Tag Archives: Christoph Waltz

The Three Musketeers – Review

6 Sep

There have been more versions of Alexander Dumas’ classic book that I can really even believe. Critics go for the 1973 version of The Three Musketeers, but I grew up with the 1993 Disney version, so I have a special kind of love for that one. Why not take another shot at it though? It seems to be quite popular nowadays to take a classic novel or story and blow it up with craziness and special effects. With a name like Paul W.S. Anderson in the director’s chair, it seemed like this version of The Three Musketeers was doomed, and I was more than ready to hate it with every fiber of my being, but the truth is, it isn’t as bad as you might think.

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D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) is a young man with the sole dream of becoming a musketeer for King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox). Upon arriving in Paris, he soon meets three of the most famous musketeers: Athos (Matthew McFadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans). They accept him as one of their own, but regret to inform him that the musketeers have been disbanded by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), who is seeking to take the throne from the king with the help of Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). The Three Musketeers and their newest member soon learn of this nefarious plot and decide that it is solely up to them to protect the king and stop France from going to war with England.

Like I said, I was so ready to watch this movie and hate every bit of it. In the beginning, I really was not enjoying it at all. The acting was pretty bad and nothing was really jumping out or engaging me in any way. Between a quarter of the way to the half way mark things of interest actually start happening and continue up until the end of the movie. I use the term “of interest” pretty loosely. I’m pretty much saying I started to get entertained. This movie isn’t really good in terms of depth and character, but as much as it really pains me to say it, I had some fun.

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I really need to say that this version of The Three Musketeers is completely different than any other version that exists. Take the original story and then mix in a bunch of steampunk technology, and you get this movie. This is what really sold the movie to me, in my opinion. I love steampunk style and it was a pretty interesting choice to incorporate it into this classic story. It also gave everyone a lot of room to tweak the story. There’s a really fun aerial battle involving ships that are part zeppelins and part clipper ships. Is this anyway in the original Dumas book? No way, but as far as entertainment goes, I was having so much fun watching this play out onscreen.

So the special effects and swashbuckling action are all well and good, but that really doesn’t excuse a lot of the negativity that I actually recognized in this movie. First of all, the movie just up and ends faster than you even have time to blink. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I didn’t feel like the resolution had what it takes to really wrap up a movie. Also, there were some bits of acting that were just God awful. From the uninspired to the over the top acting, it hit the entire spectrum. Christoph Waltz was great as the Cardinal and the only other actor who seemed to really be enjoying his part was Ray Stevenson as Porthos. The other musketeers weren’t memorable at all. Orlando Bloom was pretty fun to watch, even though it’s kinda hard taking him too seriously as a villain.

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Don’t go into The Three Musketeers expecting anything that resembles the Alexander Dumas novel. The characters are there, but everything else is pretty much its own thing. This isn’t a good movie in the objective sense. It’s full of bad acting, silly story contrivances, and an ending that doesn’t really wrap things up. But, the action was over the top and flashy enough that it kept my attention for most of the time. The good thing is that this movie never took itself too seriously. It always had a light hearted attitude and a sense of self awareness. There were even some small historical quirks that made me chuckle. All in all, it’s not great, nor is it really good, but it provided me with a silly afternoon escape.

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Django Unchained – Review

1 Jan

Quentin Tarantino has made a name for himself as being one of the most bizarrely creative film makers of our age. His genre bending films have combined all sorts of styles from samurai films to war dramas, but all of them have what I like to call the Tarantino Twist. He takes the genres we all know so well and tun them on their heads to make them entirely his own. With Django Unchained, he takes on the spaghetti western.

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Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave on his way to a plantation when all of a sudden he is saved by a wandering bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Together, the two become an infamous bounty hunting team, until Django once again focuses his gaze on his most important goal: finding his wife (Kerry Washington) and freeing her. Schultz finds her at one of the most known plantations in all the South run by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and the two men hatch a plan to get onto his plantation and get her to safety.

From the get go, this feels like a Tarantino movie and I was immediately ready for the insanity that I knew I was about to experience. From beginning to end, Django Unchained rarely slows down. This doesn’t mean that it’s full of non stop violence and action, but the dialogue is just as intense as any of the bloody shoot outs. This is typical of any Tarantino movie, and I couldn’t help but get sucked into the thickly layered dialogue only to be shocked back into reality by a sudden explosion of gunfire.

