Musings on the first 2 eps of LOKI series

When the first THOR movie came out in 2011, I instantly fell for Tom Hiddleston‘s LOKI and like many Hiddlestoners out there, I kept wishing there’ll be a spin-off movie. Well, that day never came, but thankfully a decade later, we got something even better! Why settle for a 2-hour LOKI movie when you can get 6 hours of the god of mischief shenanigans!

The series, directed by Kate Herron and written by Michael Waldron (who’s also penning the script of Doctor Strange‘s sequel) is Marvel Studios’ first villain-centric project. The timing is quite interesting as Disney just released its latest villain-centric movie Cruella, which some critics have called it The Joker Wears Prada, ahah. It seems that Marvel honcho Kevin Feige and its show-runner is confident that most people who watch the series are likely familiar with the MCU and have kept up with all 4 phases. If not, well they probably aren’t going to care that there are spoilers galore, especially pertaining to the Infinity Saga. 

Loki-Avengers-tesseract

Even in the opening sequence we’re shown a clip of the 2012 The Avengers when Loki was reprimanded in chains. But chaos on the Stark Industries building lobby causes the all-important Tesseract to break loose and into the hand of LOKI, which of course seizes the opportunity to escape and transport himself out of Midgard, aka earth. Somehow Loki ends up falling on the Gobi desert of Mongolia, surrounded by pieces of what looks like metals and other pieces. It certainly reminds me of the scene in Iron Man when Tony Stark crash lands his first prototype of the Iron Man suit. Before Loki even figures out his bearing, a group of military force in a gray, black and orange body armor seizes Loki and takes him away through a time-travel portal.

Loki-Gobi-desert

There are a ton of exposition in the first episode which I won’t get into here, it’s best that you experience it for yourself when you watch it. I can say that what Loki did with escaping using the Tesseract is that he creates a branch in time, which is grounds for arrest by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) for crimes against the Sacred Timeline. Honestly, I’m still not clear about that whole timeline and who actually leads the TVA, who apparently even the agents have never met. TVA is a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and monitors the timeline. This is where things get interesting, that is when Loki is brought by a no-nonsense high-ranking officer Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) to a judge called Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) to determine his fate. But then a TVA agent called Mobius M. Mobius – don’t you just love these wacky names!! – intervenes and convinces the judge that he could use Loki’s help to catch a more dangerous, divergent Loki Variant, the one he deems smarter and more evil than the Loki they have in possession. As you’ve seen in the trailers, Mobius is played by the reliably amusing Owen Wilson.

Loki-Mobius-bromance

Now, Tom and Owen have worked together in Midnight in Paris, and I’ve seen countless times the clip of Hiddles impersonating Owen in the Graham Norton Show. The two must’ve stayed in touch as I have a feeling perhaps Tom’s had a hand in Owen’s casting, and Owen himself has said in interviews he became familiar w/ the world of the MCU thanks to what he calls the Loki Lectures! Oh man, I’d LOVE to sign up for those!

Move over Falcon + The Winter Soldier, we’ve got a new fun bromance in the MCU! I actually laugh more watching Loki and Mobius’ constant bantering. I know lots of people might find all the talky scenes boring but I actually enjoy their tête-à-tête, discussing what the TVA actually does, time travel theories, even philosophical stuff like free will, etc. As a theater actor, Tom clearly he enjoys the heavy dialogue and he’s got a such gorgeous voice to boot! I’ve said it before in this post, Tom can just be reading a vacuum cleaner manual to me and I’d be sitting there batting my eyelashes.

Loki-Mobius-lunchroom

For the most part, the banters are droll and hilarious, especially when Loki hijacks Mobius’ lunch to demonstrate his time variant theory in the lunch room! But there are a few emotional moments, such as when Mobius shares what happens in his future, including the destruction of Asgard we saw in Thor: Ragnarok and what Thanos did to him in Endgame. For his part, Owen is perfect casting as well as the Texas-born actor is effortlessly comical and charming as Mobius. His exasperated mannerism dealing with Loki, even mocking the Asgardian’s inability to shut up, is one of the series’ highlights. The two complements each other so well I think they’re now my favorite MCU duo!

