REVIEW: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON

CAST

Bill Murray (Lost In Translation)
Laura Linney (Sully)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Olivia Coleman (Hot Fuzz)
Elizabeth Marvel (A Most Violent Year)
Olivia Williams (An Education)
Elizabeth Wilson (Catch-22)
Andrew Havill (Dad’s Army)
Martin McDougall (Green Zone)

Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)In spring 1939, Sara Delano, the mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt, asks his sixth cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley to visit the ill President of the United States at their country estate in Hyde Park, New York. Although Daisy and Roosevelt had not seen each other for years, the distant relatives form a romantic relationship, and Roosevelt often asks Daisy to visit Hyde Park when he stays with his mother. Daisy becomes one of the several women close to Roosevelt, including Sara; Missy LeHand, the president’s secretary; and Eleanor, the president’s wife. Despite his power, the president is often unable to control the other women; the quiet, shy Daisy is his confidante, and he tells her that Top Cottage will be their shared refuge after his presidency.In June 1939, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, visit the United States, during which they stay with the Roosevelts at Hyde Park. The British hope that the visit will improve the chances of American support during the future war with Germany. George—who is king because his brother Edward VIII abdicated—is nervous, because of the importance of the visit, because he stutters, and because of having to eat a hot dog for the first time at a picnic in his honor. Roosevelt reassures George by citing his own inability to walk, and observes that others do not see their handicaps because “it’s not what they want to see”. The president tells the king that he hopes to overcome Americans’ reluctance to help Britain.Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)The night the king and queen arrive, Daisy discovers LeHand is having an affair with Roosevelt. LeHand tells a shocked Daisy that their respective relationships with the president are not his only ones, mentioning Dorothy Schiff and Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, and that Daisy must accept sharing Roosevelt with other women. At the picnic the next day the king successfully eats a hot dog for a photo op, and Daisy, in a voiceover, states that the visit helped the two countries form a Special Relationship. Daisy rejects Roosevelt’s requests to see her until he calls on her in person; they reconcile, and Daisy accepts her role as one of the president’s mistresses. As years pass, Daisy watches Roosevelt become frail as a wartime leader; nonetheless everyone, she says, “still [looked] to him, still seeing whatever it was they wanted to see”.Bill Murray and Laura Linney in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)Hyde Park on Hudson had its moments. I liked seeing King George VI eat hotdogs, the Queen smoke cigarettes, and FDR go swimming in a turn of the century bathing suit. However this film could have been so much better. It felt like Nelson forgot about his own plot. The gaps he left were huge and left me wondering why there were so many lose ends. The script needs to be beefed up and full cooked. There’s still pink in this meat.

 

REVIEW: ZOMBIELAND

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman v Superman)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Amber Heard (Machete Kills)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)

the-favourite-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000Right from the start Zombieland is in your face. The opening sequence alone is just great and recalls Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide. Also, it doesn’t try to copy any of the other countless zombie movies. It’s a very direct film that doesn’t waste time with needless character buildup, that would only slow the pacing. Characterization is achieved in between humor and action sequences and that approach works well. Zombieland starts by introducing the overly cautious and neurotic, Columbus. Columbus is the quiet geeky guy who probably spent his high school years over thinking every detail and was quite possibly bullied by jocks. Now in a zombie infested world, he is forced to become more manly and athletic when taking on the undead. Then there’s Tallahassee, who is the gung ho bad ass. I think every zombie movie needs a Tallahassee type because they are so much fun to watch. Harrelson really steals the show in Zombieland. I don’t think I’ve seen him this good since Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. He looks like he could have fun in any situation in life pre or post zombie infected. I like the scene where Tallahassee is standing next to a bright yellow Hummer and just randomly firing a machine gun.


Next up are the manipulating sisters, Little Rock and Wichita, who are both cute and annoying. I was annoyed with their characters at first and as their characters developed they became a little more tolerable. You also need sisters like this in a post zombie world because they will keep you on your toes. They are fun in their own ways and have both survived tough times together. Their strong bond makes them believable and you accept them for who they are.


zombieland-bill-murrayWith all the wonder characters and backgrounds aside, this is really about killing zombies. Who doesn’t want to roam America’s highways shooting zombies? It’s the ultimate road movie, as the four travel together and fight hundreds of zombies along the way. As much fun as that is, the ending sequence at the amusement park, cranks up the fun a lot higher. The combination of rides, amusement park games, and shooting zombies is very entertaining. Director Ruben Fleischer does a tremendous job directing action in the last half of Zombieland. That’s what these movies are all about to me.MV5BMTQ1MjUxNDIxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjgyODYxNw@@._V1_

The cheap thrills of just going for it and taking out all that pent up aggressive shooting, stabbing, running over, hammering, and beating the undead any way you can. Overall Zombieland is a lot of fun and a good way to kick off  a Halloween season.

