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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
2012 | Action, Horror, Mystery
7
5.9 (14 Ratings)
Movie Rating
When I heard that the same guy that directed Wanted was going to direct the movie version of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was game. I was looking so forward to this film.
The first thing I found kind of off about the film was the casting of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Walker. He was just a little wooden, and it didn't work for me.
Now, Dominic Cooper as Henry Sturges was a great casting. Yes, I read the book, so I knew what Sturges was. The scene with Cooper wearing the pair of sunglasses? Amazing.
Overall, this alternative history was good, but not as well executed as the book.
  
Marvel's Agent Carter  - Season 1
Marvel's Agent Carter - Season 1
2015 | Action
While I liked the first season of Agent Carter, I didn't love it. Agent Carter was my favorite character from Captain America: The First Avenger. Hayley Atwell kicks a lot of butt, and I wanted it to be so much more. Jarvis was by far, one of the best characters, and I've always liked Dominic Cooper. The series just took too long to get to the meat of the story. I was hopeful for the second season, after the season finale.
I'm also still salty they canceled it after the 2nd season, and because no one else picked it up.
  
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Kaylin (39 KP) rated Warcraft (2016) in Movies

Apr 28, 2017  
Warcraft (2016)
Warcraft (2016)
2016 | Action, Fantasy
Awesome story and great writing (2 more)
Excellent use of CG
Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, and Ben Foster excel in their roles
You have to have more than a general knowledge of Warcraft and its history to understand some of what is going on (2 more)
Went on a little bit long
Felt like a few scenes were missing
Welcome to the World (of Warcraft)
I love Warcraft! The video game, I mean, so I was very excited to see this movie and I wasn't disappointed. I felt like I was truly in Azeroth. I felt all that old hate for Gul'dan come back. I had all these awesome feelings! But, as great a time as I had, I realized that if you weren't familiar with the lore of Warcraft, then you were going to be very confused during this movie. While they explained some things, the person who went to the movie with me still had to lean over and ask me why some of the characters were doing what they were doing.
So, it's a pretty good movie, but if you don't know the lore, you're going to be pretty confused.
  
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
2012 | Action, Horror, Mystery
4
5.9 (14 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Of all the absurd film titles this has to be right up there. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a film that you can tune into and lose yourself with – nothing more than that.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) the film initially focuses on the early life of one Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) whose mother is killed at the hands of a vampire.

Fueled by revenge he goes out and tries to avenge her death, unsuccessfully at first. He is then taken under the wing of Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) who shows him the proper ways to fight back, in a training montage that makes Rocky’s wood chopping skills look pathetic.

Sturges leaves Lincoln to go off on his own but sends him the names of undead that he has to go out and kill on a regular basis, while trying to hide his nocturnal hobby from those closest to him. First thing to note with this film is many of the techniques that made Wanted a unique action flick are used considerably throughout, a bit too much for me.

CGI in film should be used sparingly as far as I’m concerned, but when faced with a scene where there is no feasible way you could shoot for real then it’s a perfect solution. When Lincoln is giving chase to Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) across a stampede of wild horses it provides a great action sequence for which CGI comes into its own.

In-fact pretty much all the action sequences use this, and with the climactic train sequence proving a highlight to the end of the film it’s not anywhere near enough to make it a standout, you can only hide behind special effects for so long before you’re going to get found out.

There is a pause in proceedings, a chance to catch breath from all that over the top action, as Lincoln puts down his silver coated axe and follows a career in politics looking to abolish slavery as well as vampires. His lifelong friend Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) also joins him on this quest as his personal Presidential aide.

Of course it turns out that vampires are unable to kill their own as we see from a brief flash back where Dominic Cooper is mindlessly attacked and his beloved taken from him, so he clearly has a motive as well.

It’s all harmless fun, and while the late Abe Lincoln provides some small resemblance to Liam Neeson with a beard (was it only me that thought that) it’s a far fetched and totally ludicrous story that you cannot take too seriously for a minute.
  
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
2011 | Action, Adventure
Our introduction to Captain America withing the MCU gets a bad wrap.
I see it labeled fairly regularly as weak entry into the ever expanding saga and I just don't think that's the case.

It's got a solid narrative for a start as we watch Steve Rogers go from frail Regular Joe to bonafide hero who truly believes in fighting for the good of humanity over the course of two hours.
The WWII setting provides a touch of historical reality, collided with the fantasy of the Tesseract, our first glimpse of the now infamous Infinity Stones, and in this narrative, providing Red Skull with cosmically charged weapons the gain the edge in the war with Allied Forces.

The First Avenger has a fantastic cast. Chris Evans is pretty much perfect in the titular role and has played the character solidly for the last 10 years.
Hugo Weaving as Red Skull is an undeniable highlight. He plays the villain with evil glee, and looks so comic book accurate that it hurts. It's a real shame that he has never returned to the role.
The supporting cast is strong as well. Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, and Stanley Tucci are all great, and relish in a tight screenplay.

