Posts Tagged ‘domhall gleeson’

the last jedi

General Hux (Domhall Gleeson) launches an attack to wipe out the last of the resistance fleet, but Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) launches a counterattack that disables a dreadnaught, one of the First Order’s most powerful ships.  The counterattack is a costly one and Poe disobeyed Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) orders not to attack the ship, so Leia demotes Poe.  Leia is injured in a subsequent attack and hands power to Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) who proceeds to retreat out of range of the First Order’s ship, but Hux’s ship can track the Resistance ship, even in hyperspace, and the resistance ship is running low on fuel, so time is running out for the resistance.

Finn (John Boyega) wants to escape the ship and find Rey, (Daisy Ridley) but he is stopped by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) Rose’s sister, Paige, (Veronica Ngo) was killed in an initial attack on the dreadnaught, so Rose takes her resistance role seriously.  Rose and Finn figure out how to disable the tracking device, but Maz Kenata (Lupita N’yongo) suggests that they need a master codebreaker, so they travel to the Canto Bright casino to find the codebreaker.

Meanwhile Rey finds Luke (Mark Hamill) on the island of Ahch To, where he is on self-imposed exile. While on the island, Rey is discovering her powers within the force. Luke is disillusioned with being a Jedi, because of his inability to train Kylo, and does not want to give Rey the training she desires.  She is also using her powers to hear the voice of Kylo Ren (Adam  Driver) Kylo is trying to bring Rey to the dark side, Rey sees  the conflict in Kylo’s heart and tries to pull him over to the side of the resistance.  Who wins the mental tug of war?  Kylo or Rey?  Does Luke train Rey? Do Rose and Finn find the codebreaker?

There’s a lot to like about the new Star Wars movie, the Kylo/Rey/Luke storyline is probably the most interesting.  Luke is probably more interesting as a character than he’s ever been, because he’s conflicted. The Rose/Finn casino storyline falls flat, because it’s just silly, it’s as if Casino Royale breaks out during a Star Wars movie. Admiral Holdo is one of the worst characters ever written, she orders people around, doesn’t explain her plan, and gets things mansplained by Poe.  It’s an insult to women everywhere. DJ, the codebreaker is one of the few new characters that works in this film.  But the movie doesn’t end when it should, and the movie limps to an end, and I never thought I’d say that about any Star Wars movie. Despite all the problems with plot and character, the movie works, primarily because of the intensity of the Kylo/Rey/Luke storyline.

The acting varies greatly.  Daisy Ridley is a great actress, there’s something about her eyes and face, that makes the viewer want to watch her.   Adam Driver is superb as Kylo Ren, he brings an intensity to the role that fits the character to a tee.  John Boyega’s role is a little less central to the movie, but he brings the same enthusiasm to his role.  Oscar Issac has a lot of magnetism to the role of Poe, but the script shoots him down several times, and he’s not allowed to show Poe as the daring flyboy he is. I wish Mark Hamill was a better actor, because this version of Luke Skywalker is almost Shakespearean in its complexity.  Unfortunately, Hamill  is not up to the challenge.  Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose like a lovesick teenager, and has no chemistry with John Boyega.  But Laura Dern gives the worst performance in this movie by far, she plays an unlikeable person with no emotion at all, which makes a boring character even more boring.

Riann Johnson is a good director, I liked Looper, I didn’t especially like The Brothers Bloom.  He keeps the pacing going well, I would have cut the casino scene entirely, and worked on another scene to get Rose and Finn together.  People can differ about the casino scene, but I absolutely blame Riann Johnson for not being able to decide on an ending, he actually wrote the perfect ending, but he didn’t end the movie there, he ended the movie much later than he should have.  Also, as director, he didn’t bring the disparate subplots together in time to tell the story in a cohesive manner.

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi:  A flawed tour-de force.

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The Revenant

In 1823, fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is leading a group of fur trappers through unexplored territory, which would later become South Dakota.   They are being chased by members of the Arikara tribe, and losing men each day.  Glass advises the trappers to abandon the boat they are sailing across the Missouri River, and travel by land.  Glass soon regrets his own advice, when he is seriously mauled by a bear. Realizing they can’t take Glass along, Captain Henry (Domhall Gleeson) tries to shoot Glass to put him out of his misery, but can’t bring himself to do it.  Then he offers a reward to two people who stay behind to take care of Glass.  Young trapper Jim Bridger, (Will Poulter) Glass’ half Pawnee son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) agree to stay behind, but Fitzgerald has no intention of caring for Glass, and he reports to Bridger that Hawk is missing. Meanwhile the Akikara Chief, Elk Dog (Duane Howard) is looking for the men who kidnapped his daughter.  Does Glass survive?  Where is Hawk?  Does Elk Dog find his daughter?

