Archive for Rachel McAdams

Spotlight

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

What people are saying:

Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects” 4 1/2 stars

“Spotlight shows how difficult it is to challenge a hallowed institution. This requires deep though on the part of the person initiating the investigation. They have to realize that breaking the law applies equally to all citizens: bakers, bankers, bartenders, and clergy. The film shows the drama in the investigation and trying to keep it from being hijacked. A super film: highly recommend taking the time to view it. ” 5 stars

“Don’t underestimate the power of journalism! My salute to the real Spotlight team and all the people who made this film. Goosebumps all the way through. You won’t believe the events portrayed in the film actually happened in the real world.” 4 1/2 stars

“After watching this movie, I’d like to see one about what the church has done to clean up its act. I thought the line about celibacy being the cause of it laughable and incredibly naive. It was hard to get too interested in such an old story.” 3 stars

“This drama based on true events does tell a good story about how the ball got rolling in this cover-up. But as a movie, it doesn’t quite meet the mark. Some of the acting (especially from Ruffalo) is average, and there are a few filler scenes and dead spots. I was expecting more complexity and revelations as the movie unfolded. With all of the recent media reports and government inquiries into these matters, the facts didn’t produce the shock value which they would have when these stories initially broke in the media” 3 stars

Doctor Strange (2016)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In Kathmandu, Nepal, the sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and murder its librarian, keeper of ancient and mystical texts. They steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers.

Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange, believing he can regain use of his hands, instead uses all his resources pursuing experimental surgeries in vain. After learning of Jonathon Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj. There, Strange is taken in by another sorcerer under the Ancient One, Mordo. The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance, which reminds her of Kaecilius.

Strange begins his tutelage under the Ancient One and Mordo, and learns from the ancient books in the library, now presided over by the master Wong. Strange learns that Earth is protected from other dimensions by a spell formed from three buildings called Sanctums, found in New York City, London, and Hong Kong. The task of the sorcerers is to protect the Sanctums, though Pangborn chose to forgo this responsibility in favor of channeling mystical energy into walking again. Strange advances quickly over several months, even secretly reading from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life.

Kaecilius and his followers use the stolen pages to begin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. Strange agrees to break the loop if Dormammu leaves Earth, and the latter takes Kaecilius and the zealots with him.

Disgusted by Strange and the Ancient One’s disregard for the consequences of defying nature, Mordo departs. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange agrees to help Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo visits Pangborn and steals the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has “too many sorcerers”.

REVIEW:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has reached the point now to where they can explore some of the lesser known, but still major characters. This is why we are getting films such as Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and this one, Doctor Strange. It is a risky move with this guy, especially with the use of mysticism, but if anyone cane make it work, it is Marvel. Let’s see how they did, shall we?

What is this about?

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilising a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What did I like?

Visuals. You’ve seen the trailers and advertisements for this film, I’m sure, so I don’t really need to tell you that this film is something that can best be described as Inception on acid. Doctor Strange, much like Thor was, is not an easy character to bring to life, especially when you  start trying to portray his powers. Throw in others who have powers that may or may nor be on another level from his and your mind is blown! This is just something that has to be seen!

Strange things. When casting Dr. Strange, the first person I thought of was Robert Downey, Jr., but the problem with that choice is he’s already playing Iron Man (strangely enough there are man similarities between Tony Stark and Stephen Strange, starting with their choice of facial hair). Upon hearing Benedict Cumberbatch was cast, I was skeptical as to how he would pull it off. Not because he’s a bad actor, but because this seemed to be a bit beneath him. As it turns out, this is as perfect a role for him as Sherlock. Cumberbatch brings the cockiness needed, while also being he defeated student who is learning everything he can. I look forward to seeing much more from him in this role.

So, that’s the connection! For a Marvel film, there is about as much mention of the other Marvel properties as there are in the Netflix shows, which I actually appreciated. There is one mention of the Avengers that I remember and that was it. We don’t need to be beaten over the head with constant reminders. A few Easter eggs are nice here and there, but everything has its limit. By holding off on the MCU stuff, the scene at the beginning of the credits is much more effective as it ties him into the universe and sets up one of the next Marvel films (I won’t spoil which one).

What didn’t I like?

