Weekend Viewing Roundup: Three Musketeers (2011) & Lambent Fuse Premiere

Happy Monday all! Did you watch an Irish-related movie or were you at the cinema watching 21 Jump Street? I have zero interest in seeing it but surprisingly that movie’s a hit w/ the critics AND audiences to make #1 at the box office!

My hubby and I got Apple TV over the weekend and we absolutely love it! So instead of renting through Amazon on Demand, we now rent stuff via iTunes and the streaming quality is actually a lot better. Anyway, as is customary with most of my weekend viewings, I like to mix up different genres. I was thisclose on renting My Week with Marilyn but we wanted something with a bit more action so we went with The Three Musketeers, well suffice to say we regretted our decision within 10 minutes!

Last night my friend Astrid and I went to the Lambent Fuse premiere, the one I featured last Wednesday. We met briefly with the director Matt Cici who introduced the movie. We’re also treated with a mini concert from a local folk singer (who can rap as well as he sings!) before the movie, definitely making the $10 bucks ticket even more worthwhile!

Here are my mini reviews of the two:

THREE MUSKETEERS (2011)

As I’ve alluded to in my intro, the latest Alexandre Dumas adaptation is a dud! I actually put this on my most-anticipated of 2011 as I love the cast, but was dissuaded by the dismal reviews. But I figure it’s at least worth a rental right? Ahah, well barely.

Ok, I have to admit the three musketeers look good in tight leather 😉

I’m not even going to write about the plot as most of you certainly already know about the tale of the famous French guards: Arthos, Porthos and Aramis and the young D’Artagnan. Paul W.S. Anderson, whose films Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, Resident Evil, etc. are definitely NOT my cup of tea, promises a re-imagining story of the legendary swashbuckling adventure. Well, this tells me to NEVER trust a film by this UK director again, no matter how good the cast!

Speaking of which, I really think it’s criminal to waste such a plethora of talents, including Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen and the three actors playing the musketeers: Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson. We know all of these actors are capable of so much more given their resume, but they’re given so little to do and the inept script is practically cringe-worthy! Now, Milla Jovovich as the seductive and skilled assassin and the wildly-ornamented Orlando Bloom are right on their element here as neither of them have any business as an actor.

Oh Christoph, just what are you doing in this movie??!

The worst part of all is of course the D’Artagnan casting. 20-year-old Californian Logan Lerman is so out of his league in that role of a supposedly daring rascal, as he lacks any kind of charisma believability even for a fantasy flick like this one. To say he’s a far cry from Gabriel Byrne’s portrayal in The Man in The Iron Mask is putting it mildly. I really think that if someone with just a smidgen more talent (perhaps someone like Nicholas Hoult?) this movie might have a teeny bit of saving grace. Lerman didn’t even bother attempting a British accent, yes I know the Musketeers are supposedly French guards but at least it’d be more consistent if the actors all speak with the same accent.

The action sequences are nothing new, pretty much a rip-off of Matrix and other similarly-styled action flicks after that. Even the music sounds like a rip-off of The Dark Knight, Gladiator & those Pirates of the Carribean movies! The preposterous plot is topped with the air-ships where a lot of the fighting takes place. Logic doesn’t seem to be a factor in this movie, as these articulate & complex ships seem to have been built in a matter of days! And we’re not talking of just ONE flying ship, but an entire armada! Perhaps the director has secretly wished he had directed a Pirates movie?? [shrugs] The only decent thing about this movie is the set pieces which I thought looked beautiful, but really, set pieces alone don’t make a movie!!

Final Thoughts: Unless you are die-hard fans of any of the cast, I’d say skip this one. Seriously, it made even the 1993 version with Charlie Sheen as Aramis (ha!) seemed like an Oscar contender, at least Tim Curry looked like he had more fun as the Cardinal than Christoph did. Mr. Dumas must be spinning in his grave!

1.5 out of 5 reels


LAMBENT FUSE (2011)

As I’ve described in detail in the interview post with director Matt Cici, this film is a character study of six characters whose decisions and life scenarios somehow get entangled with one another. Each of the characters have a certain condition that practically takes over their lives to a degree, ranging from kleptomania, deep depression resulting from a personal loss, to irrational obsession.

The film doesn’t preach about certain morality so much as presenting in a non-chronological manner, what the characters’ choices affect others and their own. As Matt mentioned in the interview, “… and audience watches this film and becomes more of a participant rather than just a viewer. They may impart judgement on what’s right and what’s not right…” and I find myself doing just that as I’m watching it.

The one character I’m taken with the most is Freddie Goone (Rhett Romsaas) who lost his sister in a hit-and-run accident one night and is overtaken by grief and vengeance pretty much wrecks his relationship with his girlfriend Allison (Heidi Fellner). I feel like his journey up until the explosive ending is the most engaging than the rest, and his encounter with the unlikely ‘enemy’ if you will is done quite well.

