‘Eddie the Eagle’ Review

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Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writers: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton

Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Tim McInnerny, and Christopher Walken

Synopsis: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

I wasn’t even born when Eddie Edwards entered the Olympics, so I have no real connection to the real story behind him. However, director Dexter Fletcher and star Taron Egerton were able to bring this film to life with a likable character that we can really root for and all thanks, not just to the script, but also Egerton’s great work on the film.

Eddie the Eagle follows Eddie Edwards (Egerton), who since a child, has been dreaming of being in the Olympics. We see through a fun montage his attempts to learn and skill certain events, but Eddie faces obstacles to get to his dreams. He has bad knees, poor eyesight and a lack of natural athleticisms that it takes to make it to the Olympics, also, his father Terry (Allen) doesn’t want him sticking to “silly” dreams. However, Eddie is determined as ever and finds a way to get on the British Olympic team that is set for the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988. All he has to do is go to Germany, train, and qualify.

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When he’s in Germany he meets other ski jumpers, who don’t necessarily give him a warm welcome. Soon after, he meets Bronson Peary (Jackman), a hard drinking, and chain-smoker with a bit of an attitude. Eddie eventually finds out that Bronson was a jumper himself and the two start training, with Bronson thinking Eddie’s over his head, but eventually sees true potential in the underdog.

Saying that Eddie the Eagle is just an underdog movie would be an understatement. The film can resonate with I’m sure anyone to everyone. Eddie deals with naysayers, that includes the British Olympic Association Dustin Target (McInnerny), and physical and financial obstacles that are constantly trying to bring him down and make him quit, but there is something about Eddie Edwards – at least this version of him – that takes all that and uses it to prove everyone wrong. It’s that kind of attitude and charisma that Egerton brings that make us root for Eddie from the minute we see him.

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Egerton’s Eddie is extremely likeable and that’s thanks to Egerton himself, who, if he wasn’t before, he’s now bound to be a big name and one everyone will know thanks to this. Hugh Jackman is reliable as ever and his former hero turned mentor role – which he’s played before in Real Steel – works here. Jackman and Egerton have great chemistry together and any time the two are onscreen together it completely works and elevates the film to a new level. Jo Hartley, who play Eddie’s mom Janette, gives a great and heartwarming performance as Eddie’s supportive mother is one of the many highlights the film has.

Not everything about Eddie the Eagle works. Jackman’s Bronson has a subplot with Christopher Walken’s Warren Sharp – who has about three short scenes in the whole film – that feels forced in and the film could have worked without it to be honest. Even the resolution, albeit being a “feel-good” moment, is rushed. Speaking of “feel-good” moments, Eddie the Eagle is filled with them, which could make people think the film is riddled cliché sports film moments. Which could be a fair assessment, but it doesn’t really make Eddie the Eagle a bad film.

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Of course, a film about ski jumping, you hope there are good ski jumping sequences, well, you’re in luck. While some of them are done with CGI, which you can’t blame the team behind the film for doing it that way since the safety of the actors comes first. Ultimately though, the film is about Eddie and his journey, and that is where the movie strives.

All in all, Eddie the Eagle is a great heartwarming, emotional, funny, and great motivational film that is elevated by the performance of Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards.

 

Eddie the Eagle

4.5 out of 5

‘Deadpool’ Review

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Director: Tim Miller

Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Jed Rees, and Leslie Uggams

Synopsis: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rouge experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

*Reviewer Note 2: There are post-credit scenes*

 

It’s been a long time, but fans have finally gotten their Deadpool movie, and it doesn’t suck! After the disaster of trying to bring the character to life in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and after the “leaked” test footage that took the internet by storm, 20th Century Fox listened to the fans and decided to give the Merc with the Mouth a chance. Not only that they gave the film the Rated-R rating the film really needed for the character. Finally, we see the end result and its one that can possibly make every Deadpool fan happy. Cue the review.