I’ve mentioned Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku above and they’re both great addition to the cast. I’ve been a huge fan of Gugu ever since BELLE movie, and seeing her joining the MCU just made me so happy!! I’m glad she’s not just a damsel in distress or some throwaway character, I mean her role as a judge is a pretty powerful one and I hope to see more of her in the series. I haven’t seen her in Lovecraft Country but I love seeing what Wunmi bring to this show so far.

Aside from the talented cast, I also love the production design of the series. I love the retro look of the TVA headquarter in yet another interesting and wacky universe as Marvel keeps upping the ante in its world-building ability. The cinematography, colors, set pieces, etc. has that 50s/60s sensibilities, though not quite in the same way as WandaVision did which shows the characters evolving decade after decade.

Now, of course the series just wouldn’t work without Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as LOKI. I know that everyone always have such high praises for Taika Waititi for reviving the Thor franchise, but I for one think Kenneth Branagh deserves a ton of kudos for not just casting the perfect Thor in Chris Hemsworth, but the perfect Loki as well. It’s crazy to think Tom auditioned for Thor, but clearly he’s more brain than brawn and what I love about Loki is his sharp wit, undeniable charm and sheer unpredictability!

Loki-Hiddleston

Tom is one of the best actors working today, so it’s no surprise he easily switches from mischief to melancholy in no time flat, and manages to make those playful and poignant scenes believable. He relishes in being an anti-hero, and this role gives him a chance to show the many sides of Loki in such a fun way. We’ve seen Loki’s not-so-nefarious side before in various movies, but the possibilities are endless given the multiverse. I love the moment he gets to be be charming + flirtatious in a dapper suit (which might re-start those Bond rumors once again). I look forward to seeing more of what Hiddleston can do with the role in this series.

Loki-sunglasses-wink

Now, there are a few quibbles I have about the series however. Some of the Jetson-style cartoon of the TVA seems a bit out of place. The bouncy clock Miss Minutes was amusing for a few seconds, but the novelty kinda wears off fast. I think we get that time travel is par the course for the series, and the thing with time travel, alternate timeline, multiverse, etc. is that the more you talk about it, the more convoluted it becomes and it’s hard at times to stick the the ‘rules’ the show-runners themselves have created. But I suppose this is just the first two episodes, so hopefully there won’t be any more exposition in future episodes and just give us what Loki does best, that is being his mischievous self!

Loki-MissMinutes

Overall though, I thoroughly enjoy the LOKI series! It’s delightfully kooky which definitely helps averts the superhero fatigue. The ending of episode two is infused with all kinds of mystery and it fuses sci-fi and detective elements that I enjoy. I’m really curious just how big of an impact this series will have to the MCU as a whole, as Feige has teased in many articles such as this one, reportedly saying that “[LOKI] is tremendously important. It perhaps will have more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far,” I also look forward to the character’s evolution, which we have seen in Wanda becoming Scarlet Witch, as well as Sam Wilson becoming Captain America. “You want to see, after six hours or so, characters change and evolve,” Feige was quoted as saying, “We don’t make these shows to not be radical, right?”

That’s a big promise, but I for one trust Marvel that they WILL deliver! Can’t wait for more of LOKI, wish I could binge them all in a single weekend!

4/5 stars


Are you excited for LOKI series?

SUPER BOWL trailers – First look into Falcon + Winter Soldier, Wanda Vision + LOKI series

Happy Monday! Did you watch the SuperBowl? Can’t say that I did, I actually just found out this morning that Kansas City Chief won the game, so congrats!!

I barely even watch any of the ads, but I made sure I checked out the trailers before I went to bed. Thanks to ONE Media for compiling ALL of the trailers into one video, SO convenient!

Here are my brief comments for each MOVIE trailer…

BLACK WIDOW – I’m mildly excited for it, but can’t wait to see Florence Pugh, Hollywood’s new IT girl as Natasha’s sister.

NO TIME TO DIE – Already super excited for this, now even more so… I hope Lashana Lynch has tons of screen time, she looks like the coolest character of the bunch (yep, including Bond himself!)

TOP GUN: Maverick – Looks fun, curious to see if it’ll be a hit.

A QUIET PLACE II – Note to self: better watch the first one pronto (though now I know what the monsters look like, oh well)

MULAN – Dayum it looks EPIC!!! I’m even more excited with this trailer, and Donnie Yen is absolutely perfect casting.

SONIC The Hedgehog – Doesn’t interest me apart from seeing Jim Carrey back, haven’t seen him in ages!

