Maleficent


Viewed – 03 January 2015  online rental

I hesitated about this because I’m not a particular fan of Angelina Jolie … unlike some guys, I don’t find her attractive and well, she is a bit of a diva, isn’t she?  However this was a movie that kept getting name dropped by people I know, saying how good it was and well, suppose I should pass judgement, huh?

maleficent

That evil queen who cursed sleeping beauty … what if the tale was retold from the point of view of such a wicked sorceress, and showed that hey, maybe she was misunderstood all this time?  An interesting concept and one Jolie pulls off with relish – she was born to play this part and suits the freaky costume, horns, wings (and exaggerated cheek bones) intact.  With a backdrop of enchanted woodland creatures, a wicked king, a beautiful princess and lots of spells and curses – this was easy to get swept up in.   Disney have crafted a very unique spin on a very old tale and has some great moments, such as Maleficent’s battle against the king’s army, then the final epic showdown.  Effects throughout are first class (although some of the creatures look a tad cartoony) and those three fairies were quite entertaining.

That’s not to say it works entirely, as some of the hokey plot dating back to the original Sleeping Beauty isn’t particularity built upon (why a spinning wheel?) and it get’s very predictable towards the end.  Casting isn’t entirely perfect either.  Ella Fanning’s Aurora is rather annoyingly sugar-sweet, and Sharlto Copley’s King Stefan despite a good character ark, seemed miscast.  So yes, this was the Angelina Jolie show throughout, and do you know what?  I still enjoyed it.

A fun, if throwaway fantasy, that does the job … but far from a Disney classic.

Verdict:  3 /5

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A xmas message


Well its upon us, that time of year again, and every year I am not in the mood, being a big grump, letting the things that have happened to me during the year cloud my thoughts and make me a miserable bah humbug.  Then like every year, there comes a time where it just hits me.  I was out doing some shopping this morning and just gathering some stuff, a birthday card here, a bag of cocktail sausages there, some drinks etc. etc..  Walking around the supermarket with Christmas music blaring in my ears and a couple of ol’ favourites come on – Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses and Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues.  Yeah I’m feeling Christmassy.

That stuff I reported on a little while back about being depressed, was referencing losing / severing ties with someone I was very fond of (… I do wonder if she ever reads this). Well … thoughts of that still linger, but I know it’s the past – she is the past, and I really have to finally accept that, even if it was simply a friendship that I had wanted a lot more from.  I need to mend, move-the-fuck-on and well, get on with my life.

This blog is a portion of my life, it’s my comfort blanket and somewhere I can sometimes just bleed out my thoughts, even if more often than not I choose not to.  In recent months I think it’s a good idea though and get comfort and support from likes or the occasional comment – and that’s no matter the subject.  I’ll keep it mainly movies and games based, but don’t be surprised if I have a self-reflective moan occasionally along the way.

For the blog I am trying to squeeze in those last few movies before the end of the year.  I keep getting recommended Angelina Jolie’s Malificent and well, I will surely see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend.  Not sure about much else, what with Christmas day on the horizon and family visiting etc., as well as work in between (sob).  I also might do an impressions on Assassin’s Creed Unity, probably one of the most interesting and immediately next-gen games I have played so far.

So wishing all my readers, occasional visitors, regular commenters and anyone else a wonderful festive time. I’ll report back on how my Christmas day turns out, what prezzies I’ve had and what I’m up to on the day itself, and you can look out for a Top Ten of my movie viewing year on New Years Eve as always.

I’ll leave you with this brilliant tune:

Top Ten Actors


That I’d watch in pretty much anything.

Inspired from a post over at Where The Wild Things Are and then also at Cinema Parrot Disco, I have chosen to compile the idea from both male and female ‘actors’ rather than doing separate lists… mainly because I was struggling with ten for actresses without being swayed by their attractive qualities…it’s a bloke thing.

