Gemini Man (2019)

gemini-man-2019-movie-review-posterDirector: Ang Lee

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Ralph Brown, Linda Emond, Ilia Volok, E.J. Bonilla

Plot: Henry Brogan is the best hitman his Government has, but as he’s getting older, the job is eating away at him, and he retires. He discovers his last target wasn’t who he was told he was however, and now he’s on the run whilst also trying to uncover the truth.

My Thoughts: I wanted to start this section with a summary of how Will Smith’s movies have been received terribly as of late, but Rotten Tomatoes gave me something more interesting to mull over, check this out:
Gemini Man – Tomatometer (25%) Audience Rating (84%)
Bright – Tomatometer (28%) Audience Rating (84%)
Aladdin – Tomatometer (57%) Audience Rating (94%)
Turns out only the critics seem to hate Will Smith movies after all! I’ve always liked Will Smith, I tend to put him in the same category in my mind as Dwayne Johnson. When I watch their movies I’m not expecting a masterpiece, but I know I’ll be entertained.

I didn’t enjoy Gemini Man as much as I wanted to, but I have to blame a lot of that on the trailer, which has been heavily pushed in the UK for months now. It honestly shows off the entire plot, and for a movie thin on plot to begin with, it didn’t leave much to enjoy when it came to going to the cinema. There are some breathtaking action sequences, sure, but the rest felt mostly like filler. I think most would enjoy this more if they went in blind.

At the end of the day, although I was disappointed that there weren’t any big surprises along the way, the cast and the action was enough to keep me happy for the runtime and that was enough for me on a Sunday evening.

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Best Bit: One good thing to come from Gemini Man is a showcase of how fast computer technology is moving. Remember in Rogue One, how obviously CGI’d Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing were? I had no idea, but the younger Will Smith was created in the same way. I thought it was the de-aging technology that was used in Captain Marvel but no, and the difference in quality in just 3 years is quite baffling!

Worst Bit: *SPOILERY SECTION* So perhaps I lied when I said the whole plot was in the trailer. There’s a little twist at the end, but it’s so obvious that it’s coming that it ended up being quite a comical moment. Know what would have been a good twist? Original Will Smith finding out that he was a clone, too! Hollywood, sign me up, yo.

Fun Trivia: From 2003 to 2010 Nicolas Cage was attached to the project. It was finally due to go into production in 2008, but Cage convinced Jerry Bruckheimer to work on the live-action remake The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) instead.
I don’t know whether to be thankful or gutted after reading this!

My Rating: I heard you like Will Smith, so I put 2 and a half Will Smiths in my blog post about a Will Smith movie starring Will Smith…

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Aladdin (2019)

aladdin-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Guy Ritchie

Genre: Family, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 128 Minutes

Main Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Numan Acar

Plot: “Street Rat” Aladdin is convinced by the Vizier Jafar to venture into the Cave of Wonders to seek out the magic lamp – with the power to make wishes come true.

My Thoughts: It feels like the internet has been complaining about Will Smith playing the Genie for years now – and now we can finally see him in the role! I honestly felt neutral about the casting choice…I mean, would anyone have been happy with any casting choice? All I ever saw were complaints, not suggestions. Anyway – I thought Will Smith did a brilliant job. The Genie’s story was slightly changed anyway, and I thought Will brought a ‘Fresh Prince’ vibe to the character that really worked. Colour me impressed!

In fact, with the exception of Jafar (he shouldn’t have been so young and good-looking!) the casting choices here were second to none. Mena Massoud is adorable as Aladdin, he has the boyish charms he was meant to have, and Naomi Scott takes the already wonderful character of Jasmine and gives her this sense of power that she never had before.

I feel like the general consensus is that people don’t want these remakes but honestly? Keep them coming, Disney! Will they ever replace the originals? Absolutely not – but if they’re bringing a new, younger audience to these beloved stories who don’t want to watch ‘dated’ animated movies, then I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

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Best Bit: Guy Ritchie as Director seemed like an odd choice but he’s injected a lot of humour into the movie that wasn’t there before, and it works so well. My favourite moment will always be the A Whole New World sequence, but Prince Ali introducing himself at the palace comes a very, very close second.

Worst Bit: It was a bit too long (how is this almost 40 minutes longer than the original, there isn’t that much new content!) and Jafar is the weak link here. He isn’t menacing, and I thought his unsightly appearance in the original added a lot to his character. Am I complaining because Jafar is hot in 2019? Yes, I guess I am.

Fun Trivia: During the scene when Aladdin asks Genie to “make him a prince”, Genie produces an actual prince in the background. The prince is dressed in colors of pink & lime green, the same colors in the title logo & a nod to Will Smith’s comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). So, the Genie created the Fresh Prince for Aladdin.

