Archive for Taron Egerton

Sing

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario’s attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists’ find that their lives will never be the same.

What people are saying:

Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted – albeit familiar – storyline that lives up to its title.” 3 1/2 stars

“The plot may be shopworn, with not much aimed at adults, but the film’s message that collaboration can reap greater rewards than competition is appropriate for all ages.” 5 stars

“Totally blown away. I was not expecting much, but was surprised by how well this movie was done. Animation: some of the best. Good use of lighting, shadow, fur effects. The body language and facial expressions totally fit. This could have been a mediocre movie, but you can tell they put lots of work into this film. Engrossing. Not a film you could read a newspaper while getting the gist of it, like some films. There are many movies I can like, yet never care to watch again; but, this one I could watch again. I would recommend you see this at least once.” 5 stars

“What an absolutely charming film! I was surprised to find some of the better known names who lent their voices to these characters….would never have guessed that Buster Moon was Matt McConaughey, for example – his normal Texas twang was nowhere to be found, and that was a charming surprise! But the animation was wonderful and I was totally engaged from beginning to end. Not for kids only!” 4 stars

“It’s cold outside, it’s Sunday night, we’ve got popcorn, me and my two boys are curled up on the sofa. As film nerd Dad it basically doesn’t get any better than this, and it definitely doesn’t when you’ve got a real gem of a film like this one. The songs are great, the gags are good and the story is moving with some wonderful characters. None of the actors feel like their phoning it in with the voice work, hell this is probably McConaughey’s best work since ‘True Detective’. This really is great, had both of my boys up on their feet dancing and singing along by the end and one of them is currently in a plaster cast! Had me with a huge grin on my face. Bravo, Garth Jennings.” 4 stars

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A year has passed since Eggsy Unwin and the spy organisation Kingsman saved the world from Richmond Valentine’s neurological wave broadcast, and he has since taken his late mentor Harry Hart’s title of “Galahad” and is living with Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden. One day, on his way home, he is ambushed by Charlie Hesketh, a former Kingsman trainee who lost his arm and vocal cords to the explosive microchip that was triggered during the Valentine incident. Eggsy loses Charlie and his henchmen in a car chase across London, but Charlie’s severed cybernetic arm hacks into the Kingsman servers through the car’s computer system. While Eggsy dines with Princess Tilde and her parents in Sweden, a volley of missiles destroy the Kingsman headquarters and wipe out Roxy and all of the Kingsman agents in Britain.

Being the only surviving agents, Eggsy and Merlin follow the Doomsday protocol, which leads them to “Statesman”, a secret American organisation posing as a Bourbon whiskey distillery in Kentucky. There, they discover that Harry survived the gunshot by Valentine a year earlier, but is suffering from amnesia. Eggsy and Merlin are briefed by Statesman head, Champagne, about a secret terrorist organisation called “The Golden Circle” and start their mission by following Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Clara Von Gluckfberg. When Statesman agent Tequila develops blue rashes, he is replaced by agent Whiskey as Eggsy’s partner. Eggsy manages to plant a tracking device inside Clara, but his revelation of his mission to Princess Tilde strains their relationship. After several failed attempts to cure Harry’s amnesia, Eggsy brings in a Yorkshire Terrier puppy that resembles Harry’s late dog Mr. Pickle and threatens to shoot it, triggering the return of Harry’s memories.

Poppy Adams, head of world’s largest drug cartel posing as a pharmaceutical company, broadcasts a message telling the world about a toxin she laced within every recreational drug available, which causes users to, at the first stage, develop blue rashes before progressing through mania, and then paralysis and ultimately, death. She also demonstrates the antidote on a captive Elton John and offers it to the world if the President of the United States ends his country’s War on Drugs and makes her organisation immune to all convictions. The President decides to take advantage of the situation to kill every junkie in the world and has every affected user quarantined, including his Chief of Staff, Fox. Eggsy, Harry, and Whiskey head to the antidote factory in Italy after intercepting a phone call to Charlie by Clara. Eggsy manages to steal an antidote sample, but it is broken by Whiskey during an ambush by The Golden Circle’s henchmen. During the gunfight, Harry shoots Whiskey in the head, as he suspects that Whiskey is playing both sides, but Eggsy saves him with the same alpha-gel used to save Harry. Princess Tilde calls Eggsy in a state of mania, revealing that she has the blue rashes before falling into paralysis. Eggsy, Harry, and Merlin discover the location of Poppy’s hideout, “Poppy Land”, in Cambodia and fly there to steal the remote control for the antidote drones.