Is this love? It seems as if one can’t enjoy a superhero movie without the token love story, whether it fits or not. In this case, it does not. In the film’s defense, this isn’t truly a love story, as much as it is an attempt to put two people who have history and similar interests together just because. Rachel McAdams is a gorgeous woman, but I don’t think the audience would be missing much had her scenes been reduced.

Villain. If there is one weakness in these Marvel films, it seems to be the villains. Other than Loki, none of them have been memorable, let alone a threat. I know what you’re going to say….Zemo was a threat in Captain America: Civil War and Thanos is lurking out there. With Zemo, sure he was effective, but who remembers anything about the guy? Thanos’ time is coming soon…VERY soon. You can add Dormmamu and his minion Kaecilius to the list of ineffective villains. We are never really made clear of their intentions, other than Dormmamu wants to escape the Dark Dimensiom and send the Earth back there, but why?!? I need some motivation for why you are trying to destroy existence!

Whitewashing. Much has been said about the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. For me, not being Asian, it isn’t a big deal, but I can imagine how difficult it is to accept the change. I’m not going to go into some long diatribe about this, but I do feel as if the audience deserved at least a snippet of the Ancient One as an old Asian guy. The film makes a point about how his form is fluid, so who’s to say he needs to look like a creepy, bald white woman?

Final verdict on Doctor Strange? A solid introduction to a lesser-known character. The film really shines when it comes to the visuals. Cumberbatch, sporting an American accent that he doesn’t quite seem comfortable with, seems to be having fun with the character which really sells it to the audience. There are a few minor issues here and there, but they aren’t anything that cannot be overcome. Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Go check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

About Time

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family can travel in time. There are a few conditions: they can only travel backward in time, and only to places they have actually been. Upon learning this, Tim goes back to the night of a recent New Year’s Eve party where at midnight he had been too shy to kiss someone and rectifies the situation. After being discouraged from using it to acquire money and fame, he decides that he will use this ability to help his love life.

The following summer, Charlotte (Margot Robbie), the beautiful friend of Tim’s sister Kit Kat, comes to stay with the family. Tim has an instant attraction and at the end of her stay, decides to let her know. She tells him that he left it too late to do anything, and so Tim travels back to an earlier point. This time, Charlotte says that they should wait until her last day and talk again. Heartbroken, Tim realises that she is not attracted to him and that time travel will not be able to help change her mind.

Tim moves to London to pursue a career as a lawyer and stays with an acquaintance of his father, Harry, a misanthropic playwright. After some months, Tim and his friend Jay visit a Dans le Noir establishment, where Tim meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), and the two fall for each other. He gets her phone number and returns home to find out Harry’s play’s opening night was a disaster as the lead actor forgot his lines. Tim then goes back in time and attends the play and, after many complications, ensures it is a success.

Later, Tim attempts to call Mary only to find her number is not in his phone. He realises that by going to the play instead of the restaurant he never met Mary. Remembering something from the date, Tim eventually locates Mary and learns that she has a boyfriend (met after the night of the play). Tim decides to go back to the point where she met her boyfriend and ensures she goes out with him instead. They become a couple.

On a night out with his friend Rory, Tim meets Charlotte again. After time travelling several times to prevent and do over multiple awkward conversation mishaps, Tim walks her back to her apartment and she invites him inside. Tim turns her down and runs back to his apartment and proposes to Mary. She accepts, and they learn later that she is pregnant.

On the first birthday of Mary and Tim’s daughter, Posy, Tim’s sister Kit Kat crashes her car after a row with her obnoxious boyfriend, Jimmy. Tim, deciding it best she never met him, tells her about his ability to time-travel and takes her back to make sure they never meet, but upon returning to present time finds that altering the timeline means that Tim never had Posy. Instead, a boy was born in her place. After speaking to his father, Tim learns that once his child was born, travelling back to a time before the child’s birth will in fact stop that child from ever being born, as time will happen differently in every aspect of his life and a different child will be conceived each time. Tim reluctantly changes things back to the way they were and has to watch Kit Kat go through the pain of breaking up with Jimmy to ensure Posy is born. Kit Kat begins to put her life back together, Tim sets her up with his kind friend Jay, and the two become a couple. Tim and Mary have another child.

