A long time ago.....back in 1991 when I was getting ready to go into kindergarten, Disney released one of its finest, if not best, animated feature films of all time Beauty and the Beast. It had such beautiful music, fantastic lyrics, amazing voice talent, enchanting and exquisite animation, moving storytelling, and soaring vocal talent for the songs. It's no wonder that it was and has so far been the only animated feature film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. And then we fast forward to 2017 to Disney's live action version of the same tale and it....doesn't quite live up to the previous animated film's splendor. The story and plot of the film is essentially the same as the animated version, although there is a lot of backstory and some additional songs added as well. So the star of the live action version is Emma Watson as Belle, and she is a rather talented actress and did a good job of playing Belle....but then she opened her mouth to sing and I was cringing. That woman cannot sing whatsoever, and I may not be a music person, but she sounded so incredibly flat each time she sang. Paige O'Hara who voiced and sang for Belle back in 1991 was perfection and had such a charming voice, and thus after hearing that then having to listen to Emma Watson it was very painful. I did like some of the additional dimensions Ms. Watson gave the character, but I think it kind of weighed down the beautiful magic of the original. Dan Stevens played the Beast and was primarily the voice, and he wasn't too bad although they could have chosen someone who could sing. In the original Robby Benson only sang a few notes so it didn't really matter, but in this he sang much more. I did like how they gave the Beast more character depth, and he did a very good job with the character and the voice, but once again not the vocals. Luke Evans played Gaston, and although he is very talented and I like a good bit of what he's done, I didn't care for his performance of the character whatsoever. Of course Mr. Evans couldn't really sing either and Richard White, who was the voice and sang for Gaston in the animated version had such a powerful and booming voice. So, Mr. Evan's vocals were rather dreadful, not to mention the writers made Gaston less villainous, dumber, weaker, and super cheesy; it was character catastrophe. Josh Gad as LeFou was also a disaster. I don't know what the writers and director were thinking, but his whole relationship with Gaston was odd and awkward. Unlike the first film where LeFou was Gaston's top henchman, in this version he was like that boy on the playground that keeps trying to be the friend of the biggest bully. Kevin Kline as Maurice was perfect, although no singing would have been better for him. One of the most iconic roles went to Ewan McGregor to bring alive; Lumiere. Granted, he did an excellent job, but no one can ever replace Jerry Orbach who gave the character eternal life. Ian McKellen played Cogsworth, and he tried so hard, but I wasn't really a fan of his performance. David Ogden Stiers is Cosgworth, with his perfect vocal capture of the character, and both he and Jerry Orbach had this amazing chemistry that McGregor and McKellen just didn't have. I love Emma Thompson, but Angela Lansbury will always be Mrs. Potts; no one else can pull off that character or sing that song quite like she did, and try as Ms. Thompson might, it just wasn't the same. Basically the live action version was almost entirely miscast in my opinion.
The director, Bill Condon, has actually directed a number of excellent films that I enjoyed, and granted he did a fine job of bringing the animated classic to life, but I think he tried too hard to make it more intensely dramatic and it lost that fairy tale magic. Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the screenplay and I have to say that considering all they did was essentially copy from the original, they didn't really add anything good to the story or characters at all, and just weighed the narrative down with useless backstory and weaker characters. Alan Menken wrote the score for the new film just as he did the old one, except he didn't have his secret weapon; Howard Ashman. Never in Disney's history has there been a pair like these two men, save for the Sherman brothers who were their predecessors. The score really lacked the same magic as the animated classic, and the newer songs certainly didn't have the same elegance or timelessness. Perhaps the best part of the entire film was the cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler who definitely deserves an Academy Award nomination at least for his visually stunning work. That was the one thing that this adaptation of the animated class got perfectly right; it was visually stunning, elegant and beautiful just like the original. I know that I am in the minority, but I didn't care for this adaptation of Beauty and the Beast whatsoever, and if you really enjoy the story and music then I suggest you watch the animated classic. This live action version of the film does not improve on the original, and it lacks so much that made the 1991 version magical; and yes I know I keep using that word, but truly that is what the animated film possesses which is what makes it so good and timeless like many of the other classic animated Disney films. So please don't waste your time on this version of the film, go back and watch the 1991 animated film, and how the Walt Disney story of Beauty and the Beast was meant to be seen.
Science fiction is one of my favorite genres to watch and especially to write as one's limitations are only exceeded by one's imagination. When I first heard of Arrival and saw the trailer I wasn't really that interested in the film, and although it looked interesting there wasn't much that seem to differentiate it from other alien invasion films. The story is basically about a woman who is a linguist expert and how she and another man are able to eventually create a language to communicate with a group of alien beings who have landed in various locations throughout the earth. There is another underlying story that parallels that one, but honestly I'm still kind of confused when I think about it. Amy Adams played the lead character as Louise Banks very capably and perfectly; conflicted, flawed, passionate, and real. Ms. Adams really did well with her character, and honestly she was really the only interesting character in the entire film aside from the alien beings. Jeremy Renner played Ian Donnelly who was an expert physicist; he was humorous at times, but his character really didn't have a whole lot of depth and came off as rather flat. I'm not certain if it was his performance or how the character was written. Forest Whitaker played Colonel Weber who seemed to be head of operations for what was going on. He did a good job, but his character was completely boring. Aside from the alien beings, those were the dominant cast members. In general the casting was good, and wasn't the problem with the film.
Denis Villeneuve directed the film, and I actually loved his work on Sicario (even though I still believe the lead was miscast) but he captured the mood and what it would feel like to have something like actually occur on our planet so good for him. He even attained an Academy Award for Best Director, although I don't know if that was really warranted; his work on Sicario was far superior. Eric Heisserer wrote the screenplay which was oddly nominated for an Academy Award, because I believe that it was poorly written and caused the film to be one-dimensional and very confusing at the same time. In my opinion it was this poor writing that kept the film from being as good as it could have been. Again oddly enough, the film was also nominated for Best Picture, and I'm not certain why because for example, it isn't even of similar caliber to something like Hidden Figures. I think the Academy has a serious problem with their nominating process that needs to be fixed. Apparently the story of the film is based on something a Ted Chiang wrote, so maybe the story is to blame rather than the adaptation of it. The cinematography by Bradford Young was actually quite good and deserved the Academy Award nomination; there was something very ethereal and gripping that he captured so very well....like being on the edge of a great battle and the silence that ensues. Jóhann Jóhannsson composed the music and I can't really recall any good themes or motifs, or even any good musical sequences, so I guess that speaks for itself. The film was nominated for a few other Academy Awards for sound mixing, editing, production design, and won an Academy Award for Best Sound Design. I didn't care for this film. It was occasionally interesting when I wasn't confused about what was going on. Which by the way a key plot point in this film had appeared in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Interstellar, and Farscape so I wasn't wowed or shocked about the ending as I was already anticipating it. The designing a language bit for the alien beings was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the entire film, but other than that it came off rather boring and flat. It's almost as if they were trying so hard to come up with something earth-shattering and different that it backfired. If you don't see this film you certainly aren't missing anything. The ending wasn't satisfying, and I was still quite confused about everything. This is definitely a film that I really don't have any interest to see again.
