ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – I – In Bruges (2008)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, Zelijko Ivanek, Clemence Poesy

 

Plot: Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.


Tagline – Shoot first. Sightsee later.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy

 

Story: In Bruges starts when Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) must leave London after a job goes wrong, they must head to Bruges where they must wait for instructions from their boss. Ray hates being in Bruges he sees it has a boring horrible place, while Ken is loving the idea of being a tourist.

When Harry (Fiennes) gives Ken the next job, which is to eliminate Ray for his error, while Ray gets involved with low level criminal Chloe (Poesy). Ken must give Ray the best send off before the difficult moment of his life happens.

 

Thoughts on In Bruges

 

Characters – Ray is a hitman that has made an error on the latest job when a stray bullet kills a little boy, he is filled with guilt for the death, he hates being in Bruges and always gets himself into trouble while trying to keep a low profile. We can see by his actions just how guilty he is feeling about what happened too. Ken is the partner to Ray, mentor if you like, he bought him into the world and is the connection to the boss, he loves the sightseeing in Bruges, he is put in the difficult position of needing to eliminate his partner and doesn’t want to go through with it. Harry is the boss that just wants loose ends cleaned up, seeing that Ray made a mistake, he ends up needing to get his hands dirty if he wants to get rid of the problems. Chloe is a dealer working around a movie set, she wins Ray’s heart giving him the only beacon of light in his life.

PerformancesColin Farrell shows us here just how good he can be in a mix of comedy and unsettling behaviour that he finds himself needing to put his character through. Brendan Gleeson is wonderful to watch too, while Ralph Fiennes proves once again that he can become a full-blown psychotic character with ease. The rest of the cast do add to the comedy we go through during the film.

StoryThe story follows two hitmen in hiding after a job goes wrong while their boss decides what to do next, which is kill Ray for his mistake. We get to see how mixed the two are about being in Bruges with one loving and other hating it which plays into the tourist vibes we are meant to feel with the trip. We get religious elements in this film too which play into just where the two will go once their lives are over and what punishment they should face if they are caught or killed. This is a clever story because it shows us just how each character plays an important part to the final outcome of the film too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from the reactions of just being in Bruges, they we add in the reaction to seeing a dwarf not wanting to offend him and ends up making things worse. The crime side of the film shows us just the world the three main characters are from being hitmen.

SettingsThe film is set in Bruges which is a beautiful city, the setting shows us just how they can play into the comedy in the film because of the men’s reactions to the location.


Scene of the Movie –
The chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Canadian side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun dark comedy that isn’t afraid to hold back on just where the jokes will come from.

 

Overall: Deliciously Dark Comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – L – Live by Night (2016)

Director: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (Screenplay) Dennis Lehane (Novel)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Remo Girone, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina

 

Plot: A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.


Tagline – The American Dream has a price

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long & Complex

 

Story: Live by Night starts as we meet Joe Coughlin (Affleck) a former soldier in World War I, who returned to Boston to live the life of crime as an outlaw. When Joe gets blackmailed into killing his boss or risk having his boss learn about his secret affair with his girlfriend Emma (Miller) he finds himself in the middle of a battle he didn’t want a part of.

After the secret is revelled Joe is left for dead blamed for killing cops, after 3 years in jail he gets sent to Florida to track down Albert White, to stop his business and kill him for the new gangster running things in Boston.

With his being a success Joe ends up clashing with the Klux Klan while trying to continue to watch the money roll in to his bosses and even himself.

 

Thoughts on Live by Night

 

Characters – Joe Coughlin is our narrator our gangster, well reluctant gangster, forced into the world after his life as an outlaw gets him mixed up with the wrong people. We learn he is fantastic at handling himself in the meeting striking a deal and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The other characters seem to just be in chapters of his life, Emma is in Boston being a love interest, while Graciela business partner and lover in Florida. Chief Figgis is the man that will let Joe conduct business and to be honest we don’t get to learn enough about them to care about.

PerformancesBen Affleck is the only lead performer in this movie, he is fine through the film, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can. When you dive into the supporting cast we get a host of known names and even unknowns who get the same amount of time that are solid without anyone standing out.

StoryThe story follows Joe Coughlin as he starts out as a thief and becomes a gangster, this should work and I would have been fine with this, the problems build up as we see how many different situations Joe must solve to get the next chapter of the story through, because we don’t get enough time to see the problems he must overcome and everything just becomes glimpses into the gangster life without doing anything new.