This is a double revenge fantasy, and though it has a couple of false endings, and it requires the viewer to suspend his or her tethers to reality more than once, it is also a story about the importance of family, and that is what holds the viewer riveted for two and a half hours.  The Native Americans are written realistically, they are all acting according to what they believe their best interests are.  Some fought the white man, others tried to trade with the white man.  Similarly, despite the bloody and oftentimes violent scenes, the ending is surprisingly nuanced, and welcome.

The acting is superb.  Did Leonardo DiCaprio deserve the Best Actor Oscar?  Honestly, I didn’t think he did.  Unless moaning and groaning counts as good acting, he was mute for large portions of this movie, and screaming through clenched teeth does not equate to a good enough performance for an Oscar.  This is what I would call a make-up Oscar, Academy voters are trying to make up for all those snubs or losses by giving him this one.  Acting should not be judged the same as Little League, an actor shouldn’t get a prize for just participating.  When he did speak, he did a good job of conveying anger and pain, there just wasn’t enough in the role for an Oscar win.  He’s had better performances in Django Unchained and Wolf of Wall Street, and even Titanic, so I can see no other reason for this win.

Frankly, Tom Hardy gave a much better performance as the ruthless, money hungry John Fitzgerald.  Without Hardy’s performance, DiCaprio would have nothing to play against.  Before you think I’m a Tom Hardy fanboy, he was a non-entity in Mad Max Fury Road, but he was Oscar worthy in either this movie or Legend.  He is a superb actor. Will Poulter also gave an excellent performance as the newer member of the trapping team, Bridger.  He was intimidated by Fitzgerald, and guilt ridden by the decisions he made, and Poulter conveyed those emotions well. Domhall Gleeeson gave perhaps the best performance of his young career.  He showed both strength and sensitivity in this performance.  I also liked Forrest Goodluck as Hawk.  It was a complex role, and Goodluck played it well.  I also liked that the Native American roles were played by Native American actors, that gave the film more authenticity.

The direction by Alejandro Inarritu is spellbinding, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the landscape photography is spellbinding.  The CGI bear attack is less convincing, the bear seems somehow faster than a real bear, and that took away from the reality a bit.  The pacing was slow at times, but picked up during the climax of the movie.  The fight scenes were mostly well staged and realistic.  He stayed away from the gimmickry of Birdman, having most of the movie consist of one long scene without editing, for example. The use of editing in Birdman became a distraction in my opinion. These scenes are cut together perfectly in order to tell a cohesive story.  He gets tremendous performances from his entire cast, great performances plus stunning visuals, simply stated, he deserved the Oscar for Best Director for The Revenant.

The Revenant:  Grin and bear it

BROOKLYN

Ellis Lacey (Soirse Ronan) has come to Brooklyn, New York from Ireland.  She is sponsored by Father Flood, (Jim Broadbent) and quickly finds a job at Bartocci’s department store.  Ellis also finds a place to stay, a boarding house run be Mrs. Kehoe. (Julie Walters) She is also taking night classes and studying to be a bookkeeper, because she doesn’t like the job at Bartocci’s.  At a dance, Ellis meets a young Italian man named Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) and they quickly fall for each other.  Tony asks Ellis to marry him, but circumstances compel her to go back to Ireland, where she meets Jim Farrell,(Domhall Gleeson) a handsome, charming Irishman, and Ellis is starting to have feelings for Jim.  She also gets a job offer as a bookkeeper in Ireland, and her mother wants her to stay, But she also has a commitment to Tony in Brooklyn.  What does Ellis do?  Stay in Ireland or go back to Brooklyn?

I like Brooklyn, it’s a traditional love story, but it’s more than that, it’s a love letter to the immigrants who built this country, and made it great.  It’s important, especially in these times when of economic and political nationalism, to realize that everyone who lives here now, came from somewhere else. This story tells of the triumphs and difficulties of coming to this country as a new immigrant.  The story becomes less realistic and more contrived when it goes back to Ireland, and Tony’s Italian family seems a bit stereotypical, but the ending is satisfying.

Soirse Ronan is extremely good as Ellis Lacy, the viewer can see her uncertainty as she enters the country, but the viewer can also see her confidence grow as she finds a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend.  The viewer also feels Ronan’s pain as she is forced to make a very difficult decision. She is building a nice career for herself, with standout performances in Hanna and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Ronan was actually born in New York City, and then went to live in Ireland, so Brooklyn is her story in reverse. Julie Walters is good as Mrs. Kehoe, and Jim Broadbent is good in a small role. Domhall Gleeson and Emory Cohen are less convincing as the male romantic leads.

The direction is good, the pacing is quick enough, the director gets good performances from Ronan, Walters and Broadbent.

