Richard Gere Weekend – Norman (2016)

Director: Joseph Cedar

Writer: Joseph Cedar (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Yahuda Almagor, Neta Riskin, Josh Charles, Dan Stevens

 

Plot: Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.


Tagline – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Political Borefest

 

Story: Norman starts as we learn about Norman Oppenheimer (Gere) who is trying to make political connections, his latest target is Israeli deputy minister Micha Eshel (Ashkenazi) who is grateful for the support.

Three years later Micha is now the Israeli prime minister and remembers Norman, but now Norman must use his skills as a fixer to solve a problem as everything changes for him

 

Thoughts on Norman

 

Characters – Norman is a political connections man, he makes the connections for different Politicians while finding a way to talk his way out of any situations. We see his rise and fall in the world where he ends up biting off more than he can chew. When it comes to the fellow characters we meet a host of different political figures that want to make connections with each other.

PerformancesRichard Gere is in the leading role here and he is fine in this role without reaching the levels we know he could, we do have a big cast of talented actors who do the basics well without any of them taking centre stage.

StoryThe story isn’t the most interesting, mostly because we are follow Norman as he makes connections in the political world and over the next couple of years things start getting out of hand and he must keep all his connection happy. The story never draws you in and easily becomes one of the more boring movies of the recent years.

ThrillerThe film here tries to keep us invested only for it to become too slow and disinteresting.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around New York city as we see how the connections are made and maintained.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one, the shoes scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just not interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull all-star movie which doesn’t hit any of the marks it is aiming for and just ends up being boring.

 

Overall: Boring is being nice.

Rating

 

 

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Wilde (1997)

Director: Brian Gilbert

Writer: Julian Mitchell (Screenplay) Richard Ellmann (Book)

Starring: Stephen Fry, Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, Jennifer Ehle, Gemma Jones, Michael Sheen, Tom Wilkinson

 

Plot: The story of Oscar Wilde, genius, poet, playwright and the First Modern Man. The self-realization of his homosexuality caused Wilde enormous torment as he juggled marriage, fatherhood and responsibility with his obsessive love for Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie. After legal action instigated by Bosie’s father, the enraged Marquise of Queensberry, Wilde refused to flee the country and was sentenced to two years at hard labor by the courts of an intolerant Victorian society. 


Tagline – The story of the first modern man

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Biopic

 

Story: Wilde starts as we meet Oscar Wilde (Fry) the popular play writes of the upper class of London, he marries Constance (Ehle) as they start their own family, however Oscar lives a secret life among the upper class where has male friends, with Lord Alfred Douglas (Law) becoming his latest obsession.

As Oscar and Alfred’s relationship continues to grow, we see the differences between the two men and Alfred’s father The Marquess of Queensberry (Wilkinson) doesn’t make it any easy between the two.

 

Thoughts on Wilde

 

Characters – Oscar Wilde is one of the most famous poets and play writes of all time, here we meet him on top of the world as he has a family and has his men on the side, taking up most of his time. He was openly gay in a society that frowned upon him, though he did keep his actions secret and behind closed doors, it is his latest relationship which causes the most problems as the man’s father refuses to be involved in any of that activity. Lord Alfred Douglas is the latest man to come into Oscar’s life, he has the title which draws the attention of the city to the couple, though he isn’t as loving as Oscar towards each other. Constance is the wife of Oscar, who must see her husband’s name dragged through the mud because of his action.

PerformancesStephen Fry shines in this leading role, only he could have bought us the strength in speech that his brings Oscar, with his emotions coming through when needing. Jude Law does a wonderful job here too as the young lover of Oscar, he brings the bratty side to the high society too. When it comes to the actresses they are all strong with their performances, knowing they need to let Fry shine more often.

StoryThe story follows the life of Oscar Wilde, from where he was the most famous play writes in London, while known for having a tendency to go around town looking for men, even when it was frowned upon. We see how one man can break the sensible side of Oscar, making him make the mistakes in his life which will see him lose everything and be punished for his action. He story shows us how somebody can get power over anybody when it comes to love even if they don’t mean to, the greatest mind can take away moments from life and send it in a direction which is just as painful.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic in this film shows the personal life of Oscar Wilde, how he didn’t care if he went against society for the time. The romance shows how Oscar was stuck in a position where Alfred managed to get control over Oscar without meaning too, showing how love can make you do crazy things.

