Tag Archives: Tommy Chong

Color Out of Space (2020) Review

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Color Out of Space

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language & horror
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner
Joely Richardson as Theresa Gardner
Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia Gardner
Brendan Meyer as Benny Gardner
Julian Hilliard as Jack Gardner
Elliot Knight as Ward Phillips
Q’orianka Kilcher as Mayor Tooma
Tommy Chong as Ezra
Director: Richard Stanley

After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extra-terrestrial organism that infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolour nightmare.

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Color Out of Space was a movie I was aware of for a little while. All I knew about it was that it’s a science fiction horror starring Nicolas Cage, that was an adaptation of a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not familiar with Lovecraft’s work, but I’m aware of his influence on art, entertainment, and so much more, so I was curious to see how this movie would turn out. Color Out of Space is a trippy, weird, and visually stunning ride that I was glad to be on, even with all its issues.

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I never read Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space, but from what I’ve heard from some, it seemed to have been adapted well to the big screen (or at least as best as possible). The script is not very strong (especially when it comes to the dialogue), but it works okay enough for this story. It’s generally played seriously, but there’s a bit of a B-movie feel to it at the same time. The movie starts off a little slow but that was the right pacing for this movie instead of just jumping straight in with the weirdness. You begin to see little changes over time that the characters and the general location experience. The second half is where it goes nuts and is definitely the highlight section of the movie. I won’t go into too much depth about what happens in the story, it’s definitely one that’s better experienced for yourself.

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The cast for the most part aren’t great but they play their roles as best as they could. Let’s start with the obvious with Nicolas Cage, who seemed to be a perfect fit for the role. He starts off as some geeky and soft spoken and amateur alpaca farmer, and over time just becomes unhinged and crazier. Of course he shines in some very entertaining moments, in some of the loudest and angriest scenes his delivery of his lines is like a mix of his character from Vampire’s Kiss and Donald Trump. It’s fun to watch, and for those looking for crazy Nic Cage, there’s plenty of moments that you’ll definitely love. The rest of the main cast making up the main family with Joely Richardson, Madeline Arthur and Brendan Meyer are fine, but are held back by some lacklustre writing. One thing that the movie does is that it can get away with dumb decisions made by the characters in the context of the movie, given that the meteor seems to make people do illogical and random things.

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I’ve not seen any movies from director Richard Stanley, but he generally handled this movie well. The editing early on was a little messy, but it got better as it progressed. One thing that was a little weird was that the titular colour in the actual movie (and book) was described as a colour that couldn’t be described. Now in a book you can get away with that, but given that film is a visual medium, they had to show that, and they settled on pink. Now for me that worked fine enough but it’s worth pointing out. While CGI very well could’ve ruined a lot of the movie, it actually sort of works here. The movie can be visually stunning and a feast for the eyes, especially for the second half when things get very weird. The practical effects are even more impressive when they are present. The score by Colin Stetson is also pretty effective.

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Color Out of Space won’t work for everyone, it’s a little messy and the script could’ve been a little stronger. However I liked it on the whole, it’s directed well, visually stunning, features a completely insane second half, as well as another gloriously crazy Nicolas Cage performance. If the movie looks like something you may be interested in, check it out for sure.

After Hours (1985) Review

Time: 97 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Griffin Dunne as Paul Hackett
Rosanna Arquette as Marcy Franklin
Verna Bloom as June
Tommy Chong as Pepe
Linda Fiorentino as Kiki Bridges
Teri Garr as Julie
John Heard as Bartender Tom Schorr
Cheech Marin as Neil
Catherine O’Hara as Gail
Director: Martin Scorsese

A New York office worker (Griffin Dunne) has “a very strange night” when he ventures for a late night date with a woman he just meets (Rosanna Arquette), which turns into a waking nightmare when one mishap after another strands him in a hostile neighbourhood in his quest to return home before morning.

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I remembered After Hours as being a bit of a weird movie in Martin Scorsese’s filmography, albeit entertaining. I wasn’t certain about it when I first saw it year, but I was sure to remember to revisit it at some point in time, to see how I’d feel about it in the future. Upon rewatching it I found it to be largely the same as when I last saw it. Now I don’t exactly love it and I guess I can say that it’s one of my least favourites of his films (though by no means amongst his worst) but there’s a lot of things in here to like.

