Jessica Chastain Weekend – The Debt (2010)

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington

 

Plot: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Thriller

 

Story: The Debt starts in 1997 where Rachel Singer (Mirren), David Peretz (Hings) and Stephan Gold (Wilkinson) are about to have their life story about their time in the intelligence agency thirty years early helped take down a Nazi war criminal, but this event brings us David’s suicide.

We flashback to thirty years earlier where the younger version of the characters Rachel (Chastain), Stephan (Csokas) and David (Worthington) learn how they first meet and start to work together to take down the war criminal, but why is that effecting their lives in the modern day, well only time will tell.

 

Thoughts on The Debt

 

Characters – First we will look at the present-day versions of the characters, Rachel is now a grandmother and proud reason for her daughter’s book, Stephan is wheelchair bound that still on the job while David isn’t sure whether to trust Stephan anymore killing himself over just meeting with him.

In the past, we have junior agent Rachel that must first join her partners in the mission but learn about how the field works when it comes to taking on a war criminal. Stephan is the leader of the group, he pulls the strings in the mission as well as warning Rachel of any mistakes she makes. David is the quiet member of the group, he has taken things to a personal level and isn’t willing to let anyone into his life.

PerformanceWe have six great actors here, we have the two different generations which show us just how talented the newer generation are with Chastain, Huntington and Csokas compared to Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds, they all give great performances throughout.

StoryThe story mixes the two times about the story, first we learn what is on the record about what happened in the 1960’s story, but then we learn the truth about the what happened. When you look at any secret mission going on we get to see how secretive it needed to be when being told about what really happened. We also see how things could be made to be true to cover up a mistake and how they will need to be fixed if things come to light.

ThrillerThis does keep us on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what happened to make this a difficult situation for the elder characters.

SettingsWe have the different times for each setting which shows us the different worlds our characters faced the same problem.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love triangle does feel forced.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does keep us on edge through the film, we are left to guess just where it will all go and what was the truth from the past.

 

Overall: Good intense thriller but lacking the final punch

Rating

 

 

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating

 

 

Layer Cake (2004)

layer cakDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: J.J. Connolly (Screenplay) J.J. Connolly (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Tamer Hassan, Kenneth Dranham, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Layer Cake starts as we meet the guy (Craig) we never learn his name who has taken advantage of being a business man within the drug world, he keeps everything strictly business with a plan to get out of the business with his latest deal completed. When his boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) sends for him to find his daughter Charlie (Lunghi) while also working with loose cannon Duke (Foreman) on the latest job. The problem is the Duke has started an international war with his latest attempt to get a score. Can our guy get through all of the troubles and out of the business with his life?

Layer Cake enters into the type of film I personally don’t enjoy too much and that is the drug crime world ones, that isn’t going to judge whether I think this is a god or bad film. I liked how the usage of drugs was minimal to no existent in the film. The story is filled with twists and turns along the way which really does keep us guessing as we see where the final outcome of the film will take us. I did find myself enjoy this one and would suggest to people to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Craig: We never learn the name of this character but he is our leading man through the story, a smart business man in the world of drugs. He finds himself stuck doing one last job before trying to get out of the business but this job leads him into going against all of his business plans. Daniel is good in this leading role showing he was ready for the next step up.

Colm Meaney: Gene is the second in command to Jimmy who has always been the middle man between the guy and Jimmy until the two have to work together to clean up the mess. Colm is your always reliable supporting character.

Kenneth Cranham: Jimmy Price is the supplier that the guy works for, he hires him to find his partners daughter and deal with the Duke a loose cannon. He is loud and will do anything to make sure he makes extra money. Kenneth is solid as this gangster character who has too much for their own good.

Sienna Miller: Tammy is a mystery girl that comes into the guy’s life that seems to have a plan that should be keeping her ahead of anyone else. Sienna is good and bursts onto the big screen with this role.

Support Cast: Layer Cake has a big supporting cast that does have a lot of familiar faces in that all become part of the bigger picture with our leading man, all giving good performance throughout.

Director Review: Matthew VaughnMatthew shows off all his style in this film showing how he can handle multiple story branches around the main one going on.

 

Crime: Layer Cake puts our characters in the middle of the drug world where we don’t know who to trust.

Thriller: Layer Cake does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the story.

Settings: Layer Cake keeps nearly all of the settings being what feels like the criminal underworld location which works out nicely for the film.
Special Effects
: Layer Cake has good effects when needed but only uses them for the occasions needed.

Suggestion: Layer Cake is one I do feel or the gangster fans will enjoy. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Craig shows he is ready to a leading man in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Slick crime thriller from start to finish.

Ratingcard

 

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

logoDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella

 

Plot: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bond Meets Men In Black Meets Kick Ass

 

Story: Kingsman: The Secret Service starts by showing a mission with Galahad (Firth), Merlin (Strong) and Lancelot (Davenport) where one of their own gets killed in action. Galahad trying to do the right thing informs the family which includes a child age Eggsy.

Next we find Professor Arnold (Hamill) kidnapped and attempted to be saved by Lancelot before we meet the villain of the piece Gazelle (Boutella) takes care of him. Her boss Valentine (Jackson) can’t handle blood and has been hunting down the Kingsman.

