Tag: Alfred Molina

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Ready for that new movie, Spider-Man: All the Hype in the World?

Oh, it is called No Way Home. Fine, that is fine. It could have also just been called “Print Money for us Please” because a lot of people are going to see this movie and they are going to see it fast. This is arguably the most excited people have been for a movie since Avengers: Endgame. After all, in our last Spider-Man movie, we were given a very strong credits scene. [Note: I hated that this was a credit scene. That scene was really important for the film. It made the ending really work. The fact that it was “credits” scene and arguably less important really bugs me]. It helped build up the hype.

I personally am hoping that this movie does…something to help establish what the actual fuck Marvel (even if Sony is helming this film like always) is doing with their time. If I see one more “Present Day” tag line in the MCU this year I will lose it. No one has any clue when any of these movies are taking place, because they all are in the future based on the Thanos Snap.

Is this one in 2024? 2025? Who knows. Will the movie know? Doubtfully.

Is she enjoying this ride? 
Spider-Man: No Way Home takes place basically right after the end of Long Way Home. Mysterio’s last trick. Telling everyone Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity and blaming the bad stuff on Parker.

Now everyone knows! Now everyone knows about his friends and his girlfriend (Zendaya) and that causes issues. Some still love him, some now hate him. Some just want to make his life miserable. Hell, it is even affecting his ability to get into college. Because they know his name, and they aren’t sure if they want that publicity or trouble. Is he a MURDERER?

Needless to say, Peter feels like shit about this. And he hates it more that it is affecting those who love him and he loves in returns. So he wants things to change. Maybe time travel? Maybe people can just forget the whole thing happened? Maybe magic can be involved?

Well, once magic gets involved, and potentially unstable magic at that, it seems like the reality Peter knows is not going to be the same forever. Time to face old villains for the first time.

Also starring some other people you know from these movies. Tony Revolori, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, J.K. Simmons, Benedict Wong, and Hannibal Buress. Also (checks trailers to see what is and isn’t a spoiler) Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans, and Jamie Foxx!

Anyone else? Maybe! Maybe we also get other villains played by Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan/James Franco, or Topher Grace? Maybe we get villains in the last two movies showing up, like Michael Keaton and Jake Gyllenhaal. Will we have past Spider-Men like Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire? Will DONALD GLOVER appear as old Miles Morales?

Doc Ock
This isn’t a spoiler, this is the main advertisement! 

Spider-Man: Oops! All Villains! edition. Frankly, I wondered if this would feel crowded. Crowded is what they were going for after all. And arguably, crowded villains helped kill the last two Spider-Man franchises. “But no! This time we will do it better!” And how is that? By giving us previously established villains so we don’t need an eight hour movie. Sure, it requires a five film commitment, but they figure if you are watching these new ones, you probably already committed to the over 20 that is the MCU at this point.  So why not five more, assuming you didn’t already have them?

It works though. For those without the previous films, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I can’t get myself in that headspace. It is a risky move, and a ridiculous move, but damn it, trying new stuff is one of the reasons I watch movies. To see those that make risks, and this film is so risky. I don’t care what the past has told us, MCU printing their name on it doesn’t always guarantee success. Having a likable cast can help a lot.

This is the most emotional we have seen Holland as our web crawler before, and that includes the time when he didn’t feel so good in outer space. From the villains, Molina brings the same despair and anger he had before. Foxx felt better and more confident than the shit they gave him in his original. Ifans/Church were very underutilized, in more ways than one. I just assume the actors couldn’t really be involved that much with the film.

But Dafoe? Holy shit Dafoe. He has had like, twenty years to forget how to be the Green Goblin, and I was honestly worried about him the most. I know he is a fantastic actor, but even early on into his scenes in this one, I was skeptical, but that dude NAILED IT so hard. That is some real good review writing right there. What an absolute madlad he is. Why did they kill him off in that first film? So sad.

Honestly, people will get mad at me if I say much more. So in order to keep things vague and mysterious, I will. Let’s just say, I cried once, and it is not likely a moment you would fully expect. There is obviously an early credits scene, and an end credits scene. Feel free to leave early after the first one, in my opinion. The post credits scene is trash.

4 out of 4.

Frozen II

Seven years ago, Frozen hit the world one Thanksgiving week, and we weren’t ready for it. I don’t recall a lot about the trailers, but I do recall the teaser trailer, and it was very basic.

