The Little Stranger (2018)

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Writer: Lucinda Coxon (Screenplay) Sarah Waters (Novel)

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Ruth Wilson, Liv Hill, Charlotte Rampling, Oliver Zetterstrom, Kathryn O’Reilly

 

Plot: After a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor, strange things begin to occur.


Tagline – These Delusions Are Contagious

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Like a Little Dull

 

Story: The Little Stranger starts when small village Doctor Faraday (Gleeson) treats a maid at a mansion that is often seen as the outsiders of the village, the Ayres, with the mother of the house (Rampling) and her children Caroline (Wilson) and the injured war hero Roderick (Poulter) filling the mansion.

Faraday decides to help Roderick with his injuries, while becoming closer to Caroline, Faraday starts getting memories of his time in the mansion as a child, before strange events start happening around the mansion, ones that a medical person couldn’t answer with ease.

 

Thoughts on The Little Stranger

 

Characters – Dr Faraday is a young doctor who takes a fondness of an outcasted family, he wants to help the injured brother, wants to save Caroline, while being left in the middle being able to help them or a potential supernatural presence in the house. Roderick is the injured war hero, he was left with a limp and burns to his face, which make him feel outcasted from the rest of the village and useless to his family, he is struggling with the mental side of everything too, leaving him to make rash decisions. Caroline is the daughter of the household, she is the one that they family has hope of seeing escape their impending poverty and becomes the ones that Faraday takes an interest in. she comes off unsure of what to make of her own future. Mrs Ayres is the mother of the house, she wants the best for her children and is still haunted by the one that she lost.

PerformancesI don’t think any of the performances in this film are bad, Domhnall Gleeson does everything he can in the leading role, as does Will Poulter in his supporting role, Ruth Wilson and Charlotte Rampling don’t disappoint with what they try to bring to the film, the problem with most of this film, comes from the characters be so bland and the story not going anywhere.

StoryThe story here follows a doctor getting close to a family that are seen as outcasts only to start to fall in love with one member of the family just as the strange events start to happen within the mansion. This is where the story just doesn’t get going, we are promised a horror element to this film which just never comes to life, which makes the story feel like more of a class position story. if that sounds confusing, well that doesn’t change from the story in full, because we have very little happening here and end up just shrugging our shoulders at the end, wondering if anything was actually meant to happen.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film does seem to be non-existent, where anything supernatural does seem to only be part of the mystery over anything else going on in the film.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the mansion in a village in the English countryside, it shows how the family can be seen as outcasts and how people can look out at these types of buildings hoping to be part of this society.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are down the practical additions to Will Poulter, they look great, everything else just seems basic.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The aftermath of the dog attack.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that seems to hint at something big, only to end up feeling dull and uninspiring.

 

Overall: Just fails to deliver.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – American Made (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Gary Spinelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke

 

Plot: The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.


Tagline – Based on a True Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: American Made starts as Barry Seal (Cruise) a pilot gets offered a job by the CIA agent Monty Schafer (Gleeson) to fly over different parts of Northern and Southern America to take photos for the CIA, the job is exclusive but as his family grows with Lucy (Wright) having children, he needs more money.

When one if his flights takes him to South America he meets businessman Pablo Escobar (Mejia) and his partners who recruit him to smuggle drug into America. Before long Barry is getting pushed into other forms of smuggling both to and from America.

 

                            Thoughts on American Made

 

Characters – Barry Seal was a small-time cigar smuggling pilot before he gets recruited by the CIA to fly over other parts of the Americas to spy, soon he becomes involved in large scale smuggling across America both in and out, he believes he is working in the CIA but always seemed to be getting slightly in deeper than first thought. He struggles to keep his personal life together with his wife and children suffering his sudden changes in location. Monty is the CIA agent that recruits Barry to smuggle, he believes he is in control of the whole situation as he bails Barry out of trouble and gives him the instructions from the American side of the events. Lucy is the wife of Barry that must deal with his lifestyle but once there is a large amount of money involved she embraces the life of luxury for her family. We do have the drug dealing side of the characters that Barry deals with but we only see them in the dealing side of the story.

PerformancesThis is another Tom Cruise vehicle where he shows just how talent he is, this helps his credibility after the disaster which was The Mummy, this could be his best full ranged acting performance in years. Domhnall is great in his supporting role showing he can work in nearly any genre right now. Sarah Wright is good but we don’t get to see enough of her characters struggle or enjoyment of the money.

StoryThe story follows Barry Seal and how he went from small-time cigar smuggler into one of the most infamous drug and gun smugglers in modern American history. We follow the events from how he remembers them explaining how he just didn’t seem to know how things just kept falling his way but he went with the flow and how the government helped support the international gun trade. This was a lot more interesting that I could imagine showing us just how corrupt the government could be when it needed to be.

