Jungle (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: Justin Monjo (Screenplay) Yossi Ghinsberg (Book)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Lily Sullivan, Joel Jackson


Plot: A group of friends join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be.

Tagline – Nature Has Only One Law – Survival

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brutal Adventure Story


Story: Jungle starts as we follow Israeli young men Yossi Ghinsberg (Radcliffe) as he spends a planned year travelling, finding himself in Bolivia meeting Marcus (Jackson) and Kevin (Russell) two fellow travellers. When they meet guide Karl (Kretschmann) he offers to guide them through the jungle, which the three accept as an experience they couldn’t refuse.

When Marcus becomes injured and unable to walk, the group must find another way out of the jungle, which involve heading down the river on a raft. This causes the group to split up with Karl taking Marcus back by foot, while Yossi and Kevin head off further into the jungle. Once the friends hit some strong rapids, the two becomes separate and now Yossi is alone in the jungle.


Thoughts on Jungle


Characters – Yossi is the Israeli backpacker that in Bolivia heads off into the jungle with newly found friends, when he gets separated we follow his epic battle to survive the wilderness in the harsh environment where he must learn to survive. Kevin is the American photographer that joins on the adventure through the jungle hoping to get some breath-taking shots, he does get them but does find himself alone once he gets split up from the rest of the group. Karl is the guide that knows he way through the jungle, he takes the injured Marcus back to safety leaving the other two to fend for themselves.

PerformancesDaniel Radcliffe is fantastic in this leading role, he continues to push himself away from the Harry Potter films with another challenging role which pushed to the limits. We have a good supporting cast who all perform well, but they don’t get much time to be anything but good.

StoryThe story follows Yossi incredible story of survival when he got lost in the Bolivian jungle. It starts out as an innocent trip in the jungle, but soon turns into a nightmare, this is based on the book by Yossi, so, well you know how it is going to end, but seeing what he goes through is hellacious to say the least. If you want to see a story of one man’s desperate battle to survive then this one will be for you to enjoy.

Action/AdventureThe action adventure side of the film shows just how much Yossi must do to survive the situation he finds himself in and just what he must do to survive.

SettingsThe film is set in the jungle, which makes perfect sense, we get to see just how real the experience would have been for Yossi, we even get the moments of beauty he was searching for.

Special EffectsWe have a mix of effects here, the practical ones that Radcliffe goes through, but the strange vision sequences don’t seem to click well enough.

Scene of the Movie –
Head Bug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It needed more in the endurance.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has a brilliant performance from Radcliffe who goes through a hell of a lot. It does feel slightly long in places though.


Overall: Radcliffe Shines.





Created Equal (2017)

Director: Bill Duke

Writer: Ned Bowman, Thada Catalon, Joyce Renee Lewis, Michael Ricigliano Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Aaron Tveit, Gregor Alan Williams, Edy Ganem, Lauren Compton, Yohance Myles


Plot: A cocky, up-and-coming attorney, begrudgingly takes on a case to sue the Archdiocese of New Orleans for sex discrimination; after a woman, who’s desperate to become a priest, solicits his help.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Courtroom Drama


Story: Created Equal starts as we see how Sister Alejandra Batista (Ganem) who gets punished for wanting to become a priest, this leads her to meet with lawyer Tommy Reilly (Tveit) to represent her in a case to sue the Catholic church for discrimination.

When Tommy known for not going to trial accepts the case and to take it to trial against Monsignor Renzulli (Phillips) to take on the church for the simple right to enter the church, which sends family and business partners into a frenzy of panic as everything goes against what they believe, can this case break the grounds it intends too.


Thoughts on Created Equal


Characters – Tommy Reilly is a lawyer, he was raised catholic, but doesn’t follow the religion to the strictest beliefs, he isn’t loyal to any woman in his life and doesn’t take any of his cases to trial. He takes his case which could destroy his career, but he knows it is the right thing. Alejandra Batista is the sister that wants to become a catholic priest, the only thing stopping her is that she is a woman, she shows the strength to want to fight the catholic church in an attempt to get her chance to follow her dream. Monsignor Renzulli is the church’s lawyer who follows the strict following to make sure no woman will ever become a catholic priest. Judge Watford seeing over the case in his courtroom, he acts fairly to both side of the trial.

