James Bond Month – Spectre (2015)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: A cryptic message from 007’s past sends him pitted against a mysterious terrorist organization called Spectre, and learns of its involvement in previous events of his most dangerous missions.


Tagline – The dead are alive

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tries Too Hard to be an Espionage Movie

 

Story: Spectre starts as James Bond (Craig) heads to Mexico in search for his own reasons where he learns about a mysterious terrorist known as the Pale King, he doesn’t leave without causing damage, which forces M (Fiennes) to ground him from active duty.

James goes against orders, going in search of the terrorist group which after his actions in having one of its first meetings in years, to appoint a replacement to the table, where the leader (Waltz) and M have now made James their number one target, forcing James to turn to an old enemy for help.

 

Thoughts on Spectre

 

Characters – James Bond has reached the peak of his experience, he will still break the rules when it comes to tracking down a lead, only now he will need to learn to overcome modern technology placed on him to elude his superiors. James will need to take on Spectre the very group which has been involved in trying to cause chaos in all his mission. Blofeld is the leader of Spectre, the man that has been pulling all the strings, a man that has faked his own death to rise to the position of power, where his ultimate control will see him seek the power to watch the world. Madeleine is the daughter of an old enemy, she has become a target for Spectre, which means she must come out of hiding to work with James, not willing to be one of the women in James’s love life though. M is trying to keep James in line, while also dealing with the ideas that somebody C is trying to push through a new surveillance that would see the 00 branch closed. Hinx is the main hitman that is tracking down James, his is the silent type, that is bigger, more powerful and even smart, a pure brute of a hitman.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to not put a foot wrong in this role, handling the action and giving the cold responses to anything asked of him. Christoph Waltz just doesn’t reach the levels we know he can, it is partly because the character isn’t given the deserved time though. Lea Seydoux does well in her role, but often takes second fiddle to the scenes with Daniel in surrounding the action moments. Ralph Fiennes does step into this role well, while Dave Bautista does make for one of the more memorable hitmen in the Craig era of Bond.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission, which sees him coming face to face with one of the most famous villains in the franchise history Blofeld who has had hand in each of the missions he has been involved in. The base of this James Bond mission is everything we have seen before, seeing him travelling the world to fight the villain of the piece, the problem with the storytelling comes from focusing too heavily on the side part of the film which sees M needing to prove the worth of the 00 branch which is connected to the bigger picture, but takes away the reason we enjoy these films about an all out action spy star. The fact the story does continue to operate in a universe where each film is connected is also a big plus because the consequences of the actions in the previous films are being felt throughout this one.

Action/AdventureThe action in this outing does once again give us a brilliant opening sequence, which slowly turns into enhanced versions of what we have seen before through the franchise, though we do get more of a feel of an adventure here, with the locations James visits.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the unique moments in the film, be it the opening in Mexico, the Austrian mountain range or the Italian meeting place, they all give the film a unique look at how everything unfolds.


Scene of the Movie –
Mexico City.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Monica Bellucci is criminally underused.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining Bond movie, when it comes to the spy side of everything nothing feels out of place, but as soon as we start looking at side stories, things start to fizzle out.

 

Overall: Entertaining Bond Outing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – L – The Lobster (2015)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, John C Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Delightful

 

Story: The Lobster starts as David’s (Farrell) wife leave him meaning he must attending a hotel to find a new partner. David is welcome to stay for 45 days and if he doesn’t find himself a partner he will be transformed into a beast and sent to the woods, David does keep his brother who is now a dog as company for now ad David’s choice of animal is a lobster.

When David breaks the rules inside the hotel, he finds himself on the run with the other ‘loners’ roaming the forest that he once had to hunt down, here he meets the Short-Sighted Woman (Weisz) and the leader of the loners (Seydoux). This shows David the difference between the worlds as they see just how different the ideas between the two worlds can be.

 

Thoughts on The Lobster

 

Characters – David is recently sent to the hotel to find himself a new partner within the 45 days, he struggles to meet someone and ends up breaking the rules and becoming one of the loners hiding in the woods. He sums up what it is like to be grieving and alone in the world. Short-Sighted Woman is telling us the story and is one of the loners in the woods. We have strange group of characters that all interact with David

PerformanceColin Farrell is brilliant in this role which goes against anything we believe him to be able to do, you are kept on edge to learn what he will do next. Rachel Weisz makes for a great supporting performance showing us all the skills we know she is capable off. The rest of the cast all give great supporting performance throughout the film too.

StoryDescribing this story does become very difficult, the words unique, strange and different would be the best ones to use. We have a world where you must be matched up or be doomed to being transformed into an animal or live in loneliness in the woods. This is a strange view on love but it does work perfectly for the world created.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is filled with dark comedy that will make you laugh at times with some being about just how crazy the idea is with the romance side of the film being a different world view on romance.

SettingsThe hotel gives us one unique setting for everything happening, with the woods showing the loneliness the characters will face if they don’t match up.

