REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Tandi Wright (Power Rangers SPD)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: BEOWULF & GRENDAL

Starring

Gerard Butler (300)
Stellan Skarsgård (Thor)
Ingvar E. Sigurðsson (Everest)
Sarah Polley (Splice)
Eddie Marsan (Deadpool 2)
Tony Curran (Outlaw King)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Rory McCann (Game of Thrones)
Martin Delaney (Zero Dark Thirty)
Spencer Wilding (Rogue One)

Gerard Butler and Martin Delaney in Beowulf & Grendel (2005)In 500 A.D., Hrothgar, king of Denmark, and a group of warriors chase a large and burly man, whom they consider a troll, and his young son, who already bears cheek and chin whiskers, to the edge of a steep seaside cliff. The father directs his young son, Grendel, to hide from the attackers’ view; whereupon The Danes shoot the father dead, and his dead body plunges onto the beach far below. The Danish king sees the young Grendel, but spares him. Later, Grendel finds his father’s body and cuts the head off to take it home. Many years later, the severed (and mummified) head is inside a cave where the boy Grendel has become as large and powerful as his father, and plans revenge.Gerard Butler and Tony Curran in Beowulf & Grendel (2005)When Hrothgar finds twenty of his warriors killed inside his great hall, the Danish king falls into a depression. Beowulf, with the permission of Hygelac, king of Geatland, sails to Denmark with thirteen Geats to slay Grendel for Hrothgar. The arrival of Beowulf and his warriors is welcomed by Hrothgar, but the king’s village has fallen into a deep despair and many of the pagan villagers convert to Christianity at the urging of an Irish monk. While Grendel does raid Hrothgar’s village during the night, he flees rather than fight. Selma the witch tells Beowulf that Grendel will not fight him because Beowulf has committed no wrong against him.Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd and Gerard Butler in Beowulf & Grendel (2005)A villager, recently baptized and thus now unafraid of death, leads Beowulf and his men to the cliff above Grendel’s cave. When the villager is found dead, Beowulf and his men return with a rope and gain entry to Grendel’s secret cave, where one of Beowulf’s men mutilates the mummified head of Grendel’s father. That night, Grendel invades Hrothgar’s great hall, kills the Geat who desecrated his father’s head, and leaps from the second story, but is caught in a trap by Beowulf. Grendel, refusing capture, escapes by severing his captive arm, and dies near the site of his father’s death, where his body is claimed by a mysterious webbed hand. Thereafter Hrothgar admits to Beowulf that he had killed Grendel’s father for stealing a fish but had spared the child Grendel out of pity. Grendel’s severed arm is kept by the Danes as a trophy. In revealing more about Grendel, Selma recounts that Grendel had once clumsily raped her and has protected her since that day; and Beowulf becomes her paramour.Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd in Beowulf & Grendel (2005)The Danes are later attacked by Grendel’s mother, the Sea Hag; and Beowulf slays her with a sword from among her treasure, and then notices that the battle was being observed by child of Grendel and Selma. Later Beowulf, with Grendel’s son watching, buries Grendel with ceremony. Shortly thereafter, Beowulf and his band of Geats leave Denmark by ship, having warned Selma that she must hide her son, lest the Danes destroy him.Gerard Butler in Beowulf & Grendel (2005)This is a very updated version of the Anglo-Saxon poem “Beowulf,” using contemporary English.This movie still has the mythical, epic qualities of the poem that have inspired readers throughout the ages. In an excellent performance, Gerard Butler effectively captures the conflicted hero Beowulf as he endures the slow erosion of his military code of conduct. Beowulf & Grendel is more than a story of blood and war. Themes of vengeance, loyalty and mercy are powerfully entwined with the beginnings of Christianity in southwest Sweden in 500 AD. Another theme which is explored is human inability to tolerate that which is different. Gerard Butler is extremely effective as Beowulf, but perhaps the best performance in the movie is that delivered by the tempestuous and weirdly beautiful land of Iceland. I think this movie is definitely worth seeing.

REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2: THE SUPER DUPER CUT

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard)
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Julian Dennison (Godzilla vs. Kong)
Zazie Beetz (Geostorm)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Brianna Hildebrand (The Exorcist TV)
Jack Kesy (12 Strong)
Stefan Kapicic (Big Miracle)
Leslie Uggams (Empire)
Karan Soni (Office Christmas Party)
Shioli Kutsuna (The Outsider)
Eddie Marsan (21 Grams)
Lewis Tan (Iron Fist)
Bill Skarsgård (IT)
Terry Crews (The Expendables)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One)
Matt Damon (Dogma)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
James McAvoy (Split)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Alexander Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In)