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One thing I really need to point out is that this is a very long movie, and it really didn’t need to be. There is definitely a big story that Tarantino is trying to tell that takes place in one of the worst times of American history, but I’m surprised that it was stretched out so long. The last twenty minutes of the movie absolutely, positively did not need to be there. There were a couple different times where I said to myself, “This has to be the end of the movie.” I was wrong. It kept going and going, but these scenes that felt tacked on didn’t have the intensity that the rest of the movie had making it feel very unnecessary.

While this very long and unnecessary ending doesn’t feel too great, I can’t help but love this movie because of all that happens before it and the outstanding characters portrayed with out of this world performances. Jamie Foxx is adequate as Django, but nowhere near steals the show. Waltz shows once again that he is the master of line delivery making each of his lines sound important and necessary. DiCaprio is insanity incarnate as Calvin Candie and he plays it just as he should. Finally, Samuel L. Jackson will piss you off as a character, but you can’t help but dig the performance. The make up and physical acting he does is great.

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Django Unchained was everything I hoped it would be even though it doesn’t seem to end. The characters and dialogue are some of Tarantino’s best creations and the violence will have viewers laughing harder than they may have expected. While I don’t think it tops Inglourious Basterds, which I consider Tarantino’s masterpiece, I will say that it’s an exceptional piece of work by this now legendary writer/director. You definitely should not miss out on Django Unchained.

The Green Hornet – Review

30 Apr

In typical conversation about hero and villain lore, people generally tend to talk about characters like Superman, Spider-man, or Captain America. I’ve even been guilty of this. But who do you know is an avid fan of the Green Hornet? Not many, if any, I would bet. So when this character was being revitalized for the modern day big screen, I thought it was a great idea, although I didn’t really know anything about the character. Was I disappointed?

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is an irresponsible, spoiled brat of a multimillionaire publisher of The Daily Sentinel, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). However, when James dies of mysterious  circumstances, Britt is now left in charge of his father’s media empire. After he and his father’s best employee, Kato (Jay Chou), save a couple from a group of thugs, they both decide to fight crime by posing as the criminals and using the Daily Sentinel to rise to fame. Meanwhile, the criminal underworld is being shook by the violence of crime lord Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who may prove to be the end of Britt and Kato.

The Green Hornet really plays with the line between and action and a comedy. To ask yourself, “Is this an action or a comedy?” would prove to be difficult. There is plenty of comedy to be found here, but when the action picks up, it really plays like a flu fledged action/comic book film.

The reactions towards this movie, both critically and audiences, are heavily mixed. It really seems like you either love this film, or you hate it. Either you don’t think it’s funny at all, or you think it’s hysterical. I thought this film was good, laughed along the whole time, and got really into the action scenes, especially when Michael Gondry’s surreal style made itself evident. Unfortunately some of the jokes did fall on their face. There were times when I laughed at something, but it turned out that the joke wasn’t even over yet. Some were just stretched out too long, which is surprising considering Seth Rogen co-wrote The Green Hornet and is obviously very talented when it comes to comedy.

Christoph Waltz is the scene stealer as Benjamin Chudnofsky, who appears to be one of the most insecure villains to ever grace the screen. Waltz plays up the insecurities to feed the sadism of the character, and in turn creates a surprisingly good villain for a “superhero” action/comedy.

Another minor fault that befalls this movie is the length. Clocking in at almost two hours, the formulaic comedic plot drags the more action packed plot down in the middle. The comedy saves the movie, fortunately, making me laugh and helping me to forget that I was getting a little bore with the story. After a brief time of being dull, the third act picks up with unimaginable intensity, with instances that I would rank on a list of my favorite action scenes.

In the end, The Green Hornet had its glaring flaws, but the entertainment value is really high. I went into this film expecting a comedy, but I also got a good action film too. I can’t say that The Green Hornet should not be missed, but I can see how a lot of people wouldn’t like it. If you like Seth Rogen and are looking for a fun movie, I’d say check out The Green Hornet.