Mr Holmes (2015)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher (Screenplay) Mitch Cullin (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam

 

Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia, as he tries to remember his final case, and a mysterious woman, whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.


Tagline – The man behind the myth

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice, but Slow Drama

 

Story: Mr Holmes starts as we follow Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) as he heads to the country to retire, his housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker) that he takes under his wing to work with his bees. Sherlock is in the middle of writing a story about his last case after Watson had left him, as well as remember his time in Japan with Tamiki (Sanada).

As the story continues we learn that Sherlock’s memory is going and he wants to erase the misconception of his character that Watson has created.

 

Thoughts on Mr Holmes

 

Characters – Sherlock Holmes is one of the iconic characters in any mystery tale, this time we following him in his latter years, as we follow the three moments, the last case he didn’t solve, the trip to Japan and how he is writing the story about his last case. This character is interesting to find because we see a great mind struggling to remember everything that he should. Mrs Munro is the housekeeper looking after Sherlock while he focuses on his projects and bees, she does want to move away with her son because she finds Sherlock more in need of a nurse than a housekeeper. Roger is her young son that Sherlock takes under his wing, he is eager to learn more about his stories and the bees which can leave him in trouble at times. Tamiki has invited Sherlock to Japan, claiming to be a big fan, but he has different motives for this, we don’t really see enough of this character though.

PerformancesIan McKellen is fantastic in the leading role, but could we expect anything less from one of the greatest of all times? Laura Linney has always been able to mould herself into any supporting character and here is no different. Milo Parker is good for a child star, nailing the important scenes and keeping his innocence about him. Hiroyuki Sanada is a man we would have liked to have seen more in this film, I feel there is a lot more that we could have had from his character.

StorySherlock Holmes, the icon, the legend, the detective that solves every case, is now old and trying to put together parts of his memory o finish a final book, as he tries to remember the chapters of his life. Following the three different stages of his elderly life, can in places become confusing, but everything is tied up by the end and plays into the idea of what is real or part of a story well. The pace of the story is slow in places which doesn’t help keep on top of everything though.

MysteryThe mystery side of the film, comes off slow, we have a couple of mysteries Holmes wants to solve, but we never get left in a position to want to see them unfold.

SettingsThe settings play into the late 40s well, Japan is haunting for this, the beach/cliff top location looks beautiful too.


Scene of the Movie –
Japan and the aftermath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow mystery movie that does focus on certain parts of the later life of a Holmes figure which is different as it is him battle against his own mind while trying to remember or solve the cases.

 

Overall: Slow, but interesting.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – D – Dreamgirls (2006)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Bill Condon (Screenplay) Tom Eyen (Book)

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose

 

Plot: A trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way.


Tagline – One Dream Will Change Everything

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Musical

 

Story: Dreamgirls starts as we meet the three soul singers from Detroit Deena Jones (Beyonce), Effie White (Hudson) and Lorrell Robinson (Rose), the Dreams, they are trying to make a name for themselves and catch the attention of Curtis Taylor Jr (Foxx) who arranges them to be back up singers for James ‘Thunder’ Early.

When Curtis sees the girls future alone, but with Deena taking the lead of the trio it doesn’t set well with Effie and with the act breaking barriers across the world it builds the tension between the band before eventually seeing Effie leaving the act as Deena becoming the international star and Effie must face the consequences of giving up her own chance of stardom.

 

Thoughts on Dreamgirls

 

Characters – Curtis Taylor Jr gave up his car dealership to turn the Dreams into stars, he knows how to challenge the market to get the goes famous, taking a shine to Deena he sees her being the front of the trio which causes the tension within the trio, he delivers on his promises even if things don’t come off as clean as they should. Deena is one of the trio, she gets the most attention because she is the most attractive and while taking over the leading role in the trio where her stardom divides the friendship. James ‘Thunder’ Early is the artist that the Dreams start as backup, he watches the Dreams go onto be bigger stars than he had ever been because of the lack of support. Effie White is the best singer in the trio, she is the first to oppose being just a backup singer, wanting to take her position to the next level, which only sees he removed from the band.

PerformancesJamie Foxx was at the top of his career here and it shows because he is great, the biggest surprises come from the rest of the main cast, Eddie Murphy, well this is easily his best performance in the last 30 years and shows everyone just what he is capable off. Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson are both fantastic in their roles as the completely understand how difficult the music industry can be for anyone.

StoryThe story follows the trio of soul singers who start in just a talent contest to hopefully get a big break, only to find themselves becoming international superstars, but with success comes at a price as the trio go their own ways with one becoming the biggest name in music and the other resorted to performing in clubs. We get to see the harsh reality of the music industry from the four main characters and directions they end up taking. Having a film balance the four characters stories so, well is unusual and a great watch.

MusicalThe song and numbers are all wonderful with plenty of different genre touched on as the sound of the band changes through the years too.

SettingsThe film shows the different worlds these women could be living in, the riot filled streets of Detroit or the fame and celebrity world.


Scene of the Movie –
Final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Wondering why Eddie Murphy can’t perform this well more often.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable musical that shines a spotlight on the soul music scene during the 60’s, it has wonderful performance throughout and is a must watch for the fans of the music genre and musical fans in general.

 

Overall: Beautiful movie.

Rating

 

 

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Director: Michael Gracey

Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely

 

Plot: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Magical Musical

 

Story: The Greatest Showman starts as we see how P.T. Barnum (Jackman) stars as a street kid dreaming of being a star on the stage, he works his whole life to improve the life for his wife Charity (Williams) who has come from riches. When he loses his job, he decides to risk everything by starting his own circus for everyone who has been rejected in life.

