Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter: The Blitzkrieg Button

Mild Spoilers.

Episode 4 finally came, but I'm not at all satisfied. I only want more!

The Blitzkrieg Button saw the return of Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, and he was the highlight that saved this episode from mediocrity. Howard brought a lot of great humor to the episode, and his dynamic with Peggy (Hayley Atwell) is every bit as fun as hers and Jarvis's (James D'Arcy). I am loving the fuller fleshing-out of these characters I liked so well in Captain America.

Peggy and Howard do some catching up.

Otherwise, this episode started to stagnate. The plot is basically that Howard comes, annoys Peggy to no end, and then leaves. She gets one thing out of the "deal" that will certainly be used later, but really, everything that happened could have easily fit into half an episode, instead of a whole.

They stretched it out by including all the investigating that Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is doing, something we want him to do well in because he's a good character, but also we don't, because the end of that line is Peggy and Jarvis's treacherous antics. I like Sousa alright, but not as much as our hero trio, so all that screen time paired with so little interesting character development felt slightly like a waste of time, and plot-wise, a stall for a later episode.

The secret meeting is blown when Howard recognizes the man behind the newspaper! Who could it be?!

Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) also got to waste and stall for some time, but it seems more worth it, since we know nothing about his character, at this point any screen time at all helps develop the character. Apparently, he's a little tricksy like Coulson, which is funny. Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) had two purposes this time; to one-up Sousa, and, to say out loud, in the simplest, plainest terms possible (for the really dense viewers because there's no way anyone has missed it) Peggy's monkey; that she's kidding herself trying to find respect in a work environment dominated by men. He says it to her face in a totally unnecessary scene that left me tired, and feeling sorry for Peggy that they couldn't come up with a better plight for her to overcome, or at least put an interesting twist on the one they have.

The Hero Trio in action!

In fact Peggy gets sadly little to do this time, especially on the action front; babysitting Howard is a full-time job, and those scenes were definitely the best. Peggy being exasperated is very amusing. Jarvis also gets nudged out a bit, by Howard (understandable), but not as I feared he would be, so that was a lovely surprise. Those three, the Hero Trio, are friends in real-life, and I can only imagine that is what makes them come across the screen with so much contagious fun, easily topping the list of reasons to love this show.

This great show, which has too short a run to waste time setting up for the next week, and therefore had better increase the cool content from here on out. I'll be expecting it!

Episodes 1 and 2 review.

Episode 3 review.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Godzilla

Spoilers throughout.

Oh boy... here we go again. Godzilla is back, and literally bigger than ever. Let the mayhem commence!

Obviously, the one point of this movie was to show off the giant creature with some giant special effects, but it had a surprisingly not-stupid plot, which took its sweet time in setting up, and building up. This effectively accomplished two goals: to make the film long without too much effort or plot direction, and to build suspense for the monster, both of which I appreciated.

Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins do science and discuss important plot points in thick accents.

I was also surprised to find that, in spite of a sneakily misleading trailer inhabited by only one creature, this flick featured more than that advertized and famed one; in fact, there were three. Another good surprise, as I enjoyed the two over-sized praying mantises who feed off of radiation even more than our titular hero. They had better motivation, they looked way cooler, and in movies like these, I root for the villain (okay, to a certain extent). These guys make their appearance earlier too, and honestly that was the best part of the film; afterwards there was a drooping decline all the way to the end. There were scattered "wow" moments throughout of course, like the very cool skydiving scene, but that was only about thirty seconds of awesomeness, and it was the longest of the blips of awesome.

Father and son visit the ol' homestead-turned-nuclear-wasteland-but-sike-not-really, aka, District 13.

