Pretty To Look At, But No One Is Manning The Chair (Kingsman: The Golden Circle review)

What do you do with a drunken sailor? What do you do with a drunken sailor? What do you do with a drunken sailor, early on the morning?

You kick him to the curb and tell him to sober up. Geez. It’s not that difficult people.


Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal
Director: Matthew Vaughn
released on blu-ray December 12, 2017
***** 4/10

IMDB: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%, Audience Score 68%
The Guardian: */*****

Matthew Allard de Vere Drummond, better known as Matthew Vaughn, is an English director, writer and producer. He is best known for directing Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service and most recently, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. A pretty good track record if I do say so myself. Given that I own all of those movies, almost all of them are well rated, and I also like most of them. Unfortunately, The Golden Circle is the odd man out in this case – ironic, given the reason that the first Kingsman movie did so well.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

A year has passed since Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) and the secret organisation Kingsman saved the world from Richmond Valentine’s neurological wave broadcast. He has since taken his late mentor Harry Hart’s (Colin Firth) title of Galahad and lives with Crown Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom) of Sweden. On his way home from the tailor shop, he is ambushed by Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft), a former Kingsman trainee who lost his arm and vocal cords during the Valentine incident. Eggsy evades Charlie with his henchmen in a car chase across London, but Charlie’s severed cybernetic arm hacks into the Kingsman servers through the car’s computer system. While Eggsy is away in Sweden, a volley of missiles destroy the Kingsman headquarters and wipe out all of the agents in Britain, including Eggsy’s best friend Roxy. Brandon, a non-Kingsman friend of Eggsy’s, is also killed in the attack.

Being the only surviving agents, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) follow the Doomsday protocol, which leads them to Statesman, a secret American organisation posing as a Bourbon whiskey distillery in Kentucky. There, they discover that Harry survived Valentine’s gunshot a year earlier, but is suffering from amnesia. Eggsy and Merlin are briefed by Statesman head Champagne (Jeff Bridges) about a secret terrorist organisation called The Golden Circle. They begin their mission by following Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Clara Von Gluckfberg (Poppy Delevingne). When Statesman agent Tequila (Channing Tatum) develops a blue rash, he is replaced by agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) as Eggsy’s partner. Eggsy manages to plant a tracking device on Clara during an encounter, but his revelation of the mission to Princess Tilde strains their relationship. After several failed attempts to cure Harry’s amnesia, Eggsy triggers Harry’s memories by threatening to shoot a Cairn Terrier that resembles Harry’s late dog.

Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), head of the world’s largest drug cartel, broadcasts a message telling the world about a toxin she laced within every recreational drug available, which causes users to develop blue rashes before progressing through mania, paralysis, and ultimately, death. She also demonstrates the antidote on a captive Elton John and offers it to the world if the President of the United States ends his country’s War on drugs and offers her organisation immunity. The President decides to have every affected user quarantined, including his Chief of Staff, Fox, with the intention of letting them all die and therefore ending Poppy’s career. Eggsy, Harry, and Whiskey head to the antidote factory in Italy after intercepting a phone call to Charlie by Clara. Eggsy manages to steal an antidote sample, but it is broken by Whiskey during an ambush by The Golden Circle’s henchmen. During the gunfight, Harry shoots Whiskey in the head, as he suspects that Whiskey is playing both sides, but Eggsy saves him with the same alpha-gel that Statesman had used to save Harry. Princess Tilde calls Eggsy in a state of mania, revealing that she has been affected by the blue rash. Eggsy, Harry, and Merlin discover the location of Poppy’s hideout, “Poppy Land”, in Cambodia and fly there to steal the remote control which deploys the antidote drones.

Upon their arrival at Poppy Land, Eggsy steps on a land mine, but is saved by Merlin, who sacrifices himself while taking the lair’s guards with him. Eggsy and Harry storm through the lair and Eggsy kills Charlie while Harry destroys Poppy’s robotic attack dogs with the help of Elton. They secure the briefcase with the access code to the drones and inject Poppy with a more potent dose of her toxin. She gives them the password before succumbing to an overdose. Before they can activate the drones they are stopped by Whiskey, who, having previously lost his pregnant wife to a crossfire from two methamphetamine users, is revealed to be working alone to ensure that all drug users are eliminated. Eggsy and Harry battle and brutally kill Whiskey in a fight. They release the antidote drones, saving millions of lives around the world.

