ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – P – Pride (2014)

Director: Matthew Warchus

Writer: Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, George MacKay

 

Plot: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.


Tagline – Based on the inspirational true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Pride starts in the summer of 1984, the miner’s strikes are on and the Pride movement is taking over London, Mark (Schnetzer) one of the leading campaigners joined by shy college student Joe (MacKay) in a movement known as ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’ after Mark sees that they are struggling through the same problems from the authority figures.

Dai (Considine) is part of one of the mining communities in Wales, he is the only person that will even consider taking the money raised by the support group, with the group heading to Wales, they are welcomed by some including the head of the committee Cliff (Nighy), but not everyone is as welcoming as the rest.

 

Thoughts on Pride

 

Characters – Mark is the leader of the Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners group, he believes if the two work together they could one day stop the problems they are facing, he inspires his group, builds bridges between the communities become one of the most iconic members of the movement. Joe is a young gay that is still in the closest, he wants to support the group and joins in the activities only to need to keep things secret from the rest of his family. Dai is the man that is willing to listen to the group, he welcomes the group to the village. Jonathan is one of the oldest members of the group, he has lived with the taboo for his whole life and will help the group make the right connections. Cliff is one of the miners that welcomes the group with open arms not seeing them to be different in anyway. Hefina is one of the committee that will push for any rights to help her community that has suffered for so long.

PerformancesBen Schnetzer in the leading role is fantastic, showing the charisma required as well as giving us the feeling that he doesn’t know what will happen. George MacKay continued to show he is going to be a big name in the future with his withdrawn and important performance in this film. Dominic West is good in his role which shows us just how much range he has. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton both shine in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here shows us how the Lesbian & Gay community came together even against their own battle to help the minders in their own strike against the government. We are shown how communities would have needed to come together to be given their chance to just have equality in the world, this both frustrates because of what was around and shows the support needed to make things happen and how easily minds can be changed. We get to see the people that made a difference in the world, the people that held them back and just how important each and every person that supports equality can be. This is one that could show us how the country changed, came together and most importantly showed us how difficult the steps can be for the people who are struggling.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film shows us how the people who were truly involved showed the courage to stand up for what they believe in. the comedy comes from the actions from both sides of the fight and how they remained confident and broke barriers.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, London where we follow the LGB community with their own fight and in Wales as we see the miner’s village which has been struggling with their problems with the strike.


Scene of the Movie –
The march

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing this was still a problem in 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the powerful biopic that shows us just what people can achieve by working together to make a difference in the world.

 

Overall: Must watch.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – S – Sunshine on Leith (2013)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Stephen Greenhorn (Screenplay) Stephen Greenhorn (Stage Play)

Starring: Paul Brannigan, George MacKay, Kevin Guthrie, Jane Horrocks, Peter Mullan, Freya Mavor, Antonia Thomas, Jason Flemyng

 

Plot: Two soldiers return home to Edinburgh to resume their romantic and family lives.


Tagline – When it happens… there’s nothing like it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolute Delight

 

Story: Sunshine of Leith starts as the two soldiers Davy (MacKay) and Ally (Guthrie) return to Edinburgh to continue their lives, Ally dating Liz (Mavor) while Davy meets Yvonne (Thomas) and the romantic lives of the four-young people come through in the tough times they must live.

As the young men learn to adapt back to a normal life they sing their way through different situations young couples and even the older couples must go through in normal life.

 

Thoughts on Sunshine of Leith

 

Characters – Davy is one of the two soldiers who returned, the squad leader who has lost men, but returns with a few issues, but starts enjoying life more when he meets Yvonne, he needs to show that he will be haunted by moments from his past and deal with them the right way. Ally has returned home believing he can get a job and just marry his girl Liz, he must learn that not everything is what he had planned for. Liz is Davy’s sister, a nurse and Ally’s girlfriend, she has been dreaming of seeing the world one day, that time is now, can she handle letting Ally know what she wants the most. Yvonne is a fellow nurse, an English girl who moved to Scotland for love once, she has a connection with Davy, but not sure how to accept Davy’s past and his reactions to trouble. We do also have Rab and Jean the parents of Liz & Davy who are going through their own struggles even after their long marriage.