Arrival interviews with Amy Adams & Jeremy Renner
The Death of Stalin trailer (looks absolutely hilarious!)
I find oftentimes it's good to approach new ideas and new things with a neutral perspective, but frequently that doesn't seem to help change the outcome that you had going into shall we say a particular film. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets had several fascinating and remarkable elements in it, but it wasn't really able to overcome several fatal flaws. The story follows two individuals who seem to be intergalactic FBI agents of a sort and they go on several missions, leading up to eventually going to this place where species from over a 1,000 worlds live on this space station to stop some crazed aliens from wiping out all life on that station. So think Aliens meets Avatar except not anywhere near as good as Aliens or as groundbreaking as Avatar. Dane DeHaan plays the main character Major Valerian, and he does....okay, but honestly I'm not really partial to any of his work except for what he did in the HBO series In Treatment; more often than not he comes across rather bland, which is unfortunate because I believe he has a lot of talent. Perhaps the best part of the entire film and the best character is played by Cara Delevingne, Sergeant Laureline, who brought humor and an element of seriousness to the film that for the most part didn't come off as corny or over the top unlike what Mr. DeHaan brought to the film. I think she is an up and coming talent, and hopefully this film doesn't dash any of her potential future. Clive Owen played a snake like commander of some sort of military force, but his character was bland, static, and not very interesting at all. Ethan Hawke played the owner of what I'm assuming was a whorehouse, and had a very short yet flashy role, but it was a part of the film that seemed out of place and completely irrelevant. Herbie Hancock (yes the musician) played the Defence Minister of some faction that the two main characters were employed by; it was not a very interesting role, and I'm uncertain why he was given it. Lastly, perhaps the most useless and out of place character was played by Rihanna called Bubble, who was a shape shifter of sorts. It seemed like the creators of the film put her in the film just to say that they put "Rihanna" in the film. The woman can dance, but that's about the extent of her talent. I suppose the rest of the cast was good, but nobody really stood out, or any other character really.
The director, Luc Bessson, also wrote the screenplay and he has some good screen credit to his talent (The Fifth Element) but he didn't really do himself any favors with this film. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets suffered from a number of flaws which impacted its quality, but one of the most fatal flaws was its similarity to Avatar. The story and some of the core aliens really resembled the Na' Vi and their culture from that world. Also, the screenplay was poorly written; it was kind of like a weird blend of sci-fi, suspense, who-done-it, and action-adventure. The majority of the dialogue was corny and just oddly worded creating for some awkward scenes, especially with the two main characters. Apparently the film is based off a series of comic books, which seem to be relatively good source material, but nothing was done to make it soar off the pages. There was so much potential for this film to be great, but the writing was just awful; if that would have been improved, and the story changed, then the film would have been light years better. Of course one of my least favorite film composers created the music; Alexandre Desplat. I cannot really recall anything the least bit good or remarkable about the film score, which I'm not certain if it's because the film was dreadful or he's just a mediocre film composer. The cinematography by Thierry Arbogast was okay, but considering the scope with which he had to work with, I was expecting something far better. The costume design by Olivier Beriot was pretty good; a lot of creativity, but nothing really breathless or cool that stuck out. The action for the film was kind of blah too, although there was one sequence which was absolutely breathtaking, cool and absolutely dynamic; it involved Major Valerian trying to track down the aliens abducting a hostage. Other than that though, the action was fairly mediocre....kind of like the film overall. At times the film came across as rather preachy about certain social issues in today's culture. Essentially there was a lot of potential with this film, but it really came out as flat. It was entertaining enough, and interesting; but it wouldn't bother me to never watch it ever again, and unless you really enjoy science-fiction then you might as well skip this film.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets clip
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets interview
I had been wanting to see the Danish Girl for quite some time, and I just got around to seeing it the other day. Granted, there is much about the topic of this film that is politically charged, or even in dispute within the world of psychology and psychiatry, but I am only going to discuss the film itself not the politics of it. This movie is based on apparently the true life story of a Danish man who wanted to become a woman in all sense of the meaning, and he pursued this goal to the end result where he no longer considered himself a man but a woman. That's basically the story of the film. Eddie Redmayne plays Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe. If this film does anything, it shows beyond a shadow of doubt how talented Mr. Redmayne is. There isn't really an effective way for me to explain it in English what he did, or what he captured with his performance other than to say it was indeed profound. I don't know anything about the real life man this film is based off of, but by the end of the film one can truly believe that Mr. Redmayne is the character; that's how good he was. Alicia Vikander played the wife and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work, and it was well deserved (although she should have won Best Actress since she had a major role in the film; dumb Oscar politics). The audience could agonize and empathize with her and she also agonized and empathized with her husband as he descended from heterosexuality to transsexualism, and what that experience was like for her. It was a brilliant performance and she earned that Oscar for sure. Honestly, these two were the movie, and although there were many cast members, none of them really stood out at all aside from these two; Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne are the reasons, and only reasons anyone would watch this film.
