Blindspot 2018 review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

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Plot: Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

We have imagined life on other planets and within the universe numerous times and with varying success, yet none more so unique than the book written by Douglas Adams.

I read the book before venturing into the movie, and I will have (hopefully) posted the book review before you see this post (Okay no you will have to wait). This series is far out of my comfort zone, and it was with great skepticism that I ventured into both.

So, I hope all the big fans will forgive me, but I think the more wine you have in your body, the better this movie. It is okay, especially if you consider the oddness of the material and how hard had to have been to create a film the fans would enjoy and make it intelligible to people who hasn’t read the book. I had both these types in my watching committee, and they all claim to have enjoyed the film the first time around.

Martin Freeman plays the role of Arthur Dent, the man who survives the destruction of earth by moving onto a spaceship managed by the bureaucratic Vogons with the help of his alien (unbeknownst for the duration of their friendship) friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def). They are booted off the ship almost immediately, and saved by Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), who is accompanied by none other than the human girl who slighted Arthur at a party. Trillian (Zoey Deschanel) has no clue Earth has been destroyed and is quite surprised at finding Arthur on her new lover’s ship.

Even after reading the first book, I should have probably finished the series before watching the movie. There’s a lot that happens in the film that doesn’t happen in the book. I watched with people who had read the entire series and they could confirm these things were in the books, so I guess I should read all of those books at some stage.

I enjoyed Martin Freeman in his role of Arthur. Freeman has a knack of playing a slightly washed out character and making him interesting, and the main character of this series is certainly that. I also thought Sam Rockwell was pretty perfect to be Zaphod, the hapless and possibly dangerous to his own safety President of the galaxy. The depiction of Zaphod’s second head was rather disgusting and very well done – my imagination would never have come up with that on its own. Deschanel does her typical bug eyed look in the film and is as adorably quirky as the persona she has created for herself in all her roles.

The best decision however was to cast Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin, the robot with human emotions who is eternally depressed. No other voice could have been better suited to the robot than his truly, and I wish I could have had a robot like that in my life.

I don’t have too much more to say about this film – it is a weird fandom film that fans will enjoy and not too bad if you are a semi-enthusiastic watched. But like I said – the more wine the better the quality.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Movie Review: Laggies (2014)

Laggies poster

Plot: In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad.

Rating: 5.5/10

Somewhere in Hollywood a producer thought people would genuinely want to see a movie about a woman who has everything in life – caring parents, a good education and a man desperate to marry her, decide she wants to live like a teenager for a week, allow said character to move in with a teenager, teenager’s father be okay with it, and in the end this woman would end up happy.

Laggies2
Who had the most personality?

Obviously, I didn’t really get the point of this whole film. There are a minuscule amount of roles that I truly enjoy Keira Knightley, but this was not one of them. Her character was awful. Sure, her friends are atrocious and I’d likely stab them in the neck if I ever met them. The fact that she was friends with such awful people probably just proved the point that she’s awful – like seeking like and all that.

I thought that Mark Webber was quite sweet as the fiancé. I wouldn’t make it with such a sweet man, but he obviously loved Megan and was quite desperate that his life should go exactly as he planned it. Awful Megan really had no thought when she of her fiancé when she banged Craig, and I think at that point I just ended up completely hating her – it was a steady loathing before.

Laggies

What else? Chloë Moretz is appearing in so many thing lately, because she’s finally at an age where she can be cast as a teenager and actually look it. I’ve completely loved her since Kick-Ass, (I mean who hasn’t), and although she was just the generic teenager in this she did a decent job as become her norm.

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Then there is the amazing Sam Rockwell, who manages to stay insanely cool despite having the emptiest role in here. Craig is always working, in sharp contrast with Megan refusing to adult, and except having a few expected lines being angry at being dumped, he was a pretty empty character.

