The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) Guy Ritchie, Jeff Kleeman, David C Wilson, Lionel Wigram (Story) Sam Rolfe (Original TV Show)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.


Tagline –  Two sworn enemies. One common mission.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action

 

Story: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starts as we follow American CIA Agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) must put their difference aside to stop a threat during the cold war to stop nuclear weapon being built which could cause massive casualties. The only connection is the daughter of the scientist Gaby (Vikander) as they search for the Vinciguerra’s with Victoria (Debicki) running the crime operation.

As the two start to put their differences aside they learn skills to make them better agents and learn to work as a team for the first time in their careers.

 

Thoughts on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

Characters – Napoleon Solo is the American CIA Agent, he works for them to clean his robbery charges because he is a brilliant thief, being able to swipe anything with the blink of an eye, he uses his charm to stay ahead of the game. Illya Kuryakin is the Russian KGB agent, he is short tempered and can handle himself in the fight, but sadly he comes off looking like the weaker of the two. Gaby is the daughter of the prime suspect, she works with the agents to locate him in the hands of the villainous Victoria. Victoria has taken over the family business which involves building her own nuclear weapon. Alexander Waverly is a man of mystery who keeps appearing in the lives of the agents but who does he work for.

PerformancesHenry Cavill is an actor I have always questioned and here he does show emotion, charm that is required for the character of Napoleon. Armie Hammer does have a lot of fun in his role which he is good in and anything Alicia Vikander stars in gets extra class and beauty.  Elizabeth Debicki is good in her limited scenes but doesn’t give us anything new for a villain, Hugh Grant gets the few laughs in the film too.

StoryThe story follows two unlikely agents needing to work together to save the world, it sounds simple and is from a television show, so we know where it will go. If you have seen the formula before you will have better options out there but for a simple story that you can see the twists coming and can just enjoy it unfold.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is by the book for the most part having nothing overly memorable while the comedy works at times but isn’t a laugh out loud movie.

SettingsThe film takes us around Europe which is fine for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used in film for moments of action but I do feel like it could miss on most part.


Scene of the Movie –
For a special agent, you’re not having a special day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid by the book action adventure movie, it doesn’t offer too much new but isn’t the worst, just sadly average.

 

Overall: Average action movie at best.

Rating

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bradley Cooper Weekend – Burnt (2015)

Director: John Wells

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Michael Kalesniko (Story)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander

 

Plot: Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Cooking Drama

 

Story: Burnt starts as we see Adam Jones (Cooper) a chef who has worked under the best before he blew it all with drinks and drugs, he cleans himself up, earns enough money and returns to London to take down Tony (Bruhl) restaurant and hotel.

Turning to his old friend Conti (Goodman) and working Michel (Sy), Helene (Miller), David (Keeley) and Max (Scamarcio) Adam goes in search for the next top chefs around London to work in his kitchen after saving Tony’s ass when the top food critic Simone Forth (Thurman) visits his restaurant. Adam is in search for his third Michelin Star.

 

Thoughts on Burnt

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam Jones is the typical aggressive competitive chef, he wants to be known as the very best but is also on a redemption story. he walks the very thin line between being the best and being a complete ass toward the people who work for him. Helene is the next top chef without a reputation in London, a single mother that keeps her reach all her potential that Adam sees in her. Tony is a friend of Adam’s who reluctantly gives him a chance to turn his kitchen around once more. I do think the rest of the characters all play into the story perfectly too.

Bradley Cooper is great in this role, he gets to show he confidence, aggression and emotions through the film. Sienna Miller is good throughout but like the rest of the cast who all give good performance, they all do get over shadowed by Cooper’s performance.

StoryWhen you are a skilled person with talent can easily come off the rails and search for another chance in life. This is a story of redemption at the core showing you will not be able to run from your past but you can always change your future and the people you work with.

Comedy/DramaThis is a comedy drama that does take a serious matter and add little moments of comedy without being a laugh out loud attempted film.

SettingsMost of the film is in and around the kitchens the chefs work in, this is good because we get to see how chaotic the kitchen can be.

Final ThoughtsThis film was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be, I do think people can enjoy but I can also see why people will find it hard to get through.

 

Overall: Cooks up a delight that can be devoured by the fans.

Rating

 

 

Submergence (2018)

Director: Wim Wenders

Writer: Erin Dignam (Screenplay) J.M Ledgard (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig, Jannik Schumann, Reda KAteb, Celyn Jones, Jess Liaudin, Mohamed Hakeemshady

 

Plot: In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.


