Kinsey (2004)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Bill Condon (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O’Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliva Platt

Plot: A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.


Tagline – Let’s talk about sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: History Lesson 101

Story: Kinsey starts as we meet Alfred Kinsey (Neeson) has started to teach his students about how to ask the neutral questions to their candidates, we dive into his past where his father Alfred Seguine Kinsey (Lithgow) didn’t want him going anywhere needed around science, which his son Alfred learns, he meets his wife Clara (Linney) and when they have their own sexual problems, it inspires Alfred to open up the idea of teaching sex in school.

Professor Kinsey starts a marriage class with Clyde Martin (Sarsgaard) becoming his assistant in the class, as the students and married couples learn more about how to open people can be sharing their sexual experiences and preference, changing how people study sex.

Thoughts on Kinsey

Characters – Alfred Kinsey Jr breaks his family traditions by heading into the field of biology, he soon sees his worked praised, but nothing coming from it, it is when his wife and himself struggle in the bedroom, that he learns not enough research has been done in the field of sexual activity which sees him change history and the field of its study. Clara is the wife of Alfred’s, it is their problem which opens up the eyes, as they work together to learn about sexual choices, she supports from home for the most part. Wardell, Paul and Clyde are three of the assistants that work with Alfred learning as they discover more about everything in the sexual world. We do meet the professors that will support Kinsey’s work along with the ones that go against him.

PerformancesLiam Neeson is wonderful in this leading role, he gets to follow through many years of Kinsey’s life which shows the different moments of success and struggles he faced trying to open the eyes of the world. Laura Linney is great in the supporting role showing the supportive side to Kinsey’s work, with the whole supporting cast being strong through the film not putting a foot wrong anywhere through the film.

StoryThe story does follow Professor Alfred Kinsey as he went to onto change the mindset of the educational system that has shied away from for years, he pushes the limits and educates the generation about sex. This is an interesting look at how the education system was used to open up the world of sex to a new generation, we get to see just how difficult the fight to get everything through a system that wouldn’t accept anything outside the traditions and wanted to put an end his research. For a history lesson this is interesting and well worth watching because the story does show different ages opening up in ways that we would consider almost normal now.

Biopic/RomanceWe do get to see most of Alfred Kinsey life and career, how his work changed research already the world and educated people to be safer when engaged in sexual activities. The romance is mostly about how Alfred and Clara are open to working together and show how they are going to exploring themselves along with others.

SettingsThe film is set through different times of history from how the small classroom to the full department being used for research.


Scene of the Movie – The first class.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get to learn just how much he changed everything.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting history lesson that shows us just how sex was needed to be taught from everyone to everyone.

Overall: Interesting history lesson.

Mr Holmes (2015)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher (Screenplay) Mitch Cullin (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam

 

Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia, as he tries to remember his final case, and a mysterious woman, whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.


Tagline – The man behind the myth

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice, but Slow Drama

 

Story: Mr Holmes starts as we follow Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) as he heads to the country to retire, his housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker) that he takes under his wing to work with his bees. Sherlock is in the middle of writing a story about his last case after Watson had left him, as well as remember his time in Japan with Tamiki (Sanada).

As the story continues we learn that Sherlock’s memory is going and he wants to erase the misconception of his character that Watson has created.

 

Thoughts on Mr Holmes

 

Characters – Sherlock Holmes is one of the iconic characters in any mystery tale, this time we following him in his latter years, as we follow the three moments, the last case he didn’t solve, the trip to Japan and how he is writing the story about his last case. This character is interesting to find because we see a great mind struggling to remember everything that he should. Mrs Munro is the housekeeper looking after Sherlock while he focuses on his projects and bees, she does want to move away with her son because she finds Sherlock more in need of a nurse than a housekeeper. Roger is her young son that Sherlock takes under his wing, he is eager to learn more about his stories and the bees which can leave him in trouble at times. Tamiki has invited Sherlock to Japan, claiming to be a big fan, but he has different motives for this, we don’t really see enough of this character though.

PerformancesIan McKellen is fantastic in the leading role, but could we expect anything less from one of the greatest of all times? Laura Linney has always been able to mould herself into any supporting character and here is no different. Milo Parker is good for a child star, nailing the important scenes and keeping his innocence about him. Hiroyuki Sanada is a man we would have liked to have seen more in this film, I feel there is a lot more that we could have had from his character.

StorySherlock Holmes, the icon, the legend, the detective that solves every case, is now old and trying to put together parts of his memory o finish a final book, as he tries to remember the chapters of his life. Following the three different stages of his elderly life, can in places become confusing, but everything is tied up by the end and plays into the idea of what is real or part of a story well. The pace of the story is slow in places which doesn’t help keep on top of everything though.

MysteryThe mystery side of the film, comes off slow, we have a couple of mysteries Holmes wants to solve, but we never get left in a position to want to see them unfold.

SettingsThe settings play into the late 40s well, Japan is haunting for this, the beach/cliff top location looks beautiful too.


Scene of the Movie –
Japan and the aftermath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow mystery movie that does focus on certain parts of the later life of a Holmes figure which is different as it is him battle against his own mind while trying to remember or solve the cases.

 

Overall: Slow, but interesting.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – H – Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Richard Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Martin McDougall

 

Plot: The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.