One day, Tim learns that his father has terminal cancer due to smoking and that time travel cannot change it as he started before Tim and Kit Kat were born. His father has known for quite some time but kept travelling back in time to effectively extend his life and spend more time with his family, but his time is running out, though he is ready to pass away. Eventually his father dies, but before he does his father tells Tim to re-live each day, once with all the stresses a normal person faces, and then again knowing what to expect from the day, and to embrace it and enjoy it. Tim follows his advice and keeps travelling back into the past to visit his dad whenever he misses him.

Eventually, Mary wishes to have another child. Tim also wants another but knows doing so means he won’t be able to visit his father in the past again after the baby is born, but he agrees and Mary becomes pregnant. After visiting his dad for the following nine months, the time eventually comes for Mary to give birth, Tim goes back and lets his father know that this is the last time he will visit him. They then both travel back in time together when Tim was a small boy and relive a fond memory of them playing on the beach. Tim comes to realise that it is better to live each day once as if he was an ordinary person and as if he has deliberately travelled back in time to be there. The film ends with Tim getting his three children ready for school.

REVIEW:

Before the holidays, About Time was released, but it wasn’t a hit. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe it has made its budget back. With that said, though, this is the kind of film that is perfect for those that like to see their favorite novels appear on the big screen, or are fans of non-cheesy, borderline drama romantic comedies. However, is there anything for the general fan to enjoy? Is it any good?

What is this about?

A young man who comes from a family of time-travelers changes history for the better in this romantic comedy from director Richard Curtis. During one of his trips to the past, he falls for a woman played by Rachel McAdams.

What did I like?

Time travel. We’ve all had those moments where we wish we could go back just a few minutes and do or say something different. Well, that is the major selling point of this film for me. This guy, played by Domhall Gleeson, is part of a family that is able to travel through time. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I could go back and change something, especially if I could do it without consequences, as we are led to believe (more on that later).

Balance. There seems to be a nice balance among this film between the comedy, touching moments, heavy drama, and even a couple of “off-color” comments, for lack of a better term. Not very often we get a film that manages to strike such a perfect balance among those elements, so kudos to this film for doing such an impossible feat. My initial thoughts were that this was going to turn into some sappy, chick flick, tear jerker.

Rachel. I’ve had my eye on Rachel McAdams since Mean Girls. What an actress she has grown into, let me tell you. This isn’t the best material for her, but it allows her to flex her chops with some juicy and emotional scenes, including one where she is able to display the insecurities that every woman seems to have about what they look like in their clothes and what their significant other thinks about what they look like. I don’t know why, but I found this to be quite a poignant observation on her part that helped us to connect with her character a little better.

What didn’t I like?

Rules. As with every time travel movie, book, TV show, or whatever, there are rules that have to be followed, or everything falls apart. I mentioned earlier that there really aren’t any rules for these time travelers. Well, for a good portion of the film, that is what we are led to believe, but conveniently in the second half of the film, it is introduced that once they have a kid, they can never go past the birth. Something about that specific sperm, I believe. I don’t have an issue with that rule, but rather that is seemed to be conveniently introduced after the child was born. Could we have not gotten than in the first place?

Sister. Why is it that every film of this nature has some sort of sibling drama that seems to all but bring the film to a complete stop, and it usually happens around a wedding or other important event. The free spirit sister has an issue with her boyfriend beating her, which is no laughing matter, but my goodness did that whole segment bring things down, especially since she was such a light character. Having her go through such unfortunate events was not a good choice, in my opinion, but given the weight that this film wants to have, would it have really hurt to have someone who was a true free spirit?

Charm only goes so far. There is no question that this film is extremely charming, but that doesn’t excuse it for what some have said is “reassuringly bland.” I want to defend this film, but I just can’t bring my self to do so because it is pretty much the equivalent of an unsalted cracker. It provides sustenance, and you can add some stuff on top of it, such as time travel, but in the end all you have is a flatlining, somewhat boring film.

Surprisingly more entertaining that I expected, About Time delivered on all that it promised. However, the plotholes and genericness that it possesses will keep me from returning to this world and watching it again. Does that mean that I will steer others from seeing it? No, as a matter of fact, I think many who are more into this type of film will really get a kick out of it, so go ahead and give it a shot. You may enjoy it more than you think!

