ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) Movie Review

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Tim John, Maria Nation (Screenplay) James Bowen, Garry Jenkins (Novel)

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans

Plot: Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.


Tagline – Sometimes it takes nine lives to save one

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: A Street Cat Named Bob starts as we meet homeless addict James (Treadaway) who spends his days singing for enough money that could get him a meal and a fix, when he overdoes, Val (Froggatt) gives him a chance to get emergency living to clean up with act. James is willing to make this happen and he ends up meeting a stray cat.

Reluctantly James decides to keep Bob the cat and learns to grab a new lease for life and that as a double act they could achieve things he could only dream of as a musician, as well as finding love in one of the neighbours Betty (Gedmintas).

Thoughts on A Street Cat Named Bob

Characters – James is a homeless drug addict who has an overdose. He is given a big chance to go on the path to recovery with an emergency home, where he meets a cat and suddenly he starts to see his life turn around, his busking lifestyle sees him make money, he meets a new woman and can support himself, he will need to go through the toughest test of his life, if he wants to break free of his addictions. Bob is the ginger cat that turns up in James’ life, he won’t leave his side as he helps him clean up his act. Betty is the neighbour that becomes James only human friend, she will show him about vegan life becoming a love interest, even though she has seen how being an addict has taken away somebody in her life before. Val is the person that pushes James into the program, believing he can change and will change, she supports him through the whole process.

PerformancesLuke Treadaway in the leading role is brilliant to watch, he shows us just how desperate James is to turn his life around and what he must go through. Ruta Gedmintas and Joanne Froggatt are both great in the supporting roles in the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a homeless drug addict that gets his life turnaround thanks to the help of one person and a mysterious ginger cat that gives him happiness. This is based on the real story of the man James and Bob the real cat, we see the recovery process, just how difficult it can be for somebody who is trying to turn their life around. We can see how the ending will come about because there is a book about the turn around, even though it does become entertaining throughout the film.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film does show how James does turn his life around, it is shown in a way that could see the struggle he will be facing. The comedy of the film does give you a couple of laughs with how Bob interacts in life.

SettingsThe film is set in London which does show how the culture of the homeless people being able to survive around town that is filled with a drug culture that could end their fight.


Scene of the Movie – First day out with Bob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful little comedy that brings to life one man’s journey to salvation with his new friend Bob the cat.

Overall: Feel Good Movie.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – Denial (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: David Hare (Screenplay) Deborah Lipstadt (Book)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius, Alex Jennings

Plot: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.


Tagline – The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Courtroom Drama

Story: Denial starts when acclaimed writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt (Weisz) has her latest book about the horrors of the Holocaust being released, only her in her book to slams historian and renowned denier David Irving (Spall). David Irving has built up a reputation for being able to fight his case and decides to sue Deborah for libel.

After the years or preparation Deborah watches how Anthony Julius (Scott) and Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) look to make a trial where Deborah will win, without having to put the holocaust on trial, they want to keep it together for argument, with the case being about proving David’s research, rather than whether the holocaust happened.

Thoughts on Denial

Characters – Deborah Lipstadt is an acclaimed author that has made her career out of writing about the horrors around the holocaust, this has created an enemy in David Irving, that she has always been denying the holocaust happened. She must defend her own accusation against him, putting her trust in a group of lawyers to fight the case, despite the fact she would like to put the spotlight on the events, over the facts being disputed. Richard Rampton is the lawyer that is running the case in the courtroom, he has methods that Deborah doesn’t like, until she sees how he has truly been planning the case. Anthony Julius runs the case behind the scenes, he has a huge reputation with his previous work which made headlines and must be strict towards Deborah over what she wants to happen in the case. David Irving is the famous Holocaust denier, he has made a career out of his theories, which has given him a huge following, he decides to sue Deborah for criticising his beliefs, where he uses his natural charisma to get people behind him, despite his anti-Semitic behaviour being clear to see.

PerformancesRachel Weisz in the leading role is great to see, she shows just how helpless Deborah looks during the case, that puts her own reputation on the line. Timothy Spall steals the show with his depiction of David Irving, showing how he is the more colourful character in the case. Tom Wilkinson shows he will always be able to bring a quiet character to life in the moments he needs to shine, while Andrew Scott proves that his rising star will get involved in the major performances.

StoryThe story here follows Deborah Lipstadt who has her own book sued for libel by holocaust denier David Irving, forcing them into a court case, which will be about whether he has been making up the truth for his own benefit or whether she had the right to question his beliefs. The story is an interesting one to follow, seeing an conspiracy theorist being put in a courtroom to prove his fictional story about the truth is fascinating to see, having a court case just about whether something as horrific as the holocaust is bad enough, but seeing how everybody seemed to have a fine balance between who could win, was also interesting. The story does struggling to start with, because of the large number of time jumps, with it starting in 1994, before the case happening in 2000, with small scenes in the build up to the case, through the years, but once we get into the courtroom, we are grasp by the story.

BiopicThe biopic side of the story focuses more on the case, rather than the people involved, which could take away just how much the case did take out of the people involved.