Deadpool has an interesting set up in the first act. It acts as an origin story, for those unfamiliar with the character – which is probably a lot of people – and a “love story” between Wade Wilson (Reynolds) and Vanessa (Baccarin). However, the origin and love story are told in a flashback form during the heavily promoted expressway action sequences. It’s done fairly well and in a true Deadpool, and even comic book, way. The first time Wade meets Vanessa is at his favorite bar that is run by his best friend Weasel (Miiler). The two start an immediate relationship, but it comes crashing down when Wade finds out he has a serve case of cancer. This leads to an encounter with a mystery man (Rees) who promises him he can not only cure his cancer, but make him a superhero. Wade eventually goes and encounters Ajax (Skrein) and his right hand woman Angel Dust (Carano), who tell Wade they aren’t just curing him, they are making him a super slave and are putting him through a rigorous experiment

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Of course, something goes wrong in the lab and with the experiment and leaves Wade disfigured. Soon after, Wade promises a mission of revenge to find Ajax in hopes that Ajax will fix his disfigurement so he can go back to Vanessa and live their lives in peace. What follows is an action-packed, one-liner dropping comedy antics.

Now, Deadpool definitely won’t be for everyone. It’s brash, over-the-top, some will find it offensive, and with that the humor is something you either go with or just won’t find funny. However, there is no denying that Deadpool is a ton of fun to sit through and watch. Of course, that doesn’t mean its perfect – no film is. Despite the long wait, there are some things that just don’t click in the film, and one of them is something that drives Wade/Deadpool throughout the film: the love story. There’s nothing wrong with Reynolds and Baccarin’s chemistry and most of it is great, but the love story is a bit thin and won’t be the thing you’re talking about walking out.

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The other underdeveloped and weak point is the villain. Ed Skrein fares better here than he did in The Transporter Refueled, but his character is only okay and doesn’t really do anything to stick out too much. Same can be said for Gina Carano’s Angel Dust, although she does have a highlight moment near the end of the film, but the character doesn’t do much other than stand next to Ajax and look menacing.

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The other supporting cast do well with what they have. Going back to Morena Baccarin, she plays the part well and does the best she can with what she’s given. Leslie Uggams, who plays Blind Al, Deadpool’s roommate is pretty great and her scenes with Wade/Deadpool are damn hilarious and is involved in one of the funniest moments of the film. Briana Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead is pretty cool, but her scenes are limited only when Colossus – voiced by Stefan Kapicic and facial performance by Greg LaSalle – is around. Speaking of Colossus, he is treated so much better here than he was in the X-Men films and actually has more screen time than I thought he would. Finally, T.J. Miller, who I’m not really a big fan of, is great in this, especially when he’s with Reynolds. Any time the two are together, you’ll definitely being laughing.

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What makes Deadpool work is Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool I think would have not worked if it wasn’t for Reynolds, his quick wit and perfect comedic timing. Reynolds himself is a huge fan of the character, as are the writers of the film in Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – both of which also wrote Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation – and director Tim Miller, which adds a nice added layer to the care that they took to create and bring the character to life on the big screen. The other thing about Reynolds is that he never really lets up. Wade/Deadpool is always talking so the jokes and one-liners are always in full swing. That being said some of the jokes tend to fall flat, but believe me, that’s a rare thing. Deadpool’s humor might be an acquired taste, but I’m sure even non-Deadpool fans or people that are not fans of the humor will find some of the jokes funny. Crass at times, and targets some people, but funny nonetheless.

All that is thanks to the rare comic book movie rating of being Rated-R. I’m not really one to complain about rating or get into a movie rating argument, because honestly for me, it doesn’t matter what a movie is rated as long as it’s good or highly entertaining. However, I did agree with many to say that Deadpool need to be Rated-R to really be a proper adaptation of the character and his wacky – to put it lightly – personality. The personality of Deadpool is also something non-fans will have to get use to, but Deadpool fans will highly appreciate and feels like the character jumped right out of the comic book.

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All in all, Deadpool has been a long time coming, and thankfully it’s finally here and is damn great. Right from the opening credits – which are awesome – you know exactly what you’re getting into. Is it perfect? No, but Ryan Reynolds pulls you in and takes you on this crazy ride and a damn enjoyable one at that.

 

Deadpool

4.5 out of 5

‘Hail, Caesar!’ Review

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Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel & Ethan Coen

Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill

Synopsis: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The Coen Brothers are known for making films they want to do, and don’t try to make franchise films that the studios today try to make. They also have their own unique style and vision that makes their films standout in their own way. Hail, Caesar! is no different. Their new film acts as a love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood at times, but swings back and forth between that said love letter and showing us the craziness that existed in the time (and probably now too), and the overall absurdity of it all.