3 out of 5 stars

The Hot Chick

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins in an Abyssinian castle in 50 BC, where a princess uses a pair of enchanted earrings to escape an arranged marriage by swapping bodies with a slave girl. When each woman wears one of the earrings, their bodies magically trade places while their minds remain where they were.

The rest of the film is set in the modern-day suburban hometown of Jessica Spencer (McAdams), a popular high-school girl, and her friends April (Faris), Keecia (Maritza Murray), and Lulu (Alexandra Holden). April is Jessica’s best friend, and all four girls are cheerleaders. At school one day, Jessica makes fun of an overweight girl named Hildenburg (Megan Kuhlmann) and a Wiccan girl named Eden (Sam Doumit). After that, Jessica and her friends visit the local mall, where Jessica gets her rival Bianca (Maria-Elena Laas) into trouble and finds the earrings in an African-themed store. The earrings are not for sale, so Jessica steals them.

Shortly afterward, a small-time criminal named Clive (Schneider) robs a nearby gas station. When Jessica and her friends stop there and mistake him for an employee, he services their car to avoid raising suspicion. Jessica accidentally drops one of the earrings on the ground, and Clive picks it up after the girls drive away. That evening, in their respective homes, Jessica and Clive put on their earrings. When they wake up the next morning, each of them is trapped in the other’s body. This is especially difficult for Jessica, who has a cheering competition and the school prom coming up soon.

After Jessica convinces her friends of who she is, they help her investigate the body swap. Hildenburg, Eden, and Bianca are all innocent, Hildenburg and Eden join Jessica after she apologizes to them, and Eden finds a picture of the earrings on the internet. When the girls return to the African store, the shopkeeper explains how the earrings work and tells the girls they must find the other earring soon or the change will become permanent.

Meanwhile, Jessica is hired for two jobs while secretly living with April. At her own home, where she works as a gardener, her parents tell her about their marital problems and she helps them rekindle their sex life. At school, while cleaning the boys’ locker room as a janitor, she spies on her boyfriend Billy (Lawrence), who truly loves her, and April’s boyfriend Jake (Olsen), who has another girlfriend. Faced with Jake’s infidelity, April begins to fall in love with Jessica, who agrees to take her to the prom. At the cheering competition, Jessica signals romantically to Billy while disguised as the school mascot, but when the head of her suit falls off, he becomes confused and leaves with Bianca.

During this time, Clive has been using Jessica’s body to make money from men, including Billy, who gives him his money and car, believing he is Jessica. However, on the evening of the prom, Hildenburg sees a video of Clive robbing a man on the television news and goes to the scene of the crime. After finding a business card for the club where Clive works as a pole dancer, she informs Jessica at the prom, and the girls go to the club. When they find Clive, Jessica steals his earring and puts it on herself along with the other one. With the two earrings now on the same person, Jessica’s and Clive’s bodies return to their original owners. After Jessica makes up with Billy, the film ends with the school’s graduation ceremony, followed by a scene in which Clive, running from the law and still dressed in lingerie, is abducted by a bartender who believes he is a homosexual.

REVIEW:

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you’re even thinking about watching this, then you half know what to expect because you’re, in all likelihood, a fan of Rob Schneider’s films, right?

If this is the case, then you’ll love The Hot Chick, just probably not as much as his other flicks.

In this film, the plot involves a pair of African earrings that have the power to switch the bodies of the people wearing them. Somehow, these mystical earrings end up in the hands of your typical evil cheerleader who happens to switch bodies with a man who is her polar opposite. While she is in his body, though, she learns how much of an evil person she was, how much her boyfriend really loves her, and how great her best friend is.

Sounds like some sort of after-school special, right? Well, I wold agree with you, except that some of the jokes and situations in here remind you that this is a Schneider film, not to mention the recurring Adam Sandler character in the African shop, and the “that’s a huge bitch!” line that is uttered in the club.

As far as comedies go, this one could have gone in a totally raunchy direction and never looked back, but instead it sort of held back. Could this be a sign of maturity for Schneider?

Having said that, though, I can’t help but feel a little gipped that we didn’t get something more crass out of this film.

