Genre : Fantasy/Adventure
Country : USA
Sally Hawkins: Elisa Esposito
Michael Shannon : Richard Strickland
Octavia Spencer: Zelda Fuller
Guillermo del Toro
My opinion on “The Shape of Water”
“The natives in the Amazon worshipped it.
Like a god.
We need to take it apart, learn how it works.”
I’ve watched this movie the night before the Oscar ceremony, because I could feel it in my bones this film would possibly win that coveted statuette. Initially, I didn’t want to post my opinion about this winner. But as I had partially written down my opinion, I thought I would smooth off the rough edges and post it anyway. To be honest, I’m not part of the great crowd of admirers of “The shape of water“. Even though I was looking forward to it with great expectations and knew it was a creation made by Guillermo del Toro (I appreciated his previous films) I was only moderately enthusiastic about it. In the end I stayed behind with a “that’s it ?” feeling. Why the jurors of the academy massively fell in love with this film, still is a mystery to me. I didn’t think it was so earth-shattering, breathtaking or groundbreaking.
Free Willy for adults.
In retrospect, you could compare this film with “Free Willy“. Only the amphibious creature that needs to be rescued rather looks like the monster of “Creature from the Black Lagoon“. And as in “Free Willy“, where Jesse wanted to free his best friend, it’s Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) who got the job of freeing the imprisoned creature. Only the friendship between Jesse and Willy wasn’t as passionate and they didn’t get caught while doing sensual stuff. Elisa and her scaly friend soon figured out how to get things going. Or rather, Elisa soon knew where her sweet sprat was hiding his stinger. So you can expect some wet scenes. And the facility where the government locked away the feared cretature (under military supervision) so they can experiment with it, was probably designed by an interior architect who’s influenced by the interior style that you could admire in the Nautilus.
It’s hard to be different.
“The shape of water” is of course more than just a rescue mission that has been set up by a cleaning lady without sound. A cleaning lady whose compassion causes her to start smuggling hard boiled eggs inside and draw up a plan (bigger than that in “The Great Escape“) to save the poor merman. “The shape of water” is also more than just a romantic concoction in which a scrumptious cleaning lady throws herself into the fins of a wondrous creature and loses herself completely after looking deep into those bulging fish eyes. Guillermo Del Torro denounces indifference and prejudice and makes it the central theme. A theme that also applies in our contemporary society. Being different as an individual and the excluding and exploiting by those who see themselves as normal, is symbolized here in many ways. A cleaning lady who is voiceless. And her colleague (Octavia Spencer) who has a different skin color. A somewhat older, homosexual neighbor (Richard Jenkins) whose flirtation was not appreciated by the owner of an ice-cream shop. And last but not least the miraculous seahorse. First a riddle and afterwards a threat.
The acting is sublime.
Just like in “Crimson Peak“, again Del Torro delivers a visually overwhelming spectacle. The used images are at times magical and atmospheric. Elisa’s residence and the colorful advertising posters made by the neighbor. The cinema complex and the ice cream bar that exhale the atmosphere of the 1960s. The military complex that looks sterile and metallic, full of obscure secrets and where less attractive experiments are carried out. It all looks perfect and breathtaking. And such quality needs of course high quality acting. This sublime acting is taken care of by renowned actors. Sally Hawkins is as enchanting as her salted new friend. And even though there is no sound coming out of her mouth, she knows how to grasp you by using her highly expressive facial expressions. Michael Shannon was also briliant as the dominant and cruel government agent who (with apparent pleasure) tests his taser on our fishy guy. He’s a pervert whose sexual urges go into overdrive when the partner stays silent during the act. No wonder his hormones go haywire after seeing (and not hearing) Elisa. Finally, kudos for Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer.
To be awarded or not. That’s the question.
Without a doubt, Guillermo del Toro is a master in visualizing and a kind of visionary. He creates a unique atmosphere in his films that you hardly be able to take it all in. I’m never really overwhelmed by the content of his films though. Perhaps the message is sophisticated enough. But every time I have that feeling it’s incomplete somehow. I suppose that the simmering topic in this film is in line with the values that were spread out this year during the awards. The equality of genders. Not tolerating cross-border behavior. And the fact that the Academy Awards are a more white-tinted business. I guess it’s all about striking the right chords.
