Alicia Vikander

The Top 10 Movies of 2015

by Alan Rapp on January 1, 2016

in Top Tens & Lists

best-2015

2015 was a year for ensembles, strong female-driven stories, real-life drama brought to the big screen, animated features, and surprisingly good science fiction. In a year which proved to hold as many gems before award season as during it, 2015 turned out to be a pretty good year at the movies. Limiting my list to ten there are certainly a number of films worthy of mention that didn’t find a place on this list including the best super-hero film of the year, a journey on Mars, Cold War spy intrigue, and the return of Star Wars, Charlie Brown, and Rocky Balboa all to the big screen. But enough of what didn’t make the cut; let’s count down the best movies of 2015…

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The Danish Girl

by Alan Rapp on December 25, 2015

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Danish Girl
  • IMDb: link

The Danish GirlAdapted from the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is a movie that is constantly telling the audience it is an important movie without ever showing us why. The movie gives us the story of artist husband and wife Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) and Einar’s struggle with his own sexual identity leading him to take on the identity of Lili Elbe.

The movie tackles the issues of Lili’s sexual identity head-on while examining the effect of his changes on both his relationship with his wife and his artistic career. First, Vikander and Redmayne are both terrific in the film. However, aside from giving the leads meaty roles to dive into, The Danish Girl struggles in making the story of one of the first recipients of sex reassignment surgery interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, The Danish Girl a capable film that does justice to its sensitive subject matter, given Elbe’s standing in the LGBT community, but it’s certainly more notable for the performances of its two lead actors than its script. One could argue it’s dangerously close to the category of Oscar-bait.

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Alicia Vikander - Louis Vuitton

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is both the cover girl for Elle’s Women of Hollywood issue and one of the faces of Louis Vuitton’s Spirit of Travel campaign. You can find pics from both inside along with video from the Vuitton campaign.

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Burnt

by Alan Rapp on October 30, 2015

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Burnt
  • IMDb: link

BurntIt didn’t make me hungry. That’s an interesting response to have towards a film centered around food. Our story stars Bradley Cooper as talented chef, recovering addict, and all around asshole Adam Jones who basically blackmails the old friend (Daniel Brühl) he screwed over in his last job into hiring him as the chef for a mediocre London restaurant. Jones’ motives are two-fold. First, he honestly does want to make amends to those he’s wronged in the past. At least as important to him, however, is the chance to reclaim glory in the hopes of achieving the prestigious three Michelin star rating as one of the best restaurants (and chefs) in Europe.

I joke that the food on display didn’t wet my appetite but Burnt deals with a different side of the retaurant business by focusing as much on its burdens, costs, and obsessive personalities struggling to work behind the scenes as it does about creating the food. Even when the film puts the food first the perspective is always more about the presentation of the meal than the meal itself. Although the film constantly tells us that Jones is culinary genius it rarely shows us actual examples of this on-screen.

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

by Alan Rapp on August 14, 2015

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • IMDb: link

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Two things are immediately evident from watching Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. First, there’s no disputing that the man is a bona fide movie star. Despite having issues with some of the projects he’s chosen (such as Zach Snyder‘s horrific re-imagining of Superman), there’s no doubt Cavill has “it.” Second, based on his appearance as con man turned super-spy Napoleon Solo, it’s obvious that he would make a terrific James Bond balancing the swagger and inner-bastard of the character with aplomb. Not since Connery have we seen a character like this on-screen.

And he isn’t the only one worthy of note. Armie Hammer‘s portrayal of the brutish Russian killer may be a bit one-note, but it certainly washes away the lingering bad taste of The Lone Ranger. Alicia Vikander proves to be a lovely third wheel while, much to my surprise, co-writer/director Guy Ritchie holds back on his usual frantic pace to deliver an equally humorous and cool film about Cold War spies that constantly impresses. Ritchie has struggled to adapt his high-octane style to period pieces in the past (see Sherlock Holmes), but that’s not the case here as only once does Ritchie’s grittier nature appear on-screen. Thankfully, he quickly remembers what kind of film he was hired to deliver.

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