Friday, August 29, 2014
A veteran actor in the lead with a newcomer as his ‘student? CHECK! Car chases? CHECK! Car crashes? CHECK! Cars blown up? Check! An enemy who is the hero’s friend? CHECK! Doubles crosses? CHECK! People having secrets? CHECK! A pretty woman or three? CHECK! Bodies pile up as movie goes on? CHECK! A lot of computer work? CHECK! A lot of cell phones used? CHECK! And then disposed of? CHECK! A female villain in a non-James Bond film dressed in black leather and made up severely? CHECK! CIA? CHECK! Russian bad guys? CHECK! A ‘hot’ sex scene between two young leads? CHECK!
Hey folks does this tell you that “The November Man” is a spy thriller? It is and for that reason alone leave your logic checked at the door and don’t ask any questions. Sit back in your chair and watch Pierce Brosnan, playing a less suave James Bond, shoot 10 guys, with guns, in a row without getting a scratch, though he does have a few scratches later on. His trainee, Luke Bracey, does the shower scene that Brosnon would have done 30 years ago while Olga Kurylenko is the 21st century idea of a femme fatale. Along the way are Mediha Musliovic, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton, Lazar Ristovski and others playing both sides of the fences. Oh yes, something added to spy thrillers now, there is a big fight and chase between two females.
“The November Man” is nothing you haven’t seen before unless you haven’t watched a movie in 50 years. It is a mindless, foolish, fast paced, enjoyable, yes enjoyable, movie to see over the weekend as you wait for the possible Oscar contenders start showing next month.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Our local AMC movie theatre has gone in a new direction having reconstructed the whole building. They are now offering dinners, snacks, desserts, sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc. all given to a server who gets your order, delivers it to you and then you pay your bill. There are plusses and minuses about the whole setup but I do see it becoming a very expensive proposition for a family going to the movies or even a couple on a date.
It is no secret that movie theatres make their money from the concession stands and not from ticket sales as most of the latter go to the film makers, distributors and studios. In many cases a soda and popcorn cost more than a theatre ticket but with these new food prices it will even be higher. If you want to get an idea of the food prices go to www.amctheatres.com/food-and-drink but remember they vary from theatre to theatre.
I wanted to 'try' out the new AMC--I liked the $7 admission on a Friday but you never know what a movie costs unless you check out the movie and performance schedule on the web. Depending on whether it is a matinee or evening, a PG or R rated film, a regular or 3D film the prices range from $7 to $14. The seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in in a movie house--the serving of food can be and is disturbing--also I would hate to see the line at the ticket window when busy--along with prices you have to select your seat before you get your ticket!!!
They have less auditoriums than they did previously, which means they are showing less movies and each auditorium has a lot less seats than they had so they are really depending on food sales to make the money. With the movie companies making less money because of the cut in the audience size I wonder if they have some deal regarding concession sales.
As I said I like the $7 ticket price on Friday for PG-13 films but since I don’t eat food in the theatre if the AMC is showing the same picture as the Gateway Theatre, and getting the lower price, I might go to the former BUT if they are getting a $9 price I will definitely go with the latter--which I will in most cases anyway as The Gateway Theatre is special to me.
Friday, August 22, 2014
The best thing about “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”, AKA Sin City 2, was that I got in for free, plus got a free popcorn and a free soda, all courtesy of The Gateway Theatre Loyalty Card.
I had not seen the first “Sin City” so I was intrigued for about a half hour by the sparse use of standout color in what is basically a black and white film noir of the 1940s and 1950s shown as a combination of live, digital, comic book, pulp fiction and graphic novels. After the novelty of a slash of bright red across the lips of a black and while character wears off there was a little interest in the name of the actresses playing the female roles as most of the men are more ‘seasoned’ veterans, and recognizable, though even here one or two have face but not name recognition.
Anyone familiar with the old movies, or books, like those featuring Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer or Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade or casts with Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Veronica Lake, Victor Mature, etc. will find their counterparts in Sin City 2. Every man is hard boiled and every woman a femme fatale. The main difference between this film and the old films are the amount of violence perpetrated not only by the men but more so by the women.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller I would love to know which one has the eyeball fetish! The production design by Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute is outstanding as are all the other production assets such as costumes, hair and make up.
