The Titan

In the future, Netflix will release an original movie every day. Some might be great, some might be terrible, and some you will never fucking notice, because you are not their demographic, and it will be hidden behind all your The Office rewatch suggestions.

The Titan is one of their bigger releases that they want all audiences (outside of their special kids accounts to see), because they put money into this one, damn it! We got effects, make up, and big stars.

Hey, do you remember Sam Worthington, from Clash of the Titans and Avatar? Basically the biggest name in cinema. They had enough money to pay him!

Water
If a movie involves water, it makes 20x more. Just ask James Cameron!

In this future world, everything sucks. Life is fucked. War and explosions and poverty. Earth is basically dead on arrival. Their only hope is to abandon all hope and find some other planet or place to live.

And their best shot is the planet Titan. Because Titan has water, and water is the key to their life. But they know that humans cannot survive on their own on Titan. They are going to be developing some drugs for people to take to alter their biology a bit to survive on that watery sphere. You know, like a bigger ability to be under water. Normal stuff.

The facility to train these soldiers on the mission is probably in the nicest part of the country! They have places to have fun, good houses, and food. Lt. Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington) and his family (Taylor Schilling, Noah Jupe) are one of the families coming in to create a better world for their son, and hopefully escape off of this hell hole. But they are not telling the participants the full truth of their mission.

Also starring Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Corey Johnson.

Aliens
Like balding, yuck!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with The Titan. I went in blind as I often do with these random Netflix movies that pop and demand my attention. I chose it because it was that specific day and I needed something to have on while I graded papers. Simple as that.

The Titan has a slow build of mystery attached to it. Just what are they going to do to prepare these people for life on another planet? How will they change? And what side effects will they learn along the way?

We get some pretty intense scenes as our “Not Sam Worthington” characters start to drop out of the program for one reason or another. When the reveals start to happen they definitely feel worth it after the build up. The ending itself is very intense, unlike the rest of the film, and I still found myself guessing at how it would end.

The Titan is relatively unique with its execution and goes places other movies don’t go. You know. The moon Titan.

3 out of 4.

Snowden

Hey, you hear about that Edward Snowden guy? He leaked a lot of USA secrets, namely what they were doing to the American people. Spying on everyone as part of the NSA.

Yeah! Big crazy stuff. And this patriot is now still living overseas in Russia, granted a temporary asylum. He is willing to come back to the USA if he would get a fair trial, but he knows he won’t and thus, a giant stalemate.

And if you watch the documentary Citizenfour, you will get the inside scoop of how he leaked the data to a few press markets and their plan for getting him out to safety. It is thrilling and great, which is why it was nominated for so many awards. Hell, it won best Documentary.

So this Snowden movie, off of its success, is meant to tell his story before the leak and a little bit after it. A regular biopic. But also, Oliver Stone directing, so you know a lot of shenanigans.

Computers
Computer shenanigans are some of my least favorite shenanigans.

Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a smart dude, worked for the USA, stole from the USA, and is about to be on the run. The USA didn’t know he stole from them until the leaks began to happen, but he was a paranoid sun of a gun who knew how to keep his tracks hidden and knew how to keep his profile low.

He tried to join the military in his youth, he really did. But he broke something during a drill and got booted out, with knowledge that his foot was frail and had a big potential for more ouchies. So he instead found himself getting a job with the intelligence agencies. Sure, he doesn’t even have a college degree, but he was self taught and really fucking good at computers.

So Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans) gave him a shot. They knew the next wars would be fought with computers, not nukes, and they had to make sure the USA had the biggest and best computers for when it all started.

But what drove Snowden to eventually stealing and spreading out the secrets? Did he get a moral code? Did he get beat up at school? Or was it his very liberal girlfriend (Shailene Woodley)?

Also starring Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood, Tom WIlkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Melissa Leo, and Zachary Quinto.

Colors
Her color choices make her look like a cartoon compared to Snowden.

Snowden is the most important thing to leave Elizabeth City, NC since the Wright Brothers left it to go to Kitty Hawk and learned to fly. And in a way, Snowden sort of taught us all to fly, didn’t he?

The problem with a biopic after a really good documentary is that it has to be really fucking good or else it won’t stand up to its predecessor. If they really want a biopic, they gotta come out before the documentary if they want a time in the sun. Just ask the movie Nina.

