The Greatest Showman (2017)

Director: Michael Gracey

Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely

 

Plot: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Magical Musical

 

Story: The Greatest Showman starts as we see how P.T. Barnum (Jackman) stars as a street kid dreaming of being a star on the stage, he works his whole life to improve the life for his wife Charity (Williams) who has come from riches. When he loses his job, he decides to risk everything by starting his own circus for everyone who has been rejected in life.

When the money pours in, he hires Phillip Carlyle (Efron) a man who has connections and needs a way to continue his fame, as P.T. is desperate to get rave reviews from the snobby side of time. This will push him to limits that will risk him losing everything he has worked for.

 

Thoughts on The Greatest Showman

 

Characters – P.T. Barnum is a man with a dream, to escape his poor life after he falls in love with Charity at a young age, he drives to impresses and give her a life she came from, this includes making a decision to make his own show with the rejected people in society. We see his rise and potential fall from the top because of his obsession. Charity is the love of the life of P.T. she came from a rich family, but never cared for the money side only wanted happy. She supports P.T. on all his decisions and dreams. Phillip Carlyle is a play writer that gets talked into helping P.T. with the promise of becoming part of something nobody has seen before. He takes time to accept his place, but a smile from Anne changes him for the better. Anne Wheeler is one of the acts in the show a trapeze, along with her brother she wows the audiences, she opens the eyes for Phillip to see the potential of the show. Jenny Lind in an opera singer famous throughout Europe, she agrees to come to America to be part of P.T. next idea which puts the biggest risk on his dreams.

PerformancesHugh Jackman in an all singing, all dancing role, this guy is fantastic and is the Showman the film describes. Michelle is brilliant in the supporting role, her character does slip from the screen as the story unfolds at times though. Zac Efron has been trying something different in recent years, it has work at times, but returning to his singing and dancing roots shows us the talent he has. Zendaya has had a great year, this shows that she could step into a musical film whenever she wants to. Rebecca Ferguson is good, but we do tend to not see enough from her character. The whole cast in the show a fantastic with Keala Settle being a potential scene stealer through this film.

StoryThe story follows the life of P.T. Barnum, who he started as a poor street kid that worked for his money, married the woman of his dreams and opened the show that offered the rejected members of society the spotlight their talents offer. This does turn into watching one man’s obsession which getting recognition from people who have always looked down on him and his father. This being based on the real person, once again shows that people were trying to break ground for people who were considered different in the world because of their colour, size or general look.

Biopic/MusicalThe musical side is filled with fantastic performances from the team, it has memorable songs that have brilliant meaning. The negative is something I found in the film was how the biopic side of everything unfolds, we don’t get any timeline to the events of the film which I feel disappoints greatly, but this is how it is told, not who he was.

SettingsThe settings for the most part look fantastic, but we have a couple of awful looking CGI backgrounds, which can take away from the scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Rewrite the Stars performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain CGI for large landscape is poor.

Final ThoughtsIf you love a good musical with fantastic songs, strong performance and a success story, this will be for you, I was sat there in the cinema enjoying every moment of the performances.

 

Overall: Spectacular Musical that delights.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Janet Leigh, Adam Hann-Bryd

 

Plot: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Halloween Sequel

 

Story: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later starts with Michael Myers learns the location of Laurie (Curtis) by continuing his bloody rampage. Laurie now has a child who is 17 in John (Hartnett) who is preparing to look to go onto college but Laurie still haunted by her brother.

Laurie is the Dean of a private school her son attends with his girlfriend Molly (Williams) best friend Charlie (Hann-Byrd) and his girlfriend Sarah (O’Keefe) who find out they are alone in the school over Halloween leaving them to decide to throw themselves are party.

But this Halloween Michael finally returns to haunt Laurie and she must protect her son, his friends from the serial killer that took too many of her friends.

 

Thoughts on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is returning to the franchise now as a mother of her child but she is still haunted by the idea of Michael returning kill her and her friends. Now she is the responsible adult with something to fight for. John is Laurie’s son who puts her through the same situation she did, wanting to achieve more and be free of her restrictions. Molly is his girlfriend that has been living off her parent’s money with Will being the love interest of Laurie.

Performance wise, this must be the best all-around cast in any Halloween film because we Jamie Lee Curtis returning, early roles from Michelle Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Hartnett alongside the heavyweight horror mother of Jamie Lee, Janet Leigh. The performances are all good without Curtis reaching the top level or the rest of the youngster proving just how big they would become.