Arthur (Caine) head of the Kingsman has tasked them all to find a replacement for Lancelot and they also have to figure out what happened to Lancelot. Time to meet a grown up Eggsy (Egerton) who has become part of the gang scene in London, fitting into the generic rebel without a cause idea. Eggsy gets himself arrested but makes a phone call that was left on the medal his father earned, leading to Galahad bailing him out and explaining how he hasn’t been reaching his potential.

We see the clash in culture between Galahad and Eggsy which leads to Eggsy become Galahad’s pick for a potential replacement for Lancelot.  Cue the training program where Eggsy meets a class of people who instantly look down on him because they are all silver spoon educated types, only one person can get the job in the Kingsman but how will the training go.

Valentine an overnight sensation is trying to find out who Lancelot really was and is very popular in the public image. Valentine wants to find out who the organisation really is and expose them. Galahad investigating what happened to Lancelot finds himself exposing something that puts himself in danger.

The training montage finds the candidates having to pick a puppy to keep with them as they train while Galahad recovers. Once ready to go back into the field Galahad goes undercover at one of Valentine’s galas making himself bait for his next kidnapping. Once we see what Valentine’s plan is it is up to the Kingman’s to stop his plan before the bodies build up.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a comic book and like nearly all comic book films have made its way onto the big screen. The fact that this doesn’t have a mass following like the Marvel/DC worlds means that it can be appreciated without ruining too much of the source material for people. The story itself following the lines of the Kingsman is very similar to what Men in Black did for the film world rebel without a cause need authority to straighten them out, while it is run very much like a tongue in cheek James Bond. The brightest part of the film would be the villain Valentine, he actually has a plan that isn’t all about him getting rich, and it’s about him changing the world for what he thinks is the better. I would say this is one of the most entertaining action films in recent years and could easily be re-watched within the first week of seeing it. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Taron Egerton: Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin born on the wrong side of the track constantly getting himself into trouble before Galahad takes it upon himself to give him a chance to join the Kingsman. Eggsy has to decide to use all his potential for good rather than falling into the wrong crowd. Taron does a great job in this role up with much bigger names in the acting world and barely looks out of place. (9/10)

 eggsy

Colin Firth: Galahad slick agent who takes Eggsy as his choice as a potential new inclusion in Kingsman. He is the best field agent in the business and is willing to take a chance on someone outside the traditional candidates. Colin gives us a performance I don’t think anyone thought he had in him as a kick ass action star. (9/10)

firth

Mark Strong: Merlin the technology agent who runs the training with the potential candidates, he is an important part of the team who will always be there to help with the problems. Mark does a good job in the supporting role that is very important to everything that is going on. (7/10)

 

Samuel L Jackson: Valentine criminal mastermind who has a plan to make the human race reduce its own numbers all while being in the public image. Samuel does a great performance getting to over act at times for comic timing. (8/10)

 

Michael Caine: Arthur leader of the Kingsman who puts in the final say on who will be included as a Kingsman, as well as sets the missions. Michael does a solid job in the mentor leader role but never gets enough screen time. (6/10)

 

Sofia Boutella: Gazelle is the deadly hit woman and assistant to Valentine who is as deadly as she is beautiful. Sofia does a good job as the assassin who has deadly fights through the film. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Kingsman: The Secret Service has a supporting cast that includes the fellow trainees who are all different in their own way, it also has the members of the government who become sided in the battle.

 

Director Review: Matthew Vaughn – Matthew just has the ability to make any comic book film fun and enjoyable and this is right up there with his best work. (9/10)

 

Action: Kingsman: The Secret Service has some of the most jaw dropping action scenes in the action genre. (9/10)

Adventure: Kingsman: The Secret Service manages to make you feel like it is actually an adventure film with the characters different location challenges. (8/10)

Comedy: Kingsman: The Secret Service isn’t a true comedy but it does have some very funny moments, it is more light hearted action. (9/10)

Settings: Kingsman: The Secret Service uses the settings well to create the atmosphere through the film. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Kingsman: The Secret Service uses brilliant special effects especially with the final moments in the film. (9/10)

Suggestion: Kingsman: The Secret Service is simply put a must watch and the first this year, this is just plain fun and enjoyable. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Church Scene.

Worst Part: Hard to find one.

Action Scene Of The Film: Church Scene.

Funniest Scene: Most of the training.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes easily.

Post Credits Scene: Small one early on.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $102 Million to date.

Budget: $81 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

Overall: When it comes to The Kingsman you better just start talking about the coolest film of the year already.