In the aftermath, Chief of Staff Fox has the President impeached for conspiring to commit genocide on the drug victims. Champ announces that Statesman has acquired a distillery in Scotland to help rebuild Kingsman. To avoid the confusion of two Kingsman agents using the codename “Galahad”, Champagne offers either Eggsy or Harry the agent title of Whiskey, but they decline. Instead, Statesman tech support agent Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) steps in to take the role. Eggsy marries Princess Tilde, and Tequila moves to London to work for Kingsman.

There is a lot going on in this movie, and that is not necessarily a good thing. The plot remained unfocused throughout much of the journey, and given that it clocks in at just over two and half hours, it makes it difficult to even sit through. Some critics are saying that the movie is more conservative others are saying its more bombastic, and both are correct. The movie takes more of the ridiculousness of the first film and amps it up immeasurably, but at the same time, all of the interest in dissecting the spy genre, challenging why we like these movies in the first place, and reinvigorating our interest in the broad strokes… none of that is present.

I’m tired of watching movies that pretend to be a new take on an old formula, and then refuse to deliver the goods. Just because you use a sexual encounter in a weird context (in this context a spy needs to seduce a henchman’s girlfriend to find the henchman. Because obviously the tracker only works if it’s attached to the mucus membrane, and so into the vagina it goes. And to top it off Egerton then argues with his Swedish princess girlfriend for five minutes before he can proceed.

It’s not edgy, it’s not funny, and quite frankly it’s offensive to anyone who cares about monogamous relationships and/or gender equality.

Pros: It’s entertaining to watch this star-studded cast use CGI to beat each other up. Colin Firth, Pedro Pascal, and Mark Strong do a lot to to bolster the audience and engage with the story, heck even though most of the other performances are phoned in, you can tell everyone had fun interacting with each other and pretending to be spies.

Cons: On top of all of the incredible misogyny, that Vaughn claims is a subversion of James Bond cliches, Taron Egerton cannot act to save his life. And unfortunately for us, he is the main protagonist of this film. What makes it worse is that it’s a long film, which takes less chances, and lampoons almost everything to ill effect.

Runtime: 2 hours 21 minutes

Points of Interest: This is the first sequel that Matthew Vaughn has directed. Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, and Elton John are all Oscar award winners. The movie originally had a runtime of 3 hours and 40 minutes, and it was suggested to split the movie into two parts, which didn’t happen. But there is a third Kingsman movie planned, with a Statesman movie spin-off in talks.

I think one of the biggest challenges of this movie that I haven’t addressed yet is the size of it’s ensemble. The first film had a fairly tight group of actors all working together to ground the story, despite the surrealistic nature of its tale. The Golden Circle is so encumbered by cameos, code names, and robotic canines, that it loses so much of it’s charm. It chokes on it’s own chutzpah.

But enough with the C word alliteration.

theories Summarized

The big question I still have is, is this movie worth watching? I would argue that for many people, it’s a great pop corn flick with lots of CGI and silliness. But if you expect more from your cinema, ie stories with a good plot, thought provoking themes, and interesting characters, then you can probably leave Kingsman: The Golden Circle on the shelf to age a few more years, theory or no.

That said, I can absolutely, and with 100% confidence recommend you check out Get Out. This early 2017 horror from first-time director Jordan Peele is everything that Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not, and then some. Please please watch this movie, it deserves awards!

Also, please comment, like, and subscribe to all of our timotheories channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) because it’s the right thing to do… We exist because of viewers like you!


Hail Mary (Father John Misty, Pure Comedy review)

Unforgettable. That’s what many of us wish to be. But if we’re all important, then none of us are.

And that’s quite the joke.


Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
released April 7, 2017
********* 9/10

Joshua Michael “Josh” Tillman, sometimes known as J. Tillman, and especially in this case, as Father John Misty, is an American singer/songwriter and instrumentalist. He’s been making albums since 2003, with the first eight being under the moniker of J. Tillman. This is the third outing of Father John Misty, preceded by the album I Love You, Honeybear; an affecting and self-dissecting grand gesture that is both smart and heart.

So it makes sense that Pure Comedy would simply raise the up stakes and let us walk on through into themes like post-apocalyptic landscapes, religion, pop culture, and politics. And it does. Hard. Hardcore even.

And maybe it’s my undying love of 90s bands like Harvey Danger, The Presidents of the United States of America, Weezer, Tonic, Jimmy Eat World, Semisonic, Everclear and Third Eye Blind, but doesn’t this guy sound like he could fit right in with those blokes? Without sounding like he was doing the recording itself in the 90s of course. But maybe it’s the confessional nature that really draws me in and makes me want to sit down and pray with him.

With a runtime at about 80 minutes, it’s almost impossible to sit through this in one go (read:meditating for the win), and even more difficult to break it up into separate ideas, though I am going to give it a shot.

Tillman is not alone in his criticisms of world views, namely the problems with our planet and the people that inhabit it, but his dark humour calls back to comedians of the 1970s like Peter Sellers and Monty Python. He wants to be seen as a patron saint of satire, but he is willing to self-efface to earn that mantel. At it’s centre point is the dark and sometimes funny Leaving L.A. It isn’t the best song on the album, but it definitely serves the purpose. The comedy of errors that we call life.

I can personally appreciate the health mix of existential though dashed into this record, because Tillman is no stranger to exploring themes within Pure Comedy. Both an epitaph to the process of art and a lover letter to making music, there is way to much complexity going on here to digest in my ever-so-brief review of it. Take a look at the album artwork for instance, a shining example of the detail involved in a life lived full.  We will likely never experience all of the same things as another person, but that doesn’t mean Birdie can’t try to describe utopia for us.

A criticism without judgment, Pure Comedy is a sermon Father John Misty should be proud to share.

theories Summarized

In listening to this record, I cannot help but think of The Comedian from the graphic novel Watchmen. Toward the end of his days The Comedian unravelled a global plot to change the world. One which would involved the slaughter of millions so that billions could united together against a common, if not fake, threat. It’s all a joke he said, just before he was murdered.

The real joke is that Josh Tillman hasn’t even begun his decline yet – this might just be pure gold.


Improvised Efforts (The Unsexy Truth About Fame)

I watched a really good movie last night, dear readers.

The movie was called Don’t Think Twice, and it featured a cast of prominent comedians in roles as members of an improv troupe.

I’d been meaning to watch it for some time now, but after HMV Canada announced their bankruptcy at the end of January 2017, I had to reassess my buying habits and do the best I could to prepare for a conversion to shopping through Amazon and other online stores instead. I actually don’t think it will be terrible for me in the long-run, in fact, it may have skyrocketed my ideal collection size preemptively – I’ve bought over 150 new movies in the past few weeks… and I don’t think I’m done just yet.

Point being, I held off on buying this movie because I knew I’d likely have an opportunity to get it at a discount down the line.

Now, as I’ve mentioned on a few other occasions, both of my brothers are involved in an improve troupe themselves (read: The 11 O’Clock Number), which is organized and run by our mutual friend Byron Martin. In fact, Byron was the featured interview for January on timotheories. Cool story right?


We’re Not Gonna Take It

Ryan (the youngest of my two younger brothers) originally decided he wanted to watch Don’t Think Twice with me last night because he had high expectations for a solid comedy, and we had just knocked out a slog playing Dead of Winter. After all, the movie had a certified fresh logo from Rotten Tomatoes, and features the talents of Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher – but I knew better. I probably should have warned him what he was getting into, but I didn’t, because I thought he would be delightfully surprised at the results.

You see creative cuties, Don’t Think Twice is actually a dramedy about the impact the sudden solo success of Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) has on the improv troup he is a part of, The Commune. The majority of the film is about how his relationships change with each of his friends. It features honest portrayals of fame, anger, sadness, jealousy, betrayal, how romance changes, and everything in between.

