Tag Archives: Rachel McAdams

Doctor Strange

Title:  Doctor Strange

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the top neurosurgeon in New York City, maybe the whole country.  All you have to do is ask him and he’ll confirm that opinion, because in addition to being enormously talented he is supremely arrogant and egotistical.  His talent brings wealth, and he enjoys a penthouse apartment with a view, a dresser drawer with a dozen or so uber expensive watches, and he tear asses out of his private garage in a Lamborghini Huracan.

Yes, Doctor Strange has the world at his beck and call, even maintaining a close relationship with former lover Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).  Nothing ever goes wrong, at least until that horrific accident, that is.  Then the great Doctor Strange is humbled, broken, unable to function as a doctor, and ultimately financially destitute.  Then a chance remark from a physical therapist sets him on a trail to Kathmandu in Tibet, on a quest to find a place known as Kamar-Taj.

The Doc shows up in Kathmandu and that’s when things start to get really strange for Strange.  Enter a very powerful and mystical individual known only as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).  She starts Strange on a path of enlightenment to open his eyes to other dimensions, astral planes, and amazing powers he never knew were possible.  He is aided in this journey by another disciple named Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and soon makes the acquaintance of former disciple Kaecillus (Mads Mikkelsen), who seems to have gone over to the dark side.  Apparently the universe, with its multi dimensions, is not big enough for the forces of good and evil to co-exist.

This is one rip snorting action film, and Marvel has shown once again that they are the masters of bringing comic book heroes successfully to the big screen (yes DC Comics, this is a put down on you).  Benedict Cumberbatch is an A List actor, and brings the origin story of Doctor Strange to life in a way that allows us to see the complex human that he is, as well as the complex action hero he evolves into.  A masterful performance that keeps us glued to the story line, which is what makes this film special, in that it doesn’t have to rely only on special effects to carry the movie like so many other comic book movies.  Having said that, the special effects are mind blowing, and worth a few extra bucks to see this movie in a 3D theater.  In fact, this movie is so dang good it has a decent chance to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination, a rare feat for this film genre.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Doctor Strange to Dr. Palmer – “There’s the problem.  You left a bullet in his head.”  Dr. Palmer – “I needed a second opinion.”  Doctor Strange – “You had a second opinion.  You needed a competent one.”

Doctor Strange to Dr. Palmer – “We are not friends, we were barely lovers.”

Therapist to Doctor Strange – “I’ll have to go to the archives, but if it proves your arrogant ass wrong it will be worth it!”

Doctor Strange – “Just how experimental is your procedure?”  Ancient One – “Quite.”

Doctor Strange – “We’re just a momentary insignificant speck in an indifferent universe.”

Doctor Strange – “What is this, my mantra?”  Mordo – “The Wi Fi password.  We’re not savages.”

Ancient One to Doctor Strange – “Your ignorance and fear prevent you from learning the most important lesson of all.”

Mordo – “You think there will be no consequences, no price to pay?  The bill…will…come due!”

Hot Wheels:  Dig that crazy sports car that Doctor Strange tools around in, a Lamborghini Huracan that sells for a cool $200,000.  The crew wrecked two of these beautiful machines to make the movie.

Image result for lamborghini Huracan

Cameo:  Keep a sharp look out for Stan Lee’s quickie cameo.

Post Credits:  Yes!  Don’t leave early, and stay to the very end, as there are two extra clips to see.




Movie:  Southpaw

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the undefeated, undisputed light heavyweight  champion of the world.  He grew up as an orphan in the child services system, with little education and no skills.  But he learn to use his fists and a desire to make something of himself into a lucrative career, and married his first love Maureen (Rachel McAdams).  Maureen and their child Leila is Billy’s whole life, and he has provided a mansion for them to live in and all the trappings of a luxurious life they would never have dreamed of from their humble beginnings were it not for his prowess in the boxing ring.

Billy Hope has been fighting for a number of years, and as the saying goes, it not the years it’s the mileage.  Hope’s fighting style is basically offense, and while he eventually wears down his opponents in the tradition of Rocky Marciano, he takes a lot of punishment in getting the victories.  Maureen, the brains of the family, is seriously concerned about her husband’s physical well being.  She advocates more rest and fewer fights, and she manages the finances and keeps an eye on the hangers-on that are part of a sports champion’s life.

