X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Director: Simon Kinberg

Writer: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum (Screenplay) Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (Comic Book)

Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee

 

Plot: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.


Tagline – The Phoenix will rise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts in the world where Charles Xavier’s (McAvoy) group of X-Men, Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), Jean Grey (Turner), Scott (Sheridan), Storm (Shipp), Quicksilver (Peters) and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee) are celebrated around the world for their efforts to rescue people where normal humans can’t reach, with their latest mission taking them to space, where Jean Grey gets infected by an unknown lifeforce.

Back on Earth Jean struggles to control this new power which will lead to tragic consequences with her needing to turn to Erik (Fassbender) for advice before being visited by the mysterious Vuk (Chastain) that wants the power within her.

 

Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

 

Characters – Jean Grey is our central character in this film, we see how she has a troubled childhood, before being welcomed to the school, she has learnt to control her powers which become enhanced with the incident, to a level she can’t control anymore. Jean is left wondering who she can trust, Charles, Erik or Vuk, just to find her place in the world. Charles Xavier has seen his school become the place the President turns to, this has made him reckless with the behaviour, willing to risk them when he doesn’t need to, he must face the reality that his school will always be looked at differently and that he hasn’t always done thing correctly. Erik has once again returned to a quiet life, this time helping mutants have a place away from the world, he will do the best to stop any conflict until he learns what has happened.  Mystique continues to have the ability to question what Charles is doing, she wants to keep everybody safe, even if it means going against everything Charles is thinking. Beast is still believing in Charles, until the tragedy hits home, forcing him to question what is best for the students in the school and mutants alike. Scott does play the only character that Jean loves, he can help at times when she starts to lose control, while being one of the few people she wants to protect from the danger she is becoming. Storm, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler complete the X-Men team which sees him just being extra members of the fight for the most part. Vuk is the mysterious being that is searching for the power that has taken over Jean, she is the leader of a group that want this power for their own destructive motivations.

PerformancesThis film has a mix of performances, Sophie Turner does continue to struggle in the leading role, she just never manages to convince with the unsure factor of how she is feeling through the film. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are usually the standouts in these films, but they both don’t get to make the impact they have in the past. Nicolas Hoult does have good moments, but we would have liked more from him. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee do everything asked in their roles, while Jessica Chastain seems to be wasted in the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows us a world where mutants are a welcome and used to help sav people around the world, when one of these missions goes wrong the mutants show the danger they can bring to the world, when one gets infected with an unknown power which makes them the most powerful person in the world, while a new group wants that power. It is nice to see the story continue to show how the world has changed from the events in the previous films, even if it does throw a lot of the timeline out the window. We do follow certain lines that we did follow in The Last Stand too, which didn’t feel fresh, the script does have some awful lines which doesn’t help either. Now on the positive side of the story, we do get to flip Charles’s characters showing that he isn’t the all positive figure, it does make him the focus of the story at times though, we do get to see some of the other X-Men unleash their powers is nice to see too. This could easily be one of the weakest stories in the X-Men universe and you can see just how difficult it was.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does have a couple of entertaining moments that do get to see just how powerful each mutant can be when unleashed to their full powers. We do hit new levels for the sci-fi elements as we see the new enemy and power.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us the best looking settings, most action sequences actually feel like they are just on sets, never inside an environment.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film give us a weird look to the design of the power that is coming over Jean, which does work in places, though it doesn’t look overly interesting in when it comes to the wounds.


Scene of the Movie –
The train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We should be called X-Women.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable addition to the X-Men franchise, with simple acting and mostly safe actions.

 

Overall: Basic-Men

Rating

 

 

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Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating

 

 

Glass (2019)

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Luke Kirby, Spencer Treat Clark

 

Plot: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.


Tagline – You Cannot Contain What You Are.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Concept

 

Story: Glass starts not long after the events from Split where Kevin (McAvoy) and his multiple personalities on the run from the law, continuing his hunt for the Beast, David Dunn (Willis) branded the Overseer works with his son Joseph (Clark) to locate him. Once he locates him the fight, before becoming interrupted by Dr Ellie Staple (Paulson) and the authorities.

