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Entertainment Editor (1950 KP) created a video about The Little Drummer Girl in TV

Jan 16, 2019  

The Little Drummer Girl: Trailer - BBC

Official BBC Trailer. From the producers of The Night Manager and directed by Park Chan-Wook, Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Shannon and Florence Pugh star in brand new John Le Carré drama adaptation, The Little Drummer Girl.

The Little Drummer Girl
The Little Drummer Girl
2018 | Thriller
When it was announced that Little Drummer Girl was going to be adapted, directed by Park Chan-Wook, starring Alexander Skarsgård, I was so completely excited. Park Chan-Wook's Stoker is one of my favorite films, and Skarsgård is always good.
I feel like there was a high bar set by The Night Manager, another Le Carre adaptation, and this fell way below it. Every few minutes, my friend and I compared them... Little Drummer Girl was just boring. I feel like they could have easily updated it, since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is still alive and well.
Skarsgård essentially played the same character as when he lost his memory as Eric in True Blood. I like Florence Pugh, but her character was just flat for me.

Erika (8672 KP) rated The Legend of Tarzan (2016) in Movies

Jul 1, 2018 (Updated Jul 1, 2018)  
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
2016 | Action
I wasn't expecting anything from this movie, in fact, I thought it was going to be awful. But, I ended up really liking it. Samuel L. Jackson was hilarious, and basically reacting how the audience would react to all of the situations in the film. I love Christoph Waltz in this as well, he's great (IMHO) in every scene. Give me shirtless Alexander Skarsgård any day.
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
2018 | Drama, Thriller
Portrayal of successful businesswoman in Selma Hayak (even though she's painted as the villain) (2 more)
Non standard story, and a very non-standard story-arc
Alexander Skarsgård - different role for him... great dance moves!
Jesse Eisenberg.... same performance again. (0 more)
Engineering Porn with His Cousin Vinny.
A curious oddity of a film with a non-traditional story and an interestingly different story arc. One to really like if you are into heavy machinery, drilling rigs and electronics!
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
2016 | Action
Better than I thought it would be
On the recommendation from a friend I bought this movie used for like 3 bucks and it was worth every penny! ?

This isn't really an origin story of Tarzan, more of him coming back to where he was raised to attempt to save the day. His origins are revealed in flashback which helps the audience understand his motivations and reservations for returning to his homeland.

When the bankrupt king summons an evil henchman to help him cleanse the land of its inhabitants for the raw diamond lot, our heroes are summoned to stop them.

Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson were all really good and believable. For some reason I normally love Christoph Waltz, but I think he's played the villain too many times now and this time it felt a little generic to me.

CGI for the most part was acceptable, although any CGI gorillas will always be compared to the recent Apes reboot trilogy which is still far superior.

The action scenes were decent if you can accept humans battling giant gorillas an kept me entertained throughout.

You will certainly not be disappointed with this one in my opinion.

The Hummingbird Project (2018)
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
2018 | Drama, Thriller
Contemporary technology drama comes to the silver screen in the form of The Hummingbird Project starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, and Salma Hayek. The film’s premise is realistic enough: A pair of insiders at a big Wall Street company defect to start a project for a rival firm – to built a single fiber optic connection between a stock exchange in Kansas City and the New York Stock Exchange. This was realistic enough that my lack of knowledge on the history of Wall Street’s networking had me looking up later to see if there was any truth or basis to portions of the plot. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find anything referencing a Kansas City Stock Exchange. Unless they were referring to livestock? Because there was a Kansas City Livestock Exchange. Anyway, my biases up front – despite my clear lacking of aforementioned knowledge, I am a tech geek with experience in networking and related technology fields. So, a premise like this has a lot to attract my attention. There is admittedly much to enjoy about dramas regarding our contemporary plights in the realm of technology, because that’s where a lot of work is centered. Gone are the days of building railroads. But our internet infrastructure…

The film does a fairly good job representing the intense difficulty of such a project: it’s something like one thousand miles of straight line to run one fiber optic connection without obstruction. Most people would not think about what goes into making that into reality, which is the draw for most of the film’s conflict. I do however recognize that centering the plot on a large scale construction job of an internet cable doesn’t exactly scream excitement for most people; and this is especially true when the end goal is to shave off one millisecond from their current transaction times. Yet, this arguably ironic dynamic actually ended up being somewhat of a draw for me. Halfway through the film the question arises, “All this for just a millisecond of increased speed?” That’s the point though, and I wish the film would have delved deeper into these kinds of themes. This represents my chief criticism: all of the elements are here for a truly stellar drama but everything is explored at only a shallow or moderate depth. The characters have decent arcs, thrown some difficult challenges and curveballs to overcome, but Jesse Eisenberg’s character only briefly touches on the back-story that truly drives him, and while Alexander Skarsgård‘s character is more fully fleshed out his arc is essentially basic. I do enjoy the role reversal as one would usually expect to see Jesse Eisenberg playing the socially awkward genius programmer and Alexander Skarsgård to play the ambitious go-getter who runs the project, but they take opposite roles to great effect. The actors all do great here for the most part, including the excellent Michael Mando in a supporting role. My only complaint here is the acting dips a bit into melodrama later in the film, but this is mostly attributed to subplots that edge into the unbelievable.