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables and The King's Speech) was an excellent director, and he knows historic subject matter very, very well. I really have no complaints with his direction whatsoever, aside from a few moments here and there where I found myself bored, but I was quite engaged the majority of the film. Lucinda Coxon wrote the screenplay and I have to say that she delivered remarkably well. Such elegant language so beautifully written, which really made the two main characters really come alive; it definitely should have been nominated for an Oscar (once again, dumb Oscar politics). Alexandre Desplat composed the music, and big surprise I didn't really care for it, and also it wasn't that good. It came off as really tinkly and pretty; there wasn't any heartwarming themes or motifs, or soaring melodies that were as compelling as the characters. It was a fairly simplistic score. Danny Cohen who did the cinematography was breathtaking; the way the camera captured so many of the scenes and the action happening on the set was exquisite; it reminded me of art, like one of Degas' paintings of the dancing girls. Overall it was a remarkably well made film, and beautifully acted. However, the film is very heavy and difficult to watch. It's not a lucky go happy film at all, even though it really starts out that way, it doesn't end that way at all. It's kind of like The Hours in that regard; extraordinarily well done, but really depressing to watch. That's where I feel The DanishGirl fits in, and so while I may watch it again one day, it's not something I would watch very often. This film isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I do appreciate what that it makes people think and consider something different than their own perspective. And it does so not in a preachy way, but in a personal way. So if you like all of that stuff then I recommend you watch it, and if not, then perhaps you should watch it and just think; this is not a pure entertainment film, it makes one think, and that's what I liked about it.
So I just recently finished reading the biography of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson written by H.W. Brands. All I have to say is wow! I am surprised that man lived as long as he did considering what he survived. Both of his parents died when he was a young boy, and thus he forged his own way and destiny in life, and he fought (literally) tooth and nail to get to be President of the United States of America as the country's seventh president. There was a lot I found remarkable about the man, and I was actually surprised that I ended up liking him more than I ever used to. I would definitely rank him as one of the greatest U.S. presidents ever. Honestly there is so much to say about the man; the duels he fought in the name of honor, how he looked out for the men under his command, the beautiful love and devotion he had for his wife, his fierce determination, and perhaps what struck me the most was his relentless and never-ending defense of the union of the United States of America. If there was anything that stuck with me, it was how fervent he was of the U.S. always remaining together united under one flag despite all of the differences the states had with each other, especially in those days with slavery being legal. He almost went to war with South Carolina for whispers of succession from the union. He was not hesitant at all to attack Britain, Spain or France to protect the U.S., or even the Native Americans. Granted, like every U.S. presidents he had faults and made mistakes but he created a powerful legacy by championing and empowering the rural and average Americans. His election was truly the first time real every day, ordinary Americans got to vote and choose their president rather than the elites of the country doing the choosing for them, and this radical change from Republicanism to Democracy is still the tradition in today's voting. Actually, Jackson proposed an amendment to the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College and just have a straight popular vote, but that didn't go anywhere much to many people's irritation today. So next, I'm moving onto Jackson's nemesis; John Quincy Adams. I would urge all Americans to read and study up on the U.S. Presidents; knowledge is power, and in these days the more one is armed with accurate knowledge, the more protected all Americans are from what former U.S. President J.Q. Adams described as the chaotic forces of democracy. God be with us all.
I have been watching war themed films since I was nine years of age. Some my favorites usually were the WWII sub films like Run Silent, Run Deep or Destination Tokyo. Honestly, Dunkirk did not pass muster for me. The film is about the actual historical events surrounding the evacuation of the British Army from the coast of France as the German Army was encircling it to destroy it. Prime Minister Churchill galvanized his people together to go out and rescue as many of the British soldiers as they could with whatever they could use to transport them safely across the English channel. So, there wasn't really a star or set of stars really in this film; the story itself seemed like the lead actor in the narrative while the actual human actors were just there to follow it as it unfolded. The cast was mainly unknown, but there were a few recognizable individuals. Mark Rylance played a British man who took his boat to rescue the soldiers with his son, and a friend of his son's (I think). Well played, and done well, albeit the character was rather static and had little quality screen time. Tom Hardy played an RAF pilot who protected the ships from the air, although you couldn't really see his face, and he didn't really speak much besides pilot jibber-jabber; it was kind of a waste of his talent unfortunately. Kenneth Branagh played a British navy commander who appeared to be overseeing the evacuation, and he had perhaps the broadest range regarding time and performance; his last line and scene in the film was probably one of the best in the film. Cillian Murphy played some random soldier suffering from PTSD essentially, and it was a terrible waste of his talent. The cast in general performed admirably, but it wasn't an incredibly dialog heavy film at all, so it's very difficult to judge performances when all they do is really react to their environment without speaking much.
I've seen all but one of Christopher Nolan's films, and this regardless of what critics and people are saying current is not his best film to date. I would say that Inception is his finest with Memento coming in at a close second. With Dunkirk it's not that it was directed poorly, because it was shot exquisitely. Actually the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema should win an award or be nominated for one at least. The opening sequence of this film was shot perfectly; capturing the mood and environment with such intense accurate detail....like the calm before the storm. As a matter of fact, it was the cinematography that I found was the best part of this entire film...perhaps the only good part. Christopher Nolan also wrote the screenplay for the film and needless to say it wasn't all that amazing. The film to me was very similar to The Revenant with how it was shot, written and produced; a big budget documentary film. This perspective is of course due to the very little dialog and major emphasis on cinematography and having the actors react to the environment more physically than verbally. Now there isn't anything wrong with this per se, but for one it isn't really my taste, and two well....it kind of makes for a boring couple of hours. Hans Zimmer unfortunately didn't really come up with any astounding or compelling music aside from a few notes that played throughout the entire film. It sounded similar to Interstellar and Inception, but now that I think of it, I don't really recall that much music in the film, or it was so tertiary that it just came through as white noise. Dunkirk wasn't a horrible film, but it wasn't really all that interesting or compelling. Not to mention there were quite a few moments with chronology and verbiage that were incredibly confusing, so bad marks for editing. I would have gone an entirely different direction with the film, and if he would have focused the story more than I think he would have had something really incredible. As it is, as the years pass, this film will be mostly forgotten unlike Saving Private Ryan, Bridge over the River Kwai, Patton, A Bridge Too Far, and Tora! Tora! Tora!. Yes I found Dunkirk rather boring, and if you never see it, you will not be missing anything whatsoever, which is real shame because this actual historical story deserved a far better treatment than what Christopher Nolan gave it.
