Category: Colin Firth

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Movie 2015)

Kingsman The Secret Service - 2014 - tt2802144 - Poster2 Kernels, But I Should Have Walked Out

Stars: Colin Firth, Samuel Jackson, Michael Caine, and Taron Egerton
Everyone loves Colin Firth — at least those women who have followed his career after falling in love with him as Mr. Darcy.  I have seen a few of his movies of late, most of which were entertaining and some well done (such as The Railway Man).  Kingsman: The Secret Service is a whole other ballgame. Frankly, it’s a movie I would like to erase from my brain due to the gratuitous violence, unparalleled to anything I’ve seen lately.  Of course, I usually don’t see those types of movies, so maybe I’m just ignorant this stuff is on the big screen all the time.
The story starts out with a fairly good premise, a bit of humor, and the usual cool spy stuff — putting aside the first few minutes of killing. Colin Firth plays Harry Hart, a knight in the Kingsman secret service. He’s good looking, dressed in a fine tailored suit, but carries quite a few nifty weapons he can use.
When one of the Kingsman is killed all the other Kingsman seek out candidates to fill his spot. Harry seeks out a young man nicknamed Eggsy, who is the son of a former Kingsman.  The young lad doesn’t have a clue what his father did in real life. Eggsy, however, is the typical juvenile delinquent in need of  reform. He accepts Harry’s offer, and joins a group of other young men and women seeking the coveted position as the next Kingsman. They are put through a rigorous training, and one by one are eliminated down to the last two — Eggsy and another girl.
Of course, while all of this is going on, we have Samuel Jackson playing the typical psychopath out to murder millions of human beings to cleanse the world of an over-crowed population. He seems to think that will cut back on our environmental problems by eliminating too may people destroying the planet.  Everything is fine up to that point, and then the movie takes a sharp left turn into violence.
In one particular scene, Harry Hart kills an entire congregation of parishioners in a church after coming under control of the villain. It’s gruesome, graphic, bloody, and disturbing. The movie continues down the road of a world gone mad killing each other, including heads blowing like watermelons shot with a bazooka, and Eggsy fighting against some woman outfitted with metal feet with swords. Bizarre.
I really enjoy Colin Firth, but if you are thinking of seeing this movie to see the handsome Englishman in a fine dress suit to swoon over, put back those dollar bills in your wallet and run the other way.  You will never look at him the same again, which actually made me wonder why in the heck he chose to do this movie.  Believe me — Fifty Shades of Grey and Christian’s red room is a walk in the park compared to this carnage.
The movie had a few good laughs at the beginning, but my brain has been desensitized to the value of human life.  Frankly, it disgusted me in the end.

Magic in the Moonlight (Movie 2014)


Stars: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden

Magic in the Moonlight is a lighthearted movie set in 1929 southern France, written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars the noteworthy Colin Firth, who plays Stanley Crawford, a world famous magician by trade. He is a rather arrogant and cynical individual who lives a life driven by logic. He sees no grand creation, purpose, or life beyond the grave. As a result, he’s a rather rational, dull, and unhappy person.

When a friend and professional colleague invites him to meet a woman who claims to be a spiritualist, Stanley jumps at the chance to debunk and expose the charlatan. Everyone who meets Sophie, played by Emma Stone, is fascinated by her obvious psychic abilities. Along with her mother, they have infiltrated a very rich family that will be donating to Sophie’s planned psychic foundation.  In addition, she has caught the eye of Brice, a very rich young man who wants to marry her and take her around the world.

Stanley, however, is convinced that it is all a ruse. She is, after all, planning to dupe and steal from unsuspecting and simple-minded individuals who don’t know any better. Invited by his friend to expose her trickery and save the Catledge family from being scammed, Stanley challenges Sophie soon after their first meeting. After his unsuccessful attempts to debunk her authenticity, his own beliefs regarding life and death are tested. In an uncharacteristic change, he admits defeat and embraces the gift that Sophie has been given. For the first time in his life, he believes in something beyond logic.

I will not spoil the outcome of Stanley’s quest for truth in life, except to say that it was a mildly entertaining film. Woody Allen’s movies have a flavor, and this one is no different. The music, cars, and fashions of the roaring twenties fill your senses. The movie is visually soft and golden, with breathtaking scenery.  Colin is looking fit and trim, but definitely not the young Mr. Darcy of his day.  Emma Stone, beautiful and young, is an unlikely match for the much older Mr. Firth.  Nevertheless, their sparring with each other made for a certain humorous chemistry. Once again, it is an age appropriate movie for the older generation. By the count of elderly patrons in the theater, it is definitely not for the younger generation. I had a few good laughs with my friend, who attended the show with me, as we counted the gray-haired moviegoers.

In the end, the movie does succeed in challenging the audience regarding their own beliefs about life. We either believe the logical in what we can see and prove, or we believe in the magical of the unseen and things we cannot explain. Are people who are logical likely to be unhappy and cynical, compared to those who believe and have hope?

Whether you believe in anything or not, perhaps it’s just experiencing love that gives us a reason for living. That is, the Magic in the Moonlight.

