Calvary (2014)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran

 

Plot: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama That Misses The Point at Times

 

Story: Calvary starts as mid-mannered priest Father James (Gleeson) gets a warning from one of his worshippers that he will kill him in one week on the beach during confession. Father James daughter Fiona (Reilly) comes to visit as we see how Father James goes about his normal routine with the locals.

As the week goes by we see how Father James deals atheist doctor Drank Harte (Gillen), butcher Jack Brennan (O’Dowd), rich member of the village Michael Fitzgerald (Moran) and many others, but he leads to the end of the week questioning his own existence and whether the man can go through with it.

 

Thoughts on Calvary

 

Characters – Father James is a well-liked priest that receives a threat during confession, but he doesn’t take it too seriously as he continues to show how respected he is around the village even with the people with no faith. Fiona Lavelle is Father James’ daughter from his time when he was married, she is having her own problems but know the two are all they have after her mother’s death. Jack is the local butcher that has gone through a separation with his wife but getting on with his life for the most part, he doesn’t have full faith but does have some faith.

PerformanceBrendan Gleeson is fantastic in this leading role as the priest who gets on with everyone and must face is own place in the world. Kelly Reilly is good in her role but like the rest of the cast they do all play second fiddle to Gleeson. Chris O’Dowd is good too but he does fall into the crowd of the supporting cast.

StoryShowing a week in the life of a priest in a small community is interesting through the story side of everything, we are left to see him learn about himself as he does question parts of his faith while staying strong for the people who need him. This story does keep you engaged throughout the film even if it feels like not much is happening.

ComedyThe comedy is all dark comedy take a darker look at a small village community as they get to question their faith.

SettingsThe small town community helps this movie shine as we are left to see how Father James deals with his potential impending death at the hands of one of the locals.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Frank’s scenes get the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea could have been strong to the point of everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong dark comedy that does want to address a serious issue but doesn’t cover it in enough time, instead focusing on other parts of the community.

 

Overall: Good drama well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Director: Julius Onah

Writer: Oren Uziel (Screenplay) Oren Uziel, Doug Jung (Story)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki

 

Plot: Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Addition to Cloverfield Universe

 

Story: The Cloverfield Paradox starts as we come to the Earth as the people are facing an energy crisis, one of the last hopes is an experiment in space to product an almost infinite amount, the crew includes Schmidt (Bruhl), Hamilton (Mbatha-Raw), Kiel (Oyelowo), Monk (Ortiz), Mundy (O’Dowd), Volkov (Hennie) ad Tam (Zhang).

While performing their experiment something goes wrong and the crew finds their ship in the middle of nowhere in space, the Earth gone, what happened, the team must work together to keep the ship active before even considering looking for home and things only get more confusing when Jensen (Debicki) appears on the ship claiming to be part of the team.

 

Thoughts on The Cloverfield Paradox

 

Characters – Hamilton seems to be one of our main characters, because we follow her on Earth as she debates whether to be part of the mission, so she can save her family from the crisis on Earth, on board the ship we see how her first and most important thing to follow is communicating with her family. Kiel is the Commander on this mission, he knows how each member of the team can be used to get through the problems. Schmidt is the man behind the science, it has been his ideas which are being put into practice in the experiment. Monk is the medical officer on the ship, he faces the scientific decisions. Mundy is the engineer on board, he can fix any problem as fast becomes the funniest member of the crew. Volkov is the member of the team which easily gets hot headed through the situations the crew themselves in. Tam is a crucial part of the team when it comes to knowing the operations behind the experiment. Jensen appears on the ship after the experiment goes wrong, she seems to be part of the team, but no one else knows who she is. She knows the operations the crew want to follow too.

PerformancesThis has a star studded multi-cultured set of actors, this helps show us how the world is united with this plan. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is good in this leading role, her character is the only one that does seem to show any life outside of the mission though. Daniel Bruhl and David Oyelowo are two top performers and they both give us the good performances we expect. Chris O’Dowd nearly steals the movie, his characters wit mixed with his delivery helps the movie have moments of light-hearted humour. Elizabeth Debicki is good too but I do feel like we don’t get enough from the talents of Aksel Hennie and Ziyi Zhang.

StoryThe story follows an experiment to try and solve the problems the Earth is facing with energy supplies, the idea takes us into a scientific discussion about what would happen if scientists accidently ended up in an alternative dimension. We have characters that are smart in space, which follows the same lines as ‘Life’ and ‘Sunshine’ as they do come together to try to solve the problem over just panicking. This does tie into the previous films nicely too, which is just what we wanted to see.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-fiThis film doesn’t reach the horror element level it could have, but the mystery side of the film covers this weakness, the sci-fi side of things do offer big questions about where things could be going.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, the first and best is the space station which is highlight of the film because every time we jump to Earth, it seems to slow up the pace of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are flawless through the film, the space moments are wonderful and an incident with an arm is great.


