REVIEW: “THE KING’S MAN” (2021) 20th Century Studios

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Having seen this one over a month ago, but not being able to even speak about it till Dec 6th, made me almost forget I’d even seen it. Or maybe that was just a wish that didn’t come true. Having highly enjoyed the original Kingsman: The Secret Service, and even somewhat Kingsman: The Golden Circle – I found myself looking forward to it’s prequel “THE KING’S MAN” as I was looking forward to some high paced fun. Instead for the first 45 minutes of this film I felt like I was in seventh grade history class and we had a substitute teacher who decided to show us a film all about what led up to WWI and who Rasputin really was. And not in a good way, but in an almost odd, campy way.

It starts with father and son, the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), the title character, and Conrad (Harris Dickinson), and wanders slowly through the beginnings of their relationship. Fiennes’ Duke of Oxford is at the right hand of King Edward (Tom Hollander) just as WWI is about to break out between England, Germany, headed up by Kaiser Wilhelm, also played by Tom Hollander, and the Czar of Russia, also played by you guessed it, Tom Hollander. Add in Rhys Ifans as Grigori Rasputin, the team of servant spies, including Polly (Gemma Arterton) and Shola (Djimon Hounsou), who are part of the few who can protect the Crown, and Matthew Goode as Morton, the good guy/villain. Add in a lot of camp with it’s first fun, action moment coming in right around the 60 minute mark, where by then three people had walked out of the screening, but Rasputin finally gives us this, and moments where you can actually see Fiennes action double take over, then this is your movie.

Honestly the main issue with The King’s Man is the script. It’s all over the place type jumbled and difficult to keep up with what the plan was because of everyone involved. The first half of this film feels like it’s moving slow because of everything that is being set up. Then, once they get into the actual story, it loses its footing, goes off the rails and tries to get into way to many storylines all at once. It felt like Conrad and the Duke’s relationship played a more important role than saving England from villains. In the end, both narratives end up fizzling out and the film never really creates any emotional connection to the original Kingsmen agency, or even father and son story which it goes into huge depth trying to explain to you in the first hour as well.

It was nice to see the who developed the agency as it at least gave Arterton a strong take in it all, but the story wasn’t executed well enough to make it as enjoyable as the others were. I think it there might be the camp who didn’t like the first two that will enjoy this one, and those that enjoyed the first two more, maybe won’t have the same feelings on this one and share mine. Who knows. But I can credibly say the campy nature of the espionage and the cheesy dialogue did not suit the era at all, which made some moments incredibly awkward and just overall, not my movie.

Grade: D+

‘THE KING’S MAN” is coming to theaters Wednesday, December 22, 2021

REVIEW: “A QUIET PLACE PART II” (2021) Paramount Pictures

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Sequels. That dreaded word to most – as they usually begin where the original inevitable cliffhanger of it’s predecessor left off. It’s usually a re-hashed, mish-mash of the original film, and rarely if ever, is it as good as the original. Well colour us thankfully out of that sequel slump as “THE QUIET PLACE PART II“, is anything BUT a slouch of it’s original.

This wonderfully woven sequel gives us the briefest of a flash of the past, probably just for old time-sakes to remember where we were, but then with the flick of scene, we are brought to a time we have never seen before. The time before ‘it’ all began that we all really wanted to know about, and answers so many questions in a very short time. Wrapping up it up cleanly on how ‘the Quiet’ came upon them, and giving us our first glimpses of the monsters that we now know, who hunt by sound, like the dropping of a pin or too loud of a breath, and just like that, they’ve got you. And right as we understand the implications, again, with another flick of the scene, we just skip from day one of the invasion to day 474 of the apocalypse, just after mom Evelyn, kills the alien in her home in the first movie that started it all, ‘A Quiet Place‘.

Continuing on, as Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe), are forced to venture out and continue traveling on foot with baby Abbott in tow. They enter the fortified compound of old family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who is not nearly as welcoming as they hoped. The family must now face the terrors outside, while continuing their journey and struggle for existence while in complete silence. They also now know some of the vulnerabilities that the aliens are susceptible to as well, like the high-frequency audio feedback from Regan’s cochlear implant hearing aid. But by being forced to venture into the unknown, they realize that these aliens that hunt by sound, aren’t the only dangers they face lurking in the beyond. In a turn of events, Marcus and Regan discover a radio signal that plays the song “Beyond the Sea” over and over on repeat, and after some doing, finally realize the whereabouts of the location it’s emanating from. Regan figures this might be her chance to not just find, but help other survivors that might be stranded as well. But as with everything in a twisty-turning film like this one, there is always going to be that one thing in the narrative that doesn’t really turn out the way you might want or need it to, or maybe it does? And therein lies the fun, brilliance and suspense of it all.