Tagline – Love Has No Limits

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Love Story

 

Story: Submergence starts as Danielle Flinders (Vikander) is preparing for her submersible dive of the coast of Greenland, she has lost contact to the man she fell in love with James More (McAvoy) who unbeknown to her has been captured in Africa by Jihadist fighters.

James is using the memory of the Christmas the two met in France to keep him going in hope of freedom, while Danielle faces her fears of what could go wrong in her dive. We are left to see how their love keeps them both strong and broken in the world where they are 1000s of miles apart.

 

 

Thoughts on Submergence

 

Characters – Danielle Flinders has been using her mathematic formulas to understand the deepest part of the oceans believing one day the world will run out of oxygen and that the deepest part of the ocean could hold the answers. She doesn’t connect with people on a personal level until James comes along breaking down those walls. James More is a Scottish man working in Africa for a water company, trying to bring clean water to the remote parts of the country, he is captured by the Jihadist fighters, he keeps his relationship with Danielle as his only motivation for survival. We do meet other characters that the two interact with who helps show the predicament the two are facing.

PerformancesAlicia Vikander is always great in a drama, she has the ability to morph into many characters from different fields and times, this is no different as you truly understand her struggle. James McAvoy is great to as we see him almost play two different characters, the one that is confident and in love and the one being broken.

StoryThe story here shows us how two people on very different career paths from different sides of the world can meet and fall in love for a split second and use this to motivate them to survive and complete their goals. The meeting side of everything is nice enough we have seen it before and it works for the film fine, it is the part of the story where they are apart which interests most. Seeing Danielle facing the biggest moment of her career, the moment she has waited for, for years, but feeling broken because she can’t contact James shows her conflict, while James is facing potential death with no one to call for help using his inspiration of love for Danielle to keep him going, these two elements of the film keep us going.

Romance/ThrillerThe love the two characters feel for each other feels real, the separation they are feeling with no clue how the other one is feeling is how love can be at times and to keep us guessing to what will happen at the end is what keeps us enjoying till the end.

SettingsThe film uses the settings very well, the have the beauty of the French coastline for the meeting between the two and using the contrast of the open spaces both enjoy in their different location with the tight prisons they are both facing is very interesting to see and used perfectly.


Scene of the Movie –
The island trip Danielle takes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final act with James.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful look at how love can affect a person from the first time you meet someone, to how it will give you hope, motivation and fear when it comes to where you could find yourself in the world.

 

Overall: Wonderful study on love and careers

Rating

 

 

Tomb Raider (2018)

Director: Roar Uthaug

Writer: Alastair Siddon, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Screenplay) Evan Daugherty, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Story)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi

 

Plot: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.


Tagline – Her legend begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Adrenaline Rush

 

Story: Tomb Raider starts as we meet Lara Croft (Vikander) a bike courier in and around London, she is independent and short of money. She learns a clue about her long time missing father Lord Richard (West) that shows Lara about the secret life he once lived as a treasure hunter.

Wanting answers Lara heads to Japan, the location of his case known case, the search for Himiko a story from Japanese legend, to learn the answers from the mysterious island, joined by Lu Ren (Wu) the son of the captain that also went missing with Richard, only to learn that her father wasn’t the only one after the legend, Mathias Vogel (Goggins) has his sights set on the tomb too. Lara will need to learn about her new identity before taking on the island and its secrets.

 

Thoughts on Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft is the character we know from the video games, we had a couple of movies, but this is a fresh take on her. She is trying to be independent, she doesn’t live off the money her father has made, she isn’t even a treasure hunter, this is her origin into that life, her first adventure looking for her first treasure, the truth. We see a lot of Lara is action sequences, something we always want to see, we do see a vulnerable side to her too, which is important. Lord Richard Croft is Lara’s father, he made his fortune in business and loved his daughter, he has gone missing because of his secret life as a treasure hunter, he is the motivation for everything Lara does. Mathias Vogel is our villain, he is on the island searching for the same thing Richard did before Lara, stranded here until he gets what his employees are seeking, while he is a simple villain, he is never the leader of the people Lara is facing, just the general of this group. Lu Ren is a drunk captain that lost his father in the same mission that took Richard away from Lara, while has given up hope, Lara motivates him to go on an adventure to learn the truth.

