Writer: Paul Laverty (Screenplay)
Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe
Plot: After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Must Watch Movie
Story: I, Daniel Blake starts as we learn that Daniel (Johns) has suffered a heart attack and is on the mend, not ready to return to work as per doctor’s orders, only he financial support allowance has been taken away from him. Calming going through the processes to get it collecting again Daniel finds himself going round in circles.
When he meets and defends single mother Katie (Squires) who is new to the area trying to get signed up for her own allowances, the two become friends and offer to support each other in their battle to just keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, it what is a shocking look at the benefit system.
Thoughts on I, Daniel Blake
Characters – Daniel Blake has worked his whole life, he lost his wife and suffered a heart attack while working, living on support allowance while recovering until the doctors clear him to work, he learns that he has lost his allowance and gets forced into a battle just to get enough money to live, getting sent round in circles to get an appeal date. Katie is a Londoner forced to move to Newcastle for a flat with her two children, working with Daniel she has her own battles to stay afloat putting her children first, seeing Daniel as the friend she needs to help her settle. Daisy is the eldest child of Katie that has been seeing the good in Daniel who is one of the only people outside of her family to help her. China is the neighbour of Daniel’s he offers to help if Daniel needed anything even if he is from a different generation or background.
Performances – Dave Johns steps in the first film role and is fantastic, giving us a performance, we truly sympathise with. Hayley Squires is strong through the film where we see how she has been beaten down by life and needs to remain strong for her children. The supporting cast are good and help Dave get the spotlight like he deserves.
Story – The story gives us a shocking look at the benefit system in the UK, we follow Daniel who has worked his whole adult life until his heart attack meaning he can’t return to work, which leads to him to need to fight for benefits he is entitled to, but the government wouldn’t give him the benefits. The story shows us the flaws in the system which could leave people with nothing and even on the streets. This could easily be considered a warning to what people are going through without needing to ask for help and how the system can be considered for a new look to help.
Settings – The film is set in Newcastle the northern city in England, one that has been known for harder times but unity between the people there.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the more important movies you will see, especially if you are UK based, it will give you a shocking look at the benefit system and just how flawed it is, while making you want to support the lead character in his battle for basic support.
Overall: Essential viewing for all.
Writer: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum (Screenplay) Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (Comic Book)
Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Plot: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.
Tagline – The Phoenix will rise.
Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Mostly Forgettable
Story: X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts in the world where Charles Xavier’s (McAvoy) group of X-Men, Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), Jean Grey (Turner), Scott (Sheridan), Storm (Shipp), Quicksilver (Peters) and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee) are celebrated around the world for their efforts to rescue people where normal humans can’t reach, with their latest mission taking them to space, where Jean Grey gets infected by an unknown lifeforce.
Back on Earth Jean struggles to control this new power which will lead to tragic consequences with her needing to turn to Erik (Fassbender) for advice before being visited by the mysterious Vuk (Chastain) that wants the power within her.
Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Characters – Jean Grey is our central character in this film, we see how she has a troubled childhood, before being welcomed to the school, she has learnt to control her powers which become enhanced with the incident, to a level she can’t control anymore. Jean is left wondering who she can trust, Charles, Erik or Vuk, just to find her place in the world. Charles Xavier has seen his school become the place the President turns to, this has made him reckless with the behaviour, willing to risk them when he doesn’t need to, he must face the reality that his school will always be looked at differently and that he hasn’t always done thing correctly. Erik has once again returned to a quiet life, this time helping mutants have a place away from the world, he will do the best to stop any conflict until he learns what has happened. Mystique continues to have the ability to question what Charles is doing, she wants to keep everybody safe, even if it means going against everything Charles is thinking. Beast is still believing in Charles, until the tragedy hits home, forcing him to question what is best for the students in the school and mutants alike. Scott does play the only character that Jean loves, he can help at times when she starts to lose control, while being one of the few people she wants to protect from the danger she is becoming. Storm, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler complete the X-Men team which sees him just being extra members of the fight for the most part. Vuk is the mysterious being that is searching for the power that has taken over Jean, she is the leader of a group that want this power for their own destructive motivations.
Performances – This film has a mix of performances, Sophie Turner does continue to struggle in the leading role, she just never manages to convince with the unsure factor of how she is feeling through the film. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are usually the standouts in these films, but they both don’t get to make the impact they have in the past. Nicolas Hoult does have good moments, but we would have liked more from him. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee do everything asked in their roles, while Jessica Chastain seems to be wasted in the villainous role.
