Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stephen Graham, Jamie Bell, Harriet Walter, Tate Donovan

 

Plot: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.


Tagline – The Only Way to Tell His Story is to live His Fantasy.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Biopic

 

Story: Rocketman starts as we see how Elton John (Egerton) is checking himself into rehab after his years of abuse of alcohol, drugs and sex, in rehab Elton tells his story from when he was shy timid Reggie who was raised by his mother Sheila (Howard) and father who never encourage his talent to be able to pick up any musical sound he hears.

Reggie continues to follow his dreams, changing his name to Elton John where he is team with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell) which would see them rise to international fame, where Elton would turn to drink and drugs to cope with hiding his own sexuality from the world, which could see him lose his international fame.

 

Thoughts on Rocketman

 

Characters – Elton John is one of the most famous singers in the world, in this film we see how his timid upbringing would see him turn to music where his abilities have gone to show he can pick up any music and mimic it, as well as create his own sound. We see how he tries to make an impact, working with Bernie Taupin to turn his words into song that will define a generation. Elton has an ability to see how each song can be seen which shows how his drug filled fantasies made the performances easier for him to perform. Bernie Taupin is the best friend to Elton, he writes the songs which will see the stardom come to the pair, he performs to be away from the spotlight, which will see him being the only one that can find Elton a grounded base with his stardom. John Reid is one of the managers that was also a lover of Elton’s, he is controlling with how he makes Elton perform even when he isn’t in the mindset, John is the type of person that we see ruin careers of the best performers from around the war. Sheila is the mother of Elton, she doesn’t show the encouragement you would expect a mother to show towards their child with talents that Elton possess.

PerformancesTaron Egerton is fantastic in this leading role, you completely believe he is Elton John with each and every moment in the film, the serious sides to the performances. Jamie Bell is great too, bringing the calm side to the story which is important throughout. Richard Madden is truly wonderful because he brings this horrible person to life. Bryce Dallas Howard completes the great performance throughout the film which sees her show somebody that doesn’t support their child.

StoryThe story here follows the early years of Elton John to the time he finally is able to get over his addictions that could see his career being over before he has given us the legacy we know he has had. The story is told in the fantasy visions through each song, which is wonderful and the highlight of the story telling process, the career that Elton had was great to see unfold too. The biggest weakness in the story comes from the lack of timeline unless you know Elton’s song history, we do struggle to know just where things are set until you do the maths at the end of the film. the story to watch is pure fun to watch and enjoy.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic side of the film shows how Elton John did go from timid shy young boy to one of the most flamboyant performers in music history, we see his demons start to takeover showing his abilities are slowly heading in the wrong direction. The music side of film shows how the visions of the music come to life with each song having its own unique look.

SettingsThe film shows the different location that would see Elton go from small neighbourhood house, to the mansion he spends his time alone in, as well as the different levels of performances from bars to stadiums.


Scene of the Movie –
Your Song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me No timeline.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the mot flamboyant biopics you will ever see, it turns the songs of Elton into song and dance moments which will only entertain throughout.

 

Overall: Entertaining Biopic.

Rating

 

 

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Tom Hiddleston Weekend – War Horse (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.


Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Story

 

Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.

When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.

 

Thoughts on War Horse

 

Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.

History/WarThe history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.


Scene of the Movie –
Running free in no man’s land.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting enough time with each of the characters we meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.

 

Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – B – Billy Elliot (2000)

Director: Stephen Daldry

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bell, Jean Heywood, Julie Walters, Gary Lewis, Jamie Draven

 

Plot: A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.


Tagline –  Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for all the Dreamers

 

Story: Billy Elliot starts as we meet Billy (Bell) a young boy in Durham, England during the miners strike in the 80’s, his father (Lewis) wants him to compete in man sports like football or boxing, but when Billy sees ballet being performed and wants to learn it himself.

Showing how talented he could be the instructor Mrs Wilkinson (Walters) lets him take the class seeing how he could be the next big thing, but Billy’s dad forbids him from dancing, leaving Billy to need to find a new way to practise behind his father’s back.

