Tag Archives: Hugo Weaving

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The-Hobbit-An-Unexpected-Journey-PosterPeter Jackson does find some success with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” but not as a whole, relegating it to the shadows of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Dwarves once lived the good life, enjoying a thriving society, but then in came the dragon Smaug, who claimed Erebor for himself, nestling into their mid-mountain pile of gold for a nap and turning the dwarves into a nomadic people. Years later, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and a band of 13 dwarves decide it’s time to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, but before they can set out on their adventure, they need one more member for their company – a burglar and he must be a smart and stealthy hobbit.

Gandalf recruits the reluctant Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a once daring young hobbit who’s now too set in his ways to venture out of The Shire. However, when Bilbo shocks the group – or most of the group – by opting to tag along, all are thrilled to have a completed team except for their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). War-torn and emotionally wounded, his goal to take back Erebor is all-consuming and he’s prepared to plow through treacherous terrain, battle trolls and orcs, and even the notorious Azog (Manu Bennett) to do it.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Seeing the Film

The-Hobbit-SDCC-PosterIt’s been nine years since the final Lord of the Rings film hit theaters, but the time has finally come to return to Middle-earth. Much will be the same, but there have also been some big changes happening during director Peter Jackson’s 266 days of filming on the Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the novel puts the focus on the character of Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) in LotR. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part of Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, a much younger Bilbo (played by Martin Freeman) is recruited by Gandalf the Grey (again portrayed by Ian McKellen) to join 13 dwarves – including the warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) – for an adventure filled with Goblins, Orcs, Wargs and more.

In honor of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s December 14th debut, Jackson, producer Philippa Boyens, visuals effects supervisor Joe Letteri, cast members Freeman, Armitage, McKellen, Wood and motion-capture actor/second unit director, Andy Serkis (Gollum), came out to discuss the thrill of revisiting the beloved world, changes Lord of the Rings fans can expect and more.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, Interviews

Review: Cloud Atlas

Usually when I catch a movie, I’m busy scribbling down notes, some of which pertain to the film’s plot, just so I’ve got the facts straight when writing the review. However, in the case of “Cloud Atlas,” not only did I want to save my hand all that stress, but thought it’d be interesting to see what stuck after the 164-minute multiple storyline epic without writing a single note or looking at the press notes. No book, no notes, no Googling. This is what I took from “Cloud Atlas.”

We’ve got quite a few characters and storylines in play here. There’s Tom Hanks’ Zachary, a man living in a village, fighting off a vicious enemy tribe while assisting Halle Berry’s space-age character in her quest to send a call for help to her home planet. In the 1800s, one of Jim Sturgess’ characters befriends an escaped slave while sailing home to his wife. In the early 1900s, Ben Whishaw’s Frobisher goes to work for a famous composer where he gets the inspiration to pen the Cloud Atlas Sextet. In the 1970s, Berry is a journalist who catches wind of a scandal and is chased by a corporation assassin trying to stop her from exposing the story. In the present we get Timothy Cavendish, a man who’s tricked into signing himself into an old age home by his brother. Finally, well into the future, we meet Sonmi, one of many identical robot-like humans who are made to staff a fast food restaurant. They’re designed to sleep in their boxes, wake and go to work, but one day, Sonmi can’t help, but to recognize that she’s got hopes, dreams and feelings.

I can’t believe it, but I think I actually managed to account for every “Cloud Atlas” scenario. Yes, they’re merely simplistic descriptions of the stories, but when you’ve got a total of six narratives within a single film that don’t connect on a literal level and are all playing out simultaneously, it’s a wonder how someone can keep track of them all after a single viewing. And perhaps that goes to show that writer-directors Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski did achieve a degree of success with their unusual methods.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

So far, so good for The Avengers this summer. Thor’s a pretty cool guy and now it’s Captain America to show off what he’s got. Sure, he comes with the superhero standards – buff body, noble intentions and a sleek costume – but other than that, he’s nothing more than a poster boy for Marvel movies. Steve Rogers makes for a better propaganda symbol than superhero.

Chris Evans is Steve Rogers, a Brooklyn native desperate to serve his country. Sadly, his intense determination isn’t enough to make up for his slight stature and asthma, amongst other physical deficits, and his enlistment application is stamped with a big red F, time and time again. It isn’t until Steve crosses paths with Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) that he finally gets the chance to prove himself, well, an enhanced version of himself. Erskine straps Steve to some high tech contraption, pumps him full of glowing blue fluid and so Captain America is born.

Meanwhile, Hitler is building the ultimate weapon for himself, or so he thinks. The Nazi regime funnels resources into their deep science division, Hydra, in hopes that the unit’s leader, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), will deliver a power the Allies cannot defeat. Problem is, Schmidt is obsessed with some sort of otherworldly power, a power his cohorts don’t believe in. When Hitler attempts to shut Hydra down, Schmidt, or Red Skull, is ready to take the reigns and conquer the world for himself. The only one who can stop him? Guess who.

