The Great Gatsby (2013)

logoDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay) F Scott Fitzgerald (Novel)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Adelaide Clemens


Plot: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbour.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Like A Rollercoaster, High Points & Low Points


Story: The Great Gatsby starts with narration from an elder character looking back upon his own life. Nick Carraway (Maguire) is the man looking back at his life and how Gatsby (DiCaprio) was the only person he respected back in his previous life because he is now in a sanatorium. Returning to 1922 we learn the Nick moved to the bid city where he lived in a small gardener cottage trying to make a big name for himself. Nick moved in between all the wealthiest people including his neighbour Gatsby.

Nick gets his first chance to meet the neighbours because of his cousin Daisy (Mulligan) who just so happens to marry Millionaire Tom Buchanan (Edgerton). The perfect looking marriage isn’t running as smoothly as it appears on paper but everyone at the small dinner party wanted to know about Mr Gatsby. Nick has to go along with Tom’s indiscretions where he just gets to party with other group of wild people including Myrtle Wilson (Fisher). Nick’s life changes when he gets an invitation to a Gatsby party which no one gets as they just turn up for the party where he learns that Gatsby never actually gets seen.

Gatsby changes Nick’s view of the city because he notices he knows absolutely nothing about this man of mystery and when he finally hears the story of Gatsby Nick has to decide what to believe now. Nick has been put into a position where he has to invite Daisy to one of the parties where Gatsby can finally meet his one true love again even if it is only a passing meeting. Everything starts getting out of hand over time when we see Nick stuck in the middle of two different love stories.

The Great Gatsby has certain parts that really appealed to me, I enjoyed the mystery about Gatsby but that got blown by giving us the truth too early. I liked the love story and how it played out. I do have questions about Nick, which either I missed, didn’t understand or didn’t get explained. Why was he with the Doctor? Did he just make up the story? How much time passed between the events and him telling the story? These big plot holes left me feeling rather flat after watching this. I also feel certain parts went on too long and in the end the whole thing felt rather overcomplicated high society propaganda. (5/10)


Actor Review


Leonardo DiCaprio: Jay Gatsby is a mysterious man who hosts wild parties while keeping himself to himself. Gatsby is popular with all the right people in the town but the one thing he really wants he is struggling to get and he sees Nick as his way to meet back up with his former love Daisy. Leonardo does what he always does a shines with his performance here. (9/10)


Carey Mulligan: Daisy Buchanan is the cousin to Nick who isn’t in the most successful marriage but it is hard for her to walk away from it. Daisy is also the long lost love of Gatsby and the events in the story give them a chance to rekindle their previous romance. Carey gives a good performance but I did find the character very confusing with her actions. (7/10)


Tobey Maguire: Nick Carraway is our narrator who is recounting his story about meeting Mr Gatsby. Nick is almost the pawn used to bring a former couple together in a high society situation. Tobey gives a solid performance but seems to have a permanent look of confusion on his face. (5/10)


Joel Edgerton: Tom Buchanan is Daisy husband who is happily cheating on her with a mistress in the city, where he goes for wild parties. Joel gives a solid performance but does seem to look out of place with the role he was playing. (5/10)


Support Cast: The Great Gatsby has a massive supporting cast each one seems to be involved in Gatsby’s life in some way or another. They all help build the mystery about him.


Director Review: Baz Luhrmann – Baz does a solid job making this look like a beautiful film but in the end the story gets dragged along too long and ends up feeling unfinished. (4/10)


Romance: The Great Gatsby does manage to give us a wonderful sounding love story which really does make everything work. (9/10)

Settings: The Great Gatsby creates beautiful authentic settings for the time that all help us feel like we are part of the 1920. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Great Gatsby has to go down as a film to try, I personally found it hard work but other people may enjoy this one. (Try It)


Best Part: The Love story angle is very good.

Worst Part: Too many plot holes.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won two Oscars

Box Office: $351 Million

Budget: $105 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

Tagline: there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering.

