Posts Tagged ‘halle berry’

John Wick 3

After killing a member of the assassin’s guild, The High Table, professional assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is labeled excommunicado by the table which puts a 14 million dollar bounty on his head.  Wick calls on his Belarussian heritage to cash in a chit from The Director (Anjelica Houston) a member of the Russian crime organization to which Wick used to belong.  This gets him to Casablanca, Morocco, where he meets Sophia (Halle Berry) another assassin who also owes him a favor.  Wick is looking for The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui) to reverse his excommunication and remove the bounty from his head, but The Elder has a catch.  What is the catch?  Does Wick get his excommunication reversed?

John Wick 3 is not a good movie, the premise is threadbare, there is no premise, just one violent scene after another.  Why call this movie out? Don’t most Hollywood Films substitute violence for plot?  Yes, but John Wick is different, because this movie never should have been made.   There were already two of these mindless, plotless movies, but because the first two movies made a truckload of money, Hollywood proceeded full steam ahead.  Does this movie cause violence, no it does not.  Does it celebrate violence, yes it does.  In many forms, but especially gun violence, gun violence with no consequences, not for the “heroes” anyway.  It also makes a gun seem like the great equalizer in the hands of a woman. In other words, Hollywood is doing the work of the NRA for them.  Not only is two hours of a shooting gallery mind numbing, it’s boring, This movie plays like a videogame, in fact, it is a videogame, but by the time  John gets to the boss level in the movie, in fact well before that, everyone in the film looked exhausted, including me. The ending doesn’t matter does it?  Do heroes ever die anymore?  Just look at the box office to see if there will be a sequel.  Critics inexplicably loved this miasma of violence, it has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  What movie were the critics watching?

The acting is as bad as expected.  Reeves plays Wick in his quasi-robotic almost wordless fashion, which works well in “action” films, but grows tiring if Keanu builds a career out of that style, and he has.  Halle Berry actually looks like a decent actress in comparison to Reeves, but she hasn’t had a decent character role in a long time, starring in a bunch of action movie flops instead.  At least John Wick 3 is a successful film.  Angelica Houston tries to add some much needed emotion unto the film, but her character is in far too few scenes to matter, too bad.  Laurence Fishburne is in this movie as well, as a low rent, Morpheus, but again, he’s not in enough scenes to matter.

The direction is nothing worth bragging about, the fight scenes seem too choreographed, as if they’re dance sequences, the assassins chasing Wick always seem to announce their arrival, are they bad assassins or is this bad direction.  Some of the visuals are nice to look at, but the pacing is very slow, for an action movie, how many killings can an audience watch anyway?

John Wick 3:  Blow the candle out already.

Kingsman

Eggsy (Taron Edgerton) is firmly ensconced as a member of the Kingsman.  He is being chased by Charlie (Edward Holcroft) who is a disgruntled Kingsman trainee, with a robotic arm.  Charlie fails to take down  Eggsy, but his robotic arm hacks Eggsy’s profile and gains valuable information on the Kingsmen.  Charlie works for an organization called the Golden Circle, a secret organization, headed by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) which wants to destroy the  Kingsmen.  With the information Poppy gets from Charlie’s robotic arm, she destroys the Kingmen locations throughout the country.  Only Merlin (Mark Strong) and Eggsy survive, what do the two remaining Kingsmen do with no  headquarters and only two agents?  Who is Poppy Adams, and why is she bent on destruction?

The Golden Circle starts out like many action films often do, with a high octane action sequence.  The movie lags when the exposition begins .  It is shamelessly sentimental, on many fronts, including Harry, Merlin, and   Princess Tilde.  The romance between Tilde and Eggy is so forced and unnatural, that it reminds me of how the two lovers first met, which was the worst part of the first movie.  The movie has a thinly veiled feminist justification for Poppy’s villainy, but it’s poorly thought out and realized. The writing anti-drug-in a passive aggressive way.  There are also more of the stereotypical dumb redneck characters in minor roles and major roles, therefore reinforcing a tired movie trope. Add to that that the movie is too long and way too violent, and the result is a truly boring, often redundant sequel to a passable spy flick.