Action/Biopic/ComedyThe action comes from how Barry would get the job done, he has edge of the seat moments of when it comes to the flight sequences, the comedy is lightly toned into the story which sounds like a comedy over a real story but seeing the story of Barry Seal and his smuggling makes for an interesting biopic.

SettingsThe film does take us across difference parts America to show where Barry ends up going to which all look like the time being presented in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Emergency Landing

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does make the idea seem like a good thing rather than a criminal in action.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining biopic that shows how a smuggler ran a multi-million-dollar organisation that even the government supported.

 

Overall: Enjoyable movie all around.

Rating

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran

 

Plot: Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.


Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacular

 

Story: Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts as the Force Awakens ends, Rey (Ridley) has tracked down Luke Skywalker (Hamill) in an attempt to bring in to join the rebel forces in the in battle against the First Order. Princess Leia (Fisher) is evacuating the Rebel Forces after the previous attack, with the First Order waiting to pick them off.

General Hux (Gleeson) is leading the assault from the First Order, with Poe (Isaac) leading to defensive assault, while Finn (Boyega) must go on his own adventure to bring down the First Order and help the Rebels escape. Kyle Ren (Driver) is trying to battle his inner demons deciding whether to make the transition to the Dark Side or not. This brings the characters into the next chapter in the saga who will have the upper hand by the end.

 

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Characters – Let’s look at the newer characters first, Rey locates Luke and must try to convince him to return to help the Rebels only to need to learn her place in the battle, she starts to go through Jedi training showing the powers she has deep down ready to become a powerful force in the rebel battle. Fin spends most of the film wanting to find Rey, only to go on a secret mission to help stop the First Order from tracking the Rebels. Poe is still the trigger happy pilot that wants to fight more often than just survive, he has thee biggest arc to learn about through the film. Kyle Ren is now being questioned on his dark side alliance from Snoke, he must prove his alliance by taking out the threat which stands in their way.

Original characters, Luke has been in hiding after what happened with Kylo Ren, he doesn’t want to see another student influenced by the Darkside and is reluctant to help Rey, but he must learn from his own past to guide the future. Leia is leading the Rebels escape, knowing that they have dwindling numbers, she knows they must regroup in order to survive for the next battle, she does clash with Poe’s battle heavy beliefs.

There is one more character I feel deserves a mention, that is Rose, she is an engineer for the rebels, she goes on the mission with Finn and we learn just how many people have been affected by the First Order and how they are all doing their part to help somehow.

PerformancesWe can spend time going through all the individual performances here, but it would be hard to find a fault with any of them. The whole cast picks up where they left off last time around and the addition in Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro shows we can get stars from different scales of the experience walk into the franchise without looking out of place.

StoryThe story continues from where we left off nicely, it does branch out into the four main stories with Rey & Luke, Finn, Rose and BB8, Poe trying to save the rebels and Kylo Ren showing his true colours. This helps continue the saga on to the next chapter, gives the characters the development needed for the next stage of the battle and gives the story a real time feel about it, as the film follows the Rebels trying to escape from The First Order for the most part of the film. it does have a darker town to everything, but this is needed because this is the middle of the trilogy story and now we are ready to see how the saga concludes.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action here is big battle set pieces, we have space battles, land battles and one wild race through a city, they entertain throughout the film. the adventure takes some of our characters to new worlds, with new fantasy creatures which helps them grow and learn the size of the battle they are part of.

SettingsEach world has its own unique style, the island Luke lives on feels abandoned and isolated for a reason, the rich person planet shows the type of people that could be using the battles for their own good and the space sets look brilliant too.

Special EffectsThis is one of the best looking special effects filled films in this whole saga, nothing looks out of place for this movie and it shows from the first shot to the final one.


Scene of the Movie –
Lightspeed, this moment had the whole cinema gasp in amazement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did find the timeline slightly confusing, Rey & Luke seem to be together for days maybe even weeks, while everything else seemed to be one or two days or nights only.

Final ThoughtsThis movie has bought the saga to new levels, our characters know their place in the battle and now they are ready to get to the next level of this battle, we know the stakes are at a critical level in the battle as we wait to see where things will go next.

 

Overall: This is the best addition to Star Wars since the Original Saga.

Rating

 

 

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

Director: Simon Curtis

Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Simon Vaughan (Screenplay)

Starring: Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilston, Alex Lawther, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

 

Plot: A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne.


