Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

The 379th film I have seen in theaters…

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Wait a minute! This is cheating! Its an oversized episode of a television series, that aired on tv 2 days ago! It’s not a movie!!!

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Yeah, stuff it. This was as wonderful and enjoyable as the best of movies. It was a knockout, an absolute knockout.

Spoilers will abound. As always, all photos are the property of BBC or “Who”-ever owns them, all right reserved, no copyright infraction is intended.

The Plot

Well, how to explain this one. Lets begin the acknowledgment that The numbering of the Doctors has changed. Eccleston is now D10. Tennant is D11, and Smith is D12. The War Doctor, #9, is about to push the giant button that ends the infamous Time War, killing the Daleks and his people, The Gallifreyans. The twist is that “The Moment”, the machine that kills them all is sentient. It forces Doctor 9 to see what his decision will cause for his future regenerations. He goes through a time vortex and causes a meet up with Doctors 11 and 12.  The escape Elizabethan England and work together to stop a Zygon plot to conquer Earth.

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A Zygon.

After saving the world, D9 travels back to the Time War and is ready to push the button. 11 and 12 join him, are about to commit genocide together when D12 decides that there needs to be another solution. Using ALL 13 Doctors, they freeze Gallifrey in time and banish it to a pocket universe, to remain protected until a future point.

Actually, that was relatively easy to write.

The Cast

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Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor is coming to a close. He regenerates in one month’s time. His Doctor has been nuts, but quite enjoyable. The previous Doctor was a tough act to follow, let alone be on screen with.

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David Tennant is the definitive Doctor for the new Whovian generation. His 5 years in the role was stunning. He slipped right back into it as if not a day had passed. It was great to finally see his romance with Elizabeth I.

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Billie Piper returns to who as “The Moment”, the avatar conscience of the Doomsday weapon that talks to the War Doctor. It’s not Rose that she plays though, its Bad Wolf. A nice twist.

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Jenna Coleman is adorable. However, there was very little for her to do in this story, but that’s OK. It’s not her story, its The Doctor’s.

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Jemma Redgrave appears here again as Kay Stewart, daughter of legendary Doctor ally The Brigadier. Not always on the same page as the Doctor, it was good to see UNIT involved.

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Joanna Page appears as Queen Elizabeth I. It was teased in Tennant’s run that he was a history with Elizabeth. We finally get to see it here. Great acting.

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Finally, we have John Hurt, an astounding actor, always has been. He was an inspired choice to portray the War Doctor. His gravitas allowed us to really experience what the end of the Time War must have been like for this man. Great work. He is a welcome addition to the Pantheon.

all-doctors-day-of-the-doctor-570x319Speaking of which, although they were CGI generations or old clips, having all the old Doctors together was a wonderful sight. Seeing one Old/Future Doctor was a truly wonderful to experience.

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TOM BAKER. The all time greatest Doctor reappears here. Not just as an old man, but as a FUTURE DOCTOR who has assumed an “old face” and is retired as “The Curator” of this museum. The crowd was in awe when he appeared, and went nuts when it was revealed “Who” he is.

The Skinny

This was an ideal anniversary episode. The interplay between these men was phenomenal. The multiple Doctor anniversary specials were always popular in the original run. I sincerely hope that in 10 years time we get to experience another 5 Doctors adventure. For the interested, here is a list of many, if not all, of the inside callbacks to previous Who stories.

Also briefly appearing in the epic final battle to save Gallifrey, the NEXT Doctor- Peter Capaldi!

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This was a stunning night out at the cinema. The crowd was in Who gear and they were ready to be amazed…and they were. They should telecast every episode of Doctor Who this way. They’d make a ton of money.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The 378th film I have seen in theaters…

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It was back in early 2012 that I initially reviewed this film on wordpress. I went into that theater new to the story of Hunger Games, I somehow managed to resist reading Catching Fire until after the film’s release (I am already on chapter 9). I will not be able to hold off reading Mockingjay until both films come out…I will likely finish the series before month’s end. This movie was THAT damn good.

Plot

Some time has passed since the events of the first film. Katniss is back home in District 12 and is preparing to go on the “Victory Tour”. President Snow wishes this to be a tour that helps quell a rising revolution in Panem, a revolution inspired by Katniss’ victory in the 74th Games. The tour does not achieve this goal, and the sadistic new Game Master, Plutarch, devises a special event for the 75th Games- all tributes will be pulled from the existing victors. Katniss is pulled in, yet again, and must fight for her life in the deadly arena.

The Cast

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So many people faulted Jennifer Lawrence for being “too fat” in the first film. (insanity). Whatever your feelings on that choice last year, it has payed off with a knockout performance in Catching Fire. She carries this movie well.

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Poor Peeta. He loves Katniss but she doesn’t love him. Josh Hutcherson is given a little less to work with this time out, but he comes out alright.

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Ah, Liam Hemsworth…brother to Thor. He gets much more to do in this film than in the first, and that is a goo thing. These Hemsworth boys are good actors.

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Woody Harrelson was amazing casting in the first, and it continues to work here. His Haymitch is slightly less useless than before, and I hope for even more growth in the third.

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Elizabeth Banks returns as Effie. I was pleasantly surprised that even her character begins to turn against the Capitol for what they are doing in this film. She became something of the emotional core of our heroes.

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Emperor Santa Claus…I mean President Snow is played by Donald Sutherland aka THE MAN. This bit of casting payed off dividends as Snow’s evil is revealed and Sutherland’s awesomeness is unleashed on a new generation of film-goers.

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Sam Claflin joins the cast as preening Finnick. He is a good enough actor to lay his entire character on the floor in quick fashion and then smash it to pieces as we see his caring for old Madge. Good performance.

