The Aftermath (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Kent

Writer: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse, Rhidian Brook (Screenplay) Rhidian Brook (Novel)

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke, Alexander Skarsgard, Flora Thiemann

Plot: Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house.

Tagline – In The Aftermath Of War, The Last Thing She Expected To Find Was Love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Romance

Story: The Aftermath starts five months after World War II, Rachael Morgan (Knightley) is joining her husband Lewis (Clarke) in Hamburg in the post-war reconstruction, taking the house of architect Stephen Lubert (Skarsgard). After struggling to adjust, Lewis suggests letting Stephen and his daughter Freda (Thiemann) remain in the house on the top floor.

Lewis knows the troubles between the two sides will still be there, but is understanding and wants to bring the people together, while Rachael isn’t sure who to trust with reputation of the past, which only leads to her question Stephen more about his past, while the two slowly start an affair that could risk everything for the two.

Thoughts on The Aftermath

Characters – Rachael Morgan is joining her husband in Hamburg, she has suffered the loss of their son during the war and isn’t the most convinced about moving to Germany post-war, she doesn’t like living with Germans, only to learn they have suffered the same as she has because of the war. She does start an affair with the owner of the house, one that will see her want to leave the pain of her marriage. Lewis is the soldier assigned to help out in Hamburg, meaning his family would join him, he does have more patience than many of the British soldiers, knowing that the war being over is more important than who killed who in the conflict. He does come off like a genuine person that wants things to change for the good. Stephen Lubert is the man whose house the couple must live in, a once famous architect who lost his wife in the war, he is thankful for being let remain in the house and must convince the British he had nothing to do with the Nazi party, while falling in love with Rachael. Freda is the daughter of Stephen who has grown a resentment towards the British, she is easily led by the younger fighters who still believe the war to be on, getting caught in a position she should never have been put through.

PerformancesKeira Knightley in the leading role is great to watch showing us just how great she is in these roles, she is surrounded by two strong supporting roles from Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgard too.

StoryThe story follows a wife that must move to Hamburg to be with her husband as he starts to try and lead the rebuilding of Germany after the war, only to fall in love with a local whose house they are living in. The most important factor to shown in this story is the loss the four main characters have suffered because of the war, the British couple lost a child, while the Germany’s lost a mother and wife, they never got a true chance to grieve because of the conflict, which has caused even more tension between the two sides. When it comes to the affair, it does show that people who have been through the worst can be there for each other. Outside of this, we do get to see how people were truly affected by the war and would do extreme things to get their own revenge for the loss in war too. Only we don’t focus enough on this side of the story, instead it is all about the romance, which is everything you would have seen before.

RomanceThe romance in the film does take centre stage, sadly, because this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before and we did have a lot more interesting side arcs we could have invested in.

SettingsThe film is set in Hamburg and does show the devastation of the war, with the destroyed buildings showing us just how helpless the innocent would be even after the war.

Scene of the Movie – The Ice River.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The romance isn’t as interesting as the story that revolves around Freda.

Final Thoughts This is a nice simple post-war romance movie, it has great performances, even if it does focus on the weaker aspect of the story instead of a more interesting one.

Overall: Nice Post-War Drama.

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.

Assassin’s Target (2020) Movie Review

Director: Gilles Gambino

Writer: Gilles Gambino (Screenplay)

Starring: Jimena Gala, Ben Vinnicombe, James Giblin, Nicholas Stojanovic, Maarten Swann, Alika Del Sol, Gilles Gambino

Plot: Rosa, a master assassin with a knack for poisons sets out on a search and destroy mission against a spiritual leader, but conflicts within her own organization may spell disaster for her long before she ever closes in on her target.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Mystery

Story: Assassin’s Target starts as we see the master assassin Rosa (Gala) complete her latest poison based kill, wanting to walk away from this world, her employees need her to get a new threat complete, after a television broadcast was interrupted by a mysterious man.