But uneasy lies the head of he who wears the crown.  Immediately after Billy Hope defends his title in Madison Square Garden, a young and talented Colombian fighter Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez) is eager for a title shot with the champ.  Escobar resorts to taunting and baiting Hope to get his attention and force the champ to agree to a fight.  Ultimately, Escobar’s tactics lead to tragic results for a number of people.

This is a terrific film.   It has elements of tragedy, greed, human frailties, hope and redemption mixed in to keep the viewer riveted to the story line.  Jake Gyllenhaal got his body chiseled and buff as any real boxer could, and gives an Oscar worthy performance.  The boxing scenes are authentic, as Gyllenhaal is actually throwing and taking real punches.    Rachel McAdams does a fine job in her supporting role, as does old pro Forest Whitaker in his role as boxing trainer Tick Wills.  This is a Weinstein Company production, and it is surprising they released the movie this early in the year, as it should compete for several Oscars, including Best Picture.  Check it out; best boxing film since Raging Bull.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Maureen to Billy before a fight – “Don’t get hit too much!”

Maureen to Billy after the fight – “Can you get your socks off?”

Escobar to Hope – “You ain’t never been hit by a real man.”

Maureen – “You’re going to be punch drunk in two years if you keep this up.”

Escobar – “I’ll take your belt and then your bitch!”

Tick Wills – “I’m going to introduce you to something new.  It’s called defense.”

Tick Wills – “You go out there and kick his ass.  I want to see Billy the Great!”






Movie:  Aloha

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Come to beautiful Hawaii, the tropical paradise of the Pacific.  Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) has returned to Hawaii and Hickam AFB, although he is no longer an air force officer.  And his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) is now married to Major John Woodside (John Krasinski) and has two children.  So as Sam the piano player once famously said to Ilsa, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.

These days Brian Gilcrest is a contractor, working for billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray) on a hush-hush space satellite program.  As a VIP of sorts, Brian has Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), F-22 fighter pilot, assigned as his escort officer to assist him in his duties.  Captain Ng is a native of the state, 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese and 1/2 Swedish, and insists on giving Brian a running commentary on the island’s history and customs.  Gilcrest, having been stationed there as an air force officer, believes he knows enough about Hawaii without her help.  As if the satellite program wasn’t enough to worry about, Gilcrest is tasked to negotiate with the native Hawaiian tribal government on rights to a new gate for the air force base.

If there wasn’t enough on Brian Gilcrest’s plate, he has four star General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) on his back to not screw up the high visibility satellite program, code named Brave Angel.  While we don’t get a lot of background, there is obviously some history between the two men from the time when Gilcrest was on active duty.

This is a very good movie, character driven with darn good acting.  The only problem is there are too many major plot lines struggling to be resolved in just two hours.  There is the troubled Brian Gilcrest coming back to Hawaii with all sorts of unresolved feelings for former flame Tracy, and her issues for Brian and the husband as well.  The attractive and ebullient Captain Ng has inserted herself into Brian’s life and mission.  There is a brief treatment of the native Hawaiians and their attempts to maintain relevance in their own land.  Oh yeah, and then there is the enigmatic and charming Carson Welch and the all important satellite project.  It just feels like none of the story lines had enough chance to breathe on their own, but it was a brave effort anyway.  Worth seeing, especially in the summer season of movies that mostly blow stuff up.

Huh?  What the….:  Emma Stone as half Hawaiian and Chinese?  Those other Swedish genes really kicked butt!

Actor To Watch:  This movie would have benefitted with more of Alec Baldwin in it.  He has become one of the best character actors in the business, with a real flair for comedy.  If he ever gets the right vehicle he should win an Oscar.  Just saying.

Dialogue Nuggets:   Gilcrest – “Colonel, I am here to save you and your big, white obsolete whale.”

Gilcrest – “I don’t even remember why we broke up.”   Tracy – “We broke up because you didn’t show up for a vacation!”

Gilcrest – “I saw that missile coming and I didn’t get out of the way.  I didn’t care.”

“We have stuff to deal with before the famous Gilcrest exodus.”

Tracy – “Was he angry?”   Daughter – “He decapitated Santa Claus!”

Carson – “You can’t stop the future with one silly desperate act.”

Gen Dixon – “One more thing, Mister Three Day Beard Guy.  Stay away from Allison Ng!”

Gilcrest – “Well, I remember the good times.”   Gen Dixon – “THERE WERE NO GOOD TIMES!”