I honestly wish I enjoyed this more. The story was just too annoying to be any worth to me – sure, we all refuse to adult from time to time but that does not mean we get to squat in Sam Rockwell’s kitchen, now does it?

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Movie Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

The way way back

Duncan: “How long have you been working there?”

Owen: “Oh, the park? Um, I’ve always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after ‘Nam. I was in the shit. Then I joined the circus to become a clown fighter. I know about 46 ways to kill a clown. I hate clowns. I’m kidding except for the part where I really do hate them.”

Plot:

On a trip to Cape Cod, 14-year Duncan (Liam James) has a conversation with his mother’s boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Trent asks Duncan to rate himself out of ten, and after some thought Duncan mentions he thinks he is a six. Trent says that he thinks Duncan is a 3/10, and that just starts the journey of a vacation of emotional bullying. The teen must watch his mother acting like a school girl and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) flouncing around. He is obviously unwanted and when he finds a pink, girly bike he takes it and starts cycling around.

Duncan soon discovers the Water Whizz, a water park away from their beach house. He is employed by Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park’s slightly strange yet hilarious owner who is held in line by an employee Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph). Everyone at the park speaks reverently about a legendary act: passing someone in the tube slide.

Duncan

Duncan has a lot of fun at the park and he gets some much needed confidence from it. He even manages to have a conversation with Susanna (Anna-Sophia Robb), their neighbour Jenny’s daughter. Susanna isn’t in the best place either in her life, with her parents divorced and her mom, who isn’t necessarily a bad mother, drunk most of the time while on vacation. Susanna is a bit older than Duncan but seems willing to spend time with him instead of with her very shallow friends, of whom Steph is one of. They progress from very stunted conversations to sharing their similar troubles and quickly become friends.

Duncan sees Trent kissing another woman and is furious that his mother is falling into the same trap which she was in with his father. He yells at her at a party about it and storms away after people are forced to physically restrain Trent from hitting Duncan. Duncan spends the night with his friends at the Water Whizz. He returns the next day to find that they are all packed up and leaving, and that his mother will likely stay with Trent. Duncan climbs out of the car at the petrol station and runs to the park, and gets Owen to do the slide with him. They emerge victorious, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Owen stands up for Duncan when Trent tries to pull him and quickly let’s him know what Owen thinks of him. Duncan leaves the hero, and in the car gets another reward: his mom climbs through the car to sit with him the back, causing hope that she will leave Trent or at the very least start standing up for her child.

Rating: 7/10

I had a lot of fun with The Way Way Back. I don’t often watch coming of age stuff because I often find the acting and the script sorely lacking. This wasn’t like that at all. Although the storyline was an often used one, I found it refreshing and sweet. The movie explores good topics – how people should undergo tests to see if they will become proper parents and the things children go through to grow spines. I absolutely detested Trent and what he represented and I didn’t have much time for Duncan’s mother at all. She was way too immersed in her life to notice what went on in her child’s.

Liam James was well cast as Duncan. I constantly thought: “wow, look at this poor awkward kid”. He had nowhere where he fit in. He had a douchebag for a potential stepfather, his own father was busy having a rendezvous with his younger mistress and his mother was so wrapped up in her own new lover she couldn’t see how horrible he was to her child. It was so liberating when he found the Water Whizz Park and how he discovered key elements of himself there. He was sufficiently entertaining enough that every time he stood up to Trent I wanted to give the kid a high five and applaud.

Steve Carell surprised me. Except Stupid, Crazy Love, he is always in ridiculous roles that irritate me very much. He was SUCH a douche bag! I was shocked how well he became Trent Ramsey, a moron that told a 14-year-old that he is a 3/10. I was shocked by his reprehensible character and how he was so underhanded to make Duncan look like a bad kid.

Alison Janney as Jenny was rather hilarious. She was constantly drunk and so not comfortable being a mother to that poor boy with the eye. I was pretty steamed at her sometimes but at the end realized her character wasn’t such a bad person, but the fact that she is an awkward mother just clashed t-old that she was so stressed that her ex-husband would take away her children.

