Weekend Roundup: The Raid: Redemption and My Week with Marilyn reviews

Happy Tuesday folks, a bit late on the weekend roundup as I just wanted to get my Hunger Games review out of the way. Well, I managed to see four movies last week which to some of you is on the low side but it’s actually more than what I usually have time for. I saw Casablanca on Wednesday (which I still plan to blog about in the near future), a re-watch of Gregory’s second film (and his first Oscar-nominated performance) The Keys to the Kingdom, Hunger Games, and late Sunday night I finished the week with My Week With Marilyn.

This week we also have a special guest review from my Twitter pal Cecilia Rusli who saw the uncensored version of THE RAID (which I mentioned here) at iNAFFF (Indonesia International Fantastic Film Festival), the only genre film festival in South East Asia. She actually got to meet some of the cast, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Joe Taslim, Tegar Satrya at the special screening!

So let’s get to the reviews, shall we?

THE RAID: Redemption

I was impressed on the first time I saw the fights between Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian in an Indonesian action movie directed by Gareth Evans titled Merantau. It finally put my expectation pretty high on The Raid: Redemption which has the same director and some same casts too. The Raid: Redemption basically is about a group of SWAT which are on a mission on raiding a drug lord on his safe house. They find out that they were trapped there and the only way out is by fighting those dangerous killers and drug lord floor by floor.

I’m personally not impressed by the storyline and it’s the kind of story I will forget in few weeks. However, Ray Sahetapy and Yayan Ruhian, the villains, are having strong characters which made me love them much than the other casts, even Iko Uwais could not beat my impression to their characters. They both managed to look real snob, but hilarious at the same time. I think I’m officially more into the villains of The Raid: Redemption.

The hype is true. The Raid: Redemption offers a  non stop action pack which hardly gives us room to breathe. The thing which I hardly find on the other action movies is the Indonesian martial arts known as Pencak Silat. They do use some guns, knives, and explosions. And I would prefer watching The Expendables if I’m into those things. But The Raid: Redemption managed to actually shows us how to kill people with hands, and only hands. Iko Uwais is brilliant on that point. Again, not only by his character, Yayan Ruhian steal my most attention on the action parts. Yes he looks small if being compared with most fighters on action movies who are tall and having big muscles. But his superb fights on The Raid: Redemption actually made me say “When will this guy be dead?”

Some people might say that The Raid: Redemption is just a video-game like. I personally amused by the violence. Blood and fights between tough guys have never been so much entertaining like this before.
4 out of 5 reels

Thanks again Cecilia for her wonderful review!

My Week With Marilyn

I don’t usually begin my review with a confession but I feel that I must admit that I have never seen a Marilyn Monroe film before seeing this one. But yet I’ve always been intrigued by her glamorous persona and this film offers a tiny glimpse of what’s life is like for Hollywood’s most iconic movie star.

The ‘my’ in the title belongs to an Englishman named Colin Clark, whose two books are the film’s inspirations. Despite his lack of experience, the 23-year-old Clark’s determination (and family connection) got him a seemingly thankless job as third assistant director in The Prince and the Showgirl’s British production, directed by Lawrence Olivier who also starred in the film. It doesn’t take long before Clark completely fell under Monroe’s spell, as she had such an effect on people. The British Press, the cast and crew and the townsfolk were all in awe of her beauty and movie star image, all except Mr. Olivier, who’s frustrated and infuriated by her work ethic, or lack thereof. Marilyn was constantly late to the set and always insisted on bringing her acting coach Paula Strasberg, though it didn’t seem to help as she constantly flubbed her lines.

Colin summed up the dilema between Monroe and Olivier perfectly… “It’s agony because he’s a great actor who wants to be a film star, and you’re a film star who wants to be a great actress…” 

Despite her beauty and fame, Marilyn had zero self confidence and Olivier’s no-nonsense attitude and blatant discontent only exacerbates her poor morale. At first I thought that Marilyn was such an irritating primadonna, but as the film went on, I felt increasingly sorry for her. When her husband briefly went back to New York, Marilyn turns to the warm and compassionate Colin. Though Marilyn’s name is in the title, Colin is arguably the heart of the film as he took us through a roller-coaster ride of pure euphoria and heartbreak, all in a week’s work.

Michelle Williams is sublime as Marilyn, offering us something more than just plain imitation of the iconic actress’ coquettish sensibilities. Her blond locks and voluptuous figure certainly look the part, but she also captured Marilyn’s emotional vulnerability and her desperate yearning to be accepted and loved. Now I can’t tell you if Kenneth Branagh‘s performance as Olivier is spot-on or not as I’m not acquainted at all with the late actor, but in the context of the film, I think his performance was excellent. Both he and Williams definitely deserve all the accolade, including their Oscar nominations, for their respective roles.

