Posts Tagged ‘Jason Momoa’

Fall of the House Atreides

Dune

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster

Running Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

After its impressive premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve’s eagerly anticipated Dune has finally arrived on Commercial cinema screens globally.

Unlike David Lynch’s equally ground breaking film version of Dune back in 1984, this absolutely superb version of Dune is a film for the 2020’s – a vision of the future quite attuned with the current state of the geopolitical world.

Assembling an unbelievably fantastic cast including Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) as the pivotal hero Paul Atreides, there is also Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) rounding off a truly international and talented cast.

To add some much required muscle there is Jason Momoa (Aquaman) as Duncan Idaho and Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Beast Rabban Harkonnen nephew to the brutal and slimy Baron Vladimir Harkonnnen superbly played by Stellan Skarsgard, who is hell bent on destroying the House Atreides, headed by the pompous Duke Leto Atreides played by Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year, Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi).

On every level, visually and technically, Dune is a truly ground breaking cinematic achievement, a carefully constructed allegorical tale on the fall of colonialism, the collapse of a nobility and more significantly the journey a young heir has to take, from boyhood into manhood.

Dune is equally an astute comment on paternity, the expectations brought onto sons by arrogant fathers, the brittle strength of masculinity, which is often a combination of skill, strength and ingenuity and the complex relationship between mothers and sons, as betrayed in the pivotal scenes between Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica Atreides, beautifully played by Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson.

Visually Dune is an epic, a science fiction story about the fall of the House Atreides, but at its emotional centre is the unique character growth of Paul Atreides, wonderfully played by Timothee Chalamet, who at times does get overshadowed by the grandeur of Denis Villeneuve’s vision of this Science Fiction epic.

Based on the acclaimed series of novels by Frank Herbert, Dune fans will not be disappointed at this brilliant reimagining on the big screen. Dune is both a comment on fragile power structures as it is on the effects of climate change, Dune is at once insightful and incredible, remarkable and respectful.

In a pivotal scene and key to the whole film is the remarkable scene between the young Paul Atreides and the Reverend Mother Mohiam expertly played with an austere aloofness by the commanding Charlotte Rampling, whereby the young heir is tested on his capacity for fear, endurance and leadership?

The Reverend Mother promptly tells Paul’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides exceptionally well played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Greatest Showman), that she was told only to give birth to daughters, because a son would challenge the intergalactic order.

Dune should be a front runner for Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score.

Director Denis Villeneuve has outdone himself in his brilliant film about the epic fall of the House Atreides and done justice to the legions of Dune fans globally. From the colour palettes, to the amazing costumes, to the visual and sound effects, Dune is next level entertainment, a film to savour on the big screen, impressive, spell bounding and legendary.

Dune gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is absolutely a testament to the new decade of the 2020’s, a political society that has been revolutionized, whereby humanity’s existence is fragile purely because they ignored the yearnings of a planet that refused to be mined, colonised and mistreated.

Dune is highly recommended viewing, a visual feast about nobility, patriarchy and greed.

King of the Seven Seas

Aquaman

Director: James Wan

Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Julie Andrews

DC Comics highly anticipated Aquaman floods onto the cinema circuit in all its technicolour luminescent glory. Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa embodies the role of Aquaman with a muscular charm that clothes the gorgeous actor throughout this odyssey from his origins as the son of a lighthouse keeper and the Queen of Atlantis wonderfully played by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman who channels a blonde sea creature glow reminiscent of Daryl Hannah in Splash, to his showdown with evil younger brother King Orm of Atlantis.

Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna

As Aquaman grows up he learns that there is great turmoil below the seas as his wicked younger half-brother King Orm played with a camp villainy by Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Lakeview Terrace, Little Children) is about to wreak havoc on the surface people.  

Patrick Wilson as King Orm

Luckily Aquaman has the fiery red head Mera wonderfully played by Amber Heard to assist him as they embark on an epic oceanic adventure which takes them from Sicily to the depths of the hidden ocean where he must retrieve the Golden Trident so he can rightfully claim his title as King of the Seven Seas.

Fast and Furious director James Wan directs Aquaman with flamboyance and panache clearly making it an exceptionally lavish and startling superhero film aided by stunning visual effects and fabulous costumes by Kym Barrett.

Willem Dafoe as Vulko

Aquaman is equally well cast with an array of established stars including Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Shadow of a Vampire, Platoon, The Florida Project) as Vulko, Aquaman’s mentor as well as Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays the ferocious Manta out to avenge his father’s death against Arthur Curry aka Aquaman.

The onscreen chemistry between Jason Momoa and Amber Heard sizzles especially during the Sicily sequence and Nicole Kidman adds some maternal reasoning as the gorgeous Queen Atlanna who aims to restore peace between her warring sons as their battle for the supremacy to become Master of the Oceans.

