Angus Macfadyen

Angus Macfadyen

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Angus MacFadyen at the 54th New York Film Festival premiere of 'The Lost City Of Z', New York, United States - Saturday 15th October 2016

Angus Macfadyen
Angus Macfadyen

We Bought A Zoo Review


Good
There's a terrific story inside this well-made but bloated movie, as if director-cowriter Crowe simply couldn't figure out which elements he most cared about, so he included everything. It's engaging enough to keep us watching, but never finds any real focus.

After his wife dies, Benjamin (Damon) is struggling to keep his kids - 14-year-old Dylan (Ford) and 7-year-old Rosie(Jones) - happy, mainly because he has lost the daredevil storyteller within himself. So against the advice of his goofy-but-sensible brother (Church), Benjamin buys a run-down zoo and moves there with his children to get it up and running again. Zookeeper Kelly (Johansson) and her team (including Macfadyen and Fugit) don't think he'll stick it out. And indeed, it's more of a challenge than he ever imagined.

Continue reading: We Bought A Zoo Review

Impulse Review


Weak
Self-obsessed pop star and Dancing with the Stars also-ran Willa Ford makes her debut star turn (not counting the title role in Anna Nicole, I mean... how could you?) in Impulse. What must be a tragic heartbreak to Ms. Ford, the movie went straight to DVD. One wonders, if she had known it would turn out so poorly, if she would have agreed to spend so much time in the film with her clothes off.

There's a glimmer of cleverness in the story: Claire (Ford) finds her marriage to her puffy, stuffy husband Jonathan (Angus Macfadyen) is starting to fade, so she's constantly experimenting with role-playing to try to get some fire back in the sack. One of her games is for them to pretend they don't know each other at all, which makes for a fun roll in the hay. Claire is surprised when Jonathan shows up to meet her on a business trip out of town, and he plays along in the hotel bar, pretending he doesn't know who she is when she makes a pass at him. After a roll in the hay, she's reinvigorated. She gets a strange text message and agrees to another fling. Only later does she realize the impossible: It's not her husband at all, but a dead ringer for him named Simon. (And of course they look alike: Macfadyen plays both characters.)

Continue reading: Impulse Review

Angus MacFadyen and Ray Liotta

Angus Macfadyen and Ray Liotta

Saw III Review


Good
The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula -- even when those constants don't seem particularly vital to the quality of the series. Saw III, for example, matches its predecessors in the dubious categories of histrionic yelling, equally histrionic smash-editing (often incorporating a generous helping of re-used footage, from the previous films or even from earlier in this one), and plot twists that depend on those histrionics to drown out implausibility.

But Saw III does actually have a plot to twist which, like its predecessors, sets it apart from most slasher films. When we last left Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, the only cast member who doesn't have to scream half his dialogue), he was dying, and taking young Amanda (Shawnee Smith) under his wing to continue his work. Saw III picks up with Jigsaw in even worse shape than before, his body breaking down while his moralizing creepiness remains more or less intact. Amanda brings in an unhappy doctor (Bahar Soomekh) to keep Jigsaw alive along enough to see one of his most elaborate games played all the way through.

Continue reading: Saw III Review

Saw III Review


Good
The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula -- even when those constants don't seem particularly vital to the quality of the series. Saw III, for example, matches its predecessors in the dubious categories of histrionic yelling, equally histrionic smash-editing (often incorporating a generous helping of re-used footage, from the previous films or even from earlier in this one), and plot twists that depend on those histrionics to drown out implausibility.

But Saw III does actually have a plot to twist which, like its predecessors, sets it apart from most slasher films. When we last left Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, the only cast member who doesn't have to scream half his dialogue), he was dying, and taking young Amanda (Shawnee Smith) under his wing to continue his work. Saw III picks up with Jigsaw in even worse shape than before, his body breaking down while his moralizing creepiness remains more or less intact. Amanda brings in an unhappy doctor (Bahar Soomekh) to keep Jigsaw alive along enough to see one of his most elaborate games played all the way through.

Continue reading: Saw III Review

Titus Review


Weak
Titus Andronicus: One mean bastard.

