Tag Archives: Tom Hiddleston

“Only Lovers Left Alive” (2013) – Review

Click on image to view artist work

Click on image to view artist work

Writer / Director:  Jim Jarmusch

Stars:  Tilda Swinton & Tom Hiddleston

IMDb LogLine:  A depressed musician reunites with his lover, though their romance – which has already endured several centuries – is disrupted by the arrival of uncontrollable younger sister.

Pros:

  1. Tilda Swinton & Tom Hiddleston as vampires
  2. Set design and use of Detroit
  3. Sticks with basic vampire mythology

Cons:

  1. Glacial pacing
  2. Uninteresting dialogue
  3. Superfluous sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowaska), and Marlowe (John Hurt) characters

Review:  By the end of Only Lovers Left Alive, you ask yourself what the point of it was.  The premise is good, but the execution fails.  How does a vampire exist in a time when humans pollute their own bodies and you cannot easily dispose of bodies without an investigation?  How does an artistic, gifted, and undying vampire get his voice heard?  And what happens when he no longer cares?  For such heady questions and two such long-lived and intellectual characters, Eve (Tilda Swinton) and Adam’s (Tom Hiddleston’s) dialogue is amazingly vapid.  Though the film looks good, it does not stay with you.

Grade = C

Bonus:  If The Sandman project is an actual thing and not a pipe-dream, then the filmmakers should use Tom Hiddleston as Morpheus.  His performance of Adam is basically channeling the Dream of the Endless character.

Click on image to view trailer

Click on image to view trailer

Advertisements

“The Avengers” (2012) – Movie Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  Joss Whedon

Writers:  Joss Whedon and Zak Penn

Stars:  Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, and Tom Hiddleston

S.H.I.E.L.D., an international counter-espionage organization headed by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), plans to harness the power of the Tesseract (Cosmic Cube).  But before they can discover its secrets, the Tesseract is activated by an outside force and brings Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from another dimension.  Though weakened by the travel, Loki is able to brainwash Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) & Prof. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), steal the Tesseract, and destroy the S.H.I.E.L.D. base.

Faced with the clear & present danger of Loki, Fury begins to assemble The Avengers:  Capt. America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson).  In short order Loki is willingly captured, the Black Widow brings in Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) comes from Asgard.  Though The Avengers are assembled, they are not a team.  Before long Loki has exploited their clashing egos to his advantage:  The Hulk is unleashed, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier disabled, and his plan to unleash an extraterrestrial attack on Earth unleashed.

To say The Avengers is packed with action is an understatement, but to say it has life is a different story.  Though Joss Whedon does an excellent job in showcasing each character, you do not emotionally connect with anyone.  I was ambivalent about the characters and the story until the Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) scene; after which I was emotionally invested in the team’s coalescence.  Watching each hero assume their role in thwarting Loki’s plan was a delight.

Joss Whedon did an overall good job bringing the film to life.  What prevented it from being great was the sometimes slapstick approach to some of the Hulk’s actions:  such as with Loki near the end of the film and with Thor after a joint fight against the aliens.  Also, though much better, the final alien attack on New York was basically the same as in Transformers 3.  Where Whedon did an excellent job was in juggling all the characters.

Though none of the actors will be nominated for an Academy Award, all are comfortable in their roles.  Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. bicker with each other convincingly as two people with very different codes of conduct and motivations.  Both later gain respect for each other as brothers-in-arms.  Chris Hemsworth picks-up where he left off with character development from Thor.  As the new kids on the block Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson do solid jobs; Johansson fortunate enough to be given a bit of back story to develop as opposed to Renner who was one-dimensional.  Samuel L. Jackson is given the job of walking around like a badass and does so.  And Tom Hiddleston?  He delivers as the heavy.  You understand his motivations, feel his menace, but also see his vulnerability.

Then there is Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.  Upon his performance stands the emotional weight of the movie.  Without him all we have is a tale, “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”  With him we have a reason to watch it again and again.

Grade = B


“War Horse” – Movie Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  Steven Spielberg

Writers:  Lee Hall and Richard Curtis

Stars:  Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Neils Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

War Horse is the store of Joey (the Horse) and Albert (Jeremy Irvine) his young owner.  From the day Joey was born Albert admired him from a distance.  A few years later, Joey comes up for auction and Albert’s father (Peter Mullen) proceeds to win him after a bidding war with his landowner (David Thewlis).  Albert begins to tame and train Joey once he his brought to the farm.  This is made more difficult by the fact that Joey is a thoroughbred; more akin to a racetrack or the Calvary then plowing fields.  But Albert & Joey persevere, and Joey becomes a good work horse.  Unfortunately Albert’s father has been unlucky in life after his service in the Boer Wars.  He misses his rent payment to the landowner, and then his crops are destroyed after a heavy storm.  With no funds, he is forced to sell Joey to a Calvary Officer (Tom Hiddleston) once England has entered World War I.

From here, we follow Joey as he servers for the British, is captured by the Germans, hidden by two German brothers, discovered by a French girl, and then recaptured by the Germans and made to work on the front lines.  At the same time Albert has come of age and has enlisted in the service to find his beloved Joey.  He is sent to the front lines of trench warfare; the German & British facing off against each other across a “No-Mans Land”.  It is behind this “No-Mans Land” that Joey is brought to the breaking point moving men, material, and heavy artillery.  Only due to the advancement of the British and the compassion of a German soldier is Joey released to fend for himself.  He does so by galloping; galloping through the front lines and through artillery file; galloping over the trenches and then through “No-Mans Land”.  And here he is finally stopped; not by gun fire or artillery shells, but by the jagged steel of barbed-wire.  Wounded, exhausted, and entangled Joey is only saved by the mercy of both fighting fronts.  Enemies coming and working together to free him.  Back on the British side, Joey and Albert are reunited at the infirmary, both battered by the War.

The story reflects its children’s book roots.  The experiences of the horse being too unbelievable, and the nobility of some of the characters being too perfect.  Kudos though for the introduction of the German brothers and Albert’s father’s back story (not in the original book).  Both threads were a necessary bit of reality that reflect the darkness which man is capable of and the damage war leaves on the soul.

As for the direction, there was something off to Steven Spielberg’s work this time.  Though overall the film was well shot, there were a few moments where it had a PBS Masterpiece Theatre quality.  Also, the lighting and setting of the final scene was so sweet I felt I had to visit my dentist after the movie.  That being said, he shined with the war scenes and the small details of character development.

The musical score was typical John Williams.

All the performances are universally good.  Jeremy Irvine was spot-on as the boy who becomes a man.  Emily Watson &  Peter Mullan are believable as his poor stoic farmer parents.  The supporting cast is equally good.  Shinning in key moments that were affecting:  Tom Hiddleston realizing his impending death; Neils Arestrup revelation of the loss of his granddaughter.

Overall this is a good film.  The quality of it made more impressive by how quickly it was developed and crafted (Spielberg only signing-up to direct in May 2010).  It is the type of film that should be watched in the theatre.

Grade = B