Showing posts with label Anthony Hopkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthony Hopkins. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Review: "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2" is Still on Fire

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 31 of 2023 (No. 1920) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
Running time: 123 minutes (2 hours, 3 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some sensuality
WRITERS:  Robert Towne; from a story by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Barga (based upon the television series created by Bruce Geller)
PRODUCERS: Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeffrey L. Kimball (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Steven Kemper and Christian Wagner
COMPOSER: Hans Zimmer


Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell, Nicholas Bell, Kee Chan, Antonio Vargas, and Ving Rhames with Anthony Hopkins

Mission: Impossible 2 is a 2000 action-thriller and espionage film directed by John Woo and starring Tom Cruise.  It is a sequel to the 1996 film, Mission: Impossible, and is based on the American television series, “Mission: Impossible” (CBS, 1966-73), that was created by Bruce Geller.  In Mission: Impossible 2 (also known as M:I-2), Ethan Hunt battles a rogue fellow agent in a bid to obtain a genetically modified virus.

Mission: Impossible 2 opens in a lab at Australia's Biocyte Pharmaceuticals.  There, Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija), a bio-genetics scientist, sends a message to his old friend, “Dimitri,” which is the cover name for Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise).  Nekhorvich's employer, Biocyte Pharmaceuticals, has forced him to create a biological weapon, which he calls “Chimera,” and a cure for it, which he names “Bellerophon.”  Biocyte's CEO, John C. McCloy (Brendan Gleeson), plans to profit from Bellerophon as cure for Chimera after the virus is released into the unsuspecting world.

Nekhorvich injects himself with Chimera and carries Bellerophon with him and heads to the U.S., where he hopes to meet “Dimitri.”  However, he is intercepted by IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), who is, in some ways, Ethan Hunt's equal and opposite.  Ambrose and his men steal Bellerophon and begin their hunt to obtain Chimera, not knowing that it was inside Nekhorvich.

IMF Mission Commander Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins) orders Hunt to lead his team – computer hacker, IMF agent Luther Stickwell (Ving Rhames), and helicopter pilot, William “Billy” Baird (John Polson), on a mission to get Chimera before Ambrose does.  Swanbeck also orders Hunt to add to his team a professional thief named Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), who was, until recently, Ambrose's girlfriend.  Can Ethan trust Nyah, or has he gotten to close to her?  And is Ambrose more than a match for Ethan?

I divide the six Mission: Impossible movies into two trilogies.  Mission: Impossible (1996), Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), and Mission: Impossible III (2006) make up the first trilogy.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011),  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) form the second trilogy.

That's just my personal thing.  M:I-2 is its own thing.  Directed by Hong Kong auteur, John Woo, the film features the hallmarks of Woo's directorial style, including his “bullet ballet” action sequences, stylized imagery, slow motion action and character drama scenes, Mexican standoffs, and fight sequences that recall the Chinese martial arts sub-genres “wuxia” and “wire-fu.”  However, the film doesn't really kick into high gear with some of Woo's best flourishes until its second half.

The first half of the film focuses on Ethan Hunt's obsession with Nyah Nordoff-Hall, which mirrors Sean Ambrose's obsession with her.  This “love triangle” allows Woo and his screenwriters to build tension between Hunt and Ambrose that explodes with jealousy and rage and eventually leads to a fight to the death.  M:I-2 may be the film in this franchise in which Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt shares the most screen time with other characters, especially Newton's Nyah and Scott's Ambrose.

Anyway, the film really begins to rumble in the second half.  The last half-hour or so is a masterpiece of directing, film editing, cinematography, and stunt coordinators and stuntmen.  My high rating is mainly because of this exhilarating last act, which makes me want to see this movie again.

Tom Cruise was in his late 30s when Mission: Impossible 2 began filming, yet he looks much younger onscreen, about a decade or so (at least to me).  His long hair, that boyish grin, his immature and petulant anger and jealousy would be largely gone 19 months later when his trippy drama, Vanilla Sky (2001), arrived in December 2001.  So for me, Mission: Impossible 2 is a good-bye to the Mission: Impossible film franchise's beginnings.  The series would rapidly begin to morph with the third entry, and boyish Tom Cruise would finally give way to adult Tom Cruise.  At least, I now remember why I loved this film so much 23 years ago, and now, I want to see it again.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

2001 Image Awards (NAACP):  2 nominations: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Ving Rhames) and “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Thandie Newton)

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Review: Terrific and Amazing "ARMAGEDDON TIME" Doesn't Have Time for Sentimentality

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 15 of 2023 (No. 1904) by Leroy Douresseaux

Armageddon Time (2022)
Running time:  114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPA – R for language and some drug use involving minors
PRODUCERS:  Marc Butan, James Gray, Anthony Katagas, and Rodrigo Teixeira
EDITOR:  Scott Morris
COMPOSER:  Christopher Spelman


Starring:  Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb, Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Sell, Andrew Polk, Tovah Feldshuh, Marcia Haufrecht, Teddy Coluca, Richard Bekins, Dane West, Landon James Forlenza, John Diehl, and Jessica Chastain

Armageddon Time is a 2022 coming-of-age drama film from writer-director James Gray.  The film is inspired by Gray's childhood experiences growing up in Queens, New York.  Armageddon Time is a coming-of-age story about family and about the American Dream and who can have it.

Armageddon Time opens in Queens, New York City, 1980.  It introduces Paul Graff (Banks Repeta), a Jewish-American boy who is entering sixth grade at Public School (P.S.) 173.  He befriends Johnny (Jaylin Webb), a rebellious African-American classmate.  Johnny was held back a year and gets harsher treatment from their teacher, a white man named Mr. Turkeltaub (Andrew Polk), when they both joke around in class.  Paul is interested in becoming an artist, and he often disassociates from his schoolwork and draws pictures instead.

Paul lives with his somewhat financially stable family of Jewish heritage.  His parents, mother Esther (Anne Hathaway), and father Irving Graff (Jeremy Strong), are well-meaning, but are strict.  His older brother, Ted (Ryan Sell), teases him.  Irving has a temper and is prone to hit his children, especially Paul, who exasperates him.  Esther and Irving discourage Paul's artistic ambitions, but his maternal grandfather, Aaron Rabinowitz (Anthony Hopkins), encourages him.

