Fast & Furious 8 (2017)

Director: F Gary Gray

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Helen Mirren, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Watchable Fun

 

Story: Fast & Furious 8 starts as Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) travelling through Cuba finding themselves in a new location for a street race. Making new friends and preparing for the next stage of their lives, Dom finds himself approached by a mysterious woman Cipher (Theron) telling him they have crossed paths and she wants him to work for her giving him no choice.

Hobbs (Johnson) gets his latest off the record mission and calls upon Dom and the team, Letty, Roman (Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Emmanuel) to get the job done. With the mission complete and escape assured Dom turns rogue on his team leaving Hobbs to be captured and locked up.

Mr Nobody (Russell) and his latest rookie Little Nobody (Eastwood) offer Hobbs an easy way out but Hobbs refuses finding himself needing to share a prison with Deckard Shaw (Statham), but Mr Nobody has a plan to break them both out to create a new team to track down Dom and learn why he is working with cyber terrorist Cipher.

 

Thoughts on Fast & Furious 8

 

Characters Dom the man who lives for his family turns on them for what seems like an unknown reason but it soon becomes clear why, he tries to keep his morals but finds himself being pushed to the limits. Hobbs becomes the leader of the team, replacing Dom if you like as they hunt down Dom, he is all intensity and being forced to work with Deckard means we get plenty of insults between the two. Deckard joins the team to get his own revenge on the person truly behind what happened to Owen, he is easily the most skilled within the team both in combat and behind the wheel, making him a great addition and one that works for the film. Letty is by far the strongest character in this film, she never gives up on Dom, knowing there must be a reason behind everything, we also see her at her strongest in combat. Cipher is a great villain, emotionless, bigger threat and ruthless when pushed, that is until the final act and she just loses control which does disappoint. Mr Nobody is good once again, not giving too much away about who he works for but being there to fill in all the blanks. Little Nobody is clearly added to the franchise to offer us a replacement to Brian while Roman and Tej continue their chemistry. Ramsey is the biggest disappointment when it comes to character, I feel there is a lot more potential in her character but all we see is a passenger who does the same as Tej.

Performance – This is solely about what I think of the performance not the character. I felt Vin Diesel did lack the range for the motivation behind his character, he just looked sulky for the most part and continues to show he hasn’t been improving on the levels Johnson and Statham have. Talking Johnson, he is good, this isn’t his best outing in the film but he does the job well. Statham looks like he is enjoying this franchise a lot, almost like he has found his own new franchise for the Expendables. Rodriguez gives us what I think is her best performance in the franchise to date. Theron is good in the lead villain role. Eastwood is good but you feel he will always get compared to Paul Walker. The rest of the cast all have fun in the film without being their best performances in the franchise.

StoryThe story does work for the franchise, in fact it does feel like the newest season of your favourite TV where the previous bad guys are good and the good guys have gone bad. Yes, this does sound almost negative but we all knew the stories couldn’t maintain the levels from the previous outings. The darker tone comes through in places but the jokes do seem to miss at times. I do also think the picky fans will be able to pick holes from within the film.

Action/Crime/Thriller The action is big like you would expect but truly I found the scenes shot slightly uncomfortably, the crime side of the story is what you would also come to expect, let’s get the weapon of mass destruction before the villain uses it.

SettingsWe continue to be placed in settings which are designed to add to the bigger picture, Cuba, Berlin, New York and Russia, they are all fine and used creatively for the action.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all used for the over the top action sequence going on through the film, nothing comes off bad apart from the zombie cars.

Final ThoughtsI do have a few issues with parts of this film, I didn’t like how the action sequences were shot and I feel there is a lot of cloak and dagger attempts at twists to complete the story. I also feel some of the characters seem less relevant and small moments from the previous films have been forgotten. When it comes to mindless action you can’t go wrong here though.

 

Overall: This does what you expect, it isn’t great, it is fun though.

Rating

 

 

The Founder (2016)

founderDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: McDonalds Advert

 

Story: The Founder starts in 1954 as milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) is performing his sales pitch around the diner scene. His luck is about to change when Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) the McDonald brothers order eight machines which grabs Ray’s attention as he visits to hear the story of the first ever McDonald’s and how the service revolutionary idea behind 30 seconds’ food service.

Seeing the operation Ray wants to franchise the idea against the brother’s wishes. When Ray finally gets his way he makes McDonalds the fastest growing business in America but the backlash falls when the brother’s want their share of the business they created leading to a law case getting everything messy between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Founder

 

StoryThis is an interesting story of where McDonalds came from which is fine but my issue is the lack of a real-time scale of the events, I also didn’t like how the end credits show certain important elements of the story which barely get touched on in the film. in the end the story is just another story about a ruthless business man who took advantage of the real brains behind the idea.

