Midsommar (2019)

Director: Ari Aster

Writer: Ari Aster (Screenplay)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Liv Mjones, Anna Astrom, Julia Ragnarsson

 

Plot: A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Wicker Man on Acid

 

Story: Midsommar starts when young lady Dani (Pugh) has her family die suddenly, turning to the only person left in her life, her boyfriend Christian (Reynor) who has started to move away from their relationship. Christian and his friends Josh (Harper), Mark (Poulter) and Pelle (Blomgren) are planning a trip to Pelle’s home in Sweden for a special mid-summer festival.

Christian trying to do the right thing for Dani, invites her along, but it isn’t long before the festival turns into a cultural nightmare for the outsiders who have never seen the customs before.

 

Thoughts on Midsommar

 

Characters – Dani is a young lady that has suffered a heart-breaking tragedy in her life, leaving her along in the world, struggle to get over the loss of her family, she is unsure about her relationship with her boyfriend and agrees to go with him on the trip to Sweden. Dani is trying her best to get on with her life, which is seeing her have the good and bad days, while on the commune she starts to relax more in life. Christian is the student boyfriend of Dani, he is starting to question the relationship about to end it before the tragedy strikes, he invites her believing she won’t go, while also hoping to find out whether they should stay together. Josh is a student friend of Christian, who has been working on his paper on different cultures, he sees this event a major part of his studies, only he doesn’t seem to respect enough cultures. Mark is the comic relief, he wants to go to Sweden to meet women, he is quick to turn to drink or drugs, while always putting his foot in it.

PerformancesFlorence Pugh is the star of the show, she does show the grief required in her role, which shows us how hard to is finding life. Jack Reynor has finished turning his career around after Transformers, with one that must make people take him seriously now. Will Poulter will make you laugh with nearly everything he says, while William Jackson Harper will make you dislike his characters arrogance quickly.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman dealing with grief of losing her family, trying to get away from her past by getting away from the world with the festival which soon sees her trapped with her friends with a cult that has strict rules. Much like Hereditary, we are tackling grief on a personal level, unlike Hereditary we find ourselves not seeing a timeline to make us understand the recover process that Dani is trying to go through. The story does have a huge problem for me though, is that this is a story which the people should just walk or run away after seeing the first major incident, not just calmly say ‘sure this is a different culture we should see what happens next’ this is easily one of the biggest let down in any horror. We also do spend way too much time just turning to drugs as an excuse rather than trying to solve the real problems and the students just being arrogant not seemingly wanting to do anything with their lives.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from graphic imaginary that we see from the injuries, we do have tension growing and the make up team should be praised for just how real everything looks. The mystery comes from just what is happening with this cult and what they will do next.

SettingsThe film is set in the Swedish countryside away from the world, the only type of place a cult could operate in around the modern day. The sets are the best thing about this film because they are crafted which such love and you can’t help but think everything you see is a clue to what is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do bring us the graphic images of the injuries that people are going through. The make up team work wonders on this film.


Scene of the Movie –
Dancing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just using drugs to explain why these people are friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that is set and created wonderfully on the outside, only to fall short on the story which only drags along without reaching any levels of scares.

 

Overall: Not reaching the potential.

Rating

 

Detroit (2017)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Jack Reynor

 

Plot: Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds.


Tagline –  It’s Time We Knew

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Intense Film

 

Story: Detroit starts in the 1960s Detroit, where African Americans are restricted to limited neighbourhoods that were enforced by strict and brutal white police force, the equality act is nowhere to be seen here, which has only risen the racial tension between the races. In 1967 the tension has reached new heights, the army has entered the city to try and cover the problems as the Detroit riots start, days of looting, we follow white police officer Krauss (Poulter) who use his power to control the streets with force leading to him finding himself in trouble with his superiors. We also follow black security officer Dismukes (Boyega) who is called to try and control the looting, to complete the main people we will be following is Larry (Smith) and Fred (Latimore) musicians whose big opportunity is taken from him when the riots require a curfew at night as the group must hide out in a hotel.

