Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel

Plot: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

There’s that friendly rivalry between Marvel and DC, which actually just ends up benefiting them both. Fans of either side usually flock to cinemas either way, because if you love your superheroes, you love your superheroes. DC took a tentative step forward by bringing forth the fantastic Wonder Woman, which did great despite the internet trolls. Never one to lie down, Marvel countered with the equally great Black Panther, who also did great despite internet trolling racists. If we need a friendly rivalry to promote inclusion of women and people of color in films, then I am happy to have it. Marvel subsequently added more pew to their pew-pews by bringing forth Carol Danvers, potentially their strongest hero (ine), managing to include a female led film in their repertoire and also some much needed help to the depleted Avengers crew.

So, I thought this was great. I am stealing an opinion from a friend here, but as I quite agree I will tell you about it – the only (small) thing about Wonder Woman was that they included a whole lot of Pantene-esque scenes with Gal Gadot’s beautiful hair everywhere, highlighting just how beautiful she is. Carol Danvers is a straightforward fighter and her strength is highlighted by how completely bad-ass she is. I personally think that Brie Larson is just gorgeous, but the film never really focuses on her looks but more on what she is able to do.

Brie Larson is fantastic in this! There were some negative feedback about her not smiling enough in the film – who the hell has time for smiling anyway when you are saving earth and discovering where you come from?! That said, if you are only open to watching this film and not sitting in your mother’s basement and spreading hateful comments on the internet, you will notice that Carol Danvers has a whole lot of emotion flitting across her face – humor, sarcasm, kindness, empathy, and yes, even a smile or two. Larson is a phenomenal actress with a few impressive movies behind her name, and she certainly does not deserve any negative feedback for this role. I also seriously loved how they depicted the relationship between her and co-pilot and best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) – we need more of this on screen, the true female friendships that inspire greatness, loyalty and courage. The same can be said for the respect and honor between the two trainee pilots and Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Benning), who I was surprised and happy to see in this even if she could manage a role like this blindfolded and tap dancing.

Samuel L. Jackson gets significant screen-time to link Carol to the Avengers, and man, he was a treat as always. It is great CGI to make him appear like his 1995 self, and the chemistry between him and Larson is great – it seems like they are true friends. It also provides some backstory on Nick Fury, which is something we all wanted – like why does he have that eye-patch? When exactly did he begin the Avengers initiative? All these interesting questions are answered and more.

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There has been so much talk of this movie by now you don’t need me to tell you that there is a highly entertaining cat in this film, or that Jude Law is gorgeous as Yon-Rogg, and that Ben Mendelsohn does a good job as Talos. What you need to do is go watch this in cinema and help Captain Marvel march towards a billion dollars, to prove that the world is inclusive and awesome.

Have you seen this? Let me know your thoughts!

Rating: 8/10

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Movie Review: Anna Karenina (2012)

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Plot: In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

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Rating: 5/10

This post today is going to be written in bullet points, because I am simply too disappointed in the film to write out complete sentences.

Things I did not like about this film (and it is a lot):

  • It was a complete and utter waste of my time. Ugh. I will never have the two hours and odd minutes back that I allotted to this.
  • It is confusing, and not in that nice intelligent way where everything makes sense eventually, but in that way where you get to the end of the film and you are still like “what the fuck was that?” and like I said, not in a good type of way.
  • The directing. I get the angle they took here, trying to emultate that the film originates from a theatre production. The only thing they achieved this way was to ensure that the film never gelled.
  • The absolute complete lack of Russian accents. This is a film about Russians, right? Because it was British accents everywhere, and it is not something I usually complain about, but sheesh, the film is about a Russian lovestory.
  • The fact that this is NOT a love story. It is a story about two exceptionally selfish people who did not think for one second the impact their “love” would have on the world. Selfish and petulant, Anna Karenina deserves no sympathy. Although I do take into account how hard it must have been to have married someone proper rather than someone you love, it does not justify cheating on your very sweet husband and ignoring the child you claim to desperately love.
  • Aaron Taylor Johnson’s ridiculous moustache. I mean have you EVER?
  • Keira Knightley. She’s a hit and miss for me if I have to be perfectly honest. The problem is her adeptness to portray extremely unlikable characters, exactly like she did in Anna Karenina. Anyone who does that with such excellence must have some fundamental flaws. I love Knightley in Pride and Prejudice but her role in Never Let Me Go is enough to put you off her for life, let me assure you. Karenina is as well. There is simply no way I can justify her behavior by claiming she loved her lover.

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What I did like:

  • Jude Law’s character and performance. I do not understand why such a handsome man would ugly himself up so deliberately, but I truly found the character and portrayal without fault.
  • Alicia Vikander and Domnhall Gleeson, their love and the work they achieved. These two actors deserve so much praise. I really do like them a lot and find them extremely talented. Their love story in here is certainly better for Gleeson’s character than what happened in Ex Machina (hehehe) and how perfectly they ended up together and suited each other.

The film is a bunch of overdramatic nonsense and main characters that do not deserve any sympathy whatsoever.

Movie Review: Contagion (2011)

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Plot: Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure.

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Rating: 6.5/10

There are a few things that really excite me: Epic South-African sporting victories over other countries, stationary, exciting and well written books, intense movies and outbreaks of mutant diseases. I think my interest in epidemics is what motivated me the most to go into microbiology – it’s fascinating to consider how such a small thing can constantly change to keep humanity on its’ knees.

