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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Cavill’

Today’s post is reviewing four movies – one re-review and three new reviews.  The movies are: (old) “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016); (new) Immortals (2011); (new) Jason Bourne (2016); and, (new) Moneyball (2011).  Because this post is for four movies, it will be longer than normal.  If you’re not interested in my movie reviews, move along…  So, in alphabetical order…
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)  —  movie review
My original review can be found here from back in April.  Back then I gave it a “strong” recommendation as “entertaining”.  That review stands.  If anything, I might raise it to high.  I think I actually liked it more.  The plot still doesn’t make a lot of sense, but as previously stated: it’s a marketing gimmick to get three super-heroes together so DC can start a franchise.  Even given that, I still liked the movie a lot – more so than the first viewing.  I particularly liked Ben Affleck (Batman) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman).  And, while Superman is never going to be my favorite super-hero, Henry Cavill owns the role like no one since Chris Reeves in the original “Superman – the Movie”.  The movie worked for me.  Bring on the Justice League of America!
Immortals (2011)  —  movie review
Okay, so in ancient Greece, some beefcake named Theseus (Henry Cavill aka Superman) is blessed / cursed by Zeus (Luke Evans) to protect humanity (well, at least the Greeks) from a mad tyrant – King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke).  Phaedra (Freida Pinto) plays the love interest, an Oracle of Delphi.  Anyway, blah, blah, blah, Theseus finds a magic bow (“The Epirus Bow”) and saves the world from the Titans.
Since I’d never heard of this “legend” tale, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it is completely made up.  The names of the characters appear in Greek history or mythology, but this myth / story does not.  Still, it’s a good tale.  The movie is from the same producers as “300“, so if you like that kind of bloody action, fights and special effects (and I do), you should find this movie to your visual taste.  Final recommendation: strong.  I picked this movie to see if Cavill can act in any other role beside Superman.  That didn’t work out so well as he plays a “minor” superman / hero here, too.
Jason Bourne (2016)  —  movie review
This is a movie I really wanted to see at the theater, but never got around to.  It’s the fifth in the series and the fourth with Matt Damon in the title role.  Matt skipped number four which starred Jeremy Renner.  (Wow.  Now I’ve got to go back and see that one again.)  While it was nice to see Matt back in the saddle, this movie makes absolutely no sense.  The plot is the same as the others (the first three), the CIA wants Jason Bourne dead and he fights back.  The special effects technology is upgraded, but it’s used badly and adds to the “huh?” factor.
I never thought I’d say this, since I much prefer Matt to Tom Cruise, but Ethan Hunt is now better in the Mission Impossible series than Jason Bourne is in this series.  And it’s not Matt’s acting.  It’s the story telling.  This movie is what it is: Matt / Jason fighting and running around and being super clever.  Other than that, it’s an extremely average action movie.  I’m sure Hollywood will try to string this out for another couple of sequels, but it’s running out of air and there’s a DNR on the patient’s chart.  Time for a better re-boot than we got with Jeremy.
Moneyball (2011)  —  movie review
What can I tell you?  It’s only been a couple of weeks since the Cubs won the World Series and I’m missing baseball…
This is one of those movies “based on a true story”.  Basically, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has to make a small market (ie “poor”) baseball team competitive.  He does it by introducing “Sabermetrics” to baseball.  Here, Sabermetrics is renamed as “moneyball”.  The baseball team is the Oakland Athletics (better known as the “A’s”).  The A’s lose three of their best players to teams with more money and in the struggle to replace them, Beane tries to redefine how you evaluate players using statistics instead of experienced baseball “eye-balls” (veteran scouts).  What happens is he turns the “rebuilding” team into one which not only makes the playoffs, but sets an American league single season consecutive winning streak.
The movie gives a fascinating look into the “business” of modern baseball, and, yes, I did get caught up in both the streak and the “romance of baseball”.  I liked Brad Pitt in Troy, but most of his stuff is just kind of “so-so” for me.  He is excellent in this role!  Final recommendation: High!!
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On This Day In:
2015 More Prejudice
2014 Say What?
2013 Daring Errors
2012 Are You Comfortable?
I Just Have To
In Flux
2011 True New
2010 A Job Well Started Is A Job Half Done
I See With My One Good Eye