Sam Rockwell as Owen was one of the key elements that made the Way Way back a good movie. He was hilarious. He has some serious talent if you compare his diverse roles here and in the Green Mile, where he played psychopath Wild Bill Wharton. I really had some laughs in all his scenes and he stole it on every occasion. I just loved how he was portrayed as easy going and fun but when he met Trent he was obviously the better man and knew what was right and wrong.

Anna-Sophia Robb was entertaining as Susanna. I’ve only ever seen her in the Carrie Diaries so seeing her in something else was fun. She is a decent enough actress and I think she will become a fine actress in a few years’ time.

The WWB is recommended for those who need some cheering up 🙂

Have you seen the Way Way Back? Tell me what you thought 😀

Movie Review: The Green Mile (1999)

The green mile

Paul Edgecomb: “They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it. I’ve lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize. That was the year I had the worst urinary infection of my life. That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls”

Plot:

It’s 1999, and an elderly Paul Edgecomb lives in a nursing home in Louisiana. He is very popular with his fellow home members and with the staff. He takes walks during the day, going somewhere specific each time.

One night, Paul and his elderly friends are watching the movie Top Hat. His friend Elaine notices he is distressed and when she asks Paul what the matter is, he tells her the film reminds him of a time when he was in charge of death row inmates at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary in 1935.

Paul (Tom Hanks) thinks back to 1935, where he is working with his fellow prison guards Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Harry Terwillinger (Jeffrey DeMunn), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Percy Whitmore (Doug Hutchinson). Paul, Brutus, Harry and Dean get along fine, but they dislike Percy who is childish and cruel and who only works in the ward because of family connections and his wish to see someone die on the electric chair.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) arrives at the prison. He is huge and intimidating but his despite his size he is shy, soft spoken, very innocent and kind. Coffey is convicted for raping and killing two young sisters but his guilt is immediately questionable.

Coffey and Paul

John Coffey:  “Do you leave a light on after bedtime? Because I get a little scared in the dark sometimes. If it’s a strange place.”

Paul is suffering from an UTI and he is in extreme pain all the time. One morning, after an excruciating urinating session, Paul is determined to go to the doctor, much to his wife’s relief. Before he is able to do that, Coffey supernaturally cures Paul. Paul is shocked by this immense power. He comes to the conclusion that Coffey can cure the wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who is dying of a brain tumour. They manage to sneak Coffey out of prison by putting Percy into the isolation room, something he richly deserves for the part he played in the botched execution of Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter), another inmate that got the taste of Percy’s cruelty a bit too often. Delacroix gives the Mile some entertainment by forming a bond with a Mouse and teaching it tricks. Delacroix is distraught when Percy kills it, but Coffey makes it alive again by his spectacular powers.

“Wild Bill” Wharton (Sam Rockwell), a psychopathic inmate is scheduled for arrival at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Coffey warns Paul of him, and he is proven to be correct when Wharton attacks the guards seconds after entering the building. They restrain him, but it is the first of many incidents involving Wharton. He is sent into isolation a few times, but he gets himself into trouble constantly. He touches Coffey and with his powers Coffey sees that it is Wharton who raped and killed the girls he is being sent to execution for. Coffey “releases” the tumour he took from Mrs. Moores (Patricia Clarkson) into Percy, making him kill Wharton and then lapse into a catatonic state.

Paul knows that nothing he can do will save Coffey’s life because they have no hard evidence. He asks Coffey what to do and Coffey’s answer surprises him. Coffey says that he wants to die, that living in such a hateful world is too much for him and that he is tired of it all. Coffey gets his execution, and the wardens have a difficult time controlling their emotions.

