Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Details from IMDB:

Kingsmen-202x300

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

R  | 129 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 13 February 2015 (USA)

Ratings: 8.2/10 from 87,959 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 326 user | 300 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

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.

Director:

Matthew Vaughn

Writers:

Jane Goldman (screenplay), Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), 2 more credits »

Stars:

Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I had heard good things about this movie and of course Sam Jackson as a villain? That’s generally a solid choice (except for The Spirit, please don’t see that piece of crap!) This was actually my second time trying to see it, as before it was sold out and we ended up just having dinner. Plus the fact that it’s based on a comic book and the theater I saw it in served alcohol, it was an obvious choice.

Main Thoughts:

This movie starts out with a bang and some great music (Dire Straits in particular), it’s just a fun action movie that has some clever twists and some adult moments.  (It is restricted after all). Colin Firth is not who you would think of as an action hero but he pulls it off quite well. The movie does sneak in some social commentary and even made me think a little about being born into a privileged life, versus having to struggle to achieve success and overcome difficult circumstances.

The action scenes are top notch, with the only stumbling point that for an incredibly violent movie there is almost no blood. I’m not obsessed with gore by any means but when someone gets literally cut in half and there is no blood? It just bothers me. Back to the positive Sam Jackson is an excellent villain, he lends his own style to it by dresser as a rapper from the 80’s and having a slight speech impediment.

There is a nice twist that I won’t spoil and a couple of other nice surprises. I have to say that I also enjoyed Mark Hamil’s cameo, though I hardly recognized him at first. I suppose like most people I haven’t seen him in anything since Return of the Jedi, way back in 1983 and he just looks a lot different (it was over 30 years ago after all).

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend this movie if you like action mixed in with a little comedy and a lot of fun.  I give it a solid 8/10. Of course this is not for children as it features a lot of violence, some adult language and brief nudity. Once more I have to say I loved the music here, aside from "Money for Nothing" it also prominently features "Slave to Love" to Roxy Music (Bryan Ferry), two excellent songs. Still more movies to catch up up, talk to you all soon.

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Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Cap2

Details from IMDB:

136 min  -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  4 April 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.3/10 from 74,522 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 312 user | 270 critic | 43 from Metacritic.com

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

Directors:

Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writers:

Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), 3 more credits »

Stars:

Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson | See full cast and crew »

Initial thoughts:

Anyone who reads this blog knew this review was coming. I’m a huge comic-book fan and lately Marvel has done a great job with every movie (and by extension Disney who owns them). I had heard lots of great things about this movie, so after waiting for the crowds to die down (and taking care of some overtime at work) I finally got to see it.

Main Points:

I’ll just say it right away, I loved this movie! It’s a rare occurrence for a sequel to be better than the original but they have done it here. While the first Captain America movie was okay, this one just hit it out of the park. Seeing how Steve adapts and struggles with the modern world makes him a more interesting character and the series more realistic (as far as you can with a comic-book movie I mean).

All the characters get a fair bit to do and have an interesting storyline (and yeah I really enjoyed the introduction of Falcon), it’s also the first good movie I’ve seen Robert Redford in for quite a while. There is plenty of action, a great story and some nice light-heartened funny moments.

Here we even get some commentary on the state of society/government/military and Cap sees how much the world has changed since the 40s. I could go into more detail but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Final Thoughts:

Comic-books and geek culture has really come a a long way. It used to be a lot of movie this this would flop, only have a cult following. Now Winter Solider is the number one movie in the world (for 1 week at least)  and the sequel will be going up against Batman/Superman. I highly recommend this (just not for small children) and give it 8.5/10. Sure it has a few minor flaws and it’s unlikely to win any big awards but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and will even make you think. Plus if you’re fan of Scarlett Johansson (and I’m big one), she also does a great job and always looks hot. Next will be my thoughts on Elysium. 

Movie review: Django Unchained

Django

Details from IMDB:

Django Unchained (2012)

165 min  -  Adventure | Drama | Western  – 25 December 2012 (USA)

Ratings: 8.6/10 from 175,345 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 575 user | 495 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director:

Quentin Tarantino

Writer:

Quentin Tarantino

Stars:

Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio |See full cast and crew

Initial Thoughts:

I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fan (though I’ll admit to have never seen Jackie Brown) so of course I anxiously awaited the chance to see this movie (it sold out where I live for over a month in theatres, even early shows!). Right from the start of the movie I knew I was going to love it. Quentin has done some of the best soundtracks ever and Django is certainly one of them.Hot smile

It’s a nice simple idea for a film, a bounty hunter rescues a slave, they kill people together and then go find his wife who was sold to another plantation. Of course along the way we are shown the horrors of slavery and the brutal nature of Dr. Schultz (Waltz) and Django (Foxx) as they kill people for money.

Main Points:

The acting is just amazing is this movie. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are just incredible. Samuel L. Jackson turns in another excellent performance and Leonardo does a great job of being creepy/evil and yet still sophisticated/charming as southern slave owner Calvin Candie.

The movie is quite violent and while Quentin does quick cuts with the gory scenes I would still certainly not want anyone under 17 to see this and one particular scene with dogs is disturbing.

There are so many great scenes so I’ll mention just a couple. I suppose that means…

SPOILER ALERT!

Even though it is primarily a very serious, violent and bloody film there is a very funny scene. Don Johnson (who is also excellent here) is not only a slave owner but a member of the KKK. After Django kills three white men on Big Daddy’s planation (he is never given a name) Big Daddy and many other folks come out to kill him and Dr. Schultz (he’s not much of a doctor as you’ll see). Just before they ride up to Schultz’s wagon they all have issues with the eye holes for their masks. It is a really funny scene and it was a great surprise to see Jonah Hill make a cameo here.Open-mouthed smile

Another wonderful scene is when Django comes back to Candieland to finish off the remaining employees and Calvin’s sister (also more importantly to retrieve his wife Broomhilda). Once he has killed everyone who helped to run the house except Stephen (Jackson) we see that Stephen is not so senile or crippled as he has let on during the movie. Django shoots him in both knees and blows up the entire house with dynamite. Stephen is a very hateful character as he is black (of course) but serves Calvin and his sister above all else. As Django points out he saw thousands of black people die at the ranch and did nothing.

Final Thoughts:

The movie does have a few flaws. As with most of his films Quentin does make a cameo near the end. Quentin is not much of an actor and when you see him it takes you out of the movie a little. Also strangely enough James Remar (who is also quite good here) plays two different roles in the film! It’s like Quentin killed his first character and then decided he wanted more from the actor. It’s just something that takes you out of the film as it makes no sense for two different characters to look and sound exactly the same.

Those minor complaints aside I highly recommend this film. Quentin deserves best director and I would love for this to win best picture. If you don’t mind violence, some gore and a rather long running time (over 2.5 hours) you should really check this out before it leaves theatres Thumbs up. I give it 9/10 and put it on par with Pulp Fiction. Until next time (no promises as to what Winking smile) I am as always…

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