A Late Quartet (2012)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Writer: Yaron Zilberman, Seth Grossman (Screenplay) Yaron Zilberman (Story)

Starring: Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey

 

Plot: Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.


Tagline – No arrangement is more beautiful…or more complicated.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: A Late Quartet starts as we meet the world famous quartet, Juliette (Keener), Peter (Walken), Robert (Hoffman) and Daniel (Lerner) who are planning their next performance, as they like to bring their crowd something new each year.

When Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he is left to make a difficult decision to face retirement, meaning he needs to find a replacement, which sees the rest of the quartet going in search for their own roles in the quartet, while deciding how they can carry on going.

 

Thoughts on A Late Quartet

 

Characters – Juliette is married to Robert and while being part of the quartet, she is going through her own problems after Robert cheats on her, she must figure out whether this choice of a musicians was worth it or not, as well as trying to reconnect with her daughter. Robert cheats on his wife Juliette as he must try to make amends of his error, while trying to improve his position within thee quartet. Peter is the one that becomes sick, he is thinking about retirement and while he is getting his treatment, he learns the rest are caught up in the middle of a relationship mess. Daniel is the most talented member of the quartet, he ends up making his own mistake in life which causes even more problems within the quartet.

PerformancesWe have a stunning cast here with two Oscar winners and another nominee, Keener, Walken, Hoffman all show why they are considered the best of the acting world, while Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots brings us performances that can keep up with their successful cast mates.

StoryThe story here follows one of the most famous quartets in music, they have 25 years of history together, when the oldest member becomes sick, the remaining three must decide whether to find a new member, while dealing with their own personal problems which could bring about the downfall of the quartet. Sure, some of the relationship drama isn’t anything new, but knowing the couple must continue to work together shows how personal and professional lives can easily clash when it comes to being successful in this field. One side of the story we could have seen more from would be the music side.

SettingsThe film is set in New York a perfect choice for this quartet to be located and performing in.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on Peter’s illness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully acted drama that shows the lives of a quartet.

 

Overall: Beautifully acted drama.

Rating

 

 

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James Bond Month – The World is Not Enough (1999)

Director: Michael Apted

Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn

 

Plot: James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can’t feel pain.


Tagline – Some men want to rule the world… Some women ask for the world… Some believe the world is theirs for the taking… But for one man, The World Is Not Enough!!

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average at Best

 

Story: The World is Not Enough starts when MI6 suffers a bomb from within, James Bond (Brosnan) must investigate terrorist Renard (Carlyle) a man that has survive a gun shot to the head, James works with daughter of the murdered man Elektra King (Marceau) who he does believe is the only connection to the terrorist, be it working with or the next target.

James starts working with Dr Christmas Jones (Richards) a brilliant scientist and Renard reveals his plan which involves transporting a bomb through an oil pipeline for his own destructive plan.

 

Thoughts on The World is Not Enough

 

Characters – James Bond is back once again, he continues to fight for his country, he is the only one who suspects Elektra being behind her own father’s murder, his methods involve him pretending he is dead this time around. Elektra King is the heiress of an Oil tycoon, she was once kidnapped by Renard, with MI6 helping with her rescue, she welcomes Bond into her world after her father is murdered, even if she has her own plans. Renard is a known terrorist, he survived a bullet to the head which means he can’t feel pain, making it hard to fight against, he doesn’t have limits to what he will do. Dr Christmas Jones is a nuclear scientist that works with James to stop the potential nuclear threat.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan is still a good choice for Bond, he has made this own figure which is all we want from a Bond film. Sophie Marceau takes on the role as a seductive Bond villain which does work very well for the film, with most of her scenes being the best in the film. Robert Carlyle feels almost wasted in his role because the character has so much more potential than we get here. Denise Richards on the other hand struggles to be believable in her role for most of the film.

StoryThe story here takes James Bond on his latest adventure to stop a terrorist and oil heiress that want to take over the world because money simple isn’t enough for them. The story does feel confusing because we never truly know what the aim of the villains is and if it does, it doesn’t feel complete explained. We have the traditional formula we all know, it works without being anything new to the franchise, Bond does his job gets the girl and saves the day. We do try to build up some of the supporting members of MI6 which just felt like filling rather than anything important. We do feel like we have some characters wasted, others missed cast, but in the end everything is watchable for the franchise itself.

Action/AdventureThe action gives away the best scene with the opening chase through London, it is easily the most memorable part of the film for the action because everything else always feels too busy.

SettingsThe film continues to take us around the world on James’s missions, this time we focus on the path between Asia and Europe, which works for the oil side of the story, but doesn’t give us many beauty spots like previous films.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening speed boat chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Wasting Carlyle character.

Final ThoughtsThis is an average Bond film, if you have followed the franchise you can enjoy this one enough, but it wouldn’t be the one to draw in the unknown audience.

 

Overall: Average Bond

Rating

 

 

A Simple Favour (2018) Movie Review

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Jessica Sharzer (Screenplay) Darcey Bell (Novel)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Jean Smart, Linda Cardellini, Rupert Friend

Plot: Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.


Tagline – We all have secrets to hide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slick & Stylish

Story: A Simple Favour starts when parental blogger Stephanie (Kendrick) present her latest show, calling for help to locate her new best friend Emily (Lively), leading to flashback to how they met, through their kids at school and a play date between the two friends.

Stephanie decides to investigate the disappearance of Emily and becoming friends with her husband Sean (Golding) and the case is only waiting for the mystery to be solved.