Fast & Furious 9 – Nothing fast about this overlong, outrageous, over the top trailer, and it made me furious why this franchise just keeps on going, ugh! (Boy how much did they pay Dame Helen Mirren & Charlize Theron to keep doing these movies??)

Btw, I thought I’d be seeing another new trailer for WONDER WOMAN. That’s definitely on my Top 5 most anticipated list!


Now… as for those Disney+ new series teasers…

If you just want to see the Marvel TV series trailers, here you go:

 

All I can say is… dayum Disney!!! Just take all my $$$ why don’t you! My hubby and I only signed up for the FREE trial so far just so we can binge on The Mandalorian, but with Falcon + Winter Soldier, WandaVision AND the LOKI series coming, we definitely have to subscribe to Disney+.

I’m lovin’ how WandaVision looks like a retro comedy. Totally not what I expected but I love it! That’s now my most-anticipated series of the three. I do love Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, they’re such a fun cinematic duo, so it’ll be nice to see their gorgeous mugs more regularly on streaming. Looks like they haven’t shot LOKI at all as we barely see Tom Hiddleston doing anything.


What do you think of these trailers? Which one(s) are you most anticipating this year?

FlixChatter Review – THOR: Ragnarok (2017)

It’s been almost two weeks since I saw Thor: Ragnarok and I’m still giddy thinking about it. In fact, I had just seen Justice League two nights ago and honestly I’d rather write about the latest Thor movie, and this is one I’d readily watch again.

Let me preface this review with the fact that I’m a huge fan of its director, New Zealander Taika Waititi, ever since I saw What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople a year later. Those two rank as one of my favorite films of all time. In fact, even with an all star cast that includes my personal cinematic heroine Cate Blanchett, I’m most excited about Thor: Ragnarok because of Waititi. And boy did he deliver!!

It opens with our Asgardian hero, sans his Mjölnir hammer, being chained by a creature named Surtur who plans to destroy Thor’s planet by fulfilling the propechy of Ragnarok. Chris Hemsworth is definitely much more comfortable in the role, having played Thor half a dozen times by now. But here he gets to show off his comic chops as well. He manages to escape, gets his Mjölnir and fighting mojo back and he returns to Asgard. It’s always a hoot seeing Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (I actually like him more than Thor from the previous films). I’m not going to spoil it for you but what he discovers there is one of the most comical bits of the movie. Let’s just say Taika made a great use of a famous A-lister that could’ve played like an SNL skit if it wasn’t handled properly. Love seeing Sam Neill making a quick appearance too.

The following scenes takes Thor and his half brother Loki to earth, trying to figure out the wherebouts of his father. The scenes involving them and Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is funny stuff as well, peppered with Taika’s brand of quirky humor. As it turns out, it itsn’t just Loki who wants to take over the rule of Asgard, and this time she wouldn’t stop at that. With a name like Hela, of course she wants to rule the entire universe and unleash hell! Miss Blanchett relish on the opportunity to be a sexy, leather-clad, rockstar-ish goddess from hell, with another easy-on-the-eyes actor from Down Under Karl Urban as her lackey. Yes she seems to be purposely chewing the scenery but it works, and it’s fun to watch.

It’s clear the two brothers are no match for Hela and so Thor gets banished to a planet of scraps where his next crazy adventure begins! The new characters Taika introduced here, Valkyrie (bad-ass Tessa Thompson), the Grandmaster (the eternally amusing Jeff Goldblum), a rock creature Korg (voiced in a hilarious high-pitched voice by Taika himself) are all memorable! Even Rachel House (who was hilarious in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) got some hilarious one liners in the movie. I LOVE Valkyrie and Korg I wouldn’t mind seeing more of both of those characters in future Thor movies or even a spin-off! I also love seeing Idris Elba back as Heimdall, who became the loyal guardians for Asgardians. This is perhaps my favorite ensemble cast of all superhero movies.

I read that Taika has always wanted to make the latest Thor movie more comedic, whilst making some creative updates the character and its universe. Well he certainly’s done the job smashingly well! Yep, the term ‘Hulk Smash’ would apply to this movie and all the scenes with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), both as Bruce Banner and the big green creature, are massively entertaining. Everyone seems to be having a blast making this and it shows. But just because it’s chock full of hilarious bits, it doesn’t mean there’s no plot here. The story actually holds up and there’s even some nice moments between Thor and Valkyrie that points to her past as Asgard’s defender. There’s a hint there might be something less-than-platonic between these two and you know what, I’d welcome it! It’s certainly more interesting than Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane.

