The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) Guy Ritchie, Jeff Kleeman, David C Wilson, Lionel Wigram (Story) Sam Rolfe (Original TV Show)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.


Tagline –  Two sworn enemies. One common mission.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action

 

Story: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starts as we follow American CIA Agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) must put their difference aside to stop a threat during the cold war to stop nuclear weapon being built which could cause massive casualties. The only connection is the daughter of the scientist Gaby (Vikander) as they search for the Vinciguerra’s with Victoria (Debicki) running the crime operation.

As the two start to put their differences aside they learn skills to make them better agents and learn to work as a team for the first time in their careers.

 

Thoughts on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

Characters – Napoleon Solo is the American CIA Agent, he works for them to clean his robbery charges because he is a brilliant thief, being able to swipe anything with the blink of an eye, he uses his charm to stay ahead of the game. Illya Kuryakin is the Russian KGB agent, he is short tempered and can handle himself in the fight, but sadly he comes off looking like the weaker of the two. Gaby is the daughter of the prime suspect, she works with the agents to locate him in the hands of the villainous Victoria. Victoria has taken over the family business which involves building her own nuclear weapon. Alexander Waverly is a man of mystery who keeps appearing in the lives of the agents but who does he work for.

PerformancesHenry Cavill is an actor I have always questioned and here he does show emotion, charm that is required for the character of Napoleon. Armie Hammer does have a lot of fun in his role which he is good in and anything Alicia Vikander stars in gets extra class and beauty.  Elizabeth Debicki is good in her limited scenes but doesn’t give us anything new for a villain, Hugh Grant gets the few laughs in the film too.

StoryThe story follows two unlikely agents needing to work together to save the world, it sounds simple and is from a television show, so we know where it will go. If you have seen the formula before you will have better options out there but for a simple story that you can see the twists coming and can just enjoy it unfold.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is by the book for the most part having nothing overly memorable while the comedy works at times but isn’t a laugh out loud movie.

SettingsThe film takes us around Europe which is fine for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used in film for moments of action but I do feel like it could miss on most part.


Scene of the Movie –
For a special agent, you’re not having a special day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid by the book action adventure movie, it doesn’t offer too much new but isn’t the worst, just sadly average.

 

Overall: Average action movie at best.

Rating

 

 

 

About a Boy (2002)

Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz

 

Plot: A cynical, immature young man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.


Tagline – Growing up has nothing to do with age.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant British Comedy

 

Story: About a Boy starts as we meet Will Freeman (Grant) who lives the perfect life in his head, no job because of his father’s royalties, no responsibilities and no relationship, he can jump from woman to woman and now he has learnt about single mums, he new target. Marcus (Hoult) is a young boy whose single mother is battling depression and when the two become unlikely friends.

As the friendship builds between Will and Marcus, the two learn valuable life lessons with Will finally learning the serious side to life, one he had coasted over through his life.

 

Thoughts on About a Boy

 

Characters – Will is the playboy bachelor who has gone from woman to woman never taking responsibility in anything in his life, at the age of 38 he isn’t getting any younger and wants to look to a new location to meet women, which finally gives him a chance to look at his own life errors and start to make something from life. Marcus is a bullied young boy, his mother is battling depression and he never fits in at school, he sees a male role model in Will and starts to becoming friends with Will where he can starts to learn how to be who he should be. This character is drawn up wonderfully because he doesn’t understand the problems his mother is going through, while he is aware there is a problem it reflects in his everyday life. Fiona is the mother of Marcus, she is battle depression in her life while trying her hardest to stay positive for Marcus, a battle she isn’t always winning. Rachel is the woman that shows Will a new meaning to life, only she is the one that could shatter his new look too.

PerformancesHugh Grant is easily one of the most British actors out there, he gives one of his best performances here that will make you like his bad character. This role could easily be a look at the person people believed he would be in real life. Nicholas Hoult gives one of the greatest breakthrough performances for a young star and by seeing just how far he has gone since this shows the early talent he showed. Toni Collette gives us a supporting performance that is just as difficult to watch because of her characters problems that it is an essential performance to see. Rachel Weisz is good in her supporting role, she doesn’t need to do too much with her character though.

