James Bond Month – Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney

 

Plot: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Most Intense Bond Film

 

Story: Skyfall starts as James Bond (Craig) and Eve (Harris) working on the latest daring mission which ends in failure with James killed in action after an order from M (Dench). M finds herself being forced into early retirement by Gareth Mallory (Fiennes) with her wanting to clean up the failures of her last mission, which brings James out of his hiding to return to help M with the missing information which could expose every spy in every terrorist organisation.

James must travel to Shanghai and look into M’s past for answers as the identities have started to leak online targeting M for her past sins, James will come face to face with Silva (Bardem) a former agent hellbent on revenge for being abandoned.

 

Thoughts on Skyfall

 

Characters – James Bond has a different arc to the normal, this time he has semi-retired after being killed in action, he doesn’t stay retired for long as he needs to prove he is ready to return to action, as he will need to go face to face with a former agent who has gone rogue. This does continue the arc of learning who James can trust which keeps the character feeling like he has continued his own story, rather than just being on another mission. M is left to make the difficult decision which sees James killed in action, her actions put her in the firing line of the government who want her replaced, she isn’t going to leave her post without cleaning up her latest mission failure, but she doesn’t want any more innocent people killed, it is her past that is causing the actions of Silva, she knows she made the right call with him and now trust James to fix the problems caused. Silva is a vengeful former agent that has put together a plan to bring down M for what he believes was her abandoning him to be tortured by the enemy country. He has spent years putting this plan together and isn’t going to let James be the one to bring him down. Gareth Mallory is the man assigned to create the transition between M and her replacement, he understands the middle ground and isn’t going to accept what is best for the country. Eve is the field agent that has been working with James, only for her to be the connection to help from the headquarters. Severeine is the woman that James uses to get close to Silva, we really don’t get enough from this character though.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to grow into the James Bond character, he handles the action with ease, shows the determination required through the film. Judi Dench gets the biggest role for the character of M, she is fantastic in this role never looking out of place showing that a person of power can become vulnerable. Javier Bardem does make a delightfully evil villain that has his own plan for revenge. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris both provide great supporting performance, only Berenice Marlohe doesn’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond as he must work with M to bring down a man that is determined to get revenge against her and is always one step ahead of the two. This is easily the most personal and intense story we have seen in any James Bond story, this is refreshing because we don’t get a villain who want money or destruction, they want one person to pay for their own action. The idea to dive into James’s past is interesting, it shows how he was selected in the first place, only it isn’t the best idea when you think back to the idea that each actor could be a different agent with the same code name. This story does have moments that wink to the previous films which is enjoyable to pick up on them.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does take centre stage, the opening sequence is the best in the franchise, the rest are filled with high octane chases through cities where it feels like we are watching stakes on the line.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings on the simpler side, with most of the film being set in London which shows how personal this has become against M. when we hit the final act, we do get another unusual location that previous ones haven’t had before.


Scene of the Movie –
Was that meant for me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Going too personal about James’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is the most intense Bond film to date, it puts different stakes on the line which is refreshing to see and is easily the one that standouts from the rest in the franchise.

 

Overall: High Octane Action Film.

Rating

 

 

A Late Quartet (2012)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Writer: Yaron Zilberman, Seth Grossman (Screenplay) Yaron Zilberman (Story)

Starring: Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey

 

Plot: Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.


Tagline – No arrangement is more beautiful…or more complicated.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: A Late Quartet starts as we meet the world famous quartet, Juliette (Keener), Peter (Walken), Robert (Hoffman) and Daniel (Lerner) who are planning their next performance, as they like to bring their crowd something new each year.

When Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he is left to make a difficult decision to face retirement, meaning he needs to find a replacement, which sees the rest of the quartet going in search for their own roles in the quartet, while deciding how they can carry on going.

 

Thoughts on A Late Quartet

 

Characters – Juliette is married to Robert and while being part of the quartet, she is going through her own problems after Robert cheats on her, she must figure out whether this choice of a musicians was worth it or not, as well as trying to reconnect with her daughter. Robert cheats on his wife Juliette as he must try to make amends of his error, while trying to improve his position within thee quartet. Peter is the one that becomes sick, he is thinking about retirement and while he is getting his treatment, he learns the rest are caught up in the middle of a relationship mess. Daniel is the most talented member of the quartet, he ends up making his own mistake in life which causes even more problems within the quartet.

