Posts Tagged ‘Martin Short’

Kings Build Bridges

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Cast: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, Martin Short, Temuera Morrison

Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Director James Wan’s highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 smash hit Aquaman is finally here with all the cast reprising their roles including Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Patrick Wilson as King Om, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Mantra, Amber Heard as Mera and Nicole Kidman as mother of both Aquaman and King Om, the luminous Atlanna.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a fitting farewell film for this last phase of the DC Universe and closing the chapter on the current set of stars in the Justice League. From 2025, there will be a completely reimagined DC Comics Universe with the new Superman film.

The popularity of superhero films have waned after the peak of 2019 with Avengers: End Game and 2022’s excellent Wakanda Forever. Black Adam failed to be impressionable in 2022 but perhaps a reinvention is required in the wake of the new technologically advanced decade of the 2020’s.

Nevertheless, Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson are excellent as half-brothers, fighting each other while also protecting each other as they battle the evil Black Mantra played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who plays a convincing villain up until the point when he steals Aquaman’s baby son, Arthur Junior.

Randall Park is brilliant as Dr Stephen Shin who facilitates between being loyal to Black Mantra and then trying to appease Aquaman and the Atlanteans upon first glimpse.

With an overarching theme of ocean conservation, and global warming, James Wan keeps Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom visually splendid with dazzling special effects and light in tone, punctuating the narrative with some perfect humour especially between the two brothers. This superhero film is really about Aquaman rekindling his relationship with his supposedly evil half-brother, which Patrick Wilson plays perfectly.

Amber Heard is back as Mira with bright red hair and Dolph Lundgren plays King Nereus while comic actor Martin Short voices the Kingfish.

With the seven Kingdoms of Atlantis battling each other including the evil lost kingdom, eventually Aquaman as leader learns that kings need to build bridges and not destroys relationships. Even the undersea creatures eventually decide to negotiate with the surface dwellers in a bid to save the planet.

As a fluorescent fantasy adventure film and a fitting end to the narrative arc which started with the Justice League, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is funny, entertaining and action packed showing that Jason Momoa relished the chance to play a lesser known super hero, whose muscular powers were amphibiously flexed.

Entertaining and pure fantasy, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended viewing for those that enjoy one last impressive adventure from the receding age of big budget superhero films.

The Golden Fang

Inherent Vice

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, There will be Blood, The Master, Boogie Nights)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Eric Roberts, Jena Malone, Michael Kenneth Williams, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Martin Donovan, Maya Rudolph, Serena Scott Thomas

In the spirit of Magnolia and Boogie Nights, director Paul Thomas Anderson assembles an eclectic cast of stars for his cinematic adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice with Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix (The Master, Gladiator) as stoner private detective Larry Doc Sportello who goes on a labyrinthine search for his ex-girlfriend Shasta Hepworth played by Katherine Waterston (Michael Clayton, Taking Woodstock).

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Set in 1971, during the Nixon administration, in California, Inherent Vice is a rambling and extended tour de force of the hippie’s drug culture of Southern California involving kinky and corrupt cops especially Lt Detective Christian “BigFoot” Bjornsen wonderfully played by the orally fixated Josh Brolin, straight laced deputy district attorneyPenny Kimball played by Reese Witherspoon and an elusive government informant Coy Harlingen played by Owen Wilson.

Oscar winner for director Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic Benicio del Toro also makes a brief appearance as Doc’s legal adviser Sauncho Smilax Esq, but this is very much Phoenix’s film and he inhabits every frame with a sort of woozy ease that is at times prolonged and other times fascinating. This is by no means Phoenix’s best performance and does not match his brilliant portrayal of the boozy drifter Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s superb critically acclaimed film The Master.

At a running time of just over two and a half hours, one cannot blame the viewer for getting slightly confused and bored. Inherent Vice has an intricate plot with lots of subtexts, subplots and quirky visual references but only serious fans of Paul Thomas Anderson will appreciate his laboured approach in adapting this contemporary novel to the big screen.

The best scenes are actually between Phoenix and Witherspoon who reunite after the success of the Oscar winning James Mangold film Walk the Line. Several of the other quite bizarre sequences are truly amazing to watch but the entire story could have done with some efficient editing.

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Audiences should also watch out for cameos by Eric Roberts, Martin Donovan and a crazed Martin Short. While the costumes and production design for Inherent Vice is spot on capturing the origins of the drug fueled and nefarious 1970’s, Paul Thomas Anderson film could have used some serious editing as this languid narrative tends to bewilder and obfuscate the viewer, which the point of the story.

Inherent Vice refers to possible drugs being smuggled into America on a mysterious vessel known as The Golden Fang from Indo-China or modern day Vietnam. This film is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Magnolia and Robert Altman’s far superior film Short Cuts. Not sure if Inherent Vice will quite make it to the cult status of The Master.

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