ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – G – Gemma Bovery (2014)

Director: Anne Fontaine

Writer: Pascall Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine (Screenplay) Posy Simmonds (Novel)

Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido


Plot: Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behavior also seems to be inspired by Flaubert’s heroes.

Tagline – Can life really imitate art?

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Romance Film


Story: Gemma Bovery starts when small village baker Martin Joubert (Luchini) learns about his new English neighbours, Gemma (Arterton) and Charlie Bovery (Flemyng), who just so happen to share the names of his favourite novel characters Madame Bovery, Martin starts to see the similarities with the neighbours and the characters as he spends time watching Gemma.

Gemma ends starting to have an affair with the local French man, one that Martin sees happening and wants to figure out how to stop her making what he sees as a mistake, just like the characters in his favourite novels.


Thoughts on Gemma Bovery


Characters – Martin is the village baker, he is a huge fan of Flaubert’s novels with Madame Bovery being his favourite, he has been living his normal life until his new neighbours spark an interest in his life because of their names, he spends his time following Gemma around trying to make sure she doesn’t make the same mistakes that the character in the books once made, making bets with his dog along the way. Gemma Bovery is the English neighbour that has just moved to France with her husband, she has started to become bored of that relationship getting involved in an affair, one that Martin witnesses, seeing the end of her relationship. Charlie is the husband that has always supported Gemma only to see the distance building between the two. Valerie is the wife of Martin, who sees her husband get into the mindset of trying to help because of his obsession with books.

PerformancesFabrice Luchini is entertaining to watch through the film as he is often talking to himself. Gemma Arterton is a great choice for this role, she gets to thieve through the role too. The rest of the cast do struggle to make an impact in the story on the levels you would imagine, which disappoints.

StoryThe story follows a French man that believes his neighbour Gemma is following the footsteps of Madame Bovery and starts to get worried about her decisions, when she starts having an affair. This story does follow the ideas of how a person can become obsessed with life imitating art and just how dangerous trying to stop art going can be, it shows how easily affair can happen with people who do seem to be happy, in the end the story doesn’t really engage on the levels it wants to and soon becomes one that you could easily forget.

Comedy/Romance The comedy comes mostly from the sneaking around that Martin does, it gets laughs in places which will be fun, the romance shows how easily love can come and go from the people in your life.

SettingsThe film is set in a small French village which makes for a beautiful backdrop to everything going on in the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Who is to blame?

That Moment That Annoyed Me I have always disliked a film that bounces between English and another language.

Final ThoughtsThis is a romance film that shows how obsession can take over life whether it be to see how people see somebody’s else life or their own.


Overall: Romance with a novel.




James Bond Month – Quantum of Solace (2008)

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright


Plot: James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource.

Tagline – Have Regrets. Get Revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel


Story: Quantum of Solace starts right after the events of Casino Royale, James Bond (Craig) is searching for the organization that was controlling the events of the previous film. James is teaming up with M (Dench) only to learn the true scale of the organizations reach.

James travels to Haiti where he meets Camille (Kurylenko) a woman working with Dominic Greene (Amalric) who has been planning making a fortune on his own desires within the organization, Bond does continue to break the rules pushing M to the limits of her acceptance.


Thoughts on Quantum of Solace


Characters – James Bond is filled with vengeance after what happened in Casino Royale, he wants to hunt down the people involved within in the organization, he starts to go rogue in the eyes of the people in MI6, which sees him killing people before getting the information desired. He will go above the duty to get the people involved. Camille is the lady dating Dominic Greene, she has her own reason for being close to him and ends up working with James to get her own revenge on the organization. Dominic Greene has been working within the organization, he has a plan which will see him gain control of the nature resource with the idea to hold a country to ransom for the resource. He isn’t the most interesting villain in the franchise becoming of the more forgettable. M continues to get a large role within the franchise, here she is trying to decide whether to keep James in the field or not, getting tired of him breaking the rules.

PerformancesDaniel Craig does continue to handle the action side of the film well, he could easily be an action spy without the big name slapped to his character. Olga Kurylenko is fine as a Bond girl, she doesn’t get to bring anything overly new to the role though. Mathieu Amalric doesn’t get enough to work with for his villainous role, he is largely forgettable, though this isn’t about his performance. Judi Dench has suddenly become the most interesting character in this franchise, which is strange and you do want to see all her scenes.

StoryThe story continues to follow the first mission from James Bond as he has unfinished business with how that ended, he must investigate the organization that happens to be bigger than MI6 even knew about. By having a continuing story both works in the films advantage and against it, because you wouldn’t be able to watch this one without seeing the previous one, though it is nice to see a word building process happening. Keeping James on his first mission does continue to make the story feel fresh because we are seeing just how many reckless decisions he will be making through the mission. When it comes to the villain, we get a largely forgettable motive and he never feels like a danger to James.

Action/AdventureThe action continues to be the highlight of the film, we a much more edge of your seat feeling to the chase sequences being used in the film, with the adventure side of the film continues to take James around the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film takes James around the world to investigate the organization.