PerformancesWe have a stunning cast here with two Oscar winners and another nominee, Keener, Walken, Hoffman all show why they are considered the best of the acting world, while Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots brings us performances that can keep up with their successful cast mates.

StoryThe story here follows one of the most famous quartets in music, they have 25 years of history together, when the oldest member becomes sick, the remaining three must decide whether to find a new member, while dealing with their own personal problems which could bring about the downfall of the quartet. Sure, some of the relationship drama isn’t anything new, but knowing the couple must continue to work together shows how personal and professional lives can easily clash when it comes to being successful in this field. One side of the story we could have seen more from would be the music side.

SettingsThe film is set in New York a perfect choice for this quartet to be located and performing in.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on Peter’s illness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully acted drama that shows the lives of a quartet.

 

Overall: Beautifully acted drama.

Rating

 

 

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012)

Director: Peter Hedges

Writer: Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Ahmet Zappa (Story)

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse

 

Plot: A childless couple bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. Soon, a child is born, though Timothy Green is not all that he appears.


Tagline – He’s a force of nature.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Fantasy

 

Story: The Odd Life of Timothy Green starts as Cindy (Garner) and Jim (Edgerton) a married couple learn they can’t have children, in one last night of accepting the truth, they write a list of ideas that would have been their dream child place it in a box and bury it in their garden.

That night something unexpected happens, when the couple learn that Timothy (Adams) comes to life and the couple must deal with being a parent for the first time. Timothy goes through the childhood problems where he meets Joni (Rush), but he is keeping a secret from everybody.

 

Thoughts on The Odd Life of Timothy Green

 

Characters – Cindy is the artistic wife that works in a gallery, she is devastated about not being able to have children, once Timothy turns up she wants to give him everything she wanted to for a child. Jim is a factory worker that sees Timothy as a chance to be a father he never had. Timothy is the boy that appears one night, he has all the good the parents want in their child and shows that he is going help the depressed parents that are facing a childless future, he inspires the people around him, while dealing with the everyday problem in life of a young boy. Joni is the girl that Timothy meets and accepts him for who he is because she knows she is just as different as him, they bring out the best in both.

PerformancesJennifer Garner has a reputation for being one of the best parental figures in acting today, she shows us just why she is always picked. Joel Edgerton is strong here too as we believe he is the one that is seeing his chance to be a father in his character. CJ Adams as Timothy is wonderful showing the innocence his character requires to make a difference in the world. Odeya Rush brings everything needed for the rebellious outcast character that has the heart of gold to give to the right person.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that believe they can never have a child only to get an unexpected surprise when one arrives, one they created, they are given new hope as they see new horizons in their lives and the ones he touches. This is a story I didn’t see coming, it felt original in the way everything was handled and shows just how anyone can walk into somebody’s life and change it forever. When it comes to the child learning aspects of a story, this is everything we have seen before, but the fantasy elements make the biggest impact on this story. the story does play into your feelings and will be one that you don’t forget easily.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy used in the film is standard material, you will get a laugh when you need to even if we are looking at the more serious moments often. The fantasy comes from Timothy as they learn more about his true presence in the world.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town which shows how close the community is when it comes to dealing with their own problems, this helps with the outcome of the film and helps us see how everyone knows each other.


Scene of the Movie –
The leaves.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The football match is poorly shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful fantasy film that will deliver on the feels, you will see the direction it is heading in, but you will want to be part of the journey.

 

Overall: Delightful.

Rating

 

 

Hugh Jackman Weekend – Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Director: Peter Ramsey

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) William Joyce (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin

 

Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


Tagline – The Sandman Is More Than A Dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Animation

 

Story: Rise of the Guardians starts when Pitch or the boogeyman decides he wants to take back his role as the one children feared, the guardians of childhood memories, North (Santa), Tooth (tooth fairy), Bunny (Easter Bunny) and Sandy (Sandman) must bring in the newest guardians Jack Frost, the one that is being ignored as never believed in by children.

When Pitch starts to gain more power, the guardians must use all their abilities to fight back to keep the childhood hopes and happiness alive as Jack will find his place along side the guardians.

