Nicole Kidman Weekend – The Railway Man (2013)

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson (Screenplay) Eric Lomax (Book)

Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Irvine

 

Plot: A former British Army officer, who was tortured as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.


Tagline – Revenge is never a straight line.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful True Story

 

Story: The Railway Man starts in 1980 where Eric (Firth) a train enthusiast meets a stranger on the train, Patti (Kidman), the two fall in love getting married. It isn’t long before Eric starts having terrifying flashbacks to his time in World War II, where he is held prisoner by the Japanese, here he is tortured by Takeshi Nagase.

With Eric’s behaviour only getting worse, Patti turns to Finlay (Skarsgard) one of the fellow prisoner of wars, that is still a close friend of his, he fills in the experiences the men went through under the hands of Takeshi, which will leads the older version of Eric to want to confront Takeshi or his time in the P.O.W Camp.

 

Thoughts on The Railway Man

 

Characters – We meet Eric at two stages of his life, we have the one that was tortured during the war and tried to do something to give the fellow soldiers hop in their prisoner of war camp, we also meet an older version that has been left traumatised with his experiences of the war, it has closed him off from the world, including his wife, he gets a chance to confront the soldier that tortured him, in a hope it could bring him closure. Patti is the wife of Eric, they meet on a random train journey and it is her love for Eric that first starts to seek help for him. Finlay is the closest friend to Eric, he has remained in his life after the years they have suffered through together, he fills in the blanks for Patti, after Eric closes up to her. Takeshi Nagase was the solider that tortured Eric during the war, he has since gone onto be the tour guide for the railway that was forced to be built by the English, he is surprised to get the visit from him former captive.

PerformancesColin Firth is brilliant here because he shows us just how closed off a man can be when they are dealing with the consequences of war. Nicole Kidman fits her role with ease, she plays the sympathetic figure that will help open Eric up again, showing us just how hard to is working to make happen. Jeremy Irvine as the younger version of Eric shows us the horrors of war with the pain his character must go through. Stellan Skarsgard does fill in the story telling side of the story, he will join in helping make the most of the traumatised man returning from war. Hiroyuki Sanada completes the main cast and he gives us a character that is filled with the regret of his actions in his life.

StoryThe story here follows a former prisoner of war that is still haunted by what he went through during the war and after he learns that the man who tortured him is still alive, sets out to confront him. This is an incredible true story that shows how prisoners can still be getting nightmares about what happened during the war, it shows they could close themselves off from the world. this does show us how the two men met years after the events, both are filled with memories they would rather forget and this has taken its toll on their lives for decades. It does pose the question about what you would do if you could meet the person that tortured you and what you would do, especially if it had come from during the war. Knowing this is a true story does help make it more amazing to think what Eric went through and how he would react if he could find the person that did it to him.

Romance/WarThe romance side of this film shows how Eric’s wife was able to try and pushing him to talk about what happened to him, showing her love would be what finally gets him to open up about the horrors of his war experience, the war side focuses on what it was like to be a prisoner of war, how they were forced into labour and tortured if they didn’t comply.

SettingsThe film has a couple of main settings, first we get the English home of Eric which shows him in his comfort area, we do see the prisoner or war camps which does show us just how horrific the locations were for the soldiers of war.


Scene of the Movie –
The embrace.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The do gloss over the older versions trauma too much.

Final Thoughts – This is an incredible true story that does show us just how difficult Eric’s life became after his time at war, it shows just how he had become effected and a meeting with the man that did this to him could change everything.

 

Overall: Brilliant true story.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Paddington (2014)

Director: Paul King

Writer: Paul King, Hamish McColl (Screenplay) Michael Bond (Creator)

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.


Tagline – The adventure is about to begin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful

 

Story: Paddington starts when a young Peruvian bear travels to London after his aunt and uncle lose their home, London is different to what he was expecting with the Brown family taking him in, with father Henry (Bonneville) being against the idea, while mother Mary (Hawkins) isn’t taking no for an answer.

When the family decides to start looking for the explorer that connected with Paddington’s aunt and uncle, only to learn of a cover up, while museum curator Millicent (Kidman) is trying to locate the bear to complete her life’s work.