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Batman v Superman (2016) –  movie review
Last Saturday I took my daughter Sarah to see the latest comic book movie: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice“.  The movie stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  Wonder Woman is really only in a small role (screen time wise), but it is significant to the movie as the start of the Justice League.  Affleck is new to the role of Wayne/Batman, but was surprisingly much better than I anticipated given all of the negative reviews.  Cavill is reprising his role as Kent/Superman, and is still great in the role.
Is this a “good” movie?  Yes.  It is.  It’s not going to win anyone a best actor trophy and there are large parts of the movie which don’t make any sense, but it’s a movie about comic-book superheroes, so give me a break!  I enjoyed it.  It’s not a great “film”, but most (almost all) comic-book adaptations are not great films.  Who cares?  We don’t go to them for great acting or great dialog or great plot.  We buy our tickets for action, adventure, fantasy and special effects to match our imagination.  By this standard, BvS is entertaining and that is enough.
So, what is the movie about?  Basically, the movie is a marketing attempt to throw three super-heroes together to create a “team” so the industry can have a competing franchise to the Marvel Comic Universe.  The “team”, in this case, the Justice League, will then be able to spin out both League and individual heroes sequels.  If the medium proves as artistically deep as the comic book medium, movie studios will have created a money making machine which can span decades without ever having to come up with a “new” idea.  They just follow the bread crumb trail of the comics.
There is only one problem: actors age and comic book characters don’t.  Well, they do, but on a factor of about one year for every 8 to 10 years (“real” years) of the reader’s life.  In the movies, this is handled by substituting a new (younger) actor in the next sequel or re-booting the movie series (again with a new – younger – actor) usually about ten years after the latest origin story.
The other way to deal with the age issue is to age the hero along with the actor.  This can work (see the “Die Hard“, “Rambo” and “Rocky” films), but more often, not really (see Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises“).  The point I’m getting at is that Affleck’s older Batman, and more specifically Bruce Wayne, is better portrayed than Bale’s.  And, one step farther, I think this will bode well for future League sequels.
Now, some of you might ask: what does any of this “really” have to do with this movie.  Probably nothing.  Just the meandering thoughts of an old comic-book reader…
So, final recommendation: strong.  Standing on its own, it is entertaining.  And, if you don’t go see it, you won’t know what’s going on in the sequel.
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On This Day In:
2015 Remarkable Creations
2014 Measured Faith
2013 April Fool, n.
2012 Faith, Ego And Patriotism
As It Happens
2011 What Counts

