Nicholas Hoult Weekend – Dark Places (2015)

Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Writer: Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Screenplay) Gillian Flynn (Novel)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan, Andrea Roth, Chloe Grace Moretz

 

Plot: Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.


Tagline – In 1985, her entire family was murdered. 30 years later, the truth emerges.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Dark Places starts as we meet Libby Day (Theron) one of the daughters that became somewhat of a celebrity after her family’s murder when she was 8, with the support funds running low, she accepts an offer from Lyle Wirth (Hoult) a member of a private investigation group that look at crimes and whether they are solved correctly, who want to prove her brother Ben (Stoll) didn’t commit the murders.

As Libby starts to investigate the case, she must face her past and learn about Ben’s past as a teenager as well as her mother Patty (Hendricks) struggle to keep the family together. This will help her confront her past and learn the truth of the events of murder.

 

Thoughts on Dark Places

 

Characters – Libby Day has spent her life trying to escape the fame that followed her after the murder of her family, her light is dwindling as she gets older and now she is forced into learning the truth about what happened in her past, plagued by nightmares we see just how she looks to remember the nightmare events the 8-year-old self-experienced. Lyle Wirth is the leader of a group that are investigating the night of the murder privately, however he comes of nervous about trying to figure out the truth even with his own theory. Patty Day is the mother and victim of the murder, we see her in the flashbacks are she tried everything she could to keep a roof over the children’s heads. We meet characters from the past and present version of the stories, as we flashback and forth learning more about the events from these characters.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is the star of this film, we get to see the withdrawn from the world character that wants to hide from her past and how she has accepted the outcome of the case, we see the range in how she deals with the problems she is facing in everyday life. Nicholas Hoult like most of the supporting performers are fine without being anything standout.

StoryThe story here follows one of the survivors of a family murder facing her past to learn the shocking truth about the events of the deadly night to which her brother was convicted of. The story adopts a mixture of flashbacks and forwards to show us just how different parts of the story played out, each clue brings the next tale in the story. The story does try to keep us guessing about who was responsible for the murders, it gives us plenty of suspects along the way and shows us just how a young girl would struggle to have grown into a mid-30s woman still lost in the world. this is from the same author as Gone Girl, and if you were to compare the two, this is easily the weaker of the stories.

Action/MysteryThe film has moments of action, but doesn’t turn to it that often as we wait to see how the murder really unfolded. The mystery is the highlight of the film because of how it keeps us wondering to just what really happened.

SettingsThe settings show us the struggles that the family would have had during the events leading up to the murder, when we are in the modern time we see the faceless city of Kansas which could have been any city really.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed, with most happening off screen we see the aftermath of the events.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do seem to spend too much time watching seemingly pointless moments of the back story and one aspect with Ben doesn’t seem to get answered enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does keep you guessing, but never draws you in enough, it has a strong cast of talented names and by the end you will b shocked even if the narrative does spiral down some dead ends at times.

 

Overall: Off-track thriller

Rating

 

 

First Man (2018)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Josh Singer (Screenplay) James R Hansen (Book)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

 

Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


Tagline – Experience the impossible journey to the Moon.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: First Man starts as we see how Neil Armstrong (Gosling) can solve problems in flight with one of his test mission to the limits of the atmosphere going wrong before he saved it, we meet his family wife Janet (Foy) and children Richard and Karen, we see how they suffered a tragic loss of young Karen, which drove him to apply to become an astronaut.

We follow the astronaut training program which showed Neil’s abilities to solve problems even after seeing his friends around him lose their lives to the pursuit of space. We follow up to the legendary mission he will always been known for as he was the first man to walk on the moon.

 

Thoughts on First Man

 

Characters – These characters are and were real people, Neil Armstrong is always going to be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon, we see how this shy man managed to overcome his own personal tragedies to achieve this as we see how he reacts and deals with everything that gets thrown at him until he made history. Janet is his wife, she also suffers through the tragedies, she will give Neil all the support he needs to make sure he will keep his promises to come home, we mostly watch how she must keep the life for their children normal and calm. Edward Higgins White is one of the fellow astronauts, one that becomes close friends with him through the training and the program, he is the one that will offer a shoulder if Neil ever needed it. We meet many famous names from the astronaut programs each gets there moment, we know Buzz Aldrin was onboard Apollo 11 and of the other big named astronauts we know Jim Lovell from the Apollo 13 mission.

PerformancesRyan Gosling gives us a magnificent performance as the icon of astronauts, he shows us how shy, timid and genius Neil was, never making him a cocky man, this simple performance makes you understand each emotion he is going through. Claire Foy sets away from the small screen to give us a flawless performance as the wife who must remain strong, but dealing with anxiety of the unknown through each mission. The rest of the cast are great through the film, each actor gets to pay the respect to the man they are performing as.

