Tag Archives: Patrick Stewart

Gnomeo & Juliet

This cute little film filled with British actors takes a new look at the story of Romeo and Juliet and uses a British topic of interest. Garden gnomes. (Not sure if a lo of Brits have these, but it’d be interesting to see some U.K. gardens.) I watched this with my mom (U.K. T.V. analyst and fellow blogger) mostly for James McAvoy’s voice talents. We’re both fans, but for slightly different reasons. (Not really though, he is pretty dreamy.) This tragic William Shakespeare story is turned on its head (as the poster suggests) with a cute plot device using warring gardens who happen to be owned by Miss Montague (Julie Walters, good old Mrs. Weasley) of the “Blue”burys and Mr. Capulet (Richard Wilson) of the “Red”bricks.

Set apart from typical Pixar and Dreamworks films, this film takes its own approach to animation in the 3-D. Although

McEvoy and Blunt as the disguised Gnomeo and Juliet

Touchstone and Miramax do good animated films, this British touch to the way things looked was refreshing, at the same time that it seemed a bit off in its sharpness and cutting edge-i-ness. But it’s all the same to me these days, what with all these mass amounts of animal infested, fantastical adventures films made for kids and adults in 3-D animation. (I would recommend Rio though, it was quite a cast and story.) But the story stands out in comparison to the lack of pizzazz in the animation, and gave it some credibility.

Warring gardens with love in the mix.

So as expected, the story follows quite closely to the original Romeo and Juliet plot line. (Less death unfortunately.) The warring families led by Lord Rebrick (Michael Caine) who’s Juliet’s (Emily Blunt) father and Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) who’s Gnomeo’s (James McAvoy) mother despise each other for reasons that seem a bit hazy. The real test between the families is whose garden is superior. One night, in order to impress her father, Juliet sneaks out of the garden in order to retrieve a beautiful flower to spruce up the garden. Surprise, surprise, Gnomeo sneaks out as well for some mischief. The two cross paths, sparks fly, and their love is forever fated.

But oh the problems that ensue. One’s red and the other’s blue! What will they do? Their love is forbidden and they may only meet in secrecy. And there must be some conflict that arises when their love is discovered! And yes, there is. This version doesn’t disappoint and how could it? True British actors are tackling a fellow countryman’s play.

Now let’s talk about the cast. I was quite surprised at the acting chops associated with this film, and every last one a Brit! Of course there’s the two star-crossed

Sorry Jim Cummings you just missed the mark.

lovers, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine lend their voices to their parents as some veterans of the BBC business. Also, and more unexpectedly, Jason Statham is featured in this film as Tybalt the red menace of the Montague house. I was really surprised to discover this after a few Transporter lines were delivered. I just can’t seem to grip the idea that Jason Statham is British! Matt Lucas, the good old Little Britains sketch comedy genius of the hairless kind lends a generically comedic voice to Benny, Gnomeo’s number 2. Even Patrick Stewart (Will Shakes himself) and OZZY OSBOURNE himself lends his voice to this film, as a ceramic fawn!

Thanks to this British cast for the cute film!

The only miss in this film is Jim Cummings as the pink flamingo garden ornament. His annoying attempt at some sort of foreign bird just loses it for me, because, to put it bluntly, didn’t deliver a funny line. This is quite disappointing as Jim Cummings has been in the Disney voice business since the early 90’s.

But all in all, this cute film about what our gardens hold delivers a nice little escape from reality for 75 minutes. With the occasional grown up joke and slapstick comedy, mixed with witty uses of the gnomes and what they’d be like if they could move (Toy Story style), this movie delivers a bit of entertainment worth a watch if you’re into British accents or children’s love/comedy/adventure films. 6 out of 10.

AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FILMED IS FUELED BY A ELTON JOHN SCORE AND SOUNDTRACK?!?!?

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X-Men: First Class

So I’d been planning to see this movie with my mom for some time. We’re big James McAvoy, and this movie quickly jumped to the top of our list. We thought, “Hey, James McAvoy. A new X-men movie that looks quite good? Definitely.” And he didn’t disappoint. And neither did anyone else in the film X-Men: First Class. I did expect to take the phrase “First Class” literally, but I was a bit mistaken. (I thought this movie would focus on the first young group that Charles Xavier took into the X-Men academy. Guess not.) But I wasn’t disappointed at all. This movie delivered. I would say it did, even more than the original trilogy.

So the plot of this movie is the origins of the X-men. I’m pretty sure it holds true to the comics, and I think this

The rivals unite.

was a big plus. (Maybe a few liberties were taken?) But, either way, this 1960’s set X-men classic follows the origins of Erik Lensherr/ Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). This is before Charles was given his wheelchair (explained) and so that’s why you see him puttering around on his own two legs. The hip, suave, young Xavier (a welcome change from Patrick Stewart’s stuffy portrayal of Professor X) has just become a Professor from Cambridge based on his work on human mutation. (Fitting right?) Parallel to this, Erik is on a rampage (using his harnessed powers) to destroy the German Nazis that imprisoned him during WWII and killing his mother. It was this pain that unleashed his powers as a young boy.

And it is through the power of the government that these two come together to team up for the only time in their lives. To stop an evil mutant of unspeakable power, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) these two must recruit other mutants across the world in order to prevent nuclear disaster. As you watch the movie, you find that, in fact, the X-Men were what prevented the Cuban Missile Crisis. And then, as expected, things fall apart for the duo, leading up nicely to the next movies made years ago.

It sent chills down my spine when he put that helmet on.

I’ve heard people didn’t like this movie. People gave this a bad review and I was surprised. I found this to be a decent movie that was respectable among X-men entertainment. So I found it hard to believe, with such a good cast and decent special effects, how this movie could even be viewed as a bomb. I mean, come on, James McAvoy (great actor) and one of my personal favorites, Michael Fassbender? You can’t get much better than that. Throw in a handfull of cameos (yes, a scene of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Rebecca Romjin as a view of the older Mystique.) and great foreshadowing, and you have a great prequel.

I mean, I can’t say enough about the cast this film boasts. I have to say again, James McAvoy. Having another big action film under his belt, Wanted, he is perfectly comfortable as an action hero (although be it a passive one). Michael Fassbender. He is no newbie when it comes to action films. 300, Centurion, Inglorious Basterds. This guy has done some of the best action films of the decade. And he’s such a malicious character actor that when you see him as the villain, you can actually see the evil seething from him. Kevin Bacon. I haven’t seen him in a while and they hid it well in the trailers that he was in the movie. And as the villain? That was a shock. But still, he was quite devious. Combine that with Nicholas Holt as Beast (great job to say the least) and Jennifer Lawrence (academy award winner for Winter’s Bone.) among other X-Men, and you have a great cast.

Great group. Great cast. Great movie.

From the director Matthew Vaughn, director of some pretty badass action films, Layer Cake (personal favorite), Kick Ass, even Stardust was decent, you have to expect some good acting combined with great visual chemistry. There’s a great scene with Michael Fassbender absolutely destroying some Argentinian Nazi fools that brims with gorish action. This movie screams great summer film. If Stan Lee’s onboard (not just for the money, I hope) then it has to be good. His baby creation has come to life once again and it’s all good. 8.8 out of 10.