Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez (Screenplay) Yukito Kishiro (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Lana Condor, Eiza Gonzalez, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson

 

Plot: An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.


Tagline – An Angel Falls. A Warrior Rises.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visual Masterpiece

 

Story: Alita: Battle Angel starts in the 26th century, Dr Dyson Ido (Waltz) searching for scraps locates the remaining parts of a cyborg, who has come from the city sky, he rebuilds her naming her Alita (Salazar) and teaches her about the world. Alita wants to learn for herself which happens when she meets Hugo (Johnson) who shows him the city.

Vector (Ali) being controlled by the villainous Nova is always seeking the best fighters to send to the city above, which attracts him to Alita knowing her abilities will give him even more power. Alita must learn about her past to fight for her future to become the hero she was always meant to be.

 

Thoughts on Alita: Battle Angel

 

Characters – Alita is the name given to the battle angel, she is from an older technology, one nobody understands one from before the great Fall. She is programmed to be like a teenager learning about the world, eager to take chance, before she learns about her fighting abilities, which will see her fight to keep her freedom and for love. This is an amazingly strong character that shows just how much motivation can come from learning one’s power. Dr Dyson Ido repairs the cyborgs, he has a heart of gold willing to help many, but he has a haunted past which gives him a secret life that Alita wants to be part off. Vector runs the city, if you want to get to the sky city, you must go through him, he knows the desire to get there and plays everybody on the idea he can make it happen. Chiren is Dyson’s ex-wife, she wants to get back to the sky city and sides with Vector to make this happen. Hugo is the young man rebel that shows Alita the city, teaches her dreams and sport. He does go against what Alita believes he is, as he like many others is dreaming of getting to the sky city. Zapan is one of the hunter warriors, used as the police within the city, they are bounty hunters who will kill for credits, he is considered the deadliest of them all and clashes with Alita.

PerformancesRosa Salazar bursts onto the scene with this performance that even though the character does feel like it is CGI, manages to give emotion through every event she learns about. Christoph Waltz shines in the doctor role, he keeps everything calm which is what is required for his character. Mahershala Ali bring a calm demanding villain to the heart of this film which will show he isn’t the strongest, but the smartest. Jennifer Connelly has the largest amount to go through with her character, she gets the chance to show us that she is the real deal. Ed Skrein does seem to bring us his Ajax from Deadpool figure, which is fine, des what the film needs. Keean Johnson completes the main cast and work in his role well have strong chemistry with Salazar.

StoryThe story here follows a former warrior being bought back to life to learn of a new world that she wants to fight to bring down, while trying to learn about her past. Now, this does have source material, so I can’t say who did it first, but this does feel like a story we have seen before, an unlikely hero coming to save the day after being mentored by an older figure that wished to do the same thing himself, must overcome the odds and gain a following. This is a tried and tested story formula and it works very well with this one too. My big issue with the story comes from the time passage, certain things that happen seem to feel like they could be weeks or months, but they play out like days, only they can’t have been days, this is the biggest disappointment in the storytelling process.

Action/Adventure/Romance/Sci-FiThe action in this movie is amazing, we get fight scenes with each combatant seemingly having a different ability which opens the doors for all possibilities too. The adventure side of the film comes from following Alita as she learns about herself, the world and her place in it. When we get to the romance side of the film this could turn people off at times, but it does show how people would be willing to fight for their unconditional love for somebody. The sci-fi concepts in this film comes from the creations, both in world and the cyborgs involved, we see a future world completely different to our own too.

SettingsOnto the best parts of the film, the settings, the city created here is one of the best you will ever see in a sci-fi film, each individual part of the city seems to have details to make us truly believe we are there.

Special EffectsThe special effects are just breath-taking, nothing seems out of place in this world filled with cyborgs. Everything in this film will make you want to love cinema even more than you already do.


Scene of the Movie –
The world we enter is just breath-taking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The nurse character, mostly because I felt we should have seen her do more (not the actress’s fault).

Final ThoughtsThis is easily going to be the best visual film you will see in 2019, it might have a by the book story, but you will be left wanting to see more and more of this character in her battles.

 

Overall: Experience this on the big screen.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – A – Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.


Tagline – Deception is an art. Truth is a test. Is love a lie?

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Suspense

 

Story: Allied starts as Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Pitt) lands in Morocco to work with French Resistance Fighter Marianna Beausejour (Cotillard) as they pretend to be married as they complete their mission. The two fall in love for real and return to London to get married against the his superior Frank Heslop (Harris) opinion.

After a year of marriage Heslop comes to Max believing Marianna is indeed a spy, this leaves Max questioning, which side of the story to believe and what is the truth.

 

Thoughts on Allied

 

Characters – Max Vatan is Canadian intelligence working in Africa, highly skilled he can blend into his environment, but he does fall in love with his undercover wife. When he gets informed she could well be a spy, his life is turned upside down with doubts about what is the truth. Marianna is the French resistance fighter working with the Canadian Max as his fake wife, but she also falls in love with Max and returns to start a family with him. We don’t learn too much apart from that she is a loving wife and mother though.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is good for the opening mission, you believe his every decision, but when he becomes the family man, he just doesn’t reach the levels you know he can. Marion Cotillard is good without being her breath-taking best in this role.

StoryThe story here follows love and spies during World War II, we see how two people from different sides of the war fall in love and they must decide which side of the war they are supporting. This film doesn’t become as intense as it could be because seeing it from both sides could have heighted the experience and by the end it just doesn’t feel like it reaches the levels it should.

Action/Romance/WarThe action during the film is tame with very little being used or looking overly real. The romance doesn’t feel whirlwind like you think it should be either, but the war side comes off strong as we see how the tension between the sides cause most of the issues in the lives.

SettingsThe settings look authentic for the time, which does work well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just fizzles out in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a war romance film that just never reaches the levels it should do, it just seems to go on and becomes one of the average films that you forget by the end.

 

Overall: Average and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Director: John McPhail

Writer: Alan McDonald, Ryan McHenry (Screenplay)

Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu

 

Plot: A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven – at Christmas – forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.


Tagline – She’ll Slash. She’ll Stab. She’ll Sing.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Christmas Treat

 

Story: Anna and the Apocalypse starts on the verge of Christmas as we follow school students Anna (Hunt), John (Cumming), Steph (Swire), Chris (Leveaux), Nick (Wiggin) and Lisa (Siu) as they are preparing for the Christmas show, while planning for their next stage in life.

Anna wants to escape from the town and see the world, Steph wants to be accepted for her work, while John doesn’t want to see his crush Anna leave. Their lives are going to take a different direction when a mysterious sickness spreading around the country, is turning people into zombies and now they need to fight to survive the apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Anna and the Apocalypse

 

Characters – Anna is the ambitious student that is tired of the routine of life, she has lost her mother at a younger age and doesn’t want to just go straight into university. This decision hasn’t impressed her father as she has bought herself the ticket to leave, when the zombie outbreak occurs she bands together with friends to figure out what to do next. John is the best friend of Anna’s who has been in love with her for years, he doesn’t want to see leave while preparing himself for art school, he sees the outbreak as the chance to tell Anna how he really feels. Steph runs the school blog and is always trying to push the boundaries of what she can report on. She is facing Christmas alone this year, which gets to take her in new direction with her friends. Chris is the film student that is currently directionless in art form, he uses the outbreak as a chance to film a real story. we have Nick the jock, Lisa the girlfriend and Savage the headmaster that is more focused about keeping the school together than keeping people alive.

PerformancesElla Hunt in the leading role fit the typical leading character in the teen drama, she is the one that wants out the town and you can see how difficult this decision will be for her, we she a kick ass side to her, when she takes on the zombies too. Malcolm Cumming gives us the strong supporting character that we all route for. Sarah Swire continues to show this cast is full of wonderful performances, which is a theme for the acting and most notably the singing too.

StoryThe story is simple enough, we get a group of school students that wake up to learn the zombie apocalypse has happened and they look to get to their loved ones. This does follow what we know from the zombie genre which is fine because it does work and each character does have their own motivation for every decision that they make. I will say that one part of the story does feel skipped over though which disappoints, though this does have a couple of twists along the way which fit the surprise of the film. if you do take the zombie elements out of the story we get to see how the teenagers are dealing with the big future decisions which will shape their lives, I feel this is handle the right way too.