However, Paul begins to discover the harsh reality of life.  Aaron tells Paul of how his own mother escaped antisemitic persecution and pogroms in Ukraine, eventually landing in London before coming to the United States.  Paul gets into trouble with Johnny and ends up at the private school, Forest Manor Prep School, while Johnny quits school and deals with the foster care officials who are looking for him.  Although Paul lives in a world privilege, he is forced to confront family troubles and a world of inequality and privilege.

I am totally in love with Armageddon Time, although I'm not as in love with its title.  This is also the first film directed by James Gray that I have watched.  The film takes its title from a 1979 single by the British band, “The Clash,” entitled “Armagideon Time.”  It is a cover version of the same song by Jamaican reggae musician, William Williams, that was also released in 1979.  Armageddon Time also includes a few scenes featuring a fictional version of Fred J. Trump, Donald Trump's father, and one scene featuring Maryanne Trump, Donald's sister.  Character actor John Diehl plays Fred, who is a famous businessman and financier/patron of Forest Manor in this film, in all his real-life sleazy glory.

Jessica Chastain is superb in her one scene as Maryanne, who is portrayed in Armageddon Time as a United States Attorney and as one of Forest Manor's most famous alumni.  [In reality, Maryanne Trump was an Assistant United States Attorney in 1980 and would go on to be a United States federal judge from 1983 to 2019.]

James Gray's inclusion of the Trumps, who were part of the world in which Gray grew up, his unflinching desire that Armageddon Time not be nostalgic or sentimental.  Gray presents Paul Graff as a kid who lives inside a bubble – an idealized version of the world.  Paul's estimation of his family's worth and social position are larger and more grand than they really are.  The film's narrative acts not only to wise-up the naive Paul, but to also fill in the gaps of his knowledge of how the world operates – its unfair racial inequality and its propensity to hand out “raw deals.”

If Armageddon Time has a dominant theme, it is that one must survive to have a good life.  If this film has one big fault, it is that Paul's black friend, Johnny, flits through the story as if he were a ghost or a wraith, when it seems obvious that he is very important to the narrative, the plot, and the resolution.

Gray's cast is a big part of why this film really works.  First, Anne Hathaway is so beautiful that even as a harried mother and housewife and worried daughter, she is radiant.  Jeremy Strong is Oscar-worthy as a hard-working, beat-his-kids-asses, Jewish dad.  Ryan Sell strikes the right notes in a small role as Paul's brother, Ted.  Banks Repeta as Paul and Jaylin Webb as Johnny really sell a friendship that, on the surface, seems like it could not, would not, and should not work.  [I think this entire cast would soar even higher if this story were told as television series.]

I would be remiss if I did not mention Anthony Hopkins as Paul's grandfather, Aaron.  This film would not work without him.  Armageddon Time is one of the few coming-of-age films that I have seen that absolutely refuses to be sentimental and is zealously free of nostalgia.  In Aaron, Gray embodies the film's desire to eschew good and evil in favor of depicting survival versus unfairness, inequality, and callousness.  Hopkins conveys in Aaron the good sense that Paul lacks and must learn, which is to figure out when to fit in and when to fight.

I had not heard of Armageddon Time until I was perusing the “Charter on Demand” channel of my Spectrum cable account.  The trailer for this film that Charter was showing was quite convincing, and I felt as if I had to see Armageddon Time because it was made for me.  I hope that James Gray is able to go ahead with plans to direct a semi-sequel to this film, using much of the same cast.  Even if that does not happen, Armageddon Time is a gem, a blunt and genuine coming-of-age story that willingly embraces the truth that growing pains are indeed painful.

9 of 10
★★★★+ out of 4 stars

Monday, March 27, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, April 30, 2021

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from April 25th to 30th, 2021 - Update #17

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


NETFLIX - From Deadline:   In competitive bidding, Netflix closed a deal to acquire U.S. rights to "Gunpowder Milkshake" from STX Films. The female-driven action film is directed by Navot Papushado, and produced by Studiocanal and The Picture Company.

DISNEY - From Deadline: Rick Riordan, the author of the "Percy Jackson" book series, says that the search is underway to find a young actor to play "Percy Jackson" in the Disney+ TV series based on the books.  Actor Logan Lerman played the character in two "Percy Jackson" films for 20th Century Fox.

ANIMATION - From Deadline:  Actress/director Elizabeth Banks is developing an adult animated primetime series, "Bedrock," for Fox.  It would act as a sequel to the 1960s primetime animated television series, "The Flintstones."

OSCARS - From Deadline:  The Oscar ratings turned out to be not quite as bad as initially thought.  Final numbers say 10.4 million viewed - still the all-time lowest.

From Deadline:   The 93rd Academy Awards had the all-time lowest Oscar telecast ratings ever - by a huge margin.  For the first time, the estimated number of viewers was under ten million, specifically 9.85 million. [It was a terrible show, in my estimation - Leroy]

MOVIES - From Deadline:  "Another Round," the Danish film that just won the "Best Foreign Film" Oscar, will get an English-language remake.  It will possibly be a star vehicle for Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:   HBO releases a photographic image to announced that it's "Game of Thrones" prequel, "House of the Dragon" has gone into production and will launch in 2022.

MOVIES - From WeGotThisCovered:   There will reportedly be CGI creatures in "Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City," the upcoming reboot of the "Resident Evil" film franchise.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  The winner of the 4/23 to 4/25/21 weekend box office is "Mortal Kombat" with an estimated take of 22.5 million dollars. 
From BoxOfficeMojo:   "Mortal Kombat" and "Demon Slayer" are a strong one-two punch at the weekend box office.

OSCARS - From Deadline:  This page gives a full list of winners, including the "Best Picture" winner, "Nomadland."

From Deadline:  Most memorable Oscar moment:  Once again, multiple-Oscar nominee Glenn Close goes home empty handed, but she steals the show with her knowledge of the song "Da Butt" from Spike Lee's 1988 film, "School Daze," and also by dancing "Da Butt."

From Deadline:  At 83 years of age, Anthony Hopkins becomes the oldest actor to win the "Best Actor" Oscar (for his performance in "The Father").  In a video posted on Instagram, Hopkins expresses gratitude and pays tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman, who many thought would win a posthumous Oscar for his performance in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

From Variety:   Clayton Davis makes "Variety's" final predictions of winners at the 93rd Academy Awards.

