A Late Quartet (2012)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Writer: Yaron Zilberman, Seth Grossman (Screenplay) Yaron Zilberman (Story)

Starring: Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey

 

Plot: Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.


Tagline – No arrangement is more beautiful…or more complicated.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: A Late Quartet starts as we meet the world famous quartet, Juliette (Keener), Peter (Walken), Robert (Hoffman) and Daniel (Lerner) who are planning their next performance, as they like to bring their crowd something new each year.

When Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he is left to make a difficult decision to face retirement, meaning he needs to find a replacement, which sees the rest of the quartet going in search for their own roles in the quartet, while deciding how they can carry on going.

 

Thoughts on A Late Quartet

 

Characters – Juliette is married to Robert and while being part of the quartet, she is going through her own problems after Robert cheats on her, she must figure out whether this choice of a musicians was worth it or not, as well as trying to reconnect with her daughter. Robert cheats on his wife Juliette as he must try to make amends of his error, while trying to improve his position within thee quartet. Peter is the one that becomes sick, he is thinking about retirement and while he is getting his treatment, he learns the rest are caught up in the middle of a relationship mess. Daniel is the most talented member of the quartet, he ends up making his own mistake in life which causes even more problems within the quartet.

PerformancesWe have a stunning cast here with two Oscar winners and another nominee, Keener, Walken, Hoffman all show why they are considered the best of the acting world, while Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots brings us performances that can keep up with their successful cast mates.

StoryThe story here follows one of the most famous quartets in music, they have 25 years of history together, when the oldest member becomes sick, the remaining three must decide whether to find a new member, while dealing with their own personal problems which could bring about the downfall of the quartet. Sure, some of the relationship drama isn’t anything new, but knowing the couple must continue to work together shows how personal and professional lives can easily clash when it comes to being successful in this field. One side of the story we could have seen more from would be the music side.

SettingsThe film is set in New York a perfect choice for this quartet to be located and performing in.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on Peter’s illness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully acted drama that shows the lives of a quartet.

 

Overall: Beautifully acted drama.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – A View to a Kill (1985)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee, Patrick Bauchau

 

Plot: An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California’s Silicon Valley.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Doesn’t Feel Like a Bond Film

 

Story: A View to a Kill starts when James Bond (Moore) is assigned his latest mission, one in California looking into Max Zorin (Walken) whose horses never seem to lose, this has attracted known criminals who want to invest in his horses.

James gets an invite to the mansion of Max as he investigates his other business, microchips and ones that can withstand nuclear explosion, he is taking a monopoly on the market which will leave him to demand any price and deal with the highest bidder.

 

Thoughts on A View to a Kill

 

Characters – James Bond remains the man we know, he still uses his charm to get closer to the enemy and always finds a way to get out of the trouble, he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when it comes to getting to the bottom of the mission. Max Zorin is the man behind the microchip monopoly, he wants to eliminate the threat of Silicon Valley before it becomes competition, but hi past time in horses paints a target on his chest. Stacey is the Bond girl for the film, she has worked with Zorin which has seen her taking a payoff to become quiet. May Day is the henchwoman this time, strong as anybody else and standing by Zorin’s side, simply to stop him ever needing to get his hands dirty.

PerformancesRoger Moore does seem to struggle more in this more serious role, he is strongest on the campy side which this film doesn’t have much off. Tanya Roberts could be the weakest Bond girl to date, mostly because she doesn’t get much to do in the film. Christopher Walken as the villain is great fun and just as menacing as you would imagine. Grace Jones makes for one of the better henchwomen, what she does is up there with the Jaws character.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission where he must take on a technological genius that is planning to take control of the Silicon Valley technology boom. This story does feel tonal strange because it does feel like a strong action film, only it has James Bond thrown in here, this doesn’t ever feel like a Bond story which confuses as it is an entertaining story. The stakes are high in this film and bringing that extra fear factor to everything what is unfolding here. The fact this isn’t connected to previous films helps too because it doesn’t rely on you needing to have seen them either.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does have a few chases one with a fire truck being the most notable and the final sequence which has bodies flying everywhere.