Emma Stone

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Favourite movie:  Easy A

Leonardo DiCaprio

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Favourite movie:  Catch Me If You Can

Christoph Waltz

christoph waltz

Favourite movie:  Inglorious Basterds

Marianne Cotillard

Marianne Cotillard

Favourite movie:  Inception

Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P.)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Favourite movie:  Almost Famous

Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg

Favourite movie:  Boogie Nights

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Favourite movie:  Born of the Fourth of July

Edward Norton

Edward Norton

Favourite movie:  Fight Club

Samuel L Jackson

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Favourite movie:  Pulp Fiction

Cate Blanchett

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Favourite movie:  Blue Jasmine

There are many more, but these are the ones I tend to find myself watching regardless of what role they are in, and the movies mentioned above are the roles I have most enjoyed them in, not necessarily their best.  For actors I tend to avoid…the list is shorter, but I’m not a fan of Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black and to an extent … Ben Affleck.

Salt


Viewed – 12 February 2011  Online rental

Another summer event picture I missed out on in 2010, in no small part due to my own ‘meh’ feelings towards Angelina Jolie.  The world seems to love her and I wonder what the fuss is about, yet in this sort of material, she is perfectly suited and is probably one of the more credible action-heroines around.  I certainly wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of her.  Angelina plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who goes on the run after being accused by a Russian defector as being an undercover spy with intentions of assassinating the Russian President during a visit to New York.  Chased by her fellow agents, headed by Liev Schreiber, this is a movie that has the audience guessing throughout just which team Salt is batting for.  Is she really a Russian spy or has she been set up? 

Director Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, The Saint) fills the movie with some breathtaking action sequences, with Jolie proving herself every bit the action star and even though the mystery plot may mean you’re confused and questioning Salt’s actions, the feeling of excitement and fun is never far away.  On it’s own merits the experience is a little frustrating and over way too soon, but taken as a feminine version of The Bourne Identity and as the start of a larger franchise, this is a great taster of what is hopefully to follow, and left this viewer thirsty for more. 

Apologies Miss Jolie, I’m beginning to see what all the fuss is about – even if you do still kind of scare me.   

Verdict:  3 /5

Wanted


Viewed – 25 May 2008  Cinema

In this age of computer generated special effects, the summer block-buster it seems is all about bigger, better, louder.  This film is no exception as unlike more subtle fair like The Bourne Ultimatum or Shooter…everything that can be imagined is thrown at the screen to an overwhelming degree, and all thoughts of reality and believability go out of the window.

James McAvoy, not your first choice for action movie lead, as he’s quite scrawny – plays a nerdy office worker stereo-type who’s best friend is having it away with James’ girlfriend, he hates his job, has an annoying boss, little money and generally is as depressed as hell.  Step in Angelina Jolie (offering up another bad-ass babe to her already crowded CV) as a tattooed gun-toting assassin who saves James’ life and then embroils him in a top secret assassination agency known as The Fraternity.  Headed by Morgan Freeman, James is trained to be a deadly assassin, following in the foot steps of his father.

In amongst all this we get some of the most over-the-top action sequences you’re likely to see, with some superb special effects, more than a nod to The Matrix (the story itself seems a tribute to The Wackowski Brothers’ masterpiece with a similar search for ‘the one’), and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that helps to not take this too seriously.  James McAvoy makes for a likable and thankfully relatable lead in amongst all the bad-asses, even if throughout he looks awkward and a little out of his depth in furious gun battles and car chases – but maybe that was the point.  Jolie is seriously sexy if a bit one-dimensional, and Morgan Freeman as ever is a joy to watch, even if these days this kind of role must be as natural to him as farting.

For me, I feel the movie would have benefited by toning down some of the action, holding back on some of the slow-motion camera work and generally not trying to make everything look cool just for the sake of it – but then again, this is the CGI age, and I suppose if I was a director I would have trouble holding back with such wonderful toys at hand.  As the Hollywood debut of Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch), this sparks as an impressive effort despite its ludicrous nature…and proves him to be an action auteur to rival the best of ’em.

Verdict:  3 /5