From Negromancer:  Just in case you need them, here are the nominations for the 2021 / 93rd Academy Awards.

MOVIES - From Refinery29:   In an interview, young star Keke Palmer expresses excitement at being cast in Jordan Peele's ("Get Out," "Us') upcoming, secret horror film project.


From Deadline:  Former actor, child actor, singer and musician, Johnny Crawford, has died at the age of 75, Thursday, April 29, 2021.  Crawford was best known as a child actor for his co-starring role in the late ABC Western television series, "The Rifleman" (1958-63).  Crawford played "Mark McCain," the son of "Lucas McCain," played by the series' star, the late Chuck Connors.  Crawford was the brother of child actor Robert L. "Bobby" Crawford, Jr. ("Laramie") and the son of film editor Robert L. Crawford, Sr.  Crawford was also one of the original "Mouseketeers" that appeared on "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1955-59) TV series, although Crawford only appeared in the first season.  Crawford also received a 1959 Emmy nomination for his role on "The Rifleman."

From Deadline:  Philanthropist and former publicist, Anne Douglas, has died at the age of 102, Thursday, April 29, 2021.  Douglas was married to legendary actor Kirk Douglas from 1954 until his death in February 2020.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Winners at the 93rd Academy Awards Are Announced; "Nomadland" Wins "Best Picture

The 93rd Oscars® nominations were announced Monday, March 15, 2021, recognizing nominees in 23 categories.  Academy members from each of the 17 branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and International Feature Film categories, nominees are selected by a vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

Active members of the Academy were eligible to vote for the winners in all 23 categories beginning Thursday, April 15, through Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

The 93rd Oscars were held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and was televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Winners for the 2021 / 93rd Academy Awards:

Best motion picture of the year:
"Nomadland" Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers - WINNER
"The Father" David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers
"Mank" Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
"Minari" Christina Oh, Producer
"Promising Young Woman" Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers
"Sound of Metal" Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Anthony Hopkins in "The Father" - WINNER
Riz Ahmed in "Sound of Metal"
Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom"
Gary Oldman in "Mank"
Steven Yeun in "Minari"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Daniel Kaluuya in "Judas and the Black Messiah" - WINNER
Sacha Baron Cohen in "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
Leslie Odom, Jr. in "One Night in Miami..."
Paul Raci in "Sound of Metal"
Lakeith Stanfield in "Judas and the Black Messiah"

Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Frances McDormand in "Nomadland"- WINNER
Viola Davis in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Andra Day in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
Vanessa Kirby in "Pieces of a Woman"
Carey Mulligan in "Promising Young Woman"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Yuh-Jung Youn in "Minari" - WINNER
Maria Bakalova in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
Glenn Close in "Hillbilly Elegy"
Olivia Colman in "The Father"
Amanda Seyfried in "Mank"

Best animated feature film of the year:
"Soul" Pete Docter and Dana Murray- WINNER
"Onward" Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae
"Over the Moon" Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou
"A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon" Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley
"Wolfwalkers" Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

Achievement in cinematography:
"Mank" Erik Messerschmidt - WINNER
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Sean Bobbitt
"News of the World" Dariusz Wolski
"Nomadland" Joshua James Richards
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Phedon Papamichael

Achievement in costume design:
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Ann Roth - WINNER
"Emma" Alexandra Byrne
"Mank" Trish Summerville
"Mulan" Bina Daigeler
"Pinocchio" Massimo Cantini Parrini

Achievement in directing:
"Nomadland" Chloé Zhao - WINNER
"Another Round" Thomas Vinterberg
"Mank" David Fincher
"Minari" Lee Isaac Chung
"Promising Young Woman" Emerald Fennell

Best documentary feature:
"My Octopus Teacher" Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster - WINNER
"Collective" Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
"Crip Camp" Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
"The Mole Agent" Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
"Time" Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

Best documentary short subject:
"Colette" Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard - WINNER
"A Concerto Is a Conversation" Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
"Do Not Split" Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
"Hunger Ward" Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
"A Love Song for Latasha" Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

Achievement in film editing:
"Sound of Metal" Mikkel E. G. Nielsen - WINNER
"The Father" Yorgos Lamprinos
"Nomadland" Chloé Zhao
"Promising Young Woman" Frédéric Thoraval
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Alan Baumgarten

Best international feature film of the year:
"Another Round" Denmark - WINNER
"Better Days" Hong Kong
"Collective" Romania
"The Man Who Sold His Skin" Tunisia
"Quo Vadis, Aida?" Bosnia and Herzegovina

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson - WINNER
"Emma" Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze
"Hillbilly Elegy" Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney
"Mank" Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff
"Pinocchio" Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):
"Soul" Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste - WINNER
"Da 5 Bloods" Terence Blanchard
"Mank" Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
"Minari" Emile Mosseri
"News of the World" James Newton Howard

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):
"Fight For You" from "Judas and the Black Messiah" Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas - WINNER

  • "Hear My Voice" from "The Trial of the Chicago 7" Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
  • "Husavik" from "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
  • "Io Sì (Seen)" from "The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)" Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
  • "Speak Now" from "One Night in Miami..." Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Achievement in production design:
"Mank" Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale - WINNER
"The Father" Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
"News of the World" Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
"Tenet" Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Best animated short film:
"If Anything Happens I Love You" Will McCormack and Michael Govier - WINNER
"Burrow" Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat
"Genius Loci" Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
"Opera" Erick Oh
"Yes-People" Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

Best live action short film:
"Two Distant Strangers" Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe - WINNER
"Feeling Through" Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
"The Letter Room" Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
"The Present" Farah Nabulsi
"White Eye" Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

Achievement in sound:
"Sound of Metal" Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh - WINNER
"Greyhound" Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
"Mank" Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
"News of the World" Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
"Soul" Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

Achievement in visual effects:
"Tenet" Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher - WINNER
"Love and Monsters" Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
"The Midnight Sky" Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
"Mulan" Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
"The One and Only Ivan" Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

Adapted screenplay:
"The Father" Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller - WINNER
"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad
"Nomadland" Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao
"One Night in Miami..." Screenplay by Kemp Powers
"The White Tigers" Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

Original screenplay:
"Promising Young Woman" Written by Emerald Fennell - WINNER
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas
"Minari" Written by Lee Isaac Chung
"Sound of Metal" Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Written by Aaron Sorkin


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sony Pictures to Release Florian Zeller's "The Father" Dec. 18th

Sony Pictures Classics To Release Florian Zeller’s The Father, Starring Olivia Colman And Anthony Hopkins, In Theaters On December 18, 2020

NEW YORK – Sony Pictures Classics announced that they will release Florian Zeller’s THE FATHER in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 18, 2020, followed by most major markets on Christmas Day. The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and can be seen at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.

