FlixChatter Review: ENOLA HOLMES (2020)


When I first saw the name of this film, I didn’t think right away that it’s somehow connected to Sherlock Holmes. Well, the trailer sure revealed she is indeed the teen sister of that famous literary sleuth. Apparently it’s also based on a book series by Nancy Springer called The Enola Holmes Mysteries.

Well, let’s just say the cast for the role of Enola is spot on! Millie Bobby Brown, who at 16 is exactly the age of the character she’s playing (at least by the time of its release) is the kind of smart, spunky heroine that can carry a movie on her own able shoulders. Even with co-stars such as Helena Bonham Carter as her mom, Henry Cavill as Sherlock and Sam Claflin as Mycroft, Millie is the one who commands attention and I was immediately invested in her journey.

The movie shows young Enola (Sofia Stavrinou) who grows up with her mother Eudoria in an English cottage as her two older brothers are off studying abroad. Naturally the two are close and Eudoria practically teaches her gifted daughter everything she knows, from literature, art, physics, to martial arts. With a mother who’s also her best friend, things are rosy for Enola… until one day, her mother goes missing.

Now, as someone who actually lost a mother at the exact age of 16 (actually my mother passed on my sixteenth birthday), the film resonates with me in a strong way. In fact, I remember tearing up a bit as Enola is in distress when she can’t find her mother. Naturally, Enola isn’t going to be in mourning for long, her mother didn’t raise her to simply wallop in self pity.

Soon she summons her older brothers, and the meet-up by the train station is quite amusing as neither of the brothers recognize her. Granted she was just a baby when they went away. I love that the movie emphasizes the sleuthing aspect in a fun way, and I cheer every time Enola figures out a clue left by her mother. The playful way of Harry Bradbeer‘s direction, where Enola often breaks the fourth wall and address the viewers, made for a fun, entertaining family movie. Though there are certain intense fighting moments, this is a safe movie to watch with the whole family, especially young girls, given the uplifting message of female empowerment.

I don’t want to give too much away with the plot, but given election time is near in the US, the film’s message is perfectly-timed. Yet it doesn’t feel preachy, but comes organically as Enola discovers more revelations about her mother’s disappearance. Along her journey, she encounters a mysterious young Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) who somewhat distracts her from her mission to find her mom. But the one person I find the most memorable, and also essential in Enola’s personal growth, is when she meets Edith (Susan Wokoma) at a martial art class.

If you want to stay in London, be tough… be tough! Live the life. But don’t do it because you’re looking for someone. Do it because you’re looking for yourself. – Edith

Wokoma sure has some of the feminist-friendly quotes in the film. Upon meeting Sherlock himself, she astutely points out this observation…“Politics doesn’t interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.” Touchè!

I wish there were more interactions between Millie and Bonham-Carter, but certainly, the few times they do meet feels quite special. Much has been made about Cavill’s softer, more emotional portrayal of Sherlock (Netflix was sued by the Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate for this exact reason). I actually laughed when I read that. Yes, Cavill’s Sherlock portrayal is certainly ‘nicer’ here, but compared to Claflin’s callous and overbearing Mycroft, naturally he seems far more sympathetic. I was actually more distracted by Cavill’s ginormous torso that threatens to bust out of that form-fitting Tweed suit. Sorry but I prefer skinnier/leaner Cavill before he bulked up as Superman. His acting skills is pretty average that his Sherlock isn’t really anything special (nowhere near as fun as Benedict Cumberbatch’s version). It’s no hyperbole to say that Enola doesn’t just outwits her highly-educated older brothers, but Millie also runs circles around those two actors effortlessly. But Claflin at least manages to act and portray a character quite different from his usual roles. Oh and despite playing Cavill’s older brother, Claflin is actually 3 years younger than him.

