Franchise Weekend – Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)

Director: Susanna White

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Christianna Brand (Characters)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Oscar Steer, Asa Butterfield, Lil Woods, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: Nanny McPhee arrives to help a harried young mother who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war, though she uses her magic to teach the woman’s children and their two spoiled cousins five new lessons.


Tagline – The magic’s back, warts and all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Serious Sequel

 

Story: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang starts as we meet mother Isabel (Gyllenhaal) who is trying to run the family home and raise her three children, while her husband is away at war, adding to her pressure is her brother-in-law Phil (Ifans) that is looking to get money and two cousins added to the family that are used to the luxury life.

When Isabel starts struggling, she gets the call from Nanny McPhee (Thompson) who offers to help put the children back in line with her magic. The children must learn to work together to help the farm stay in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

 

Characters – Nanny McPhee is the magical nanny that comes to family’s when they are in need of support, she has come to this family in their time of need to help teach them how to be together in one of the most difficult times in their lives, the war, she brings her rules like before as she looks to bring the best out in the people. Isabel is the mother of the three that is trying to run and farm and work, her husband is at war, with the uncertainty of whether he will be returning. She doesn’t want help, but must accept it to keep the pressures of her life away from her children. Phil is the brother-in-law to Isabel, he has created his own gambling debts and wants the farm to clear the debts, he will do anything to get what he needs. Mrs Docherty is the boss of Isabel and family friend, she isn’t quite all there which makes her character come off funnier than she should. The children do come from different worlds which does see them clash in the time of conflict.

PerformancesEmma Thompson does continue to enjoy playing this role which she handles with ease. Maggie Gyllenhaal gets to play the role well through the film, which shows us just how difficult a position her character is in. Rhys Ifans does everything you would imagine in the comedy role in the film, while Maggie Smith also adds plenty of comedy through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a mother that takes over the family farm with her husband away at war, with money running low and the stress of life getting to her, that gets help from Nanny McPhee. The story here easily becomes a much more serious one because we are dealing with children that are being separated from their parents during war, where they don’t know if their family will be together once the war is over. This story does have a very different tone to the first one, one that does feel real, even though it does seem slightly stranger for Nanny McPhee to be here, this time around. The story here is more entertaining than the original which is always a good thing.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film does hit better than the first film, most of it comes from the arguments which feel funnier, the fantasy in the film does work too, which ends up blending with the comedy involved.

SettingsThe film is mostly set within one farm which does show us just how much trouble the family will be facing in their time of need.

Special EffectsThe effects here are the biggest step back sadly because we can see the CGI moments looking completely out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Connection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel that does have a strong story to cover up the weaker CGI being used in the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful sequel.

Rating

 

 

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

Director: Mark Herman

Writer: Mark Herman (Screenplay) John Boyne (Novel)

Starring: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Jack Scanlon, Vera Farmiga

 

Plot: Set during WWII, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.


Tagline – A story of innocence in a world of ignorance

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Heart Shattering Movie

 

Story: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas starts as Bruno (Butterfield) and his family Mother (Farmiga), Father (Thewlis) and sister Gretel (Beattie) move from Berlin to the countryside during World War II. The new home takes Bruno’s family near a concentration camp, this leaves Bruno wondering why everyone there is where Pyjamas and leaving him forbidden from going out of the house.

When Bruno befriends one of the boys Shmuel (Scanlon) who is in the camp, Bruno must start to learn why the people are being kept like this as he learns that Jews are considered the enemy of his country, but he doesn’t understand this. The truth will only shatter Bruno’s view on the world.

 

Thoughts on The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

 

Characters – Bruno is the 8-year-old boy living in Germany during World War II, he doesn’t understand the world yet, he must learn that his new friends are Jews and considered the enemies to the non-Jews. He tries to become friends while not becoming blinkered like his own sister to what is expected within Germany at the time, showing us the innocence that was affected by war. Father is the rest why the family must move, he is in charge of the concentration camp but hiding the truth from his family. Mother tries to put a smile on but when she learns the truth she is in shock with what her husband is doing but can’t talk out because it would leave her with the same fate. Shmuel is the Jewish boy that Bruno befriends, he is in the concentration camp which makes their friendship forbidden but through him we see how Bruno doesn’t see how the world truly is.

PerformancesAsa Butterfield is fantastic in the leading role, he shows all the innocence to play this character. David Thewlis is always good in the almost villainous role, while he is the bad figure in history, he is a good father. Vera Farmiga is great as the mother that sees the light in what is going on and how wrong it is. Jack Scanlon is great as the Jewish boy that is behind the fence that befriends Bruno, he shows the despair in what the Jews would be going through.

