Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony

 

 

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