Set during the 1950s, Capitol Pictures (a fictional studio) is set to release their biggest picture to date titled Hail, Caesar! with the biggest star in Hollywood in Baird Whitlock (Clooney). However, during the last days of filming, Whitlock gets kidnapped by a group calling themselves “The Future” and it’s up to the studio’s fixer in Eddie Mannix (Brolin) to find him and make all this go away. Of course, Mannix is dealing with everything else like covering up the pregnancy of DeeAnna Moran (Johansson), moving his cowboy star Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich) to a full fledge prestige drama with big time director Laurence Laurentz (Fiennes), dealing with twin sister columnists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Swinton) and his own personal problems. During all this, Whitlock gets to known his captors in a different light.

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Hail, Caesar! like a lot of other Coen Brothers films is going to be a film you either like, or don’t, and while the statement can be said about any film it is no more truer than with this film. The trailers for Hail, Caesar! tell a bit of a different story than we see in the actual film, and that isn’t really that bad of a thing. The film is pretty straight forward once things are put into perspective. That’s not to say things get a little weird and are ridiculous at times, but Hail, Caesar! is great at showing us how every relationship is very topsy-turvy.

At the same time, Hail, Caesar! doesn’t have a problem branching off and leaving the Whitlock story. We follow Hobie and his transition from doing cowboy films to doing his first drama, a water dance sequence by Johansson’s Moran, and even a standout dance sequence that involves Channing Tatum’s Burt Gurney. The scenes have nothing to do with Whitlock, but they show the absurdity that Mannix and Capitol Pictures deal with on a regular basis. The scenes are great, but again, have nothing to do with the main conflict of the story which is Whitlock’s kidnapping.

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I don’t want to give away too much, but the film also has some religious overtones, the film Hail, Caesar! is a religious picture as well as it tells the story of a Roman tribune that eventually meets Jesus, and Mannix is a religious man himself as the film beginning of the film sees him in a confessional. Of course, it doesn’t really help as his character is flawed and does something immediately after that well defeat the purpose for some, but it was a different time back then.

So even if Hail, Caesar! isn’t your cup of tea, you have to admit the performances are worthwhile. The film belongs to Josh Brolin, who we see running around the lot to control everything in the studio. George Clooney’s Baird Whitlock isn’t a typical big star that is hard to work with, he’s just an actor who happens to be good at what he does and gets kidnapped, and has a bit of a womanizer side. Alden Ehrenreich’s Hobie is definitely a highlight of the film as he’s just nice guy that is a bit naïve and goofy, who perfectly fits into a Coen Brothers film.

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The supporting cast has surprisingly small and few scenes, with the only real connection being Mannix. Scarlet Johansson puts on a thick accent and fits into the Golden Age with her looks and wardrobe. Tilda Swinton chews up the scenery with her duel role as twin rivals, and Frances McDormand – who only has one scene – is another one of the highlights and one of the funniest scenes of the film. Jonah Hill also only has one scene in the movie, which in entirety is an okay scene. Finally, Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz is great to watch and arguably has one of the best scenes in the film with Ehrenreich.

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All in all, Hail, Caesar! can be a bit all over the place, but that is exactly what the Coen Brothers were probably trying to do. Their film isn’t afraid to pull any punches against their peers or what Hollywood was back in the day. The film won’t be for everyone, but Hail, Caesar! definitely has something for everyone.

 

Hail, Caesar!

4 out of 5

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding! (Mine aren’t doing too hot either).

 

Anyway, we’re here for movies! February may seem light, but it is filled with great potential and even some big films of the year that everyone has their eyes on, I’m looking at you Deadpool. Whatever the case, February has a lot of variety for everyone, so let’s get into it shall we?

 

 

5th

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The Choice (Romance – Lionsgate/The Safran Company/Nicholas Sparks Productions)

A Nicholas Sparks movie is coming out ladies! The film follows Travis (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby (Teresa Palmer), who met in a small coastal town and wind up in a relationship that is tested by life’s most defining events. The film also stars Alexandra Daddario, Maggie Grace, Tom Welling, and Tom Wilkinson.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Comedy/Horror/Action – Cross Creak Pictures/Screen Gems/Head Gear Films/Darko Entertainment)

Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel of the same name, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies follows The Bennet Sisters lead by Elizabeth (Lily James) as they deal with the social class order and an army of the undead that plague England in the 19th century. The film has had its ups-and-downs over the years so I’m glad the film is finally coming out, and that it actually looks not that bad. The film also stars Sam Riley, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Suki Waterhouse, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Emma Greenwall, Charles Dance and Lena Headey.