I’m also impressed by Eddie Redmayne as Colin, he’s got that earnest look about him that makes me immediately identify with his character. I noticed him in The Pillars of the Earth before this, but this is definitely a much more memorable turn from him and certainly don’t mind seeing more from this actor. It’s also nice to see Judi Dench, a welcome presence in any film, and her Dame Sybil is wonderfully sympathetic. The rest of the supporting cast including Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond and Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller also turn in a pretty decent performance.

The film doesn’t offer much depth into what caused Marilyn’s insecurities and even her marital troubles with Arthur Miller wasn’t adequately explored, hence it felt a bit superficial at times. I wonder at times if this story would’ve worked better as a miniseries instead. In any case, I did enjoy it for what it was and director Simon Curtis did a marvelous job capturing the mood of 1950s England, especially the stunning wardrobe. The music is also wonderful, I was especially dazzled by Nat King Cole singing Autumn Leaves as Marilyn and Colin enjoyed a blissful day visiting the Windsor Castle which ended with the two skinny dipping together.

It’s a worthy glimpse into the life of a movie star… and it certainly made me glad that I’m just a regular gal.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels

What did you watch this weekend? If you’ve seen either one of these films, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

35 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: The Raid: Redemption and My Week with Marilyn reviews

  1. I’ve wanted to watch The Raid at INAFFF but ran out of tickets. It’s true that Yayan Sahetapy and Yayan Ruhiyan as villains were all great in their performances. I still adored Iko though.

    I have a vague memory about the music in MWWM, but I do loved the clothes she wear. It probably would’ve worked differently if it were a TV series. Williams done an excellent job.

    1. Hi Andina, that’s too bad you ran out of tickets! Ah well, at least you got to see the film.

      ‘Marilyn’ was quite delightful, it has issues but I still enjoy watching the performances and the set pieces. The music really is wonderful, I might get the soundtrack.

  2. PrairieGirl

    Haven’t see MWWM, but want to, if only for the setting and the clothes, Saw Bruce Campbell’s indie film My Name is Bruce (2006), filmed almost entirely on his own property in Oregon. He’s created a whole new genre I can certainly engage with: hilarious horror! Also saw Gregory Peck in The Bravados (1958). Even though Westerns aren’t totally my cup of tea, GP is irresistible, no matter what genre he’s in, and the story is certainly unique. Joan Collins is also great as his eventual love interest.

    1. As I said before, only Bruce can milk his hit movie for all his worth and do it in a fun way 🙂

      I’m looking forward to seeing The Bravados this Friday, no doubt Greg is great in it!

  3. Great review and breakdown on ‘The Raid’, Cecilia. I enjoyed this film by Gareth Evans better than ‘Merantau’ (which I saw first time last week on Netflix streaming in prep for this film). I can report after that big initial hand-to-hand fight scene in the hallway, folks in my audience were clapping big time. Well done.

    1. Glad you enjoyed The Raid, Michael. It’s too bad it’s only on limited release right now, who knows when it’ll reach Minnesota 😦

  4. rockerdad

    Awesome reviews you two. Merentau is now in my netflix queue. I love Marilyn and would like to see this film as well. My favorite Monroe film is Bus Stop. I need to see that again…

      1. PrairieGirl

        Hey Flixy, speaking of Bus Stop, TPT2 is showing it this coming Saturday (3/31) at 8pm. Not sure if I ever even saw any of this film, if so it was ages ago. I really can’t say I’m a fan of hers, but Bus Stop is so iconic that I’m going to be sure to catch it.

        1. Oh cool, thanks for telling me. Unfortunately, I have plans Saturday night so I won’t be home ’til much later. Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to rent this one day.

  5. The policemen are totes cheating, looking bigger than the gang members because of all of those bullet protective vests and padding. Either way, both sides even it out with their guns.

    Also, I don’t think a longer period of time would have saved Marilyn, not even Michelle Williams could elevate the source material.

    1. Ouch! Not a fan of ‘Marilyn’? I think it’s a good movie, but then again I don’t have much knowledge about the subject matter. Are you a big fan of Monroe, Paolo?

      1. I’m not like a big big fan but I think she should have been given better roles. I suppose the movie depicting that part of her life needed better transitions and editing.

        Also, the opening scene is inaccurate because Monroe was singing Heat Wave in a big band tropical style as opposed to jazz, but it works enough for MWWM.

        1. Well maybe I just don’t have a discriminating taste as I didn’t think there’s anything wrong w/ the transition/editing.

          See I wouldn’t know about that Heat Wave singing either as I’ve never seen the real Marilyn do it. In any case, I think the film captured the ‘essence’ of what’s happening during that one week of her life.

          1. I just saw too many light bulbs. I’m not 100% on what good editing is but I’m taught that montages and city scapes and light bulbs burning out make for the bad ones.

