emily blunt

Frozen: The Dark World

Let me start by saying I really hated Snow White and The Huntsman. It was a boring mess of a film. If you can even call it a film. It was more of a series of images pasted together without a legit story or even a real reason to propel you toward the next image. That said I went to The Huntsman: Winter’s War with a bit of low expectations. Figured what the hey, let’s go check out three insanely hot girls, and Thor in the live version of Frozen Meets The Dark World. However, not only did I find myself laughing at the one liners, and smiling throughout the film, I found myself invested in the characters! Could it be? Was this actually a good movie?

Actually, no, it is not a good movie, but it is not bad. It can be entertaining, and dare I say, worth the money. I had fun in it. The story is not complex or deep by any means, and there are enormous plot holes, but it did what a film should do, and that is being entertaining.  I never found myself bored, or wanting to check my watch. While it is not something I feel I need to own or see again, it was definitely a good time at the theater.

The number one thing about this The Huntsman is obviously the cast. It stars Emily Blunt, Thor, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain. While Blunt is mailing in her performance a little bit, even when she does that she is incredible. Years ago when I first started my movie awards blog, I created an award for Charlize Theron called “Crazy Chick of the Year” and I gave it to her for Snow White and The Huntsman. And I’m not going to lie; I think she deserves it again. She gives this witch such a complete edge of crazy is awesomely fun to watch. Other stars include Nick Frost reprising his role as one of the seven dwarfs. He and his brother, played by Rob Brydon, are responsible for the most of the laughs with their quick witted one liners

The other major positive is the great chemistry between Thor and Jessica Chastain. These two are great together. While Thor is a compelling ad fun actor, his near trademarked smirk helps drive the belief in these two. I would really like to see these two in another project together. Light Bulb! Chastain needs to join the Marvel Universe. As an Asgardian of some sorts. Either way, they need to be put in another project together, one where they can really shine. Another positive is an uncredited role of narration done by Liam Neeson. Don’t let it bug you as it did me, it is Liam Neeson!

Now it is not all good. There are major story holes. And if you have seen too many of the trailers, the writers, and probably director, made a few mistakes. While the trailers gave away many of the plot points, they continue to try and hide these storylines as the film goes on. Like we were not going to notice. As well the reveal for the return of the Theron’s dead character is a pretty weak plot device. As if they couldn’t come up with a reason to bring her back, but had to have her back because they had her under contract. And if you have Charlize Theron, you find a way! Even if it is as bad as this.

The cinematography and CGI were pretty lackluster too. CGI especially. While the ice scenes are pretty cool, there is a scene in the middle of the film, that didn’t need to be there, but involves Goblins. These Goblins have terrible CGI and are completely too cartoony. The action scenes shift back and forth from being shot acceptable, to being done with extreme close-ups that make them hard to understand who is fighting who.

Most of these issues I feel steam from new comer in the director’s chair, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. His storytelling is all over the place, and his action sequences are weak. Not to mention the fact that he has Emily Blunt who is noticeably mailing it in. Hopefully this guy will take a step back and work with a few smaller films before trying to tackle another big budget film.

This will feel weird to say, but the film also missed Kristin Stewart’s Snow White. Mainly because there is a body double for one seen, that was obviously not her, and the many mentions of her character, without actually having her there hindered the film more then helped it.

All in all I actually enjoyed watching this film, despite its many flaws. It has made me really want another film or project involving the Mighty Thor and Jessica Chastain. As well it was fun to see Charlize Theron step back into this crazy witch of a role. And Even if Emily Blunt is sleeping walking through it, her sleep walking is better than most when they are fully awake.  Maybe it was my low expectations, maybe it was the company I was with, but I had a good time. Maybe not good enough to give it a great score though. I am scoring Huntsman: Winter’s War and 1.8, with a Jeebus bonus of .3 for the chemistry between Thor and Chastain. That gives us a Jeebus Score of 2.1

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

 

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Maryl Streep as The Witch in Disney's "Into the Woods."

Into the Woods it’s time to go!

Into the Woods holds a fond place in my heart. In grade school I played the The Wolf in our production of Part 1. So all though I am probably not the target audience, I was very excited for the motion picture adaption of the Broadway play. I remembered my entire solo, and was very pleased with Johnny Depp’s portrayal of The Wolf made famous by me.