Christopher Nolan interview on Dunkirk
Star Trek Discovery trailer for series (looks interesting)
It seems these days I review more mediocre and bad films than anything else, but every now and then I come across something that is truly well done and good, and I mean that in the truest nature of the word. In a world of film and television that is becoming increasingly filled with anti-heroes and dark, morally questionable characters, it's a breath of fresh air to have truly good characters with a moral compass that point north. Hidden Figures (based on a book) is populated with such people, although given the times the story takes place during there are also a fair share of dunderheads which I suppose could be labeled as the antagonists. The film is about the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America and the individuals who made it possible for the U.S. to launch a man in space and bring him safely back. Specifically about three black colored women who rise from their status against all odds to see the space program succeed and excel not just during the space race but beyond that as well. If it isn't obvious yet, I really enjoyed and loved this film. Taraji P. Henson plays Katherine G. Johnson the main character of the film, and she does so with energy, confidence, and such serene humility where it doesn't come off cheesy or with an air of predictability. Somehow she wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, which irks me to no end, as her performance was far more deserving than Emma Stone's. Octavia Spencer plays another of the three women, Dorothy Vaughan, and my goodness she is such a talented woman to watch perform (although her performance and character in the Insurgent series was not so good). She was able to pull off being humorous and serious with such credible deftness that it increased the depth of the performance of her character. Lastly, Janelle Monae played the character Mary Jackson who was fearless and bold, but not preachy and obnoxious about how she went about it; such an amazing character and great performance. Definitely deserved an Oscar nomination like Octavia Spencer, but I think her work speaks for itself. Kevin Costner played Al Harrison the chief of either the space program or NASA, I can't recall which, or maybe it was neither. He was great, although he possessed a rather static character most of the time. The same thing goes for Jim Parsons (Paul Stafford), Kirsten Dunst (Vivian Mitchell), and Mahershala Ali (Colonel Jim Johnson). All three of those individuals did great, but their characters were rather static and definitely not the main attraction. I would like to give a shout out to Glen Powell who played John Glenn; I'm not certain if that was how the man was really like, but he gave an amazing, although rather brief, performance of a great American hero. Olek Krupa played Karl Zielinski, an apparently brilliant scientist who was working on the design of the space craft; he had another brief but fantastic role. Overall the entire cast was great, but those three women are the main attraction for sure.
The director who also helped write the film, Theodore Melfi, is fairly unknown, but he did quite an amazing job with this film, which should have gotten more acclaim and attention than it did. That man man can certainly be proud for decades to come of his work on this film, because as summer blockbusters come and go, films like this will remain timeless. Allison Schroeder who also helped write the screenplay deserves a lot of the credit for shaping what I think could be called the heartbeat of a film. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best Adapted Screenplay but lost to Moonlight for some odd reason, considering the writing in that film was nowhere near on the same level as Hidden Figures. Apparently three people were responsible for the music in this film: Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams, and Hans Zimmer. I honestly cannot recall anything from the score, other than that it wasn't terrible, but definitely forgettable. The cinematography by Mandy Walker was incredibly linear and boring; it wasn't bad, but there was nothing exceptional about it. All in all it was an incredible film, and I definitely suggest it for everyone to watch, I definitely will be watching it again and again in the future, which I personally is one of the best measures of a great or good film...how much people re-watch it. I would like to take this opportunity to say something about the Academy Awards. I used to think that they were amazing, and were the one televised event that I looked forward to watching each year, but not anymore. I skipped this year's ceremony and spent time with my family instead which was far better. One thing that I seem to be more aware of with each passing year is that the Academy Awards do not award the best and finest in the categories, but rather for political and personal reasons. It seems to be a case of "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Therefore, I believe the Academy Awards are irrelevant and no longer necessary to define how artistically successful or brilliant those who work on films are. I would encourage everyone else to consider with great introspection that same notion. The same goes for most other awards shows as well: Golden Globes, SAG's, or Emmy's. Because it's like one of my former supervisors said about a program director where I was previously working at, how she was able to keep her job as she performed so poorly; she was sleeping with the CEO. Same philosophy probably is true here in getting jobs and awards in Hollywood land; nothing or very little to do with actual talent or skill.
Hidden Figures trailer
Hidden Figures clip
A Wrinkle in Time trailer (looks somewhat interesting, but we shall see).
Five seasons later House of Cards is still around....somehow. Clearly there is at least going to be a season six, but beyond that who knows. I'm just going to come right out and say it; after season two, the series has been in a steady decline with season three being the lowest point of the show's five season run thus far. I have a sneaking suspicion their reason for delaying the show's premiere to May from typically when seasons 1-4 were released in February was because they wanted to re-shoot, or change certain things to reflect President Trump's election. I don't like it when daily national politics gets mixed into my entertainment; I like them to be separate as one is a form of escapism while another one is sometimes a cold reminder of harsh realities. Regardless. Frank and Claire were hanging onto an election where it seemed likely they were bound to lose and season 5 picks up towards the end of the campaign, then the election happens and because no candidate wins an electoral victory the election goes to Congress for a while and then....well, I won't reveal the plot point, but the show gets a little convoluted at this point. Eventually the Underwoods become President and Vice-President, and then Congress begins investigating certain aspects of the Underwood administration, leaks are coming from the administration (sound familiar yet), and then it all comes to a head with.....well, I suppose I won't give that away, but let's just say that I was surprised. Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood was great, although I have to say that his performance in season two was the finest, and season one pulling in second place. In season five I did not like where the character was going or what was happening to him. Robin Wright as Claire is of course brilliant, but I haven't cared for where her character has been going since season three. In season five the viewers got a couple of good surprises from her which was great, but that was all. I didn't like her relationship with the character Tom Yates (played by Paul Sparks), mainly because I thought it weakened her and I didn't care for his character whatsoever; he came off as obnoxious. Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper was boring and uneventful; honestly I never cared for his character and was majorly bummed when he didn't die at the end of season two. Jayne Atkinson as Catherine Durant (Secretary of State) is a delight, but she was not put to good use in season 5 unfortunately after four seasons of absolute brilliance. Neve Campbell as Leann Harvey was awesome; such a great character that I thought would be going to great heights in the show....but then the writers completely messed it up. There were three new faces in season five that added some great stuff to the show. Campbell Scott as Mark Usher playing a political strategist was awesome; truly well written, fantastically acted, and was a breath of fresh air for what the show used to be like in seasons 1-2; filled with indomitable characters. Patricia Clarkson as Jane Davis is another one of those indomitable political characters that popped in season five, and I'm still not certain what her function is, or what she wants, but she's a smart, crafty woman who knows what she wants. Those two were the best parts of this season. Korey Jackson as Sean Jeffries (a reporter) played another one of those characters that knows what he wants and went after it; he did a great job, and I think he's going to be even bigger in season six, just like the other two aforementioned individuals. That's about it for the cast.
