Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Review: Idris Elba Electrifies

The first thing that has to be said in our Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom review is you would be hard-pressed to find someone other than Idris Elba to do a better job portraying the man who is much more than even the words icon or legend could describe. Elba plays Nelson Mandela from his early twenties until after he is elected president of South Africa. For an actor, and for the film itself, it is quite an endeavor to capture a life so extraordinary, especially one based on the autobiography written by the man himself.

Idris Elba Mandela Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela’s story is about as well known as there is out there. But what is fascinating is there are still things for the audience to learn about the man who would lead a revolution to reverse decades of hate, racism, economical, physical and psychological warfare on a majority of people by their fairer skin minority. There are things he does as a young man that add a human element to the man who has achieved almost saint-dom in the mind of so many.

There is also his relationship with his wife Winnie (an astounding Naomie Harris) that is treated with the utmost care, as previewed in the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom trailer. As our story begins, Nelson is more of a violent revolutionary and Winnie is the quieter one seeking a more peaceful means of change. As Nelson is imprisoned, director Justin Chadwick paints a picture that sees their relationship moving like a see-saw. He grows more non-violent and she gets more violently revolutionary. It is no wonder the two grew apart over the decades he was imprisoned. It wasn’t only the separation that doomed their marriage.

Idris Elba Stars In Mandela Long Walk to Freedom

The thing about Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom that one must know heading in is it is long. The film clocks in at over two-and-a-half hours. But, there is nothing that can be cut! In fact, we wish there was more to explore in the life of a man that so many people think they know, and in reality there is so much more to know. It does not feel long and when we finally get to the iconic moment that was broadcast on television screens across the globe — Mandela dancing with his adoring public outside his home after his release – there was not a dry eye in the house.

What else is fascinating in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is how filmmakers painted a picture of the man as a realist. I believe that is the utmost of importance in this age of political divide. There could not have been two parties further apart in their beginnings, politics and life experience than the whites who ran South Africa and the man who everyone knew would eventually lead the nation. Yet, Mandela knew he had to work with his jailers in order to achieve a peaceful future for the nation he so adored. And in showing that aspect of the Nelson Mandela story, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom may have achieved its greatest victory. 

Weekend Movie Preview: November 29, 2013

It may be cold outside, but inside the movie houses of the country, it looks to be like summer with five new releases hitting screens. Disney releases its latest gem, Frozen, Jason Statham battles James Franco in Homefront, Nelson Mandela gets the biopic treatment, Spike Lee reinterprets a Korean classic in Oldboy with Josh Brolin, and Jennifer Hudson gets in the holiday spirit with Black Nativity.

Frozen: Disney has created their best movie since The Lion King with their latest, a movie inspired by the classic fable The Snow Queen. Idina Menzel is Elsa and Kristen Bell is Anna, and the two are sisterly princesses who have kept a family secret for years. Seems that Elsa has the power to turn everything she touches into ice and snow. Things are going fine, until Elsa’s coronation where she inadvertently puts her kingdom on ice… literally.

Haunted by what she has done, she runs to the hills where she can live in solitude. That is, until her sister heads out into the winterly landscape to bring her back and reverse the curse. The songs are top notch, the performances as astounding and Josh Gad steals scenes left and right as the snowman Olaf. For more, check out our Frozen review.

Homefront: Statham is back in action, and this time, he has to deal with Franco’s meth dealer. All Statham wants is to raise his little girl in peace. That is not going to happen and we all know it! Statham shows a softer side, as we state in our Homefront review, and Franco has a ball playing the baddie. Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth also star in this action fest that should please the action hero’s fan base. 

Oldboy: Lee is nothing if not someone who likes to ruffle feathers. And what better way than to bring an American version of a beloved Korean cult classic to screens?! Oldboy stars Brolin as a not-so-likeable guy who winds up kidnapped, framed for his wife’s murder and stuck inside the same room for 20 years. When he is released for no reason at all… he embarks on a trek of revenge that may find him experiencing the greatest horror of them all. Lee is as gifted a filmmaker as ever, as we state in our Oldboy review, and Brolin is also up for the complex task.

Mandela Long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba electrifies in the biopic of the iconic South African leader, as reported in our Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom review. It’s a difficult task to capture a life so extraordinary in a two-hour movie. But, filmmakers manage to do that, and actually leave us wanting to know more about a man that we think we know… yet really have just began to scratch the surface of his brilliance.

Black Nativity: Hudson is joined by an all-star cast, including Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett, in a holiday musical that is based on the play by Langston Hughes. The film is a little uneven, but you can forgive it by the end of the film that will have audiences singing all the way home because of its uncanny ability to be heartwarming and heartfelt. Our Black Nativity review also notes that as the only true holiday film out this weekend, it is the one that will get you firmly in the spirit of the season!

Transformers Age of Extinction Photos: Michael Bay & Mark Wahlberg Ready to Rock

Michael Bay has been busy making his fourth Transformers movie, and as a little post-Thanksgiving treat, he has released a slew of photos from his Transformers: Age of Extinction set featuring his new cast of characters, including Mark Wahlberg. From the looks of these pics, it appears that Bay and Wahlberg are getting along famously, and why should that be surprising? After all, Wahlberg seems like quite the Bay type of guy!

Transformers Age of Extinction Michael Bay Mark Wahlberg

We know that Bay has been filming in Asia, and this next photo shows the filmmaker busy at work on the continent.

Michael Bay Transformers Age of Extinction

The next series of pics features several new members of Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction cast, including Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor.

  • Transformers Age of Extinction Nicola Peltz
  • Transformers Age of Extinction Jack Raynor

Transformers: Age of Extinction also stars Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer as the villain! Look for the fourth Transformers film in theaters June 27, 2014. 

Also check out this new still of one of Bay’s bombastic vehicles ready for some action! 

Transformers: Age of Extinction Still

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer: Bilbo Meets Smaug

The latest 30-second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has arrived, and from the look on Bilbo’s (Martin Freeman) face in the opening moments of this teaser, maybe he’s wishing he had stayed at home in the Shire. See, he gets up close and personal with the dragon Smaug!

And you’ve got to wonder about a dragon, or any beast for that matter, who takes joy in sleeping in mountains of gold coins. That can’t be comfortable!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has its release date knocking on the door. Look for it in 3D and IMAX 3D on December 13.

The Legend of Hercules Poster: Kellan Lutz Featured as Movie Changes Name

The poster for The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz has landed. You might notice something a little different from the film that featured its latest trailer last week. The film has changed its name from Hercules: The Legend Begins to The Legend of Hercules.

The Legend of Hercules Poster

Lutz stars in this Hercules origins story that has also seen its release date change from February 7, 2014 to January 10, 2014. All this change has to do with the fact that Summit Entertainment has acquired the property and clearly sees something truly special in it.