Action/CrimeWe have plenty of shooting going on, though the final one does feel like a level of Grand Theft Auto. This does from us into a gangster heavy crime world where the prohibition is ongoing through America.

SettingsThe settings place us in the prohibition era America, be it Boston or Florida nothing does seem out of place with these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final shoot-out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving us the time to know the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy gangster film, it has the moments of potential but in the end just jumps too fast to grab us to care about certain moments which do seem to have a bigger impact on the story.

 

Overall: Disappointing, ending Affleck’s streak behind the camera.

Rating

 

 

Meryl Streep Weekend – Suffragette (2015)

Director: Sarah Gavron

Writer: Abi Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep

 

Plot: The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.


Tagline – Mothers. Daughters. Rebels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave & Important Story

 

Story: Suffragette starts in 1912, woman still don’t have the right to vote, but the battle for equality continues to wage on with Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) pushes the campaign through. We follow Maud Watts (Mulligan) who finds herself witnessing one of the campaigns with Violet Miller (Duff) bringing her into their movement.

When the latest campaign gets rejected scenes get violent and Maud finds herself in the middle of the fight, facing time in jail, forced to give up campaigning for equal rights. Now the movement is stronger than ever will look to get the equality for women through.

 

Thoughts on Suffragette

 

Characters – Maud Watts is a quiet laundry employee, married with a child, she gets caught in the middle of one of the campaigns for equal rights, she ends up joining the movement as a foot soldier knowing what is right for women everywhere. Violet Miller is one of the foot soldiers that recruits Maud, she has been fight for a while now and knows that she wants the best for her daughter. Edith Ellyn offers a cover for the meetings to make things right for women, she has been campaigning for years next to the leader, Emmeline Pankhurst has been in hiding for years as she keeps the movement going strong to make sure women can get the right to vote. Inspector Arthur Steed is trying to stop the movement from taking over, he puts the women to the test to see who the strong ones are.

PerformancesCarey Mulligan is great in the leading role, we see her confliction with Maud’s decisions being made. Helena Bonham Carter is great too which puts her in a supportive role. Anne-Marie Duff is the actress I hadn’t heard of before and she goes toe to toe with the bigger names. Meryl Streep does have a small role in this film, but that doesn’t hide her importance to the story. Brendan Gleeson makes for a good law man in any movie, this is no different.

StoryThe story shows the struggles British women had to get the chance to vote, just vote something men had been doing for years. It leaves you to wonder just how this took such a long time to change in a world where we are all meant to be equal. The bravery these women showed shines through because they faced being shamed by their families, the main story follows how Maud Watts went into the world and how it affected her life. While I do understand this is looking at the women’s battle, you do feel like there would have been male supporters in this fight too and them speaking up would have been just as taboo to the ones who wouldn’t look down on them.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a moment, a movement in history that should never have had to happen, but the importance to what it achieved is remarkable.

SettingsThe settings show how the everyday location were important to make this movement happen, we feel like we are in 1912 London.


Scene of the Movie –
The speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You would think men would have supported this too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at an important moment in time, it shows how women worked, fought and battled to get equality in Britain.

 

Overall: Important look at history.

Rating

 

 

Braveheart (1995)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Randall Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Brian Cox

 

Plot: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.


Tagline – Every man’s spirit is free. Not every man has the courage to follow it.

Runtime: 2 Hours 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Biopic

 

Story: Braveheart starts when young William Wallace see his father and brother killed fighting for the independence of the land, taken in by his Uncle Argyle (Cox) he is raised to be a fighter. King Edward I (McGoohan) is trying to take control of the whole of Britain planning on leading the pressure on the Scots to fold, his son Prince Edward (Hanly) marries Princess Isabelle (Marceau) to unite with France.

William (Gibson) wants a life of peace which sees him marry Murron (McCormack) in secret after seeing what happens to the brides on their wedding night. When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, she fights back, only for this to lead to her execution. William is now ready for war and will lead the Scottish into battle against the English.

 

Thoughts on Braveheart

 

Characters – William Wallace saw his family die at war, raised in the peaceful land, wanting a peaceful life, his life if turned upside down when his wife is executed by the English. William becomes thee general for the Scottish army in the fight for freedom, becoming a leader put into legend. Princess Isabelle is from France, married to the Prince of England, she doesn’t like the conflict, turning to William to help him in the time of need. King Edward I is driven by war, he wants to conquer Scotland using his armies to try and keep them in order. Robert the Bruce is torn between keeping the peace or joining William’s war, he comes from the royal bloodline knowing his choice will be seen by the people. Murron is the common woman that William marries and sees killed for defending herself.

