Crime Legend

Tom Hardy is the king of films. He easily moves between block buster and independent movies trying new things and taking roles that interest him. He doesn’t play the Hollywood games but still managed to get nominated for an Academy Award. Hardy is more than just a pretty face or some eccentric that other actors shun; he is amazingly talented and incredibly versatile.

Legend is a crime thriller based on the lives of the Kray twins and their organized crime in East London during the 50’s and 60’s.Told in the voice of Frances Shea, who would become Reggie’s wife, the movie chronicles their relationship, the relationship of the two brothers, and the many crimes the twins commit.

He has played comic book characters, battled a dystopian future without much dialogue, and proved that you can enjoy a movie featuring just one man driving a car. Often the movies themselves cannot live up to Hardy’s performance but they are worth viewing to watch this amazing man sharpen his craft. Legend may only skim the surface of the plot, but Hardy dives deep into these characters proving that he is a master of his craft. Both of his twins are very different and you almost wouldn’t believe they were the same person. They had their own voice, their own walk and their own way to reacting to others.

Unfortunately, this is one of the movies doesn’t live up to his performance. Like Child 44 and The Regnant, these films fail in their story telling and Hardy is the best part of the movie (except for The Reverent; the cinematography gives Hardy a run for his money). Legend doesn’t delve deep into the Kray brother. It seems to gloss over their emotions and true motivations. The majority of characters fall flat as they aren’t written with enough depth for the actors to work with these actors include the Doctor himself Chris Eccleston and the up and coming Taron Egerton). The Twin’s story seems to be a truly thought provoking story but the script only skitters across the surface.

If you are renting a Tom Hardy movie this weekend, I encourage you to go The Drop, probably Hardy’s most underrated movie.

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Kingsmen

Kingsmen: The Secret Service is hands down one of the best movies of the year. Colin Firth leads a top notch cast in this humorous look at the spy world directed by Matthew Vaugh (X-Men: First

KSS_JB_D11_01354 - (From left) Harry (Colin Firth), Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Merlin (Mark Strong), Roxy (Sophie Cookson) and Percival (Alastair Macintosh) display varying reactions to an extraordinary event at the Kingsmen training facility.

Class).

Harry sees the potential in Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, an inner city kids whose mom is stuck in the mob life. When Eggy calls in a favor from the Kingsmen, Harry takes Eggsy under his wing and trains him for a spot in the elite service. Eggsy learns fighting skills, espionage techniques, and most importantly, how to be a true gentleman. All of Eggsy’s new acquired skills are put to the test when an eccentric millionaire tries to take over the world.

Kingsman combines humor and action, making it more than just a spy spoof. With subtle mocking of society and our depended on technology, Kingsmen looks at the ways of older generations and blends them with aspects of these latest generation to create a human ideal. Though I make it sound like it, the movie isn’t preachy; its tongue in cheek and full of laughter. Witty and smart, here more than just slap stick and potty humor (yes, there is some of that). At the end of the film, you are pleased to have passed the time with these characters and anxious to watch it again.

 

 

Maggie

08-maggie.w750.h560.2xThis zombie drama starring, Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is truly as good as all the hype. Focusing on family and the psychological aspects of the change, Maggie is a suspenseful thriller instead of a gory horror movie.

On a farm in the Midwest, Wade (Schwarzenegger) must deal the fact that his run -way daughter has been bitten by a zombie. Medical science has been studying the phenomenon and has no answers, just quarantine. Maggie, the titular daughter, must deal with a slow transition into a monster. With a father who loves her and a step-mother who is afraid of her, she must deal with more than just family life; she must deal with becoming undead.

Maggie is a realistic look at the zombie apocalypse. No major event happens. No half decaying bodies are running around. Instead, it focuses on how a family deals with disease and the inevitable death of a cherished member. It is a metaphor of an aging world cloaked in zombie trappings. Scaring you more by your mind than by your eyes, Maggie is the most subtle of zombie films. My friend was freaked out by the movie because of how real it was; she said several times “They are showing it as if it can actually happen.”  That scares me more than other zombie movie I’ve ever seen.

