BARE BONES: COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

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COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

Cowboys & Aliens was a big disappointment back in the summer of 2011. It had everything going for it. A really good cast, an amusing concept with lots of potential and Jon Favreau at the helm. So what happened? The story, based on Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s graphic novel, is just plain weak. From the aliens’ reason to being here, to all the conveniences that are used to move things along, the script is lazy and ho-hum…and it took six people to come up with that script and story. It takes this clever premise and utilizes it in the least interesting way possible. The top notch cast, including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, is wasted as all the characters are cardboard, two dimensional clichés and the performances have no energy or life to them. Another question need be asked…is where was the Jon Favreau that brought such energy and life to the Iron Man films? Even the dialog scenes crackled with energy in those movies and Favreau drew lively performances from his casts. Cowboys & Aliens is directed by-the-numbers and without any passion or excitement and there is no chemistry developed between any of the actors or their characters. When we finally get some action during the final confrontation, it’s too little and too late. Even the showdown between Wild West and Outer Space is pretty routine, as far as action sequences go, and there is little suspense or intense drama to what goes down. The FX at least are good, but the designs of the antagonists and their craft are nothing we haven’t seen before and are fairly forgettable. In fact, the whole film is fairly forgettable.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: KNIVES OUT (2019)

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KNIVES OUT (2019)

Flick finds best selling mystery writer and millionaire, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dead with his throat cut. It’s ruled a suicide, but an anonymous someone has hired private detective Benoit Blanc (a wonderful Daniel Craig) to take on the case. Blanc finds the game is afoot with a family cut out of Harlan’s will at his 85th birthday the night of his death and his personal care nurse Marta (Ana de Armas) now the sole inheritor of his fortune and assets. With a house filled with those who would benefit from Harlan’s demise, can the unwelcome detective unravel the tangled web that has been woven.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) this is a near perfect flick. It’s a delightfully old fashioned murder(?) mystery with a dozen or so suspects, all with a motive, and an intricately woven plot that our detective must unravel. It’s easy to follow, but like Craig’s Blanc we must find and interpret the clues, while the web keeps getting more and more complex around him…and us. The film has a darkly comic tone, which suits the story perfectly and an absolutely fabulous cast to play our suspects including, de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Toni Collette, not to forget the legendary Christopher Plummer as Harlan. It keeps you guessing and smiling, never confuses you, but doesn’t make it easy for you either. When the time comes, there are some fun surprises and reveals and you also realize that for the last two hours you’ve been spectacularly entertained. A near perfect movie that has a perfect cast. Also stars Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BOND IS BACK! NO TIME TO DIE GETS A TRAILER!

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No Time To Die is being heralded as Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 and we are getting our first look with the new trailer. Newest Bond adventure is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a script by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Scott Z. Burns, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis. Rami Malek is our villain with Bond girl Léa Seydoux returning and Ralph Fiennes once again as M. No Time To Die opens in the US on 4/8/2020.

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube

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REVIEW: SPECTRE (2015)

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SPECTRE (2015)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

After delivering one of the best entries of the series, the 2012 Skyfall, Daniel Craig returns as James Bond and Sam Mendes returns to direct, with 007’s latest adventure, Spectre. While it doesn’t live up to the previous installment, it is far better than Quantum Of Solace and returns to the Bond franchise one of his most famous adversaries, the evil organization Spectre.

The film opens with 007 (Daniel Craig) in Mexico City on one last personal mission for an old friend. The mission leads to disciplinary action and the discovery of a secret organization headed by a man named Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) who shares a past with Bond. Now as the shutting down of the “00” division looms due to an intelligence merger, Bond must disobey orders and track down this organization whose goal is global terrorism and world domination.

To get the negatives out of the way, one of the things that holds Spectre back a bit is that the script, credited to four people, could have been a bit tighter. As a result there are some uncharacteristic lapses in logic with this generally clever series and the film, even by Bond standards, is about 10-15 minutes too long. The film also lacks a sense of urgency as there seems to be no real pressure for Bond to track down Oberhauser and his organization. It’s only in the last act where the clock is ticking. We also get some obvious conveniences to help Bond along…like a net showing up out of nowhere…where he had to work a little harder in previous films. The good stuff far outweighs the bad, though and when the action comes it is fast and furious and Daniel Craig is as lean and mean as ever as Bond. There are some great chases and fight scenes, especially when Bond tangles with assassin Mr. Hinx (Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Dave Bautista). There are the usual exotic locations as Bond goes from Mexico to Austria to Tangiers to Morocco and once we finally get inside Spectre itself, there is some welcome nostalgia of the secret lair and a very familiar white cat. There are some of the usual Bond beauties, this time represented by an assassin’s beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) and the daughter (Léa Seydoux) of an adversary turned ally. Sam Mendes once again creates a marvelous looking movie with Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography and there is a solid score by Thomas Newman. As for the traditional Bond song, Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall is serviceable, but nowhere near as memorable as Adele’s Skyfall, though it fits well in the opening credits sequence. A solid Bond film, if not slightly flawed.