 

Thoughts on Billy Elliot

 

Characters – Billy Elliot is the 11-year-old boy that dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, but must learn behind his family’s back because they see it as not manly enough for him to be doing. Billy’s Dad doesn’t want his son doing dancing, he is in the middle of the miner’s strike trying to prove just how tough the likes of his men are, he must learn to accept his son’s talent to let him free from the rough lifestyle he could be raised through. Mrs Wilkinson is the dance instructor that gives Billy the chance to take up dancing, teaching him the discipline needed to be the talented he could be.

PerformancesJamie Bell broke onto the scene here, he is fantastic as the young boy drawn to dancing, he showed everyone that he was going to be a star. Gary Lewis is good as Billy’s dad needing the aggressive side when needed while also showing the passion to support his family too. Julie Walters is great as the instructor showing us the desire to see someone succeed.

StoryThe story of the young boy going against tradition to become a ballet dancer when his world is considered closed of true opportunities. This is a tested formula with other sports or skills based movies before and is one that is enjoyable. The backdrop of the miner’s strike helps show how far away from hope he could be but most of all this film shows how to follow your dreams.

Musical/Romance The music side of the film shows how important the music is to ballet with the romance taking a back step but also being everything you would expect for the era the film is set in.

SettingsThe small town where the miner’s live shows us how depressed the environment would be for the family’s living there, it shows how important the escape is going to be for Billy.


Scene of the Movie –
Showing Dad the moves.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The change in his dad’s mind seems too sudden.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable drama about the struggle to take part in something you love. This is one you could enjoy to understand a moment in history too.

 

Overall: Must watch dream drama.

Rating

 

 

Victoria and Abdul (2017)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay) Shrabani Basu (Book)

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Olivia Williams, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar

 

Plot: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.


Tagline – History’s most unlikely friendship

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enlightening Historical Moment

 

Story: Victoria and Abdul starts as Abdul Karim (Fazal) and Mohammed (Akhtar) are selected to travel from India to England to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with a gift from the Indian Empire. When Queen Victoria sees something in Abdul, sees becomes friends with him, learning about the Indian culture in a way she could never understand from the English textbook.

While their relationship becoming the talk of the palace, they even start to question whether it is good for her, but the relationship gives Queen Victoria a chance to express the lost loves of her life, a face she could never have on front of her subjects.

 

Thoughts on Victoria and Abdul

 

Characters – Queen Victoria is the elderly Queen of England, Albert has passed on, her children have their own lives and now she goes for countless routines of meeting different people, with most people almost waiting for her to die. When she befriends Abdul she gets a new lease for life and she looks to embrace the Indian culture. Abdul is a clerk from India, he gets selected to present Queen Victoria a gift, he soon finds himself being her closest aid, teaching her about the Indian culture, causing a potential rift in the royal household. He treats Queen Victoria like a person rather than a royal figure which is what helps her enjoy her later life.

PerformancesJudi Dench is fantastic in the leading role, bringing us a performance that could rival her Mrs Brown performance as Queen Victoria too. Ali Fazal is brilliant in the partnership role with Dench, he helps give the light to the role that at times is treated with racial hate. The supporting cast across the board is great too showing all the different levels people treated outsiders.

StoryThe story follows the later years Queen Victoria who became friends with an Indian clerk against the will of rest of the palace. We see how this gave her a new lease for life if only for a couple of years. The story that history wanted you to forget about becomes a fascinating watch because like most interesting moments in history they have faced being erased.

Biopic/HistoryQueen Victoria was one of the great known members of the royal family, the former longest ruling monarch, she had many stories and this is another one that shows us what she was like.

SettingsThe settings all feel authentic for the time showing us what it was like for Abdul to learn the new culture.


Scene of the Movie –
You will respect Abdul speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end while following history is frustrating to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great history lesson on the iconic leader of the country. It has two wonderful performances and enough charm to enjoy for everybody watching.

 

Overall: Enjoyable historical film.

Rating