There is as much battle of wits and actual physical battle here, especially for Millie. There are at least two really intense fights between her and Burn Gorman who plays a hired assassin. Given Millie is also a producer in this movie, she must have wanted to do more action-y roles. It’s quite a feat to watch her fight not only a much older man + a skilled fighter, but she does it in a Victorian dress! I recognize that one of the locations used in the final action scene, also involving Frances de la Tour as the Dowager, which is the Hatfield House. I immediately remember the Armoury’s black and white checkered floor as it’s also used in various movies, most recently Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I thoroughly enjoy this movie and as I mentioned before, Millie’s portrayal is definitely a huge factor. I love that she fully embraces her fearless spirit, but her rebellious nature isn’t simply to get attention, but it’s part of who she is. Yet she’s also not heartless, and I appreciate certain moments where she gets emotional. Now, I am glad the movie resists a full-on romance between her and Tewkesbury, while there’s obviously a hint of a crush between the two attractive teens. It’s definitely a beautiful movie for the senses, thanks to cinematography by Giles Nuttgens and music by Daniel Pemberton. The witty script by Jack Thorne and Bradbeer’s energetic direction sure makes for a delightful adaptation. I don’t even mind seeing more of Enola Holmes’ adventures!

4.5/5 stars


Have you seen ENOLA HOLMES? Well, what did you think?

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review – The good, the bad and the ugly

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By the time I sat down to write this, I’ve actually seen BVS twice in a week. Yup, you probably think I’m a masochist and I don’t blame you. But hey, it’s really out of solidarity with my dear hubby that I saw it again a second time, as we weren’t allowed to bring guests to the press screening and I actually couldn’t wait for him to see it so we could discuss this drivel movie together.

I have a lot to say here so it’s best to break things down in three categories, like I did w/ some award commentaries. Let’s start w/ the positive.

The Good

I tweeted when I sat down at the press screening that despite the title featuring two of the world’s biggest superheroes, I was mostly excited for Wonder Woman. And well, she did NOT disappoint. In fact, I was literally giddy the first time we saw Diana Prince dressed to kill in a skintight red dress at Lex Luthor’s party. The biggest audience cheer throughout the entire movie was when Wonder Woman finally showed up in costume.

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Gal Gadot slayed it, she was all badass and heroic. I wish they hadn’t revealed that exact moment in the trailer, I mean they could’ve shown ANY other WW scene besides THAT one, heh. Oh and the WW theme song, OMG I’m seriously obsessed w/ it now. The score is written by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL who just did the awesome Mad Max: Fury Road score, and this particular track has Junkie XL written all over it.

Like most moviegoers, I was more curious than excited about BVS and it’s to see the Batfleck. Ben Affleck followed up on the strong impression left by Christian Bale in the best Dark Knight trilogy, but y’know what, if we’re just judging on Ben Affleck’s portrayal alone as Batman/Bruce Wayne, I’d say he nailed it. Right from the moment we saw him driving around the wreckage of Gotham as Superman and his Kryptonian foes are wrecking havoc from the sky, we get a grizzled, world-weary and indignant Bruce Wayne. I gotta say Affleck looked damn good as Batman and his alter ego. He certainly has the gravitas of an older and wiser caped crusader, though he’s certainly far more brutal and doesn’t have qualms knocking down bad guys and even killing them. But then again, the supposedly more gracious Superman is nowhere to be found here either.

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The actual BVS battle itself was pretty fun to watch. It could be because we’ve spent nearly TWO hours waiting for the damn thing to finally happened. I was like FINALLY! The action scene here was well-staged and there were moments where I thought they could do serious damage to each other. It’s not quite the level of suspense of Batman vs Bane in TDKR however, I think Nolan crafted that sense of dread and serious peril much better than Snyder. But still, within the grim and dour universe of BVS, this scene was one of the highlights.

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Which brings me to…

The Bad

Oh dear, where do I begin.

Basically everything I didn’t care about the third act of Man of Steel is back with a vengeance. All the clanging noise that threaten to do serious damage to my eardrums are ever present as soon as Doomsday showed up. It’s an eyesore too. The world of Gotham/Metropolis are so severe and somber, and the ugliness of the Kryptonian/human monster hybrid so potent I had to look away a few times.

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Doomsday is a cross between Lord of the Ring’s Orc, the Hulk, Ninja Turtle and King Kong, also with a penchant for leaping into tall skyscrapers. That whole battle between the three heroes and this grotesque monster is a colossal CGI smash that went on far too long. It’s a sensory overload that feels like an endurance contest for the audience. If it weren’t for Wonder Woman forming the trio, I think this entire battle sequence would’ve been a total bust.

Speaking of Wonder Woman again, all of the wonderful things about her awesome intro, it is offset by the perpetual damsel-in-distress situations of all the women in Supes’ lives, be it Lois or her mother. It’s like, for one step forward in the right direction about female empowerment, there are three or more that took us back. It’s not Amy Adams‘ fault really, but I’m not fond of THIS Lois at all.

