Victoria and Abdul (2017)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay) Shrabani Basu (Book)

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Olivia Williams, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar


Plot: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Tagline – History’s most unlikely friendship

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enlightening Historical Moment


Story: Victoria and Abdul starts as Abdul Karim (Fazal) and Mohammed (Akhtar) are selected to travel from India to England to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with a gift from the Indian Empire. When Queen Victoria sees something in Abdul, sees becomes friends with him, learning about the Indian culture in a way she could never understand from the English textbook.

While their relationship becoming the talk of the palace, they even start to question whether it is good for her, but the relationship gives Queen Victoria a chance to express the lost loves of her life, a face she could never have on front of her subjects.


Thoughts on Victoria and Abdul


Characters – Queen Victoria is the elderly Queen of England, Albert has passed on, her children have their own lives and now she goes for countless routines of meeting different people, with most people almost waiting for her to die. When she befriends Abdul she gets a new lease for life and she looks to embrace the Indian culture. Abdul is a clerk from India, he gets selected to present Queen Victoria a gift, he soon finds himself being her closest aid, teaching her about the Indian culture, causing a potential rift in the royal household. He treats Queen Victoria like a person rather than a royal figure which is what helps her enjoy her later life.

PerformancesJudi Dench is fantastic in the leading role, bringing us a performance that could rival her Mrs Brown performance as Queen Victoria too. Ali Fazal is brilliant in the partnership role with Dench, he helps give the light to the role that at times is treated with racial hate. The supporting cast across the board is great too showing all the different levels people treated outsiders.

StoryThe story follows the later years Queen Victoria who became friends with an Indian clerk against the will of rest of the palace. We see how this gave her a new lease for life if only for a couple of years. The story that history wanted you to forget about becomes a fascinating watch because like most interesting moments in history they have faced being erased.

Biopic/HistoryQueen Victoria was one of the great known members of the royal family, the former longest ruling monarch, she had many stories and this is another one that shows us what she was like.

SettingsThe settings all feel authentic for the time showing us what it was like for Abdul to learn the new culture.

Scene of the Movie –
You will respect Abdul speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end while following history is frustrating to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great history lesson on the iconic leader of the country. It has two wonderful performances and enough charm to enjoy for everybody watching.


Overall: Enjoyable historical film.





Molly’s Game (2017)

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Molly Bloom (Book)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie


Plot: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Overly Long


Story: Molly’s Game starts as we learn how the Olympic dream of Molly Bloom (Chastain) are shattered due to a freak accident, broke and moving away from her demanding father Larry (Costner) to moves to LA. In what becomes a trend in this movie we see the FBI raid Molly’s apartment laying on new charges to her for running illegal poker games with the mobs.

Needing to clear her name again Molly recruits lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Elba) as we learn how she started as small time secretary and turned into secret poker game mogul for the elite, movie stars, athletes and business tycoons alike. We learn mostly how she must clear her name from any illegal activities.  


Thoughts on Molly’s Game


Characters – Molly Bloom is our narrator, our story telling, she has been branded the Poker Princess. She tells us the whole story how she has gone from just being a hostess to becoming the owner and leader of the secret poker game for the social elite, she won’t give up the names of her clients even if she could to get off any criminal offences. Charlie Jaffey is the lawyer who reluctantly takes the case, he knows she could be defended and challenges her to take a plea, while showing similar characteristics to Molly’s own father. We get to meet plenty of characters along the way who have played in the game, each with their own sub-stories.

PerformancesJessica Chastain is great in this leading role showing she is one of the best actresses in the business today, Idris Elba is strong in the supporting role, but not being his fault, I would have liked an extra dimension to his character. The rest of the cast are good without being great through the film.

StoryThe story follows Molly’s rise and fall in the secret poker playing world, how it starts with celebrities and soon turns into mobsters. We jump around different times as she is telling the story to Charlie, but there is a lot of rinse repeat when it comes to the poker events which only leads us to get tired of, this is a new player, he came from this place and has this much money, he is this level of poker player. I found myself thinking that we didn’t care too much about Molly’s story, she barely does anything that illegal, she just offers people with too much money a chance to lose it to other players.

BiopicThis is something we have been seeing a lot in Hollywood now a days, we follow a person that did something minor that wouldn’t effect most people that seems to think it is a story we want to see, even if the story isn’t that interesting.

SettingsThe settings show us the high life the characters we have been living in, this shows us how secretive the game was to the people involved.

Scene of the Movie –
Charlie snaps in a briefing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to repeat what we have seen before.

Final ThoughtsThis wasn’t on the level it could be, we have a character in Molly we don’t really care about because most of the characters we meet here are on the high-life just spending money most people could never see. The performances are the strength in the movie.


Overall: Not the best biopic you will see.




2018 Anticipated Film #11 Mission Impossible 6

2018 Anticipated Film

2017 was one of my favourite years for movies in years, so through the month of December I am going to look at 31 movies that I am looking forward to in the year of 2018, they are not in any order just 31 I want to discuss.

Mission Impossible 6

Main CastTom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan

Will I Enjoy It?The franchise is always a fun watch, so I should be enjoying this one like most of the audience.

Will it be successful? This is a film that could be a complete coin toss, it could be a box office smash but it could fail, it depends how the films around it are doing.

Release Date (UK)27th July 2018

Opinion Battles Round 25 Favourite Film from 2000

Opinion Battles Round 25

Favourite Film from 2000

The year 2000 bought us a new century and of course more movies, we are going to end the year by look back in time to the year 2000 and what we think was our favourite film of that year.

If you want to join the next years of Opinion Battles we will be take on Favourite Oscar Winning Actress in Lead or Supporting Role, to enter email your choice to by Friday 5th January 2018.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Pitch Black

I am picking my film on which film I enjoyed at the time, this was an edgy sci-fi film upon release, it has a strong female lead like all in the genre but it also gave us Riddick who is the only line of defence for the survivors trapped on the planet where creatures hunt in the dark.


Milo – Stuff and That

Battle Royale

While The Grinch is my real favourite film of that year, I don’t really count Christmas films because I get all bias! Still, Battle Royale’s grim future yielded for an action-packed, if deeply disturbing, plot and inspired many imitators, including The Hunger Games. A truly mesmerizing watch.

Cinema Parrot Disco

Battle Royale

Wow – looking at the list of Year 2000 films at Wikipedia, it was a really weak year overall. And there were some truly awful films out that year! I think I know my choice but it feels like a cheat. For one thing, I don’t think it was actually out in the US or the UK until 2001. Secondly, I only just saw it for the first time last year. Before seeing it, my choice would have definitely been Almost Famous. However, I now have to go with Battle Royale as my choice. I mean, I liked it enough to immediately read the (really thick!) book after seeing the movie even though I hate doing it that way around. It’s probably not actually as “good” of a film as Almost Famous but it’s such a messed-up and memorable movie that’s far more enjoyable than it should be considering its content.


Kim – Tranquil Dreams

American Psycho

Christian Bale and an incredibly twisted role in American Psycho gets the favorite film from the year 2000. 2000 was a fantastic year full of great movies that I love however American Psycho is one that I do watch sporadically because it is incredibly entertaining and just so messed up. It is exactly how I like my psychological thrillers.

Rob – Movie Rob

Cast Away

One of Hank’s best performances (and that isn’t say so easily) especially because he is able to hold more than half of the film just by himself.  Loved the way that we get to see how getting stranded on an island can effect someone emotionally,. physically and also mentally. Amazing supporting cast helps us believe the character’s life in a way that we want to constantly root for him.  Great theme song by Silvestri. The best film of the year IMHO because it has such a deep message about how each and every one of us lives our lives.

John –

Almost Famous

The year 2000 offered many great films, such as “Snatch” and “Cast Away”.  However, Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical look at his life as a teenage Rolling Stone Reporter resonates with me most.  The Director’s “bootleg” cut of “Almost Famous” is a fascinating look at life on the road with a 70’s band, complete with their entourage of groupies.


Some trivia:  as a teenager, the first band that Crowe toured with was The Allman Brothers Band.  In the film, the band experiences a near-fatal plane incident; in real life, Crowe went through that when traveling with The Who.


Kate Hudson was Oscar-nominated for her role as Penny Lane, the groupie who takes Crowe under her wing.  A terrific film made so much better by the extended version that Crowe released on blu-ray years later…


Tom – Plain Simple Tom Reviews

O Brother Where Art Thou?

It was a close call between this and Requiem for a Dream but this Coen Brother film is one hellava good time. It has one of the best ever movie soundtracks, there’s an imaginative story based around Homer’s Odyssey and the film is full of memorably colourful characters, brought to life by a fun cast.

And did I mention the soundtrack? It’s super. (“In the Jailhouse Now” being a particular favourite!!)


Diana – DB Movie Blog

Requiem for a Dream

My favourite film from year 2000 is Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. There are hardly any words in existence to describe how heart-wrenching this film really is, but that fact alone also points to the sheer power of this film as it depicts a number of people from Coney Island who succumb to their dangerous addictions. This film is even more amazing considering the comparatively meagre budget it was filmed on.  Moreover, the acting is superb (Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Oscar for her role of Sara Goldfarb), the music is incredible, and the use of sound is very creative.   


Emma – Emma Explains It All

Battle Royale


I’ve loved this crazy film since the first time I saw it. I even own the soundtrack! Though this was a hard choice, with a few good contenders for favourite film of 2000, I had to go with this.

Set on an island in Japan, the subtitled, Japanese film follows a bunch of lucky schoolchildren enrolled on a new government ‘program’. Fight each other to the death. Okay sounds weird (and I guess it is) but it’s still a fantastic film and one of my most favourites. 


S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Cast Away

Of all the great films to come out in 2000, the clear winner for me is Cast Away, not only one of Tom Hanks’s best performances but one of my favorite movies in general. Hanks is at the top of his game as a workaholic man stranded on a desert island after a plane crash. The entire film rest on his shoulders, and he absolutely delivers, nailing the character’s deteriorating mental state and the complex mix of emotions that come from having your world taken away and eventually restored. The lack of music heightens his isolation, yet when it does kick in, Alan Silvestri’s moving score is still impactful and, like the whole film, should have deserved more Oscar attention. Cast Away is a riveting and haunting film that reminds you not to take life for granted.