Therefore I was rather excited to watch Contagion. I didn’t enjoy it all that much, however, although it wasn’t bad or anything. I think what was mostly wrong is that they didn’t know what they wanted to do with the movie. If I’m going to watch a movie like this I want to see things like symptoms of the virus, mutation and diagnosing – all of which were mostly ignored. The spread of the disease got some coverage and that I enjoyed, particularly noting again how many times people touch each other and things on a daily basis. I thought that anyone who watched this without medical background could very easily be bored and confused. They attempted to show that the fear surrounding the epidemic made the epidemic that much worse and I do agree with that but it still felt jumpy and confusing.

The cast is really solid and that contributed greatly to the marginal success of the film – all over the globe the epidemic was spreading and everyone was freaking out. It did feel that the characters were all over the place and they could only get a certain amount of attention before having to focus on something else.

I would have loved to have known what Marion Cottliard’s character finally got up to when she realized that the government had given a small Chinese community placebo’s instead of real vaccines, because she just got up and left the airport but nothing really else.

I really enjoyed Matt Damon’s portrayal as Mitch Emhoff. He was the guy on the ground that you could associate with and how his fear stayed tangible after he was declared immune because his daughter could still contract the disease.

I absolutely loathed Jude Law as Alan Krumwiede. I could quite literally carry on for days about people like him and his ridiculous beliefs. He was so cocky, arrogant and power hungry and I just wanted to slap him at the end of it.

I was reminded of some truths:

That the government will always be seen as wrong during outbreaks.

That I absolutely HATE Anti-Vaxxers. If there is one thing on this planet that makes me see red it is a bunch of people that will endanger their lives as well as those of their children because they went on the internet and got some “information” that convinces them that vaccines causes autism. How can you blindly ignore the overwhelming evidence of the positive impact vaccines have had on our society?

That clinical trials are both necessary and paralyzing to society. The first thing you ever learn in clinical trials is the importance of it and the ramifications of what happens when a vaccine hasn’t been completely tested for safety. History has evidence of clinical trials at its worst and what had been done to prevent it from ever happening again. However, and I think it is going to become a big issue as tropical disease outbreaks increase with rising temperatures that a faster way is needed to prove the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

Contagion had ridiculous moments – WHO and the CDC are much more adept at controlling spread of viruses and it went downhill the second the doctor injected herself with the vaccine and tested it by coming in contact with her infected father.  She would probably have lost her job and sent to a mental facility, not applauded.

I think if a movie like this was released now it would be highly popular in light of the Ebola outbreak but it would really have to be better developed. I had a marginally good time with this, although I do think that there was a lot of wasted potential that eventually happened.

Overall, the movie had some ridiculous moments but I still had a fine time watching a movie about a topic I have some knowledge about.

Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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A condensed version of what happens:

The Author of the book The Grand Budapest Hotel has a statue in a cemetery where admirers can leave souvenirs. The statue is visited by a young lady one day, book in hand. As she starts to read the tale in the book, the tale begins to unfold how the Author got this particular story.

The Author (Jude Law) is still a young man travelling the world. He visits the Republic of Zubrowka, where he chooses to stay in Grand Budapest Hotel. Although still incredibly beautiful, the expansive building has begun falling into disrepair, and there are a few clients. The Author quickly establishes that most guests there want to be left in peace, and he makes friends with the Lobby Boy.

One day, while chatting, lobby boy points out that the owner of the Hotel, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), is sitting in the reception area. The Author is rather interested in Zero when he hears that the owner of the hotel visits only once a year for a few weeks and then even more peculiarly sleeps in the smallest room in the hotel. No one really knows why, that is just the way it is.

The Author meets Zero in the bathhouse, and after their initial acquaintance they agree to have dinner together, where the Author will here Zero’s story and by default the Hotel’s as well.

Zero’s begins his story where he arrived at the story at the hotel begins in 1932, where starts working as a lobby boy. He is taken under the training of Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), the Hotel’s concierge, a man loved and respected by all the guests and workers in the Hotel. One of these guests is Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis (Tilda Swinton) who is elderly, very rich and very attracted to the Gustave. When Celine dies, she leaves Gustave a valuable painting, and her family is in uproar. Gustave is soon arrested for her murder, and thrown into prison. Celine’s son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody), is determined to have everything in his mother’s estate and uses his henchman J. G. Jopling (William Dafoe) to sort out the people who stand in his way.

Will Gustave ever become free? Can they apprehend the real murderer? What will happen to young Zero if his master is in prison? Can they evade Jopling, who delights in killing innocent people?

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 I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she’s exceedingly lovely.

Rating: 7.5/10

Hmm, I really liked this. It is definitely one of the better movies that came out in 2014. Plenty of people found it very weird, and it is certainly eccentric, but it is also arty and comedic, and The Grand Budapest Hotel hit showed a movie didn’t need to be complete drama to get a message across. The message I took away from this is that people who understands what other people need will always be remembered and helped out of a tight spot.

The star studded cast was extremely charming, and didn’t have very annoying people in so it worked out well. I have always adored Ralph Fiennes. He has such a daring, flamboyant way of acting and he is as entertaining as ever in here as Gustave H. Tilda Swinton still freaks me out so much (perhaps she always will?). I did enjoy Jude Law and it was nice because he is often slightly irritating, but his role in here was small enough so he could divide his limited charm when needed and not make me wonder why he is a celebrated actor. I always enjoy Adrien Brody and he was good in here too. I loved the theatrical sounds every time he entered the room and his obvious villainous character! I also liked Dafoe in here – his character was scary and a bit ridiculous at the same time. I loved those short pants!

I definitely have a liking in these artsy type films. I find it beautiful, uplifting and funny. I really also liked that it was only an hour and 40 minutes. I hate wasting too much time on a film if it is not needed, and GBH fit into its timeslot so well.

Recommendation: If you like artsy films, give it a try!