Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Santiago Cabrera, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Mad Action Film

 

Story: Transformers: The Last Knight starts as we learn about the ancient battles the English had where the Transformers helped Merlin (Tucci) win the battle. The world has now banned from most places on the Earth but in Cuba they are still welcomed. Optimus Prime is gone and the Transformers continue to arrival. Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) continues to protect the Transformers with Colonel William Lennox (Duhamel) refuses let the good Autobots from being captured but the impending return of Megatron brings the threats to Earth.

Meanwhile in England Sir Edmund Burton (Hopkins) is preparing for the final battle, Vivian Wembley (Haddock) doesn’t believe in the legends of King Arthur and her tours prove what it could be. On Cybertron Optimus Prime wants to rebuild his home planet which means returning to Earth to find an ancient Staff giving to Merlin.

Cade finds himself teaming up with Vivian in the middle of the battle between the Decepticons, Autobots and the Government as Cybertron heads towards Earth which would cause the end of the world.

 

Thoughts on Transformers: The Last Knight

 

Characters/PerformanceCade Yeager is now an outlaw hiding the Autobots in a junkyard, here he lives a quiet life but when a new threat heads toward Earth he finds himself being selected as the Last Knight that can fight to save the Earth. Sir Edmund Burton is the guardian of the secrets of the Transformers, he fills in all the gaps as to what is happening as well as bringing together the team. Vivian Wembley is an anti-believer in the history of King Arthur but when she learns she is the last descendant of Merlin she must work with Cade to save the Earth. Vivian is added for a new love interest for Cade and the high educated between the two.

We have the military characters which includes the returning Colonel Lennox, who just do military stuff and mostly get in the way. The King Arthur and Merlin figure who just re-tell the story we know. We have the comic relief with Izabella, Jimmy and many of the Transformers but we never get too close to any of the characters.

The performances are what you have come to expect, Wahlberg is good in the leading role even if he can look lost at times he has the charisma to lead the films, Laura Haddock adds class with her performance by not only being the stunning woman but a smart one, and Anthony Hopkins enjoys the chance to have fun in a mega blockbuster.

StoryThe Transformers storylines are never the most in detail stories, we know this by now on film number 5. We mix into the Transformers story King Arthur legend, well it is new and does continue to world build and it is as nonsense as you expect for a Transformers film because if we are being honest the story isn’t the most important part of the film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is massive once more with Transformer battles in a giant scale and the city-wide battles and even ocean size battles being a massive experience. The adventure takes across the world again to save the world from not only Megatron but Cybertron this time. The sci-fi side does bring us into a world of giant robots that can be vehicles in a giant space battle.

SettingsWe have a couple of settings, we see how Chicago still devastated by the effects of the previous films, the hidden locations of Cade at the Autobots, we also have London being used for the chase sequences and while this isn’t anything new it is a fun watch, but in the end, we just use locations of iconic landmarks.

Special EffectsThe effects for the battles are great throughout the film bring us into the story to enjoy the massive over the top battles.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that always gets criticized because it doesn’t have the most intense storyline but the reality is this is one franchise that is all about the massive action sequences that take away of beliefs needed for the world of Transformers.

 

Overall: Bonkers, Enjoyable, nonsense action film

Rating

 

 

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Leatherface (2017)

Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury

Writer: Seth M Sherwood (Screenplay) Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper (Characters)

Starring: Finn Jones, Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Nicole Andrews, James Bloor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, Vanessa Grasse

 

Plot: A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.


Tagline – Witness the beginning of your end

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Another Forgettable Prequel

 

Story: Leatherface starts as the Sawyer family get their children taken from them by Texas Ranger Hal Hartman (Dorff) after they kill his daughter. Ten years later we meet Lizzy (Grasse) a nurse in a mental home where she meets the different patients Jackson (Strike) the talker, Bud (Coleman) the quiet one that doesn’t talk, Ike (Bloor) the short tempered one and Clarice (Madsen) the bully of the female ward.

