Dec 31, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) / the return of the Bromance

directed by Guy Richie / starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry

I loved the first Sherlock Holmes so much. I actually went to see it in cinema three times. That was the first time I'd seen a film in cinema three times since Revenge of the Sith, by the way, and it hasn't happened again since. I started to look forward to the next Holmes adventure right after the wonderful ending of the first film, quite obviously promising for more. Then at some point I got tired of waiting and allowed myself to restrain my enormous enthusiasm towards the upcoming sequel. In other words, I didn't care too much about the franchise anymore. Not even the trailer could arouse my interest very much. It looked a bit lame and predictable and uninventive. Like the sequel would just rely on the jokes and ideas and success of the first film.

And it kind of did, to a certain lenght, of course. But it wasn't a bad thing at all, they did it well, actully! The old gags were continued and the distinct slo-mo action sequences were there again, but there was some clever reinvention going on, which made it surprisingly fresh, and hardly repetitive at all. Oh, and boy, did the Bromance bloom.

In case someone (like me, it turns out) has forgotten that Robert Downey Jr. is the sexiest man alive, let me just point this out: Robert Downey Jr. is, indeed, the sexiest man alive. Oh, mama. No one plays that absurdly cocky yet indeniably lovable type of character better than him. Can't wait for Avengers and the next Iron Man. Boy, oh boy. There might be a sex overload.

Scandinavia's pride Noomi Rapace was a real joy! Yes, I've decided to take pride on her, too, I won't let Sweden take all the credit. Because I'm sick of Sweden winning all the time. Also, since this fall (or autumn or whatever, I don't know what English I should use now that I'm back home) Sweden often functioned as a substitute for curing homesickness, I now kind of look at Scandinavia as a whole, so calling Rapace "our girl" would be more than appropriate. Let her conquer the world and bring fame to her home country, Scandinavia! Ahem.

Jared Harris was great, really great! There's something oddly gentle about his eyes, yet they can turn ice-cold and deliver a deadly stare. I love villains that aren't obviously evil (though I do love some obviously evil villains, too), and who destroy the world without losing that indifferent, almost friendly poker face. Really great job, you Mad Man!

Like in the first film, I again enjoyed the brilliant music, the cool end credits, the cinematography of the action scenes (even in the scene in the forrest when it ALMOST (?) went over-the-top), the fun supporting characters and the wonderful and hilarious chemistry between Law and Downey Jr.

In summary, I'd say that Game of Shadows was a very good sequel. The ending was excellent. Unpredictable. The end came too soon. Or was it really that? The end? If not, I sure am ready for more, so bring it.

"What do you see?"

Dec 30, 2011

The first and last time I saw Goodfellas

21:29 Since there is three days left in the year 2011, and three films yet to be watched in my New Year Resolution project, I thought now might be a good time to get busy. The film of October was Goodfellas, so here we go. I don't think it is a very good scenario to begin watching a movie feeling certain that you will hate it, but I'm kind of getting used to this by now. I even came up with an appropriate title already: The first and probably the last time I saw Goodfellas. Now that's the spirit. Let's get crackin'. I hope this is now a very long movie.

21:34 ... No such luck. Two hours and nineteen minutes. What a surprise. Well, if I'm a really good girl I'll be done by midnight and all this will be only a bad memory.

21:38 Oh it's set in New York! Hopefully the whole movie is about them prancing around Central Park. Isn't that what mob bosses do? Or gangsters, or whatever these people are.

21:41 Oh, this is one of these lovely and violent movies! Hurray!

22:11 I'm not buying that the stupid thug from Home Alone is a badass mobster. And I'm a bit bored. But at least this is no Godfather. No Central Park yet, boo!

22:37 There's too much testosterone in the movie. Blah. Violence is so freaking nice and masculine, yeah, hurray, keep hitting each other, that's fun.

23:16 Oh, yay, only 45 minutes left. Time is flying, while I'm facebooking, cutting my nails and plugging my eyebrows. Watching movies like this makes me productive.

23:29 These guys say 'fuck' way too much. I mean, I like when people say 'fuck', like they do in In Bruges. But come one.

23:34 Ah, thank you! Thank you for shooting that guy, he annoyed me so much.

00:08 Oh well. There's no need to change the title. Though I might drop the 'probably'. I don't know why I keep making myself watch these movies I know I'm not going to like. Mob bosses and violence and cursing and idiotic, stubborn men. Not my cup of tea. Except if it takes place in Bruges.

Dec 8, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (2011) / unsurprisingly unsurprising

I went to Atlanta and Washington DC for my Thanksgiving break, and finally had a chance to go to movies again. I hadn't seen a movie in a theatre for more than two months, which is a personal record I don't wish to break again any time soon. There is a threatre in Emporia, but you need a car to get there, so basically it's out of my reach. Now that I again had cinemas within my reach, (and time, too, unlike on our fall break trip to California), me and my travelling companion went to movies not once, not twice, but three times in eight days. And I still feel it wasn't enough. I was supposed to put my thoughts together about each three films, but so it happens, I managed to do so only on Twilight. Which is so twisted. I actually liked My Week with Marilyn and J.Edgar a lot, but for some unfair reason writing about them is too much right now.