StoryThe story here plays out as a middle-aged man needing to grow up, a young boy who needs a male role model and understand that life isn’t going to be perfect no matter how much you want to believe it. The growing up side of the story is the one that we get to focus on the most and is everything you expect it to be. There is however a much deeper and stronger side to this story we see, that comes from seeing how young Marcus doesn’t completely understand his mother’s depression and just wants somebody to talk to, while finding his own way to fix her. Now this is important because the mental health issues are a bigger talking point now and showing it through the eyes of an innocent young boy shows how difficult it can be to talk about and deal with, with him never truly understanding what the problems are.

Comedy/RomanceThis film did get me laughing a lot, this is usually hard for any comedy movie, this has so many clever visions on life through the shallow nature Will has. The romance is the backburner because it shows us just how Will is trying to find women, even if one does change his life.

SettingsThe film is set in London, we get the see the home environment, which for the most part are empty, the social life and everyday life, nothing is new.


Scene of the Movie –
Be a Godfather question?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic bullies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant comedy that gets everything right with the way the comedy is handled, we do get a big issue covered and is a film that people need to look back on and watch.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – The Rewrite (2014)

Director: Marc Lawrence

Writer: Marc Lawrence (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, JK Simmons, Chris Elliott, Allison Janney

 

Plot: An Oscar-winning writer in a slump leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mom taking classes there.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Romantic Comedy

 

Story: The Rewrite starts as Oscar-Winning screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant) has been struggling to get his new ideas to sale, in need of money he travels across the country to Binghampton to work as a teacher at a university teaching screenwriting.

Arriving in the dead-end town Keith instantly wants to get away but his charm helps him make an impact with the fellow teacher’s Dr Leaner (Simmons), Jim Harper (Elliott) and his rival Professor Weldon (Janney).

Keith doesn’t want to do much teaching early on because he believes you can’t teach the skills but he soon learns to love guiding his students including Karen (Heathcote) and elder student Holly (Tomei) as he learns and finds inspiration for his own writing woes.

 

Thoughts on The Rewrite

 

Characters/PerformanceKeith Michaels is a down on his luck screenwriter whose can’t find any work in Hollywood and must take a teaching job, this job gives Keith the chance to refocus on his own life, career and learn from his mistakes, Keith is self-centred character that evolves as the story unfolds. Holly is the elder student wanting to improve herself, she offers the friendship Keith needs as she has a different worldly experience. Karen is the student that Keith starts dating and ends up learning the hard way how she can get what she wants. Dr Learner, Professor Weldon and Jim Harper all offer us up different kinds of teachers you would find in a university.

Performance wise, Hugh Grant gives the performance he is known for, slightly smug full of himself but he does this so well. Marisa Tomei is good in her role to showing how she can be a glimmer of light in any role she plays. The rest of the cast are all good with their roles with the students all being unique and elder cast members all being good mix for Hugh Grant performance.

StoryThe story focuses on one man that has lost his spark creatively and must turn to teaching and he goes on a journey to discover how he can help guide the next generation of screenwriters. This shows us how people can always teach and learn from life and guide people. This is an enjoyable story to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes with plenty of references to movies but isn’t a laugh a minute. The romance side of the film is what mostly gets Keith into trouble and ends up not working the way it should do.

SettingsThe idea of putting a ‘celebrity’ figure into a small town setting is a tried and tested formula and one that works here to help the story flow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a true Hugh Grant rom com, he plays the character we know and love to watch in a new setting with the same results. This is enjoyable though because we do get to learn life lessons.

 

Overall: Solid and enjoyable story to learn from.

Rating

 

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Jane Austin (Novel)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, James Fleet, Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones

 

Plot: Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Period Piece

 

Story: Sense and Sensibility starts when Mr Dashwood (Wilkinson) dies leaving his inheritance to his son John (Fleet) by law, his wife Fanny (Walter) wants his second wife Mrs Dashwood (Jones) and the daughters Elinor (Thompson), Marianna (Winslet) and Margaret (Francois) to move out as soon as possible living off just the £500 a year.

As the family moves to a small cottage Elinor must leave the early feelings she has for Fanny’s brother Edward Ferrars (Grant). While in the cottage Elinor watches as Marianne gets courted by a couple of men Colonel Brandon (Rickman) and John Willoughby (Wise) who both could bring the family back to the high life.