Rosa travels to Barcelona for this latest job, where she works with Will Gray (Vinnicombe) as her guide around town, being watched over by Gregor (Stojanovic), as she learns more about her boss Henry Crowford (Giblin).

Thoughts on Assassin’s Target

Characters – Rosa is the master assassin that uses poison as her weapon of choice, she has been doing this for years and looking to get out of the business, until one more job gets thrown her way. She must look for a mysterious hacker, which sees her needing to look into who this will be, mostly looking just to escape, she knows how to stay ahead of the game. Henry Crowford is the man that assigns the jobs, he listens to somebody above him and like any boss in the business, he will do what he needs to keep the business secret. Will Gray is the connection in Barcelona, he will fill in blanks and show Rosa around, while having his own agenda. Gregor is the former partner of Rosa, that is sent to follow her around on the mission, while having his own plan.

PerformancesThe film does struggle to get the best performances from the actors, as we are never convinced about how deadly Jimena Gala, makes her assassin character, though we do feel the pain her character has been through, when it comes to the male performances, they don’t breakout to give them enough identity.

StoryThe story here follows an assassin on their final job, which involved investigating a mysterious hacker that is seen to have terrorised Spanish television, only not everything is adding up the way she though it would. This story does manage to put a spin on the last job idea, with us focusing more of Rosa, wanting to make sure she can get a clean getaway over, the job which is slightly harder than normal trait we are used to seeing. The problem comes with the story not feeling like a job that an assassin would be involved with, rather one that a private investigator would be looking into, which doesn’t give us enough of a feel of peril, despite the fact she doesn’t know who to trust. The story does wrap up nicely which will hold everything together, but never gets out of the building something bigger up idea.

MysteryThe mystery in this film comes from us wonder just who the mysterious man on the television and why he is considered such a threat to the people involved.

SettingsThe film is set in Barcelona which will give us a beautiful backdrop for the movie, though most of the scenes feel like we are in luxury apartments over anything else.

Scene of the Movie – My name is Rosa.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough suspense.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting mystery thriller, that doesn’t seem to get out of first gear, it does the basics right and does spin the last job for an assassin well, only to not have enough suspense for what is meant to be going on.

Overall: Suspenseless Thriller.

A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life (2019) Movie Review

Director: Staten Cousins Roe

Writer: Staten Cousins Roe (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Brayben, Poppy Roe, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Sarah Ball, Tomiwa Edun, Sinead Matthews

Plot: A self-help addict unwittingly finds herself on a killing spree with her unhinged life coach.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Quirky Dark Fun

Story: A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life starts as we meet a self-help addict Lou Farnt (Brayben) who has always struggled with her confidence in life, jumping between differ gurus for years, being held back by her mother Maureen (Ball). Lou meets Val Stone (Roe) at one of the self-help promotions for the latest book she is reading, which soon gives them a chance to become friends.

Val encourages Lou to join her on a road trip to discover other self-help ideas, all while she is completing her own killing spree across the country, one that Lou has no idea of.

Thoughts on A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life

Characters – Lou Farnt lives a quiet like with her working in a shop, caring for her mother that has always held her back and using self-help gurus to try and help her uncover her true self come out of her timid nature. She meets Val who pushes her to escape her life, where she gets to go on a road trip. Val Stone is a serial killer that has been going through self-help gurus, she meets Lou inviting her on a road trip to different self-help gurus, ones which she continues to kill, she is very cold, but confident in her kills. Chuck Knoah is one of the gurus that has been inspiring the women the most, the road trip is them looking to get to him, as he does inspire millions with his worlds. Maureen is Lou’s mother who has been controlling her life for years, not letting her get free to her own life.

PerformancesKatie Brayden brings the timid character to life with ease, with us understand all her struggles in life, while Poppy Roe does bring the cold-hearted killer to life with levels of disturbance behind the performance. Elsewhere we do get performances that embrace the self-help people you would have imagined.