The story is alright, but it seems as if we’ve seen this whole thing too many times before, often done better.

The cast is ok, but every one of them is underutilized.

First of all, the “hot chick” is supposed to be Rachel McAdams. True enough, she is hot, but for a film that spends a good deal of time in the bedroom or cheerleader practice, or with other girls, they could have really played up the hotness angle.

Anna Faris, who I think is the hottest chick in the flick, was ok as the best friend, but it just seemed beneath her talents. Now, given the year this was released, I may just be thinking too present day. I think she was still an up and comer at this time.

Ron Schneider was his usual schlubby self, maybe even moreso than normal, but there wasn’t anything interesting about his time on-screen. I will say that his capturing of Rachel McAdams’ mannerisms was impressive, though.

Matthew Lawrence plays the stereotypical high school quarterback who is dating the head cheerleader. Nothing wrong with his performance, except we all know this gy can act, but this script didn’t really give him anything to work with, save for one scene where he finds out Jessica is in Clive’s body. That reaction was priceless!

I thought this was on ok flick, but nothing to write home about. It seemed like it was trying to be a bit more on the wholesome side, while keeping that “frat boy” mentality that many of Schneider’s films tend to exude. So, should you see this? Well, this won’t make you lose any brain cells or anything like that, there are better body swapping and Schneider films out there, so use your best judgement.

3 out of 5 stars

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In the early 1970s, Henry DeTamble is in a car accident with his mother that results in her death. Henry survives by inadvertently time traveling back two weeks earlier at the scene. Moments later, Henry is helped by an older version of himself who has traveled back. Unable to control the timing or destinations of his traveling, Henry finds himself drawn to significant people, places, and events in his life but is incapable of changing events beyond the minor differences his presence creates.

In 1995, Henry meets Clare who is overjoyed to see him although he is meeting her for the first time. Clare explains that she has known Henry for most of her life and that he is her best friend. They begin a relationship, which is challenged by Henry’s disorder. His sporadic time traveling is further complicated by the fact that he is completely naked when he arrives at his destination, and from a young age he has learned how to pick locks and steal to acquire clothes and survive his travels. Among his getaways are many visits to young Clare; from present-day Clare’s diary he gets a list of dates when he visited her, and gives those to young Clare so that she can be waiting for him with clothes. In 2003, Henry and Clare marry, though he actually time travels away before the ceremony, and an older version of himself arrives in time to step in.

Henry’s disappearances take their toll on his relationship with Clare. His disorder allows him to win the lottery by having the numbers in advance, but also makes having a child with Clare seemingly impossible, as Henry’s genes cause their unborn fetuses to time travel. After numerous such miscarriages, Henry has a secret vasectomy to end their suffering. Clare soon gets pregnant one last time — by a visiting younger version of Henry — and is able to carry the baby full term. Henry travels forward in time before the child is born, and meets their daughter Alba as a preteen; she tells him that she is a time traveler too, but has increasing control over when and where she travels. She also tells Henry that he will die when she is five, a fact that Henry keeps from Clare upon his return to the present. Young Alba is visited sporadically by her preteen self, who ultimately tries to prepare the younger girl for Henry’s death. A devastated Clare soon finds out what is to come. Later, Henry time travels and is shot by Clare’s father as he hunts; he returns in time to die in Clare’s arms. A younger Henry later visits Alba and Clare, giving Clare hope that he will visit again, but he tells her not to spend her life waiting for him

REVIEW:

Ok, I have one question before I begin this review. Why is it that no one can travel through time with their clothes on? Well, I shouldn’t say no one, but it seems to be more and more are making the leaps nude (remember The Terminator, anyone). Of course, if the one in question was Rachel McAdams, I highly doubt I’d be questioning the lack of clothing.

So, apparently this film was optioned to be made before the novel was even finished. Talk about ambitious, huh? Anyway, The Time Traveler’s Wife deals with the random time skipping of a mild-mannered Chicago librarian who randomly jumps through time to various points in his lifetime (sort of put me in the mind of Quantum Leap when he mentioned the lifetime part).

The odd part is that he made the really random jump to some odd field where this little girl was playing and, kept returning there and in the present time marries her.

