Blindspot 2017: Seven (1995)

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Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Rating: 8.5/10

Set in a dark and dreary city, homicide detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt must investigate what is turning into a serial killer’s mad spree through town, emulating the 7 deadly sins in the most horrific of ways. Detective Freeman is retiring and after years of witnessing the horrors a decaying city can provide, he’s not too keen about taking up another job. But he somehow can’t pull away – he’s forced to worked with the new young detective and solve this last crime.

I enjoyed how dark and dreary the city was. The constant torrential downpour makes England look like a sunny palace. It’s so heavy, and combined with the decay of the city a sense of hopelessness lies in the air.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is a sharp contrast to the city. She’s everything the city isn’t – fresh and sweet and kind. I really liked her, how she balanced her husband out and wasn’t everywhere in the story and somehow remained so important in it.

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A thing that stands out sharply is the difference between the two detectives. Both are good men but so much difference in character. The younger detective is impulsive, perhaps because of his age. He’s by no means unintelligent but is far less cerebral than his older counterpart, who is often reflective and studies the crime and reasoning behind it well. The dynamic between the detectives shift – initially Freeman is cold shouldering his colleague (I think mostly due to impending retirement) but he begins to warm to Pitt with the case developing.

What is it about Kevin Spacey that he is so well capable to play such derange characters? It is creepy. He is creepy. So calm with an underlying menace. Madness coated in quiet demeanor. That flat of his. His belief in his work. A subtle creep. Sheesh.

How intense was the ending?! Edge of your seat business. John Doe concocted everything to make his plan infallible. I was horrified and entertained, because sheesh, what a nail biter.

Serial killers always have this dark glamour about them. It is wrong, but I have been interested in their mind games for years now – how they justify, what motivates them and how carefully they pick their victims. Seven is a film that follows one such killer in his demented ways in the best method I’ve ever seen. The film is backed by solid performances, directing, score and story to bring a thriller that will remain with you well after the end.

If you are looking for a film that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, Seven is definitely NOT for you. It is scary and gross and relentless and keeps you nailed to your seat, but come prepared because scary man. Scary.

 

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Movie Review: Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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Plot:A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Rating: 8.5/10

Have you ever just wanted to write a review and start (and end) with “sooooo, I liked it”? Is that the equivalent of writer’s block for the blogging community? I’ll usually start writing it out and hope something comes from the material, something to spark my opinions, but usually I just aimlessly wander through words hoping to hit a mark.

That is where Shakespeare in Love also starts. I just uncomfortably realized that I’ve now compared myself to William Shakespeare, author of the English language. Now that that is out of the bag, I really liked this film. (See, doing it again)

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Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has writer’s block, and gives a bracelet to Rosalind, a lady with negotiable affections, with the hope that she will become the muse for his next play. Because she’s a lady with negotiable affections, he finds her in the arms of another man, but luckily finds it in him to pen at least a draft of a very wild idea. Through twists and turns he meets Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful girl who is betrothed to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Viola falls for Shakespeare and he for her, and they embark on an adventure of romance and intrigue.

This film won the 71st Academy Award for best film in 1998/1999. I checked the other films that went up against it, and while I would have rather awarded the award to Saving Private Ryan (I mean really, there is no comparison here), Shakespeare in Love is a solid film. It takes a significant amount of talent and dedication to make a love story worthy of Academy notice, something this film did very well, winning seven of the eleven awards it was nominated for.

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Gwyneth Paltrow took one of those awards for Best Actress for her role as Viola. Now, Gwyn gets some steady hate and although I’m not always sure why, she’s not my favorite actress. I adored her in here though. She seems so clean and pure and alive, in contrast to the Queen (Judi Dench), and the insufferable Lord Wessex. Her love for Shakespeare is quick and potent, though no one can blame her – I mean just look at Joseph Fiennes’ eyes.

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Now, Joseph Fiennes. A new inappropriate post needs to be up soon, but I won’t litter this review with my appreciative thoughts. Questions though: why isn’t he in more movies? He is a solid actor. Is he related to Ralph Fiennes? I hope so. Is he very beautiful? Yes. I doubt if the real Shakespeare was so beautiful, but he was likely as passionate. Fiennes is a great Shakespeare – passionate, beautiful and intelligent.

The supporting cast does a wonderful job as well, and many British actors and actresses have small parts in here that I enjoyed recognizing their faces. Judi Dench is intimidating as the Queen, and I enjoyed the silly young Ben Affleck (not English) in here – so cute! Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter and Mark Williams are all in mostly small roles, but man, they were lovely to watch.

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Shakespeare in Love is quite clearly a drama/romance. It might not be for everyone – it is heavy on the sexy time, full of quite lame phrases and gestures. I however, am rather squishy at heart and really enjoy a good romantic film. John Madden was an excellent director, and the cast manages to be talented, humorous, quick-witted, sad, heartbreaking and entertaining at once.

And like I said, I really liked it 😀

Have you seen Shakespeare in Love? What did you think of it?

Iron Man 3

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I have been jumping around excitedly for the first few months of the year for this. Last week, I prepped by watching both Iron Man 1 and 2 for when I finally got to watch Iron Man 3. Sadly, I wasn’t overly impressed. It is still Iron Man, Robert Downey Jnr. still rocks as Tony Stark, the digital effects are still amazing, but to me, it lacked something.

What happened

Tony Stark remembers a New Year’s Eve party where he met scientist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). Maya was the inventor of Extremis – a drug that allowed recovery from crippling injuries. He also meets Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a disabled scientist, but turns Killian down for a place in his company.

In the present, Tony Stark is experiencing severe anxiety attacks due to his involvement with the Avengers in New York. He constantly works on his suits, enabling them to fly to him when he summons them. This causes his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Palthrow) to get angry at him, but when she finds out the reason for his anxiety she supports him again. When he turns on the television, he witnesses the Mandarin terrorizing the US government with threatening messages. He challenges the Mandarin to attack him after his faithful servant, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreu) nearly dies in a bomb explosion caused by the Mandarin.

The Mandarin responds by destroying Stark’s palatial home in Malibu. Stark goes on the run after telling Pepper that he still lives, and starts gathering information about the Mandarin.

When he tracks the Mandarin to Miami, he discovers that it is only an act, and that Killian is the true terrorist. When Killian takes the American President Hostage, Stark and agent James Rhodes attacks the oil tanker where they are keeping them hostage. A full scale fight develops, with Tony summoning his entire range of suits, and Tony manages to walk away with his best friend and girlfriend still alive.

Rating: 7/10

Even though it is officially my least favorite Iron Man film, it was still great. The suits and fights are spectacular. I think the Iron Man movies shouldn’t be remade in the future, since RDJ is such a perfect match for Iron Man and Tony Stark.

What I didn’t appreciate is that the humor seemed forced at times, to fit into the funny background now expected from Iron Man, and making the Mandarin’s character a joke seemed silly to me when he had been perfect to terrorize. Also, Tony seems uncommonly lucky for a superhero – don’t they always lose someone they love?

What did you think of it?