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Okay.  So I’m “supposed” to have been trying to get back into my reading (the main source material for this blog).  Instead, I’ve been watching a lot of movies.  Now, don’t get me wrong, movies are also a big source of material here, but I do tend to go overboard sometimes.
In this latest bunch of movies I’ve watched: “Superman Returns“, “Man of Steel“, “Limitless“, “Quartet“, “Terminator: Salvation“, “The Amazing Spider-Man“, and “Chariots of Fire“.  Obviously, given that large a number, I won’t be able to do more than give a cursory review and recommendation.
Superman Returns” came out back in 2009.  I’ve only seen the movie twice before this viewing – once on original release and then once on TV.  To be honest, I was not impressed either time.  The main problem I had with the movie was the “green kryptonite”, which is supposed to be deadly to Superman.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know what the problems are here.  Anyway, with the release of “Man of Steel“, I wanted to get psyched for the new movie, so I thought I’d rewatch the latest version.  Believe it or not, even though I didn’t particularly like the movie, I do own a copy of the DVD.  I collect comic-book movies and Superman is one of (if not the) the most important comic characters in comic book history.  So Friday, before going to see the new version, I sat down to watch it.
Reaction?  Much better than I remember!  It’s not a great movie, but it is a decent comic genre movie.  The star, Brandon Routh, makes a good Superman and Kevin Spacey makes a decent Lex Luther.  The film has a lot of problems, but it’s not bad as entertainment goes.  Spacey is much less “campy” in this Lex than Gene Hackman was and I feel that makes the movie a lot better than “Superman -the Movie” from the 1970’s.  This version doesn’t have the insider jokes which graced the 1978 version, so it will never be a classic among true fans, but it is a good, solid version.  Final recommendation: good but not great.  Enjoy it at home with pop corn!
Man of Steel” came out last weekend and I went to see it on the Saturday morning opening with my daughter Rebecca.  She is not a comic nerd, but does know some of the background.  She thought the movie was very entertaining and I thought it was terrific.  The movie starts out with a major re-imaging of Krypton – straight out of Avatar.  The movie progresses with lots of background info about Superman growing up and trying to find himself – blah, blah, blah – jump to costume.  Not bad.  Looks cool, but it abandons the red underwear outside of the blue pajamas.  Okay. I can live with that…
Bad guy (General Zod) finds Superman on Earth and demands his surrender to save the planet.  Big battle (20 minutes, I guess, but it felt longer).  The end.
Is it a good movie?  Yes!  Is it the best Superman yet?  It avoids camp, but has a few (maybe too few) moments of humor.  Everyone is saying they were going for the “darker” Batman type of movie.  The problem with that is Superman is NOT a dark hero.  Anyway, other than a few minor points (and the lack of humor), I’d say this is every bit as good as the Christopher Reeve version(s).  The overall cast is very strong and Henry Cavill is a “hunk” as the man in blue.  I gather he had to bulk up for this role and he is a LOT more buffed than Routh was in his version.  I’m a Kidder fan, so Amy Adams doesn’t do anything for me as Lois Lane, but she’s okay.  So, final recommendation: if you’ve gone to go see Iron Man 3, you need to go see this as it’s better all around.  Highly recommended!
Limitless” is a good Sci-Fi movie about a guy who takes drugs to use all of his brain (instead of just the 10-20% we all normally use).  Does he get away with it?  Does it improve his life?  And most importantly, is the movie any good?  Shockingly, yes, yes, and yes.  Despite the moral implications of getting ahead by using “performance enhancement drugs”, he does use them and he does get away with it.  Does it improve his life?  We’re left with the impression it did and it does and by extension, we should too.  Is the movie any good?  Yes.  It’s got decent action, a little skin, but no sex, reasonable special effects (if you believe that’s what being on drugs “looks” like), and the acting isn’t all that bad.  I enjoyed the movie (despite the moral implication mentioned) and give it a good recommendation.
Final comment, I don’t recall seeing Bradley Cooper in anything else, but he’s very good in the lead role.  I’ll look for more of him in the future.
Quartet” is a comedy/drama about old people in a retirement home.  Not just any home mind you, a pretty posh layout because the residents are all famous singers and musicians.  And not just any singers, but the finest quartet of British opera singers since WWII.  The movie is filled with heavy-weight British stars and is beautifully cast and shot.  If you like “fun” movies with great music and terrific older actors who still have “it“, you will thoroughly enjoy this movie.  It is, of course, very unrealistic, but who cares – it’s wonderful!  Final recommendation: Highly recommended!
Terminator: Salvation” is the latest in the “T” series (and yes, it does have a mercifully brief CGI role for Arnold in it).  This time, we’re back in the future and we’re trying to save John Connor’s father.  This is before the father has grown up enough to go back in time to become John’s father.  Yeah, I know, it’s all a bit of a paradox…  Anyway, lots of fights, guns, explosions, special effects and hero saving the day.  More or less everything you expect in the “T” series.  Does it work?  Is the movie any good?  Not really, but yes.  The first time I saw this was in original release.  I was seriously NOT impressed.  I did pick up the DVD and it’s sat on my shelf (unopened).  So….  I tore the plastic off and rewatched it.  Much, much better with time and distance.  I’m not sure why, but the story made no sense to me when I first watched it but it did this time through.  Go figure.  This version lacks the originality of the first movie and the break-though special effects of the second.  Having said that, it’s better than both T-2 and T-3.  At least, I enjoyed it more.  Again, go figure.
The Amazing Spider-Man” is the reboot of the series which I reviewed (Wall-Crawler Reboot) back in July of 2012.  That was a fairly long review, so you can go check that post out if you want to know more.  Suffice it to say my “highly recommended” rating still stands.  I would add that I was incorrect about it not standing up as well on the smaller screen.  I enjoyed it very much even though I only have a 32″ screen on my computer / DVD player.
Chariots of Fire” is a retelling of the 1924 British Olympic track team’s trip to Paris.  The movie came out in 1981 (yes, it’s over thirty years old now), and was up for (7) and won multiple (4) awards including best picture and original score.  I found the side-ways commentary about the classes in British society to be particularly interesting.  Needless to say, it’s a brilliant movie even if it’s not entirely historically accurate.  Final recommendation: this is a MUST see film.
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On This Day In:
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

 

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