After Hours is like the personification of an endless and escalating nightmare that never ends, in a good way. It’s quite a weird movie, which only gets weirder and weirder as it progresses, the term is overused but it borders on being Lynchian. So I’d recommend not knowing too much going in or watching the trailer or anything like that. Despite the description it’s not a dreadful experience, in fact with the exception of The Wolf of Wall Street, this is the closest thing to a straight up comedy that Martin Scorsese has made. There was quite a lot of dark humour in the movie, and I thought most of it was good. It’s fairly plotless and pretty much just following one character for all the time, and as that it succeeded for the most part. It’s very fast paced and is just under an hour and 40 minutes long, still by the end you feel like you just experienced a whole night. This movie doesn’t necessarily do a lot wrong, but I didn’t personally get anything out of the movie or see what it was trying to say thematically. I just saw it as an entertaining and darkly comedic thriller, though I have an idea that Scorsese was also trying to say something, I just can’t figure out what it is. That’s probably the main thing that’s stopping me from loving After Hours, or at least at the same level as most of Martin Scorsese’s other movies.

Griffin Dunne is the lead character and the movie surrounds him the entire time, and he more than holds his own. He pretty much personifies the everyman caught in one crazy incident after the other, and you can really see him losing it as the night goes on and never seeming to get any break. The supporting cast was good as well, with many of them playing some weird and memorable characters, with the cast including Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and more.

Martin Scorsese’s direction is great as usual. Even though he generally makes great looking movies, I was taken aback at how stunning this movie looked. The New York City’s Soho is very well captured, and Scorsese effectively conveys a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere excellently. The synth score by Howard Shore also accompanies the movie rather well and it’s a constant presence throughout the movie.

After Hours isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but there’s a lot of things here to like. It’s weird, dream-like and entertaining, very well directed and it has a bunch of memorable characters along with Griffin Dunne’s central lead performance anchoring the movie. It’s a unique movie that’s worth a watch.

Zootopia (2016) Review

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Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Some scenes may scare very young children
Cast:
Ginnifer Goodwin as Officer Judy Hopps (voice)
Jason Bateman as Nicholas P. “Nick” Wilde (voice)
Idris Elba as Chief Bogo (voice)
Jenny Slate as Dawn Bellwether (voice)
Nate Torrence as Officer Benjamin Clawhauser (voice)
Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Hopps (voice)
Don Lake as Stu Hopps (voice)
Tommy Chong as Yax (voice)
J.K. Simmons as Leodore Lionheart (voice)
Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Otterton (voice)
Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton (voice)
Shakira as Gazelle (voice)
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.

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Before seeing the movie, Zootopia didn’t interest me at all. It looked like a passable, ‘fun’ animated kids film, which could be poorly written or maybe even a little annoying. I don’t know, it never really looked that appealing to me. To my utter surprise, Zootopia was actually a really great movie. This film is quite smartly written and layered story, has memorable and likable characters, is very entertaining and has quite a lot of depth. Zootopia ended up being one of the most surprising movies of the entire year.

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This movie is very entertaining and hilarious, it’s fun to watch this movie and see this world which was created. Zootopia itself is very creative and unique, I’m impressed with how original it was, this is a super original movie, I’m surprised we haven’t gotten a movie like this sooner. But also, despite the trailers not showing it, Zootopia is actually quite a mature, deep and emotional movie. It almost feels like it was a film made for adults but with cute animals inserted into it. This film actually goes into some relevant issues such as racism, stereotypes and many others, and it’s all done in such a smart way. But it’s not ham fisted or forced, it’s subtle and it actually does have a purpose and benefited the movie immensely. This movie is so well written overall. If there’s any flaws with the movie, I guess the opening of the film has a whole lot of exposition just thrown at you all at once explaining the world, but that didn’t bother me a whole lot. Maybe it could’ve been done better but it was fine.

ZOOTOPIA – Pictured: Judy Hopps. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The characters were great and memorable and the voice actors were perfectly cast. The pair of the main two characters, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman) were so great and fun to watch, they had excellent chemistry together. There were other memorable characters as well such as Idris Elba’s Chief of Police Buffalo character, which were relentlessly entertaining. I won’t say too much about other memorable characters, you’ll just have to see them for yourself.

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It isn’t really surprising at all that the animation and design of the characters and the world was really great and overall done well. As I said earlier, Zootopia is very creative and the looks and designs of the world and characters really reflect that as well. It’s very easy to get sucked into this unique world that has been created. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino was also really good and fitted the movie well.

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Zootopia surprisingly turned out to be one of the best movies of the year. It’s entertaining and fun but is also smartly written and was a much deeper movie than I was ever expecting it to be. You should definitely check out Zootopia out when you can, even if it doesn’t look that good to you, at least give it a try. Trust me, the movie is a lot better than the trailers and the marketing made it out to be.