Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating

 

 

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Lies We Tell (2017)

Lies We Tell is released on Digital 2nd April 2018 and will be Exclusively at ASDA on 16th April 2016

 

DVD Extras including

·        Deleted Scenes

·        Cast & Crew Interviews

·        Behind the Scenes Footage

·        Raindance Premiere Footage

 

Director: Mitu Misra

Writer: Ewen Glass, Andy McDermott (Screenplay) Mitu Misra (Story)

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Sibylla Deen, Harvey Keitel, Mark Addy, Jan Uddin, Reece Ritchie, Gina McKee, Nicholas Farrell, Emily Atack

 

Plot: A trusted driver must deal with his dead boss’ Muslim mistress, her dark past pulling him into a life-and-death showdown with her notorious gangster cousin/ex-husband.


Tagline – The only men who get caught are those who don’t love their wives enough..

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Character Piece

 

Story: Lies We Tell starts with loyal chauffer Donald (Byrne) taking his boss Demi (Keitel) to his secret rendezvous with his mistress, with the busy done, he ends up dying leaving Donald with one last request, clean up the evidence of the mistress.

The mistress Amber (Deen) a Muslim lawyer from Bradford, that has a past of her own which has seen cousin KD (Uddin) become a notorious gangster in Bradford. Amber turns to Donald to help her through the problems she is facing from the streets.

 

Thoughts on Lies We Tell

 

Characters – Donald is the quiet chauffer for a billionaire, he is in the middle of a divorce while dealing with his own personal problems. He is asked to cover up the mistress of his boss only to get drawn into the world of gangsters and Muslim beliefs. Amber is the mistress and lawyer in the city, about to have a big career move, only for her past to come back and cause her problems when it comes to the traditions of her own religion. KD is the cousin of Amber, he has a past that plays darker than you would think, while his part as a gangster is generic, it is his belief in his religion which would cause the darkest side of his character.

PerformancesGabriel Byrne is good in his role, he makes his character feel withdrawn from early on and this is needed for the character he is playing. Sibylla Deen is the unknown of the main cast, she is the star of the film, she balances the characters problems so well through each and every scene. Jan Uddin gives us a villainous gangster figure which is something needed, but his aggressive moments are the best for him.

StoryThis a movie that has a story that doesn’t go in any direction you are expecting, there is a lot more going on when it comes to looking at Muslin marriages that you will be prepared for. While Donald is a man that comes protect and guide Amber, he doesn’t need to turn to violence for this. We are seeing how Amber is trying break from religion and the struggles a woman has to achieve this over a man that can do anything.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world is only scratched on through the surfaces of this movie, we have a gangster that believe he can get what he wants, but from what we can tell Donald and his boss are all legal with their actions. The romance isn’t on the same levels as what you would think, we look at arranged marriages, affairs and lost love over most other things in this film.

SettingsThe main setting for this film is Bradford, this is fresh from just giving us London again, we have the gangs and the traditions that are felt by some and not others on display showing us that they could be anywhere in your own neighbourhood.


Scene of the Movie –
Graveyard driving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wedding side of things didn’t seem to make sense by the end. Not because of the tradition, but location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a crime movie that turns to the characters on the highest level of the film, watching what Amber and Donald go through are the driving force and make this different to what you are expecting.

 

Overall: Something different to what you are expecting.

Rating

 

 

Of Minor Prophets (2016)

Director: Joe Hubers

Writer: Jeff Barker (Screenplay) Joe Hubers (Story)

Starring: Kristopher Kling, Cora Vander Broek, Kimberlee Soo, Oliver McKinney, Rebecca Hanson, Matthew Brumlow

 

Plot: A lonely bachelor farmer befriends a prostitute and has to contend with her true intentions.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Florida Project’s Little Brother

 

Story: Of Minor Prophets starts as we enter the small dusty town bachelor farmer Doug (Kling) lives an isolated life away from any personal connection. Ami (Vander Broek) is a prostitute that works the outskirts of the businesses looking for clients, so she can keep a roof over her young son Josh’s (McKinney) head.

When the two meet they strike up a friendship as they both show the problems they have in their lives, they start to bond as Ami sees a way out of her life of fear.

