Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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After their headquarters is destroyed by a drug kingpin, the Kingsman must team up with their American “cousins” known as the “Statesman” in order to save the world once again.

Ever since I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service two years ago, I knew that there should be a sequel, and that it would definitely be worth waiting for. I have to disagree with the disappointed thoughts from critics because I had a blast with the new Kingsman film. Matthew Vaughn brings back everything we loved from the first film and doesn’t lose his grip on the insanity, fun, and awesome characters. The action is over-the-top, entertaining, and mindless, and although not as bloody as I expected, Vaughn’s style is very special and works so well with the action sequences in the film. There’s a certain long-shot sequence that didn’t top the church scene from the first movie for me, but is still a very well-directed scene. It’s not as memorable as the first one, as the violence, music, and directing in the first one felt more fresh, but this movie brings back what I had so much fun with in the predecessor. The soundtrack that includes John Denver and Elton John (who also appears in the film) is also great and feels very fitting in the film.

Taron Egerton is once again fantastic as the protagonist Eggsy who brings so much charm and heart, and I believe he’ll surely be cast in a lot more roles after his breakthrough in these films. Mark Strong gives as much humor and fun as Merlin, who is as hilarious as he as when we met him in the first film. His character has a lot of great moments and brings lots of heart to the film. The new cast includes Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, and Jeff Bridges. Pascal steals a few scenes as Agent Whiskey who is lots of fun to watch and well-written, and Berry is also a good addition to the franchise, but Tatum and Bridges, although very good, weren’t in the film as much as I hoped. Colin Firth’s return is nice but felt a little too forced and heavy handed. Firth tried his best to be as great as he was in the first movie, but the excuse for his return was a little cliche and his character didn’t bring the amusement we got from him when we first met him. I think we would have been much better off not getting that information from the trailers and having the surprise saved for the film, even though his return is revealed in the film’s first act. My main problem in The Golden Circle is the villain, who is ridiculously eccentric, dull and annoying to watch on screen, and her motive completely makes no sense. What made Samuel L. Jackson’s villain from The Secret Service so great is that he had a feeling of charisma and lots of humor, and that we were able to enjoy his villain. Although he wasn’t very menacing, he was plenty of fun and delivered a new sense to his villain, and Moore definitely gives a shot at that sense of charm but ends up making her character feel heavy-handed and boring.

Although some my disagree, I believe The Golden Circle was able to do what a good sequel should do – bring back and build on what appealed from the predecessor, and bring in something new as well. Vaughn has a very recognizable style when it comes to action and editing, and although this wasn’t one of his best, I wasn’t let down by what I got. The characters are built on very well, both the old and new ones,  with arcs that include Eggsy’s romance with the princess of Sweden and the return of another character from the first film. The story at times has elements that don’t make much sense, and a minor subplot about the President of the United States wasn’t very interesting, but I had such a great time seeing the characters return with more great writing, action, and story. If you want to go to the theaters to have a very fun time and get your mind off life, then this is definitely the movie you should see.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has received mixed reviews from critics, and it’s definitely not as good and original as the first film, but I wasn’t really let down by what I saw. From the awesome action to the great humor and cast, action fans and fans of the predecessor will likely enjoy it like I did.

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Mother!

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Mother! is a film in which a happy couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) living in a house surrounded by woods, are met by uninvited guests in their house, which leads to chaos and turmoil in the house.

If you expect a horror film or a thriller from this, you’ll be let down because this film is much more than that. You can’t put this movie in one genre, it starts as a psychological thriller, with the tension that builds up continuing to intrigue and confuse as you wonder, just like Jennifer Lawrence’s protagonist, what could possibly be happening. Lawrence is absolutely brilliant in the film, showing plenty of emotion and vulnerability as an innocent woman going through a nightmare. She was perfectly casted in the role, and so was Bardem as her character’s charming but complex husband, and Michelle Pfieffer, Ed Harris, and a few other well known stars are good as well. The cinematography is shot on a rare 16mm format which is very appreciable as it’s rare to see movies not shot on film nowadays, and the movie is always either shot from Lawrence’s perspective or with her in the frame. I liked the creative technical style of the film, which also includes the use of zero music throughout the entire runtime, helping establish more intensity. There is lots of imagery that’s never quite explained or revealed and the movie becomes more mysterious and you can’t wait until everything is explained. There is a lot that audiences may enjoy, and then the film switches things up and goes insane during the final act. This last act is the reason many audiences have criticized and polarized the movie. Many have hated it for the disturbing content it displays in the climax, and the allegorical narrative it offers. The ending is quite ambiguous and does betray the genre of the rest of the film, but it’s fascinating how weird it is and how differently everyone can interpret it. I expected an ending that would stay true to what the first two acts offered, and some stuff did bother me on how confusing it turned out to be, but director Darren Aronofsky had an interesting vision and strong passion to make this, and it’s getting people to talk about it. I overall liked the film and appreciate how daring and different it is, but it’s definitely not for everyone, as it’s metaphorical themes and gory content will frustrate many.