Into the Woods stars an ensemble cast of Meryl Street, Emily Blunt, James Cordon, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, and Mackenzie Mauzy. It tells the tale of multiple classic Grimm Fairy Tales with a twist that brings them all together. When a Baker (Cordon) and his wife (Blunt) are told by a witch (Streep) that to lift the curse on their family they must travel into the woods to retrieve the items she needs. While on their journey they come across Little Red Riding Hood (Crawford) Jack (Huttlestone) and his cow, and Cinderella (Kendrick) who is on the run from her Prince (Pine).

I really enjoyed the film. While I’m not one for musicals, I think my small historic connection to the film drew me to it. The cast is phenomenal. There are a few I don’t know, like Cordon, Crawford, and Huttlestone, but they are wonderful. Especially Crawford who plays Little Red. She was so fun to watch on screen and such delight. Chris Pine was a surprise, I wasn’t aware he could sing. All though not the best by any means, he was still really good. Depp plays a small part as The Wolf, but he does it well, and very creepy. Meryl Streep, well she’s Meryl Streep. She is always incredible. However, with the talk of Oscar buzz for her I have to say, this was not an Oscar performance. Just a very good performance.

The story is fun, and it’s cool to see these characters of my childhood intertwine and mix together. The music is as catchy as I remember and draws you into the story. The problem of the film lies in the second act. I always wondered why my school only did the first act, and now I know. The film seems to wrap up perfectly around the 90 minute mark and you think happily ever after has arrived, then all of a sudden it takes a left turn into act II and goes a little off the deep end for another 45 minutes. The characters seem to lose something that made them all special, and even one storyline involving Rapunzel and her Prince is left leaving the audience confused. It is as if they expected us to not really care about them.

The score and sound is of the charts. This is a film you probably want to see in the theater for the sound quality alone. There’s a thunderous effect they add anytime the Witch appears or disappears from screen and it is booming. And the cinematography is beautiful. It is not the top of the game as far as effects go, but it just beautiful to see on screen.

So all in all Into the Woods is a very fun film, and worth your money to see in theaters. I gave it a 4.2 with of .3 for having Johnny Depp play a role made famous by myself, giving Into the Woods a Jeebus score of 4.5, a Good time at the theater.

All You Need is Kill, on the Edge of Tomorrow

All you need is kill! Er, Edge of Tomorrow. The new film from the director of greats such as Swingers, The BOurne Identity, Mr. & Mr Smith, and Jumper, Doug Liman. Now I know what you are thinking, Tom Cruise, he doesn’t have it anymore, this looks like the same as that last crappy film he did Oblivion. But trust me, this film was marketed horribly. It’s a pretty good film. It stars Cruise Emily Blunt, and Bill Paxton. Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, which originally was the title, and actually a much better title if you ask me.

Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a loser spokesperson for the army, who is a the voice of the resistance against the aliens that have attacked earth. When he is forced into combat against his will, he is exposed to the aliens and develops a case of groundhogs day. Every time he dies he wakes up the day before the big battle. He meets Rita(Blunt) who once was stuck in the same situation. Together they train to fight the alien race and become the only hope for humanity.

The marketing for this film was awful. The trailers all looked terrible, there was little to no buzz around from critics or anyone who had screened the film. I went in thinking it would probably be a disappointment, but came out very entertained. Cruise has seemed to be phoning it in the last couple of films. I felt he was pretty much done as the action star. But this film shows that Cruise still has a few good action flicks in him. I am not particularly a big fan of Emily Blunt. I find her to be kind of dull. But she worked for me in this film. The chemistry between her and Cruise was phenomenal.

The story is a mix of Groundhogs Day, Aliens, and Starship Troopers. You could think it would have the possibility of getting stale and repeating itself could get boring. However, Edge of Tomorrow does a good job at changing things up and making each “reset” unique and continue the over all story. You see Cruise grow as a character and a soldier. The fact that his character knows his memories from every repeat, but Blunt’s must trust him right off the bat and she never knows how many days they have gone through certain situations.

The only issue I found with the film was the final act. After all the resets, all the work they do to set up, the battle can be kind of weak. Not enough to really hurt the film, but enough to make you think about it a little bit. Another big thing that will hurt the film is the lack of marketing like I said earlier. First off the film’s title is weak, All You Need Is Kill was interesting and exciting. Plus the negative perception of Cruise’s last outings in film will hold audiences back. Which is a shame, because this film is truly a fun time.

When it comes down to it, I gave the film a Jeebus score of 4.1, A Good Time at the theater. SO please, disregard your first perception of the film. Don’t let Oblivion, or Jack Ryan keep you away. Give Cruise another shot, and check out Edge of Tomorrow.