TRUST THE SPIRIT HORSE

lonerangerTHE LONE RANGER (2013)
3 out of 5 stars

The story starts as Tonto, a Native American warrior, recounts the tale of how John Reid became the legendary Lone Ranger. It is 1869 and the railroad business is expanding but at the expense of the land of the Comanche Native Americans. John Reid’s brother, Dan, and his Rangers are ambushed and killed by the gang led by outlaw, Butch Cavendish. All were dead until a spirit horse awakens John as a spirit walker and Tonto advises him as he tries to avenge his brother and bring Cavendish to Justice.

At 149 minutes, it is pretty long and some parts might be slightly draggy. The build-up to the final scene really takes quite a while. But, at least the music was entertaining as it is an extended arrangement of Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”.  It takes a man to wear the mask throughout the movie and Armie Hammer has the voice and face to do so. But it wouldn’t be complete with Johnny Depp’s eccentric take on Tonto especially when he interacts with the Spirit Horse. Helena Bonham-Carter’s ivory leg is a plus.

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BECOMING A GENTLEMAN

greatexpectations2012GREAT EXPECTATIONS (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, the story revolves around Pip, an orphan, whose quality of life improves when he receives a sum of money from an anonymous benefactor.

I would jump at any chance to watch a classic brought to screen and this is no exception. Though I have only briefly read the book during primary school, I still remember bits and pieces of the story. While reading up this adaptation, I’ve heard many rave reviews about the BBC adaptation and hopefully I have the chance to watch it one day.

Holliday Grainger is delightful as Estella. She is really beautiful and I almost didn’t believe her when she said she had no heart. Jeremy Irvine is really handsome and the younger Pip really resembles him (played by Toby Irvine – his younger brother!). I suppose he did an acceptable job and my favourite scene is quoted below. Overall though, I didn’t feel my heart flutter as much as it should have.

Pip: You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become accquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. To the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But in this separation, I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm. Let me feel now what sharp distress I may.

I DREAMED A DREAM

lesmiz1LES MISERABLES (2012)
4 out of 5 stars

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and the successful musical of the same name, Les Miz tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who reinvents himself as the mayor of a town in France. He agrees to care for Cosette, the daughter of Fantine, after a terrible incident, all the while escaping Javert, a police inspector adamant on capturing Valjean.

The first time I saw the trailer for Les Miz, I cried. Maybe it was the songs that were sung with so much melancholy. So it’s no surprise that there were tears while watching the movie. Especially when Anne Hathaway, as Fantine, sings ‘I Dreamed A Dream’. There was sadness and anger in her tone of voice and she looked so devastated. Hugh Jackman was fantastic as Jean Valjean. It’s the first time I’ve heard him sing and he sounds quite pleasant. No wonder he’s won a Tony Award!

lesmiz2

The other actor that I was mesmerized with was Aaron Tveit, who plays Enjolras, one of the students in the revolution fighting alongside Marius (Eddie Redmayne), the love of Cosette. Most people would probably know him as the jerk cousin of Nate, Tripp, in Gossip Girl but oh man, his voice is one of the best. He sounds the most natural among the male actors/singers and brought a lot of conviction in his voice. Amanda Seyfried sounds good but we’ve heard her in Mamma Mia! The Movie so no worries there. As for Russell Crowe, I shall let you decide for yourself.

I didn’t expect the whole movie to be just songs but since it was based on the musical, what was I expecting? Maybe a few lines of dialogue? But no, it is pure singing with probably less than ten lines of sing-spoken dialogue.

I don’t know what was the spark between Cosette and Marius (because I’m a cynic?) but I do know many of us identify with Eponine, the one pining for Marius. Is there no justice in the world of crushes?!

Watch it because it has been nominated for 8 awards at the upcoming 85th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway).

THE BOY WHO HAD LILY’S EYES

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART II (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars 

The movie starts without warning and picks up from Part I where Voldemort takes the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave. Harry, Ron and Hermione are still on their quest to locate and destroy the Horcruxes and they dive deeper into the Hallows (Resurrection Stone, Cloak of Invisibility and the Elder Wand) as well. The adventure starts from Gringotts and ends at Hogwarts.

