Heath Ledger Weekend – Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Larry McMurty, Diana Ossana (Screenplay) Annie Proulx (Short Story)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, David Harbour

 

Plot: The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.


Tagline – Love Is A Force Of Nature

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Brilliant

 

Story: Brokeback Mountain starts as we meet two sheep herders Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) & Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) who are hired for one summer job, the two are from different backgrounds and Ennis even has woman back home. As the two spend time together they find themselves involved in a forbidden relationship.

After the summer the two go back to their lives, Ennis marries Alma (Williams) and starts a family, while Jack meets and marries Lureen (Hathaway). When the two get back in contact they start spending weekends together with the love they can’t have.

 

Thoughts on Brokeback Mountain

 

Characters – Ennis Del Mar is one of the two cowboys, he is from the local area and is a man of very few words, he is married to Alma with two children of his own. After spending the summer with Jack he finds a new type of love, one that is forbidden by the people in his field, despite the love he finds a way to try and balance both loves which he struggles with more than he could imagine. Jack Twist is the Texan want to be rodeo that takes the job, at the time he is single and helps pull Ennis from his quiet ways, enjoying the love they had he tries to get on with his life marrying a woman that isn’t always there, giving him time to reconnect with Ennis and share his love with him, only he struggles with the short amount of time they spend together. The two wives Alma and Lureen are both trying to deal with normal lives with their men going away at times.

PerformancesHeath Ledger was clearly robbed of the Oscar this year, his performance is easily a career best and shows us just how much we miss this talented actor. Jake Gyllenhaal is also wonderful in his role which could easily have picked up awards. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway are both great in their supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows two cowboys that after spending a summer together fall in love, but know they can’t be together because of homosexual relationship would be forbidden in the 60’s and have normal relationships to cover up their relationship time together. Following their lives for twenty odd years as we see the two lives they live roll on as their relationship and time together gives them drive to make it to those weekends. This is the one of those wonderful dramas that looks at the relationships and how love can come from the least expected location.

RomanceThe romance and love Ennis & Jack feel is unlike anything they believed they would find and one that you can only experience once, for the time the film is set, you can understand why they were conflicted with their choice.

SettingsThe film gives us amazingly beautiful backdrops to different times the two spend together.


Scene of the Movie –
I wish I knew how to quit you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just what happens to Jack.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest dramas you will ever see, it has two of the best modern cinema performances from Ledger and Gyllenhaal.

 

Overall: Masterpiece of modern cinema.

Rating

 

 

The Station Agent (2003)

Director: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Williams, Josh Pais

 

Plot: When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.


Tagline – Loneliness is much better when you have got someone to share it with

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming

 

Story: The Station Agent starts when Finbar McBride (Dinklage) must relocate to rural new Jersey after his friend passes away, he wants a quiet solitude life, as he moves into an abandoned train station. He just so happens to be opposite a chatty hotdog vendor Joe (Cannavale). Finbar continues to meet the locals including the clumsy Olivia (Clarkson) and Emily (Williams).

Finbar, Joe and Olivia end up striking up an unlikely friendship as Fin learns to let people in to his life, Joe learns to open up more about life and Olivia reveals her own tragic story.

 

Thoughts on The Station Agent

 

Characters – Finbar has always worked and lived in the same location until his friend dies, Fin is forced to move out of the city where he wants to continue his life of isolation, only the overly welcoming locals want to be his friend. Finbar starts to learn about other people’s problems as loneliness isn’t the best thing in his life. Olivia nearly runs Finbar over, she is dealing with her own problems that she is covering up with a bubbly personality, she becomes one of the people that Fin wants to help. Joe runs a hot dog stand opposite Fin’s new home, he likes to chat and wants to become Fin’s friend, he has his own problems that he doesn’t want to talk to anybody else about.

PerformancesPeter Dinklage showed the whole world just how talented he is as an actor in this leading role, Patricia Clarkson is also wonderful in her role as we feel the pain her character is going through. Bobby Cannavale completes the main cast with an enjoyable performance

StoryThe story here follows one man that must relocate after his friend dies, he wants to be left in isolation only for the locals to just want to welcome him to the neighbourhood, even if they have their own problems. This is a story that teaches people that need to have a friend to get through your problems, even if the friend comes from the most unlikely location in your everyday life. It shows how people can live a life in pain without you knowing until you are willing to listen to them. It can show how life isn’t going to be easy and it can take you down dark paths and you will need people to help you.

ComedyThe film fits the comedy drama wonderfully, handling the serious nature of the events of the film, while getting the laughs when needed.

SettingsThe film is set in a small location of a town outside of New Jersey, the people are friendly and have problems, they want to stay strong in the eyes of the other members of the community.


Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have too many dwarf jokes, which feel like they haven’t aged well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming comedy drama that shows the real struggles in life with friendship coming from the unlikely places.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

Venom (2018)

Director: Ruben Fleisher

Writer: Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel, Will Beall (Screenplay) Todd McFarlane, David Michelinie (Comic)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Marcella Bradio

 

Plot: When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom” to save his life.


Tagline – The world has enough Superheroes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starts Way Too Slow

 

Story: Venom starts we hotshot San Francisco reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) goes to far trying to hatch a story about ultra-rich scientist and visionary Carton Drake (Ahmed), this leaves him fired, his fiancée Anne (Williams) fired and him dumped.

6-months later, Eddie is still feeling the effectives with his career down the toilet, he drinks his life away until one of the scientists working for Drake offers him a scope to the new symbiote research, to which Eddie gets too close to and becomes Venom. The two must learn together to work as one to achieve their own goals in survival with Drake wanting his property back.

