Tag Archives: Richard E Grant

Cinema Dispatch: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston

It’s not often that Disney just let’s something slide under the radar like this.  Every Marvel movie and Star Wars episode gets a HUGE marketing push (even the comparatively small Solo got more coverage than a lot of other movies), their animated films are almost always guaranteed to be at the top of the box office, even something as out there as A Wrinkle In Time was pretty omnipresent prior to its release.  With this film though it’s like they want to sneak it out as fast as possible which, given what we saw in the trailers, is probably a good call and even more reason for critics like me to make sure it gets it’s turn in the spotlight!  We may love Disney for a lot of things, but they’ve had their share of horrible mistakes and I’m not in a lenient mood this year!  Does this retelling of the classic tale turn out to be a Disney Blunder on the scale of Treasure Planet, or did they simply not know what to do with the greatness they had in front of them?  Let’s find out!!

Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) is the daughter of a wealthy English family who is not having a very good Christmas, mostly due to her mother (Anna Madeley) having died the previous year, and her father (Matthew Macfadyen) is insisting they at least put up appearances and go the Christmas ball as tradition dictates.  Oh and she has a brother and sister (Tom Sweet and Ellie Bamber), but who cares about them.  ANYWAY, Clara goes to the party in a rather dour mood and sees her kindly godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) who makes clockwork novelties and presumably lost one of his eyes when a cuckoo clock got too close, but more importantly he seems to be the only one who understands Clara as she too has an affinity for mechanical devices.  However, there’s one that still eludes her which is a locked mechanical egg that she got as the last gift from her mother, and when Drosselmeyer sees it it’s clear that SOMETHING must be done!  Okay, see if you can follow me on this.  First, he sets up an elaborate gift giving system for the kids where very long strings are tied to a pole in the courtyard with each child’s name on one of the strings, and they have to follow said string to the gift.  Clara’s string apparently winds all through the house which leads to a… magic door I guess that takes her to the fantasy world of THE FOUR REALMS that’s populated by nutcrackers, fairies, and mice.  Well it’s certainly a good thing that none of the other kids mistook her string for theirs, though even if I was dutifully following a string with my name on it, I’d AT LEAST start to question something when it starts snowing and we’re no longer in the middle of the city, but I guess I’m not young enough to get the whimsy of being out in the cold without a jacket.  The string by the way leads to a key which could be the one needed to unlock Clara’s mechanical egg thingy, but alas it is taken by a mouse that runs off into THE FOURTH REALM which is a place of fog, dead trees, and clowns.  After meeting up with a nutcracker solider (Jayden Fowora-Knight) and making a valiant effort to chase after the mouse who took her key, she eventually retreats back to the big castle just outside THE FOURTH REALM where all the rich people are partying, the guardians of the GOOD realms are residing (Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, and Richard E. Grant), and Clara’s mom is apparently still crowned as queen despite being dead for over a year which we soon learn is even LONGER in Fantasy World Time!  So with that, Clara is given the royal treatment but has to take on great responsibility in her mother’s absence to… I guess eradicate THE FOURTH REALM which is so obviously evil while also getting that key back and finally uncovering whatever secrets her mother left in that egg!  Will Clara be able to overcome whatever challenges face her once she goes back into THE FOURTH REALM?  What are the rulers of the other realms planning to do once Clara fulfils her duty, and will she be able to return to her old life?  Is it just me, or did almost NONE of that have to do with The Nutcracker!?

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“And THEN we signed the peace treaty with the dragons of marshmallow mountain which allowed trade ships to travel down the chocolate milk river.”     “uh huh.  That’s nice…”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Patrick Hughes

