Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black Death

Black Death is a hidden gem, as others have put it, and far from the Hollywood slop it so sharply contrasts. It could not be much more true to its' name, which is quite possibly the bleakest title a film can be given, while it feels genuine to its period backdrop. Everything here feels true to its' nature. And there is no excess of special effects or melodrama, or anything watered down, and instead the story is full of substance. 

In 1348, the young monk Osmund finds himself conflicted at the films start, as his secret love Avrill is fleeing their plague-ridden city and provides him the choice to meet her in the marshland. Upon asking for a sign for guidance, his monastery is visited by Ulrich and his party of Christian fundamentalists. On a mission to a village beyond the marsh in search of a necromancer and any other witches to stamp out, he asks for a guide and young Osmund obliges. Thus begins an ugly and gritty crusade across an English countryside that is riddled with fear, intolerance, and the Black Death. 

The struggle is personal as well as conceptual. For Osmund it is personal, as his love for Avrill causes him to question his own faith due to the charms and tricks of the pagans (huge plot twists underly this theme)and the brutality of the band he guides. And then the bigger picture, the struggle between the Christians and the pagans, is tastefully portrayed with an objective narrative. In the film, there are cruelties and acts of brutality inflicted from both belief systems. This was perhaps my favorite element to the movie. While personally I rooted for the pagans against the tyranny of the church, I found that my brother and I could argue over who was the demonized side, and the writing offered no kind of resolution. That the oppression of the church and the clandestine nature of the pagans only fueled one another is probably truer to history than textbooks will ever show, this movie portrays the idea brilliantly (despite the dark feel). 

If you think the movie sounds interesting, and are interested in it for plot, substance,and a gratifying experience, check this one out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Green Lantern

All I can say is that I was extremely impressed with this film. Based on the trailers, I was expecting this film to be mediocre, I was wrong. In my opinion, for a superhero film to work, it all narrows down to special effects and the acting. For this movie, both are great. This movie may not have been as good as X-men: First Class or The Dark Knight, but it is an above average superhero movie. Ryan Reynolds is good as always and Mark Strong delivered a strong performance as well. This movie is heavy on special effects and they are SPECTACULAR. The dialogue is nothing new but don't expect it to be excellent given the fact that its a superhero movie. Overall, this movie was very well done and I liked it a whole lot more than I thought it would. Hopefully this may be the first of many Green Lantern movies because this has the potential to become a great movie franchise.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Fox can breath easy again because I think it's safe to say the even the extreme fanboys will be putting down their pitchforks and torches and smile after seeing this amazing film. I know for a fact that general audiences are going to love this movie. I know some fans can be irrational and hold on to their hate because they expect certain things they read in their books but I can't seeing anyone being that irrational when faced with a result that delivers what First Class manages to deliver. It honestly is a genre-defining movie on a level with any comic based film that has come before it. Everything in this movie is exceedingly better than what Fox delivered in their last two efforts with this franchise. Going back to the beginning and re-hiring the guy that brought us those films was a splendid idea. The acting here is superb and the dialogue is rich. Every character feels absolutely believable no matter what abilities they have on display. No cartoonish villains or cheese in sight, every side of the issue is presented by people who believe they are the ones who are in the right and the underlying message of tolerance and bigotry only add to the depth of this film. If not a genre-defining movie than maybe it redefines the comic book genre. It restores the sense of epic adventure and grand-scale storytelling that we saw in X2. In fact, it perfectly complements that great film and probably surpasses it.

This film is to X2 what Godfather 2 was to the Godfather. Seriously, First Class is an exceptional "flashback" look that links the best of the X-Men trilogy to the past. Instead of DeNiro playing young Vito Corleone we get James McAvoy as young Charles Xavier. Marlon Brando and Patrick Stewart made their respective characters popular but both were more fleshed out by incredible younger talent. I'm not placing the X-Men film itself on a par with the Godfather but both have become legendary in their particular genre. I am, however, saying McAvoy has a bright future as a complex and talented actor. Just like the young cast of Godfather 2 was legendary, the young cast of First Class has many great days and projects ahead of them.

Love this entire cast but Michael Fassbender delivers the best performance with an amazing presence and command of the screen. Everyone was extraordinary. What many expected indeed happens. By that I mean every scene that Fassbender and McAvoy are in together absolutely sing. It won't surprise anyone to know that Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt and Jennifer Lawrence are superb in supporting roles but Nicholas Hoult did stunning work as the Beast and deserves some love as well. January Jones and Rose Byrne are hot as can be but aren't just simple eye candy. Sure, the story is compelling and the action is amazing but the performances elevate this movie far above a common summer flick.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I'm sorry everyone! I got off to summer and just didn't look back. Look forward to some new posts though in the coming weeks. There are some great movies coming out this summer, and some that have already come out!

Again, I'm sorry for the silence, but look for some great material in the up coming weeks. We have some great movies and some fantastic music festivals this summer. Some of the highlights being The Green Lantern, Captain America, and Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2. I'll also be heading to Knoxville, TN to see Framing Hanley at The Valarium in July.