Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor

Cinema Dispatch: Christopher Robin

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Christopher Robin and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Marc Forster

Disney’s recent attempts to cannibalize its previous properties into live action features have been decidedly mixed, and more so with me than with other critics it seems.  Maleficent was one of the best movies that came out that year, but with The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast following it up… well let’s just say that this latest outing isn’t coming out with the highest of expectations from me.  Still, there’s a lot of talent involved and like Maleficent it’s not a simple remake of another film; rather it’s a reimagining of the material to fit with modern sensibilities and current societal issues.  That may sound pretentious, but kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for and if Disney wants to make something that’s at least SOMEWHAT challenging for its core demographics, I’m sure not gonna stop them from trying!  Does this story about a grown Christopher Robin manage to get us to the heart of what made Winnie the Pooh such a timeless classic, or is this movie just as cynical and jaded as the man they’re telling the story of?  Let’s find out!!

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is a young boy who spends many afternoons playing the Hundred Acre woods with his friends Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl (Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Sara Sheen, and Toby Jones) and of course, Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings as well).  However, these idyllic summer days must ultimately come to an end as life has a way of pushing you away from childish things and he heads off to live his life; going to boarding school, dealing with loss, fighting in World War 2, and eventually marrying the love of his life Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and having a child they name Madeline (Bronte Carmichael).  All this time however, The Hundred Acre Woods has managed to go on with him; albeit a bit more gloomy from time to time with Pooh still waiting to see if his best friend will ever come back.  Well he might have to wait a bit longer as Christopher has to deal with problems at work and with his sniveling boss (Mark Gatiss) who’s forcing him to make ridiculous cuts which could include the jobs of a lot of people if he doesn’t find places to make them elsewhere.  Things come to a head as he’s forced to work over the weekend that he had already scheduled to spend with his family in his childhood home and after even more stress and heartache he finds himself in a small park outside his house… where a familiar bear managed to somehow wander into.  Will Winnie the Pooh manage to help Christopher Robin find a modicum of peace in his life?  Can Christopher learn what’s REALLY important in life before he loses everything?  Just how much honey does Pooh need to eat!?  He doesn’t even have a digestive system!!

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“I can read your mind.”     “You can!?”     “Yes.  You’re thinking of giving me more honey.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios

Directed by Bill Condon

So Maleficent was good, as were the two Alice in Wonderland movies (WHAT!?  THEY ARE!!), but what exactly is Disney’s end goal in trying to burn through their entire catalog in search of reigniting nostalgic fans to spend money on these stories once again?  Sure, Mulan seems like a good idea, but they’ve got plans for live action adaptations of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and even a Dumbo movie that’s been in development for almost three years now!  Before all that though, we’ve got this remake of the classic 1991 film which seems to be the most… shall we say FAITHFUL, of the bunch so far as the trailers seem to imply that it’s basically shot for shot.  Then again, they did bring Bill Condon on hand to direct who’s work includes Dream Girls and Chicago, as well as the ONE decent Twilight movie (*cough* Breaking Dawn Part 2 *cough*), so maybe there’s a bit more inspiration and creative flourish on hand than what we’ve been lead to believe from the marketing.  Is this the yet another success for the Mouse House and the new direction they’re taking with their non-Marvel and Non-Star Wars films, or is this just a lazy cash grab for a studio that can do much better?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is… well it’s Beauty and the Beast.  Do you NEED me to tell you what it’s about?  Ugh… fine.  There once was a prince (Dan Stevens) who was total jerk.  He rejected a beggar woman at his door which seems to be standard protocol in the Aristocracy, but this beggar was the one in ten thousand that you do not mess with as she turns out to be an Enchantress who puts a curse on the prince, his castle, and all of his servants.  The prince, who is now a furry, has to find true love before time runs out which is determined by a magic rose slowly dying in his room or else the curse will be permanent and he will have to live as his fursona for all time!  Now I wouldn’t think that would be TOO bad of an outcome (buff as all hell, no summer heat because the castle is in a perpetual winter, you don’t have to pay your servants anymore), but I guess it’ll do for a redemption arc.  More important than that though is the story of Belle (Emma Watson) herself who is a bright young woman from the local village that can’t wait to live a life of excitement, adventure, and proper bathing habits; none of which she can find as long as she stays there.  The village thinks she’s strange because she can read and stuff which makes her a bit of an outcast, but that doesn’t avert the local hottie Gaston (Luke Evans) from pursuing her with all his M’lady charms; backed up of course by his friend LeFou (Josh Gad) who’s just happy to be spending time with the big lug the same way Smithers finds working with Mr. Burns to be so rewarding!  When disaster strikes and Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) is locked up by The Beast for trespassing on his land, Belle agrees to take his place and stay in the castle… FOREVER!!  Admittedly not the BEST way to start a relationship, but maybe he can learn to stop acting like an uncouth animal from her example and maybe she can finally experience some of that adventure and wonder that has eluded her for so long.  I mean… she’s STILL a prisoner, but it is at least a really nice prison!  Will The Beast learn his lesson about giving poor people food (or was it finding love?) before it’s too late?  What will Belle do now that she’s trapped in a magical castle with talking furniture, and will she find a way to escape her captor?  Does anyone else think Ron Perlman should have been cast in this?  Thirty years later, and he can STILL pull it off!