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review | A Meta Lucid-Trip
Nicholas Cage stars as Nick Cage in the action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalised version of Cage must accept a $1 Million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channelling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.
From filmmakers, Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a sincere, authentic, and hilarious love letter to Nicholas Cage. It’s also an absolute hoot and delightfully bonkers as we take a rollercoaster ride through his iconic filmography. Full of quirky and heartfelt moments, the film showcases the most uncaged performance from the man himself as, after all, it’s the role he was born to play.
Nicholas Cage is nothing less than a screen legend whose iconic pictures include The Rock, Face/Off, Con Air, Moonstruck, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Academy Awarding winning turn in Leaving Las Vegas. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent builds upon that renowned work and twists and turns it with an imagined “Nick Cage”. He’s able to do any genre from romantic comedies, avant-garde films like Mandy and Wild at Heart, and big tentpole franchises such as National Treasure.
The film is a homage to his body of work and the genres that he’s worked in. He’s a man known for taking risks early in his career that paid off handsomely but in the later years, he’s taken to independent film work some heading straight to streaming. Mandy, Joe, Prisoners of Ghostland and Pig are among my favourites. Each is interesting ranging from unusual to insane.
In the movie “Nick Cage” is a fictionalised version of the star, imagined as a once-highly respected actor who has fallen on hard times and is craving a return to box office glory and prestige. But his waning career is only one of his problems. The faux Cage’s megalomania has poisoned his relationships with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), unfortunately, though he can’t see it as the fictional Cage is feeling unfulfilled and rejected. This is in contrast with the real Nicholas Cage who recently received his best reviews for his performance in Pig
Nick becomes frustrated and a little unhinged, when he loses out on a role that he’s desperate to inhabit so when his smarmy agent played by Neil Patrick Harris extends him a lifeline with an offer to attend a birthday party for a cool payday of one million dollars, Nick despite his instincts reluctantly agrees, and hops on a plane to meet the birthday boy/ cage superfan in picturesque Mallorca, Spain.
Upon arriving in Mallorca and being greeted personally by Javi, Nick is completely checked out until he discovers that he and his host have much in common and begin to bond. Both are cinephiles and share a love of everything from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari to Paddington 2.
That’s not all they have in common. The wealthy man is just as neurotic as his guest of honour and they both find themselves looking for inspiration from the actor’s famously bold audacious characters.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an intriguing change of pace for Pascal, he inhabits the role of Javi, but as neurotic as he is the character turns out to be an international arms dealer and crime boss. Both Cage and Pascal have incredible chemistry together and truly form a bromance. They are so much fun together and unapologetic about their shared admiration. It is infectious.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was such a hoot & delightfully BONKERS!! a rollercoaster ride through Cage’s iconic filmography & full of quirky & heartfelt moments The most uncaged performance was suave in this meta lucid trip.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Review | A Nostalgic Next-Level Adventure
The world’s favourite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in Sonic The Hedgehog 2. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.
The first Sonic movie only opened in February of 2020, and it turned out to be far better than expected and a faithful video-game adaptation. The Blue Blur raced towards a box office record when the pandemic hit. But fast forward two years, and we already have a sequel. A sequel in fact that is bigger and bolder, takes every endearing aspect of the original and cranks it up to the next level which makes it a worthy successor.
Previously Jim Carrey’s Dr Robotnik vowed revenge after being banished to the Mushroom Planet, while high-flying fox Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) appears through a ring portal above Sonic’s new home of Green Hills. The first film also began with baby Sonic, back in his universe, being hunted by a tribe of Echidnas, which felt like a hint that red-fisted Knuckles wasn’t far behind. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 showcases these previous events and has taken the foundation laid from Sega’s second Sonic game from 1992. The 16-bit platform sequel showcased a newly revamped Sonic with new controls and a two-tailed fox friend that aids him. With the new upgrades also came more threats from Sonic’s nemesis evil Dr Robotnik, who is once again planning world domination. Paramount’s sequel expands the story of the platform game and delivers a nostalgic themed ride with laugh-out-loud moments and valuable life lessons.
The first movie was all about Sonic finding his place in a lonely world, while the sequel uses these life lessons by challenging the titular character to slow down and think of others. Having found a home and family we find Sonic restless for adventure. Tom (James Marsden) his adopted father figure helps to guide this blue justice (trademark pending) urging him to be more responsible after his short-lived stint as a vigilante.
