Tobey Maguire Weekend – Pawn Sacrifice (2014) Movie Review

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Steven Knight (Story)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Lily Rabe, Edward Zinoviev, Alexandre Gorchkov

Plot: Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.


Tagline – In 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the Soviet Union in the greatest chess match ever played. On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Chess Made Interesting

Story: Pawn Sacrifice starts as a young Bobby Fischer grows up learning chess, his reputation grows and before long he becomes the champion of America. Not happy with just winning in America Bobby (Maguire) wants to become the youngest world champion and take on the Russian players with the world champion Boris Spassky (Schreiber).

After learning how the Russians play, Bobby storms out of the game, knowing he wouldn’t get a chance to win, Paul Marshall (Stuhlbarg) and priest Father Bill Lombardy (Sarsgaard) agree to work with Bobby to put his name back on the map, to one get the showdown with the champion Boris.

Thoughts on Pawn Sacrifice

Characters – Bobby Fischer is an American chess prodigy, he has proven himself in America and wants to conquer the world, it doesn’t take long before he starts learning about the corruption within the game, which will hold him back, he does make himself difficult to work with, always believing he is being bugged by the Russians, storming out at certain moments, his determination to have thing done a certain done the right way, does make things more complicated for his future in the sport. It is clear that Bobby is dealing with a lot of mental issues, which don’t get dealt with properly. Boris Spassky is the Russian Grand Master, current World Champion, that like Bobby is being controlled by his handlers, he just wants to prove himself against the best, which means facing Bobby in whichever style of game possible. Paul Marshall is the man that brings Bobby back to the game, he becomes his manager, making thing happen for the player, however difficult Bobby is to work with.

PerformancesTobey Maguire is wonderful in the leading role, this is one of the movies which does seem to be one of the finally screen appearances in years, which is a shame because of how talented he is. Liev Schreiber is great to watch as the rival chess player, with the fellow supporting cast, Michael Stuhlbarg and Peter Sarsgaard both giving strong performances.

StoryThe story here follows the rise of chess genius Bobby Fischer as he deals with his own mental health when trying to break down the Russian dominance in the world of chess to become the new world champion. This is an interesting story because it does show how conflicted Bobby was when it came to the game of chess, he did want to become champion, but being in the middle of the cold war, only built up the tension between the nations playing the game too. If we were going to look to learn the full Bobby Fischer story, we will be left disappointed because his life because even more fascinating after the big championship match.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film only shows the build up to the big championship match, where the two heavyweights will come to face each other, instead of the more interesting later steps of his life.

SettingsThe film does show us just how many different locations that could be bugged that would cause the problems for Bobby.


Scene of the Movie – The chess matches.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could learn so much more about Bobby’s life after this big match.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable thriller about chess, who would have thought of this beforehand. Tobey Maguire is great to watch through the film.

Overall: Interesting Chess Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – # – The 12 Disasters of Christmas (2012) Movie Review

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Sydney Roper, Rudy Thauberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Quinn, Magda Apanowicz, Holly Elissa, Roark Critchlow, Andrew Airlie, Ryan Grantham, Greg Kean

Plot: It’s Christmas Eve when an ominous dark star appears in the sky; could this star be a sign that Judgment Day is near? When massive earthquakes and natural disasters tear apart cities, it seems that the day of reckoning is upon us – and now a small band of heroes must come together to save the world!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Disaster Film

Story: The 12 Disasters of Christmas starts on Jacey’s (Apanowicz) 18th birthday as she has a climbing day with her father Joseph (Quinn), the day takes a turn when Jacey’s grandmother gives her a ring claiming she is the chosen one.

Once the sky starts raining shards of ice, it becomes clear that this is just the latest disaster which is claiming the end of the world is coming, through different disasters, with only one person that can stop it, Jacey

Thoughts on The 12 Disasters of Christmas

Characters – Joseph is the husband and father that has been fighting to save his town from new control after seeing the jobs disappear, when the events of the disasters start happening, he will join his daughter in putting the clues together to try and stop the world ending, even if people do try and stop them. Jacey has just turned 18, she enjoys the physical hobbies including climbing, she wants to move away for college, which is the biggest strain in the relationship between her and her father, until she learns she is the chosen one that can stop the disasters, she gets put through pain whenever one is about to hit too. Mary is the mother and wife that is always around for medical problems the town is facing. Kane owns the town, he did grow up there, but has been looking to turn the town around to make more money for himself.

PerformancesEd Quinn does well enough in the leading role, this is a Syfy movie, so we know the performances aren’t going to be winning any awards, they just need to make sure they are passable for a film like this, which they whole cast is strong enough through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a small town that happens to be the epicentre of the end of the world after the prophecy claims that 12 disasters will signal the end of the world, unless the chosen one can stop it. The story does spin the idea of the 12 days of Christmas by turning it into different theories about disasters, which sadly is one of the weakest parts of the film because the disaster doesn’t match the songs ideas. If you look at this as a series of disasters, this is a fun enjoyable story, it plays out just like you would imagine, knowing who will die and when, usually just after giving the message, but it does feel fresh compared to most of the disaster films that don’t feel like they can be stopped with the power of one.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is a lot of different disasters, we have slow chases, nothing is truly ground breaking or leaves us with a giant set piece like most disaster films, while the sci-fi side of the film focuses on the idea of the world coming to an end, where the fantasy elements could be the one thing to stop it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small mountain town, which shows how close everybody is and how they would react to crisis.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are the low-budget ones we would expect, there is a couple of moments that work very well, even with the budget.


Scene of the Movie – The invisible wall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The disasters don’t match the song lyrics which is implied by the title.

Final Thoughts This is a fun disaster movie, it keeps things simple, has plenty of peril and an idea that bigger things could happen if they are not stopped.

Overall: Simple and Fun.