REVIEW: CITY OF EMBER

 

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (The Host)
Harry Treadaway (Honeymoon)
Bill Murray (Zombieland)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Tim Robbins (Antitrust)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (The Cell)
Liz Smith (The Tunnel)
Mary Kay Place (Sweet Home Alabama)
Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Ian McElhinney (Krypton)
Simon Kunz (Goldeneye)

 

MV5BMTYzNzA3MzQ0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTIwMTU3MQ@@._V1_In the midst of an unspecified catastrophe, an underground city is constructed to shelter a large group of survivors, with secret instructions to future generations in a small box timed to open 200 years later. This box is entrusted to the mayor of the City of Ember. Each mayor, in turn, passes the box on to his or her successor. Over time, the significance of the box is forgotten, and the succession is broken when the seventh mayor dies before revealing the importance of the box. The box opens at the allotted time, but goes unnoticed. 41 years after the box opens, Ember’s electric generator begins to fail, and the reserves of canned goods and light bulbs are depleted.MV5BYjljZjRkNzMtMjVkNy00NGE0LWEwZWMtNTI2NTQ0ZmNhODg0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzExMzc0MDg@._V1_At a rite of passage for all graduating students, Mayor Cole (Bill Murray) stands before the students as they choose their occupations by lottery. Protagonist Lina (Saoirse Ronan), who dreams of becoming a messenger, is assigned to be a “Pipeworks Laborer” under the technician Sul (Martin Landau), and her classmate Doon (Harry Treadaway), the son of Loris ‘Barrow’ Harrow (Tim Robbins), is assigned “Messenger”; whereupon the two secretly exchange assignments. At home, Lina finds the timed box, and enlists Doon’s help to decipher its contents.MV5BMTY0NzkxMjUxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTQ3MTY4NA@@._V1_Gradually, they learn that the document is a set of instructions toward an exit from the city; and later, discover that Mayor Cole has been hoarding canned food in a secret vault. When they report the theft, they are arrested and the mayor attempts to take the box from Lina; but a blackout allows Lina to escape. Now fugitives from the mayor’s police, the pair obtain Poppy (Amy Quinn and Catherine Quinn), Lina’s 4 year old sister, and escape with the help of Sul, along a subterranean river. Meanwhile, the Mayor turns against his accomplice Looper, and locks himself in his vault, only to be devoured by a gigantic mole. Lina, Doon, and Poppy reach the surface, where they witness the sunrise; and later tie a message of their discovery to a rock and drop it into the city, where it is found by Loris.MV5BY2M2YTcwYWUtOWRlOC00OWJlLWFlMmUtYmFkYzY4NjRhNjEwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjY0NzQxNjk@._V1_Saoirse Ronan and Harry Treadaway give convincing performances in their lead positions and very rarely give attention to their ages. Sure enough, their roles aren’t the most demanding of jobs, but despite their characters’ underwritten nature both fulfil the requirements of leads nicely and with enough conviction to consistently carry the film forward. Of course, it’s always good to have a familiar face around, and Bill Murray, playing the obnoxious and gluttonous slob Mayor Cole, is the one to provide such a role. Murray, although arguably underused as far as his talents go, does well to establish a character that nobody is necessarily going to warm to, and uses whatever screen time he has adequately to further the movie on and to back up his lead performers. In the end however, all these elements simply come together to create one thing; an adventure. As just that, City of Ember is a very strong and convincing effort from director Gil Kenan who makes his live-action debut here.

