Entries tagged with “Morgan Freeman”.


I have somehow missed ‘Now You See Me‘, a very entertaining movie directed by when it was released four years ago. Luckily, it’s one of those movies that do not lose their appeal that fast, and then it’s summer time, so the right time for fun and entertaining films. The only detail that seems overcome by time in this film is the usage of phones phones with geo-positioning systems.As smartphones took over the market, and applications as Google Maps became ubiquitous, the cops using keyboard based not-so-smart mobile phones seems to have happened twenty and not four years back. It’s kind of a lesson for film-makers which may find more and more difficult coping with the pace of progress of our smart gadgets. Maybe the sequel avoids this mistake.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1670345

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1670345

 

Now You See Me‘ combines two genres – the big robbery and the magicians movies, with more emphasize on the later. ‘The closer you look, the less you see’ is the key saying of the film which tells the story of four magicians with different specializations brought together in a team that combines huge magician shows a la David Copperfield with bank robberies. They are supported by a finance tycoon (), followed by a former magician () whose pastime is exposing on TV the tricks and frauds of magicians, and have of course all the FBI and Interpol on their tracks. The roles of manipulators and manipulated, suspects and innocents change all the time, and as in a good magic show we are never sure what we exactly see on screen.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

The story may have a few holes that cannot be filled even by magic, but the convention works well, and is well supported by the actors. Watching and is always a delight in this kind of roles that they enjoy playing in this epoch of their careers. The rest of the team does a good job as well, with special mentions for  and . ‘Now You See Me‘ is a film to enjoy, like a good show with magicians.

 

The character played by    in  London Has Fallen (who happens to be on this screen the vice-president of the USA) says at one moment about the master-terrorist that plans the 9/11 like events described in this film: ‘This man has killed more people than the plague.” This is actually true about the film as well. It’s an action thriller with a pace of bombings, gun fights, and other means of having people killed that exceeds by at least one degree of magnitude everything that you have recently seen on screens.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3300542/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3300542/

 

The film starts with a targeted assassination. It’s a wedding taking place somewhere in the Orient (maybe Pakistan). The whole family is gathered, father and sons for the wedding of the daughter when the guided bomb explodes. The targeted person was the master terrorist Aamir Barkawi (played by an Israeli actor expert in such roles - ). He survives, but many collateral victims including his daughter die. Two years later he takes revenge by staging a high profile terror attack in London which practically liquidates almost all the leadership of the free world. The stake is however even higher – the execution on live TV in ISIS style of the president of the United States. Of course, the plan will fail, but many people will die before the 95 minutes of screening end.

 

(video source KinoCheck International)

 

The targeted assassination is the only hint about the possible reasons of the attacks, and even this is some how trivializing, as terror has deeper and darker roots. It is not this film that will clarify any of these, as the goal of Iranian-born director and of the authors of the script was just to create patriotic American entertainment around the events. On this specific track they did succeed, as the pace is alert, the action keeps interest high for the fans of the genre, all provided that you accept the premises of the film. Some of the effects are spectacular, London never looked so much in ruin since the blitz. Acting is efficient within its limited scope borders, with  wasting (again) his huge talent, and and competing on the number of terrorist shot dead and on the squareness of their respective chins.

Action thrillers of this kind were riding high in the 1980s with folks like enjoying their moments of glory. Two things have happened since then: special effects highly improved and terror has become part of the daily news reality and part of life (to say so) in the big cities of the world. Some may doubt action thrillers about terror (be they as well made as this film is) are still entertaining. Those folks should leave any hope – Angel Has Fallen is announced for 2018!

I liked many things in ‘Oblivion‘, actually more than I expected. I am no fan of computer games, certainly not of these that are dominated by machine guns and laser guns, by cars races and space-ships races – and there are plenty of those in the film directed by . I disliked many of the films that bring to screen heroes and action inspired by comics or graphical novels, and ‘Oblivion‘ is based on one written by the director. And I am not too sympathetic to the action heroes roles that picks almost exclusively lately, the main reason being that by doing this he buries in the past an excellent actor (hopefully just puts him to freeze). Despite all these wrong starting points, I liked a lot (but not all) in this movie.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483013/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483013/

 

The story conceived by director, script writer and games creator happens in an uncertain future. The world as we know it ended in 2017. Earth came under attack, Moon was destroyed and the nuclear weapons of Armageddon were used in self defense. Mankind won the war but lost the planet Earth now inhabitable, and will soon be moving to a new home, one of the satellites of Jupiter. It’s only that almost nothing of what we see in the first 15 to 30 minutes of the film is what viewers are actually made to believe. ‘Oblivion‘ starts like a very standard comics-inspired film, and as we got used to its world, something happens that is quite unusual in routine movies of its genre. Characters start to develop, they learn about themselves, they ask questions about their own identity. Eventually the movie will turn into the action thriller that it was advertised to be, but this will happen in a smart manner, and the heroes end by being something very different from our initial guesses.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

A few words about acting. and are two names that do not need any introduction. Cruise gets more opportunities for an interesting role and deals with them honorably. Freeman has a much drier part and cannot make too much to enrich it. The real surprise is , not only fit to the action role, not only looking good, but also acting appropriately in a key role.

There are two interesting aspects in which ‘Oblivion‘ breaks the rules of the genre and helps being more than just another adaptation of a graphical novel. One aspect is that the viewers discover together with the heroes that the world where the action is located is something very different from what they thought it is. This complete change in their systems of reference and values doubles with a story line that has clear ecological and political references to the present, although the action takes place in a not very immediate future. The dangers of the new technologies like AI and cloning when they fall into the wrong hands are clearly articulated. The second aspect is that the graphics fit well the idea of the two intersecting and interchanging worlds. In the beginning the film has a very computer graphics game look which describes at perfection the apparently ordered world. Later the border between the artificial and idyllic worlds and the complex realities of the future begin to blur, we see the ‘monsters’ and realize that they may not be what they seem to be. There is also a political saying about a world where drones play such a central place from fighting the wars of the humans to protecting and saving their lives. ‘Oblivion‘ has many quantities that make if different from the crowd and is definitely worth a try.