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Now, what I’m about to say is going to make Henry Cavill fans furious but y’know what, a huge fan of Superman it actually pains me to say it. Superman is actually the least interesting character of this movie, thanks to what Snyder created in Cavill. Neither Superman nor Clark Kent was a character worth rooting for. Gone is the heroic and sympathetic alien who cares deeply for humanity, he even refused to take ANY blame for all the monstrous destruction that could’ve been easily avoided if he went around the buildings instead of flying through them! Not only that, he was delusional enough that he told Bruce Wayne that nobody saw him as a liability and that the world was entirely on his side. Cavill’s Clark Kent is no longer the meek, mild-mannered reporter, as he’d rather argue relentlessly with his boss Perry White and had the worst work ethic. Yes Clark was always MIA in previous movies too, but we actually saw he had a good relationship with his boss and there’s a mutual respect between them. None of that is displayed in Snyder’s version.

Don’t get me started with the cringe-worthy scenes between him and Lois. Gone are the sweet and flirty banter between the two, instead we get cheesy lines about hope and what have you, and the supposedly romantic gestures just doesn’t compute at all because none of it felt true. And what’s with the constantly-constipated look on Cavill no matter what circumstance his character finds himself in.

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He had the same baffled/sad/forlorn/reflective (all of the above? none of the above??) whether he’s talking to his mom/Lois, at the courthouse, surrounded by strangers during Day of the Dead festival, etc. I think he only switches to something of immense rage when he’s facing Batman, which doesn’t exactly make me like him one bit as he comes across more like a bully than a wise and gentle hero we’ve seen in Christopher Reeve. What’s more, Snyder sexualizes Superman so much here it’s putting me off. There’s a scene of him jumping into a bathtub and a gratuitous scene of him cooking with no shirt on. Sorry but that had the opposite effect on me. I don’t want a sexually-alluring Superman, I want a Superman I can believe in.

The Ugly

[SPOILER ALERT]

Ok, one of the screenwriting rules I’ve read often says to steer clear of dream sequences. Unless something is hugely integral to the plot (like say, in Inception), there are very few narratives in which this structure fits. Well, guess what, there wasn’t just one but MULTIPLE dream sequences. I literally was gonna throw things at the screen when it happened, and after seeing it twice I STILL have no clue what the heck those scenes are about and how it served the story. It has no purpose being there other than to infuriate the audience. Seriously, the movie could’ve easily been trimmed to under 2 hours long without these inconsequential scenes.

The scenes of Batman in the desert fighting a bunch of goons wearing Supes’ emblems in their uniforms followed by some ethereal-looking ghost talking to Bruce, what the hell was THAT?? And the whole Superman talking to his dead earthly dad scene in the North Pole. Heh, we already know Supes has daddy issues. Same with the wholly extraneous scene of Bruce’s parents being gunned down. The whole thing is played out with the most irritating slo-motion as if seeing Thomas & Martha Wayne dying a slow death would make us care more about them. Is it so that the movie can start AND end with a funeral scene?? [shrug]

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Forget daddy issues though, this movie seems to be more about the moms. The filmmakers used the fact that Bruce and Clark’s mothers share the same name as a plot device. Good gracious, it’s not only trite, but it’s simply lazy writing. So they needed a good reason for why Batman would stop from killing Superman and that’s all they could come up with?? We’re talking about a writing duo comprised of David S. Goyer (who co-wrote the Dark Knight trilogy) and Chris Terrio (who won Best Screenplay Oscar for ARGO).

[END OF SPOILER]

That said, it begs the question whether it’s actually possible to forge a worthy script that tells SO many origin stories in a single movie with SO much going on there’s absolutely no room at all for any character development. My hubby and I were talking about it this morning on the way to brunch that this movie could perhaps work as more of a Batman story, with Superman treated as a supporting character (plus cameo from Wonder Woman) so it could be more focused on a single character whilst still serve as a launching pad for other characters in DC cinematic universe. But perhaps the studios want to appease the fans for Man Of Steel 2 being delayed indefinitely, as the ‘battle’ between these two characters, no matter how epic, just can’t make up for the messy storytelling.