The “Super Duper” cut of Deadpool 2 probably isn’t going to drastically change anybody’s mind on the movie: if you liked it, there’s more stuff to like; if you didn’t, and unless your chief complaint was “the tonal balance didn’t get it quite right,” it’s not like Ryan Reynolds suddenly decides not to be the same kind of character he always likes to play. It’s still a bit of a superhero tonal clash, as the satirical vibe of the first Deadpool collides with what feels more like the X-Men cinematic universe proper. But where the theatrical cut went for a fairly even balance, the Super Duper version falls (I don’t want to say “errs,” because it’s not really an error) on the side of Deadpool. The fact that a two-part post-credits scene featuring Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (Reynolds) encountering baby Hitler has been reinstated really says it all in that regard.This is a lot more thoughtful than a standard “unrated” cut, however. Yes, you’ll see more violence, more graphic stabbings, more blood, more nudity (including an oddly digitally pixellated male private area), and more shots of characters flipping each other off. Jokes are allowed to run longer, which may be a matter of taste–I’m a fan of jokes that go on and on to the point of absurdity, and by giving Josh Brolin’s time-traveling cyborg Cable more “grimdark” speechifying, this version actually turns him from a Frank Miller-type character to more of an Alan Moore parody of same.But then there are actual cinematic changes, too. Music cues in some cases are completely different, substituting hard-charging action score for lower-key or counter-intuitive tunes that make for a more comedic tone and render some of the extreme violence more slapstick (Boo to replacing the acoustic “Take on Me” with a replay of Celine Dion’s “Ashes,” though). We now meet Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) before Deadpool does, as their stories are shown on parallel tracks: as a broken Deadpool goes to the X-Mansion to be fixed, a not-broken Russell goes to the “Reeducation Center” to be tortured by Eddie Marsan’s headmaster, whose evil is more telegraphed in advance. When Russell later laments how he keeps waiting for someone to save him but nobody ever does, it carries that much more weight.Some choices feel like freedom from studio mandates: there are more digs at Fox and competing superhero movies, and a running gag about Deadpool accusing Cable of being racist that was probably too iffy for the suits. Other added running gags make existing ones more funny with callbacks: “Donde esta la biblioteca,” is the most notable, but Deadpool also snickers like Beavis and Butt-head in a few scenes now; for example, whenever Cable says something like “You always make it hard.” Speaking of butts, the whole “prison wallet” sequence involving Russell’s hidden pen has some enhanced gross-out sound effects, which actually make Deadpool’s revulsion to it throughout the movie a bit more understandable. And Colossus gets propositioned a lot more, with Deadpool at one point getting close to undoing his pants…and we won’t speak of what he does to the soap dispenser (what was only hinted at before is spelled out in full now).None of this takes away from the movie’s central theme, however, that Wade Wilson is presented with two possible alternate versions of himself: in Russell, a funny kid consumed with pain; and in Cable, a guy who’s gone past pain to being dead inside and stone-cold ruthless outside. Forced to find a way to somehow make peace between the two, Wade’s going to need a lot of luck and compassion, which he finds literally embodied in Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic). It becomes, as promised early on, a (dysfunctional) family movie about pushing yourself and others out of emotional ruts, and not making friendship conditional. In that spirit, the scene that calls back to X-Men Origins: Wolverine now basically has Reynolds pleading for a Wolverine and Deadpool movie. It’s unlikely he’s hinting at something actually in the works, rather than just trying to get an idea out there, but it’s a significant change.Is it an entirely different experience, as Ryan Reynolds suggested at the Comic-Con panel earlier in the day? Not really. But it does feel a touch more comic-booky, and if you’re a Deadpool fan, that’s pretty much a plus.

 

REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard)
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Julian Dennison (Godzilla vs. Kong)
Zazie Beetz (Geostorm)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Brianna Hildebrand (The Exorcist TV)
Jack Kesy (12 Strong)
Stefan Kapicic (Big Miracle)
Leslie Uggams (Empire)
Karan Soni (Office Christmas Party)
Shioli Kutsuna (The Outsider)
Eddie Marsan (21 Grams)
Lewis Tan (Iron Fist)
Bill Skarsgård (IT)
Terry Crews (The Expendables)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One)
Matt Damon (Dogma)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
James McAvoy (Split)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Alexander Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In)

Ryan Reynolds and Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2 (2018)After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with his girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decides to start a family together, the target tracks Wilson down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge. He blames himself for her death and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus. Wilson is left with only a Skee-Ball token, an anniversary gift, as a final memento of Vanessa.Josh Brolin in Deadpool 2 (2018)Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson reluctantly agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that suppress their powers, they are taken to the Ice Box, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, whose family is murdered by an older Collins, travels back in time to kill the boy before Collins ever becomes a killer.Cable breaks into the Ice Box and attacks Collins. Wilson, whose collar has broken in the melee, attempts to defend Collins. After Cable takes Vanessa’s token, Wilson forces himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team called X-Force to break Collins out of a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. The team launches its assault on the convoy by parachute, but all of the members die during the landing except for Wilson and the lucky Domino. While they fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who agrees to help Collins kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the convoy, allowing himself and Collins to escape.Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’ first murder, and agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down. At the orphanage, they are overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster, until Colossus—who had at first refused to help Wilson due to Wilson’s murderous ways—arrives to distract Juggernaut. When Wilson fails to talk down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet while wearing the Ice Box collar and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice, Collins does not kill the headmaster; this changes the future so that Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-traveling device, which he needed for returning to his family, to go back several minutes and strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart. Now when Wilson takes the bullet for Collins, it is stopped by the token and both survive. Collins still has his change of heart, and afterwards, the headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi-driver friend Dopinder.Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2 (2018)In a mid-credits sequence, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio repair Cable’s time-traveling device for Wilson. He uses it to save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter, and kills both X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s version of Deadpool and actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering starring in the film Green Lantern.The first Deadpool is one of my favorite films of all time, and I figured no way even DP2 could beat it, but it did. This film is sheer perfection in every aspect. We need more of these type of films that make you forget all the garbage going on in today’s society… a film that has every positive element including top-notch non-stop comedy . Props to  Ryan Reynolds for topping what I thought could not be topped! This franchise needs to continue and I can’t wait for DP3! I will see this film again and again and I can’t wait to add the bluray to my collection next to DP1. A perfect and well deserved 10/10 from me!