REVIEW: ST. VINCENT

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Bill Murray (Zombieland)
Naomi Watts (King Kong)
Chris O’ Dowd (This Is 40)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man)
Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Kimberly Quinn (Hidden Figures)
Lenny Venito (War of The Worlds)
Greta Lee (Sisters)

Vincent MacKenna is a retired grumpy alcoholic Vietnam War veteran, living in Sheepshead Bay who smokes and gambles regularly. His wife, Sandy, developed Alzheimer’s years ago and can no longer recognize him, but he poses as a doctor to visit her and does her laundry. Vincent’s only close friends are a pregnant Russian sex worker named Daka and his cat, Felix. Despite his aggressive attitude toward strangers, Vincent has acquaintances who admire and care about him.
Vincent’s 30-year-old Chrysler LeBaron gets damaged by a tree branch felled by his new neighbors’ moving van. Maggie Bronstein, a radiology tech divorcee, and her son Oliver meet Vincent, who demands payment for the damage. Maggie does the best to provide for Oliver, who is ostracized and bullied at his Catholic school, but is a knowledgeable, friendly boy, welcomed warmly by his new teacher. On his first day at his school, Oliver’s phone, wallet and house keys are stolen by his classmate Robert. Oliver asks Vincent if he can stay at his home until his mother comes home from work. Vincent offers to continue babysitting for a fee.
Vincent picks up Oliver daily after school because Maggie often has late shifts. Vincent’s ideas of after-school activities involve visits to racetracks and bars. The mismatched pair begin to help each other mature, though Maggie is at first horrified by Vincent’s behavior. Vincent teaches Oliver how to defend himself, resulting in Oliver breaking Robert’s nose, who later apologizes and gives back what he stole. Oliver befriends Robert. Vincent and Oliver win a high odds bet on the horses, enabling Vincent to pay off some of his debts. But he gambles away the rest, hoping to make more to keep Sandy in her nursing home.
Vincent is confronted in his home by loan sharks Zucko and Antwan who attempt to take Sandy’s jewelry. Vincent suffers a stroke and Zucko and Antwan leave him on the floor. Vincent is hospitalized and has physical therapy. Oliver, Maggie and Daka help Vincent recover. Oliver’s father, a lawyer, finds out about Vincent and uses the information to get joint custody, with Maggie telling Vincent that he can no longer see Oliver. Vincent becomes depressed after finding out Sandy died while hospitalized. Oliver nominates Vincent, for his “Saints Among Us” school project and asks around the neighborhood about Vincent’s past. Oliver publicly declares Vincent his saint in front of the school’s assembly, who happily reconciles with Oliver. Some time later, Daka gives birth to a child, and she along with Maggie, Oliver and Robert go to Vincent’s house, where they eat and happily talk.St. Vincent is a sweet, lovable film that grows on you with each passing laugh.

 

REVIEW: GET SMART (2008)

CAST

Steve Carrell (Date Night)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Dwayne Johnson (Hercules)
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Terry Crews (Serving Sara)
David Kochner (American Dad)
Bill Murray (Lost In Translation)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Nate Torrence (Zootropolis)
Ken Davitian (Borat)
Jessica Barth (Ted 1 & 2)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
James Caan (Elf)
Geoff Pierson (Dexter)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Kevin Nealon (Weeds)
Cedric Yarbrough (The Boss)
Matthew Glave (Argo)

Get Smart (2008 Movie) images Get Smart HD wallpaper and background photos

When Siegfried (Terence Stamp), the leader of KAOS, engineers a massive plan to sell nuclear weapons to all of America’s enemies, it’s up to the agents of CONTROL to stop him. However, almost all of those agents have been assassinated, forcing The Chief (Alan Arkin) to promote analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) to spy duty as Agent 86. Paired with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), the duo partake in a little globetrotting to sniff out KAOS’s plans, while a peculiar competitive/romantic chemistry forms between them. When matters go from bad to worse, it’s up to 86 and 99 to thwart KAOS’s evil scheme and save the world from certain doom.

Steve Carrell was terrific as Agent 86 and seemed to capture the essence of Maxwell Smart. Not only did his portrayal of him resembled that of Don Adams’ from the sound of Smart’s voice to the delivery of Smart’s lines, Carrell managed to inject a bit of his own personality to create a new Smart that didn’t stray too far away from the old. Anne Hathaway was perfect as Agent 99. She did bear some resemblance to Barbara Feldon and actually delivered her lines in a similar manner as her at times. But more importantly, she had great chemistry with Carrell.
Unlike previous film adaptations of old television series that only superficially resembled their TV series counterpart, this film can truly be considered a big screen version of the Get Smart TV series.