StoryThe story here follows a timid self-help addicted who befriends a mysterious woman who happens to be a serial killer that is hunting for self-help gurus. This is an interesting story about learning who you are and what you can do with the right support, only becoming an adventure about murder. It has easily been compared to ‘Sightseers’ which does have the same tone in the film. The story does seem to be drive to each help group, try some new therapy which does seem to become random and completely out there almost poking fun at the wild therapies in the world.

Comedy/Crime/HorrorThe comedy in this film is very dark, it focuses on the twisted actions of Val, which does playing into the crime side of the film, which shows the killing spree, without much of the killing itself. As for the horror it does show the shock of being part of a killing spree when Lou learns the truth of Val’s plan.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show different locations around Britain, as the couple travel around to different self-help groups, starting on the beauty of the coastal town.

Scene of the Movie – Caught in the act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t see what Val choice of kill is.

Final Thoughts This is a dark quirky comedy on a par with Sightseers, while being the fullest Britishness of Prevenge, one you can have fun watching.

Overall: Delightfully Dark.

A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE is released on iTunes and Digital HD from 13th January 2020

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – A – Avengement (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jesse V Johnson

Writer: Jesse V Johnson, Stu Small (Screenplay)

Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbrass, Thomas Turgoose, Nick Moran, Kierston Wareing, Leo Gregory, Beau Fowler

Plot: After years of assaults on him in prison, Cain escapes for avengement on those responsible.

Tagline – He’s Out On Bad Behavior.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bloody, Brutal and Bad Ass

Story: Avengement starts when harden criminal Cain Burgess (Adkins) escapes from prison heading directly to his brother’s pub, holding the group including Hyde (Moran), Tune (Turgoose) and bar tender Bez (Wareing) as he waits for his brother Lincoln (Fairbrass) to arrive to settle a score.

While waiting for Lincoln, Cain has a story of how he was abandoned in prison to fight for himself becoming a deadly weapon that can beat any man in a solo fight and when it comes to numbers, they still don’t have an advantage against him.

Thoughts on Avengement

Characters – Cain Burgess was a small time criminal before he got caught and thrown in prison, here he became a fighter, finding a target on his back, becoming a man with scars on his face and revenge in his blood. He heads straight for his brother and the members of the gang that caused in prison sentence, he is tough fighter that literally won’t stay down. Lincoln is the brother of Cain that has been running a loan shark business for years, his reputation has seen countless people suffer and pay for failing to repay him. Tune is the member of the gang that will talk the biggest game, while being just another idiot member of the group. Hyde is the man under Lincoln in the organisation, he knows how to work people, being able to remain calm even with a shotgun in his face.

PerformancesScott Adkins gives the best performance of his career to date here, he has always been brilliant at the combat scenes, but when it comes to the pure emotion behind the character, he has struggled before, he shines on both fronts. Craig Fairbrass does bring the villainous character to life, though we don’t see enough of him at times. The rest of the cast do bring their aggressive gangster figure to life.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that escapes from prison to go on a revenge mission against his brother the leader of a loan shark ring that has seen countless people suffer after he gets abandoned to fight for himself in prison. This does keep the story simple it is a revenge story, we do start with near the end as we do flashback through the incidents which explain all the scars and disfigurements that Cain has suffered. We also get to look at different motivations for what Cain is up to. The warning going into this story must come from the aggressive British gangster language, which is used to put extra point on the swearing.

ActionThe action in the film is brutal and hard hitting with fights in all locations becoming longer and bloodier through the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help with a large part of the film being in the bar waiting for the big blow off scene, while each other location explains how we ended up here.

Scene of the Movie – Bar fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The rest of the gang seem almost pointless at times.

Final Thoughts This is a truly brutal action film that doesn’t hold back on any of the fight scenes and gives Scott Adkins the best performance of his career.

Overall: Brutal Action.