Tag Archives: helen mirren

Movie Review: Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University, Mike, Disney, PixarIt’s not Cars 2.  Relax.  Peace out (drops the mic and walks off the keyboard).

More?  So needy, you people.  Pixar delivers a solid double with it’s 14th animated effort.  For any other studio this is incredibly, but it’s lumped in the middle pack of really good movies, below the classics, above the abomination.  It’s a fun expansion of the Monster world, clever, cute and fun for kids of all ages.

The film tells how Mike and Sully met at Monsters University roughly 10 years before the events of Monsters Inc.  Rather than destroy any affection you had for the characters like Cars 2 did, MU enhances the world in which they inhabit and give insight and depth to characters (especially Randall Boggs).

The animation is just astounding.  When you think Pixar could not possibly make something more gorgeous, they turn around and up themselves.  The vibrancy and diversity of the literally hundreds of monsters populating the screen at some points is incredible.  When you look at Boo in Monsters Inc and compare her to the kids in this film, the strides in complexity are night and day.

No Pixar film is complete without a short film (usually worth the price of admission alone) and MU’s is called The Blue Umbrella.  It takes its place amongst the other wonderful shorts, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that this is THE best computer animation I have ever seen anywhere.  It’s astounding.  I could not believe it wasn’t live action.

Pixar is beginning to erase my ire (and as a notorious grudge holder that’s saying something) over Cars 2 with two fun outings in Brave and Monsters University.  Next year is The Good Dinosaur and 2015 will have both Pete Docter‘s Inside Out and Finding Dory, so the future looks bright once more for the best name in family entertainment.
Monsters University, Sully, Mike, Pixar, Disney

Trailer Time: RED 2 Trailer #3 (2013)

I loved RED.  I thought it was ridiculous fun.  Any film that makes Helen Mirren into an action star is gold and John Malkovich was just … well, I actually imagine him to be similar to how he is in these movies, but his amoral explosives expert stole the first film.  The second film hits theaters on August 9, 2013.  Synopsis below:

Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. 


Trailer Time: RED 2 Trailer #2 (2013)

I thought RED was a blast.  I really love the idea of old spies who can’t stop trying to kill each other out of pure habit.  John Malkovich unhinged was particularly awesome as was Helen Mirren’s amoral sniper.  The gang is back and  even older and more jam-packed full of Oscar winners who want to run around waving high caliber weaponry at one another.  RED 2 opens July 17th.  Official synopsis below:

In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world—and stay alive in the process.

Red 2 Teaser Poster

Movie Review: Hitchcock (2012)



There are certain truisms that you hold on to in this world of vague uncertainty. The sun will rise.  The world will spin.  Anthony Hopkins will not suck no matter how bad the movie he may find himself in does.  Or at least he did…

I’m not entirely sure what Hitchcock is supposed to be.  It’s not a biopic.  The only insights we get into the great director are when he pisses someone off and they scream that he’s always doing this or always doing that.  Jessica Biel plays an actress whose career he supposedly ruined, but it’s tossed out in such a way that makes it totally irrelevant.  Everything, about the movie seems irrelevant.  The pitch is, I suppose, that Hitchcock was backed up by his wife Alma and he was really only as good as they were together.  The crucible for their marital crisis is the director’s controversial and scandalous (at the time) making of Psycho…..but the movie spends very little time on the making of it at all.  If you haven’t seen Psycho, you’d have no idea what they were even referencing most of the time.

What does the film spend its focus?  Well, there’s a lot of Anthony Hopkins parading around in the Hitchcock makeup being episodically quirky/pervy.  The makeup is not good.  It’s bad.  It’s Anthony Hopkins in a fat suit.  It looks nothing like Hitchcock and Hopkins gives the first bad performance I’ve ever seen.  He brings nothing to the character and seems partially asleep most of the movie.  Helen Mirren is stellar as always, playing Hitchcock’s wife.  Scarlett Johanssen does a good job as Janet Leigh, though she’s only in about ten minutes of the film.  The rest of the cast is as forgettable as the movie.

Bookending the film are two instances of Hitchcock directly addressing the audience as he did in his Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show.  So that framing device frames the making of Psycho which is seen through the lens of Hitchcock’s marriage.  It’s bizarrely scattered, unfocused and-ultimately-unentertaining.  Go rent Psycho.  Read a book on Hitchcock if you want to learn something about him, because you won’t glean anything from this.

Movie Review: The Road, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Invictus, The Last Station and The Wolfman, The Crazies

Due to my considerable backlog of movies to review, we’re going to do some quick hits. I can’t fool myself into thinking I’m going to write a page on each of these. I’m just not that self-motivated at this moment, but-dammit-we’re going to get caught up here somehow. Lightning round!The Road
Strong contender for “The Bleakest Movie Ever”. You could finish a person off by double-headering this with Schindler’s List. This might be bleaker, though. I’m saying it’s bleak, people. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, Viggo and son travel to stay alive. There’s also a fair amount of cannibalism. I’m saying BLEAK. Nevertheless, it’s cinematography is breathtaking and the acting is top-notch. The child playing Viggo’s son is outstanding. Just do not watch this if you’re having a down night or you’re going to require a liberal dosing of vodka to recover. Also, Viggo is now the Kate Winslet of male nudity. How they got him to keep his clothes on during Lord of the Rings is beyond me. I’m sure there’s an outtake of him defending Helm’s Deep completely nude. The man loves to be naked.8.25/10

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
While I love Roald Dahl, on whose book this adaptation is based, I hate the director Wes Anderson. I was curious as to whether which of the influences would win out, and in the beginning, it was very Dahl, but it got progressively more Anderson-y. Not a good thing in my book. Most of the jokes and themes got tired and repetitive and I found myself pretty bored by the time it was done. It’s definitely unique animation, but I wasn’t a fan.

Invictus tells the story of the 1994 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa during the turmoil of the early days of Nelson Mandela’s presidency. It’s a fantastic story, but the movie can’t really decide whether it’s a sports movie or a political drama and it never quite succeeds at being both. I say this as one of his biggest fans, but why Matt Damon got an Oscar nomination for this, puzzles me. What is beyond fantastic is Morgan Freeman as Mandela. He gave me chills as the great man, and I left the movie thinking why didn’t they just do a Mandela biopic? On the back of strong acting and an interesting story, I highly recommend it, but it’s not the movie it could have been with the talent involved. 8.25/10

The Last Station
Chronicling the last days of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, The Last Station is an interesting look at the author, about whom-I’ll admit-I knew very little. It’s an actor’s showcase and Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and James McAvoy all give extremely strong performances. It didn’t engross me, but it’s definitely worth a rental.

The Wolfman
What’s not worth a rental is The Wolfman. I went in just hoping for cheesy fun, but there’s not even that to be fun in this lifeless waste. I think Benicio Del Toro spent the entire movie trying not to act. He succeeded. Just a wreck.

The Crazies
What actually was a lot of fun was this remake of the George Romero film The Crazies. Justice star Timothy Olyphant is one of my new favorite actors and he does a fine job as the sheriff of a town that finds itself suddenly beset by a biological agent that turns its inhabitants into homicidal nuts. Tense and cleverly shot, The Crazies is creepy good time.

Believe it or not, we’re so backed up here at the home office, that we may have to do another one of these just to catch up. That’s not even counting the movies I really want to spend time reviewing. I’m getting my groove back, guys, but I think that will do us for today. Happy reading!