and take a respectable job for a woman.

So, in the chaos, she runs through a mirror, following Absolem the butterfly (Alan Rickman) and returns to Wonderland! But things have changed. The entire gang is still friends, but the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is now the Sad Hatter. He believes his family, killed by the Jabberwocky a long time ago. It is obvious what Alice must do. If you thought look for his family, you were wrong. No, she clearly should go back in time, save them from the Jabberwocky, and bring them to the present to make him feel better. Yeah. That.

But time is a person (Sacha Baron Cohen). And grabbing the Chronosphere can cause a lot of issues. But she does it anyways, because friendship and sets off on a journey to the past to fuck shit up.

The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and White Queen (Anne Hathaway) return, Leilah de Meza with and Amelia Crouch playing their past selves. Rhys Ifans plays the Mad Hatter’s dad and Ed Speleers are regular unimportant dude.

Also returning, the voices of Tweedledee / Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), Bayard (Timothy Spall), Thackery (Paul Whitehouse), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Mallymkun (Barbara Windsor), McTwisp (Michael Sheen), and introducing Wilkins (Matt Vogel), a robot.

Time
Time is a lot of things, and you will hear every last time pun I do decree!

First of all, Eye in the Sky is Alan Rickman’s real last film. This one is just voice work, and I swear, he maybe had three lines and no close ups. This does not get to count as his final film, I won’t allow it.

As for the actual movie, if you missed it this one deals with TIME TRAVEL. Time Travel is a scary subject matter. It is powerful and can make or break a movie depending on how it is adapted. I am not going to argue one theory of time travel is better than any other, because that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that a film is consistent with their version of time travel. Alice Through The Looking Glass cares not at all, changing the rules on a whim, and makes an incredible hard to follow film without a satisfying reason for making it overly complicated.

This line might be a slight spoiler, because I just want to explain their time travel. Alice finds out that no matter what she does, she can not change the past, the events still occur. That is the time travel they have set up. Until later on in the film, a character is totally able to change the past. Fuck.

Alice goes back in time to three different locations. Why? Because the oceans of time are chaotic and once she learns information, she tries to go to a different time line to change different things. The plot is moved forward by consistently bad decisions from Alice, whom is supposed to be a strong smart female lead. Not only that, because Alice seems to make the same bad decisions, her actions feel repetitive and the films seems to drag when there are easy solutions everywhere.

The ending is an incredible mess. Wonderland is falling apart because of two separate events that somehow produce the same results. But it doesn’t make sense for them to do the same thing. I will try and explain it out without spoilers.

Chess? Smart?/
I hope you passed algebra.

For most of the film, Problem A is happening thanks to Alice and the world is slowly falling apart. Much later in the film, Problem B, a completely different problem occurs and actually sets about the end of the world. Problem A is seemingly forgotten about. However, once Problem A is “solved”, thanks to our protagonist remembering it, it somehow undoes all of the damage of Problem B. The issue with that is there is no justification whatsoever that it should work like that. There are no mentions earlier on that if Problem B happens, it can be fixed by X. On top of that, there was no reason for Problem A to even continue late in the film, except for the fact that Alice becomes incompetent.

Finally, Alice is seen as a strong, independent woman, which is mostly true in the real world scenes where she is chased by pirates, but they reduce her to a bumbling fool in Wonderland. All of her positive traits seemingly vanish just to move the plot forward. On its own, I guess it is okay for a character to be stupid, sure.

The real issue here is that her character does stupid things, but she is still being lauded as a smart and capable heroine the entire film. To me, that seems almost more dangerous than just having a weak lead. What we need in films are actual strong female characters, not weak ones that they tell us are strong with us supposed to them at their word.

This is a bad movie and one I cannot believe was green-light by Disney. The 3D is pointless, the visuals are only great in a few places, the acting is so-so. The plot is a mess, breaks its rules (which breaks story telling rules and shouldn’t be seen as a compliment to the Madness of Wonderland), and most of the events happen thanks to stupidity and not for good plot reasons. The only thing I enjoyed was the excessive time puns and Cohen as Time.

0 out of 4.

Mr. Turner

“Hey, it is that guy!”

Those were my first thoughts seeing anything about Mr. Turner. An actor who normally plays a weasel-y villain character, never really a main dude. But clearly that dude is playing the main dude in this role!

And that role is Mr. Turner. Uhh, apparently some sort of guy who is some historical person who is popular enough to have a biographical film about the end of his life. Yeah, I don’t know anything about this guy. I don’t think I have ever heard his name. But I do know it was one of the movies hacked from Sony and placed online, like Fury and Annie. So if it was going to make any money, it probably lost like, 5% of its sales thanks to it.

I am just saying, if it is going to be hacked and put online, hopefully it is good enough to be worth the effort.

