McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.

Rating

Hex (2017) Movie Review

Director: George Popov, Jonathan Russell

Writer: George Popov, Jonathan Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Suzie Frances Garton, Daniel Oldroyd, William Young

Plot: During the English Civil War, two opposing soldiers find themselves trapped in a forest controlled by a Witch.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Uneasy Filled Tension Experience

Story: Hex starts as the English Civil War has seen another battle, two soldiers Richard (Oldroyd) and Thomas (Young) from different sides continue their pursuit of each other through a forest, where they try to stay ahead of each other, until they hear and see a strange figure wondering the forest.

As the two continue their pursuit, they come to the conclusion they must work together to get out of the forest, with the woman, a witch (Garton) holding them within the location and only putting aside their differences could give them a chance to escape.

Thoughts on Hex

Characters – Richard fights for King and Country, willing to use his sword until the end in battle, more in shock that he is the last man standing of his troopers from the battle, he will not believe in any supernatural within the forest. Thomas fights for God, opening with prayer after surviving the battle, would rather hide than fight, as well as understanding the evil that is holding the men in the forest. The Witch appears from a distant, she is controlling what the men see, hear and feel, with her motivations unknown to the soldiers who are desperate to escape.

PerformancesDaniel Oldroyd and William Young do have most of the screen time, they do show both the different backgrounds their characters are from, while also showing the growing paranoia growing within them as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story here follows two soldiers from rival sides of the English Civil War that find themselves trapped by mystical forces in a forest and have to put aside their differences to overcome them. When it comes to battle related stories, we have seen supernatural thrown into sides needing to work together before, mostly around the World Wars, using the Civil War, gives the same effect because we learn about how the soldiers are almost forced into the battle, while deep down they might have different beliefs, they just want to survive and live, this is once again shown in the story. When it comes to the haunting side of the story, we do get everything we would expect, with the past being the easiest thing for them to be haunted by. We do get plenty of slowly built up moments in the story, with some being more effective than others, we do get a lot of walking through the forest, over trying to unlock the truth.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from first the effects of the war, and secondly how the two soldiers are being controlled by the evil forces from a witch, we get a couple of slowly built up moments, which will have horror outcomes too.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the forest, it will keep the two men trapped, provide cover and double takes, to make sure they are seeing thing correctly, everything about the location only helps build the paranoia the two are suffering through.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are kept to the minimal, when they are needed, we get the shock moments in the film.


Scene of the Movie – Why haven’t you taken your shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have too many just walking in silence moments.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that is easy to watch, it does try to build us up with unease and tension with some moments coming off very well, while others might well just fizzle out.

Overall: Nice Horror.

Well Water (2017) Short Movie Review

Director: Sharisse Zeroonian

Writer: Sharisse Zeroonian (Screenplay)

Starring: Kathy-Ann Hart, Marcus McDermott, Kevin O Peterson, Maureen Vlaco, Katraya Wier

Plot: Ben and Cora, two teenagers in love, learn to slow down and embrace their youth instead of being in a hurry to grow up.

Runtime: 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Relationship Start Drama

Story: Well Water starts as we meet young couple Ben (McDermott) and Cora (Wier) who have just started dating, while having different ideas of life, we follow how the two look to a future they may never have, a future they could both enjoy together, having certain ideas of what could make them happy.

Thoughts on Well Water

Characters – Ben seems to be the more laid back about his future, while being very much planned and keeping everything calm for his own life choices for now, while Cora is a free spirit that wants to have fun, trying to get Ben to break out of his shell. The two are discovering more about each other, the more time they spend together, which does show them both opening up like any relationship.

PerformancesMarcus McDermott & Katraya Wier are both strong in the film, they show how comfortable, while sometimes unease that can come from just starting to get to know somebody.

StoryThe story here follows a young couple as they continue to get to know each other, plan their future together and just become even more comfortable around each other, we don’t get the drama of how friends feel, just two people that are falling in love, which does make this a much more interesting version of what falling in love can be. It is also nice not to learn more about the character’s lives away from this relationship because it is only about getting to know each other.

Final Thoughts This is a nice look at how love can start, the getting to know each other stage of it, which is the most enjoyable part of any relationship.

Overall: Sparks Can Fly.

Franchise Weekend – Paddington 2 (2017) Movie Review

Director: Paul King

Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby (Screenplay) Michael Bond (Creator)

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw

Plot: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.


Tagline – Free Paddington

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming and Entertaining

Story: Paddington 2 starts as Paddington is a welcome member of the Brown family, the neighbours are always willing to accept his help and now Paddington sees a gift for his Aunt Lucy in Mr Gruber (Broadbent) antique shop and decides to get a job to pay for it.

Just about to buy the present, Paddington catches a thief breaking into the store and goes in chase, only to find himself captured and thrown in prison. Paddington soon makes friends with the prisoners including the feared Knuckles (Gleeson), while the Brown family Henry (Bonneville) and Mary (Hawkins) try to free Paddington, learning that the once famous actor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant) is behind the crime.