I can’t comment too much on the story, as I haven’t read the book, but one thing that I can say is that it actually is pretty good. However, it would have been nice to know why it is he jumps around and can only stay for a limited time, not to mention why he can’t control his jumps, yet his daughter can. Again, these could be explained in the book, so I’ll hold my tongue a bit…for now.

While this is a heavy drama, the sci-fi element are what piqued my interest. It is quite obvious they played down the sci-fi to appease the women, who would be drawn in with the sappy drama. That’s ok, though. Not every film can be for guys. I just wished they would have done something more to appease the male viewers.

Eric Bana is what you’ve come to expect from him in these kind of role…a bit aloof, yet attractive to women. His take on this character and the various ages and stages are quite remarkable, though.

Rachel McAdams is as gorgeous as ever. She plays the devoted titular character. She really brings to life the pain her character had to feel with a husband that can just randomly disappear at any minute and not knowing when he’ll be back, as well the other frustrations that came with being married to a time traveler.

To keep this film from getting to serious, Ron Livingston was thrown in as a bit of comic relief. I say a bit, because that’s what it was. His character was there to do nothing more than lighten the mood and give Henry a best friend. Having said that, he doesn’t do a bad job with what he has to do.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of those films that is good, bt not very interesting. At least that’s how I see it. I mean, I found this to be very well-made, albeit a bit overdramatic (even for a drama), but just couldn’t get fully invested in the story. I don’t really have any intentions of watching this film again, bt that’s my personal preference. Would I recommend this to anyone? Oh yes, definitely. It isn’t quite a must-see, but it is worth the time. I warn those of you that are prone to fits of crying, have your box of tissues handy near the end.

4 out of 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Holmes and Watson racing against time to prevent a human sacrifice ritual conducted by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). They manage to stop the sacrifice ritual just in time. The police, led by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), arrive after Holmes and Watson neutralize Lord Blackwood and proceed to arrest him.

Lord Blackwood triggers panic within the prison, even causing a prison warden to be struck down with a seizure. Holmes on the other hand has been bored silly in the three months between Blackwood’s capture and his impending execution. Meanwhile, Watson has met a girl named Mary (Kelly Reilly) whom he intends to wed, and will be moving out of his apartment. Holmes on the other hand gets re-acquainted with the only person who has managed to fool him twice: Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). She offers him a sum of money to pursue a case, and leaves his apartment. Holmes disguises himself as a vagrant and trails Adler to a coach, within which sits a man whose face is not seen. He has a wrist-mounted contraption that deploys a concealed short-barreled pistol, which he uses to chase the disguised Holmes away from the coach.

The day before his execution, Blackwood asks to meet with Holmes. Holmes notices that Blackwood has scrawled occult symbols and inscriptions on the walls of his prison cell, and Blackwood warns Holmes that death will not be an obstacle to him. He states that three more murders will occur, and there is nothing Holmes can do about it.

Blackwood is subsequently executed by hanging, and Watson himself personally verifies that Blackwood has no pulse and is clinically dead. Three days after he is buried, the stones that sealed his tomb have been shattered and a witness claims he saw Blackwood leave the tomb alive. Holmes and Watson are called to the scene to investigate. The coffin is removed and instead of Blackwood’s corpse, they find the body of a red haired midget, the very man Irene Adler had asked him to find.

With Blackwood apparently back from the dead, London is astir with rumors about his dark powers and Holmes and Watson resume their hunt to track him down and uncover the mystery of his resurrection. Their adventures lead them to uncover an occult-dabbling secret society known as the Temple of the Four Orders (similar in vein to secret societies such as the Order of the Eastern Temple, the Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Rosicrucians), with Blackwood eventually leading it on a quest for world domination. Blackwood leaves many (apparently supernatural) murders in his wake, while planning with the members of the Order to launch a major attack on the British parliament.

Holmes and Watson stop his attack on the parliament disarming a machine designed to release a chemical gas. In a battle on the construction site of the Tower Bridge, Holmes reveals all of the scientific methods behind Blackwood’s seemingly supernatural resurrection, powers, and murders. Blackwood falls to his death high above London, and Holmes handcuffs himself to Ms. Adler until she explains her motives to become involved with the case. She explains that the mysterious caped man in the carriage is one Professor Moriarty, who had used the battle to covertly steal an important component of the machine. Adler warns Holmes that Moriarty is just as brilliant as he is, and infinitely more devious. The film ends with Holmes learning of a new case involving Professor Moriarty.

