REVIEW: SEVENTH SON (2014)

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SEVENTH SON (2014)

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In this book-based fantasy flick, there is an order of knights called “Spooks” who deal with beings of the supernatural. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is the last of his order who has trouble keeping his apprentices alive. Years earlier, he fell in love with the witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) and instead of vanquishing her, imprisoned her after she became increasingly cruel and powerful. A Blood Moon is occurring and it’s supernatural powers have freed Malkin, who is gathering her forces for revenge. Now Gregory must find the seventh son of a seventh son and train the boy, Tom (Ben Barnes) to help him defeat Malkin. It won’t be easy, Malkin is prepared for Gregory and new apprentice Tom, finds fancy in the daughter (Ex Machina‘s Alicia Vikander) of one of Malkins servants, Lizzie (Man Of Steel‘s Antje Traue).

Based on the book The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delany and directed by Russian director Sergei Bodrov, Seventh Son is an amusing if not forgettable fantasy adventure. Working from Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight’s screenplay, Bodrov keeps things moving fast and there is plenty of supernaturally tinged action and loads of otherworldly creatures to occupy this fantasy world. Bodrov has a very fitting visual eye for subject matter such as this and the characters are endearing enough to get behind or despise depending on their role as hero or villain. The FX are well done, though the creature CGI is a bit less convincing as the settings and other supernatural elements and the story is familiar and simple enough to make it breezy entertainment, even if it won’t stay with you. There is also lush cinematography from Newton Thomas Sigel and a majestic score by Marco Beltrami. The film got a lot of flack upon release and was considered a box office bomb, but for a night on the couch it passes the time surprisingly well and does entertain if you don’t expect too much.

The cast is fine for the most part with Bridges and Moore having the most fun in their roles. Both veterans have a good time with Moore especially enjoying a role needing her to go over-the-top often. Ben Barnes is a little bland as apprentice Tom, who unknown to himself is the son of a witch, but is likable enough. Oddly, Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington has a small role as Gregory’s ill-fated first apprentice and might have been a livelier choice.  Alicia Vikander is pretty and mysterious as the witch’s daughter Alice, though we have a good idea where her allegiances will eventually lie. There is also an amusing supporting cast of familiar faces as Malkin’s minions such as Djimon Hounsou, Jason Scott Lee and Antje “Faora” Traue.

Overall, I had fun with this flick. It’s not a classic and it’s fairly forgettable, but also, perhaps, judged a bit too harshly upon it’s initial release. There are plenty of fantasy elements, lots of action, creatures and magic and the cast, especially our two leads seem to be having a good time. Director Bodrov keeps things moving and has a sumptuous visual eye to create a world to set this book-based adventure in. Nothing overly memorable, but passes the time on the couch quite nicely if you go in with moderate expectations.

-MonsterZero NJ

  3 battle axes.

13th warrior rating

 

 

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BARE BONES: NON-STOP and LOCKE

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NON-STOP (2014)

The presence of Liam Neeson can elevate most films to another level, but even he can’t salvage this thriller which starts out ridiculous and switches gears to ludicrous in it’s last act. Neeson plays alcoholic and paranoid US Air Marshall, Bill Marks (how did he get this job?) who is framed for the hi-jacking of the very flight he is on. Jaume Collet-Serra (House Of Wax) does a good job of directing this silly film, from a script by three people no less, but can’t save it from the fact that it just gets more outlandish and unbelievable as it goes on. There is some tension and suspense, and certainly a lot to chuckle about, but all it really succeeds in doing is evoking memories of those silly, over the top Airport movies from the 70s, but without Shelly Winters and George Kennedy. Also stars Julianne Moore whose character’s purpose in the film still eludes me.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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LOCKE (2014)

Probably the best movie you will ever see about a guy driving from one place to another talking on the phone in his car. What could have been a real snooze fest is brought to intense life by a riveting tour de force performance by Tom Hardy and skilled direction from Steven Knight, who also wrote the script. The film takes place over just a few hours as Ivan Locke leaves his construction site job to join a woman who he impregnated during a one night stand. The entire film is he communicating with various individuals as his choice to be with this practical stranger, as she gives birth, causes his idyllic and successful life to come crashing down around him. It takes a lot of skill to make a flick like this work and work it does.

three and one half stars rating

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