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All the intriguing ideas about deity and humanity seem so half-baked and completely lost in a sea of clanging CGI death-match. I roll my eyes every time the characters are saying some philosophical mumbo-jumbo about hope and that ‘man is still good’ or whatever, because the film hasn’t earned them. The quasi-spiritual themes feel tacked on instead of being an inherent part of the narrative.

Other Observations

I haven’t mentioned Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, whose take of the villain is more of a deranged and power-hungry tech megalomaniac who likes to play god. He played it much like his Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, but with more than a few screws loose. He’s hellbent on destroying these demigods, liken them to Biblical demons, but it’s never clear what he’s true agenda is. But y’know what, he’s at least amusing in his nervous ticks that he actually offered a bit of relief from all the drab and grave mood of the movie.

BVS_Luthor BVS_Alfred_PErry

Alfred is portrayed as being more of an equal as Bruce, more akin to James Bond’s Q than the traditional English butler in previous screen adaptation. I have no problem with that and Jeremy Irons rocked as the dry, sarcastic and no-nonsense Alfred who looked like he could’ve been a perfect Bruce Wayne in his younger days. I also love Laurence Fishburne as the commanding Perry White, he’s definitely a more authoritative version of the Daily Planet editor. He respects superstar reporter Lois Lane but doesn’t let her walk all over him either. Perhaps that’s what’s needed to head a newspaper in the digital age, though I have no idea how they’re still in business.

The intro of other DC characters which will live on as part of Justice League and in various stand-alone movies are handled pretty well. At least it didn’t feel jarring to me, though at that point I really didn’t care so much about them as I struggle to muster up sympathy for the characters in BVS.

Final Verdict

It’s mind-boggling just how haphazardly-constructed this whole movie was. It proves that no amount of money ($250 mil production cost) can guarantee quality. Surely it’s a challenging task for even the best director to make a smorgasbord of plots to interweave seamlessly and no director is less than up for the task than Zack Snyder. The transition from one scene to the next is so mind-numbingly jumpy and disconcerting. It’s not quite a complete disaster but still, the bad far outweighs the good for me and trust me, I already had a very low expectation for this one.

I can’t believe Warner Bros entrusted so much of DC universe to a one-note director who has absolutely no talent for storytelling. So he’s known for his visual flair, but to be honest with you, I can’t even think of a single truly spectacular scene that took my breath away. Ok so there’s the moment where Batman drives his Batmobile into his Batcave through a secret entrance hidden in a dam that I thought was pretty darn cool. But that is all I could remember from an entire 2.5 hour movie, which is saying a lot.

It’s unforgivable that Snyder & co. has made a formidable hero like Superman so tedious and impossible to root. After this, I can’t be bothered with any other DC movies in the future. The only one I’m looking forward to is Wonder Woman and that’s mostly because a female superhero on the big screen has been so long overdue. The fact that it’s NOT directed by Zack Snyder is another reason to cheer, but since Dawn of Justice hit a big box office record on its opening weekend ($170 mil), I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him yet. Alas, Snyder will still be allowed to make more movies, and that’s the real travesty of it all.

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So what did YOU think of ‘Batman V Superman’? Did you like it more or less than I did?

February Viewing Recap + What I’m looking forward to in March

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Well, one thing for sure, I’m REALLY glad award season is over. I’ve posted my thoughts on the Oscars and all, but to be honest with you, it kinda felt like a chore. I don’t even know if I want to do it next year, I might skip blogging about award season next year, that’ll surely be quite liberating.

What I REALLY want to do is to finally write about Sam Riley… I want to talk about just what a tremendous actor he is and review all his movies! He’s a huge part of my February viewing and that’s a VERY good thing! 😀

So here are movies I saw this month:

New-to-me Movies

(in order of viewing)

Unfortunately I missed the press screening of Demolition w/ Jake Gyllenhaal but hopefully there’ll be another one later this month. But I skipped Gods of Egypt because there’s no way I’m watching that rubbish, seriously how in the world did that even get made?? Its director’s born in Egypt but he cast a Scot AND a Dane as Egyptian gods??! SMH. It’s a new low even for Gerry Butler!

TV series

JessicaJones

I only have two more episodes to go. I’ll do a review of season 1 when I’m done. We wanted to finish it before Daredevil season 2 is out on March 18!!