Mother! is the weirdest, craziest, most different and least mainstream movie I’ve seen this year. Many have loved it and many have hated it, and I can’t recommend it to everyone because many will be disturbed and disappointed, but the acting, directing, cinematography, tension, and ambiguity make this an insane yet special film to be released in 2017, with many different meanings that it could potentially posses.

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The 2017 FilmToppings Summer Movie Awards

This summer was a great couple of months, as we received lots of great movies in the last few months. I held these awards ceremony for the fourth time, and this year was quite a success! I had lots of votes and more categories this year! Thanks to everyone who helped determine the winners by voting on my Instagram posts! Without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Visual Effects: War for the Planet of the Apes

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Best Cinematography: Dunkirk

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Best Score/Soundtrack: Baby Driver

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Best Supporting Actor: Michael Rooker – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Best Supporting Actress: Eiza Gonzalez – Baby Driver

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Best Screenplay: The Big Sick

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Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

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Best Actor: Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes

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Best Actress: Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman

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Worst Movie: The Emoji Movie

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Best Movie: Baby Driver

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Those are this summer’s award winners! Once again, I’d like to thank all my followers who participated by voting on my Instagram posts, as well as all those amazing filmmakers who helped us all have awesome times at the movies this summer! Other great films that were nominated but didn’t win any awards include It Comes at Night, Okja, Wind River, Detroit, Logan Lucky, Spider-Man Homecoming, and more! I agree with most of my followers’ picks this year, including the Best Movie! This summer was awesome and I hope this awards season has many more great movies to offer! What were your favorite films this summer and which most deserved to win?

Logan Lucky

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Logan Lucky follows two brothers who attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. This film marks the end of Steven Soderbergh’s short-lived retirement from filmmaking, and I’m glad to say he hasn’t lost his steam since back before he retired. Here, he makes every shot and set feel lively and every scene feel engaging and exciting. The cinematography feels very stylistic and the editing of country and rock music as well as sounds of cars revving make the film very enjoyable to watch and well put together. The writing is tons of fun as well, with some hilarious dialogue and humor put into the film that is brilliantly done. This film has humor that not many movies has to offer, as most comedies nowadays have large budgets and forced and predictable humor, but here, the humor is clever and not always expected. Although the style and humor in this film are outstanding, my favorite part of the film was easily the cast, and the characters they play. Channing Tatum is terrific in a delightful and well-written leading role, and Adam Driver, who has gained fame for playing the main villain in the new Star Wars films, Riley Keough, who has shown lots of talent in films like this and It Comes at Night, and Daniel Craig, who seamlessly trades his British accent for a Southern one, are all hilarious and pleasing in their main roles. The supporting cast, including Seth Macfarlane, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterson, and Hillary Swank are also fantastic. All these characters, even if some of them are complete assholes, are compelling and entertaining to watch, so well put to screen by the talented actors who were very well cast. Even the smaller roles are given very fun and amusing moments. The movie doesn’t try to be something huge or groundbreaking, as the plot isn’t something that will blow your mind as it’s something that’s been done before. It draws similarities to Soderbergh’s heist film Ocean’s Eleven, which he even references in this film, but this still feels like something new and refreshing if you look at the characters, acting, and style that isn’t offered by all films nowadays. The story gets somewhat confusing at the end and could have been a little more clear, but that didn’t make me ignore all the entertainment that this movie has to offer. If you simply want a fun time at the movies, I couldn’t recommend this more.

I had a blast watching Logan Lucky, thanks to Soderbergh’s direction and a wonderful cast. It’s not one of the best movies that’s been released this year, but I think more comedies should have the brilliant energy and humor that this film has. If you’re looking for a movie to keep you entertained, you’ll be lucky to watch this one.

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