The nice things about watching a locally-made film is that we’re not focusing on the unknown actors and our predisposed feelings about them, but more on the narration. By the same token though, I feel that some of the actors are not as experienced and thus compromise the quality of the film. The emotional scenes between Freddie and Allison for example, could’ve been much more heart-wrenching but I didn’t really feel the connection between the two actors. The robbery scenes are whimsical and get the most laughs but again, most of these characters are so unsympathetic it’s hard to really connect with them. Speaking of whimsical, the fast-paced finale taking place at the Mpls/St. Paul airport ends up being unintentionally comical to me than I’m sure it’s intended to be. I also think the link between all these characters isn’t as strong as I would have liked it, but the concept is certainly intriguing.

Overall I think Lambent Fuse is a worthy debut from Matt Cici. Despite some of the really slow parts, there are much to be enjoyed here, and I do think the cinematography is beautiful. The use of music also adds to the mood without overpowering the story, and it’s great that he collaborates with local musicians for this film. I think the fact that he chose such a challenging non-chronological style is to be commended, the story is quite dense and hard to follow at times because there are so much going on, but I was able to digest quite a bit of it in my first viewing.
Final Thoughts: This is not a ‘feel-good’ movie, in fact it’s more of a somber, melancholy affair. I enjoyed it for the most part, and in some degree the story still lingers with me even hours after I watched it. A promising debut from Matt Cici, I hope he continues to make films in the future!
… 
3 out of 5 reels

So what did you see this weekend, folks? Thoughts on either one of these films, please do share in the comments!

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31 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup: Three Musketeers (2011) & Lambent Fuse Premiere

    1. Oy! What is ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’?? Never even heard of it but I guess that’s a good thing. Looking forward to your review!

  1. Just talked to a friend this morning who saw Three Musketeers over the weekend and had very similar sentiments to yours, Ruth. I’m not surprised, unfortunately. I was very excited in the beginning when I saw the trailer, but after the lousy reviews piled in, I realized it wasn’t going to be very good.

    And by the way, I totally dig Orlando Bloom. He’s not great in everything he’s in for sure, but I loved him in the first Pirates, as Legolas in LOTR, and I thought he fit his role in Troy pretty well too. Oh, and I’m one of the few who enjoyed him in Elizabethtown. But that’s me! 🙂 Nice reviews, Ruth!

    1. Oh sorry to about my jab on Orlando, Kris. I do like him in Legolas but can’t say the same about Troy, the only saving grace for me there is Eric Bana as Brad Pitt annoyed me to no end as well. I haven’t seen Elizabethtown yet though. I do think it’s great he gets to reprise his role in The Hobbit! 😀

      1. Haha, no worries! 🙂 HA – Eric Bana was my favorite part of Troy, but I did think Bloom fit the part of the pathetic pretty boy well. Yes, I’m very excited to see him in The Hobbit! I’m sure he won’t be playing a big role (as it should be), but his appearance will be welcome nonetheless.

        1. Ahah I suppose he did fit the pretty boy image. I really couldn’t take my eyes off Bana though, so when he was killed the movie was over for me.

          Yes I’m glad PJ is bringing back most of the characters from LOTR in The Hobbit but I’m also very excited for the new ones, especially Thorin Oakshield 😉

  2. Ted S.

    I still don’t know how Paul Anderson is able to keep making films in Hollywood, he must be married to some high power executive or something, I mean he has zero talent and pretty much most of the films he made were atrocious. He directed Soldier, which was a great script but the actual film was awful thanks to Anderson, yeah I can’t stand this guy. I won’t be wasting my time on THREE MUSKETEERS.

    I might check out LAMBENT FUSE when it’s out on DVD. I won’t expect much from it since it was made by an amateur filmmaker and in experience actors.

    Speaking of amateur, I’m finishing up my script for my next short movie and will probably shoot it this spring/summer. I only watched Aliens over the weekend, the cool Prometheus trailer made me want to watch an Alien film.

    1. Well I can honestly say that Matt Cici is a faaaaar more talented director than Paul W S Anderson, I mean given the tiny budget he’s still able to make a more compelling film than the absolute mess Three Musketeers was. Well suffice to say I won’t be watching anything else from him anymore, once is one time too many!

      Ahah, I bet lots of people watched Aliens too after that Prometheus trailer. Hey if you need any help w/ your movie, be sure to let me know!

  3. Well I’ll be sure to steer clear of the Musketeers then. I think I;m alone in saying I have fond memories of the 93 one. Maybe I’ll go watch that again!

    1. Oh I do think the 1993 is quite good fun, it’s just funny to see what’s happened to Charlie Sheen, ahah. Btw, I’d give ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ a shot also if you like the Musketeers story.

  4. Nice reviews. We chose “My Week with Marilyn” over “The Three Musketeers”. But I have to say I wasn’t that impressed. I have my review written and it will be posted in a day or two, but I wasn’t as enthralled in the film as others have been.

    1. Looking forward to reading it Keith. I’m still curious about it even just to see contemporary actors portraying some classic screen legends.