And you know what? I loved it. Most of the soundtrack was really good. They didn’t use Menzel enough, and Groff was ignored stupidly, but they could have done better. It was still a really good sign of Disney amping up their animation department, and led to the also quite perfect Moana!

And let me say, that for Frozen II, I wasn’t dreading it at all. I loved their first teaser trailer. It made this movie look darker, more plot focused, more adventure full. I was ready to be blown away.

A water horse in water? That makes sense. Land horses are on land.
Three years after the events of the first film, everything in Arendelle is going so darn swell. The gates have been open, people are happy and prosperous, and oh golly gee gumdrops, everything will stay the same.

Except… Elsa (Idina Menzel) is starting to hear a strange calling in the distance, and only she is hearing it. And Anna (Kristen Bell) is helping run things, she loves having all these freedoms. Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) is about to propose to Anna, but she is so preoccupied with her sister things keep coming up. And Olaf (Josh Gad) is dealing with his strange existence, getting older and more mature.

All of this only slightly matters. What matters the most is that voice, and all of the exposition the beginning of the film talked about. There used to be an enchanted nearby that the old King saw when he was a boy, and the two groups tried to be friends. But, betrayal! Sadness! And a lot of magic left the world.

I guess Elsa just has that magical adventure itch, because she gets the gang together after a disaster in their city to try and enter that blocked off enchanted forest to see if they can figure out what is going on, or maybe just that voice.

Also starring various voices by Alan Tudyk, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.

Reindeers rush better than people, Sven wouldn’t you say that’s true? 

Really early on in Frozen II is when I realized things weren’t going to be as good as I had hoped. It started with a scene from their childhood, pre trolls interfering with memory. And it had the long story their dad said about the forest, and a bonus mom song. And the entirety of the movie relies on the scene.

The entirety of a sequel relying on a scene that didn’t happen in the first film? Ugh. There were a lot of plot points they could have naturally done based on the first film. Hell, they could have done most of this film without that scene. But really this just feels like changing the canon. Sure, that kid conversation could have happened in their life and not changed the first film at all. But it now just feels tacked on.

Another downgrade for me is the music overall. Now of course, I love that they gave Groff his own song and parts of other songs, keeping true to his character. They also used Menzel more. But most of the songs don’t capture the spirit to me like they did in the first film. I already listened to the soundtrack a second time and I am not left with whimsy, I’m not wanting to hear and sing a long over and over.

Again, overall, the plot is okay. It has some good parts, some lame parts, some rushed parts, and some tacked on parts. Some of the Elsa and Anna scenes are really strong, but the film overall feels a lot weaker. And that is a shame. It will still probably win an Oscar for animated awards because the Academy is usually really lame though.

2 out of 4.

Strange Magic

Where does one begin when talking about Strange Magic? Well, first of all, it basically came out of nowhere. There were two main “kid” movies out in January. Paddington, which had tons of press and was actually pushed a little bit from December, and Strange Magic which had maybe 1 poster hung up somewhere in America.

I mean seriously, I saw no trailers ever, nothing on TV, no screening events, no kiddy toy promotion with a major realtor or fast food store. Did anyone know this movie was happening? Oh, George Lucas apparently knew it was happening. It was a Lucasarts film, which is now owned by Disney, but apparently it has been in development/production for FIFTEEN YEARS.

Anything that takes that long has to have some bad moojoo on it. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? There is attempting to make sure everything is perfect and forcing a boulder up hill.

And then there is this awkwardly realistic and equally awkwardly not dude.

The movie begins with the (world?) divided into two lands, a fairy land that’s all light and happy, and a bog land that is dark and scary. Immediately you might be thinking of Epic or even Secret of the Wings, it is a popular trope. The movie then begins with a very familiar tune.

Then there is singing. Singing of old songs. What is happening. Oh, not only was this movie mysterious, but it was also a JUKEBOX MUSICAL. So many of the characters sing real popular-esque songs. However there is no theme here like in Mamma Mia and they are just all over the place.

Ugh. Anyways. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) is a fairy princess. She is going to get married to Roland (Sam Palladio) but finds him kissing another fairy on their wedding day. So she goes a bit gothic and swears to never love again. Years later, her sister Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) is in love with everything and everyone, much to her annoyance. Roland is still around, trying to marry Marianne just to control the army and become a powerful ruler.