Thoughts on Paddington 2

Characters – Paddington is the kind-hearted marmalade loving bear living in London, he has made countless friends both human and animal, he wants to get a present for his Aunt which sees him trying to get a job. He does try to do the right thing by helping with a robbery only to be found guilty. Paddington always the people bear makes friends, while believing that everybody has good about them. Henry, Mary Brown and Mrs Bird treat Paddington like their third child and will do everything to help get him out of prison. Phoenix Buchanan is the once famous actor that has moved in next door to the Browns, he is very eccentric and trying to rebuild his fortune which sees him stealing the book and learning about the clues in the book, always trying to stay ahead of the people trying to capture him, using his different costumes from his career. Knuckles McGinty is the prison chef, he is feared by the other inmates, but Paddington breaks down those barriers showing him to be a good man inside, one that could bring the prisoners together.

PerformancesWhen we go into the performances, the original cast are all wonderfully, but it is the addition members of the cast that truly shine, Hugh Grant practically steals every scene, while Brendan Gleeson proves that he can be the funniest man on camera, these two are outstanding in every single scene they are in.

StoryThe story here follows Paddington’s next adventure as he tries to give his Aunt a present of seeing London only for him to get framed and thrown in prison, while the Brown family try to figure out who really committed the crime. This is a coming together story, it shows how somebody’s good nature can change everything in life and without them around you will notice the change in life. The idea that Paddington is facing off against an evil washed up actor is entertaining too, though it would have been nice to see more of the treasure hunt side of the story. While most of the story is largely predictable it does have a huge heart behind it and shows that good people will rub off on others to show kindness can be a change to life for the better.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film seems to be focused more on the villains adventure, more than seeing what Paddington must get up to, the comedy comes from seeing just what Paddington gets himself into and the trouble he causes with his innocent nature.

SettingsWe keep London as the main backdrop for the film, while we do have Paddington in a prison and the major landmarks being used as clues to a treasure, most places are locations we are expecting to see in any London based movie.

Special EffectsThe effects are brilliant putting Paddington in every scene like he is really there, it never looks out of place which shows just how far this technology has come.


Scene of the Movie – Lets make marmalade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Surely, Mr Gruber would be the one who decides whether to press charges against Paddington?

Final Thoughts This is a entertaining, big hearted movie that could be enjoyed by the whole family and would leave a smile on everybody’s face.

Overall: Big Heart Movie.

Denzel Washington Weekend – Roman J Israel Esq. (2017)

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Lynda Gravatt, Amanda Warren, Hugo Armstrong, Sam Gilroy

 

Plot: Roman J. Israel, Esq., a driven, idealistic defence attorney, finds himself in a tumultuous series of events that lead to a crisis and the necessity for extreme action.


Tagline – All rise.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Lawyer Heavy Movie

 

Story: Roman J Israel Esq starts as legal defence attorney Roman J Israel Esq (Washington) who doesn’t attend the courtroom and helps his partner win his cases with his legal mind. When his partner falls into a coma, George Pierce (Farrell) takes over the business, looking to close the firm, but he sees something in Roman, believing he could be hired to help with his own case load.

Roman agrees to help with a charity with young lawyers, run by Maya Alston (Ejogo), while needing to learn how to be part of a team, rather than using his knowledge to put people down, being one of the few people that wanted to be a lawyer for the right reasons.

 

Thoughts on Roman J Israel Esq

 

Characters – Roman J Israel Esq is a genius in the law field, he can memorise every case, knows how to solve the case with logic before getting into a courtroom, only he doesn’t go to court, he helps his partner do the lawyer side of the cases. This does make him come of anti-social at times too, he does want to help people when other people don’t listen to their voices. He goes through his own Epiphany which will see him changing, because of one incident, this will see him facing a conflict in his head about his future. George Pierce is the lawyer for the big firm assigned to close the small firm, he sees the skills Roman has, deciding to hiring him to help with his own cases. Maya runs a charity for people who can’t afford lawyers, she is happy to let Roman help out, she sees the good he has to offer people and in him.

PerformancesDenzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, he doesn’t really shine on the levels we know he could, he handles the character well though, considering he is in nearly every scene of the film. Colin Farrell as the lawyer for the rich firm is strong as always in the supporting role, while Carmen Ejogo completes the main cast well.

StoryThe story follows Roman J Israel an attorney that works for a small firm only to see that one close down and him getting a chance in a big law firm, where his own good natured mindset can be left behind when temptation comes his way. The problems with the story are clear, because we don’t get to see Roman doing any real courtroom lawyer work which seems like why he is hired, the mindset he has isn’t bought forward soon enough to see his change for enough of an impact either. We are meant to be dealing with one man going to far which just doesn’t end up being as interesting as it should be.

CrimeThe crime side of this film comes from what Roman does, leading up to his crime before showing us the consequences.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would expect to see a lawyer operate, we see the small firm, the big firm and the charity firm he could work for, where he is driven to make his own choices.


Scene of the Movie –
The homeless man.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We didn’t believe how good-natured Roman was meant to be.

Final ThoughtsThis an interesting if not slow moving lawyer based movie, it tries to do something different which should be praised, but it never reaches the potential it had.

 

Overall: Doesn’t hit the required marks.

Rating