Sonic is still the sarcastic and absurdly obsessed with contemporary pop culture Hedgehog we know and love. Voiced once again brilliantly by Ben Schwartz, he imbues an energetic childlike performance. Much like a child-friendly version of Deadpool, Sonic cracks jokes about Vin Diesel and busts some moves to some old-school classic hip-hop.
The additions of Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and Knuckles (Idris Elba) was a welcoming one as they inject a surprising amount of humour and heart into the story and feel like faithful live-action adaptations as you would expect from their game appearances. Tails is the brains of the trio, with his gadgets and smarts are made use of during many of the action sequences. Tails is a young, anthropomorphic fox cub with two distinct tails, which allow him to fly. He idolises Sonic as a hero and ring portals into Green Hills having tracked Sonic and takes off to find him, hoping that he’s not too late. Watching the pair’s friendship develop on-screen was adorable, there are genuinely sweet moments between these two.
O’Shaughnessey is the one voice cast member from the sonic games to reprise her role for the film. She’s spent eight years voicing Tails and has an endearing understanding of Sonic’s best friend.
Elba channels the little red wrecking ball with deadpan humour which contrasts Sonic’s speedy energetic snark. An anthropomorphic red Echidna warrior with super-strength is the sole survivor of his tribe after they were wiped out. His entire existence is about honour and being a warrior, describing him as a force of nature who collaborates with Robotnik to find the master emerald and defeat Sonic. The chemistry between the three main video game characters is a genuine highlight.
Jim Carrey is diabolical and even more unhinged in the sequel, he delivers one of his most over-the-top performances and fully embraces his respective role with exaggerated deliveries and elastic slapstick humour only he can provide. When teamed up with Knuckles this creates a juxtaposition between brains and brawn and with the return of Latte loving Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub) creates entertaining sequences and dialogue scenarios that are hilarious for children and adults alike.
With a speedy pacing, dance number, and a Hawaiian subplot featuring characters and arcs outside the main storyline, the movie tends to exert itself but made up for it with a bridezilla rampage and an escape sequence. The story picks up the speed with the CGI characters as Sonic and Tails embark on an adventure to retrieve the emerald before Robotnik can get his hands on it. Along the way, we’re treated to high-octane action sequences, easter eggs, and plenty of gags. The sequel takes them on a globe-trotting journey through an exhilarating snowboarding sequence and many familiar moments featured in the game, seeing the Tornado biplane brought to life truly put a smile on my face. The scope and scale of the sequel are immense as we portal across the globe to hot, cold, and hostile environments.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a more confident sequel and a more enjoyable family film, that delivers heart and authenticity for fans of the game. With elements that set up a third entry, I can’t wait to see what’s next in the franchise as it expands with a mid-credits sequence and an already-confirmed streaming show on Paramount Plus starring Knuckles. The Sonic Cinematic Universe is a franchise I can’t wait to see grow, with decades of characters to appear, it’s gonna be an exciting time, especially since Sonic the Hedgehog is celebrating his 30th Anniversary.
Paramount Drops New Character Posters For The Lost City
With just twenty-four days until The Lost City drops in cinemas in America and 13th of April in the UK Paramount Pictures has kicked into gear their promotional material as earlier this afternoon they dropped brand new character posters for the film along with early tickets for Fandango Early Access screenings.
Official Synopsis for the film reads:
Brilliant, but reclusive author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character, “Dash.” While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city’s treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.
The new character posters showcase the main cast of The Lost City Surrounded by the jungle and the concept is truly creative as it toys with the idea of Bullock’s character’s book of fiction becoming a reality. the Tagline’s for example Bullock’s character Loretta is “not a real adventurer”, Tatum’s character is “not a real hero”. Following the trend, Radcliffe’s character is “not a real evil genius. There are also character posters for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison, and Oscar Nuñez.
The Lost City is directed by Adam Nee and Aaron Nee, with a screenplay by Oren Uziel, Dana Fox and the Nee brothers, based on a story by Seth Gordon. Liza Chasin, Sandra Bullock, and Seth Gordon all serve as producers, alongside executive producers JJ Hook, Dana Fox, Julia Gunn, and Margaret Chernin.
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