The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Director: Harald Zwart
Writer: Jessica Postigo
Based on: Cassandra Clare’s novel
Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner

Plot:
One night at a club, Clary (Lily Collins) stumbles upon three teenagers – Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Isabelle (Jemima West) – who kill a boy they claim is a demon. She calls her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) for help, but he can’t see the perpetrators or the victim. The next day, Clary runs into Jace again and she receives a frantic phone call from her mom (Lena Headey), telling her not to go back home again. Then her mom goes missing and Clary finds herself in over her head in a world that is suddenly filled with magic and demons, and intriguing Jace.

City of Bones is actually a rather decent adaptation of the book. But since I’m not a huge fan of the book and since that meant that the movie also pretty much copied every flaw, it didn’t blow me away. But it was pretty entertaining and the headdesk-worthy moments are few and far between.

tmi-cityofbones

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg
Based on: Stephenie Meyer‘s book
Sequel to: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Michael Sheen, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jamie Campbell Bower, Mackenzie Foye, Maggie Grace, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Rami Malek, Joe Anderson, and for me most importantly Lee Pace

Plot:
Bella (Kristen Stewart) survived the birth of her daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) and is quickly adapting to having become a vampire like Edward (Robert Pattinson). But the arrival of a half-human, half-vampire child causes quite a few ripples in the vampire community. And when the Volturi hear about it, they believe that Bella and Edward turned a human child into a vampire – a capital offense they will make sure will be punished.

Well, it is over. I think that is about the best one can say about this. But they manage to have basically nothing happen in the movie at all (though they did force some action in, and quite cleverly I might add) and to not resolve anything, really. And I think that if you haven’t read the books, the whole thing only makes a limited amount of sense. At least, with 3/4 of a rum bottle I shared with C. during the film, it was quite entertaining.

breaking-dawn-part-2

[SPOILERS]

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London Boulevard (2010)

London Boulevard
Director: William Monahan
Writer: William Monahan
Based on: Ken Bruen‘s novel
Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ben Chaplin, Ray Winstone, Eddie Marsan, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Stephen Graham, Ophelia Lovibond, Jamie Campbell Bower

Plot:
Mitchel (Colin Farrell) was just released from prison (where he spent time for grievous bodily harm) and now tries to leave his old circle. But his friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) who set him up with a place to stay, would rather see him with himself in the money-lending business. But Mitchel declines and finds himself a job as a handyman/bodyguard for the reclusive actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) and her business manager Jordan (David Thewlis). Unfortunately, Billy’s boss Gant (Ray Winstone) isn’t really willing to let Mitchel go.

London Boulevard should be entertaining. It has an impressive cast and I do enjoy these gangster stories. Unfortunately, the whole thing is much too muddled to really achieve its potential.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg
Based on: Stephenie Meyer‘s book
Sequel to: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Anna Kendrick, (and for way too little time: Michael Sheen, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jamie Campbell Bower, Dakota Fanning)

Plot:
Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are finally getting married and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) even stops sulking long enough to talk to Bella for five minutes, before Edward whisks her off to their own private honeymoon island. Within a few days, Bella realizes that she is pregnant. Since Edward is a vampire that should be impossible. And that’s only the beginning of the trouble.

Breaking Dawn was pretty much what you’d expect it would be – only that I undererstimated the amount of alcohol I would need to get through it and then we hit the birth and I wasn’t drunk yet and then we hit the imprinting and I had to beg aber_karramba for some of hers because I was all out. [See also.]
But apart from that, given the source material, the film wasn’t actually that bad.

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Anonymous (2011)

Anonymous
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: John Orloff
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, David Thewlis, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Jamie Campbell Bower

Plot:
Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans) is the Earl of Oxford and as such it is very much frowned upon that he writes plays, even though the aging Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) loves (his) plays very much. But Edward has the idea of letting the rather unknown writer Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) take credit for his plays. But instead the obnoxious actor William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) puts his name to it – and that is only where the trouble starts for Edward.

Holy crap, this movie was bad. I mean, I expected it to be bad, but I also expected it to be entertaining with it. But when I wasn’t headdesking, I was bored. Not what I think of as a good time. It does have its moments, but they are few and far between.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the last movie in the Harry Potter series originally written by Joanne K. Rowling. The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and starring pretty much every British actor ever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Ciarán Hinds, Julie Walters, Kelly Macdonald, John Hurt, Helen McCrory, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Robbie Coltrane, Jamie Campbell Bower, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) slowly uncovers the final secrets surrounding his life while his fight with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) draws to an end. After pretty much everything has gone to hell, things – and people – are finally coming together for the final battle while Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to destroy the remaining horcruxes.

After HPatDH:1 2 pretty much had to be a cinematic revelation (I still can’t believe how boring 1 was), just in comparison. And that worked out. Is it the best movie ever? Well no, David Yates is still its director. But it’s a decent and fitting ending to the series.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is – as you all probably now – Number 7 in a series of seven books by Joanne K. Rowling. It was made into two movies, this here is Part 1, which was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, (continuing in no particular order) Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis and Michael Gambon.

Plot:
[Hell, if you don’t know what Harry Potter is about, you might not want to start here. Anyway.]
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) leave school to find and destroy the horcruxes that keep Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) alive. But the search is more difficult and dangerous than they anticipated.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think both the books as well as the movies have reached their peak with number four (though The Prisoner of Azkaban is a close second). HPatDH1 did nothing to change my point of view on that. The pacing’s bad, the direction is worse and there’s no reason to drag this out in two films, since nothing really happens in this one anyway.

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Answering Questions Asked Through Google II

Today’s question is:

“who thinks jaime campbell bower sings go[od]?”