Upon their arrival at Poppy Land, Eggsy steps on a land mine but is saved by Merlin, who sacrifices himself while taking the lair’s guards with him. Eggsy and Harry storm through the lair and Eggsy kills Charlie while Harry destroys Poppy’s robotic guard dogs with the help of Elton. They secure the briefcase with the access code to the drones and inject Poppy with a more potent dose of her toxin, and she gives them the password before succumbing to a heroin overdose. Before they can activate the drones, they are stopped by Whiskey, who, having previously lost his wife to crossfire from two drug users, is revealed to be working alone to ensure that all drug users are eliminated. Eggsy and Harry engage Whiskey in a grueling fight at Poppy’s diner before forcing him through Poppy’s meat grinder. They release the antidote drones, saving millions of lives around the world.

In the aftermath of the incident, Chief of Staff Fox has the President impeached for conspiring to commit mass genocide on the drug victims. Champagne announces that Statesman has acquired a distillery in Scotland to help rebuild Kingsman. As a means to avoid the confusion of two Kingsman agents using the codename “Galahad”, Champagne offers either Eggsy or Harry the agent title of Whiskey, but they decline and Statesman tech support Ginger Ale steps in to take the role. Eggsy marries Princess Tilde, and Tequila moves to London to work for Kingsman.

REVIEW:

In 2015, Kingsman: The Secret Service hit the big screens and  took the world by storm. Almost immediately, a sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, was announced and greenlit. Now that this the latter has hit theaters, it is time to decide if the wait was worth it.

What is this about?

When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.

What did I like?

Hit the ground running. One thing I can’t stand about action film is when they take forever to get going. Let’s be honest, no one goes to an action flick excited to hear dialogue. We go for the stunts and explosions, am I right? The filmmakers happen to feel the same way as I do, because the opening scenes of this flick are a car chase through London with Eggsy fighting off his would be attackers while not trying to destroy half the city or kill innocent bystanders. What a way to start!

Ham and Eggs(y). In the last film, we were introduced to Eggsy and watched him go from street thug to debonair gentleman. By the time this flick rolls around, he has become much more comfortable in his skin, as it were, and seems to be relishing in the role of being a Kingsman. Of course, having a hot, Swedish royal as your girlfriend doesn’t hurt, now does it? The thing that really gets me, though, is how even through his transformation, Eggsy can still go back and ham it up with his bros.

Everything’s retro. I am a big fan of things retro. WWII era stuff is my preferred era, but when it comes to overall aesthetic pleasure, that honor is bestowed upon the 50s. Julianne Moore’s villainous CEO character, Poppy Adams and I are kindred spirits in this regard. She used her vast resources to create a 50s utopia among the Ethiopian mountains, or wherever it is that she was, exactly. What’s not to love about a place like that?

What didn’t I like?

The sweeter the Berry. Hard to believe Halle Berry won an Academy Award not that long ago, huh? The recent string of flops she’s had makes one wonder if she was given that statue just because she got naked in Monster’s Ball. I have had a crush on her, since Boomerang. Her role as Ginger Ale (wasn’t she called Ginger in her Bond movie?) reminded me of her character from that flick with her shy confidence and all. The glasses just made her more attractive, btw. All that said about her looks and resume, Berry was wasted in this role, unless they do something with her in the future. I heard a couple of rumblings about a spin-off for the Statesmen. Should that come to fruition, than I will change my opinion that she’s wasted, and replace it with they were just building her up, but until that happens…IF it happens, I can’t be happy with what I saw from her.

Foreshadowing? A president who would rather ignore the needs of the people for the good of a few. Hmmm…who does this sound like? As evil as Poppy is, the woman went all Sweeney Todd and was grinding humans for food, the argument can be made that the president is the real villain of this film. I can’t say exactly why without spoiling part of the film, but let’s just say, if you made a mistake and it were up to him to help you fix it, well, you’d be s.o.l….just like the current waste of space up there in the White House.

Give it away. In the last film, Colin Firth’s character was shot, at point-blank range, in the eye and killed. Even though he was a big reason that film was successful, the filmmaker’s killed him off. When the sequel was announced, there was speculation about how/if to bring him back. Twin brother, flashback, decoy, etc. were all ideas thrown around and I think they made the right decision with how to bring him back, though I think they messed with his character a bit. All that aside, my gripe is with the fact that he appears in the trailer. His return should have been as big a surprise to us in the audience as it is to Eggsy and Merlin when they see him but, because he appears in the trailer, that element of surprise is no longer there. Good job, marketing team, you screwed us out of a major surprise!

