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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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

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Bryan Singer Weekend – Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

casting card

 

Plot: The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Adventure Film

 

Story: Jack the Giant Slayer starts by giving us the story that poor boy Jack and Princess Isabelle who love the story of the giant that came to Earth before being banished. Jack (Hoult) all grown up is trying to sell his horse and cart finding himself in the kingdom of King Brahmwell (McShane) who is trying to keep tabs on his now of age daughter Isabelle. We know Jack made a deal where he ended up getting some beans that just so happen to be magic.

With Isabelle trying to escape her impending marriage to Roderick (Tucci) she finds herself at Jack’s house. When the beanstalk rises it takes Isabelle up into the giant kingdom leading to Elmont (McGregor) Roderick, Jack and Elmont’s men to climb the beanstalk.

Upon reaching the top we learn Roderick’s plan while our character have to learn that not all legends are fairy tales.

Jack the Giant Slayer is a story we should all have known by now but how do you turn this into a feature film, well this is how it is done. We create a battle between humans and the giants filled with generically average characters all with their own motives. I do think the expanded story works but in a world where we have had Lord of the Rings and going through Game of Thrones this comes off slightly short.

 

Actor Review

 

Nicholas Hoult: Jack is the simple farm boy that finds himself selling his house for beans only to discovery that these beans take him to the giant kingdom on top of a beanstalk. Jack must rescue the princess and become the giant slayer he was always destine to become. Nicholas is good in this leading role showing he can be a future star.

Eleanor Tomlinson: Isabelle is the princess of the kingdom that wishes to see more of the world before being wed to the older man Roderick. While she does become the very basic damsel in distress by the end of the film. Eleanor also gives us a good performance even if her character is basically the damsel in distress we don’t see as much anymore.

Ewan McGregor: Elmont is leader of the king’s guard, he is fearless and will give any common man a chance to help do the honourable thing, which includes Jack. He works with Jack to makes sure the princess is safe once the giant from myth become a reality. Ewan has a lot of fun in this role where we get to see him supporting the next generation of stars.

Stanley Tucci: Roderick is planned to be wed to the princess, but he has his own plans which do include bringing down the giants to help him get everything he wants. Stanley plays the typical villain add his own spin to it without being that memorable.

Support Cast: Jack the Giant Slayer has a solid supporting cast but they just get enough real time out of everything involved.

Director Review: Bryan SingerBryan gives us a good enjoyable film even if the CGI comes off slightly iffy.

 

Adventure: Jack the Giant Slayer sends us on the adventure that could well be the first one we ever heard.

Fantasy: Jack the Giant Slayer throws us into the fantasy world where giants live above humans.

Settings: Jack the Giant Slayer has the settings that makes us feel like we are going to be in the world created.
Special Effects
: Jack the Giant Slayer has some bad CGI moments which can take away from these moments.

Suggestion: Jack the Giant Slayer is one I do think people will enjoy but I can see how come people be turned off. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final battle is very good.

Worst Part: CGI

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $195 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: Prepare for a giant adventure

 

Overall: Solid adventure film that will be the one that will enjoy from the childhood stories.

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Shallow Grave (1994)

shallowDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay)

Starring: Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Ken Scott, Keith Allen, Colin McCredie, Victoria Mairn

 

Plot: Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgotten Classic

 

Story: Shallow Grave starts when Juliet (Fox), David (Eccleston) and Alex (McGregor) are searching for a new flat mate in the centre of London, the friends have fun while interviewing potential candidates until Hugo (Allen) walks into their lives.

When the friends don’t see Hugo after he moves in they enter his room to find him dead but they also find a large suitcase of money. The friends decide to dispose of the body and keep the money for themselves but this only leads them to learn the true characters coming forward as they also find themselves being hunted down by the people the money actually belong too.

Shallow Grave is a character driven thriller that shows how all friendships could be pushed to the limits when it comes to money. This films shows us just how things can go even if it was just slightly too far to the extremes. I think the tension building through the film shows how the story continues to grow and you simple just don’t know where things will end up going. The negatives would be that we just don’t get enough time to learn where the money really came from or what happened to Hugo.

 

Actor Review

 

Kerry Fox: Juliet is the doctor of the friends who welcomes Hugo into the house and using her skills when it comes to how they can dispose of the body. She is a free spirit not involved with either of the two guys. Kerry is good in this leading role playing both sides of the situation well.

Christopher Eccleston: David comes off as the slightly stuck up while working in a tax office we get to see how his life is run by routine. When he wants to say no to the money he gets pulled around only to find himself having to do the dirty work which makes him more dangerous than the other two thought. Christopher shines as the guy you just don’t know about throughout the film.

Ewan McGregor: Alex seems to be the loud mouth flaky character of the three who always seem to just get by. He will also get the others in trouble but will stand with them to clean up the mess. Ewan is good and shows how he can play the both sides of the story well.

Support Cast: Shallow Grave has a supporting cast which all help with the final story but in the end we are only really follow the main three characters.

Director Review: Danny BoyleDanny shows us just how capable of a director in this is debut in a feature film where he balances the three characters throughout the film.

 

Crime: Shallow Grave gives us the cover up of a crime which only leads to more as the battle between the friends continues.

Thriller: Shallow Grave does keep us on edge through the whole film as we wonder just what will be happening next.

Settings: Shallow Grave has most of the pivotal scenes within the flat showing just how all the characters will be tested through the film.
Special Effects
: Shallow Grave has simple effects when needed but doesn’t turn to them for the sake of it.

Suggestion: Shallow Grave is one I do think people should be watching just to see where Boyle and the stars have come from. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about where the money really came from.

 

Believability: The breakdown of the friendship could be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: The award winning thriller that’ll bury you with laughs.

Trivia: Danny Boyle has stated that of the films he has directed, this is his father’s favorite, and that whenever a new film directed by Boyle junior is released (including Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which won the academy award both for best film and best director) and he asks Boyle senior’s opinion, his father’s review is always the same – “It was good, but not as good as ‘Shallow Grave’.”

 

Overall: A true classic with all the tension you could desire from Danny Boyle.

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