 

Hail, Caesar! (Comedy/Drama – Universal Pictures/Working Title Films/Mike Zoss Productions)

The Coen Brothers’ next film is set in the golden days of Hollywood – the 1950s – as the film follows a Hollywood fixer, played by James Brolin, who is bought in by the studio to find one of the top actors in Hollywood (played by George Clooney), who has been kidnapped by someone or people calling themselves “The Future.” The film looks pretty funny and seems to have the classic Coen Brothers style and humor. Hail, Caesar! also stars Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton.

 

 

12th

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How to Be Single (Romantic Comedy – New Line Cinema/Flower Films/Richard Pictures)

The film follows Alice (Dakota Johnson) after breaking up with her boyfriend is taken out by her party heavy friend Robin (Rebel Wilson) to see the nightlife in New York City. Along the way they encounter more single people like Alison Brie, Leslie Mann, Jake Lacy, Nick Bateman, and Damon Wayans Jr. The film is already going up against Deadpool and Zoolander 2, but even if it wasn’t, the trailer doesn’t  do too much for me personally.

 

Zoolander 2 (Comedy – Paramount Pictures/Red Hour Films/Polygram Filmed Entertainment)

It took a while, but it finally happen: a Zoolander sequel is here. This time the film follows aging supermodels Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) who are brought in by an organization when the world’s “most beautiful people” are killed and they all share Zoolander’s signature look. The film does have an uphill climb to top or even be on the same level as the original. The film also stars Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

Deadpool (Action – 20th Century Fox/Marvel Enterprises/TSG Entertainment)

It’s finally here! After the failure of bringing the character to life in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, fans pretty much forced 20th Century Fox to give them a proper version of the merc with the mouth, and more importantly, make it a solo film. Well, now it happening and fans seem to be super excited to watch it.

 

 

19th

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Risen (Adventure Drama – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/LD Entertainment/Affirm Films)

The film follows the Biblical story of the Resurrection as told through the eyes of a non-believer, Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman Military Tribune and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) and are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of the risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem. The film will follow in the footstep of many religious films coming out this year. The film also stars Peter Firth, Cliff Curtis and Maria Botto.

 

Race (Drama – Focus Features/Forecast Pictures/Trinity Race/Solofilms/JoBro Productions & Film Finance)

A biopic about one of the greatest track and field athletes in history in Jesse Owens, played by Stephan James, as he prepares for the world stage of the 1936 Olympics. The film also stars Jason Sudeikis, Carice van Houten, Amanda Crew, Shanice Banton, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt.

 

The Witch (Horror – A24/Code Red Productions/Maiden Voyage Pictures/Pulse Films/Scythia Films)

The Witch made some waves at film festivals, more specifically Fantastic Fest and the Toronto International Film Festival, so it has some hype to live up to. The film follows a family in 1630s New England that is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession. The film does look pretty creepy and it something I’m really looking forward to. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger and Julian Richings.

 

 

26th

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Limited Release: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

A sequel to one of the best martial arts films of all time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny continues the story of Michelle Yeoh’s Yu Shu Lien and tells of a story of lost and young love, and a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption. The film also stars Donnie Yen, Harry Shum Jr., Jason Scott Lee, and Shuya Chang. The film will get a limited theater release and will come out on Netflix as well.

 

Eddie the Eagle (Biography Drama – 20th Century Fox/Marv Films/Studio Babelsberg/Saville Productions)

The film tells the story of Great Britain’s first ski jumper – Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards – to enter the Winter Olympics. The film definitely has some things working for it as it stars Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service)) as Edwards and Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary, his coach and Christopher Walken also stars. The film looks pretty fun and has definitely jumped to my must-see list.

 

Gods of Egypt (Action Adventure – Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment/Thunder Road Pictures/Pyramania)

Alex Proyas directs this film that follows a Bek, a thief who is entrusted by the gods to help Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) take back Egypt from Set (Gerard Butler) who has taken Egypt for his own and has led it into darkness. The trailer was definitely something I was not expecting, but the film does look like a dumb fun action film. Gods of Egypt also stars Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee, Rufus Swell, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Goran D. Kleut, and Geoffrey Rush.

