Happy Valenciano Easter, folks! They do Easter on a week’s delay there for some reason; did you know that? I surely did not.
Last week, I actually took the Easter break for some family relaxation and now I need a vacation from the vacation, but we all know what that feels like, I’m sure. A small slew of English-based and foreign films have hit/are hitting the big screen lately, so let’s get down to business on a few of them.
Last week, two big sequels hit the silver screen and while skipping away from an in-depth look at either of them, I will say that the more impressive of the two was hands down Furious 7…yes, the seventh installment of THAT franchise with THAT death. Honestly, this is not a series I would otherwise watch or gravitate to, especially when watching an actor/actress onscreen that you know has recently died a very early, gruesome death. That said, Paul Walker’s unfinished scenes were eventually and famously shot using his uncannily twin-like (but not actually!) brother. What struck me, besides enjoying Ludacris again, was that the action scenes in the film are beyond outstanding. Some of them, I dare say, are bloody Oscar-worthy, and I mean that. If ever a tribute was made to honour a now deceased actor in his prime via an action route, you could fare a lot worse than this surprising roller coaster! ###
And then we have Insurgent, the second of the Divergent book-to-film series, starring an amazing list of actors that obviously received stellar paychecks because the material being worked with is so standard and formulaic, it’s downright dull at times. Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, AND Naomi Watts plus Octavia Spencer, a quasi-hologram Ashley Judd, and Broadway legend Janet McTeer? All we need is Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep and bam!...The current legend actress roll call is complete. The film picks up right where Divergent left off, and while it’s fair and easy to say that all actresses involved do a decent job with the material given, when that material simply is not strong, it is alas to no avail. I understand the human factions of the story and how they represent our society, but the premise (for the whole series, I feel) could be boiled down to this: If the essence of Twilight met the essence of The Hunger Games on a dark night and had mad sex, this is what they would produce…and it’s only a little cute. ##
Opening this weekend is another in the ever-growing list of current Johnny Depp stinkers. Now granted, there is something completely endearing and enticing about Depp onscreen. That grin, his shifty eyes and knowing smile and in this film, that ridiculous moustache from the beginning is good for a laugh, but really? This film? After a string of mostly misses, one would hope that Mortdecai, again with a barrage of insanely gifted actors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, and even Jeff Goldblum, might surpass his string of mediocrities. Based on the classic series of comic thriller novels, the Mortdecai film revolves around wealthy art dealer Lord Mortdecai after a Hong Kong art deal gone awry. The film then continues jumping from one unlikely situation to the next while Mortdecai and his assistant Jock follow the type of caper-like silliness that can only revolve around fake art and light comedy. Johnny D…The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and now this trite shite? Oh Johnny Come Lately, you are no longer the new kid in town…but yes you can! ##
A smaller indie also opens up this weekend in the form of The Guest, a thriller from the guys who made one of the last really good horror movies I saw a couple of years ago, You’re Next. After the death of their son Caleb in Afghanistan, the Peterson family is doing their best to pick up the pieces and move on. When a handsome stranger shows up on their doorstep claiming to be a dear army mate of Caleb, the family seemingly takes the young stud under their wings. Boy, Americans are rather trusting. The new guy, Dan Stevens, takes strides in defending his ex-army buddy’s little bullied brother from school arses and then when he moves on to spending time with Anna, things turn to the mysterious. No need to blow any lids off here, but the film does its best to grab your attention and not let go of it for another hour. The duo of Adam Wingard as director and Simon Barrett as a writer is quickly pacing itself to be a winning combination, as this film finally takes you with it for a rush and a thrill! ###
Finally, at the Berlin Film Festival last month or so, the film Woman in Gold premiered and had its rights immediately snatched up and the distributors wasted no time in setting this out to theatres. While I have only seen snippets of said film and perused reviews, I can say that the film is based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jew and WWII refugee abiding in L.A., who set a precedent when she took her case of re-obtaining Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, her now deceased aunt, to the Supreme Court…doing this while fighting the Austrian government. While critics seem undecided about the film (mostly regarding to Ryan Reynold’s lackluster performance…go figure!), I’m all over this film this weekend.
Have a lovely weekend, kiddos and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…go nuts! besitos