ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – W – All is True (2018) Movie Review

This is under W because we are looking at William Shakespeare

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ben Elton (Screenplay)

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Nonso Anozie, Lolita Chakrabarti, Darryl Clark, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson

Plot: A look at the final days in the life of renowned playwright William Shakespeare


Tagline – In 1613 William Shakespeare Retired. He Still Had One Last Story To Tell – His Own.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not as Entertaining as it Should be

Story: All is True starts after William Shakespeare (Branagh) has retired from writing plays to spend time with his wife Anne (Dench) and his adult daughters the married Susanna (Wilson) and the spinster Judith (Wilder), while dealing with his own grief of his son’s early death decades earlier.

As William is dealing with his own problems, he must address the problems his daughters might be going through and after a visit from an old friend the Earl of Southampton (McKellen), he starts to realize his own life mistakes.

Thoughts on All is True

Characters – William Shakespeare has retired from the playwriting industry, he moves back home to deal with his own personal problems, the long-time repressed grief of losing his son and the reality his daughters are not living the lives he had wished for them. Anne is the wife of William, she has accepted his life away on the big stage, raising their children, preparing for his return, she is happy to have him around and will always stick up for their daughters. Earl the Southampton is an old friend of William’s whose reputation could slander the name of William’s however much he disrespects the people around him. Judith is the oldest daughter who has never got close to marrying, she doesn’t want to and has lived with the reality that she might not be as loved as her deceased twin brother.

PerformancesKenneth Branagh in the leading role does everything right without hitting the levels we know he could see from him, while Judi Dench is flawless without needing to do much. Ian McKellen likewise is wonderful in his small role, it is Kathryn Wilder and Lydia Wilson that do the most to make names for themselves in this film as the daughters.

StoryThe story here follows the retirement era of William Shakespeare as he tries to put his personal life back together, deal with the problems that he has seen them face to make sure his daughters have the life they deserve, using his words to make any situation seem more important than the last. This is meant to show how William Shakespeare gave up most of his personal life to stay in the limelight of the theatre and that he never knew the truth about what happened to his son’s young death. We do see plenty of the references to how men only saw women as property to pass between them instead of looking for happiness, which William did want to see changed only for not much to have changed in his lifetime. In the end this isn’t the most interesting look at somebody who was a major part of history and you will end up not being as engrossed as this story as most of his work.

BiopicShowing the later years of the great writers life is something new, it is interesting to see just how much could have changed if he wasn’t the famous writer like we know him as.

SettingsThe film is set in William’s hometown of Strafford Upon Avon, where it shows us that behind his success, he wasn’t afraid to stay within a small town.


Scene of the Movie – The truth about Hamlet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just seems slower than it should be.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting, only not engrossing story about the greatest play write of all time, we focus on his life away from the stage, which is the least interesting side of his successful life.

Overall: The Wrong Focus.

McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.

Rating

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – U – Unbroken: Path to Redemption (2018) Movie Review

Director: Harold Cronk

Writer: Richard Friedenberg, Ken Hixon (Screenplay) Laura Hillenbrand (Book)

Starring: Samuel Hunt, Merritt Patterson, Bobby Campo, David Sakurai, Vincenzo Amato, Maddalena Ischiale

Plot: The next amazing chapter of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s powerful true story of forgiveness, redemption, and amazing grace.


Tagline – The rest of the unbelievable true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Poor Sequel

Story: Unbroken: Path to Redemption starts with Louis Zamperini (Hunt) returning to America after his time in the Japanese war camp, his brother Pete (Campo) does what he can to welcome him back to the normal life, while the army want to use him as part of the story to hopefully keep the war bonds coming in.

Louis struggles with PTSD once he returns, turning to drink, being forced into taking time off, where he meets his wife Cynthia (Patterson), but the nightmares of his experience continue to haunt him, while trying to return to the track and return to the Olympics.

Thoughts on Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Characters – Louis Zamperini returns to America as a hero after his time as a prisoner of war under the torturous Watanabe, now he returns home, trying to start a new life, he meets his wife falls in love and has a kid, but over this time he struggles to deal with his nightmares from his time in the camp turning to drink to blank out any of his problems, pushing away any chance of being around his family away. Cynthia is the wife of Louis that meets him and sees the good in him, she gives him countless chances to sort of his life knowing he does need help, trying to push him into finding his help. Pete is the older brother to Louis, he is the only one that can truly challenge him to better himself, even if he does get caught in the middle of the insults from his brother. Watanabe is the person in the nightmares of Louis, the man that ran the camp which tortured him for years during the war.

PerformancesSamuel Hunt taking over the lead role really does struggle to make the impact that was in the first film, with Merritt Patterson doing the same, this cast doesn’t really get going on the levels that made the first film so impactful.

StoryThe story here follows the next chapter of Louis Zamperini’s life after his spell as a prisoner of war, here he must overcome his own demon and nightmares to get the most out of life. While this story does focus on the very real issues of PTSD that millions of soldiers had after the war, we do seem to follow just the normal problems, struggling to adapt back to normal life after the war, turning to drink to find comfort. While this might end up being what really happened to Louis, it does seem to lose what was the most inspirational and interesting side of his battle.

BiopicThe biopic side of the film does show the next chapter of Louis Zamperini’s life that did show the consequences of the first film, though it just isn’t something that is that interesting.

SettingsThe film does use the settings that makes you think you are in the late 1940s America, with how all backdrops and social occasion mix together.


Scene of the Movie – The visit to Japan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is all too generic.

Final Thoughts This is a biopic that does take the incredible survival mission to the next level, only it focuses more on the fixing, rather than the ordeal, which just isn’t very interesting.

Overall: Unnecessary sequel.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – T – The King (2019) Movie Review

This is under T because of the star Timothee Chalamet

Director: David Michod

Writer: Joel Edgerton, David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Thomasin McKenzie

Plot: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another King Fighting Film

Story: The King starts as the war between the English and the Scots continues to rage on, King Henry IV (Mendlesohn) is getting tired of the bloodshed and disloyalty being found in his own soldiers and with his health getting worse he recalls his son Hal (Chalamet) to his side.

As Hal find himself in a new power, he doesn’t know who to trust, so he turns to Falstaff (Edgerton) to help him in battle, with in latest battle being with the future French king The Dauphin (Pattinson).

Thoughts on The King

Characters – Hal is the young prince that would become King, a role he isn’t ready for, he doesn’t want to see large scale bloodshed like his father’s reign, but finds his country in war from all sides, he wants to end the battles and will look for solutions, which don’t always work for him. Falstaff is the man Hal turns to for advice when it comes to conflict, he thought under King Richard and he knows how to outsmart an enemy, first he must give up his drinking problem though. The Dauphin is next in line to be king of France, he is leading the armies into battle and doesn’t want any part of a deal with the King of England.

PerformancesTimothee Chalamet is strong in the leading role, continuing to put himself on the right path to do anything he wants to in the future. Joel Edgerton is always a great supporting star in any movie, this is no different, while Robert Pattinson as the villainous soon to be king does a great job too.

StoryThe story here follows a young king taking his place on the throne while his country is involved in wars that he never started and now he wants to end, hoping to find a more peaceful way to end the battles, forcing him to learn the truth about the bitter war between the nations. This is one of those stories which once again puts our history out there for the world to see with the English being seen as an all-conquering nation that always believed they were right, the spin is seeing how the young king wants to try and find a more peaceful way to end things, but just doesn’t get a chance to solve these problems. The pacing follows everything we have seen before, not making this standout on any means whatsoever, which just leads us to disappointment once again.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a film that claims to tell the story of a real king and how he was brave, just like every single one through the years, we don’t know what he was like or what the battles were like, we only know the outcome.

SettingsThe settings show us how the kingdoms are beautiful and how the battlefields are covered in blood and bodies.


Scene of the Movie – The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is the same typical history story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the period piece dramas that does everything it needs to without giving us the complete truth to what is happening with the real history.

Overall: Simple Royalty Film.

Kevin Costner Weekend – McFarland (2015)

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson (Screenplay) Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar

 

Plot: Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama

 

Story: McFarland starts as high school football coach Jim White (Costner) goes too far trying to motivate his team, which leads him to lose his job, needing find a new job, Jim relocates with his family wife Cheryl (Bello) and kids to McFarland a small town populated with mostly Mexican families.

Moving to this town opens Jim’s eyes to a potential cross-country team to help the children with little hope of a big future to aim for something, he takes Thomas Valles (Pratts) the fastest, Danny Diaz (Rodriguez) the slowest, Jose (Ortiz), David (Martinez), Johnny (Duran) and Victor (Avelar) and attempts to make them a champion cross-country team.

 

Thoughts on McFarland

 

Characters – Coach Jim White is a fallen man having lost his temper with an over privileged team not performing, needing to redeem himself he moves his family to the only place that would give him a chance McFarland a mostly Mexican neighbourhood. Here we see Jim believe he can turn 7 kids into a champion cross-country team using his ability to learn the new culture and give the kids hope they never thought they would get. Thomas is the star of the team, he has natural speed, but he has not been given too much hope with his future after school, he now gets a chance that could bring him a college dream he could never even consider. Danny is the slowest member of the team but he never gives up showing improvement on every single run.

PerformanceKevin Costner shows us here that he does still have it and most of all can handle being the mentor figure for the young actors. The young actors playing the runners all give great performances show us just how anyone could be given a chance to be the next big thing. Maria Bello is potentially the weakest of the main performers but we don’t get too much for her to do.

StoryThe story of one coach needing to get redemption for his actions is one idea we have seen before. It works here and mixing it with entering into a neighbourhood that has been given no hope of a future until they are shown a new way out of the town. This is based on a true story which shows how real people’s actions were important for this community. This shows how people working together can achieve any dreams.

Biopic/SportsThe real people are show in this movie should be used as inspiration for anyone who has dreams and it helps show people can make them happen. The running is chopped together to be fine but isn’t the most engaging part of the film.

SettingsThe small-town setting shows how difficult life would be for this families living here, it also shows just how together the neighbourhood is when supporting any success that could come their way.

Scene of the Movie – Bridge talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Due to not knowing Spanish I didn’t understand slight words other people would.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic look at how one man changed the hopes for a small town, it shows how every kid should be given a chance to prove themselves for a future and gives us a true story that could inspire.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, Inspirational story.

Rating