ABC Film Challenge – Animation – V – Valiant (2005)

Director: Gary Chapman

Writer: Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod (Screenplay) George Webster (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt

 

Plot: Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a great hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.


Tagline –  Some pigeons eat crumbs, others make history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Valiant starts as small young pigeon Valiant wants to help out during World War II by joining the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, taking his chance a heading to London he meets hustler pigeon Bugsy as the pair con their way into the recruitment process.

Going through the recruitment process the pigeons are sent on their first mission with the danger of the falcons with the evil Von Talon waiting for any pigeons that try to cross the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Valiant

 

Characters – Valiant is a plucky young pigeon that wants to be a hero of war by becoming a carrier pigeon for the royal homing pigeon service, he has the guts even if he doesn’t have the build for it, he will risk his life to save his country. Bugsy is a cowardly con artist pigeon that uses joining the service to escape magpies, only to try to get out of it on a constant basis. Von Talon is the evil falcon that has been hunting the pigeons trying to return home, he is the typical foreign villain for this film.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely group of homing pigeons that must deliver secrets back to the soldiers in England during World War II. This gives you everything you want to enjoy in an animated story, the idea of a character overcoming his weaknesses to become the strongest part of a team, even if this does make light of the war itself, even when it is trying to tell the importance of the animals in the war.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure out pigeons go on is life or death and a real one pigeons would have gone on during the war, the comedy does hit well for the British audience which is nice to see with a string of British comedies offering the laughs. This will be one the whole family could enjoy too, having moments that all ages will understand.

SettingsThe settings play into the idea that the animals will be involved in the war and just how they will be seeing the biggest moments too, while also decreasing the scale of everything.

AnimationThe animation looks great in the foreground, while the backgrounds have been scaled down, which is fine, but doesn’t show the busyness around the big cities.


Scene of the Movie –
The crossing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I personally didn’t like how small London seemed to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that can be enjoyed by everyone, though it does have a very British core, certain jokes might miss for a more international audience.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and fun.

Rating

 

 

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Abigail Breslin Weekend – August: Osage County (2013)

osageDirector: John Wells

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Actors Dream

 

Story: August: Osage County starts when Beverly (Shepard) goes missing causing his cancer striken wife Violet (Streep) to get the family back together to help find him, this brings Barbara (Roberts), Bill (McGregor), Jean (Breslin), Charlie (Cooper), Mattie Fae (Martindale) and Ivy (Nicholson) which helps expose all the problems between the family.

When Beverly’s body is discovered the rest of the family Karen (Lewis) her new boyfriend Steve (Mulroney) and Little Charles (Cumberbatch) return home for the funeral as more of the family secret come out

 

Thoughts on August: Osage County

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters in this film are all different aged members of one big dysfunctional family with their own problems, they all have their own secrets that will be getting exposed through the time together.

The acting performances in this film are all top notch with the stars all giving brilliant performances where they can all show their abilities throughout.stars

StoryThe story is about how the family are forced to go through the good and bad moments from life that get exposed over one week from the moment the father goes missing, through the funeral and the aftermath. There are plenty of stories going on through the film which draw you into want to know what is happening with this family.

DramaThis is a drama through and through where we see how the family have been through all sorts through the years with everything getting exposed in one week when they are bought back together.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the one house where the family must return too, we get to see how the memories come back for the characters involved.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an actors dream to watch, you get fine performance from everyone but this isn’t going to be for the casual film fans.

 

Overall: A film for aspiring actors to watch.

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Trainspotting 2 (2017)

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Shirley Henderson, Kelly Macdonald Anjela Nedyalkova

 

Plot: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.


Tagline – Face your past. Choose your future.
Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: Trainspotting 2 starts as we meet the old gang, Renton (McGregor) who returns home, Begbie (Carlyle) who is still in jail after his actions in the first film, Spud (Bremner) who has continued to let heroin control his life even after trying to go straight and Simon (Miller) who has been working a con with Veronika (Nedyalkova) where they blackmail men with fetishes.

Renton isn’t welcomed as he had hoped with him having to save Spud’s life and Simon still holding a grudge after not getting the money and Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back at the three that left him in prison. With all four reaching mid-ages they are all facing crisis and search for purpose which brings them back together once again.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting 2

 

Characters – Renton returns to Scotland after 20-years, his life has started to go wrong with his marriage and career, now he returns to rebuild the friendships he lost with Spud and Simon as they plan something new. Renton shows us what it is like to think things are going well but inside you had wished for a different outcome to life. Simon has continued to hold a grudge against Renton after not getting any money, he is still hooked on cocaine and uses Renton to make things go in his own direction. Spud has reached the end of his reason to continue on, his heroin addiction has become too much for himself to deal with but after Renton tries to save him, he opens up a new life with his friends, even though he is still seemingly in his own film. Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back into his criminal ways but first he wants to get revenge on Renton for leaving him in prison.

PerformancesThe gang is back together, the original four are back and all four have had a good career since the original. Ewan McGregor does look like he has enjoyed returning to this role, while the extremes he goes through are not as difficult than before. Jonny Lee Miller does give us one of his best performances in recent years here, with Ewen Bremner also gives us a great performance as he is involved in the best scenes of the film. Robert Carlyle relishes returning to this role where he is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story reunites the original characters who must face their action 20-years ago, this is a story that had been spoken about for years and now the fans of the original will enjoy seeing where these characters are now and what has happened in their lives too. We have seen how they have grown over the years but also have never reaches the levels they dreamed off, I feel this looks at real life and where people are now and where they wanted to be, even if this film has a previous criminal life.

SettingsFor the setting we head back to Scotland and get to see the changes over the time which gives us a good nostalgia feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Chose Life

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you haven’t seen the original certain moments will seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is great fans service, you will only be enjoying this one if you enjoyed the first one as you will find too many references coming off short.

 

Overall: Great Fans Service

Rating

 

 

John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

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Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

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