Of course, I cannot answer this question for the entirety of the people, who have heard him sing. Probably the best person to ask would be his singing coach. That’s not me.

When I google it myself, most people seem to think he does sing well. Most notably, the Observer. But then again, the Observer also thinks that he’s beautiful, so I don’t know if you can trust their judgement.

I can definitely say that he did sing well in Sweeney Todd. Even if not that well to permanently stick in my head.

Btw, you’d probably get better results if you spelled his name correctly: Jamie Campbell Bower.

Triple Feature

Yesterday was very intense. I left work early (I started early as well) to be able to go to a triple movie feature. I finally saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age, There Will Be Blood and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. [You may call me crazy for doing that.]

Elizabeth: The Golden Age was amazing. I actually like it better than the first part (which was excellent as well and it had Vincent Cassel in drag).
Shekhar Kapur has a perfect feeling for the use of light and the effect of light and light in general. He could have made a little less “shots through ornaments” (he likes them, see also Elizabeth) but that’s ok.
The acting was a-fucking-mazing. I knew Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush do act really good. I also knew Clive Owen could but rarely would (this time he did). Surprises were: Rhys Ifans (I like him and I know he can act but I didn’t know he was in this movie) and Jordi Mollà (who I didn’t know before but who had the incredible ability to scream “I’m a totally fucked-up maniac and nothing can stop me” without uttering a single word). With that cast, I also have to give out a honorary mention of Abbie Cornish and Samantha Morton who were noticed :).
The dialogues were wonderful. Watching the movie I felt like I needed to take a pen out and write along. Or probably learn the screenplay (by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst) by heart.
Of course, the movie had some weak spots. I already mentioned the ornament shots. Then there was Archduke Charles, an Austrian who comes so the queen may see if he’s fit to marry. Anyway, Christian Brassington obviously doesn’t speak a word German (although he has a good German accent in English) but has to say a couple of sentences. I actually needed the subtitles to understand him because his accent was so bad. [Cate Blanchett had a better pronunciation.] That’s just embarassing.
And from the characterisation: Sir Walter Raleigh must have been one hell of a guy. First, he’s the perfect gentleman, funny, intelligent, knows how to tell a story, knows what he wants and has amazing green eyes (ok, those belong to Clive Owen). Then you might say he trips a little by sleeping with the queen’s chambermaid (or whatever you call the girls) [but I think that was only rational, not necessarily wise but rational – he knew nothing could happen with the queen]. Anyway, he gets Bess (the chambermaid) pregnant and instantly marries her and is happy with that. And after that he goes out and singlehandedly defeats the Spanish Armada.  That might be a little too much (but feeds my hope that somewhere out there might be a man who is a little bit like that).
Summarising: A wonderful film with wonderful actors and a wonderful script which has some minor faults. Plus: Clive Owen’s hotter than Joseph Fiennes.

On to There Will Be Blood:
I was actually very disappointed by this film. I mean, Daniel Day-Lewis is great, as usual, as is Paul Dano who does a very good job not disappearing beside DD-L. But the film concentrates so much on DD-L that everything else is lost.
The “deathmatch” between him and the church is actually no match at all, there never is a single shred of doubt about the outcome and I felt like laughing all the time about the “exorcisms”.
Relationships live and die with Plainview’s feelings, the other person he has the relationship with has no say in it. (And no matter how dominant one person may be, relationships don’t work that way.)
And the music was horrible. It was intrusive and didn’t fit. The beginning of the credits deserves an award for Worst Chosen Music In A Film.
I guess, if I ever had the chance to make a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, I’d try to get him into it as much as possible. So I understand why Paul Thomas Anderson did it the way he did. But he should have cut about half an hour of the film and could have tried to incorporate some other actors in this film as well.
Without DD-L there wouldn’t have been a movie. With him, there’s great acting but not much of a film.

So we come to Sweeney Todd.
In a nutshell: Another masterpiece by Tim Burton. I loved it. I loved the story, the music, the costumes (K. [German] wrote about Johnny Depp‘s trousers, I have to point out his leather jacket) and the acting.
Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way: The opening credits. The blood was poorly animated, it looked much too sticky and he could have done better.
That’s it.
Of course, Tim Burton has this very distinct style and some people may call it repetitive but who cares? I love the way he uses colours, and the lack of them. As well as the way he uses the same actors to portray the same roles, gives it all a continuity. (Though I guess, Christina Ricci wasn’t available.)

jayne-wisener.jpg sleepyhollow.jpg
spot the five differences… I know, it’s hard…

The lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler were just wonderful.

And in the darkness
When I’m blind
With what I can’t forget
It’s always morning in my mind

And there’s another quote (this time from the script by John Logan) I loved, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham-Carter) says: “There could be an us, you know. It may not be what I dreamed of and it may not be what you remember, but it could be an us.”
I may be overinterpreting here, but I also liked the reference to Edward Scissorhands: Mr. Todd holds up the razor and says: “Finally, my arm is complete again.”
I laughed my ass off during the dream sequence. The striped bathing suits flat did it for me ((c) Anita Blake).
I don’t know what to think of Jamie Campbell Bower yet. He knows how to sing, that’s for sure, but I don’t think him that good an actor. And he looks weird.

jamie-campbell-bower.jpg

Alan Rickman, of course, was great. And Sacha Baron Cohen as “Call me Davey” Pirelli had me almost falling off my chair. And Timothy Spall was the perfect cast for Beadle. (When I saw him, my first thought was “Mr. Croup!” but I mistook him for Hywel Bennett. Only my second thought was “Peter Pettigrew!“)
And Giles Anthony Stewart Head was there, if only for five seconds.

There are about a thousand more things I could write about this film, but I’ll leave it at that. I guess you know already what I’m feeling about it.