Tag Archives: Angelina Jolie

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) Review

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Those Who Wish Me Dead

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty, offensive language & content that may disturb
Cast:
Angelina Jolie as Hannah
Finn Little as Connor
Nicholas Hoult as Patrick
Aidan Gillen as Jack
Jon Bernthal as Ethan
Medina Senghore as Allison
Jake Weber as Owen
Tyler Perry as Arthur
Director: Taylor Sheridan

Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smoke jumper who’s perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She soon encounters Connor (Finn Little), a skittish boy who’s bloodied, traumatized and on the run in the remote forest. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she’s unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.

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Those Who Wish Me Dead was one of my most anticipated movies of 2021. Not only did it have a great cast with Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen and Jon Bernthal, but it was coming from Taylor Sheridan, who’s last directing work was a great crime thriller called Wind River. So I was excited based off the premise and the talent involved. I will say it wasn’t quite like I hoped it would be but I still liked it.

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I went into the movie as someone who liked Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, so to those who like me were expecting something like that, Those Who Wish Me Dead is nothing like that. Not only did I find that it definitely doesn’t live up to his stronger works, but as I discovered within the first 10 minutes, it is more of a 90s throwback thriller. The plot itself is rather predictable but I was interested enough to watch throughout. However I will note that for whatever reason, I was more interested in the supporting characters than the stories of the two leads, and I don’t think that was supposed to be the case. There is some characterisation, especially with the two main leads, however for the most part it doesn’t really delve into the characters much. I also do like how it is unflinching with the relentlessness and brutality of the violence, quite familiar to some of Sheridan’s other works like Sicario and Wind River. By the end of the movie, you do notice that there are a lot of questions that are unanswered, and some aspects that aren’t explained the best. For example, the motivations of the hitmen chasing the main characters are murky at best, Tyler Perry appears in one scene as the person who hire the killers and that’s it. It would’ve benefited from being a bit longer, using that time to develop more of the characters and story, especially when you consider that the runtime is only 100 minutes long. The pacing is a bit iffy, not the strongest especially in the first act where it seems to be taking a while to get to the main event at the center of the plot. Not to mention that the first two acts spend time building to the 10 minute climax.

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The cast are great, and they deliver good performances on their parts. Angelina Jolie is headlining the movie as the lead, as she indeed plays the lead character. Despite this, she doesn’t really get the screentime necessary to give her the depth that is needed. She does have a tragic backstory as a smokejumper with a trauma and we do see how this affects her, which makes her the only major character in this movie with an actual backstory. Even then, it still feels like her character needed more development. Nonetheless Jolie does play the role very well. Finn Little plays the child that Angelina Jolie is protecting over the course of the movie, and he actually does quite a good job in the role despite feeling like a plot device. The chemistry and dynamic between Little and Jolie is believable and works well enough. With that said, these two seemed to be sidelined, and aren’t given the proper development that they need. As I said earlier, the supporting players actually end up being more impressive than the leads. First of all are the two hitmen played by Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult. Their relentless nature to carry out this goal makes them unpredictable, and that unpredictability is definitely needed in this rather generic and familiar plot. Despite being stone cold killers and straightforward villains, they are pretty human as shown through the dialogue and solid performances, and I kind of wanted more screentime with them. There’s also Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore as the local sheriff and his pregnant wife, who are meant to be background characters but actually stand out. Bernthal does get a good amount of screentime compared to some of his other supporting roles (i.e. less than 10 minutes), and Senghore is something of a scenestealer. Tyler Perry is good in his one scene however his appearance is so brief that you could almost miss him.

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Taylor Sheridan’s direction wasn’t quite as impressive as his work on Wind River, but on a technical level it is still solid. The cinematography is gorgeous, with much of the film being shot against a stunning landscape. When a particular forest fire becomes present in the movie and affects the characters, it almost becomes a presence in itself, elevating the tension as the sight of fire just spreading through the trees being quite intimidating. The action is well put together and flows well, and as said earlier is brutal and unflinching. Brian Tyler’s score does a lot to elevate the intensity too, and fits perfectly with the rest of the movie.

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Those Who Wish Me Dead was a bit of a disappointment to me, as someone who liked a lot of Taylor Sheridan’s past work (especially Wind River) and the cast involved. However I still enjoyed it. As a 90s action thriller throwback (albeit without the cheesy tone), it was entertaining enough, the cast were good in their parts, and it was directed reasonably well. If you’re interested in an okay thriller with great actors, then give it a watch but it’s not one that you’ll need to catch as soon as possible.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) Review

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Kung Fu Panda 3

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Low level violence
Cast:
Jack Black as Po
Bryan Cranston as Li Shan
Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu
Angelina Jolie as Master Tigress
J.K. Simmons as Kai
Seth Rogen as Master Mantis
David Cross as Master Crane
Lucy Liu as Master Viper
Jackie Chan as Master Monkey
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni

Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he’s going to fulfill the next challenge from his beloved instructor (Dustin Hoffman). After reuniting with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston), Po must transition from student to teacher and train a group of fun-loving, clumsy pandas to become martial-arts fighters. Together, the kung-fu brethren unite to take on the evil Kai (J.K. Simmons), a supernatural warrior who becomes stronger with each battle.

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I do like the Kung Fu Panda films. Even though they aren’t as great as certain other animated films such as Toy Story, they are fun children’s entertainment and I was a little excited to see the third instalment of the franchise. I quite liked Kung Fu Panda 3, I had a good time with it. Although I don’t think it was as good as the previous film (in my opinion), it’s still a very solid film with great voice acting, a decent story and fantastic animation. If you liked the previous movies, you’ll like Kung Fu Panda 3.

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Though I’m not entirely sure why, I wasn’t as invested in this story as I was in the second, maybe it’s just personal preference. Make no mistake though, the story is still quite good and kept me interested and entertained from start to finish. The humour for the most part worked well, it worked about as well as the previous films. The connection between Po, his father and his adopted father was really a focus of the story and was handled well. One thing I also like about these films is that despite each film being quite similar in terms of structure and character arcs, Po is constantly changing. He doesn’t just forget the knowledge that he picked up in the previous movies, so despite the similar formula, the films still feels fresh and new. And 3 is no exception, he’s evolved since the previous film but yet has much to discover about himself. There really is no dull moment in the movie.

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The voice work for the characters as usual was great. The new voice additions to the new character were also great, one of them was Bryan Cranston as Po’s father, it’s always nice to see (or in this case hear) Cranston in more movies and he does very well here. The main villain Kai was also great here voiced this time by J.K. Simmons. The villains in the Kung Fu Panda movies are pretty good and Kai was no exception.

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The animation is slick and smooth, all of it is top notch, which is to be expected as it’s a Dreamworks film. The action and Kung Fu in particular is animated so greatly, you can clearly see everything unfolding on screen. The designs for the world and characters are also fantastic and creative. I also really like the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, it really fitted in and added to the movie. On a technical level at least, Kung Fu Panda 3 works very well, there aren’t really any immediate flaws in that aspect that I can think of.

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If you liked the previous films in the Kung Fu Panda series, you will definitely like Kung Fu Panda 3. The animation is very well done, the story is quite good and the movie overall is just fun to watch. Again, like with the other films I don’t think they are amazing, they aren’t going to be remembered as classic animated movies but they are still undeniably very enjoyable movies, and are definitely entertaining to watch. So if you liked the previous movies, check this movie out when you get a chance.