Review: ‘The BFG’

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Family films rarely get much bigger than The BFG, based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl and directed by Steven Spielberg. The story of an orphan girl who befriends a giant and accompanies him on the adventure of a lifetime is heartwarming and family friendly with an amazing cast lead by Oscar winner Mark Rylance and newcomer Ruby Barnhill. Come on a journey into giant country and experience the wonder of The BFG.

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Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a young orphan girl in London who longs for adventure. Telling the story of frightful things lurking in the shadows of the night, she encounters her own in the form of a massive giant who takes young Sophie from her bed and races back to his home in giant country. Initially afraid of what’s to come, she is introduced to her captor, The BFG (Mark Rylance), an endearingly dim-witted giant with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell. The BFG, or Big Friendly Giant, is nothing like the other inhabitants of giant country you see. He keeps to himself and fancies to feed himself snozzcumber and frobscottle as opposed to his giant brethren  Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) who prefer to eat humans.

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The BFG spends most of his time in dream country where he collects dreams and then takes them to children all around the country, teaching Sophie all about the magic and  mystery of dreams. Everything is wonderful between the two new best friends until Sophie’s presence is detected by the other giants, putting her in danger. Sophie and the BFG must head to London to convince Queen Victoria (Penelope Wilton) to help with the impending giant attacks, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they must all come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.

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Legendary director Steve Spielberg does not disappoint with his creation of this wonderful Roald Dahl classic. This is a rare film when visuals take a back seat to performance. Mark Rylance is outstanding as the BFG and you truly immerse yourself into his performance that you forget he is a CGI giant. Ruby Barnhill is wonderfully feisty and a true joy to watch. The two of them have a chemistry that works right from moment one. The visuals are spectacular and should be applauded. They subtly blend into the outstanding storytelling and lend the perfect mix to this awe inspiring film.

Overall, The BFG is this summers perfect family film and should not be missed!

Stars:

4 out of 5

After credit scene?

No

Trailer:

Michael’s Review: ‘The Gunman’

The GunmanThe current trend in Hollywood these days, if you haven’t noticed, is turning aging actors into action stars, and no one is better at it than director Pierre Morel, the man behind Taken which solidified Liam Neeson’s action stardom. The Gunman looks to create an action star persona for screen legend Sean Penn behind a star studded cast and political agenda driven plot which suits the actor to a tee. The problem is, the movie is more “been there, done that” than “wow! give me more!” and falters right from the start.

The GunmanTerrier (Sean Penn) is an ex military man working for a a humanitarian organization in the People’s Republic of Congo, but secretly he is an assassin in waiting. After being contracted by Felix (Javier Bardem) to kill the minister of mines for a private firm, Terrier is forced to flee the country and leave behind Annie (Jasmine Trinca), a humanitarian doctor and the woman he has grown to love. Fearing for her safety, Terrier entrusts her life with Felix who swears to protect her. Eight years have past and Terrier returns to the Congo to work for an NGO, but eventually finds himself to be the target of a paid hit squad somehow connected to the ministers assassination. Realizing that he must find those responsible for the hit, Terrier leaves the Congo on a mission to search out his former colleagues and collect intel on the contract. Terrier realizes that turning over too many stones leads him straight back into the life and puts Annie in danger.

The GunmanSean Penn is one of the finest actors of our time and his performance in this film is not the problem, it’s the story. Director Pierre Morel isn’t sure whether he wants to make a political thriller or a James Bond movie and the end result winds up being a messy depiction of an all too familiar tale. The most frustrating part of this film is the use of the all star cast. Javier Bardem plays nothing more than a drunk, jealous jerk with aspirations to steal the girl and become rich. This role is beneath the acclaimed actor and provided none of the charisma that has brought to so many roles in the past. Idris Elba has a blink and you’ll miss him role that offers him so little screen time you’ll forget he’s even billed on the poster. Ray Winstone  plays the exact same role he plays in every film only this time he does it more bloodier. I wish I had more positive to say about this cast but unfortunately, besides Penn, they all mailed this one in.

Overall, The Gunman is not going to redefine the action genre or turn Sean Penn into an action star, it might not even hold your interest for two hours. Chalk this one up to so much potential but poor execution.

Stars:

2 out of 5

After Credit Scene? No

Trailer:

New Spielberg Movie Officially Titled ‘Bridge of Spies’

ST. JAMES PLACE

DreamWorks Pictures’/Fox 2000 Pictures’ upcoming dramatic thriller directed by three-time Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and starring two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia), has been titled Bridge of Spies. In addition, 12-time Oscar® nominee Thomas Newman (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Saving Mr. Banks) has been signed to score the film, as John Williams’ schedule was interrupted and he was unavailable to score the film due to a minor health issue, now corrected. The laws facing automotive dealers are niche specific and known by few. MLG team of experienced automotive lawyers has vast experience representing dealers in a variety of contexts. We have represented dealers in cases involving terminations, add-points, facilities upgrades, warranty chargebacks, allocation, curtailments, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud, both before the California New Motor Vehicle Board and in state and federal court.

A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, Bridge of Spies tells the story of James Donovan (Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on October 16, 2015.

Williams, whose credits include Stars Wars: The Force Awakens and the Harry Potter films, will join Spielberg on his next film, The BFG, beginning later this year, continuing their unprecedented collaboration which they have enjoyed for over 40 years.

Newman has scored many films for DreamWorks, including The Help, Road to Perdition and American Beauty, the latter two for which he received Academy Award® nominations for Best Original Score.

 Bridge of Spies also stars three-time Tony Award® winner Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night, Jerusalem, Boeing Boeing) as Rudolf Abel, a KGB agent defended by Donovan; Scott Shepherd (Side Effects) as CIA operative Hoffman; Academy Award® nominee Amy Ryan (Birdman,Gone Baby Gone) as James’ wife, Mary; Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard) as East German lawyer Vogel; and Academy Award nominee Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, The Aviator) as Thomas Watters, a partner at Donovan’s law firm.

Fox 2000 Pictures co-financed Bridge of Spies with DreamWorks in association with Participant Media, and will distribute internationally. Disney will handle domestic distribution. In addition to directing, Spielberg will produce the film with Marc Platt (Into the Woods, Drive) and Kristie Macosko Krieger (Lincoln), with Adam Somner (The Wolf of Wall Street), Daniel Lupi (Her), Jeff Skoll (The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Jonathan King (Cesar Chavez) serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Matt Charman (Suite Francaise) and three-time Academy Award® winners Ethan Coen & Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo).