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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Focus (II)

                           THE PITCH



 "It's about distraction. It's about focus. The brain is slow and it can't multitask. Tap him here, take from there."

       Apparently, the lead role was offered to Ryan Gosling, Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt. All who either dropped out or declined. Having seen the movie I can see why. The film was “likable”, though it may have overachieved.  Firstly, I’m shocked Will Smith took the role. This is his first ‘R’ rated film since Bad Boys II.  I think Will was convinced he could ‘make’ the film and essentially I felt he did.  I just feel the script got in it’s own way.  It tried too hard to keep me guessing.  The plot(s), at times went overboard and I attribute that to the writers.

    This should have been a really great romance film, instead I felt it was a dark love story… with dark comedy, which wasn't  bad. I did get a few chuckles out of this film.  All the twists and turns in the plot(s) is what kept me interested, it was just one too many.

   Think Hitch meets The Italian Job.  Loads of potential that didn’t quite live up to what should have been. Having said that, the movie was cute.  I still think it’s Worth Watching.  It will make a good movie night when available for rental.  You may want to wait  for that opportunity.
letter grade: B-

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service


Kingsman- The Secret Service - Trailer from PEANUT on Vimeo.



 "[Quoting Ernest Hemingway] There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." 

      The first time, matter of fact, every time my eyes and ears picked up the ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ trailer it literally went through my brain and bypassed ALL inhibitors (pun) and sensories.  It literally went through me like fiber. I saw not one thing special about it.  There was absolutely nothing I would spend $10 worth of popcorn and now pink lemonade (thanks to Lent, I gave up pop) on.  The thought process of turning 40 this year is: one stops thinking they've seen it all and faces the harsh reality that in all probability, cinematically speaking… they have.  Especially in this era of remakes, sequels and prequels it seems every new ‘thing’ has either borrowed or picked apart or outright stolen the original ideas from former more iconic films.  KTSS performed the heist of all heists but at the same time this cheeky movie paid homage to the great, the distinguished and the most celebrated secret service/super spy films of this century. Turns out that this film is an ode to those instead of a try at self serving glory.

    Yes, not to be mistaken with a parody, you’d have to go to Austin Powers for that. No, this movie does not make that mistake. The Bond Films, 1964’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and even the Bourne movies are acknowledged as far as the feel goes. They are even respectfully mentioned in the movie... See ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a love letter to the secret spy genre. An applause for manners in the face of death.  A romanticism of having to save the world from the “futuristic colorful megalomaniac” and doing it while holding a confident smirk.  I believe that is where this movie holds a place in my heart.   

     Growing up, the the 007 franchise had me mesmerized.  It is almost as much of a part of the reasons why I grew in love with the cinema as Star Wars was. In that era of movie making the ‘tech’ was minimal while the ideas were boundless. You could go in the cinema and simply get lost in the picture. There are still great films that can do that now but it is gratifying to know that the film industry still appreciates what it once was. Yes, somehow I pulled ALL of that out this movie. I felt compelled to let that out, now as for the movie itself...

    I really liked it but didn't love it (using my Cold Stone Creamery scale).   Loved the villianary.  Say what you want about Samuel L. Jackson but the characters that he takes on are as diverse as any other actor ever. Of course he takes on more characters then any other actor too. But one he gets a hold of the script and researches what that character is, he puts his unique ingredients in it to unleash a personality of the ages for that character.  One that the story itself wasn’t even planning on.  So many directors have said that about him and I find that amazing.  Rap mogul Russell Simmons is, by far the most recognizable inspiration behind his latest project  and that by itself is so amusing to me:

    His henchman, or should I say henchwoman, is by far one of the best villains I’ve ever seen.  Again, reverence and obeisance paid to the Oddjobs and Jaws of the cinema world, Sofia Boutella as ‘Gazelle’ grabs your attention and doesn't let it go. As proverbial as her purpose is, her disposition as well as her ‘specialty’ is contrastingly unique.  

    The action deserves a paragraph all to itself. This is truly the ‘viewer’ friendly action cam.  I don’t know what technique they used but the action was super fast and clear. I could see the action without the headache afterwards.  Precision detailing in angle work and maybe post production…. I dunno but whatever was done I hope to see more of it in the future.

  Lastly and unfortunately KTSS had the stink of crass attached to it.  I also did not fancy particular plot holes about the ‘training’ but most of all, for a movie about class it certainly lacked it.... ‘considerably’.  You can’t balance classy and ‘crassy’, at least not on the same scale.  

    Honestly, the movie brought more cheers than frowns and that is why I deem it Worth Watching. Saving the world in an oxford suit and tie is back!!!

     letter grade:   B

There is a bonus scene just after the credits begin