DC Comics did everything right with Aquaman and the neon underwater cities add a gorgeous sparkle to the glow of this superhero universe which has seen the likes of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman appear. Aquaman can rightfully take his place as one of the stronger and coolest members of the Justice League.

Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus

Audiences should be prepared to embark on a cinematic odyssey complete with menacing sea creatures and a ripped and muscled superhero as they watch a story laced with metaphor about rising pollution which is destroying the earth’s oceans.

This is a socially conscious and relevant superhero film with a very likeable star and no doubt there are plans for a sequel to Aquaman as we all want to see more of the tattooed Jason Momoa.

DC’s Coolest Superhero by Far – AQUAMAN

Aquaman gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and audiences should suspend their disbelief as they get dazzled by the city of Atlantis and the hidden treasures of the seven seas.

Steppenwolf’s Revenge

Justice League

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, David Thewlis, Billy Crudup, Ciaran Hinds

Uniformity of vision is key to director Zack Snyder’s films from his earlier films including 300, Suckerpunch and Watchmen to his onscreen tackling of the DC Comics universe starting with Man of Steel (2013) Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice (2016) and now with the latest Superhero extravaganza Justice League.

Batman aka Bruce Wayne played with a deadpan sense of humour by Ben Affleck has to assemble a team to fight the inexplicable and mythical power of Steppenwolf voiced by Ciaran Hinds as the evil underworld monster plans on destroying the Earth with enough energy to wipe out Wonder Woman’s secret Island and Aquaman’s Atlantic underwater liar.

Speaking of which Israeli actress Gal Gadot reprises her role of Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince following the hugely successful standalone film earlier in 2017 by Monster director Patty Jenkins.

New to the cast is Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman aka Arthur Curry who besides being able to control the oceans has some serious authority issues along with Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as The Flash aka Barry Alan and Ray Fisher as Cyborg aka Victor Stone.

The best scenes in Justice League are when the superheroes come together especially Batman and Aquaman who naturally have a healthy distrust for each other. The dialogue is peppered with some great lines like “Cool, like a bat, I dig it!” or when The Flash asks Batman what his superpowers are, he simply replies “I am rich”.

The good news is that Warner Brothers is set to release stand-alone films of Batman, Aquaman and Cyborg within the next three years, so fans can have a favourite superhero to themselves. Let’s hope these films do as well as director Patty Jenkins remarkable all female superhero film Wonder Woman which smashed all box office records.

Director Zack Snyder’s Justice League is slick, fast, action-packed and filled with quirky interactions between all the world’s favourite superheroes without being puerile or garish. With suitably Gothic production design by Patrick Tatopoulos, Justice League cleverly hints at the upcoming Aquaman and The Batman films. Audiences should look out for Oscar winner J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.

With a funny screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, Justice League is sure to entertain audiences that loved the previous Zack Snyder superhero films and will possibly get a glimpse of the Man of Steel.

Justice League gets a film rating of 8 out 10 and is thoroughly entertaining, visually rewarding and definitely worth seeing. As the tagline goes: You Can’t Save the World alone. Even Batman.

 

Californian Crazies

Once upon a Time in Venice

Director: Mark Cullen

Cast: Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Emily Robinson, Jessica Gomes, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn

Bruce Willis relives his Pulp Fiction days when he skateboards naked down a street in Venice Beach, California playing washed up cop Steve Ford in the awfully bad and quite frenetic action movie Once Upon a Time in Venice directed by Mark Cullen.

When the tag line for a film is Never Mess with a Man’s Dog one should know that the film is not going to deliver an original narrative although at times Once upon a Time in Venice feels like a collection of Californian Crazies as the audience is introduced to Hispanic gangbangers headed by Hawaiian star Jason Momoa as Spyder who is soon to play Aquaman in the Justice League along with lewd graffiti artists, drag queens and monstrous real estate agents. The cast of characters is reminiscent of director Sean Baker’s 2015 art film Tangerine shot on an iPhone in Los Angeles except this comic adventure has Bruce Willis as its main hero.

The point to note is not to take Once Upon a Time in Venice too seriously as the entire film looks like it was made on a balmy Saturday afternoon in California by a production crew that was high.

The sad part is that both John Goodman and Bruce Willis are in the twilight of their film careers and are obviously getting desperate to act in such low brow fare. Not that Bruce Willis ever elevated the art of cinema beyond the Die Hard franchise but character actor John Goodman who was so brilliantly in the Coen brothers Barton Fink should have known better.