I do think that the film feels over long at times, although the story being told is undeniably important in the run up to The Avengers.
The effects are mostly decent and still hold up, with an exception here and there, primarily before Steve Rogers goes all buff, but these are small gripes with an otherwise solid origin film.
  
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
2012 | Action, Horror, Mystery
5
5.9 (14 Ratings)
Movie Rating
When I first heard about this movie, I was expecting the worst. I’ve been exposed to my fair share of B-type horror movies (I was raised on “Critters,” “Ghoulies,” “Killer Clowns from Outerspace,” and everything else one can imagine as a kid). I laughed at the SyFy channel’s monster movie line-up and was sick unto death of zombie movies. That said, I wasn’t entirely excited for this movie’s premier. My boyfriend, however, was chomping at the bit. He adores B-type
movies and this was no exception. And, to my honest surprise, it wasn’t as awful as I had wholly envisioned in my head.

The movie starts with a young Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) defending his slave friend, Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie), from abuse at the hands of a slave trader. A scuffle ensues and Abraham’s father is ultimately met face-to-face with “Adam” (Rufus Sewell), a well-known and well-feared trader in the lands. The two exchange heated words with Adam threatening to extract his revenge by some unknown means. What seems later that evening, Abraham’s mother is attacked by Adam as young Abraham watches from the shadows. Adam, as one can guess, is a vampire and leaves Abraham’s mother in such a state she cannot recover. Upon her death, Abraham vows revenge, devoting the next ten years of his life to killing Adam.

As the reader can surmise, Abraham is ill-equipped to face Adam and when the day finally arrives, he finds himself wholly unprepared for the task. Cue the entrance of Henry Sturgess, Vampire Hunter. Saving Abraham from an early demise, Henry (Dominic Cooper) takes the young man under his wing and teaches him the way of vampire hunting. He teaches young Abe that the vampires control the whole of the south, using the slave trade as their means for fresh and easily accessible blood. Having never tolerated slavery of any kind, Abraham is infuriated by this and his desire to eradicate the vampire colony grows.

From there he is bequeathed his infamous axe, its edge lined in silver, and we watch as young Abe grows and matures as a skilled warrior before our eyes. When the time comes, Abraham is sent away on a mission to kill select vampires in a quiet town, vampires who pose as noted professionals and townspersons during the day. As a rule, Henry cautions Abraham not to make any friends or form any kind of attachments. Of course, it’s at this point he meets Mary Todd and that whole theory goes out the window. In addition to his vampire hunting, he also begins his career in politics and as a renowned orator. Given one’s knowledge of history, we can see where this all leads.

I won’t divulge the whole of the story here – I’m sure you can imagine where it goes and what comes of it. That said, aside from the over-the-top fighting scenes and certain drawn out moments (the horse stampede and train fight immediately come to mind), it wasn’t as awful as I had originally envisioned. The movie is entertaining and still
retains a fair amount of the B-movie cheesiness one hopes for in watching it. Obviously, the storyline is wracked with historical inaccuracies and unlikely moments (really, Abe Lincoln survives a horse being thrown at him?), but it’s a B-movie and I wasn’t expecting perfection.

If you’re looking for something that offers sheer entertainment and nothing further, this is a movie for you then. You won’t be blown away by the acting skills, the special effects are decent enough (don’t pay extra for 3-D though – it was awful), and while the movie feels slow and drags at parts, over-all it’s rather entertaining for what it is.
  
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
2011 | Drama
9
8.5 (2 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Strong performance by Williams in a terrific film
According to my Letterboxd profile, I view (on average) 4.5 films/week. Only 1 or 2 of them in a week are at the theater. The rest, I stream (or pop in the DVD). I spare you (for the most part) my review of mediocre or just plain bad films that I see (case in point the recent A CHRISTMAS CAROL on FX starring Guy Pearce - only watch it if you've ever wanted to see Marley drop the F-bomb multiple times). But...every once in a while I catch up with a gem that compels me to write a review to inform you folks of a wonderful film you might have missed (or have forgotten about).

Such is the case with the 2011 film MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. the adaptation of Colin Clark's memoirs of working as an Assistant Director on the 1957 film THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL (which starred the unlikely pair of Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe). As Directed by Simon Curtis (WOMAN IN GOLD) MWWM is a wonderful character study of a young man coming of age while watching the clash between the old school acting/working style of Olivier and "the method" of the new age of acting in the guise of Marilyn Monroe.

Eddie Redmayne (before he became the famous Oscar winning Actor for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) is perfectly cast as the young Colin Clark. He has a naivete and longing to him that is ideal in this part. You watch him fall in love through the course of this film and you, the filmgoer, fall in love as well.

Bringing the strength and charisma to the screen as Olivier - as expected - is Kenneth Brannagh (MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS). He was often described as he was ascending in the British Theater world as "the next Olivier" and Brannagh captures his idol well. Giving light to the brilliance, arrogance and impatience of a celebrated actor, Brannagh was (rightfully) nominated for a Best Supporting Actor for his work and he shone whenever he was on the screen.

