ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – A – A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Bruhl, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe

 

Plot: A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror.


Tagline – Inspired by true events

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burn

 

Story: A Most Wanted Man starts in the aftermath of 9/11, intelligence agency around the world are trying to stay on top of all known terrorists, with Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) following a Chechen immigrate in Hamburg with his team, leading his German team on tracking his known connections, before the US get involved with Martha Sullivan (Wright) checking on the investigation.

When attorney Annabel Richter (McAdams) uses her contacts with bank manager Tommy Brue (Dafoe) to help Karpov become a resident of Germany, Gunther continues to watch over to see if he is a threat even with the added pressure of America.

 

Thoughts on A Most Wanted Man

 

Characters – Gunther Bachmann is the German agent that is tracking known terrorists, his team has connections and keeps eyes on most of the suspects with their latest one being one wanted worldwide, he must figure out if this man is a danger or not. Martha Sullivan is part of the American team searching for the terrorist, she is trusting Gunther to do the right thing only she isn’t sure what he is going to do. Annabel Richter is an attorney that is trying to help the suspect get into Germany, she is just doing his job using her connection to help make his move go smoother. Tommy Brue is the bank manager that has been dealing with multiple nationalities through the years, he gets involved in trying to get the transfer of money done.

PerformancesPhilip Seymour Hoffman in the leading role steps into the German character with ease, showing the composure to take his character to be the standout of the film. Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe fill the supporting roles well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the German and American intelligence agencies as they are trying to figure out if an immigrate is a potential terrorist suspect, both sides have difference of opinion on what is true and they must try to stay ahead of each other the best they can. This story does try to come off like an intense spy thriller that seems to get bogged down too easily, by making everything seem like it is just an everyday incident, this does move at a slow pace which only brings down everything because they do just seem to pick a random person, that could have reason to suspect from the early point in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows how the authorities operate to try and tackle potential criminal actions, it does show that they could be above the law at times too.

SettingsWe have the German backdrop for this movie, showing how they are planning to operate to keep tracks on terrorists.


Scene of the Movie –
Pick up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just seems dull.

Final ThoughtsThis is a spy thriller that never seems to get going, it tries to play along with the idea that we are building, but we soon lose the attention because it is more of a political spy thriller over anything going on thriller.

 

Overall: Slow burning thriller that just doesn’t get going.

Rating

 

 

Bradley Cooper Weekend – Burnt (2015)

Director: John Wells

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Michael Kalesniko (Story)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander

 

Plot: Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Cooking Drama

 

Story: Burnt starts as we see Adam Jones (Cooper) a chef who has worked under the best before he blew it all with drinks and drugs, he cleans himself up, earns enough money and returns to London to take down Tony (Bruhl) restaurant and hotel.

Turning to his old friend Conti (Goodman) and working Michel (Sy), Helene (Miller), David (Keeley) and Max (Scamarcio) Adam goes in search for the next top chefs around London to work in his kitchen after saving Tony’s ass when the top food critic Simone Forth (Thurman) visits his restaurant. Adam is in search for his third Michelin Star.

 

Thoughts on Burnt

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam Jones is the typical aggressive competitive chef, he wants to be known as the very best but is also on a redemption story. he walks the very thin line between being the best and being a complete ass toward the people who work for him. Helene is the next top chef without a reputation in London, a single mother that keeps her reach all her potential that Adam sees in her. Tony is a friend of Adam’s who reluctantly gives him a chance to turn his kitchen around once more. I do think the rest of the characters all play into the story perfectly too.

Bradley Cooper is great in this role, he gets to show he confidence, aggression and emotions through the film. Sienna Miller is good throughout but like the rest of the cast who all give good performance, they all do get over shadowed by Cooper’s performance.

StoryWhen you are a skilled person with talent can easily come off the rails and search for another chance in life. This is a story of redemption at the core showing you will not be able to run from your past but you can always change your future and the people you work with.

Comedy/DramaThis is a comedy drama that does take a serious matter and add little moments of comedy without being a laugh out loud attempted film.