 

Thoughts on Of Minor Prophets

 

Characters – Doug is a lonely farmer, he lives in isolation, getting his job done before returning home, never searching for a wife, even though he is a bachelor for the single women in town. He does try to do the right for Ami, someone he would never changes this. Ami is a prostitute that owes the wrong people money, she has a young son to care for as she looks for a quick way out of this world, Doug gives her hope of a different world.

PerformancesKristopher Kling as the farmer is great in this role, he helps his character feel withdrawn from most of the conversation which helps show us the isolation he has been living with comfortably. Cora Vander Broek is the other leading star of the movie, she brings us a strong character that shows the determination needed to keep her child safe, while trying to get out of the life. The rest of the cast are good through the film.

StoryThe story here will easily get comparisons to The Florida Project, he shows us the struggles of people in America, the setting is different as we have a small farmer town where we follow the mother turn prostitute that wants out of this life, while a new guardian angel figure watches over them. This story is one that will make you think of the struggles, see the positions people might put themselves in and how difficult it could be to escape.

Crime/RomanceThe life of crime is where Ami finds herself in to keep her child safe, while the romance comes from the idea the mysterious stranger could offer her a chance out of this life.

SettingsThe dusty small town setting adds plenty to this film, we see how empty the life of Doug is alone away from the main part of town, we see how the community is there supporting the select groups and how easily crime can trap people.


Scene of the Movie –
Don’t need your help!

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at the bleaker side of life in America, it will be easily compared to The Florida Project and that will prepare you for what you are going to be seeing.

 

Overall: Bleak and delightful drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – X – X+Y (2014)

 

Director: Morgan Matthews

Writer: James Graham (Screenplay)

Starring: Asa Buterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann

 

Plot: A socially awkward teenage math prodigy finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.


Tagline – True genius comes from opening your heart

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Drama

 

Story: X+Y starts as we meet the social awkward Nathan (Butterfield) whose father is killed in a car crash when he is young, his mother Julie (Hawkins) has struggled raising him with his awkwardness but with former prodigy and now teacher Martin Humphreys (Spall) who helps develop his own skills in maths to get to the level to compete in the Olympiad.

Qualifying Nathan finds himself going to Taiwan to compete for Britain with fellow gifted children from around the UK, guided by Richard (Marsan) in the competition. To help with learning the new country the British team is paired with the Chinese team, this gives Nathan a chance to learn a new culture with a new friend Zhang Mei (Yang). The trip teaches Nathan to open up more in his life, while back home Martin learns to stop make the excuses about his failures to perform in the Olympiad that he failed in.

 

Thoughts on X+Y

 

Characters – Nathan is a social awkward teenager, he has autism which makes it difficult for him to interact and has a gift for numbers. When he gets invited to join the British Olympiad team he must learn a new culture, meet new people and come out of the shell he is in. Martin Humphreys is a teacher that mentors Nathan, he once competed in the Olympiad but didn’t succeed, Nathan gives him hope to carry on his depressed life with his own sickness. Julie is the mother of Nathan, she has struggled with his disability but does the best she can to give him the chances he deserves. Richard runs the British team, he expects to win sometimes putting too much pressure on his team. Zhang Mei is the Chinese competitor that befriends Nathan showing him even after the troubles he has people will open up to him, she also must deal with the pressure of competing for Uncle.

PerformancesAsa Butterfield is great in this leading role, not over playing his characters condition. Rafe Spall gives us a performance that is filled with the regret his character is feeling through the film. Sally Hawkins shines in the supporting role as the supportive mother desperate to connect with her son. Jo Yang connects with Asa’s character perfectly giving us a moving supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows how one teenager must learn to open up when it gets a chance to compete in a maths Olympiad, he has always struggled with social sides of life but uses maths to escape. Watching a story that shows the struggles of a teenager to find his place while still dealing with his own grief of losing a parent, that gets that chance to meet new people to open the world up for him is something we all like to enjoy.

Drama/RomanceThe drama comes from the troubles Nathan has been through and must learn to move on from, the key comes from the romance side of the film opening his eyes to the world.

SettingsNathan has lived a closed life, when he opens up to more by the travelling he becomes more open to everything in life being able to see things from other people’s point of view.


Scene of the Movie –
The competition in Cambridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We focus on moments of problems the other British team have but we don’t see enough of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that surprised me a lot, I enjoyed nearly every moment of the film and believe it is one I would be recommending in the future.

 

Overall: Delightful little drama.

Rating