The decline was actually related (and related) to the death of Bryan Cranston's character, Joe. I did not see that coming, and can only think that it was necessary so that we wouldn't question why Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character, Joe's son Ford, had to step up and be the main character (main human character that is). Taylor-Johnson wasn't a terrible lead, but he really didn't have much to do since the film is really constantly lead by GCI coolness, and compared to the beginning when Cranston effortlessly dominated the screen, (no monsters to compete with did make it easier) it was a drop down to the son's level. Still, I wasn't watching to critique acting abilities so I enjoyed his leading performance as well as the film allowed. And he did do a nice job taking care of the little kid separated from his parents-- aww! I also enjoyed Elizabeth Olsen's character of Ford's wife, and amused myself trying to imagine how they'll be as the new additions to The Avengers team.

Godzilla, evil giant mantises, and nuclear bombs are just a warm-up for Ultron!

But enough of the humans; here, the bigger the character is, the bigger the character is -- and they fed the monster admirably. And not a little amusingly. Forget the mindless monster who just wants to trample skyscrapers; this Godzilla is arguably more heroic than Ford. If that look he gives Ford as he's disappearing into the dust cloud from the building that just fell on top of him wasn't a perfectly rendered look of a tragic hero, I don't know what is. Also, what other reason can there be for his doggedly hunting down the Mantises if he doesn't even eat them, but after destroying them, just plops majestically back into his watery dwelling, like the Lone Ranger riding off into the sunset? No -- he's no mindless beast; he's a roaring guardian; a trampling protector; a dinosaur knight. Teaching us the animal kingdom's favorite lesson -- that we shouldn't pollute our planet!

Rawr.

But even our big-headed, little-armed friend from the Jurassic era plays second fiddle when it comes to either exploring his massive squishy heart or impressing us with his massive scaled muscles and vocal features. It's always about the looks, isn't it? Yep, this film is all about those expensive effects, and even I -- I, who firmly believe that effects are only used well if they're used to enhance the meaningful content -- have to admit that it was the greatest part of this film. But you know what? It wasn't as great as they would like us to believe. I couldn't help but notice the very interesting fact that most of the monster action was contained in nightfall -- a good time for monster battles to take place to be sure, but also a good time to make a hard job easier on animators too, yes? And the one time we see Godzilla fully in the daytime, it is clear that darkness is his best lighting.

But whatever, I sure did have a lot of fun watching it all!

This was hands down the best movie that rides on GCI action that I have ever seen; it is the king! But king of disaster flicks and Michael Bay isn't exactly what that big, heroic guy would have heroically, stoically, and monstrously hoped for. Humans. When will we never learn? Oh well -- until the day we do, we will enjoy ourselves with toppling buildings and rampaging monsters!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Endeavour - Series 2

This review is spoiler-free.

Click here for my review of Series 1.

Series two of this fantastic, rich series has come and gone a long time now, and I write this review after my second viewing -- Endeavour always requires a second viewing you know, and, as far as I'm aware, a third. So it's convenient that there are only four episodes per season/series.

Endeavour Morse is a Detective Constable in Oxford, England in the sixties. He loves opera music and crossword puzzles. He's young but serious, good looking but not good at being social, quiet but passionate, highly educated but scorns academics, and extremely smart -- but no one thinks he is. He sees patterns and connections where anyone else would see only coincidences and unimportant details.

DI Thursday and DC Morse. Hero and sidekick. Or sidekick and hero...?

Endeavour is a slowly paced, intricate mystery show that you have to pay attention to in order to understand -- but -- I have never found it at all boring, and your patience and attention is always awarded a huge payoff. I could spend lots of time talking about great plot lines and writing, fantastic performances, and great production overall (and it would all be true) but the one thing that defines this show, and makes it amazing and worth watching -- no matter how many times you've re-watched Sherlock, or how many Agatha Christie adaptations, Foyle's War, or countless "Inspector" shows you've seen -- and that is Shaun Evans' Morse.

There's always a smart, unique and thoughtful mystery for your enjoyment, but really it's about character -- and Morse's character is just extraordinary. Britain has no shortage of great mystery shows, and neither does it have a shortage of tortured souls to inhabit them as their heroes, but none are written or portrayed quite so well as Endeavour. He never falls into his kind's typical rut of being constantly depressed, but is determinedly hopeful. He takes the trials and abuse life deals to him with more grace than required and selflessly concentrates on other people's plights instead of his own. And Shaun Evans plays the part magnificently, with detailed subtlety and honesty.

