#connienielsen Tumblr posts

  • doomonfilm
    09.06.2021 - 4 days ago

    Review : Nobody (2021)

    I am happy to report that I was an early passenger on the Bob Odenkirk train.  Since my college days of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I discovered and developed a deep love for Mr. Show with Bob and David, an iconic HBO sketch comedy show unlike any other before it or sense, despite being a whip smart sendup and satire of the genre.  If that’s all that Bob Odenkirk were ever known for, the world would benefit, but like lightning striking twice, Odenkirk showed equal depth in the dramatic realm with his scene stealing portrayal of Saul in the instant classic series Breaking Bad, which later resulted in Better Call Saul, a spinoff show centered around his character.  While Odenkirk is as familiar with the world of film as he is television, he had yet to have a lead role in a blockbuster-level film, but all of that changed when Hardcore Henry creator Ilya Naishuller and John Wick creator Derek Kolstad tapped him for Nobody.

    From the onset, comparisons to films like Death Wish are inevitable, but Nobody stays fresh by ironically infusing elements of films like Taken and John Wick into the classic mixture.  For example, while Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey was an architect driven to vigilante justice by a horrific act of violence against his family, Hutch Mansell fits into the lineage of characters like John Wick and Bryan Mills due to his self-imposed retirement from a role as a living and breathing weapon.  Unlike Wick and Mills, however, Mansell manages to ground himself heavily in a sense of humanity in terms of both character and skill set : where Wick and Mills are always cool, calm, calculated and near infallible in combat, Mansell embraces his doubts, makes errors in judgement, and most importantly, is not bulletproof or impervious to punches and kicks.  Mansell also differs because the initial intrusion into his home merely becomes a stepping stone up a ladder of more and more dangerous foes, while Wick and Mills, for the most part, have very direct line missions.

    Perhaps the most important and surprising aspect of Nobody, in my opinion, is its philosophical nature and its deep examination of humanity.  Mansell stands as an abstract and exploded illustration of how a man must learn to compromise his true nature for the sake of those he loves, is responsible for and protective of, even if this means muting his true nature in order to bring peace to his world.  When the tables turn, a parable is laid out about how one can overcorrect in the name of compensation, and how that can often bring more grief to you than it does satisfaction or fulfillment.  It could be easy to simply paint Mansell as a shell of a man and set him up against Yulian Kuznetsov as a personification of one living his dreams and desires to the maximum level, but each character is given the blessing of complexity and nuance that abstractly mirrors the two in the sense that they play opposite sides of the personal restraint coin in the hopes of finding approval and personal benefit through others.

    Nobody does an immaculate job of combining Naishuller’s knack for intense but realistic action, long takes and cameras that roam the world freely with Kolstad’s ability to build multilayered underground worlds rich with character, nuance and built-in lore.  The film also resembles John Wick in the way that it has vivid flourishes of color to separate the darker, moodier movements of the film.  The editing is kinetic and expressive, managing to capture the mundane aspects of Hutch Mansell’s life and the buildup to his Murphy’s Law-laden showdown without losing its overall tone or momentum.  The film is heavily score-driven with a 1980’s style rock and roll action feel, which plays well against the more classic, timeless choices for soundtrack cues.  The film also manages to balloon outward into a handful of different locations quickly without us losing a sense of  the world that Hutch Mansell inhabits, which runs parallel to the very sparsely doled out information about his past.

    Bob Odenkirk’s ability to play both honest and dark makes him perfect for the role of Hutch Mansell, as his innate human nature shines through in both his unconditional love for his family and his clear-cut ability to inflict damage.  Aleksei Serebryakov serves as a perfect unwilling foil to Odenkirk’s Hutch, with his over the top brashness and flamboyant manner standing as a polar character opposite, and his only similarity being his equal ability to rain damage on all he surveys.  Connie Nielsen, Gage Monroe and Paisley Cadorath all help drive home the impression of Hutch Mansell as a muted husband by displaying bolder character aspects without ever drowning out Odenkirk’s shine.  Christopher Lloyd and Michael Ironside, much like Odenkirk and Serebryakov, display opposite characteristics of strong father figures, with Lloyd’s support and understanding matching Ironside’s disdain and lack of respect.  Ironside’s character display is mirrored and enhanced by the performance of Billy MacLellan, who echoes Ironside with much less nuance.  Rza, Colin Salmon, Araya Mengehsa, Aleksandr Pal, J.P. Manoux, Daniel Bernhardt and many more lend their talents to this incredibly memorable film.