And in this case, this movie goes over so much the documentary does not, but still, it feels shallow in comparison. Honestly, who cares about them before? Unless Snowden also is the reason the spying happens, his life and story before the point are insignificant. The only part that’s that matter is how he got access and why he decided to tell the world.

So don’t see Snowden. Watch Citizenfour, get active in politics, do something. Don’t just continue to watch Oliver Stone movies and move on with your life.

1 out of 4.

The Choice

Oh hey look, a Nicholas Sparks film. There have been ten of these before The Choice, and most people would start to wonder if he has any originality left in the tank.

Every single one of them are about romance. Most of them are about a death or a tragedy and bringing the unlikely couple together. Some of them do feature twists and interesting angles I have never considered. I still like The Notebook and I thought Dear John was quite clever, but still not living up to its potential.

And I didn’t see The Choice when it came out to theaters. I didn’t even see it when it hit DVD. His 11th attempt at a movie didn’t even try to advertise itself that much. Were there posters? Were there trailers? Is there another of his movies coming out this year?

I have no idea, they sort of just show up and we have to accept them.

Couple
Look at the happy couple. I wonder what Sparks will do to fuck it all up.

Gabby (Teresa Palmer) is a medical student, living with her dog, in the most romantic place in the world, Wilmington, NC. She has her own small place, despite being seriously involved with her boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling). Ryan is already a doctor, Gabby needs to still pass her exams, so she picks a quiet place to be alone to study without distractions.

Until she finds out her neighbor is playboy Travis (Benjamin Walker). He likes to party, sleep around, has a pseudo girlfriend (Alexandra Daddario), and he loves to blast his music at night.

And then Gabby’s dog gets pregnant, so she blames it on Travis’ dog. She goes to the vet angry and hey look, Travis works there, a vet himself, son of the head vet (Tom Wilkinson). And Travis’ dog is fixed! Oh ho ho, how silly.

Anyways, needless to say, they both fall in love, ruin each others relationships, and despite the starting of their relationship being over 2/3 of the film, none of what I said involves the titular Choice and it will just eventually show up. Also starring Maggie Grace!

Dog
Cold beer. Red shorts. Lazy dog. This man loves to party!

The Choice ends up being like a lot of Sparks stories, except somehow feeling overall trashier and dumber than most.

First of all, one of our two characters is in a committed relationship. He might not 100% entirely get her needs, but she is the one who starts fooling around with our main guy, with her boyfriend away for business reasons. In fact even after this, she still gets engaged to her boyfriend. So Gabby doesn’t really feel like a great gal. And Travis doesn’t look or seem to fit the charm that people say about him in this film. I don’t see it, and I can fully admit to understanding the charm of charismatic men.

Their chemistry isn’t super apparent either, so they have to hide it behind montages. And once again, the main crux of the movie, what is the choice and why, doesn’t happen until way late late late into the film. So much of the film is about their initial meeting and relationship (Sparks’ bread and butter), they have to rush the prequel to the choice into another montage showing them getting married and having kids.

Now this choice has no emotional context for us. It is jarring seeing them older (while looking identical of course), but suddenly kids. And of course “The Choice” ISN’T A FUCKING CHOICE AT ALL. He doesn’t make a choice, he keeps things the same as they were, and of fucking course he would. They hype up this god damn choice, so when it happens, I was just sitting there annoyed because it offered no additional tension.

This movie needed to take place with them already married with a family. Throw in some SMALL flashbacks if you want to show how they met, but let us really get to see them being in love and how their lives are before anything bad can effect it. But then Sparks couldn’t have enough romance in it.

This is a romance film that they didn’t know how to make different or tragic. The last act feels stapled on, isn’t heartfelt, and the whole thing becomes a waste of time.

0 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.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If I had a nickle for every time I decided to not yet watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I’d probably have at least $1.50 by now. I remember seeing it in the movie rental store Family Video, back when rental stores existed where I live. I would walk by the B section, glance at it, and mumble “Not today.”

And then they announced the sequel. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I saw a trailer, not actually knowing what the first one was about. Then I realized I had to hurry and watch the first one by early March, or else I wouldn’t get to see the sequel in theaters!

And here we are in July. I can say not getting to see the sequel in theaters was apparently a perfectly acceptable decision!