When Verna (Taylor) the mother of the Sawyer family breaks into the home in search for her son, she creates a mass escape where Ike, Clarice lead an escape with hostages Jackson and Lizzy with Bud along the way, but this gives Hal a chance to go on his own revenge mission to kill Jed who just so happens to be one of the escapees, but which one as Deputy Sorrel (Jones) must do the right thing.

 

Thoughts on Leatherface

 

Characters – Texas Ranger Hal Hartman has his daughter killed by the Sawyer family, he wants blood but knows he can’t so he takes the children away, but with the escape of one of the children he knows it is his chance to get the Sawyer’s where it hurts. Verna Sawyer wants her kid back and will go to any lengths to free him from the mental home. Lizzy is the new nurse to the home that is basically us joining the home being forced to meet the characters in the home, which she does, she does become a hostage when the escape happens. Jackson is the nice patient that makes sure Lizzy is safe during the escape where as Bud is the silent gentle giant with a mean streak that will kill anyone who pisses him off. This gives us a nice selection of who Jed could be and while I suspect it will be one, it doesn’t point any clear fingers at any of the three male escapees.

PerformancesThe performances are fine from the whole cast, the big names get there moments but the performances as a whole are just average at best offering nothing to make this the most unique film of the franchise.

StoryThe story plays out to be an origin of Leatherface, who would have guessed that from the title? We get three main potential suspect to who could be the growing Jed which is about as much of the story we see, because we are trying to figure out which one is him. We do have a Texas Ranger out for blood but to make Leatherface the innocent victim sees strange for the most part. The big problem is the stakes are low and the focus on make the villainous family the characters we are meant to care about is poorly designed.

HorrorThe horror is all blood and gore, just for the sake of giving us blood and gore, there is little reasoning behind it other than to try and shock like the film does.

SettingsNone of the settings stand out to be original for the franchise which again leaves us wondering why this doesn’t feel like Texas anymore.

Special EffectsThe effects do all look practical and for the most part they are the highlight of the film, it gives the artists a chance to show us just what they can do.


Scene of the Movie –
Police car escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Making the villains the heroes confuses me.

Chances of Sequel: A sequel or a reboot or a remake, take your pick.

Final ThoughtsThis is another prequel or addition to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise we didn’t need, it offers little to the original and just falls into generic mistake after mistake.

 

Overall: Disappointing all around.

Rating

 

 

A Ghost Story (2017)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, McColm Cephas Jr, Kenneista Thompson, Grover Coulson, Liz Franke

 

Plot: In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.


Tagline – It’s all about time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Film

 

Story: A Ghost Story starts as we follow couple C (Affleck) and M (Mara), they live a happy life in their home even though they are planning to move, but when C dies the perfect world becomes shattered. M dealing with the loss of her husband but C not going into the light and returning home to watch over his wife with a bed sheet covering him.

When M leaves the home, C is seemingly stuck bound to the house for all time as he goes through different households and his only communication comes from a fellow ghost trapped in the neighbouring house, but C is determined to stay for the one he loves even through all the changes the environment around him goes through.

 

Thoughts on A Ghost Story

 

Characters – C is the husband of M that dies, he finds himself coming back as a ghost to watch over his wife but soon finds himself alone once she leaves their home, he sees different lives enter his as he waits for her to return. M is the wife that can’t cope with her husband’s death, she tries to move on but without any hope, so to get away completely she leaves the home. The two do make for a good screen couple.

PerformancesRooney Mara is good in her role even if she is only in part of the film, it is Casey Affleck who must wear a sheet for the most part of this movie that doesn’t say anything but lives a lonely life watching other lives.

StoryThe story here is difficult to describe as for the most part we just follow C the ghost with the bed sheet over his head watching every moment of this one location, wait for a chance to be with his love again. This isn’t a horror though it plays into deeper meanings that when you watch the full film you will get rewarded by, but it can be slow getting there. This is a story that will make you think about life and death which is one you need to watch to enjoy.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy elements of this film come on strong for the second half as we see the journey the sheeted C goes on, the romance side of the film looks at the idea of eternal love that people could have.