DC Endeavour Morse is high on my list of favorite detectives.

Episode 1 of the series, Trove, finds Morse just recovered from the gunshot wound and death of his father from the end of the last series. He passes his physical exam, and returns to his usual duties as DI Thursday's (Roger Allam) bagman, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's back to normal. He is anxious and determined to prove himself, so when he sees the possibility of a connection between a robbery, an apparent suicide, and a disappearance of a young lady he jumps blindly at the chance to win back a good work reputation and make up for lost time on becoming a Sergeant. But the cases are more complicated than he realizes and no one -- not even Thursday -- is impressed with his wild speculations.

Episode 2, Nocturne, is hands down my favorite of the four -- it's got a haunting mystery! And the style of the show is an ideal match for the creepy suspense added for the ghost story. It hardly had to try to be scary at all; it just naturally is whenever the story dictates. Investigating a death at a museum leads Morse to an all-girls summer boarding school where many years before a gruesome multiple homicide was committed, the perpetrator of which is sometimes still seen roaming the hallways of the huge house. Morse sees himself reflected in one of the girls there, an observant and smart, but picked-on girl, and becomes personally invested in her well-being. A sure formula for a great episode.

The longer you look, the creepier it gets...

Sway, the third episode, is the serial killer episode -- always a winner. (As Sherlock says, "there's always something to look forward to!") In the first series the serial killer ep was my favorite, but this time it doesn't quite have the same effect since nothing that happens to make the killings personal to Morse. He is a little distracted from the case when his growing romance with his neighbor hits a bump. The show focuses it character developing powers instead on Thursday, but in a way that I would have preferred they not meddled with. The serial killer mystery was the main highlight of this episode, with plenty of looking forward.

The last episode, Neverland gets personal again, and not just for Morse, when he discovers faint connections between a reporter's death, a runaway boy, and a escaped convict, that lead to a conspiracy the seems to come from within the police department itself. This episode heaps on the character growth, for Morse and Thursday, and for Morse's regular antagonist DS Jakes, (Jack Laskey) and good friend PC Strange (Sean Rigby). The episode itself is very complicated, and winds up sharp, but for a while in the middle it slows more than usual. It was saving up for the climax I suppose, because it is unexpectedly big and dramatic for a jarring contrast.

Strange, Morse, Jakes, Thursday, and Chief Superintendent Bright (Anton Lesser).

Much like its protagonist, this show mostly keeps to itself, does its job, does it well, and does it with heart. It may not get much attention, but it can easily keep up with the best of its genre, defying the expectations of unsuspecting viewers and seasoned fans alike.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter: Time and Tide

Mild spoilers.

Time and tide waits for no man -- or woman -- but fortunately, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) doesn't need it to wait; she is always arrives on time... unless it's for her increasingly belittling job at the SSR. She has much more interesting things to do with her new pal, and partner in crime, (and crime fighting) like trying to find out how Howard Stark's secret weapons were stolen to help along their recovery.

Peggy Carter fighting crime.

For episode three of the eight part series, the mystery aspect is kicked up a notch -- now that the introduction has been sufficiently made -- and it is intrigue worthy of Marvel. Perhaps it was because of the first two episodes being aired back to back, making them meld into one, but this ep also seemed to be more concise; it knew what it wanted to do, and didn't dawdle in getting it done.

The episode's highlight was in the department of character development, as I imagine it will often be, starting with a nice background story for the before mentioned pal and partner, Mr. Jarvis (James D'Arcy) as his helping out Peggy lands him in the need of a little help as well. I enjoyed the glimpse of his darker side, but still my favorite aspect of him remains to be his perfectly delivered punch lines, which in spite of the added drama to the character are of no less quantity or quality than before. His "American accent" was just great.