            I’m also still not 100% that Michelle caught Marilyn’s essence but it grasped a woman who would have the same troubles as that superstar. Every fibre of Michelle was in character.

            1. Ah I see, well thanks for enlightening me about editing. I somehow thought it’s kinda appropriate since Marilyn was such a paparazzi fodder.

              As for Michelle, as beautiful as she was, after seeing photos of the Marilyn, I’m still blown away by how much more breathtaking she was. She definitely has star quality, that’s one thing one just can’t replicate.

  6. Looking forward to seeing both of these, especially The Raid, which just looks completely nuts. I’ll probably be giving My Week With Marilyn a rental soon.

    A friend of mine was in town for the weekend, and I took him to see a screening of The Room with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in person. This was his first time seeing the movie, and he loved it. We even ended up on stage with them, which was a funny surprise. I may have to write about it… 🙂

    1. I think every action film shouldn’t be disappointed. I think I read a review somewhere that said The Raid made Ong Bak look like a Pixar movie or something like that. I don’t know if I can stomach it to be honest, but still glad to see a movie from my home country receiving all kinds of buzz.

  7. Rock on! The Raid sounds like good solid mindless action! I’m looking forward to it. Wasn’t much of a fan of MWWM. Michelle Williams was brilliant but I agree, it didn’t offer much depth and found my interest flagging! Great reviews Ruth!

  8. I’m glad you liked my boy Eddie Redmayne in the film, Flixy! Can’t wait to see him next to Hugh Jackman and your Russell Crowe in LES MISERABLES.
    I’ve just talked to my dear friend Josef Altin from GAME OF THRONES who is also in LES MISERABLES and he says he had a blast shooting it.

    1. Oh right, Eddie is gonna be in Le Miz as well, very nice. That’s cool about your friend, how lucky that he got to star in a hit TV show and also in a highly-anticipated movie!

  9. A nice review that is pretty much in line with my impression of the film.

    I had two problems with the film. First is the story, which not only lacked depth, but it was rather dull, I never really bought into how captivating everyone thought Marylin was. The other problem is very much related since I could not shake off the fact that I wasn’t watching Marylin Monroe on the screen. Even though Michelle Williams was excellent, the myth of Marylin and how strong her image is in my mind did not allow me to separate the two. Michelle was still Michelle, even if she tried to sound and act like Marylin.

    I should be reviewing this film this coming week.

    1. Hi Niels, I’m curious about your review. As for the fact that you can’t shake off the fact that you’re not watching Marilyn… well, that goes w/ the territory w/ every biopic, I mean no matter how good an actor is, it’s impossible to really ‘replicate’ the real person. I think because I’m not familiar w/ Marilyn, apart from her most famous pictures and videos, I thought she did a good job. I do agree that it seems that the real Marilyn is even more beautiful and charismatic.

  10. Ted S.

    I’ll probably check out The Raid once it comes to our area. I don’t think I will seek out My Week With Marilyn though, I was never a fan of Michelle Williams, I don’t why but she just bugs me. Kind of like the way Orlando Bloom bugs me.

    I didn’t really watch any movie over the weekend, just keep tinkering with the script of my short movie. Can’t seem to decide how I want it to end.

    1. I sure hope The Raid gets shown here in the Midwest, but who knows, even Coriolanus never made it here 😦

      What… did you just compare Michelle to Orlando?? He does bug me but Michelle is lovely and she actually can act.

      Hey, I’ll email you about your short movie. I’m real curious about it now.

  11. ceciliarusli

    Yes Andina, The Raid screening at iNAFFF was limited for 2 screens only so it was a bit hard to get the tickets. I adore Yayan Ruhian more than Ray Sahetapy.

    Thank you Michael. It’s my first ever review. Thanks to Ruth for the chance given to me.
    Merantau contains some drama while The Raid offers more action packs. I do prefer The Raid just like you.

    1. Hi Cecilia! Thanks again for this, I’m honored that you’re writing your first ever review on my blog! 😀

      Please keep ’em coming, I’d like you to be my ‘Indo’ correspondence for FlixChatter 😀

  12. I definitely want to check out both movies. Heard some great things about The Raid and what guy doesn’t like a spectacular action flick?! Plus, I’m sure it’s a realistic depiction of every day life in Indonesia 😛

    And My Week with Marilyn because Michelle Williams is usually good enough in these kind of performances that it’s worth a watch.

  13. I would love to see The Raid but I am a bit tied up right now. I watched The Woman in Black last week (review coming up soon) and I really like it. Daniel showed that he has improved his acting.

    I dont think I will watch Marlyn movie anytime soon. I will wait for it in TV.

    Both reviews are great, I got good insight to which I want to see 🙂

  14. Pingback: Foto Iko Uwais The Raid

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