    Nobody is one of those wonderful occurrences where the anticipation of a film is met and exceeded by the experience.  It is wholly fulfilling seeing someone you’ve cheered on for 20-ish years spread their wings and soar, and even more so when the masses recognize the talent and buy in as well.  My only regret is that this film found itself a victim of the COVID-19 wake in the sense that movie theaters have not fully reestablished themselves, so many people will be robbed of the opportunity to see this film on a big screen, at least during the first run.  You can count on the fact, however, that once this film finds its way back to theaters, my money is as good as spent.

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  • adamwatchesmovies
    03.05.2021 - 1 mont ago

    3 Days to Kill (2014)

    Have you ever seen a remake of a French comedy, and felt like something was lost in translation? 3 Days to Kill isn't a remake, but along the way, somebody mislabelled a test tube or forgot to forward a memo. This movie is all over the place.

    Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is an experienced CIA agent who has prioritized his country over his family for years. During a mission to capture an arms dealer named “The Albino” (Tómas Lemarquis), everything goes wrong. The Albino escapes. While getting patched up, Renner learns he only has months to live. While trying to put his final affairs in order, he is approached with a proposal. If he comes back for one more job, the CIA will give him an experimental cure for his cancer and he'll be able to reconnect with his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld).

    If there’s one thing that works in this movie, I’d say it’s the family element. It’s inconsistent, but here and there, seeing Renner babysit his teenage daughter and help her through some “tough” times (the film is set right before her prom) makes for a few nice moments. The same goes for the scenes where the parents begin to rekindle their lost love. They make the stakes feel real. You want him to get the cure so they can be a unit once more.

    Outside of those scenes, 3 Days to Kill is goofy and contrived. At least you can theoretically understand what the idea was most of the time. Renner asking a suspect how much a box of tampons costs or relationship advice while waterboarding them is funny in concept but the execution is cringe-inducing. These types of gags mesh poorly with the cold-blooded murders and even the scene in which Zooey finds herself in a seedy bar that screams "trouble". Other jokes, you just don't get. There's a running where this bicycle keeps turning up. Is it supposed to be funny because no father would assume their sixteen-year-old daughter still has a favorite color? Because seeing a spy on a bike instead of a slick car isn't what we expect?

    These stumbles could've been forgiven if the story was tight. As you might guess 3 Days to Kill takes the easy route too often. Renner is such an idiot. Seeing him repeatedly screw up his get-togethers with his daughter leave you infuriated. If I had to be pulled away from meeting for coffee to shoot some bad guys, I might call and tell her I don't feel well, that I'm going to meet my doctor or something. I’d make up some kind of excuse rather than assume the job will be finished within 15 minutes. While we’re re-writing parts of the movie, can we give some better instructions to Amber Heard? Her CIA agent comes from a completely different movie. She’s a normal person at first, and then every time you see her after, her ridiculousness doubles. First, she’s trying to seduce Renner, then she’s killing people willy-nilly, then she’s having a party by herself in a strip club and dressing like a character from a sleazy Bond movie knock-off. It's not her fault. It's the script by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak. At just a few minutes shy of 2 hours, someone should've made some cuts.

    I’m unsure how to label 3 Days to Kill other than "unmemorable" and "not good". The action sequences vary in quality. Some scenes of hand-to-hand combat are edited in a way that makes it impossible to see what is going on, others are well-executed and thrilling. There are touching moments where the chemistry and sparks between the characters pop off the screen. Others leave you scratching your head, wondering what movie collided with this one. (On DVD, July 8, 2015)

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  • thebestdarngirls
    30.03.2021 - 2 monts ago

    #WW84 and #OurFriendMovie - Review Repost - In Stores Now

    #WW84 and #OurFriendMovie – Review Repost – In Stores Now

    Table of Reviews Wonder Woman 1984 Our Friend Wonder Woman 1984 – Review Wonder Woman 1984 – Budget of $200 million – 2 hours and 31 minutes Click on a vendor to purchase (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer) Blu-rayTM Exclusive Exclusive Exclusive Digital Diana works at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as a senior anthropologist. She sees a woman picking up papers scattered all…

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  • thebestdarngirls
    26.03.2021 - 2 monts ago

    #NobodyMovie - Movie Review

    #NobodyMovie – Movie Review

    Nobody – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 32 minutes Click on a vendor to purchase (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer) Hutch Mansell is a married father of two. He works at his father-in-law, Eddie’s, equipment shop with his brother-in-law, Charlie.  His marriage to his wife, Rebecca, hit a dry patch, and Hutch does the same thing week in and week out.  One night, Hutch couldn’t sleep and checked on his…