Season Five was....tolerable and in some spots very good, but overall definitely pales in comparison to seasons 1-2. Claire and Frank were at their finest when they were working together in concert to bring their enemies down, which they always did with utter ruthless pragmatism. Ever since Season Three though, their characters have been floundering and seemingly always at odds with each other irritatingly enough. This I believe completely and utterly weakens the characters, and thus the core of the show, which is why the series has been in a downward spiral since Season Three. Honestly, the writers need to be dragged out into the proverbial streets and beaten with rods for destroying such an amazing show. I'm certain that the producers and directors also share some of the blame as well; as everyone has a thought about what they want to see have happen to the progression of the show and its characters and plot. One of the several things that made the first two seasons so great was that Claire and Frank were indomitable, and then they were made weak and constantly playing defense instead of offense. Also, what didn't help was insertion of mediocre characters like Tom Yates, and mediocre side stories like Doug Stamper's. Honestly, if you haven't started watching the show, just watch seasons 1-2 and then read about the rest of the seasons. It would be better to end on a high note than a low one, which is where I feel this show is going. In other news and events; North Korea is acquiring better missile technology, China is enabling North Korea, the Syrian civil war continues to rage on, Venezuela is unraveling and burning towards utter destruction with each passing day, and DAESH continues to threaten the world with its terrorist activities. The good news seems to be that Iraq has pretty much taken the majority of its territory back from DAESH, so now it just has to govern effectively to preventing something similar from happening again. I really wish there was simply more good news in the world, or that the media would try to report more on the good news. Take care everyone.
Actually if you substitute some letters in the title, it would more accurately describe my opinion of the film (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah). I guess that gives it way that I did not care for this film, La La Land, whatsoever. I went in believing that it was going to be quite good, but as soon as the opening number started I began to dislike it and my dislike of the film only increased as it progressed. The story is actually quite boring and pretty standard for Hollywood; a young struggling actress is trying to make it in L.A. as well as a young struggling musician who loves jazz. I'm not certain why this film plot seems to familiar, but since it is used a lot I would be surprised if it didn't seem somewhat familiar. Emma Stone plays Mia, the struggling actress, and Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, the struggling musician. Basically they meet and begin to fall in love, and after they fall in love they continue to try and pursue their dreams. And that's about it. Oh, and there's music along the way, which I will get into later since being a musical the lyrics and music play a huge part in the film. Emma Stone is a very talented actress and her performance in this film as Mia was done very, very well, and thus she earned an Oscar for her hard work. Ryan Gosling likewise is very talented and his performance of Sebastian was good, but not entirely different from some other roles I've seen him in, but he was nominated at least for an Oscar. And that's about it, the entire film almost featured these two alone most of the time. John Legend had a very small role as a musical producer and band leader of sorts, but I didn't care for him at all. There isn't much one can really say about the supporting cast because they didn't do much but speak here and there and do singing and dancing in large numbers.
Damien Chazelle won the Oscar for Best Director (youngest ever apparently) and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay; he did a good job with the visual direction of the film, and how he directed Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, but that's about where the good things in the film disappear for me. Altogether the film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 6: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Production Design. Needless to say I heavily disagreed with the Academy this year on many things, and their showering this film accolades was one of them. The screenplay by Mr. Chazelle was okay, but honestly nothing overly groundbreaking, interesting or thought provoking; for example, consider the screenplay of Lincoln or The Help those two screenplays were truly award deserving, La La Land was not. Linus Sandgren won the Oscar for Cinematography, and I have to say that was the one excellent element of the film that really stood out to me; this film was beautifully filmed, and I remember thinking that as I watched the movie. David Wasco and his production design won an Oscar as well, and I have to say it was quite stunning and well done most of the time, if not entirely. Now, Justin Hurwitz composed the music and won an Oscar for it as was as the Oscar for Best Original Song. He's a fairly new film composer with Whiplash being the only major feature under his belt (the music from that film was also jazz). The music for this film was boring, and poorly composed; his inexperience radiated on every song and nearly every note. There wasn't any complexity to the music or depth; it was very simplistic in how it was arranged and composed. There were really no notable motifs (which is a must in great musicals) or even notable songs for that matter. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can act, but they cannot sing, and the dreadful songs were made even more dreadful by their vocal performances. I have nothing good to say about the music whatsoever; hands down it was bad, and this was a terrible musical. So there you have it, I did not like this film at all and I was actually bored essentially the entire time I was watching it. I wouldn't encourage anyone to watch it; trust me you aren't missing anything. Oh, let's not also forget that for a few moments La La Land won the Oscar for Best Picture before people realized their mistake that it was actually Moonlight. A nice humorous moment. So this film was a big disappointment, but I guess I'm not surprised; Hollywood does like making and awarding films about itself.