My Rating: 4 and a half jars of jam that Prince Ali can’t stop talking about – better get some bread!

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Review: Focus (2015)

focus-movie-review-2015It was time I took a break from catching up on as many award-nominated movies as possible, and watch something a little easier to digest, something that had been recommended to me by my movie-loving family (a long time ago, and on multiple occasions, sorry!). Time for Focus (2015)! Besides, who can turn down a Will Smith movie? I just love the guy.

Focus (2015) is a reasonably straight forward Crime/Drama movie in which Will Smith plays Nicky, a veteran con man takes an apprentice under his wing, Jess, played by Margot Robbie. A heated romance ensues, but without warning Nicky breaks up the relationship. 3 years later Jess shows back up whilst Nicky is in the middle of the biggest con of his career, and she throws him off track completely.

I feel like this movie was split into two distinctive halves. First we have an introduction of sorts into just how talented Nicky is not just with sleight of hand, but also psychology and suggestion. This was without a doubt my favourite part of the movie after a certain scene in which it is shown to us the audience the sheer level of work and skill that went into the con at the sports game. It’s like something Derren Brown would do!

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The second half leaves us wondering – Is Nicky conning Jess? Is Jess conning Nicky? It’s the more action packed half, and comes to an explosive conclusion. It might have been fairly predictable, but there was still one more twist that I didn’t see coming.

I think what makes Focus so enjoyable is the chemistry between Will Smith and Margot Robbie. They’re both people I love to see, but they work together so well! It reminded me that their relationship in Suicide Squad was what made it entertaining to be honest.

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My only complaint is that I wanted more of that first half. Watching the team work the crowds, lifting watches, jewellery, handbags and more from clueless victims. Seeing Nicky explain all the suggestions he left behind in the lead up to (and during) the sports game. I actually turned onto high alert after that part, wondering if the movie itself was doing that to us. Were there little details hidden throughout the movie that would lead up to something shocking we should have seen coming? That never happened, sadly.

Still, as a Saturday night movie with a glass of wine and a takeaway, you can do no wrong by watching Focus. It’s flashy, it’s fun, and you can brag to your family/friends if you manage to work out the ending before it’s too late, just like my Mum who’s very pleased with herself (proud of you, Mum!). From me, Focus gets 3.5 out of 5 things I stole from you whilst reading this. Psyche!

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Review: Collateral Beauty (2016)

Seriously, what happened to Collateral Beauty? I saw a trailer for it once or twice last year, and then it just came and went. I can only assume it got buried underĀ all the Oscar movies and Rogue One. Anyway, my good friend Jenna came to see the new house last night, and trying to find a movie that neither of us has seen yet can be quite the challenge, so we settled for Collateral Beauty. Besides, we both love Will Smith (who doesn’t?) so we couldn’t go too wrong.

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Howard (Will Smith) suffers a terrible family tragedy that throws his entire life off balance. In his despair, he writes letters to Love, Time and Death, pouring his sorrow into the words. What he doesn’t expect is a visit from Love, Time and Death themselves (a bit like Scrooge’s visits!) which makes him see things in another light.

collateral-beauty-mixed-reviewsSomething I find really cool about this movie is how much it seems to have split the opinions of the viewers. Check out it’s current ratings chart on Letterboxd! I haven’t seen a more split opinion since watching The Fountain, which for the record, I still don’t know how to feel about. The other thing I got excited about very early on is that this movie is very different to how the trailer makes it out to be. There is so, so much more to the story that what those 2 minutes show you. This was a good surprise, rather than a “what?” kind of Passengers surprise.

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As for the movie itself, it’s messy, sadly. It has a huge, star-studded cast (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley to name a few) and each has their own complicated story. There’s simply not enough time to get to know these characters well enough, so the emotions thrown at you don’t have a chance to really sink in, leaving you feeling like a bit of a monster for not really feeling anything for them. That said, they have interesting stories to be told, and given some extra time and better pacing, it could have been so good!

What you can’t argue with is Will Smith’s acting talent. I’m not sure if he was trying to bait the Academy with this movie (he was very quiet this year, no?) but his emotions feel genuine, and I can’t stand watching people cry, only because it makes me cry too! To tell you any more about this particular scene would spill into spoiler territory, and I really think if this is something you’d like to see then you should go in as blind as possible.

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I’m sure if I watched this again I’d pick up on all sorts of plot holes, but as a one-time experience, I really enjoyed it. It’s a movie with so much heart and a lot to say, so it’s a shame it wasn’t paced very well or in-depth enough. One thing I will say is that the ending in particular is shocking; for better or worse will depend on each individual viewer, but it’s an ending I certainly won’t forget for a long time.

Whether you love it or hate it, Collateral Beauty is a movie that’ll get any movie fan talking at least. I give the movie 3 and a half falling dominoes out of 5!

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