The difference is that the comedy only happens on the stage and in the rehearsals, so we are never helped along to comfortably address the problems which show up. Much like real life, the success of Jack don’t come bundled with irreverent comedy, but heartaches and lots of negative feedback from the group. And eventually some compromise.

Funny People

It’s a very relatable story, and I think it serves a very opportunistic purpose. Yet another of my theories about the arts.

Now don’t get me wrong, my intent with this post was not to jump ahead on the Theatrical Tuesday review or even skirt around a topic, but I needed to give you a set up before I explained what the theory is about.

People are funny.


Sometimes they’re funny in an entertaining way, and sometimes funny in a surprising and disturbing way. We often assume that when we engage in art, whether it’s film, theatre, music or visual art, that we are looking at something be transported away from the world in front of us, but a good artist knows that they are a lens, a focal point to share a message.

And sometimes that message is not one embedded in escapism.

My brother, bless his heart, is a very emotive person, so for him expecting a comedy and getting a drama, is surprising. He didn’t expect to experience a message which hit so closely to home with his own experience being involved in drama, but the theory rings true – we enjoy that which is alien to us, but whenever we engage with some that is familiar, there is an opportunity to be taken in and to experience real emotions.

Would that movie have had as strong of an impact on someone who doesn’t like theatre or support the arts? Not very likely, but because Ryan performs in his spare time, all of the awkward exchanges hit home for him directly, and made the film all the more real. Which is what is what a good film should do. Engage you and activate your mind.

theories Summarized

Do I regret that we didn’t watch something that made us laugh all the way through? No, not really. Do I regret the surprise I laid for my brother? No, not really. Because there is another lesson that the general public will learn watching that film, improv is life, we all improvise our way through it, these people just get on-stage and say yes… and. Yes… and. Yes… and.

Effectively sharing truths through comedy. But that’s just my theory.


Let’s Get Credible (Georg Rockall-Schmidt preview interview)

We can’t all have good credit scores. Some of us because of circumstances, a lot of us because we made bad decisions about what to buy, but did you know that there are factors you wouldn’t have considered? Your payment history, credit file age, diversity of accounts, and how often searches are pulled, for instance. You do know that a credit score and credibility go hand in hand according to banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments, don’t you dear readers? Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Or to put it another way, it’s a quality of being convincing or believable.

Perception is reality after all.

You see friends, when people think you’ll keep your word, they are more likely to trust you and let you make decisions. This is something that all good leaders have, salespeople and business operators included. Now this is where you come in – You make art. You love to make art, but you need to be credible in order to sell said art.

And as the old adage goes, it’s easier to ask forgiveness then permission. Especially from someone who is credible.

Once you realize that your public image is just as important as the one that you internally hold up for yourself, you can begin to consider all of the options, just a little more closely. Heck, it even applies to US politics but you’ll see what I mean when you turn on the clip

Oh wait, I forgot to mention, that this is preview of my first ever international interview with Georg Rockall-Schmidt. Georg is one of the most awesome people that I’ve never met in real life. Georg is a full-time creator of YouTube videos. You can find his channel here, but effectively he creates videos about pop culture, history, parody, his personal thoughts on life, and a whole lot more. An English dude with an anti-establishment educations, he believes that credibility defines ideation, and it’s important to him to have self-awareness but to simply leave all of the unnecessary elements out of the equation.

And that’s just a teaser. I have a full-fledged interview coming up in the next week or so featuring more of his incredible insights. This is Just A Thought on all that is Georg Rockall-Schmidt. Sorry for stealing your tagline Georg!

Can you believe it dear readers? I’m out of theories for the night. But just because I’m out of theories for now, doesn’t mean you can’t read more of my own thoughts! Browse the website, leave some comments, subscribe, and share with your creative friends. Otherwise, you should have a fantastic night, because I’ll be back tomorrow with a new Dragonette album review.


Posh and All That (Cafe Society review)

Cafe Society was a New York city nightclub opened in the late 1930s in the midst of Greenwich Village. It featured mostly African American talent and was intentionally set up to challenge the ideals of the rich club goers of that era.

