ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

Joaquin Phoenix Weekend – Mary Magdalene (2018)

Director: Garth Davis

Writer: Helen Edmundson, Philippa Goslett (Screenplay)

Starring: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Ariane Labed, Denis Menochet, Lubna Azabal

 

Plot: The story of Mary Magdalene.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Boring

 

Story: Mary Magdalene starts a Mary (Mara) a young woman in a small town helps out the way she can, but is considered possessed because of her behaviour, when Jesus (Phoenix) arrives on his journey, she gets inspired to join his cause with his followers, including Peter (Ejiofor) and Judas (Rahim), where she learns more of the bigger world problems, they are fighting for.

Mary gets to witness just how important Jesus is the people on the journey and how nearly every town or city would come to a stand still for him, until he is betrayed.

 

Thoughts on Mary Magdalene

 

Characters – Mary Magdalene is a figure from the Bible, one that was close to Jesus, we do follow her journey from small town outsider to one of his disciples who could lead the women unlike any other, she learns about the world from the journey and just who she could trust. Jesus is the man we know from the Bible, he travels from town to city to help people with his abilities of faith, which sees him become the inspirational leader or many. Peter is one of the disciples that has been by his side for years, he welcomes the people he trusts to join, including Mary. Judas comes off like a nice man, we know his true nature, as he is seen telling Jesus the stories he wants to hear.

PerformancesIt is hard to criticize any of the actors in this film, they really don’t have anything to work with, they just can’t make an impact in such badly written character, which come from a popular source material.

StoryThe story focuses on Mary Magdalene, one of the many followers of Jesus, we see everything through her eyes, how she was treated before he came along, how she was able to connect to the women unlike the rest and how she reacts to the end, the moments we all know from the Bible. The problem here comes from that fact that we have seen countless versions of the Jesus story, we often grew up on our own version of the figure and while this might be more accurate to the tales, it doesn’t come off showing it to be very interesting.

SettingsThe highlight of this otherwise slow movie comes with the settings which show us just how the country would have looked like at the time of Jesus.


Scene of the Movie –
The settings.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a painfully slow story that we have seen before, it just offers nothing new or anything interesting to the ideas the bible once taught.

 

Overall: Dull and uninspiring.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – Z – Z for Zachariah (2015)

Director: Craig Zobel

Writer: Nissar Modi (Screenplay) Robert C O’Brien (Novel)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine

 

Plot: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.


Tagline – What remains after the world ends?..

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starts Promising, Ends Slow

 

Story: Z for Zachariah starts as Ann (Robbie) goes about her daily routine in a disaster hit world, living on a farm with her dog, she does everything she can just to survive, until she sees a stranger wondering through the mountain range, John (Ejiofor) who was underground during the incident.

Ann and John start trying to put a life together using his knowledge of engineering to help with the work around the farm until another stranger, a miner Caleb (Pine) turns up on the land, which starts to create a new problem, a love triangle.

 

Thoughts on Z for Zachariah

 

Characters – Ann is a farm girl that has been with just her dog since the incident that has wiped out most of the population, she is keeps the land together preparing for the harsh winters which she barely made it through before, she does have the lonely feeling until she meet John and Caleb who help show her life after people. John I a scientist who was underground when the incident happened, he decides to come to the surface in search of a life up there, which sees him stumble into Ann’s land, the two might have difference of opinions when it comes to religion and science, but they do try to help make a life together, he uses his skills to help make the farm work easier. Caleb is a miner that ends up on the land, he becomes competition for John in search for attention from Ann, being much more laidback about life and where it will go next.

PerformancesThe performances are the highlight of this film, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine all give us wonderful performances, showing the difficult moments they would have been through in this world, we see guilt and hope coming through strong through the performances.

StoryThe story follows three people living in a world destroyed by an incident (which we never learn what it is) that has left most of the population dead, with most of land being unliveable and then we get thrown into a love triangle. The side of the story that explores the world that has been through an incident because we start to explore what could have caused it taking science version religion, as soon as we start getting to the love triangle things just get dragged down because we don’t need this, as we do have the complex side to the story already in place.