Goodman plays Steve Ford’s faithful buddy Dave, a divorcee who is battling to get rid of a dodgy surf shop while recovering from a terrible divorce.

Dutch actress, former bond girl and X-Men star Famke Janssen appears all too briefly as Ford’s sister Katey and Emily Robinson stars as his niece Taylor.

It is when their house on Venice Beach gets robbed by the merciless drug lord Spider, wonderfully played by Jason Momoa who steals all valuables including their dog, that the story sets off in a madcap sort of coastal way, which ultimately requires a wittier script and tantalizing action to keep audiences vaguely interested in the outcome of this truly bizarre film.

Once Upon a Time in Venice is 90 minutes of mediocre entertainment with Bruce Willis pulling the tough guy routine in a beachfront neighbourhood which is as bizarre as it is crazy. Venice Beach, that stretch of Californian beachfront which is being gentrified by tech companies and slimy landlords embodied by Adam Goldberg’s character Lew the Jew.

The only redeeming feature of this film is Ford’s younger partner John played by Thomas Middleditch whose sarcastic voice narrates the misadventure story which sort of loosely holds the narrative together as much as a tacky drag queen trying to keep a bra on. Yes there are drag queens too!

Once Upon a Time in Venice gets a film rating of 6 out of 10. The film is strictly for ardent fans of Bruce Willis who occasionally has to prove to audiences that he can pull off action and comedy simultaneously.

 

 

Clash of the Icons

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice_ver8

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Laurence Fishburne, Callan Mulvey, Kevin Costner, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa

Hollywood studio Warner Brothers had a lot riding on the highly anticipated sequel to the 2013 hit Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but fortunately they followed the golden rule of sequels, always bring in the same cast and director mixed in with a bunch of surprises.

batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice_ver4

Fortunately in the hands of Zack Snyder whose visual range is vast, Batman vs Superman comes across as an epic battle between the two infamous superheroes, a monumental gamble on reintroducing Batman back into the mix so soon after the brilliant success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Then why not bring the writer of that trilogy on board, David S. Goyer and use Christopher Nolan’s expertise as executive producer. Then there is the casting which really pays off.

The Social Network’s Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg as the smart and brilliant villain Lex Luthor, Oscar winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Batman’s trusted manservant Alfred and the biggest coup was casting Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, Argo) as Batman which gives this comic book clash of the icons a more edgier hue.

batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice_ver5

After all, realistically Batman, aka Bruce Wayne cannot really defeat Superman, an alien man from Krypton with superpowers. All Batman has is cool gadgets, a Batmobile and all that pent-up rage from his childhood trauma of witnessing his parents being murdered on the streets of Gotham.

Amy Adams returns as the adventurous Lois Lane, along with Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, aka Superman along with Diane Lane as his earth mother Martha Kent. If there is one way to make a superhero angry, it’s to mess with his mother!

Whilst Batman v Superman at two and a half hours long could have been edited especially the last hour of the film, visually the film is so impressive as director Zack Snyder artistically pays homage to his filmography which made him famous: 300, Watchman and Suckerpunch, the last one being especially evident in the surprise appearance of Wonder Woman, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice_ver6

The chemistry between Batman and Wonder Woman is sexually charged, and on screen the duo look impressive. Affleck’s Batman is a brooding, aging wealthy playboy who is hellbent on seeking revenge for the destruction of a Wayne Enterprises skyscraper by alien invaders from Krypton. Blame Superman!

Whilst Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer’s script is not particularly dazzling, the visual effects in Batman v Superman are brilliant, as well as the tone of the film, which Snyder keeps alternating between light bright colours for Superman and dark, cavernous greys for Batman. It also helps that Affleck himself has greying sideburns which realistically makes Batman look older than Cavill’s boyish Superman.

Women in Batman v Superman also have a major role, although clearly the film itself is marketed for a primarily male audience. Lois Lane is feisty and believable, Wonder Woman looks absolutely gorgeous in evening wear and even appears as a suitable femme fatale for Bruce Wayne during a glamourous Lex Luther cocktail event. Even Diane Lane as Clark Kent’s mother Martha gets caught up in the raucous and very loud action sequence.

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It’s really Jesse Eisenberg’s superb and surprising turn as the deranged megalomaniac Lex Luther, a psychotic billionaire tech guru who thinks nothing of killing innocent people during a public gathering or messing with extra-terrestrial DNA from General Zod.

Fans of Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy will certainly appreciate the iconic face-off between Batman v Superman, but be warned the tone of this film is far darker than your average bright and garish superhero caper.

Recommended viewing for all Zach Snyder fans and those that wish to be regular attendees at Comic-Con. This is serious comic book warfare.

 

 

 

 

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