Written by Zeller and Christopher Hampton, THE FATHER stars Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, a father-daughter duo—one mischievous, the other caring—who battle the universal prophecy of loss that come with age. The family drama also stars Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots and Olivia Williams. Hopkins is received this year’s TIFF Tribute Actor Award on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

The official trailer for the film is now available here.

THE FATHER was co-produced by Trademark Films, F Comme Film, Ciné-@ and Les Films du Cru and financed by Viewfinder and Embankment. Producers are David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi, Philippe Carcassonne, Christophe Spadone and Simon Friend.


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world. Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 39 Academy Awards® (35 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 175 Academy Award® nominations (149 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit   


Friday, April 10, 2020

Review: "Thor: Ragnarok" Strikes an Odd, Pleasant Note

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 7 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This movie review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Running time:  130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material
DIRECTOR:  Taika Waititi
WRITERS: Eric Pearson and Christopher L. Yost and Craig Kyle (based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCERS:  Kevin Feige p.g.a
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Javier Aguirresarobe, ASC (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Zene Baker and Joel Negron
COMPOSER:  Mark Mothersbaugh
NAACP Image Award winner


Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi (voice), and Clancy Brown (voice) with Stan Lee

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 superhero movie from Marvel Studios, directed by Taika Waititi.  It is the third film in Marvel's Thor film series, following Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).  Thor is a Marvel Comics character that first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated: August 1962).  Created by artist Jack Kirby and writers (and siblings) Stan Lee and Larry Leiber, Thor is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.  Thor: Ragnarok finds the Norse god of thunder a slave on an alien world while his home of Asgard is controlled by the goddess of death.

Thor: Ragnarok opens two years after the battle of Sokovia (as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron).  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned by the fire demon, Surtur (voice of Clancy Brown), who reveals that Thor's father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is no longer on the realm of Asgard.  Surtur explains that he himself will destroy the realm by uniting his crown with the “Eternal Flame” that burns in Odin's vault, thus initiating the prophesied end-times, “Ragnarök.”  Thor frees himself and defeats Surtur, and he takes Surtur's crown, believing that he has prevented Ragnarök.

The threats to Asgard have not ended.  Thor's estranged brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), is posing as Odin, but Thor and Loki eventually find Odin in Norway.  Odin explains to his sons that he is dying and that his death will free his firstborn child, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from a prison where he sealed her long ago.  When Hela is freed, Ragnarök is imminent.  But before Thor can stop Hela and save Asgard, he must escape from his own imprisonment, the garbage planet, Sakaar, where he is an enslaved gladiator.  And Thor's greatest opponent turns out to be an old friend.

Thor: Ragnarok plays out as one would expect.  Thor saves the day with a lot of help from friends old and new and from adversaries-turned-allies old and new.  What makes this film different and so very endearing is the work of director Taika Waititi, the New Zealand-born director whose films (such as 2014's What We Do in the Shadows) are known for the both the originality of execution and their offbeat sensibilities.  That that originality and sensibility show in Thor: Ragnarok's color palette, its costume designs, sets and art direction.  Some critics and fans have claimed that all Marvel Studios' films look alike, which is certainly not true.  In fact, no superhero movie looks like Thor: Ragnarok, and Mark Mothersbaugh's fantastic, glorious, ear-candy musical score is the finishing touch that makes Thor: Ragnarok stand out from any pack.

Waititi and his cast make the most of Eric Pearson and Christopher L. Yost and Craig Kyle's screenplay.  The pace and acting is lively, wry, spry, and witty, and, in fact, Thor: Ragnarok is, to date, the film that makes the best use of Chris Hemsworth's droll sense of humor.  The film is a bit soft in the middle, but its unique visual appearance keeps the film from going dry.

Some time ago, I read that Marvel Studios had been trying to find the right balance of superhero fantasy, action, and humor in the Thor films, but believed that they had not quite done so in the first two films.  The third time is the charm.  Thor: Ragnarok is the best film in the Thor series, and it is the kind of superhero film that will appeal to movie audiences that don't normally watch superhero movies.

8 of 10

Friday, February 21, 2020

2018 Black Reel Awards:  1 nomination: “Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture” (Tessa Thompson)

2018 Image Awards (NAACP):  1 winner: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Idris Elba); 1 nomination: “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Tessa Thompson)

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bluefin Offers Realistic Hannibal Lecter Action Figures


Cinema’s Most Infamous And Charismatic Serial Killer Comes To Life In Two New 12-Inch Designs Set For Release In Early 2018; Each Figure Features Over 30 Points Of Articulation And An Array Of Screen Accurate Props

Anaheim, CA – Bluefin, the leading North American distributor of toys, collectibles, and hobby merchandise from Japan, Asia and more, brings one of cinema’s most memorable villains to life as it opens pre-orders for BLITZWAY’s new line of 1/6 Scale Hannibal Lecter Action Figures.

Two poseable figures are scheduled for release in the First Quarter of 2018 and will be available from authorized Bluefin retailers nationwide and also from select leading online outlets. MSRP will be $269.99 each.

Two stunningly lifelike releases from BLITZWAY recreate actor Anthony Hopkin’s iconic portrayal of the forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Bluefin first showcased the figures at the recent 2017 Comic-Con International. Savvy collectors are invited to enjoy them with some fava beans and a nice Chianti!!

The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most distinguished movies of all time. Released in 1991, directed by Jonathan Demme and based on author Thomas Harris’ book, The Silence of the Lambs starred Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn. The film was a major blockbuster and became the first American horror-thriller film to win Academy Awards in the top five categories.

Savor the realism of Hannibal Lecter depicted in a straitjacket and also in a pristine, white prisoner’s uniform (complete with a police officer’s nightstick). BLITZWAY worked with the world’s best sculptors to achieve an extremely high level of realism for each design. Each figure stands nearly 12 inches tall and features over 30 points of articulation to allow for a myriad of realistic posing possibilities.