StoryThe story here follows Neil Armstrong’s life from 1961 to his moon landing in 1969. We do have plenty of interesting aspects to his life, be it the battle to remain strong after his daughter’s death or the feeling of proving himself worthy of being part of the astronaut program. While these are all wonderful to watch, they do feel like they are being told, like, this is what happened here, then this, then this and so on. It never feels like a smooth story and the movie does make out that Neil was an excellent astronaut, but terrible PR man, he didn’t do anything stupid or risky, he lack charisma that other astronauts had, he was just the right choice for the job. The biggest warning you must have before going in, is that this does follow his life over the space program, yes, we do have parts of the space program and they are the most entertaining parts, but we also follow his life away from this.

Biopic/History8 years in the life of the most iconic man to go into space, we see his lowest point in his life, to the crowning achievement, nobody can ever take away from him. The history side of the film shows us the key moments in the space race, if you know the basics you will know these moments.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings brilliantly, be it the world around the space race, or the cockpits the astronauts get rammed into with little space for any freedom on these deadly missions.

Special EffectsThe effects are mesmerizing, when we are in space we are left stunned by the beauty of the views these men had. The film is also used to make it feel like it is shot for the same time the events took place.


Scene of the Movie –
Apollo 11

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many close ups.

Final ThoughtsAs a space race fan this manages to shed new light on the man who made history, it gave us brilliant performance, effects and shows us there was more behind the man than just the icon.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – T – This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Director: Shawn Levy

Writer: Jonathan Tropper (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant

 

Plot: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch

 

Story: This is Where I Leave You starts as the father of the house passes away, his dying wish is that his family respect Shiva which means the family must spend the week under one roof. This brings Judd (Bateman), Wendy (Fey), Phillip (Driver) and Paul (Stoll) to live with their mother Hillary (Fonda).

As the family comes together memories of the childhood come out as tensions between the siblings come out, as we see the family dynamics come out, we also get to see how the lives they siblings have been living haven’t gone the way they had planned, but most importantly how much they need the family.

 

Thoughts on This is Where I Leave You

 

Characters/PerformanceJudd is a big city producer who earns his wife has been cheating on him, he must return to his home town to be with his family after his father’s death but now he must look at himself and wondering whether he should take more chances in his life. Wendy is the only sister of the siblings who has been married with children but we see the regret in her life as she always wondered what could have been. Phillip is the youngster sibling that has been the loose cannon mostly acting up about not being able to live up to his elder siblings. Paul is the eldest sibling that has been running the family business and trying to start his own family but having troubles. Hillary is their mother that brings the family back together for the funeral, she has always controlled them but also let them live their own life. We also see loved ones and lost loves coming the lives the siblings have lived or are living.

Performance wise, we do have an all-star cast here with Jason Bateman is in the leading role he shows just how capable of an actor he can be, Tina Fey even steps away from the comedy she is known for very well too, Jane Fonda shows us once again she can never be forgotten just how skilled she is, Adam Driver continues to grow his ever-growing body of work with Corey Stoll continuing to make his move up the film world. We also have wonderful performances from the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story of the family coming back together for their father’s or husband’s funeral is one we have seen before, we get to see the problems the family has been having too. This is one of the good ones that covers everything, sure it does seem to be slightly too much for one family but this is one of the most interesting dynamics between the siblings over the weeklong visit.

Comedy/DramaThe comedy used isn’t about a laugh a minute, it is more about the light-hearted moments in life and the drama involved around it shows the relationships the people have with each other.

SettingsThe hometown setting shows how the people of the world have to come back to where it all started to look at how lives went.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best bringing the family together for a funeral to look at life, the what could have been, the where things are going and is easily one of the most powerful and interesting ones I have seen.

 

Overall: Wonderful family reuniting drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – G – Gold (2017)

goldDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bill Camp

 

Plot: Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Miss-Leading

 

Story: Gold starts in 1981 Nevada where Kenny Wells (McConaughey) who works in mining but when the industry hits hard times he becomes desperate and wants to get into the search for Gold, to do this he needs to work with successful copper miner Michael Acosta (Ramirez).

Finding the perfect location of untapped potential in Asia the two working together to search for a chance to make their fortune. With the first attempts going badly the two must find another way to make things work, before they finally find their gold mine.

As the success gets to Kenny’s head his personal life with Kay (Howard) starts to be strained and with their company hitting the stock market can this all be as much of a success as Kenny dreams it to be.

