Franchise Weekend – Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)

Director: Susanna White

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Christianna Brand (Characters)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Oscar Steer, Asa Butterfield, Lil Woods, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: Nanny McPhee arrives to help a harried young mother who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war, though she uses her magic to teach the woman’s children and their two spoiled cousins five new lessons.


Tagline – The magic’s back, warts and all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Serious Sequel

 

Story: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang starts as we meet mother Isabel (Gyllenhaal) who is trying to run the family home and raise her three children, while her husband is away at war, adding to her pressure is her brother-in-law Phil (Ifans) that is looking to get money and two cousins added to the family that are used to the luxury life.

When Isabel starts struggling, she gets the call from Nanny McPhee (Thompson) who offers to help put the children back in line with her magic. The children must learn to work together to help the farm stay in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

 

Characters – Nanny McPhee is the magical nanny that comes to family’s when they are in need of support, she has come to this family in their time of need to help teach them how to be together in one of the most difficult times in their lives, the war, she brings her rules like before as she looks to bring the best out in the people. Isabel is the mother of the three that is trying to run and farm and work, her husband is at war, with the uncertainty of whether he will be returning. She doesn’t want help, but must accept it to keep the pressures of her life away from her children. Phil is the brother-in-law to Isabel, he has created his own gambling debts and wants the farm to clear the debts, he will do anything to get what he needs. Mrs Docherty is the boss of Isabel and family friend, she isn’t quite all there which makes her character come off funnier than she should. The children do come from different worlds which does see them clash in the time of conflict.

PerformancesEmma Thompson does continue to enjoy playing this role which she handles with ease. Maggie Gyllenhaal gets to play the role well through the film, which shows us just how difficult a position her character is in. Rhys Ifans does everything you would imagine in the comedy role in the film, while Maggie Smith also adds plenty of comedy through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a mother that takes over the family farm with her husband away at war, with money running low and the stress of life getting to her, that gets help from Nanny McPhee. The story here easily becomes a much more serious one because we are dealing with children that are being separated from their parents during war, where they don’t know if their family will be together once the war is over. This story does have a very different tone to the first one, one that does feel real, even though it does seem slightly stranger for Nanny McPhee to be here, this time around. The story here is more entertaining than the original which is always a good thing.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film does hit better than the first film, most of it comes from the arguments which feel funnier, the fantasy in the film does work too, which ends up blending with the comedy involved.

SettingsThe film is mostly set within one farm which does show us just how much trouble the family will be facing in their time of need.

Special EffectsThe effects here are the biggest step back sadly because we can see the CGI moments looking completely out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Connection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel that does have a strong story to cover up the weaker CGI being used in the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Harrison Ford Weekend – Morning Glory (2010)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Morning Glory starts as we follow Becky (McAdams) a new producer dreaming of one day going to the next level, when she believes she is about to get the senior producer role she finds herself losing her job instead. Not one to give up on her dreams to searches endlessly for a new job in the business and it is Jerry Barnes (Goldblum) that gives her a chance to work on saving the fourth best morning news station Daybreak.

Wanting to make an impact Becky fires the demoralising anchor, Becky must find a new anchor and her choice is going after News Icon Mike Pomperoy (Ford) who is under contract but doesn’t want to work. Becky must find a way for Mike to work with her current anchor Colleen Peck (Keaton) while making new friends with fellow producer Adam Bennett (Wilson) offering up a potential love interest.

 

Thoughts on Morning Glory

 

Characters/PerformanceBecky is an ambitious young woman desperate to make a career in producing the news. She gets her chance working on the lowest rated show and must use all of her good spirit and ideas to make the show climb the ratings, all while dealing with her own personal life that she has given up making her career important. This is a brilliant character because it shows how people can put their career before their own lives which is why this is something we have seen before but always good to go back too.

Mike is the difficult anchor to work with, he used to be a draw in the news reporting world but isn’t interested in working on anything he doesn’t think is news worth, he makes the job as difficult as possible for Becky by doing the bare minimum. Colleen is the seasoned anchor that is happy to take a chance on the wild stories that can bring in the ratings. Adam is the love interest for Becky as well as being involved with Mike before so he can give Becky advice when it comes to handling him.

Performance wise, McAdams is great in the leading role, not playing it overly funny which is how you can judge the whole cast, Ford does enjoy this role because it is different to the rest of his normal action material.

StoryThe story following a career driven woman following her dream putting everything she has into making it happen against all the odds if something that is fantastic to watch because we all like to enjoy watching someone reach that goal. Sure, most of this film does go around in the cycle you would expect but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side is on the main story which I think works because it isn’t the most important part of the film, the comedy comes when needed without being a constant attempt at laughter.