PerformancesMel Gibson in the leading role is strong for the most part even if he can’t manage to pull off the accent to a high enough standard, add in his age isn’t on the right scale required for this man. Sophie Marceau gets the strongest female role in the film, while the rest of the performance come off strong without anybody becoming overly memorable.

StoryThe story here shows a fictionalised version of the battle between William Wallace as he led the Scottish in battle with the English after the king tried to take control of the land, taking their freedom. While the scale of this story is massive, the reality it that most of the historical side of the film just doesn’t live up to the reality of what really happened, you can use the internet yourselves to learn the truth. For an inspirational hero of war leading a nation this is everything you want though. We do see how both sides prepare for the battles and just how they believe they are in the right, with both sides having people that don’t back what the leaders are doing to each others.

Biopic/History/WarThis is where we must look at how you read the movie, for a history lesson that is wrong this is easy to watch, it does everything to make it feel like a realistic version of events, but not the complete truth. The war between the English and the Scottish was real, was bloody and this film shows us just how brutal the wars of this time would have been.

SettingsThe film shows us just how large scale the battles were, when it comes to the pure numbers involved in the battles, we get the beauty of the highlands too which show us just how beautiful the land would have been for fighting for.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a historically incorrect movie that can be watch for the pure scale of the epic battle between the nations, with have strong performance, wonderful directing when it comes to the battle scenes too.

 

Overall: Brutal at times, long at others.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – # – 28 Days Later (2002) Revisited

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Noah Huntley

 

Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.


Tagline – The Days Are Numbered

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Modern Horror

 

Story: 28 Days Later starts in the aftermath of a virus being unleashed, Jim (Murphy) wakes from a coma in a hospital unaware of what has occurred, searching the empty streets of London, it doesn’t take him long to run into an infected member of society, where Selena (Harris) and Mark (Huntley) who explain what has happened to the country.

After an attack by the infected Jim and Selena are left alone searching the streets of London they discover Frank (Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Burns) hidden in an apartment building. Together the four of them target a radio transmission by the military where Major Henry West (Eccleston) answers their calls, but not everything is as it seems from the military outpost.

 

Thoughts on 28 Days Later

 

Characters – Jim is the man waking to the destroyed, infected ruled world, he like us learns the full extent of the damage and as the film rolls on he becomes tougher, prepared to fight back in this world. there isn’t too much more to Jim as a character other than this. Selena is one of the two people that rescue Jim, she is tough as nails, doesn’t blink when it comes to killing the infected be it the long-term infected or the ones that are about to turn. For the first half of the film she is a fantastically strong character being the one of the group you would fear the most, the more she opens up to others in her life and a future other than surviving, the weaker she becomes. Frank is a caring father, he has done everything to protect his daughter during the outbreak, he knows he needs help to get to the rescue point because going along would be too risky with just his daughter. Major West leads the military outpost, he has promised his men salvation, but it isn’t what you would expect it to be, strict leader, his men will follow all his orders.

PerformancesCillian Murphy got his big break after this film, his performances and transformation in his character are brilliant. Naomie Harris comes in here strong from the moment she hits the screen you see just how strong she is going to make her performance. Brendan Gleeson is great in the supporting role, while the same can be said about Eccleston too.

StoryThe story follows a small group of survivors in an infection riddled world as they look for safety. This is generally the purpose of all infected or zombie movies, it keeps things simple and makes the tension rise as we do get a chance to meet and support the group of survivors on their adventure. This is easily one of the more intense stories once everything goes on with the music adding to the final sequence of the movie. The story does have two endings with both being just as strong as the other too depending on how you believe the story should become.

Horror/Sci-FiThe infected bring us the villainous monsters in the film, they are runners, which means they won’t stop till they get you, only hiding or killing them will stop them, the infected are not the only monsters in this film though as we focus on the human affects of the outbreak. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just how quickly the world could change with an outbreak of a virus which turns people into the undead searching for food, in humans.

SettingsThe film is set in London to start with, getting the empty streets is an achievement in itself, the haunting idea of London being abandoned will be one you will remember, the travelling side, well we have seen before with the empty sequences being what makes this film stand out.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the practical world which we like to see because it makes everything feel real to us the audience.


Scene of the Movie –
The mansion final.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel Selena should have stayed stronger through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern zombie movies, it is intense at times and the visually creation of the world is amazing.

 

Overall: Masterpiece of Modern horror.

Rating