SettingsThe film takes place in America which does work and in the San Francisco location would be right where the technology boom would be taking place.


Scene of the Movie –
Fire truck chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It never feels like a Bond movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great action movie which does show us just how original stories can be made, the problem is, that it struggles to feel like a Bond movie.

 

Overall: Great action movie.

Rating

 

 

Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jeremy Walters (Screenplay) Rick Porrello (Book)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, Robert Davi

 

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Tagline – Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Biopic

 

Story: Kill the Irishman starts in Cleveland 1975 where somebody tries to kill Irish thug Danny Greene (Stevenson) where detective Joe Manditski (Kilmer) fills in the past relationship between the two. We learn how Danny rose from smart worker to take over the union and begin ties with the Mafia John Nardi (D’Onofrio).

As Danny builds his reputation through Cleveland becoming somewhat of a Robin Hood figure, as he tries to leave the life behind even with his connections still strong, it soon becomes the challenge that no one could find a way to kill Danny.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Irishman

 

Characters – Danny Greene is a working man in Cleveland, he makes the connections within the Mafia he becomes one of their thugs before leaving the life to become a real businessman until he crosses them and becomes the target for a bounty on his head. John Nardi is the connection within the Mafia, that one that befriends Danny and offers the guidance he needs. Joe Manditski is the detective that is trying to keep everything in order and with his previous relationship with a younger Danny, he knows the character of Danny better than anyone. Shondor Birns is one up the next step up in the ladder of the Mafia that trusts Danny, only a business deal goes wrong and he puts the first hit out on Danny.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this leading role, this is easily he best leading man performances of his career. Vincent D’Onofrio is good in the supporting role as are the whole supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and a host of faces we are used to seeing in gangster movies.

StoryThe story here follows the rise through the Mafia of Irishman Danny Greene through Cleveland through the 1970s, his story become big news for the area and some people saw him as a hero, others a criminal. We see how the gangster world is unfolded when the lines between right and wrong are crossed and the self-destruction from within will be their biggest weakness. This does follow most of what we do know from the genre and being based on a real person shows how the world can be easy to become the latest victim off. The time jumps in the storytelling are annoying because we don’t truly get to see just how much success he is having in the film.

Biopic/CrimeThe crime world we enter is what we know, gangster who will kill anyone that crosses them. The biopic is everything we need to see as we learn about Danny Greene.

SettingsThe film keeps us in and around Cleveland with a 70s feeling throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Danny knows what is happening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Vinnie Jones’ Irish accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at one of the members of the gangster that’s story helped change thing how the Mafia too.

 

Overall: Good biopic on the Irishman.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – One More Time (2015)

Director: Robert Edwards

Writer: Robert Edwards (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Henry Kelemen, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: A New York City crooner plots his comeback.


Tagline – The hardest act to follow is your father’s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Finding Yourself Movie

 

Story: One More Time starts as an aspiring young music Jude (Heard) returns home to her successful father Paul (Walken) one of the biggest musicians that has faded away. We go through the family dynamics as we learn what has caused problems between them before.

When Pau gets his chance to make his comeback he grabs it and as he is taking his chance he is trying to push his daughter Jude into letting the world see her talent, the talent he thinks the world would love.

 

Thoughts on One More Time

 

Characters – Paul Lombard was once the biggest name in music, he drew crowds from around the world, now his light has faded and he wants to re-create himself once again, the ability he has shown through the years, he is terrible when it comes to dealing with the women in his life and tries to push his talented daughter to follow in his footsteps. Jude is the daughter of Paul, she has the talent but isn’t willing to let the world see her talent, she doesn’t want to take the chance and be branded his daughter, she is lost in life never really knowing where to go next. Corinne is the daughter that has her head screwed on running a business starting a family the complete opposite to Jude. Alan is the long time manager of Paul that has always had his best interests at heart, close friends to the family and even trying to help Jude with her career.

PerformancesChristopher Walken would have jumped at this role with the music side letting him show us his talents, he is good through the film even showing both sides of his character. Amber Heard is good as the lost musician that is trying to find herself. Kelli Garner is strong too as we see the distant her character needs to have from the Paul and Jude relationship. Oliver Platt is good in his supporting role which is one we always like to see him in.