For these releases, BLITZWAY recreated Hannibal Lecter in the most realistic way possible to express the compelling aura of the infamous character. BLITZWAY adds to the excitement for fans and collectors by including an array of iconic sets of props that add to the strong sense of nostalgia for the film.

The BLITZWAY Hannibal Lecter Straitjacket version features accessories including a white t-shirt with prisoner number 'B5160-8;’ 1 orange prison uniform with prisoner number 'B1329-0;' 1 screen-accurate straitjacket, as well as 1 iconic Hannibal face mask and an authentic movable gurney.

The BLITZWAY Hannibal Lecter White Prisoner Uniform version includes multiple interchangeable arm and hand accessories featuring a pen clip and nightstick accessories. Also included is a screen accurate chair, a pair of handcuffs, a folding knife, a fountain pen, a “Clarice” drawing prop, and a cathedral church drawing prop.

Based in South Korea, BLITZWAY specializes in highly detailed and intricately sculpted 1/6 and 1/4 scale figures and statues of famous characters from pop culture, comics, and TV and movies.

About Bluefin:
Based in Anaheim, CA, Bluefin built its reputation as a leading distributor of Japanese toys, collectibles, novelty and hobby products. In recent years, Bluefin has grown to include a range of high quality collectible lines from the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan and established itself as the official North American consumer products and retail development partner for Studio Ghibli. Selling to thousands of specialty, chain and independent stores, Bluefin is an official North American distributor for Bandai Hobby, Bandai Shokugan, and Capcom, and is also an official provider of Bandai Tamashii Nations products, and is also the exclusive and official distributor for BLITZWAY, Mr. Hobby, SEN-TI-NEL, Storm Collectibles, and Iron Studios. Bluefin also represents TruForce Collectibles products worldwide. Additional information is available at:


Friday, April 14, 2017

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from April 9th to 15th, 2017 - Update #28

Support Leroy on Patreon.

MOVIES - From Deadline:   Robert Duvall is the latest actor to join director Steve McQueen's "Widows."

MOVIES - From THR:  Paramount Pictures has hired the original writing team behind 1988's "Coming to America," to write a sequel.

MOVIES - From IndieWire:  J.C. Chandor has lost his stars (Tom Hardy and Channing Taturm) and his studio (Paramount Pictures) for his action-thriller, "Triple Frontier," one month before it was to start filming.

OBIT - From YahooSports:   Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, has died at the age of 84, Thursday, April 13, 2017.  Rooney was also highly influential in the development of the NFL, initiating "the Rooney rule" to help African-American coaches have more opportunities to become head coaches.

MOVIES - From CinemaBlend:  Loosing the role of "Jack Reacher" to Tom Cruise was motivation for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

CELEBRITY:  From BET: Tupac Shakur was arrested in Los Angeles last month...

FILM FESTIVAL - From Variety:  Cannes 2017 film lineup is announced, and that includes 49 films and a few TV projects.

COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  Josh Brolin will play the time-traveling mutant, Cable, in "Deadpool 2."

OBIT - From People:  Actor and comedian, Charlie Murphy, has died at the age of 57, Wednesday, April 13, 2017.  He was Eddie Murphy's older brother, but Charlie established himself as an actor in comedies and rose to fame for his appearances on Comedy Central's "Chappelle's Show" from 2003 to 2004.

From THR:  The Murphy family releases a statement about the passing of Charlie Murphy.

From BET:  Charlie Murphy's final tweets.

From BET:  Dave Chappelle honors his friend, Charlie Murphy.

OBIT - From IndieWire: German director of photography, Michael Ballhaus, has died at the age of 81.  He was known for his work with Martin Scorsese, including "Goodfellas" and "The Departed."

OBIT - From YahooMusic:  J. Geils, guitarist and leader of the band, The J. Geils Band," has died at the age of 71.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  John Ridley and Emmy-winner Regina King have previously teamed up for "American Crime," and are teaming again for "No Place Safe," for FX.

MOVIES - From THR:  Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner, Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillps") talks about his character in "Blade Runner 2049."

MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  How did The Rock/Vin Diesel feud begin?

From Variety:  "The Fate of the Furious" heading towards a global box office opening near $400 million.

From YahooCelebrity:  Jordana Brewster on why she is not in "The Fate of the Furious."

MOVIES - From Variety:  Don Cheadle to star in a biopic, "Prince of Darkness," about Black American millionaire, Jeremiah G. Hamilton.

MOVIES - From DeadlineHollywood:  Brett Ratner's production company, RatPac, options the life story rights of Hugh Hefner, founder of "Playboy" magazines and its empire.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 4/7 to 4/9/2017 weekend box office is "The Boss Baby," with an estimated take of $26.3 million.

From Variety:  "Ghost in the Shell" tops foreign box office.

MOVIES - From IndieWire:  Anthony Hopkins says that Michael Bay is a genius...

MOVIES - From DeadlineHollywood:  "Mission: Impossible 6" officially beings production.

MOVIES - From THR:   Vin Diesel remembers Paul Walker at "The Fate of the Furious" premiere.

STAR TREK - From YahooCelebrity:  Sonequa Martin-Green says her role on "Star Trek: Discovery" came after the fate of her character, Sasha, on "The Walking Dead" was already sealed.

COMICS - From TheVox:  A Marvel VP blames diversity for Marvel's sales slumps - rather than pricey books, event/crossovers, and bad comics.


From SideshowCollectibles:  "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" first trailer.

From YahooMovies:  New trailer for "Thor: Ragnarok"

From YouTube:  New trailer for "War of the Planet of the Apes," which is due July 14th, 2017.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: "Red 2" Not Quite as Fresh as "Red"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 84 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Red 2 (2013)
Running time:  116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
DIRECTOR:  Dean Parisot
WRITERS:  Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber (based on characters created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner)
PRODUCERS:  Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Enrique Chediak (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Don Zimmerman
COMPOSER:  Alan Silvestri

ACTION/COMEDY with elements of drama and romance

Starring:  Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Neal McDonough, David Thewlis, Tim Pigott-Smith, and Brian Cox

Red 2 is a 2013 action comedy from director Dean Parisot.  The film is a sequel to the 2010 film, Red.  Red 2 is inspired by Red, the comic book miniseries by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer that was the basis for the first film.  Red 2 stars Bruce Willis as a retired CIA agent who joins his unique friends to find a long-missing nuclear weapon.