 

Thoughts on Paddington

 

Characters – Paddington is the Peruvian bear we have all gotten to know from our childhoods, he travels to London in search for an explorer that met his Uncle and Aunt, what he finds is a busy city that has no time for stranger until he meets the Brown family. Paddington is learning about a new world in London, which sees his curiosity getting him stuck in a pickle more often than not, with his love of marmalade being the cause of most of his troubles. Henry Brown is the father that has taken Paddington in reluctantly, he has been working in risk assessment which doesn’t make a bear in the house seem safe, Paddington will help unlock the wild side that Henry once had in his youth before becoming a father. Mary is the mother who wants to take Paddington in, her heart is what makes her the reason the family will let him in, always wanting to do the right thing. Millicent works at the natural history museum, she wants Paddington so she can stuff him and add him to the collection at the museum, always thinking about herself and her family’s legacy.

PerformancesHugh Bonneville as the strict father shown that he isn’t willing to take a change, he goes against everything going with Paddington, only to show just how different a man can be once hit with parenthood. Sally Hawkins brings the light to the film as the caring mother. Nicole Kidman looks like she is enjoying the villainous figure in the film, which does show terrifying moments for the family film. Ben Whishaw does make the voice of Paddington a pleasure to watch through the film, handling the comedy very well.

StoryThe story brings the character of Paddington bear to modern day London, where he must learn to fit in while alluding an evil taxidermist. We did need to keep the story simple for the first part of the chapter here, bringing Paddington to a modern London is a fresh spin because the original story was a different time, different minds and now everybody is so busy in their lives they barely notice a bear at a train station. We do get to see how Paddington must adjust to life in London, getting himself into trouble both in and out the house, but shows that his good-natured side will keep the family together, while the villain does have a good motivation which does play into the history of the natural history museum and just how twisted the reality behind it actually is. We do also have a strong theme that shows us just how difficult deforestation will be on animal families around the world, with Paddington being a victim of this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Paddington around the world to a new family, new country and new culture, seeing how he learns plays into the comedy of the film which will get laughs of the pickles he finds himself involved in.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London, it shows just how big the city is for people who have never been there before, the Natural History museum is used well to show moments of fear in the film too.

Special EffectsPaddington being placed into the world looks fantastic, he never looks out of place which shows just how well the effects team worked to make this look seamless.


Scene of the Movie –
Using the facilities.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That jungle music line, seems completely out of place in this movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that does bring to life one of the most famous childhood characters, it is filled with heart and brings the modernisation vision to the story with ease.

 

Overall: Family Fun Film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – D – Destroyer (2018)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.


Tagline – You can’t run from yourself.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kidman Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Destroyer starts when one of Erin Bell’s (Kidman) former cases comes back into the spotlight, one which saw her go undercover with fellow officer Chris (Stan) within a gang run by Silas (Kebbell). This case took nearly everything out of Erin’s life including straining the relationship Erin has with her daughter Shelby (Pettyjohn).

As Erin starts to go through the gang, she gets to learn what the members have done with their lives in the time after the incident, Erin knows that Silas is coming for revenge and this investigation gives her a chance to face all her demons and make peace for her errors.

 

Thoughts on Destroyer

 

Characters – Erin Bell is a police officer that went so deep undercover that she lost her family, 17-years-later the leader of that gang has returned, this will give the Erin a chance to make peace with this case, trying to put her addiction problems a side, Erin won’t take any abuse from anybody, she will step over the line of the law to make sure she puts an end to this case. Silas is the leader of the gang, he makes his followers do anything to prove themselves to him and will lead them in breaking the law, he has gone into hiding, with his return making him a target for Erin. Petra is one of the main followers in the gang, she is one that is still active with Silas, showing that her addiction is still controlling her life. Chris is the partner that worked with Erin in the undercover job, we see how they got to learn to work together to make themselves seem like a couple.

PerformancesNicole Kidman gives one of her career best performances ever single scene we see her committed to this role where she demands your attention unlike any performance, we have ever seen from her before. Toby Kebbell does make us believe his character is on edge and a threat through each and every scene he appears in. Tatiana Maslany and Sebastian Stan complete the main supporting cast which shows us they can step up to look strong against Kidman through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a former undercover police officers that wants to make amends for her case which ended in tragedy and has made her lose out part of her life when it comes to family, turning her to her own addictions. The first thing to know about this that we have two times being viewed, it is easy to tell the two apart because of the length of Erin’s hair. As Erin is trying to locate Silas, we get the flashbacks to her interactions with the gang members as she gets to relocate them as she is searching for Silas. Away from the investigation side of the story, Erin is also trying to rebuild her relationship with her daughter one that she shattered with her problems in the past. The mix of the two stories shows us just how dysfunctional this life can become for anyone that gets too deep within the undercover job.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film follows the events of the robbery, how it went down and how the escape was planned. We do enter the crime world, which sees how Erin went undercover and operated within the gang, followed by how she bent the laws to track Silas back down.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which as always is a wonderful backdrop for the criminal underworld, it shows us just how crime can get done around the city without people seeing it come.


Scene of the Movie –
The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final encounter.

Final ThoughtsThis is brilliant crime thriller that shows that Nicole Kidman is one of the greatest actresses of her generation, we have a story that keeps you guessing with an anti-hero in Erin that needs to fix her life.

 

Overall: Gripping Tense Thriller

Rating

 

 

The Upside (2017)

Director: Neil Burger

Writer: Jon Hartmere (Screenplay) Eric Toledano, Oliver Nakache (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Tate Donovan, Genevieve Angelson

 

Plot: A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: The Upside starts as we meet ex-criminal Dell Scott (Hart) who needs to apply for jobs to remain out of prison, his final application sees him appearing at the wrong location for a carer for quadriplegia for Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), Phillip doesn’t like most of the candidates and forces his executive Yvonne (Kidman) to offer Dell the job.

What follows is Dell learning how to care for Phillip and teaching him to enjoy life after the struggles he has been through. The two different worlds collide to teach each other about life and offer the next steps in both their lives.

 

Thoughts on The Upside

 

Characters – Dell is an ex-con who is out on parole, his ex-girlfriend doesn’t want him around their son and with options running down he is forced into interviews, which leads him to apply for Phillip’s carer, he has no experience in this role and shows how he can learn, use his mistakes in his life to move forward in his life. He pushes Phillip into making decisions in his life to continue living. Phillip is the quadriplegia billionaire who is feeling suicidal, he doesn’t like relying on people to care for him, Dell starts to show him what life can still offer, while Phillip shows Dell what he can achieve if he puts his mind to it. Yvonne is the executive that is now running Phillip’s business, she has given up most of her life to help Phillip and doesn’t like the selection of Dell in this role. We do get to see the rest of the household who must work with Phillip to make his life easier.

PerformancesKevin Hart is selected because of his comedy, he does a very good job with the serious scenes, even if he does turn to his comedy routine too often. Bryan Cranston is a great choice for this role, he does have to use his expression to tell the story and pulls of each and everyone required for his character. Nicole Kidman doesn’t get as much time as we did want, she does well with everything she needs to do.

StoryThe story is a remake of ‘Intouchable’ which is one of the best movies you will see, this does follow the same story for the most part with a few changes that come in the final acts of the film. the core part of learning to make the most of life is still here which is the important side of the film still takes centre stage. It does show how giving people a chance can help people who never got one and by the end you will have laughed enough to ignore certain plot holes. While I mentions certain final act changes, for me they don’t work quite as well because they miss the point of the people whose lives this story is really about, but they do work for how these characters are written.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is going to divide the audience because it does have slightly too much on Kevin Hart’s routine, while the original felt like it was a man that wasn’t known to be a funny man making jokes which felt more natural, though the cinema enjoyed this a lot.

SettingsThe film is set in New York this time, which shows how rich Phillip is, though it loses a spark about the location he is living in the original offered.


Scene of the Movie –
Paragliding

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much Kevin Hart routine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard American remake of a much loved movie, it doesn’t do much to be original in its own way, but does have great chemistry between Hart and Cranston.

 

Overall: Standard remake.

Rating

 

 

Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating