He is Hercules.
In this film Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Hercules, the legendary son of Zeus and one of the greatest heroes in ancient Greece. The film follows Hercules and his group of companions through a series of adventures to rid the land of Thrace of a warlord who
threatens the kingdom. From this premise the plot takes a number of twists and turns so that things rarely happen exactly as the viewer would expect. For those with a background in mythology I can tell you that this story takes place after the madness of Hera.
I should make it clear, this is not a deadly serious movie. The film is not afraid of making fun of itself or occasionally being cheesy, and this choice actually aids the film quite a bit. Too serious a tone would have smothered this film as both the script and the acting are probably best described as adequate. Even John Hurt, usually quite good, doesn't seem to bring his full chops to his role as the king of Thrace. On the other hand the effects are quite good and the fight choreography (really the most important thing in a movie like this) is excellent. This choreography is then improved upon by Dwayne’s raw physicality, which allows him to fully inhabit his role as Hercules.
This film is quite violent (as one might expect), but this violence never really seems to cross the line into pure gore. There are fights and there are some dismembered body parts, but things seem just sanitized enough to never make the viewer really uneasy or uncomfortable. That said the film does hold a PG 13 rating, and it is one that I would stick to fairly closely, as some of the themes (particularly the deaths of children), could hit younger viewers fairly hard.
All in all I would recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a fun action movie with ancient flair and a dash of mythology thrown in. Is it the best film of the year? No. Will you have a lot of fun watching it? Absolutely.
I could probably leave this review right there, but I'm gonna keep going anyway!
But really...wow. Dustin Diamond executive produced this hilariously bad Lifetime Channel film, and because the film is from his perspective, it's even worse. The kid actors are all too young to have been a part of the Saved By The Bell madness. In fact, it seems as though most of them are too young to have ever seen a first-run episode of the original show or its sequel, Saved By The Bell: The College Years. Partially because of this, the acting overall seems even more wooden than it was on those sitcoms. The direction is passable, the editing is really rough (even for a TV movie), and the framework of the story often crosses the line from bittersweet to plain ol' bitter.
The themes that really stand out here are that Mr Diamond really feels victimized by the entire cast and crew of the show, and that Lifetime truly believes a half a roach and a Dixie cup of vodka and soda will destroy the world.
Besides all the terrible misses for this movie, the nostalgia factor certainly sits in the hit category. The clothes! The hair! The scene recreations! That plus the general train-wreck nature of this somehow makes the beastly thing watchable.
I give it a 3/10 grade, because it really did make me laugh. Even if it didn't mean to.
This movie is absolutely outstanding. Marvel movies being great has pretty much been par for the course since Iron Man came out, but this movie is unique.
The plot this time around starts with Steve doing missions for SHIELD, and that's about all I want to say. There are some real surprises and twists that I really enjoyed. This movie works great as a political espionage action/thriller, it works great as a superhero movie, it works as an Avengers tie-in, and of course it works great as a sequel to the fantastic Captain America: The First Avenger. What is truly incredible about this movie is that it manages to juggle all these roles flawlessly.
For starters I love that this movie is really focused on the Cap. Avengers was great, and it was amazing seeing all those characters at once, but with all those great characters, it isn't possible to put a ton of focus on each of them. Instead it had to be divided up amongst them with a little extra attention for Robert Downey Jr.. In this movie, you really get to see Steve Rogers adjusting to modern life, and it's nice seeing how nice and really likeable he is, instead of the butt of Iron Man's jokes.
Near the beginning the movie there is with one of the best action sequences I have ever seen, and it keeps that sense of excitement throughout the film. It never seems like it's dragging. Between all the action sequences there are some great character moments with new character Falcon, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and of course, Steve Rogers. One of my personal favorite character moments is the interaction between the Cap and his neighbor. That may sound boring, but just trust me.
In this movie you get so see two great comic book characters come to brilliant life onscreen for the first time; The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The Falcon is great, becoming Cap's right hand man and buddy almost the instant that they meet. The Winter Soldier is the best part of the movie in my opinion. He is one of my favorite comic book characters, and he is portrayed perfectly by Sebastion Stan as an almost terminator-esque, unstoppable killer force.
As a fan of the comics it's great to see that the directors took some influence directly from the comics, incorporating some of the best moments from the Winter Soldier comics, while making it completely their own.
5/5 starts, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves super heroes or great action/adventure movies.
