Daily Archives: May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday- Elizabeth (1998)

Biopics, especially those revolving around those that are no longer with us are tricky. The  movie has to be entertaining, but it also has to be truthful to the history and to the person who is the subject of the biopic.

In 1998, Elizabeth, the biopic of Elizabeth I of England was released. Born in 1533, no one expected Elizabeth to one day become Queen Of England. Her father, Henry VIII, had her mother, Anne Boleyn, executed so he could marry wife number three, Jane Seymour.  The film focuses on Elizabeth’s early years on the throne and the bumpy path she would have to travel to become the beloved and respected Queen that we know her today to be.

Cate Blanchett is one the best performers of her generation for good reason. Elizabeth is one of her earliest introductions to the American film audience.  Her performance is nuanced, powerful and human.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday- Superhero Double Feature- Spiderman (2002) & Ghost Rider 2007)

Every ten to fifteen years or so, Hollywood dips into it’s vault and releases new adaptations of films or television shows that have long since left the big or or small screen. The superhero genre is no different.

In this post, I’m going to talk about two 2000’s superhero movies and why they either worked or didn’t work.

The first movie is Spiderman (2002). Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is your average academically overachieving, social underachieving high school student. He has a crush on Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the girl next door. But she does not see him. When Peter is bitten by a genetically modified spider, he becomes Spiderman and must learn the lesson that every Spiderman fan knows: “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Can Peter, with his new power, find the man who killed his uncle and prevent an eccentric billionaire from terrorizing the city?

I’m not normally a fan of the genre, but I liked this movie. Every character is well cast and fits well into the Spiderman universe. Unlike his superhero brothers in arms (Batman, Superman, etc), Spiderman is the boy next door/average Joe/underdog. He does not have the fortune that Bruce Wayne has, nor does he have the extraterrestrial powers that Superman possesses. Rather, he uses his intelligence to fight and create the persona that is Spiderman.

The second movie is Ghost Rider (2007).

When Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) finds out that his father is dying from cancer, he makes a deal to save his father. Johnny will give up his soul to prevent his father from dying. The deal is soon made with Mephistopheles and broken when his father dies in a motorcycle accident. Heartbroken, Johnny walks away from everything and everyone, including his girlfriend, Roxanne (Eva Mendes).  Years pass and Johnny becomes a famous motorcyclist. He runs into Roxanne, who works as a TV reporter. But Mephistopheles is not done with Johnny. If Johnny is willing to become the “Ghost Rider” and defeat  Mephistopheles’s evil son Blackheart (Wes Bentley), then Johnny will be free of the contract he signed years ago.

What can I say about this movie? It’s not good. Nicolas Cage has not made a decent movie in years. The poster, especially the depiction of Ghost Rider carrying who the audience might perceive to be an unconscious Roxanne is not taken from any specific scene. Riding on the coat tails of it’s fellow superhero movies, this film and it’s sequel (which is just as bad) just does nothing for me as a film goer.

Do I recommend them? Yes and no. I do recommend Spiderman, but not Ghost Rider

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