So what does Roland do? He convinces Sunny (Elijah Kelley), an elf with a crush on Dawn, to get a love potion made so that they both can use it and get what they want. The only person who can make a love potion is the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth), who was captured by the Bog King (Alan Cumming), because he hates love and love potions, or something.

I mean, he has a point. They are pretty rapey. Needless to say, shenanigans happen thanks to the Bog King also kidnapping Dawn after she gets hit with the potion. So back and forth they go, singing and dancing, and stopping overall bad stuff from happening. Hooray kids movies and learning to love again!

There is also Alfred Molina and Maya Rudolph voicing royal parents, and Peter Stormare and Bob Einstein voicing random shit.

First we battle in an epic fashion, and then we dance!

How much do you really want to hear strange covers of Sugar Pie Honey Bunch and Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)? You don’t, you are right. This movie is full of songs you might have got to sing for public school middle school chorus classes or hear all the time at karaoke bars. Not having a theme isn’t an issue. Moulin Rouge! had no theme for the songs and they kicked butt.

Honestly, this movie in a vague description sounds like something I would love. I love musicals. I don’t mind fairies. I like nice CGI movies. But somehow this movie managed to fire on zero cylinders. Nothing felt like it worked. Parts of the animation were nice, and other parts looked like complete shit. They had really good voice talent, and wasted it on one of the most boring lists I have ever seen. None of the songs are really trying, they are all super safe and lazy. I Want To Dance With Somebody? Great song. Terribly easy to put into one of these and force a context for though.

Ugh. It ended up not being funny, not looking very pleasing on the eyes, and even made me dislike singing. How that is possible, I won’t ever know. I mean, I even gave Walking On Sunshine a 2 out of 4. This one just felt like an awkward mess. Knowing that Disney now owns Lucasfilms, it must have been in the buyout that they had to help fund or release this movie, and they just tried to sneak it out hoping no one would notice.

0 out of 4.

Love Is Strange

Love is Strange? What the heck is this? I thought you were doing Oscar Related movies this week!”

Well, I was, I swear! But. Uhh. I ran out. I didn’t finish the list. I couldn’t. I officially couldn’t get see three of the Best Foreign Films, one of the Best Animated, one of the Best Documentary, one of the Best Original Song, and of course, 14 of the 15 Shorts. Doh.

But I didn’t pick this one randomly. Oh no, this was actually nominated for a Spirit Award for Best Picture. The Spirit Awards are for indie movies and they take place this weekend as well. And look at that, this was the one film I was missing from the main Best Picture category for them.

Boo yah. I am now Hipster.

And what is more hipster than watching an Independent Movie about Gay Marriage.

Speaking of marriage, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are getting married! They have been together for over thirty years and are obviously quite old. But NY allows it, and by golly, they wanna get on that.

Good times, happy day, everyone is happy for them!

Then George gets fired. He taught piano and other music classes at a private school, and yeah, they took his marriage as something he wasn’t allowed to do in his contract, even if they knew he was gay. So this is bad because it was their stable income, which means they cannot pay their rent, which means they have to move. But shit, Ben’s income is erratic as he is a painter and George might need to take some time to get a new gig.

So they have to go live with their family and friends. They also want to live in the city still, because that is where they can find work and maintain a NYC presence.

Ben is living with his nephew (Darren E. Burrows), his nephew’s wife (Marisa Tomei) and their son Joey (Charlie Tahan). Ben might get on their nerves.

George is living with their former old neighbors (Cheyenne Jackson, Manny Perez), a younger gay couple who are both cops. They are a lot active than George is.

Issues, annoyances, and a bad start to a new marriage.

But not as bad as his start to that painting. You can’t erase water colors.

John Lithgow is really enjoying his acting these days. From his brilliant arc on Dexter to his cameos on HIMYM, he is just doing anything he wants at this point.

Acting wise, both leads do a great job. Their love is believable and their chemistry is nice.

I just find the plot of this movie to have a mostly blah concept. So they both go separate places, one becomes an annoyance on the place he lives, the other mostly just gets annoyed by what is going on around him. And their life goes on.

In that way, this movie has a very indie feel. A small concept script with not a lot going on. And I can’t help but feel cheated of a lot of potential plot to tell a more entertaining story. Some interesting things happen, it is very realistic, and the acting is good. But darn it, I just want a bit more in my stories.

2 out of 4.

An Education

Personally, I had no idea what to expect from a movie like An Education. Zero. Possibly a love story. Based on the cast list, most certainly British. But yeah. Completely random watch, love those.