StoryThe story is already dealing with one of the most disturbing events in modern history as we see how the Germans handled the Jews. Seeing this from the perspective of an innocent Germany boy who doesn’t know what is wrong or right about the war shows us how horrific the events were. This is a story of how he must learn what is really going without ever being shown the truth he doesn’t know what is going on while we see both sides of his family react to what is happening differently. This is by far one of the most disturbing and shocking stories you will ever see that shows the heart break of what happened and how the children never knew the horrors of war.

WarThis doesn’t show the conflict of war, it shows the separation that the Germans had with the Jews through the eyes of young boy who didn’t know what was going on.

SettingsThe settings are Berlin and a countryside location never mentioned, it shows the divide created by the Germans in the war for no reason other than God figure people believed in.


Scene of the Movie –
The adventure in Bruno’s mind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me English accents.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most heart breaking movies you will see, it shows that the victims of war came from all sides and the reality of it was even worse.

 

Overall: Brings your tissues along.

Rating

 

 

The Space Between Us (2017)

Director: Peter Chelsom

Writer: Allan Loeb (Screenplay) Stewart Schill, Richard Barton Lewis, Allan Loeb (Story)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino, BD Wong

 

Plot: The first human born on Mars travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Romance Film

 

Story: The Space Between Us starts with the first maned crew living on Mars, the Genesis operation lead by Nathaniel Shepherd (Oldman) is sending the 6 astronauts to Mars to live with mission commander Sarah Elliot (Montgomery) leading the mission. The mission goes wrong early on when Sarah turns out to be pregnant and dying in child birth on Mars. Back home Nathaniel must figure out a way to keep the story covered up raising the child on Mars even though his desire is to head to Mars himself to help raise the child Gardner.

16 years later Gardner (Butterfield) has grown up still a secret to the outside world on Mars, with the colony growing with Kendra Wyndham (Gugino) being the latest mother like figure in his life. Gardner has been sneaking around making friends with Tulsa (Robertson) back on Earth, but keeping his secret safe.

When the plan is to bring Gardner back to Earth his secret friendship is the desire he most wants to see but the business side of mission wants to us him as a PR device. Once back Gardner gets tired of the quarantine and escapes to learn about the world, find Tulsa and his father, but the longer Gardner spends on Earth the greater danger he is putting himself in.

 

Thoughts on The Space Between Us

 

Characters/PerformanceGardner is a Martian the lack of a better word, he was born and raised on Mars gaining all the intelligence from the astronauts he meets, but what he desires most is a human connection which is what he can get by going to Earth. He gets to see Earth in a new light for the first time which isn’t something original but always interesting to see unfold. Tulsa is a high school girl who is surrounded by students but completely alone because of being in the foster system. She speaks to Gardner being the only connection she has with the world, once they meet she shows her street smarts to help Gardner. Nathaniel is the lead scientist running the program, he wants to do the right thing but gets pushed out and left to regret his decision, but it is his choice to do everything to make Gardner safe on his return to Earth. Kendra also plays a similar role to Nathaniel only she is the closest person to a friend Gardner has on Mars.

Performance Wise, Asa shows again that he is a very capable young actor who I think we could see many more great performances from in the future, Robertson is continuing to play characters she is a lot older than but she does have the look for them. Oldman brings the heavyweight name to the film doing good throughout with Gugino also doing a good job through the film.

Adventure/Romance/Sci-FiThe adventure comes from Gardner seeing Earth for the first time with the sci-fi comes from the idea of life on Mars. The romance side of the film works because it is the driving force between Gardner and Tulsa.

StoryThe story shows us what it would be like is there was a baby born on a Mars colony, it also shows how two people worlds apart can become the closest of friends. The story is young adult material but at least this seems to be a one-off idea for the story, I think it fits the genre nicely and will have the whole audience enjoying how the story unfolds.

SettingsStarting on Mars we get to see what life up there could be, moving to Earth it is a standard road trip across America idea for settings not offering too many new ideas on where to go.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good when they are needed without being jaw-dropping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good young adult movie that can be enjoyable by the romantic fans.

 

Overall: This is good for the market intended.

Rating

 

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

missDirector: Tim Burton

Writer: Jane Goldman (Screenplay) Ransom Riggs (Novel)

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L Jackson, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell

 

Plot: When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tim Burton’s X-Men

 

Story: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children starts as we meet every day average American teenager Jake (Butterfield) who has never fitted in. When his estranged grandfather Abe (Stamp) who has told Jake all the stories about Miss Peregrine and her home for peculiar children gets murdered his family tries to make Jake realize everything is just a story to deal with his loss during a World War II.