SettingsThe settings for this film are mostly inside the news studio which shows how close everyone must be to work together. This helps us see how the tension looks between the characters.

Final ThoughtsI wasn’t expecting too much from this film going in, mostly because of the genres but in the end, I found myself enjoying everything as it was unfolding.

 

Overall: This is a good comedy drama that is worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Sylvester Stallone Weekend – The Expendables (2010)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin

 

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.


Tagline – Every movie has a hero. This one has them all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindlessly Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: The Expendables starts as we get to see Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team Lee (Statham), Yin (Li), Gunner (Lundgren), Toll (Couture) and Hale (Crews) eliminate a threat, to show just how capable they are at dealing with international threats.

Once home Barney is given a new assignment, to take out General Garza (Zayas) and James Munroe (Roberts) who are controlling an asset the government require, this soon turns into the five-man army taking on a full army.

 

Thoughts on The Expendables

 

Characters – Barney Ross is the leader of the mercenaries, he does play by a rule book, which sees him needing make a difficult decision with one of his team. He takes the latest job once he realizes that sometimes the impossible can make a big difference being a better all-around combat asset. Lee Christmas is Barney’s second in command, the one that Barney will turn to most, during this story he finds himself having lady problems and shows a man what will happen if you beat one up, he is also the knife expert on the team. Yin is the smallest member of the team, he is the martial artist of the team and is always worried about enough money for his family. Gunner is the member of the team which gets kicked out because he wants too much brutality in the missions, he has a drug problem which needs to be cleaned up before he could ever be considered back on the team. Eric Roberts is the businessman that has taken over the island, he is paying for everything even if it makes enemies out of the locals, he will strike fear into them with fear. Paine is the strongest member of Munroe’s team, he has been waiting for a challenge which Barney and his team will offer him.

PerformancesThis movie does have an all-star cast of action heroes, Sylvester Stallone does take centre stage here and does what he knows how to be, a lead action star, Jason Statham does this too, with a little more subtle side to his outside the business performance. These two both get the best action moments in the film. Jet Li does well with the action, but gets wasted outside of these moments, while Dolph Lundgren does what he can with a character that does have plenty more to offer to this film. Eric Roberts fits the generic villainous role, he doesn’t get enough time to make his character as memorable as he could have been.

StoryThe story follows a group of mercenaries that are hired to solve the militant control of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to the story, we don’t need too much, this film is more designed to show of the action stars of the movie industry. By keeping everything on the simple side we get an enjoyable story to see unfold, though it would have been nice to get some sort of character development about the crew. This story is easy to watch without ever needing to test us.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is wildly over the top with a mix of guns, knives and hand to hand combat, all you would want from the cast we have here. The adventure side of the film does take our crew to a new island that they haven’t heard of before to make the events of the film happen.

SettingsThe film mixes the home that the men have back in America with the island that needs freeing, showing how they can and will adapt to any landscape they are placed in.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly by.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough Jet Li.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that is purely for the action fans, it goes well over the top and deliveries you favourite action stars doing what they do best, shooting gun and fighting.

 

Overall: Fun Filled Action Film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – E – Edge of Darkness (2010)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Television show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O Sanders

 

Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.


Tagline – Few escape justice. None escape vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Darkness starts when Craven (Gibson) get to spend his daughter Emma (Novakovic) only for an unknown gunman killing her on his doorstep, Craven being a homicide detective isn’t allowed to investigate the case for legal reasons, so he decides to go against the law in his search for the murderer.

The early signs make it looks like Craven himself was the target, but it soon comes to light that it might be Emma’s work for a government company run by Jack Bennett (Huston) that might have made her the target and the deeper he digs the more he learns about his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Darkness

 

Characters – Craven is a respect homicide detective, everyone in the force knows just how capable of solving a murder he can be, but when his own daughter is murdered, he starts to go against the law to figure out who and why she was murdered. He will not stop at anything to locate the truth and take out the people that murdered his daughter. Jedburgh is an English man that will help Craven fill in the gaps, while trying to keep him away from the answers, he has been hired to make sure the investment stays safe, without building up a body count. Jack Bennett runs the company that Emma works for, he knows how to answer questions to keep the press happy, while keeping the shady operations under wraps. Emma is the daughter that Craven is delighted to spend time with once again, only she gets murdered and it is her life before this meeting that we get to see her in.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have had his problems in Hollywood, but when it comes to crime thrillers, he is in his element always shining in these roles without ever looking out of place, and demanding the screen whenever he steps on screen. Ray Winstone is great in his role, which only seems to be around for the calmer or criminal sides of the film. Danny Huston is an actor that can play a villain in his sleep and this is no different, he brings the smug figure to life here. Bojana Novakovic is great in her smaller role which doesn’t need to get much more screen time to add to the story.