When the money pours in, he hires Phillip Carlyle (Efron) a man who has connections and needs a way to continue his fame, as P.T. is desperate to get rave reviews from the snobby side of time. This will push him to limits that will risk him losing everything he has worked for.

 

Thoughts on The Greatest Showman

 

Characters – P.T. Barnum is a man with a dream, to escape his poor life after he falls in love with Charity at a young age, he drives to impresses and give her a life she came from, this includes making a decision to make his own show with the rejected people in society. We see his rise and potential fall from the top because of his obsession. Charity is the love of the life of P.T. she came from a rich family, but never cared for the money side only wanted happy. She supports P.T. on all his decisions and dreams. Phillip Carlyle is a play writer that gets talked into helping P.T. with the promise of becoming part of something nobody has seen before. He takes time to accept his place, but a smile from Anne changes him for the better. Anne Wheeler is one of the acts in the show a trapeze, along with her brother she wows the audiences, she opens the eyes for Phillip to see the potential of the show. Jenny Lind in an opera singer famous throughout Europe, she agrees to come to America to be part of P.T. next idea which puts the biggest risk on his dreams.

PerformancesHugh Jackman in an all singing, all dancing role, this guy is fantastic and is the Showman the film describes. Michelle is brilliant in the supporting role, her character does slip from the screen as the story unfolds at times though. Zac Efron has been trying something different in recent years, it has work at times, but returning to his singing and dancing roots shows us the talent he has. Zendaya has had a great year, this shows that she could step into a musical film whenever she wants to. Rebecca Ferguson is good, but we do tend to not see enough from her character. The whole cast in the show a fantastic with Keala Settle being a potential scene stealer through this film.

StoryThe story follows the life of P.T. Barnum, who he started as a poor street kid that worked for his money, married the woman of his dreams and opened the show that offered the rejected members of society the spotlight their talents offer. This does turn into watching one man’s obsession which getting recognition from people who have always looked down on him and his father. This being based on the real person, once again shows that people were trying to break ground for people who were considered different in the world because of their colour, size or general look.

Biopic/MusicalThe musical side is filled with fantastic performances from the team, it has memorable songs that have brilliant meaning. The negative is something I found in the film was how the biopic side of everything unfolds, we don’t get any timeline to the events of the film which I feel disappoints greatly, but this is how it is told, not who he was.

SettingsThe settings for the most part look fantastic, but we have a couple of awful looking CGI backgrounds, which can take away from the scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Rewrite the Stars performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain CGI for large landscape is poor.

Final ThoughtsIf you love a good musical with fantastic songs, strong performance and a success story, this will be for you, I was sat there in the cinema enjoying every moment of the performances.

 

Overall: Spectacular Musical that delights.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Rand Ravich, Mark Kruger (Screenplay) Clive Barker (Story)

Starring: Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, William O’Leary, Bill Nunn, Matt Clark, David Gianopoulos

 

Plot: The Candyman arrives in New Orleans and sets his sights on a young woman whose family was ruined by the immortal killer years before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good World Building Sequel

 

Story: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh starts with the backstory of Daniel Robitaille (Todd), you know everything we learnt from the last film and how he will come around to haunt you from his myth. This time we are in New Orleans as Ethan Tarrant (O’Leary) wants Philip Purcell an author who has made a profit in books from the Candyman story to pay for failing to help his father.

When Ethan gets arrested for murder, his school teacher sister Annie (Rowan) comes to learn the truth about what happened with tough as nails Detective Ray Levesque (Gianoploulos) wanting to take Ethan down. This time New Orleans are looking to celebrate the Candyman jumping straight into what he wants, people to believe in him once again.

When Annie calls the Candyman she finds herself being the latest victim and must delve deeper into the back story to learn about the legend of the Candyman hoping to stop him once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

 

Characters/PerformanceThe Candyman now striking fear into his audience is back but this time everyone knows about him almost worshiping in New Orleans. He is still a brilliant screen presence killing anyone he feels like killing. Annie is a teacher who is having to investigate the Candyman story to help free her brother from jail and understand her own father’s mysterious death. she is smart when investigating and loyal to her students too. Ethan is the suspect spending most of the film claiming he didn’t do anything.

Performance wise, Tony Todd is still the star of the show still as scary as ever. Kelly Rowan does a good job taking over the leading role but past these two nobody does that well in the performance levels.

StoryThe story can be looked at two ways, the first one is this is a good franchise building story because we get to see the deeper backstory of the Candyman, the second way could be considered the bad way, this is because the Candyman is now a household name that gets celebrated which doesn’t make sense after the first film. it also has a lot of filling to reminding us what we learn in the first film. the story is easy to follow and as a franchise I do think this is a good addition to what we have come to know of the Candyman.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy elements of the Candyman story are the same as last time with a human backstory now but the horror doesn’t reach the levels of before because the Candyman isn’t as secretive as before.

SettingsMoving the settings to New Orleans is a mixed bag as well for me, the spiritual beliefs around the city do add to the mythology behind the Candyman but it also works the other way because they are celebrating him here, which goes against what we learn in the first film.

Special EffectsMost of the practical effects all come off well here but the couple of uses of the CGI do leave us questioning moments in the film.

Final ThoughtsAs a horror fan I liked the deeper backstory because if offers plenty of sequel potential but I also think this film doesn’t offer enough on the true scare factor the first one did, in fact this film goes out of its way to do the mirror scene while the first I believe only did it once.

 

Overall: I have rated this high because I think the Candyman can strike terror into nearly anybody.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

Rating