As said before, Daniel Craig is once again in top form as Bond. He’s got an intensity to him that really drives the action…and love scenes. He keeps us interested, as here and in Quantum, even when the script could be better. Christoph Waltz is a delightfully out-of-his-mind villain as Oberhauser and it is sad the script doesn’t get he and Craig together sooner, as they work well together and Waltz had the potential to be a really impressionable villain. Léa Seydoux is pretty and a bit feisty as the Bond girl of the moment, but she doesn’t get all that much to do and obviously falls for Bond far too quickly to be convincing…don’t they all. Dave Bautista makes a lethal and fun villain as the assassin Mr. Hinx. His character has only one word of dialog, but why speak when you can poke out someone’s eyes with metal tipped thumbnails. Returning cast members are all fine. Naomie Harris is sexy and smart as Moneypenny, who is constantly dodging Bond’s advances, as is the tradition. Ben Wishaw is very likable as the computer nerd version of Bond gadget maker “Q” and Ray Fiennes actually gets to step out from behind his desk and see action as the stern “M”.

I liked Spectre a lot. It is certainly no Skyfall, but it was still very entertaining, there was some intense action and I really liked the nostalgic return of one of Bond’s most infamous adversaries. The script could have used another pass or two, the film could have used a bit more of a trim and the plot needed to put a bit more pressure on Bond to achieve his objective…adding suspense for the audience. Overall, it is still a solid enough entry in the series and one that makes us hope Craig returns at least one more time to explore the possibilities this flick sets up with the return of Spectre.

-MonsterZero NJ

  3 and 1/2 Aston Martins.

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JAMES BOND TAKES ON “SPECTRE” IN A FINAL NEW TRAILER!

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Daniel Craig is returning for his fourth outing as James Bond 007…and Skyfall’s Sam Mendes returns to direct…and he’s up against an old and familiar nemesis. We have a new trailer for the upcoming Spectre which opens on 11/6/15 and stars Christoph Waltz and Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Dave Bautista. Looks awesome!

-MonsterZero NJ

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JAMES BOND RETURNS IN “SPECTRE” and GETS A TRAILER!

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Daniel Craig is returning for his fourth outing as James Bond 007…and Skyfall’s Sam Mendes returns to direct…and he’s up against an old and familiar nemesis. Here is the first trailer for SpectreSpectre opens 11/6/15 and also stars Christoph Waltz and Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Dave Bautista.

MonsterZero NJ

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JAMES BOND 007 IS BACK in SPECTRE!

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“A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

…That’s the plot from the official announcement that has been made concerning the latest adventures of James Bond 007! The upcoming 24th film will be titled simply Spectre… the name of the evil organization that plagued Bond during the 60s film adventures… and will star Daniel Craig again as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as M, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q along with Christoph Waltz as Oberhauser, former WWE superstar and Guardians Of The Galaxy member Dave Batista as Mr. Hinx, the super sexy Monica Belluci as Lucia Sciarra, Andrew Scott as Denbigh and Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann! Director Sam Mendes returns to helm! Can’t wait as Skyfall was one of the best Bonds of the series! SPECTER is due in theaters 11/6/15

source:Joblo.com/CBM

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REVIEW: SKYFALL (2012)

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SKYFALL (2012)

This Sunday night on the couch I decided to revisit James Bond’s latest adventure!

Skyfall is a very interesting and entertaining entry in this 50 year old series in that it gives us all the classic elements that we’ve come to expect from a Bond film and yet, takes it into new and unexpected territory. Not everyone is going to like where it goes but, I certainly did. The story is actually quite simple. After a mission goes awry, 007 (Daniel Craig) is thought dead but, is actually living in secret, drowning the negative effects of his job with sex and booze. But, when a mysterious and sinister individual targets MI6 and M (Dame Judi Dench) in particular, Bond returns to action despite doubts from some of his superiors that he still can handle the job. Writers Robert Wade, Neal Purvis and John Logan craft a story that is part spy thriller and part Silence Of The Lambs as Bond faces not a villainous organization or rogue government but, one very dangerous and psychotic ex-MI6 agent known as Silva (Javier Bardem), who is bent on avenging what he feels is a betrayal by his former boss, M. It’s a daring direction to give this Bond film a more personal focus despite it’s scope and having Bond defending, not Queen and Country but, the one person he can even remotely consider family, M, from a man whose motives for revenge are equally personal. And director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road To Perdition) is more then up to the task. Mendes gives the film the epic scope we’ve come to expect from these movies as the film travels from Turkey to Shanghai and from Macau to London and Scotland but, never looses focus on the characters or story. He directs the action in a refreshingly old fashion manner, no more evident then in the thrilling train set pre-credit sequence. No quick cuts or shaky-cam, just good intense action and the result is very exciting and also accents the story, not becomes it. He gets great performances out of his cast. Craig is sensational as a Bond, who is a bit burnt-out and bitter yet, is driven by duty and loyalty to return to a life he has a chance to escape… a life that maybe is right for him after all. Bardem is simply brilliant as the demented and dangerous yet, disturbingly flamboyant, Silva. A man who is Bond’s equal in many way’s but, is twisted by his inner pain and thirst for revenge. Dame Judi Dench is wonderful as usual in an expanded role for M. She and Craig are magic together and it’s great to see them share so many scenes after Quantum Of Solace kept them apart for almost that entire film. The supporting cast including Naomie Harris (Eve). Ralph Fiennes (Mallory) and Ben Whishaw (a young, computer geek-ish Q) are all excellent and provide great support for the principles. Mendes makes this flick look great with some stunning camera work such as the Blade Runner-esque Shanghai and the moody moors of Scotland. The film is deliberately paced but, it is more thriller then action flick although, there is plenty of the latter. Round that out with a very Bond score by Thomas Newman, a classic Bond theme song by Adele and one of the best opening credits sequences in some time and you have a solid James Bond flick that is both charmingly familiar and yet boldly treads new ground. Bravo!

3 and 1/2 Aston Martins!

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