Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Movie Review

Grief and fear are two very potent emotions. They have the power to control our actions and if we give them power, our destiny.

The latest addition to the MCU universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, uses grief and fear as the emotional base of the narrative. The sequel to Doctor Strange, the movie starts with the wedding of Doctor Steven Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) colleague and ex, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). The festivities seem to be going well until predictably, the city is attacked by a monster. Its target is America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a young lady with abilities to travel through the multiverse.

Together with his friend, Wong (Benedict Wong), he has to keep America safe from Scarlett Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). She wants to use the girl’s powers to get back to the fictional children she created within the world of WandaVision. Nothing and no one who will stop her from getting back to her boys. The only person who can save the world and the multiverse is Doctor Strange.

This movie is absolutely amazing. I would even go so far as to say that I would rank it in the top 5 of MCU movies. Making a sequel to one story is hard enough. Making two of them and marrying them into a larger tale is twice as hard. I loved the surprising horror elements, the underlying emotions that drove the characters, and the ending that is absolutely perfect.

Benedict Cumberbatch Avengers GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was top ten lists of movies come the end of the year.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is presently in theaters.

P.S. As usual, stay for the mid-credit scene. There are two of them, so I recommend staying until the very end.

The Power of the Dog Movie Review

Toxic masculinity represents a time in human history in which men were expected to be men. There was little room for feelings or expressing themselves in an open or healthy manner.

The 2021 Netflix film, The Power of the Dog, is based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage. In Montana in 1925, brothers Phil and George Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons) have taken over the running of the family ranch. Phil is a man’s man in every sense of the word, George is considerate and emotionally open.

On the road to the market, they eat at a restaurant owned by Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Rose is a widow who has been forced to change her life to support herself and Peter after the abrupt passing of her late husband. Phil’s callous and cruel jokes drive both mother and son to tears. George tries to make up for his brother’s actions, which turns into a marriage proposal. When Rose and Peter enter Phil’s orbit as his sister-in-law and nephew, this new reality turns his world upside down. Taking the boy under his wing, Phil swings between mocking Peter and teaching him how to run a ranch.

The question is, has Phil started to change, or is this a ploy to continue his brutish ways?

This is supposed to be one of the best movies of 2021. Whatever it is that made this film special, I don’t see it.

It has nothing to do with the performers or the story itself. Director and co-screenwriter Jane Campion does what she does best. Cumberbatch once again proves that he is one of the most versatile actors in the business. Plemmons and Dunst are well cast for their roles and the perfect ying to Cumerbatch’s yang. Smit-McPhee is a young actor who solely based on his one role, has a bright future. The problem is that I was on the verge of being bored and wondering why I should care about these characters.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday: Doctor Strange (2016)

It has been said that when we enjoy our jobs, it does not feel like work. But that does not mean that we cannot get cocky.

In the 2016 MCU film, Doctor Strange (based on the comic book of the same name), Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a respected and egotistical New York City surgeon. After a debilitating car accident, he goes on a journey to seek out dimensions and ideas that go beyond the boundaries that humanity has created. Along the way, he becomes a hero, saving the world from Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).

I enjoyed this movie. I have not read the comic book, so I cannot speak to what may have been altered from the source material. What I did like was this version of the hero’s journey, the main character lives both within the world of superhero’s and the everyday person, who is flawed and fallible.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Interesting Interview Technique

It takes a certain amount confidence to go on a job interview. Convincing someone to hire you based on a half hour conversation is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination.

Last night I saw the Imitation Game.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been summoned for a job interview. It is not just any job interview. If he is offered the job, he will be part of a exclusive and secret team whose sole responsibility is to break the Enigma code that the Nazis are using.

When Mr. Turing meets with Commander Denniston (Charles Dance), he tells Commander Denniston that he needs Alan more than Alan needs him.

That takes balls, to put it bluntly. Telling a potential employer that they need you more than you need them is risky. When interviewing, the person being interviewed should be confident, but not to the point of being arrogant. But considering the job and the circumstances that Mr. Turing is in, that kind of statement makes sense.

Would I recommend using those exact words in that exact sentence when interviewing for a job? Probably not, but the idea is a good one. But there is a way to present yourself in a such a manner to a potential employer that tells them that they need you more than you need them.

 

The Imitation Game Movie Review

Alan Turing, to say the least, was a complicated man. A gay man in an era when being gay was a criminal offense, Alan Turing was a smart outsider who never quite fit in. He was also the man who created the modern computer and helped the Allies to win World War II.

Released late last year, The Imitation Game is the story of how Turing and his associates were able to break the Nazi code.

Taking on the lead role, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) brings to life the film’s complicated and later on tragic lead character. Co-starring Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice) Matthew Goode (Death Comes To Pemberley), Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech (Downton Abbey), Matthew Beard, Mark Strong (Emma) and Charles Dance, this movie is incredible and so is it’s leading man. This smart,  well made and extremely entertaining film deserves any and all praise that it receives.

This is one of the best movies that I have seen so far this year. I highly, highly, recommend it.

 

Small Island Book And Movie Review

World War II was a game changer in multiple ways.

For those who lived in the former British colonies, they hoped that the motherland would provide them with opportunities that they did not have at home.

Some would be sorely disappointed.

Andrea Levy’s novel, Small Island, focuses on four distinct characters, two of whom hope that World War II has opened doors for them.

In 1948, Hortense Joseph leaves Jamaica for London. Her husband, Gilbert, joined the British army and finds that after the war, despite his service, he is considered to be second class due to his skin color. Gilbert’s white landlady, Queenie is living with her father in law while her husband, Bernard is away, fighting for king and country. But when he returns from the war, Bernard is suffering from unresolved issues from the war.

In 2009, Small Island was made into a TV movie starring Naomi Harris as Hortense, David Oyelowo as Gilbert, Ruth Wilson as Queenie and Benedict Cumberbatch as Bernard.

I enjoyed both the book and the television adaptation. It sheds light on a subject that many are unaware of.  While the American civil rights movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s has become mythic in it’s own right, it is less known outside of Britain of the lives of it’s former colonists and their struggle to equality, acceptance and opportunities in the motherland.

I recommend both.

The Oscar Goes To….. 12 Years A Slave

If I were a betting woman, I would say that 12 Years A Slave will  not be at a loss for nominations and awards come  award season.

It is a brilliant piece of film making that brings the crime of slavery to life in such a way that is as real and raw as if the viewer lived that life.

Based on the book of the same name written in 1853, the movie tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free black man living with his family in Saratoga, NY in 1841.  Under the guise of a business trip, he travels with two men to Washington DC who drug him, kidnap him and sell him into slavery.

His first master, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is as sympathetic as he can be.  But his next master, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is a cruel man with a jealous wife (Sarah Paulson) who is obsessed and infatuated with a fellow slave, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o).

With the arrival of Bass (Brad Pitt) Solomon sees what might be his way out of slavery.

This movie, despite being just over 2 hours, is incredible. Most American adults and children over the age of about 10 have been taught about African-American slavery.  It’s one thing to learn about it in a history book, but it is another thing to watch the brutal and violent honesty of the subject on screen.

I predict nominations, if not for the movie in general for Fassbender and Ejiofor.

 

 

 

 

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