PerformancesAlicia Vikander is great in this role, she has the look of Lara, she handles to vulnerable moments well and the action sequences on a level you wouldn’t have expected, but the accent does feel hit or miss at times. Dominic West is good in this role, he handles the mentor, father figure well through the film. Walton Goggins works very well in the villain role because he never over plays his character which he could easily have done. Daniel Wu brings us a fun supporting character that we would like to see in any further adventures too.

StoryThe story here follows Lara as she learns the truth about her father and his secret adventures, she is trying to hide away from the fact he is gone, but the clue she learns about sends her on the adventure that will kick start her love for treasure hunting. This is an origin story for Lara Croft, something the first films never gave us, this does work because we feel like she could get hurt or die at any moment, which isn’t always the case in a main character in peril situation. I do think the story plays out wonderfully for a video game adaptation because we learn about this life with Lara and are ready to follow her adventure.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences here are fantastic to watch, they all feel like you are playing the video game and wanting to help her jump, climb, hang on or whatever situation she finds herself in, each moment because increasingly more perilous for her too. This is what I would say is a perfect adventure fan movie, it has a reluctant character put into a situation of life or death and she thrives in it.

SettingsWe have wonderful use of setting here, I did worry at first because the London side of things didn’t interest for the start of the film, but once we hit the boat, it is everything you could imagine a treasure hunting movie would include.


Scene of the Movie –
The plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me First arrival in Japan, I could never see a Lara who lives in London being so naïve about locals and security of property.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a video game movie that is fun, enjoyable and a blast, this one will be the one that gets it right, the action sequences are edge of your seat, the story is interesting and it keep everything so simple to follow.

 

Overall: The movie video game fans want.

Rating

 

 

Tulip Fever (2017)

Director: Justin Chadwick

Writer: Deborah Moggach, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) Deborah Moggach (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Matthew Morrison, Christoph Waltz

 

Plot: An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fails to Blossom

 

Story: Tulip Fever starts in 1631 where Amsterdam is obsessed with tulips, we follow Sophia (Vikander) raised in an orphanage to womanhood where the rich Cornelis Sandvoort (Waltz) marries her to make sure he has an heir of his own. The story is told through the memories of Maria (Grainger) the maid of the household.

Cornelis wants to be remember and having trouble with having children he wants to have a painting of the two, he commissions upcoming artist Jan van Loos (DeHaan) for the work. When Sophia and Jan engage in a steamy affair their love blossoms and with the rest of Amsterdam becoming using their tulip obsession we see how the rich just get carried away with their outrageous bidding for the prized bulbs.

 

Thoughts on Tulip Fever

 

Characters – Sophie was raised in an orphanage to womanhood where she gets the chance to leave and marry one of the rich men of Amsterdam. She tries to give him a child, but they are struggling and it isn’t long before her heart belongs to another, an artist. Jan van Loos is the talented young artist commissioned to paint the Sandvoort’s, he soon strikes up a romance with Sophia as they both look to escape this world. Cornelis is the man Sophia marries, he is a kind man, brilliant businessman in the middle of the tulip obsessed Amsterdam. The characters show us just how obsessed the tulips can become desperate to make money from a bulb.

PerformancesThe film has wonderful performances from the whole cast, Alicia Vikander once again shows she is one if not the most talented actresses in the business. Dane DeHaan showed us just why he works better in these roles over a Valerian styled movie. Christoph Waltz continues he entry into a world of artists, where he can play the roles in period dramas. Even diving into the supporting cast, we have talent a plenty, with Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger and Judi Dench showing just why people always consider them people to watch.

StoryThe story follows us into the world of Amsterdam where the people are obsessed with the tulips, the different colours, styles and patterns which could make a fortune. We have a secret romance which uses the tulip obsession to try and keep everything a secret, sadly by the end you will fee like we are watching two films which don’t quite add up to the levels you would like. The story about the tulips did grab my attention and I would have loved to have seen more focus on this, while the affair is something we have seen before and done better before.

RomanceThe romantic side of the film comes from the secret affair Sophie is having, while also showing us the love Maria and Willem have through the good and bad moments.

SettingsThe setting created takes us back to the 1600s Amsterdam, nothing feels out of place as we see the hustle and bustle of the busy drink filled streets.


Scene of the Movie –
Tulip discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance side is something we have seen before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does struggle to balance the two stories and strangely enough, it is Maria’s story which seems like it should be the main story over the Sophia one. It does have powerful performance, but it doesn’t use their talents well enough.

 

Overall: Solid period drama, showing the tulip obsession.

Rating