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Oh don’t pout!  NO ONE is as good as Hellboy!

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Cinema Dispatch: Jane Got a Gun

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Jane Got a Gun and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company

Directed by Gavin O’Connor

January began with Oscar overflow from 2015, and it plans to end with… well not Oscar bait, but something MUCH classier looking than the usual January fare.  We’ve got Academy Award winner Natalie Portman producing this western about a woman making a stand against those who wish to destroy her.  Hell, take off the cowboy hats and replace the pistols with legal briefs and you basically have Erin Brockovich!  Still, if they expected this movie to be any good, they wouldn’t have released it in January.  Then again, we got The Boy in January, and that one turned out to be pretty great.  Could it be that we have ANOTHER January success story on our hands?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins at a small house out in the country which is the homestead of Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) and her young daughter.  Her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) is arriving home after… doing cowboy things, but is in pretty bad shape as he had a run in with the Bishop Boys gang.  He managed to get away by the skin of his teeth, but the Bishops’ aren’t about to let him escape after what he and Jane had done to them in the past.  It won’t take them too long to find their house, and with Bill out of commission Jane must prepare for what happens next.  He drops off their daughter at a friend’s house before seeking out Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) who was her fiancée at one point, but all that changed some time ago in a backstory that we are drip fed throughout the movie.  The sad bastard has been drinking himself to death since finding out that Jane had married someone else, but he eventually agrees to help her fend off the bad guys for some money, though it’s clearly an attempt by him to get back in her good graces.  Armed with a couple of guns, some dynamite, and a few tricks that Dan picked up in the Civil War, the two of them prepare for the attack by the Bishop Gang led by John Bishop himself (Ewan McGregor).  Not only that, but they finally have a chance to discuss what had happened between them all those years ago which could lead to some unexpected revelations for the both of them.  Oh, and Bill’s hanging around there somewhere in the back; slowly dying from his multiple gunshot wounds.  Will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to stay alive, or will this uneasy love triangle be the death of them long before the Bishops get there?  Will there be very reasonable explanations for Jane’s actions that Dan should have PROBABLY guessed about instead of sulking for the last few years?  Did anyone manage to sit through this entire movie without passing out from boredom?

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“Just hit the target.”     “Okay.  I got this.”     *Bang*     “Hold on.”     *Bang*     “Hold on.”     *Bang*     “hold on, wait.  I got it.”     *Bang*     “Hold on.”     “Ugh…”

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