Old People
Much like my stereotype of the characters in the film, I would get to it when I get to it, dagnabbit.

Sonny (Dev Patel) has an idea. He is going to take his inherited family hotel and turn it into a lush amazing retirement home for Americans and British people to come to, to die. He is the third son and no one expects anything of him. His mom (Lillete Dubey) just wants him to come home for an arranged marriage, and doesn’t want him to marry Sunaina (Tina Desai). Too bad. He has dreams.

And this group of old people are his guinea pigs. That sounds sadistic, but really the film is about these gentle people ready to die.

Like Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Douglas (Bill Nighy), who have lost most of their money due to investing in their offspring and need some cheap place to go. And Evelyn (Judi Dench) who needs to sell off her house to pay off debts left by her late husband and needs somewhere cheap to go. She also is our blogger and narrator! And Muriel (Maggie Smith), who actually hates India but needs somewhere cheap to go for hip replacement surgery.

The theme here being people who want to go someplace cheap and far away for reasons.

Unless you are Graham (Tom Wilkinson), who retired suddenly and went back to India where he grew up for secret reasons. And finally we have Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup), looking for love and youth. But not young love, don’t be creepy.

Ride Hard
This could be the most exciting falcon punch warm up.

The best part of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is that it went exactly as I expected and thus, my delay of watching the film seems justified. Sure, one could argue I forced the movie to be as good as my brain let it be, but I gave it as fair of a shake as I would give most films I know nothing about.

At times, the film was touching, at times I smiled a bit, but I didn’t find it to be great in either the drama or the comedy regards. Tom Wilkinson has the best plot, hands down, and some of the plots don’t feel like I should have even mentioned them in the plot details. But that would be harsh to ignore a couple of the main cast members. After Wilkinson, I enjoyed Patel’s story line and thought the Nighy/Wilton plot was unique enough. Everything else was closer to a miss than an barely hit for me.

If anything, this movie just has too much going on in it. There are eight residents of the hotel, only a couple that have overlapping plot points for their own journeys, AND the owner of the hotel with his own story. So much going on, crammed into two hours, and I couldn’t connect with all the characters. Having so many people makes it feel like they are shooting with a shotgun, hoping the spread would hit enough people to make enough people love the film.

I do think a sequel can be better though. We will have established characters, some with finished plot lines from the first film, so they are easier to understand allowing for even newer characters to take the spotlight. The movie finishes pretty damn average, but it does lay down enough foundation for better films down the line.

2 out of 4.

Unfinished Business

When Unfinished Business hit theaters, it committed Seppuku on itself almost immediately? Why? Well, it is a comedy, and it has some famous people in it, AND it was released in theaters, it just didn’t do any screenings for anyone.

I can understand why a movie like Step Up: All In might not do screeners. It is for a very specific group or audience, who will see it, critics be damned. And if you aren’t into dancing, you won’t like it.

I can see why a low budget indie movie with no famous people would also hold no screeners. They are art house films and want awards, not money. (This is a lie, everyone wants money).

But what is supposed to be an A-Level comedy? They are saying they have literally no confidence in this movie at all and are just releasing it while hoping no one will really notice. It is not a good thing to know going into a film and really makes you wonder how bad it could be before you even see anything.

BEER
I mean, it has Vince Vaughn and beer, how could this not appeal to the majority of Americans at this point?

Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn), before having an unfortunate name, is also about to leave his work. He is in sales, selling things, but the what is not important. He feels like he is getting screwed out of his pay check, because his boss, Chuck Portnoy (Sienna Miller) (what the fuck is that name?) wants to renegotiate how much he is getting for a new sale. So he decides to walk out. And much like Jerry Maguire, he was left basically alone and sad.

Wait, there are two people with him! Timothy McWinters (Tom Wilkinson), who has a mandatory age of retirement or something, but doesn’t really want to stop working, and Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), someone who was applying for a job but is willing to work for Dan! Yeah! They will start their own business selling…things!

A year later, life sucks. They aren’t doing great, they don’t have an office. Dan has troubles at home. His son (Britton Sear) is getting bullied, his girl (Ella Anderson) is needing him to work on a project about his unsuccessful life, and his wife (June Diane Raphael) wants to put the boy in private school, but Dan can’t talk about their financial woes.