It seems like either Hollywood is a giant snowball going down a mountain gathering speed and mass with comic book based films with each one that is released and then scheduled to be released and eventually it will crash, or it will just go on successfully forever; not certain how that analogy will end. Or, maybe this golden age of comic book films will only get better and never end. Who knows. Until then, the movies are being released non-stop. Wonder Woman was honestly one of those comic book characters that I thought would never ever work well on-screen, and I thought an entire film about the character would be disastrous. Once again I am proved quite capably wrong. It's hard to nail down specifically why the film was so good and well done; I would point to a number of factors rather than just one singular point. The movie follows the character of Diana of the Amazons or later it is discovered she is something else entirely. She rescues a pilot during WWI and together they return to Europe to fight the Germans and end the war, although she is seeking to find and destroy Aries, the god of war whom she believes is responsible for all the evils of mankind. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince was perfect; it's hard to gauge how good of an actress she is as I've only seen her in this, and a bit here and there in Batman vs. Superman, but she was confident, interesting, dynamic, and the audience could empathize with her. Chris Pine plays Captain Steve Trevor (very ironic how even the DC universe has a Captain Steve like Marvel's Captain Steve who is Captain America). Mr. Pine plays himself; the difference between his character in this film and Captain Kirk in Star Trek are merely the setting and the individual differences. He was good in the film, but nothing remarkable. Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta the Amazon Queen was perfection; that woman can act (she had a very notable role in Gladiator). Robin Wright played Antiope the best Amazon warrior who trained Diana, and she was awesome; I wish her role had been larger, and the same as Connie Nielsen. Then there were the sidekicks: Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock). All three men performed fantastically, but I especially liked the characters Sameer and Charlie, both of whom had the most depth and likability. Danny Huston cast as German General Ludendorff was horribly miscast, and that character wasn't very well written either; seemed to be more of an afterthought than anything. Elena Anaya played Dr. Maru the "mad scientist" and she performed brilliantly and should have been more of the central villain rather than an afterthought as well. David Thewlis played a small role as a British politician, Sir Patrick, but he was utterly and horribly miscast as well; once you've seen the film, you'll totally understand why I think that. Overall the casting wasn't too bad, but like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, you watch this movie to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Patty Jenkins directed the film and was perhaps one of the big reasons it was well done and has been quite successful and well received. She did a fine job on her first big film Monster, and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future. Allan Heinberg wrote the screenplay and I have to say that he did a rather good job with the material he had; I think a few changes and tweaks here and there would have enhanced it even more, but you can never have everything.....at least most of the time. I would also like to point out again as I did in Suicide Squad the current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin was an executive producer. Rupert Gregson-Williams composed the music for the film, and well....it was okay, but the only thing I remember well enough is her theme which wasn't even composed by him. Why are so many film composers writing blah music for films; it's very frustrating, especially for someone who enjoys that kind of music. The cinematography by Matthew Jensen was pretty good for a comic book film, and costume design by Lindy Hemming wasn't too bad either. The action in the film was okay; there were times when it worked really well, and times when it didn't. One big complaint I have was with the slow motion; there was too much of it and it was in random places, and the fight choreography wasn't consistently good either. Did I like it? Yes I did; Wonder Woman was a good film and I'd watch it again. It was definitely entertaining and had some good ideas and thoughts in it, but it wasn't great. I honestly would rather watch Batman vs. Superman as I really like Zack Snyder. There were at times during the film moments that seemed too....naive and trite, and that bothers me. But, it was very well put together, although I was not a fan of the last action sequence whatsoever. Wonder Woman was a good entertaining summer diversion, so if that's all you want, then this movie is perfect for you. Lord knows we're all in need of that.
The twilight of the Vampire genre I think has finally come at last. Where at one point vampire oriented films were hugely popular, now they are relegated to the backdrop. Unfortunately Underworld: Blood Wars is more of a speck on that backdrop due to a number of reasons. The original film that Len Wiseman directed which was released back in 2003 was amazing; the standard that all vampire films should be held to. Yet after he left directing the franchise things started to unravel. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was a great film, mostly due to the cast, but the story was good along with several other things as well. Yet this film just doesn't really hit the target. Basically, picking up from where Underworld: Awakening left off, both the vampires and the werewolves are after Selene's daughter for their own purposes, so they attempt to capture her to force the truth out of her even though she doesn't know the answer. Meanwhile the vampires are having an internal power struggle that is threatening to destroy them from within. Kate Beckinsale as Selene was fine, although she didn't add anything to her character and the performance really came off flat. Theo James as David really pulled through in this film....even if his character came off a little like King Arthur, but he was definitely a compelling character. Lara Pulver as the vampire Semira was just lovely; would have been most excellent to see her role expanded more. Charles Dance returned which was awesome, and of course he was fantastic; also would have been amazing to have more of him in the film. Bradley James as the vampire Varga was also a nice touch; and of course once again it would have been nice to see more of him. The villain of the film, or rather chief villain, was the werewolf Marius played by Tobias Menzies. His character and performance were utterly dreadful; so poorly written, and I can't really say anything good of the actor's portrayal. For the most part, the casting was the best part of the film.
It seems I keep finding myself at this same point frequently with many of the films I have watched and then reviewed. The raw potential was there for this film to be really good, but it was the writing and especially in this film, the length of the film that made it come off flat. If the film would have been thirty minutes longer, it would have done so much to improve the film. The characters would have had more depth, and the film wouldn't have felt so rushed. How much of the blame falls on the director, Anna Foerster, or the writers, Cory Goodman and Kyle Ward, who knows; but all three of them share some of the burden of blame. I do have to say though that the cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub was quite good. There's a part of the film that takes place in the icy part of northern Europe, and it was shot splendidly. And I have to give props to the costume designer Bojana Nikitovic; she really nailed the vampire garb down very well, and especially Selene towards the end of the film. The action was rather blah, but honestly I liked the original film more for the story and characters than the action, although it was also good. I don't recall the music score by Michael Wandmacher very well, so no motifs or themes really stood out, which is a shame that in now the fifth film of the franchise that there aren't any musical themes or motifs that have carried through all of the films yet. A lost opportunity. That might actually be the best way to describe this film. Better writing and more time would have improved this film beyond measure; and they should have axed the werewolf villain or re-written him. Honestly if you haven't been watching any of the "Underworld" film then don't bother watching this, and if you have well.....it's better than Awakening so....there you go. Certainly not a film for the cinema history books like the original was. Stepping into reality for a moment, I wish there was some good news to share, but honestly there is nothing. I have actually stopped watching any news and just mainly read the Wall Street Journal because it's so depressing, and most journalism has lost it's credibility and now is mainly focused on selling stories and printing gossip, and peoples' opinions rather than facts. There was a picture on the front of the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that haunts me; it was the scene of the bombing that happened in Kabul. In the photo there is wreckage and smoke from the bomb everywhere, and what looks like a corpse. However, a man bloodied and injured is trying to pull himself away from the destruction and he looks up at what I'm assuming is the individual taking the picture and he makes this expression which could be construed as shock, or hopelessness, or perhaps.."why don't you try to help me instead of taking a picture..." look. I hear and see from pictures and videos of all the tragic things that are happening across the globe, and how do people particularly from the West and America act? They simply take picture and move on, and instead focus on celebrities and political controversies that won't mean anything in a couple of years. People live on forever though; they are perhaps the only things that continue on past this transient existence. If the entire world cared more about people, or just part of the world cared more about people, or even a fraction, then things would be different and change. But for now I wait for some really good news, and now I step down from my soap box. May the Force be with us all.