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Ah. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, one of the best actors out there. Well used as the new Game designer- Plutarch.

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I remember first seeing Jena Malone in Contact. She has developed quite the career and appears here as trbute Johanna, who gives us the biggest laugh of the film from a character that is not funny at all. I hope she continues to find work- good actress.

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Amanda Plummer appears as Wiress, a very unhinged tribute. I wish she had more to do in the film.

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Whoa! Doctor Narciss is in this movie?! Jeffrey Wright plays Beetee, electronics genius. This incredibly versatile actors rivets whenever on screen. It’s the eyes. This guy draws you right in and act his ass off.

and now, the real star of Hunger Games….

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Seriously. They need to give Stanley Tucci a tv talk show as Caesar Flickerman. I would watch it. Look at this guy!

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The Skinny

This is a perfect sequel. It takes all that the first film embodied and improves it significantly. The subtext, though dumbed down in the first, is allowed to explode in the sequel. We see the excess of the capital and the brutality it takes to keep this system in order. I could watch this again in an instant. There are few other films this year that I could say that of.

Thor: The Dark World

The 377th film I have seen in theaters…

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The Plot

Set 2 years after the events of Thor, this plot is fairly straightforward. An ancient power, know as the aether, was used the a race known as the Dark Elves to destroy the universe. The Asgardians stopped them, and their leader Maliketh, and secured the aether in a hidden dimension. Millennia later, Jane Foster (Portman) stumbles upon the aether and it bonds to her, awakening the Dark Elves and setting in motion their plot to reclaim the aether, and get revenge on Asgard.

Overall, a relatively well thought out storyline. There could have been a little more plot for Maliketh, but it served it’s purpose.

The Cast

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What can be said, that hasn’t been? Chris Hemsworth IS Thor. From his first moments on-screen, his natural charisma completely embodied the character. He brings more of the same in this installment.

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Loki. Tom Hiddleston has brought to life a character that never really connected with me in the comics. This amazing actor has not let us down in his third appearance as the trickster god. He was the main villain in Thor, and then the Avengers. Now he is not the villain in this piece, but he tends to dominate when he appears. The ending of this film, and where it leaves his character, is outstanding.

 

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Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster, the scientist who is Thor’s love interest. That’s about all she does in this film, other than being the damsel in distress and principle macguffin. In Thor 1, She had phenomenal chemistry with Hemsworth, which is sorely lacking in this film. It’s hard to explain, but the magic just isn’t there. Maybe it’s the script, or perhaps Natalie knows a good paycheck when she sees one and phoned it in. Whatever the case, she was a clear weak point in this installment.

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Doctor Who! Chris Eccleston plays the leader of the Dark Elves. As with Foster, no major character development. He is just the “black hat”, which is fine. I know what this actor is capable of and would have liked to see more of him.

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Renee Russo returns as Freya, Thor’s mom…for a moment.

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I really was hoping there would be more made of the Sif/Foster competition for Thor’s love, but it’s not being developed. I hope Jaime Alexander get the role of Wonder Woman.

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Sir Anthony Hopkins! Odin is OLD in this film. One really gets the sense that the millennia have caught up to him, and he is ready for Thor to take over.

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Wait a minute?! What the hell happened to Fandral?!

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Recasting aside, the Warriors Three served their parts in the story, and were well performed.

The Skinny

Light years better than Iron Man 3. My quibbles were quite minor with this film. It was better than the first (more time in space, less on earth) and everyone did a marvelous job. None more so that Stellan Skarsgard, whose brief moments on-screen nearly stole the movie. He is quite awesome.

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Money where my mouth is…continued!

Hello my 3 readers!

A couple of month back, I told of an opportunity to act in a very funny web series. Well, that series has started it’s third season and my episode premiered yesterday! “Good Person” features the first appearance of ‘Tallahassee’, and my second episode is being lined up at this very moment, so I will get to do this, and share this, again. Here I am, in all my giggling glory.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

The 376th film I have seen in theaters…

It has been over two months since I have sat in a movie theater. That last trip was on August 26th, and the film was Blue Jasmine (review). I am hit or miss with Woody Allen’s work, but when it hits…it hit. Blue Jasmine was phenomenal. What could I possibly choose to follow such a sublimely perfect exploration of the social classes in America and one woman’s hypocritical struggle to maintain her sanity?

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Yup.

The Plot

Bwa-hahahahaha!

Ok then.

A crackhead mom is going to prison. She needs to get her 9 year old son to his father while she is away. Her recently widowed father takes on the job to drive from Nebraska to North Carolina with little Billy. That is the story of this almost-film. We all know Jackass. It is a series of “hidden camera” sketches or crazy stunts performed by a group of buffoons led by Johnny Knoxville. This movie is the first attempt by the crew of stringing these scenes together with some sort of story. It largely works, but we aren’t here for the heartwarming tale of a grandpa and his grandson. We want the crude humor and sight gags.

The Cast

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Johnny Knoxville is in his element as Irving, the “Bad grandpa”. Using the character he developed during the series, he is at home pranking the hell out of dozens of poor victims. He does it very well.

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Jackson Nicoll, Billy, actually comes close to stealing this movie away from Knoxville. The finale at the Beauty Pageant was an ideal capper to the film, and this kid sold it.

The Skinny

What can I say? This is my generation’s contribution to pop culture in the late 90’s. It is a fun 90 minutes in the theater, and the “restaurant scene” nearly destroyed me. If you like Jackass, go see it. If you don’t, stay away. I give this one a 5/10 against “real” movies, and a 8/10 for what it is. I prefer this without a story though. Give us Jackass 4!

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