REVIEW:

My background in Sherlock Holmes is resorted mainly to cartoons and TV shows that use him as a reference. I have never read the books, but will get on that soon enough. Without prior knowledge of the character, you can imagine that I’m  more or less going in here with a clean slate, which can be a good or bad thing.

Sherlock Holmes offers a mix of action and some brief bits of comedy, but mostly we get this dry borderline drama story with a couple of weird twists at the end that totally change the way you see the entire film.

I’m always up for some good one-liners to lighten the mood of a film. THere is no need to be all serious. I’m sure there is bound to be someone out there who is going ot bash the comic elements, though.

The action wasn’t that great, to tell you the truth. Well, let me take that back. It is ok for what it is. Obviously, there ar no giant robots, car chases, or rapid gun battles, but it just feels as if it was forced into the story to make it “more appealing”.  Even the climactic battle atop the unfinished Tower Bridge didn’t quite seem to fit. Going even deeper…a few times Holmes narrates what he’s about to do to someone in a fight, and then does it. I actually liked this, and think they should have him do it a couple more times, rather than just abandon it like it seems they did.

Robert Downey, Jr. really got into this role, even going so far as learning old English. His dedication to the art shows, as he gives quite the performance and captures Holmes’ ego, and even his need to monologue about his methods and such.

Jude Law is not who I would have chosen as Dr. Watson, but from what I’ve heard and read, the Watson in the books is totally different from the one we are familiar with. If that is indeed the case, than maybe Law isn’t such a bad choice.

Rachel McAdams has an interesting character, but its obvious she’s just there to be a pretty face and introduce Moriarty (for possible future films).

Mark Strong did a pretty good job as Lord Blackwood. At times, he was even a bit creepy, which for someone who has risen from the dead, that’s what you expect.

One thing I could have done without was this strange drama between Holmes and Watson involving Watson leaving. Sure it makes for good sitcom fodder, but just didn’t work for me or this film.

I have never thought of Sherlock Holmes as an action hero, but rather a man of high intellect, so you can imagine my interest in the film was that of skepticism. There has been much hype surrounding this picture. Was it worth it? I can’t very well say that, but at the sam time I can’t say it’s not. Mu opinion is that when there is no action, the film falls into this thick stew of muck and doesn’t recover until the next action scene, then it repeats, only the muck gets thicker. I need to see this again to know for sure, but it seemed as if this film doesn’t know what it wants to be. Should it be a serious picture? Or an action/adventure? Maybe even an action comedy? It bounces from one genre to the other and never finds sure footing, so how can we, the audience know what to think? Well, here’s what I think, it doesn’t suck, but I can all but guarantee that this time next year, you won’t remember Sherlock Holmes for anything other than something to add to these actors resumes (of course with Downey, you’ll forget by this summer with the release of Iron Man 2).

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Wedding Crashers

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Single bachelors and longtime friends, John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey are business partners in divorce mediation in Washington D.C.. The friends frequently “crash” wedding parties to meet women, working from a set of rules taught to them by a past ‘crasher,’ Chazz, a lover of meatloaf. The duo always have cover stories for inquisitive guests and inevitably become the hit of every reception, to charm their way into the hearts of ladies at the wedding for one night only.

After a sequence of successful ‘crashes,’ Jeremy spots the wedding of the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary and his wife, Kathleen. After infiltrating the lavish event as brothers, John and Jeremy set their sights on two bridesmaids, also daughters of Secretary Cleary: Claire and Gloria Cleary. While Jeremy manages to make it on the beach with “stage-five clinger” and supposed virgin Gloria, John works on Claire. While talking afterwards, John is blocked by Claire’s U.S. Naval Academy graduate boyfriend Sack. John convinces a resistant Jeremy to break the rules and accept an invitation to an extended weekend party at the Cleary family compound.

Jeremy and John are convinced into playing touch football where Jeremy is hurt by Claire’s obnoxious boyfriend. Gloria puts Band-Aids on Jeremy, hoping to have sex with him. However, Jeremy turns her down with a philosophical love speech. Jeremy is shown to not really like Gloria all that much, at least not initially. At dinner later that day, John proceeds to spike Sack’s wine with eye-drops which makes him sick, letting John have some alone time with Claire. That night, Gloria ties up Jeremy while he sleeps and then has her way with him. Jeremy is then visited by the girl’s brother Todd later that night, thinking the two had “had a moment” earlier at the dinner table. The next morning, Jeremy asks John to leave the island with him but John convinces him otherwise. The family takes a boat ride in the afternoon, which ends in a hunting trip in which Sack shoots Jeremy in the rear end. John and Claire leave on a bike ride in which they connect deeply. In the meantime, Gloria reveals to relieved Jeremy that she was not a virgin. She merely told him so, as she “thought that’s what guys liked to hear.” John and Claire return from their bike ride, after which Sack “proposes” to Claire by announcing their engagement, leaving Claire at a loss for words. John talks to Claire afterwards, as she is apparently discomforted by the announcement. John tries to comfort her but ends up telling her his true feelings for her. They are interrupted by Jeremy running out of the house being chased by the grandmother with a gun. Sack comes out and tells the family who the “brothers” really are, as he had them privately investigated. John reveals their true identities, upsetting and hurting the entire Cleary family, particularly Claire. John and Jeremy are forced to leave the island.

John and Jeremy return to their normal lives; however, John is distraught, as he was never given the chance to reconcile with Claire, even though he attempted to contact her multiple times. During one such attempt, John pretends to be a waiter at Claire and Sack’s engagement party. However, he is caught and brutally beaten by Sack and his friends. He returns home to find Jeremy, who was supposed to have attended the event with John, locked in a passionate moment with Gloria. This results in a rift between John and Jeremy, as they no longer see eye-to-eye on the idea of marriage. John crashes several more weddings by himself, but behaves erratically. Meanwhile, Jeremy continues his relationship with Gloria, culminating in an accepted marriage proposal. Jeremy attempts to reconcile with John, asking him to be his best man, but John cannot bear to think about the marriage and asks Jeremy to leave.

John meets their mentor Chazz to reaffirm Jeremy’s apparent stupidity in getting engaged. During the visit, he discovers that Chazz has moved onto “funeral crashing,” as he believes that grief is the best aphrodisiac. John joins Chazz on an outing, but is taken aback by the amount of love and sorrow shown by the widow of the deceased. He reconsiders his stance on love and marriage and rushes to Jeremy’s wedding. He joins them mid-ceremony as the best man, but disrupts it by attempting to speak to Claire while standing at the altar. After intense arguments and a mild scuffle, Claire finally reveals that she, too, has feelings for John. Sack is dumbfounded by the situation, and turns to Secretary Cleary for help. However, Secretary Cleary fully supports her daughter’s decision to reject Sack. The film ends with Jeremy getting married to Gloria, John uniting with Claire, and the two couples driving away joking about crashing a wedding all together.

REVIEW:

This is another of those comedies that starts out hilarious, then somewhere after it hits the midway point, takes a dramatic turn and forgets that it is a comedy. Still, it is a pretty good film.

Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson have amazing chemistry on screen. I really felt believed they had a bond since childhood.

Rachel McAdams was a nice bit of eye candy and looks a lot better with dark hair than blonde, but her performance didn’t resonate with me.

Isla Fisher stole the show as the hyperactive, nympho Gloria that falls for Vince Vaughan.

Will Ferrell makes an appearance and brings the comedy back into this…er…comedy, while Christopher Walken could have been used more than just standing around giving fatherly advice.

Having said all this, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I didn’t care for this film. It’s a good concept, and if I had the guts, I might actually consider, but something tells me that after it was released wedding securities were tightened.

There quite a few funny moments, as well as the rapid fire dialogue you expect to come from a Vince Vaughan film, but as I said before, they become few and far between as the film progresses, but return when Will Ferrell shows up at the end.

This is a wedding film, make no mistake, but not in the same vein as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Runaway Bride, etc. This is a film anyone can enjoy, unless you a wedding purist and will get offended, in which case, why would you be watching a film with Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson going to wedding to hook up with women?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars