ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Y – The Young Victoria (2009)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Julian Fellowes (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong

 

Plot: A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.


Tagline – She was the queen of an empire, but her heart belonged to one man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: The Young Victoria starts as young Victoria (Blunt) has been guarded from the world, knowing she will be next in line for the throne, Sir John Conroy (Strong) has been trying to get her to sign a regency order, meaning he would become king until she came of age, only for Victoria to refuse. We follow her 17th year as she starts meeting suiters for her husband, Belgium’s Prince Albert (Friend) being the prime candidate.

When King William (Broadbent) dies, it places Victoria in the position of Queen of England, Lord Melbourne (Bettany) must try to guide her in the decisions that she may face, while Victoria and Albert stay in contact through letters, that shares their love.

 

Thoughts on The Young Victoria

 

Characters – Victoria was raised to become Queen one day, forced to follow strict rules including walking down stairs holding somebody’s hand and sharing a bedroom with her mother. She is always under pressure about signing a regency, only to refuse because she knows that one day she will become Queen, she wants to make her rule, her own, which sees her wanting to pick her love, instead of following the rules the rest are trying to place for her. Prince Albert is the son of King Leopold of Belgium, the two fall in love and know that their union will keep the countries together stronger. Lord Melbourne is the advisor to Victoria, he has his own agenda which he wants to put into place, making him a danger figure in her connection to the common people of England. The Duchess of Kent is the mother of Victoria, who has been following the rules to protect her daughter and stuck following whatever John Conroy says.

PerformancesEmily Blunt shines in this leading role as the young Victoria, she brings the grace and determination to change the country through with her performance which you could believe the real Victoria doing to Britain. Rupert Friend as Prince Albert is wonderful too as he shows us the one person that would truly stand up against the Queen as many others would be in fear of her. Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson round off the main cast as they both are great in their roles through the film.

StoryThe story follows the firs year that Queen Victoria was on the throne, we see how she had to learn quickly with how the politicians would try to sway her, meet a husband and try to help sort out a country with big divides between the upper class and the lower class. We see that even at a young age she was able to make these decisions to bring Britain forward and mark herself down as one of the most important leaders the nation ever saw. After becoming a fan of The Crown this was an easy story to step into as smaller moments made sense, if you don’t know certain historic rules the Queen must follow, you might not get why certain scenes in the film happen.

Biopic/History/RomanceThis movie shows us how important Queen Victoria’s reign was, we might only follow around a year, but she wanted to start making changes early on which will later become her legacy, the romance that she goes through shows how the Albert came into her life and showed her, they could rule together if they challenged the rules they believed to be wrong.

SettingsEach setting used in this film feels like the true settings we would see the royals living in, each one shows just how they could be living in the upper class, with the set design showing the beauty within the buildings.


Scene of the Movie –
The ride around town which changed everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have certain rules that never get explained, which people might not understand.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot biopic that shows us the first year’s reign of Queen Victoria, the difficulties she faced and how she overcame them all.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – T -The Tourist (2010)

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes (Screenplay) Jerome Salle (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell

 

Plot: Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This was Rather Boring

 

Story: The Tourist starts as we watch Inspector John Acheson (Bettany) track Elise Flifton-Ward (Jolie) across Europe in search for a mysterious Alexander Peirce. While travelling to Venice Elise is assigned to find someone who looks like Alexander, which brings in Frank Tupelo (Depp) an American tourist travelling through Europe that ends up enjoying the company of Elise.

When Acheson knows that Frank is a nobody in his case, he continues his case tracking Elise but crossed information leads to Frank finding his own life in danger from a gangster who is searching for Peirce too.

Frank must escape and stay alive but Elise needs to get her job done but now wants to keep Frank safe with multiple people after them, you know what I lost the plot here.

 

Thoughts on The Tourist

 

Characters/PerformanceElise is a mysterious woman that has connection to a known and wanted criminal, she finds herself trapped in the middle of saving an innocent man she has gotten in the middle of her misleading plan or getting the job done. Frank is the widowed American tourist who gets pulled into the world of criminal activity all while being innocent.

Performance wise, Depp clearly is in the middle of his pay day run here never reaching the heights we know he can while Jolie isn’t too much better in her role.

StoryThe story is mostly about a femme fatale trying to keep everyone away from her boss but soon learns that this random man has stolen her heart. We have twists turns but you just don’t care about the operation going on through the film, which just makes everything come off plain.

Action/RomanceThe action is very basic and you wouldn’t expect any tension through the film with the romance almost getting thrown down our throats too much without being believable.

SettingsVenice makes for a beautiful setting but the film just doesn’t capture everything in its full.

Special EffectsThe special effects are again all basic never pulling you into the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a star driven action borefest, we rely on the idea that Depp and Jolie could pull in any audience member but then forget to give us an interesting story.

