Sporadic Scene: Sherlock (Season 2×01) – I Had Bad Days

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I am rather fond of BBC’s Sherlock, and recently got my husband to watch it with me, and he had a total blast. There is plenty humour going on all the time and it is witty and sharp. Watching John and Sherlock together is absolutely fantastic. There was a particular scene where Sherlock requested that John hit him in the face, and before you know it, the request devolves into an all-out fight.

Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

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“Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered and your time is short.”
– The Ancient One

SYNOPSIS: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. – via IMDB

Goodness, it only took me forever to get to this! Finally I did so, and I must say, it is a Marvel film. It’s just what you expect. Good actors, decent story, decent effects, a silly love interest thrown into the mix, and some humour… you know, the regular recipe. This felt like your average Marvel film, which is both a good and a bad thing. It means you get a consistent viewing experience on the one hand, and on the other, it’s pretty generic and won’t stay with you forever. Yes. I said it.

I didn’t buy into the hype when this came and people lauded it. That is done for all Marvel releases, and only some of them are actually worthy of it. That being said, I was still interested to see what the studio would do with this, especially when I heard it get compared to things like Inception and The Matrix. I needed to see. I agree I can see where some of these comparisons come in, but unlike the other movies, there is not real stroke of brilliance here. For all the magic and sorcery that was spoken about, it just didn’t have the same vibe and feel here. It felt like things were rushed a bit, yet the movie felt overly long – yes, the pacing was a bit of an issue.

Doctor Strange did look good though. Really good. There were actually way too many effects going on for me, but I also think it was handled really well and looked awesome. The movie was also carried by an exceptionally good cast, and they all performed as best they could with the material they were given.  I think Cumberbatch was a fantastic choice to play Doctor Strange. There was the super awesome cape (I totally need one of those), and I enjoyed some of the humour. Wong was the best, and there was all sorts of mystical knowledge to be explored. It even had Mads Mikkelsen in it, peeps. But all of that could not save the movie. Ultimately it is rather forgettable. There is a very unfortunate love story squashed in, the pacing is all over the show, the story is actually pretty damn weak, and it never really goes for gold. Well, it feels like it doesn’t.

At the end of the day I was not bowled over as most people were. It is not a bad movie, not by a long shot. It is entertaining, looks good, and has an awesome cast attached to the project, these things cannot be denied. But the experience is pretty flat, there is nothing really new brought to the table, and it will not stay with you after all is said and done. For popcorn entertainment, it wasn’t bad, but it isn’t something I will be rushing to rewatch.

February Blind Spot Review: Atonement (2007)

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“I don’t know how I could’ve been so ignorant about myself… so… so stupid. And you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You knew before I did.”
– Cecilia Tallis

SYNOPSIS: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8.5I have been meaning to watch Atonement for years, and for all sorts of reasons, I never got to it, hence I thought it would be a great addition to my 2017 Blind Spot list. Man, oh man, this movie. My heart! Goodness, there is so much to talk about it, so I suppose I best order my thoughts and try to convey what I felt about this in some form of coherent review. That, and a gif overload. I can’t help it, the movie was beautiful to look at.

James McAvoy is an actor I would watch in anything, and not just for science. The man is ridiculously talented, and this was just another example of how phenomenal he is when he sets his mind to something. I was so taken with his character Robbie. I adored him. I mean wow. Then, opposite him, is Keira Knightley. She is one of those actresses that irrationally annoy the crap out of me (again, thanks for that one Abbi). I don’t know – she’s not a bad actress, but she grates on my last nerve every single time, without fail. Not in Atonement. In fact, I thought she was very well suited to the role.  Knightley and McAvoy have great chemistry and fit together really well, and you are drawn in from the off to see if class was going to be set aside for them to be together. Just watching them was an experience on its own!

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The rest of the cast was incredibly good, too. Saoirse Ronan was excellent as the young Briony Tallis, and demonstrated that even as a young actress, she is a gifted, capable performer. I thought her subsequent counterparts to depict her while ageing were great, as both Ramola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave convincingly looked like her. Benedict Cumberbatch, another actor I adore, made my stomach turn completely here. I mean ick, ick, ick. I knew he was up to no good, but holy crapsticks, you nasty, despicable man! I found it pretty creepy that Juno Temple again played a character that got some nasties done to her by an older man (hem hem Killer Joe).

Anyway, Atonement was truly a heartbreaking story. I felt like the entire world was dark and doomed by the end of it, but I liked it. It was a bit predictable – I wasn’t ever actually shocked, but I was so invested in the outcome, even when I knew how it was supposed to go. That being said, it still had moments to shock you endlessly. The pacing is great because it gets you, and it gets you quickly. Then this story unfolds, flicking between the observations of a child who does not understand what she is seeing, to the actual events taking place. The difference between the two is amazing, and was used perfectly to point out that you don’t always know what you are looking at, and shouldn’t  jump to conclusions.

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I thought that visually, the movie was simply stunning. My word, it was shot well, and was a feast for the eyes, pretty much from the opening scene. So many things came together, and besides the performances and score, you could not overlook the specific shots that came together throughout the movie. There were so many scenes that captured such beauty, but I will just show a few here.

Let’s start with Robbie in the flower fields, it was so peaceful and serene.

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There was the scene with the water bursting into the tunnels, with everything breaking and the newspaper flying out.

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I was particularly fond of the ferris wheel. Everything about this scene just worked, especially with the sun shining through, the bandstand with the soldiers singing, and the smoke rising in the background. So much just came together to give us this.