StoryThe story brings back the favourite of the franchise in Laurie to have a new showdown with the icon Michael Myers, this does bring the story back in the direction it should have stayed before the other sequels that just felt messy at times, it would be fair to say this doesn’t reach the suspense levels the original did but it does the right thing by trying to adapt to be like the Scream films.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is all slasher level which is fine because that is all you want from this franchise but otherwise you won’t be on edge like you once were.

SettingsNot having the film set in Haddonfield does leave you questioning parts of the idea of the original iconic setting but there is no reason why Laurie would be anywhere near that town anymore, so the change in setting does work for this film.

Special EffectsWe have solid kill effects but the reality is we don’t see too many through the film.

Final ThoughtsFor a pure slasher film with a cast we all know, this must be considered one of the more enjoyable and easy to watch.

 

Overall: This is one of the first Halloween films I saw and I still enjoy the easy to watch factor it has now.

Rating

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchesterDirector: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, CJ Wilson, Tata Donovan, Matthew Broderick, Gretchen Mol, Heather Burns, Stephen Henderson

 

Plot: An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Casey Affleck’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Manchester by the Sea starts as we meet Lee Chandler (Affleck) handyman for apartment complexes. He lives a very isolated life that he is happy with but when he gets a phone call he needs to leave town after his brother Joe (Chandler) suffers a heart attack.

Lee needs to return to Manchester to tell Patrick (Hedges) what has happened to his father but returning to Manchester means memories of his ex-wife Randi (Williams) and daughters Suzy (Dixon) and Karen.

Lee’s life is turned upside when he learns Joe’s will leaves him as the guardian to Patrick with enough money to re-locate in Manchester the town he had left all those years ago, Lee must figure out what to do and what is best for Patrick.

 

Thoughts on Manchester by the Sea

 

StoryThe story is a simple follow showing how one man must face his past to help his family, a past he never wanted to go back to. This comes off like an everyday family having to deal with what happened which is great to see because we support them through their struggles. This is a story you will need to be in the right frame of mind to see but if you do you will be rewarded.

Characters/PerformanceLee is such a brilliant character who has his own demons while having to face a new life with his nephew, he keeps to himself to himself but facing these demons on poses a challenge in his life. Patrick is a teenager who does think he is better than the other students and hates his Uncle but is mostly reacting to what has happened with his father. The rest of the characters are all part of the past and present of these two. Casey Affleck does give a career best performance that is so withdrawn from the world the other characters are living, while Lucas Hedges shines next to Affleck with ease. All the other performances are great throughout.

SettingsThe settings in this film make you fully believe that this is just a normal family that has been struggling with problems in everyday life which is very important through this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the hardest watches of the year, the story is not going to be for everyone. I will be saying you should be watching if you are a film lover.

 

Overall: Outstanding drama that keeps everything very simple for the characters involved with a powerhouse performance.

Rating90

 

 

The United States of Leland (2003)

logoDirector: Matthew Ryan Hoge

Writer: Matthew Ryan Hoge (Screenplay)

Starring: Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Martin Donovan

 

Plot: After stabbing an autistic boy, the sixteen year old troubled and pessimist Leland P. Fitzgerald is sent to a juvenile detention. His teacher and aspirant writer Pearl Madison gets close and tries to understand him, first with intention of writing a book, and later becoming his friend. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of world.

 

Verdict: Beautifully Troubled Drama

 

Story: Looking in a mixture of flashbacks of what leads up to the crime as well as seeing the effects it has had on the people’s lives involved. We follow how a seemingly awkward teenager’s look on life changes leading to the fatal consequences. We also see how the both families deal with the aftermath. We also see how one man tries to help only to end up looking like he is trying to make something for himself, but also learns to look at things a different way because of his time with Leland. Mixing it all together we get to look at how one person view of the world can change it for everyone involved. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Don Cheadle: Pearl a teacher at the detention centre who takes an interest in Leland, mostly to start a book about him because he seems different to the rest of the teenagers in the centre. He tries his best to do the right thing but in the end is left helpless with what happens in the end. Good performance showing he can walk into lead roles with ease. (8/10)

 chedle

Ryan Gosling: Leland the troubled teenager who has killed an autistic kid, but his reasons are unknown and it is not until he speaks with Pearl he shows his reasoning which shows the world in a very different view. Good performance showing that Ryan was always going to be a big name in the world of Hollywood. (9/10)

leland

Chris Klein: Allen friend of the family who has been involved with one of the daughters of the victim’s family, but when he starts to feel distant from the relationship he tries his hardest to make amends for the murdered child. Good performance from Chris showing he could have been a star, but he has yet to shine. (7/10)

 klien

Jena Malone: Becky love interest of Leland as well as sister to the murdered child, whose own problems have pushed Leland away and led him to see the world very differently. Solid performance from Jena who starred in plenty of these type of dramas in the early noughties. (7/10)

