28th May2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Film)

by timbaros

alice-and-hatter_9908d9eaDisney’s new film ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ hits theaters this weekend and it’s bound to be a huge moneymaker for the studio who is having an excellent year so far.

Disney has 13 movies coming out in 2016, but if 2015 was the studio’s best year ever (‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ sequel were massive hits), 2016 looks to be even brighter and bigger for them.

‘Zootopia,’ ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Captain America:Civil War’ have made, as of May 16th, close to $1 billion each (!!), and they are still raking in money at the box office, with ‘Captain America’ only a few weeks into it’s release. With the release of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ is poised to take in more than the 2010 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ film which peaked at just over $1 billion.

‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ sees the return of the same actors playing the same characters from the 2010 film. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) travels back in time to try to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Along the way she reconnects with her friends including the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), Absolem (the late Alan Rickman) the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and of course the Mad Hatter. We’re also treated to a delicious turn by both Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (and Alice’s sister) and Sacha Baron Cohen (as Time).

Alice has spent several years sailing the high seas (and following in her father’s footsteps). When she returns to London, she is asked (and demanded) to sign away her ship to her ex-boyfriend James (Ed Speelers). When she attends a meeting with him and her mother (Lindsay Duncan), she goes to an upstairs room and steps through a mirror, and through this mirror Alice takes a journey (literally through the looking glass) to Wonderland. It’s here where she sees all of her Wonderland friends, but something is not right with the Mad Hatter. She needs to turn to Time to correct things in the past that will make the Mad Hatter’s life better. Alice ends up taking a device called the Chronosphere, which allows her to travel back in time. She sees ways where she can help the Mad Hatter, but also comes across the events in her own life, which include a lie that she told as a young girl that tragically affected her sister the Red Queen. It’s all told, as expected from Disney, in very visual colors and 3D.

There was no way that anyone could top Tim Burton’s 2010 film, but James Bobbin (‘The Muppets’ and ‘Muppets Most Wanted’) successfully manages to bring the story back to life, with the help of screenwriter Linda Wolverton (who also wrote ‘Alice in Wonderland’). But no film would be as good as this if it were not for the excellent cast. Wasikoska does her bit as Alice as well as she did in the 2010 film, but it’s the addition of Cohen as Time that adds a fun element to the film, where he, and the Red Queen, live literally in time. And it’s Carter as the Red Queen who steals every scene she’s in. With a huge head, and a huge head of hair, and makeup that’s expertly applied on her face to give her a highly unusual look, Carter chews up every scene she is in (and in my opinion it’s an Academy-Award worthy performance, though it’s rare for a performer to receive one in a Disney movie – though Meryl Streep was nominated for ‘Into The Woods’ – but of course it was Streep!). Expect ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ to break the $1 billion ceiling. It will be another hit for Disney, and will keep the studio on track to continue it’s dominance at the box office this year, where they have ‘Finding Dory,’ ‘The BGF,’ and ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ still to come.

08th Nov2014

Interstellar – Film

by timbaros

Matthew helmetThere’s a lot of hype surrounding the new film Interstellar, which opened on Friday.

It’s directed by Christopher Nolan, the man who brought us the billion-dollar grossing films (each!) The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Returns. He also brought us 2000’s smart and highly intellectual film Memento and 2010’s highly confusing Inception. Also upping the hype around Interstellar is that it stars recent Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, multiple Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, as well as Oscar winners Michael Caine, Ellen Burnstyn, and in an uncredited/unbilled but pivotal role in the film, Matt Damon. Also by the look of the trailer, it looks visually and expirementally stunning. It’s on the path to be this year’s Gravity.

Interstellar is a lot of things. But according to Nolan, it hinges on the provocative question of humanity’s place in the stars. Interstellar means ‘occurring or situated between stars,’ and that’s basically what the movie is all about. It’s also about Black Holes, distance galaxies, uninhabitable and habitable planets, spaceship travel, and what drives the plot is the relationship a father has with his daughter.

Set in the near future when an agricultural crisis has hit Earth and there is not enough food to eat and the population is slowly dying. The land is very dry and there are massive sandstorms that engulf the planet. With the possibility of the extinction of humans, a dangerous and daring mission takes place to look for planets outside of the universe where humans can move to, survive, and most importantly, reproduce. It’s a mission that goes above and beyond the barriers of time and space, defying not only gravity, but inter-galaxy travel as well. It’s an experimental mission that’s not only very dangerous, but life altering as well.

Cooper (McConaughey) is a former test pilot and engineer who’s now a farmer because that is what is needed in this decaying, dry new world. The only crop that is left on earth is corn, so this is what he grows at his vast farm, with the help of his father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow) and his two children – teenage son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy). Cooper hears of some sort of experimental space project going on in his area, so he drives off attempting to find it, at the same time finding Murph in the back of the car when she was told to stay home. She’s as much of a space geek as her father.

They find the compound, or actually the compound finds them, and they both get whisked into the underground bunker. It’s actually a fortress made up of scientists and engineers, let by Professor Brand (Caine). He leads the project for the search of a planet in perhaps another universe that can sustain the human race. A project which includes a newly built spaceship.

So Cooper (without the blessing of his daughter) and Brand’s scientist daughter Amelia (Hathaway) and two others blast off into space, into the darkness, on a mission that seems impossible. But what Cooper doesn’t know is that 13 other astronauts had previously attempted the mission, and all have not been heard from since. And to add drama to the story, Amelia was in love with one of them.

It’s the space mission (and Cooper and Murph’s relationship) that drives Interstellar. And what a drive it is. Nolan takes us into space and beyond like no other filmmaker has. We are transported into another universe, through blackholes, to other planets. One planet has waves the size of the Empire State Building, while another is caked in ice, where they find one of the 13 astronauts alive – Dr. Mann (Damon). And this is when Coopers’ and Amelia’s mission strays off it’s course, in a detrimental way. One hour on this planet equals 20 years on Earth, so the more time spent there, the more time Coopers children grow up, and old, without him.

What Interstellar tries to do is use the magnitude and grandeur of space as a backdrop for exploring the relationships that Cooper has with his children, especially his daughter. It’s also about all kinds of things – our lives on earth, what will happen when our earth can no longer sustain us, who are are, and it makes us look at the relationships we have. It basically asks us to examine, all this, and more, in its 169 minutes. London born Nolan successfully puts the audience into space, and McConaughey successfully makes us believe that he’s got the passion to be in space, but Interstellar leaves us mere mortals behind in a film that is a bit overhelming, mind bending, demanding and a bit confusing. And the sound quality is not the best, the music and noise at times drowns out what the characters are saying in a few crucial scenes. And with two recent air space accidents in the last couple weeks, no one is really in a rush to get to space. Written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, Interstellar is a movie bigger than what it can handle, and what we can handle.