ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

The Shape of Water (2017)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay) Guillermo del Toro (Story)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

 

Plot: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


Tagline – Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Beautiful

 

Story: The Shape of Water starts as we follow lonely mute woman Elisa (Hawkins) who works as a janitor in a secret government facility with her trusted friend Zelda Fuller (Spencer), Elisa’s silence helps the government know the secrets won’t get released with only her neighbour Giles (Jenkins) being anyone outside of work for her.

When a new creature Amphibian Man (Jones) is bought in with strict security officer Richard Strickland (Shannon) as the facility looks to experiment on the creature. When Elisa strikes up a friendship with the creature, she will do anything to make sure he stays alive and safe once the facility decides they want to examine his organs.

 

Thoughts on The Shape of Water

 

Characters – Elisa is a mute lonely woman that works as a janitor and only has one friend in her personal life. When a creature gets bought into her facility she sees the loneliness he is feeling and wants to save him, believing it to be her purpose. Amphibian Man is a creature taken from his home to be experimented on by the Americans, he is lonely and finds communication from Elisa comforting in his captivity, even though he is highly dangerous to anyone who gets too close. Richard Strickland is the man in charge of the operation with the creature, he wants to do harm and tries to intimidate the people who don’t want to follow his orders. Giles is the trusted neighbour that Elisa turns to for help, he is similar to him with his loneliness in the world too, while Zelda is the one co-worker that Elisa has to turn to and the one that translates her sign language. Dr Hoffstetler is the man that doesn’t want to see the creature hurt, for science and his true alliance in the world.

PerformancesSally Hawkins is fantastic in this role, her emotions are shown in every movement and expression on her face in a role with no words. Doug Jones has spent his career performing the odd roles being able to transform himself, this is his biggest and easily his best role to date. Michael Shannon in the villainous role shines just like we know he can every time. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the casting wonderfully playing the supporting roles just how they need to be.

StoryThe story follows unusual attraction, finding someone that accepts you to make you feel safe and how government will do anything to learn from an unknown creature. This is both magical, tragic and special from start to finish. Each side of the story shows how different people didn’t fit in during the early 60s and just how love truly works. This is an original story that plays on as many different emotions as it possible can.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThis is an adventure like never before, it shows the risk taken to do the right thing for love, which helps play into this unlikely love story that captures you from the first moment, showing just how love can change you in a second. The fantasy elements are full blown what you would have come to expect from a del Toro movie now, both magical and fantastical.

SettingsThe settings keep everything safe, we have a faceless city with a secret facility which works because we wouldn’t have this facility in a big city.

Special EffectsThe effects used through the film keep everything looking fantastic through the film, nothing seems to look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Bathroom flood.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I actually think this is flawless.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, if has heart in every scene and just makes you feel on edge to just where it will go.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – C – Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: James Ivory (Screenplay) Andre Aciman (Novel)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Ester Garrel

 

Plot: In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.


Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Love Story

 

Story: Call Me by Your Name starts as Mr Perlman (Stuhlbarg) and his family in Northern Italy open their doors for one of his assistant American Oliver (Hammer) for the summer, Elio (Chalamet) the eldest son must give up his room for Oliver and notices the behaviour of Oliver being different to what he is used to seeing.

When Elio and Oliver start hanging out more, it starts with a mentoring effect, but soon turns into something else, a sexual relationship which posses its own problems for the two, with Elio’s age being one of them.

 

Thoughts on Call Me by Your Name

 

Characters – Elio is a 17-year-old music and book lover, living in Northern Italy, he is trying to learn how to seduce women and when Oliver arrives on the scene, he starts to learn a few things, but then he starts to question his own sexuality after he becomes attracted to Oliver. Oliver is an American research assistant working with Elio’s father, he is a charismatic man who grabs the attention of the people he is around, he takes a shine to a local woman, but the attention he really wants is Elio’s, he knows this could be bad for his career, leaving us to wonder if it is work the risk. Mr Perlman is the father of the house, he has ben working on a ground-breaking historical discovery and Oliver is part of his research team.

PerformancesArmie Hammer is an actor that has always been braver with his own career decisions, this would be considered his bravest choice and his best performance, he is engaging through each scene as you just want to know where he will take the character next. Timothee Chalamet could easily be the biggest breakout star this year, he is fantastic in this leading role, where he shows the lost innocence while trying to discovery his characters sexuality. The rest of the performance in the film are great but don’t take away from the leading two stars.