Unbroken

Louis Zamperini (CJ Valeroy, Jack O’Connell ) is an Italian immigrant with a penchant for getting into small time trouble.  He finds solace in running, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough to make the Olympics.  With his brother Pete’s  (John D’Leo, Alex Russell) encouragement and lots of training, he qualified for the 1936 Olympics while still in high school.  He finished sixth in the 1936 Olympic Games. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1941 as a bombardier, and on a search and rescue mission, Louis engines fail and spends 47 days on a raft with fellow flyers Phil (Donhall Gleeson) and  Mac .(Finn Whitlock)  Louis and Phil’s ordeal gets worse when they get captured by the Japanese,  and become POW’s ?  Do they escape?  Are they rescued?

Louis Zamperini’s life is so amazing, Olympic runner, fighter pilot, POW, that he deserves a great movie to tell his great story.  Unfortunately this is not that story.  It tries to be part Chariots of Fire, part The Great Escape with some Life of Pi thrown in for good measure, unfortunately the story is too hackneyed, and goes from point A to point B, to point C with no flair and little drama, even though the story is not told in a linear way.   It’s not anywhere as good as either Chariots of Fire or The Great Escape, and I don’t know whether to blame the screenplay or the direction, probably both are to blame.  I’m disappointed, because I was really looking forward to seeing this film, and it just fell flat. The movie was written by the Coen brothers, and I am shocked, because they  usually add lots of flair and drama to their stories.

The acting is oddly flat and emotionless, I wanted to see something other from Jack O’Connell and Domhall Gleeson than what I saw.  I’m neither a xenophobe nor a chauvinist, but are there no young American actors to play American heroes?  Why do I have to listen for a British or Irish accent to slip in to an American accent in the middle of a movie?  I shouldn’t have to.

Director Angelina Jolie drenches this movie in a sepia tone, that’s supposed to tell viewers it’s a movie of historical significance.  It doesn’t work.  The length of the individual scenes is too long, and that brings the pacing to a crawl, and that hurts the overall film.  The special effects were sloppy, I actually saw the green screen in one scene, that shouldn’t happen in a major motion picture.  Repeated showings of torture actually dilute the intended effect of the scenes. She gets nothing from her young actors, which is disappointing, because I think she is a good actress.  I won’t say that this is a vanity project, but I will say that she needs a lot of work as a director.

Unbroken:  Should be taken in for repairs.

about time

At age 21, Tim (Domhall Gleeson) is told by his father, James, (Bill Nighy) that all male members of his family can travel through time.  Tim uses this knowledge to try to fix his love life.  The first target de amore for Tim is his sister Kit Kat’s (Lydia Wilson) boyfriend’s sister, Charlotte, (Margot Robbie) who’s going to stay with Tim for two months.  Despite many trips  back in time, Charlotte doesn’t seem interested in Tim.  Tim moves on, and meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and falls madly in love with her.  With many trips back and forth in time, Tim and Mary’s relationship seems perfect.  Then just as suddenly as she left, Charlotte comes back.  Who will Tim choose, his first love or his newest love?

I did not like About Time.  It is full of insipid dialogue, mostly for Mary.  Mary loves model Kate Moss for some unexplained reason, and Tim goes back in time to get his response about Kate Moss right.  When Mary wants to make love, she says something like “I’ll be in my pajamas, you can come and take a look if you want.”  The story turns on a dime, and becomes predictably weepy and manipulative, because the story has nowhere else to turn.  Finally, at 2 hours and ten minutes, the script is much too long to maintain anyone’s interest, I stopped caring about any of these characters long before the movie ended. The best of the time travel movies, Back To The Future set a seminal rule for time travel movies, if a character changes things in the past, his future will change, this movie kind of make the time travel rules as they go, and that doesn’t work.

The acting is pretty bad.  Things were going along well enough with Gleeson and Margot Robbie, and along comes Rachel McAdams, wearing some kind of ugly hairpiece or haircut , to make herself look more mousy and unattractive and speaking with a distinctively American accent.  There is no explanation of what this particular American is doing in England, no backstory for her character.  So there is no other conclusion but that McAdams is such a limited actress that she can’t even fake an English accent.  I think she tried in the Sherlock Holmes movies, and the accent wasn’t that great.  She did a time travel movie already which was actually just as bad as this one, but at least she wasn’t pretending to be insecure.

The problem with Domhalll Gleeson is that he looks like he’s about 12 years old, and Rachel McAdams looks much older than that with her mousy wig and frumpy clothes.  Chemistry in a film starts with a physical attraction, and there didn’t seem to be one here.  The couple that would have worked here is Gleeson and Margot Robbie, they’re close enough in age, and there seemed to be a spark in the scenes they did together, but the producers probably wanted a big name and so they signed McAdams as a box office draw.  The only good news is that Bill Nighy was solid once again in another character role, and Robbie was good in too small a supporting role.

The pacing was slow, slow, slow, adding to an overlong running time.  I was wondering if it was ever going to end.  Thankfully it did.

About Time: About Time McAdams stopped making cheesy rom coms.