Archives for posts with tag: Amy Adams

Grade B

Twelve alien spacecraft hover over various parts of Earth, their intentions unknown, their language unknown.  An expert on language (played by Amy Adams) and a physicist (played by Jeremy Renner) are tasked by the U.S. military to interpret what the aliens inside one spacecraft are saying.  It is a monumental task, but it has to be done as fast as possible because the entire world is on edge.  Fear is quickly taking hold of many people, some of whom have the power to start a war with the alien visitors.  If the “Arrival” of the aliens is meant to bring peace and friendship to humans, then it must be quickly confirmed before itchy trigger fingers causes an intergalactic war.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Arrival” is the scene when the aliens are introduced.  Let’s just say if I was there, I’d either run screaming like a Wayans brother or start crying like Matt Damon.

“Arrival” moves slowly, methodically, allowing the audience to soak in everything they hear and see.  Although many characters are in this movie, almost all of the focus is on Adams and Renner, making “Arrival” feel more personal.  The flashback sequences of Adams and her daughter adds a dreamy but highly relevant layer to the story which gives a nice surprise twist near the end of  the movie.

— M

Grade A

Manny’s Movie Musings: the theatrical cut has already been reviewed by me, so this is just a supplementary.  The Ultimate Edition of “B v S” adds over 30 minutes of footage to the theatrical cut, giving the movie more depth and answering some questions which many viewers had the first time around.  Questions such as why did the black villager blame Superman for the dozens of deaths in her village in Africa; and why Superman couldn’t see the bomb that was hidden in the motorized wheelchair.  Bottom line, a movie which I thought was good has become better with Snyder’s cut; and it’s good enough for me to buy it on Blu-ray disc when the price is right.

— M

Grade B

In the realm of comic book characters, no match-up is more famous and argued over than Batman versus Superman.  Director Zack Snyder’s interpretation of this fight between two of the most famous comic book heroes is…good.  That’s a compliment, right?  Sort of.  For a movie that costs about $250 million (plus the cost of film prints and the shipping of these prints, and advertising expenses), this had better be a great movie.  So in one sense, it is a success because it made a lot of money — and will continue to do so — but in another sense it is a failure because it didn’t live up to its hype nor potential.

With a running time of about 2 1/2 hours, much is crammed into this movie — way too much, actually.  I’ll give you a quick rundown on this bloated movie.  The “introduction” of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) is a rehash of the ending of “Man Of Steel,” where Metropolis undergoes a severe renovation thanks to Cavill’s fight with General Zod and his henchmen and one henchwoman.  Of course, mere mortals die by the thousands.  Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, sees the destruction and deaths firsthand; and from that moment on, he sees Cavill as an alien who is too powerful and cannot be trusted to use his powers always for good.   Thus starts Affleck’s plan to fight and kill Cavill before Cavill has the chance to destroy Earth should he have a bad day.  Oh, and there’s the story about Wonderwoman, a weird version of Lex Luthor which was like a mix of The Joker/The Riddler, a mutant abomination called Doomsday, etc., etc.  As I said, bloated.

But “Batman v Superman” does deliver on the goods, which is the fight between these heroes.  Loosely adapted from the mini-series comic books “The Dark Knight Returns,” the fight between Affleck and Cavill is amazing, and will surely have every comic book fan of Batman and Superman salivating and grinning.  It’s the rest of the movie that has audiences sharply divided: half say it was boring and nonsensical, the other half say it was good, albeit far from perfect.

What do I say?  Yes, many parts of this movie was slow, but I never found it boring.  They were needed to tell the story, to build up the characters and their motivations.  In fact, scenes that showed Affleck’s and Cavill’s human side (the best and worst parts of us) were some of my favorite scenes.  It’s how “B v S” made me feel that was the most important to me; and this movie made me feel the anger, sadness, jealousy, rage, confusion, fear, love, friendship, trust, and hope that the characters in “B v S” felt.  This is the true appeal of this movie, because without it, we just have two guys hitting each other while wearing outfits that would look fabulous in a gay pride parade.

Third place for my memorable moments category of this movie is the scene when Wonderwoman (played by Gal Gadot) looks at files of “metahumans” and sees Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.  Justice League, here we come!

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cavill and Affleck finally start their fight with each other.  Unfortunately, it starts off comically as Cavill taps Affleck and Affleck gets thrown like a beetle getting flicked by someone’s finger.

First place for my memorable, movie moments of “Batman v Superman” is **SPOILER ALERT** the scene when Batman is about to kill Superman with a kryptonite pointed spear.  Superman, barely able to talk, begs Batman to save Martha, Martha being Superman’s mother.  Batman thinks Superman is referring to Martha Wayne, who is Batman’s dead mother.  When Batman finally realizes whom Superman is speaking of, he sees the human side of Superman.  Instead of viewing him as a dangerous alien, Batman now sees Superman as a good son desperate to save his mom, the way Batman always wished he could save his mom — and dad — from that tragic night when he was a boy.  And just like that, the Dawn of Justice begins.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has its flaws, yes; but the emotional points of the movie hit hard and true.  And the fight between Batman and Superman…that glorious fight that comic book fans have only seen in cartoons and comics…it is a dream come true.