As Red 2 begins, retired CIA operative, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), is enjoying domestic bliss with his girlfriend, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker).  His old friend and former operative, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), warns Frank that people are still after them.  In fact, a group of government agents approach Frank, claiming that they must interrogate him because he is R.E.D. (retired, extremely dangerous).

After Jack Horton (Neal McDonough), another government agent, tries to kill him, Marvin tells Frank that they are being tracked because of their knowledge of an old secret operation called, “Project Nightshade.”  Reluctantly, Frank reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives to solve the mystery of Nightshade, but he discovers that Sarah insists on being part of the team and she also wants her own gun.

Red 2 is fun to watch, but it lacks the sparkle that Red had as something new and different.  Red 2 is best when it focuses on the trio of Frank, Sarah, and Marvin.  Victoria Winslow (Helen Mirren) returns, but the character seems tacked on, at least until the last act when she really becomes useful.  The new characters are a mixed bag.  They have their good moments, but most of the time they come across as nothing more than as an excuse to cast movie stars in flashy small roles.  No-name actors could have done as good if not better than Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones did in vacuous supporting roles.  I bet creating the character, Han Cho Bai, and casting Byung-hun Lee was nothing more than an attempt by this film’s producers to pander to the audience in the expanding East Asian market for American films.

Another thing that hampers this new film is all that globe-trotting the character do.  Red offered a jaunt across the landscape of American secret agent men and women.  Red 2 bops around Europe like a clumsy comic take on a Jason Bourne movie.

That said, I got a kick out of every scene that focused on the team of Frank, Sarah, and Marvin.  I give Red 2 a grade of “B” because of this threesome.  A “Red 3” would do well to focus on what I call the “Red trio.”

6 of 10

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: "Thor: The Dark World" Improves on First Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 80 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Running time:  112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
DIRECTOR:  Alan Taylor
WRITERS: Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat (based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCERS:  Kevin Feige p.g.a
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Kramer Morgenthau (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Dan Lebental and Wyatt Smith
COMPOSER:  Brian Tyler


Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jonathan Howard, Chris O’Dowd, Clive Russell, Alice Krige, Stan Lee, and Rene Russo with (no screen credit) Chris Evans and Benecio Del Toro

Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 superhero movie from Marvel Studios.  It is a sequel to the 2011 film, Thor, and follows the 2012 film, Marvel’s The Avengers.  Thor is a Marvel Comics character that first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated August 1962).  Created by artist Jack Kirby and writers (and siblings) Stan Lee and Larry Leiber, Thor is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.

In Thor: The Dark World, Thor finds himself facing a powerful enemy and is forced to embark on a perilous journey to the enemy’s ruined home world.  After The Avengers, I consider Thor: The Dark World to be the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which currently includes eight films).  Like The Avengers, The Dark World is filled with the kind of big action scenes and battles between super-powered beings that are true to the spirit of superhero comic books.

Thor: The Dark World begins with a story.  Once upon a time (eons ago, in fact), Bor, the father of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), clashed with and defeated the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who sought to destroy the universe by using a weapon known as the Aether.  Now, Malekith is back.  He plans to use Aether during an upcoming event called the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, to destroy this universe.

Malekith and his Dark Elves prove to be quite successful at attacking Asgard, home of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Norse gods.  Thor is forced to seek the help of his imprisoned brother and enemy, Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  Meanwhile, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s love interest, accidentally makes herself the object of Malekith’s attention.  With time running out, Thor and his allies are forced to make their last stand against Malekith in London, England.

Some 30 years ago, Stephen King, in an interview he gave to Time Magazine or Newsweek, compared his novels to either the “Big Mac” or McDonald’s menu items in general.  Marvel Studio’s films are meant to be pleasing like popular fast foot items, such as the “Big Mac,” but they are not necessarily some fast food product meant for quick consumption.  Marvel certainly wants to entertain, but high-stakes movie production means that you have to do more than create disposable entertainment.

Marvel uses modern movie technology, especially computer-generated imagery, to create worlds, creatures, and battles that, once upon a time, could only have been visualized in superhero comic books.  Thor’s battles with Malekith are a fanboy delight of ballet and destruction, but not in that overdone, desperate way that The Man of Steel did super-powered battles.  Thor: The Dark World left me wanting more battles.

Another thing that Thor: The Dark World does well is personal conflict.  There is not a moment when Thor and Loki’s rivalry and abhorrence for one another do not feel real.  Loki’s lust for revenge, his dishonesty, and the fact that it is hard to tell if he has any good feelings for anyone are the things that make the discord in the House of Odin as riveting as hot soap opera melodrama.  Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki give good, convincing performances that help the Thor-Loki feud and union carry this movie to its meat-and-potatoes final act – the big battle between Thor and Malekith.

Kudos to Natalie Portman and the filmmakers for making Jane Foster a real character in this film, that is necessary to the resolution, instead of being another action movie female appendage.  Of course, Anthony Hopkins throws it down for real, being a great actor, and giving this pop movie concoction the same effort he would to a “serious art movie” or stage drama.  Thor: The Dark World is successful in ways that the Marvel Studios movies, which focus on a single character, have not quite been since the first Iron Man movie back in 2008.  I hope the next Thor or Marvel movie is like Thor: The Dark World.

7 of 10

Monday, December 02, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: "Bram Stoker’s Dracula" Still a Stand-Out Dracula Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 16 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Running time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality and horror violence
DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola
WRITER: James V. Hart (based upon the novel by Bram Stoker)
PRODUCERS: Fred Fuchs, Charles Mulvehill, and Francis Ford Coppola
EDITORS: Anne Goursaud, Glen Scantlebury, and Nicholas C. Smith
COMPOSER: Wojciech Kilar
Academy Award winner

HORROR/FANTASY/ROMANCE with elements of drama

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Bill Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, and Monica Bellucci

The subject of this movie review is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a 1992 vampire movie and Gothic horror film from director Francis Ford Coppola. The film’s screenplay essentially takes the familiar Dracula story and emphasizes romantic and sensual elements. The film’s lavish production values helped it earn many honors, box office success, and some favorable attention from film critics.

Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish and colorful gothic extravaganza, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is a three-time Academy Award winner. Dazzling, lush, and sensuous, the film affirms Coppola’s place as imaginative and brilliant filmmaker. The film also testifies to the talents of all the cohorts. Eschewing the (then) burgeoning use of computers to add special effects to films, the SFX, cinematographer, makeup, sets artists, and designers used old-fashioned craftsmanship and artistry to create an amazing movie that harks to the past while looking out of this world impossible.