PerformancesThe performances across the board here are fantastic, with the leading men George MacKay & Kevin Guthrie showing the emotional trauma of returning from war. Freya Mavor shows how the ambition of one person can show in conflict they are showing in her and Antonia Thomas shows us how hesitate someone can be to open up to someone who could have problems of their own.

StoryThe story follows 6 lives, two soldiers returning from war, one older couple who must put the past behind them and two young women who careers are about to take them in new directions, but love could hold them back. The stories blend together wonderfully that gives us relatable characters who have everyday problems they must overcome to find the answers they want from life, it will leave you with a smile on your face when it ends.

Comedy/Romance/MusicalThe comedy is light-hearted as we get to see how the lives of the characters is not taken overly serious for them, the romance shows us just how difficult love can be for people who have dreams to follow. Everything is told in a musical style which is filled with catchy songs that give our characters the express of their feelings.

SettingsThe Scottish setting works for the film, it gets to show how normal people are going and return from war to live normal lives.


Scene of the Movie –
500 miles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I get most of the references, if you don’t know too much about Scottish culture, you may struggle to understand certain moments.

Final ThoughtsThis was a treat of a movie, it has real characters that must make life changing decisions that could have affect on the people they love, it has delightful songs you can sing along to and wonderful performance.

 

Overall: This is a MUST WATCH

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – H – How I Live Now (2013)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Writer: Jeremy Brock, Penelope Skinner, Tony Grisoni (Screenplay) Meg Rosoff (Novel)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay, Harley Bird, Danny McEvoy, Anna Chancellor

 

Plot: An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprisingly Good

 

Story: How I Live Now starts as American girl Elizabeth who wants to be known as Daisy (Ronan) heads to England for the summer with her cousins Isaac (Holland), Eddie (MacKay), Joe (McEvoy) and Piper (Bird) in their countryside home but busy Aunt Penn (Chancellor) who does have her hands tied with a potential new world war.

When the unthinkable happens and the war starts with a bombing in London the kids are left alone and Daisy must decide whether to take her ticket home or stay and look after her cousins with Eddie.

 

Thoughts on How I Live Now

 

Characters – Daisy starts off like your typical rebellious teenager from America, music loud, wanting to be alone, not wanting to have come to England or deal with younger cousins. When she learns to love the countryside, she finds herself needing to step up and look after the younger cousins when the war starts. Eddie is the next-door neighbour of the cousins that spends most of the time with the family, striking up a relationship with Daisy. He does look to take up the responsibilities once the war starts. Isaac is the eldest of the cousins living on the farm and is happy with the idea of living on the farm until the war comes to them where he gets taken with Eddie.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan is great in the leading role, she looks distant from the family but by the end of the film we see how she wants to be part of it. George MacKay does a great job in the eldest of the kids role where he shows the care needed for the leading role while Tom Holland gives us a glimpse at the talent he was to give us in the years to come.

StoryThe story starts off in what you feel is going to be a generic girl goes to stay somewhere she doesn’t but soon becomes happy to stay there, this would be fine but the story stands out here because we then have the idea of war breaking out leave her to need to become the protector of the youngest cousin. This shows how the children, the innocent parts of war will face the hardest struggle to survive it.

Romance/ThrillerThe romance is teenage love, which is at times comes off rather annoying but for the sake of the story this is everything you expect it to be. The thrilling side of the story comes from not knowing what has gone on outside of the world we find Daisy in.

SettingsThe countryside is the setting for most of this film as we see the calm before the war, the chaos with the war and the peace away from the big cities that are fighting.

Scene of the Movie – The first bomb because it changes the tone of the whole movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I know the point is to not know, but it would be nice to have known who the enemy was.

Final ThoughtsThis was a film I didn’t expect too much of going in, but by the end of the film every ounce of my attention was drawn to finding out which ones of the kids will make it home, it what is a drawn out but impactful look at the consequences of war.

 

Overall: This is an impressively strong addition to the post-apocalyptic genre.

Rating

 

 

The Secret of Marrowbone (2018)

Director: Sergio G Sanchez

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay)

Starring: George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Nicola Harrison, Kyle Soller

 

Plot: A young man and his three younger siblings, who have kept secret the death of their beloved mother in order to remain together, are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live.


Tagline – No One Will Ever Separate Us

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Shot Horror Mystery

 

Story: Marrowbone starts as we meet the newly named Marrowbones, Mother (Harrison) and siblings Jack (MacKay), Billy (Heaton), Jane (Goth) and Sam (Stagg), they have escaped from England on the run from their father, they set up a home in the country away from anyone and look to stay in hiding.