— M

Mark Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, a real life prizefighter back in the 1980s who had dreams of becoming a champion.  The life of a professional boxer is grueling; and for Wahlberg, it is made worse by a washed-out, boxer brother (played by Christian Bale) who is addicted to crack, and a mother/manager who sometimes doesn’t have Wahlberg’s best interests in mind.  Enter Amy Adams, who plays Wahlberg’s new girlfriend, and persona non grata to Wahlberg’s mother and cadre of sisters, further adding more unwanted drama and distractions to Wahlberg.  Adams seems to be one of the few straight arrows that can steer Wahlberg toward his dream of becoming a champion; but his family is always close by, threatening to destroy everything that Wahlberg has worked hard for.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Fighter” is the scene when Bale is being arrested and beaten after impersonating a police officer, robbing people, and assaulting police officers.  Wahlberg intervenes, and he is held down and his left hand is deliberately broken by a cop; and then he’s arrested.  Ouch.

The runner-up for my memorable moments of this movie is a scene when Wahlberg is on his first date with Adams.  After they walk out of the movie theater, Adams asks why Wahlberg would take her to a movie that he clearly wasn’t interested in, and in a town where no one knew them.  Is there a wife or girlfriend he’s hiding?  Wahlberg quietly tells Adams that he told everyone in their hometown he would win the boxing match he had a few days ago.  Tired of letting his family and friends down, and obviously embarrassed, Wahlberg just wanted to avoid facing those people.  This is the moment when I wanted this guy to win.  I’ve been down like that a few times, so that scene got to me.

Amazing performances by Bale and Adams, and another good showing for Wahlberg, help make “The Fighter” a must see for boxing movie fans.  There are many elements here that many viewers can relate to: a loving but dysfunctional family; the bond between brothers; addiction; working hard to make something meaningful out of one’s life; and finding love and letting that love make you a better and stronger person.  Congratulations to director David O. Russell for another outstanding job.

— M

Director Zack Snyder — director of “300” and “Watchmen” — tackles the story of Superman, and he does it so well that Snyder should be a defensive lineman.   Of course, a movie’s success and quality depends upon more than just the director, and “Man of Steel” has the talented cast and screenwriter that helped this movie to be a hit.

“Man of Steel” takes us from the birth of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) all the way to when Cavill wears the famous red and blue suit, accepting his role as Earth’s protector.  But the story is told in a non-linear way, meaning there are lots of flashbacks to key moments of Cavill’s life as a boy, a teen, and a young man.   I believe the reason Snyder did this was to move the story along at a faster pace, without sacrificing important elements of the backstory.   But what is sacrificed is the wonder we feel as we watch Cavill go through an awkward and emotionally painful childhood, the emotions in him — and in us — building up if  we were to see him grow up in a linear way, from a scared boy to a confident superhero.  Jumping around in the storyline, as “Man of Steel” does, takes away a lot of that wonder and emotional buildup.   Watch “Superman” after you watch “Man of Steel,” and I’m sure you will have a stronger connection with Superman in the 1978 movie.

That said, this is still a very good movie.  I’ve got $10 waiting to buy this when it comes out on BD for that price (yeah, I know, it’ll be a while before that happens, but I can wait).   Superman purists may be upset about a few things, such as: the lack of red briefs in Superman’s suit, there is no kryptonite (at least in this first movie), Cavill has a beard, and Perry White is played by a black guy (Laurence Fishburne).  Well, there’s no point in rebooting the Superman story if you’re just going to leave everything the same.   Whatever changes Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer made to the Superman story, they do not significantly alter what we know of the Superman world.  Watch and see for yourself.

And should you do that, you will see a Krypton that is grittier, like a “Star Wars” planet where large beasts roam the skies with spaceships.  You will see Cavill aimlessly going from job to job, travelling all over the world as he figures out his purpose and place on Earth, waiting for the right time when he can reveal himself to the world and hope that he will be accepted.  And you will see Michael Shannon — who plays Kryptonian General Zod — seek and find Cavill, not to kill him, but to ask for his help to create a new Krypton, founded upon the destruction of Earth.

And speaking of Shannon, one of my memorable, movie moments of “Man of Steel” is the scene when Shannon passionately explains to Cavill why Shannon does what he does.  Shannon was raised to be a soldier; his sole purpose is to protect Krypton and its inhabitants, by any means necessary.  And by extension, he has the obligation to find a new world to terraform into a new Krypton for the last remaining Kryptonians who still live, including the unborn, Kryptonian babies that are harbored in Cavill’s cells.  “What!” you yell out.  “What was that?”  That’s right, Spartacus, you heard me.  And some guy took a vial of Cavill’s blood.  Where that vial is, we don’t know.  But I think it will be used somehow in the next 2 sequels.

Now, my most memorable, movie moment of “Man of Steel” is the scene when Kevin Costner (who plays Cavill’s human father) finds himself on the path of a tornado.  SPOILER ALERT here.  Costner had already instructed Cavill and Diane Lane (who plays Cavill’s human mother) to seek shelter under an overpass as Costner helps others who are in harm’s way.  Costner has no time to escape as the tornado is upon him.  He looks at Cavill, and puts his hand out signaling Cavill to not use his powers to save him, because that would mean exposing Cavill’s superhuman abilities to the whole world, as there are many witnesses around.   We see Costner quickly swallowed up by the twister, and he is gone.  Why did Costner sacrifice his life in order to keep his son’s secret?  Because he felt the world wasn’t ready — as well as his son — for the upheaval that the revelation would bring.

Screw that.  If I had the powers of Superman, no way in hell I would allow my father to die in front of me when I could easily save him.  Damn the world and its small-mindedness, its fears and its prejudices.  The world would just have to deal with me being an alien with powers to destroy the Earth.  Deal with it.  And if you can’t…well, what are you going to do about it?

M

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