Scene of the Movie –
Roof top running.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain being forgettable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that works well for the franchise because it continues to show us how James is learning from his mistakes on the job.


Overall: Sequel that helps the franchise.




Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell


Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.

Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Action Adventure


Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.


Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time


Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.

Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.


Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.




Gemma Arterton Weekend – 100 Streets (2016)

Director: Jim O’Hanlon

Writer: Leon Butler (Screenplay)

Starring: Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton, Tom Cullen, Kierston Wareing, Ryan Gage, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ken Stott


Plot: Three people, three extraordinary stories. All lived out within a hundred London streets.

Tagline – Anybody can take a wrong turn.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Engaging Drama


Story: 100 Streets starts as we meet our characters, troublemaking drug dealing thief Kingsley (Dramah), former rugby player Max (Elba) who is going through a marriage problem after his own affair with his wife Emily (Arterton) who in an act of revenge is dating photographer Jake (Cullen). The final couple we meet are cabbie George (Creed-Miles) and Kathy (Wareing) who are trying to adopt a child, though his past is causing problems in this pursuit.

As the lives cross-paths the people must learn about the mistakes they make to prevent themselves from making any more mistakes.


Thoughts on 100 Streets


Characters – Max is a former England rugby captain, since retiring he started cheating on his wife and getting caught up with the drugs, seeing his future career going up in smoke, he needs to clean up his own actions in any hope of winning his wife back. Emily is the wife of Max who has been going through the struggles of her husbands action, thinking about getting back into acting and trying to move on with her life. Kingsley is the streetwise drug dealing thief that has been caught up against the law, even though he believes he could go onto something bigger, he receives the guidance required to escape this life. We have a cabbie that makes a terrible mistake and must learn to live with the consequences and a photographer that wants to be part of Emily’s life.

PerformancesIdris Elba, Gemma Arterton are both great in their roles in the film, we know and expect it from them.  Elsewhere we get the less known actors in Franz Drameh and Charlie Creed-Miles that shine in this film.

StoryThe story follows the lives of three people, the problems they are facing and the changes that will define them. We get three different worlds, one is the celebrity world and marriage, where the vices can control someone, the middle-class who just want normal lives which can fall apart from past action and the lower-class that must fight for a chance or face the same circles of crime. The way the three lives cross without interaction shows how people can be going through their own struggles meters away from you. Each life will be changed by the events in the film, which is important to see and we can see how theses moments can do the moments that create a future.

SettingsThe film is set in London with the idea that we are within 100 streets of each other, in a position where lives can cross paves.

Scene of the Movie –
Leaving the gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure what will happen with Jake next.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully engaging drama that shows the lives people are living without you knowing within metres of your own life. Strong performances throughout do help the film stand out too.


Overall: Drama well worth watching.




The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

girlDirector: Colm McCarthy

Writer: Mike Carey (Screenplay) Mike Carey (Novel)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Dominique Tipper, Sennia Nauna, Paddy Considine, Anamaria Marinca


Plot: A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Last of Us Film?


Story: The Girl with All the Gifts starts in a military compound where children are bound to wheelchairs as they are forced to remember numerical sequences, the smartest of all the children is Melanie (Nanua) who in her classes taught by Helen Justineau (Arterton) is always looking for stories of the outside world.

In this world, there is a secret going on with the children who are all flesh hungry when the adults are not wearing protective cream. Once we exit the military compound we learn that there is a zombie apocalypse outside the walls where the children are offering a potential vaccine for humanity but when the walls are breached Helen, Dr Caldwell (Close), Melanie and Sgt Parks (Considine) escape the chaos. The story then follows how the group of survivors must search for somewhere safe before their supplies run out.


Thoughts on The Girl with All the Gifts


StoryWhen you look at this story you can see the weak point in this film, that is slightly harsh to say but when you follow the story it does feel like it has followed the ABC of zombie survivor film. we do have a couple of twists in the story with the new look of the infected evolved children but otherwise this does have a striking similarity to the Last of Us video game.

Horror/ThrillerWhen you look at the horror side of the story you might find yourself slightly short of ever being scared in this film which isn’t a bad thing because you are kept on the edge of your seat waiting to see where the story will go.

Characters/PerformanceOur main four characters are like what we have seen before, we have the scientist desperately looking for a cure to complete all the sacrifice they have made, the soldier who doesn’t like the idea having the young girl with them, the sympathetic woman that wants the children to be treated like children even if this is slightly naïve about it. It is the inclusion of the young girl that is an evolved infected which feels fresh because while she is immune she is also infected which is new to the genre.

Looking at the performances now we have great performances from Arterton, Considine and Close for their character but it is new comer Nanua who shines as she shows she can keep you with the better-known cast throughout the film.

SettingsWhen you are looking for beautiful use of setting this could well be one of the best visual representations of the zombie apocalypse genre you will see.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic be it with the creation of the zombies known as ‘Hungries’ or the vast post-apocalyptic world that is created.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable zombie film that does have elements that feel fresh but does have moments you have seen before.


Overall: Good addition to the zombie sub genre.