StoryThe story here follows a homicide detective that starts to investigate the murder of his daughter only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy that puts his own life in danger. This story starts off looking like it is going to be a revenge like movie because of how the first murder happens only to become a big conspiracy movie that offers up plenty of miss-direction as we lead to the truth. Any story that can keep you guessing and let try to figure out the ending yourself is an entertaining watch, with the outcome not even needing to be spoon fed to us either. This might well be a remake of a television show, but it plays into the modern ideas and works with how the conspiracy could be relevant for today’s climate.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film starts by just looking like a murder, it soon dives into cover ups, conspiracy and secret groups which shows how the government might go about trying to cover up a secret. The mystery in the film comes from just how the conspiracy keeps managing to unfold to expose more truth about what Emma was involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the Boston setting to show how many crimes have been committed in this stricter state which does show us just how big of a conspiracy needs covering up.


Scene of the Movie –
Riverside meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see more of Jedburgh.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully intense crime thriller that does keep you guessing throughout the film, we get strong performance throughout and a story that has been modernized without looking out of place.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – # – 22 Bullets (2010)

Director: Richard Berry

Writer: Richard Berry, Mathieu Delaporte, Alexandre de La Patelliere, Eric Assous (Screenplay) Franz-Olivier Giesbert (Novel)

Starring: Jean Reno, Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marina Fois, Joey Starr, Richard Berry, Venantino Venantini, Claude Gensac

 

Plot: A retired mobster goes on a revenge spree after being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body by his former childhood friend.


Tagline – Le sang versé ne sèche jamais (Spilt blood doesn’t dry)

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Action Film

 

Story: 22 Bullets starts when retired Mafia godfather Charly Mattei (Reno) is ambushed by multiply gun man who riddle his body with bullets, 22 in his body and somehow, he survives the attack. The man behind the attack Tony Zacchia (Merad) wants the job finished so he can take the control he wants over the business, while detective Marie Goldman (Fois) has her own scores to settle with Mafia who were behind her husband’s and fellow cops’ death.

Charly brings his trusted friends back together to go into a full-blown war with Tony which see the bodies piling up, until he can get his hands-on Tony himself.

 

Thoughts on 22 Bullets

 

Characters – Charly Mattei is the retired Mafia godfather that walked away from the business with strict rules on how it will continue, he gets left for dead by the new boss who wants to play by his own rules. Now the bear has been poked he will seek revenge on everyone who tried to eliminate him, no matter how many bodies get left in his way, he knows this is the only way to keep his family safe. Tony Zacchia has taken over the business, he doesn’t want to play by the same rules though, he needs to take care of Charly before changing the rules and after that attempts fails, he starts to throw waves of men as Charly to finish the job. Martin is the closest friend to Charly, he will help make the connections to who else was involved in the assassination attempt. Marie Goldman is a cop that lost her husband to the Mafia, she has wanted to take them down for years now and this will be her best chance after she get put in the middle of the blood war.

PerformancesJean Reno is fantastic in the leading role of the film, he brings back the type of performance we saw in Leon where he is the cold-hearted killer with the heart of gold. Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin are both good in the supporting role, though it can be easy to mix the two up. Marina Fios is good as the detective trying to get to the bottom of everything with her own tragic back past.

StoryThe story here follows a former Mafia Godfather that goes on a revenge mission against the new godfather after he failed to have his assassinated bring France into a battle for power between the two leading sides in the war. This does play out like a revenge thriller with plenty of bullets, we have seen this done most recently with John Wick and this follows the same tone and body numbers you would be seeing in this one. The added side story of the cop wanting to final takedown the person who killed her husband adds to everything making this feel like a three-way war between the sides. The does play out how you would imagine which is great to see and the story doesn’t hold back either.

Action/CrimeThe action is brutal when it comes to the bullet wound, even if certain moments can become overkill when it comes to the bullets flying. The crime world shown gives us an insight into the world in and out of the world with people wanting out or control.

SettingsThe film is set in Marseille which shows us a new type of city for a crime film to take place in, we have all the locations you would imagine for a Mafia film.


Scene of the Movie –
Dinner meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes overkill.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action revenge thriller, that puts Jean Reno front and centre on a bloody rampage, one well worth watching for the action fans.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Action Film.

Rating