Trivia: Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to play Jay Gatsby because he was drawn to “the idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby’s one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.”


Overall: I personally feel this film is not as enjoyable as it should be and ends up trying to pull to many different strings to make the film really work.

Rating 55

Pleasantville (1998)

logoDirector: Gary Ross

Writer: Gary Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts, Marley Shelton, Jane Kaczmarek, Paul Walker, Maggie Lawson


Plot: Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Story of Accepting Change

Story: Pleasantville starts showing us there will be a Pleasantville marathon showing on TV Time before introducing us to the main character David (Maguire) an awkward teenager. David’s favourite television show is Pleasantville which gives him a chance to watch over the weekend. We continue to learn that David knows everything to know about the show and plans to try and win a contest. David just so happens to have a sister Jennifer (Witherspoon) who see the chance of the house without parents as a chance to impress the cool guy from school leading to a fight between the two.

When the remote control gets damaged a mysterious repair man turns up at the house to fix the problem. As the siblings arguing they find themselves inside the show trapped by the repair man. The two have to learn to get on with life in this new reality where David with thieve but Jennifer has to learn to adapt. The two characters they have been forced to play are the children to George (Macy) and Betty (Allen). The two have to continue to learn to adapt and play along with the new world they are in until they can find a way to find a way home.

Jennifer decides to play by her own rules which starts to change the town bring colour into the black and white world. It isn’t long before the people in the town start being affect by the change before long the town ends up getting caught up in the middle of battle between the coloured and the black & white residents of the town.

Pleasantville is a beautiful story of two different generation clash with consequences that will change both the points of view. We do get the typical two teenagers one being good and one being difficult rather than bad who learn lesson that they haven’t in their normal life. we also get to see how being part of a routine can feel too comfortable and the moment you start breaking it anything becomes possible for you. This also teaches us to treat everyone the same with no expectation and to express yourself in whatever drives you forward. Looking back over the film it is a very good story that can be enjoyed by most people. (8/10)


Actor Review

Tobey Maguire: David is an awkward high school teenager who has an unhealthy obsession with Pleasantville television show, when his favourite show is going to be showing a marathon he is extra excited but ends up fighting with his sister and getting trapped inside Pleasantville. David knows how to get along with everything there but it isn’t long before the world starts changing and he must find a way to get home. Tobey gives a good leading performance showing that he was going to be a good actor to turn to for these types of roles. (7/10)


Reese Witherspoon: Jennifer is the popular girl at school and David’s sister who ends up getting trapped inside Pleasantville. Unlike David it isn’t normal to her and she ends up changing the ways of life in the town. Reese showed that she can have range with this role as we get to see the fully transformation of her character through the film. (8/10)


William H Macy: George Parker is the father of the household inside the Pleasantville life style who can’t cope with the changes going through the town. William gets to play a role we will become used to seeing him performance with this role. (7/10)


Joan Allen: Betty Parker is the mother of the house that the kids get trapped in who tries to keep her household together through the changes even when she wants to embrace those changes. Joan does a good job in the supporting role which will make you notice she can play plain supporting roles. (7/10)


Jeff Daniels: Bill Johnson is the malt shop owner who gets caught up trying to focus on changing because he is too scared to actually change. Jeff continued to show how he was capable to walk away from slapstick comedy and become a good serious actor here. (7/10)

Support Cast: Pleasantville has a supporting cast that includes a whole town and some good early supporting roles from stars who went onto bigger things including Paul Walker, Maggie Lawson and Marlon Shelton.

Director Review: Gary Ross – Gary does a good job directing manage to mix a visual story with a very good story about being different. (8/10)


Drama: Pleasantville shows the different between two different generations and just how when they clash both will realize they need change. (8/10)

Fantasy: Pleasantville takes our two lead characters and puts them into a world they have never seen before which works for the fantasy element of the story. (8/10)

Settings: Pleasantville has a brilliant setting showing how simple people once thought life was compared to the new fast forward life we are now in. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Pleasantville uses great effects to mix the black and white characters with the colour characters with only parts in colour throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: Pleasantville is a must watch. (Must watch)


Best Part: The mix between colour and black and white.