I’m glad that Marvel once again took a chance on an indie director (following the success of the Russo brothers with the Captain America movies) and Taika Waititi is one of recent filmmakers I discovered who I REALLY want to see making it big. I love that he pushed for more Indigenous representation in his films. Apparently he hired many Aboriginal crew members and the film was shot in Australia. There are quite a few in-jokes for Kiwis and Australians, like the Aboriginal flag colors and the spaceships named after types of Holden, Australian-made cars. My relative actually owned one of those when I was growing up in Indonesia!

SPOILER ALERT! (highlight to read) I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the plot has a bit of social commentary about how the White people conquered a lot of the Indigenous land. When they’re inside the Asgardian palace, Hela said something about the dark history of Asgard… how Odin used to conquer different planets and wanting to rule the universe, with her by her side. But then Odin gained a conscience and became a benevolent ruler, thus banishing Hela because she didn’t share his vision. She said ‘where do you think we got all of this gold from?’ When I heard that, it sounded like a commentary about colonial privilege, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being the ‘stolen generation’ and white Australians living on someone else’s land. Even the Grandmaster’s line ‘slaves is such a harsh word, I prefer “prisoners with benefits”’ sounds like a sarcastic jab against people calling an awful thing differently as if that would actually lessen its awfulness.

Well, I’m curious if people notice those things or not. One thing for sure, this has become one of my all time favorite movie, not just my favorite Marvel movie. The actions scenes are definitely fun to watch. There are bombastic fight scenes but they don’t feel overlong or overdone like in some other superhero movies. There’s even an entertaining spaceship chase and of course the Thor vs Hulk battle promised in the trailer is still epic and fun! That ‘friend from work’ line is one of the many quotable quips from Taika Waititi’s movies I’d use again and again.

You would think it’d be tough to live up to the super fun trailer w/the rousing Led Zepellin’s Immigrant Song, but the movie manages to do just that… and then some! So yeah, Thor doesn’t just get a spunky new haircut but Taika gives him a whole new attitude and refreshing new take on his franchise. The funniest bits in the trailer is still hilarious in the movie, there’s so much joy and laughter in the whole theater. Like a joyful, thrilling amusement park ride, you can’t wait to get on it again as soon as it’s over!


Well, what did you think of ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

Top Ten Favorite Actor Voices… that I can listen to for hours

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Well, on Tuesday night I saw the press screening of The Jungle Book, which is a remake of the 1967 animated film. It was such a pleasant surprise, a visually-mesmerizing film with a simple-yet-moving story. That film is certainly an eye AND ear candy, with phenomenal voice actors like Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, etc/ providing the speaking voice for all the animals.

So in honor of that film, I thought I’d um, remake my old post that still remains quite popular to this day, top 10 favorite actors with the smoothest voice. It’s funny but more often than not, actors I have a crush on usually have an addictive speaking voice, and I’d even listen to their interviews over and over just to hear their voice! It’s obviously a very subjective list, and I’m not going to include the same people I’ve already included in my original list (i.e. Gregory Peck, Alan Rickman, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, etc.) Also excluding the obvious ones like James Earl Jones & Morgan Freeman, because well, they’re a league of their own.

Yes I realize I could’ve renamed this list Favorite BRITISH voice actors, ahah. But hey, I didn’t pick based on nationalities, but just like looks & talent, the Brits seem to have ’em all 🙂 In any case, here they are in no particular order:

1. Idris Elba
Idris_voice

I’ve been a huge fan of Idris’ voice since Rocknrolla. The voice timbre, the accent, it’s simply mesmerizing. Even without seeing his physical presence, his voice alone has that irresistible swagger.

2. Sam Riley

SamRiley_voice2

Ok so Sam’s voice is a bit of an unconventional choice. People say he sounds like John Hurt, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s something so irresistible about his raspy voice, likely due to his years of chain smoking. I’ve been saying on Tumblr that Sam’s voice is my drug of choice of late 😉 I literally would listen to a bunch of his interviews, which is just as fun to listen to as his singing voice in Control (and his former band 10,000 Things)

Whether he’s speaking in American accent as Sal Paradise (aka Jack Kerouac)…

… or British as dashing Colonel Darcy in Pride + Prejudice + Zombies

… Sam’s voice is music to my ears that I can’t get enough of.