Scene of the Movie –
Found the worms

That Moment That Annoyed Me Returning to Earth gets frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that throws up the questions about what could go wrong with an experiment that could help save the Earth. This does fit into the universe created with the Cloverfield movies too.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining sci-fi thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – Bridesmaids (2011)

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rebel Wilson

 

Plot: Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride’s best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard and Forgettable

 

Story: Bridesmaids starts as we meet Annie (Wiig) a woman down on her luck, be it love or in business, her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged leading to Annie needing to meet Lillian’s other friends including biggest rival Helen (Byrne) and the mother of three Rita (McLendon-Covey), newlywed Becca (Kemper), loud mouth future sister in law Megan (McCarthy) as they prepare for the big day.

As the wedding planning continues Helen and Annie’s rivalry increases as Annie is forced into going to Vegas with the rest of the bridesmaids as the wedding day comes closer.

 

Thoughts on Bridesmaids

 

Characters – Annie is the woman watching how her best friend is getting married with a new group of friends where she doesn’t fit in with as much, she isn’t having her own luck in love either and her career is gone down the drain. Lillian is the one getting married, she must remain calm as her friends look to become friends with each other. Helen is the rival friend, she comes from money showing Lillian a different life than the one she would have without Annie around, Helen does seem to be trying to replace Annie. We have three other bridesmaids that all have their unique personas with the married with kids one, the newlywed and the crazy one that gets most of the laughs.

PerformanceKristen Wiig is good in the main role as the woman whose life is falling apart or never where she wanted to be. Maya Rudolph gives the most natural performance in the film never trying to grab a laugh like most of the rest of the cast. Rose Byrne continues to show he ability to dive into different roles. I am hugely confused why people went mad over Melissa McCarthy’s performance in this film got an Oscar nomination it was nothing memorable.

StoryThe story focuses on one woman whose life isn’t going the way she thought it would be, the engagement of her best friend seems to be the final straw, we do get to see how friendships can get tested to levels as time goes by and friends make new friends, a problem we all go through but in the end we get a lot of filler for the supporting bridesmaids in the film, that doesn’t connect to Annie which the story hints at it being her reaction to most things.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does feel like it misses on the most part, we get a couple of good laughs but otherwise the jokes feel very forced.

SettingsThe settings mostly come off as misses as nothing becomes overly iconic in anyway which leaves us not sure where certain parts of the movie are set.

Scene of the Movie – Most of John Hamm’s scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hype doesn’t live up to it.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that I only heard good things about and I couldn’t happen to think it was overrated and boring in places.

 

Overall: Standard comedy that doesn’t hit very often.

Rating

 

 

Molly’s Game (2017)

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Molly Bloom (Book)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie

 

Plot: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.


Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long

 

Story: Molly’s Game starts as we learn how the Olympic dream of Molly Bloom (Chastain) are shattered due to a freak accident, broke and moving away from her demanding father Larry (Costner) to moves to LA. In what becomes a trend in this movie we see the FBI raid Molly’s apartment laying on new charges to her for running illegal poker games with the mobs.

Needing to clear her name again Molly recruits lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Elba) as we learn how she started as small time secretary and turned into secret poker game mogul for the elite, movie stars, athletes and business tycoons alike. We learn mostly how she must clear her name from any illegal activities.  

 

Thoughts on Molly’s Game

 

Characters – Molly Bloom is our narrator, our story telling, she has been branded the Poker Princess. She tells us the whole story how she has gone from just being a hostess to becoming the owner and leader of the secret poker game for the social elite, she won’t give up the names of her clients even if she could to get off any criminal offences. Charlie Jaffey is the lawyer who reluctantly takes the case, he knows she could be defended and challenges her to take a plea, while showing similar characteristics to Molly’s own father. We get to meet plenty of characters along the way who have played in the game, each with their own sub-stories.

PerformancesJessica Chastain is great in this leading role showing she is one of the best actresses in the business today, Idris Elba is strong in the supporting role, but not being his fault, I would have liked an extra dimension to his character. The rest of the cast are good without being great through the film.

StoryThe story follows Molly’s rise and fall in the secret poker playing world, how it starts with celebrities and soon turns into mobsters. We jump around different times as she is telling the story to Charlie, but there is a lot of rinse repeat when it comes to the poker events which only leads us to get tired of, this is a new player, he came from this place and has this much money, he is this level of poker player. I found myself thinking that we didn’t care too much about Molly’s story, she barely does anything that illegal, she just offers people with too much money a chance to lose it to other players.

BiopicThis is something we have been seeing a lot in Hollywood now a days, we follow a person that did something minor that wouldn’t effect most people that seems to think it is a story we want to see, even if the story isn’t that interesting.

SettingsThe settings show us the high life the characters we have been living in, this shows us how secretive the game was to the people involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Charlie snaps in a briefing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to repeat what we have seen before.

Final ThoughtsThis wasn’t on the level it could be, we have a character in Molly we don’t really care about because most of the characters we meet here are on the high-life just spending money most people could never see. The performances are the strength in the movie.

 

Overall: Not the best biopic you will see.

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