Worst Part: You can work out what will happen by the end.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars including Art Direction, Costume Design and Best Music Original Dramatic Score

Box Office: $50 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing Is As Simple As Black And White.


Overall: Pleasantville is a beautifully shot film that is visual great and has a story to match it all.

Rating 80

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Splintered (2010)

logoDirector: Simeon Halligan

Writer: Stephen Trimingham, Simeon Halligan, Mat Archer (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Walters, Holly Weston, Sacha Dhawan, Sadie Pickering, Jonathan Readwin, Sol Heras


Plot: Sophie and her group of friends who go on a trip to an area of Wales looking for some kind of beast that is killing in the area. While camping Sophie and a friend hear something so they follow it to an abandoned estate. They soon become aware that something is not right and they end up in trouble. Meanwhile their friends go searching for them after they realize Sophie and their friend haven’t returned. They all end up in a fight for their lives against someone or something that isn’t what you think. Who will live?


Verdict: Painfully Bad


Story: We have seen the old scenario where a group of friends go into the woods for a camping trip only to start looking into a local mystery. We have the group of people not sure about their actual age who split up looking for a creature, well the first two look for creature the rest look for the other two. One gets kidnapped by a creepy man but he has a bigger secret which is hunting. We have seen this plenty of times and this time is no different we have terrible acting, terrible decision making and a let-down in the final reveal. This never pulls you in and fails to use any shock value with a boring storyline. (2/10)


Actor Review


Stephen Walters: Gavin/Vincent the creepy man and his secret in the castle, he kidnaps Sophie in hoping to protect her to start with I think. He does creepy ok and is the best performer in the film. (4/10)


Holly Weston: Sophie girl with a tortured past who likes to investigate anything outside that could be creepy, she gets herself kidnapped and fails to escape even though she did all the hard work. Poor performance using terrible fake crying throughout. (2/10)


Supporting Cast: I am not going to write too much about the supporting cast because they were all terrible performance and looked completely lost in the scenario. (2/10)


Director Review: Simeon Halligan – Fails to create any atmosphere at all throughout as well doesn’t offer any scares. (2/10)


Horror: Nothing scary happens we are just literally watching young adults screaming around the woods and castle for no reason. (2/10)

Thriller: Doesn’t pull you in at all. (0/10)

Settings: Even though the settings are good ones to be used they are not used to their full potential. (6/10)

Suggestion: Just don’t waste your time even checking this one out. (Avoid)


Best Part: It had adverts in the one I watched which helped me wake up.

Worst Part: The acting is terrible.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: From the producer of Scum and Half Light


Overall: Awful, Waste of Time

Rating 5

Maleficent (2014)

logoDirector: Robert Stromberg

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Charles Perrault, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm (Original Material)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham


Plot: A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Darkly Fantasy


Story: Maleficent start with narration that informs us that we have two different kingdoms that are at war who could only be separate by good guy or a villain. We meet Maleficent the good kind young fairy part of the fantasy kingdom. The young Maleficent gets to meet her first human when young Stefan enters into the world and as time goes by the two become friends and eventually fall in love.

Maleficent (Jolie) fully grown becomes the guardian of the Moors and after starting to grow apart from Stefan the war between humans and fairies was ready to come to ahead. Stefan (Copley) rising through the kingdom gets a chance to become king along with the rest of the loyal followers of the King all they had to do was bring Maleficent head to him. Stefan’s desire for power sees him betray Maleficent by taking her wings.