Rewatches

Yes, I can’t get enough of Sam Riley, can’t you tell? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the first 2016 movie I saw twice on the big screen and I’d easily go for a third if they’re still running in the cinemas! #sorrynotsorry

MOVIE OF THE MONTH

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There’s simply no other film that affected me more than this rock biopic on Joy Division’s frontman Ian Curtis. Sam Riley‘s performance is beyond mesmerizing… to say it’s a soulful performance is putting it mildly. It’s like he became the character and I felt like I was watching a documentary.

No blindspot for this month, but since I’ve had a huge blindspot on this amazingly talented actor, it more than made up for it. In fact, Control should’ve been on my Blindspot list to begin with!


Two screenings I look forward to in March

Batman vs Superman

The press screening’s been scheduled for 3/22 in IMAX. At this point, I just want want to be proven wrong about what my gut’s been about this movie. I just hope it won’t be a load of crap the way the trailers made it look. But hey, if anything, there’s Batfleck, who just might be the saving grace of the movie. Him and maybe Wonder Woman. I have to say though, this Jimmy Kimmel’s skit made me LOL. Hot dayum Henry Cavill is one beautiful man, too bad about his utter lack of charisma.

 

Knight of Cups

I’ll be seeing this on Wednesday and I can’t wait!! I know the reviews haven’t been stellar, and Terrence Malick’s films are definitely an acquired taste, with a cast featuring Christian Bale AND Cate Blanchett, I simply cannot resist!


Stay tuned for my spotlight post on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & my interview w/ the author whose book is the inspiration for the Tina Fey movie.


Well that’s my recap of February. What’s YOUR favorite film of the month?

FlixChatter Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)

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I saw this at a very early press screening three weeks ago but there was an embargo to even tweet about it. By now I could barely remember much about Guy Ritchie’s movie, but if I were to describe it in one word, it’d be frothy. Just like Mission Impossible, this movie is based on a 1960s TV series of the same name. I actually never watched it, but basically U.N.C.L.E. is an international counter espionage agency, and the acronym stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Ritchie certainly got the retro look right for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., just as he did with Sherlock Holmes‘ Victorian London in the 1800s. In fact, the style is the only thing going for this movie – from the exotic Mediterranian locales to the extremely good looking actors wearing those stunning 60s clothing. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer play enemies-cum-partners, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, respectively. They reluctantly have to work together on a mission against a mysterious criminal organization. It’s set during the Cold War so naturally the [clichéd] plot has to involve nuclear weapons proliferation. It only seems alarming on paper but given the humorous tone of the movie, you’re not supposed to take any of it seriously. The movie has a deliberate Bond vibe but perhaps more in line with the mischievous spirit of Roger Moore’s era.

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Ritchie has experience with bromances, pretty much every film he’s done from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Rocknrolla to his latest Sherlock Holmes with Jude Law & Robert Downey Jr. has bromance elements. I think Hammer and Cavill have a decent chemistry, though not as effortless as Law and RDJ, and neither has quite the star power. As much as the two male mannequins are gorgeous to look at, unfortunately they’re as bland as a Minnesota hot dish. [Actually, it’d be an insult to my home state’s cuisine as I actually think tater tot hot dish is pretty tasty!]. I suppose there’s not much the actors can do when their characters are only as deep as a cardboard cutout. They give each of them a backstory of sort, i.e. Solo was a criminal before he was a spy, but still the characters are pretty much one dimensional.

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Ritchie assembled an International cast for this movie which results in an amusing hodgepodge of accents. We’ve got a Brit playing American (Cavill), an American playing Russian (Hammer), a Swede playing German (Alicia Vikander) and an Aussie playing Italian (Elizabeth Debicki). Not to mention Irish actor Jared Harris (son of the late Richard Harris) doing his best Texan drawl as Cavill’s CIA boss. Overall the actors did okay with the accents, though Hammer’s Russian accent is quite hilarious and rather distracting. I guess I find Russian accent even coming from Russian actors as amusing because it always sounds so exaggerated. Thankfully Hugh Grant as the leader of U.N.C.L.E. sticks with his own British accent.

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I really want to love this movie and I have to admit there are some fun moments and the setting and costumes are fun to look at. But overall, no matter how pretty the package is, it can’t really fix a hollow story. I think Ritchie aims for cool escapism from the dreaded Summer heat, but really, it wouldn’t hurt to inject just a teeny bit of substance into the whole glamorous affair. It feels like watching a two-hour retro fashion commercial, with ocassional gadgetry and gun play that never feels even the least bit threatening. The quota of beautiful people is off the charts, even David Beckham has a cameo and we’ve got Italian model Luca Calvani as Debicki’s sidekick.