PerformancesAaron Tveit in the leading role is good, he shows us two sides of his character with the lawyer side coming off stronger than the womaniser. Lou Diamond Phillips is the biggest name in the movie and he doesn’t take that for granted as he is strong from start to finish. Edy Ganem is great as the woman standing up for her for what she wants to do for a living, she shows the strength needed for this role.

StoryThe story comes into the idea of dealing with equality between the government versus religion, this makes everything interesting to see how things unfold especially in the time we are in trying to accept everyone as equals. Who doesn’t love a good court case too, this has the right questions, the right answers to show the divides between the beliefs.

ThrillerThe has a thrilling side to the story as we follow the one person trying to stop Alejandra from taking on the church in a court of law.

SettingsThe settings show us where this case takes place because it doesn’t turn into the circus courtroom dramas can do.

Scene of the Movie –
Final hearing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The threat from the outside seems to be added when it isn’t needed at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good religious based courtroom drama that gives the question about equal rights within the catholic church.


Overall: One for courtroom drama fans.




Darkest Hour (2017)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones


Plot: During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

Tagline – Never give up. Never give in.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Powerful Historical Drama


Story: Darkest Hour starts as we come to London in 1940, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Pickup) is forced into resignation to help unit the divided parties as they faced in impending Nazi invasion. Who to turn to next is the question, they turned to Winston Churchill (Oldman) a formerly disgraced government member who is known for never backing down.

Churchill takes the reigns in Britain’s darkest hour as they faced certain defeat or peace talks with Hitler, but Churchill isn’t taking into lying down as he comes up with a plan to rescue the stranded troops on the beaches in Dunkirk, even with fellow members of his office trying to push him into peace talks.


Thoughts on Darkest Hour


Characters – These are all based on real people, in a rea time of crisis, which would have changed Britain as we know it today. Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest world leaders the Earth has ever seen, he we only follow around two weeks of his career, as people are using his past mistakes against him even after picking him to be the leader, he has always been honest, he doesn’t care if you didn’t like him and he will listen to the people when searching for answers in one of the most difficult times Britain ever faced. Cemmie is Winston’s wife and one of the few people that could control him and bring out his nice side, she proves an important part of his life during this tough time because she knows how long and hard he has worked to be Prime Minister. King George VI admits to Churchill he is scared of him, he didn’t want him, but will support him decisions if they are best for the country, he gives us the most important scene in the movie. Elizabeth Layton is the new typist for Churchill, she represents the everyday person that is concerned about what might be coming and her fear helps Churchill make the decisions he does.

PerformancesIt would be fair to say that Gary Oldman has the Oscar in the bag this year, any actor that can make you not realize it is him after 2 hours of watching him deserves all the praise in the world. Jumping into the supporting cast we have wonderful performances throughout, Kristin Scott Thomas, ben Mendelsohn and Lily James take their characters and make them shine.

StoryThe story focuses on two weeks of Winston Churchill’s life, starting the day Neville Chamberlain resigned to the moment Britain refused to surrender to the Nazi invasion heading our way. This is a huge moment in history and seeing the political divide between the people in office shows the terror, fear and panic the minds would have been going through during this horrendous time. The story does shine a spotlight on the idea that the public were not completely sure what was going on and had to trust the government to make the right decision too.

Biopic/History/WarChurchill was an inspiring leader, we have seen three versions of him in the last 12 months too, to show of him in this time is important too and a moment in history that will never be forgotten during our time of need World War II.

SettingsThe settings are well constructed, but at times the military view points seem added because no one knew how to describe the situations or didn’t trust the audience to understand the terms.

Scene of the Movie –
A Royal visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The look up moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant look at how Churchill help guide Britain to victory during World War II, he stood up when no one else would to be the leader Britain needed to win.


Overall: Brilliant, Masterclass performance from Oldman.




Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones


Plot: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Darkly Humorous


Story: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starts as Mildred Hayes (McDormand) puts up three billboards in a quiet road questioning how Willoughby (Harrelson) hasn’t solved the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. Fellow officer Dixon (Rockwell) who has a chequered past is enraged by the signs, while officer Willoughby tries to clean up the situation and prove there isn’t enough to solve the case, but with his dying he does want to solve the case before he goes.

