Please keep in mine, I am not rating any of super hero movies against their comic books series because I don’t read comic books. In fact, I’ve never read any comic books or watched any cartoons. It was never my thing. I am reviewing these movies strictly on whether I was entertained and the quality of the movie. Dr. Strange was not what I expected. That’s not to say it was bad, it’s just to say the subject matter was not what I thought it would be. Having said that, I liked the movie but I think it fell a little flat. Logically, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the reason Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) the sorcerer and his zealots, who were ruled by the dark Dormammu, wanted to kill off most of the world. After that, what’s there to rule? It just didn’t make sense to me. So much effort for nothing. I also classify Dr. Strange’s character as a pompous ass. He’s so full of himself that it was hard to like him. I get that is a character flaw he’s been battling with forever and probably isn’t news to anyone but me, however, it was still difficult to deal with. This Reminded me of that other silly superhero everyone loved but I hated because of his “I love me and everything I do attitude” (Ryan Reynolds) in Deadpool. Dr. Strange’s attitude is not as bad as Deadpool but it’s close. The saving grace in this movie is the phenomenal actress, Tilda Swinton. She is one of the best actresses of our time and in my opinion certainly made Dr. Strange worth seeing.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) an acclaimed neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. His ego wouldn’t allow him to accept his new position in life that wouldn’t include performing surgery, which keeps him in fresh pats on the back. During Dr. Strange’s research for a cure, he learns of a person, Jonathan Pangborn, (Benjamin Bratt) a paraplegic with similar neurological problems who learned how to heal himself by going off to Kathmandu, Nepal, to study with the Ancient One, (Tilda Swinton) who has been alive for an undisclosed amount of time.
He also met with Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Master of the Mystic Arts, close with the Ancient One and now a mentor to Dr. Strange. While there, they tried to put Dr. Strange’s ego in tact and teach him powers he never imagined existed. Moving in and out of spiritual realms took a lot for him to learn and even shaped his character a little but not quite enough to call him modest. An injury caused Strange to drift back to the hospital where he worked for life saving treatment and interaction with his colleague and love interest, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). There was much humor and the special effects were outstanding. The acting was brilliant and the costume design was fantastic. Despite Dr. Strange’s cocky attitude, I found the movie very entertaining and highly recommend it.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged ancient one, benedict cumberbatch, benjamin bratt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, christine palmer, dormammu, dr. strange, jonathan pangborn, kaecilius, karl mordo, kathmandu, mads mikkelsen, nepal, rachel mcadams, sorcerer, tilda swinton
I am rating Spotlight 8.5 because of the message it sends and because of the impact this story has had on society. Many people don’t want to accept the findings of this true story but the proof is there. When you have put your faith in a belief all your life only to learn that the messengers are corrupt, damaged or the opposite of what you believed they were, it’s damn hard to admit you’ve bought into a possible fraud or maybe that your whole world is possibly bogus because perhaps, you’ve chosen incorrectly. Chances are, you feel abandoned without any help from authorities to tell you want went wrong or how to fix the problem. Spotlight is the biographical story of pedophile priest in the Catholic church who’s crimes of molestation were sweep under the rug by church, city and state officials. The amount of victims and predators grew so rapidly out of control, exposure was inevitable. A small group of journalist who specialize in investigative reporting within the Boston Globe, called Spotlight, headed up by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) began working on this story when they thought there could be as many as nine priest involved. Before the story was published, they had a list of 90 priest and growing. It seemed everyone was in on the cover up, from the District Attorney to the Archbishop of Boston. As the team interviewed victims, it became clear that the damage done to these children went much deeper than a sex act. The impact on a lot of lives turned out adults that ended up in many walks of life. The team had many setbacks including the attitudes of parents who didn’t want to accuse the church of any wrong doing despite knowing the truth. The team, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Marty Baron, (Liev Schreiber) Ben Bradlee, Jr. (John Slattery) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) worked diligently from 2001 to 2002 at getting these priest exposed and out of the mainstream. Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney brilliantly played by Stanley Tucci, was responsible for getting Spotlight their first interviewees. This is when we learned irreparable damage was done to many of the victims and a cap of $20,000 was paid to keep things quiet. Thanks to newly appointed editor, Marty Baron, who appointed the Spotlight team to take up the story in the first place, these priest were exposed sooner than later.
