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Wrath of the Titans: Bland Action Sequel
Hades (Fiennes) and Ares (Ramirez) have conspired to kidnap Zeus (Neeson) and use his power to break Kronos, king of the titans and father of Hades, Zeus and Poseidon (Huston), out of Tartarus, where his three sons had imprisoned him after they overthrew him. Only Perseus (Worthington), Zeus’ demigod son, can avert this calamity and save the world. Accompanied by Queen Andromeda (Pike) and Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Kebbell), the trio try to find a way to free Zeus from the underworld so he can help them in the fight against Kronos.
The film’s plot fulfils only one purpose: to connect the various fights and battle scenes together. Seriously, don’t question anything or you’ll uncover a ton of gaping plot holes. And while these fights are initially pretty cool, after Perseus has fought a chimera, Cyclops and a Minotaur, you start to get kind of bored and then there are still battles with Hades and Ares and Kronos to sit through. And while the fights /mythical creatures look good, there’s nothing particularly exceptional about them that’ll hold your attention for the entire film.
The film looks blandly pretty in a sand-strewn kind of way. Everything looks good but nothing stands out or grabs your attention. These swords and sandals flicks are a dime a dozen and after last year’s Immortals, the bar has been raised tremendously on eye popping visuals. Unoriginality seems to be a common thread here because the 3D is absolutely wasted. It’s mainly used only to chuck a bunch of rocks at the audience. There are some scenes that are pretty eye popping though. Perseus, Andromeda and Agenor trying to navigate their way through a labyrinth to get to Kronos comes to mind. The labyrinth’s walls shift, tilt and rearrange themselves while the trio try to get through it before they’re squeezed to a bloody pulp or tossed off the edge.
The most surprising thing about the film is how it’s filled with heavyweight actors who are barely recognisable. Both Fiennes and Nighy were unrecognisable under their costumes and wigs. But the problem wasn’t just in their appearance. These two actors who are usually pretty electric just weren’t even trying. And it wasn’t just them either. Worthington continues his quest to blend into the background of every film he’s in and Neeson sleepwalks through his dignified, wise man shtick.
Wrath of the Titans can be summed up in three words: beige, bland, and forgettable.
If you are in the mood for an uncomplicated, lighthearted and a feel-good romantic-comedy viewing, then Nancy Meyers is the one to turn to for help. Known for movies such as Private Benjamin, Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday, the 65 year-old writer-director – who is often referred to as the female version of Woody Allen – always delivers and she does so again with The Intern: a likable cross-generation comedy that is kept afloat by a dependably engaging script and a couple of amiable lead performances.
Set in New York City, The Intern is centered on Ben Whittaker (De Niro); a 70-year-old widower who has become frustrated with the retirement lifestyle and is desperate for something to fill that ‘hole’ in his now, mundane and predictable everyday existence. Luckily, his prayers are soon answered, when he comes across an advertisement for a senior internship program at an online fashion company, founded by the high-strung CEO, Jules Ostin (Hathaway).
Ben applies and is soon accepted, ultimately landing a spot as Jules very own personal assistant. However, Jules is not so keen on the idea and doesn’t really know how to deal with the unusually well-mannered senior, deciding its best to keep him at an arm’s length. Nevertheless, Ben – an extremely patient man who may not be particularly tech savvy but knows a thing or two about life– soon finds a way to get closer to his boss and offer her the much-needed support, just in time when her career and position of power is at stake.
There is something awfully comforting about watching a Nancy Meyers film, as not only are her movies pleasing to the eye –her movie sets have ended up wondering onto the pages of numerous decorating catalogues over the years – but there is also something terribly gratifying in knowing how her stories will turn out in the end. Straightforward and extremely likable, the same goes for her latest directorial effort, a movie which may not be on the same creative level as Something’s Gotta Give perhaps, but still has plenty of its own harmless charms – no matter how far-fetched they may seem – to earn a warm viewing recommendation; a stamp of approval aimed mainly at a slightly older audience.
Stuck somewhere between a buddy-comedy and a romantic drama, The Intern is not entirely flawless and Meyers seems to have had a little trouble in setting out an even tone throughout; additionally, the subplot involving Rene Russo – who plays the company masseuse– is never really looked into or explored. However, it’s the two leads that keep The Intern from falling apart as both De Niro and Hathaway bring so much heart and chemistry to their respective roles that it makes it awfully difficult not to be drawn into their white-collar world.
Easygoing, likeable and perhaps a little too safe, The Intern is not Meyers’ best work to date but, it’s reliable and entertaining. What more do you need?
Based on the real-life events of an infamous 1996 Mount Everest expedition, Everest - directed by the 2 Guns director, Baltasar Kormakur - is a beautifully captured tale of bravery, human spirit and a battle for survival set against a gorgeous yet a merciless backdrop of the tallest mountain in the world.
The story begins with Rob Hall (Clarke); the guide and the owner of a New Zealand-based company called Adventure Consultants who have become famous for their tours of Mount Everest. Leaving his pregnant wife, Jan (Knightley), behind, Rob is preparing for a new expedition and soon sets out to meet his new group of climbers including guide and a friend, Guy Cotter (Worthington), journalist Jon Krakauer (Kelly), postman-turned-explorer Doug Hansen (Hawkes), rowdy Texan pathologist, Beck Weathers (Brolin) and Yasuko Namba (Mori); a renowned Japanese climber looking to complete all Seven Summits.
After helping his climbers with the basics of mountaineering, Rob and his team soon arrive at Everest where the rising popularity and commercialisation of guided climbs has led to crowding on the mountain. Trying to maintain a steady pace, the group – who were first forced to acclimatise to their new surroundings – begin their ascent. Fighting the harsh weather conditions – and a few moments of sheer terror - the unit is determined to make it to the top, however, disaster soon strikes and the climbers are forced to make life-or-death decisions and give it their all in their fight against Mother Nature herself.
Scripted by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, Everest is told with a great deal of freshness and even if viewers are already familiar with the outcome of the story, it still manages to keep you thoroughly involved. The swooping and sometimes vertigo-inducing shots of the beautiful but deadly rocky terrain are mesmerizing and Kormakur’s recreation of the infamous mountain is truly an accomplishment. The sheer intensity of the situations that befell this particularly unlucky group of climbers is almost palpable and there are a few truly intense and terrorising moments that will leave viewers at the edge of their seats.
However, the film’s major flaw comes in the form of character-detachment – not to mention a particularly chaotic third-act – and apart from Jason Clark, whose character and overall performance is truly compelling throughout, most of the other characters, although all genuinely invested in their respective roles, are never fully explored, leaving us a little apathetic to their fates.
Overall, Everest is an immersing tale of heroism and it celebrates the human spirit when faced with the kind of gruelling challenges that only Mother Nature can. Beautifully shot, it’s a visual stunner, though at times its technical achievements aren’t matched by its less involving dramatic peaks.