 

Child 44

The movie focuses less a murder mystery that it does on the state of life in the Soviet Union doting that the 1950’s.  Don’t expect a taunt crime thriller; instead, be prepared for lingering despair,

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hope in humanity, and malleable relationships.

Leo becomes a hero in the Russian secret police.  Promoted quickly, he rubs elbows with the higher ups. But when a longtime friend comes to him about the possible murder of his child, he becomes a liability to his superiors. When his wife is set up as a traitor, Leo is demoted but doesn’t give up on finding out who perpetrated the heinous crime.

Child 44 is slow. Little attention is paid to the mur-I mean accidents that happen to these children. Instead we see Leo’s life unfurl,  beginning with his heroism followed by his  inevitable down fall  and setting forth on his noble quest. If you were unaware of how dark Russia was during this time, then you will be surprised about how bad it was for anyone under the regime. Hardy gives an excellent performance (as always) easily portraying the irony that his character suffers from- his ladder to the top is also his downfall. Charge with emotional and driven by character development, Child 44 is not a who-done-it, but a picture of a world that was real not that long ago.

 

Dark Places

Based on the hands down best book by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places follows real human beings and the dark places inside them.

Dark-Places-Movie-2015-starring-Charlize-Theron-and-Nicholas-HoultLibby survived the massacre of her family when she was young. The only family member besides her to make it out alive is her brother who has been convicted of killing her mother and sisters. Libby hasn’t adapted well to post-tragedy life and has coast on a trust fund provided by a public with big hearts. But the donations start drying up and her book isn’t making any money, so she desperately accepts the offer to speak at a local “Murder Club.” The group meets to discuss murder cases, solve the unsolved and fact checking the solved ones. When they suggest her brother Ben is innocent, she can’t emotionally handle it but the promise of money to research what really happened is too good to pass up. Switching between the present and that her family was murdered, Libby and the audience find out what really happened that night.

The movie is better than Gone Girl because the script and story are stronger. Instead of straight up psychos (this does not disclose any psychos in this move), the story centers on real people and the murid of ways our psyche deals with the hurts in our lives. From lies to love to betrayal to sacrifice, the movie runs the gambit of human emotions and what we each see as the injuries in our lives. Backed by powerful performances by Charlize  Theron, Christina Hendricks, and Drea de Matteo, Dark Places is an excellent film.

Locke In

Tom Hardy has received massive critical acclaim in his newest movie Locke. An indie British flick, Hardy is the only man you see on screen. The movie is thought provoking but lacks the bite it needs.

Locke follows Ivan Locke on his hour and a half drive to London.  On that drive Locke decides that he must do the right thing so someone’s life does not end up like his. But as he drives he must deal with the fallout in his life and has to realize how many other lives are on the line. Locke finds that not only his home life but his work life is on the line as well.

It’s clear to see why the critics love Locke. Hardy is a magnificent actors and this real time excursion allows him to showcase his full acting tool box. He easily and believably runs the gamut of emotions and makes viewers feel each one. Because of this the movie leaves you with a visceral feeling as your drive away from the theater (or from your home as the case may be). Viewers truly see how easy it is too lose everything you know; how one mistake can cause you to loose your job, your family. Locke excels at making you think and feel.

What Locke does not do is giving viewers a satisfying ending for a man and his transgressions. Ivan Locke is unlikeable. It’s hard to imagine that he was ever more than he portrays himself in the movie though it is fun to see him move towards a nervous breakdown. But there is no payout.  His punishment is too pedestrian to be art and that is what viewers expect from this film.

Hardy walks the fine line of commercial and critical success even though he is not yet a household name. He chooses roles that allow him to fully become the character, but sometimes that isn’t enough Sometimes viewers just need to feel good about a movie.