Women
He painted those bitches a painting. Bitches love paintings.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (Timothy Spall) was an artists in Britain. That much you probably already know. I mentioned he was a loyalist, because he apparently left a lot lot of his artwork to the British people, so they can be hung up in museums for people to see. He avoided selling them for outrageous wealth and fortune.

He never married, but he had some sweet mistresses. Also brothels. Also relationships with maids and neighbors.

And you know, he liked art in a weird way. And went to great expanses to get some nice scenes to paint later I guess.

And then you know, eventually he died.

Also with Marion Bailey, Lesley Manville, Dorothy Atkinson, Martin Savage, and other British people.

This Shit Right Here
This shit right here? This is my shit. This is good shit.

Shit. Mr. Turner is another 2.5 hour long movie, and it is another 2.5 hour movie that tends to drag forever. Mr. Turner was so long and unbearably slow that I actually questioned my hobby as a movie watcher and review writer. I didn’t want to finish the film 90 minutes in and I didn’t want to watch any movie ever again. I had such extreme disappointment while it was on the screen that I thought the movie could fall down and kill me.

I had to convince myself that Mr. Turner couldn’t be the death of me. I was like, “No, this movie will not be the final one for my site. Boo! Boo! Boo!”

Which is why most of my discussion here isn’t even about the film.

But yes, overly long and drawn out. Who the fuck is Mr. Turner? A famous British painter? Apparently he was a dick and loved to paint boats. But he was a loyalist to his country. I guess. But if you don’t care about this guy or his paintings, this movie won’t convince you to care. You might learn a little bit, but it won’t be something you remember forever.

I think this movie is for only people who like him and want some sort of biography film. I have said many times that just because someone was famous or had a true story that there doesn’t need to be a movie about it, and this seems to be one of the strongest cases I have ever came across. Fuck Mr. Turner.

0 out of 4.

Upside Down

Upside Down hit theaters in the first half of March, but it ended up only getting limited release. I am not sure, everything about it made it seem like a movie America would go bonkers over. A nice love story, science fiction, CGI, famous people, and a decent sized budget.

But due to its limited release (11 in the USA its first week), and no one hearing of it, it might as well have gone straight to DVD. Very strange indeed. It was totally released in other countries first, including Russia all the way in August 2012. Fucking Russians, starting to get random foreign yet still American movies before us.

Kissing
This is the second movie to feature Miss Dunst kissing in a strange way.

In some other part of the universe, we have two planets that rotate around a star. However, these planets are very very close to each other and spin together, around the star. They each have their own gravitation field and humans living on them. But an item that is created or born on one planet will only be affected by the gravity field on that planet. No, it doesn’t make sense in real science terms, but its a movie, so lets call it magic.

You can offset your weight with items from the other world and fall the other way of course, but the matter on different planets will get hotter over time if in contact with each other and eventually burn up. Apparently, in this movie, matter doesn’t include humans, just items.

Either way, one planet sucks, the other is rich. The rich one exploits the poor one, pretty standard stuff. Adam (Jim Sturgess) ended up accidentally meeting a girl from the rich planet, Eden (Kirsten Dunst) when they were kids, climbing mountains that almost go up to each other. Due to an accident they stop seeing each other and go on with their lives.

Ten years later, Adam has decided to join “TransWorld” as a scientist, the only building/company that attaches both planets in one miraculous building. He has been working on a special powder/cream that is anti-aging, or at least anti-gravity, if you catch my meaning. But really, he is doing it just to get access to the top planet, find out if the woman of his dreams remembers him, and hopefully woo her off of her feet. Figuring out how he can stay on their side of vice versa, without getting jailed is a problem to think about later.

Timothy Spall gets a shoutout here, for finally being in a movie where he isn’t a slimy villain like character.

Office
So if you think about it, even Timothy Spall is topsy-turvy in this movie.

I did spend most of the plot outline going over just how the world works, in non spoiler-y terms. Not specifically what Jim and Kirsten actually do in this movie. Why? Well, the actual plot itself is very weak. They spend a good deal of time at the start going over the worlds like I do, and then apparently spend the rest of the movie ignoring their set in stone rules. Incredibly inconsistent with what is going on, numerous plot holes, and they use one of the laziest story writing techniques out there: Amnesia. Ugh.

The climactic ending scene ended up only being confusing, never sure which way was up, down, or who was in danger at any given moment. But it definitely had guns, and definitely had people with very poor aim. The actual end end scene felt cheesy and rushed.

Overall, this is incredibly disappointing. The concept is fucking amazing, with endless possibilities, but this film doesn’t deliver. It has many inconsistencies with the rules and what happens, so the sci-fi nerds will rage over that. The romance is a bit weak, so those romantics will also be disappointed in it.

It should be noted that the film is very gorgeous. It is CGI heavy and they put a lot of work into it. That is the biggest plus it has going for it, which is a shame.

1 out of 4.