The Railway Man (Movie 2013)

Stars: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Hiroyuki Sanada (after the war); Jeremy Irvine, Sam Reid, Tanroh Ishida (during the war)

This evening I saw The Railway Man, which is still showing in a few theaters in my area. The movie is filled with Oscar worthy performances that are by far the best I have seen this year.
Let me preface this review by saying that the story is an emotionally charged depiction of war, some of which you may find deeply disturbing. The movie includes scenes of torture, beatings, captivity, and inhumane treatment.  Nevertheless, it is well worth the watch.  I saw it on a Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and there were a whopping seven people in the theater, all of which were my generation or older. Everybody else packed the fantasy movies, leaving the reality plenty of space. That tidbit of information leads me to my next thought.
As the generation of those who fought in WW2 die and are buried, I often think that new generations will never fully comprehend or appreciate what their parents or grandparents sacrificed to win this war. During the Second World War, over 60 million people were killed worldwide. It is termed the deadliest conflict in human history. In another twenty years from now, will we remember those who suffered–both military and civilian? Will the new generations even care?
Today, people are deeply entrenched in a make-believe, comic world of super heroes, endowed with special powers who save the day. It is fantasy and not the reality of true human suffering and sacrifice. The Railway Man is a stark reminder of what it means to be a hero regardless of the horrendous treatment received at the hands of the enemy.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox and onto the review.
The film is an adaptation of an autobiography of a British officer (Eric Lomax), who was a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp. He was captured when Singapore fell to the Japanese, and became part of a group of soldiers who were forced to help build the Thai-Berma Railway.
The movie is set during 1980, with multiple flashbacks to what occurred during WW2. Eric Lomax, played by Colin Firth as the elder character, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Though it has been decades since the war ended, he still suffers flashbacks of the torture he endured at the hands of the Japanese. He meets with others in his unit who survived the POW camp, but no one ever talks about what happened.
Lomax discovers that the Japanese translator who aided in his torture is alive. To his shock, he manages the war museum where he was held prisoner. To end the psychological torment he still endures, Lomax goes to see him for the purpose of revenge. When he meets his enemy, he discovers the man of today is not the enemy of yesterday. 
As far as performances, I was frankly astounded by Colin Firth’s portrayal as the older Lomax, and Jeremy Irvine as the younger Lomax. I would be extremely surprised if nominations are not forthcoming for this movie or its actors.
For me, it was a five star movie. It will leave you in tears and perhaps give you a ray of hope that after the most trying of circumstances, there can still be peace and forgiveness between enemies.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

4 Kernels

Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, John Madden, Geoffrey Rush, and Ben Affleck

It’s been some time since I’ve watched this movie. I saw it when it originally came out, pretty much went on with life, and recently watched it again. Twelve years ago, I don’t think it impressed me as much as it did the last time I clicked play. It’s obvious that my life’s experiences over the years have changed my view of the movie. Does that ever happen to you?

In spite of the recent controversy stirred by the movie Anonymous over who really wrote the works of Shakespeare, one cannot help but honor the writer of the wonderful words he penned. I do know everyone screamed “foul” when Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar for best picture beating out Private Ryan. Perhaps the voters were in the mood for love, rather than entrails, blood, and gore. If you look at the reviews, you’ll see it’s really one of those love/hate relationships with viewers.

Frankly, I think there is a hidden brilliance behind this movie. It’s about the author who writes a love tragedy, while he lives out his own tragedy with the woman he loves. The affair between William and Viola ensues, and when it does, the well of inspiration Shakespeare thought had gone dry, suddenly springs forth renewed. Their scandalous affair leads to the penning of Romeo and Juliet.

As the story evolves, so does the tragic truth that they will never be together. He is bound by a previous marriage and lives a life of a lowly playwright and poet, while the woman he loves is bound by the Queen’s command and her father to wed another. The stage is set for a love affair that ends in loss and separation. When he realizes how their end will play out, he writes the tragic conclusion to the infamous play. Romeo is a man who cannot live without the woman he loves, much how William feels over his current situation.

When William’s debut of Romeo and Juliet is performed for the first time, by strange circumstances they play the roles — Will as Romeo and Viola as Juliet. Of course, in that day, women couldn’t be on stage, but Viola all along has violated that rule due to her desire to act. Their hearts are torn playing their parts, as they both know their lives will be torn asunder as soon as the play ends. She married that very day. Each are forced to follow another path — two star-crossed lovers unable to have one another. Alas, it was not meant to be.

As far as the stars, I wasn’t enthralled seeing Colin Firth act like a sod. Judy Dench was fine, as usual, in a short role of Queen Elizabeth I. She won the Oscar for best supporting role.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Geoffrey Rush were their usual on film. Gwyneth, for me at least, always seems the same on film, no matter what the role. Nevertheless, she walked away with an Oscar for best actress that year. Cate Blanchett was nominated for her role in Elizabeth, which I thought was far more deserving. :tosses in my two cents:

Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare makes for good eye candy. He plays well the role of the tortured writer, searching for his muse, passionate about life and storytelling. Fiennes’ eyes are very expressive. :tosses in another two cents:

Favorite Lines: (Hugh Fennyman) Who’s that? (Philip Henslowe) Nobody. He’s the author.

(Isn’t that the truth! LOL)

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