 

Thoughts on Gold

 

Characters/PerformanceKenny is the dreamer who believes he can make major money with a treasure hunter, he isn’t the smartest with money but his showmanship can get the sale for him. Acosta is the smarter businessman of the two who supports Kenny through all his decisions be it good or bad, he has a reputation that says he is the master geologist who can find metal in any surface.

The performances are all good without being award standard with McConaughey having to carry the film even though Ramirez was impressive in the supporting role.star

StoryThe story here is all about one man getting rich and how it all went down, I do feel this was sold differently because I was sold on the idea of a big treasure hunt but this is all how the business side of the story happens. The story is very up and down for pacing without being as interesting in the those places.

Adventure/ThrillerAdventure side of this story comes from searching for the gold but you just never feel like you are joining in a treasure hunt, you are kept wondering where the story will go but this is a lot of the business side of the events unfolding.

SettingsThe settings through the film show the different stages of Kenny success, we have the low moments, the jungle in search of the gold and when he has the money and how he would be spending it. All the settings can show us just where he is through this story with just a glance at the scene.genre

Final ThoughtsI just couldn’t find this to be the most interesting for what I went into watching, the highlight of the trailer was the tiger moment which is completely out of contexts and has zero impact in the story.

 

Overall: This is easy to watch but also easy to forget what you saw.

Ratingrating

 

 

Ant-Man (2015)

logoDirector: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Pena

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Small Soldiers Marvel Edition

Story: Ant-Man starts Scott Lang (Rudd) getting released from prison being picked up his old cell mate Luis (Pena). We see Scott wanting to go straight but is being pushed into the life of crime. Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) returns to his job to everyone’s surprise, he works with his daughter Hope van Dyne (Lilly) who has returned to learn that Darren Cross (Stoll) has bought his old weapon back to life. Darren has continued the research and developed Yellowjacket.

While Darren is trying to get his Yellowjacket project green lit we follow Scott as he makes the decision to do one job to get a chance to see his daughter again. The job involves stealing from Hank and Scott gets more than he bargained for when he puts on the Ant-Man costume.

Hank actually arranged that Scott steal the Ant-Man suit so he could use him to be the next Ant-Man. The plan is to stop Darren Cross using the technology because Hank does know the side effects of what will happen if the wrong person uses the suit.

Ant-Man is the alternative version of the superhero film with the anti-hero coming through this time. A lot of the story feel very similar to the Iron Man origin story and by the end of the film you feel this is the weakest link in the Marvel universe because it just feels slow and them trying to force another hero into a world crying for a villain. Mainly because I am tired of the Marvel world I found this disappointing. (4/10)

Actor Review

Paul Rudd: Scott Lang/Ant-Man is the criminal who is struggling with a fresh start in life but when he gets a chance to steal something it turns out to be the Ant-Man suit. He ends up having to be taught how to use the suit to stop the yellowjacket project. Paul does a solid job but I just didn’t get sucked into his performance. (5/10)antman

Michael Douglas: Dr Hank Pym is the creator of the Ant-Man suit who wants to stop his former protégé from stealing his ideas and becoming a danger on the Earth. Michael does well in the mentor role but isn’t the highlight of the film. (5/10)hank

Evangeline Lilly: Hope van Dyne is the daughter of Hank who is on the board of the company she wants to bring her father back into the company but knows she will have to defeat Darren before that can happen. Evangeline plays the woman in power but is kind of not involved enough. (5/10)hope

Corey Stoll: Darren Cross/Yellowjacket is the former protege of Hank who is now running the company, he has the next idea planned which will bring Hank’s technology to the world that isn’t ready for it. Corey plays the very basic villain offering nothing new to the role. (5/10)darren

Support Cast: Ant-Man has plenty of comic relief and a good cameo from Falcon but otherwise it isn’t much.

Director Review: Peyton ReedPeyton gives us a very basic superhero film that will easily be forgotten in a few years. (5/10)

Action: Ant-Man has action that is slightly comical but basic fighting we have seen before. (6/10)

Sci-Fi: Ant-Man uses the sci-fi technology to create everything going on which does work for the style of the film. (8/10)

Settings: Ant-Man uses basic corporate building locations or rich guys mansion. (5/10)
Special Effects: Ant-Man has very good effects to create the Ant-Man character and the ants. (9/10)

Suggestion: Ant-Man is one to see if you love a Marvel film but if you are finding them getting boring you can easily skip this one. (Marvel Fans Watch)

Best Part: Teasing future ideas.

Worst Part: We have seen it all before.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle

Funniest Scene: Final Battle

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: Yes

Similar Too: Most Marvel films

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $130 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: This July, heroes don’t come any bigger.

Overall: Basic superhero origin story because we haven’t seen them in a while

Rating 50