 

Triple 9 (Crime Thriller – Open Road Films/Anonymous Content/Worldview Entertainment/MadRiver Pictures)

Triple 9 follows a gang of criminals and corrupt cops as the plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off a big heist. The film has been on my most anticipated for a while so it’s nice to finally see it come out especially since it has a massive cast of: Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Clifton Collins Jr., and Kate Winslet.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘The Lazarus Effect’ Review

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Dir: David Gelb

Writer(s): Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater

Cast: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover

Synopsis: A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

If you could bring someone back from the dead? What if you knew they wouldn’t be the same? Would you? That’s what The Lazarus Effect tries to ask its audience. That is until it becomes a run-of-the-mill pseudo-supernatural slasher horror film. While the film does address these issues early on, it completely ignores them in the end of cheap scares and an ending that leaves you wondering, and not in the way you think.

 

The film follows Zoe (Wilde) and Frank (Duplass), leaders of a project trying to give people a second chance with something called the Lazarus Serum. The serum will bring the subject back to life – in this case, the subject we see at the start of the story is a dog – and after an accident in the lab, Frank and the team, Clay (Peters), Niko (Glover) and Eva (Bolger), duplicate the experiment to bring Zoe back from the dead. When Zoe comes back, everyone starts to suspect that Zoe isn’t acting like herself and maybe something could truly be wrong with her.

 

Surprisingly – or thankfully – The Lazarus Effect is just eighty-three minutes long, so everything moves incredibly fast and takes place majorly in the lab. The other thing is the film is low budget as it comes from one of Hollywood’s best micro-budget companies, Blumhouse Productions. Not saying the micro-budget hurts the film, director David Gelb does the best he can with what he has in terms of lighting and the cast.

 

Speaking of the cast, they are all pretty much likeable with the little time we have with them. We actually get to spend time with them before everything goes to wrong. Zoe and Frank were actually going to get married three years prior to the events of the film before they got a grant to start experimenting with the Lazarus Serum. Zoe is religious and Frank is a man of science, so the two do get into a conversation what happens when you die with Eva (Bolger), which brings up some of the questions of science vs. religion, but also the question of morality about brining someone back from the dead.

 

Evan Peters plays Clay, who is the comic relief of the film and plays the smart stoner of the group. Donald Glover plays Niko, who is never fully developed other than he has a crush on Zoe and has known her for a while. Sarah Bolger’s Eva is the outsider of the group as she comes in to document the group, and when everything goes wrong she starts to develop a little more as a character.

 

Like I mentioned, the film itself asks the question, what happens when you bring someone back to life? Will they be the same person or different? Better yet, what happens scientifically to the body? The Lazarus Effect does delve into these issues a bit for the first half of the film and even makes few solid points, but Zoe becomes Evil Zoe, it forgets all the science and becomes less interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a slasher film, but when a movie introduces some actual questions about morals or anything that’s worthwhile to ask, and then avoids it, I lose interest.

 

Since we spend some time with these characters we understand why Frank decides to use the Lazarus Serum on Zoe. He loves her and doesn’t want to lose her, so when he knows the Serum works at least for bringing someone back – after testing it on the dog we see early in the film and ads – we get it. Of course the question we the audience ask ourselves is, should he do it?

 

Again, the film balances itself on science, supernatural, religion – only briefly – and trope-filled horror elements. Sadly, by the end it follows more of the latter. Not saying it isn’t good, but after everything they set up at the beginning, it was a bit disheartening to see it go into what it became.

 

All in all, The Lazarus Effect asks some big questions, but doesn’t really answer them in a good way, if at all. The performances helps the film be more than other films about the same subject out there, it just sucks that it didn’t really reach its full potential.

 

 

The Lazarus Effect

3 out of 5

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review

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Dir: Matthew Vaughn

Writer(s): Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman

Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, and Michael Caine

Synopsis: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

Director Matthew Vaughn once again adapts a Mark Millar graphic novel (previously adapting Kick-Ass) with Kingsman: The Secret Service. The movie brings a lot of the well-established tropes we have seen in other spy films form the past, but brings them in modern times and adds a highly stylized Millar and Vaughn-esque violence, cleverness, humor and cheekiness.