SettingsMost of the film is in and around the kitchens the chefs work in, this is good because we get to see how chaotic the kitchen can be.

Final ThoughtsThis film was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be, I do think people can enjoy but I can also see why people will find it hard to get through.

 

Overall: Cooks up a delight that can be devoured by the fans.

Rating

 

 

Joyeux Noel (2005)

Director: Christian Carion

Writer: Christian Carion (Screenplay)

Starring: Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canete, Daniel Bruhl, Gary Lewis, Dany Boon

 

Plot: In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other’s way of life.


Tagline – France 1914. A moment of humanity that made history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stunning Christmas Story

 

Story: Joyeux Noel starts after World War I has broken out, each country believes it would be over by Christmas and we meet soldiers on three sides of the war. The German, Lieutenant Horstmayer (Bruhl) who has famous opera Nikolaus Sprink (Furmann) in his unit. We have the French side with Lieutenant Audebert (Canet) and the Scottish side with Pasteur Palmer (Lewis).

With Christmas Eve upon us Nikolaus gets a visit from his girlfriend Anna Sorensen (Kruger) bring her back to the trenches to performer which brings a response from the enemies, the three side agree and truce to celebrate Christmas which showed us the humanity behind the horrors of war, one of the most incredible stories you will hear about.

 

Thoughts on Joyeux Noel

 

Characters – Anna Sorensen is located in Germany and is one of the best opera singers in the country, her partner is in the trenches a fellow opera singer, she arranges to see him which leads her to the trenches with her performance helping bring the sides together for Christmas. She wants to spend the rest of the war with her partner and will take a drastic step to make it happen. Nikolaus Sprink is the famous opera singer on in trenches, his fame upset his lieutenant who doesn’t want celebrity figures in his unit, though his performance brings the sides together for a moment of truce. Lieutenant Audebert is the French leader that is missing his wife and will take part in the truce bonding with the fellow lieutenants. Lieutenant Horstmayer is the Germany one that reluctantly lets his men meet the enemy, he does want peace too which shows in how he is still strict with his men. Lieutenant Gordon is the Scottish one who is happy to see his team take peace for a day or two. Each of the lieutenants must face the consequences of what happened because putting the human factor ahead of the war isn’t accepted by the superiors.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are fantastic from start to finish, it also brings names we know from big Hollywood films to our attention with Diane Kruger and Daniel Bruhl, none of the actors put in a bad performance which makes us believe these could have been the real men involved in the war.

StoryThe story follows the famous story that during World War I both sides put down their guns to celebrate Christmas together. We see the German, French and Scottish who learn that they aren’t as different from the opposite sides, they are just men forced into battle. This shows us how the men who were put on the front line without being truly prepared for war and are dealing with the loss of friends during the war, this shows us just how things can be different and will change you mind on everything you thought about any enemy in war.

History/Romance/WarThe history about this story will be remembered forever because it showed how people were different during war where the innocent men were being killed.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the trenches during the First World War, it shows how close the different sides were when it came to the war which bought them together for this incredible moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The Christmas Eve meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The aftermath.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important Christmas films you will ever see, it has such an important message and a heart-breaking truth behind it.

 

Overall: Must watching Christmas Movie.

Rating

 

 

The Colony (2015)

Director: Florian Gallenberger

Writer: Torsten Wenzel, Florian Gallenberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nyqvist, Richenda Carey, Vicky Krieps

 

Plot: A young woman’s desperate search for her abducted boyfriend that draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a sect nobody has ever escaped from.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: The Colony starts as we learn about the revolution going on in Chile where Lena (Watson) is meeting her boyfriend Daniel (Bruhl), with the tensions rising within the country a coup happens and both are captured before Daniel is taken while Lena is released.

Learning of the whereabouts of Daniel, Lena heads to Colonia Dignidad, a place where nobody has left but a place where you can join as a member or be taken as a prisoner. Lena must navigate her way through this cult to make it out alive with her boyfriend as the lead Pal Schafer (Nvqvist) has a controlling ability.