 

Thoughts on Sense and Sensibility

 

Characters/PerformanceElinor Dashwood is the eldest sister of the family she falls for Edward but knows she can’t be with him because of her new social status, she also looks after the younger sisters. Marianne is the middle sister and the one easily led astray by her heart never being able to hide her feelings when it comes to love. Edward Ferrars is the kind quiet brother of Fanny who wants nothing more than a life away from the high society. Colonel Brandon is a middle-aged bachelor that has lived with a broken heart but does take a shine to Marianne, he does what he can to support her through her own heart break even if he has his own desire to marry her.

Performance wise, Emma Thompson is brilliant in the leading role as well as her work on the screenplay which won her an Oscar. Kate Winslet burst onto the scene with this role which has firmly put her into the minds of any film fan now. Hugh Grant is great through his supporting role and Alan Rickman shows he had the class to perform in any film role. We do have a good supporting cast of well-known British actors too that all perform well.

StoryThis is a Jane Austin novel, so let’s face it, I will never have read the novel in the first place, I am not the biggest fan of this era movies because I find the high society annoying to see how people used to act for money rather than love. Saying this I did enjoy watching the story unfold I found it showed just how frustrating the era in British history was and is one that can be respected by all film fans. We do have love, heartbreak and money but it also spends plenty of time watching over how things could be considered farfetched.

RomanceWe get to see the swings and roundabouts of love through the romance side of the story here but mostly focusing on potential heartbreak and lost love.

SettingsEach setting brings us into the time era perfectly making everything come off flawless throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t a film I would be re-visiting but it is one I can say is wonderfully made, written and performed throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant period drama of a classic novel.

Rating

 

 

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Nicholas Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, Nina Arianda, Stanley Townsend, Allan Corduner

 

Plot: The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Believe Your Dreams

 

Story: Florence Foster Jenkins starts in 1944 as Florence (Streep) performs alongside her husband St Clair Bayfield (Grant) with the theatrical performance for the people of New York City. After Florence falls out with her current pianist the couple must find a new one, Cosme McMoon (Helberg) fills the void perfectly as her new venture into opera.

There is one big problem with this dream, Florence simply can’t sing and even with her vocal coach Carlo Edwards (Haig) any stage performance is a distant dream. Once the first show happens the elite of the friends all love the show for the wrong reasons, and to make matter worse St Clair has been having an affair with Kathleen (Ferguson).

Once Florence’s song make the radio she continues wanting to support the soldiers returning from war even with St Clair wanting to hold her back from the embarrassment she could cause herself.

 

Thoughts on Florence Foster Jenkins

 

Characters/PerformanceFlorence is a woman that has been shielded from the world for her whole life, she has only been respected by her power in society. When she wants to sing her own style of opera she does become a laughing stock but on a level where the everyday man can enjoy her attempts. St Clair is the supportive husband who also hasn’t lived his dreams but living off the money Florence is giving him, he happily cheats on her but knows the funds will end if he gets caught. Mr McMoon is the brilliant pianist who is grateful for the chance to play alongside the high society but questions where his career could go after working with Florence.

Performance wise, Meryl Streep was fantastic as always in the leading role with Hugh Grant giving us one of his best performances in years. Simon Helberg steps up from television to give us a performance we all know he is capable off and never looks out of place next to the bigger names.

StoryThe story shows us what it is like to follow your dreams even if you don’t have the talent, while this does focus a lot more on the idea of being protected by the lack of talent it is the similar style you would treat your own child who enjoys something they are not going to succeed at. I do feel the story shows the divide we once had between the rich and powerful to the everyday person which is clear to see with how the music is received.

Biography/Comedy/MusicFlorence is an incredible brave lady who showed if you want to try something at any age you can try, even if you are not the best. The comedy in this film is light hearted throughout which I did enjoy with the music adding to the comedy going on through the film.

SettingsThe settings created show us the time period the film is set in perfectly with New York being the main location.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable movie that people can get a laugh out of without being stuck wondering what is going on or not admiring Florence.

 

Overall: One to be watched and enjoyed.

Rating