Blog Archives

The Lone Ranger: My Review

I went into this movie with low to medium expectations. The trailers looked good to me yet the overwhelming negative reviews did concern me. I did end up really enjoying this movie although I do have mixed feelings about some of it. I had been a big fan of the Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton More and Jay Silverheels as the Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively. If people had expectations that this new film would mirror the iconic TV show then they are in for a disappointment. The times certainly have changed since the 40s-50s and the clean cut wholesome Lone Ranger of that era would not work on the big screen today.

On with my review as I list the pros and the cons:

Pros:

1. Tone of the film. This one positive aspect of the film is actually a mixed point for me. Today the trend in Superhero type movies, and many other movies, is gritty realism.  There are times when gritty realism works and times when it does not. I am also a fan of the more lighthearted approach to these types of movies. The Lone Ranger does take the lighthearted approach for the most part, yet there are moments that are very serious making the overall tone of the film a bit uneven.

2. Johnny Depp. This is his movie. I really think the movie should have been called Tonto and the Lone Ranger. Some people have complained about this point but for me Depp’s performance really make the picture very enjoyable and worth watching. Honestly, had I not know Johnny Depp was playing Tonto (I was very surprised he was cast in the role) I would never have recognized him in the part.

3. Armie Hammer.  I have read that many did not like the fact that he was a bit of a complaining, whinny and wishy-washy and a  reluctant Lone Ranger…at first. This is an origin story so his character is not clearly established. We watch John Reid grow into the iconic role of the masked man and by the end of the movie he is the Lone Ranger.

4. The Plot/the story. The movie does have an interesting story. We learn much of Tonto’s back story which does explain his motives and behavior. The same for the Lone Ranger who has to overcome some of his stiffness and sibling rivalry to really become the Lone Ranger. John Reid as a new lawyer fresh out of law school has lived his life in the shadows of his Texas Ranger warrior brother, Dan Reid. When his brother is killed by the Cavendish clan John has to find the strength and courage within himself to bring Cavendish to justice. Within that part of the story is the plot of greedy silver barrens who are using the new railway system to take control of the territory.

5. The villains. There are two main villains in this movie. Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole, a burly and unscrupulous railroad tycoon and William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw, who Tonto believes is a wendigo. Fichtner is really great in this role and like Depp, is well disguised almost unrecognizable in the role. I always love to see Tom Wilkinson play a bad guy, he does so well in these types of parts.

6. Scenery and Cinematography. The film is pure eye candy. It was filmed in six western states: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and California. These locations all provide for terrific views of magnificent vistas that captures the iconic old west.

Cons:

1. Tone of the film. Yes, it is both a positive and a negative. While I do like the more lighthearted touch there are moments when the movie goes into extremes on both ends of the spectrum. There are some moments where the comedy is not subtle but over the top and hits you on the head. Then there are moments that are almost too dark and serious for the film.

2. Length of the film. At two and a half hours the movie is a bit too long and could have used more editing.

In my opinion the Lone Ranger is an overall fun lighthearted movie that is enjoyable despite its flaws. Some of the positive things I have listed are the negatives things others have listed and this reminds me of the subjective nature of analyzing movies. The best part of the movie is the last 20 minutes which contain the best of the action and adventure.

Advertisements

Armageddon & Deep Impact

Every now and then Hollywood will put out two movies with the same theme. This year it was terrorists at the White House with such movies as Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. I have yet to see those two movies and as soon as I pick them both up I will give you my reviews.

I recently watched both of the comet/asteroid doomsday movies Armageddon &  Deep Impact. They have similar themes but the movies are different in many ways. They both came out in the summer of 1998. Deep Impact starred  Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman. Armageddon starred  Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.

In Deep Impact reporter Téa Leoni uncovers a secret that a recent ambassador resigned over an affair. Upon further investigation she discovers that it is a cover-up for a Coment that is about to hit the Earth. Morgan Freeman plays the president and Robert Duvall heads up the shuttle team that is going to land on the comet and drill a hole in order to detonate a nuke. There is also a side story featuring Elijah Wood who was one of the people who discovered the comet and how he tries to save his family and girlfriend from the coming disaster.