Maleficent fuelled by rage brings darkness to her kingdom while see waits for her chance to get revenge on King Stefan. When King Stefan has a baby Maleficent puts a curse on the baby that upon pricking her finger on a spinning wheel she will fall into sleep never to awaken until she has true loves kiss. Maleficent continues to watch Aurora (Fanning) grow hoping for the chance that when she will get cursed. As Aurora continues to grow Maleficent becomes a friend with and turns into the Godmother and even tries to lift the curse but with no luck. Aurora is doomed to need to find true loves kiss to survive.

Maleficent manages to take an old story of Sleeping Beauty and turn the story on its head, much like Oz the Great and the Power did. This time we learn that the evil from that story had a motive and wasn’t just purely evil. We learn that anyone that gets hurt in love could break and the results could turn into something that looks like this. We do get the traditional Disney ‘true love’ theme running throughout which does get used too much but on the plus side we get to see the real meaning behind it. This tries to make everything seem like it is a lot darker than the first story but in the end just sends up round in circles and coming off very been there seen that *cough* Frozen. (5/10)


Actor Review


Angelina Jolie: Maleficent fairy who gets betrayed by a human filling her with darkness against that human before putting a curse upon his baby daughter. Over time Maleficent becomes the fairy godmother watching over the young girl before trying to lift the curse. Angelina shines in this villain with a heart role, playing both sides throughout the film we get to see what she is capable off. (8/10)


Elle Fanning: Aurora the young girl who becomes cursed, while her good nature changes Maleficent making her want to lift the curse. Elle is a great actress coming through but we don’t get to see enough of her character in this film. (6/10)


Sharlto Copley: Stefan a childhood friend of Maleficent who gets consumed by power which ends up making him betrays her on his way to become king. Once he is king Maleficent puts a curse on his baby girl which ends up pushing him into darkness trying to get revenge on her. Sharlto is a good actor normally but I do feel like he looks kind of lost in this role. (5/10)


Support Cast: Maleficent has a supporting cast that includes Maleficent loyal slave and three pixies who are there for comic relief, most of the rest of the characters are there to look the part and never really get involved in what is going on.


Director Review: Robert Stromberg – Robert does a good job visual with his direction debut but really doesn’t make a true classic from which the source material could be considered. (7/10)


Action: Maleficent has a few fantasy fights but nothing over the memorable. (5/10)

Family: Maleficent is a dark tale to take the family to see and might not be suitable for the youngest family members. (5/10)

Fantasy: Maleficent takes us into a beautiful fantasy world that changes with the mood of Maleficent. (9/10)

Romance: Maleficent plays the old romance and true love storyline which feels tired through this one. (5/10)

Settings: Maleficent each setting is brilliantly created for the characters to live in. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Maleficent has good effects to create the worlds. (9/10)

Suggestion: Maleficent one for the family really, and also for the Disney princess fans. (Family or Princess fans Watch)


Best Part: The Effects are brilliant.

Worst Part: Seen the story before.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Oz The Great and the Powerful


Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar in Costume Design..

Box Office: $758 Million

Budget: $180 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t believe the fairy tale


Overall: Maleficent is a fantasy film that ticks all those boxes but ends up falling short with the original story ideas.

Rating 60

New Releases – 26th June 2015

Minions minoions Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.

My Guess for Rating – 70%
My Anticipation Rating – 70%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes

Slow West slow west‘Slow West’ follows a 16-year-old boy on a journey across 19th Century frontier America in search of the woman he loves, while accompanied by mysterious traveller Silas.

My Guess for Rating – 70%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

She’s Funny That Wayshes funny that way A married Broadway director falls for a prostitute-turned-actress and works to help her advance her career.

My Guess for Rating – 50%
My Anticipation Rating – 20%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Everly everly An action/thriller centered on a woman who faces down hitmen sent by her ex, a mob boss, while holed up in her apartment.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Knock Knock – A pair of femme fatales wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 70%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

The Overnight overnight Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family “playdate” becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on.

My Guess for Rating – 50%
My Anticipation Rating – 40%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Movie Reviews 101 Pick of the Week – Knock, Knock