The Monuments Men-A Movie Review

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Jun 042014
 

[imdb id=tt2177771]

We watched this from Redbox on May 24.

Yet another movie I was really looking forward to seeing, but was disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, but it was like an attempt at a noble documentary. I think it would have been better as a documentary.

As far as the storyline, I had no idea that Hitler amassed such a monumental collection of the world’s masterpieces while conquering Europe. When I initially saw the trailer for the movie, I thought it would be an interesting flick of war intrigue. To my horror, about half way through I kept fiddling with the stop button on my TV wanting to escape.

I cannot put my finger on any one thing as to why this movie doesn’t work. Since George Clooney and Matt Damon star in the film, maybe I was hoping for a WWII version of Oceans 11 where the gang steals back valuable artwork from the bad guys. All the actors are people who’s work I enjoy. These are great actors, but mediocre performances, likely because the screenplay just didn’t give anyone any great scenes. But that could be cause the work itself, while vitally important, just wasn’t that exciting. Continue reading »

Robin Hood – A Movie Review

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May 172010
 

In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.

“Robin Hood” chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion, a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.

With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.

Genres: Action/Adventure and Drama; Running Time: 2 hrs. 11 min.; Release Date: May 14th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, William Marshall, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Kevin Durand, Max von Sydow

Directed By: Ridley Scott

We went to see this film at an earlier showing Friday evening to avoid some of the crowds. The film is no Gladiator, maybe one of the best films, but it is a decent movie. I got my money’s worth.

One of the problems with the film is a sense of urgency. Instead of sometimes lingering to develop the story, it often charges ahead and can seem somewhat aimless. Also, often the music overpowers the dialog. Combined with the accents, it can be hard to understand.

Crowe and Scott reunite again and Crowe gives a solid performance as a rougher and tougher Robin. Blanchett too is solid as an older Maiden, showing she is a tough woman who also willing to fight: a woman that properly would not have existed in this period. Strong shows once again that he is an excellent villain, having stared in Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, a man who thinks about his own self-interest. Strong has been making a good career as villain for hire and he was the strongest actor in the film. The American in this English set film did well, William Hurt was very strong as the wronged advice in the King’s court, whilst Huston seemed to be having a blast as Richard I and obviously shows he is not as noble he seems.

This film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on-screen like this before. I actually hope there is a sequel and the Merry Band get more film time.

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Notes on a Scandal

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May 142007
 

Notes On A ScandalA pottery teacher (Blanchett) enters into an affair with one of her students, causing upheaval in her personal and professional lives.

Directed by
Richard Eyre

Genres
Drama

Cast
Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Tom Georgeson, Michael Maloney, Joanna Scanlan, Shaun Parkes, Emma Kennedy, Syreeta Kumar, Andrew Simpson, Philip Davis, Wendy Nottingham, Tameka Empson, Leon Skinner, Bill Nighy, Juno Temple

Barbara Covett (Dame Judi Dench) is the typical old school teacher many of us can relate to. The old witch who we suspected of living alone with no family, who we detested for her rule with an iron fist. Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) is the opposite, like the soft teacher everyone bullied because they knew they could, and you always got someone that fancied them, mostly because they were the best of a bad bunch ( no offence to Blanchett). Problems arrive when it’s more than just Barbara that shows an interest in Sheba. When one of her students Steven Connolly shows her attention she isn’t used to the problems escalate to illegal doings when Sheba reciprocates these affections and they embark on a affair. When Barbara finds out she blackmails Sheba with nothing other than friendship. However this means that she can keep Sheba under control. The acting in this film is nothing shirt of exceptional, however it is in a way overacted. Everything is emphasised with tensions being heightened in an effort to show just how insane Barabra really is. She’s monstrous, and one would think she would easily turn to murder if this same character was in a different film. Phillip Glass’s score plays over the film, narrating it like a finely tuned opera. Even the end screams horror, as Barbara moves onto a new victim, the monster defeated this time but still not subdued. I really hope there is no sequel; however I can imagine how tempting it may be.

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Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Jul 252004
 

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The former Fellowship of the Ring prepare for the final battle for Middle Earth, while Frodo & Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.

Directed by
Peter Jackson

Genres
Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Cast
Noel Appleby, Alexandra Astin, Sean Astin, David Aston, John Bach, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Sadwyn Brophy, Alistair Browning, Marton Csokas, Richard Edge, Jason Fitch, Bernard Hill

DVD

Obviously, I’m aware of the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is actually one giant movie, but since it was released in parts, that’s how I’m judging them. The Return Of The King is the final chapter, and I think that it is the true epic fantasy masterpiece that was intended all along. The first two were very good, but they were both just warm-ups compared to this great film.

At this point everyone has come to know and love all of the characters (eh…yes, even Frodo..), and the stakes have become tremendously high. Kingdoms are at their knees, and the only two characters who can save the day are getting weaker and weaker. The tension was very high in this episode and I can honestly say that out of all 3 this was the only one that had me on the edge of my seat. There were many memorable scenes (one of my favourites including the part with the giant spider) that made this the classic that it is sure to stay for decades to come.

This is the longest of the series, mostly because of the ending that seems to last a while. This was a good ending, and I can see why Frodo did what he did. He, and us the audience, have gone through an incredible ordeal and I think we needed that 20 minute linger. When the battle is over, and the celebrations have ended, there is a sad emptiness felt. The films spanned over 3 years, there have been the extended cuts of course, but after that, it’s all over. Peter Jackson gave us an ending that was both appropriate and admirable.

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