In Armageddon an asteroid the size of Texas is heading toward Earth and NASA recruits a rag-tag team of drilling experts led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. The movie covers their training and launch onto the asteroid to destroy it before it reaches the point of no return.

The biggest differences between the two movies are the tone of the films. Deep Impact is played as serious drama and is rated R, and Armageddon, plays like a disaster film also full of drama, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Both films had mixed reviews although Deep Impact has a 47% negative rating at Rotten tomatoes while Armageddon has a 39% negative rating on the same site.

After watching them both back to back I really enjoy them both pretty closely but I have to give the edge to Armageddon because it is such a fun movie. Deep Impact has Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall and that gives the movie high ratings in my book they are two of my favorite actors as well as two of the finest to ever grace the big screen. However, the movie is very sad and heart wrenching and the older I get the more I just want to have fun at the movies. I don’t often get in the mood to have my heart wrenched. ‘

Deep impact has the wise cracking Bruce Willis and the NASA official played by Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton. The movie also has a long list of very excentric and colorful characters led by Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi. Having the beautiful Liv Tyler doesn’t hurt the movie either, along with the music provided by her father’s group Areosmirth.

My problem with Armageddon is that it falls apart a bit in the third act. It gets over th top in an already over the top movie. The actions get confusing with all the explosions and it is hard to follow what is going on at times and who is surviving and who is dying. There also seems to be one cliff hanger after the other. The movie does redeem itself at the end though. Armageddon was directed by Michael Bay the king of explosions and there are plenty in this film.

In conclusion both movies are enjoyable for me to watch I give Armageddon the edge because it is a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Summer Block Busters: Part 3

There were just a few movies I overlooked in this series so allow me to post them today.

White House Down (June 28, 2013)

This is the year of two movies about the White House being taken over by terrorists. Olympus Has Fallen is in theaters now while White House Down is coming in June. This movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins & James Woods.

Despicable Me 2 (July 3, 2013)

I really liked the original and I hope this one will be just as good. No plot synopsis as of yet. This movie stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Steve  Coogan, Ken Jeong

Hammer of the Gods (July 5, 2013)

This movie takes place in Scandinavia in the year 871. A young Viking warrior, faces hostile conditions and tribes to bring back his estranged brother to the kingdom he will one day rule. The movie stars Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, Michael Jibson

The Lone Ranger (July 3, 2013)

The Lone Ranger has not done well on the big screen. In 1980 or was it 81 the last time he was on the big screen and it failed miserably. Johnny Depp stars as Tonto (can he pull it off?) with  Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger. From the looks of the trailer the tone of the film looks like the movie will be an action adventure with somje fun mixed in. My type of movie! These stars round out the cast. Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James  Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Wolverine (July 26, 2013)

The X-Men’s favorite superhero is back with another solo film. His first solo film, 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did pretty good at the box office but reviews are mixed. It was an alright film but not the ones fans really wanted. Here is hoping that this one will be it! It stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal  Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee

300: Rise of an Empire (August 2, 2013)

This is the sequel to 300. With Zack Snyder, who directed 300, now directing Man of Steel, Noam Murro is sitting in the directors chair. Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel  “Xerxes” Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece  by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. The movie stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro,  David Wenham, Igal Naor, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan

Kick-Ass 2 (August 16, 2013)

Kick-Ass  & Hit-Girl are back to fight crime. Jim Carrey also joins in on the fun. This movie looks like a raunchy fun action and adventure! Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chlo Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris  Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Jim Carrey

The World’s End (August 23, 2013)

This movie stars the wonderful comedy team of Simon Pegg, & Nick Frost (Paul, Sean of the Dead) and it is about drinking parties and the end of the world…what more could you ask for? As they re-stage an old drinking marathon and decide what they need to do for their future, they must also face the world as it comes to an end. The movie also stars Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike

There you have it….I knew there were more movies coming out that I wanted to see. Keep posted to this blog for further reviews!!