One of the things that I try to do every year is watch all or most of the Oscar nominated films for Best Picture. Moonlight was the film that actually won the coveted award...well at least once they recovered from their mistake of announcing La La Land. There was a lot of hype around this film due to the subject matter of the film; growing up as a black gay man in a subculture where that is highly looked down upon. The film was good, relatively well written and acted, but honestly I don't think it deserved the Oscar which I'm pretty sure it won for pure political reasons as opposed to mainly on merit alone. The film follows a young black man, Chiron, who struggles to survive in a world as a young black gay boy then as a man, and that's pretty much it. The film is divided into essentially three thirty-five minute vignettes starting with the main character as a boy, then a teenager and finally as an adult man. The three individuals who brought this character to life: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes all did a fine job portraying this character and their performances were admirable. The character though was very dull and boring. Granted there was so much to explore and so much depth, but Chiron seemed to say very little throughout the entire film, and as soon as the character seemed to go somewhere the film would advance to the next chronological incarnation of the same character. It was this three part split which I believe sabotaged the film greatly; the majority of the film should have been spent when he was an adult finally coming to terms with his reality as opposed to suppressing it. His childhood friend, Kevin, whom he had a crush on was played by: Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, and Andre Holland. A lot of potential in this character, but it was never really fleshed out well; quite disappointing. Naomie Harris played Chiron's junkie, abusive and neglectful mother; she did great, but her skills really weren't put to good use since her role was so small considering the impact such a character would have on a young boy and man (she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress). It was interesting watching her performance on screen as it reminded me of some of my previous clients' mothers. Mahershala Ali played Juan the drug dealer who was some sort of "father figure" for Chiron when he was a boy, and then he disappeared from the film without any explanation for his absence which was poor writing I thought. He won an Oscar for his supporting role, and it's probably because he had the best performance in the entire film even though it was small and very short. That was pretty much it, although Janelle Monae played Teresa, Juan's wife, who became a sort of surrogate mother for Chiron. She was a breath of fresh air for the film, but once again she vanished after the first two vignettes. That was essentially the entire cast, or rather what mattered the most in regards to the story.
So the film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won 3: Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. Barry Jenkins wrote and directed the film which was based off a story written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and for the most part they both did a good job. I just believe that what really sunk this film for me was how it was divided up into three distinct timeline with distinct characters which made it seem like three separate short films rather than one singular film. It also wasn't long enough. The ending was anti-climactic and seemed to happen far too quickly. The music by Nicholas Britell was somehow nominated for an Academy Award, and I would have to assume it was for political reasons as that's the only reason I could rationalize how it was even nominated as the music itself was blah, although there was a point where I thought a good motif was coming and then it just sunk. The cinematography by James Laxton was perhaps the best technical element in the film; it just worked so well for the narrative, and visually was quite striking at times; it too was also nominated for an Academy Award. Somehow the film was nominated for the Best Editing Academy Award, but I think that is what weakened the film so once again it had to be for political reasons. Overall I was very disappointed with the film. It had such great potential, but it just came across as three short films put together rather than one seamless piece of exquisite cinema which was just in reach since it was such a compelling story. That goes to show that you can have an awesome story, great characters, good acting, but if it isn't put together well then all of those other factors don't matter. Of all the films to win Best Picture, it shouldn't have been Moonlight. It was good, but it wasn't great and only truly great films should win the most coveted prize for films on the entire planet. I hate ending on depressing notes, but I read in the Wall Street Journal the other day that the Syrian government is reportedly using a crematorium to cover up mass murders that it has been undertaking. Yet, it seems the U.S. Congress and large portion of the U.S. public is more concerned about chasing conspiracy theories and settling political scores than history repeating itself again. Holocaust Remembrance Day was about a month ago, and here we have another tyrannical regime committing genocide and trying to cover it up the same way the Nazis did, and yet no one seems to care. There is something terribly wrong with my country the United States of America, and the world, and I am concerned that as time continues to pass that this kind of behavior will only worsen. People need to step outside their own circumstances and really contemplate what is truly important in life, and what matters.
Moonlight interview with Trevante Rhodes & Andre Holland
It's had to believe that 3 years ago the first Guardians of the Galaxy film was released, and here we are already on the second film of that series with a third and fourth most likely coming (because Hollywood has no creative original storytelling bone left in its body). So this film had a rather lame story and plot, and yes I am using "lame" in a technical sense; it's the best word to describe the story and plot....or rather lack of a good one. This film is about the characters is ensconces and only that....well perhaps the music as well as it seemed to serve as an existential character throughout the film. Basically, Quill finds his father who happens to be a sort of celestial god/planet that can do powerful stuff and everything seems to be going tritely wonderful.....until the proverbial ball drops and his father turns out to be rather less than honorable. If this plot sounds familiar that's because it is, I just can't recall at the moment what other film it was in. Anyways. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill was perfection; who else can play an obnoxious, arrogant, immature frat boy character with such stupendous humor and be very believable while doing it. Zoe Saldana as Gamora was fine. Either it's her performance that is boring and flat, or her character is just that way. Dave Bautista as Drax definitely improved in this film with depth of character and he was the one character that made me perhaps laugh the most. His second act was definitely good and an improvement. I don't have a clue what Vin Diesel did as Baby Groot voice wise or motion capture wise, but Baby Groot was at times a hoot, and sometime a little too much. Bradley Cooper as Rocket just goes to show that I really do not care for the majority of the films or roles that man takes in his career, and the sarcastic, irritating and vacillating raccoon character falls right into that. Needless to say I do not like that character whatsoever; in my opinion there is nothing endearing about him as a character, simply all negatives. Michael Rooker as the blue dude that can control the arrow thing with his mind, Yondu, was less obnoxious in this film but still there was something about his character I just didn't care for, especially the whole "adopted father" theme the writers were going for. Karen Gillan as Nebula was a great character and I loved how they gave her such incredible depth in this film.....and yet they did barely anything with it. Very disappointing. Kurt Russell of course as "Ego" the planet/celestial god/Quill's father was perfect. He was funny and had this callous/superior way of thinking and justifying the ideas of his character which added a good deal to the excellent performance. The rest of the cast was good, but nothing that really stood out....except for a brief appearance by Howard the Duck. I think I might have been the only person in the theater laughing when he appeared on-screen. Oh and of course the Stan Lee cameo was awesome as usual!