 

Thoughts on Rise of the Guardians

 

Characters – Jack Frost is the spiritual figure that nobody believes in, he keeps children happy everyday, but no one will remember him for his work, now he gets given a chance to become a guardian giving him the chance to be the hero the world needs. North is the leader of the guardians the first selected to help to replace Pitch giving the children of the world hope, even if he does feel like colossus from Deadpool. Pitch was once the one that struck fear into children, he wants his crown back and will look to take the belief out of any children in the world. Tooth, Bunny and Sandy make up the rest of the guardians that have mixed feelings towards Jack being chosen as their newest member. Using the iconic fantasy characters does make us understand what they thieve for, but is often used for a pun throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a reckless potential new guardian that must prove his place in the guardians with the much more experienced and famous icons of fantasy. While this does follow a generic idea, it is fun throughout and does play into the idea of childhood innocence keeping legends alive. The idea of Jack Frost needing to find his place in the battle is the strongest part of the film and is easily the one part of the film you want to see most of.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure that Jack Frost must go on brings him to the next moment of his stage of immortality, being on a level with a Santa or Tooth Fairy, this is him finding himself in this world that is full of fantasy icons that children will always be believing in.

SettingsThe film takes us to different lands which would be the ones you would imagine finding the fantasy icons, the north pole being the most iconic.

AnimationThe animation standard is top notch just like we are expecting from a major study involvement in a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of the jokes are aimed at how people would imagine talking to each of the guardians.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy family animation that can be enjoyed by all, it doesn’t over test the audience and comes off fun throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family animation that will give you a smile.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Citadel (2012)

Director: Ciaran Foy

Writer: Ciaran Foy (Screenplay)

Starring: James Cosmo, Aneurin Barnard, Wunmi Mosaku, Ian Hanmore, Amy Shiels, Ingrid Craigie, Jake Wilson

 

Plot: An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children who committed an act of violence against his family years earlier.


Tagline – They see your fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Evil Children 101

 

Story: Citadel starts when Tommy (Barnard) sees him pregnant wife violently attacked by a group of children with him helpless to protect her, the baby is born, but his wife Joanne (Shiels) dies after the attack. Tommy still be agoraphobic after the attack he is trying to raise his own baby with his only support being Marie (Mosaku).

With the children still trying to take his baby, Tommy is forced to turn to renegade priest (Cosmo) to help him get rid of the problem that is targeting his family, which will see Tommy facing his biggest fear in life.

 

Thoughts on Citadel

 

Characters – Tommy is a father with agoraphobia after he saw his wife attacked by a group of children, he is trying to be the good father for his new born child, but his fears are controlling the situation, he sees children trying to take his child, he needs to face his fears to make it through this trauma he is going through. Priest is a renegade man that is aggressively searching for a way to bring down the feral children, he sees Tommy as a chance to get the job done, even if it is against what his religion states. Marie is one of the social workers that will help Tommy, she is trying to help him through the medical side even if she is the one that puts him in contact with the priest. The Feral Children are the highlight of the film because they are genuinely frightening when they attack.

PerformancesAneurin Barnard in the leading role does make us feel for his character, we believe he has been through the trauma and is the desperation to save his family. James Cosmo is fun to watch as anti-priest figure. Wunmi Mosaku doesn’t do anything wrong in the supporting role, if only we could have seen more from the character.

StoryThe story here follows a new father that is dealing with his own trauma while raising his new born child, which will see him needing to face off against feral child that feed on people’s fears. The early thing that must be pointed out here, comes from the idea that we are not full convinced that we are seeing the fears of the character dealt with, for the most part we are seeing one man terrorised but even the people without the fear seem to be targets too, this mostly confuses the rule point in place. the idea that the feral child live in the abandoned flat complex doesn’t improve on things either because you would think more incidents would happen. The part of the story that does standout and is interesting to watch would be seeing how Tommy is dealing with his own traumas while remaining strong facing the possibility of not being able to raise his own child because of his problems, sadly we don’t see enough of this addressed with the horror side of the story taking over, which simply put, isn’t as interesting.

HorrorThe horror starts of being home invasion like horror, which worked for the illness Tommy had, but when we enter the flats, it does become the highlight of the action in the film, feeling dark, scary with anything able to jump out to get them.

SettingsThe settings show us the run down neighbourhood in which Tommy lives, the support groups around it and most importantly the empty flat block which has the feral children in it.

Special EffectsThe effects are used mostly look practical, with the moments surrounding the feral child being the most notable and scary ones.


Scene of the Movie –
Inside the flat block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It breaks the rules it sets up too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that does take its time getting going, one the chaos is unleashed with get a highly intense final act which ramps the fear up to the max.

 

Overall: Slow Start, Strong Finish.

Rating