Kongens Nei – The King’s No

kongensneiIt might be strange for Americans, who fought a war to get rid of a king, to learn that Norwegians voted one in after gaining their independence peacefully. Since 1905, when Norway left the union with Sweden, our kings have been a source of pride, patriotism and fondness. This is useful in that we can all hate on our politicians as much as we like. During the Second World War King Haakon VII was used by many as a symbol of resistance against the Nazi occupation.

The King’s No is perhaps the story that cemented this sentiment in the Norwegian people. It adds as much action and epic patriotism as it can, without sacrificing too much history on the alter of Hollywood. The result is something between a History Channel reenactment (with a budget) and a biographical look into a foreign prince who became a democratically elected king.

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The Legend of Tarzan

tarzanPosterI was never a great fan of Disney’s Tarzan. The songs and animation are outstanding, but the film can be quite annoying whenever it forgets its purpose, which is often. Tarzan is an iconic character, and like many such characters he has been reshaped from the book version into a more fixed idea in pop culture. The classic shout, of example, is from an earlier live action film. It’s surprising it took this long for us to get a modern remake, but perhaps not if we look at the success (or lack thereof) of similar properties.

The local reaction to the new films has been a lot of “meh”, and the cinema was almost empty when I finally got there this weekend. Someone called it an empty action flick, which I think is an unfair assessment. But, as I always try to expose my biases, I tend to be far more forgiving on these types of adventure films than most (see: John Carter, Prince of Persia, etc)

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) stars Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan, and is set about eight years after Tarzan and Jane (Margot Robbie) have left Africa to live as Lord and Lady Greystoke in London. They are called back to Africa by the invitation of King Leopold of Belgium to see his great progress in the Congo. Those with a overview knowledge of history will know this is a load of crap. The King’s agent in the Belgian Congo, Leo Rom (Christoph Waltz), has other plans for Tarzan.

The below review will contain minor spoilers.

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Independence Day on Brexit Day

independence-day-resurgenceToday I watched the news as Britain declared their “independence day”. I then went to the cinema to watch a movie about the whole world coming together, putting aside their petty grievances, and defeating a real threat to earth. No one can predict what will happen as we live through these interesting times, but I’m pretty sure I can predict that Independence Day: Resurgence won’t last long in cinemas.

I’m coming at this film with nostalgia goggles at coke bottle thickness. I was ten when I first saw it, at a time when nothing like it had been seen before. I’m sure many of my generation remember the absolute awe at seeing the White House destroyed in the promos. Could a movie even do that? When our dad installed a new sound system a few years later, we knew exactly which movie we wanted to test it with, because the sound of those ships coming overhead was seared into our brains. Thankfully, I wasn’t all that hyped for the sequel. Considering the too-late-sequels and reboots we’ve gotten over the years, absolutely nothing could get my hopes up.

I’m not going to whine about how this ruined the old film’s legacy, because it wasn’t offensively bad by any stretch. But there is really no way around the fact that the sequel fails to live up to the original. There were certainly moments I liked. There was some great design here and there. I had a few laughs not based on referencing old material, but it wasn’t enough. The movie doesn’t work as an Independence Day sequel, and it doesn’t work as a sci-fi destruction-porn movie.

What follows below has ALL the spoilers, because I want to explain exactly what I mean.


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Captain America: Civil War

teamsvscivilwarposterAfter the belly flop of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I wasn’t feeling very confident in comic book movies. There were a few reasons to maintain my optimism. In my ranking of favourite comic book movies, I think Marvel holds at least five top spots. Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t anything to jump for joy about, but it kept the pace up, and introduced new interesting characters. Still, I was feeling more than a little apprehensive. Would Marvel’s incredible franchise finally crumble? Would my interest finally exhaust itself? No, and hell no, are the short answers.

The story of Civil War unfolds organically. The Avengers are under metaphorical fire from the international community after several civilians were killed and injured during an incident in Lagos. The US government, along with 116 other countries, want to put the Avengers under the control of the UN through the “Sokovia Accords”. Lines are drawn between those who sign the agreement, and those who want to remain independent. At the same time, Bucky, aka the Winter Soldier, is being targeted.

The review contains some spoilers

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The+Huntsman+Winter's+WarIf the story of Snow White needed a sequel, it would be to explore her role as ruler, her happily ever after (or lack thereof) and the fate of the mirror. If Snow White needed a prequel, it might explore where the mirror came from and how the evil queen became truly evil. The Huntsman: Winter’s War does neither of those things. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) was perhaps nothing special, but it certainly did what it set out to do, which was to tell a more action-fueled version of Snow White. So, does the pre/sequel have anything more to add to that story?

The review below contains major spoilers because I will be going through some of the plot holes.

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Hardcore Henry

hardcorehenry_posterWhile I’m a great fan of the British tv-comedy Peep Show, I’ve never been overly enthusiastic about its format. It took quite a few episodes before I could overlook the perspective filming, the constant staring into the camera from the actors, and the sometimes awkward and nauseating camera movements. Hardcore Henry is basically the last few minutes of the film Doom (2005) as a whole movie. I wasn’t convinced I could avoid throwing up, but the trailer did get me into the theater because this one I had to see.
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BvS Review

batmanvsupermanMy expectations had been thoroughly put to rest after a week of seeing different versions of the headline “What Batman vs. Superman did wrong.” Hopes already dashed, I was still going to try my damndest to like the movie. Hell, I will still defend Man of Steel (and even Superman Returns in my drunker moments). Without even having seen a trailer, I was still ready to defend this film. Oh boy.

This review contains spoilers.

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