Gary Oldman Weekend – Child 44 (2015)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Tom Rob Smith (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares

 

Plot: A disgraced member of the Russian military police investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.


Tagline – How many more must die before the truth is exposed?

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Child 44 starts as we see how Leo Demidov (Hardy) escaped an orphanage joining the military at a young age, he went on to become a war hero leading his men Alexei (Fares) and Vasili (Kinnaman), after the war he remains in the military making sure the Soviet Union isn’t compromised by anybody who could be against the country.

When one of Alexei’s children is murdered, the country covers it up as an accident, Leo reluctantly starts to investigate and after two more murders, Leo finds himself becoming an enemy of the country, exiled from the capital under General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), where the killings continue. Leo continues his investigation which only draws more attention to himself, as murder can’t happen in paradise.

 

Thoughts on Child 44

 

Characters – Leo Demidov was raised an orphan only to escape and become part of a military unit, he spent years within the Russian military rising up the ranks to become one of the most respected men in the military. He remains in the military where he helps keep traitors out of the capital, he soon learns about a string a child murders, which the country wants to cover up, which puts his reputation on the line as he looks to solve them exposing a killer in a country that doesn’t admit to murder. Raisa is the wife of Leo, she has started to become a target for country believing she is a traitor, she is tired of the life within the rules given and must soon start to lie to her husband to stay safe before working with him to solve the case. General Mikhail Nesterov is the man that Leo is sent to serve under, he does notice the trends in the murders and will send Leo out to solve the case. Vasili is one of the soldiers that served next to Leo, he was considered a coward during the war, but after the war he became stricter breaking the rules creating tension between the unit for his behaviour towards prisoners.

PerformancesTom Hardy in the leading role does everything asked of him, he handles each his characters actions, while giving us a solid enough Russian accent throughout. Noomi Rapace continued to grow her reputation as she shows that she can adapt to nearly every role placed on front of her. Gary Oldman brings the experience to the role, though he does fall into the supporting role for too long through the film. The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t make the impact required with their time.

StoryThe story here follows a Russian military man that starts investigating a string of child murders that grab the attention of the country who refuses to admit that murder can happen within it. While we get to see how the investigation becomes deeper with each and every turn, it is the trying to conduct an investigation in a country that simply won’t accept murder that piles on the pressure within the story, see how he must fight his country to stop a serial killer is interesting, even if it is slightly slow at times. We don’t get many suspects because we can’t completely investigate which can hold up that side of the film at times.

Crime/HistoryThe crime side of the film follows the serial killer taking the children, the other side of the crime story comes from how the country was treating people that didn’t follow their strict orders, this does show how the history of the country did hold it back at times.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia and Ukraine, showing how secretive the country was with how they didn’t want to admit anything going on wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kidnapping is creepy as the film gets.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over slow building.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving crime thriller that is more interested in showing the countries strict rules that focus on solving the crime.

 

Overall: Pacing just lets it down.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Movie Review

Director: Josie Rourke

Writer: Beau Willimon (Screenplay) John Guy (Book)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Guy Pearce, Gemma Chan, Ismael Cruz Cordova

Plot: Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.


Tagline – Born to Power

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautifully Shot

Story: Mary Queen of Scots starts as Queen Mary (Ronan) returns to Scotland a widow, her presence in Britain as put Queen Elizabeth (Robbie) position of Queen of England under pressure, as Mary has a rightful claim to the throne.

Mary does want to create peace, asking for one simply thing, to be the heir to the throne, while Elizabeth isn’t willing to accept this demand unless Mary marries an English nobleman, with her choice being Robert Dudley (Alwyn), while Mary falls for Henry Darnley (Lowden). As the tensions between the two queens rises, a potential war starts brewing for control of Britain.

Thoughts on Mary Queen of Scots

Characters – Queen Mary has returned from France after the death of her husband, she takes her place as Queen of Scotland looking to rebuild a nation, she wants to keep the peace between the two nations with her sister Queen Elizabeth, she wants to put her own place as heir on the line, believing she will get the chance if Elizabeth doesn’t have children. She has her own marriage with an English man, the one not selected for her and is always finding herself controlled by the actions of men, despite wanting to find her position of power. Queen Elizabeth is worried that Mary will put them into a war, she wants to stop the threat sooner, though her demands are simply, marry an English noble man and the two can live in harmony. We do know Elizabeth tendencies from history, though we also see how she is being controlled by the men around her, just like Mary. When it comes to the men we meet, we see countless noble men that are trying to put their own name of power into position so they could one day control their country, none of them want what is best for either Queen.

PerformancesSaoirse Ronan is incredible in the leading role showing that she is a major talent in the industry who can step into any role, while Margot Robbie shines in the supporting role, never looking out of place in her role in the film. Everyone else is strong through the film, letting both the two leading ladies shine the most.

StoryThe story here follows Mary Queen of Scots who returned to Scotland looking to unite the two countries with her sister Queen Elizabeth ruling England, while the people around them, always try to stop the two working things out. This is a story based on history, it shows how leaders will try to create peace, only for people around them never wanting to let this happen, it showed how Queen might have power, but they didn’t have control however much they tried to get their ideas through. It shows how in a by gone age, people would look down on a woman in power, believing they had duties to produce babies and heirs rather than actually rule the land. We do focus more on the struggle of Queen Mary and how she tried to always do the right thing and the downs that came her way.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film plays into the history of the two Queen of Britain who both tried to do the right thing to help bring people together and never were given the control.

SettingsThe settings look beautiful for each shot, with the sets look stunning, while the outdoor locations are breath taking.


Scene of the Movie – The meeting between the two.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Elizabeth side of the story.

Final Thoughts This is a beautifully shot movie that tells a huge moment in history that showed that the women in power never got the power they were meant to have.

Overall: Important Historical Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – M – Munich (2005)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tony Kushner, Eric Roth (Screenplay) George Jones (Book)

Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Hanns Zischler, Ayelet Zurer, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.


Tagline – The world was watching in 1972 as 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. This is the story of what happened next.

Runtime: 2 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense True Story

 

Story: Munich starts in the aftermath of the tragic events of the Munich Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Arabic terrorists. The Israeli prime minister isn’t taken what happened to her men lightly, she assigns a team led by Avner (Bana), with Steve (Craig), Carl (Hinds), Robert (Kassovitz) and Hans (Zischler) to eliminate everybody involved in the terrorist action.

The mission will take the team around Europe as they track down each and everyone of the people responsible, we see the obstacles they found along the way, but ultimately to complete their mission.

 

Thoughts on Munich

 

Characters – Avner is the special agent in the Israeli government, he is assigned to lead the retaliation against the people responsible for Black Sunday. He must leave his pregnant wife behind to go on this mission, a mission which would be his first, as he hasn’t been in the field before. He is left making the difficult decisions on the mission, to keep the men in order. Steve is the member of the team that has the most experience in the field, he does question Avner’s choice as leader, though he will follow the orders for his country. Carl is another member of the team, he does seem like the mot educated of the team. Robert is assigned to be the explosives expert, his bombs often fail, because of his own training which is about disarming them rather than making them. We see the characters that are the connections, the people that authorise the vengeance, each character is based on a real person involved in this.

PerformancesEric Bana is the star of the show here, he is put through the widest range of emotions when it comes to everything his character goes through. Daniel Craig leads up the supporting cast we, showing he was always going to be more than just James Bond. Ciaran Hinds is the ever-reliable supporting cast member that never once looks out of place. the whole cast is wonderful through this film, bringing the complex number of characters to life.

StoryThe story follows the aftermath of events of the Black Sunday tragedy, which sees a group of Israeli soldiers look to get vengeance on the men behind the terrorist attack. We get to see how the operation was handled, the hunting of the terrorists, with the different hiding places around Europe. This does show how a country was left in mourning after the tragic events, how they went about changing this, fixing this, so they weren’t considered the weaker nation in the war within the country. We mostly focus on one man who was seen to have been put into a world he wasn’t prepared for, one where he would have to do things he wasn’t trained for, to protect his home land.

HistoryThis is a moment in history that shocked everybody, we see how the people in the government went out for their own revenge.

SettingsThe film does take us around Europe as we see where the terrorist were hiding out after their actions.


Scene of the Movie –
The bomb sequences are brutal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant look at one of the most secret missions of revenge after one of the darkest days in Olympic history.

 

Overall: History revenge.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Gandhi (1982)

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: John Briley (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Rohini Hattangadi, Roshan Seth, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard

 

Plot: Gandhi’s character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.


Tagline – A WORLD EVENT It took one remarkable man to defeat the British Empire and free a nation of 350 million people. His goal was freedom for India. His strategy was peace. His weapon was his humanity.

Runtime: 3 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspirational

 

Story: Gandhi starts in 1893 when Mohandas K Gandhi (Kingsley) an Indian lawyer travelling in South Africa is thrown off a train for sitting in first class, he is opposed to this laws which see Indians as second class citizens in a land which is under the British Empire and starts to lead a non-violent stand to make a change in the country.

After turning the laws in South Africa, Gandhi gets a hero’s welcome return to India, where he goes around the country to learn about the impending war against the British as India is looking for its own independence, and Gandhi’s teaching will become the key to non-violent protests against what is happening to the people of land at the hands of the British.

 

Thoughts on Gandhi

 

Characters – Mohandas K Gandhi was an Indian lawyer educated in England, he gets treated like a second class citizen in South Africa, which makes him want to change the laws, create freedom for people in the British Empire to be treated equal in any of the lands, he wants to fight without ever being violent, he sees war as a tactical idea that could be done without spilling blood. After winning in South Africa, he head home to India where he starts his latest mission to stop the British having control of India, once again preaching his non-violent ways once again, trying to change his own’s people mentality to take the country to a new future. Kasturba is the wife of Mohandas she stands by his side through ever campaign he leads, showing the women of Indian they can be as strong as their men. Pandit Nehru is one of the first followers of Gandhi, he will have differences along the way, but he does know that he is always trying to do the right thing. We do get a host of people that were part of Gandhi’s life and campaigns, we have the reporters that spread his stories, the Indians who learnt to support him and the British who were always trying to remain in control.

PerformancesBen Kingsley is truly breath-taking in this leading role, covering the inspirational man’s life for over 50 years, it shows how he really is one of the greatest actors of all time, in a role he was born to play. The rest of the cast are fantastic too, we have plenty of smaller roles with big name actors who all shine in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Mahatma Gandhi the man that wanted to use non-violent methods to create freedom for the Indians in two different countries, first South Africa, secondly in India itself trying to break free of the British Empire unfair rule. Seeing the life of Gandhi over the 50 odd years of his life shows us just how much he achieved even while being patient in the achieving his life changing goals for the people of the countries. The story is told in chronological order which shows us just how famous Gandhi become as the man that wanted change, how different people tried to stop him and others reluctantly put themselves in a position where they had to go against him, even though he agreed.

Biopic/HistoryWe do follow Gandhi’s life from the moment he first gets discriminated against until his death, we go through the history of the changes Gandhi fought for through the years as just how he ended up changing the history of India with his teachings.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings used for the events in history with ease, we will believe that we are part of this world and part of the world Gandhi choices to live in.


Scene of the Movie –
Courtroom acceptance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel too long at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant biopic that shows us just how inspirational Gandhi was to the world let alone just the people of India.

 

Overall: Masterpiece of cinema.

Rating

 

 

Quezon’s Game (2018) Movie Review

Director: Matthew E Rosen

Writer: Janice Y Perez, Dean Rosen (Screenplay)

Starring: Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Kate Alejandrino, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, Jennifer Blair-Bianco, Tony Ahn, James Paoleli

Plot: In 1938, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon agrees to welcome Jewish refugees from Germany in the Philippines.


Tagline – A world on the brink of war. A people on the brink of annihilation. A leader on the brink of death.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Important, But Slow

Story: Quezon’s Game starts as word comes out of Germany about wanting to move the Jews to concentration camps, the news hit the Philippines, reaching the President Manuel Quezon (Bagatsing) who along with his wife Aurora (Alejandro) works with Alex Frieder (Gallion) to find a solution to the horrific news.

President Quezon must look at what is going around the world before making his decision to offer refugees a home in the Philippines, an idea which could leave his reputation shattered, while Alex is learning first-hand how the Jews are being treated.

Thoughts on Quezon’s Game

Characters – President Manuel Quezon has been given the information about the Jewish camps in Nazi Germany, he has advisors trying to help him make the decision on whether to help, even though he has already made up his mind, he wants to find a way to offer refugees a place to live, by doing it in a political manor, unlike the leaders from around the world, he sees shutting them out. Aurora is the wife of Manuel’s who wants him to do the right thing no matter what, seeing the human factor to what is going on in Germany. Alex Frieder is a Jewish man living around Germany, he sees the changes happening in the country and turns to his own President to help people escape. Paul McNutt is part of the American embassy that isn’t willing to let the refugees in the country, he doesn’t want to support Manuel’s choice because America still has control over the country.

PerformancesRaymond Bagatsing in the leading role is strong through the film, like the rest of the cast, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion and James Paoleli, they do bring their characters to life with ease, as we see the conflict in their performances.

StoryThe story here follows the Filipino President who learns of the horrors of the German’s towards the Jews before the war broke out, who set out to offer them a home, needing to overcome the obstacles that are thrown in his way by other countries, mostly the Americans. This is another interesting historical drama, showing us just how important the stories of the people that wanted to help save the innocent lives that were being taken, how people would put their own reputations on the line to make this happen. While certain moments of this story do seem to lack moments of pace, because most of the film focuses more on the political side of the events.

HistoryWhen it comes to any film about history, you want to learn something new and after watching this film, you will learn about the incredible, the work that Manuel Quezon achieved during the war.

SettingsMost of the film is set behind close doors, with it being offices or social events, where the conversations took place.


Scene of the Movie – The arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough about how the people would be feel about the decision.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting history lesson film that will once again put a spotlight on another unsung hero of the war.

Overall: Important Story.