When Carl (Mitchel) sends shots into the night, he sparks the events of this night, as the military focus on the hotel in which Larry and Fred are staying, with Dismukes wanting to make things end peacefully but Krauss, well he sees it as a chance to continue his violent ways, how will the night turn out?

 

Thoughts on Detroit

 

Characters – Dismukes is a security officers trying to stop looting during the riots, he plays the man between the lines, the violent white officers don’t respect him, the fellow black prisoners in the siege don’t trust him. He is the only one that has the power to find a peaceful outcome. Krauss is the violent police officers, he is about to face murder charges after killing a looter by shooting him in the back, he takes charge of the siege on the hotel which gets him a chance to continue the violent behaviour to anyone who supports the black side of the riots. Larry and Fred are two musicians that get caught up in the middle of the siege on the hotel, they are nothing more than kids who are just wanting to make a living. Greene is a war veteran that gets caught in the middle of the siege that served his country and still gets treated the way he did, he remains strong during the incident. We also meet the two white young women who are believed to be involved in the shooting and the officers working for Krauss who are just as twisted as him.

PerformancesJohn Boyega continues to show he is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now, he is gives us an authentic accent, never seeming like he is riding the Star Wars fame. Will Poulter is hauntingly disturbing in this role, he shows us that he will be a main stay in Hollywood most likely in villainous roles until he wants to step away. The new kids on the block Algee Smith & Jacob Latimore are both great showing the fear they are going through. The rest of the cast are brilliant too showing what the characters are going through.

StoryThe story faces the reality of one of the most violent nights in the Detroit riots, the build up to why people were there and how the events went down, as well as the aftermath. We have snippets of real footage that showed us what was going on in the bigger picture to the events around this incident. This is an interesting way to tell the story, because the first 1 hour and a half is leading up to and showing the siege while the remaining time is focusing on the aftermath which at times can drag along because we know the events, we don’t need to see a court case recounting them for us again.

Crime/HistoryThis is an important moment of history in America, the crime was horrendous, the action are almost unbelievable the crimes we witness, if you know the events then you will know the outcome, which could become negative if you want to see where things will go.

SettingsThe settings keep us in Detroit which is where the film is set, well the title tells you that, we are transported back to the time with everything seeming authentic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The whole siege is edge of your seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film seems to keep going when it should have ended a lot earlier.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense thrillers of recent years, but then the thrilling side ends and the film just keeps rolling through details we didn’t need to see after what we have seen.

 

Overall: Such a strong movie for the most part.

Rating

 

 

Marion Cotillard Weekend – Macbeth (2015)

macbethDirector: Justin Kurzel

Writer: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, Todd Louiso (Screenplay) William Shakespeare (Play)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Mario Cotillard, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis, Jack Reynor, David Hayman

 

Plot: Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: How Did This Become Boring?

 

Story: Macbeth starts as we learn that Macbeth (Fassbender) is leading his army in a war for the King of Scotland Duncan (Thewlis). Being a loyal soldier Macbeth is reward by the king after his latest victory but when Macbeth gets a visit from three witches he learns that he will one day be king. Being consumed with the idea of becoming king and along with his wife Lady Macbeth (Cotillard) they plan to kill the king.

Once the king is dead Macbeth is placed into the roll as king but his paranoia about who knows the truth takes over him when he simply doesn’t know who to trust from his closest friends and his enemies.

Macbeth is one of my favourite Shakespeare stories which instantly made me want to see this film but wow I was disappointed with this telling of the story. This story continues to show very little happening in a story that should be filled with tension, revenge and bloodshed but all we seem to get is talking, talking and talking. I am really annoyed how dull this story is that might as well just have been the stage version because nothing gets offered to make this film unique.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Fassbender: Macbeth is the loyal soldier in a war for Scotland’s king Duncan, when he gets visited by three witches he gets the new that he will one day become king of Scotland. This leads to him to kill the king taking his crown but becoming paranoid that he will be a victim just like he made Duncan. Michael does a good job in a performance that could easily be the stage performance.macbeth hcaracter

Marion Cotillard: Lady Macbeth is the wife of Macbeth who pushes him into killing the eking so that he could become king, she stays calm even though she is guilt ridden trying to bring her husband back to the great man he once was. Marion gives us a good performance that would be great on the stage.lady

Paddy Considine: Banquo is the loyal first person Macbeth turns to during battle but once Macbeth becomes king everything changes between the two loyal friends. Paddy is good but doesn’t get enough screen time to make the impact required.