SettingsEach setting feels like we are in the right time period where we get to see how the upper class lived during this time too.


Scene of the Movie –
The poems.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The frustration this is how human society once treated people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant biopic that showed how one of the greatest minds in history was shunned because of his sexual preference, showing the annoyance of how the world treats people.

 

Overall: Wilde by name, Wild by nature.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Q – The Queen (2006)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings, Michael Sheen, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Helen McCrory

 

Plot: After the death of Princess DianaQueen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.


Tagline – Our Leaders. Ourselves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: The Queen starts on the day Tony Blair (Sheen) gets appointed Prime Minister in 1997, he meets the Queen (Mirren) in his appointment following in the footsteps of icons like Sir Winston Churchill. The start of his reign becomes difficult after the sudden and tragic death of Princess Diana.

Tony trying to help the nation mourn the death of the Princess, clashes with the Royal family who want a private funeral, while the people want a public one to celebrate her life. As the public become restless about how the Royal Family have kept quiet about the death, Tony Blair must play the middle man, to keep the country calm.

 

Thoughts on The Queen

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, who suffered through a real tragedy, The Queen takes her family to mourn in their own way, by escaping the public life, but soon the decision gets questioned by her public. She must face the public with advice from her new prime minster. Tony Blair is the new prime minister, thought to be the man to bring a new image to the country, he does however find himself being the middle man between the public and the Royal Family after the death of Princess Diana.

PerformancesHelen Mirren won an Oscar for this role, she is fantastic in this role as you believe each and every scene with her. Michael Sheen proves to us all that he is one of the best talents in the acting world with his performance on a par with Helen Mirren’s.

StoryThe story follows one of the hardest weeks in the modern Royal Family history, the death of Princess Diana, loved by the people, mourned in private by the family. This cause minor tension between the two as the Prime Minister must try to balance this tragic event for both sides to be respected. This moment in history will always be remembered by the world, seeing how the private side of the tragedy unfolded is just as fascinating to see, which thanks to my new love for ‘The Crown’ I have start to enjoy watching.

BiopicThe Queen’s life and time is going to be stuff of legends, longest reigning monarch is going to give us plenty of moments of her life to see, this was a glimpse and a brilliant one.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the private locations for the Royal Family through the difficult times, each setting shows us the production design being used.


Scene of the Movie –
The Queen and Blair discussions.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think Blair should have an Oscar just as much as Helen Mirren.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at the royal family at one of their darkest moments and how they get through this week that change the world view of the family.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

Apostle (2018)

Director: Gareth Evans

Writer: Gareth Evans (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Stevens, Kristine Froseth, Lucy Boynton, Michael Sheen, Bill Milner, Mark Lewis Jones, Elen Rhys

 

Plot: A man attempts to rescue his sister who’s been kidnapped by a religious cult.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slower Than it Needs to Be

 

Story: Apostle starts as Thomas (Stevens) must travel to a remote island run by Prophet Malcolm (Sheen) who has created a religious cult community where everyone is equal to locate his sister who has had a bounty placed on her head by the cult for her safe release from the island.

Once Thomas becomes part of the community he must keep his head down with Malcolm trying to figure out who the person from the mainland that is meant to bringing him a ransom, the race is on to save his sister before becoming captured himself.

 

Thoughts on Apostle

 

Characters – Thomas Richardson has experienced the world, long though to be dead, he is pushed by his father to go in search of his sister whom has joined a religious cult. Thomas must use his skills to blend into the cult to learn the truth about his sister, which he can do with ease, his problems come from needing to sneak around a secretive community that don’t keep secrets from each other. Prophet Malcolm is the leader of the cult, he has the people believing the island will keep them safe from any harm from the mainland wars, he does make strict rules and must return to his life of crime to keep the community together. Andrea is the daughter of Malcolm one that does want to keep everyone calm through any problems, she does help Thomas once she learns he knows what the problems are around.