3. Jeremy Irons

JeremyIrons_voice

I don’t know why I didn’t include this in my original list as I’ve always loved Mr. Irons’ voice! It’s so distinctive, with a timbre all his own and he’s got impeccable delivery the way Alan Rickman did. Hearing him even in his brief appearance in Batman V Superman reminded me just how much I loved his voice. Speaking of Disney voice actor, his voice work as Scar in The Lion King is just superb. I mean how does one go against James Earl Jones in the voice department, but he certainly held his own in that regard.

4. Tom Hiddleston

Hiddleston_voice

The one actor I was crushing on in the first Thor movie wasn’t the hero, it’s the villain. Hiddleston’s voice sounds so melodious even when he’s in distress. His extensive theatrical training came through in his delivery, it’s so clear, dramatic and simply mesmerizing. He totally came away with the movie on account of his voice alone IMHO. I went to see his performance as Coriolanus as part of a National Theatre Live broadcast just because I LOVE listening to him do those long monologues and indeed he delivered.

Here’s a scene with Anthony Hopkins (who’s on my original list)

Oh and of course he’s absolutely divine in reading Shakespeare…

5. Will Arnett

WillArnett_voice

Ok this is crazy but I never actually paid attention to Will’s voice as I barely watch any of his movies. But when he did Batman in the LEGO Movie I thought my goodness he’s got a gorgeous voice! It’s so deep that it’s hilarious but it certainly sounds lovely, heck better than Christian Bale’s ridiculous’ Batman voice in Nolan’s movies. I can’t wait for the standalone LEGO Batman movie!

6. Mark Strong

MarkStrong_voice

Come to think of it, Rocknrolla is chock-filled with Brits with gorgeous voices (there are three of them on this list alone). Strong is so criminally underrated as an actor, but I think fewer people know he’s also a fantastic voice actor. But really, he’s got the perfect voice pitch and lovely accent that he probably could make a successful career solely on his voice alone.

7. Mike Colter

MikeColter_voice

One of the reasons I ended up loving Jessica Jones is the casting of Mike Colter as Luke Cage. Ok so the first time we saw him I was already transfixed by him before he even opened his mouth (I mean look. at. him.) Then he did open his mouth and I was like, seriously? Not only did he look like THAT, he has to sound THAT good as well? Well let’s just say I hope they give him extensive monologues in the Luke Cage series!!

8. Iain Glen

IainGlen_voice

Another underrated British actor with an absolutely divine voice is Iain Glen. I remember first seeing him in the first Tomb Raider movie. In fact, he’s one of the best things about the movie as the charismatic villain. Fans of Game of Thrones surely are familiar with his character Jorah’s voice. I think people with a great voice is memorable even in a small role, as was Iain in Eye in the Sky, which was already filled with people with distinctive voices like Alan Rickman AND Helen Mirren. The movie is like voice porn!

9. Ben Whishaw

BenWhishaw_voice

Whether citing John Keats in Bright Star, or bringing a bear to life in Paddington, Whishaw’s use of his phenomenal voice is simply incredible. I also enjoyed his voice as Q in the Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. There’s such a pleasant lilt to his voice that will make anyone swoon.

I love this fan video of him reading Keats’ La Belle Dame Sans Merci set to Thor‘s soundtrack. An odd choice of music but it works!

10. Tom Hardy

TomHardy_voice

Ok some people say they love Tom Hardy but they’d need subtitles in order to understand him. Ahah, I agree with that, for some reason he’s been in movies where he mumbles so much. But obviously if he speaks in his natural voice he’s got a clear accent and the loveliest voice. Check out his seductive voice in Rocknrolla, I have played this clip dozens of times just to listen to him. Speaking of voice porn, this movie is another one of those featuring a trio of great voices courtesy of Idris and Gerry Butler!


Well, what do you think of my picks? Whose actor voice(s) that you consider music to your ears?