Biography/HistoryThis is a good look back at how McDonald’s is founded and it shows part of the history where a business man took advantage of the real workers.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on real people with Ray Kroc coming off as the ruthless businessman who just doesn’t give up, while thee brother’s being portrayed as the suckers who wouldn’t believe his business mind. The rest of the characters are all only bit parts in the film with them only being part of Ray’s life.

Performance wise Keaton does shine with Offerman and Lynch both being great as brother’s, it is hard to say a bad thing about any of the performances in this film.

SettingsThe settings used all reflect the time the film is set in, with the iconic McDonald’s logo being the most iconic moment in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is could easily have been just a documentary that would have been a lot more interesting as an all-round story.

 

Overall: We have seen this before and in the end it brings very little new.

Ratingcard

 

 

Faberge: A Life of Its Own (2017)

FABERGÉ: A LIFE OF ITS OWN will be released On Demand, DVD & Blu-ray from 10th April

 

Director: Patrick Mark

Writer: Patrick Mark (Screenplay)

 

Plot: This feature-doc tells the epic story of the Faberge name, from Imperial Russia until the present-day, spanning one hundred and fifty years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development and commercial exploitation. From the bejewel led Easter eggs of the Romanov Tsarinas to the 1970s allure of ‘Brut by Faberge’ aftershave, and from the Russian revolution to today’s high-fashion glitz in New York and London, the film explores a multi-faceted world that began with one man: the prodigiously talented Peter Carl Faberge, Court Jeweler of St Petersburg. Shot at locations across Russia, Europe and USA (including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), the film features interview contributions from the world’s foremost Faberge authorities, as well as personal reminiscences from Faberge family members.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Documentary

 

 

Thoughts on Faberge: A Life of its Own

 

ThoughtsWe have all heard of a Faberge Egg Correct? Well learning about the history of how one designer Peter Carl Faberge studied European culture before designing his own style of jewellery, eggs and antiques. Seeing how the name became a worldwide name before the Russian revolution left nearly all the history destroyed but seeing the popularity of the Faberge name continue to rise, be it for the collection or brand new marketing using the name.

watching how everything in the history of Faberge has unfolded is a fascinating watch for all the history fans out there, the jewellery fans as well as the Russian historians.

 

Overall: When you come to watch documentaries, this is one well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley

 

Plot: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacking Substance

 

Story: Free Fire starts as we see Irish man Chris (Murphy) is joined by his men Frank (Smiley), Bernie (Cilenti) and Stevo (Riley) for a gun deal with connections Justine (Larson) and Ord (Hammer). The supplies are Vernon (Copley), Martin (Ceesay), Harry (Reynor) and Gordon (Taylor).

When tensions start to rise early on due to clash of cultures it isn’t long before all hell lets loose and everybody is trying to kill everybody else, but who can walk out alive from this arms deal gone bad.

 

Thoughts on Free Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is an Irishman looking to get extra guns for the battle against the English. Justine is the connection between the two parties along with Ord who keeps everything in order. Vernon is the dealer who is slightly strange in his own way.

Performance wise, I don’t think anybody did a bad job everyone is good with the role they are in, with Copley getting most of the laughs with Sam Riley and Jack Reynor both doing well.

StoryThe story is very thin here, we have two parties coming together for a gun deal, things go wrong and the rest of the film is spent watching how each has their own individual battle to survive, get the guns or money. I did like the concept but it is a lot of just crawling around with random shooting and nothing else happening.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action is lots of just random shooting, with the comedy coming in places with certain characters coming off funny while others seem to be played straight, neither have the chemistry to work together. The crime side is the gun deal which is fine for the backdrop of this film.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the warehouse, this is a good thing because the film does play out in real time, this is the strongest point within this film.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea behind this film, I just feel the film doesn’t decide if it is going to be a comedy or a serious film, it gets completely stuck between the two and not enjoyable. I can see the directors style in here which I do respect but I am not the biggest fan off.

 

Overall: Strong idea but disappointing final product with all star cast.

Rating

 

 

Anton Yelchin Weekend – From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

fromDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Chizuru Takahashi, Tetsuro Sayama (Comic)

Starring: (American Voice Talents) Anton Yelchin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Sarah Bolger, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard

 

Plot: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Ghibli Story

 

Story: From Up on Poppy Hill starts as we meet Umi who lives on the Poppy Hills that overlook the bay in Tokyo as they have just been award the Olympics of 1964. Umi even as a school girl age runs the house with her parents away as we see how the locals are starting to campaign to save their town from change.

In the town where Umi is raised she learns of a Shun is her brother which changes all the romantic feelings she has been having as the campaign to stop change within their town continues.

From Up on Poppy Hill is a simple Ghibli film that does tell the important story of community within the small neighbourhood. There isn’t too much to make this film stand out above the more fantasy based projects which does disappoint. The film looks as fantastic as you would expect from any of the film from the studio but it does lack that punch that makes it one of the best.

 

Overall: Easy watch for the great study.

Rating60