 

Thoughts on Venom

 

Characters – Eddie Brock is an unlikable reporter rushing in head first for stories, which he believes he is helping people, he never worries about the consequences of his reporting. His latest attempt to get a story leaves him with nothing and his last attempt to redeem himself leads him to attack the person who killed his career, only he must learn to work with Venom a symbiote that fuses with him. Eddie becomes the good and calm side while Venom is out for destruction willing to kill anyone that gets in his way or just bite their heads off. The two have back and fourth conversations which are more comical than anything showing the balance between good and evil I guess. Anne is the fiancée that loses her job because of Eddie’s action and moves on with her life, though she will always be there to support him once he comes looking for help, most just the love interest she doesn’t really do much in the film. Dr Carlton Drake is a genius who can see the problems in the world being over-population, he has been searching for solutions and believes with the symbiotes he has one, he will give up human lives to make this happen, while keeping a positive face to the public, most a powerful businessman villain.

PerformancesTom Hardy, well this is one of his weaker outings, he struggles to make us care about Eddie, we don’t quite get convinced with his Venom side either, the accent doesn’t help either. Michelle Williams is wasted in this role, sure she will have got paid well which gives her more time to do Oscar bait movies, but this should have been more for her to work with. Riz Ahmed is hot stuff in Hollywood right now, his performance however isn’t great, it feels generic, he doesn’t give us anything we haven’t seen from a villain before either.

StoryThe story is the origin of Venom, it follows the mad scientist idea who is popular to the public but behind closed doors he conducts experiments ethnically wrong. Nosey reporter gets infected and it is a race to stop him becoming too powerful and save the world. this is simple origin storytelling for a Spiderman villain, well this is confusing, wait no, this is an origin for a villain who will not have a hero to face, but he might be good, well Deadpool good. The pacing of this story is all over the place, we spend so much time going through the introduction and we only have three characters, its not like an X-Men film, that we start to lose interest before any of the fun stuff happens. The problem is nothing surprising happens in this story and we are left by the ending thinking about the next comic book movie over the next Venom movie.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action when it happens is a complete mixed bag, the car chase is great fun as we can do things you simply can’t do with humans chasing, the weakness comes from the messy final fight which just becomes confusing in a Transformers way. The film could have a wonderful horror element, it wants to and you can see this, but it just doesn’t follow through. The sci-fi side of things well the ideas are all there to make this stand out more, the problems come by not making too much of the chances given to them.

SettingsWe are set in San Francisco, which is the same location we just saw in Antman and the Wasp, we need more cities in America to set superhero movies if we are having this many a year.

Special EffectsThe effects are yet another mixed bag here, we do have some wonderful uses of the effects, then like with the action the final battles is too messy to be enjoyed.


Scene of the Movie –
Car Chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just why would a secret meeting in the streets lead to sneaking on the base if you were worried about your family? Sure Drake has camera that would show him around his own techno base.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak comic book movie, giving us an origin for a villain that will never have a hero to face (Due to who owns Spiderman) it is so by the book it feels like the 90’s called and want their movie back.

 

Overall: Forgettable by all accounts.

Rating

 

 

All the Money in the World (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: David Scarpa (Screenplay) John Pearson (Book)

Starring: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer

 

Plot: The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.


Tagline – J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everyone else paid the price.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Thriller

 

Story: All the Money in the World starts when John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) get kidnapped in Rome, the ransom is $17 Million, the only person that can help her mother Gail Harris (Williams) get the money is the estranged billionaire grandfather J Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) who isn’t willing to pay a single dollar to get his favourite grandson back.

Fletcher Chase (Wahlberg) is recruited to negotiate a deal with the kidnappers, but Getty isn’t willing to spare a dollar to get him back as the situation starts to get out of hand as time starts to run out on getting John Paul Getty III back alive.

 

Thoughts on All the Money in the World

 

Characters – Gail Harris is the mother of John Paul Getty III, she has given up her fortune she could have had from her divorce to keep her son, she must go back to her old father in law to get the money, even after she doesn’t get the money she leads the campaign to save her son. J Paul Getty is the richest man in the world, he has made the money by taking whatever he wants and will never give up money for anything that doesn’t increase his value. Businessman at heart he will only do a deal for his own good. Fletcher Chase is the deal maker, he has been able to negotiate deals for Getty for years and now he is assigned to help retrieve the grandson.

PerformancesMichelle Williams is the true star of this movie, she shines in every scene she is in, showing the strength on front of the cameras and the weakness behind them. Christopher Plummer is great in his role which was one that we get to see him take very late in the process. Mark Wahlberg is surprisingly good in his role, taking a supporting position he handles everything without becoming over the top like you would imagine him doing.

StoryThe story here follows the kidnapping of the grandchild of the richest man in the world and follows whether he is willing to spend his fortune to get him back alive. We have the concerned mother that will do anything to get him back, even go against the father-in-law. While the story does come off slow at times as we do go through the same process too often, but it does show how greed can drive people to make terrible decisions.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThis is meant to be about a real person, not sure how real the story is truly about, this could be considered one of the biggest kidnapping cases of all time if is real though.

SettingsThe film does use the backdrops wonderfully through the film to make us feel like we are part of the scenes we are watching through, the beauty stands out here.


Scene of the Movie –
Williams performance is something to sit and enjoy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it shows us just how far people will go for money and how far people will go to keep it.

 

Overall: Long strong movie.

Rating

 

 

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