 

Lucy was supposed to be a film I should highly enjoy. I love not only for the way she looks but also for daring to undertake complex and different roles that put at work her acting talent. Science fiction is one of the genres I like most. I liked everything that  does … actually everything he did until this film. In my opinion ‘Lucy’ is a low for both Scarlett and Luc as well. It’s not terribly bad, as they are too good artists and professionals to fall too low, but it’s highly unsatisfying, well below expectations.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2872732/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2872732/

 

Readers of popular science magazines, or watchers of the similar TV shows should be already familiar with the scientific pretext of the film. The complex and sophisticated computing machine which is our brain is barely used, maybe at 10% of its capacity. If somehow (maybe using a blue powder drug!) the brain efficiency was used at a higher percentage the respective individual would get capabilities that are well beyond average to the point that they may seem superhuman to the other mortals. This is what happens to the hero in ‘Lucy’ but the problem is that the combination of sexy techno-thriller does not work well with the pseudo-science in the film. Talking about the meaning of life and universality of time in-between car chases and the destruction of the French Academy by bullets and mortars is some kind of fun, but not much more.

 

(video source MOVIES Coming Soon)

 

When talking about many other films made in Hollywood I have often complained about their length. It’s seldom today to find a feature film that does not reach 120 minutes of projection, and in many cases American (and not only American) productions exceed the 150 threshold, without any consistent gains in complexity or quality, but adding time resistance to the qualities required from viewers and justifying to some extent the additional ticket prices. ‘Lucy’ is only 85 minutes long credits included and this may be one of the reasons it feels like hurried and superficial, with the main ideas exposed like in a crash sciences lesson and all the characters with the exception of the main hero reduced to uni-dimensional sketches, without any character development. It’s just a pity to see the talent of such fine actors like  or wasted in such a way. The becoming of a genius and superhuman is described in a manner that is neither too original, nor too spectacular, and the smart dialogs between the beauty who became a genius and the scientist whose role seems mostly to be amazed without being able to help are just deprived of any emotion. There is one sentence about losing the capability to feel which if developed could have added a very different dimension to the film, but it was lost in the rush. When time becomes a dimension to be transgressed the journey looks more like an adult version of the ‘Night at the Museum’ which may run in the neighboring cinema hall. And that cinematographic metaphor reminding a famous ceiling painting? is it parody?

‘Lucy’ has many good premises and wastes most of them.

Gods do not seem to aim too high nowadays, not in the cinema industry anyway. Olympus Has Fallen is one of the relatively successful action movies of 2013. Audiences did not rush in masses but did not avoid it either, critics were not enthusiastic but did not ‘destroy’ it, and it paid back the production costs even before the release of the DVDs and TV runs.  So its a good study case about what I do not like in Hollywood action movies :-)

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2302755/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2302755/

 

So, the (American) nation is again under attack in ‘Olympus …’. North Korean are the hard-to-dispute nowadays bad guys, and we know how bad they are from the news, and this film will not tell us more about why they are bad than the news. This time they take the White House which seems to have achieved in the last few years the status of one of the most blown-up buildings in the world (in movies). In the semi-ruins of the White House a semi-renegaded secret agent fights empty-handed to bring back the Universe in balance.  He will succeed. The only surprising thing is that his name is not Jack Bauer.

 

(video source JoBlo.com)

 

Morgan Freeman seems quite embarrassed to be involved with this film, as the acting President at times of trouble. The rest of the acting stuff (including Gerald Butler and Aaron Eckhart) does the decent job they are paid for, but cannot go much higher or deeper than TV series acting. The dialog does not help them too much, and I especially disliked the naturalistic reaction that the leaders of the nation are shown to take when facing physical danger. Cursing is not the best manner of showing dignity in my opinion. Director Anoine Fuqua is actually doing well his job of bringing action to screen, but with the script at hand he cannot make of ‘Olympus …’ more than a rough action movie in which the events happen to take place in the White House.

 

When actors who played spies in action movies get older they have an option. They can start playing roles of retired spies in action movies. At least the best and the luckiest of them. Same is true for westerns or for science-fiction movies, BTW.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1245526/

 

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman are all among the good and lucky one. Some of them may have not even crossed the legal age of retirement in these times when the governments push the pensions limit higher for reasons I would not detail here. What counts is that all the members of this carre of aces are in good shape and have fun making us have fun in this story where the renegade and rogue agents are the active ones the the institution one should trust less than any other around is the government. Conspiracy is not a theory, it’s a fact of life whose credibility is not placed under question for one second in the script of the film directed by Robert Schwentke. who film after film builds to himself a name of one of the best action film directors in Hollywood and I expect him being trusted with one of more of the never-ending James Bond series entries sometimes in the future.

 

(video source trailers)

 

Did I forget somebody? Oh, yes – I should mention Richard Dreyfuss, one of the actors I mostly admired about three decades ago and who seemed to get lost into politics, to the point that I almost did not recognize him here in the retired villain role (sure, villains also retire). One could comment that only Willis is within his usual casting limits, while actors like Malkovich, Mirren, Freeman, or Dreyfuss could do more interesting things and certainly no Oscar was waiting for them behind the corner for the roles in RED, but, hey, this is entertainment, this is an action comedy, one of the genres Hollywood knows how to do well, the guys and the gal are having fun doing it, so get your popcorn and have some fun yourselves watching it.