Whoever was taking these photos definitely likes Agent Thompson more than Jarvis, and I'm extremely disappointed in them.

Of course Peggy is the heroine of this story, and even though she already has miles more development than any other character here, she still got plenty to chew on, and remains the best feature of this show. Her budding friendship with Jarvis is my personal favorite feature however; they're scenes together never fail to be the best and most fun. The way she gets Jarvis out of trouble was very smart (on her part and the writers) -- it gave credit to the disrespect she receives at the office, which I very much appreciated. Though I'm still not approving of this extreme depiction of the 40's female plight, at least now it's believable and has some ground to stand on in Peggy's case.

She can hold her own in a fight, but not too unrealistically so. Jarvis to the rescue!

Other than being given reasons to not appreciate Peggy's work, her co-workers still don't have much development to their name. Granted, Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) had more from the start and is now accruing interest. The others have settled into their rather shallow characters a bit now though, and I still hold out hope that they'll be able to dig deeper in the future, especially considering as certain interesting event that occurs at the end of the show -- a clear spark of potential is seen!

Also on the other subject that bothered me last week, the futuristic and dangerous gadgets of Stark's do get another appearance, but -- perhaps because I was expecting it this time and not setting my hopes on a fully retro show -- it didn't bother me much at all. When I'm not expecting something bothersome is when it really gets to me. This time, it was Peggy's waitress friend and next door neighbor Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca), who seemed like a reasonable, down-to-earth kind of gal at first, but here is offended at the drop of a hat, and very inconsiderate and not at all understanding. I'm sure she'll be back to normal next week.

Peggy came out of the situation well; we see she's gracious enough to right a wrong that really wasn't her fault.

I found myself wishing that it were another two-hour night of vintage spy fun and excitement, but then kindly reminded myself that it's good that it's spread out over seven weeks -- just before discovering the existence of a two-week break in between this episode and the next! Now I must kindly (with some difficulty) remind myself that "anticipation is half the fun." Either way, this is the most fun show on TV.

If you haven't read it, here is my review for the first two episodes. And catch the next episode on Jan 27th, 9/8c on ABC!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter: Pilot; Bridge and Tunnel

Mild spoilers.

It's 1946, the war is over, and Agent Peggy Carter has a job at the SSR (Scientific Strategic Reserve) in New York, but, much like during the war, her superiors don't really see her full potential (think less "agent," more "secretary"). But Peggy still can't stay out of mischief, so when her war buddy Howard Stark becomes a fugitive after someone steals his most dangerous inventions and starts selling them, she can't resist jumping into the danger to help him out.

It is a most welcome return for the lovely, smart, and confident Peggy Carter, played as well as ever by Hayley Atwell. The character does appear to have changed some since last we saw her, but in no way that is unbelievable. She has actually become more feminine and less closed-off, and it's a nice change from the no-nonsense war-fighting agent. She still has all that sarcasm though.

There she is!

Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark is only an occasional guest-star, but he proves even more than before (if that's possible) that he was, and is, through and through the best choice for Tony's dad. That 40's American accent he does is perfection.

Helping Peggy out, per instructions from Howard, is the Stark family butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy) and in these first two episodes he easily held the position of second main character. His oh-so-proper-quiet-English-gentleman attitude is an amusing match for Peggy's stubbornness and spunk -- much like the computerized JARVIS and Tony; the assistant will suggest politely to the hero "that might be dangerous" and the hero (with a smart quip) will do it anyway. He is also, you won't be surprised to find, the very effective source of much comic relief.

Easily the second coolest character as well.

Peggy's co-agents at the SSR are the people searching for Stark, so none provide much of anything except someone for Peggy to avoid while on her secret endeavors: There's Agent Thompson, (Chad Michael Murray) who is supposed to be sullen and mysterious, but comes across more as shallow, concentrating on his job, how cool he is, and not much else. There's the Chief, Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham) who gets by on even less character because he's the boss, and Agent Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) who's only function is to antagonize Carter. The one truly interesting character of the co-workers is Agent Sousa, (Enver Gjokaj) a desk agent because of a leg injury from the war, and the odd man out -- he is actually friends with Carter and he respects her abilities as an agent... he's also a little bit in love.

