Posts Tagged ‘Ben Kingsley’

Media Update 1/19/2017

January 19, 2017


A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

I have never read the books by “Lemony Snicket” because I did not hear about them until well after they were released. I think I might have liked them if I had had the chance but instead, my introduction to the franchise (because it is a franchise now) was the 2004 movie. When I was growing up, I was a huge Jim Carrey fan. The 2004 movie was something I watched in 2006, while in the wilds of New Jersey and affirmed that Jim Carrey had grown up a little bit. I thought it was a good movie. This series is so much better. They replaced Carrey with Neil Patrick Harris who knows when to ham it up and when to play it darkly serious. As a result, the whole production shifts into something darker and more disorienting. Even knowing the rough plots of the first three books, I felt like I might not know what was happening next. On top of that, the kids playing the Baudelaire Orphans are awesome. The character actor’s playing Count Olaf’s acting troupe/henchpeople are really brilliant. There are a ton of great actors swooping in and making great cameos or two episode runs. Patrick Warburton (as Lemony Snicket) is the best I have ever heard or seen from him and that includes The Tick. There is a weird rhythm to the show which is both funny and unsettling and they lean into the gimmick hard. I definitely recommend this one.


Hugo

When I first saw the posters for this movie, I thought it was a cheap kids movie with some bland yet whimsical premise and moved on. However, I have discovered a regularly updated list called 1001 Movies to See Before You Die and this movie made the list in 2011. When I found out that it was on Netflix, I decided to check it out. The Netflix description is horribly bland and would have confirmed my suspicions but thankfully I pressed on. This movie is actually a bit of historical fiction based on a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is set in the early 1930s in Paris, France. Like most parts of Europe, many adults were still rattled by the Great War but were enjoying a period of relative peace. The movie actually took a while to get into but after a bit, the movie grabbed me and never let go. The movie concerns itself with the early film industry (predating movie stars and the glitz and glamor of Hollywood) and specifically Georges Melies who directed silent films and worked with Houdini’s mentor Robert Houdin. The movie is directed by Martin Scorsese and it shows. The thing is put together in such a way that it builds and builds into an emotional crescendo at the end. I have to give all the credit in the world to Ben Kingsley and the legendary Christopher Lee. Sascha Baron Cohen appears and actually delivers a pretty subtle performance that I did not think he was capable of. I recommend this as it surprised me although be warned that it is a bit long.


Trollhunters

I believe I have spoken here about my love for Guillermo Del Toro and the intricate worlds he crafts. He is one of the best writer/creators at building worlds simply by including a lot of background detail and creating beautiful/horrifying imagery. I was surprised when I found out that he had teamed up with Dreamworks to create an all ages show. When I found out what the show was, it made more sense. If you take the Troll Market scenes out of Hellboy 2 and extrapolate that into an animated television show then you can see where Trollhunters comes from. Of course, that is not the whole story. Del Toro is also good at creating relatable characters who talk to each other like human beings. We get a lot of story about the main character’s life as a middle schooler (I assume) who is living with his single mom. His story is actually kind of touching. The other aspect of the show is what made me jump at watching this show this week. The main character’s story is basically the same as a magical girl story (from anime) but he is male. The main character uses magic to transform into fighting form and has to deal with self-doubt, fear and a whole list of swirling emotions so that he can stay in fighting form. I am interested to see where this one goes as I have not watched the entire first part yet but I will. If you like Del Toro and you like stuff similar to How to Train Your Dragon then I recommend this one.

Music of the Week:

Lily Allen – Fuck You

Charlotte Church – Back to Scratch

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

Concrete Blonde – Everybody Knows

Frank Sinatra – High Hopes

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Kid Power”
– I am onto Season 6 of The Office
– I am into Season 4 of Parks and Rec
– I am halfway through Season 4 of Arrested Development
– I am still watching Season 2 of Dusk Till Dawn
– I want to see Hidden Figures so bad
– I’m looking forward to pulling from the 1001 list more and more