Either way, they finally are going to close on a deal. Just need to shake hands with a Jim (James Marsden) and they will have money to fix all the things! Well, then there is fucking Chuck, suddenly in the races and they have a lot more work to do. And also Nick Frost is hanging out.

They just have to do the things to maybe get the deal! The things! The things!

tard
Pancake is probably one of the greatest last names in movie history.

You know, this is probably 2013’s fault. In that year we had The Internship (which I actually liked) and Delivery Man (a scene for scene remake of a French Canadian film), both of which basically bombed and were groaned at by critics. All with Vince at the helm! Since then he had nothing in 2014, a cameo in Anchorman 2, and that is it. Literally, a string of bad movies might have killed his career. After all, this movie began its shoots in October 2013, and a year later had to do reshoots. I guess the studio really did have no faith at all. Nor did the public, giving this the lowest grossing film opening of his career.

And it is sad to say that all of it is entirely warranted. This is a comedy in the sense that occasionally an amusing scene may happen. In no way does it ever give the minute after minute of laughter that you are hoping for with this movie. No, and it doesn’t help that this film has entirely too many serious moments in it, serious moments that don’t end up affecting the viewer on an emotional level. The movie isn’t just stale, but the entire time you are watching you are waiting to figure out just what the point of the whole film is.

The drama, the plot, the comedy, the acting for the most part is all terrible in this film. The pacing is all over the place and it honestly feels like everyone is super passive. Vaughn’s character is passive, the bad guys are passive. 90 minutes of people standing around and talking about doing great things, and of course, not.

The only reason I am giving it the 1 and not a 0 is, surprisingly, Dave Franco. He basically plays someone who is literally retarded. It was very strange and yet, it was very different for little Franco. His character was able to bring a smile to my face through his simplicity and his discoveries through this film journey. If we could have a spin-off movie of him traveling the world, that would be ideal.

The good news for Vince is that he is about to star in True Detective season 2. He is hoping to have some sort of Vaughn-Respawn for his career, just like the recent McConaissance.

1 out of 4.

Selma

I’ll be honest, when I first heard of the movie Selma, I had no idea what it was about.

When I found out it was a pseudo-biographical film about a moment in MLK’s life? I assumed Selma was his wife.

Nopers, I was way wrong. Selma is actually a city in Alabama! Yeah, who knew? Not only that, but it was a huge staging ground for civil rights in the mid 1960s, and it had nothing to do with sit-ins, busses, or fire hoses. That is pretty exciting on my part, because that means I will actually learn something new instead of the same few tales they teach us about in school. As it deals with race relations, it will probably end up being topical too in some way.

Protest
Not sure how, but I am sure someway it could be topical. Hmmmm.

Martin (David Oyelowo) (We are on cool enough terms for me to just use his first name) had just received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, but he wasn’t done yet. This was after his I Have A Dream speech. There was a big issue with Jim Crow laws in the south. Sure, technically, everyone now had the right to vote. But people were getting in the way of that.

Poll taxes, literacy tests, inconvenient hours, and rude as shit clerks made things like that hard. Not to mention the general threat of violence for those who might attempt if they were black. Martin wanted LBJ (Tom Wilkinson) to make fixing this issue a priority, but LBJ wouldn’t have it. He had other issues like poverty he wanted to work on. So Martin and his comrades (Common, Andre Holland, Wendell Pierce and more!) found the staging grounds for their next battle in Selma, Alabama.

A student group (Stephan James, Trai Byers) was already working there, building up community support, and of all the registered votes, only 1% were black despite about equal numbers. It was a great battleground. Even had a super racist sheriff (Stan Houston)! Martin just also has family issues with his wife (Carmen Ejogo) while all this is going down, so, pretty intense stuff.

Oh and a whole lot of people are in here as smaller or villainous roles as cameos. We have Tim Roth, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Martin Sheen, Dylan Baker, and Oprah Winfrey.

Walk
People walked a lot more back then, just a matter of fact.

Thinking back on it, I don’t think I have ever seen a high quality film about MLK and his life. He has appeared in other movies I have seen, like Nelsan Ellis last year in The Butler. But filmmakers seem to be afraid of his life, despite clearly being a popular figure. I wonder if people are afraid of doing him badly and not living up to his larger than life persona?