Back in 1999, Paul tells Elaine that he has lived such a long life because of Coffey curing his UTI, somehow giving him more life as well. He shows Elaine Delacroix mouse, who is still living years later because Coffey had restored him to full health as well. He tells Elaine that he knows he will die someday, but thinks his long life is punishment because he didn’t save Coffey back in 1935.

 Rating: 8.5/10

While visiting Zoë, I casually mentioned (now I realize in great error) that I’ve never seen The Green Mile. Cue Zoë grasping for breath, shocked and a bit teary eyed. So we sat down to watch it.

I went in mostly blind. I knew something about death row and some sadist and that it is based on a Stephen King novel, but that was it. People love this movie so I knew it had a chance to be really good, but I have to say I was expecting violence and swearing and generally not my type of thing.

HOW WRONG CAN ONE PERSON BE?!

It was AMAZING. Like laugh out of your tummy amazing, be sad and angry (that FUCKING TOOL PERCY WETMORE) and confused. It was so good I wanted to re-watch it again and I can say that I definitely will.

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The tool, Percy Whitmore

I have to say I thought the movie could have worked just as well without the supernatural element but there was just enough in it to make it interesting without making it completely unrealistic. The supernatural element is thrown upon the watcher, so suddenly; it comes as a massive surprise. That there was well done because I just sat there thinking this is a strangely nice story about death row and then it was like BAM, HELLO SUPERPOWERS. The story was excellently developed and clear and I never felt that the movie was too long – an exceptional for feat for a three hour film. I also thought the uniforms were so beautifully cut and done – it made every officer just look that much more authoritative (except that tool Percy Whitmore). I found Coffey’s execution one of the most emotional scenes I have ever witnessed. It was wrenching to experience everyone’s pain and how no one wanted Coffey to die at the end.

The cast

I’ve always thought that Tom Hanks is an exceptional actor and he just showed it constantly in here. He did an amazing job as Paul Edgecomb and how he was someone in power who actually thought about the repercussions of his job and was determined to do it with dignity. He was most powerful when he showed how he would always treat inmates with dignity, especially John Coffey, and always inexplicably Wild Bill. I loved how he realised when it was time to send someone to isolation and when it could be prevented.

The portrayal Michael Clarke Duncan gives as John Coffey is too good for me to put into words. He really looked huge, especially when compared to Brutus, but he was a gentle giant. Even from the start I couldn’t get how he murdered those two blonde girls. I found him so sad. Coffey was a huge, hulking figure that didn’t wear any shoes. He was so tender-hearted about everything and I found it endearing how he called Edgecomb “boss”. He also just knew Percy Whitmore was a cruel, vile man that had absolutely no redeeming qualities in him and THAT I loved.

Brutus “Brutal” Howell

Brutal

Brutus

This guy was way too entertaining as well. I liked that how he, despite his size, was the person after Edgecomb who treated the inmates with the most respect and that he was the clear leader after Edgecomb. His friendship with Edgecomb and the entertaining they found in a lot of things together in prison was so sweet and funny.

Another mention on excellent acting should be given to Sam Rockwell who played the psychotic murdered “Wild Bill” Wharton. He freaked the hell out of me and I have to say that so many of the laughs I got out of here came from him. That scene where he spits the chocolate in Brutus’s face was hilarious and I admired the hell out of Brutus for not losing his temper there and then.

Okay, the last have to say about the characters involves Percy Whitmore, played by Doug Hutchinson. He is, without a doubt, in the most hated characters list ever (if there isn’t such a list, there should be). He is on the same level as Umbridge, who is on the very top of the list. I felt such animosity towards him. Were it possible, I would have climbed through the screen to kick him. He is everything I despise in some men – men who love to beat down on people either smaller or in lesser positions than them, men who are cruel and enjoy brutality and men who love throwing their connections around. In fairness to Hutchinson, he played the part perfectly and was just as well cast as the rest of the group.

I obviously really liked this and would recommend it to just about everyone. It is an excellent story without a lot of violence and it is gripping from the start.

Have you seen it? What did you think?