She still keeps him in the dark though... for now.

That brings me to this show's bitter harping on Carter not being "respected" as a woman. Besides Stark, Jarvis, and Sousa there are no other men in the entire show -- good guy, villain, or nameless extra -- who treat Peggy or other women with even a hint of politeness. Maybe I exaggerate, but so do they -- normal, regular men are torn down into jerks who can't even act civilly! On the rare occasion when this thread focuses on Peggy does it become interesting, as she is exasperated to figure out how to get back the level of authority she had during the war without using her old trick of punching people.

Because it is the forties, I was looking forward to some old-fashioned mystery-solving with a side of Marvel patented one-liners, but they had to go further than that, and there is tech... too modern tech. The face of Peggy's watch opens a safe; her lipstick knocks out whoever she kisses, and Stark's secret inventions are very space-y, (so far) but the worst of all is the villain's tech -- they have... a... um.... Textwriter -- the baddie types on a typewriter, waits, and a response magically types back. It's powered by a radio transmitter disguised as a razor. I wish I were kidding. But besides those protrusions, the feel of the show is wonderfully vintage. They were even smart enough to use era-appropriate music!

And I'm actually excited for next week's episode, which is more than I can say for most the shows I've been watching recently!

The plot has plenty of potential but the main bulk of this show's fun comes from one place; when it's down to old-fashioned-sleuthing Peggy, armed with her brains, a butler, and a hairpin. Then it is at its best -- a fun, engaging, and semi-superheroed blast from the past. It doesn't quite reach my highest hopes, but thankfully is even further away from my darkest fears. And there's still six episodes left in which to rise or fall... or stay pleasantly in the middle.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Into the Woods

(Mild spoilers throughout -- major spoilers have a warning.)

Into the Woods -- where magic is real, as are monsters and witches and giants, but wishes are the most dangerous of all. Oh, fairytales.

With Frozen, I discovered that I am not a fan of the new trend Disney has started (and convinced the rest of the world to join in on) of taking fairytales and twisting them so hard that the entire point of the tale falls out -- and with Into the Woods, that discovery is given reinforcement.

The Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) cannot have children, and one day a witch, (Meryl Streep) tells them that it's because of her curse. She offers to reverse the curse for them though, telling them to find four things for her; a cape red as blood, a cow white as milk, a slipper pure as gold, and a lock of hair yellow as corn. They set off into the woods to find these things. At the same time there is a little girl who wears a red cape going to visit her grandmother, a boy taking his white cow to be sold, a poor girl named Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) who wants to go to the king's festival, and a girl with long yellow hair who is trapped in a tower with no doors. All these people make a wish -- and then they come true.

The Baker and his Wife -- the two main reasons I wanted to see this movie.

The acting and singing quality can be separated into three categories; people who were good at both, people good at acting, and people good at singing. Although I wouldn't go so far as to say anyone was bad at either.

Topping the "good at both" is Meryl Streep, who does everything she does exceptionally, and does no less here with a superb, lovely voice, and the highest quality acting. Next is James Corden, the hero of the story, and the one I was most interested to see, and he didn't disappoint -- he is goofy but sincere and noble, always at the heart of the story, and has a fine, distinctive voice. The two children of the show, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), not well-known actors, may have been cast more for their voices but they both gave fine performances and belong in this category too.

She probably could have put in half the effort she did, and still have come out on top.

Those better at the acting: With Emily Blunt it's only the greatness of her acting performance that dulls her singing by comparison, but really she's a pro at both. The biggest difference is with Johnny Depp as The Wolf. He is simultaneously creepy and funny, but once he starts to sing you know that he was cast because he's Johnny Depp, and not because he could do his song real justice. The howl at the end was good though! Then there's Chris Pine's Prince Charming. He actually impresses as a Prince who you might imagine might not have much character to work with, but what he lacked vocally was noticeable because of the duet with Prince #2 which was downright hilarious and brilliant, but the difference of skill between the two was noticeable.

