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Tag Archive: Rupert Grint


Review by C.J. Bunce

Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders is now available for streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime.  Christie is renowned for the cozy mystery novel, but the 2017 three-part BBC series upends the cozy qualities of Christie’s trademark storytelling with the seemingly obligatory modernizing of the classics through a dark and grotesque filter.  If you’re revisiting Christie through the lens of something like Edgar Allan Poe, then it might make sense to you to swap out your familiar vision of the enduring detective hero Hercule Poirot for someone known for his whispering, creepy, and pretentious characters.  Someone like John Malkovich.  If you’re lucky, as was director Alex Gabassi (The Frankenstein Chronicles) and screenwriter Sarah Phelps (EastEnders), you might find Malkovich in one of his finer performances.

Malkovich, in a most reserved and dialed back performance, is perfect as Poirot at the end of his career, disgraced, derided, and reviled, shunned instead of adored in a time when the native Belgian was reviled in England in a wave of anti-immigrant hatred.  He is dark, moody, uncertain, nearly off his game as he begins to receive in his batch of daily love and hate mail a single set of letters from an unknown sender with violent intentions.  Now retired (this is Poirot in 1933) he seeks the aid of Scotland Yard, always helpful in the old days, to find one Inspector Crome, a twenty-something inspector played by 29-year-old Rupert Grint.  Poirot is out and Crome is in, until Crome realizes Poirot’s warnings of a killer taunting Poirot with murder victims and towns following laid out alphabetically were all spot on.  At last Grint makes his move into a mature role, and he does it believably well, holding his own opposite the incomparable mystique of Malkovich.  Joining Grint from the Harry Potter films is Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle) as the vile landlady of a creepy young man whose initials are A.B.C., played by Eamon Farren (Winchester, Twin Peaks), and who the story follows in parallel to Poirot’s pursuit.

Unfortunately the potentially interesting switch-up to the Modern is mired in unnecessary irrelevancies, including attempts at ambience at the expense of furthering the plot.  So prepare for overlong frames of lurid, exaggerated, repulsive, and vulgar wallowing in fluids, leering at every fathomable excess, regurgitations too numerous to count, an odd sex torture scene, tasteless dwelling on spilled urine and worse.  It becomes difficult to look over and around these additions to try to hone in on the point of the whole thing, the part that works: Christie’s clever mystery story.  Not surprisingly none of the excesses were in Christie’s original mystery.  The distractions are unfortunate, because Grint shows promise as a classic British character type he could possibly bank on for future roles, and Malkovich gives a good effort at an updated take on the character, complete with an acceptable mix of accents.

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Rogue One clip

Our annual “All the Movies You’ll Want to See…” series has been one of the most viewed of all of our entries at borg.com each year.  So this year we again scoured Hollywood and its publicity machine for as many genre films coming out in 2016 as have been disclosed.  Usually we select the 24 that look like the biggest hits, but we’re going all out for 2016.  The result is a whopping 48 movies, many you’ll probably want to see in the theater or catch on video.  We bet you’ll find a bunch below you’ve never heard of.  Bookmark this now for your 2016 calendar!

Most coming out in the second half of 2016 don’t even have posters released yet, but many do.  We’ve included descriptions and key cast so you can start planning accordingly.

Star Trek Beyond clip

What do we think will be the biggest hits of the year?  How about Star Wars: Rogue One?  Or Star Trek Beyond?  You’ve heard endlessly about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but 2016 will also see Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse.  There’s even a handful of Westerns, with The Hateful 8, Jane Got a Gun, and another remake of The Magnificent Seven heading our way.

01 Hateful Eight poster

The Hateful Eight – January 1

Tarentino’s Western!  Ennio Morricone score!  Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Channing Tatum!

5WV_1SHT_TSR_05.indd

The 5th Wave – January 8

Chloe Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber in an alien invasion.

03 400 days poster

400 Days – January 12

The CW’s Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, and Tom Cavanaugh in a movie about astronauts that seems to be a play on Ender’s Game.