Okay... I'm kinda lost. Who the hell is Titus Andronicus, you may ask? Well, Titus A. was the first play by Bill Shakespeare, about the usual themes of the mighty Bill: Revenge, hatred, a little bit of incest, honor, mental loopiness, and damn good human mincemeat pie. The hard part of trying to bring Shakespeare to life through either film or stage production is trying to cut through all of the pompous attitude of the director and making an understandable, comprehensible piece of narrative.

Continue reading: Titus Review

Braveheart Review


Excellent
Mel Gibson deserves a lot more credit than I've been giving him. A few years ago, no one could have conceived that the action star could pull off the lead role in a dazzling, epic, historical adventure-thriller-romance, let alone direct it. But he does, making Braveheart a vastly entertaining and powerful film.

Gibson plays Scottish hero William Wallace, a Scotsman with simple roots who finds himself thrust into a role as leader of the Scottish revolt against England in the late 13th century. After the despicable King Edward the Longshanks (Edward I) decrees that English nobles will have the right to sexual relations with all newly-wed Scottish women, the revolution is set in motion. Wallace takes up the cause, only to find himself facing incredible odds against a superior English army and fighting Scottish nobles who want to negotiate peace instead of fight. In fact, it's the nobles who turn out to be the bigger obstacle.

Continue reading: Braveheart Review

Still Breathing Review


Good
Lighthearted and almost David Lynch-ian romance about a cruel gold digger living in L.A. and a puppeteer living in San Antonio -- who dream about each other. Another fine attempt at breaking the mold of romantic comedy... but lacking, oddly, the comedy.

Snide And Prejudice Review


Weak
Quite an assembly of talent is ultimately wasted in this near-pointless look at a mental patient (that guy from the TV remake of Jason and the Argonauts) who thinks he's Hitler. A bunch of his fellow patients seem to think they're members of his staff, too. Essentially this is a re-imagining of Marat/Sade, adding in a head shrink (that guy from one of the Star Trek shows) who may be crazy too. Hitler's psychosis (the real Hitler, I mean) has been examined with substantially more depth and to a more powerful effect numerous times before.

Cradle Will Rock Review


Very Good

A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.

Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.

The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.

Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review

Equilibrium Review


Unbearable

The worst theatrically released sci-fi flick since "Battlefield Earth," "Equilibrium" is so blatantly derivative as to be insulting, so absurdly hackneyed it's hard to believe it's sincere, so full of scenery-chomping it's a wonder the actors don't weigh 300 lbs. by the closing credits -- and as a result it's such a laugh riot that it may well be the funniest movie of 2002.

The plot -- brazenly pillaged from "Fahrenheit 451," "1984" and "Brave New World" -- concerns a high-ranking government "Cleric" named John Preston (chisel-featured Christian Bale), a ruthless and deadly law enforcer in a "Metropolis"-styled dystopian future where emotions (and by extension, music, art, poetry, etc.) have been outlawed.

The populace takes twice-daily doses of a stupefacient called Prozium, but when passionless Preston misses a couple injections, has a confusing day of emerging feelings, then finds himself staring into the big brown eyes of a cute little puppy he's supposed to kill during a raid on a "sense offender" hideout (insert shots of famous paintings being torched with a flame-thrower here), he...just...can't...do it.

Continue reading: Equilibrium Review

Angus Macfadyen

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Angus MacFadyen Movies

We Bought a Zoo Movie Review

We Bought a Zoo Movie Review

There's a terrific story inside this well-made but bloated movie, as if director-cowriter Crowe simply...

Saw III Movie Review

Saw III Movie Review

The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula...

Saw III Movie Review

Saw III Movie Review

The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula...

Titus Movie Review

Titus Movie Review

Sumptuously and elaborately staged, steeped in powerful symbolism and bordering on absolute brilliance, Julie Taymor's...

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Movie Review

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Movie Review

All book-to-film adaptations lose something in the translation, but the narrative gaps are simply insurmountable...

Cradle Will Rock Movie Review

Cradle Will Rock Movie Review

A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community...

Equilibrium Movie Review

Equilibrium Movie Review

The worst theatrically released sci-fi flick since "Battlefield Earth," "Equilibrium" is so blatantly derivative as...

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