Cinema Dispatch: Artemis Fowl

ARTEMISFOWLCD0

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

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

I don’t think I’ve seen a GOOD new movie since the theaters closed up which is probably no coincidence as any studio who thinks their film will earn MONEY will probably want to wait until theaters are open again to take their chances on a strong weekend box office.  It certainly hasn’t improved my general outlook in this very challenging time, but Disney has a chance to lift the spirits of the world by giving us a fantastic adventure film that the whole family can enjoy!  Is this the YA cash cow that Disney’s been looking for!?  Let’s find out!!

Artemis Fowl Jr (Ferdia Shaw) is the son of famed… artifact collector or something, Artemis Fowl Sr (Clin Farrell); both of whom live a happy little life in a giant coastal mansion with their not-butler Domovi Butler (Nonso Anozie).  The only problem is that dear old dad has a habit of jetting off to another adventure in artifact “collecting” which leaves little Artite with little more to do than win dozens of awards at school and be a pompous jerk about it because on top of being super-rich he’s also a super-genius with a bad attitude.  Everything changes however when one of his father’s trips ends with his yacht sinking in the ocean and somehow it also comes out that he’s actually a master thief.  In reality, he’s been captured by an EVIL fairy and tells little Artie to give them the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY, or else his dad is going to die.  Oh yeah, fairies and other magical stuff are in this movie which comes in about as abruptly as that sentence did and little Artie gets over the shocking revelation just as quickly.  It turns out the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY is some artifact from the land of the fairies which is located underground (glad we never ran into any of THOSE cities amongst all the fracking, am I right?) and Magic Cop Julius Root (Judi Dench) is adamant about finding it.  One of her subordinates Officer Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) has a personal stake in finding this artifact so she goes rogue and gets… let’s say ENTANGLED with Little Artie’s situation and through further complications, the ENTIRE Magic Army is on Artie Jr’s doorstop and are looking to drag him out of there with the help of a giant dwarf named Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad) who they need for… reasons I suppose.  Using only his wits, the help of his non-butler, and even the help of his non-butler’s niece who is ALSO a super genius and kung-fu expert, he must find a way to locate the artifact, get the Magic po-po off his lawn, and try to wrangle an entire novel’s worth of world-building and character development into less than ninety minutes of screen time.  Can Artie Jr outsmart the Magic Cops with this heightened intellect and penchant for slick suits?  What is the mysterious evil fairy planning, and what will happen if the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY were to fall into their hands?  Is this grab bag of every other fantasy movie even CLOSE to the sum of its blatantly lifted parts!?

ARTEMISFOWLCD1
“We are NOT gonna win the group costume contest if we aren’t all on the same page!”     “Why are you looking at ME?  SHE’S the one who came as The Wasp!”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Artemis Fowl”

Cinema Dispatch: Murder on the Orient Express

MOTOECD0

Murder on the Orient Express and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

I’m hardly what you’d call “well read” as most of my cultural education comes from television and movies followed by people TALKING about television and movies, so while I’m aware that there’s a book out there called Murder on the Orient Express written by someone whose work I should really get around to reading, I don’t actually know what the story is about nor who the killer is which I GUESS would make me the target audience for a slick Hollywood retelling of the story starring some of the most beloved character actors out there… and Johnny Depp.  I’m certainly excited to see this as I do love me a good mystery, and seeing a movie is ALMOST as good as reading a book… right?  Anyway, does Kenneth Branagh manage to successfully bring the Agatha Christie classic to the silver screen once again, or does the brilliance of her work get lost in the midst of his vision for the material?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the famed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) solving yet another world class mystery in the heart of Jerusalem and is now ready to take a much deserved vacation to recharge his mystery solving batteries!  As luck would have it, he runs into an old friend named Bouc (Tom Bateman) who gets him a ticket on the one and only Orient Express which Bouc is the director of.  Sadly for Poirot’s plans of leisure, not only does the train get stuck in an avalanche but one of the passengers (Johnny Depp) comes down with a bad case of MURDER!  With only some minor cajoling from Bouc, Poirot begins to investigate The Case of the Stabbed Dude by looking into the pasts of all the other passengers (Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Marwan Kenzari, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, and Miranda Raison) to see if there’s anything to connect one of them to the guy sleeping in a pool of his own blood.  Will Poirot uncover the criminal mastermind who was unfortunately enough to be sharing a train ride with the world’s greatest detective?  Just who was the man who got viciously murdered, and what could have motivated someone to commit such an act?  Wait… isn’t it a bit TOO convenient that the train JUST SO HAPPENED to get stuck after a murder is committed!?

MOTOECD1
LOOK OUT, POIROT!  IT WAS THE TRAIN ALL ALONG!!

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Murder on the Orient Express”

Cinema Dispatch: Dunkirk

DUNKIRKCD0

Dunkirk and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by Christopher Nolan

I never got around to seeing Interstellar despite having the blu ray somewhere around here, so my last Christopher Nolan film was The Dark Knight Rises (a film that I’m not particularly fond off) which came even longer ago than Green Lantern.  We’ve had an entire DCCU build up in the dude’s wake since I’ve last seen one his movies, and he’s coming back to theaters with the most classic of prestige genres; the World War II epic!  Hey, it worked for Spielberg!  Twice in fact!  Even if I wasn’t a huge fan of his last Batman movie (and from what I hear, most people were rather put off by Interstellar), I’m still glad to see this guy continue to make films, and while it’s a bit of cliché now for RESPECTABLE film makers to make a film about how much Nazis suck, I’m sure the guy is more than capable of putting his own spin on it that will make the movie a standout of the year!  Does Nolan return with a decisive victory, or is this a tortuous war of attrition?  Let’s find out!!

So the movie is about the Dunkirk Evacuation where a whole bunch of Allied soldiers were trying to escape from France as it was slowly being overtaken by the Nazis.  Their only hope is to get a whole bunch of boats to France, load them all up, and ferry them across the English Channel to safety, but of course it’s not as easy as that considering how many submarines and airplanes the Nazis have in the area.  Things get so desperate that Churchill eventually calls for English citizens with boats to become volunteers and try to make the dangerous trek across the Channel to pick up however many soldiers they can carry; hoping the Nazis will ignore them for being civilian ships.  In the movie, we’ve got Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) on the beach with everyone else waiting for the boats, Mr Dawson (Mark Rylance) as one of the boaters taking his yacht along with his son and a local boy (Tom Glynn-Carney and Barry Keoghan) to help the war effort, and a Royal Air Force pilot (Tom Hardy) doing what he can to keep the skies clear despite being rather low on fuel.  Will our heroes manage to make it out of this evacuation alive?  Does Christopher Nolan manage to capture the magnitude of this historical event through his spectacular technical chops?  If they needed a ride so badly, why didn’t they just call Uber!?  Wait, do they have Uber for boats yet?

DUNKIRKCD1
“Does anybody know any good knock-knock jokes?”     “Knock Knock.”     “Who’s there?”     “Shut up.”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Dunkirk”