Scene of the Movie – Hide and Seek practice.

The Moment That Annoyed Me While unique in everything I did find that I would have like to have seen more about the transformation process.

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the most unique movies you will ever see, difficult to describe but wonderful to watch.

 

Overall: Strange, weird and wonderful.

Rating

 

 

Layer Cake (2004)

layer cakDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: J.J. Connolly (Screenplay) J.J. Connolly (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Tamer Hassan, Kenneth Dranham, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Layer Cake starts as we meet the guy (Craig) we never learn his name who has taken advantage of being a business man within the drug world, he keeps everything strictly business with a plan to get out of the business with his latest deal completed. When his boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) sends for him to find his daughter Charlie (Lunghi) while also working with loose cannon Duke (Foreman) on the latest job. The problem is the Duke has started an international war with his latest attempt to get a score. Can our guy get through all of the troubles and out of the business with his life?

Layer Cake enters into the type of film I personally don’t enjoy too much and that is the drug crime world ones, that isn’t going to judge whether I think this is a god or bad film. I liked how the usage of drugs was minimal to no existent in the film. The story is filled with twists and turns along the way which really does keep us guessing as we see where the final outcome of the film will take us. I did find myself enjoy this one and would suggest to people to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Craig: We never learn the name of this character but he is our leading man through the story, a smart business man in the world of drugs. He finds himself stuck doing one last job before trying to get out of the business but this job leads him into going against all of his business plans. Daniel is good in this leading role showing he was ready for the next step up.

Colm Meaney: Gene is the second in command to Jimmy who has always been the middle man between the guy and Jimmy until the two have to work together to clean up the mess. Colm is your always reliable supporting character.

Kenneth Cranham: Jimmy Price is the supplier that the guy works for, he hires him to find his partners daughter and deal with the Duke a loose cannon. He is loud and will do anything to make sure he makes extra money. Kenneth is solid as this gangster character who has too much for their own good.

Sienna Miller: Tammy is a mystery girl that comes into the guy’s life that seems to have a plan that should be keeping her ahead of anyone else. Sienna is good and bursts onto the big screen with this role.

Support Cast: Layer Cake has a big supporting cast that does have a lot of familiar faces in that all become part of the bigger picture with our leading man, all giving good performance throughout.

Director Review: Matthew VaughnMatthew shows off all his style in this film showing how he can handle multiple story branches around the main one going on.

 

Crime: Layer Cake puts our characters in the middle of the drug world where we don’t know who to trust.

Thriller: Layer Cake does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the story.

Settings: Layer Cake keeps nearly all of the settings being what feels like the criminal underworld location which works out nicely for the film.
Special Effects
: Layer Cake has good effects when needed but only uses them for the occasions needed.

Suggestion: Layer Cake is one I do feel or the gangster fans will enjoy. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Craig shows he is ready to a leading man in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Slick crime thriller from start to finish.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Zero Theorem (2013)

logoDirector: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Pat Rushin (Screenplay)

Starring: Christoph Waltz, Lily Cole, David Thewlis, Ben Whishaw, Peter Stormare, Melanie Thierry, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Lucas Hedges

 

Plot: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Asking the Question We All Ask

 

Story: The Zero Theorem starts by Qohen (Waltz) working on his computer trying to find the answers. He enters into the futuristic world with talking billboards controlled by Mancom where Qohen happens to work for. Joby (Thewlis) his boss is trying to keep everything together by Qohen is trying to find the answers to life but wants to talk to Management (Damon). Qohen is trying to get disability time off or working from home but he does get a chance to meet management at a party held by Joby.

Qohen meeting with Management didn’t go as well but upon a second meeting he gets given a chance to work on a special project for Management. The next project means he can work at how and along with hardware tech Bob (Hedges) he starts the job that could take up the rest of his life. Struggling to reach the same levels off work at home, because the project is much harder than first thought. Joby sends help Bainsley (Thierry) to help take his mind off the work and clean up the place. Qohen is searching for answers to make him feeling unique in the world instead of just be part of the system.

The Zero Theorem uses the very core question that gets asked by plenty of people through time ‘what are we here for?’ as I find myself asking this question I could relate to the ideas that Qohen was feeling with the search for answers because without them everything seems meaningless. The confusing side of the story comes with the job these people work on where the search for theorem answers is their main goal. I liked the intereaction between the character showing how top boss will give you a chance the supervisor will pretend to friend you while the young assistants help in their own way. This film will end up making you think which is alway a good thing in a film. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christoph Waltz: Qohen Leth a lonely man who wants to find a purpose for his life in a world where he is just part of the system, he is good at his job and ends up taking a difficult project to try and help his need to achieve more. Christoph does a good job in this role showing how he always has that thinking look in his eyes. (7/10)

 waltz

David Thewlis: Joby supervisor who helps Qohen gets the task he wants trying to keep things together. David gives a solid supporting performance and clearly becomes the quirky one of the group. (6/10)

joby

Melanie Thierry: Bainsley a call girl who becomes friends with Qohen trying to help him come from outside his shell. Melanie does a good job as the sexy distraction in Qohen’s life. (7/10)

 bainsey

Matt Damon: Management who gives Qohen a chance to prove his worth but demands things don’t done. Matt does a solid job in this small supporting role (6/10)