To help Jake get over the loss of his grandfather his father Franklin (O’Dowd) take him to a small Welsh island where Abe was once at a school only to discover that it was destroyed by a bomb in World War II. While exploring the ruins, Jake finds himself being followed by some strange children led by Emma Bloom (Purnell) who take Jake back to 1943 to meet Miss Peregrine (Green). Miss Peregrine has been guarding the children in a time loop from the evil Barron (Jackson). Jake learns of the impending threat coming towards the home he learns his own ability that will be key to saving the children and his grandfather.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a good fantasy film that tells a story that could easily get pushed off as covering for a traumatic event in a life. We get the tradition teenage character that needs to find his place in the world and is portrayed to be so average it is unbelievable. We get the mix of peculiar children who are basically X-Men with their own abilities that will help then to defend themselves. Eva Green gives her best Johnny Depp impression by playing the over the top strange character and Samuel L Jackson brings his own stamp to the villain role. This is slightly too dark of a film for the younger viewers but also has too many moments that adults won’t like either so this is an good film either if it is slightly too long.

 

Overall: The peculiar look at dark fantasy concept in the X-Men style universe.

Rating65

 

 

Hugo (2011)

rob challengeThis week in the challenge Rob selected Hugo for me to watch, this is one film that i always planned to watch one day but had never got around to see it.

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Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: John Logan (Screenplay) Brian Selznick (Book)

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Jude Law

Plot: Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Special Little Story

Story: Hugo starts in the Paris train station where we see young Hugo (Butterfield) an orphan who lives in the walls of the station. He is always out to keep away from Station Inspector (Cohen). Hugo has been working on trying to work on his father’s work and Georges Melies (Kingsley) has discovered the work and stolen his book. Hugo not giving up easily follows Georges and meets Isabelle (Moretz) who agrees to help retrieve the book for Hugo.

We learn that Hugo’s Father (Law) was trying to build this automaton with Hugo but the mystery of how to get the machine to work is one both of them are searching for before his father is killed in a freak accident. Hugo is left having to live with his Uncle Claude (Winstone) who teaches him about running the clocks but takes him out of school. We do continue to flash between the two time periods and in the 1930s Hugo must now earn his notebook back from Georges by working in his stale for all the parts he has stolen.

We watch how Hugo gets his first love interest as well as learning about growing up by working in the stands inside the train station as he could final get to finish his father’s work and unlock a secret about Georges.

Hugo is a story that is very easy to watch unfold and brings us a positive feeling through a negative time. I really didn’t know where the film was really going which is always a good part of a story. When we end up looking into the past of the film director it ends up going towards giving the people who deserve credit getting what they deserve. We also have the idea of learning and a building friendship with a clash of different backgrounds. There is also small parts to the story that show romances between minor characters. I think this will give everyone a feel good factor by the end, but I slightly too long especially having two different character explain about the directors past. (9/10)

Actor Review

Asa Butterfield: Hugo Cabret is our orphan who lives inside the train station, he is still trying to finishes his late father’s work which will help him unlock a secret somebody is trying to keep quiet. He spends his time constantly trying to hide from the station inspector who wants to send him to an orphanage as he keeps all the clocks running inside the train station. Hugo ends up going on an adventure with Isabelle. Asa does a great job in the leading role alongside a much more famous cast. (9/10)hugo

Chloe Grace Moretz: Isabelle is the young girl similar age to Hugo that tries to help him unlock the secrets that have been kept hidden. Chloe continues her career here with a good supporting performance. (7/10)isabelle

Sacha Baron Cohen: Station Inspector is the hapless inspector who is trying to keep the orphans out of the train station, he enjoys catching them, but Hugo always escapes his grasps. Sacha shows that he doesn’t need to do all these horrible comedy films because he is a very good actor. (8/10)inspector

Ben Kingsley: Georges Melies is the Godfather to Isabelle who has taken Hugo’s notebook, but the truth is that he is hiding a secret that he doesn’t want coming back out. Ben brings the heavyweight performance here having to show a true range of emotions through the film. (8/10)georis

Support Cast: Hugo has a mega cast of cameos and small parts that all help the story unfold, including Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer and Ray Winstone.

Director Review: Martin ScorseseMartin uses all his skills from the years and experience and brings us a great film. (9/10)

Action: Hugo doesn’t have the most action with most just being chases around the train station. (6/10)

Family: Hugo is one for the whole family to enjoy because they can have the moments of family, friendship and a final chase to be remembered. (/10)

Mystery: Hugo does create a small mystery but it isn’t the whole factor from the story. (6/10)

Settings: Hugo re-creates the settings perfectly for the time periods being used during the film. (10/10)
Special Effects: Hugo uses the special effects to help create the authentic look of the locations. (9/10)

Suggestion: Hugo is one for the family to sit down and watch together giving you a nice feeling by the end. (Watch)

Best Part: Learning about the early films.

Worst Part: Repeating the same story in the film.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Won 5 Oscars and nominated for another 6.

Box Office: $74 Million

Budget: $170 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

Tagline: Unlock the secret

Trivia: Martin Scorsese and Christopher Lee are very good friends, but up until 2010 had never worked together. Lee’s response when he was asked by Scorsese to appear in Hugo was: “It’s about time!”

Overall: Brilliant Tale an achievement in story telling.

Rating 90