Atomic Blonde (2017): A Stylishly Slick Action Flick With A Killer Sound… Trick [Track] (Review)

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[Credit: Universal Pictures]
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Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, Atomic Blonde follows Mi6 operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) as she’s sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of an agent and retrieve a priceless dossier containing the names of double agents. The film also stars James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman and Toby Jones and is directed by David Leitch (John Wick).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

From the moment I heard New Order’s “Blue Monday” playing right at the beginning of this film as something rather peculiarly violent was occurring, I was hooked. Atomic Blonde doesn’t shy away from depicting the violence that can be inflicted upon another human by using a number of everyday objects. As someone who is a lover of movies that know how to toe the line between beautifully executed depictions of violence and downright utter gutter trash (a la The Human Centipede), I admired Blonde’s ability to represent the former with a vast array of lovely head shots and one awe-inspiring skateboard demonstration.

Charlize Theron embodies the cool and ruthless Lorraine thanks to her composed demeanor and ridiculously impressive combat capabilities. While I felt her to be rather monotonous during certain instances, I enjoyed her overall character and thought she worked amazingly well with virtually every one of her co-stars. Truly the standout for me has to be James McAvoy who portrays the slimy yet oh so enticing agent David Percival flawlessly. All of his mannerisms from his proud Sinead O’Connor head rub to his occasional douchey sniffling fit well and added more to his character. Speaking of mannerisms, a particular one I loved and hope future films emulate is Lorraine’s habit of checking to see how many bullets are in a gun before she goes on a rampage. A girl’s gotta know if she’s got enough left in a stolen 9mm for the rest of the bad guys, of course!

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
While I remained intrigued with the overarching story and watching Lorraine maneuver her way around the various obstacles that have the unfortunate fate of being in her way, certain plot points of the film could have been explained a bit better. As much as I kept up with the code names and actual names being thrown around and espionagey occurrences, I ultimately struggled with an apparently major revelation that would’ve been much more impactful if I kind of understood what exactly happened during the instances leading up to that. 

Now the action sequences are absolutely incredible in Atomic Blonde and if more films of the action genre take note of it and your various John Wicks, we will return to the glory of unbelievably enjoyable action films that don’t have to rely on sudden jump cuts and loud noises to attempt to invigorate the audience. David Leitch co-directed the aforementioned 2014 surprise hit John Wick and with Blonde being his official directorial debut (not unless you count the hysterical Deadpool short that played ahead of Logan) one can tell if he sticks to it and sharpens his craft, he can easily be one of the best contemporary action directors. While I did enjoy most of the sequences, there were a few that succumbed to those dreaded quick jump cuts I despise. 

I honestly cannot praise the action sequences enough, they were remarkably enjoyable and any fan of witnessing some serious ass kicking should check Blonde out whenever you can. What elevated these sequences were the moments where Lorraine was seemingly down and out which not only showcased Theron’s incredible acting ability (as if you need any more proof), it gives a sense of realism to this world. There was one particular sequence wherein I remained absolutely giddy for which was a one-shot take involving Lorraine doing what she does best: not having enough time to take names because she’s too busy kicking ass. It’s a pretty impressive shot especially considering this is Leitch’s first major directing gig, however as he has done the stunt work on numerous films – including 1999’s Fight Club and winning a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble with his stunt crew for 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum (well deserved) –  he has been around phenomenal filmmakers for the better part of two decades… Yeah he knows his shit. 

How Were The Other Aspect Of Atomic Blonde?

Alright, let’s talk about this soundtrack. Every song utilized for each respective sequence was fantastic. The instances when it veered in and out of playing on a radio or headphones to the actual film were executed brilliantly and my only wish was that certain sequences lasted longer because the music worked so well with what was occurring on screen. As mentioned, Leitch’s direction is impressive for a solo full-length directorial debut, however there were a few quick jump cuts that I could’ve done without.

On a pure selfish note, I will say although I love the choice for the ending song on its own, why nobody thought it prudent to utilize Blondie’s song “Atomic” at least once in the whole film is cruel and unusual. THE NAME OF THE SONG AND ARTIST IS RIGHT THERE! WHY WOULDN’T YOU USE IT?!

[Credit: Universal Pictures]

If you’re looking for an action-packed and kick ass film with great performances and a spectacular soundtrack, check out Atomic Blonde.

Atomic Blonde receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.

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featured image credit: Universal Pictures

Craving Some More Stupendous Ass Kickers?

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I recently wrote an article for Movie Pilot entitled 5 Bad-Ass Female Characters That Paved The Way For Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde and would love for you all to check it out if you’re so inclined!

 

Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) Movie Review

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Can I please have the jolly old lady appear in every single movie from now on…
Please?

Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of young Kubo as he is tasked to retrieve three items in order to uncover a secret legacy regarding him & his father, the greatest samurai warrior to ever live… Kubo is a fantastically wonderful film and I will admit there were a couple times when I found myself getting way more emotional than I thought. I was enthralled throughout it and it certainly left me wanting more.

How Were The Characters And Story?

The setup of this movie is essentially perfect. It introduces the characters in an incredibly intriguing way, you learn about the film’s lore & magic right off the bat and due to how well the filmmakers introduced the characters, when the main conflict arises you genuinely care about what will happen to these people. When shit initially goes down, I was frightened for Kubo and wanted to see him prosper!

