December 7, 2015

Macbeth  Macbeth

I must admit I was genuinely looking forward to the latest movie production of Macbeth staring the amazing Michael Fassbender and the alluring Marion Gotillard.  The previews set the expectations high especially for such a classic play.  On the upside, the script was updated and streamlined which resulted in a nice smooth flow.  The momentum was crisp, the cinematography stunning.

On the down side, the musical score droned on and on, on top of the heavy Scottish accented Elizabethan dialog for the entire production making it quite difficult to hear or understand what was being said.

The battle scenes were incredible and haunting but brutally difficult to watch.  I could not tell who was who in the misty fog, but it was obvious battles of the era were unbelievably horrific.  It was painful to watch and I came away from the viewing depressed and disappointed.

Note:  I seem to be in the minority on my perspective as most of the critics are heaping enormous praise on this movie.  I regard myself as a big Shakespeare fan and have been since my 20s.  This one just didn’t work for me.  I’ll be very interested in your point of view if you decide to see this movie.

Rating 2 GlobesCreed

Creed

Up front, I have not been a fan of the “Rocky” franchise or Mr. Stallone and I waffled about seeing this film.  Just not my cup of tea.  But I heard good things about this boxing movie and decided to see it.  I’m glad we did.

Director Ryan Coogler put together a great production and excellent actors, most notably Sylvester Stallone from the Rocky franchise and Michael B Jordan from the excellent Fruitvale movie.

The story follows Jordan from a troubled young  man, jumping to his frustration as a young business professional, to his struggle to find fulfillment as a professional boxer when he discovers his real father was the famous boxer Apollo Creed (Rocky Balboa’s nemesis).  Stallone eventually becomes the coach and a major boxing event the climax of the movie.

Why this works is Stallone delivers one of the best performance of his career.  He is joined by the incredibly talented Michael B Jordan and a great script that blend in just the right amount of passion and conflict.  Bonus points for Phylicia Rashad’s cameo.

Rating 3 GlobesThe Wonders

The Wonders

This was an interesting movie.  It is set in a poor isolated area of Tuscany on a ramshackle farm where the production of honey is the only source of income.  The father is tough as nails with pangs of tenderness.  The wife, frustrated, resilient and tender.  Four unruly daughters, Gelsomina, the eldest 12 year old is charged with saving the family farm.  A young boy, a foster child, appears as extra help and income from the state.

Despite the challenges, there are spontaneous moments of joy and laughter from simple activities like a family outing to a swimming spot.  There is suddenly hope when a theatrical group hosting a competition for the best artisan products and the chance to win some money comes to town.

Everything changes when the foster child runs away, there is an accident with one of the children and the honey processing floods the barn…

I wanted to find something ‘wonder’ful here but instead it was awkward, uncomfortable, bordering on annoying.  The critics loved it.  I just cannot agree.

Italian and German with English Subtitles

Rating: 1 GlobeThe Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

Pixar/Disney delivers a stunning animated film with delightful twists and turns with extraordinary attention to detail and just the right balance humor and action.  Prehistoric dinosaurs as farmers, humans as canines,  T-rex as cattlemen. Sounds goofy, and it was.  I laughed, I cried, I loved every moment.  Apparently so did the audience, age 3 to 83.

It is not as sophisticated as “UP” or “Inside Out” but it is every bit as rewarding.  There are ups and downs, and joy and sorrow, brilliantly woven together to a heartwarming finale.

Rating: 4 globes.

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