Comedy/Horror/MusicalThe comedy in the film works because it does take the zombie moments and gives us the laughs we need, the horror side of the film focuses more on the idea of the outbreak, we are never scared, but we don’t need to be. The musical side of the film is what makes this unique because we get brilliant songs in ‘break away’ ‘Hollywood ending’ and ‘human voice’ that could stick in your head.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Scottish town, which shows the local hang outs the teenagers will be, the shortcuts only the locals would know with the school being the central location.

Special EffectsThe film turns to the effects when it comes to the zombie action which never look out of place or going over the top like others can.


Scene of the Movie –
I am picking the songs here.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One part of the film felt skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is an absolute delight of a movie, the core to the story is familiar, but the musical side makes this stand out on its own which will make it one of the must watch Christmas movies ever year.

 

Overall: Must watch unique movie.

Rating

 

 

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet (2018)

Director: Robin Hays

Writer: Joshua Close, Andy Matic, Elisha Matic (Screenplay) Joanne Proulx (Novel)

Starring: Cameron Monaghan, Grayson Gabriel, Peyton List, Juliette Lewis, Aaron Pearl, Richard de Klerk, Alex MacNicoll

 

Plot: Anthem tells the story of Luke (Monaghan) a teenager who foresees the death of his new best friend Stan (MacNicoll), the most popular guy in school. When this premonition becomes reality, Luke must deal with the trials and tribulations of being dubbed “The Prophet of Death” and being titled a freak by the entire town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Coming-of-Age Film

 

Story: Anthem of a Teenage Prophet starts when high school stoner Luke Hunter (Monaghan) gets a vision that his close friend Stan (MacNicoll) will be killed on the way to school in the morning, the next morning, Stan is killed, leaving the rumours about his vision spreading like wildfire through the town. Stan’s girlfriend Faith (List) is broken up about his death as you would imagine, while Luke feels the guilt of not being able to help.

When Luke suffers a second vision of death, he tries to stop it, failing in the process, his mother Mary (Lewis) tries to help him as Luke must face the reality that he will be heading off to college and this new pressure is only going to make his life more stressful.

 

Thoughts on Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

 

Characters – Luke Hunter is the normal high school slacker, he spends his time getting stoned more often than studying and it is while getting high, he gets the vision of his best friend dying, when it actually happens, he is left guilt riddled and scared of just what he might be capable off, add in the pressures of high school, the anxiety of growing up and living up to his parents expectations, Luke will face the toughest couple of months of his life. Faith was the girlfriend of Stan the teenager killed, she is left broken and turns to Luke for friendship through the difficult time. Mary is Luke’s mother that does her best to help him through his own struggles with what he saw and what he is going through when it comes to his future. Fang is Luke’s oldest friend, he has his own problems and with Luke being there for him, the question remains can they help each other through the struggles.

PerformancesCameron Monaghan in the leading role here is outstanding, we get to see him show nearly every emotion imaginable for a teenager going through the troubles of high school, we understand each moment and this is because of his performance. Peyton List continues to give us strong performances here with her work, showing the loss she suffered in the film. Juliette Lewis bring the experience to the film handling the mother role effortlessly and knowing how to like Monaghan take centre stage.

StoryThe story here shows the struggles a teenager has after having a vision of his best friend being killed becomes a reality and he must deal with the guilt of not being able to stop the accident, while continuing to use this gift to try and help other people close to his life with their own struggles. This story gets to reflect high school anxiety, pressure and demand with the guilt of not being there for friends, showing us how a couple of moments extra time with each person in your own life will provide a positive out light which will make life more enjoyable, even after getting through tragic events. This is going to be one of the best coming of age stories you will see this year, balancing everything out perfectly for the story to unfold at a natural pace.

SettingsThe film is set in mall town America, showing the unity between the people in the neighbourhood and the desire to escape to make the most of life from the students, we have iconic settings that will help people achieve what they want from their moments in life.


Scene of the Movie –
Climbing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How easy it is for the teenagers to get drugs.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best films you will see, it has a serious subject matter that is relatable for the audience as well as showing us just how hard the modern pressures of teenage life can be.

 

Overall: Must watch coming of age film.

Rating