Well, if they were afraid in this movie they shouldn’t be. David Oyelowo did an INCREDIBLE performance. His walk, his talk, his power, he had it all. His looks weren’t perfect, but man were they believable. And when he did his speeches or sermons in this movie? Yeah, his voice carried it hardcore, and not in the same stereotypical way people normally do Martin’s voice. It had its own uniqueness and similarity that made it seem just as awe inspiring and just as real. Shit, the final speech he gave? I was almost certain it was an actual recording instead of Oyelowo, but I was wrong. It almost made me tear up.

My only issues with the film is that despite its superduper lead, the supporting cast didn’t seem to catch up with him. I think this is the worst ever portrayal of J. Edgar I have ever seen. Out of no where it all seemed more comical instead of serious. Roth was awkward as the evil Governor and he also felt quite cartoonish. I couldn’t take these guys seriously, limiting the seriousness of the film.

I learned a shit ton about the subject though and it is an incredible story, even if certain aspects are fabricated. A very nice watch to learn about a very overlooked yet important event in American history. And damn Oyelowo. You good, you good.

3 out of 4.

Belle

Belle is one of those indie movies that makes a lot of noise early in the year, yet usually gets ignored when it comes time to award season.

Not saying this film is deserved awards or anything, that is just when it was released. A nice indie number that is indeed not about Beauty and the Beast, but instead, racism in the victorian era. Ah yes, the Victorian era, where women wore corsets and giant dresses all the time, and men wore…I guess mostly regular clothes. And wigs!

But this work of fiction, based on books, is also pseudo historically accurate. Namely the character Lord Mansfield was actually Chief Justice of England during the time of the movie and presided over several cases that are relevant to the plot. Sweet. But the rest is just guesstimated fluff. I love fluff!

Hood
Despite the picture, this is also not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was born in the West Indies and she is a mulatto. Her mother was a local, but her father was of the English Royal Navy (Matthew Goode) and he has decided to claim her and take her to England. Because he is at sea all the damn time, he places her in the care of his uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), even though she is BLACK and they are distinguished members of society.

But they get over it, kind of, and raise her as an aristocrat with her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon). However, she is still slightly shunned by society and not able to play all the reindeer games. Like when it comes time for suitors, she is told she cannot interact with the other gentleman as none of them would find her desirable.

Also at the same time, Lord Mansfield is ruling on a case involving a ship who threw slaves overboard out of necessity to survive, running low on supplies. They echoed it as similar to throwing cargo overboard and want to collect the insurance on their haul. His ruling on this and the events surrounding it could change Britain forever and some people think that having Dido around might influence his decision.

We also have Sam Reid as a young freedom feeling lawyer, Tom Felton and James Norton as brother suitors of varying tastes, and Miranda Richardson and Penelope Wilton as…other people.

Contrast

I guess I would conclude Belle is a good movie, just one that is pretty darn predictable. Oh sorry, I am concluding before I describe.

Yes, Belle is well acted and I felt good by the end. But a lot of the movie just felt like Victorian filler in the middle. The plot is literally finding suitors for a few ladies. Is this a Jane Austen novel in secret?

Which is my main complaint. Not that predictability is a necessarily a bad thing, but if I kind of know what to expect the entire movie and it follows the path pretty straightforwardly, what is the point? It should have a lot of stuff going on for it in the middle to really make up for that fact.

And it has a few unique events to be sure. Well acted, as I already said. Outfits are nice, message is nice. But I kind of just expected something more. The film itself was incredibly safe.

2 out of 4.

The Lone Ranger

Sync up your William Tell Overture Finale folks, it’s The Lone Ranger time.

Although I never listened to the original radio series, or watched the TV series, or other movies, The Lone Ranger himself is pretty ingrained in American Pop Culture. A hero to the old American West, and a franchise that Jerry Bruckheimer has decided to take under his wing. After all, if it proves to be a success, he could release a new Ranger movie every three years, similar to his current Pirates of the Caribbean trek. Just think of how much money Johnny Depp will make from both franchises, too.

Gunman
If explosions were dollar bills…

In Colby, Texas, the great American Railroad is coming through, bringing prosperity and happiness to the small town. Their goal is to connect the East with the West. John Reid (Armie Hammer), a district attorney from the big cities, is returning to his hometown to reconnect with his brother and brother’s wife, Rebecca (Ruth Wislon).

