Tag Archives: Benedict Cumberbatch

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

In an interview with Polygon, director Sam Raimi said he hopes audiences can “use their imagination” when they step into his first Marvel outing, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That is unheard of for the series of near-30 features so far. Another plunge into the usual formula time and time again, relying more and more on the simple tactics that have conned people into wanting the same thing over and over. More power to those who can trick audiences into trickling cash into an unchanging, unmoving product for the emotionally deficient. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soon boils down to pop-culture jabs, cameo-stuffed filler roles for the friends of Raimi (a wasted Bruce Campbell role is offered up) and the inevitable crossover of product fighting products looking to destroy some vague entity. Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain Review

Eccentricity plays its hand in art more often than not, especially the literal artist and the functionality of them in the working world. There is no doubt that Picasso was off his rocker, that Ralph Steadman’s ink flourishes are proposed solely on mania and sin. They are great artists because they have wholly overwhelmed themselves in their work. Just look at how many features there were on Vincent Van Gogh. Benedict Cumberbatch starred in one of those for the BBC, and now he features as another artist, Louis Wain, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. The early 1900s burst through with feverish intent and excitement in a film that mumbles and drones through its script like it has other places to be. 

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Star Trek Into Darkness Review

An already established universe behind it, Star Trek Into Darkness should have an easy run of worldbuilding exercises that can help further expand this J.J. Abrams science-fiction vision. No such luck. Meandering along without much to prove and even less to show for itself, Star Trek Into Darkness is an uncomfortably predictable piece with quite a strange change in pace and tone. Bumping out some of the more established characters and gambling on the introduction of Benedict Cumberbatch as a nostalgia-pop villain, surrounded by the fairly well-established new heroes adorned in roles of a bleak and whimsical past. There is room to grow into them for these characters, and thankfully, Star Trek Into Darkness does offer that in spotty moments of discourse.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

With a grand ensemble like this, it is clear to see that director Jon Watts is acting on the orders of Marvel. Cram the well-refined characters of the Sam Raimi universe and the not-so intensified versions of the Andrew Garfield features into the Marvel meat grinder. Chow down on a big bowl of nostalgia, where once defined characters come together for a big, boring blowout. The Multiverse was hyped up long before Spider-Man: No Way Home was ever announced, yet it is still, in the words of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) something we know “frighteningly little” about.  

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The Grinch Review

Ugly and dejected, Illumination Studios have not quite grasped at their Dr. Seuss back catalogue with much sympathy for the eponymous green grouch, nor have they inspired much confidence in their handling of these stories. Cluttered streets of Whoville mark up this empty and shallow animated feature, one that finds the inhabitants obsessed with Christmas. All but one, that is. The classic story of just how The Grinch stole Christmas is a tradition, but Boris Karloff is nowhere to be found. Not even Jim Carrey is lingering around the corner, performing CIA breathing techniques to keep himself calm in that damned green suit. Instead, Benedict Cumberbatch offers his weak American accent to this Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney feature.

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The Power of the Dog Review

Apparently charismatic, Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) leads The Power of the Dog with all the toothless wisdom you could expect of a vaguely western-oriented period piece. He is “exposed to the possibility of love,” as though audiences could care for such a shambolic, lazy character. It is the creation around him that is even weaker than that. Yet with such a strong cast, this Netflix feature will struggle on through. The allure of Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst are too much to refute in this Jane Campion film. It is the Ammonite of this year. A film so drab and uninteresting, yet backed by powerhouse performances. It has happened before, and it will happen again after The Power of the Dog passes audiences by and fails to embed itself in their memory as one of the greats.

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August: Osage County Review

Familiar family fights fuel the fiery, fraught friendships found within August: Osage County. Strong-headed women return home to the dysfunctional oddity that raised them. A family crisis makes this inevitable and necessary. Tracy Letts’ script offers nothing unique, but the parallels of a distant family longing for a big bust-up are too intriguing to refuse for many. We are ghouls hoping for breakdowns and fallouts because we find it entertaining to take a quick look at the lives of a fictional family. How much time is really needed to weave characters we care about, though? August: Osage County seems to need a lot more time, not just to make its characters interesting, but connected to one another.  

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Starter for 10 Review

Thatcherism, Bristol, and University Challenge. Three quintessentially British things that I hate. They are also the backdrop for Starter for 10, the James McAvoy-led British ensemble that wishes to dedicate much of its running time to the perky romance of Brian Jackson (McAvoy) and anyone within his field of view. Deriving its title from the starting question of University Challenge, it is hard not to be taken off on this journey through old-school university days, however fractured they may appear. Compare this to the work Benedict Cumberbatch and McAvoy offer audiences now. The times have most certainly changed for the two of them. What has stayed the same, though, are the backdrops of social and economic strife. 

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