James Gunn (what a great first name by the way) directed and wrote the film, and while he crafted his vision of the characters and story perfectly, it basically wasn't my cup of tea just like the first one (although I think this one might be slightly more tolerable than the first) and I can't fault him for that simply because I don't really like it. Once again the special effects and the expanse of the universe was great and well done even it was on a slightly smaller scale this time around. Tyler Bate's musical score played second fiddle to the soundtrack of vintage rock music from the 80's or whenever (that genre of music I have to say is beyond my knowledge, or really taste), so it wasn't anything really to comment about. The action was mind numbing. It was designed to overwhelm the senses with sheer mass rather than awe with design and calculating the path of the action. Honestly, I didn't care for the film, but I didn't hate it and it wasn't dreadful; it was entertaining and it successfully distracted me for a couple of from life and I have to admit that I laughed a good bit. I believe millions of people will love this film and think it's amazing, and if you enjoy juvenile humor befitting of a kid in Jr. High with lots of action (I noted that this film seemed incredibly violent, and it was done in a way that made it appear comical; that disturbed me a little) then this film is for you. It would definitely be a great date night film regardless of which way you swing or what age you are. And once again I wonder when the 'Golden Age of Comic Book Films' will end?
Now for something with a little more weight. I just (literally) finished reading the biography on the 11th President of the United States of America James Knox Polk (and yes his family was related to Protestant Reformer John Knox). He was president from 1845-1849 and was proceeded by John Tyler and succeeded by Zachary Taylor. He was a member of the Democratic party (which was very different then from what is now considered the Democratic party) and he died a couple months after he left office around the age of 53. He was the successor of Andrew Jackson's legacy as appointed by the former President who did what he could to put Polk into office. Polk fought the war with Mexico over Texas, and added Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon. Washington, and California to the United States. He worked hard every single day of his presidency rarely taking a vacation all four years of his term and also rarely left the White House. Interestingly enough, his secretary of state was James Buchanan who would go on to be president just as the US civil war broke out (Buchanan is considered one of if not the worst US president ever; I guess former secretaries of state do not make very good presidents as John Quincy Adams was also in that same boat). Aside from the great name this former president has, Polk to me was quite admirable and happens to be considered by historians to be one of the top US presidents of all time. Unfortunately the author of the biography I read, Walter R. Borneman, did a lousy job so I don't think I quite captured as great of a picture of the man as I could have. What I admired most about him was his incredible work ethic, sense of duty to the American people, and more importantly his sense of duty to the idea of the American union; that as Americans we are all in this great democratic experiment together and thus it should forever remain. One of the last bills he signed into office created the Department of the Interior, which he had grave doubts about...."he feared its consolidating tendency, and thought that it would centralize power over public lands in the federal government to the detriment of states, where he thought the power belonged." He changed the geography of the United States almost more so than any single US president, and he I believe is the only president that vowed to serve only one term right at the outset of his presidency. He was a great president, an admirable man that spent close to 30 years in public service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tennessee Governor, and other state politics. Good politicians like him are truly missed and lamented in this day and age.
I wonder if film studios are ever going to stop making comic-book films at the pace which they are currently? You would think that at some point people are going to grow tired of them or the phase will be over, but perhaps not. I have to say that I wasn't expecting much of Doctor Strange but I have to say that after recently watching it, I wasn't annoyed or bored as I had anticipated. Now granted, I didn't see it in 3-D which I would have loved to, but you work with what you have. Obviously the story follows a phenomenal surgeon who damages his hands to the point where he can't really use them again and he embarks on a crusade to correct the issue which leads him to a group of mystics that teach him to essentially harness magic and find the inner peace for his troubled soul. However, along the way a bad sorcerer seeks to release the ultimate evil Dormammu which will destroy the earth and thus they set out to stop him. Kind of your routine plot line for comic-book films these days. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the good doctor, and I have to say that he of course performed masterfully with the title character. He was empathetic, humorous, and vulnerable in a way that made him believable as opposed to ridiculous (which was what unfortunately happened to Ryan Reynolds in The Green Lantern). The role worked for him and he did well with it; I actually believe the next Doctor Strange film will be better than the first because he knows his character so well. Chiwetel Eijofor plays Mordo (who becomes a pretty big baddie in the Marvel world) and his character was boring and typical of the type often cast in that position. Rachel McAdams plays the love interest of the good doctor, Christine Palmer, and she's a good fold for him. Hopefully that get's played out a little more in the next film. Benedict Wong plays the character Wong, a sort of what I thought was a sidekick to the good doctor, but he plays a librarian that knows a lot. The two men when they have scenes together are quite good; lot's of good on-screen chemistry, and got me to laugh a number of times. Mads Mikkelsen continues to showcase his talent in big name movies and franchises (James Bond, Star Wars, Marvel) and of course he was great; a bit flat and boring, but a good villain as always. Perhaps the most ridiculous of all casting decisions was to make Tilda Swinton the Ancient One; the Sorcerer Supreme. While I have to say that they could have cast other people that might have worked and definitely looked the part, the actress did a fantastic job herself with the character and shouldn't be castigated for taking the role. She came off with all of the necessary elements of a mystical Yoda type character, but definitely not as wise or relatable. All in all it was a great cast.
The technical elements of the film were of course pretty good. Director Scott Derrickson did a fine job and the writers as well, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill. Michael Giacchino composed the music and did a fairly good job as well, although I don't know if he really came up with a very distinctive motif or theme for the good doctor unfortunately. The actions sequences were very dynamic and new, which I believe was a credit to all of the magic that was being used as it gave the creators a lot of good material to work with and shape into something cool. The only thing I thought that was over the top and rather ridiculous most of the time was the red cape that he wore which seemed to have a personality and will of its own. I think it would have been just fine had it been simply a cool, magical cape; there was no need to make it cognizant. Overall I would have to say that it was a good and entertaining film; it's not the best comic-book film, but it balances the dark and light humored very well without coming off too serious, but just serious enough. In that regard the director deserves a very loud round of applause. It's a film that would work well for date night, watching it with your family of any age (except for very young children), or if you simply want to forget how much reality sucks. Well the end of April is here, and the USA along with the rest of the world is still around without anything apocalyptic occurring. I hope the next one hundred days only gets better and better, oh and while I am at it, God be with the French people as they choose a new direction in which to take their own destinies.