Tagline – One weekend that would unite two great nations 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Hyde Park on Hudson starts as the 5th cousin Daisy (Linney) gets called to keep her cousin President Franklin D Roosevelt (Murray), the two have a unique friendship with it being a forbidden romance. This weekend, FDR is hosting the king of England Bertie (West) and his wife Elizabeth (Colman).

The weekend arrives with FDR opening his family home to the royals, with him striking up a friendship with Bertie, while Daisy now needing to figure out whether she is in love with FDR and willing to share him or not.

 

Thoughts on Hyde Park on Hudson

 

Characters – Franklin D Roosevelt is the president of the United States of America, he lives with his mother and mistresses, with his latest one coming from his own cousin line, he is hosting the King of England Bertie who has his own stuttering problem, FDR is willing to help him learn that isn’t going to hold him back. Daisy is the 5th cousin to the President who ends up in an affair with him, even if she can’t have the same standard as the other mistresses, with the story being told from her point of view. Bertie is the king of England who is visiting America to spend the weekend with the President, he is still working with his stutter, which is his biggest fear. Elizabeth is the queen of England, she tries to stop Bertie doing anything that could put a bad light on the royal family.

PerformancesBill Murray is strong as the former president, it might have seemed like a strange casting choice, but it did work for what the film was trying to say, this can go for Laura Linney too, the lover figure that doesn’t know completely where she stands, we see the uncertainty on her in every scene. The cast all do the job required without anybody getting to shine to their strongest ability.

StoryThe story looks at one of the mistresses of FDR, the royal visit before the second world war and just how everybody was keeping their lives together during this weekend which has a major spotlight on two of the most powerful people in the world. the story is told in a diary format showing just how the events of the weekend unfolded through the eyes of Daisy and it just drags along without giving the audience enough interest to go, ‘that was interesting’ this does feel like we could have had more about it before it just falling into a film about King George eating a hotdog.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film does follow just the one weekend which led to the relationship between FDR and Daisy, we don’t learn enough about the lives they have been living before either. The comedy comes from certain moments involving FDR which will give the lighter mood to the film rather than a laugh out loud moment.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the home of FDR during the weekend, it tries to show us just how the relationship drama of everyone involved plays out.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotdog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact this film seems to be about whether the king would eat a hotdog or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull movie that seems to lack any sort of interesting story, the performances are as strong as possible with the lack of much to do.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Drama.

Rating

 

 

Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.


Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Primal Fear

 

Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.

 

Overall: Courtroom delight.

Rating

 

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

tennageDirector: Dave Green

Writer: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec (Screenplay) Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman (Characters)

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee

 

Plot: After facing Shredder, who has joined forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bigger Story, More Turtles

 

Story: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow starts one year after the events of the first film, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo the turtles are still living in the shadows but now in the city. They are filled jealousy that Vernon (Arnett) has taken the praise for their work but understand they must stay in the shadows however hard Michelangelo is finding it all.

Meanwhile April (Fox) is back at her journalist nature where she is investigating brilliant scientist Baxter Stockman (Perry) who she believes in working with Shredder (Tee) to get him released from prison. After the turtles fail to make this happen Shredder is free in New York City once again, but now he is working with new threat to the city Krang.

Krang makes a deal with Shredder the two work together to help eliminate the turtles with new lackies Rocksteady (WWE’s Sheamus) and Bebop (Williams). Meanwhile the turtles have a new ally in Casey Jones (Amell) a local police officers who lost the prisoners.

The turtles must learn to work together after they learn the purple ooze could make them normal divides them but they must stop Shredder and Krang’s plan that could be destruction to the world this time.

 

Thoughts on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow

 

Characters/PerformanceThe turtles are back and still trying to figure out their place in the world, they want to see more but understand they can’t, but this time they get a chance to come out of the shadows to become the heroes New York city needs but the battle they face between themselves with a chance to become human and fit in. April has a smaller role this time still being the journalist but mostly for the turtles during the daytime with Vernon taking a smaller role to as the hero the city thinks they have. Casey Jones is a good addition as a man who wants to be a hero and is doing all he can to make it happen. On the villain side of things Shredder is a human villain this time looking to finish off the turtles once and for all with Krang being the big bad this time and only really being the generic alien invader. Rocksteady and Bebop take the comical roles in the most part of this film.

Performance wise we have great motion capture for the turtles throughout, with Megan Fox doing well in this smaller role with the star human performance being Stephen Amell who joins the cast. It would be fair to say the villains are generical performed without standing out in any way through the film.stars

StoryThe story here does seem to be deeper than the previous because the turtles are dealing with wanting to be accepted even though they are different, which is something a lot of people can relate too. The battle between good and evil is just something we have seen plenty of times that throws out twists and turns we can see coming easily, but is fun and easy to watch.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is bigger and crazier throughout which is all good for what you want to see. The comedy nearly only comes from Michelangelo, Rocksteady and Bebop which is fine as it just works for what it needs to be.

SettingsMost of the film is set in New York City but when they leave for the brief moments we get to see the bigger action scenes unfold.

Special EffectsAll of these special effects work to add to the action going on throughout even if most of wild set pieces.genre

Final ThoughtsIf you are a fan of the turtles, then you will enjoy this movie because it is pure mindless entertainment.

 

Overall: This is entertaining throughout the whole film.

Ratingrating