Henry Cavill

Review: Justice League

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Review: Justice League

DC Comics fans have waited many years to see this finally happen: there is a Justice League movie. The fifth film set in the DC Movie’verse, following: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman. All, except Wonder Woman, were met with mild applause and endless geek debate over the quality and treatment of such beloved characters. Justice League is the result of years of waiting and plagued with massive script issues, filming setbacks, a director change, and a costly fifty percent reshoot. But the filmmakers pushed on and fought against an onslaught of negativity and problems. Glad to say, after all is said and done, Justice League is a very enjoyable movie: bright, fun, filled with heart, humor and hope. If you don’t look too close, that is.

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Movie Issues: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Movie Issues: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

After two years of waiting Zach Snyder’s long awaited movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released. The movie is set to break records, usher in the DC Comics Cinematic Film Universe, and after much debate we finally get to see who would win in the ultimate battle between The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel.

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Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

In a year that is rather heavy with the spy genre flicks; Spy, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and, this Christmas, the latest James Bond film, how is one supposed to stand out from the other? Well, having the amazing Guy Ritchie as a director sure helps. His latest movie is The Man From U.N.C.L.E., based on the spy television series of the same name that ran from 1964 to 1968. Set in the 1960’s, while the Cold War was raging, two agents from opposing sides, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and the KGB’s Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), are forced to work together to extract a young woman, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) from East Berlin whose father is being held by Nazis who want him to build them a nuclear bomb. What could have been just another spy flick, ends up being a beautifully stylized film filled with all things that make Guy Ritchie movies so much fun.

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Movie Issues: Man of Steel

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Movie Issues: Man of Steel

In 1978, the Superman movie lived up to its movie poster tagline: “You’ll believe a man can fly.” And he did. We had never seen a movie like that before, with its groundbreaking special effects, wonderful talent, and an amazing theme that still to this day gives fans chills. Soon after, the Superman franchise became somewhat of a joke (Superman III, IV and Superman Returns), becoming campy and messy. One would think Superman would never find himself in a good movie ever again. Man of Steel is that movie. Once more we as fans can believe a man can fly even higher and better than ever thought possible.

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I Capture the Castle

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I Capture the Castle is a quiet little film based on the novel by Dodie Smith. I had occasion (when clarifying a plot point after the film) to flip through the book, and the film captures the tone of it very well. Heidi Thomas’ screenplay captures the narrative style of Smith’s book and manages to retain the poetry of Cassandra’s thoughts. It begs you to read it. In retrospect the film didn’t feel like it had mountains of voice over narration, but the amount of tone and information conveyed could only have been done so. Right? No matter what, it bodes well that such a literary screenplay could come across so warmly.

Sisters Rose and Cassandra grow up in a dilapidated castle with a writer’s block-accursed genius father James Mortmain (Bill Nighy) and a complicated mother figure situation. Their brilliant little brother winks in the background like a nighttime star, never getting enough of the story for himself. Rose (the impossibly beautiful Rose Byrne) is beautiful and desperate, Cassandra (the also beautiful, but in a subdued way, Romola Garai) is plain but clever; it’s not the newest formula in the world, but the catch is in the execution. They are of course more than just these archetypes, but for the purposes of a review, that will do. The pleasure is in discovering the truths about everyone. The story is complex and winds through the vagaries of life at the edge of real, full life. The daughters’ lives feel like those of fairy tale princesses trapped in a castle, waiting for their prince to come. They are, but it is much more than that.

For most of the film, it’s a poverty-stricken 1936 in England. The castle portion of the film was shot in the prehistorically pristine Isle of Man. Enter hunky Americans Simon (Henry Thomas) and Neil (Marc Blucas) and the Mortmain’s stagnant world of artistic suffering and waiting for what they know not what. Their loyal manservant Stephen (Henry Cavill) paddles alongside them as the river of their story ebbs and flows. He adds layers of poignancy to the story when you least expect him to.

Everyone in the house has to love and be loved in ways they don’t intend or expect, exposing their character flaws and accepting them as one. The movie is sweet and funny and beautiful, and sad. Very, very sad. It has an open ending, and so technically speaking it could be ending on a positive as easily as a negative, but some of the most beautiful and powerful moments, the ones that really change lives, are truly bittersweet. Everyone is so different, so warmly drawn, again it makes you want to read the book and get to know them better.

In a summer full of “summer movies,” I Capture the Castle is a fortress reminding you what is most real and important in life is within. Check it out.

MPAA Rating R-brief nudity
Release date 7/11/03
Time in minutes 111
Director Tim Fywell
Studio Distant Horizon / BBC Films