 

Overall: Easily forgotten movie

Rating

 

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany

 

Plot: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Star Wars Fans Only

 

Story: Solo: A Star Wars Story starts as we meet Han (Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Clarke) are they are planning a life away from a prison like planet, Han gets away and joins forces with smuggler Beckett (Harrelson) and along the way he meets Chewbacca (Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Glover) as they go on one high risk heist to clear their debts from Dryden Vos (Bettany).

 

Thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

Characters – Han comes from a prison like planet, dreaming of being the best pilot in the galaxy, once out he wants to save his girl, but to do so he must team up with smugglers to pay for his own ship, he meets his trusted co-pilot Chewbacca and other business partners in the galaxy, not wanting to commit to either side of the impending war. Chewbacca shows his loyalty to Han, as the one who saved him, he is pretty much what we know, but strangely has more of the comic side like we have seen in the modern films. Beckett the thief that reluctantly takes Han under his wing, he teaches him the trade and how to survive becoming the mentor figure for the film. Qi’ra is the girlfriend from the prison planet that Han wants to go back for and save one day, she gives him the strength to take the risks he does. Lando Calrissian is the charismatic smuggler that knows how to get out of any bad situation, he has the flare to draw the ladies in and will do anything to protect his ship. Dryden Vos in a gangster figure that the deal is for, he will kill people, but just ends up being standard villain, not offering much of a threat or back story, to what his scars are about. We have a couple more names characters, but none make too much of an impact, L3-37 doesn’t hit the comedy levels that is hoped for and Rio falls into knocked off Rocket Racoon territory.

PerformancesI don’t want to write that any of the performances we bad, the problem is that most are not that memorable, Alden always had huge shoes to follow and he doesn’t seem to capture the charm Ford bought to the role, Joonas is great as Chewbacca, but not too difficult for what he needs to do, Woody Harrelson is someone I could watch in most films, he is always good. Emilia Clarke continues to pop up in big franchise movies and being fine without being anything more, Paul Bettany enjoys a villainous role without needing to do much and Donald Glover is the scene stealer here as you want to watch every moment he is in.

StoryWe know from the start this is an origin story for Han Solo, this does the instant thing we know, HE WILL NOT BE IN TROUBLE IN THIS FILM, putting him in any peril related moment is almost pointless same goes for Chewbacca and Lando, as for the rest there is always questions about their relationship to Han and whether he could trust them, this is good part. The story also includes the origin of the Solo name, which is awful. The problem with the story for myself is that it is a generic heist movie that we have seen with Firefly/Serenity who did it a lot better, this doesn’t give us too much to go on even if the story is paced well to not give us too much slow moments.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action is on the levels you would expect for a Star Wars film, we have laser battles which the bad guys can’t shot for shit and the heroes one shot anyone, so basically me on Fortnite. The adventure does take Han on his first across the galaxy even though it never feels like we are part of it and even the sci-fi side of the film just seems to not hit the marks.

SettingsThe settings take us to the different planets, we have a snowy one, a criminal based one, a desert one and mining one, none look overly original or make anything memorable about what happens there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best part of the film, nothing looks out of place the creation of the different droids is great and the space sequences look flawless.


Scene of the Movie –
Lando alone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How he got the Solo name.

Final ThoughtsThis is one I can see the Star Wars fan loving, if you haven’t seen a Star Wars movie, this will miss on too many levels, the comedy barely hits, the characters decision making makes no sense and by the end of the movie you will be better off watching Firefly.

 

Overall: Disappointingly generic sci-fi heist movie.

Rating

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon (Characters)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 

Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe


Tagline – An entire universe. Once and for all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Game Changer

 

Story: Avengers: Infinity War starts as we see the power of Thanos (Brolin) collecting his second infinity stone leaving a path of destruction, with his power growing the Avengers must unit to fight and stop him getting the remaining Infinity Stones that will give him the power to eliminate half of any population with the click of his fingers.

The battle will take place in space, on distant planets and back home on Earth where we get to see unseen team ups and reunions between friends.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Way

 

Characters – When we dive into characters we have so many to talk about, I will spend time talking Thanos because has been a villain waiting in the background for many films for, we know his is powerful and this is how you make a villain the powerful force we know and will remember because what he does in this film will make you remember within the first five minutes, but we do also see what drives him and that he has true belief in his cause. In the rest of the characters we know what we are getting from most, I was impressed with Doctor Strange as I wasn’t too interested in the solo film, Thor has a brilliant story arc that keeps his character in the tone we got in Ragnarok and the father son dynamic between Tony and Peter is still here. Drax gets the most laughs once more, while everyone around Steve Rogers is the more serious side of the film. the only negatives on the characters we meet would be the generals for Thanos, who are largely forgettable.

