Tag Archives: Ian McKellen

A Farewell to Two Supporting Stars

This past week, two highly talented actors who shone in supporting parts passed away.  Emma Chambers, born in 1964 in Doncaster, England, was best known to some people for Notting Hill (1999) as the kooky younger sister of Hugh Grant’s character. But to me, she’ll always be the lovably dense Alice Tinker on The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007). In … Continue reading A Farewell to Two Supporting Stars

Beauty and the Beast

BE OUR GUEST.  When her father (Kevin Kline) is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) inside a huge, wintry castle, Belle (Emma Watson) offers herself in exchange for his freedom. Another live-action remake of an animated Disney classic. This one can’t escape a certain sense of pointlessness considering how close it stays to the … Continue reading Beauty and the Beast

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

THE DEFINING CHAPTER.  The dragon Smaug flies to Esgaroth to destroy the town, but greater challenges await in the shape of a coming battle for Lonely Mountain. The final part of this trilogy is the shortest film Peter Jackson ever made about the Middle-Earth, but maybe that’s because it is so completely dominated by that … Continue reading The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

X-Men: Days of Future Past

EVERY HERO, EVERY POWER WILL UNITE. In 2023, most mutants have been wiped out by man-made robots called Sentinels; with the help of Shadowcat (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time to 1973 to kill the Sentinel program before it’s born. A sequel to three X-Men movies (The Last Stand, Wolverine and … Continue reading X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

BEYOND DARKNESS… BEYOND DESOLATION… LIES THE GREATEST DANGER OF ALL.  On their journey to the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves enter a mysterious forest… and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) confronts a dark power. The second chapter in the Hobbit franchise is an improvement on the first, darker in tone, with several engaging adventures … Continue reading The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Wolverine

THE HERO. THE FUGITIVE. THE WARRIOR. THE SURVIVOR. THE LEGEND.  Logan (Hugh Jackman), who’s trying to put Wolverine in the past, is talked into going to Japan where a billionaire wants to repay a lifelong debt… Another chapter in the X-Men franchise, one that follows some time after X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and takes … Continue reading The Wolverine

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

FROM THE SMALLEST BEGINNINGS COME THE GREATEST LEGENDS. Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) convinces a hobbit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), to join his party of 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim a treasure that was stolen by a mighty dragon. Set sixty years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s grand return to … Continue reading The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Da Vinci Code

SEEK THE TRUTH. When American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) arrives in Paris for a lecture, the police need his help to interpret mysterious symbols surrounding a dead body found in the Louvre. The novel and its “revelations” kicked up a storm among Christians, but this adaptation won’t. Talky and overlong, it is hardly a labor … Continue reading The Da Vinci Code

X-Men

JOIN THE EVOLUTION. Considering the amount of unsuccessfully adapted comic book adventures, how fortunate that versatile director Bryan Singer felt he was the right guy to take on this Marvel extravaganza. The story takes place a few years into the future. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) runs a school for gifted young mutants who possess special … Continue reading X-Men

Stardust

THE FAIRYTALE THAT WON’T BEHAVE.  Teenager Tristan (Charlie Cox) crosses a wall into a magical realm where he goes looking for a fallen star that he intends to bring to a girl he loves, but there’s dangerous competition. The Layer Cake director got Neil Gaiman’s blessing to bring his novel to the big screen, but … Continue reading Stardust

And the Band Played On

A THREAT NO ONE DARED FACE. A WORD NO ONE WANTED TO SPEAK. A FIGHT FOR MANY, FOUGHT BY FEW.  In 1981, epidemiologist Don Francis (Matthew Modine) joins a team of researchers at the CDC who are trying to figure out the causes of a very deadly disease among gay men. Randy Shilts wrote an … Continue reading And the Band Played On