 

The films follows Gary Unwin aka ‘Eggsy’ (Egerton) who is good-hearted but a bit reckless, as he steals a car from a friend of his mother’s abusive new boyfriend and ends up in jail. He ends up getting out of it from Harry Hart aka Galahad (Firth) who turns out to be part of an elite group of operatives/modern-day knights known as The Kingsman. Harry sees the value and potential in Eggsy and sets him up to enter the training program to see if he is Kingsman material. Problem is, a wealthy tech magnate with a speech-impediment, Valentine (Jackson) and his razor-footed henchwoman Gazelle (Boutella) are ready to unleash a powerful weapon to start a new world order.

 

Again, Kingsman has a great sense of knowing what it is, but doesn’t get too tongue-in-cheek about it. It makes references to other spy films and non-spy-films but never beats you over the head with it or looks at the screen to let you in on the joke. Vaughn knows what he is doing and adds the combination of well known tropes and brings them into modern times with new technology. But, at the same time Vaughn knows how to have fun with the subject material and knows when to go over the top. Of course, it is based on a graphic novel so the hyper stylized violence is there – like it was in Kick-Ass and the sequel – so don’t be surprised when the violence or anything is a bit over the top.

 

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When it comes to the cast, well, they are what makes the film shine. Newcomer Taron Egerton brings equal parts of charisma, toughness, and vulnerability to ‘Eggsy.’ Whether it’s ‘Eggsy’ going though the crazy tests to becoming a Kingsman or dealing with bullies and his mother’s boyfriend, Egerton holds his own and arguably be a big star one day. He even holds his own with on-screen veterans like Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Caine. Another newcomer to the scene is Sophie Cookson, who plays Roxy – another Kingsman recruit – also hold her own being the only female during the recruitment process and has her moments to shine.

 

Colin Firth plays Harry Hart aka Galahand (his codename), who, yes, has his moments to kick some major ass in the film. We know that it has become a trend in Hollywood now to give older actors a “restart” in their career to become action heroes after Liam Neeson did it so well in Taken. Firth plays Harry as the proper English gentleman that carries himself with the outmost prestige, but when it comes down to fight, he goes all out. Which comes into play in one of the biggest action sequences in a church (more on that later) and a standout one at that. I, and many others, would never have seen Firth as an action star, but he does pull it off here in Kingsman.

 

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Samuel L. Jackson is really having fun playing Valentine. He gives him a lisp – which Jackson apparently actually had – and is a blend of recent villain and old school Bond villains. His main weapon is a technology-based one but he uses mountain-based secret lairs and has a lovely but equally lethal henchwoman that does all his dirty work, since he can’t stand the sight of blood, by cutting off people bodies parts with her razor-sharp prosthetic legs. Sofia Boutella plays said henchwoman named Gazelle (yes, her name is Gazelle) and beside the fight scenes holds her own with Jackson.

 

The other supporting cast is rounded out by Mark Strong and very small role by Michael Caine. Caine plays the head of the Kingsman and pops in and out of the film to fill us in and drive home some of the more important scenes. Strong plays Merlin, the man overseeing the Kingsman recruits and eventually helps out with the final act. It’s a shame there isn’t more of Merlin in the film because he definitely is a great character. Also, for comic book and nerd fans alike, Mark Hamill pops in for a small role too.

 

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Now, I haven’t read the original source material so I don’t know if this particular scene is in the graphic novel or not, but Millar is known to push the boundaries in this work. The scene I’m talking about is the church scene that you can see in the trailers which involves Harry going at it with the churchgoers. Without going too much into spoilers, it is the first time Valentine uses his weapon and we see the full effect of it. Harry happens to also be effected and goes into full blown berserk mode, which shows how dangerous the weapon can be and how effective a killer Harry is. The basis of the scene is in question and could have some people talking. I don’t know really what to think about the scene. On one hand, the scene is a highlight action sequence (and in one take no less) and in the other, is the scene justified? Is Valentine just picking one random spot or is trying to prove something? Again, up for debate, but you argue that the scene is freaking great to watch.

 

All in all, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a ton of fun. It brings aspects of old spy films but brings them into modern times and flips them on their head. The cast and action to great to watch and overall it’s funny too. It won’t be for everybody and besides the church scene, there is another scene near the end that will make people laugh (I know my theater with me did) but it shows how far Valentine’s plan went. If you walk into Kingsman anticipating a good time, chances are you are going to get it. Also, there is a mid-credits scene which is a nice way to end the film.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

4.5 out of 5

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along?

 

Just kidding!

