Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Godzilla (2014) Revisited

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Max Borensteing, Dave Calaham (Screenplay) Ishiro Honda, Takeo Murata, Shugeru Kayama (Character)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Carson Bolde

 

Plot: The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.


Tagline – The world ends, Godzilla begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Godzilla Movie

 

Story: Godzilla starts the Brody family, Joe (Cranston), Sandra (Binoche) and son Ford living in Japan where the parents work in a nuclear reactor when a disaster strikes that Joe believes he sees coming, Sandra is killed and the town is evacuated.

15-Years later Ford (Taylor-Johnson) is married to Elle (Olsen) with his own son Sam (Bolde), he serves in the military and finally under leave, when he must bail his father out of a Japanese prison and reluctantly goes into the quarantine zone in search for answers. The Brody’s learn about that something is being covered up by Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and that secret is about to escape becoming a threat to the world with MUTO and Joe is assigned to try and help bring the creature under control with a little help from Godzilla.

 

Thoughts on Godzilla

 

Characters – Ford Brody was raised in Japan where he lost his mother, now a solider he is used to being away from his own family, giving his father one last chance to forget about the past. Ford finds himself on a mission and journey to get from Japan back to his family in San Francisco, he somehow always ends up in the location of the attacks, doing the right thing without wanting any thank you from the people he saves. Dr Ishiro Serizawa is the man leading the investigation into the first appearance of the creatures, he has studied the cocoons they have emerged from and has ideas on how to stop them. Elle is the wife of Ford’s who is a nurse that stays in town when the attacks start in an attempt to save lives where she can, she doesn’t really do much more than this. Joe is the father of Ford that worked at the nuclear power planet which saw his wife killed, he believes there is more to what happened and is determined to figure it out, risking his life too often.

PerformancesAaron Taylor-Johnson is an actor who has gone onto do bigger projects that have tested his acting, this isn’t a film that will show off much acting, mostly because his character is so painfully average. Elizabeth Olsen suffers from this too which brings both their performances down to solid. Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston bring the best performances with characters we just want to see more from.

StoryThe story brings us the first chapter if the universe, without needing to make a big point about it, which is the weakness in other films, such as 2017 The Mummy. By doing this we get an introduction to Godzilla the one creature that can save humanity from another deadly creature that is using radioactive material to grow. We do have a human side to this story as we follow the military try to do battle against the creatures that are killing millions. Unlike the 1998 Godzilla we do keep the beliefs of what makes the original brilliant in the story behind their origin. The weakness in the story comes from the idea that our main human character just happens to always be in the location of the latest attack surviving against all the odds.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action in the film plays into the less is more, we get teased early on about the giant creature battles which could frustrate the fans because they will want to see them fight, but the wait for the final battle is worth it as Godzilla gets involved in one of its biggest battles to date. The adventure side of the story must be the focus on Ford and his journey home, just being unlucky when it comes to being in the middle of the battle, with the sci-fi side of the film uses the idea that the giant creatures have been created through our own human errors.

SettingsThe film does go for iconic locations which is understandable with the final battle being in San Francisco providing the watery side for Godzilla’s entrance.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects that Gareth Edwards is most known for, the less is more idea which makes the film feel like it has the original motivation behind the attack making the fights feel real.


Scene of the Movie –
The big battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blandness of our human characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant monster movie, that action is giant destructive and worth the wait for, while the human characters could be considered slightly bland, the beginning of this universe is worth the wait.

 

Overall: Must watch monster movie

Rating

 

 

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Outlaw King (2018)

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Paul Blair, Sam Spruell

 

Plot: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.


Tagline – Based on the Untold True Story

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Brutality of War

 

Story: Outlaw King starts after William Wallace has been defeated and the English have taken over Scotland, accepting the surrounding kings and lords. Robert Bruce (Pine) is ready to take over his father’s role with King Edward I (Dilldane) controlling the land, with Elizabeth (Pugh) being married to Robert.

When Robert kills, he breaks the peace between the two nations with Scotland naming him King, England brand him the Outlaw king forcing him to build a new army to fight back against the English against all the odds.

