Category Archives: morgan freeman

Now You See Me

Now You See Me ~ I kinda wish I hadn’t seen this movie. Had we left halfway through the movie, or two-thirds in, or even three-quarters, I might have had a completely different opinion. The last twenty minutes is where this mindless but fun and entertaining flick takes a left turn into the toilet.

Here the thing. You have a wonderful cast starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Common, and even Woody Harrellson, who usually just gets on my nerves, giving excellent entertaining performances. You have a movie that seems to walk the thin line between flashy heist flick and magician fantasy, full of wonder and charm. And then it turns to crap in the final act. I suspect they started filming without an ending.

I have a rule that many of my friends question. I don’t leave a movie until it’s done, no matter how bad it is. It could have a terrific ending that makes the rest of it seem brilliant. It has happened. Now You See Me is the opposite of this rule. It’s a good movie with a crap nonsensical ending that just sours anything in the first three quarters of the flick. Twenty minutes in, I loved Now You See Me. When the credits rolled, I hated this movie.

Arrow: Vendetta

When last we left our CW prime time drama loosely based on the comic book superhero Green Arrow – Oliver and Helena had find each other kindred spirits in revenge, justice, and romance; Walter had returned home to care for Moira; Tommy was making time with Laurel, and had been financially cut off by his dad – finally revealed as the mystery character played by John Barrowman. Up to speed? Good, here we go with “Vendetta.”

I have to confess I was a bit taken aback when I saw that Arrow was going to try to take the Huntress (never named thus in the previous “Muse of Fire” by the way) on as a sidekick/partner to train. It’s not something that had occurred to me. He teaches her archery in a rather clever scene. She of course opts for a crossbow. At first, at least.

Arrow and the still unnamed Huntress make their debut against a warehouse full of drug dealers. Nice little fight scene. While Jessica DeGouw’s acting has not improved, she does look good in costume, purple and black with a crossbow and cross motif. I would have questioned it if it had a cape, but I gotta say I would have liked a cape a whole lot more than this long coat. Sorry, it’s an accepted conceit – superheroes wear capes. Deal with it. And the similarity to Hit-Girl’s costume is unsettling.

Whereas last week Diggle was doing too much Alfred to Oliver’s Batman, this week, he does a decent Lucius Fox, as played by Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight. Although, unlike Fox, Diggle is a sensible voice of reason. Stephen Amell’s naked torso and Felicity Smoak both return in this episode, but we get enough of neither.

Last episode I was entranced by the bits with Oliver and Helena, and Tommy and Laurel. But here, where all four meet for dinner, I was bored and completely taken out of the show for the first time in a while. This was “Melrose Place,” not a superhero drama. Zzzzzzz…

Ultimately the Melrose incident leads to China White and Frank Bertinelli going to war as well as Arrow vs the still as yet unnamed Huntress. It is a very unsatisfying conclusion, and she remains unnamed. I think that irks me more than anything.

This was not the best episode so far. The superheroics and the island flashbacks have vanished. The soap opera aspects have creeped in. I’m not happy. Hopefully things will get better for this week’s mid-season finale. We’ll see.

Wanting

Wanted ~ Wanted, the comic book mini-series by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, is about super-villains, superheroes, global conquest, brainwashing, parallel universes and secret conspiracies. Wanted, the movie, is about a fraternity of assassins and secret conspiracies. Hmmm, just like the Superboy comics and the “Smallville” TV series. The names are the same and the characters seem familiar, but in reality they are two completely different animals. This is very loosely based on the comic book, so much so I think it should have said just that in the credits. The stories are sort of close, close in that same way that The Godfather and Mafia! are both about organized crime. But while the comic was one of the best on the shelves in the last few years, the movie after the first hour becomes just another over-the-top action movie. And not a very good one either. Ride yes, movie no.


James McAvoy plays mild-mannered, apathetic, panic attacked loser Wesley Gibson whose life is turned upside down when he’s informed his father is one of the world’s greatest assassins and he has to take his place in a secret fraternity of assassins. In several twisted Rocky/Batman training sequences he makes the grade and begins the hunt for his father’s killer. McAvoy is a lot of fun, and he’s very good. He’s got quite a bit of range in his past roles and I always look forward to seeing his work. That said, I liked his human Wesley more than his super-assassin Wesley.

Co-star Angelina Jolie looked suitably sexy and dangerous as the Fox, one of the few names kept from the comics. Other than eye candy however, she’s not much else. Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman. It was refreshing to hear him swear once in the flick. It reminded me of his Oscar-caliber role in the much-overlooked Street Smart all those years ago. Ya know, with a nudge and some effort I think Morgan Freeman could easily be Samuel L. Jackson again. Common doesn’t have a lot to say, but damn, he still looks fierce. Marc Warren, who I loved when he appeared in “Doctor Who” and “Life on Mars,” is terrific as the Repairman. He’s a face to watch.

There are some truly spectacular stunts here but the quick cut shaky cam tricks do this flick a solid disservice. Why create terrific stunts if you’re not going to let the audience see them? Equally, the curving bullet effects are cool, but after a while they became just that, another overused effect. It reminded me of the visuals in The Matrix and Jumper – it just ain’t that special if it’s used too much. And the Danny Elfman soundtrack is superior, especially “The Little Things,” perhaps his first real rock vocal since Oingo Boingo.

The biggest loss, in my opinion, of this non-adaptation of the source material is that the outstanding villain of the piece is not the frightening Joker-template, Mister Rictus as in the comic, but instead Wesley’s overweight harpy of a boss, Janice. Great comic and good summer fodder for a movie ride. Worth the ticket price, but still Wanted left me… wanting. All in all I think I’ll read the comic series more times in my lifetime than I’ll watch this again.