With a cast including Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Powers Booth, Mickey Rourke (almost unrecognizable ), Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Stacy Keach, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Liotta, just to name a few, plus a cameo by Lady Gaga, keeping track of who is who and trying to remember their real names will keep your mind off of the screenplay that is not at all original in any aspect of film making.
There is almost as much nudity, frontal and rear, by both males and females, though there is a sense modestly, as there is violence. Killings are by guns, arrows, knives, hands, feet, cars, etc., all graphic and far from modest.
The best/only way to see this movie is with a free ticket, a free popcorn and a free soda.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
“Calvary” opens with a man in the confessional booth telling the priest that he had been abused for 5 years when a child by a priest and since he is dead he will kill the priest he is talking to now as killing a bad priest would not make as strong a statement as killing an innocent one. The confessor tells the priest that he will give him a week, until next Sunday, to get his house in order before he kills him.
As we meet each villager, and watch their reaction to and with the priest, we soon forget about the killing and who may have said the confession and issued the threat except for each day of the week appearing on the screen.
Father James, played by Brendan Gleeson, joined the priesthood after his wife died and his adult daughter Fiona , played by Kelly Reilly, feels he left her behind. As he makes his parish rounds we get to meet citizens of the town, some who could have been the confessor. There is the butcher, Chris O’Dowd, who’s wife, Oria O’Rourke. has encounters with the immigrant lover Isaach De Bankole. We enter the home of the police inspector, Gary Lydon, who is in the middle of having sex with a male prostitute, Owen Sharpe. We meet an Atheist doctor, Aidan Gillen, and an extremely wealthy man, Dylan Moran, who thinks nothing of urinating on a million dollar painting he has bought. Along with these citizens we also meet a younger priest, David Wilmot, the Bishop David McSavage, a French woman, Marie-Josee Croze, who just lost her husband and an American writer M. Emmet Walsh. Last, but certainly not least, there is a very moving scene between Gleeson and a cannibalistic murderer,played by his son Domhnall Gleeson.
There is a lot of humor in the exchanges between the priest and those who are challenging his convictions and those of the Catholic church, but as one tells him. “You are just too sharp for this parish,” which turns out to be the truth.
The screenplay by John Michael McDonagh, who also directed, goes into faith, forgiveness and the many weaknesses of man, and woman, without, obviously, picking sides. He has also filmed the picture in the county Sligo which shows off the lush greens of Ireland along with the cliffs and coasts surrounding it.
Each cast member gets a scene to stand out and they meet the challenge but it is Brendan Gleeson and Kelly Reilly, who intrigued me in the TV series “Black Box”, that command your attention during the whole film.
“Calvary” is getting 5 star reviews but I left thinking that maybe if I was Irish or Catholic or a priest, a murderer or a sinner I might have liked it better. Being a sinner I did appreciate much of the dialogue and as a movie lover I certainly admired the acting but the bottom line is that I can’t recommend the film.
By the way there are two very violent scenes and the last 2 minutes of the film, if I understood it correctly, was a stunner.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Hopefully the book “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, which the movie is based on, gives a lot more answers to what happened and what will happen then the screenplay by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide lets you in on. The movie pulled me in and then left me hanging but not enough to want to read the book to see if the answers are there.
The film opens in a black and white world filled with people who are injected every day with medicine to not feel anything, to be alike and whose words are devoid of feelings. We meet Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites, and his two friends Asher, played by Cameron Monaghan, and Fiona, played by Odeya Rush, who are graduating and will be given their appointed life roles. Asher will be a drone pilot, Fiona a nurturer of babies until they are sent to the families they will be raised by and Jonas is given the role of receiver, to be given all the memories of the world’s past including negative and positive feelings.
Jonas will be given all the knowledge that the Receiver of Memory, who is the title role played by Jeff Bridges, has of the past regarding feelings and the more memories he is given the more color enters Jonas’s world. In other major roles Meryl Streep as the community’s Chief Elder who, more or less, decides who will do what when, Alexander Skarsgard and Kate Holmes as Jonas’s parents and Emma Tremblay as his sister.
As a film dealing with feelings/emotions and what a loss life is without them the director Phillip Noyce doesn’t bring any feelings or human emotions to the film version of “The Giver”. He delivers with the Sci-fi but not the drama.
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