Tag Archives: Morgan Freeman

Review: The Shawshank Redemption

shawshank redemption poster
via Movie Poster

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R / 142 min

Drama / Crime

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton

Director: Frank Darabont


The prison walls can do a lot of things to people.  The confines of such walls can drive some men into a dark pit of madness while others might look upon the walls with hope, hope that one day they can see the light again on the other side.  Some men are put inside these walls because of their own doing, while some have no choice.  Some prisoners have fear while others believe in hope and it’s their mindset that can keep them from seeking redemption.  This is the idea behind Shawshank Redemption, Frank Darabont’s directorial debut.

shawshank redemption 1
via IFC

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a well-to-do investment banker, is the last person you would expect to find behind the bars of prison.  After a series of unfortunate coincidences, Andy is convicted of murdering his wife and the man she was seeing behind his back.  He truly believed he was innocent, but the judge and jury saw otherwise.  Carrying the burden of two back-to-back life sentences, he is sent to the Shawshank prison, where he will spend the rest of his life for something he didn’t do.  The first couple of days are rough.  They’re rough for everyone, but Andy seems to walk with an air of confidence, one that surprises his fellow inmates, including a prisoner named Red (Morgan Freeman), a “veteran” of Shawshank.  After some time has passed, Andy starts to make the best of the situation he was thrust into.

Days turn to months and the months to years as time starts to pass.  Andy has a rough tenure during his first couple of years but he starts to make a name for himself inside the prison walls.  He gets on good footing with Shawshank’s warden Norton (Bob Gunton), builds and organizes a prison library with the help from senate funding, does the taxes for almost every single guard within the walls, and most importantly, deepens his friendship with Red and some of his other fellow inmates.  This is not the kind of prison movie that you would expect.  Sure, there’s some violence here and there but this is a story of redemption and good will.  Perhaps the title didn’t make that clear.

shawshank redemption 2
via Fan Pop

What makes the film work so well is the deep bond between Robbin’s Andy and Freeman’s Red.  The duo’s friendship comes a long way since the day Andy rode into the prison in a white bus with Red and his cohorts taking bets on who would be the first to cry.  The two help each other, together coping with the situation they were given.  Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are the standouts by far, but the rest of the cast did an amazing job as well.  Every character was well written and they were all instrumental to the overall story.

Just like the characters, every single scene and detail played an important part in the progression of the story.  There were no filler scenes.  Everything was important, whether viewers know at the time or not.  The sequences documenting Shawshank’s librarian (James Whitmore) and his life outside of prison were super effective and some of the best parts of the movie.  They were depressing in a way, but they were important.  This is a movie where you want to pay attention to every single little detail because you know they will come into play later.  The Shawshank Redemption is an example of brilliant writing.

shawshank redemption 3
via Fan Pop

There’s a build-up that takes place from the very start.  The movie might seem slow at parts, especially during the second act, but this all leads to the grand finale.  Remember the part where I said every little detail in this movie has meaning?  Well, there’s a twist that comes in the movie’s third act, one tighter than a corkscrew.  It’s an impressive twist that will leave you in awe wondering how it all even happened.  However, after careful examination of the events and subtleties that led up to it, everything makes perfect sense.

It’s a battle between fear and hope.  People handle these emotions in different ways and The Shawshank Redemption encapsulates these emotions in fantastic ways.  Inside the walls of Shawshank there’s a story of hope, friendship, redemption, fear, and perseverance in the face of dire circumstances.  The Shawshank Redemption is a feel-good story that succeed tremendously in execution.  It also goes to show that it’s not always doom and gloom inside the walls of prison.  There’s always a shimmer of light inside the darkness.

shawshank redemption score

Advertisements

Review: The Lego Movie

lego posterLet me just start off by saying that there is a bunch of things to like about The Lego Movie.  This has easily been one of my favorite movies of the year so far (even though the year is young)!  This is not the first movie about Legos.  For instance, there were the Bionicle movies that came out a while back.  But those were nothing special.  This is the first Lego movie that actually got something right.  It appeals to both kids and adults, and it is just clever in every way.

