Cinderella

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Chris Weitz, Charles Perrault
Staring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Streaming: Nowhere???
Release Date: March 13, 2015

It is not fair to have Lily James and Richard Madden share the same screen. It is not fair at all.

Is this the best version of Cinderella that I have seen? It very well might be.

Ella (Lilly James) is the titular character and her world is turned upside down and negative when her father (Ben Chaplin) dies and the evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) takes over the manor and her life. The annoyance of Drisella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) adds to her pain and there is seemingly no escape for the misery.

Everyone knows the story. That is pretty damn easy. The hard part is understanding how perfect the casting Richard Madden is as Prince Charming. When you compare Madden as the love interest compared to Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998), it is not even close. Dougray Scott has zero chance against Madden. It’s a bloodbath.

Other strong parts of Cinderalla include Blanchett being wonderfully evil in a a non-cartoonish way and the dresses that she wears. This movie was nominated for an Oscar for Costume Design and it is deserved. I love how the stepmother’s main color is green, like a serpent . She has slithered her way into a winning position and is poisoning those around her to continue it.

Cinderella has inspired me to write to two more blogs; the hottest couples (characters, not real people) to ever appear in a movie together and then rank all the Disney (originally animated) live action remake.

P.S. – WHY IS THIS NOT ON DISNEY+???

STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)


Resident Evil

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Staring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Release Date: March 15, 2002

Was in the zombie mood after watching Army Of The Dead so thought it was time to revisit Paul W.S. Anderson and maybe look on him in a better light after the truly awful Monster Hunter (2020).

Based off the famous video games, “A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.” It is a simple premise as a straight go in and get out mission, but I am here to say that Resident Evil does stand the test of time (for the most part).

Is the movie good? Not really. Is the movie well made? In parts, but also in some parts MAJOR not. But is the movie entertaining? Yes it is.

Milla Jovovich has made a ton of money in this franchise and it is easy to see why the fans latched on to her as Alice. She is a badass and she looks good doing it. According to IMDB, all of the scratches and scrapes are real for Alice and all were acquired by Milla Jovovich.

The one really negative noticeable this time around with Resident Evil is the audio masking on scenes. Just cutaways with obvious post production audio insertion. In terms of a positive; this movie just moves. Really on slowing down. Also Anderson does a solid job with the whole “memory loss” part of the story; it is much better than I remember.

In my initial rating I had Resident Evil as a “B”. That was too generous, but this stands up as being an enjoyable video game movie that has more redeemable qualities than not. (Also this is the first time I have used my new columns in my excel sheet, EXCITING!)

STANKO RATING: C (2.5/5 Stars)


Those Who Wish Me Dead

Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writers: Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, Taylor Sheridan
Staring: Angelina Jolie, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal
Streaming: HBO MAX
Release Date: May 14, 2021

Those Who Wish Me Dead is a throwback movie. It is a 90s action movie wrapped in expensive gift wrap with a bow on top. Directed by Taylor Sheridan, Those Who Wish Me Dead relies on the performances a bit more than his previous movies. Despite the below par writing (for a Sheridan movie), the movie survives the entertainment test and is acts as classic comfort food.

While Angelina Jolie is beautiful and fun to watch as Hannah, the best acting in the movie is done by Finn Little, who plays the child, Connor. Connor sees his father murdered by a shadow organization and finds himself on the run in the Montana wilderness where he eventually meets forest firefighter Hannah. Together they try and survive the dangers in order to share the truth as to why Connor’s dad was killed.

The plot of Those Who Wish Me Dead swirls around the classic character needing internal redemption after having beaten themselves up for a failure that led to pain. Hannah is drowning in her own self-doubt but when she meets Connor, it is a chance to prove herself again.

The way this arc is a throwback is because we see the desperation of Hannah’s plight with one scene of her doing something reckless in a truck and that is our sign to show “she doesn’t care for herself as much as she should.”

The most 90s, classic action movie trope, of Those Who Wish Me Dead are the two assassins, Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) and Jack (Aidan Gillen). Both are interesting characters, but the craziest thing is that they get less and less formidable and more and more stupid as the movie goes on. I mean Patrick has Hannah behind a a tree with a gun while she only has a knife…you should be able to get that done.

Has Jon Bernthal become the ultimate “that guy” in Hollywood? Everything that he is in is good. He plays Ethan in Those Who Wish Me Dead, the ex of Hannah and a police officer who gets wrapped up in the fiasco. He has a pregnant wife he cares about deeply and by the end of the movie I wish he was in the movie war.

It has to be said that Hannah quasi adopting Connor and making sure he is safe and saying she will be there for him at the end is funny considering that Jolie has a massive family and has adapted many children.

Also. Angelina, come back to acting. You have a presence. You are magnetic. Get back into the action movie game and team up with Charlize Theron.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)


Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples, Tom Clancy
Staring: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Release Date: April 30, 2021

If you have seen any action movie, then you have seen Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. A man goes on a revenge tour after his pregnant wife is killed but his singular mission is thrown into flux when he starts to unravel a political conspiracy.

The main draw to Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is that Michael B. Jordan is in the lead role as John Kelly. Known for his broad shoulders in Creed (2015), Jordan brings his muscles and delivers a performance that is an elevated Jean-Claude Van Damme; a man who looks really good at being angry and acts like there is always a caged tiger waiting to pounce inside him.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is predictable, but that is okay. Michael B. Jordan is good in the lead, and the tertiary characters of Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) are enjoyable. Guy Pearce, who is having a month with the Mare Of East Town as well, plays Secretary Clay. All the characters fit into nice holes that the action movie standards open up. All plot twists follow the road rules and don’t steer off the road either.

It is hard to summarize a movie that is perfectly fine, but that is what Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is. It appears that Amazon Prime is looking to reignite the Tom Clancy franchise with the post credit scene talking about the “Rainbow” program. Think there will be six members of it? Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is not like Prime’s Jack Ryan, but it’s a poor man’s of the Harrison Ford Jack Ryan movies.

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)


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