So let’s talk about some movies shall we? February is going to go by fast it looks like, and there seems to be at least one major movie that is going to make every fan happy. Let’s take a look shall we

 

(All release dates are based off Box Office Mojo and IMDB and all movies are either nationwide releases or large limited releases)

 

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6th

SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water: I was on the borderline of the whole SpongeBob phase in my life, so I really don’t have any interest in seeing this. Also the live-action, cartoon and CGI combination always feels weird to me and doesn’t always look great. Maybe I’m just becoming a grumpy old man.

 

Seventh Son: This was supposed to come out last year in January but production delays made the movie get pushed a whole year. Now the movie also has the tag of “By the Studio that bought you…” some would say that’s sign the studio doesn’t have a ton of faith, but his is also the last movie Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. did together before they broke off their working relationship. Overall the movie looks okay and has a descent cast. Hopefully it’s at least enjoyable.

 

Jupiter Ascending: The Wachowski Siblings are back and are bringing universal action with them. The film will follow a human woman (Mila Kunis) who is a target of The Queen of the Universe and is protected by two warriors (Sean Bean and Channing Tatum). Based on the trailers the movie looks pretty cool and looks like it’s going to have some great special effects. And, come on, it’s the Wachowski’s

 

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13th

The Last 5 Years: Based on the musical, a struggling actress and her novelist lover illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair. The movie stars Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. I honestly didn’t hear about this movie until I started doing this list and it also has a limited release, but I don’t think I’ll be catching this one.

 

What We Do in the Shadows: This came out during film festival season and got some descent buzz from the festival crowd. Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi who are responsible for Flight of the Conchords and The Inbetweeners, respectively, and they bring a horror comedy about vampires. I never got around to watching either show, so I don’t know their kind of humor, but maybe I’ll get around to watching this one.

 

Fifty Shades of Grey: Yes, it’s finally coming out. Based on the book, Fifty Shades of Grey already came with a history, for the lack of a better term, but the movie also had some troubles to get off the ground. Originally set to star Charlie Hunnam as the lead, he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts (although some say that isn’t true), then we got Jamie Dornan to fill his shoes. Fans aren’t too happy as they had their own dream casting but nonetheless, the movie is coming out. Get ready guys, you’re girlfriends and wives are dragging you in.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Based on the Mark Millar comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (who also directed Millar’s Kick Ass), the movie looks pretty good. I mean we’re getting Colin Firth playing secret agent, and by the look of it gets to kick some ass. What more do you want?!

 

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20th

The DUFF: I didn’t know this was based off a book, but the movie follows a high school senior who instigates a social peaking order after finding out she’s a DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her popular friends. It’s not really marketed to me, or marketed at all until mid-January it looked liked, but the cast is filled with pretty faces and big names like Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, and Allison Janney.

 

The Lazarus Effect: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover star in this as medical students discovering they can bring back patients from the dead. Of course, they use it on one of themselves (Wilde’s character) after an accident. The trailer gives off a weird vibe – aka not so great movie – but the other problem I have with the movie is that it really gives away a character death. I know other movies show or hint at character deaths but this one goes all out and shows it! Not a good sign in my book.

 

McFarland, USA: Kevin Costner is sticking to the sports dramas based on true stories apparently. McFarland, USA has Costner playing a coach who decides to coach cross country in a California town that is down on its luck and no one believes in. The trailer gives the movie the typical, against all odds feel, but sometimes those movies aren’t that bad and inspiring to watch.

 

Hot Tub Time Machine 2: This was supposed to come out in December until The Interview decided to come out, and you all know how that turned out. Nonetheless, the sequel will come out and I have a strange feeling that it won’t be good. I’m sure it will be funny and have some great moments, but there is something about the trailer and the TV promos that give off that vibe.

 

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27th

Everly: Selma Hayek is the titled character and has to fend off a wave of assassins sent by her ex, who happens to be a mob boss. The movie looks like a straight out action film that has the action set in Everly’s apartment.

 

Maps to the Stars: I didn’t know about this movie until I did this list. The film is directed by David Cronenberg and stars Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, and Robert Pattinson. The synopsis: A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

 

Focus: Will Smith and Margot Robbie – future Suicide Squad co-stars – star as con artists who get involved in something they can’t control, as well as possibly falling for each other. The film still hasn’t convinced me, but we’ll see.

 

What movie are you looking forward to more this month?