As the billboards stay up longer, the town starts to become divided on the support in catching the killer and Mildred does to extremes in her battle with Dixon to get the case solved.


Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Characters – Mildred Hayes is a mother that has run out of patience when it comes to the police finding the killer off her daughter, she did have the full support of the town, but this stunt pushes the people away even if it could get her the killer to identify themselves. Willoughby is the lead investigator in the case, he has done everything he could to solve the case, but he is now facing his own battle with cancer, while keeping the peace in the town. Dixon is the hot-headed police officer that clashes with Mildred and anyone who supports her in finding out the truth.

PerformancesFrances McDormand shows us that she can reach the Fargo levels whenever the material is given to her, as she shines through as the best part of this movie. Woody Harrelson is great again this year, showing us he can step into any role and be great. Sam Rockwell is wonderful too as we see that this cast is filled with talent character performers.

StoryThe story shows the extremes of losing a child, the stress of noting being able to solve one of the worst cases in the town. This does turn into a character studio on the people involved and how their lives need to move on without a chance of every being able to. It is hard to describe this story in much more depth because it is interesting, it does have a lot going on that keeps us wanting to see where the film will go.

Comedy/CrimeThis does use dark humour throughout as we are seeing the effects of the crime on people’s lives, don’t expect to see an investigation though, we are focusing on the relationship between the mother of the victim and the police.

SettingsThe film takes place in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone, so they have all felt the effects of the crime, this helps when things start to get exposed.

Scene of the Movie –
Window smashing, it is a well shot single looking take.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The answer is frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark humour that can be enjoyed by the fans of that genre, it does have a good subject matter but doesn’t get to a level in the story that I enjoyed watching.


Overall: Dark comedy through a serious subject matter.




Beach Rats (2017)

Director: Eliza Hittman

Writer: Eliza Hittman (Screenplay)

Starring: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff, Nicole Flyus, Frank Hakaj


Plot: A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brave and Bold


Story: Beach Rats starts as we head to Brooklyn and meet teenager Frankie (Dickinson) who spends his time hanging around with his friends, while being fascinated with fitness, drugs and trying to learn about his own sexuality.

As Frankie continues his questioning about himself we learn that he does search the internet for older man to hook up with, but in his personal life he starts trying to date Simone (Weinstein). We are eft to see if he can figure out what he wants and whether he can embrace his true sexuality in a world where he believes he would be shunned.


Thoughts on Beach Rats


Characters – Frankie is a teenager, he spends his time with his gang on the beaches of Brooklyn, working on fitness and diving into drug usage. He is confused about his own sexuality, he spends time searching for men on the internet, but starts dating a girl on front of his friends. This character shows how difficult it can be for a young man accepting what he wants in fears of his friends and family not accepting his choice. Simone is the girl that Frankie starts dating, she is portrayed to be a common girl just looking for love without ambitious to be overly successful in the career side of things. Donna is the mother of Frankie, she is dealing with a lot as her husband is losing his battle with cancer and seeing Frankie acting strangely only concerns her, with his late nights out.

PerformancesHarris Dickinson does give us a bold, brave powerful performance for his first-time outing in a leading role, you can see the confliction his character is feeling in every scene. The rest of the performances are great too as the stars are happy to let Harris take the spotlight he and the character requires.

StoryThe story tackles the subject of a teenager reaching adulthood who needs to face his own sexuality when he has no one in his own life that could offer him advice or is unsure what his friends and family will think of his decision. This could easily be real for young men this age, it would always be difficult to admit the truth if you thought you could be shunned by your own friends for not accepting your choice. The story is brave step into the world, but is not going to be for everyone as this isn’t a gentle evening viewing.

SettingsThe Brooklyn setting adds to the hardship Frankie is dealing with because he is always around what he believes to be tough guys who wouldn’t accept his choice.

Scene of the Movie –
The Beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While the story does require the drug usage, we don’t need to see as much of it as we do.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama about learning about your sexuality, it has a stunning debut performance, but this film isn’t going to be for everybody as it is too intense in places for a casual viewing.


Overall: This is a powerful film, it deserves the praise it is receiving.