[EXPRESSO] Tolkien (2019) | Warlocks & Dragons

Tolkien 2019 poster.jpg

Preface: i didn’t read any of the novels of mr. Tolkien, i didn’t knew what
his actual life was like, i watched the Lord Of The Rings movies. That’s it, that’s how much i knew before seeing this in theathers. That, and how the Tolkien family didn’t approve or endorse the motion picture.

So i didn’t exactly know what to expect, besides the obvious. And frankly you just get that, the expected from a dramatized biopic of a fantasy author. We start in media res when J.R. Tolkien is figthting in the trenches of WWI while searching disperately for one of his friends, and he struggles to survive we get to see his life with his brother and mother living in slums, then as orphans in the foster home of an Ofxord aristocratic lady that took them in, his romance with Edith, another orphan already under her wings, and his circle of friends made at the Ofxord university.

Tying this all together is Tolkien passion for creating stories, legends of magic and fantasy lands, great dangers and journey, even going so far as to create a new alphabet and language specifically for his tales, which carries over in significant event of his life and here is made to create parallel with his fantasy creations, and the struggle to make the unevitable truths of life better with the power of art, and how it lead to him writing the Hobbit, etc etc.

It’s got a decent-good cast, a very good scenography, likeable characters, it’s heart it’s in the right place, and it’s not like it undermines its own point or anything like that.

But it’s also a very standard romanticized biopic of a creative’s troubled life, it’s decent, fairly enjoyable, but, you’ve already seen this before, and done better.

It’s alright.



[EXPRESSO] City Hunter: Private Eyes (2019) | 2019t Ol’ Comedy Hammers

City Hunter Private Eyes 2019 poster japanese.jpg

I wasn’t sure about reviewing this one.

I mean, ultimately i’m more familiar with Cinderella Boy than City Hunter (including it’s forgotten live action adaptation where Jackie Chan – also – plays Chun Li), i don’t have any real nostalgia, and i was surprised to learn Private Eyes it’s the fourth feature lenght for the series, the last in 29 years. Yeah, it’s been a while.

But why not, as here in Italy it’s the first of the new “anime for cinemas” batch?

In any case, you don’t need to know much (or anything really) about the series to watch this one. It’s an old fashioned action crime comedy, where we follow the oddjobs undertaken by private detective Ryo Saeba, the titular “City Hunter” (amazing shot and fighter, but an unpenitent and perpetually unsuccesfull perv) and her assistant Kaori Makimura (a tomboyish girl prone to punish Ryo’s perviness via classic anime comedy hammer), with some romance between them simmering in the back between cases.

Here, Ryo and Kaori are commissioned to protect Ai Shindo, a model who it’s being targeted for unknow purposes, which makes Kaori casually reunite with her childhood friend, almost unrecognizable as the CEO of the massive company Dominatech (yeah), and Ai’s father is involved…. Yeah, the plot isn’t really anything that needs further explanation, it’s fairly clichè, as is the villain, but it’s as good as needed for the main selling point of the movie: nostalgia.

It’s not a bad movie, at all, but besides some minor upgrades like drones (and the animation), it’s an 80s anime movie all the way, so much there’s a cameo from the Cat’s Eye protagonists. Which is fine, but the style of comedy is really, typical of the era whence City Hunter came from, and REALLY outdated.

Decent fun, still.


[EXPRESSO] Stuber (2019) | Please 5 Star Me

Stuber 2019 poster

Here the floodgates have been lifted, so to say, and way too many movies came out last week in cinemas (hence why i missed Submergence by Wim Wenders, and why there won’t be an EXPRESSO review of it). I choose Stuber, mostly because of Bautista and Nanjani being in it, though the title is amusingly goofy enough.

Kumail Nanjani here is Stu, who alternates between his crappy job at a super store and his Uber career, trying to keep his star ratings up while having to deal with a douchy boss, the fickle variety of Uber customers, and an uncomfortable love-friend relationship with his crush. One day is called for an Uber drive by Dave Bautista (the character has a name, but who cares), playing a buff, grouchy and violent cop who is still obsessing over the death of his partner and wants to solve the case, stringing Stu along for his vendetta, who’d rather go to his lady friend/fuck buddy.

It’s a typical buddy comedy at heart, with two characters that couldn’t be more opposite to each other, forced to work together by the circumstances despite hating each other, that eventually develop a sense of camaraderie and mutual rispect, etc etc. There’s nothing new in this regard, and the characters are fairly stock, but deliberately so, with Kumail Nanjani and Dave Bautista doing the typical role you’d expect from them, the story is also clichè, but it’s done in a comfy way, not by making an half hassed parody of the genre, or a tribute, but just updating it for the “era” without misguided attempts to be subversive for no reason, or shame of being “just” a buddy comedy.

And ultimately, it’s really, really funny, great cast, fun script.

A fun crime comedy romp with Drax and Kumail Nanjani.