Mapplethorpe (2018) Movie Review

Director: Ondi Timoner

Writer: Ondi Timoner, Mikko Alanne (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Smith, Marianne Rendon, John Benjamin Hickey, Brandon Sklenar, Tina Benko, Mark Moses

Plot: A look at the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mapplethorpe starts as we meet the artist Robert Mapplethorpe (Smtih) who has always been looking for something that will make him stand out, he meets Patti Smith (Rendon) in the middle of Central park, which will lead to their whirlwind romance, as well as continuing work.

After Robert meets Sandy Daley (Benko), he discovers photography, looking to get into a more forbidden style of photography that catches the eye of Sam Wagstaff (Hickey) leading to his rise in stardom through the 1970s.

Thoughts on Mapplethorpe

ThoughtsMapplethorpe is a look at the rise of fame of edgy photographer Robert Mapplethorpe who will look to break down the barriers in the world of art to bring explicit photos never bought to the mainstream before. Robert also had to balance his own sexuality as the world that will push him towards exploring his homosexual side, all while trying to keep this life secret from his parents who he knows would never approve of his edgier side. Robert is not portrayed as a very nice persons, he comes off as selfish, never caring about the people around him. It might well have become a tragic life of never being allowed to fit in, but he never seems to make an attempt to fit in or be accepted. Matt Smith in the leading role does well without needing to hit the heights of his ability, while the support cast all play well off him through the film.

Final Thoughts Mapplethorpe shows an edgy photographers life in a world where he wanted to be accepted, by never tried to fit in.

ABC Film Challenge – 90’s Movies – K – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) Movie Review

Director: Peter Hewitt

Writer: Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Joss Ackland, Pam Grier, George Carlin, Amy Stoch

Plot: A tyrant from the future creates evil android doubles of Bill and Ted and sends them back to eliminate the originals.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey starts in the aftermath of the excellent journey where Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) have continued to build the Wild Stallions reputation only for De Nomolos (Ackland) to send evil robotic versions of them to ruin their lives and change history.

Bill and Ted must go on their own journey to find a way to save their lives with the Grim Reaper (Sadler) along for the ride to help put the world back into order.

Thoughts on Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

ThoughtsBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is the sequel to the Excellent Adventure, a film I didn’t enjoy, only this time we get an improvement on the original, with a journey that will see the pair needing to overcome death itself to make sure they save their universe. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter do have excellent chemistry in the leading role, with both side of good and evil throughout the film. Cutting out many of the different historical figures is a huge help for the film, making everything look a lot smoother with the journey just being there’s rather than just going through the history paper journey, which didn’t work on the first film. The comedy might still miss more often than not, but the often enjoyable attitude given towards the pair keep you wanting to see more.

Final Thoughts More entertaining sequel

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) Movie Review ‘Great Origin Story’

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Great Origin Story

 

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writer: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Ben Kinglsey Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh

Plot: Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.


Tagline – A Marvel legend will rise.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starts as we learn the history of the Ten Rings that Xu Wenwu (Leung) has possessed for over a 1000-years conquering lands in his quest for power, until he becomes powerless to one thing, love and fatherhood.

Shang-Chi (Liu) his son is trying to have a normal life in America, when he gets attacked by his father’s men, leading him to travel back to China to save his sister Xialing (Zhang), only to learn she is just as deadly as he is, with the pair needing to team up to stop their father unleashing a new horror upon the world.

Thoughts on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Characters & Performances – Shaun is trying to have a normal life in America, only for his past to come back for him, with his true name being revealed as Shang-Chi, a trained assassin, he must find his place in the world now, fight back against his father or stand by his side. Simu Liu does well for the first meeting of this character, he is more entertaining as the Shaun character, than the fighting figure, as this side of things we have seen plenty of times before, but the human side of his character is spot on. Xu Wenwu is the man who holds the tend rings, using them for power to control the world, only giving them up once he found love. When he loses his love, he returns to the rings, wanting to unlock the one secret he strived before falling in love, ripping away the children he was meant to give a happy home too. Tony Leung is everything you would expect, from an actor of his calibre, dominating the screen with every sequence he is in. Katy is the best friend of Shaun’s she knows nothing about his past, is good for an everyday laugh, he is like the best friend everyone wants to have, never taking life too seriously. Awkwafina is scene stealer here, getting more laughs than anyone in the whole film, and laughs that fit the film, not just thrown in there moments. Xialing is the younger sister the Shang-Chi, she lived in the shadows, learning her skill by watching others, proving to be on the same level of Shang-Chi. This is the one character you feel we could have dived deeper into, as it seems like she has a darker past than most of the film only hints at. We do have other appearances of note in the supporting cast, which will include two of the funniest supporting outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

StoryThe story will see a young man Shaun, needing to head back to China to confront his father, who has set assassins for him, in hope of finding the one thing that has alluded him, the ability to find a secret village that will hold a key to fixing his pain. This is an original story for a new character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means we will be getting a lot of information about the world we are heading into, where Katy is mostly used to fill in the blanks, as she learns, we learn. For the core of an origin story, we get everything we need to learn who we will be following for the next couple of appearances. Where this story can fall short is in the number of flashbacks, we get flashbacks of flashbacks that fill in tiny bits of that moment, only to head back there for more information later in the film.

ThemesShang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that will give us an introduction to a martial artist figure in Shang-Chi, the action will give us great fight sequences that are the usual, the good guys can be outnumbered and always win. The beauty in this film comes from the moments within the secret village, the creature creations are amazing, along with the way they arrive to the location.

Final Thoughts Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great introduction to the latest comic book hero from marvel.