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The relationship between Kubo & the Monkey is crazily enjoyable to watch, Art Parkinson & Charlize Theron have amazing chemistry together. The wit sprinkled throughout this film is probably my second favourite aspect to it besides the animation (of which I will laud a little further down the review). I found myself cracking up at Monkey’s dry humour since that type of humour is my personal favourite; one of the best lines being,

“Please keep in mind that my sense of smell is 10 times strong than yours…”

The Beetle, voiced by the whistlin’ Matthew McConaughey, served as the kind of comic relief of the film but I really could have done without it. The first half without him had incredibly humourous moments that made me actually laugh out loud, however there were some moments & sayings with the Beetle that felt so out of place… The one of the top of my head involved yelling FOOT! Instead of Fuck. I was like what was that? There are also certain revelations I found predictable, however what separates this film and other, quote “kids” movies, is that it doesn’t treat its audience like they’re complete morons. Are there frightening images? Yes! Are there themes present that certain audience members will personally identify with? Damn right! Will the action sequences entertain a younger audience that maybe aren’t too familiar with the more deeper messages? Absolutely. I love movies like your Toy Stories and Inside Outs where both adults and children alike are able to enjoy what they are watching on screen.

Were You A Fan Of The Animation?

Saying I loved the animation in Kubo and the Two Strings is like saying Cookie Monster only somewhat likes cookies… understatement of the century, my friends.

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I simply can’t express how much I adored every single frame of this movie. To think that there were actual human beings that were able to meticulously craft everything I saw on screen is incomprehensible to me. Looking at some of these screengrabs from The Verge’s video about Laika’s Stop Motion Animation Geniuses must pique one’s interest at least a little bit if they’re still on the fence about watching it.


If you’re looking for an incredibly entertaining stop-motion picture that has disgustingly beautiful animation and a number of characters you might fall in love with, check out Kubo and the Two Strings. So many complain about the “lack of original content” in theatres and when fantastic content like Kubo comes out, these people are nowhere to be found. Encourage your friends to support this shit.

Kubo and the Two Strings receives 4.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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The Road (2009)

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The Man: Do you ever wish you would die?
Old Man: No. It’s foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these.

Starring: Viggo Mortensen as the Man, Charlize Theron as the Woman, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Boy, Guy Pearce as the Veteran and Robert Duvall as the Old Man, dir. John Hillcoat.

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Cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Twilight: New Moon, The Finest Hours)

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016) Movie Review

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Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron walk into a movie, the result of that? An incredibly sub par picture


The second unit director & visual effects supervisor of the first Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) movie, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, helms this prequel/sequel to the surprising 2012 hit. I will say, this was a pretty looking movie and I firmly hold the belief that Chris Hemsworth can charm the milk out of chocolate… That’s pretty much all I can say for it. The performances of the aforementioned three ridiculously talented actresses are completely wasted in The Huntsman 2/1. Blunt, Theron and Chastain are some of the greatest working actresses today, with Jessica Chastain being one of my own personal favourites… I hate to say it but these performances were phoned in entirely and it is a shame that these four weren’t starring in a completely different movie because I think that would’ve been way better than what we got.

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“Why are we in this?” “… I’m saving up for Lawless 2

As mentioned, it is a nice looking movie and I thoroughly enjoyed the Frozen-esque VFX aspect to it, frankly Elsa should’ve been freezing shit up as much as Freya was. Hemsworth and Chastain had tremendous chemistry together and I hope they work together in the future because I can’t imagine how fantastic they would be together in a movie that isn’t this one. Charlize Theron was fine but you can tell she is only this because she probably owed director Troyan a favour and Emily Blunt… Ooooooooh wee the Redmayne Ascending syndrome struck her.

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It is not particularly engaging, it drones on quite a bit but I did appreciate the motivation behind Freya’s anger. It’s really stupid but I appreciate it. Also I’m certain I wasn’t the only one that saw the final outcome between the sisters coming from a mile away, right? There are dwarves too that served as comic relief and they made me laugh a few times. It really is an incredibly underwhelming movie and one of those movies where you will catch the tail end of it when it’s on the Space channel or something.


If you’re looking for a ridiculously entertaining take on the fantasy genre, this probably isn’t the movie for you. If you’re a fan of the original Snow White and the Huntsman and want to see Chris Hemsworth be charismatic and charming (and really, who doesn’t?), check out The Huntsman: War on Mirrors.


The Huntsman receives 2.5/5 Matt Damon heads

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Review

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I originally watched this film in an absolutely packed house with only a few moments from one of the trailers remaining in the ol’ noggin. Following my watch, I posted my review on Letterboxd and I would say my feelings.. Still pretty much the same.


Alright, alright. We’ve read all the comments of “OMG FURY ROAD WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!” & “OMG FURY ROAD IS THE MOST INCREDIBLE CREDIBLE FANTASICAL FILM TO EVER BEEN CREATED” and you want to know what I think of all this damn praise, friend? … It is completely well deserved.

I have no idea how half of these scenes were executed but bra-effing-vo to George Miller et al on this sheer magnetic force of a picture. Immortan Joe is a terrifying yet powerful creature and every secondary character managed to serve the story rather than hinder it. And that soundtrack.. That booming soundtrack managed to shake every morsel of my being.

If you are looking for an action movie with complex characters, insane stunts, pure adrenaline running through your beautiful little veins, and a semi-love interest angle that simply doesn’t suck.. Take whatever day you want off work and treat yourself to something that will be pure love making for your eyes.

Oh, what a film. What a lovely film. And it remains one of my favourites of the last decade.. Let alone this year!


Mad Max: Fury Road receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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