In the end, several pages of domestic and international list were displayed across the screen of convicted pedophile priest. I’m not sure what the church is really doing about this problem but I know it is a serious issue. The story was well told and the movie was well acted. I wouldn’t give it best picture but I liked it very much and recommend that everyone sees it.
[SPOTLIGHT is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Film Editing and original Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged archbishop, ben bradlee jr, boston globe, brian d'arcy james, john slattery, journalist, liev schreiber, mark ruffalo, marty baron, matt carroll, michael keaton, michael rezendes, mitchell garabedian, rachel mcadams, sacha pfeiffer, spotlight, stanley tucci, walter "robby" robinson
What an unusual, pleasant, romantic comedy. Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor who returns to Hawaii to organize a traditional blessing for a new pedestrian gate on behalf of his new employer, billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray), who intends to develop nearby land into a space center. After enjoying a celebrated military career that ended because of shadowy deals in Afghanistan, a now disillusioned Brian is tasked with negotiating a deal with the Hawaiian Natives and supporting Carson’s launch of a privately-funded satellite. Brian’s mission is complicated by his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), now married to a very nice guy named Woody, (John Krasinski) plus they have two children but still carries a torch for Brian, and his idealistic Air Force liaison, Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), whose wide-eyed fascination with space and spunky character has drawn her to him as well as reminds him of his own childhood sense of wonder. Brian and Allison attend a Christmas party given by Carson, where General Dixon (Alec Baldwin), who practically loathes Brian, tells him not to screw up the deal with the Hawaiians. During the party, Brian becomes more attracted to Allison, who is having fun dancing with Carson. After the party, relationships among other things start to get very complicated.
To recap, there’s Brian; two women (Captain Allison, who he’s falling for and a former girlfriend, Tracy, who’s married with two children, General Dixon, who can’t stand Brian, the new billionaire employer, Carson, who is deceiving Brian and his old Hawaiian Native friends that he is deceiving (except, he doesn’t know that) and the realization that his new relationship with Allison may not be in her best interest.)
There is so much more to this plot, which is considered a box office bomb. I found the movie funny and interesting. Not the best and not a must see. Now that it’s on DVD, you can’t go wrong. Aloha is a little silly but mainly a very cute story with a few surprises.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alec baldwin, aloha, bill murray, bradley cooper, brian gilcrest, captain allison ng, carson welch, emma stone, general dixon, hawaiian natives, john krasinski, rachel mcadams, tracy, woody
What I loved most about Southpaw was the absence of all the bells and whistles. It was straight story telling at it’s best. No extraneous, over-the-top scrap to glamorize the movie — they just worked hard to keep it real. Performances by Jake Gyllenhaal who played Billy Hope and Rachel McAdams who played his wife Maureen Hope were brilliant.
A couple who came up through the system hit it big when as a professional boxer, Billy became the light heavyweight champion of the world, 43 wins vs 0 losses. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays Billy’s manager, Jordan Mains, who was into everything from fixing fights to getting $30M HBO deals. All seemed well until tragedy hit and Billy lost everything, including his daughter to Child Protective Services. Southpaw is about Billy’s journey back with the help of Forest Whitaker who plays Titus “Tick” Wills, owner of a gym where Billy decides to retrain and change his life around. Southpaw is emotion packed, down to earth and well acted. Eminem was originally targeted for the lead role of Billy Hope but decided to focus on his music so the role went to Jake Gyllenhaal. Well done on all levels. Check it out!