Wakefield (2017)

Director: Robin Swicord

Writer: Robin Swicord (Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Ian Anthony Dale, Jennifer Garner, Beverly D’Angelo, Jason O’Mara, Pippa Bennett-Warner

 

Plot: A man’s nervous breakdown causes him to leave his wife and live in his attic for several months.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hidden Gem of the Year?

 

Story: Wakefield starts as Howard Wakefield’s (Cranston) normal day is turned upside down through a serious of events surrounding a power outage, returning home he finds his garage crawling with racoons and in the attic of the garage he gets a perfect view of the house.

Deciding to watch how his wife Diana (Garner) reacts to his disappearance, Howard decides to hide in the attic to watch how life is going without him, this gives us the perfect people watching experience. We are left to see how long Howard keeps this up and he starts to enjoy being away from the responsibilities of life.

 

Thoughts on Wakefield

 

Characters – Howard Wakefield is a successful businessman, husband and father but one day he decides to step away from his life and hide in his garage attic, watching his family’s life continue without him. The whole film is told through his eyes, the reasons behind what he did, the looking back at the stories of his life and how he sees moments in his life with him missing. Ben Jacobs is a man that Howard believes is going to start hitting on his wife, Diana is the wife Howard has left to watch over, her strength comes through as she must cope without Howard as she must raise the two children.

PerformanceBryan Cranston is fantastic in this role as we get to see him carry this movie single handled making us want to see every single scene to see what he does or says next. Ian Anthony Dale isn’t as involved as you believe he would be and Jennifer Garner is good in her role which mostly is being watched doing everyday routines.

StoryThe story follows the idea of a businessman, husband and father just walks away from his life to see what wold happen without him. The whole story is told through his eyes as he explains the motives and how he looks at different moments of his life that made him think about changing. This is a film that keeps your attention from start to finish as you just want to know what he will do next.

SettingsA large part of this movie is set within the attic and here we get to see the world that Howard creates for himself, we also get to see the state of things outside this world as he becomes a hobo.

Scene of the Movie – The touching moments with the down syndrome neighbours.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment How did nobody at least look for Howard in anyway? I mean we get a report on the news but we never see anyone actually looking around the house.

Final ThoughtsThis must go down as one of the gems of the years, watching Bryan Cranston people watch is a must watch and you just want to know where things will go.

 

Overall: Gem of the year.

Rating

 

 

The Wall (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Dwain Worrell (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, Laith Nakli

 

Plot: Two American Soldiers are trapped by a lethal sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Thriller

 

Story: The Wall starts as follow two American soldiers Isaac (Taylor-Johnson) and Matthews (Cena) who have been watching over pipe works in the Iraq desert, after nearly 18 hours with no sign of life, Matthews decides to walk to the only area that looks like danger a Wall.

When Matthews is hit by an unknown sniper, Isaac goes down to rescue him but finds himself needing to use the wall as cover injured himself too. With no way of rescuing Matthews, Isaac tries desperately to get help on the radio on to learn he is chatting to the enemy sniper Juba (Nakli). We are left in a cat and mouse situation as the two get to know each other, while waiting for the other to make a mistake.

 

Thoughts on The Wall

 

Characters – Isaac is the wounded soldier trapped behind the wall waiting for a mistake from Juba, he is bleeding out and has no connection for rescue, the two chat on the radio as Isaac must find a way to survive the situation. Matthews is fellow soldiers that gets hit by the rouge sniper, he spends most of the film out in the field while the others do battle. Juba is the sniper of legends, nicknamed ‘The Ghost’ because of how deadly he is on the battle field.

PerformanceAaron Taylor-Johnson must do most of the carrying of this film, he does a great job at this because you are held on every word he wants to say and action he makes, John Cena is solid but doesn’t have much to do, Laith Nakli is all voice work as he is the one talking to Isaac through the film.

StoryThe story is simple to follow, two soldiers trapped against a lone sniper with nowhere to hide. It is a cat and mouse battle between the two sides as they look to get one up on each other. Having previously seen the movie Mine which also follows a soldier trapped in Iraq minus the sniper it does feel like this is more of the same even if the added inclusion of the sniper does make it feel more intense.

Thriller/WarYou are kept on the edge of your seat wondering how things will unfold between the two sides and the war setting only intensifies things as we hear both sides of the war.

SettingsThe location is key for this movie as we watch how the characters must do battle in a place where running or rescue isn’t going to be something that can be achieved.