“I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” These words are the key to understanding this film. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup, a free black Northerner kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. During the course of this harrowing and brutal sojourn Solomon refuses to allow his spirit to be broken. He will escape, and when he returns home, he will be the man he was. Or such is his intent.
The film simmers with suppressed emotion. This emotion occasionally boils over, often with disastrous results. Hope, lust, greed, violence, and hatred; all of these are powerfully felt in the film. It is in many ways brutal, in many ways harsh, and yet there is at times a strange beauty to it. Emotion exists here as it does in few films. As a viewer one is gripped by that emotion, shaken by it, and then set down at the end changed in some way. Or at least that was my experience of it.
The script is excellent, although in some ways the language is that of the times. The
cinematography is very well down, really capturing both the moistness of the southern swamps and the dryness of the sun on blighted crops. In acting the film truly shines, as Ejiofor’s performance is masterful. Supporting him are a host of other actors, especially Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps; several of the film’s most powerful sequences are created by the interplay between these actors.
A word of caution: this film is certainly only for mature audiences. There is some nudity, a heavy use of racial slurs, but most of all there is brutal violence. There are beatings, hangings, and a very prolonged scene of a whipping and its aftermath. However, if you can stand to look- and since the best way not to repeat history is to know it, we all should look- this a powerful and important film to watch and should not be missed.
Derek Cianfrance has done it again. After seeing his debut movie Blue Valentine I instantly became a fan of his. It had some of the best acting I've seen, and was incredibly raw and real. It felt very intimate, and was one of the best character studies I've seen. Movies can sometimes have a hard time portraying whats going on beneath the surface of the characters, but that's where Blue Valentine excelled.
The Place Beyond the Pines follows in that same vein. It's another movie where the focus is all on the characters. It centers around Ryan Gosling's character, a volatile motorcycle stuntman, and the branching effect his actions have on the other characters. I don't want to spoil any more of the plot because there are some serious surprises.
This movie once again excels as a character study. The characters are where this movie really shines. In Blue Valentine the whole film centered around two people, and by the end you really knew them, almost too well. Because there is more of an ensemble in Pines, there are more characters who get that same treatment. Every action in this movie seems like it's coming from a real place; every scene is lined up amazingly.
Cianfrance has a pretty signature style in the way he shoots. There are long introspective shots that really help the viewer get completely immersed in the movie. There is something about the shots he chooses, and the whole tone of the cinematography in his movies that gives a sense of underlying tragedy. The score is very ambient and haunting, and works great for the tone of the film.
It's a moving, sad, beautiful and haunting film, and it goes right up there with Blue Valentine as one of the best movies I've seen in a while.
I adore this show.
New Girl is a show that took a couple episodes in the beginning to find it's footing, but once it did it was off and running.
What makes this show so great is simply the characters. Each of them are constantly searching for their place in the world whether they know it or not. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) is a wonderful and hope filled person, but incredibly naive, sometimes seeming desperate in her attempts to connect with her roommates and co-workers, like in an episode this season where she jumps through hoops trying to prove she loves basketball, just so her new roommate Coach (Daman Wayans Jr.) would accept her as a friend.
Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) is a bartender and a slacker who is so stubborn about the way he chooses to live his life, that he's incapable of change, and is able to come up with often hilarious and nonsensical justifications for his opinions and lifestyle.
The return of Coach (who left after the pilot) was also a great addition, and adds a lot off personality for the other characters to bounce off of, and has some really funny moments. My personal favorite is when he becomes friends with CeCe (Hannah Simone) and starts acting super sassy. Take my word, that may sound simple and silly, and it is, but it is so damn funny.
Winston Bishop is constantly trying to figure out what to due with his life after the revelation that everything up to that moment in his life was pre-planned.
And Shmidt (Max Greenfield) is.... Shmidt. He's a ridiculous, Jewish L.A. businessman with an obnoxious hipster club kid exterior, and sensitive, petty, and caring interior.
CeCe is also a character... If there is a weak point to this wonderful show it's her. She's a model and Jess's best friend. She is basically used as a plot point for Schimidt and Coach this season, and isn't really fleshed out herself, though even she gets a few funny and touching moments in this show.
The way these dysfunctional characters interact and show genuine care toward each other, while simultaneously driving each other crazy is equal parts heartwarming and hilarious. It is a hyper stylized but accurate portrayal about the ups and downs of living with roommates.