 

Lucas Hedges: Bob son of Management who is the tech guy who is set to help Qohen keep everything working so he can find his solution. Lucas gives the best performance of the cast as he sums up how Qohen could have felt as a youngster and how he will feel when he is older. (8/10)

bob

Support Cast: The Zero Theorem doesn’t have much else in way of supporting cast anybody else is just small parts that try to help the story continue.

 

Director Review: Terry Gilliam – Terry always gives us something weird and wonderful to watch and this doesn’t let us down. (7/10)

 

Fantasy: The Zero Theorem enters into a potential fantasy future we are not aware of yet. (6/10)

Sci-Fi: The Zero Theorem uses a future world where anything could become possible to create a solid sci-fi element to the story. (8/10)

Settings: The Zero Theorem keeps the reality world settings dark but the fantasy world bright to make a good contrast between the two worlds. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Zero Theorem uses good special effects to make the fantasy happen. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Zero Theorem is one to try it will make you think which could put people off, but it is worth it in the end. (Try It)

 

Best Part: First beach trip.

Worst Part: Slightly too much thinking.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Brazil

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing is everything.

 

Overall: Finding out the answers to everything is not always what you want it to be.

Rating 72

Oscar Season Challenge – The Danish Girl (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.danishDirector: Tom Hooper

Writer: Lucinda Coxon (Screenplay) David Ebershoff (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Eddie Redmayne, Tusse Silberg, Adrian Schiller, Amber Heard, Emerald Fennel, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts

 

Plot: A fictitious love story inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspiring Story

 

Story: The Danish Girl starts in Copenhagen 1926 with artists Gerda (Vikander) and Einar (Redmayne) a married couple whose relationship is different to everyone else for the time period. Einar has a fascination with dressing as a woman that his wife embraces it for a night turning Einar into Lili. Things get complicated when Einar decides that he enjoys dressing like the woman against his wives wishes at first.

When Lili makes Gerda a bigger name in the art world the couple move to Paris as Einar struggles with his art work an old friend and now current art dealer Hans Axgil (Schoenaerts) gives them a chance to push him back into the art world. As Einar embraces his Lili side we get to see how Gerda is struggling with it but in the end we see how Einar was one of the pioneers in transgender decision making.

The Danish Girl shows the inspiration story showing how one man’s determination to be transformed into a woman gained the movement which is popular today. How Einar got to the moment of transformation shows how naïve humans were to this issue back in the 1920s as they tried to make him a mental patient. This really is a difficult watch because the subject matter is something people will not want to see. Overall the story really is inspiration for anyone who is going through the same mind set.

 

Actor Review

 

Alicia Vikander: Gerda is the Danish artist married to Einar who wants to support her husband even as he is going through his identity crisis, she uses his new identity to grow her art work but then supports him as he searches for the final transformation. Alicia gives us an incredible performance in this role.gerda

Eddie Redmayne: Einar/Lili, Einar is the Danish artist married to Gerda, he has a fascination with dressing and being a woman, enter Lili his female side that he starts by flaunting at party before it takes over and Lili becomes the real person as one of the first transgender in the world. Eddie gives us a stunning performance showing the transformation needed for the role.lili

Ben Whishaw: Henrik is the young man that Lili attracts but Lili doesn’t know how to deal with any relationship. Ben gives us a good supporting performance without getting too much screen time.

Amber Heard: Ulla is a friend of the couple, she encourages them to just both be happy and tries to help with the situation. Amber gives us a good supporting performance.

Support Cast: The Danish Girl has a good supporting cast that all offer Einar a chance to get his dream.

Director Review: Tom HooperTom gives us yet another brilliant period piece that will get all the praise is deserves.

 

Biographical: The Danish Girl shows the incredible story behind one of the world’s first transgender.

Romance: The Danish Girl shows the love between Einar and Gerda even going through the personal decision Einar wanted to make.

Chemistry: The Danish Girl Einar and Gerda have brilliant chemistry through the film.

Settings: The Danish Girl creates the settings to make us feel like we are in the current time period of each country they go to.

Suggestion: The Danish Girl is one film I would say watch even if it does have its difficult moments for the casual fan. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Redmayne and Vikander’s performances.

Worst Part: Difficult subject matter.

Favourite Quote: Henrik ‘I’ve only know a few people in my life and you’ve been two of them’.

 

Believability: Based on the real people involved.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Actor/Actress and Original Score

Oscar Chances: Will be up for nomination.

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: Find the courage to be yourself.

 

Overall: Inspiring story about making the change for yourself

Ratingcard