Rating 90

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

logoDirector: Bryan Singer

Writer: Simon Kinberg (Screenplay) Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn (Story)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Cudmore

 

Plot: Sentinels, robots that were created for the purpose of hunting down mutants were released in 1973. 50 Years later the Sentinels would also hunt humans who aid mutants. Charles Xavier (Stewart) and his X-Men try their best to deal with the Sentinels but they are able to adapt and deal with all mutant abilities. Charles decides to go back in time and change things. He asks Kitty Pryde (Page) who can send a person’s consciousness into the person’s past to send him but she can only send someone back a few weeks because if she sends someone back further it could harm them. Logan (Jackman) decides to go back himself because he might be able to withstand it. Charles tells him that it’s Mystique (Lawrence) who’s responsible because when she learned about eh Sentinels she sought out Bollivar Trask (Dinklage) the man who created them and killed him. She would be caught and studied and her ability to change was somehow added to the Sentinels which is why they can adapt. Logan must go to the younger Charles (McAvoy) and ask him to help; problem is that he was despondent at that time and without his powers because he took a drug which allows him to walk but takes away his powers. Logan is also told to find Magneto (Fassbender).

 

Verdict: X-Men Meets Terminator

 

Story: First off let’s look at how the balance between two different time zones works, the 1970s world is created well and using plenty of references from the previous films, while the modern world is very dark, full of death. These two meet well and without confusing bounce between very easily. The whole let’s stop the government from creating something to stop mutants for seemingly no reason feels done before but how it is executed works well. What plays out like just another X-Men film ups the stakes again from previous instalments and builds on the smarter story telling of ‘X-Men: First Class’ using the characters from the original trilogy, in what must be the first reboot reunion cast film. The story is very enjoyable and easy to follow and using time travel can sometimes get confusing this doesn’t let that happen as we learn more about the origins of other mutants including Mystique, Quicksilver and Beast. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Hugh Jackman: Wolverine with his healing ability he goes back in time, well his mind at least, he knows about certain mutant abilities the others in the past are unaware of and gets to enjoy the fun that involved him mocking the people that helped him in the future. Good performance from Hugh but wouldn’t expect anything less from him. (9/10)

 wolverine

James McAvoy: Charles Xavier struggling to deal with the pain from the finale of the previous film, he has sacrificed his powers to walk, but lost his fight to save other mutants struggling. Logan helps restore his faith and fight for what is right. Good performance from James showing the struggle a man has between his own personally wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. (8/10)

mcavoy

Michael Fassbender: Erik Lehnsher locked up for assignation of JFK we are left to wonder if he has changed his ways since the last encounter in Cuba, he soon shows his true colours and will do anything to get the upper hand in the war with humans. Good performance from Michael who gets to let loose after all his serious roles. (8/10)

 eric

Jennifer Lawrence: Mystique the shape shifting mutant who can become anyone and has caused the effects that have created the dark future. She is still torn between Charles and Erik fights and we are left to guess what side she will pick. Good performance from Jennifer showing she really is the golden girl of Hollywood right now. (8/10)

 mystique

Nicolas Hoult: Beast the only mutant who has stayed loyal to Charles who spends his time looking after his estate while treating him for his pain. Beast shows his colours when he is tested and puts everything into fighting for what is right. Good performance from Nicolas showing he is a rising force in Hollywood. (8/10)

 beast

Ellen Page: Kitty Pryde uses her ability to send Logan mind back in time. Only a small role that is a big part, as she spends the whole film holding Logan’s mind in time. (7/10)

 

Peter Dinklage: Doctor Bolivar Trask the creator of the Sentinels who wants to unleash them to stop mutants, but his true motive is never really explained. Good performance from Peter who is always great in everything. (8/10)

 dinklage

Evan Peters: Quicksilver a young mutant with super speed, he has been using his powers for his own personal gain but when a chance to break Erik out comes up he jumps at the chance to help. Good performance who basically steals the scenes he is in even though he is only in a few. (9/10)

 quciksilver

Patrick Stewart: Profession Xavier the older version of the man who has come up with the plan to send someone back in time to stop what has been happening. Good supporting role as most of the story looks at his older self. (7/10)

 

Ian McKellen: Magneto like Patrick Stewart this is the older version of the character who has joined forces with his old enemy to stop their demise by the Sentinels. Good supporting role where we finally sees his good side. (7/10)

magneto

Director Review: Bryan Singer – Good direction to balance both time eras into one story without confusing and keeping the same level of seriousness and light humour bought into the series by Matthew Vaughn. (8/10)

 

Action: Great action be it in either time eras that also keep up the dark tone being shown by comic book films. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: The mixing of time eras is well executed and helps the story unfold to the next level. (9/10)

Superhero: Brilliant superhero film that uses many of people’s favourites throughout the film even if it is just a small cameo, blink and you may miss one or two. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting builds the story up, the modern dark destructed cities from the war and the past settings are recreated with good authenticity. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Great effects used throughout but there are a couple of clear blue screen back drops involving Mystique. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be watching it is full of action, both dark and easy to watch along with some very good humour moments and nods to previous films. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Quicksilver during the prison escape.

Worst Part: The obvious time travel issues.

Action Scene Of The Film: The modern time final attack

Funniest Scene: Logan’s first meeting with young Charles.

Kill Of The Film: Most of the modern ones.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes one is planned.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

Similar Too: Terminator

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikely

Box Office: $351,386,660 (So Far)

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes.

Tagline: His Past, Our Future

 

Overall: Logan the New Terminator Sent Back to Stop a Future Apocalypse

Rating 91