Tagline – Inspired by the True Story

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Books Biopic

 

Story: Goodbye Christopher Robin starts as we see how Alan Milne (Gleeson) a World War I soldier and playwriter is struggling to come up with new ideas and struggling with the effects of war on his everyday life. With his wife Daphne (Robbie) a socialite that loves the fame. When they have a child Christopher Robin they hire Olive (Macdonald) to be nanny as the family move to the country.

With Christopher (Tilston) now aged 8, Alan is left to look after Christopher alone where the two start going on adventures in the woods, where Alan gets the inspiration to write the adventures of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, but when the fame brings him an unwanted attention on his young son who will be left with the brand of being Christopher Robin for life.

 

Thoughts on Goodbye Christopher Robin

 

Characters – Alan Milne served in the First World War, he was never the same when he returned as he has lost his ability to write and be around the crowds, moving his family to the country to work on an anti-war book he ends up building a relationship with his son, which gives him the inspiration for the Winnie the Pooh books. Alan did seem like he was a distant sole that never recovered from the horrors of war. Daphne is the wife of Alan, she loves the busy life with the other high society people, she hates the country and has no idea on parenthood. She uses the new found fame to put the family back in the spotlight not worrying about the consequences. Christopher Robin is the son of the family, he has an open imagination which creates the adventures, he was raised by his nanny, but when the books takes off he becomes an international celebrity that can’t handle the pressure he is put under, taking away part of his childhood. Olive is the nanny that raises Christopher, the two become closer than the parents making her decision to leave all the more difficult.

PerformancesThe performances across the board are good, Domhnall Gleeson does a good job in the leading role as does Margot Robbie giving us a character you just don’t want to like. Will Tilston shines as Christopher with all the innocence needed for the role.

StoryLearning the creation of the Winnie the Pooh characters is what we were expecting here, what we got was the difficult relationship Christopher Robin had with his parents, while Alan could be forgiven because of his PTSD Daphne just comes off clueless to the idea of children. We also see how child stars can struggle with fame and the brand that will follow them for life. This story does lack the spark that could have made it magical but does show a couple of important messages just not in the fullest and most effective way.

Biopic/HistoryThe creature of Winnie the Pooh, a man that suffered the horrors of war but found his happiness in his own son. That is the most part of the biopic and history side of the film, learning how the characters were created together in the small moment of father son time.

SettingsThe settings are good, they show the crowded side of life in the city and the moments of peace in the country showing how the two worlds give different inspiration.


Scene of the Movie –
Pooh Sticks

That Moment That Annoyed Me There should have been that little bit more magic about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard biopic, it doesn’t hit all the marks to make it great but the performances from the whole cast are good throughout the film.

 

Overall: Watchable biopic that tries to pull on the heart.

Rating

 

 

Mother! (2017)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brain Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.


Tagline – seeing is believing

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Artsy

 

Story: Mother starts as our leading lady (Lawrence) known as Mother (No characters have names) awakens giving us a tour of her beautiful home with husband Him (Bardem) a writer. The couple peace is interrupted by Man (Harris) who visits the couple and the next day his wife Woman (Pfeiffer) arrives.

As Mother becomes irritated by the visitors as people continue to turn up and she questions the love her husband has for her before things escalate into something you don’t see coming.

 

Thoughts on Mother

 

Characters – Mother is the character we follow around for the whole film, we see how she sees things unfolding in the house as the guest continue to arrive while she tries to regain the attention of her husband, she does come off whiny at times though. Him is the husband and writer, he always seems very opening to guest and has an ore about him. Man is the first visitor that comes uninvited to the home, he gets welcomed in and we learn part of his life through the part along with his wife Woman who challenge Mother’s belief.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is fine in the leading role but this won’t go down as her best as I found her slightly annoying after a while. Javier Bardem does have a mystery about the character he is playing. We do have solid performance from all the characters through the film.

StoryThe story can easily be looked at as a biblical concept with what happens following our leading lady Mother dealing with the problem visitors. The problem is this is a story that you would need to understand elements of the bible, the other problems come where the certain things get hinted at but don’t seem to follow through with and you would need a lot of patience to get through this film.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror elements of the film are poor because nothing seems to come from any hints, the mystery is the highlight of the film because you want to know just what the hell is happening. The film does try to keep you on edge from start to finish.

SettingsThe whole film does take place in the home of the couple as they get visitors which dives into chaos.

Special EffectsThe effects are good through the film without being ground breaking but do fall into the director’s trait.


Scene of the Movie –
The single take in the chaos.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mother character gets annoying quickly.

Final ThoughtsIn the end I didn’t enjoy this film, it feels very long and difficult to describe, it has plenty of tension but things start going nowhere.

 

Overall: Too much going on through the film.

Rating