What poor John did not know, is that also on that train was famed bandit cannibal Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), who is finally going to be hanged for his crime. There is also this Indian named Tonto (Johnny Depp), but he is a bit more mysterious. After a train robbery, Butch is back on the run, and it is up to John Reid, his brother, and a gang of lawmen to bring him back for justice.

Until something goes wrong. Terribly, deadly wrong. Somehow, John is saved, and Tonto explains to him that he is a spirit walker, who cannot be killed according to his beliefs. Tonto also wants to bring Butch to justice, so they team up to right wrongs and save the day! Speaking of trains, Tom Wilkinson plays Cole, the railroad tycoon, and Helena Bonham Carter a bordello mistress. Fun fact, this is the first time Carter and Depp have been in a film together that was not directed by Tim Burton.

Horse Man yo
It is also the first time Depp has worked with this horse.

After watching The Lone Ranger, I really just want to listen to famous, old classical music. Major props to Hans Zimmer for rocking out another great movie soundtrack, something I don’t bring up a lot in my reviews.

I will start with the negatives first. This movie is 149 minutes long. What! A lot of the film is set up, in order to introduce us to the character before he dons the mask, a little bit about Tonto, and a whole lot about his brother and his old town. It is necessary, I guess, but it could have easily been shortened. The film uses the method of unreliable narrator, as a much older Tonto is telling the story on how he first met John. The idea itself is a neat one (and allows for more crazy situations) but the method of delivery just feels hokey to me.

Thankfully, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Hammer and Depp have great chemistry. Tonto is not just a secondary character but an equally important one. They have the appropriate throw backs to the original series while also doing their own thing.

But the best part of the movie is by far the climactic train ending. The final chase is incredibly long, but so meticulously planned and detailed that it was hard to stop smiling the entire time. The director had many gorgeous shots of the landscape, like a classic western, including setting parts of it in the Monument Valley as a different type of throwback.

The movie will also give you plenty of screen time with Armie Hammer, who is currently rumored to be the new Ant-Man or Dr. Strange, upcoming heroes/movies Phase 3 of the Marvel Universe.

Although this film has had many negative reviews, I’d say give it a chance. Especially if you have three hours (movie and preview) to waste on these hot summer nights.

 

3 out of 4.

Recount

This is going to be one of those slightly different reviews folks.

Not only is it based on true events, but most of us know about it all. Okay, I mean we are aware of the events around it, without knowing both sides and all the problems and complications. I am talking about the Recount of the 2000 Presidential election ballots in Florida, the decision between who would be the next President, Bush or Gore.

Recountsz
This is not Bush and Gore.

Not sure what I am talking about? Here is some light reading (and thus plot review of the movie!).

TL;DR Florida done fucked up. Some of their ballots were confusing, some machines didn’t punch through enough, the sheet had a front and back, etc etc. Bush supposedly won the state and thus the election, but according to AP news the votes was too close to call, and Gore canceled his concession. Then lots of court stuff. Lots of stuff no one understood, but man was making fun of it easier.

And the whole thing is explained in this nice Hollywood rendition! Woo woo! So yeah, fictionalization happens, but the events are roughly correct, if I have been told correctly.

Kevin Spacey plays the main guy, some Democratic guy. I could tell you everyone’s role, but really I don’t remember them much since they are all real election political people. The closest thing to a villain is Laura Dern as a Florida Secretary of State.

We also got roles for other people! Roles everywhere! For Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Denis Leary, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, and more.

Female Evil?
Major woman character is the biggest villain? Don’t blame Hollywood, blame politics in 2000.

Given that I was 11 or so when this Florida stuff happened, I must say I really didn’t understand it at all. I just assumed Gore was being a baby and demanding recounts, I didn’t know what a Chad was. Easy to joke about, and I guess my perceptions were just based on where I lived. I am glad this HBO movie was done as a movie and not a documentary. It made it a lot more exciting and natural feeling to me.

Technically both sides are shown, but it is clear the Democrats (I think) are supposed to be the good side, when both sides had good and bad people in them. Can blame that one on Kevin Spacey probably. But overall it is very informative and entertaining.

Now I feel like I could answer maybe one more question on Jeopardy, thanks to this movie.

3 out of 4.

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