Every couple of years, some entertainment mogul wants to bring The Addams Family back to the public consciousness. They can’t be buried and It’s impossible to change their ways; they’re wonderfully spooky and kooky. As for whether that’s with recognized talents or voice-over gurus in the roles, Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Morticia (Charlize Theron), Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) are what they are. To bring to life the quintessential elements of what they are to a any kind of stage has artist Charles Addams grinning from the grave.
The Addams are an off kilter family with a love for the macabre. They live their lifestyle in all its supernatural glory which include staying in a haunted house that wants them out. It’s not expected to learn Wednesday will one day leave the flock. Years of isolation has her curious about the outside world and establish an identity of her own. As with any movie with a tween as its star, it’s time to explore.
This film is slick and is filled with plenty of high octane moments. Broughton’s combat prowness can put the Black Widow of Marvel fame to shame.
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I’m fairly sure the producers and directors behind Atomic Blonde wanted to avoid a huge cliche when selecting the music for this film. When I first read about how well this film is doing in the festival circuit, I wondered if Blondie’s song, “Atomic” might get used. Thankfully, it was not and much of the soundtrack is focused on bringing to life the atmosphere of a war-weary Berlin. Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” is certainly indicative of that spirit and even Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom” (heard in German no less!) hits the point when communication is cut between what’s going on in Germany with the rest of the world.
The cold war is coming to an end, but for Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a top level agent for M16, there’s still one more mission. She has to retrieve a microfiche containing a list of double-agents smuggled to the West, but things go awry when there’s an individual who has memorized it and the KGB will stop at nothing to get it.
Technically, in the movie Kubo and the Two Strings, the protagonist is playing a three-stringed shamisen (a lute). This instrument was originally a Chinese creation and it was introduced in Japan in the 16th Century. There is a tonal quality which always gives me shivers upon hearing, and when this movie’s early trailers came out, just waiting for the final product had me in anticipation for a very long time. To get me into the mood, I was oddly humming along to AC/DC‘s “Hells Bells.”
When I first heard the Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is in a retelling of the Snow White tale because the story is now in the public domain, the first thought that came to my mind is if (the original movie and) the sequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War can be told from a grandiose Viking perspective? I see it trying to go that route, but the narrative is forcing the fairy tale aspects in a bitter direction.
I skipped the first film because I’m not a big fan of Kristen Stewart. This latest version caught my eye because of Jessica Chastain‘s work in Interstellar (2014) and The Martian (2015). I enjoyed what she brought to the table in those science-fiction films. In fantasy, that world is ridden with tropes where not every “once upon a time” is all that fascinating anymore. In the details I’ve noticed, the Anglo-Saxon imagery permeates and I had to wonder why the mirror, when viewed in closeup, is decorated with runes. Could Loki be involved?
When the new villain is Freya (Emily Blunt), I can not help but wonder if her character might be based on the divinity of the same name from Nordic lore. This goddess of war and death rules the afterlife and she leads the spirits of dead soldiers into battle. She leads the fights for the thrill of the hunt instead of the cold-hearted rule of the people (like Ravenna [played by Charlize Theron] did in the first film). She’s sometimes connected with the heavenly Valkyries of lore. They find the slain to take to Valhalla. Although this movie twists the legend around by spiriting children away (from murdered parents) to become the Huntsmen, the ideology suggests a darker world. These kids have their innocence stripped so they can become ideal soldiers. Instead of a goddess, she’s a mutant with the ability to create ice from the moisture in the air.