The film’s story is similar to previous adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel (although most films are actually based on an early 20th century stage version of Stoker’s novel than the novel itself), but the attraction here is the visual interpretation. Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves), a young lawyer, travels to into the gloomy misty land of Eastern Europe, Transylvania, to meet a mysterious client, Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), who is buying several tracts of property in London. Dracula, a vampire, later imprisons Harker when he discovers that Mina Murray (Winona Ryder), Harker’s fiancée, exactly resembles is late human wife, Elisabeta (Ms. Ryder), who killed herself centuries ago. Dracula travels in secret to London where he seduces and drains the life out of Mina’s friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost). However, the cautious Dr. Jack Seward (Richard E. Grant) summons his old mentor, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) who immediately recognizes Lucy’s ailment and subsequent death as the work of a vampire. Van Helsing gathers Lucy’s friends to destroy Dracula, but the undead count has in eyes on Mina, and she, surprisingly, as her eyes on him.

The film is very entertaining, a stunning visual treat, and a unique horror film that hypnotizes you into watching it over and over again. Gary Oldman is one of the best screen Dracula’s ever; he is magnificent and alluring, but also fearsome and awe-inspiring. Winona Ryder is simultaneously demure and spirited as the brave Mina who is also secretly a naughty girl. The rest of the cast is mostly hit or miss. Anthony Hopkins gives a mostly annoying performance as Van Helsing, in which he only occasionally makes the character the brave and resolute leader he was in the original novel. Keanu Reeves is wooden, stiff, and nearly undead himself as Jonathan Harker. How could Mina not choose an undead monster with romantic inclinations over a pebble like Reeves’ Harker. The rest of the cast is functional and has its moments. The attraction here is the amazing work of Coppola and his filmmaking crew, as well as the screen duo of Oldman and Ms. Ryder; they’re the reasons you see this film.

7 of 10

1993 Academy Awards: 3 wins: “Best Costume Design” (Eiko Ishioka), “Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing” (Tom C. McCarthy and David E. Stone), and “Best Makeup” (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle); 1 nomination: “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Thomas E. Sanders and Garrett Lewis)

1994 BAFTA Awards: 4 nominations: “Best Costume Design” (Eiko Ishioka), “Best Make Up Artist” (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle), “Best Production Design” (Thomas E. Sanders), and “Best Special Effects” (Roman Coppola, Gary Gutierrez, Michael Lantieri, and Gene Warren Jr.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Chris Hemsworth Brings Thunder to "Thor"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 39 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Thor (2011)
Running time: 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
WRITERS: Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz and Don Payne; from a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich (based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCER: Kevin Feige
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Haris Zambarloukos (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Paul Rubell
COMPOSER: Patrick Doyle


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Jaimie Alexander, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, and Clark Gregg with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins

Thor is a new superhero movie from Marvel Studios. Thor is an unusual character because, while he has many of the characteristics of a superhero (super powers, a costume, an occasional secret identity), he is also based on a mythological deity once worshipped as a god in the real world. This makes for a superhero movie that doesn’t look or really act like other superhero movies, but that does not stop Thor from turning out to be as fun to watch as the best superhero flicks.

Thor the movie stars the Marvel Comics character, Thor, who first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated August 1962). Created by artist Jack Kirby and writers, Stan Lee and Larry Leiber (who are also siblings), Thor is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.

Thor begins in the mystical realm of Asgard, where Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the King of Asgard, is choosing which of his two sons, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), will become the next king. Thor seems destined to be the next king, but his arrogant, hot-tempered ways get him into trouble. The source of his powers is the mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

As Thor prepares to ascend to the throne, Asgard’s ancient enemies, the Frost Giants, sneak into Asgard to steal an ancient Frost Giants relic taken ages ago by Odin. Enraged by this attack, Thor leads an attack on Jotunheim, the Frost Giants realm, which destroys the fragile truce between Asgard and the Frost Giants. As punishment, Odin strips Thor of his title and powers and banishes him to Earth. Odin also sends Mjolnir to Earth, but he puts a spell on the hammer that will only allow the worthy to wield it.

Thor lands in New Mexico, where he meets scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and Jane’s assistant, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). They befriend Thor, and although she is initially wary of him, Jane begins to be fascinated by the strapping young mystery man. Meanwhile, Thor and Mjolnir have captured the attention of the shadowy government organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., and a plot inside the House of Odin threatens the entire realm of Asgard and the lives of Odin and Thor. As the darkest forces of Asgard invade Earth, Thor must learn to be a true hero.

Most of Thor seems like some kind of mash-up of such fantasy action movies as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Excalibur, and the original Clash of the Titans, especially the parts of the story that take place in Asgard and Jotunheim. Director Kenneth Branagh, who is known for making film adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare, gives the Asgardian royal melodrama at the heart of this movie’s story, a Shakespearean accent. Like Lord of the Rings, Thor is about action and epic battles. Branagh may have a knack for getting character drama from his actors, but he also knows how to make a superhero movie that screams, howls, and breaks things just like the Iron Man and Hulk movies.

Ultimately, I think what Thor has best going for it is actor Chris Hemsworth. Sculpted like an NFL athlete with the muscle definition of a male model, Hemsworth has the body to be an action movie star. With a twinkle in his eyes, Hemsworth has the style to be a charming rogue in many romantic films. It is the charisma and self-assuredness that make Hemsworth a rising star. Several times while watching Thor, I thought that much of this movie was preposterous, that too much of it was contrived, and that just enough of it was dull, slow, and/or clunky to ruin the movie.

Then, Hemsworth pops up on the screen, and he makes everything seem right. My mind says, “Yeah, this all makes sense. This is certainly one slam-bang superhero movie.” The special effects in Thor are excellent and are certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination. The production values are high, from costumes to sets. There are some good performances, especially in the supporting roles: Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston bringing textures and layers to Loki, and Idris Elba, sparkling and witty in the now-you-see him, now-you-don’t role of Heimdall. But Thor is Hemsworth, and Hemsworth is Thor, and Hemsworth’s broad back and shoulders carry this movie to victory.

