Tag: Halle Barre

Cloud Atlas

by on Feb.12, 2017, under Movie Reviews

cloud atlasMultiple intertwined stories from different timelines told simultaneously with numerous actors playing various parts. Confused yet? Yep, me too. I was able to follow along but due to the ambitious nearly 3 hour length of the film, I found myself not caring much towards the end. While clearly an intensive endeavor for everyone involved, they seem to overreach on this one and end up with an exhausting, confusing mess that keeps changing the minute you get a handle on what’s happening only to offer that same formula repeatedly.

Presented by The Wachowskis (from The Matrix trilogy), Cloud Atlas is marked as one of the most expensive independent films of all time. It’s also unfortunately one of the biggest flops as well. It’s a shame, but I see why as while I appreciate the challenge that was undertaken with this project, its delivery is where it falls short of what could’ve been a compelling presentation. I think my biggest complaint is how often it changes from one scene to the other. The problem isn’t just the scene change but the way you change to a whole different character with a different storyline in a different time period, which happens a lot. Every time you connect with what’s going on, you’re thrown off-balance by another scene switch.

There is such a thing as over thinking a film and over-intellectualizing the process in terms of how you deliver it. Cloud Atlas is a perfect example of this (with a $100M price tag). The filmmakers obviously didn’t consider how the audience would experience this and there was a disconnect there that I would guess they’re still licking their wounds from.

The lineup is truly impressive and there are some great deliveries here. However, I saw some instances of what felt like the actors were spreading themselves thin at times. Tom Hanks seemed a little worn down trying different dialects that weren’t always super intelligible. The writing was something that influenced this but other actors played it a bit straighter which seemed to help maintain strong deliveries. Hanks appeared to be trying a little too hard here and there. Halle Berry is hit or miss at times throughout too. The 2 actors I thought were strongest were Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving. You have to give credit to all the talented people who played multiple roles here, that’s a challenge no matter what level you’re at. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Keith David, James D’Arcy, and Ben Whishaw.

If you’ve got the endurance and like to challenge yourself, you might want to check it out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

by on Jun.10, 2014, under Movie Reviews

The latest installment in the X-Men universe harkens back story-wise to some of the storyline from the comic books involving time travel and the sentinels. So if you’re a fan of the comics, you might really like this one. I grew up with those books and stories so I was really enjoying this film and appreciating seeing those concepts up on the big screen. This film also marks the return of Bryan Singer directing (thankfully although First Class was really well done but X-Men III directed by Brett Ratner is the one we’re all trying to forget, sorry Ratner but you suck, stick to doing car commercials).

Interestingly, X-Men III is borrowed from story-wise a little bit here and there as this one kind of picks up in some ways with detail left over from the third installment. It’s a bit inconsistent though. Jean Grey and Cyclops are still dead (mostly) but Magneto has his power back and Prof. X is alive and kicking (as was hinted at during the end of the 3rd film). While those things aren’t explained, it may not have been really necessary to do so, suffice it to say you may have to just accept some things that just ARE without the detail being filled in.

As far as the story goes, it’s well crafted but you will need to pay attention as there’s a lot going on in here as there are jumps in time. The overall premise is that the X-Men are in the future and are being hunted by the sentinels, who are out to eliminate all mutants and humans that might breed future mutants. But, this isn’t the old clunky robot-ish sentinels, these futuristic models are bad-asses and have adapted to the ways of the mutants and their powers, making them nearly invulnerable. Wolverine is sent back in time to help prevent the sentinels being created in the first place. Of course when you mess with time, things don’t always go as planned…

Your favorite mutants are all here along with some old faces and new faces. It was great to see Colussus in action again along with Beast, Quicksilver, Magneto, Mystique, Iceman, Havok, Toad, Storm and more. The actors all play their roles with great dedication and passion. Hugh Jackman is back as Wolverine of course as is James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Prof. X and Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto. The lineup also includes Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lawrence, Shawn Ashmore, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Halle Berry and Evan Peters as Quicksilver (the prison break sequence with Quicksilver and Magneto is worth the price of admission alone) alongside a really strong lineup of talent.

Singer brings his signature directing style back to the film and does a great job balancing a strong story along with great acting and amazing effects.

As usual, this is a Marvel comic book film so you’ll want to stay the whole way through the credits! I highly recommend this one…

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Movie 43

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This has got to be in the top 10 list of the worst movies ever made. Movie 43 is Peter Farrelly’s attempt at making an homage to movies such as The Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women From the Moon. The film is comprised of a collection of shorts that are suppose to be humorous or outrageous or both. Sadly, it just comes off as really, really poorly written and produced…

The plots are ridiculous, it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking (the word tasteless fits in here as well) while ultimately losing its shock appeal through the terrible writing and plot design. The quality of it is what is really shocking here. The Farrelly brothers have always delivered films that challenged taste but usually had a point in there somewhere. This is just shock and cheap for the sake of being shocking and cheap but with no real rewards.

The writing is well, bad. Here’s a prime example – one of the stories consists of a date between 2 people – Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman. Jackman’s character has balls on his chin. This is the big gag. That’s right, balls on his chin. That drives the whole concept of this segment – balls on his character’s chin. That seems to be the basis for most of these segments – some cheap gag that comes off as something created for the novelty of shock value with nothing else behind it. Another story premise centers around a woman wanting her boyfriend to poop on her which serves as the main plot point while everything else circles around that idea. Wow.

The directing comes off as lazy and just going through the motions as it’s very un-imaginative and doesn’t present the material in the same fun way that other films in this style were delivered in. It looks like it was shot on a low budget and just pieced together without much effort behind it. The acting is pretty bad too as most of the actors look like they’re phoning it in to repay a favor to Farrelly. Ugh.

There’s only one thing that’s impressive here, and that’s the lineup of talent. I read several articles online that mentioned that noone helped to promote this film and some even tried to squash the film from being released. The impressive credits of actors include (besides Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet): Richard Gere, Liev Schriber, Naomi Watts, Justin Long, Halle Barre, Jason Sudekis, Patrick Warburton, Anna Ferris, Chris Pratt, Greg Kinnear, Dennis Quaid, Johnny Knoxvile, Sean William Scott, Emma Stone, Common, Will Sasso, Seth McFarlane, and more…

If you liked The Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women From the Moon – watch those movies instead.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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