Click here to read more.

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

Review: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Zack Snyder is clearly a master of visuals, but look at 300 and Watchmen. The minimal plot of 300 was completely overshadowed by the masterful imagery and while those unfamiliar with the source material couldn’t quite understand Watchmen, there was no denying that the film was downright mesmerizing. Sadly, it looks as though Snyder has fallen into a similar trap with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. The film looks gorgeous, but unfortunately it’s also quite evident that he attempted to cram three books into just one film. The story itself is sloppy.

Based on the first three books of Kathryn Lasky’s series, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole follows the adventures of a young owl named Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess). All his life he’s enjoyed hearing his father’s (Hugo Weaving) stories about the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a group of owls dedicated to keeping peace throughout the owl kingdom. However, his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) views his father’s stories as just that, tall tales. One day, while practicing a pre-flying technique called branching, both Soren and Kludd fall to the ground, a nightmare of a place for owlets. But before the creatures down below can get a hold of them, something else does, something far worse, the Pure Ones.

The Pure Ones take the brothers back to their lair where they enslave young owls, forcing some to work and others to train to become warriors. Kludd is instantly seen as a potential fighter, but when Soren attempts to defend a tiny elf owl, Gylfie (Emily Barclay), Soren is punished and assigned to be a picker, a worker that must pick through pellets to find special “flecks.” Eventually Gylfie and Soren see an opportunity to escape and take it and that’s when the real adventure begins. Their only hope of freeing the other owlets and stopping whatever scheme the Pure Ones have in the works is to find the Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Review: The Wolfman

The Wolfman has everything you’d expect: a furry man-beast, gallons of blood, a few stray organs, ominous characters and howling at the moon. Top all of that off with a stellar cast, effective score and mesmerizing set design and you think you’d have a masterpiece. You could have the finest ingredients in the world, throw them in a bowl and still burn the final product into uneatable char. Director Joe Johnston collected all of the prestigious components, tossed them in the pot and hoped for the best. Oops. Looks like Johnston forgot to set the timer, because his final product is totally undercooked.

Upon receiving a desperate letter from his brother’s fiancée Gwen (Emily Blunt), Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) feels compelled to return home to Blackmoor, England. After Lawrence is informed that his brother is no longer missing, but his body has been found torn to pieces, he sets out to find the beast responsible. Sure enough, while on the hunt, Lawrence is bitten by the mysterious creature ultimately turning him into the monster himself.

High anticipation gives the first 30 minutes a significant energy boost, but once this false suspense wears off, The Wolfman is just plain old boring. Johnston has noble intentions, but never achieves that coveted connection between the audience and the film. Not only does Lawrence suffer from childhood woes, he’s plagued by a curse that turns him into the wolfman at every full moon and goes on murderous rampages killing innocent people. But, you know what? Who really cares?

Del Toro would have nailed his role if he didn’t mumble every damn line. He spends so much of the film walking around muttering that by the time he shows a hint of emotion it’s too off-putting to appreciate its meaning. Hopkins doesn’t do much to assist his co-star. But at least Hopkins is kind enough to give his murmuring a more ominous tone to break up the monotony. Making matters worse, a significant portion of the film’s emotional impact comes from the father-son relationship. Del Toro and Hopkins’ weak performances make this significant element detached.

Del Toro’s inability to express passion doesn’t stop there; he manages to turn the relationship between Lawrence and Gwen into a wholly one-sided connection. Blunt barely has to utter a word to portray the appropriate sensation, making her dialogue exponentially more effective. The other shining star is Hugo Weaving. His character, Inspector Abberline, is largely neglected and lacks depth, but Weaving successfully turns him into a sinister and sarcastic officer making him both unnerving and oddly amusing.

What somewhat saves The Wolfman from a bloated and vain script, is a handful of exhilarating action sequences. The massacre scenes are filled with buckets of gore and cheap thrills. Desperation to keep up with the lightning fast wolfman creates a high-tension situation. Knowing that the beast will ultimately descend upon his prey, tearing the individual to shreds, maintains a constant sense of alarm. The best of the bunch is the scene highlighted in the film’s trailer during which Lawrence is strapped to a chair as he mutates. This is Johnston’s shining moment for he actually nails every shot creating an utterly terrifying experience.

Sadly, that’s the film’s sole flawless portion. It’s almost as though Johnston knew what he wanted to accomplish, but never got the job done. The pieces are there, but they’re neither depicted nor assembled properly rendering the entire thing completely feeble. The legend of the wolfman is supposed to be a haunting concept capable of inflicting a hefty dose of terror guaranteed to keep you awake at night. The Wolfman is a mere spectacle of that legend with minimal depth and zero authenticity.

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews