Heath Ledger Weekend – Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Larry McMurty, Diana Ossana (Screenplay) Annie Proulx (Short Story)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, David Harbour

 

Plot: The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.


Tagline – Love Is A Force Of Nature

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Brilliant

 

Story: Brokeback Mountain starts as we meet two sheep herders Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) & Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) who are hired for one summer job, the two are from different backgrounds and Ennis even has woman back home. As the two spend time together they find themselves involved in a forbidden relationship.

After the summer the two go back to their lives, Ennis marries Alma (Williams) and starts a family, while Jack meets and marries Lureen (Hathaway). When the two get back in contact they start spending weekends together with the love they can’t have.

 

Thoughts on Brokeback Mountain

 

Characters – Ennis Del Mar is one of the two cowboys, he is from the local area and is a man of very few words, he is married to Alma with two children of his own. After spending the summer with Jack he finds a new type of love, one that is forbidden by the people in his field, despite the love he finds a way to try and balance both loves which he struggles with more than he could imagine. Jack Twist is the Texan want to be rodeo that takes the job, at the time he is single and helps pull Ennis from his quiet ways, enjoying the love they had he tries to get on with his life marrying a woman that isn’t always there, giving him time to reconnect with Ennis and share his love with him, only he struggles with the short amount of time they spend together. The two wives Alma and Lureen are both trying to deal with normal lives with their men going away at times.

PerformancesHeath Ledger was clearly robbed of the Oscar this year, his performance is easily a career best and shows us just how much we miss this talented actor. Jake Gyllenhaal is also wonderful in his role which could easily have picked up awards. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway are both great in their supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows two cowboys that after spending a summer together fall in love, but know they can’t be together because of homosexual relationship would be forbidden in the 60’s and have normal relationships to cover up their relationship time together. Following their lives for twenty odd years as we see the two lives they live roll on as their relationship and time together gives them drive to make it to those weekends. This is the one of those wonderful dramas that looks at the relationships and how love can come from the least expected location.

RomanceThe romance and love Ennis & Jack feel is unlike anything they believed they would find and one that you can only experience once, for the time the film is set, you can understand why they were conflicted with their choice.

SettingsThe film gives us amazingly beautiful backdrops to different times the two spend together.


Scene of the Movie –
I wish I knew how to quit you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just what happens to Jack.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest dramas you will ever see, it has two of the best modern cinema performances from Ledger and Gyllenhaal.

 

Overall: Masterpiece of modern cinema.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – K – The Keeper (2018) Movie Review

Director: Marcus H Rosenmuller

Writer: Marcus H Rosenmuller, Nicholas J Schofield (Screenplay)

Starring: David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw, Harry Melling, Michael Socha, Dave Johns, Barbara Young

Plot: The Keeper tells the extraordinary love story between a young English woman and a German PoW, who together overcome prejudice, public hostility, and personal tragedy. While visiting a PoW camp near Manchester at the end of WWII, Margaret Friar, the daughter of the manager of the local football team, notices young German soldier Bert Trautmann. 


Tagline – He came as an enemy… And became their hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstanding

Story: The Keeper starts with the war ending, the English are putting their lives back together and the German Prisoners of war are helping with the rebuilding process. Jack Friar (Henshaw) a local shopkeeper who wheels and deals with the soldiers, while noticing one of the prisoners, paratrooper Bert Trautmann (Kross) has goalkeeping skills.

Jack offers Bert a place in his shop and being the goalkeeper for his local struggling football team, soon the teams fortunes turn around and suddenly the locals including his daughter Margaret (Mavor) learn that just because he is German, he didn’t have a choice but to fight. Bert builds a reputation which will make him one of the greatest goalkeepers of an era, one whose story will change football in England forever.

Thoughts on The Keeper

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Bert Trautmann was a paratrooper for the Germans in World War II, he was captured by the English becoming a prisoner of war, waiting for his chance to return home, he must serve around the village where his goalkeeping skills are discovered seeing him sign for Manchester City. Outside of football he must prove that he was a solider with little choice, but to fight for the Germans, he must overcome all the hate that is thrown his way, while falling in love with an English woman, breaking the boundaries of post war feelings. Margaret is the local woman that isn’t happy about having a German around the village, but slowly gets to learn that he didn’t have a choice, as the two slowly start to fall in love, showing how people need to learn to forgive, instead of holding on the hate. Jack Friar is the man who gives the Bert a chance to go in goal for a local team, a place to work away from the camp and lets him into his life, he is a typical wheeler and dealer. Jock Thompson is the Manchester City manager who offers Bert a chance at a major team, he has a bigger job at bringing a city together to support a man that could change the team’s fortunes.

PerformancesDavid Kross is brilliant as the solider turned goalkeeper, he shows us the pain a war soldier would have been through, just showing the hope he wants a new life after it. Freya Mavor is wonderful too in her role, which shows us how somebody would stand up for a change. In the support roles we have strong work from everybody through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life and career of former prisoner of war, turned professional goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, how he found love and had to build bridges after the war to make history. Before watching this story, I only knew one major part of Bert’s career, the FA Cup final he won with a broken neck, this is shown and is very scary to watch, when you think about the safety in sport now. Outside of this we get to dive into how the English must learn to forgive the Germans for what happened in the war, something that was never going to be easy, but it was the only way to move forward, this is show through the different levels of acceptance Bert must achieve, his personal life is also very interesting to see, with the ups and downs which could have broken any man, showing the horrors war did to him too. This story is a must watch for any of the sports fans out there, it is told in a way that does show people can be good, not everyone is considered to be bad.

Biopic/Sport/WarWe do follow Bert’s time from his POW days to his return to football after his own personal tragedy, seeing this shows how the war can create a divide that needs to be broken and with sport, it gave him a chance to build the bridges.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, they are kept simple for the most part, with it being focused on the small village and the football stadiums.


Scene of the Movie – The cup final.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain hate filled characters, are just basic with why they are created, a little bit more about them would have given them more reason to hate.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant biopic about one of the most iconic men to every play football, we see his life which was filled with so much to overcome, he still managed to make history.

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – My Cousin Rachel (2017)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Roger Michell (Screenplay) Daphne Du Maurier (Novel)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino, Simon Russell Beale

 

Plot: A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin’s mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.


Tagline – Did she or didn’t she?

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Slow Drama

 

Story: My Cousin Rachel starts when young man Philip (Claflin) gets letters calling for help from his close cousin Ambrose about his wife Rachel (Weisz) he goes looking for answers, only to learn that his cousin has died, believe Rachel was the cause of his death, he invites her to the family home.

When Philip starts spending time with Rachel, he learns of a different side and even starts to fall in love with her, this offers him a chance to learn about the tragic story of her previous love, showing his early feelings against her were misled.

 

Thoughts on My Cousin Rachel

 

Characters – Philip spent his life with his cousin until he got married moving away from him, only communicating through letters, become concerned about his cousin he searches for answers which gives him bad news and a new look on life, even if his jealously can cause his own problems. Rachel is the mysterious cousin’s wife that comes into Philip’s life after her husband’s death and soon she doesn’t seem like any of the letters created her to be. When we look at the rest of the characters none make an impact with Louise being a family friend who offers advice, while Kendall is the guardian trying to advise Philip.

PerformancesI can’t complain about the quality of acting in this film, Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin are both strong in their roles without hitting the full levels that show us just how far their characters will go. As for the supporting cast they are mostly fine, they really don’t have enough to do to stand out in this film.

StoryThe story follows a young man trying to figure out just what happened to his cousin, with the only living connection to him being Rachel to whom he falls wildly in love with. This plays out like a mystery which is the interesting side to the story, though it falls into forbidden love that never really connects on the levels it was hoping too. The story doesn’t feel as dark as it should, it focuses way too long on the romance or any of the mystery to stand out and teases too long into the sanity of Philip over the mystery. The other clear frustration with this story is that we focus too heavily on rich people having too much money for their own good.

Mystery/RomanceThe mystery comes from not knowing just what is going on for the most part, it never connects us enough to know the truth because the romance overshadows everything when it clearly doesn’t feel real or need to be that upfront.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the rich society setting, which frustrates because we know they have too much money for their own good.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance doesn’t work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery romance that doesn’t connect enough on either side, it falls flat and ends up feeling like something we could have skipped.

 

Overall: Romance without the sparkle.

Rating

 

 

Little Women (2019) Movie Review

Director: Greta Gerwig

Writer: Greta Gerwig (Screenplay) Louisa May Alcott (Novel)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk

Plot: Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.


Tagline – Own your story

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not My Type of Film

Story: Little Women starts as we meet Jo March (Ronan) who is selling her first story anonymously to the paper, one of four sisters, with Amy (Pugh) an aspiring artists aiming for Paris, Meg (Watson) a dressmaker, and Beth (Scanlen) the musician, who have all grown up to want to achieve more than any women of their era could imagine.