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  • peliculasjimbo
    23.03.2021 - 2 monts ago

    Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman y Superman, se unen para hacer frente a Steppenwolf y su señor Darkseid. Tras el fallecimiento de la hija del director Zack Snyder, este dejó inconclusa la película. Josh Whedon tuvo que recortar una gran cantidad de material por órdenes ejecutivas. Ahora llega la buena con 4 horas de cinta, dividido en varios capítulos. Aportando mayor carga en la trama tanto a Flash como Cyborg, bastante olvidados en la versión anterior. #LaLigaDeLaJusticia #HBOMax #ZackSnyder'usticeLeague #SnyderCut #HenryCavill #BenAffleck #GalGadot #RayFisher #JasonMomoa #EzraMiller #CiaráanHinds #AmyAdams #JeremyIrons #DianeLane #ConnieNielsen #JKSimmons #JoeMorton #DCComics #Superman #Batman #Cyborg #WonderWoman #Flash #Aquaman #Pelícuas2021 #CríticaCine #Review #Superhero #Blood https://www.instagram.com/p/CMxOPpRnD_8/?igshid=19isgdowcgyfy

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  • doomonfilm
    19.03.2021 - 2 monts ago

    Review : Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

    At the risk of stepping on anyone’s toes, it’s interesting to see the seeds of entitlement being planted in the ever-evolving dynamic between film production studios and vocal fans.  Pandora’s Box was famously opened when the outrage behind the original character design in the 2020 film Sonic the Hedgehog was widely panned by fans, resulting in Sony taking the character back to the drawing board halfway through production.  After all of the stories surrounding the legendary production and release of the 2018 Justice League film (which was partially directed by Zack Snyder before Joss Whedon stepped in to complete it), the public started clamoring for a cut of the film that was true to Snyder’s original vision.  What seemed like a pipe dream at first become a strong possibility when word began to surface that the newly formed HBOMax streaming service had plans to fulfill these asks, and the fiction became fact at the end of January 2021 when an official announcement was made about the March release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  After months and months of speculation, followed by a short promotional run, the film has finally arrived to HBOMax, and at this point, all that is left is for the fans to digest it and either accept or reject it.

    If nothing else, the film is certainly epic in its scope, slightly more than doubling the runtime of the Joss Whedon offering, which as much of a chore as it can be to focus for that amount of time, is arguably necessary to tell a story of this magnitude.  While the Mother Boxes do resemble the Infinity Stones a bit in terms of being used as a motivational vehicle for Darkseid, the length of time devoted to understanding Batman’s motivations for combining the Justice League (not to mention introductory arcs for Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash) helps take away attention from that fact.  Speaking of a story with multiple heroes, Snyder also manages to handle his league of villains expertly, with a hierarchal balance built via Darkseid as overlord, the previously introduced Steppenwolf as his main lackey, and all other levels of baddie as the ground forces.

    The film does not escape suffering from moments that feel a bit on the indulgent side.  While formal introductions to more than half of the team have not been made yet, the introduction of Aquaman in particular stands out as having a heavy focus despite audiences having yet to find any reason to connect with him.  Breaking the film up into supposed parts is also a hair distracting, especially with the third part kicking into gear with just over one hour passed in a four hour long film.  The parts are also a bit odd in the way that it divides up the already sprawling narrative.  Our character development is a bit all over the place, but that is somewhat fair considering that we are not strangers to Diana or Bruce... we are given an origin story for Cyborg and framing for Barry, but for some reason, we are just dropped into Aquaman’s world as if we are already supposed to be familiar with him (perhaps the expectation was that we would learn more about him in the Aquaman film, which would have been next in line had this film come out when it was scheduled to).  

    It takes a bit of time to get used to Snyder’s choice to present his film in frame rather than scope... if I had to guess, it may be a subtle way to give the viewer a feeling of a comic book frame or graphic novel.  In some ways, the choice to use such a constricted aspect ratio can leave the viewer feeling like they want more from the frame, as the film does shine in terms of its color-grading and use of special effects.  The action sequences are rather breathtaking, and due to the extended runtime, they are allowed a chance to play themselves out fully and not find themselves victim to a need to push the story forward at a higher rate.  At four hours long, the presence of exposition is a given, and while there is a ton of it in this film, there is enough going on visually that the showing feels at least balanced to the telling.  There are some extremely memorable music cues found in the film that smartly either punctuate the feelings a character is holding within or comment on the action taking place.