StoryThe story here follows two different musicians from different generations, the father who made his name and lost his fame and his daughter that is trying to figure out her place in the world. we get to go through the family dynamics about sounds they could both have and how they need to put personal problems behind them to make sure they can be the best they could be, but by the end of the film it doesn’t feel like anything was truly resolved with the problems with either Paul or Jude knowing their place in the music world now.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film doesn’t seem to be very effective in anyway, it is here but it doesn’t seem to hit, the music is the strongest part of the film as here different sounds through the film.

SettingsThe settings are used well, but don’t help the film because Paul has the money to support Jude’s dream, it would have been more interesting if he had hit hard times too and they do need to work as well as playing the music.


Scene of the Movie –
Editing the Wikipedia page.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing overly original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough finding yourself movie, it does help that the family has money behind them so the struggle never feels desperate in anyway, though the music works well.

 

Overall: Solid enough

Rating

 

 

Tim Burton Weekend – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) Washington Irving (Story)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee

 

Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.


Tagline – Who will it come for next?!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Sleepy Hollow starts in 1799 when forward thinking constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is set from New York City to the small farming community of Sleepy Hollow, where a series of murders have been happening by a headless horseman, who takes the heads of his victims.

Requested by Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), Ichabod gets to use his forward-thinking ideas to investigate the crimes and learn about the town’s people with their strong male hierocracy that controls business, until he teams up with Baltus daughter Katrina (Ricci) to unlock the truth about the legend of the headless horseman.

 

Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow

 

Characters – Ichabod Crane is a constable who wants to start using the science to solve crimes instead of the torture techniques being adopted for the time. He becomes the fish out of water in the farming community trying to solve a crime that is surrounded by supernatural, he must use his skills to solve who is behind the supernatural events, using his quirky ways. Katrina is the daughter of the Van Tassel’s who is looking for husband, she takes a liking towards Ichabod and helps learn the truth. Hessian Horseman is the legend that slaughtered many before being defeated and beheaded, now he has risen from the dead to take the heads of the community. Lady Van Tassel is the wife of Baltus, she has a secret from him and for the most part enjoys the new life she is living. Baltus is the man that called for Ichabod to help solve the murders, he is one of the few that will stand up for Ichabod to get the truth. We do get plenty of different town’s people to meet that fill the gaps to help us understand the hierarchy of the community.

PerformancesJohnny Depp was truly making his name at time of this release and we knew he was capable of the quirky, this shows him balance the act perfectly in one of his more underrated roles. Christina Ricci is good, though she doesn’t seem to need to do more than be the damsel in distress. Miranda Richardson does a good job n her role showing her experience of how to handle the period piece films. Christopher Walken does give us a delightful dark character though I do know he doesn’t do a lot of the headless scenes in the film. if you look at the rest of the cast we have some of the great British actors mixed with Casper Van Dien who at the time was hot property after Starship Troopers.

StoryThe story is based on the legend of the headless horseman, which in its own right is an interesting fantasy horror. We keep to the time where science was first trying to get pushed in the crime world and still looked down upon, we also get the idea that science is meant to solve crime until the supernatural is thrown into the mix throwing everything out the window. The story does give us a serial killer to try and see stopped which can keep the detectives in the audience happy and the pace things unfold give us enough time for the twists to have effect in the story.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film comes from the horseman coming back from the dead to take the heads of the community. This does play into the horror elements of the film too because we see how the community become scared of whether they will be next, this does also give us the blood and the creepy atmosphere before his arrival. The mystery gives us the questions about who is behind the horseman and his return, this does give us twists along the way too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to the best levels as we get to see the excellent built sets to make us feel like we are in 1799 farming community.

Special EffectsThe effects use mostly excellent practical effects with the lost heads, the CGI moments do work well too when used mostly with the re-creation of the horseman from the skeleton to human again.


Scene of the Movie –
Horseman vs Ichabod & Brom, excellent fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The science does get forgotten in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror that gives us an iconic killer with a crime to solve around why he has targeted the farming community.

 

Overall: Fun horror with Burton’s token quirks.

Rating