As the four women looks to make their own identity, they all seem to fall for the charms of Laurie (Chalamet) who at different times of their lives, pushes them down a path they shouldn’t have gone, as they look to break boundaries.

Thoughts on Little Women

Characters – Jo March is the author, the one telling the story about her sisters lives, living in New York away from the family, using her writing abilities to make a name for herself, she is the oldest of the girls and usually watches out for them. Meg is the dressmaker that has followed a more traditional life of marriage over following the dreams like the others. Amy is the youngest member of the March family, an artist who wants to be in Paris for her work, she often has learnt from her sisters decisions, being left behind at times, looking for attention when the older ones are invited to events she isn’t. Beth is the musical one, she is the shiest and her timid nature makes her the one you will learn the least about. Marmee is the mother of the girls that is always there when they need someone, she will encourage them to achieve greatness in their lives. Laurie is the young man that seems to be involved with all of the girls, his character confuses me a lot, because he decides he loves each of them over the course of the film.

PerformancesSaoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh got the Oscar nominations for their performances, they are the two strongest of the performers in the film, while Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen don’t get enough time to shine on the same level, Laura Dern is great impact performer, while Timothee Chalamet does everything he character is meant to, even though he confuses me with what is going on.

StoryThe story here follows four sisters as they look to follow their ambitious and become experts in their fields of different arts, only they must battle against the era that claims a woman can only be around for love, something they all look to have to go with their successful ideas. This is based on a classic novel that is considered one of the greatest ever written, the story shows how women wanted to make a different becomes something not just wives, this is important to see in the modern times too. Where this story doesn’t seem to work is the constant time jumps, spending most of the time talking about not wanting to get married only for the next scene to be all about love, this is confusing at times, with the character of Laurie that doesn’t seem to make sense either. I can see that I am not the target audience for this film, which is why it is harder to get any sort of enjoyment in the story.

RomanceThe romance in the film focuses on the four women who want to have careers and will end up falling in love along the way, it still feels more arranged, rather than natural love.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are part of the era, experience houses in the countryside.


Scene of the Movie – We could have a hit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Laurie is a confusing character.

Final Thoughts This is a film that is doesn’t seem to be hit what I enjoy watching, it has strong acting, though the story is hard to follow at times though.

Overall: Not My Thing.

Emma Stone Weekend – La La Land (2016) Movie Review – Revisited

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Plot: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.


Tagline – Here’s to the fools who dream.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: La La Land starts as we meet jazz singer Sebastian (Gosling) who has always had his own vision of what he wants his music to be which sees him struggle to keep jobs in Hollywood, let alone pay his bills. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress that is going through auditions, while working as a coffee shop on the studio lot.

After a couple of chance meetings, the two start a whirlwind romance that sees both their dreams start to come true in Hollywood, only at what price, can success in love and dreams work together?

Thoughts on La La Land

Characters – Sebastian loves jazz music, he has always had his own style when it comes to the music he is expected to play, he doesn’t understand how people don’t like jazz either, he has jumped between jobs because of his style and once he gets involved in a relationship with Mia, he must decide whether to have a secure gig or continue chasing his dreams of opening his own jazz bar. Mia is the aspiring actress that goes to countless auditions without getting much success, working on the studio lot, until she starts to take her own chance with her one person show. These two characters show the fairly tale dream chases that always believe they could make it and with each other in their lives they achieve more than they imagined.

PerformancesRyan Gosling and Emma Stone are truly fantastic in the lead roles of this film, they show us just how easily somebody’s passion can take a toll on their lives.

StoryThe story here follows an aspiring musician and an aspiring actress who meet, fall in love right as their careers start to skyrocket in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The story does show how dreamers can be led down paths which would see them push people away in their lives, we are left to see how this does feel like a giant fantasy between the two, after one maybe encounter to show how love and careers just take off, which I have always believed is in their heads, rather than in reality. This does have a fairy tale feel to it, which is nice to see and will be you entertained through the film.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the natural conversations the pair go through, with the romance showing how we see love being difficult to understand at times. The musical side of the film is the way everybody is willing to sing and dance around town.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, which reflects the idea of the dreams that the characters have.


Scene of the Movie – The 5 years.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough out of the supporting characters.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful fairy tale of life in Hollywood, it puts everything out there in a dream like reality of a life we all wish we could live, one that lets us follow our dreams.

Overall: Beautiful Fairy Tale of Hollywood.