We weren't even supposed to go see Twilight. We were supposed to go see J. Edgar, but there wasn't a showing at the right time, and we wanted to go see something anyway, and what do you know, Breaking Dawn was just starting in ten minutes. I had seen the previous ones in cinemas, but I'd planned on not seeing the last ones. Oh well. At least it wasn't in 3D. Part of the Twilight cinema experience has always been the people around you, laughing at wrong places, and making mocking "whoo" sounds whenever Jacob takes his shirt off. And I must say, the company was perfect, once again. Of course you have to feel a little sorry for those few who actually come to see the film seriously.

I don't have much to say about the film itself. I once wrote a huge monster post about Eclipse, concentrating on the phenomenon that Twilight is, and I still feel pretty much the same way. You just cannot make a great movie when the source material is what it is. We know it's crap, but still, let the girls have their fun. And so on. I'm still 100% Team Jacob. Even Kristen Stewart (whom I just can't help but find annoying) is much more natural in those few Bella/Jacob scenes. That relationship is just so wonderfully close to normal among all the freakish and awkward Bella/Edward stuff. Anna Kendrick was again my biggest source of joy, even though her and Bella's (human) group of friends got hardly any screen time at all. The sex scene was kind of lame, and all the pregnancy stuff plain disgusting. I mean, yes, it's very nice that they actually made Bella look like an absolutely horrible corpse, but all the blood and the breaking bones just made me want to look away. Again, yes, it's just the source material, but ugh, I'd rather have watched more of that lame sex than a skeleton Bella drinking blood.

So yeah. Nothing surprising here. I knew what to expect so watching all the awkward dialogue wasn't too painful. At least now I've seen it and don't have to worry about it ever again. But I have to go see last final movie, too, just to see how they adapt the most horrible ending of the most horrible book in the world to the screen. Can't say I'm looking forward to it.

"Jacob has an idea."
"It's more of a snide remark!"

Dec 5, 2011

Sucks to be a Kennedy / The Kennedys (2011)

I didn't know JFK was assasinated in Dallas. That is, until I went to Dallas and found myself standing in the very spot where it happened. They say travelling broadens the mind, but it also helps you catch up on your history. I know now that John F. Kennedy was killed in downtown Dallas, on Elm Street, on November 22, 1963, and that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the sixth floor window of the Book Depository. And that was all without cheating. I hope I got my facts right.

 I had heard of the miniseries before, and was kind of interested in watching it, but didn't make it my priority until I knew I would be going to Washington DC soon. I thought I would get the more out of the visit the more I knew about the history of the place. And luckily in this day and age we don't have to read books to learn history, we can just watch a movie or a miniseries and be just as wise! Oh, wonderful world. So, I watched the eight-part series before and after the trip, and yes, they indeed complemented each other quite nicely. I just get a huge kick out of watching a movie or something and seeing a place where I've personally been. (At times I so wished there'd been someone watching with me, because I wanted to act smart! Like when Jackie visits Jack's grave in the Arlington Cemetary (assuming that the scene was actually shot on location), they use only certain camera angles to hide the tomb stone on JFK's left, saying Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (okay, that I had to cheat).)

I enjoyed the series (and not only for the joy of feeling smart and well-travelled). Sometimes the politics talk might have been a bit too much for me, but I just let it go over my head, waiting for the next scene looking at the family dynamics and relationships. I'm sure the series is not 100% truthful in portraying the members of the Kennedy family, but I trust it to have given more than a clue about what was going on inside the white walls of the President's house. It was quite entertaining, and interesting, the script was quite excellent, and the camerawork and visual side very pleasing to the eye, too. I liked the use of old, actual recordings, mixed with new material.

I first had some serious problems with Greg Kinnear as JFK. Just because I kept associating him with Little Miss Sunshine, and as much as I love that movie it doesn't do much good in taking someone seriously as a president. I got over it soon, however, because Kinnear did quite a solid job, and his presence is totally transformed from the horrible father who tells his 10-year-old daughter not to be a loser. Also, Katie Holmes was a very pleasant surprise! I don't usually enjoy her work too much, and she often lacks depth, but as Jackie she is vulnerable yet strong, and it works beautifully. She had my sympathies.

The one who stole the whole show to me, however, was Barry Pepper's Bobby. For me, Pepper has always stolen the show, in whatever small roles I've seen him in, from The Green Mile to Saving Provate Ryan and Flags of Our Fathers. There's just something so real and authentic and sincere about him. He better get some awards for this role, he's been underrated for too long. He made it official: Bobby is my favorite Kennedy! I don't know why, but I always found Bobby's fate more tragic than Jack's. And I don't know if it's the truth or the portrayal or just me, but Bobby definitely turned out to be the hero of The Kennedys, and series left me with a pretty deep admiration and respect for Robert Kennedy. And Barry Pepper. You can't give any awards to Bobby anymore, so give some to Barry! He made me cry, damn it. Not that that's too unusual.

The villain of the story, for me, was definitely the father, Joe Kennedy. (Along with Marilyn Monroe, just because she was portrayed so poorly. Maybe it's unfair for the actress, Charlotte Sullivan, but after forgetting what the real Marilyn Monroe actually looks like when watching Michelle Williams in the said role, poor Ms. Sullivan's Monroe was kind of a sorry attempt.) Sure, I felt sorry for him at times, but that tyrannical, unhealthy obsession he had about making his son, any son, President, made me loathe him, and frankly point the finger straight at him when we start talking about blame.

"You’re going to be President. Because you’re a Kennedy. And Kennedys never come in second."