November Viewing Roundup + What I watched during my hiatus

NovRecapHello hello! Miss me? Well I’m not exactly back yet, I’m extending my hiatus probably until after Christmas. I’ve been diligently working on my script daily and I don’t want to lose momentum. I might still do a post here and there if I have time and feel like doing it, so don’t forget me 😉

Well, we’ve been watching a ton of great movies, both new releases and rewatches, thanks to the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Here they are in alphabetical order…

New Releases

  • Disney Short Films Collection
    DisneyShorts
    Worth seeing if you love Disney and short films. It’s a pretty eclectic collection and some of them you might’ve seen. The Little Matchgirl one got me bawling, it’s such a heartbreaking story. I remember seeing a stage adaptation of that as a kid and even that stayed with me for years!
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
    MockingjayPart2
    This was one of the craziest press screenings ever with thousands of people, mostly teens, lining up for hours at a local IMAX theater. But the movie was so ho hum, I could barely remember anything about it now and it was so darn predictable. It just reinforced me what a terrible actor Liam Hemsworth truly is and honestly I’m bored at seeing Jennifer Lawrence‘s face, which was practically in every single scene. It still pains me to watch the late Philip Seymour Hoffman though.
  • Legend

    If I were to review this movie, it’d just be a collection of pictures of how Bond-like Tom Hardy looked in most of the scenes, well when he’s playing Reggie that is. Ron, not so much. But he’s really the reason to see it, otherwise it’s a pretty standard gangster flick.

  • Mr Holmes
    MrHolmes
  • Night Owls
    NightOwlsmovie
    A witty indie comedy/drama that takes place over a single night. The dialog is sometimes raunchy, but there’s a genuine chemistry between the two leads and the script is refreshingly honest and has a natural flow to it. Definitely worth a look. Stay tuned for my interview with writer/director Charles Hood on Wednesday!
  • Spectre
    SpectreMovie
  • Spotlight
    Spotlightmovie
    This film about the uncovering of the sexual abuse scandal by Catholic priests in Massachusetts will certainly rile you up and stay with you for days. This fine ensemble cast certainly lives up to its stellar reviews. It’s a riveting, disturbing, and emotionally-gratifying from start to finish. Terrific script and top notch cast that’s thankfully NOT wasted. Definitely one of the best investigative journalism film of all time, right up there with All the President’s Men.
  • Trumbo
    TrumboMovie

    I LOVE films about Classic Hollywood and if you’re a fan of Bryan Cranston, then it’s an absolute must-see. He’s electrifying as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood 10 screenwriters who were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.

Theater

CoriolanusTomHiddleston

I had the pleasure of seeing Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus during a National Live Theater presentation at a local cinema last week. It was a powerful and mesmerizing performance from the Shakespearean actor. I wish I could’ve seen it live on stage, which would’ve been amazing to watch considering how intimate the Donmar Theatre was, it seats only 250!

TV Series

Man in the High Castle (season 1)

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I have to do a whole post on this series as I have a lot to say about this Philip K. Dick’s adaptation. But for sure Rufus Sewell is one of the highlights here, if only the producers realized that and give him more screen time in future seasons.

Rewatches

I rewatched a ton of movies this past month, which turns out to be quite an eclectic collection now that I think about it. Hey, I love the action stuff as much as the romantic love stories 😉

  • Anna Karenina
  • Batman Begins
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Cinderella
  • For Your Eyes Only
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Not Another Happy Ending

 


Movie of the Month

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Well, that’s my November update. What about you, what’s your favorite film you saw last month?

FlixChatter Review: CRIMSON PEAK (2015)

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It’s been almost a decade since Guillermo del Toro made a fantasy/ horror picture; Pan’s Labyrinth put his name on the map as a big time filmmaker. After two big budgeted sci-fi action films, he’s back with a smaller fantasy/horror thriller that made him famous.

Set in turn-of-the-century New York, a young ambitous woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is trying to become a serious writer in the field dominated my men. She’s written novels about love and ghosts, you see Edith believes in ghosts because she saw her dead mother visited her when she’s very young. Ever since then, she can see ghosts everywhere.  CrimsonPeak3

Her written work would get turned down by publishers and some even mocked her writing. One day she met an Englishman named Thomas (Tom Hiddleston) who’s in town to try and raise money for his clay mining business from Edith’s father Carter (Jim Beaver) and other business men. Thomas has a sister named Lucille (Jessica Chastain) who doesn’t seem to care much for everyone in town, especially Edith. After Edith’s father rejected his business pitch, Thomas decided to romance Edith in order to get money from the family.

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Local doctor Alan (Charlie Hunnam) also tried to woo Edith but she’s clearly smitten by the new Englishman in town. After a tragic incident, Edith married Thomas and they moved back to England to stay at his old mansion. Here’s when things got worse for Edith as she’s being haunted by spirits in the mansion.