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle doesn’t seem to have the same magic as its predecessor, but that may be just because of raised expectations. Remember, we had none for the first film. As you see, I have a few gripes with this flick, including its use of Elton John, but there is plenty of praise to go around, as well. One thing that I think hurt this film that didn’t hurt the first is the rise of ‘R’ rated movies. When the first film came out, the violence and language was highly praised, but now it just seems like an everyday thing to see in films. So, with all that said, what is my final verdict? This is definitely a must-see, but if you want to wait a week or two until the hype dies down, that’s fine, just make sure you check it out!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During a mission in the Middle East, secret agent Harry Hart is unable to prevent the death of one of his fellow agents. Feeling guilt, he personally delivers a bravery medal to the man’s widow and his young son, Eggsy, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.

Seventeen years later, an unemployed Eggsy, now in his early twenties, gets arrested for joyriding in a stolen car. In police custody, he remembers the medal and calls the number on the back. He is quickly released and met outside the police station by Harry, who introduces him to the world of the secret agency that he and Eggsy’s late father work for, the Kingsmen. Harry is having a drink with Harry at a pub where some local vandals, who are friends with Eggsy’s abusive stepfather, that Eggsy has gotten in trouble with when he is told to leave before a rude remark is made about Harry and his age. Harry then confronts and beats every vandal down, before taking Eggsy to the Kingsmen for training.

Another Kingsman, Lancelot, who was inducted during the mission shown in the opening, is killed by Gazelle, an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs, on a mission to find the missing scientist Professor Arnold, creating a vacancy for a new agent. Harry proposes Eggsy as a candidate; and, together with other young hopefuls including a girl named Roxy, he is enrolled in the training programme designed to weed out the unsuitable until only one candidate remains. The training is overseen by Merlin, a senior Kingsman, and each recruit is assigned a new dog to train in turn. The tests are rigorous, with scenarios implemented (and sometimes fabricated) to push the candidates to their physical and mental limits to assess their courage and ability to work as a team. Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the last two potential candidates. When the head of the Kingsmen, Arthur, instructs him to kill his dog as the final challenge, Eggsy is unable to bring himself to do it; Roxy shoots hers and is given the job. It is revealed later that both Eggsy and Roxy’s pistols, unbeknownst to them at the time, had blanks, and it was strictly a test to see how far they would go.

Meanwhile, the Kingsmen are investigating the activities of the technology tycoon Richmond Valentine, who appears to be a great philanthropist, giving away free SIM cards around the world; but he is suspected of being involved in a number of disappearances of VIPs, including the Swedish Princess. Harry tracks Professor Arnold to his class, where he interrogates him about Valentine’s whereabouts; a chip implanted in Arnold’s head suddenly explodes, killing him and injuring Harry. Once recovered, Harry is sent to investigate and follows a lead to an obscure hate group church in the American Midwest. At the church, Valentine and Gazelle conduct a test, broadcasting a signal to phones containing his SIM card, which causes humans to become uncontrollably violent. As a result, all of the church members, including Harry, break out into an aggressive fight.

Everyone is killed off until only Harry emerges as the sole survivor, only to be confronted and killed by Valentine while Eggsy, Merlin, and Arthur watch via video link. Valentine’s plan becomes clear – he is going to broadcast the signal worldwide, using his satellite network and cause a mass cull of the human race, sparing the Earth from further environmental damage by man. After Harry is killed by Valentine, Eggsy discovers that Arthur is secretly one of the many VIPs that Valentine has implanted with a device to block the signal, similar to the one planted on Arnold’s head, thus guaranteeing their survival. He avoids being killed by Arthur, switching a poisoned glass of brandy and Arthur dies instead.

Eggsy, Roxy, and Merlin head to Valentine’s mountainous secret base to stop Valentine from executing his plan; Roxy will destroy Valentine’s satellite while Eggsy stops Valentine himself. During the raid on Valentine’s base, Eggsy is cornered and Merlin triggers the implanted devices, causing them to explode and kill all of the VIPs who were part of Valentine’s plan. After the VIPs explode, the door where Eggsy is standing opens a small hole where Princess Tilde is being kept. Eggsy leaves Tilde saying he must save the world, to which she replies that he can have anal sex with her. Eggsy then says he will be right back. Eggsy confronts Gazelle and poisons her with a hidden blade in his shoe. Eggsy then grabs one of Gazelle’s prosthetic legs and uses it to kill Valentine. Merlin congratulates him for his success as Eggsy grabs two glasses and champagne and walks back to Tilde. Merlin sees this through Eggsy’s spectacles’ camera before closing the monitors playing back the feed.

In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy confronts his abusive stepfather in the bar when he is a full-fledged Kingsman (in Harry’s place) and the perks include some of the wealth established with the Kingsmen and a home. Here, he repeats the same course of action/fight as when Harry had told Eggsy and discussed about his real father at the bar after being bailed from prison.

