Posts Tagged ‘jeff bridges’

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.

the giver

In a future world called The Community, where everything is controlled by a Council of Elders, Jonas (Brandon Thwaites) Asher (Cameron Monoghan) and Fiona (Odeya Rush) grow up together.  It is just before their 18th birthday, before their professions are chosen for them by the Elders.  The Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) chooses Fiona to be a nurturer, Asher becomes a drone pilot, and although he is not initially chosen, The Chief Elder chooses Jonas to be a receiver of memories.  The Giver (Jeff Bridges) is the keeper of all the ancient memories, and he starts transmitting them telepathically to Jonas.  Jonas sees all the joys and pain of life as we know it today, all the things that cause pain have been strategically removed from The Community. Jonas wants to share the happy parts of his emotional awakening with Fiona, and they start to share a romantic bond. Jonas realizes the perfect world that he, Fiona and Asher live in is not so perfect after all.  The Giver and Jonas hatch a plan for Jonas to escape The Community, but the Chief Elder wants to maintain the status quo, so she sends drone pilot Asher to find him.  Does Jonas escape the protective bubble of The Community? Or does the Chief Elder keep an iron fist on the society she continues to thrive in?

The story of The Giver seems to borrow generously from legendary dystopian novels like 1984, and Brave New World, visually it was reminiscent of movies like Pleasantville, The Truman Show and Elysium.  Unfortunately, the part of Fiona is written from such an obvious standpoint of sexism, I don’t know whether to blame the author or the screenwriter. The plot does try to get overtly political, it’s not important to say what topics were discussed, but it was done in a really heavy handed  way and that was off-putting to me.The biblical metaphors were also obvious and heavy handed.

The acting by Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep are outstanding,  Jeff Bridges plays the title role as somewhat of an enigma, but by the end of the movie his motivations are clear.  Meryl Streep excels at playing evil women, think of The Devil Wears Prada when watching this movie, and see if there’s not a similarity to that character and this one. I wish I could say nice things about the performances of Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush and Breton Thwaites, who were chosen expressly for their looks and not for their acting skills.  Taylor Swift is also in this movie briefly, I wondered why this character was given such importance, but then I saw Taylor Swift was playing her, the producers probably hoped that Ms. Swift’s presence in the film would drive up box office, it didn’t work.

The direction is visually stimulating, and probably the best part of the film.  Unfortunately, there are some parts of this movie that looks like it was taken out of a National Geographic special, but without the visuals, this movie would seem pretty empty.

The Giver:  Give It Up.

the_big_lebowski

“The Dude”(Bridges) is a California slacker/stoner, who is unemployed, has no prospects for work and doesn’t seem to care. He likes to bowl with his friends Walter (Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) Suddenly, The Dude’s life takes a bizarre turn when two thugs break into his house, and one starts urinating on his rug.  The Dude’s name is Jeff Lebowski, and he is a victim of mistaken identity, the crooks wanted The Big Lebowski,(David Huddleston) also named Jeff Lebowski a millionaire philanthropist whose trophy wife Bunny is busy spending money all over town.  The Dude doesn’t care about the Big Lebowski or his philanthropy or his trophy wife, he just wants his rug replaced.  Well, the Big Lebowski tells The Dude to go peddle his papers, he’s not interested in compensating The Dude in any way.

No sooner does The Dude leave The Big Lebowski’s house then he gets a call from the Big Lebowski’s sycophantic assistant, Brandt, (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) saying that Bunny has been kidnapped and the kidnappers want 1 million dollars in ransom. The Big Lebowski wants The Dude to make the drop to the kidnappers.   The Dude brings Walter to make the drop, Problem:  Walter is a high strung Vietnam vet with a plan of his own, which The Dude knows nothing about.  Walter switches the million dollars with a suitcase full of underwear, so the kidnappers now have dirty underwear.  Soon thereafter, someone steals the Dude’s car.  After the car is stolen, Maude Lebowski (Moore) the Big Labowski’s daughter calls the Dude, and says Bunny is faking the kidnapping and is a porn star, and that this is a plot with Bunny’s boyfriend and fellow porn star Jackie Treehorn. (Ben Gazarra) Who stole The Dude’s car? Is Bunny really kidnapped?  Who ends up with the million dollar ransom?

This is a very funny movie, the jokes come from the finely drawn characters, and rapid-fire dialogue.  “The Dude” could have been a stereotype. The California slacker stoner has been played by Keanu Reeves and Owen Wilson has made a career out of playing.stoner/slacker dudes, but Bridges plays him so naturally with such ease, that he doesn’t seem so hackneyed. The Goodman character also could have been a stereotype, the psycho Vietnam vet character has been done before as well, but Goodman is clearly having fun, so the audience has fun too.  Speaking of fun, Julianne Moore has plenty of fun with her character, affecting an aristocratic accent, and playing a avant-garde artist type.  This is a difficult comedic role, but Moore plays it with flair.

The Big Lebowski.  Big laughs.