 

Kevin Spacey: Albert father of Leland who has been very distant in fact he hasn’t seen him since he was six as he pays for Leland to spend time away around the world. Good performance in the few scenes he is in. (7/10)

 spacey

Supporting Cast: With an exceptional supporting cast including Michelle Williams, Lena Olin and Kerry Washington, we get solid performances from all of them. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Matthew Ryan Hoge – Good direction throughout to make a compelling drama. (8/10)

 

Drama: Brilliant drama looking at how one crime can change so many people’s lives. (9/10)

Settings: Each setting seems to be leading to the final outcome for our leading boy Leland. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, I really don’t think it will be popular for many people as the subject matter is bleak and sometimes tries to balance too many stories. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The relationship between Pearl and Leland.

Worst Part: Not enough time spent with Leland and Pearl.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $350,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: Crime. Confusion. Compassion. They’re all just states of mind.

 

Overall: Compelling drama

Rating 73

Oz The Great And Powerful (2013)

logoDirector: Sam Raimi

Writer: Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) Mitchell Kapner (Screen Story)

Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King, Tony Cox

 

Plot: Oz (Franco) a small time carnival magician gets transported to Oz a magical place where three witches are trying to gain power of the world. Theodara (Kunis), Evanora (Weisz) and Glinda (Williams) all claim to be the good witch of the land, while Oz has to keep under wraps that he is just a fraud and not the saviour of the land. Oz has to go on an adventure along with a flying monkey Finley (Braff) and a china girl (King) before a final show down between all the witches.

 

Verdict: A strong prequel to one of the all-time classics

Story: It was always going to be hard to do another film around the Wizard Of Oz, so what do we get a prequel learning how Oz became the Wizard of Oz. This works to great affect giving us not just his origin story but the wicked witches’ origin story. The story is full of hints to how things came to be for Dorothy. Be it how Oz met her mother before getting taken to Oz, the building of scarecrows and a lion in the forest. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: James Franco – Oz the magician mistakenly taken as the wizard, has to keep up appearance to give the people of Oz hope. Franco is great in this role showing great charisma throughout. With big names linked to the role he stepped in and made it his own. Star Performance Award (9/10)

 franco

Actor Review: Mila Kunis – Theodora one of the witches who is easily convinced and misled by the people around her. Good performance having to change as the film unfolds as well as being put in a position we are not used to seeing her in. (7/10)

kunis

Actor Review: Rachel Weisz – Evanora another one of the witches who wants control of the land. Good performance in a role that is very controlling on what is happening. (7/10)

 rachel

Actor Review: Michelle Williams – Glinda the last of the witches who also wants power of the land but for all the good reasons. Good performances with glimpses of greatness in the role being calm in the role when it was most needed. (8/10)

 williams

Actor Review: Zach Braff – Finley the flying monkey who vows to help Oz after he saves his life. Zach is great breaking the ice throughout the film and a great supporting character. Scene Stealer Award, Comic Relief Award (8/10)

 finley

Director Review: Sam Raimi – Great direction from one of the best in Hollywood. (8/10)

 

Adventure: Strong adventure film filled with everything you need to make it entertaining. (8/10)

Family: Good family film that would be enjoyed with all. (8/10)

Fantasy: Great fantasy film. (8/10)

Special Effects: Some great effects but also some terrible effects which really lets down the film. (4/10)

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Oz is a great fantasy land and makes a great setting for this film. (9/10)

Oz

Suggestion: I would be suggesting this to all as it filled many film fans ideas to a great film. AS many people will have loved the Wizard Of Oz this is a very good prequel that doesn’t take away too much of the fantasy of the original. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The final plan.

Worst Part: Certain special effects are awful.

Action Scene of the Film: Final battle

Funniest Scene: Oz and Finley go to find the wicked witch and the banter in very funny.

Favourite Quote: Oz ‘Please, I don’t want to die! I haven’t accomplished anything yet!’

quote

‘Please, I don’t want to die! I haven’t accomplished anything yet!’

Oscar Chances: Unlikely

Chances of Sequel: Yes

 

Overall: A good prequel that is filled with fantasy.

 

Rating 74