SettingsThe whole film is set in once location, the background may well change but our character can’t leave the area he finds himself bound too.

Special EffectsNot many effects are used but the ones that are do help the films journey.


Scene of the Movie –
The Beginning?

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a really long scene of Rooney Mara eating, I think it could have been near 10 minutes long.

Budget: $100,000

Final ThoughtsThis is a very different movie, it shows the idea of eternal love from the side of a deceased character. It will make you think and by the end you will feel like you experienced something different.

 

Overall: Interesting movie that makes you think.

Rating

 

 

The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating

 

 

Our Last Tango (2017)

 OUR LAST TANGO will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd September www.ourlasttangofilm.co.uk #OurLastTangoFilm

 

Director: German Kral

Writer: German Kral, Daniel Speck (Screenplay)

 

Plot: The life and love story of Argentina’s famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Dance Documentary

 

Story: Our Last Tango starts with our 80-year-old dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes telling their story of how they met as teenagers and how their styles just clicked, we learn how they were just the perfect match when it came to stage and dancing for 50 years.

We learn how the two did have their difference on and off the stage but did take Tango to a new level for a new audience, we see how their own personal lives affects life decisions which eventually led to the break-up of the dancing partnership.

 

Thoughts on Our Last Tango

 

StoryThe film here shows us the way tango evolved to keep up with more popular or modern dance trends from the 1950s right up to the modern-day times, we learn how the two most iconic dancers from the field went from small venues to bring invited around the world to show off the tango. We do learn the personal effects of the long-term dance partnership on the two stars, we do get to follow this story like the students and journalists interviewing the two icons which helps us relate to the learning process too.

Documentary/MusicWhen you watch a documentary you want to learn about the subject matter, that happens here, while you don’t learn how to tango, that will require lessons, you will learn how it became popular in the modern culture.

Final ThoughtsTango will always be a dance people will talk about, not many can master and this will give you the lessons about the two icons of the dance that helped bring it into the modern world even after their own personal differences.

 

Overall: This is a good watch for documentary fans.

Rating

 

Argentina, Germany 2015
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Runtime: 85 minutes

 

OUR LAST TANGO premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and also screened at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Director German Kral was born in 1968 in Argentina and moved to Germany in 1991 to study film at the Munich Film School. A former pupil of Wim Wenders, between 1993 and 1996 he worked with Wenders on the feature film A Trick of the Light. His film Música Cubana (2004), executive produced by Wim Wenders, had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been sold all over the world.

 

OUR LAST TANGO Key Production Credits

 

Production Companies: Lailaps Pictures, Horres Film & TV, German Kral Filmproduktion

Screenwriter / Director: German Kral

Producers: Nils Dünker, Dieter Horres, German Kral

Co-producers: Birgit Rothörl, Josef Brandmaier

Executive Producers: Wim Wenders, Rodrigo Furth, Jakob Abrahamsson

Director of Photography: Jo Heim BVK, Félix Monti ADF

Costumes designer: Giselle Peisojovich, Cecilia Belsito

Production designer: Matías Martínez

Sound: Celeste Palma

Sound designer: Jörg Elsner

Music composer: Luis Borda, Sexteto Mayor

Editor: Ulrike Tortora

Cast: María Nieves Rego, Juan Carlos Copes

 

 

About Celluloid Circus and the Argentine Film Festival

 

Celluloid Circus is a film events and promotions company championing the most exciting films from around the world including outstanding Spanish-language films such as Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent and Damián Szifron’s BAFTA Best Foreign Film winner Wild Tales.

 

In 2012 Celluloid Circus launched London’s first Argentine Film Festival to provide a showcase for the best contemporary films from and about Argentina, and in 2016 celebrated their fifth festival with Argentine director Pablo Trapero in attendance at special summer edition across Curzon and Picturehouse Cinemas in London’s West End.

 

2017 will see Celluloid Circus take a new direction with this, it’s first theatrical release of a Spanish-language title into UK cinemas.