Ironically Hummingbird Project works best at representing its core premise of what most would consider a mundane construction project. The actors do well, and I especially enjoy Alexander Skarsgård‘s portrayal of the lonely genius, but their underlying drama and back-stories are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of it works decently well while other elements do not – particularly late in the film. Sadly the themes at play are a bit too obvious and underexplored, but it is an appreciated attempt to represent a seldom explored aspect of contemporary industry.

Emma @ The Movies (757 KP) rated The Aftermath (2019) in Movies

Jun 22, 2019 (Updated Sep 25, 2019)  
The Aftermath (2019)
The Aftermath (2019)
2019 | Drama, Romance, War
Is there a period piece that Keira Knightley has ever turned down? After seeing her in Colette I retrieved her from the Nutcracker trash can I'd thrown her into and actually looked forward to whatever I was going to see her in next. I sort of wish it hadn't been this film though.

I'm conflicted. The Aftermath has some great pieces, but at the same time it's rather forgettable. Talking to a friend about films I'd seen this month I already forgot I'd seen it, and that doesn't normally happen this quickly.

Having seen the trailers I had come away with a rather definite idea of what the film was going to be like... I was actually surprised, the wool was properly pulled over my eyes. I had a completely different idea of the outcome. I really don't want to spoil it, if you've seen it message me and we'll waffle about it.

Alexander Skarsgård was incredibly good in this, I think I might be in love. I haven't seen him in anything recently but I might have to finally watch Tarzan. For the most part Stephen is a restrained and sensible character, so when he has an outburst of emotions it's all the more powerful. When he shows the Morgans round his house like a sad estate agent I felt that awkwardness.

Keira Knightley/Rachel isn't the leading lady I was looking for, as a character she is dislikeable. She's quick to judgment and takes for granted and abuses all the privileges that she has. I think this is partly what surprised me about the film, I hadn't expected her to be this way. In a film involving war I wouldn't have expected the female character to be the antagonist.

I'm pleased to see Jason Clarke again, he's going from strength to strength. Lewis Morgan is warm and accepting in contrast to the coldness of his wife. More strong emotions coming from our other male lead. Most feel like they're done perfectly, one outburst stuck out but I'm not sure that "out of character" is quite the right way to describe it.

The movie's handling of the Morgan's son was done nicely with a great link used to tie it together. Getting such a powerful moment out of such a small detail was amazing. The use of prop and flashback scenes came together very well.

The ending though... like the trailer I like that we're given something that doesn't necessarily hold with the expected. (Again, if you've seen it then message me so I can tell you how I wanted it to end.) I can't say I was happy with the end, it flies in the face of the traditional take on these sorts of films. There's an ending I would have preferred Rachel to have over the actual one just so that I could go "Ha! Serves you right!" but it wouldn't have been satisfactory for the other two points of the triangle. I'm not sure that any outcome could have left me content though.

There are some very striking visuals mixed through the film, most take part in the ruins of the city where we see the community living through the devastation of the city. I was intrigued to see that it was a BBC film, they usually have a certain feel to them but it wasn't really present in this.

As much as I enjoyed elements of this I can't say I would be fussed about seeing it again, if anything I think a second watch would remind me how annoying I found the ending.

What you should do

If you want to see Keira Knightley's character disrespecting her marriage then I would suggest watching Colette instead. However, if you want to have some strong feelings about Alexander Skarsgård then definitely see this one.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

It goes without saying that I would like Alexander Skarsgård, but failing that then the ability to play the piano beautifully will have to do.

Emma @ The Movies (757 KP) rated The Hummingbird Project (2018) in Movies

Jun 24, 2019 (Updated Sep 25, 2019)  
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
2018 | Drama, Thriller
The trailer for this offered a glimpse at something that looked intriguing but the final result wasn't quite as impactful as you might have imagined.

Vincent has the drive and cunning to launch a project that could make them millions, Anton is the brains to make it a success. In investment you have to be a step ahead of the competition, so the competition is where you'll get the best deal on the next big thing. When they both quit with immediate effect their boss is suspicious does everything to find out what they're up to. She eventually gets a break and is soon hot on their heels to come up with something bigger and better. The stakes are high and the game is dirty, but someone has to win.

The Hummingbird Project certainly didn't lack acting talent. While I've not seen much from Jesse Eisenberg apart from Lex Luthor in the DCEU I was impressed with what he gives in this, there are a lot of powerful moments as we get towards the end of the film and he treats them well. Alexander Skarsgård plays Anton, the awkward genius cousin who spends most of his time with his eyes glued to a computer screen. His role is heavy on physical acting rather than dialogue and it's very effective against the pushy characters around him.

The duo are pitted against their ex-boss, Eva Torres, beautifully brought to life as a ruthless villain by Salma Hayek. Hayek has the bitchy boss thing down and had she been talking at me with heavily threatening undertones I think I'd have just started crying.