 

Thoughts on Outlaw King

 

Characters – Robert Bruce is the son of his father’s name, next in line for royalty during a time of peace under English control, his action start a new war where he becomes King and must lead the fellow Scots in battle against the odds. He offers the people a chance to be by his side or against him without holding their decision against them, remaining fair to everyone in conflict. Elizabeth Burgh is the English lady that is forced to marry Robert, the two do get on which helps complete the peace, when the peace is broken she stands by his side and is used to bait Robert out of hiding. James Douglas joins the battle with Robert as he looks to regain the honour his family name deserves. Prince Edward is leading the English army in hunting down Robert and the rebels, he is doing this to impress his father with his place of King in his future.

PerformancesChris Pine gives us a wonderful performance showing us once again how he can adapt to any role given to him, never looking out of place playing a Scotsman. Florence Pugh continues her run in the period piece films, she shows us once again that she does have the talent for someone as young as she is. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is strong in the supporting role, he looks like the desperate man that he is meant to be playing. Billy Howle is strong too, we see how he can make his desire for power be the thing which drives his performance.

StoryThe story here shows us the story of Robert Bruce the Outlaw King of Scotland who fought against the odds to reclaim the kingdom of Scotland from the English. We know how ‘Braveheart’ has its own version of the battle which the English won, this story takes place in the aftermath of the real story which peace couldn’t be kept leading us to battle once again and showed us just how confrontational the two nations were. We get a lot of different titles which can become slightly confusing to keep up on who is what and in what line to become king of whichever nation they are fighting for.

Action/Biopic/HistoryThe action is massive scale battles which are shot in the same style of Game of Thrones, this being realistic is great for effect, but difficult to watch when it comes to see the horses getting slaughtered in the battle. The history lesson and biopic side of the film shows who Robert and his men were along with they would end up becoming.

SettingsThe film gives us locations that feel like they could be from the same time, we get the beauty of the Scottish countryside which only shows how they made their own advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Keeping on top of who is what ranking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new brutal battle movie, it gives the history lesson needed and shows how people defined the future for people in the world.

 

Overall: Brutal history lesson.

Rating

 

 

The Wall (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Dwain Worrell (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, Laith Nakli

 

Plot: Two American Soldiers are trapped by a lethal sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Thriller

 

Story: The Wall starts as follow two American soldiers Isaac (Taylor-Johnson) and Matthews (Cena) who have been watching over pipe works in the Iraq desert, after nearly 18 hours with no sign of life, Matthews decides to walk to the only area that looks like danger a Wall.

When Matthews is hit by an unknown sniper, Isaac goes down to rescue him but finds himself needing to use the wall as cover injured himself too. With no way of rescuing Matthews, Isaac tries desperately to get help on the radio on to learn he is chatting to the enemy sniper Juba (Nakli). We are left in a cat and mouse situation as the two get to know each other, while waiting for the other to make a mistake.

 

Thoughts on The Wall

 

Characters – Isaac is the wounded soldier trapped behind the wall waiting for a mistake from Juba, he is bleeding out and has no connection for rescue, the two chat on the radio as Isaac must find a way to survive the situation. Matthews is fellow soldiers that gets hit by the rouge sniper, he spends most of the film out in the field while the others do battle. Juba is the sniper of legends, nicknamed ‘The Ghost’ because of how deadly he is on the battle field.

PerformanceAaron Taylor-Johnson must do most of the carrying of this film, he does a great job at this because you are held on every word he wants to say and action he makes, John Cena is solid but doesn’t have much to do, Laith Nakli is all voice work as he is the one talking to Isaac through the film.

StoryThe story is simple to follow, two soldiers trapped against a lone sniper with nowhere to hide. It is a cat and mouse battle between the two sides as they look to get one up on each other. Having previously seen the movie Mine which also follows a soldier trapped in Iraq minus the sniper it does feel like this is more of the same even if the added inclusion of the sniper does make it feel more intense.

Thriller/WarYou are kept on the edge of your seat wondering how things will unfold between the two sides and the war setting only intensifies things as we hear both sides of the war.