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Rupert Grint in Into the White

Harry Potter fans were happy to see Daniel Radcliffe break away from his successful wizard role and into his first major adult dramatic role in the creepy The Woman in Black one year ago.  It was a fun film that we reviewed here.  Now we finally get to see Rupert Grint, the actor who played Potter’s pal Ron Weasley, on the other side of the color spectrum in his first adult dramatic role in the World War II film Into the White.

Into the White poster

Norwegian Director Petter Næss has created a WWII film “inspired by a true story” and not based in an epic battle, but between two opposing airplane crews that shoot each other down over Grotli shortly after the beginning of the war.  Three Germans, played by Florian Lukas (Goodbye, Lenin!), David Kross (War Horse), and Stig Henrik Hoff (The Thing (2011)), and two Brits, played by Lachlan Nieboer (Downton Abbey, Torchwood) and Grint are stranded in the snow-covered mountains of Norway.  They find a cabin and must learn to deal with each other and survive the elements.  Less of a typical war movie and more of a struggle between opposite ideologies, this looks like you’ll find some battles over tensions and claustrophobia among the airmen.

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Sporting his classic Robin Hood goatee, Sir Patrick Stewart helped launch the Olympic games this week as one of several torch bearers along the route leading to the opening ceremonies at 9 p.m. local London time today.  The opening ceremonies will be re-broadcast in the States tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern or viewable live on the Internet via streaming video.

Not only did good Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise make an appearance, but Matt Smith did as well.  If the creators of Doctor Who haven’t thought about working some images of the Eleventh Doctor into a coming episode, they better get on it.

How can you pass this up for the decades old, distinctively British, science fiction franchise?

But the Brits have not only tapped into fans of the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises to get the world chuffed for the Olympics, they also tapped into their own Harry Potter franchise, with Ron Weasley actor Rupert Grint as torchbearer.

Finally, one other sci-fi/fantasy actor worked the torch relay this week.  James McAvoy, who played Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, but also played young Xavier/Professor X in X-Men: First Class, seemed to be getting into the spirit of the Olympic Games, too.

As with the Superbowl, All Star Game, and the Oscars, the ceremony for the Olympics is always fun and always a great big show.  As we get closer to the opening ceremonies today, the big question is what other celebrities will pass the torch, and who will be the final person to light up the games in Olympic stadium.  British sports legends aside, you can imagine the likes of Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench, Mick Jagger, Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Laurie, Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sir Kenneth Branagh, J.K. Rowling, Alan Rickman, Kate Beckinsale, Sir Christopher Lee, Emma Thompson, Tony Blair, Sir Elton John, Keira Knightley, David Tennant, Simon Pegg, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sir Roger Moore, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Robert Pattinson, Michael Palin, Clive Owen, Sir Richard Branson, Bono, Sir Ian McKellen, Gerard Butler, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Sir Sean Connery as possible people to carry the torch for at least a few steps of the remaining leg of the Olympic flame’s journey.

And if you’re not keeping up on the finals for this year’s games and need someone to cheer for, how about these keeping an eye out for these promising Olympians?

  • Gabby Douglas in gymnastics (who has been working under coach Liang Chow, the coach that helped propel Shawn Johnson to a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics)
  • Lolo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles (winner of three NCAA titles and 11 All-American honors, indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60 m hurdles, with gold medals at the World Indoor Championship in 2008 and 2010; favored to win the 100 m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but finished seventh; she’s the American record holder in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.72)
  • Miranda Leek in archery (2011 National Champion, 2011 World Cup gold medalist, 2012 US Nationals silver medalist)
  • Lisa Koll Uhl in the women’s 10,000 meter race (four-time NCAA Division One champion, current NCAA record holder in the 10,000 meters) and the sixth fastest American woman to ever cover that distance)
  • And of course, everyone will be watching to see if Michael Phelps can repeat his gold medal performance from 2008.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Reviewed by C.J. Bunce

Harry Potter never had it easy.  A kid with a dark destiny thrust into a world of muggles as a baby from a world of hidden magic and secrets.  As his story progressed no matter how many people acted in support of him, in the last two of seven episodes we learn that maybe the cards were stacked against him from even before his birth.  And only at the end do we learn the truth and his destiny is finally revealed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, debuted in the UK last weekend and this weekend in the U.S. to record midnight screening and opening day box office sales of $92.1 million.  Thankfully, our devotion to Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends over 13 years of our lives was rewarded with a satisfying conclusion.  It’s not a perfect film, or even close to it, but it is a lot of fun and if your expectations after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, were as low as mine, you might just walk out as pleasantly surprised as I was, willing to go back for another screening. 