Unless you know, the movie sucks.

creeper in a car
All great love stories begin with a ride in a stranger’s car.

Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) is your typical 16 year old girl in London in the 1960s. Okay not really ‘typical’. She is forced by her dad (Alfred Molina) to study hard, play Cello, and be amazing, so she can get into Oxford. She also goes to an all girls school for the top tier education. Because nothing is more important than an Oxford education and degree.

But what about strange men in cars? After a concert, waiting in the rain with her cello, David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard) drives up and offers her a lift. No, that’d be weird. He offers the cello a place in the car, and will drive by her as she walks home. Wouldn’t want to be creepy. He is just a music lover, and someone who doesn’t want the cello to be damaged!

Or maybe he just loves Jenny. That would explain the gifts, and the chance to go see a real concert with free. Not like he is some creeper, other people are their on his first date, Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike). But why has he taken an interest in her? Where did all his money come from?

And why the heck is she suddenly willing to throw away her education if she has the potential to become a young bride? Her main teacher (Olivia Williams) sure seems against it, but why? AHH MOVIE SECRETS.

u sad girl
So much to ponder, but must remain elegant.

I might have found this movie interesting because I really didn’t know where everything was going. Would the guy end up being a creep, or just the perfect man? Would she be able to balance her new living large social life with school? What about Oxford? WHAT ABOUT OXFORD?

But that isn’t enough to actually like a movie, just makes it a one time fling. The acting I thought was pretty good in the movie as well, and the basic storyline. I can’t say that teenage girl lifestyles in England in the 1960s is something I have ready knowledge of, so it is interesting to learn about a completely different culture.

I’m just rambling. A pretty good movie, and you probably won’t be able to guess what is coming.

3 out of 4.


Taylor Lautner! Woo!

Finally what everyone has been hoping for. A movie where Lautner gets to try and carry the movie himself, and not be tied down with two other leads who are attempting to have babies and stuff. The Abduction trailer seemed to pop up in every movie I went to this summer, and every time I saw it I asked myself the same thing. “Why does he sound like he is whining the whole time?”

I think this is him whining at a basketball game too? Have you no shame Lautner?

I just found out that Lautner is only 19. That makes more sense. He looks like some 25 year old guy who would be playing high school roles. Because he is supposed to be 16 I think in the movie. So the whining is probably intentional and he is a fantastic actor for doing that. Also, early in the movie when he is boxing or something with his “dad” and he does a super cool spin kick movie. But you know, not with a stunt double, it is clearly him doing it the whole time. Apparently he was good at martial arts, and as a child voted best in his category, at some point, in some version. So that is how he became a werewolf!

Plot? Oh my bad.

He is on a (high school) sociology project with his neighbor, Lily Collins, about missing people. They find a site about what these kids may look like now, and he finds out that one of them looks like him, and he has a similar shirt from when he was a kid. So they call it up, and oddly enough they track his location. Ruh roh.

Well, some people come to their house and kill his parents! Thankfully they don’t appear to be his real parents? Who would want to be related to Maria Bello anyways. So the CIA gets involved, or at least Alfred Molina does. But he cannot be trusted! Why? Because Sigourney Weaver, his therapist, intercepts him and tells him the truth. His dad was a CIA operative, and has a list of names of corrupt people, which includes that guy above.

Also, Serbian terrorists, lead by Michael Nyqvist, want that list so they can probably protect their spies / find new ones to abuse.

So they decide to try and find that list, to hand over to the CIA members who are not trying to get it to erase their name. But Nyqvist wants the list, meet in a public place (A Pirates baseball game, aka anything but public), and Lautner wants to try to kill him. CIA, CIA dad, lots of running are involved, until the day is over, and no one important got hurt! You know, except for the parents he had for most of his life. Thankfully Weaver will let him live with her. What a nice therapist.

I guess what I am really trying to say with the plot is that this movie has zero to do with Abduction.

If anything, I will give this movie credit for actually ending the story line. They didn’t leave hints of a possible sequel, or leave a plot unturned, or anything. Just made it seem like a one off story, and now he can go back to being a “normal” “kid”. But the acting was blah, and it seemed like they wanted to go for a Bourne like thing, but no where near the same, making it even more blah. I found the story / plot to be mostly boring. Like they tried to make that one moment of his life super crazy, instead of just slightly elevated crazy.

I will give you a do-over Lautner. Make your next movie better, or else.

1 out of 4.