It was set up as a place for political events, fundraisers and considered to be a staple of liberal ideals. But what about the movie that took it’s name?




Cafe Society (2016)

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively
released on blu-ray October 18, 2016
******* 7/10


IMDB: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%, Audience Score 62%
The Guardian: ***/*****


Ah Woody Allen. An American actor, comedian, film director, and sometimes theatre director. He’s eighty years old and has been making movies for fifty years. Just consider that for a second, fifty years worth of movies and forty-eight turns at directing. And I think I’ve seen somewhere between ten to fifteen of them all by myself.

Cafe Society is his most recent foray into the world of film and ironically or not, it’s a movie about the film industry.

Set in 1930’s Hollywood, we are quickly introduced to Phil Stern (Steve Carell) one of the most prominent agents in the business. At a party he takes a phone call from his sister Rose (Jeannie Berlin), who tells him that her son is moving to LA from New York and that he wants to find a job working with Phil.

Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) lives with his family in town, and is the youngest of his two siblings. His sister Evelyn (Sari Lennick) is a schoolteacher who is married to intellectual Leonard (Stephen Kunken), while brother Ben (Corey Stoll) is a renowned and murderous gangster. The family turns a huge blind eye to Ben’s criminal proclivities.

When Bobby initially arrives in town, he attempts to make an appointment on several occasions but is completely ignored by his uncle for several weeks before Phil finally decides to see him. When they do discuss the possibility of a job, it resolves with Phil deciding to get his nephew in with some pseudo-bullshit type arrangement. He then asks another secretary of his, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) to show Bobby around town.

Of course Bobby is instantly smitten with Vonnie, but when he asks her out, she tells him she is dating a journalist named Doug. We later learn that Doug is in fact a codename for Phil, and that Vonnie is having an affair with Phil behind his wife’s back. Phil claims to love Vonnie, but is unable to leave his wife, and breaks it off with her at the one year mark, just as Vonnie has given a letter from Rudolph Valentino to him. When Vonnie confides the breakup story to Bobby she leaves out no detail, with the exception of Phil’s false identity.

Bobby and Vonnie slowly begin a romance, and Bobby plans for them to leave to New York and get married.

At this point Phil decides to leave his wife and confides in Bobby that his mistress even gave him a letter from Rudolph Valentino. Once Bobby pieces it all together, he confronts Vonnie, and she decides to leave him and instead marry Phil.

Years later, Bobby is a successful nightclub owner, which is a front for his brother Ben’s criminal activities. Bobby meets and marries Veronica Hayes (Blake Lively). And things continue on positively, until one day Phil and Vonnie come to town.

But that’s all I’ll say about that.

Pros: Kristen Stewart delivers as Vonnie, the set pieces and cinematography are gorgeous, and though the story is somewhat stale and obvious, that’s not to say it isn’t entertaining.

Cons: At many points that film feels like an autobiography of Woody Allen as portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg. The self-indulgence is ever present and the drama can’t seem to find a way to properly raise the stakes

Runtime: 1 hour 36 minutes

Points of Interest: This is the first digitally captured Woody Allen movie ever. And it’s the first time Woody Allen has narrated a movie since 1987’s Radio Days.

It all feels all too familiar, Allen draws on his hometown experiences, referencing the perspective of a New Yorker, covering off the challenges of being Jewish, reflecting on the plight of the neurotic, and even addressing the facade that is Hollywood film culture. Cafe Society appealed to the artist in me, and I’ve said it before, but I’m a sucker for Woody Allen’s introspective nature. Is it for everyone? No. But it is entertaining enough for most.

Cafe Society the movie never quite reaches the same aspirations as the club on which it was based – it asks questions, and considers it’s timeframe, but it is a story driven by emotions and nostalgia for an aesthetic. It never reaches a place of self-awareness, effacement or even acknowledgement. But dammit if it isn’t full of beautiful people and places. This really is an excellent role for Kristen Stewart, and if you like Woody Allen, even when he’s lazy, you’ll drink from this cup.