Sorry I’ve been absent from blogging lately, but as we all know, life happens. I haven’t been watching too much lately (other than speeding through some Sopranos which is for a future post), but I did manage to see Guy Ritchie’s film adaptation of The Man from Uncle.
The premise of the film is right up my alley: two cold war spies, one American and one Russian, team up to take on some generic bad guys. The film ended up being fairly average overall. The plot was okay and the film was never boring. But it was also never exciting. I really enjoyed the chemistry between the three leads and that’s why I hope there will be a sequel. Armie Hammer is brilliant even if his Russian accent isn’t always perfect. Henry Cavill looks beautiful and he displays a lot of charisma, something that he wasn’t able to show in Man of Steel. The two men bounce off each other quite well and carry the film. Alicia Vikander is good as per usual, but she is nowhere near as good as she was in Ex Machina. She is serviceable, but other than some scenes with Armie she doesn’t elevate the film at all. The worst part of the movie: the editing. At times it was very bizarre and the flashbacks to five seconds before hand seemed unnecessary. The Man from Uncle gets 6.5/10.
Ray Donovan: Season 3 So Far…
I haven’t been posting about Ray Donovan because it’s been so…dull. Things have picked up a little with the last few episodes. But I recently re-watched season 2. It was a great season because by about the third or fourth episode the stakes felt very high. So everything that happened was exciting and felt vital. Season 3 got to about episode 7 or 8 before it became mildly exciting. The characters all seem to be spinning their wheels. Other than Bunchy and his new bride, Teresa. Bunchy has evolved into a stronger character that I really wasn’t expecting. And I love the way Teresa talks to Ray and stands up for Bunchy. The last episode, “The Octopus,” was touching as Ray gave Bunchy away to Teresa (figuratively, not literally). The episode was also good because there were no Finneys. Katie Holmes, and yes, even the wonderful Ian McShane, have been very disappointing.
I have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time and it finally came to my city. And it did not disappoint. The film is about a computer programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) who is selected to participate in an experiment evaluating the human qualities of an A.I (Alicia Vikander).
I’m not normally a big fan of sci-fi films (aside from Blade Runner) so I haven’t seen a lot of films about Artificial Intelligence. But luckily no prior knowledge is needed to enjoy this film, one of the great things about it is that it explains some of the science behind A.I. in an interesting way. I came into this film wanting an intellectual experience mixed in with some horror elements. And that’s exactly what I got along with some great, dark humor. The film looks great, the cinematography and the sets are excellent. The CGI on Ava (the A.I.) is quite convincing. The score is one of my favorite aspects of the film. There is a lot of dialogue in this movie, so the score really livens the scenes and adds a lot of tension.
The best part of Ex Machina is the actors. Domhnall Gleeson is perfect as the sweet, intelligent programmer Caleb. Alicia Vikander is wonderful as Ava. She has a really tough job, but she pulls it off quite well. Everything from the way she moves to the way she talks is spot on. But of the three actors Oscar Isaac is my favorite, he steals each scene he is in. He’s hilarious, scary, intelligent and charismatic. He has quickly become one of my favorite actors. After the film I told my boyfriend that Oscar is an actor I would see in anything. My boyfriend was a little perplexed because I’ve only seen Oscar in two films. But he has really impressed me lately.
I highly recommend Ex Machina. It’s a great film, especially if you like your movies more on the talky, intellectual side. It kind of reminds me in a way of a modern Roman Polanski movie, something along the lines of Rosemary’s Baby (one of my favorite films). Ex Machina gets 9/10
I recently came down with strep throat so I haven’t been functioning properly for a while (hoping I can make it to work tomorrow). A few days ago in a feverish haze I watched two historical romances, Belle and A Royal Affair.
When I first turned on Netflix this was the first film I saw and I chose it immediately as it was highly recommended by Ruth of flixchatter.net. I really enjoyed the film and it helped take me out of my misery. “Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing” (taken from Rotten Tomatoes).
I love Historical fiction novels, so naturally this film was right up my alley. The sets and cinematography are gorgeous. The acting in the film is all around brilliant, particularly Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid (as John Davinier) and Tom Wilkinson. Gugu is definitely an actress to watch in the future. She makes Dido sympathetic, but not to the point of being pitiful. She also has great chemistry with Sam and her scenes with Tom are quite touching. Belle feels refreshing because of its unique perspective. It all felt quite new, which is a very difficult feat in this genre. The romance is quite conventional, but the chemistry between the leads still makes it enjoyable. 8/10.
A Royal Affair (2012)
Immediately after Belle finished Netflix suggested I watch A Royal Affair, a Danish film about Denmark during the Enlightenment and the romance between the Queen and the King’s personal doctor. I’ve been wanting to watch this film for a while as I really like both leads, Mads Mikkelsen (as Dr. Johann Struensee) and Alicia Vikander (Queen Caroline). Overall the film is good, but it has a few faults that prevent it from being great.
First of all, I didn’t enjoy Alicia as the protagonist. Her character is kind of unsympathetic (although her husband is a real asshole). I found her performance bland and there wasn’t much range to her performance. She simply isn’t charismatic enough to carry the film. She’s okay at the beginning as the naïve new girl in town. But she doesn’t convey the maturity that is need later on in the film, as a few years go by. It isn’t so much her looks, it’s just Alicia’s acting and presence don’t work here. Mads Mikkelsen is good as always, he’s quite perfect in his role. Charismatic, funny, intelligent, and sympathetic. But the romance between Johann and Caroline was not believable at all. This is in part because of the difference in maturity between the two (why would Johann fall in love with such a seemingly little girl?). And also Mads and Alicia have no chemistry. Zero. Zip. I couldn’t root for the couple because there wasn’t much to their relationship other than sex and some discussion of the Enlightenment. A Royal Affair is surprisingly funny quite often. This is mostly because of the King, Christian VII (as played by Mikkel Boe Følsgaard). The King has a mental illness of some kind so he acts strangely and he is very blunt. Watching him was quite fun because you never know what he is going to do next. As the film progresses he turns from a character the audience hates into someone more sympathetic. He is a man that should never have been King. A Royal Affair is pleasant enough, but ultimately it lacks sizzle. It is a pretty stereotypical historical drama, so if you’re into that you’ll like it, but if not then skip it. 7/10
Instead of posting the trailers for these films (which you have the power to Google anyways) I’m going to post this incredibly funny and interesting interview with Tom Wilkinson. He is an amazing actor that does not get enough credit.