This scene was just the best.

Good voices, not-so-very-convincing acting -- Prince #2, Repunzel's Prince (Billy Magnussen) was definitely cast for his vocal talent and good looks way before his acting talent. He is the best vocally out of the whole male cast, and fortunately, doesn't have much to do on the serious acting front, and when he does, it is opposite Repunzel, (Mackenzie Mauzy) who is a good match for him, falling into this category as well. Anna Kendrick only barely wavers towards the singing side -- she makes a fine, but slightly modern feeling Cinderella, with a sweet and gentle personality, and, well, a pitch-perfect kind of voice.

"On the Steps of the Palace" may be my favorite song of the show, and I loved the whole way the scene was done.

The most basic quality of fairytales is the happily ever after, and while I wouldn't say Into the Woods has a bad ending at all, it's more better-than-before-and-bittersweet-for-a-while-after than straight up happily-forever, and some of the characters were worthy of the happy end they were denied. Denied, it seems, simply so we could be taught a lesson or two. (Or slapped in the face for enjoying classic Disney fairytales.) There were a good-sized handful of little morals to this story, (though they were mostly vague or hard to decipher) and interestingly, one was "morality is what you decide it is," which effectively allows us to ignore all the other lessons.

The biggest one was the classic saying, "be careful what you wish for," as all the characters who make a wish are granted it at a great cost. (A cost they are unaware of no less, which goes against fairytale rules itself.) This one doesn't exactly translate to the real world though, since here, wishes to marry a prince don't typically see reality's light. Certainly wishing can distract us from living our lives, and even when they do come true they're often not as fulfilling as we imagined, but not all dreams must be traded for something else we value.

Another quality of the fairytale genre is that the good characters see good in their lives, and the bad, bad, and the line between the two is easily distinguishable. Perhaps it was because of that one "lesson" but the moral and immoral character are all jumbled together and basically all get the same treatment.

About to enter the dangerous Wood of Spoilers!

(Major Spoilers! Next four paragraphs.)

In the case of Cinderella and her Prince, she shouldn't have married him after knowing him three days, (but we already know that, now, don't we Anna?) so you can question her judgment if you like, but what did she ever do to deserve a scoundrel for a husband? She deserved a real Prince Charming. (If you want to destroy the idea of the good Prince, the honorable girl who marries him has to go too -- make one of the ugly stepsisters get him.) Anyway, in the end her reason for leaving him was that she wanted something in between her life at home and her life with him, but that was only to justify the in between she gets -- and it would have been much simpler for her to leave him for his infidelity alone.

And then the case of the Baker, and by association, his Wife -- and yes, she didn't resist very much as the Prince seduced her, but if he didn't meet with an untimely, anticlimactic death-by-giant, then why did she? Her death punished her husband, who, out of all the characters was the most deserving. He deserved his wish and it was the most expensive, and he deserved a happy ending but there was none. Hopeful, yes, and I'm glad for that, but not happy.

Ultimately, the root of my disappointment here it that there was no good example of a truly loving, healthy, romantic relationship here -- the Baker and Wife had the potential, but it was cut off in its tracks before they could pass their test -- what "lesson" are we supposed to learn from this?

Also, if Rapunzel was the Baker's sister, then why did they never get to meet? That plot line was dropped the moment it was brought up. Just a random question.

(End Spoilers)

Now I've said my peace, on to the more technical things.

One unique thing about this film I enjoyed was how much it felt like a theatre show. It was a little unlikely and convenient how characters wandering in the woods could suddenly come upon someone who logically shouldn't have been near them, but I was able to suspend belief because of the stage-like quality. This also allowed my slight disappointment at not seeing Jack in the Giant kingdom or Cinderella at the ball to be excused. And I absolutely loved the way they did the "curtain call" like out of an old 80's film.