  5. I also saw “My week with Marilyn.”I feel it tried to be both hard hitting and charming…which didn’t really work. I also watched “The Lincoln lawyer” and “Mister Foe”(I found this one on netflix streaming) The Lincoln lawyer had a intensity to it i did not expect. Overall a really great film. Mister Foe somehow managed to be both twisted and emotionally touching at the same time, and had a nice twist to the usual evil stepmom plot. I don’t imagine it would be to your tstes even with Jamie Bell in the lead role, but i kind of loved it.

  6. FUNK

    I had such high hopes for TM with that stellar cast, but man was I dissapointed. It was way to over the top for my liking.
    OT
    Has anyone seen Yimou Zhang’s (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) new movie “The Flowers of War”, starring Christian Bale, I just stumbled on a write up about it and it looks like it will be something else. First I’ve heard about it, and now can’t wait to get it.

  7. Ooh a NEW AppleTV? an ATV 3? nice. I had been using for a long time a ATV2 and I too loved it, but when I upgraded the projector I wanted to get a 1080p streamer and went for a WDTV LIVE which if I am honest is much better. OK I do not have access to iTunes but it is wildly more flexible in what it does.

    But then they brought out the ATV3 and I am tempted to come back to the fold.

    LOL I am so fickle.

    Happy Tuesday my matey

    1. I don’t know which type of Apple TV it is, I think it’s the later version (black one?) Sorry you’d have to ask my hubby, ahah, I mean he set up the whole thing, all I have to do is sit and watch 🙂

  8. Tsk, Ruth. Zero interest in 21 Jump Street, but had a desire to watch The Three Musketeers? lol Joking aside, I had no interest in seeing 21 Jump Street either until it started receiving all this praise. Now I’ll rent it when it’s available.

    As for Three Musketeers, I have zero interest in seeing that one. Everything I ever saw looked stupid and there’s zero chance I’ll watch it at any point. If I want to see that tale, there are better adaptations out there.

    Lambent Fuse sounds interesting. I always enjoy those movies that tie multiple characters’ storylines together, as long as the script is intelligently written. Might check that out if I ever come across it.

    1. Well I have a penchant for British/European actors and there are a lot of them in this movie, plus I generally like Dumas’ Musketeers tale. I actually like the TV series of 21 Jump Street, especially how diverse the cast was (Asian, Blacks, Whites, even Johnny Depp is part Native American) but this cast of Channing and Jonah just don’t interest me at all.

      I do hope they’ll get Lambent Fuse on dvd soon. I’ll let you know when they’re available.

  9. Ahaha Ruth, we warned you! You were The Three Musketeers, it can’t be that baaaaad! 😉 Yea, that just looks like a terrible movie, even from the trailer.

    Sorry Red and I couldn’t make it to the Lambent Fuse screening, I had to work in the afternoon and I guess he had to aimlessly wander the Mall of America after I left him. We did go and see 21 Jump Street in the morning 😀 Glad you like Lambent Fuse for the most part though, maybe it hits DVD someday.

    1. Yeah, it did look bad that’s why I didn’t bother seeing it on the big screen, but I figure it’d still be worth renting 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed 21 Jump Street, not sure I’d even want to rent it despite all the good reviews. I know, I don’t mind missing out on that one, just not a fan of the cast at all.

    1. Ahah, well it’s really not that bad, I mean still better than Twilight. I think in hindsight, I should’ve given Breaking Dawn a 0.5 instead!

  10. AndyS

    My original post was eaten up, so I’ll summarize:

    LOVED your review of THREE MUSKETEERS and am pretty much with you on all accounts excceeepptt….I kinda liked Logan Lerman. He’s a fun talent, had some nice lines, got the bratty cocky thing down, and some nifty sword fights. All in all, one of my main enjoyments of the flick. Perhaps it’s because I’m closer to his age. Loved the rest of the actors who make up the Musketeers, you’re quite right in that they have a talent above what material they’ve been given. And your comment about Milla and Orlando – “neither of them have any business as an actor” – BRILLIANT! Your wit makes these reviews one hell of an enjoyable read.

    So it comes down to this: what was less painful, BREAKING DAWN PT. 1 or MUSKETEERS?

    1. Hey Andy! Well good that you like Logan, you probably enjoyed the movie more then. I just don’t see him as being fun or believably cocky, I mean he didn’t seem like he could hold his own against that blond girl! Anyway, maybe it’s the age thing, I’m closer in age to the three musketeers, ahah.

      Oh, Breaking Dawn is definitely more painful, I mean, Lerman is like an Oscar winner next to Taylor Lautner!!

  11. sanclementejedi

    That 3 musketeers review is spot on, that film was an abomination.

    How sweet is that apple tv? I was thinking of picking one up, does it stream or is it a download for viewing like with an ipad?

    1. Hi there, welcome to FC!

      It streams from your iOS devices in HD, so we’ve been watching quite a few trailers on TV too now. That TDKR and Prometheus ones look so awesome on our wide screen TV, can’t wait for those to be released!

  12. And here I was sitting there mildly enjoying the Three Musketeers. The cast is great, though Matthew McFayden looked bored for most of the time and Orlando Bloom looked to be having far more fun chomping up the scenery whenever he was onscreen!

    To me though, Tim Curry will always be the Cardinal.

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