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I was impressed with Debicki in The Great Gatsby but she’s barely given anything to do here, I think Vikander’s character fares a bit better but barely scratching the surface of her talent considering what she could do in Ex Machina. I have to mention that even though Cavill is a beautiful man built like a Greek god [I mean he IS Superman], I find him lacking in virility on screen. He doesn’t quite have that sparkle in his eye that make him belieavable as a ladiesman, to me anyway, I have a feeling a lot of ladies would disagree.

One thing I find distracting is the music that’s overused or used in an overblown way that it becomes a sensory overload with all the frenetic CGI action. There is one particularly funny scene when Solo nonchallantly watches Kuryakin fights for his life in a speedboat chase whilst he snack on a sandwich he found on a parked truck. But for the most part, all the action is forgettable as you could barely invest in the story. I’m not saying The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a bad movie, but it’s the quintessential style over substance. There’s a not-so-subtle hint of a sequel at the end but I don’t think there’s enough going for it even for a single movie.

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Have you seen Man from U.N.C.L.E? Well, what did YOU think?

Everybody’s Chattin + Question of the week: Supporting cast you wish got the leading role

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I can hardly believe half of the year’s already come and gone! It’s been a rather odd month for me, but in terms of movie watching, it’s rather uneventful. I sure hope the later part of 2015 have better films in store for us… and looking at Katy’s list of highly-anticipated movies for the rest of 2015, I think the chance of that is VERY promising! I’d add Southpaw to the list, which I’ll be seeing on the third week of July, and The Man from UNCLE which looks like fun!

Ok so about those links…

Since I’m currently embarking on my first screenplay project, this post on opening sentences in fiction from my pal Cindy, who happens to be a novelist herself, is definitely an inspiring read

I won’t have a Music Break post this week, so take a listen to Josh‘s pick of Movie Song of the Week

Khalid reviewed Terry Gilliam’s comedy Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Andrew is back with his Oscar series 4 Ways a Best Picture, and the year is 2009

Jay just reviewed a film I still haven’t got around to but will have to soon, Calvary

Though Summer’s just starting here in the States, Michael‘s veering into cold, dark horror territory with his book-film duo post on The Shining

And last but not least, Eddie‘s talking about Orphan Black season 3, a series I’ve been curious about for some time.


Time for question of the week!

So this week’s question is inspired by my recent viewing of Self/less. My review of it is done in my draft folder, but there’s one thing that’s stuck with me whilst I was watching it. In fact, I kept thinking about it as I was writing my review. Why isn’t a perfectly talented actor like Matthew Goode leading this movie? Now I’m not saying the movie would’ve automatically been stellar as no matter how good an actor can’t overcome a bad script, but at least Goode would’ve been more enjoyable to watch for two hours than Ryan Reynolds!

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I had the same feeling when I watched Tristan + Isolde a few years ago. I kept wondering why they cast James Franco being all sullen and morose as Tristan whilst the much hunkier Henry Cavill was stuck playing third banana. Now I’m not saying Franco is a terrible actor, I just think Cavill would’ve suited the role better. Heck, even Rufus Sewell who’s another supporting actor in the film left a more lasting impression to me than Franco did. I even dedicated a post here.

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The New World is another one that came to mind as I think Christian Bale would’ve been great in the lead role instead of Colin Farrell. The last 20 minutes of the film with Bale is the highlight of the film for me and I actually bought the DVD because of it.

Interesting that both Cavill and Bale have ended up becoming Superman and Batman, respectively, I didn’t purposely select them because of it, but clearly both have leading-man qualities.

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I’m sure there are others but let’s just start there. I bet you’ve also felt the same when you watch certain films.


So tell me, which films have you seen where you wish one of the supporting cast got the lead role?

Five for the Fifth: September 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the first FALL edition of Five for the Fifth!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. I always like to spotlight a filmmaker/actor who’s having a birthday on Five for the Fifth and today happens to be Werner Herzog’s 71st Birthday today.

