Movie Review: Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

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Plot: Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.

Yes, I’m still alive. I’ve just been sucked into the vortex of two weeks of study leave followed by catching up said two weeks’ worth of the activities that pay my salary.  It’s been hectic, and I’ve had to drastically downscale both blogging and actually watching things. I got a chance about two weekends ago with Spiderman: Homecoming, which is incidentally the superhero film I’ve been least excited to watch. I have some interesting friends (these are the same people with who I watched Power Rangers with), so note that it there is an actual explanation for me finding myself in cinema for the zillionth remake of the Spidey.

I didn’t dislike Homecoming. It was just so Marvel. I’m a big Marvel fan, but these guys make the same film with different actors all the time. That doesn’t say Tim Holland isn’t a solid Peter Parker. Despite already being 20, he’s the youngest looking actor we’ve had to date in this role. He does his very best to appear teenagey and awkward, which is about as successful as a young attractive guy pretending to be awkward is bound to be. My love for Michael Keaton continues – he is the coolest person in the world at this stage, and him as Vulture made some of the best times in the film. His quest for villainy was a bit one sided and this was definitely not the strongest villain Marvel has eked out, but Keaton certainly did his best with the work.

I liked Zendaya quite a lot in her role as MJ – she’s just my spirit animal with her stand offish-ness and overall awkwardness.

Homecoming also features Tony Stark/Iron Man, probably the most loved Marvel superhero at this stage. It is an obvious ploy on the side of the studio – who doesn’t want to see Iron Man suited up and in action. I always like RDJ in this role, he’s as much this character as Hugh Jackman is the Wolverine. I appreciated his presence, and although it wasn’t really defined at stages and he seemed awfully dictatorial towards the kid. Happy (Jon Favreau) comes across as one big, rushed bully and it didn’t really jibe with what we’ve come to expect from him.

What more? This film is extremely long. I was fidgeting in my seat by the end of it. It is big and boisterous and really colorful. It has a lot of flash and plenty well cast characters.

Homecoming won’t be my favorite superhero film of the year – there was Wonder Woman, I still need to see Logan and I’m sure it is going to blow me away, I loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Thor and Justice League still need reviews too as well. So, herewith my final comment: Homecoming certainly wasn’t made for me, but I think them teens sure loved it.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Rating: 6.510

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Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

spotlight

Plot: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Rating: 8/10

I was so in the mood to watch this at one point, and it paid off. Spotlight deserved its nomination and victory in the Best Picture category at the Oscars. It is combined as a solid film with packed performances and a thrilling plot. Liev Schreiber was particularly good – I’ve always considered him an accomplished actor, but this is some of his finest work. I was initially convinced that this man had to have had a motive – he was so clear on where he was heading to reveal how underhanded and terrible the Catholic Church was with dealing with the rampant child molestation in the Church. He also immediately requested that the project be started as soon as he walked in. However, truth was his only motive – he wanted the story out there. No secret vendettas or dramas, just the truth.

It is quite amusing how desperate they were to have Rachel McAdams appear ordinary. You can’t hide that level of beauty. She is an actress that can convey so much with her eyes. Her sympathy and anger and compassion towards the victims came through without her touching the people she was interviewing at the most once. I loved her role;she was equal to her male colleagues and treated as such.

Mark Ruffalo gives another outstanding performance, but I’ve come to accept and expect that from him. He’s quite the celebrated actor, but I feel he deserves more accolades – I can’t really name one movie where I thought he did a bad job.

Michael Keaton delivers another important and noteworthy performance. He’s in a class of his own, and I must say, even though he’s quite old now there is a virility and energy to him that remains appealing after all this time.

I can actually list the entire cast here – it is outstanding work and I cannot praise that enough. It made the movie so much better.

As for the storyline – it is harrowing and even more disturbing when you acknowledge that this is the truth. I was raised Catholic as a child and although we left when the clergy couldn’t answer religious questions from my father properly, it is still upsetting to think that at least a percentage of these priests are child molesters. Spotlight isn’t even the brainchild of some gifted writer; it is based on true events. The Catholic Church is one of the most controversial bodies that have ever existed. I loved that line from sasf that the Catholic Church thinks in centuries. I see that the Catholic Church had some issues with the depiction but it is obvious that they would have done so however the movie turned out. I personally thought it was a clear minded approach to the horrors that these children had suffered under the hands of those who were meant to protect them. The movie could have gone on a witch hunt against the Catholics and it didn’t a great achievement by the script writers and directors.

I liked the anger these journalists developed. Professionalism only goes that far and if they continued through without getting angry or upset it would have been too cold. Mark Ruffalo’s outburst was raw and powerful and completely justified.

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Spotlight is a slow burn – don’t expect quick bursts of drama with this one. It is intelligent and thought provoking. It will make you feel outraged and sickened. I think it does exactly what it is supposed to do. I enjoyed it, not in a happy way but in a understanding more of the sick human race way, and would recommend that you give it a try. Definitely worth the watch.

Movie Review: Birdman (2014)

Birdman posterPlot: A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play (IMDb)

Rating: 8/10

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It seems like Birdman will be one of the few movies I dislike and everyone else likes. It just wasn’t all that in my eyes and I don’t really get the hype. I can see why it has critics weeping with happiness – it is original and offbeat, which makes it refreshing to watch. The cast is stellar – Michael Keaton is at his best, Emma Stone continues to be my favorite young actress and Edward Norton has enough talent to leave you feeling whiplashed. The plot develops at a great pace and nothing is left untouched, except perhaps that open end that had me irritated.

Birdman isn’t to my taste, and I think that is mostly the reason I didn’t love it so much. I thought between this and The Theory of Everything (the other major film of last year), The Theory of Everything was much better. I can reason that it is here purely a matter of preference to me and that is why I feel like this. I do think that Keaton’s performance was just as excellent as Eddie Redmayne’s, and if the Oscar went the other way it wouldn’t have been unfair.

Birdman Emma Stone

My favorite parts were everything with Emma Stone in. Her acting range is wide and she is fantastic as the weird rehabilitated rich kid. She and Norton share a trait that I enjoy – they flip a switch and their performances are immediately intense – they both have this seemingly inexhaustible level of raw emotion locked inside of them.

I experienced the film as very angst ridden. It has a nervous energy to it and the musical score makes you want to go and check if you did all your homework. I read that the film was shot in this way to specifically achieve that stressed atmosphere, and therefore director did a good job with what he planned. 

Birdman was good and I think there are plenty of people who will really appreciate everything that it has to offer, but it really isn’t something I will watch again.