This third season has everyone is in top form. The show is insanely quotable, and insanely funny. Some of my favorite parts include the episode where Winston basically loses his mind over a puzzle, another where Winston and Coach use their hilarious patented "fire and ice" routine to sneak into a party thrown by Prince- who also makes a great cameo- and the reading of Nick's zombie novel which is just... there are no words. It takes the cake!
The heart of this third season is Nick and Jess's tumultuous budding relationship. I love both of these characters, and you really feel for both of them in every stage of their relationship, and there is some really great character development this season with Nick, due to his new relationship. It's very endearing to see how much of an effort he makes to try and make things work with Jess. No spoilers, but I will say that a lot of the points they make about love and relationships in general this season are very poignant.
All in all this show makes me happy. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes the feeling of happiness
This film features a crop of some of the very best of British actors (including Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Dame Maggie Smith, as well as others), as retirement aged men and women who move into a retirement home in Jaipur, India. This retirement home turns out to actually be a dilapidated hotel run by a sweet but clueless young Indian man named Soony Kapoor (Dev Patel). Throughout the film Jaipur is explored, love is won and lost, and many preconceived notions are challenged.
Firstly, I'd like to say that I am generally a fan of updating films by re-making them...if it's done right. Usually I just end up disappointed. Thankfully, this remake of Carrie was well cast, well directed, and well acted.
Carrie, played by the inimitable Chloe Grace Moretz, is a young girl who has been raised in a sheltered, overly protected home by her over-the-top religious mother (Julianne Moore), who shoves her fundamentalist beliefs down Carrie's throat. Near the beginning of the film, Carrie is showering after gym class at school and starts her period for the first time. She falls down, terrified, and thinks she's dying. Her classmates, who have all been much better prepared for such a happening, make fun of her and throw feminine products at her. One girl even records it on her cell phone and posts it online.
One of the girls who participated feels guilty, and comes up with a plan to have her boyfriend ask Carrie to senior prom as a way of making amends. On the other hand, the bully who filmed the incident is suspended and banned for her conduct, leading her to see revenge. At the same time, Carrie begins to realize she has a special talent- one that ensures nobody can hold her down any longer. She goes to prom, and that fantastic Stephen King story runs its course. I don't want to ruin it (although everyone probably knows), but the underdog versus bully high school story is classic!
I highly recommend this movie, especially to horror fans or fans of Stephen King's work. Older teens (with parental consent) would likely enjoy this one as well, especially since they've probably seen bullying in their very own hallways. What a lesson there is to be learned!
After Earth stars Jaden Smith and Will Smith (playing son and father- how novel!) in a semi-depressing adventure tale set far in the future. It was co-written by Gary Whitta (who also wrote The Book Of Eli) and Shyamalan; I would imagine that the only reason this film is watchable is due to Whitta's style.
Young Kitai is in training to become a Ranger (a futuristic animal-fighting soldier), and spends most of his life feeling bad about his big sister's death and resenting the long, legendary shadow cast by his father, General Cypher Raige. When the General decides to announce his retirement, he is urged by his wife (played by the fantastic Sophie Okonedo) to try to connect with Kitai, who has just failed to be promoted. The two of them are caught in an asteroid event and the plane is crash landed on Earth, abandoned a thousand years prior and now too toxic and full of scary things to be considered habitable by humans. The entire non-Raige family crew is killed in the crash, leaving a gravely injured Cypher to guide his son via computer screens through a world trying to kill them both, in hopes that Kitai can find the missing parts of the ship and set off a distress beacon.
The idea of the film is actually fairly solid, although I'm not sure how Disney got involved in such a dark premise. The relationship between father and son is strained at best, and the family has obviously been shattered by the violent death of Kitai's sister, played well by Zoe Kravitz. There's a lot to work out, and all the things trying to kill everyone are super not helping. The film probably looked pretty good in script format, but a few things make it not work so well as a film. Jaden Smith's accent is an awful distraction from his overall performance. Seriously. It would be better if he dubbed over himself and re-released the movie. The pacing is awkward, and greatly lessen the emotional impact of the flashbacks. The special effects with Kitai's suit are pretty cool, but the rest seems very derivative. Neither world is explored properly- we're either given too much or too little information. The tone of the whole film is just...off.
Is this a good movie? Of course not. It's directed by M Night Shyamalan post Unbreakable. However, it is watchable. I'd recommend it for the younger teenagers constantly asking for R rated films. It's likely dark enough to sate their craving, and yet tame enough to satisfy Disney producers.
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