Taron Edgerton is a good young actor, too good to be trapped in a crap soufflé such as this.  He was excellent in the first Kingsmen movie, as well as Eddie the Eagle, and Sing.  Hopefully he can return to more versatile roles, and can quickly erase this mistake from his resume.  Mark Strong is an established veteran actor, but he is someone who can move from role to role with little damage to his career, so hopefully he too can leave this role in the rearview mirror. I guess Colin Firth ran out of Bridget Jones sequels to make.  Julianne Moore doesn’t exude the kind of joy that is required to play a real evil villain, she seems to be going through the motions.  Channing Tatum cannot act, that doesn’t change by adding a badly executed Southern accent.  Jeff Bridges is misused, and Halle Berry is badly underused. A great cast is badly sabotaged by criminally bad writing.

The director does a good job with the action sequences, but the pacing is really slow in the scenes between, which makes a 2 hour, 20 minute movie into what seems like a never-ending dud.  The overreliance on violence is telling, violence is often a filler in a story when the writers can’t think of actual plot, and this movie is no exception. The choice of music is odd, “Take Me Home Country Roads” is an odd choice for music because it refers to West Virginia, and the American part of the movie is in Kentucky.  There is also another John Denver song in this movie, and a John Denver reference, I don’t really understand the reason for these 1970’s references in a movie almost 50 years later.

Kingsmen:  The Golden Circle.  A royal pain.

Movie Review: Kidnap (2017)

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Drama
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Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a divorced waitress with a six year-old son, Frankie. (Sage Correa)  She loves her son very much and dotes on him whenever she sees him.  Karla and her husband are fighting over custody for Frankie, so Karla has a special day at the park planned for Frankie,  Karla is even tracking Frankie’s movements on a  walkie-talkie, as they play Marco Polo.  When she doesn’t hear her son’s voice, Karla panics.  Soon Karla’s worst fears are realized, her son is gone, and he sees the kidnapper driving away with her son in a 1980’s Mustang.  Who are the kidnappers?  Why did they kidnap Frankie?

With movies like Taken becoming all the rage in Hollywood, why shouldn’t a woman haven action movie where her son is abducted, and what better actress to do the action movie than Halle Berry? The concept of a woman saving her son from abduction may be intriguing, but the execution of this idea in this movie leaves a lot to be desired.  Karla admits in the movie that she has no plan, yet she somehow finds her son’s abductors and tracks them through two states, until her magic minivan, which crashes through many objects, but never stops until it runs out of gas.  When the van runs out of gas, Karla somehow walks for miles, with no food or water,  through a dense forest , and finds the exact destination that she needed to find.  This is not humanly possible.  If that isn’t bad enough, this film features the worst portrayal of backwoods whites since Deliverance.  No one deserves to be stereotyped, not African Americans, not Southern whites, not anyone but Hollywood seems to have a shorthand description of everyone. .  The product placement is shameful, the ending is painfully obvious, and can’t come soon enough.

Halle Berry is the lead actress in this movie, and she’s also one of the producers, so she has to take ultimate responsibility for the quality or lack thereof.  As an actress she failed, all she did was have this horrified look on her face.  As a producer she should have hired better writers to produce a better script, or hired better actors to help her carry the load, but the load of this crappy movie was entirely on Halle, and she has no one to blame but herself.  She’s a good actress, who’s made some very bad films, and unfortunately, this is a very bad film.

The direction is something only a stunt driver would love because most of the action takes place behind the wheel of a minivan as it chases a Mustang.  The non-chase scenes are dull, in fact the chase scenes are pretty redundant, and the pacing is pretty slow.  Moreover, this is a long film, made longer by lack of plot development, character development, and nothing visually exciting.

Kidnap:  Take an adult nap, through this entire movie.

 

CLOUD ATLAS

In 1849 Adam Ewing (Jim Stugess) goes on a journey on a slave ship.  His father-in-law, Haskell Moore, (Hugo Weaving) makes a lot of money from the slave trade.  When Adam feels empathy for  a slave on the ship, Autua  (David Gyasi), Dr Henry Goose (Tom Hanks) tries to kill him.  Does he succeed?

