Downsizing is an American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and also co-written by Payne and Jim Taylor. What an adventure Downsizing has turned out to be. This movie was so unique, I was unable to predict anything. However, this is where most of my praises end because there are a million reasons Downsizing could never happen. This movie is the fantasy of all fantasies. I think I have the most problem with 5″ people, that’s just not feasible.
In a futuristic world, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon, a physical therapist and Kristen Wiig, respectively) are living in Omaha, Nebraska with financial issues. At a high-school reunion, they encounter Dave and Carol Johnson (Jason Sudeikis and Maribeth Monroe, respectively) who have gone through the process of “downsizing”. This process, which is irreversible was invented 15 years earlier and involves shrinking humans to a height of five inches. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money. Their total assets of 125K would add up to 10 times as much as they have now or clearing 12.5M allowing them to live a very different lifestyle. Everyone the Safranek’s interviewed seemed to be happy and without any money issues. Children born to the downsized residents are born small and all body parts are in proportion. Animals are separated from the downsized by domes and hundreds of precautions are taken to protect all personnel. So needless to say, after exploring all the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agreed to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for downsized individuals. The procedure is turned out to be grueling and unnerving which caused one of them to back down at the last second. At this point, there’s no way to warn the other so only one ends up going through with the procedure.
Now you may think I’ve just given away this movie but I assure you, it’s only just begun. After getting over my anger at the spouse who wimped out for not jumping through hoops to let the other know of their decision, I wondered what would happen to the other since the procedure is irreversible. There must assuredly be a divorce for starters, and what about the money. How would that be allocated? Or would the other spouse have a change of heart and come on board later? Where would one find love in this small community, and if companionship couldn’t be found, what would their future look like without someone to share such a meager existence with? Choices are limited and regret began to show up rapidly.
Outside the walls of Leisureland, life was not so pretty and the ugly was about to be revealed. A savvy Vietnamese political activist, turned housecleaner named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), who was jailed and downsized against her will is about to change the entire flavor of Downsizing. Now I will stop here and give you an opportunity to see the movie for yourself. My 7.5 rating is only because of it’s inability to work as a workable plot, ever. Otherwise, Downsizing is a very interesting story with all the horror and suffering man is truly capable of creating. Lan Tran was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box and had her leg amputated upon arrival. Downsizing is definitely worth seeing. Check it out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged anne-helene, audrey safranek, brigette lundy-paine, christoph waltz, dave johnson, donna lynne champlin, downsizing, dr andreas jacobsen, dr jorgen asbjornsen, dusan mirkovic, eric burns, hon chau, ingjerd egeberg, james van der beek, Jason Sudeikis, joaquim de almeida, joris konrad, kristen wiig, margo martindale, maribeth monroe, matt damon, ngoc lan tran, niecy nash, paul safranek, Rolf Lassgård, soren pilmark, udo kier
Just how many times is Hollywood going to remake Tarzan? I can’t come up with what motivates one to take on a project that’s been done so many times. The first Tarzan movie was a silent film called “Tarzan of the Apes” and was released in 1918. The ninth was called “Tarzan the Ape Man” and was a motion picture released in 1932. All in all, there were 57 Tarzan movies made between 1918 and 2013. Several books were written, starting in 1912, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created the character. There were also many Tarzan television series through the years. Having said that, it seems Tarzan continues to be a fascinating subject that never grows old and never stops making money at the box office. With a huge budget of $180M, The Legend of Tarzan finished #2 on the weekend box office behind “Finding Dory” grossing $46.5ååM after being released less than a week. Go figure! The story basically stays the same. A young boy is brought up in the jungle by apes after his parents are killed. Upon his return back to civilization, (England) Tarzan, who has fallen in love and married to Jane Porter, has acclimated to life in England having discovered his true identity as Lord Greystoke. Under King Leopole’s rule, Tarzan is asked to scout out his old digs in the Congo for signs of the Kings improvements to the land. Instead, something else is uncovered that includes a plan that Captain Rom intends to use the diamonds to pay for a massive army to subdue the Congo and allow Belgium to mine its wealth for Leopold’s benefit. Of course Tarzan being ruthless and powerful, will stop at nothing to rescue his family, the Congo and the slaves, along with the right to live free. The claim to fame in this version of Tarzan is eye-candy, Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan / John Clayton III / Lord Greystoke, the beautiful Margot Robbie as Tarzan’s wife / Jane Porter Clayton / Lady Greystoke, the charismatic and clever, Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams, an American envoy who suspects the king of several atrocities, Academy award winner, Christoph Waltz as Captain Léon Rom, a corrupt merciless Belgian captain, sent by King Leopold of Belgium to find diamonds and control the region and the handsome hunk, Djimon Hounsou as Chief Mbonga, the leader of an African tribe who controls the diamond region, and wants revenge against Tarzan for the death of his son.