David Thewlis: Duncan is the king of Scotland, he trusts Macbeth to lead his army but once the war is over the very man he trusts is the one that turns on him. David does a good job in this role which we know is only for a supporting member of the cast.

Support Cast: Macbeth has all the character from the play without making many of them making a big impact.

Director Review: Justin KurzelJustin does well directing a glorified play.

 

Drama: Macbeth is a slow moving story that should be a lot more intense.

War: Macbeth uses the war story as the backdrop to the story being told.

Settings: Macbeth uses the Scotland highlands for the settings throughout.
Suggestion
: Macbeth is one to save your money as go to the theatre to see. (Theatre Trip)

 

Best Part: Looks pretty.

Worst Part: Dull throughout

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: All hail

 

Overall: Dull, boring adaptation of a Shakespeare classic

Ratingcard

 

Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley

 

Plot: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacking Substance

 

Story: Free Fire starts as we see Irish man Chris (Murphy) is joined by his men Frank (Smiley), Bernie (Cilenti) and Stevo (Riley) for a gun deal with connections Justine (Larson) and Ord (Hammer). The supplies are Vernon (Copley), Martin (Ceesay), Harry (Reynor) and Gordon (Taylor).

When tensions start to rise early on due to clash of cultures it isn’t long before all hell lets loose and everybody is trying to kill everybody else, but who can walk out alive from this arms deal gone bad.

 

Thoughts on Free Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is an Irishman looking to get extra guns for the battle against the English. Justine is the connection between the two parties along with Ord who keeps everything in order. Vernon is the dealer who is slightly strange in his own way.

Performance wise, I don’t think anybody did a bad job everyone is good with the role they are in, with Copley getting most of the laughs with Sam Riley and Jack Reynor both doing well.

StoryThe story is very thin here, we have two parties coming together for a gun deal, things go wrong and the rest of the film is spent watching how each has their own individual battle to survive, get the guns or money. I did like the concept but it is a lot of just crawling around with random shooting and nothing else happening.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action is lots of just random shooting, with the comedy coming in places with certain characters coming off funny while others seem to be played straight, neither have the chemistry to work together. The crime side is the gun deal which is fine for the backdrop of this film.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the warehouse, this is a good thing because the film does play out in real time, this is the strongest point within this film.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea behind this film, I just feel the film doesn’t decide if it is going to be a comedy or a serious film, it gets completely stuck between the two and not enjoyable. I can see the directors style in here which I do respect but I am not the biggest fan off.

 

Overall: Strong idea but disappointing final product with all star cast.

Rating

 

 

Sing Street (2016)

singDirector: John Carney

Writer: John Carney (Screenplay)

Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Kelly Thornton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Percy Chamburuka, Mark McKenna, Don Wycherley, Lucy Boynton

 

Plot: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Film of the Year Contender

 

Story: Sing Street starts as we meet the Lawlor family with the youngest member being Conor (Walsh-Peelo) who in 1985 Dublin has to move school due to lack of money in his family. Dealing with all the bullying through school he sees a girl Raphina (Boynton) who he promises that he is can make a star in a music video and now he needs to make a band with Darren (Carolan), Ngig (Chaburuka), Larry (Hamilton), Garry (Rice) and Eamon (McKenna).

With the band together Sing Street is born, but now they have to learn to write their own songs and play their own music. Conor gets all of his advice from his music loving brother Brendan (Reynor) before Conor wants to take his band to next level to finally win Raphina’s heart.

Sing Street is a film I have only ever heard good things about before going into. The story is amazing showing how people should always look to follow their dreams however hard they seem to be. We see how difficult life was in the 80s Ireland with the dream of a better life away from their home land. Both the two leads shine and I would like to point out just how good Jack Reynor does in this supporting role continuing to show just how good of an actor he is after the Transformers Age of Extinction role.

 

Overall: The true feel good film of the year.

Rating90