    Ben Affleck mixes equal parts determination and regret in his attempt to redeem Batman’s choices from the previous film.  Gal Gadot has completely locked in her ability to portray Diana, and with Whedon’s humor removed, her stature is restored in regard to her presentation.  Jason Momoa brings an attempt at bad boy energy to the bunch, and while his on-screen presence is undeniable, he feels a bit forced upon the viewer based on his amount of screen time during the first half of the film.  Ezra Miller harnesses the awkwardness and social ineptitude of Barry Allen to a tee, providing a more than satisfying version of everyone’s favorite speedster for the big screen.  Ray Fisher carries regret and post-traumatic stress on his back like the weight of the world, and plays the desire to have God-like control of the digital world with great nuance.  Ciarán Hinds brings dignity to his characterization of Steppenwolf, making him more than a singularly-minded muscle-bound force to be reckoned with, and making his placement under Darksied much more interesting.  A legion of special appearances, cameos and featured appearances can be found in the film, including Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Willem Dafoe, Ray Porter, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Zheng Kai, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Karen Bryson, Kiersey Clemons, Peter Guinees, Harry Lennix, Jared Leto and more.

    It’s certainly interesting to speculate the trajectory of the DCEU had the original Justice League film come out in the manner that Zack Snyder initially intended.  While his Superman films were polarizing in some aspects, Wonder Woman was a runaway success, and the mixed reception of Batman vs. Superman wasn’t negative enough to derail the initial excitement for Justice League.  As an experiment in attempting to realize a “what if?” scenario, the Snyder Cut is certainly fascinating, and will likely hold an interesting place in the pantheon of cape films.  As the secret hope of redemption for the DCEU at large, I just don’t know if Zack Snyder’s Justice League has what it takes to right the ship... it will likely satisfy the hunger of a fraction of the fans who clamored for its creation, and it may even give Snyder a trump card when it comes to creative control of future projects, but I don’t know if it’s going to make any believers out of naysayers and the unfamiliar, ultimately.

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  • thebestdarngirls
    19.03.2021 - 2 monts ago

    #SnyderCut #JusticeLeague - VOD Review

    #SnyderCut #JusticeLeague – VOD Review

    Zack Snyder’s Justice League – Budget of $70 million – 4 hours and 2 minutes Click on a vendor to purchase (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer)   After the death of Superman, Bruce Wayne, known as Batman, can’t forget the warning Lex Luther gave him.  Lex warned something big is coming that will destroy all humankind.  So, Batman does the one thing he never thought he would do: team-up.  First, Bruce…

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  • doomonfilm
    30.12.2020 - 5 monts ago

    Review : Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

    2020 certainly threw most everyone for a loop, but for a handful of pre-scheduled blockbuster releases, the whole landscape was thrown into disarray, and the outlook was uncertain in regards to what the future held.  Wonder Woman 1984 found itself in the unique position of not only being delayed to an unknown date, but maintaining a high profile due to a healthy number of adjacent promotional campaigns.  As the year wrapped, however, Warner Brothers Studios made the shocking announcement that all 2021 films would be released on HBOMax concurrently with their theatrical releases for a period of 30 days, and the first up to bat was Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day.

    In the year 1984, 66 years removed from her World War I adventures, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) spends her days working for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. as a renowned anthropologist (while continuing to fight crime as Wonder Woman in secrecy).  A chance encounter with new Smithsonian employee Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), who is studying the recovered artifacts from a burglary that Wonder Woman stopped, leads to both women encountering a strange stone (later identified as the Monkey’s Paw) that, unbeknownst to them, grants them both a wish.  Meanwhile, celebrity and failing philanthropist Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), who is fully aware of the stone’s powers, steals the Monkey’s Paw and makes the wish to transfer its powers to himself, turning him into a living wish stone in hopes of leveraging power from others to boost his profile.  Like any situation of exchange, however, bad outcomes stem from the wishes, leading Wonder Woman towards an inevitable showdown with Maxwell Lord in hopes of restoring balance.  

    Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t going to save the DCEU, but it does take all of the best elements from its predecessor while making some tonal and pacing adjustments congruent to the new era the film is placed in.  With no need to build the backstory or the love story, Wonder Woman 1984 is allowed to introduce its key elements swiftly and put them into motion in ways that gives the first act a deceptively strong showing.  Once Maxwell Lord really sets the narrative into action, Diana’s dilemma kicks into gear with similar pace, mirroring our main protagonist and antagonist journeys while leaving room in the middle for Cheetah to emerge as a threat.  The overall shrinking of Diana’s world mixed with this volatile and multilayered character development is a benefit to Wonder Woman 1984, as it gives it a unique feel from Wonder Woman’s other appearances in the DCEU.  The only real misstep is the shoehorning in of the Steve Trevor romance… while very important in Diana’s development of her character and understanding of the people she protects, it would have been nice to introduce a newer, more organic romantic element, or possibly none at all.

    The film is also very aware of what it is, setting aside the loftier view of the world presented in the latest Superman and Batman films and presenting a much more direct view on the capitalist and materialist practices of the 1980s.  Maxwell Lord and his gifted power fly in the face of the truth, character and honesty that has built and shaped Diana, and despite a minimal use of Themyscira in Wonder Woman 1984, the parable presented runs strong enough to drive the arc to a well-earned landing spot.  By the time the film does dwell a little bit on the preachy side (while pulling the double duty of framing the antagonist’s past), the viewer has either completely bought in or checked out, depending on how analytical they chose to be for their viewing.  It seems as if the Wonder Woman franchise is doing an extraordinary amount of the heavy lifting for the DCEU, which can put the films under a bit of a harsher microscope than they likely deserve, but Patty Jenkins is doing a fantastic job making films that hold up under the scrutiny of those looking to pick films apart.

    For as dark and gritty as the previous Wonder Woman movie was, this one is popping with the life and optimism that the 1980s and its promise for the future held, utilizing bright primary colors, plenty of gold tones lots of visually stunning architecture.  The cinematography and choreography mixture really brings Gal Gadot’s action scenes to life, and the special effects used on the lasso really pop on this outing.  Thankfully, the film did not lean on a corny stream of 1980’s pop hits, opting instead for a Hans Zimmer score that stands up the character of the film’s titular character.  A few old school practical effects were even used to great impact, key among them being the slight breeze that accompanied wishes granted by the Monkey’s Paw.  While Diana’s ability to fly did come from out of left field, the flying effects were some of my favorite seen on screen since Chronicle.

    Gal Gadot feels a bit more comfortable in the Diana skin, using a calm and collected assured nature rather than a headstrong drive towards a need for proof.  Kristen Wiig is delightful as always, bringing a grounded sense of comedy to her initially awkward performance before embracing the remaining two stages of her character evolution with great aplomb.  Pedro Pascal puts aside cool and overbearing pride to portray a bubbling maniacal sense of someone struck blind by the madness of power.  Chris Pine did not necessarily break any new ground, which was not really any fault of his own, seeing as his character did feel a bit forced into the narrative for a bit of fan service.  Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen return for brief appearances to reprise their roles, while supporting appearances by Doutzen Kroes, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha, Natasha Rothwell, Gabriella Wilde, Lucian Perez, Stuart Milligan and one special but familiar cameo, round out the affair.

    I’m not going to dogpile on Wonder Woman 1984 like the masses are, as my specific issues with the film are minimal, albeit it impactful.  If you’re expecting Wonder Woman 1984 to right the DCEU ship, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment... if you’re just looking to eat some popcorn for a couple of hours and watch Gal Gadot play a character that she excels at in a world that doesn’t quite meet her high bars, then you’re in luck.  Either way, you’re not likely to get more out of this film than what you bring to the table.

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  • adamwatchesmovies
    28.12.2020 - 5 monts ago

    Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

    Though Wonder Woman has been published since 1941, her Rogues Gallery isn't as robust as her male counterparts'. Is her #2 archenemy enough to match or surpass the stakes of the first film? Not quite. Wonder Woman 1984 does not have the same impact or gravity as the original. On the upside, the villains are more complex and memorable and director Patty Jenkins’ take on the 80s does offer some nice material to chew on.

    In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) befriends Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig) while studying the “Dreamstone” - an ancient artifact that supposedly grants wishes. After it brings Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back to life and fulfills Barbara's deepest desires, the stone is taken by businessman Maxwell “Max Lord” Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal).

    The first movie was about Diana learning of mankind's potential for both good and evil. This time, the themes are desires, loss, and acceptance. Diana is still heartbroken over Steve Trevor. You don’t blame her; Pine and Gadot were so good together you crave to see them as a couple again. Barbara idolizes Diana and wants the same kind of beauty and strength she has. After seeing her get harassed and then attacked by a drunkard while walking home, you understand her envy. There's even a message there about the fact that once her transformation begins she's still taken advantage of by a rich man and that both she and Diana are constantly receiving unwanted advances by would-be suitors. It isn't the focus of the film but does circle back to the idea of "be careful what you wish for".