7 of 10

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Thursday, May 5, 2011

About This Movie: THOR

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment Present
A Marvel Studios Production
A Kenneth Branagh Film


Co‐Producers: Craig Kyle Victoria Alonso
Executive Producers: Alan Fine Stan Lee David Maisel Patricia Whitcher Louis D’Esposito
Produced by Kevin Feige
Story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich
Screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne
Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Jaimie Alexander, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Clark Gregg, with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin

The epic adventure THOR spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

Release: May 6, 2011

THOR has been rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence

Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is Not an Exciting Encounter

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 16 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
Running time: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
MPAA – R for some language
PRODUCERS: Letty Aronson, Jaume Roures, and Stephen Tenenbaum
EDITOR: Alisa Lepselter


Starring: Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch, Naomi Watts, Pauline Collins, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Ewen Bremner, and Zak Orth (narrator)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is the fourth London-set film from famed director Woody Allen. The film follows a pair of married couples in some state of marital dissolution.

After her husband, Alfie Shepridge (Anthony Hopkins), divorces her, Helena Shepridge (Gemma Jones) consults Cristal (Pauline Collins), a psychic, to learn what fate has in store for her. Alfie, in the midst of an old man’s version of a midlife crisis, is engaged to a prostitute named Charmaine Foxx (Lucy Punch). Helena and Alfie’s daughter, Sally Channing (Naomi Watts), and her husband, Roy Channing (Josh Brolin), are having their own marital problems. Sally is smitten with Greg Clemente (Antonio Banderas), the owner of the art gallery where she works. Roy, a struggling writer, falls in love with Dia (Freida Pinto), a grad student who is already engaged to be married. Meanwhile, Helena waits for the tall, dark stranger Cristal predicted would come into her life.

When one considers the films Woody Allen made in the 1970s, 80s, and even into the 90s, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, like most of Allen’s films from the last decade, does not measure up. Parts of this film are dull and uninspired, but some of it is also shocking and sincere in its depiction of how a person’s dissatisfaction with his or her life can manifest itself.

I think credit should go to the cast who seem to not only make the best of this middling material, but in some cases, make it better. Gemma Jones and Anthony Hopkins are the best examples of that in this film. I’m not familiar with Jones, but I am with Hopkins. As much as I always expect him to be good, Hopkins surprises me with his fantastic turn as the vain, confused, and ultimately tragic Alfie. Hopkins brings complexity to a character that needs complexity.

The themes of this film seem to be vanity and discontent, and the characters yearn for material things while ignoring how bankrupt they are spiritually. However, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger doesn’t seem to yearn for anything, being largely philosophically and spiritually empty. This movie doesn’t even have an ending so much as the story just seems to fade away.

I have to be honest. If anyone else other than Woody Allen pulled what he does with this movie, I would be intolerant. So if you are a fan of Allen or of at least one of the cast members, you may want to meet this movie. Otherwise, you will not want to meet You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

5 of 10

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: "The Wolfman" is Surprisingly Very Good

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Wolfman (2010)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – R for bloody horror violence and gore
DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston
WRITERS: Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self (based upon the 1941 screenplay by Curt Siodmak)
PRODUCERS: Sean Daniel, Benicio Del Toro, Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn
EDITOR: Walter Murch, Dennis Virkler, and Mark Goldblatt (no screen credit)
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman


Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik, Nicholas Day, Michael Cronin, David Sterne, David Schofield, and Roger Frost

Universal Pictures’ new film, The Wolfman, the remake of the studio’s classic, The Wolf Man (1941), was originally supposed to debut in February 2009. The film also missed a November 2009 release date, and missed release dates sometimes means that a movie is probably mediocre, at best, or a disaster, at worst.

The Wolfman was worth the wait. This is one of those movies that puts the big bad monster back in the monster movie genre, and the audience is the better for it. Personally, I want to see The Wolfman again. It starts off slow, but when the monster shows up, The Wolfman proves to be all killer.

As in the 1941 film, The Wolfman focuses on Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro). Talbot is a haunted nobleman who mostly plies his trade as an actor in the United States. A letter from his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), lures Lawrence back to his family estate in the sleepy hamlet of Blackmoor. Ben Talbot has vanished, but by the time Lawrence arrives at the family home, Blackmoor Estate, Ben’s corpse, ravaged and torn, has been found.

Lawrence is reunited with his estranged father, Sir John Talbert (Anthony Hopkins), an odd fellow who lives in the dark and musty family home with his assistant, Singh (Art Malik). Lawrence is determined to discover the mystery behind his brother, Ben’s gruesome death. Lawrence learns that a beast with brute strength and an insatiable bloodlust has been killing villagers, but his search for that creature will only lead to a horrifying destiny for himself.

The Wolfman is one of those movies where the argument can be made that none of the primary filmmakers and no one of among the main cast delivers their best work. However, all of them deliver the kind of high quality work and performances for which they’ve gained their good or, in some cases, superb reputations. For instance, Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for playing legendary villain, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in The Silence of the Lambs, and, while Sir John Talbot may not be Lecter, Hopkins plays Sir John with enough of Lecter’s menacing glee that people will want to see this new performance. Del Toro won an Oscar for the film Traffic, and he plays Lawrence Talbot with the same tremendous pathos and brooding passion that earned him his Academy Award. Even Danny Elfman presents a lovely gothic score that sets the right tone for The Wolfman.

The underrated and under-utilized Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III) directs The Wolfman with shifting styles and tones that give the storytelling depth. Johnston weds this film to the 1941 original with class, and he adds visual touches that are similar to the movies of Italian director Mario Bava, which give the violence and gore here a touch of moody elegance. Johnston makes full use of the advances in cinematic science and technology to create a Hollywood blockbuster that offers special effects magic, but still looks, feels, and moves like an intimate horror flick. In spite of the visual splendor of CGI, Johnston makes sure that it feels real and that a viewer will believe that he is alone in a theatre with a terrifying monster.

Of course, six-time Oscar-winning special effects artist/god/maestro, Rick Baker, is also very important to this film. Are his design and makeup talents that transform Benicio Del Toro into the fearsome title character Baker’s best work? Sometimes, it seems as if each film for which Baker does makeup is his best work. The first good look you get at the monster’s face will probably tell you that The Wolfman is going to be a good film no matter what year in which you see it.

7 of 10

Sunday, February 14, 2010