Tag Archives: Martin Freeman

Black Panther – Movie Review

Marvel Studios does a lot of things right. With the deep pockets of Disney to back them up, the gang at Marvel has perfected the art of world building. The country of Wakanda is big and beautiful. Admittedly, it took some doing to connect with the kingdom of T’chala, primarily because I’m a western boy with eastern roots and Africa somehow falls between the cracks of east and west. Immersing myself in Black Panther’s world took some work, but was well worth it.

The other thing Marvel Studios does right is ground their superhero flicks into a relatable story. T’chala (Chadwick Boseman) is a prince thrust into leadership sooner than he hoped. To make matters worse, he is forced to correct the one lapse of judgment his father made, which spawned the origin of the film’s villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). In some way, Killmonger is a ruthless villain, who is on the side of right.

If Disney ever had a “James Bond”-type franchise, they found it in Black Panther. He’s a Wakandian spy who fancies Asian casinos. He has a “Q” in his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), a Felix (Martin Freeman), a sassy equal in Okoye (Danai Gurira) and is chasing the plans, the shipments, or whatever to save the world. The only difference is he’s monogamous, frozen on the hard-to-get Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).

The final joy of Black Panther is that it sits perfectly in the MCU and the future of Wakanda is about to open up in Avengers: Infinity War.

Writer/director Ryan Coogler admirably takes command of a Marvel movie and deserves his spot next to James Gunn, the Russo brothers and the other creatives responsible for a now well-rounded inclusive universe.

If there is a flaw in Black Panther, it’s that T’chala most of the time takes a back seat to his amazing co-stars. T’chala is a low-key hero surrounded by a colorful cast.

Black Panther (2018) Written and directed by Ryan Coogler. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Movie Review

Based on the book by Kim Barker, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tina Fey plays the role of war correspondent Kim Baker. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is less about Barker’s actual story of a network correspondent in a hostile environment but a case study in the addiction correspondents have to risk their lives for the story.

Release Date: March 4, 2016
Writer: Robert Carlock
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Tina Fey, Martin Freeman, Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton

One thing you should know before going watching Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is that this is not a comedy. Sure there are comedic moments, but the family is a serious look at a woman, who knows she’s on the tail end of her television journalism career, unless she can make something happen. That something is going to Afghanistan and covering the involvement of the United States government. The challenge is to bring back stories that can complete with the war in Iraq.

At best, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an interesting film. Tiny Fey plays Kim Baker as a strong woman, who is a fish out of water in a foreign land. Baker is accompanied by her cameraman Brian (Nicholas Braun) and her interpreter Fahim Ahmadzi (Christopher Abbott).

Her first assignment is as an embedded reporter with General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) and a squad of soldiers on maneuvers. As luck would have it, they are ambushed and Kim puts her life endanger by putting herself in harm’s way and filming the attack on a hostile truck.

Adrenaline still rushing, we are introduced to the one spot where all the war correspondents unwind and it’s the local bar. Think on-campus college pub but instead of uninhibited college students, you have uninhibited middle-aged adults. It is here that Kim meets British-reporter Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and learns that in the middle of nowhere every woman is hot. In the U.S. Baker may be a 6, but in the Middle East, she’s a ten.

Baker also meets another British Reporter, Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). To Baker, MacKelpie comes off as more arrogant that street smart and this flirtatious rivalry soon turns into full blown sex without consequences.

The movie continues to follow Baker as she places herself in one dangerous situation after the other and then releasing the pent up aggression with MacKelpie. This danger includes becoming involved with a local official, Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) and escalates to inserting herself into a street demonstration resulting in near disaster. As the highs increase, the interest in her stories decreases to the point that her network is not broadcasting her stories.

Adventures aside, the bright spot of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot are the relationships that Baker builds with the locals and especially her interpreter, Fahim. There comes a point where Bakers hunt for danger forces Fahim to choose between friendship and his own personal safety.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an interesting look at what is happening in the Middle East. We get a glimpse into what real people think of Americans and their presence in their country. We also see that this is a new kind of war. Unlike World War II or Vietnam, we don’t know who the enemy is exactly as they co-mingle with the innocent.

If anything, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is Tina Fey exercising her acting skills. She plays a woman who inadvertently finds the exhilaration of danger and soon comes face-to-face with the reality of that danger not only in her life, but in the lives of her friends.