CrimsonPeak1For the first half of this movie, it felt like a period romance drama so for those looking for a spooky ghost story, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Del Toro took his time with the story and didn’t show the horror stuff until later in the movie.

Being that Del Toro is technical expert, this was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos also go to the set and costume designers, they did such an amazing job that I felt I was in that period of time while watching the movie. Performance wise, all the actors did a fine job, no complain for me here.

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Unfortunately the script by Matthew Robbins and Del Toro was quite generic and predictable. This was the kind of story that’s been told too many times in other horror/thriller. There were no surprises or twists that you won’t see coming. Another thing I thought didn’t work were the CGI ghosts, they looked fake and not scary at all. Speaking of scary, this was supposed to be a spooky horror movie and I was not once felt scared or spooked while watching this movie.

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Despite the great cinematography, performances and set design, this movie couldn’t overcome its lack of scares and originality.

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So have you seen Crimson Peak? Well, what did you think?

 

Question of the week: Which casting news are you excited about from the past few weeks?

Hello everyone! I’m planning of launching a Casting News Roundup series in the coming weeks, something I’d update a couple times a month. I even made the banner already 😉

CastingNews

Casting can make or break a film and to me, casting is a big part of whether I want to see a certain film or not. Of course the story and genre are essential, and sometimes the directors are the ones that get me to see a certain movie. But for the most part, the actors have the biggest influence in the movie selling process to me.

Well, let me start off with a couple of casting news that piqued my interest. One is a remake of one of my favorite films of all time: Ben-Hur. I’ve blogged about the rumor that Tom Hiddleston was offered the role, well it seems that he’s passed on it and now Jack Huston has been cast as the Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur.

JackHuston_BenHur

Now I would’ve loved to see Hiddles in this role and that’d undoubtedly put my butt on the seat but y’know what, I don’t mind seeing Huston in this role. I’ve only seen him in American Hustle, but TV fans are likely familiar with him from his role as the scary-looking Richard Harrow in Boardwalk Empire. Huston’s got quite an acting pedigree, being the grandson of director John Huston and nephew of Angelica Huston. I like that he’s got one of those chameleon-like face, he reminds me of a young, pre-Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp. I’m curious to see what he could do with the role and what that means for his career.

TobyKebbellMessalaNow the Messala casting came soon after, with Toby Kebbell (Mr. Rocknrolla himself) taking on the friend-turned-foe Roman soldier. I like Kebbell, he was pretty good in War Horse and he did a terrific mo-cap work as Koba in this year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Well, so far I like the casting of these two young Brits, they may not be as well-known yet but they’ve churned out pretty good performances so far. Before these two main castings were announced, Morgan Freeman was cast as Ilderim [renamed Ildarin in the new film apparently] as the Arab sheik whose chariot Ben-Hur rode in the epic chariot race. I LOVE Hugh Griffith in the original, but think Mr. Freeman would add the right amount of gravitas for the role. I just hope the film itself will prove to be a swords & sandals epic worthy of the cast and the incredible story it’s based on.


Well, TV fans should know by now about this news. More and more film actors are now coming to TV, in fact I think the lines between TV and Film actors are blurred now, and I personally think a good actor should be able to juggle multiple mediums. A lot of my fave actors balance stage, film, and TV work seamlessly.

In any case, so Colin Farrell has now joined True Detective 2.

ColinFarrell_TrueDetective2He’s quoted at Buzzfeed as saying:

I know it will be eight episodes and take around four or five months to shoot. I know very little about it, but we’re shooting in the environs of Los Angeles which is great. It means I get to stay at home and see the kids.

The article also says that Rachel McAdams and Elisabeth Moss are apparently vying for the role opposite him. I still need to see this series [yes I know, I should get on that!], but I knew it’d be tough to follow up Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Colin’s been in a bunch of hit and miss projects but generally I like him, I think he is a talented actor and he should do well in this series.


Other casting news: Apparently former Dr Who Matt Smith is going to play Mr. Collins in the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. WOW, how long has that movie been in development hell?? I blogged about it back in 2009 when Natalie Portman was attached to play Lizzie Bennet.

MattSmith_PridePrejudiceZombies


So what do you think of these casting choices? If you have other casting news you’re excited about, do share!