Ellie takes the two to a hospital to study their belief they are from comics, with Elijah (Jackson) joining them as they must learn the truth about what they are capable of and what is in the world.

 

Thoughts on Glass

 

Characters – Kevin being the first identity of the multiple personality man, he has mixed amount personalities, who are trying to gain control for moments as he is just trying to deal with his own personal problems, with The Beast being the most deadly of all of the personalities. David Dunn is now wanted by the authorities because of his vigilante behaviour, he works with his son now and they help people indeed, including the latest victims of Kevin. He remains super strong and becomes the first person the Beast can’t defeat instantly. Elijah or Mr Glass remains locked up for his actions, he is too intelligent to keep awake, but he is always planning, he puts everything into motion as he gets to play the puppet master once again. Dr Ellie Staple has bought the men together as she searches for the truth about their beliefs, she wants to help them and stop them believing they are form a comic book. Casey returns and it is her relationship with certain personalities of Kevin that helps us learn more about him.

PerformancesThe performance from James McAvoy does shine through, he does get to bring even more of the personalities out in this one, being able to switch between them all effortless. Bruce Willis gives one of his best modern day performances, with this character feeling like an older version of the one we saw in Unbreakable. Samuel L Jackson shines to with his character doing a lot of his acting through his facial expression, while get the cold delivery of his lines when it is his time. Sarah Paulson is a welcome addition to this universe and never looks out of place, though it does feel like Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t get enough screen time in this film.

StoryThe story brings the three figures from Unbreakable and Split together in what is a superhero movie about not being superheroes, just being genetically different or it being in your head. The idea that we are trying to cure these men does seem to borrow heavily from X-Men and many of their storylines. One of the biggest problems with this story is that you HAVE to see the previous two films to truly understand everything that goes down, though it does seem to forget certain things that happened in the past too. The going through the could this be in their head is interesting, only for it to not be possible because we have seen what they are capable of, it feels like this aspect is a film behind. We do get the trademark from M Night which we know is coming, we are waiting for it and the question is can you figure it out? In a Superhero heavy market this does feel original enough bring a human touch to what has been happening.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from just why have they been bought together, which does get solved, which will surprise, the sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how the world has reacted to these advanced people.

SettingsWe stay in Philadelphia for this story, which is great because it contains the action to one city through the films, we spend most of the film in the hospital as the world unfolds between them all.


Scene of the Movie –
Beast vs Overseer 2.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over used of the comic book metaphor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful competition of the trilogy that we didn’t know was coming, it ties everything together, has brilliant performance and keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Overall: Tense conclusion to the saga.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – G – Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)

Director: Kelly Asbury

Writer: Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Mark Burton, Emily Cook, Kathey Greeneberg, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Kelly Asbury (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham

 

Plot: The neighboring gardens of Montague and Capulet are at war, but the gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet, are in love.


Tagline – An epic tale on a tiny scale.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Gnomeo & Juliet starts as we learn about two rival gardens, the Montagues and the Capulets, one has blue gnomes the other has red gnomes and they are at war when the humans are not around. Gnomeo leads the assaults from the blue side while Tybalt attacks for the reds.

When Gnomeo goes out on a solo mission he meets Juliet, a red that has been sneaking around only for the two to fall in love. Can their love bring an end to the war between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on Gnomeo & Juliet

 

Characters – Gnomeo is the leader of the blues he is doing everything to fight for his garden, until he meets Juliet and falls in love, he must continue his fight while trying to stay on Juliet’s good side, risking everything. Juliet is the daughter of the reds, she is forced to stay safe even though she wants her own adventure, she meets Gnomeo and the falls in love wanting to end the war from her side. We do get plenty of Shakespeare based characters with the aggressive Tybalt being the most interesting of them all.