Okay, so MAYBE Atomic Blonde didn’t turn out to be everything I was hoping for, but that’s not the ONLY move I was looking forward to this year!  Who DOESN’T want to see two of the best action/comedy actors of the modern age bounce off of each other in an over the top buddy shoot’em up!?  That’s at least what we were promised in the trailers, but if there’s one thing that Atomic Blonde (and admittedly lots of other movies) has taught me, it’s that trailers aren’t always the best at telling you what a movie will ACTUALLY be about.  I know; SHOCKING revelation there!  Does the team up between these two titans of Hollywood blockbusters manage to work even better together than they do as individuals, or was this a team up worse than when Pouty Superman fought with Even Poutier Batman for no reason whatsoever?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is a TOP NOTCH bodyguard with his own security company that’s apparently richer than half their clients considering how styling him and his crew are, but his idyllic life of protecting the rich and powerful is abruptly brought to an end when someone he’s supposed to be protecting gets shot right the head by an unknown sniper.  He spends the next few years stewing in his own self-loathing and is stuck protecting losers and drug addicted lawyers as he tries to climb his way back to the top.  An opportunity presents itself though when super hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson) is to be brought before an international court to testify against the Belarusian Dictator (Gary Oldman) who everyone seems to know committed NUMEROUS war crimes, but only Kincaid has the evidence… for some reason.  Michael is given a chance to possibly redeem himself if he can get Darius to The Netherlands in one piece as the Belarusian Dictator is sending out a lot of hired goons to put him in a body bag before he can testify.  That’s not the REAL problem though.  No, what’s REALLY gonna make this the mission from hell is that Darius is a TOTAL asshole who likes to do things dirty which clashes with Michael’s preference of being clean and professional about everything he does.  It’s like The Odd Couple, but with guns and a lot more swearing!  I don’t recall Walter Matthau calling people mother fucker before shooting them in the head!  Can these two get along JUST long enough for Darius to testify and put that dictator behind bars once and for all?  Will Michael finally redeem himself and get his life back on track after delivering Darius to the international authorities, or will he end up shooting him in the head out of sheer frustration before that?  Seriously, does Samuel L Jackson own the rights to the words mother fucker?  He HAS to be getting royalties considering how much he says that!

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“I see you driving round time with the girl I love, and I’m like… MOTHER FUCKER!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Logan

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Logan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by James Mangold

Dude has been playing this character since the turn of the millennium.  It’s no wonder he looks so damn tired in this!  For many people, the first X-Men (as well as Blade in 1998) can be pointed to as the start of the modern superhero genre as a mainstream endeavor instead of the one off success stories like Batman and Superman.  Sure, Superheroes have ALWAYS been a part of the film industry (There only maybe a dozen or so fewer superhero movies made in the nineties as in the decade that followed) but with X-Men it proved that more modern and varied superheroes had a shot at connecting with a wider audience; especially with powerhouse actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman on hand to sell it to them.  I mean say what you will for the X-Men film franchise in general, it’s managed to have a decent amount of staying power with a solid decade lead on the MCU.  For all its ups and downs, it’s stayed pretty popular to this day and that’s double true for Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine.  However, all good things inevitably come to an end, and this movie is here to remind us all of that fact as Hugh Jackman swears this is the last time we will see him in this role.  So is it a proper send off for the role that started a global phenomenon, or has all semblances of life and effort left his franchise a long time ago like it has to the main character in this movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Old Man Logan (Hugh Jackman) barely scraping by as a limo driver who ALWAYS seems to run into assholes wherever he goes.  Maybe those Adamantium claws of his are magnetized to attract douche bags or maybe it’s because he parks his fancy ass car in gang territory.  Either way, he’s living the Max Payne dream of self-loathing, self-medication, and self-assurance that nothing is going to get better no matter what.  At the very least, he IS managing to take care of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who’s stuck with him after some incident about a year ago that no one is too keen to bring up and to make matters worse he seems to have a degenerative brain disease that is making his powers unstable as well as his memories.  With a stable job and the responsibilities of taking care of Charles, somewhat helped by a new friend of theirs named Caliban (Stephen Merchant), he’s at least managing to put off putting an Adamantium bullet in his head from the time being, though I’m pretty sure the OTHER X-Men movie confirmed it WOULDN’T kill him if he did that.  However, if everyone else is still okay with pretending that one didn’t exist, then so am I.  Of course, things can’t stay that way for long as a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters the mix and throws all their lives into chaos.  See, apparently mutants stopped being born a few decades ago, and most of the ones who are still alive have died off for one reason or another.  Laura though is herself a mutant, and not just any mutant to boot.  Her powers are almost exactly that of Logan’s and there are a lot of people that want her dead.  And so the chase is on with Logan reluctantly dragging both Laura and Xavier (Caliban isn’t so lucky) through the United States to find some sort of refuge in Canada from the evil organization hunting them down and to possibly find some shred of redemption for the life that he led.  Can Logan complete this one last mission before finally finding the peace that has eluded him for so long?  Where exactly did this girl come from, and how is she a mutant in a world where they are effectively extinct?  Seriously, does every Dad FigureTM nowadays have to have those beards!?

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It’s not even like he needs to find a razor to shave it!  Even if he cuts himself with his Adamantium claws, it’s not like he wouldn’t heal right away!

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