StoryThe story examines the idea of needing to understand your sexuality when going into adulthood, the story does a good job of showing both of Elio’s choices, either being with Marzia or with Oliver, because this only continues to show the decision and discovery that he is looking to make about himself. The one weakness I did find in the story, which is part my own confusion I think, is that it never feels like a forbidden love, but it also feels like it was meant to be, forgive me if this doesn’t make sense.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is the whole deal, we get to see the whirlwind summer romance between Oliver and Elio, while also seeing the idea that Elio could have to avoid his homosexual side in the future.

SettingsThe settings are breath-taking landscapes of Northern Italy which could be postcard after postcard of beauty spots.


Scene of the Movie –
Distant bike ride.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not really knowing if it was a forbidden love or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful acted movie, visually pleasant experience with the landscapes, but if we are being honest, this film isn’t going to be for the casual audience, even with the fantastic story of love.

 

Overall: Beautiful love story.

Rating

 

 

Arrival (2016)

arrDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Ted Chiang (Story)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O‘Brien, Tzi Ma

 

Plot: When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This is a Pure Wow

 

Story: Arrival starts meet Louise Banks (Adams) who is a linguistics professor when they arrive. They being 12 mysterious shape spacecrafts that have appeared around the world.

With the world growing with tension about the visitors Colonel Weber (Whitaker) brings in Louise and Ian Donnelly (Renner) to help translate the language the crafts are speaking. The months go past as they search for a way to communicate making baby steps along the way but can they finally get through to each other?

 

Thoughts on Arrival

 

StoryThis is one of the most fascinating stories in sci-fi from out of space in years, it avoids all the mindless destruction to look at a logical answer to what it would be like it we got a visit from space, the solving of the reasoning if you like. The film does also have a twist that just leaves you confused at first but fully understanding everything that happens.

Sci-Fi/Mystery/ThrillerThe sci-fi elements are easy to spot here with the alien introduction with the mystery being all about why they are here with the thrilling side of the story coming from which side of the fence you believe the humans will act, in peace or in violence.

Characters/PerformanceLouise is a very interesting, down to Earth character that can tackle the problem at hand with minimal fuss to make sure that the right thing is done. While Ian does makes for a good supporting character he is happy to take a step back for Louise to take the lead on the case.

SettingsThe settings give us a full look at what it will be like within these spacecrafts as well having the full military presence throughout the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects being used are all fantastic as we get to see a constant use of unease within the spacecraft with the mist while we see the spacecraft look completely as one with the locations we find them in.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the greatest alien incoming movies you will ever see that makes you think about what might happen if we did get visited.

 

Overall: Brilliant story telling, brilliant performances and unbelievable out to this sci-fi thriller.

Ratingcard

 

 

Doctor Strange (2016)

drDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Stand Lee, Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C, Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stand Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Origin Story

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as we see Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) stealing artefacts to help him with his next plan only with The Ancient One (Swinton) tries to stop him in what is an early sign of the reality these characters will be fighting within. We move on to meet the brilliant Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who has his own style of performing surgery which always saves the lives of the people he is saving.

When Stephen is recklessly driving his fancy car, he is involved in a horrific car accident losing all the skills he has learned in his hands forcing him into drastic measure to regain his surgical skills. Stephen’s journey takes him in search of an impossible natural cure as he finds Mordo (Ejiofor) who guides him to what he searches for the Ancient One.

This is where his training begins as Dr Strange learns about the different realities we live in and how to make them work to his advantage as he learns nothing he once knew was what he thought it was. We the training continues Dr Strange has to join in the battle against former student Kaecilius who has turned to the dark side to prove his worth to the cause.

Doctor Strange gives us a visually stunning superhero origin story because we haven’t had one of these in about two weeks. The story plays into the bigger reality battle which is a big plus to make this slightly more unique only we have this already with the inclusion of the Thor and Guardians universe. I can see why people enjoyed this but in the end this is just going to have to be another addition to a universe which is already over saturated with characters.

Cumberbatch doesn’t seem to have charisma to play what I feel is meant to be sarcastic character, Mikkelsen is just another villain that we have seen before that never makes the impact on the story but is never meant to be that much for an origin film. Swinton does a good job in her role and Ejiofor is solid as the trainer figure.

 

Overall: Visually amazing but as for origin story we have seen this all before.

Ratingcard