Sci-FiThe world that we enter shows us the sci-fi side of the film by seeing just how difficult surviving would be in this world, only it would be nice to have learnt what happened to cause the incident.

SettingsThe film does take us to a beautiful location which give us stunning shots, making it a lovely place to live in a world like this.


Scene of the Movie –
The water system.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning what has happened to the world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that starts so well, only to fall into a bland love triangle which only drags all the potential away from this story.

 

Overall: Doesn’t live up to potential.

Rating

 

 

Julia Roberts Weekend – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

secretDirector: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly

 

Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller

 

Story: Secret in Their Eyes starts as we see Ray Kasten (Ejiofor) meeting his old team and now DA Claire Sloane (Kidman) Chief Investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and fellow political roles Reg Seifert (Kelly). We flash back to when they were a team of investigators with Bumpy Willis (Norris) when they are tracking terrorists only for one of their own daughters Carolyn Cobb (Graham) being murdered next to their investigation.

Ray has spent the last 13 years of his life searching for the killer and now he believes he has figured out the person responsible and wants the case re-opened between the old team.

 

Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes

 

StoryThis is an American remake of the Oscar winning movie that has a very bland story which should be a very intense story, the scenes all flow so slowly you just don’t believe this is a case unfolding and the jumps in time are too often leaving us all over the place in the end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story should be one of the most intense ones we have seen, but it doesn’t work out that way because the film spends way too much time balancing the murder case with a potential terrorist investigation without even giving us the mystery to try and solve ourselves.

Characters/PerformanceThe team are all believable as a unit but as solo characters you just don’t feel the desperation in Ray, the power in what should be a power-hungry role in Claire but you do like get to feel the grief through Jess’s character.

Ejiofor, Kidman and Roberts are all solid but just don’t reach the ability we know all three are capable off. The rest of the performances are all solid without stealing the scene.

SettingsWe have the setting in and around LA without managing to use any settings which are easy to help us identify where the film is set.

Final ThoughtsFor the talent involved this is a very slow, poorly acted thriller that lacks any suspense to the levels it could have got too.

 

Overall: This will always be forgettable in the arena of remakes.

Ratingcard

 

 

Doctor Strange (2016)

drDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Stand Lee, Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C, Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stand Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Origin Story

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as we see Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) stealing artefacts to help him with his next plan only with The Ancient One (Swinton) tries to stop him in what is an early sign of the reality these characters will be fighting within. We move on to meet the brilliant Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who has his own style of performing surgery which always saves the lives of the people he is saving.

When Stephen is recklessly driving his fancy car, he is involved in a horrific car accident losing all the skills he has learned in his hands forcing him into drastic measure to regain his surgical skills. Stephen’s journey takes him in search of an impossible natural cure as he finds Mordo (Ejiofor) who guides him to what he searches for the Ancient One.

This is where his training begins as Dr Strange learns about the different realities we live in and how to make them work to his advantage as he learns nothing he once knew was what he thought it was. We the training continues Dr Strange has to join in the battle against former student Kaecilius who has turned to the dark side to prove his worth to the cause.

Doctor Strange gives us a visually stunning superhero origin story because we haven’t had one of these in about two weeks. The story plays into the bigger reality battle which is a big plus to make this slightly more unique only we have this already with the inclusion of the Thor and Guardians universe. I can see why people enjoyed this but in the end this is just going to have to be another addition to a universe which is already over saturated with characters.

Cumberbatch doesn’t seem to have charisma to play what I feel is meant to be sarcastic character, Mikkelsen is just another villain that we have seen before that never makes the impact on the story but is never meant to be that much for an origin film. Swinton does a good job in her role and Ejiofor is solid as the trainer figure.

 

Overall: Visually amazing but as for origin story we have seen this all before.

Ratingcard