Here's a cool tidbit: the ugly stepsister on the left is Lucy Punch, who played the exact same part in Ella Enchanted.

Another neat thing was the return to original Grimm Brothers fairytale form -- occasional gruesomeness and darkness and all. That all only lasted through the first two acts though, and after that, they just had to make it their own and give it a nice twist -- wrench, more like -- and the third act as a result is jarringly different from the rest, and disturbing in a different way. One good thing that lasted through to the end though, was the neat, intricate way the multiple stories were woven together, as if the connections had always belonged that way. This was manifested in the song "Your Fault" which was my favorite part of act 3, as everyone gets their turn of being blamed for the group's situation, and we are reminded of the tiniest little things that connected them.

"Careful the things you say / Children will listen / Careful the things you do / Children will see / And learn" says the song, and it is one of few truths in this story, but unfortunately it failed to take its own advice. Most of its message was just a jumbled, confused mess, but that should be expected from a strictly secular story attempting a morality lesson. The end does see a glimmer of hope, and a generous sprinkling of love and nobility, and on the technical side this was a successful and grand production -- unique, funny and charming, but perhaps not as sincere as it would like us to believe.

I wish...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Upcoming Movie Roundup -- January 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! 2015 promises to be an incredibly exciting year for the movie fan, and it begins in January with... next to nothing.

The most exciting thing in my book is a TV series, so I'll start with that.

Agent Carter
Jan 6th; ABC, 8/7c
It's only a mini-series, with seven or eight parts only, but I'm just as excited for this as I would be for a movie. In fact this is almost better than a movie -- 6 hours instead of 2? Sounds good to me! I suppose it won't be as high quality as a film, but being set in the 40's and not being so typically high-tech as the Marvel movies or Agents of SHIELD, it's quality should ride more on the writing, and that's what I'm holding out hope for. Hayley Atwell's return as Agent Peggy Carter is very welcome, as is Dominic Cooper's as Howard Stark. I'm also looking forward to the addition of the real-life Jarvis, who was the inspiration for Tony Stark's computerized butler. He's being played by James D'Arcy, and even if it were Paul Bettany himself I wouldn't be more approving. This wins all my anticipation points for the month -- here's to hoping it'll be worth it!



Paddington
Jan 16th; PG
I'm confused about this one, because when I first saw the trailer, it annoyed me with it's silliness so much that I quit watching before it was over, but, it currently has a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Is this another classic case of "Terrible Trailer Nearly Ruins Great Movie" or, perhaps it's just a good kiddie movie, and not the kind I'd want to see. I've never even heard of the character before this, so I don't have any sentimental attachment either. The cast that includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, and Ben Whishaw is tempting, and the great reception from the critics sparks curiosity, but I doubt I'll be making plans see this one.




Blackhat
Jan 16th; R
This can be looked at a number of ways, but all I see is an action movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Which is a cool idea of course, but that doesn't mean it'll be worth seeing. The trailer is interesting enough, but my interest rides completely on it's reception.




Still Life
Jan 16th (limited); Unrated
I've only ever seen Eddie Marsan in supporting roles, but based on his scene-stealing performance as Mr. Pancks in Little Dorrit, I think he'd make a great lead, especially in a film like this one. And then there's Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey who is sweet and charming, and suddenly I want to see this movie. With the limited release who knows when a chance will come, but still. Still Life.




Mortdecai
Jan 23rd; Unrated
Oh boy. And I thought the Paddington trailer was annoying! I will be very much surprised if this turns out good, and that's too bad, because typically Paul Bettany and Ewan McGregor automatically make me interested in a movie, and Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow aren't bad either, plus the spy/mystery/comedy genre is sorely underused, but this looks unbearably silly and cheap.




I hope you're all having a fantastic 2015 so far! What are your movie plans for the first month of this promising year?