Story – The story shows us a world where mutants are a welcome and used to help sav people around the world, when one of these missions goes wrong the mutants show the danger they can bring to the world, when one gets infected with an unknown power which makes them the most powerful person in the world, while a new group wants that power. It is nice to see the story continue to show how the world has changed from the events in the previous films, even if it does throw a lot of the timeline out the window. We do follow certain lines that we did follow in The Last Stand too, which didn’t feel fresh, the script does have some awful lines which doesn’t help either. Now on the positive side of the story, we do get to flip Charles’s characters showing that he isn’t the all positive figure, it does make him the focus of the story at times though, we do get to see some of the other X-Men unleash their powers is nice to see too. This could easily be one of the weakest stories in the X-Men universe and you can see just how difficult it was.
Action/Sci-Fi – The action in the film does have a couple of entertaining moments that do get to see just how powerful each mutant can be when unleashed to their full powers. We do hit new levels for the sci-fi elements as we see the new enemy and power.
Settings – The film doesn’t give us the best looking settings, most action sequences actually feel like they are just on sets, never inside an environment.
Special Effects – The effect in the film give us a weird look to the design of the power that is coming over Jean, which does work in places, though it doesn’t look overly interesting in when it comes to the wounds.
Final Thoughts – This is a forgettable addition to the X-Men franchise, with simple acting and mostly safe actions.
Writer: Inaki Dorronsoro (Screenplay)
Starring: Alain Hernandez, Javier Gutierrez, Alba Galocha, Itziar Atienza, Luis Tosar, Florin Opritescu
Plot: A thief expert with blowtorch is hired by a group of the Russian mob for a bank assault.
Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Simple Heist Film
Story: Getaway Plan starts when the Russian mob need to find a new expert thief, they turn to Victor (Hernandez) who is famous for using a blowtorch to get into rooms, he has never been caught, making him their only choice.
With the cops trying to eliminate this threat who soon learns the Victor is part of the force, who has gone deep undercover as the two must start to work together to bring down the criminal operation, while Victor’s relationship with his wife Marta (Atienza) is pushed to the limit, Victor turns to the only person he can trust Rapido (Gutierrez) to get the job done.
Thoughts on Getaway Plan
Characters – Victor is a mastermind thief, he has his own style for getting the job done which sees him blowtorching his way out of buildings or safes, he is in fact an undercover police office balance the fine line between the law, which will see him needing to face difficult decisions in life along the way during his latest job. Rapido is the best friend and only man that Victor can trust, he does have his own addiction problems, but he will be the only person that doesn’t give away Victor’s secrets. Helena is a prostitute that has taken a shine to Victor, he is left torn between his wife and her, when she is willing to turn back to her life of tricks. Marta is the wife and mother of Victor’s baby, she is getting tired of his life undercover, which sees her putting him to the limits of what she will put up with.
Performances – When it comes to the performances, Alain Hernandez does a great job showing his character trying to balance the two lives he is currently living, as for the rest of the cast nobody does anything wrong, though nobody makes any real impact on the film.
Story – The story here follows an undercover police officer that is known for his masterful skills when it comes to robbing banks, he is hired to complete a job for the Russian mob, which will see him need to balance his two lives which becomes very difficult for the man. When it comes to the heist like films we know they can run smoothly, which in this case the heist side is fine, nothing fancy, the problems with this story comes from, not really having a true villain crime boss, you feel if he was being forced into a job the boss would push him to the limits. The idea that Victor is trying to balance the two lives does become the central story because he can’t talk about his wife in one and seeing her getting frustrated that he isn’t around for their child becomes more understandable. In the end the story is extremely watchable and can be enjoyed in places, though it does fall into the old, we have seen this before line of work.
Crime – The crime side of the film does bring us a unique way of escaping the robberies, with the blowtorch element being a real factor in the story, the idea this man must live on both sides of the law does play a major factor in the story too.
Settings – The film uses the typical settings you would imagine, we have the underworld locations, the police headquarters and his home life, each one has different meaning to Victor.
Final Thoughts – This is a simple by the book crime drama, it doesn’t do anything truly wrong and can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.
Overall: Simple and effective.