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Another aspect that just worked was the score. The music set the tone, it did, and I particularly enjoyed the sound of the typewriter keys thwacking away being used to create a score, too. It was original, and so suited for the movie. It was great.

Anyway, as I am sure you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Atonement, and did not feel that the predictability of it hurt it at all. A visual feast to behold, with a love story that will make your heart ache and amazing chemistry between Robbie and Cecilia, I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie. Just know that it is a heavy watch, but worth every moment of your time, even if it feels like the world is never really going to be okay again.

Rapid Review: Black Mass (2015)

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“It’s not what you do, it’s when and where you do it, and who you do it to or with. If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen.”
– Whitey Bulger

SYNOPSIS: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7I watched this recently as it came back with some great reviews. Now, while I liked it, I didn’t love it (I feel there are infinitely better gangster movies out there). That being said, this is, without a doubt, the finest Johnny Depp has been in years. I was so stoked to see a movie where he was actually doing something again, wasn’t the same cut and dry quirky character we have seen him embody recently. I liked that, and was reminded why Johnny Depp was so insanely loved at a stage. He was a crazy Bulger, and those contacts he wore really freaked me out (they really looked unnatural). Edgerton was also, as is to be expected, a solid pick for John Connolly, and did a great job with his character. I have to say, the movie played it way too safe. It was formulaic, albeit carried by really good performances. At the end of the day, it used a tried and tested formula, and didn’t even try to push the boundaries, which is a pity considering the cast the film touts. So much more could have come from this. It stays within the bounds of “safe”, but never breaks through to “great”. The pacing is fine, not rushed, not too slow, but at times I wished more focus had been given to certain things and less to others. The characters were not as developed as they could be, and for a true story, I definitely think that more could have been done. Black Mass is certainly not a bad watch, and is absolutely, one hundred percent worth it if you want to see if Depp still has the goods (which he does, here, anyway), because the performances are definitely the highlight of this film.

Rapid Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

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“Advise about keeping secrets: it’s a lot easier if you don’t know them in the first place.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7Finally got around to seeing this, and I must admit that I did enjoy it. I was looking forward to it not only for Cumberbatch (though yes, big draw) but because I have covered Turing and some of his work for my studies, and I find it fascinating. So a movie on the man? To find out more? I was sold. The Imitation Game had a great cast working for it, and I enjoyed what they all brought to the screen. I did not want to throttle Keira Knightley, which was a really weird experience for me. Cumberbatch, obviously, stole the whole show here, and presented Alan Turing in a wonderful manner. He made you laugh, he made you feel sorry for him, and he never lost you along the way. His interactions with Charles Dance were simply too amusing for words. I was happy to see Allen Leech in here, too, and Matthew Goode was more entertaining than I can explain – his character Hugh Alexander definitely did not get along with Turing at all. Watching Turing’s whole team was a treat, from the exasperation, frustration, and finally admiration, the journey is quite a sweet one. Turing’s story is fascinating, and Morten Tyldum did a good job of conveying it to the audience without necessarily losing you along the way, but he certainly brought nothing fresh or new to the table, which was also quite disappointing from time to time. It is very formulaic at times, but that doesn’t necessarily cripple the movie. Sometimes there was also an issue of things happening in a totally nonsensical manner, but we were expected to buy into it because that was how they had to tell the story. I suppose there isn’t really time to flesh it all out perfectly, but occasionally discoveries and actions just felt forced. The Imitation Game obviously focused on WWII and the machine that decoded the Nazi Enigma code, as well as the code-breakers that worked incessantly and fruitlessly on it for so long, but did not necessarily explore more of Turing’s work. Also, do not go into this thinking you are going to get the average war movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is about Turing, his work, and parts of his life. This didn’t thrill me as I was hoping it would, seeing how it has been pretty much universally loved. While not a perfect movie, it is engaging and well presented, and deserves a look, at least once, even if just to get more people familiar with Turing.

JB & The Chop Do: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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And it’s over! Can you believe it? I sure can’t! I had an absolute blast with this, thanks to everyone who stuck with us and read all we had to say about these movies and shared their two cents, you guys rock. However, biggest thank you to Eric for watching these with me and approaching this project with such gusto and fervour, it was awesome! But I gotta admit I’m real sad this is over ESC 😦

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Anyhow, enough with the pleasantries, let’s move on to Into Darkness, which is my favourite of the whole lot. This movie was just awesome, and I have much love for Mr Cumberbatch (of course), and I think JJ Abrams was the perfect choice to handle the Star Trek reboot. So cool!

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SYNOPSIS: When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew. – via IMDB

For one, I know that Khan was always like the Big Bad and all that with the original crew and all, I just felt that the 1982 film missed it a little. All the potential for how hardcore Khan was supposed to be seemed a little… lost and underplayed. But never mind that. Benedict Cumberbatch. That is all I have to say. I mean can you even compare these two?!

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Alright then, moving on…

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Thanks to everyone who read our reviews, stuck with us and had a good time, read and commented, this was a fantastic project to undertake 🙂 Until next time then!

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And just because he is ridiculously epic (and yummy, even though you think he looks like an alien, PSC) – aaaaaaaaaaand I just realised that I spend too much time at The IPC

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JB,

I just want to say that today’s post is bittersweet. I think we’ve accomplished something great here and this has been a LOT of fun – so much fun that I am sad that it’s over. But I know we can move on to other things and still work together  but I just wanted to let you know how much fun I had watching these and talking to you about them all summer. It was GREAT!!! I put this little rendering together for you that if you ever wanted to think about us actually working together – in person – this is probably what it would look like. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

Love,

The Chop

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