WernerHerzogI have to admit that I actually have not seen a single film by the German director, though I have seen one that he produced, that is The Act of Killing and saw his acting for the first time in Jack Reacher. My friend Vince and I was just talking about him not too long ago, in which we talked about his interesting love-hate relationship with Klaus Kinski. In fact, he’s going to lend me the documentary My Best Fiend – Klaus Kinski.

Even if you’re not familiar with Mr. Herzog, just reading his IMDb bio would give you a glimpse into his um, enigmatic character. Apparently he saved Joaquin Phoenix once when he was on a car crash, but then vanished after calling an ambulance. Speaking of car accidents, have you seen his PSA on Texting While Driving which was sponsored by AT & T and other phone carrier companies. It’s interesting as according to CNN, Herzog doesn’t even own a cellphone! But the article says, “… he looks at the statistics for texting-while-driving incidents — as well as our smartphone obsession and its cost in simple human contact — and recognizes the necessity of saying something.” Here’s one of the PSA video:

I’m curious what you think of Mr. Herzog and what’s your favorite film that he’s done?

2. Seems that in the movie world at least, the geek shall inherit the earth… with J.J. Abrams as the geek god. Having completed two Star Trek films, now he’s busy working on the Star Wars sequels. I’ve got to admit I didn’t really pay attention to the whole Star Wars VII development… well that is until Benedict Cumberbatch is [rumored] to be cast. Boy, this has been quite a year for crazy casting rumors isn’t it, as I was quite convinced that Bryan Cranston has indeed been cast as Lex Luthor in the Man of Steel sequel and I was rejoicing in that fact! So now Cumberbatch is apparently the latest, shall we say, victim of casting rumor ran amok. Clearly some of his fans had fun making GIFs of Benedict with a lightsaber 😀

BenedictLightsaber

Alas, it’s all apparently is JUST a rumor. But I like the first line of the NY Daily News article that debunked it:

Reports that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII” seem to be full of Sith.

Full of Sith, ahah. Ah well, that’s too bad really, as I quite like the idea of him as a Sith Lord. And I think the actor would surely take that on, as he told Total Film early this year that he’s a Star Wars fan: “I was much more connected to [Star Wars] as a kid, in the way that a lot of kids are because it’s immediate storytelling, very simple – a beautifully, outrageously simple narrative in a way – and a wonderful three-act melodrama, opera. And I loved them. I really, really loved those films and I always wanted to be Han Solo…”
 

Well, what’s your thoughts about this casting idea folks? Would you be happy with Benedict Cumberbatch joining the next Star Wars movies?


3. This question is inspired by my recent viewing of MUD, in which two boys end up befriending a drifter with a shady past. I’ve always loved films about unlikely friendships. There are quite a few films with this kind of topic, and it spans multiple genres. A lot of buddy comedies often made up of people who didn’t initially get along but ended up becoming well, buddies. That’s certainly a popular variation of that theme, but I’m focusing mainly on dramatic or thriller genres.

Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman
Richard Jenkins + Haaz Sleiman in The Visitor

Some of my favorites of such films are The Intouchables, The Visitor, The Professionals, Finding Neverland, Mrs. Brown, just to name a few. I also just read Steph’s recent review of My Afternoon with Margueritte, which I might check out.

In the spirit of recommendations, please share YOUR favorite film(s) about unlikely friendships.


GravityPoster_Bullock4. One of the Fall films that’s been generating all kinds of buzz this week is Alfonso Cuarón‘s GRAVITY. The first trailer doesn’t really give us anything other than Sandra Bullock spinning out of control in space whilst her shuttle suddenly breaks apart around her, and George Clooney‘s voice speaking to her.

This second trailer gives more background to her character, Dr. Ryan Stone, described as a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission (per Wikipedia). Clooney plays a veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky, the only one Stone is able to communicate to in her desperate hour. Pretty gut-wrenching stuff.

“Is there somebody down there looking up, thinking about you?” Kowalsky asks.

“I had a daughter,” Stone whispers, “A little girl with brown hair. Tell her that I’m not quitting.”

Check out the latest trailer below:

I’m even more intrigued now, even before James Cameron calling it “the best space film ever done,” which was all over Twitter yesterday. I’ve always liked Sandra Bullock and this is a role I don’t usually associate her with but I know she’s a capable actress. Cuarón‘s a formidable director, whose Children of Men is one of my favorite sci-fi films. Sounds like he might give us another sci-fi classic with this one.

