Arnold Schwarzenegger acts. Well, sort of.
Set in a time when a large portion of the population are affected with the Necroambulist virus, which turns people into zombies, Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger) finds that his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected. Wade brings Maggie home to stay with him and his current wife, Caroline, (Joely Richardson) who fears for when Maggie will turn into a full-fledged zombie.
"Let me AXE you a question!"
With society still able to function on a semi-regular basis, Wade and Maggie try to live their lives as if nothing has changed; while also preparing for the inevitable. As the infection is still fresh, local police and hospital personnel who know of Maggie's situation allow Maggie to be home with Wade until the time comes that Maggie must be quarantined.
What could have been Arnold Schwarzenegger battling zombies is instead treated as a slow, thought-provoking film that is earnest in its efforts, but doesn't always hit what it is striving for. Surprisingly, the cast isn't the weakest part of the film as Abigail Breslin does a solid job of providing the audience a character who knows what her fate is, yet still wants to live.
"It's just a scratch."
Arnold, on the other hand, underplays his role to the point that I'm not sure why he was cast. Arnold is a big personality on film, which is nothing like the character of Wade. Spending scenes where he's thinking about the situation at hand or just conversing with Maggie and trying to hide the hurt he feels for the situation; Arnold tries his best. Not always achieving what is needed for the character, it was nice to see Arnold step out of his comfort zone and try something new, even if it's more of a sacrifice fly that brings in the runner versus a home run.
The slow pace and monochrome-type look of the film, provided by director Henry Hobson is what really will make or break your opinion on the film. Maggie is not a fun film nor will you find yourself wanting to check it out again. We are set into a bleak world where color is at a premium and happy characters are a rarity.
*Cue the Incredible Hulk theme song*
Maggie is a small film in the zombie genre and doesn't offer up much that hasn't been seen before. With Arnold top-lining the film, though, some people may be interested in seeing Arnold taking on hordes of zombies. With that not really being the case, though, I would rather people seek out Maggie for Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger's performances, for good or bad.
Plus, any Arnold is good Arnold.
"With this and Terminator: Genisys, 2015 will be a great year..."
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a master secret agent with class who recruits Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as a potential new Kingsman. When Eggsy was a child, his father was a Kingsman who sacrificed his life for the cause; to which Harry now feels guilt and keeps a watchful eye over Eggsy during the recruitment process. While keeping one eye on Eggsy, Harry and his team, including: trainer Merlin (Mark Strong) and Arthur (Michael Caine) begin an investigation on internet billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and what he might have to do with the disappearance of V.I.P.'s from all over the world.
With Eggsy's story playing out somewhat like Men In Black, we are treated to multiple scenes where Eggsy faces off with other potential Kingsman in training; showing off Eggsy's unorthodox thinking and skill during various tests that the Kingsman throw his way. Whittling down the recruits through the testing, the scenes never really provide any thrill or excitement as you know that Eggsy will make it far into the training (or else, why have him in the movie?).
On the other side of the film, Harry and the veteran Kingsman begin to infiltrate the lifestyle of Valentine after academic professor James Arnold (Mark Hamill) goes missing and a rescue attempt on the professor fails. Harry begins to uncover a plot set in motion by Valentine to use an online app to control the world population and tries to prevent Valentine's Bond-like plot from occurring.
Co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn continues the job he did with Kick-Ass, though to a lesser degree in my opinion. Kingsman: The Secret Service is fun, but is bogged down by not being as fun as it wants to be and running a course that REALLY is similar with the plotline of Men In Black infused with heavy doses of the James Bond franchise. Eggsy's training sequences, to me, bogged the film down as I expected the training to be more and less by the book.
Colin Firth does a really good job as Harry, the spy with great dress sense and deadly skills to boot. Samuel L. Jackson is also having fun with his fashionable outfits (and hats) and a lisp for no other reason than it just seems funny. Main character Taron Egerton does a fine, if less impactful performance as Eggsy. He is able to help the movie continue onward, but certainly falls behind the acting of Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson. For me, though, the standout was Mark Strong's Merlin who comes across as a character with warmth and humor, but is also able to get in on the action when the time requires him to.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is fun, though not as much fun as it wants to be. Overall, you could do much worse and with the talent involved, there is something in the film that most people can find enjoyable.
The film that defined what a Summer blockbuster is returns to the big screen for its 40th anniversary re-release.
During his first Summer on the fictional coastal town of Amity Island, Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) comes to believe that a shark is feasting on locals. When efforts to close the beaches are thwarted by Mayor Larry Vaughn, (Murray Hamilton) Chief Brody then asks Matt Hooper, (Richard Dreyfuss) an oceanographer to visit Amity Island to try and help rationalize with the mayor about the threat they are dealing with.
When a mother puts up a bounty to catch and kill the shark responsible for the death of her son, local shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) declares that what they are dealing with is larger than any thought possible. As the shark continues to attack those swimming on Amity's beaches, Chief Brody, Hooper and Quint team up in an effort to stop the shark's reign of terror.
Honestly, you've seen this movie and know the plot.
Being as someone who wasn't born when Jaws first hit the big screen, I decided to take up the chance to see the film when the 40th anniversary rolled out. Jaws still works as a horror film, adventure, drama and even as a comedy, The audience I was with jumped in terror at certain parts (Ben Gardner's boat, most prominently) and laughed at big moments ("you're going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and bites you on the ass!).
Steven Spielberg and the well-documented problems on Jaws continue to prove that there are such things as happy accidents. With the shark not working on set, having to relegate by not revealing the monster until well into the film helps the film. As someone who has seen Jaws over 25 times in his life, the film still continues to impress with Spielberg's direction and the wealth of acting talent on the screen.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention John Williams' iconic score. The music is the driving force behind Jaws and really becomes its own characters. Especially since Jaws is kept from the eyes of the audience until the second half of the film, the score basically stands in place of the shark to keep the audience on edge of when and where the shark may be.
Jaws is still a classic that is driven by sure-handed direction and top-notch acting with a classic score to boot. If you get the opportunity, check out Jaws on the big screen if you're able. Until then, feel free to pop the film into your player at home as it is still a movie that holds up to this day.