PerformancesDan Stevens in the leading role does give us a great performance, we know he needs to feel withdrawn with his character and keeps us believing this throughout the film. Michael Sheen shines as the leader of the cult because if any actor could be seen as a cult leader, he would be that guy with his smooth delivery of his words. Lucy Boynton is good in her role which is meant to be a woman figure before her time.

StoryThe story follows that must locate his sister who has become mixed up within a cult on a remote island during the early 1900’s. we are left to see just how he must become part of the cult just to learn the truth, where evil could be around nearly every corner because of the mindset of the cult. Where the story comes off most interesting is openly telling us that the cult leader is willing to turn to crime to get money because his religious beliefs are not working. The pace of the film does feel slow because we do spend more time that we need to on one of the side stories over the mystery about why the daughter was taken or her location. Once everything sets off we will be left entertained by just how weird things do get in this film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the way the cult and just what they are planning, we learn as Thomas does too. The mystery in the film circles around why Thomas’ sister is being put through the conditions she is and what the cults true ideas are.

SettingsThe film is set on a remote island, the idea is that we see a community away from the mainland trying to make it themselves not following the laws of the world.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show the us the practical ones being used to product wounds which look as painful as they seem


Scene of the Movie –
Purification is the scene that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Everything feels overly drawn out when it doesn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that starts slow, but once it finds the top gear it doesn’t stop, to let you breath.

 

Overall: One of the better Netflix horrors

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – L – Laws of Attraction (2004)

Director: Peter Howitt

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn

 

Plot: Amidst a sea of litigation, two New York City divorce lawyers find love.


Tagline – Getting married is a great way to fall in love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Rom Com

 

Story: Laws of Attraction starts as we meet divorce lawyer Audrey Woods (Moore), she has never lost a case for her clients and has her own strict style to getting business done and personal life, when her latest case brings her up against laid backed lawyer Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan) that throws her off her game, with his style and the fact he has never lost a case doesn’t help.

As the two fight their obvious attraction to each other, the battle in the courts breaking each other’s undefeated streaks before getting their hands on one of the biggest divorce cases in the public eye, rock star Thorne (Sheen) and fashion designer Serena (Posey), which brings the two lawyers closer together.

 

Thoughts on Laws of Attraction

 

Characters – Audrey Woods is the most successful divorce lawyer in New York City, undefeated and the one that the rich and famous turn too. Away from the court she lives a very closed off life not dating and using her spare time watching the weather channel. She is the complete opposite to Daniel, she is neat and tidy borderline OCD. Daniel is the untidy lawyer that has returned to New York and goes against Audrey in the courtroom, he is as successful as Audrey which shows the two clashing in court. The two characters show how opposites can attract in the strangest times. Thorne and Serena are the typical over the top celebrities that should never have gotten married in the first place, that show Audrey and Daniel about love.

PerformancesJulianne Moore is great in this leading role, her chemistry with Brosnan is good throughout and her timing for the comical moments works for her character. Pierce Brosnan is great opposite Moore, he is always great as the laid back figure in any movie and this is no different. The supporting cast are good too with Michael Sheen, Parker Posey and Frances Fisher getting plenty of laughs through the film.

StoryThe story here follows two lawyers that start against each other in court but soon start having sparks between them as they are against each other with one of their biggest cases going on in the court room. This does play into the idea of opposites attracting through an unlikely situation and plays out the idea of career versus love at time, for the most part this is a safe romantic comedy that does the humour when needed and the serious moments when needed too.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this movie does hit well, most of it comes from the supporting characters with Michael Sheen being the highlight of them. The romance side of the film shows us just how opposites could attract and that you could find love in the strangest places.

SettingsThe film has a couple of main locations, New York which would explain the careers for both the lawyers and the fish out of water location in Ireland which offers Audrey a chance to loosen up.


Scene of the Movie –
To the Airport.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Audrey isn’t the nicest of characters with the way she treats Daniel.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable romantic comedy that does feel very safe, but doesn’t need to over complicate anything. You will get the chuckles needed too.

 

Overall: Safe and enjoyable romantic comedy.

Rating