SettingsThe location is key for this movie as we watch how the characters must do battle in a place where running or rescue isn’t going to be something that can be achieved.

Scene of the Movie – First attack by the sniper.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been a lot more intense.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the genre of person trapped against enemy that could kill them but it doesn’t reach the highest levels.

 

Overall: Good thriller nothing more.

Rating

 

 

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocDirector: Tom Ford

Writer: Tom Ford (Screenplay) Austin Wright (Novel)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney

Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wow

Story: Nocturnal Animals starts by following art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Adams) who has it all with her new husband Hutton (Hammer) but she isn’t enjoying the job the way she once did. Susan receives a copy of her ex-husbands novel.

We enter the novel following the Hastings family Tony (Gyllenhaal), Laura (Fisher) and India (Bamber) as they are travelling cross country clashing with Ray Marcus (Taylor-Johnson) and his crew of joyriders in the middle of the night.

With his family kidnapped and his car found abandoned Tony must work with Bobby Andes (Shannon) to find his family all while Susan is struggling with the intensity of the novel. When the story hits hard personally for Susan, she starts to see this as a message being sent by her first husband Ed Sheffield (Gyllenhaal). We are left to witnesses just how the book ends and how it could be reflected into Susan’s life.

Thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

StoryThe story is balancing three stories, the first is Susan reading the book and looking back at her relationship with Ed. The second is looking at how the relationship between Susan and Ed started and fell apart. The third is the following of the novel which is a very intense story. I think all three are balanced perfectly to show the paranoia coming Susan, the love story beginning middle and end of the early relationship. The highlight of the stories really is looking into the novel because this story while intense wouldn’t work as a solo film without seeing and feeling the reaction of Susan reading into so deeply. The stories also don’t get themselves confused which could easily happen in this story.

Drama/ThrillerThis is a thriller that will keep you on edge from start to finish when it comes to the novel being told the drama mostly comes from the outskirts following Susan’s story of wondering what the book is meant to stand for.

Characters/PerformanceLooking into the characters we have a very interesting mix, Susan is never saw what to want from her life making the mistakes which will make over people like her, I do think the stand out characters are from novel with Tony character being filled with emptiness after what happens to his family, Andes being a strong cop figure willing to go the extra mile for justice and the crazy criminal Ray Marcus that goes all out to get what he wants and gets away with anything. When we look at the performances Adams, Gyllenhaal and Shannon all give the great performances you know and expect from them, it is Aaron Taylor Johnson that makes you step back and go wow because this performance not many people could have seen coming from him.

SettingsEach setting fits the story it is being used to tell, be it the high society setting of the art gallery owner, the rough desert location for the novel and New York for the early stages of love.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most intense films of the year that will be hard for certain film fans to enjoy because of how dark it is but in the end, you will be left shocked with where this one goes.

Overall: Shockingly intense story telling going on from start to finish.

Ratingcard

Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Knights (2003)

knightsDirector: David Dobkin

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Tom Fisher, Aidan Gillen, Fann Wong, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: When a Chinese rebel murders Chon’s estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy make their way to London with revenge on their minds.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Sequel

 

Story: Shanghai Knights starts when Chon Wang’s (Chan) father is murdered by Lord Rathbone (Gillen) and the imperial seal is stolen and taken to London. Chon Wang must locate Roy (Wilson) and head to London for revenge.

On their adventures in England the pair meet a string of characters including street thieve Charlie Chaplin (Taylor-Johnson) and Artie Doyle (Fisher) who aid them on their adventure against Rathbone and Wu Chan (Yen) as we get a loose run through English history.

Shanghai Knights is a huge improvement on the original mainly because it gets to poke good fun at the vintage English style of living where we get to see historical characters for the time including a reference to Jack the Ripper. We get to see the building chemistry between Chan and Wilson which again works perfectly. The original had plenty of nods towards classic westerns this has plenty of nods towards the silent movies. We also get the first showdown on film between Chan and Donnie Yen which for the fans of the genre is something they would have been waiting for.

 

Overall: Plain old enjoyable odd couple action comedy.

Rating82