Look forward to the best Harry Potter movie since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  And it is much better than Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

Highlights of  Deathly Hallows, Part 2, include: 

  • Our favorite underdog, background character Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) finally gets his due screentime, and if there is any young actor we want to see more of post-Harry Potter, it is this actor as an adult. 
  • We get to meet a new resident of Hogwarts, Helena Ravenclaw, played beautifully by Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting, Elizabeth, Gosford Park, State of Play, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, No Country for Old Men).
  • We get to meet Albus Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth Dumbledore, played by the brilliant Ciaran Hinds (Excaliber, Sum of All Fears, Phantom of the Opera, Road to Perdition, Tomb Raider, Jane Eyre, Race to Witch Mountain).
  • Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, who will will not back down and demands to have her say, gives a performance that could very well have been the female lead in this movie.
  • A superb scene of a rescue from Gringotts of a white dragon, incredibly lifelike and a satisfying scene.
  • In the 3D version, we get to see Hogwarts like never before, with an introductory shot of the mysterious, ever-watching Dementors, seeming to bookend our flight as we soar into the dark journey ahead.  In fact, this is the best 3D movie I have seen–nothing over the top or dazzling–but good enough that you feel like you are eavesdropping on a conversation between Harry, Hermione and Ron from under the stairsteps.  Or that you could grab a prop, like the Sword of Gryffindor, or like one of those thousands of gold chalices under Gringotts, from the production set.  I actually forgot it was a 3D movie.

My negatives are with the story, and the decision to break the novel into two films, more than the film itself.  Although it was a fun read, I did not love the novel.  I thought J.K. Rowling saved too much for the end, after three previous forgettable installments where not a lot happened.  Too much crammed into the last book, and if better planned out, some of the revelations in this last installment could have been more subtlely peppered through the prior installments.  And the jam-packed story was all too rushed. 

As an example, (a spoiler for those who have not read the book or seen Deathly Hallows, Part 1):  Rowling seemed to spend a lot of time with Harry’s sadness at the death of Dobby the Elf, yet snuffed out the life of Harry’s closest companion going back to day one at Hogwart’s–the only one at his side even while he had to live with the Dursley’s–his pet owl Hedwig.  And she goes on to snuff out beloved characters almost willy-nilly in my mind without much reflection by our hero.  Loyal readers probably will figure this occurs off-screen, but again I think the story presses forward like a freight train out of control at times–it must, because there are too many ends that need tied up.

 

Ultimately the tying up occurs, and we can walk out of the theater with our questions answered.  Finally, there did not seem to be enough Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), and when we did see them, Hermione’s role was more of a watcher than the heroine we’ve come to love.  There was not enough of Severus Snape’s (Alan Rickman) story, and I also am still not a fan of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) make-up and don’t believe Voldemort will go down as one of the best cinema villains despite Fiennes top-notch acting.

The slow, almost boring, parts of Deathly Hallows, Part 1, after watching Part 2, tell me that there never was a need to break the book into two films.  With the new Twilight installment following suit by splitting a book into two movies, to me this reflects greed of the franchise and nothing else.  For the sake of moviegoers, hopefully this is not the wave of the future.  Prices at my theater were at an all-time high.  With returns of $92 million on the first day, and all the blockbusters this summer, Hollywood can’t be doing that bad.

All said, this final installment is great entertainment, a must for Harry Potter fans, and an excuse to play catch-up on any past Harry Potter episodes you may have missed (for the three people out there who haven’t already seen them all).  The film offers a denouement that is a great wrap-up, thoughtful, and hopefully removes all possibility of any need of any future installments in the franchise.

Postscript for anyone who likes to see screen-used costumes and props–the Smithsonian Institution is arranging an exhibit of costumes from the Harry Potter franchise.  More details to be announced.

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