To give away anymore of this film would be to spoil it inherently, and that’s just something to not be done. What can be said is how much a ‘A Quiet Place II‘ does an amazing job of ‘world’ building, to use an odd descriptive of how the locales are made to look deserted and destroyed, with a worn, dilapidated sense to many of them. Along with the places and the practices that must be observed to live in this world help to flesh out this apocalyptic-type setting, just add to the overall feel of the film. There are some imaginative locations and very clever tricks used by everyone in the film to essentially, ‘stay quiet’. This takes thought, oodles of imagination, and is to be appreciated as it adds so much to the sense of tension surrounding our characters. The film is also an acoustical treat for the ears, (ours – definitely not theirs), with great sound and some amazingly detailed, very quiet panic scenes where it made the silence truly all the more deafening. As well, the acting is very good with Simmonds’ taking over as the main lead character, and Blunt playing the strong, albeit, more supporting part. Krasinski, well, he is briefly here at the beginning of our story to tell us why. But it’s truly Simmonds’ who rises to the occasion of being the lead with a fantastic, captivating and compelling performance. Jupe and Hinds, put in some good support here as well, as truly everyone here has a lot to do to just survive, and some of the activities they are forced to do while staying silent are really quite amazing to witness and watch. 

Krasinski divides the action here over three separate narratives, cross-cutting between them to heighten the tension at important points. All the while, he never loses sight of the fact that A Quiet Place Part II – is a horror film, and he keeps the well-crafted scares coming at a steady pace. All in all, Krasinski does the almost impossible here by making a sequel that – dare I say it – is better than the original.

“A”

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Review Screening: Monday, May 17, 2021 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

A QUIET PLACE PART II” OPENS IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE ON FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021

REVIEW – “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” (2014)

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“I AM GROOT” – ha!  It’s truly the perfect way to start a review of this fun fun movie!! I seriously wanted to just say this and leave it at that.. Because that’s how fun it is and no one wants to ruin this movie with a long boring synopsis and all …riiigghhtt??!!!  Well, okay, I will also mention Chris Pratt.. no..seriously, when did Chris Pratt get this hott??!! 😀   He’s always been the cute, funny guy in the back ground, but here he takes center-stage as “Peter Quill” aka “STARLORD” and he not only looks great at doing it as it’s clear they made him get in some amazing shape for this movie, but it’s like this role was truly meant for his type of comedic chops.  starlord

As with all comic book quasi-superhero movies like this one, there has to be a reason at the beginning of why/how everything becomes as it is and this one is no different.  We see a young Peter Quill being brought to his dying mothers bedside where she gives him a last gift before she passes. As he runs screaming, crying out of her room into a big grassy field, he stumbles & falls, a blinding light shines on him and POOF!!! you got it… he is taken away by a spaceship.  26 years later we see Quill as an intergalactic outlaw who attempts to go by the name “Starlord”.  He is part of a clan who call themselves ‘Ravagers’ and while on a paid mission to collect an ‘orb’ he runs into “Korath” (played nicely in a supporting comedic turn by Djimon Hounsou) who works for “Ronan” (another fav. actor of mine playing a bad guy *sigh* ~ Lee Pace :)) an evil Warlord who wants the orb to do what else..control the Galaxy, specifically the planet Xandar, where his arch enemies live & it’s ran by none other than “Nova Prime” (Glenn Close).

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Peter of course gets the orb, but not before he double crosses the very people who took him to this intergalactic wonderland, “Yondu Odonta” (played wonderfully by TWD’s Michael Rooker) who then does what all double-crossed outlaws do and puts a bounty on Peter’s head.  Now the fun starts as everyone starts hunting Peter including, the oh-so-green assassin who is actually working for Ronan, “Gamora” (Zoe Saldana), “Rocket” a genetically engineered hysterically funny, raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) & his partner “Groot” his walking & regenerating tree friend (voice of Vin Diesel). who only can say 3 words..annndd you already know what those are..”I am Groot” ~ in other words..hello huge payday for Vin Diesel for yes, uttering 3 words. ha!  Well to cut to the chase, in the land of all things comic books they all get caught..sent to a maximum security prison where they all start to of course, work together along with a new ‘friend’ “Drax” (pro-wrestler Dave Bautista) who really only just wants revenge on Ronan for killing his family.  All this comes together as they make an oh-so-fun escape and get to the town of ‘Knowhere’ so they can sell the orb to “The Collector” (Benicio del Toro).  But when they find out what the orb can really do and why Ronan wants it so badly..and what should really be done with it..well…what will the now-appointed “Guardians of the Galaxy” do??!!  Well, you will have to see the movie for that, because I don’t want to spoil all the fun here…really, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE.. as from moment one it’s truly one of the most humourous, action-packed, visually stunning, and just plain damn FUN Sci-Fi fantasy movies I’ve ever had the pleasure to see so you should too.  Oh and it wouldn’t be right if I  forgot to mention the freaking fantastic soundtrack to this movie!! From the open-sequence on you will be rocking in your seat and just plain laughing.. Who doesn’t want to do that during a movie and be totally entertained??!!  Well, if you are one of the few, then yeah..don’t see it..for everyone else.. go get your groove and laughs on I say!!!

Grade: B+

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Grading Scale: A = Oscarworthy;  B = Above average~must see;  C = Average~should see;  D = Don’t waste your time or money;  F= Yeah, no, just don’t see it  (+ or – give it a bit up or down)