SettingsThe film does use the courtroom as the main location for the story to move forward, with most of the external locations being ideas of where the story could end up going, with most being office, apart from the haunting trip to Auschwitz.


Scene of the Movie – The court case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The early time jumps, we seem to have one scene, then jump two more years down the line.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting courtroom drama, that shows how the truth managed to get all the way to a courtroom, when it was clear it happened, showing even conspiracy theorist could challenge the truth.

Overall: Interesting, but not Intense drama.

Kaleidoscope (2016)

Director: Rupert Jones

Writer: Rupert Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Toby Jones, Anne Reid, Sinead Matthews

 

Plot: A psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between a middle-aged man and his mother.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starts on a High, Falls Downhill Afterwards

 

Story: Kaleidoscope starts as we meet lonely middle-aged man Carl (Jones) who has been trying to put his life back together after a stint in jail, he goes on a date with Abby (Matthews) which ends in a disturbing way, a way he can’t explain, all this when his controlling mother Aileen (Reid) is planning to visit him. Carl must figure out what is real or what is in his mind before he gets himself into trouble once again.

 

Thoughts on Kaleidoscope

 

Characters – Carl is the middle-aged man trying to keep his life together after spending time in jail, we don’t learn what he did to end up there, though he does keep himself to himself, he doesn’t have many belongings and lives in a housing estate. He goes on a date which sees the lady return to his flat, but what happens here is stuck in his head, forgotten and with his mother’s visiting his life becomes to come undone in his mind. Aileen is Carl’s mother that comes to visit, she has had a strange relationship with her son, she wants to rebuild their relationship. Abby is the woman that Carl has a date with, she is bubbly and been through a difficult relationship, she wants Carl to loosen up and enjoy their time together.

PerformancesToby Jones is unsettling through this film, his performance shows us that this single age can become difficult to get through without having problems in your life. Anne Reid brings a disturbing presence to go with her desperate need to rebuild the relationship with her son. Sinead Matthews brings the energy to the film.

StoryThe story here follows a middle-aged man trying to put his life back together only for it to come crashing down around him as he needs to figure out what is real or not. This story starts on a high with the discovery in the bathroom, which does drag you into wanting to see how this story unfolds, the problems soon mount up though because the non-linear storytelling makes everything difficult to keep on top of, along with not being able to tell just what is real or not, even with subtle hints, we also focus too heavily on the colours he sees, which being colour blind is hard to pick up certain hints. Th story focuses too heavily on the idea that Carl isn’t right mentally, rather than showing us just how calculated he would need to be.

ThrillerThis film does start very impressively, it gives us a mystery as to what happened and makes us want to see how it unfolds, only it just doesn’t reach the heights that are shown early on.

SettingsThe film is set in a housing estate which is meant to show how much of a mediocre life Carl is living doing nowhere.


Scene of the Movie –
The morning wake up banging.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How everything unfolds.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that just doesn’t reach the potential it showed, it just seems to drag along without doing anything it promises from the opening sequence.

 

Overall: Fails to launch.

Rating

 

 

Emma Stone Weekend – La La Land (2016) Movie Review – Revisited

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Plot: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.


Tagline – Here’s to the fools who dream.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: La La Land starts as we meet jazz singer Sebastian (Gosling) who has always had his own vision of what he wants his music to be which sees him struggle to keep jobs in Hollywood, let alone pay his bills. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress that is going through auditions, while working as a coffee shop on the studio lot.

After a couple of chance meetings, the two start a whirlwind romance that sees both their dreams start to come true in Hollywood, only at what price, can success in love and dreams work together?

Thoughts on La La Land

Characters – Sebastian loves jazz music, he has always had his own style when it comes to the music he is expected to play, he doesn’t understand how people don’t like jazz either, he has jumped between jobs because of his style and once he gets involved in a relationship with Mia, he must decide whether to have a secure gig or continue chasing his dreams of opening his own jazz bar. Mia is the aspiring actress that goes to countless auditions without getting much success, working on the studio lot, until she starts to take her own chance with her one person show. These two characters show the fairly tale dream chases that always believe they could make it and with each other in their lives they achieve more than they imagined.

PerformancesRyan Gosling and Emma Stone are truly fantastic in the lead roles of this film, they show us just how easily somebody’s passion can take a toll on their lives.

StoryThe story here follows an aspiring musician and an aspiring actress who meet, fall in love right as their careers start to skyrocket in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The story does show how dreamers can be led down paths which would see them push people away in their lives, we are left to see how this does feel like a giant fantasy between the two, after one maybe encounter to show how love and careers just take off, which I have always believed is in their heads, rather than in reality. This does have a fairy tale feel to it, which is nice to see and will be you entertained through the film.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the natural conversations the pair go through, with the romance showing how we see love being difficult to understand at times. The musical side of the film is the way everybody is willing to sing and dance around town.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, which reflects the idea of the dreams that the characters have.


Scene of the Movie – The 5 years.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough out of the supporting characters.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful fairy tale of life in Hollywood, it puts everything out there in a dream like reality of a life we all wish we could live, one that lets us follow our dreams.

Overall: Beautiful Fairy Tale of Hollywood.