The movie stars Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, an ordinary construction worker in Lego City, or at least he believes.  One day he stumbles upon a shady figure on the construction yard, who turns out to be Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks).  After some events, the two have to flee the city and head to the Wild West via a portal in order to get away from the Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) and his cronies. However, the main villain in this movie is Lord Business, voiced by Will Ferrell, who is bent on destroying the Lego Universe by gluing it all together.

There is a prophecy though, that is revealed by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) that a master builder will arise, the most interesting person in the universe, and he will save the Lego universe from Lord Business.  This is where the ordinary Emmet comes in.  He has to work with his group of allies to stop Lord Business and save the Lego Universe in the most wackiest ways possible.

The master builders, to iterate, are a group of builders who were mixing together pieces from all the different sets and creating new creative things with them.  They can build anything that they set their mind to, and they don’t need instructions like everybody else. (The term of a Master Builder is actually based off the real life master builders who actually create most of the real life sets and the massive creations that you will see at places like Legoland)  Lord Business didn’t like this and that is why he started to section off all the worlds in the Lego Universe in order to promote order and organization.lego gang

The person that steals the show in this movie is Will Arnett, who voices one of Emmett’s allies, Batman.  It is amazing that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors, got Batman to make an appearance in the movie in Lego form.  Will Arnett plays a great Batman and I would not be opposed to seeing a Lego Batman movie that stars Will Arnett as the lead.  He was that good.

But besides that, everybody else was good too in their performances.  Every character seemed to have a voice that just fitted with their personality.  It was honestly hilarious to hear Morgan Freeman say have the stuff that was in the script for him to say.  There was also a huge cast of characters, which I will not spoil, that also did a great job and I can’t believe that they actually would sign off on a project like this.  (Lets just say that I am talking specifically about a certain spaceship that makes an appearance halfway through the movie).

lego movie 2Even though The Lego Movie, is definitely a kids movie through and through, it was still brilliantly written and everything actually makes sense in its wackiness.  There is so much outside references that are crammed into this movie.  Everything from the Terminator to the Lord of the Rings and to Classical Literature.  It is all there. There are also a lot of nods to older Lego themed sets that came out in the past.  This movie does a good job of providing nostalgia to some of the other sets in the Lego catalog.   Obviously kids will enjoy the gags that present themselves throughout but adults that go see this movie with their kids will also find something to take away from it.  That is where this movie shines.

The movie also shines in it’s visuals.  Even though everything was done through animation and computers, the movie still seems to capture the feeling of stop-motion video.  It looks like some kids stop-motion creation took off and spiraled into a creative explosion.  The models all look extremely close to their real-life counterparts and they all jump out of the screen, literally and figuratively.  (The movie is in 3D)  However, I would recommend seeing the movie in 2D because the 3D really didn’t contribute too much to the overall film.Lego Movie

Lastly, and not to get into any spoilers, but the last part was amazing.  The whole movie is building up to a huge surprise that comes at you like a truck and hits you right in the face.  I was not expecting the ending to present itself in the way that it did but it blew my mind, nonetheless. It left me with a good taste in my mouth when I was leaving the theater and it really was the icing on the cake of a really well-done movie.  There is also an opening that was presented that leaves the movie open for a sequel, which I would love to see.  I don’t know where they would take such a movie in the future but I wouldn’t care because I liked the first one so much.

The Lego Movie like I said before does so much right.  I was not expecting it to be so good.  The people behind this movie really knew what they were doing with the movie and you could tell that they had a real passion for Legos as much as we did when we were kids.  I would like to see more movies like this in the future for sure.

And yes, I really want a Lego Batman to be made, pronto!

Oblivion International Trailer

Oblivion is a movie that has a concept that really intrigued me when I saw the first trailer a while back.  It may seem like your average cliche post-apocalyptic movie but for some reason this one seems different.  It is starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko.  Tom Cruise’s character is a drone repairer and he is basically part of the so called “clean-up” crew that is in charge of cleaning up the Earth after a huge war that blew out the planet.  You will see lots of familiar sites, all in ruins of course, throughout the movie and you will also see your fair share of science fiction tropes and action.

It will definitely be a movie that will be pinging on my radar when it comes out April 12, 2013.  Check out the new international trailer below and see what I am talking about…