PerformancesThe performances like the characters we have way too many to talk about, Josh Brolin being the new comer makes a massive impact easily becoming the best villain in the MCU. The talent on the Avengers is fantastic and the people that stood out for me were Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista and Chris Hemsworth, while I don’t think anybody is close to being bad, I felt the actors on the Earth battle weren’t given enough to do to get to their best abilities.  

StoryThe story here is the build up for 18 movies, we have developed our heroes while learning little about the villain, this story shows just what Thanos is fighting for, what he will do to get it and what the heroes will need to do to stop him. For me this is the game changer in superhero movies, we manage to handle seeing separate groups work together to fight on different worlds in groupings you wouldn’t put together, this does however mean certain characters don’t meet in this story which might disappoint fans. The story also balances comedy with the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy mostly and the serious side of what is coming with Captain America. This is easily what we as fans have deserved, but you might not get everything if you haven’t seen the other films.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/FantasyThe action is massive and takes us to different worlds for the battles which each are filled with peril because we know not everyone will make it out of this one. the adventure takes our characters to places they haven’t been before for their part in the story, which brings the sci-fi sides with large parts of the film being in space and different worlds that only could come from fantasies of comic books.

SettingsEach setting offers our characters a challenge they will need to face in battle, this shows how easily travelling through space can be if you know the ability to do so.

Special EffectsThese fight sequences, action sequences look breath taking and nearly everything is flawless except the routine space creatures in the final battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor meeting the Guardians.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We learn why a couple of characters are not in the film, but there are some that just seem missing which frustrates because they were interesting ones you would have liked to have seen fight.

Final ThoughtsThis is the biggest comic book movie of all time, it changes everything going forward and is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: Must See Brilliance.

Rating

 

 

Paul Bettany Weekend – Firewall (2006)

firewalDirector: Richard Loncraine

Writer: Joe Forte (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Carly Schroeder, Jimmy Bennett, Mary Lynn Raskub, Robert Patrick, Alan Arkin

 

Plot: A security specialist is forced into robbing the bank that he’s protecting, as a bid to pay off his family’s ransom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Firewall starts as we see family man Jack (Ford), wife Beth (Madsen) and children Sarah (Schroeder) and Andy (Bennett). Jack works for a bank and prides himself on the software security. When Jack finds himself targeting first by online fraud he finds his late night meeting with Bill (Bettany) has alternative plans by taking his family hostage.

The plan is for Jack to go about his normal day while the kidnappers stay at Jack’s home to force him into helping them rob the bank. The problem comes with Jack as his bank is in the middle of a potential merger being handled by Gary (Patrick) who hasn’t taken too fondly of Jack.

While Jack tries to find a way to get his family safe he tests Bill’s patience while also trying to keep his career safe against the new take over can he make it all work out and save his family?

Firewall is a crime thriller that is a bank heist with a twist, yes we do get the idea where the bank worker has to do robbery, but what works here is the cyber side of the heist comes slightly original. The idea of having the family as bait also works but knowing the family will be killed means he has to fight back. The problem comes with a lot feelings of repetitive ideas which while solid easy to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Harrison Ford: Jack has been working for a bank that he has helped grow from the ground up, on the verge of a merger that will have him and his partner having to make a difficult choice. With that going on Jack also finds himself being the victim of a plot to rob the bank where his family’s lives are put at risk. Harrison is good in this role but nothing we have seen it before from him.jack

Paul Bettany: Bill is the man holding Jack’s family hostage as he has carefully planned this, he comes of charming but equally as dangerous when it comes to tricks. He will kill his own men for being incompetent and will risk hurting Jack’s children to make sure he gets the money. Paul is good in this role where we get to see him take the role of British villain.bill

Virginia Madsen: Beth is the wife of Jack who has to spend the time with Bill’s men while protecting her children. Virginia is solid in this role without being too impactful.

Robert Patrick: Gary is the man planning the merger, he doesn’t like Jack after first impression which leaders to Jack having to impress him while protecting his family. Robert is good in this supporting role but I think we need a final scene with him.

Support Cast: Firewall has a supporting cast that you would expect to see in this type of film.

Director Review: Richard LoncraineRichard gives us an easy to thriller that doesn’t take enough risks.

 

Crime: Firewall enters us into the world of a bank heist that really shows both sides of the battle.

Thriller: Firewall keeps us one edge as we try to see how the Jack will solve the problem.

Settings: Firewall uses the settings to make everything simple for the story without making anything original.
Special Effects
: Firewall has a couple of solid effects when needed but doesn’t turn to them too often.

Suggestion: Firewall is one to try as it will tick all the basic ideas down correctly.  (Try It)

 

Best Part: Bill twisted message with the cookies.

Worst Part: Not much new.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: Everything He loves Is About To Be Used Against Him.

 

Overall: Enjoyable thriller that never really tested.

Ratingcard