Which brings me to Michelle Williams Oscar nominated work as Marilyn Monroe. All I can say is...wow. She took on the aura and personae of this icon and I felt as if I was watching a real, troubled person with great charisma on the screen. Williams embodies Monroe both in personality and in physicality (Monroe was a tremendously good physical comedic actress) showing there is much, much more to this actress than the beautiful package that meets the eye. How Williams lost the Oscar to Meryl Streep's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in THE IRON LADY (a performance I really liked) is beyond me.

It is important that both Brannagh and Redmayne hold their own in this film (and they do) for this performance by Williams could have easily swallowed up all around her - it is that good and powerful a performance. But Director Curtis and Brannagh and Redmayne (as well as wonderful supporting work by such great actors as Judi Dench, Toby Jones, Julia Ormond, Derek Jacoby, Dougray Scott, Emma Watson, Zoe Wannamaker and Dominic Cooper) strongly balance her work to give us, the audience, a pretty balanced portrait of this troubled production and this troubled person.

This is not the fastest paced film you will ever see - but the deliberateness of the pace serves the story well. Colin falls in love with Marilyn (and Marilyn lets him fall in love with her) and we need the time and the space for those emotions to sink in.

If you are looking for a film that is a bit of an antidote to the usual CGI-Fest, SuperHero, Space films that are filling the multiplex, you will be well rewarded with MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. A loving, gentle film with strong performances - a type of film that is in short supply these days.

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN can be currently streamed on NETFLIX. You can also purchase/rent it on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes and YouTube.

Letter Grade: A

9 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (2018)
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (2018)
2018 | Comedy, Musical
I had a dream. A sob. A sing.
You remember in “Aliens” when Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) fought through hell and high water against that “bitch” to protect the youngster Newt (Carrie Henn)? And then how betrayed you felt in that emotional investment at the start of “Alien 3”?

Which brings us spoiler-free to the start of “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”, typically shortened by everyone to “Mamma Mia 2”, the sequel to the enormously successful cheese-fest (and Bros-fest) that was the first film, now – unbelievably – 10 years old.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is trying to open the Bella Donna hotel on that magical Greek island separated from her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) who is learning the tips of the hotel trade in New York. As preparations for the opening party progress we flash back to the back-story of Donna (as a post-graduate played by Lily James) as she meets Harry (Hugh Skinner, “The Windsors”, “W1A”), Bill (Josh Dylan, “Allied”) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine, “War Horse”) en route to Greece.

If you remember the first film and thought Donna (Meryl Streep) was a bit of a… erm… ‘loose woman’, then this plot point could have been amplified by seeing the “dot, dot, dot” acts in the flesh, as it were. Fortunately, in steps Lily James as the young Donna who is so mesmerisingly gorgeous and vivacious that you can forgive her just about anything. “Beguiling” was the description my better half came up with, and I couldn’t describe her better. Supporting her effectively are Alexa Davies (as the young version of Julie Walters‘ character) and Jessica Keenan Wynn (as the young version of Christine Baranski‘s character). The trio’s exuberant performance of “When I Kissed the Teacher” sets the tone well for the grin-fest to follow. (By the way, if you are a Mary Poppins fan then a bit of trivia is that Wynn is the great-granddaughter of Ed Wynn, the character who “Loved to Laugh” on the ceiling!).

In these days of drought, Trump vs the world, Brexit and universal bruhaha, this is a much-needed joyful film, and far better I would say than the original. A good story, well executed and stuffed with excellent tunes. True, apart from a number of key repeats, we are more in the territory – in CD terms – of “More Abba Gold” than “Abba Gold”, but Bjorn and Benny’s B-sides are still better than many other’s A-sides. What’s really nice is that the songs are well chosen to mesh better into the story and the lead singing of Seyfried and James is uniformly excellent. Pierce Brosnan gets to sing (no, no, come back!) but it is cleverly low-key and genuinely touching. And as for Celia Imrie, you’re a legend and we forgive you!

It’s also far better at finding both humour and pathos than the original, with the splendid Hugh Skinner exhibiting perfect comic timing and comedian Omid Djalili being very funny (stay to the end of the end-credits for a very funny monkey). National treasure Julie Walters also adds excellent comic content, particularly in a number of dance scenes.

And as for the pathos, if the duet at the finale doesn’t move you to tears you are either made of rock or are immune to being shamelessly manipulated! It’s a well-scripted convergence of grief and joy (I feel Richard Curtis‘s hand in the story here) around one of Abba’s most beautifully tear-jerking songs. I will admit to you – don’t tell anyone else – that I was left in a complete mess… another reason to sit through the end titles!

At the elderly end of the cast list Andy Garcia is magnificent as the South American hotel manager Mr Cienfuegos (you’ll NEVER guess what his first name is!) and Cher (“Moonstruck”) literally rocks up trying hard to steal the show as Sophie’s Vegas superstar grandmother.

Directed and scripted by “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” director Ol Parker (the lucky guy who is married to Thandie Newton!) it drips with cheese again, but who cares when it is so stylishly done. Should you see this? The test is simple: if you hated “Mamma Mia” then you will hate this one; if you loved “Mamma Mia” you will simply adore this one.