While The Legend of Tarzan was basically the same old story, I found it fun and interesting to watch. Being a huge fan of Alexander Skarsgård from the days of True Blood and Christoph Waltz from Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds and Djimon Hounsou from Countless movies like Gladiator and In America, I enjoyed their flawless performances, the absolutely beautiful scenery, the special effects, the countless animals and I loved seeing the bad guys get what was coming to them. I think Tarzan is worth going to see on the big screen in 3D or standard. It was an entertaining movie!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alexander skarsgård, american envoy, captain Léon rom, chief mbonga, christoph waltz, Djimon Hounsou, england, george washington williams, jane porter clayton, john clayton iii, king leopold, lady greystoke, lord greystoke, margot robbie, samuel l jackson, tarzan, the legend of tarzan
Spectre is one of the most expensive movies ever made. With a budget of $245M, it has brought in approximately $176M over the last 4 weekends here in the US and grossed $750M worldwide. After all is said and done, Spectre needed to gross $640M to break even. A reported $34M was spent just on the destruction of expensive cars during the making of this 24th James Bond movie. Add Daniel’s salary of $24M, making him the highest paid Bond (which doesn’t include endorsements), in the history of the 007 franchise. Now add around $100M for promotions, plus with all the other staff, actors and employee salaries, one can see how the price tag escalated so high.
So with that said, lets talk about the movie. The plot features James Bond’s first encounter with the global criminal organization called Spectre. Also, several characters, including M, Q and Eve Moneypenny return, with the new additions of Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx, Andrew Scott as Max Denbigh and Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra. Spectre opens in Mexico City with 007 on an unofficial mission ordered by the former M (Judy Dench). Eventually, Bond ends up in Rome where he learns about Spectre. Things get pretty complicated and very dangerous as Bond finds himself without backup, as his division has been dissolved by the current M’s new boss, C, because he deems “00” section outdated. In the meanwhile, Spectre turns out to be a sinister organization headed up by the ultimate villain, Ernst Stavro Brofeld, played by Christoph Waltz. The story is complex, the action is intense and the cast is brilliant. However, I found Spectre to be quite different from most of the Bond stories. It seemed like something was missing. Somehow I think the absence of Judy Dench and her nurturing personality made Bond seem noticeably alone and a little uncertain of himself — not the overall confident ladies man I’m use to seeing. Pierce Brosnan expressed that this Bond film seemed weak and lack luster. While I thought the story was solid, I have to agree with Pierces’ opinion. Check it out, it’s an endless challenge of surprises, twist and turns. It will keep you entertained all the way to the end.
[SPECTRE is nominated for Original Song]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged "c", "m", "q", 007, andrew scott, ben whishaw, christoph waltz, daniel craig, ernst stavro brofled, james bond, judy dench, mexico city, moneypenny, naomie harris, pierce brosnan, ralph fiennes, rome, spectre
Big Eyes is based on the true story of Margaret Keane who gave away her rightful ownership for creating paintings of children with very large eyes. Her paintings were brilliant, beautiful and sometimes sad. Amy Adams plays artist Margaret Keane, who married Walter Keane, the name she painted under. Because of Walter’s savvy marketing abilities and the fact that women artist were not taken seriously, he was able to convince Margaret that he should take credit for the paintings and she agreed. Walter is magnificently played by Christoph Waltz (known for Django and Inglourious Basterds among a huge list of cinematography) . As the couple became well known for Margaret’s paintings, their relationship began taking a tremendous hit, due to Margaret’s resentment of her husband taking credit for something he didn’t create. Her weakness to step forward and tell the truth about who was really creating the paintings became the focus of her being. In the end, Margaret had to sue her husband in order to reclaim recognition and ownership of her work. Big Eyes is intense and well written spanning through the 1950s and 1960s in Miami and San Francisco. However, the courtroom drama takes place in Hawaii. There’s talk of Oscar nominations for best actor and best actress. Obviously, Big Eyes is a big hit and is worth a ticket to the big screen.
Oh my, what is there to say about Django, except the D is silent. I went on a fantasy, gun totting, America at its worse, wanted for bounty killing spree ride that hasn’t been seen since the likes of Natural Born Killers. And I was rooting for the killers all the way. Django is an action packed thrill ride and a feel good movie that I don’t expect will win any Oscars however, this movie will go down in history as one of a kind. The entertainment factors are endless. The acting was superb and the German, played by Christoph Waltz was unsurpassed. With Quentin Tarantino as director and Leo Dicaprio as a shrewd plantation owner with Samual L. Jackson as his right hand lackey, what else would we expect. Django is up for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best sound Editing, Best Writing (Original Screenplay) and Best Cinematography. I don’t expect any Oscars to be won but I can tell you Christoph Waltz took his character to a place we won’t soon forget. Red Foxx and Kerry Washington rounded out a cast that was unforgettable. I loved this movie and highly recommend it.
[Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor! ]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged christoph waltz, django, Jamie foxx, Kerry Washington, killers, killing, lackey, leo dicaprio, natural born killers, oscar, plantation, right hand, samual l jackson, shrewd, unforgettable