StoryHere with this story we get another example of Romeo & Juliet being told, the waring families and forbidden love, only with gnomes and garden ornaments. The love story is fine, one we know and can learn from no a problem, the bigger problem comes with the idea of this wanting to be Toy Story with garden ornaments, but they just don’t seem to care if they upset their humans, even though when humans see them they stop.  You need to focus on one side and this just felt like something we have seen before with too many puns.

Comedy/Family/RomanceThe comedy is mostly garden puns, which can work at times, but like most puns has you groaning at times. We could see families learning from this which is good to see a proper message to people and the romance is what we know from Romeo & Juliet, you can find love in unlikely places.

SettingsThe film takes place in the gardens which have their own designs, this works for the film and makes this enjoyable to see the different designs people have for their gardens.

AnimationThe animation can’t be faulted here, everything looks the part with no problems for the audience to see.


Scene of the Movie –
That Pixar moment. Though this isn’t a Pixar movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters not caring about the destruction to the gardens while also not wanting to be seen moving by humans.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable family film, it tells a simple story with moment soft peril and puns all around, it is generic in its telling of the story and has a few funny characters.

 

Overall: Family film night sorted.

Rating

 

 

Submergence (2018)

Director: Wim Wenders

Writer: Erin Dignam (Screenplay) J.M Ledgard (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig, Jannik Schumann, Reda KAteb, Celyn Jones, Jess Liaudin, Mohamed Hakeemshady

 

Plot: In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.


Tagline – Love Has No Limits

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Love Story

 

Story: Submergence starts as Danielle Flinders (Vikander) is preparing for her submersible dive of the coast of Greenland, she has lost contact to the man she fell in love with James More (McAvoy) who unbeknown to her has been captured in Africa by Jihadist fighters.

James is using the memory of the Christmas the two met in France to keep him going in hope of freedom, while Danielle faces her fears of what could go wrong in her dive. We are left to see how their love keeps them both strong and broken in the world where they are 1000s of miles apart.

 

 

Thoughts on Submergence

 

Characters – Danielle Flinders has been using her mathematic formulas to understand the deepest part of the oceans believing one day the world will run out of oxygen and that the deepest part of the ocean could hold the answers. She doesn’t connect with people on a personal level until James comes along breaking down those walls. James More is a Scottish man working in Africa for a water company, trying to bring clean water to the remote parts of the country, he is captured by the Jihadist fighters, he keeps his relationship with Danielle as his only motivation for survival. We do meet other characters that the two interact with who helps show the predicament the two are facing.

PerformancesAlicia Vikander is always great in a drama, she has the ability to morph into many characters from different fields and times, this is no different as you truly understand her struggle. James McAvoy is great to as we see him almost play two different characters, the one that is confident and in love and the one being broken.

StoryThe story here shows us how two people on very different career paths from different sides of the world can meet and fall in love for a split second and use this to motivate them to survive and complete their goals. The meeting side of everything is nice enough we have seen it before and it works for the film fine, it is the part of the story where they are apart which interests most. Seeing Danielle facing the biggest moment of her career, the moment she has waited for, for years, but feeling broken because she can’t contact James shows her conflict, while James is facing potential death with no one to call for help using his inspiration of love for Danielle to keep him going, these two elements of the film keep us going.

Romance/ThrillerThe love the two characters feel for each other feels real, the separation they are feeling with no clue how the other one is feeling is how love can be at times and to keep us guessing to what will happen at the end is what keeps us enjoying till the end.

SettingsThe film uses the settings very well, the have the beauty of the French coastline for the meeting between the two and using the contrast of the open spaces both enjoy in their different location with the tight prisons they are both facing is very interesting to see and used perfectly.


Scene of the Movie –
The island trip Danielle takes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final act with James.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful look at how love can affect a person from the first time you meet someone, to how it will give you hope, motivation and fear when it comes to where you could find yourself in the world.

 

Overall: Wonderful study on love and careers

Rating