What say you folks? What’s your level of interest on GRAVITY?


5. Last but not least, now here are two films based on TV shows that definitely piqued my interest. Both of them star sexy, crush-worthy Brits of course 😉

IdrisElbaLutherThe first one is the BBC crime drama series LUTHER starring Idris Elba. According to the series creator, Neil Cross, the movie adaptation’s script is already written. Per Total Film, speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, Cross confirmed that a feature film is going ahead, and announced that the plot will take the form of a prequel story following Luther’s early career. Mr. Elba is reportedly set to return as the protagonist. Well I sure hope so, who’s actually going to watch if he’s NOT in it??

Now, the other one is The Man from U.N.C.L.E, which is based on the  movies based on the mid 60s TV series of the same name. I love the cast so far: Two impossibly gorgeous guys, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, are playing CIA and KGB agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, respectively. The movie could’ve been called Superman Twins or something like that as I could totally see the 6’5″ Hammer as Superman as well.

Cavill_Hammer_ManFromUNCLE

So far Hugh Grant (who’ll be playing the head of British Naval Intelligence) and Jared Harris have joined the cast as well. I’m sooo glad Henry got the role, I remember months ago that Tom Cruise was originally cast in his role. I think Henry is a better choice as he’s much closer to Armie’s age (not to mention height).

Set in the early 60s at the height of the Cold War, the film is set to begin production next week in England, with location filming in Rome and Naples (nice!). Scott Z. Burns (a Minnesota native!) who wrote The Bourne Ultimatum, Contagion, Side Effects, etc. is penning the script. I think if Guy Ritchie is making this more like a action-adventure comedy like his Sherlock Holmes films, this could be a lot of fun. 

What are your thoughts on either one of these projects? Or you can also tell me what other TV series you’d like to see being made into a feature film.


That’s it for the September 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now pick one or do them all!

Weekend Viewing Roundup … and Question of the Week

Hello everyone! To those who celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday, I hope you had an excellent time with your family.

ManOfSteelHenryCWell, sounds like many of you have seen Man of Steel by now, judging from the stellar box office take $125 mil so far in four days (including the $12 Thursday night tally). It’s apparently broken a record for highest opening ever in June (ahead of Toy Story 3‘s $110 mil) according to Box Office Mojo. Well, it’s sort of made a record for me as well as this is the first film ever that I’ve seen twice on the big screen within a week 😀

Yeah, after the press screening on Tuesday, my hubby and I re-watched it again (also in 3D) Friday night. You know what, I actually liked it more the second time around, though I still have issues with the CGI-action overload in the second half. But the good still outweighs the bad for me so I settled with a score of 4/5 in my in-depth review. If you haven’t read it already but you’ve seen the movie, I’m curious to see if you agree with my praises and gripes about it. No matter how you feel about it though, it’s hard to refute the fact that Man of Steel was a major movie-going event of the year and I certainly felt a certain rush of excitement going into it (yes I’m not gonna lie, Henry Cavill in the role of Supes certainly has something to do with it, too!) 😀 I had a hunch he’d be perfect for the role when I saw him in The Count of Monte Cristo, but he still exceeds my expectations! I sure hope this means he’d get more prominent roles in Hollywood, the guy’s certainly earned it!


Now before I get to the recap, I’m curious to hear whether you’ve felt the same way I did this past week, that is wanting to re-watch a particular movie fairly soon after seein it. So my question for you this week is this:

Which movie(s) have you seen twice (or more) in a single week?


Now here’s a brief recap what I saw this past week besides Man of Steel:

MonstersU

Monsters University
(review done for posting later next week)

OutsourcedMovie

Outsourced (2006)
Apparently this movie is the inspiration behind the NBC TV series back in 2010 set in
a call center in India. It’s a pretty hilarious cultural comedy. It’s on Netflix streaming,
so it’s worth renting if you’ve got that subscription.

TheTudorsI actually watched a few episodes of this a few years ago as I quite like historical dramas
based on the British monarchy. I only watched a couple of episodes of season 1 this time
(if you guessed it’s because Henry Cavill then you’d be right 😉 )
Not sure how long I’d want to continue watching this one though.

Screenings this week: The Bling Ring & World War Z


That’s my recap folks. Please take the time and answer my question above and/or tell me what you’ve watched this weekend.