    If there's one characteristic that defined the '80s, it's greed and indulgence. Lord's desires are like all of humanity's at the time; understandable at first but ultimately, unsustainable. His quest for more - more oil, more power, more resources, more respect - risks a global conflict. The "wishes with a toll" thing has been done before but it's given some new tricks in this story. I particularly like the way Max Lord finds ways to circumvent the "one wish per person" rule.

    A few aspects of this sequel make it a lesser film than its predecessor. Last time, we had a coming-of-age story. Now, Diana’s world-savvy. Steve is the one catching up to her - a nice reversal - but the plot has her powers diminished. Our heroine isn't the same powerhouse we saw traverse No Man's Land. Combined with the 151-minute running time and this Wonder Woman lacks a bit of punch.

    Having just rewatched Wonder Woman, I was hoping this sequel would deliver the same level of emotion. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Though this makes it a slight disappointment, the conclusion is more emotional and truer, the romance between Diana and Steve is just as good as before, and the villains are better fleshed out (an upside of that length). If you want to see more of the character, you'll be glad to see Wonder Woman 1984. When you do, stay tuned for an extra scene mid-way through the credits. (December 27, 2020)

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  • adamwatchesmovies
    27.12.2020 - 5 monts ago

    Wonder Woman (2017)

    In a recent interview, Patty Jenkins commented on the ending of Wonder Woman, how the finale was originally “smaller” but that “the studio made me change it”. This prompted me to watch it again. Would I detect what might've been? Instead, I was reminded of how much I love this movie. The conclusion is big and extravagant. This doesn’t make it bad and before then, there’s so much to love in its action, romance, and characters it sweeps you off your feet.

    Raised on magically isolated Themyscira, Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) and the Amazons learn of World War I when American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on the island’s shores. Convinced that this “war to end all wars” is orchestrated by Ares, the god of war, Diana leaves with Trevor as her guide. Armed with the Godkiller sword, she will fulfill her people's destiny to restore peace.

    Origin stories tend to be bottom-heavy with a lot of exposition. That goes double when dealing with mythological adventures. Once the foundation’s established, this tale becomes uniquely empowering. Diana is not of our world. When she’s introduced to it, there’s much she doesn’t understand. At first, the fish-out-of-water scenario is effectively mined for comedy. It’s nice and light. Gadot and Pine have terrific chemistry. You’re excited to see what's next. As the story progresses, the gravity of the situation comes to the forefront. This war isn’t a game. Soldiers return home missing limbs, women and children are killed indiscriminately. Bombs and poisonous gasses kill in numbers an outsider could never imagine. Even when there was combat on Themyscira, the sandy beaches were bright. The glorious choreography of the women on horseback made you go “wow”! This? It’s like the world itself is dying and all color has bled out.

    Diana’s unfamiliarity with London’s politics makes her speak out. She’s outraged by generals sitting comfortably in boardrooms talking about casualties in the thousands. Her protests are a wake-up call. The moment she gets fed up and steps into the line of fire is the film’s most powerful scene. It isn’t merely that Diana stops bullets with her bracelets and faces artillery head-on, or her physical strength; it’s that she's a hero by refusing to stand idly by. I found myself filled with unexpected emotions. I marveled at the stunts and choreography. Seeing her smash through pillars and punch through windows shows you what power is because it began as something small and human: her ability to see something wrong and to say “I’m going to do something about it”. Finally, we see Wonder Woman in her full attire. It makes you go “Woah” in ways no female-led superhero or action film has before - or since.

    Though the film has several villains - Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya), German general Eric Ludendorff (Danny Huston), and Ares - none are the true antagonists, which is why the film’s conclusion is never as impactful as Diana entering No Man’s Land. The real struggle is internal. It may be naive of Diana to believe that Ares' death will end the war. In a world where magic lives - even if it’s only on a remote island - isn’t it possible? You want it to be, if only so she'll be ok. She experiences the worst we have to offer but the best too. Many superhero films feature romantic sub-plots. Here, it’s crucial to every aspect of the story from the comedy to the drama, all the way to the conclusion.

    Wonder Woman is a joy to discover. The film is exciting, sensitive, and romantic. The heroine is beautiful and strong. She’s also human; capable of losing her faith, falling in love, or appreciating ice cream. (On Blu-ray, December 26, 2020)

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