Minerva McGonagall: I’ve always wanted to use that spell!

Well, I say you gotta brace yourself for this one because LOTS MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE. That’s gonna be people whom Harry care about and who care about Harry; characters that fight till the end even though they know they have a slim chance of defeating the Dark Lord and his Deatheaters, characters that remain in the Order and Dumbledore’s Army even though officially, these groups no longer exist.

Severus Snape: Look… at… me…

Like all the other HP movies, there are certain parts that didn’t quite follow the book. For example, Neville became a HERO in the book (and in my heart, especially after Book 5, when I found out that the prophecy reveals that he had a shot at being the titular character and he’s such an underdog!) but his role was reduced somehow, but I’m so glad he did what he did at the end. You know, the thing with the Sword. Harry didn’t fix his you-know-what before snapping it. The Snape flashback scene was a little disappointing because an entire chapter was reduced to a two minute so-so presentation and they skipped Dumbledore’s past (I really wanted to see Jamie Campbell Bower as Grindelwald). Some of the pivotal scenes take place at different locations, for example, at the boathouse.

Harry Potter: You’ll stay with me?
Sirius Black: Until the very end.

Source: holymotherofhnng

I watched this in 3D and I can’t really judge if the 3D is amazing but I can tell you it didn’t suck. Anyway, I started tearing up the moment Harry entered Hogwarts ground so I was generating my own kind of 3D. Not to mention, every time some act of loyalty, courage, love, friendship, Neville Longbottom or Maggie Smith appears, my own brand of 3D kicks into place. Surprisingly, there were quite many funny (Voldemort laughing), light-hearted moments in the movie – even by Maggie Smith! There’s the kiss between Ron and Hermione to look out for and also many spontaneous actions (mostly declarations of love) fueled by adrenaline and the ominous thought that they are all going to die.

Molly Weasley: Not my daughter, you bitch!

I felt really sad when it ended but yet, slightly triumphant and glad because everything was restored to its proper order and the epilogue, that gives us a glimpse 19 years after the big event that rocked the magical community, was weird to watch but ends it nicely.

After TEN YEARS of cinematic magic, it ends, but it will continue to live in my heart (and my DVD collection).

 

(In my heart, body and soul: it’s a 5) 

EVERYONE GO WATCH THE LATEST AND FINAL HARRY POTTER MOVIE NOW!

“BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE!”

THE KING’S SPEECH (2010)
– 5 out of 5 stars

King George VI: If I am King, where is my power? Can I declare war? Form a government? Levy a tax? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority because they think that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak.

The King’s Speech is a biopic on Prince Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth) who later becomes King George VI after the death of his father, King George V, and the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. King George VI, who has suffered from a speech impediment all his life, meets Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, whose unorthodox and controversial methods of treatment put them off to a rough start. Eventually, the two of them form an unbreakable bond as Logue serves as a friend and part-time psychiatrist over the course of treatment. With the country at the brink of war and in need of a leader, King George VI would go on to overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that will inspire his people and unite them in battle.

Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
King George VI: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

I think it’s safe to say I was blown away by The King’s Speech. When it started with Prince Albert’s speech at Wembley Stadium, my eyes watered because you can see and feel how hard he tries to utter those words but it just wouldn’t come out. It was heartbreaking. The mood lightened up when Prince Albert meets Logue, whose unconventional methods (blasting classical music, jaw relaxing, rolling on the floor, singing and swearing among others) improves his condition. They soon become friends and confidants, which proves helpful as Logue helps find the root of Prince Albert’s stammer.

Lionel Logue: Do you know the “f” word?
King George VI: F-f-f-fornication.

One of my favourite scenes involves Logue provokes Prince Albert to start swearing, since his anger helps to fuel smooth enunciation, and the result is excellent. It also spreads a little to the titular speech at the end, when Logue mouths some swear words to ease the flow of speech.

Lionel Logue: Forget everything else… and just say it to me.

Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush delivered truly brilliant performances. You can literally feel the frustration and desperation of Prince Albert each time he tries to speak. Whereas, the character of Lionel Logue is animated and quirky without being over the top. I liked those scenes whenever both of them appear onscreen together. Meanwhile, there were a few Harry Potter alumni in the cast: Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, wife of Prince Albert aka Bellatrix Lestrange; Michael Gambon as King George V aka Dumbledore and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill aka Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers.

King George VI: ‘Cos you’re b-bloody well paid to listen.
Lionel Logue: Bertie, I’m not a geisha girl.

Go watch it!

As at time of post, Colin Firth won Best Actor at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards and 68th Golden Globe Awards among others and the movie leads with 12 nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards.

THESE ARE DARK TIMES

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART I (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

Finally the wait is over – the first part of the final instalment of Harry Potter is here! But the most frustrating thing is that you have to wait till July 2011 to catch the finalfinal part. Seriously, when Part I ended, I was thinking to myself: I can definitely sit in the theatre for another three hours. But obviously, people like to make common folk salivate at the eight-month wait.

As most of you would have read, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I, would revolve around Harry, Ron and Hermione completing the task given to them by Dumbledore. That is to find and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes (items that contain bits of Voldemort’s soul) so that Voldemort can be destroyed once and for all. However, with the Death Eaters taking over Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic, Harry’s task just got harder… and that includes being Undesirable Number One.

While searching for the Horcruxes, they come across the tale of the Deathly Hallows (the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak) through Xenophilius Lovegood. Harry then learns that Voldemort wants the Elder Wand so as to be able to defeat Harry in their final duel.

One of the highlights would be seeing how the Order of the Phoenix tries to safely transport Harry out of Privet Drive with the use of Polyjuice Potion. The funniest transformation would be Fleur Delacour, who told Bill (her husband-to-be) not to look at her cos she’s hideous. Ron is still the funniest, taking most of the humour alongside the Weasley twins. Another highlight would be their trip to the Ministry where Harry walks funny and Ron gets lucky. The part that freaked me out most was when they returned to Godric’s Hollow – Harry’s birthplace (cos I was really spooked out when I read that chapter). And the escape from Malfoy Mansion made me cry!

Dobby: Dobby didn’t mean to kill anyone. Dobby only meant to maim or seriously injure.

Well, I think there’s enough spoilers here for those who haven’t read the book and I’m not going to spoil it further by NOT telling you when it ends (though it must be floating in the Internet, somewhere). 3 and a half out of 5 stars.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Part II! I can’t wait to see Neville Longbottom finally standing up to fulfill his potential! Of course, Part II would bring about more death of beloved characters but it would unravel more about the Hallows and Horcruxes!

[SPOILER]
And here are some interesting tweets regarding the movie:

@ImperialRoseZay Dear people who moan about the RIP Dobby TT because it’s a spoiler: Snape dies in the next one. Yours sincerely, the people who read books.

@Lord_Voldemort7 Careful twitter, the TTs are loaded with spoilers. For instance, I now know that the people who bitch about the TTs don’t read. Spoiler!

ALL ABOUT MUCHNESS

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)
– 3 out of 5 stars

Alice In Wonderland tells of Alice’s adventures back into Underland (Wonderland) 13 years after her first visit. Upon her arrival, she is told that she has to slay the Jabberwocky, the Red Queen’s menacing dragon-like creature, in order to bring peace to Underland. The Mad Hatter and his friends – the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat and Tweedledee and Tweedledum await her arrival to overthrow the Red Queen’s reign.

I suppose one of the main draws of the movie was seeing Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and I really liked how his eye makeup and colour of his pupils changes according to his moods! I have never read Lewis Carroll’s novels when I was young so I’m not really familiar with the characters, but they seem rather amusing. The Red Queen mistreats animals by using them as leg rests, clubs, balls and table- and chair-bearers – such poor animals! She also collects anyone with a large-whatever (ears, noses, stomachs and breasts) and executes at ease (“Off with their heads”). The final action sequence was okay to watch and the part I looked forward to was the Mad Hatter’s Futterwacken dance. Glad Alice made it good in the real world.