REVIEW:

Remember the days when spy films could be fun and over the top as opposed to ultra serious, gritty, and realistic as they are today? Kingsman: The Secret Service is obviously from the school of fun and gadgetry and is something we need in this day and age. We’ve gotten too serious, wouldn’t you agree? As an alternative film the 50 Shades of Porn, this just needs to be a decent flick for guys, but could it actually be more than that?

What is this about?

Seeing untapped potential in a wayward teenager, veteran secret agent Harry Hart recruits the young delinquent and schools him in the skills that will ultimately transform him into a superspy.

What did I like?

Lisp. Most of the time when we see Samuel L. Jackson, he’s playing some guy who talks really loud and hates white people. One of the notable exceptions of this is his character in Unbreakable. The character he plays here is still a bit loud, but for him is a bit subdued, and yet still over the top, but the film dictates the need for an over the top villain, so no big there. What really stood out to me, though, was the lisp that Jackson pulled off. At first, I thought it was just a joke, or part of a disguise, but it turned out to be a characteristic that he kept throughout the entire film, even in his denouement moment, and it worked.

Return of the R. It looks like movie studios are finally starting to wise up ad realize that taking out all the blood and violence in a film that is supposed to have it just to achieve a family friendly PG-13 rating so they can bring a few more bucks in is not the way to go. Not only does this film show heads exploding, people getting stabbed in the eyeballs, impaled, shot in the head, sliced in half, etc, but it does so with the touch of class and dignity that is the overall tone for the film. In truth this is no less or more violent than Shoot ‘Em Up (give or take a couple of killings) when all is said and done. You be the judge on whether that is a good or bad thing.

Move over Neeson. It wasn’t that long ago, I think just before the release of Taken, that we scoffed at the mere thought of Liam Neeson doing an action movie, let alone being one of the top action stars currently out there (even though he was Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace). Now we can barely remember him as a dramatic actor! Well, if this film is any indication, Colin Firth could be following suit. Normally this guy plays the stuffed shirt, proper British types and, in a sense he is still doing that here but the difference is he gets to kick ass and take names! Who would have thought Colin Firth had this in him? Maybe this is just aggression from being replaced as the voice of Paddington in Paddington? Also, I think he does most of his own stunts, but don’t quote me on that.

What didn’t I like?

Speak English. When it comes to British dialects, there is one that is nearly impossible to understand, even if you’re from there…cockney! I believe I brought this up in my review for Cockneys vs. Zombies, it is just nigh impossible to translate. Lo and behold our main protagonist, Eggsy, lives over on the Cockney side of town, so when he goes into the pub and these guys threaten him and Colin Firth, I couldn’t understand half of what they said. I applaud the realism and all, but they could have cleaned it up to Jason Statham level cockney so we Americans could understand it, at least.

There will be blood. I spoke earlier on how it was to have a film that isn’t afraid to show people getting killed, but there was one killing that I have to take issue with. Early on, one of the Kingsman gets sliced in half. Nothing wrong with that, except there was no blood! In every other killing we see blood, but in what is perhaps the most gruesome death of the whole film there was nothing. Now, I wasn’t expecting something akin to a fatality from Mortal Kombat, but we literally see the two halves of his body laying there on the floor and still no blood! People’s heads blow up later in the film and, while we don’t see blood and brains, we do at least the bloody stumps left behind. What was so offensive about blood in this one kill, I wonder?

Take me to church. One of the scenes that will be talked about in this film is one involving a church in Kentucky. I had no problem with the scene, in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character does a test on this congregation, which results in the inhibition of their aggression being fulfilled. Unfortunately for them, Firth’s character is in there as well, and it is just a glorious scene to watch these self-righteous, racist, closed-minded rednecks get what’s coming to them. My issue with the scene is the reaction that it is sure to draw. Yes, it is a statement, but so are a lot of things in this film, but you know how it is when you even look at a church the wrong way in a film. If not for that other movie that came out this weekend, I’m sure Fox News and similar networks would have a field day with this scene. Such a shame, because it is great!

All in all, I must say Kingsman: The Secret Service is a very fun time. A very stylized picture, with hints at old spy film, and also some meta moments, as well. It does provide with one of the rare times Mark Strong is not the bad guy and some political satire and messages that probably need to be heard, whether we like it or not. One thing is for sure, after watching this, I wanted to go out and get fitted for a suit, and I hate wearing the things! Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Why are you sitting there reading this? Go, rush out and see this!!! If you’re on the fence about whether to see this or 50 Shades of Bondage, well I can only speak for what I’ve seen and this…is…AWESOME!!!!

5 out of 5 stars