In 1936, Robert Frobisher (Ben Wishaw) is a gay music composer in love with Rufus Sixsmith (James D”Arcy) Frobisher wants to work with Vyvan Ayers, (Jim Broadbent) on his musical master opus, “Cloud Atlas Sextet” and make himself famous in the process.  Robert sleeps with Ayers’ wife, Jocasta (Halle Berry), but is distraught that he can’t spend his life with Sixsmith.  He writes to Sixsmith that he is going to kill himself, does he do it?

In 1973, a young reporter, Luisa Ray (Halle Berry) is covering a story about the dangers of nuclear power.  She gets stuck on an elevator with a much older Rufus Sixsmith, who’ a physicist now.  Ray also meets Isaac Sachs (Hanks) who takes her on a tour of the plant.  They feel a connection to each other and plan to meet later.  Sixsmith ties to get a damning report about the plant.  Plant manager, Lloyd Hooks (Hugh Grant) wants Ray and Sachs out of the way and hires Bill Smoke (Hugo Weaving to kill Luisa Ray.  Does he succeed?

In 2012, Timothy Cavendish (Broadbent) is a book publisher, trying to sell the latest book of author Dermot Hoggins (Hanks) Hoggins is a brutish type who threatens a reviewer who wrote a bad review of his book.  The book becomes a best-seller, but Hoggins wants more money from Cavendish.  Cavendish needs to escape because Cavendish doesn’t have money.  Timothy turns to his brother Denhome, but Denhome traps Timothy in a nursing home, run by a sadistic nurse, named Nokes (Weaving)

In the year 2144, in Neo Seoul, a fabricant, a clone bred for servitude named Sonmi. (Doona Bae) Soonmi is tired of conforming to a consumer based society.  Sonmi finds Hae Joo Chang (Sturgess) a human born in a womb, they fall in love but can they escape this authoritarian society?

In 2346, humans living on a planet that is not earth, live in a very primitive fashion.  Zachary (Hanks) is trying to protect his family from an intra-tribal war.  The other chief is called the Kona Chief, (Grant)  and he is a bloodthirsty cannibal.  Suddenly a stranger named Meronym (Berry)  appears from a different part of the planet.  She is technologically advanced, and tells Zachary to follow her, but there is a voice in Zachary’s head (Weaving) that tells Zachary to kill Meronym, does he listen to that voice?

I did not like Cloud Atlas.  The basic themes were alright, freedom from an autocratic society, and non-conformity in the face of intense pressure to conform.  But then it strays into past lives, and new age doctrine, and I’m sorry, but that turns me off.  The stories are all supposed to be interconnected , but the connections are tenuous at best.

The vignettes borrow heavily from other movies First off the interconnectedness of the storylines reminded me of Babel, the  journey on the slave ship is reminiscent of Amistad, the Halle Berry investigating a nuclear accident was like Coffey meets China Syndrome, the nursing home story feels like  One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the futuristic Korean story is Blade Runner meets 2046 meets Soylent Green, and the thing is all the original movies that this movie borrows from are better than this movie. The fourth and fifth stories are my favorites, because the fourth one is good comedy relief and the fifth one is good science fiction, but 2/6th of a good movie is a pretty bad movie.

The movie is written by the Wachowski siblings, and has all the strengths and weaknesses of their Matrix movies, some good science fiction and a lot of mushy sentimentality that boils down to the phrase “Why can’t we all get along?”  Cloud Atlas was a book, so I will blame some of the shortcomings of the movie on the book, but since I never read the book, I don’t know where the book goes off the rails. And three hours is too damn long for any movie.

The acting is good, but not by the big stars, Hanks and Berry just embarrass themselves trying different accents and hiding behind prosthetic make-up.  Broadbent, Ben Wishaw, and James D’Arcy are very good. Doona Bae is a revelation, until she tries to play a Mexican woman in the 70’s, then she embarrasses herself.  Similarly, Wishaw and Darcy embarrass themselves playing Koreans, it is cringewothy. Hugo Weaving is great, but he is always great.

There is nudity and violence, so keep the kids away, and maybe Cloud Atlas will put the adults to sleep.

Cloud Atlas:  A roadmap to nowhere.