I found the story easy to get along with, the script wasn't overly complicated which was nice considering it could have been with all the technical things going on. As the story overall is about them fulfilling their project it means that at several points we get reminders about what's going on, and that probably helps it because every so often they get out some plans and go "this is what we're doing and this is the problem" so you don't have to really remember much as we progress.

At points it seems like it's a little rushed, which is intriguing because it feels like it's longer than billed. I assumed that some scenes are included because they're a nod to the real-life story... but it isn't a real-life story... and that in itself should be the most confusing thing about this film. I genuinely went in thinking it was "history", but it's not history, so why did they bother making it? It's just not thrilling enough to hold up as a new story. If I'm honest, finding out it's fictional after thinking it was real has knocked off some star rating.

What you should do

There are much more thrilling tales out there for this sort of story, despite the good acting I would suggest seeing something else. Seeing something else would also preserve the beautiful image of Alexander Skarsgård from being tarnished.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

A multi-million dollar idea would be quite nice.
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
2016 | Action
CPR Needed
As tends to be the case with Hollywood, studios pay very close attention to their rivals release schedules, eyeing up potential competition to pit their films against, maxing box-office returns in the process.

And when Disney announced they were rebooting The Jungle Book in March this year, Warner Bros quickly responded with another jungle-themed film; The Legend of Tarzan. But does this interpretation on the classic character swing or fall?

It’s been nearly a decade since Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård), aka John Clayton III, left Africa to live in Victorian England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Danger lurks on the horizon as Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), a treacherous envoy for King Leopold, devises a scheme that lures the couple and friend George Williams (Samuel L Jackson) to the Congo. Rom plans to capture Tarzan and deliver him to an old enemy in exchange for diamonds. When Jane becomes a pawn in his devious plot, Tarzan must return to the jungle to save the woman he loves.

Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows), Legend of Tarzan features committed performances from its lead cast, immersive scenery and impressive special effects, but all of the glitz can’t save a film that plods along at a dreadful pace. Not since Peter Jackson’s King Kong has there been a movie that wastes so much of its opening act.

Alexander Skarsgård is likeable and commanding as the titular character, but lacks enough acting prowess to tackle the deeper, more emotional side that writers Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer have brought to the table here. Therefore, the scenes featuring a solo Tarzan suffer somewhat and Samuel L Jackson feels wasted in a poorly written and half-hearted role.

It is in Margot Robbie and Christoph Waltz that we find the film’s saving graces. Their characters leap off the screen with Waltz in particular being a highlight throughout. It’s unfortunate that one of our greatest living actors is lambasted with poor dialogue however, though the script just about keeps him afloat.

David Yates brings a similar filming style here to that of his foray into Harry Potter. The action is confidently filmed, but he avoids the use of shaky-cam that many directors seem to find appealing nowadays. The CGI is on the whole very good, especially in the finale which is breath-taking to watch.

It’s just a shame the rest of the film is such a drag. The first hour is incredibly poorly paced with very brief, albeit well-filmed, action sequences not doing enough to brighten Legend of Tarzan up. Elsewhere, the use of flashbacks is at first a decent way of giving the audience some exposition, but after the tenth one, they’re a nuisance.

Overall, The Legend of Tarzan does a lot more with its iconic character than other films have done, but that doesn’t excuse its poor pacing. Thankfully, the exciting finale lifts the final act above the standard of the first hour, and commanding performances from all the cast sustain interest just about enough to see it through to the end.
Straw Dogs (2011)
Straw Dogs (2011)
2011 | Mystery
4.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Successful actress Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth) is returning from her big city life to her southern hometown of Blackwater. Along with Amy is her well-educated and wealthy husband, David Sumner (James Marsdon). David quickly finds this vacation is filled with tension, particularly when it comes to Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård), who is not ready to be out of her life. So it is up to the weakling Harvard hero to protect his relationship, home, and way of life in a town he doesn’t quite understand.

A remake of the 1971 thriller classic of the same name, “Straw Dogs” has lost a lot of its appeal and logic with time. It still has gory moments and the plot is very similar to the original but many of the base thrills have been lost in the move to a present day setting.

This film asks the viewers to suspend disbelief, ignore a number of unfinished back-stories, and stand behind characters who are not engaging or believable. Details, both big and small miss the mark. James Marsdon is incorrectly suited as the shy bumbling academic. The house is a seeming fortress for no apparent reason. The side stories, interesting detractions from the overly built tension between the two leading males, are left unresolved.

Additionally, the themes are awkward and incomplete. There are literary throwbacks and some blatant social commentary but all of the film’s depth is lost on an audience who has no reason to care. Viewers will be preoccupied wondering what the point of the film is.

Sure, the story is engrossing and it does force self-analysis, but the modern adaptation would have benefitted from serious editorial cuts. Had the film been completed in a quarter of the time it might have actually managed to be thrilling!

Unbalanced, vapid, and pointless as a thriller “Straw Dogs” falls prey to the unnecessary remake trap. For a real psychological thrill it would be better to opt for the original.