Tag Archives: Kit Harington

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

With two feature films and countless Netflix series under their belts, the creative team behind the How to Train Your Dragon franchise is very comfortable. They are content to spend as much time as they need on their story, resulting in what may be the world’s first dragon-centric rom-com.

Toothless, the black dragon from the first two films, is back and gets his own story thread, as he meets a lovely white dragon and is instantly smitten. She’s not so sure about him at first, and his courtship attempts are more than a little awkward, but we all know he’s going to win her over eventually. The outcome of that romance is also obvious to his best human friend, Hiccup, the leader of the dragon-how-to-train-your-dragon-3-headerriding Vikings that live in the island village of Berk, and that’s where things get interesting.

In addition to figuring out how to deal with his dragon’s dating, Hiccup and his Vikings have their own problems. They’re being pursued by the drsgon hunter Grimmel and his massive fleet. Against some resistance, Hiccup decides that the Vikings’ best chance to survive is to find the hidden dragon world located beyond the edge of the world.

Hiccup and Toothless have both grown up a lot over the course of the trilogy, and they grapple with some fairly complex relationship-related issues in this third instalment. The result is an emotional third act as life pulls Hiccup and Toothless in very different directions and they have some hard choices to make.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World shows that we are still in the midst of a golden age for animation. The Hidden World is full of beautifully animated scenes, with particularly amazing lighting effects, but more importantly, it’s a story that my 40-something self could relate to, engage with, and be moved by. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a very enjoyable series.

 

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TIFF18: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan is a good movie in the shadow of a great one.

As a child, Rupert Turner was enamoured with a teen hearthrob, John F. Donovan, who was actually an adult playing a teenager on some soapy high school drama. A budding actor himself, Rupert (Jacob Tremblay) writes to Donovan (Kit Harington), telling him of his ambitions and desires – namely, to one day act alongside him. Surprisingly, Donovan writes back, and a beautiful friendship is forged, strictly as pen pals. But when that relationship is discovered, first by Rupert’s mother (Natalie Portman), then by the press, the friendship is misinterpreted and Donovan vilified. He dies before our two buddies can ever meet up.

john_f_donovanTen years later, a grown-up Rupert (Ben Schnetzer) is releasing a collection of their correspondence as a book, and a skeptical reporter (Thandie Newton) is interviewing him. The truth of their friendship is revealed through flashbacks, as is Donovan’s life, which of course was not all rainbows and lollipops.

Behind his privilege, Donovan had an absent father, a family that fauns over him and resents him in equal measure, an alcoholic mother (Susan Sarandon), an agent who is decidedly not his friend (Kathy Bates), and a girlfriend/childhood friend (Emily Hampshire) who is also his beard (unknowingly). He’s hiding a lot. He lives in a world filled with illusion. He’s pulled in a thousand directions and has no friends who aren’t on the payroll, and yeah, it is kind of sad that he unburdens his soul to a kid, but it’s also kind of understandable, which is sadder still.

Director Xavier Dolan is uniquely positioned to have something to say about child actors and the celebrity beast and I really enjoyed his attempts at profundity in this film. This is his first English-language film and while there are still traces of his typically auteur-ish style, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan is perhaps missing just a little of what normally makes a Dolan a Dolan. It also suffers a bit from bloat. Susan Sarandon’s performance is quite good, her character very interesting, but there isn’t a lot of room for her, as Dolan cut the movie down from 4 hours to just over 2 (and left Jessica Chastain completely on the cutting room floor). Kathy Bates’ part isn’t really a part at all, barely more than a cameo.

Dolan’s crime seems to have been starting out with too much to say and then having a hard time parting ways with any of it during editing. But I think John Donovan is a character worth getting to know. And the topic of celebrity death, and our cultural obsession with it, and possibly contribution to it, is ripe for harvesting.  I think the wording of the title has something to say about it all by itself. This movie isn’t all that it could be, and coming in to a Xavier Dolan film, I can’t help but bring high hopes and standards. But there’s something worthwhile here, and I hope it will be mined for the diamonds and not just the flaws.

Pompeii

Kit Harington. Apparently he’s on some successful sitcom called Winter Is Coming and he plays the snow or something. And he has a pet dragon? And a very sexually attractive sister? I don’t know, I’ve never seen it.

But I have seen those abs, so sculpted I’m wondering if they aren’t CGI. And I’m wondering if the costume designer is Kit’s mother, because who else would ever cover them up? And yet there are curious times when he flashes more thigh than gleaming, chiseled chest.

MV5BMTgzMDkzMjg2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTc1NDcxMTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_Anyway, I watched a bad movie called Pompeii. He of the sublime 6-pack plays a horse-whispering slave, used for gladiator-style fighting, and perhaps sex. But because of his goodness with animals, he curries the favour of a fair maiden, lady Cassia (Emily Browning) who is being hotly pursued\blackmailed into marriage by Senator Corvius (Kiefer Sutherland). And if that wasn’t bad enough, a volcano erupts and kills them all. Haha, classic.

Anyway, the only point of watching this movie is for the objectification of bodies, and we should refrain from that since working out for this role gave Kit Harington body dysmorphia, which is kind of gross. I think we have really overstepped the bounds when actors are spending months preparing physically for a role, and about 10 minutes learning lines, and no time at all wondering whether they’re any good. Somebody spent EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS on this movie. They built a volcano from scratch but forced a man to eat 3000 calories a day to put on 30 lbs in 5 weeks??? That’s barbaric. He then went on a very severe diet and ‘cutting’ regimen for 4 weeks to cut back to 140lbs, which man mean some intense muscle definition but cannot be healthy in the least. Not that anyone call tell how ripped you were once you’re reduced to ashes.

 

 

Top 10 LGBTQ Movies 2018

10. Duck Butter: While I dislike the title with an intensity I’ve rarely known, I very much like this movie, about two young women (Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa) who decide to buck the normal dating bullshit and spend a very intimate 24 hours together in a sort of romantic, quasi-social experiment.

9. The Death and Life of John F. Donovan: Kit Harington plays Donovan, a teen heartthrob who is no longer a teen himself, but has hidden away his true self in servitude to his leading man roles. And while fame always comes with a cost, so too does hiding your real identity.

8. The Joneses: A beautiful documentary about transgender family matriarch and all the healing and understanding it’s taken to get her family all living together under the same roof, in America’s bible belt.

7. Colette: Keira Knightley plays a real-life writer who was oppressed and overshadowed by her husband. But it’s not just her professional life that suffers – in the shadows, Colette prefers women, and this movie is about her emancipation, in more ways than one.

6. Disobedience: Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns to the Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend and finds that their passion is just as they left it, only Esti (Rachel McAdams) is now a married woman and mother.

5. Transformer: Janae Marie Kroczaleski was born Matt and known to the power lifting community simply as ‘Kroc.’ Her transition means giving up the thing she loves most in the world, which she struggles to be accepted by her parents and kids, and to form her own identity outside the gym.

4. Boy Erased: When Jared’s (Lucas Hedges) parents find out he’s gay, it’s off to gay conversion camp for him, so that the religious wackos there can beat it out of him. The nice thing about this film is that Jared, though religious, and a good son, never buys into their bullshit and his self-discovery is really empowering.

3. McQueen: A documentary about a guy whose background and upbringing made him an unlikely haute couture success, but he turned his name into a brand that is recognized around the world today. But his personal life never mirrored the success of his professional one; Alexander McQueen was a tortured, brilliant man.

2. Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Yes, this is a movie about literature and forgery, but it’s also a buddy romance between a cantankerous lesbian and a witty gay man. Their devotion is worthy of any love story. Although their sexualities are never exactly in the spotlight, this is the kind of sweet, platonic, taking-care-of-each-other relationship that’s common in the gay community and almost unheard of in Hollywood.

1.  Love, Simon: Many of the movies on this list are better, but have any had the same impact? Simon is just a regular high school student. His coming out is bigger in his head than it actually is in life. He has a loving support system. But most of all, it’s nice to see a big-studio romance with a queer lead, and I hope it means we’ll get to see many more. There’s a lot of catching up to do.