When mother dies, Jack must take responsibility for the family, keeping them safe until he is 21, where he can now become the guardian, but things take a turn when an unexpected guest changes everything they want to keep secret.

 

Thoughts on Marrowbone

 

Characters – Jack is the eldest sibling, he will become the guardian to the rest once he hits 21, he does the jobs to keep food on their table, saving face about his mother and does everything he can to protect his siblings. Allie is the girl next door literally, she becomes friends with the family, but when Jack tells her mother is sick, she must stay away and the two keep their relationship secret from the rest of the town, she is very well educated for the time the film is set 1969 (we see the moon landing on a television) and she could leave the small town and achieve greatness. Billy is the hot-headed of the siblings, he will get the dirty work done, but is also get tired of being trapped in the home. Jane is the sister and does the general cleaning jobs around the house, she will also be Sam’s mother if anyone asked. Sam is the youngest of the siblings, bubbling bursting to enjoy his young life, everything is an adventure to him, but we learn early on he can mis-read shapes to be ghosts. Porter is the town’s lawyer that does have a crush on Allie, he works for the Marrowbone’s and starts getting nosier than he should have.

PerformancesThis movie has an impressive cast of young actors that are making names for themselves. George MacKay is the standout here, he shows incredible range and could easily have given one of the best male performances in horror this year. Anya Taylor-Joy continues to impress, while this character is more withdrawn from the horror side of things, she keeps us interested in her every action. Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth and Matthew Stagg complete the siblings list and each is great, when Stagg’s character is upset, you do complete feel with him too.

StoryTh story is one of the most interesting and fascinating ones to be watching this year, in the opening 5 or 10 minutes we learn where the characters have come from, what they are hiding from and just how much will change in a moment, all this before the title appears. We see how things unfold and how the secret needs to be kept, though nothing will prepare you for the direction this movie will end up going in. I just don’t want to get into any true details of this film, if loved the set up and you will spend the rest of the film trying to unravel the events of the opening sequence.

Horror/MysteryThis brings be to my only negative for the film, though it is surrounding in a positive, the horror in the film, while set up nicely is mostly predictable, though most of the horror in the early part of the film does try to get explained away as seen in the trailer, as a way to protect young Sam. The mystery is what we have come to see now, we are left guessing through nearly every scene and by the end, you will feel like you didn’t want to solve this mystery.

SettingsThe film puts our family in a remote mansion by the beach outside of a small town, we learn why they are off the grid and this gives us some of the most beautiful countryside shots you will see in a horror film.


Scene of the Movie –
Reading the Story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One part feels slightly off, but it is spoiler heavy so won’t mention it.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to horror films people will want different things, if you want blood and gore, this won’t work for you, if you want a beautiful story that has a horrific side to it, this one will be for you.

 

Overall: The most wonderfully shot horror of the year.

Rating

 

 

Captain Fantastic (2016)

capDirector: Matt Ross

Writer: Matt Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crook, Charlies Shotwell, Trin Miller, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Frank Langella, Missi Pyle

 

Plot: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Story

 

Story: Captain Fantastic starts as we meet Ben (Mortensen) who has been raising his six children Bo (MacKay), Kielyr (Isler), Vespyr (Basso), Rellian (Hamilton), Zaja (Crooks) and Nai (Shotwell) in the forest of Pacific Northwest away from society. Ben is teaching his children in his own way so they could be ready for the anything life be it, self-defence, educational material or just plain old music.

When Ben has to go back into the real world he takes the recently completed boy to man Bo but is only treated to tragic news about his wife. Ben reluctantly takes his children to his wife’s funeral against the orders of her family. Over this time, we get to see how Ben learns that everything he thought was correct might not actually be right for his children.

Captain Fantastic is a wonderful story that gives us the idea that we always know what is right for our own children might not actually be correct. We see how family wants to support any decision but there will always be that tension within. Viggo Mortensen gives a heavyweight performance that could easily being contention when Oscar season hits and all six of the children are brilliant in their roles. I will say this has moments of being slightly too slow but in the end each scene comes off fascinating to see where the characters will be going next.

 

Overall: Brilliant story, brilliantly acted and the real outside shot for the Oscars.

Rating93