Thoughts on A Simple Favour

Characters – Stephanie is a single mother who runs a vlog for other parents, mostly on cook, but other life issues parents could face, she has a quirky little life always keeping busy helping around the school. She becomes unlikely friends with Emily and her caring nature sees her offer to look after the children, before her wanting to investigate the disappearance. Emily is the businesswoman who is known as being quite cold in personality with her high class status, she enjoys a drink to get through the day and doesn’t look like the sort of person that would be friends with anybody. Sean is the husband of Emily that is an author that has been struggling to find the motivation on his latest book.

PerformancesAnna Kendrick is wonderful in the leading role bringing her innocence to the role always looking like she is the girl next door. Blake Lively easily gives the performance of her career her being a controlling woman. Henry Golding had a wonderful year in 2018, with this top supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows a single mother with a safe normal life that befriends the high-class woman and becomes best friends only for her to disappear and Stephanie goes in search for answers, only to find a truth she isn’t prepared for. This is a story that starts with the mystery of what happened to Emily, it offers up plenty of what if, with the mystery about what happened coming through strongly, it does go in a direction that you shouldn’t be able to solve which is nice and is filled with style because Stephanie is a woman that you would never see in this position and thrives from the new excitement in life. The story is filled with plenty of twists along the way which will always keep you on your toes which is fun too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy from the film comes mostly from how Stephanie enters this new lifestyle and how the other single parents act towards everything. The crime side of the film focuses on the crime and mystery behind the disappearance.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help evolve the story and shows just how out of her comfort zone Stephanie finds herself in.


Scene of the Movie – The single parents gossip time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could have one too many twists for its own good.

Final Thoughts This is a slick and stylish thriller that has plenty of twists and turns along the way, it puts people outside of their comfort zones just to show what people could be.

Overall: Enjoyable and Stylish.

James Bond Month – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Joe Don Baker

 

Plot: James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.


Tagline – The Man. The Number. The License…are all back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

 

Story: Tomorrow Never Dies starts as James Bond (Brosnan) completes another high-risk mission, before heading home. We move to the Chinese sea, where a British military ship a sunk after a clash with Chinese fighter planes, with both sides suffering causalities at the hands of media mogul Elliot Carver (Pryce) who is building stories for his own benefit.

James must investigate this latest case using his connection to Elliot’s wife Paris (Hatcher), James is joined by Chinese agent Wai Lin (Yeoh) as they look to stop Elliot’s plan before the next world war is started.

 

Thoughts on Tomorrow Never Dies

 

Characters – James Bond is back once again, his past is once again the reason he is selected for this mission, we know how he acts, how he can be stealth with his investigation and survive being outnumbered, we don’t learn to much new about him here, just more of the same. Elliot Carver is the media mogul that wants to create his own headlines by starting his own war between China and Britain. He believes he will control the worlds media if this war starts. Wai Lin is the Chinese agent who starts working with James for her side of the potential terrorist attack, she can handle herself in combat, being given fight sequences unlike most female Bond characters. Paris Carver is the wife of Elliot, she did once have a fling with James, which is how James gets into the party to start with, she gets put in the difficult position of choice her power hungry husband or her former fling.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan’s second outing as Bond, sees him handling the comic moments better, he feels like he has grown even more into the role, where he has made his own version of the Bond character. Jonathan Pryce does make for a great villain, his character needs to be well-spoken which Jonathan does bring to the part. Michelle Yeoh does seem to break the trends of the Bond girl figure, being able to handle herself in the fight. Teri Hatcher might have a smaller role, but it works for what the film needs.

StoryThe story here follows a media mogul that wants to create a new war between Britain and China, so he can have full control of the media outlet in the world that only James Bond can stop. This does bring us a new villain with a master plan that is way over the top which does work, the investigation does seem to feel like it blends into the action, unlike most of the film in the franchise. The idea the media wants to control the affairs of the world does seem more realistic to what is happening now. The story might end up playing out how you would imagine, though it does feel more connected than the previous ones.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is brilliant, we have one of the best chase sequence in the franchise has ever offered, we have the Bond girl bring able to handle herself in fights too. The adventure does take James around the world, might like what we have come to expect.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to make memorable moments, be it the chase or the final base battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Motorbike chase,

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has dated with the media moguls plan.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the franchise, it does have the smoothest action which seems to be strong in the 90s film and a villain that does feel realistic.

 

Overall: Fun action film.

Rating

 

Recap & Review – The Crown Season 3 – Overall Review

Recap & Review – The Crown Season 3 – Overall Review

With the third season of The Crown we jumped the cast forward, with the excellent original cast being replaced by older actors, this was always going to be a difficult task to achieve with such a stunning set of performers. Olivia Colman will get praise and deserves is all, but this season has such a brilliant cast with the big known names like Helena Bonham Carter and Charles Dance showing their experience, the stars like Tobias Menzies and Jason Watkins that have been through the television scene for years and this shows why they are always excellent choices. Add in the newcomers in Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty we have a complete mix of experience that all performer to the highest levels.

When it comes to the episodes we do start very well with the first three being excellent with the Aberfan one becoming one of the most difficult to watch, one that is emotionally draining, following one from this, everything does seem to goes downhill with a couple of slower episodes, with most of the focus being away from the Queen, instead focusing on the people around her, giving Margaret, Philip and Charles episodes where they are centre stage. The episodes do have a wonderful ability to reflect the situations the family is going through with the incident going on within the world.

If you have watched the first two seasons, you will enjoy this one because with a new cast, we get a fresh approach to the characters at an older stage of their lives, we get to learn history along the way, though certain government problems don’t get discussed enough for my liking. We do also fall into the feeling that each episode is just focused on an incident that they had to get through rather than being a connected by the events that have previously happened between the royal family, which was a flaw I noticed in the second season over the first.

Overall this is just as captivating as the previous seasons, we get a chance to learn about big event mostly in British history, while showing us just how difficult the years in this season were for the Queen after losing some of her most trusted allies.

Rating 9/10