WHEN I was little all I wanted was to have a common, average full name; something like John Smith or Robert Jones. I was the only one in my elementary school to have my first name, though there were a couple of boys who had names similar to mine. Teachers never asked a Jeffrey or Deborah to repeat their names but with certain teachers I had to repeat mine a 2nd time so they were sure they heard correctly. Thinking back now I am not sure why it was important for me to want a different name unless it was to be less noticed. It was not like my name was hard to spell or even pronounce. AS we graduated out of elementary school we were joined with students from other schools. There was one boy who had the same last name as a local food company and he was picked on because of it. I remember sitting and imagining if he was getting teased for a food product what would happen to a student who had the same last name of an infamous person from history; such as Churchill, Hemingway or Mussolini? Interestingly I knew a couple of people who were connected to famous individuals but no one knew because they did not have the same last name. There was one friend who was able to trace his family history back 6 centuries. He showed me a couple of artifacts that had been handed down generation to generation; it really blew my mind since my knowledge of my family’s history only goes back approximately a couple of hundred years. Tracing a family’s history can be eye opening, both for the relatives or bystanders. The reason I say this is because there is a famous family business headquartered in my city. The descendants have lived around here for years and a friend of mine is the accountant for a couple of them. Just from a couple of stories told to me, this family has some messed up genes in their gene pool. But they do not as far as I know have an ancestor like the one in this fantasy adventure. CAL Lynch, played by Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans, Steve Jobs), was surprised to discover he had an ancestor named Aguilar who was an assassin. Cal was more surprised when he met him. This action film based on a video game had a heavy hitting cast joining Michael. There was Marion Cotillard (Allied, Rust and Bone) as Sofia, Jeremy Irons (The Man in the Iron Mask, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Rikkin and Brendan Gleeson (Suffragette, Troy) as Joseph Lynch. With such a good cast it was a shame the nonsensical script was so poor. It was a patchwork of fights, romance, history; it jumped from one to the other. I enjoyed the exterior shots and I did not mind the story, but this film was barely coherent. The actors tried their best I believe; however, I was bored through parts of the picture. Maybe the video game is fun to play but this was not a film one needs to pay full price to see. In my opinion this was a movie studio and family dysfunction.
1 2/3 stars
Whether they were read, seen or told to us; fairy tales are stories that have stayed with us from our childhood. Who did not want to be a princess or a prince when they were a little kid? I was convinced that when I grew up; one day, I would swoop in and rescue who would become the love of my life. There was something about fairy tales that not only gave me a sense of hope; they provided me with an outlet to let my imagination grow and explore new passageways through my mind. Right from the beginning of this movie, I felt a kinship with writer and director Pablo Berger (Torremolinos). Using the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as a foundation, Pablo took the story and pushed it towards a dark, humorous, creative drama; that was a visual masterpiece. Some of you know I was not a fan of the silent film The Artist. Where I thought it was more of a gimmick for that movie; in this one, I absolutely loved the silence of no spoken words. The soundtrack came to the forefront to steer the story to some incredible heights. Set in Spain during the 1920’s; famous bullfighter Antonio Villalta, played by Daniel Gimenez (Bad Education, A Painting Lesson), had a beautiful daughter named Carmen. There was only one person who did not like the young girl and that was her evil stepmother Encarna, played by Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Blind Sunflowers). The richness of this black and white film only increased the enormous screen power of Maribel. This Oscar nominated movie was magical to me; I had no sense of time passing and felt I was taken to a different world. Absolutely beautiful to watch, I am willing to say this film will become a modern classic. Spanish with English subtitles.