Media Update 12/8/2016

December 8, 2016


Suicide Squad

I went into this movie with incredibly low expectations. I still have not seen Batman V. Superman and, at this rate, I may never see it. It helped that the movie was written and directed by a more competent man in David Ayer who made Training Day. The movie apparently had a lot of studio meddling in it. A lot of the movie felt like a music video with supervillains in it. I clocked at least three different popular songs in the first four minutes which just reeks of trying to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy. The highlight of the movie is Margot Robbie who is the highlight of most movies she is in. Her portrayal of Harley Quinn was heavily quotable and brought a lot of life and comedy to what otherwise could have been a much darker movie. A lot of people complained about Jared Leto’s Joker but I really think he did a fine job. What really bothered me was that he did not really need to be in the movie because he barely impacted the plot. They could have reduced his role even more, made the movie shorter and saved him for when he would have more impact later. Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman also really stood out as Amanda Waller and Rick Flag. Davis was especially great with her nearly sociopathic performance. While it was dark, it was in line with the comics and previous portrayals of the character in media. Kinnaman had a tough job of trying to stand out and remain likable but he really pulled it off. Will Smith should not play bad guys. He just was not believable as a contract killer to me. He was fun but he was not the one for that role. Overall, I liked the movie and I really think they should continue with this franchise instead of the Superman franchise. I recommend it but realize that it is still connected to the current DCU movies.


Yoga Hosers

I never saw Tusk (the first film in this trilogy) because it never appealed to me and I also listened to the podcast where Kevin Smith detailed pretty much the whole concept. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Amid all the dick and fart jokes, a lot of Smith’s movies spoke a lot of truth about life. This movie was written and made while Kevin Smith was smoking a lot of pot and it kind of shows. However, that is not quite a horrible thing. It is a love letter from the US to Canada and also a family affair. This movie is very playful and has a lot of meta, self-referential humor similar to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The movie also has a similar kinetic energy to that movie. The power of this movie comes from the chemistry between its stars Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin Smith’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter). The two of them have been best friends in real life since kindergarten and that was definitely channeled into the movie. Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are also in the movie. Smith is like a Looney Tunes character and his joke gets old but then suddenly gets funny again. Depp transforms into a character from Tusk, a pathetic French detective who enlists the young girls to combat evil. Finally, there was Ralph Garman who managed to work his celebrity impressions into the movie despite it not making any sense but he was still fun. There are also a ton of fun cameos. The movie really makes me want to see Lily-Rose in more stuff. I definitely recommend it for Kevin Smith fans and fans of goofy movies.


Jungle Book

I have been wary of watching this movie because the original was such a good movie on its own. It has some really good Disney music and some really good animation. It is a classic for a reason. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty but it was clear that it was not a musical. I kept hope that it was still a musical but it was not to be. Strangely, there is one single music number almost halfway through and again over an hour in. I would have rather they just left it out at that point. While I kind of missed the musical aspects (the score is nothing special) the movie is stunningly beautiful. It is incredibly hard to believe that this was shot with one child actor and a boatload of computer generated animation. The animals are all so lifelike and well-animated that they feel almost like real animals (except for the speaking perfect English part). The kid, Neel Sethi, is really good for his age. He put in a lot of work and does a lot of good acting and some stunt work. The voice work of all the famous actors they hired is fantastic. Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong’o especially were fantastic. Scarlet Johansson was also excellent but she was only in the movie for less than two minutes. I think they should have cast somebody besides Christopher Walken. Bill Murray was good. I think what I liked about this is how much better the writing is from the original story. It added more lore to the story as well, drawing more of Kipling’s work. I recommend this one for sure.

Music of the Week:
Red Sun Rising – Amnesia

The Record Company – Off The Ground

Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Come And Get It

Blackalicious ft. Chali 2na & Lateef the Truthspeaker – 4000 Miles

Getter – Rip N Dip

Weekly Updates:
– I am now on Season 2 of The Office
– I continued to watch Season 2 of Dark Matter
– I am caught up on Season 2 of Ash vs. The Evil Dead
– This week’s theme is “Unlikely Heroes”
– I continued Season 2 of Parks and Recreation
– I continued Season 1 of Luther
– “Not expecting much but being surprised and happy” is probably a secondary theme this week


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