Scene of the Movie – First attack by the sniper.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been a lot more intense.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the genre of person trapped against enemy that could kill them but it doesn’t reach the highest levels.

 

Overall: Good thriller nothing more.

Rating

 

 

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Director: Matt Reeves

Writer: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Novel)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Ty Olsson, Amiah Miller, Sara Canning, Max Lloyd-Jones

 

Plot: After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blockbuster of the Year

 

Story: War for the Planet of the Apes starts as two years have passed after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Caesar (Serkis) has had his ape herd in hiding with the humans desperately searching to finish the job on the apes.

The conflict between the humans now led by The Colonel (Harrelson) and the apes has intensified and after Caesar is pushed past his limits of peace he sends the ape herd to safety and goes on his own mission with his three most trusted allies Maurice (Konoval) often the voice of reason, Rocket (Notary) who would fight to the death to save Caesar and Luca (Adamthwaite) who sees his own kind betraying the apes to work for the humans.

Without giving too much more away we see how Caesar searches to find an end to the war be it peaceful or not, so his herd can just live in peace instead of watching out for humans wanting to kill them.

 

Thoughts on War for the Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceCaesar is the hero of the previous two films, he leads the apes, he wants peace between humans and apes but this time he is pushed two far as we see a darker side of Caesar come out. We get a full story arc for Caesar through the films now but his nature has always stayed true, protect the apes from humans. The Colonel is the villain of the piece, he wants to eliminate all apes and he will not blink in his methods, he does have plenty of twists to his story arc too. Maurice has been by the side of Caesar since Rise and still his voice of reason when making any decision, the heart this character shows also brings the human child along too. Bad Ape adds the only comedy to the movie, but we didn’t need to much either, Nova shows the consequences of the war that has now been raging for 17 years has had on the Earth. Rocket is the loyal soldier willing to die. We do have other characters that don’t get flushed out as much but otherwise they do all fit their role in the film.

Performance wise, Andy Serkis completes his third outing as Caesar and shows just how fantastic he is, give this man an Oscar nomination. Woody Harrelson is a great villain and easily the best human villain the trilogy has seen, I saw parts that reminded me of what Negan is like in the Walking Dead where he comes onto the screen gives a speech seemingly never blinking and having you just want to hear more from his. The rest of the motion capture cast are all brilliant too and the humans we see are good too.

StoryThe story does continue on the Planet of the Apes saga, we get to see how the end of the last film effected the world with the military ruthlessly hunting down the apes now. We get to see just how far Caesar could be pushed with his arc being told perfectly, the film does also go in a direction I wasn’t expecting which I did like too. If you have followed and enjoyed the first two this will feel like the bow on top of the packet it is that interesting of a story.

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/WarThe action sequences are tied in with the war side of the film as most are the elaborate battle sequences which all work and do something different on each battle. The adventure side of the film does suffer now though as we do get part adventure but in the end, we just fall into focusing on the other elements of the film. the sci-fi side of the film does show the future world that apes look to control.

SettingsThe settings bring another fresh look to the trilogy, first it was the big city, then it was the woods and the city now it is the mountain range with snow being added into the mix, the settings all work and look great through the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are brilliant, the motion capture is fantastic and this film shows just how to use special effects to their upmost.

Final ThoughtsThis has completed one of the best film trilogies of modern cinema, sure we could knit pick a couple of moments but otherwise the emotional rollercoaster you go on will leave you needing to take a breath by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and the best modern cinema trilogy.

Rating

 

 

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

whiteDirector: Ron Shelton

Writer: Ron Shelton (Screenplay)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell, Cylk Cozart, Kadeem Hardison

 

Plot: Black and white basketball hustlers join forces to double their chances.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama Comedy

 

Story: White Men Can’t Jump starts when we see Billy Hoyle (Harrelson) arriving at Venice Beach a notorious black man basketball court where Sidney Deane (Snipes) is a known hustler on the court. Billy looking completely out of place gets one over Sidney as was a former college player who needs to make a fast buck for himself and his girlfriend Gloria (Perez).

Sidney sees the skills Billy has and talks him into working as a partnership using Billy’s skills and Sidney’s connections to make the money fast. The two have their differences along the way but must put everything between in the background to win the new tournament that will help the both with their financial issues.

 

Thoughts on White Men Can’t Jump

 

Characters/PerformanceSidney is the streetwise hustler that has the gift of the talking his way out of any situation. Sidney can go on the court but he is also a very good businessman trying to support his family. Billy is terrible with money but a great basketball player, he is hustling to clear a debt to supporting his girlfriend who is also a firecracker who dream of being on jeopardy.

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson are fantastic as the unlikely couple of hustlers showing they have chemistry to pull off every scene they are in. Rosie Perez brings the fire needed for her role as she helps Woody look all the more innocent in the role.stars

StoryThe story is easy to follow and shows how two men from difference backgrounds can work together to aim for the same thing once they put their difference behind them. We get to see the strong sides to both men as well as their weakness which is important for us to see as everything unfolds. I think this is an important story for people who need to learn to work as a team both on the court and off.

Comedy/SportsWe do get laughs coming through this film which is all good to enjoy, we also get to see the streets style of basketball where not everything is as planned to be as clean as professional basketball.

SettingsNearly the whole film is set in LA where we do spend a lot of time on the wrong sides of the tracks for Billy but this shows how honest these men can be on the court.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is a good time film that is well worth a watch by all the fans of the actors, the sport and comedy dramas.

 

Overall: A film that can be enjoyed by all that see it.

Ratingrating

 

 

Wonder Woman (2017)

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg (Screenplay) Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs (Story)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Tagmaoui

 

Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: DC Just Kicked Marvel’s Ass

 

Story: Wonder Woman starts in the present day (this works because we know Wonder Woman is part of the modern-day fight) where Diana (Gadot) receives the original photo of her with fellow soldiers Steve Trevor (Pine), Sameer (Taghmaoui), Charlie (Bremner) and The Chief (Rock) during the First World War.

This launches us into a flashback as Diana recounts her training under the greatest Amazon Warrior Antiope (Wright) first against her mother Hippolyta (Nielsen) wishes but soon with open arms. When Steve crashes into the oceans surrounding their island, he comes telling stories of a great war raging. Diana decides it is her destiny to fight to save the innocent and joins Steve in battle, but the outside world is nothing like she had expected and soon she will learn the politics, bravery and horrors of a modern war as she goes in search of Aires the God of war that she believes in causes it all, while Steve is on a mission to stop the latest weapon spreading. Can Diana unlock her destiny and become the hero the world is looking for?

 

Thoughts on Wonder Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceDiana is the warrior that wants to fight to save the world, always pushed to improve her abilities, she learns more about her true self on this adventure, while also having comical moments of not understand but reality checks by others. As Wonder Woman, she is the weapon we all came to see as he highlight of Batman v Superman and just continued to grow our love for this character. Steve Trevor is an American spy, he knows about the new weapon which could end the war and will do everything to stop it from causing more casualties. He is a good man that is showing Diana the way in this world. Hippolyta and Antiope are good character even if they fall into the typical mother and trainer routine. Ludendorff gives us the villain that will do anything to win the war however violent it is. The rest of the characters all either add laughs, menace or surprises to the story.

Gal Gadot is wonderful in this role, she is beautiful, naïve and can kick ass to save people all without blinking an eye. Chris Pine is a brilliant choice for this role as brave American not full off himself either. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright fill the middle-aged roles well both look beautiful and offering the advice from their characters. Danny Huston is easily one of the best go to guys in Hollywood for a villain role and he doesn’t fail to deliver. The rest of the cast all do great jobs throughout.

StoryThe story is an origins story but this time it is our aged mentally Diana looking back on what made her want to protect humans from war. This is also a brilliant war movie showing how unknown eyes would be in complete shock and terror in what they are seeing from the humans in battle. The story does feel grounded when it is just Diana witnessing the war but when she becomes Wonder Woman it turns full comic book which is good for the world created in this universe of DC characters.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is a mix of slow motion action sequences and big war set pieces, each one improving upon the last. The only negative in the action comes in the final battle. The adventure puts us on the mission to try and stop the war. The fantasy comes from Diana’s belief in Gods both good and evil being behind the war.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different environment Diana must enter after leaving her paradise, if it was London, the Front during war or the war bases which battles take place on. This helps us understand each decision Diana is making.

Special EffectsThe effects all look fantastic from start to finish of this movie and full expect to enjoy what you see.

Final ThoughtsAs a comic book movie, this is simply fantastic, wonderfully shot, powerful story that drives Diana to uncover her destiny and enjoy character. But as a major fan of the little things here, if this is Diana remembering the events how does she know what Ludendorff is up to? This of course is just being picky and is a question thrown around when people talk Titanic too, so we are in the top ranks of films here.

 

Overall: DC might just have won the battle this year with this brilliant addition to the superhero genre.

Rating