 

Thoughts on The Colony

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a British flight attendant whose boyfriend lives in Chile, she is happy in love as the two look to decide their future they become split. Lena puts everything at risk as she searches for his abducted boyfriend. Daniel is part radical in Chile which ends up with him being taken to a cult, he gets tortured and must find a way to escape this cult. Paul Schafer is the leader of the cult, he is a disciplinary that keeps the cult in full order for his own desires.

Performance wise, Emma Watson does struggle through this film, she doesn’t reach the potential we know she can, Daniel Bruhl likewise, we know he is great but not everything seems to click. Michael tries to make his character truly threatening but you just don’t feel all the terror from him.

StoryEscape the cult, well that is the story here and as for this idea we have seen it before correct? Well this is based on true events and the truth be told it goes over too long a period to make it interesting viewing as most of the story takes place over 140 odd days of very little happening.

Romantic/ThrillerWhat would you do for love, that is one of the questions going on here, of yeah that is a thrilling side to this story too but it is way too slow before anything gets going.

SettingsThe settings give us a look at the cult grounds which shock the world once they were revealed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow thriller that just doesn’t suck you in the way it should do and ends up feeling very disappoint.

 

Overall: Slow Burning with a good conclusion.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – Z – The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Angela Workman (Screenplay) Diane Ackerman (Book)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenberg, Daniel Bruhl, Timothy Radford, Efrat Dor, iddo Goldberg

 

Plot: The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Heartbreakingly Brilliant Drama

 

Story: The Zookeeper’s Wife starts in 1939 Warsaw, Poland as we meet Antonina (Chastain) and Jan (Heldenbergh) Zabinski the zoo keepers of the Warsaw zoo, both committed to giving their animals a good life and their customers an experience they could never imagine.

When the invasion in hits Warsaw, the zoo is hit hard with the animals running wild many are killed, German zoologist Lutz Heck (Bruhl) does offer to protect the remaining quality animals by moving them to a German zoo, but the rest end up getting killed.

When Lutz agrees to let the non-Jewish couple keep their zoo open as a pig farm, they start doing what they can to help as many Jews escape the ghetto they are being forced to survive in. How many people can they save, how long can they keep everything up before getting caught out by the German’s that is the questions we are left with.

 

Thoughts on The Zookeeper’s Wife

 

Characters/PerformanceAntonina is the animal lover, people lover that works with her husband to help protect as many Jews during the war as possible, she uses her status to help keep the remaining animals safe and people safe too. Jan is the husband of Antonina that takes the biggest risks by going into the ghetto housing the Jews but he becomes increasingly jealous of Antonina and Lutz working relationship. Lutz Heck is the German zoologist that uses the Warsaw zoo for his own desire to continue breeding animals and his attraction to Antonina keeps him returning.

Performance wise, Jessica Chastain is fantastic in the leading role show us once again we how she can become any part put on front of her. Daniel Bruhl does give us a great role in which we absolutely hate his character through the film even though he isn’t truly evil. Johan Heldenbergh is also great through the film standing tall next to the two bigger names of the acting world.

StoryWe have heard this horrific story before, we know what the Nazi’s did to the Jews and we know Schindler’s List is the most famous and well-respected film version of these events. While the plot giving is slightly miss-leading because we are expecting to see more about the animal saving, we do find ourselves looking at the incredible story of how the zookeeper’s risk their lives to save as many as Jews as possible during the war. We know how amazing the heroes of the war were and learning new stories of their heroics is always good to see. I do feel this film does have certain pacing issues because you can have your heart broken in the open 30 minutes as you would be looking to see something slightly different in the next chapters of the story.

Biography/History/WarSeeing the story of the Zabinska’s struggle during the war shows us how brave they were trying to save, the difficult decision they made and the part of history they were part of.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic putting us in the middle of the war in Warsaw showing us just how difficult everything was for the people involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most heart-breaking films you will see this year, but it does fall into another incredible story of how people risked their own lives to save Jews from the Nazis. I would say parts of the synopsis are miss-leading as I was expecting a lot more about how the animals were being saved but saying this we can seeing another incredible story from World War II.

 

Overall: Brilliant story of heroic actions.

Rating