Studio Ghibli Weekend – Tales From Earthsea (2006)

talesDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Goro Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Ursula K Le Guin (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jun’ich Okada, Aoi Teshima, Bunta Sugawara, Yuko Tananka, Teruyuki Kagawa, Jun Fubuki

 

Plot: In a mythical land, a man and a young boy investigate a series of unusual occurrences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not their Best

 

Story: Tales from Earthsea starts as we see a mysterious fever sweeping through the kingdom of Earthsea with the King being attacked by a young boy who steals his sword, Arren escapes to the wastelands with his prize. Arren saved from wolves by Sparrowhawk who set out on their own adventure.

Captured by salvers Arren finds himself being sold into slavery only for Sparrowhawk to return to rescue him and continue guiding him. As Arren’s powers grow he becomes a wanted boy in the kingdom with Cob leading the chase for both him and Sparrowhawk.

 

Thoughts on Tales from Earthsea

 

StoryWhen you look at this story I can’t help but find that this one doesn’t ever reach the levels of what you have come to know and love from Ghibli’s work. I can’t quite figure out what it is that makes this happen but I think it falls into the dull characters for what you expect in a world that feels too outside the box of what fantasy world’s we have entered before. I could not find myself drawn into this story at all.

Adventure/FantasyIn what is meant to be an adventure film we only find our heroes on one adventure that just doesn’t feel as peril filled as it should be. The fantasy side of the story enters us into a world of wizards and witches but again like most of this film feels slightly short by the end.

Characters The characters all end up feeling very bland which is something Ghibli usually always gets correct none of these characters will be remembered once you have finished this film.

SettingsThe film does take us to a fantasy world that you can fully believe these characters being part of and can be one of the few highlights of this film.

AnimationThe visual look of this animation is brilliant and when it comes to the darker side of the story you can fully believe just how scary it aims to be.

Final ThoughtsI personally see this as one of the weakest stories from the great studio but I can see how people could enjoy parts of this film.

 

Overall: Not my favourite and I think it could struggle to get near my top 10 from Ghibli.

Rating45

 

 

Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

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Franchise Weekend – The Talent Mr Ripley (1999)

talentedDirector: Anthony Minghella

Writer: Anthony Minghella (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn. Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: The Talented Mr Ripley starts as we meet Tom Ripley (Damon) living in New York who has been teaching himself music while getting by without people noticing him. When he meets million Herbert Greenleaf (Rebhorn) he sees potential in Tom and sends him to Italy to bring his playboy son Dickie (Law) back home.

Arriving in Italy Tom introduces himself to locals as Dickie before putting himself into Dickie’s and Marge Sherwood’s (Paltrow) life as he befriends him explaining how he got asked to travel to Italy to bring Dickie home.

The three enjoy a holiday through Italy as Tom studies Dickie he strengths, weakness and tendencies. After falling out of favour with Dickie, Tom kills him and decides to cover it up with Marge while becoming Dickie to the rest of the world but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on The Talented Mr Ripley

 

StoryThe con-artist film focuses on how one man who has been using his skills to keep his appearance up. The film is slow moving with a well over 2 hour run time but this just helps with the development of the story. Everything plays out that the rich have too much money for their own good making sure they stay above anybody else while Tom goes out his way to become one of them. The story is told brilliantly as we come to understand Ripley’s decision making process through the film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime going on is always being covered up by Ripley as we are being kept on edge waiting to see what will happen next throughout the film. We get kept on edge as the suspense works almost perfectly through the film.

Characters/PerformanceMatt Damon shines in this leading role as Mr Ripley becomes one of the most fascinating characters from the 90s. Paltrow and Law give brilliant performances in supporting roles while the ever-impressive cast of Blanchett, Hoffman, Rebhorn and Davenport all give excellent performance too.

SettingsItaly makes for a stunning backdrop for the film as we see the lifestyle Tom could only have dreamed of living but soon starts taking part in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fascinating films of the 90’s which is full of powerhouse performance from one of the most impressive cast in film.

 

Overall: Truly interesting film that grabs your attention from start to finish.

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Trainkwreck (2015)

trainwDirector: Judd Apatow

Writer: Amy Schumer (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Evan Brinkman, John Cena, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James

 

Plot: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Offense Comedy

 

Story: Trainwreck starts as we meet sexual adventurous Amy (Schumer) who sleeps around looking for the best sex of her life, she works for a magazine called Snap which is all about smut articles. She is going through helping her sister Kim (Larson) as they must move their father to assisted living.

Amy gets given an assignment to write an article about a doctor that could bring a new dimension to sports treatment. The doctor in question is Dr Aaron Conners (Hader) who just happens to be working with LeBron James. When the two hit things off Amy must decide if she wants to actually commit in a relationship for the first time in her life, we see how her past will test her relationship.

Trainwreck is a comedy that misses all the jokes because they all go through awkward sexual references. The romantic side of the story is almost non-existent because you don’t believe the chemistry between Schumer and Hader. I understand this is trying to give us the new look at relationships but nothing is believable in this film.

Amy Schumer shows that her stand-up routine is for the select few people because most of her jokes a pop-culture that will be out dated within a few years. She isn’t leading lady material and by taking the lead role the comedy ability of Hader is effected because he is almost wasted throughout the film. The best part of the film really is LeBron James as the friend of Hader’s character. This film is only going to be for the select few with nothing working for my own sense of humour.

 

Overall: This comedy explains what is so wrong about comedy now a days.

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Trolls (2016)

trollsDirector: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell

Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Erica Rivinoja (Screenplay) Thomas Dam (Good Luck Trolls)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooe Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani

 

Plot: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Animated Story

 

Story: Trolls starts with the Trolls living a happy life but the Bergens discover them and learn that eating a troll will make them happy. On the grand day of Prince Gristle is to be feed his first troll the Trolls escape to rebuild their society.

20 years later Princess Poppy continues the stories of how they escaped and continue to be positive with single and dancing but on troll Branch doesn’t believe they will ever be safe from the Bergens.

When the Bergens find the trolls Princess Poppy must team up with Branch to save the taken trolls from the Bergen and save the day.

 

Thoughts on Trolls

 

StoryThe story feels like it could just be another episode of the Smurfs really because it is about a small group of creatures Trolls that get taken by bigger creatures Bergens that want to eat them. Everything that goes on through the is generic with the reluctant hero having to work with the overly cheerful character to beat a villain that is using the royal figure to get what they want. This all works for keeping things simple without being anything overly original.

Animation/Comedy/Family/MusicalThe animation is all good and works for the world of toy trolls but the comedy misses on most levels but would work for the young audience. I don’t feel this has enough for all ages but the musical songs used will bring back memories for the fans of the music of people’ youths.

Characters/PerformancePoppy is your typical heroine for this style of film plucky and over ambitious while Branch is your reluctant hero. The villains all come off like Gargamel from Smurfs while the others feel like mis-lead over the years. The choice of Kendrick and Timberlake in the lead singer characters does work because know they are great singers.

SettingsThe settings all would be what you would expect from the world of Trolls with nothing else coming off too exceptional.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good film to stick on for the kids to enjoy but otherwise it will be hard to get through.

 

Overall: Easy to watch kids distraction film.

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