Tom Hiddleston Weekend – War Horse (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.


Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Story

 

Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.

When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.

 

Thoughts on War Horse

 

Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.

History/WarThe history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.


Scene of the Movie –
Running free in no man’s land.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting enough time with each of the characters we meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.

 

Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – S – Sunshine on Leith (2013)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Stephen Greenhorn (Screenplay) Stephen Greenhorn (Stage Play)

Starring: Paul Brannigan, George MacKay, Kevin Guthrie, Jane Horrocks, Peter Mullan, Freya Mavor, Antonia Thomas, Jason Flemyng

 

Plot: Two soldiers return home to Edinburgh to resume their romantic and family lives.


Tagline – When it happens… there’s nothing like it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolute Delight

 

Story: Sunshine of Leith starts as the two soldiers Davy (MacKay) and Ally (Guthrie) return to Edinburgh to continue their lives, Ally dating Liz (Mavor) while Davy meets Yvonne (Thomas) and the romantic lives of the four-young people come through in the tough times they must live.

As the young men learn to adapt back to a normal life they sing their way through different situations young couples and even the older couples must go through in normal life.

 

Thoughts on Sunshine of Leith

 

Characters – Davy is one of the two soldiers who returned, the squad leader who has lost men, but returns with a few issues, but starts enjoying life more when he meets Yvonne, he needs to show that he will be haunted by moments from his past and deal with them the right way. Ally has returned home believing he can get a job and just marry his girl Liz, he must learn that not everything is what he had planned for. Liz is Davy’s sister, a nurse and Ally’s girlfriend, she has been dreaming of seeing the world one day, that time is now, can she handle letting Ally know what she wants the most. Yvonne is a fellow nurse, an English girl who moved to Scotland for love once, she has a connection with Davy, but not sure how to accept Davy’s past and his reactions to trouble. We do also have Rab and Jean the parents of Liz & Davy who are going through their own struggles even after their long marriage.

PerformancesThe performances across the board here are fantastic, with the leading men George MacKay & Kevin Guthrie showing the emotional trauma of returning from war. Freya Mavor shows how the ambition of one person can show in conflict they are showing in her and Antonia Thomas shows us how hesitate someone can be to open up to someone who could have problems of their own.

StoryThe story follows 6 lives, two soldiers returning from war, one older couple who must put the past behind them and two young women who careers are about to take them in new directions, but love could hold them back. The stories blend together wonderfully that gives us relatable characters who have everyday problems they must overcome to find the answers they want from life, it will leave you with a smile on your face when it ends.

Comedy/Romance/MusicalThe comedy is light-hearted as we get to see how the lives of the characters is not taken overly serious for them, the romance shows us just how difficult love can be for people who have dreams to follow. Everything is told in a musical style which is filled with catchy songs that give our characters the express of their feelings.

SettingsThe Scottish setting works for the film, it gets to show how normal people are going and return from war to live normal lives.


Scene of the Movie –
500 miles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I get most of the references, if you don’t know too much about Scottish culture, you may struggle to understand certain moments.

Final ThoughtsThis was a treat of a movie, it has real characters that must make life changing decisions that could have affect on the people they love, it has delightful songs you can sing along to and wonderful performance.

 

Overall: This is a MUST WATCH

Rating

 

 

Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

Ratingcard

 

 

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

logoDirector: Eran Creevy

Writer: Eran Creevy (Screenplay)

Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Johnny Harris, Daniel Mays, David Morrissey, Peter Mullan, Natasa Little, Daniel Kaluuya, Ruth Sheen, Jason Flemyng

Plot: When a notorious criminal is forced to return to London, it gives a detective one last chance to take down the man he’s always been after.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Criminal Film

Story: Welcome to the Punch starts with detective Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) trying desperately to stop criminal Jacob Sternwood (Strong), Max goes against orders to try and capture him ending up shot with Jacob escaping. When the dust has all settled Jacob is out of the country and Max is no longer the popular detective he once was.

Jacob’s son gets injured prompting him to call his father which brings Jacob back to the country. The police know he is going to return and decide to go after him even against Max and his partner Sarah (Riseborough) advice. When the mission goes wrong Jacob escapes yet again and heads back to England to see his son. Max and Sarah come up with the idea of using the son as bait putting him inside a public hospital even against their superiors Nathan (Mays) advice.

What follows is a game of cat and mouse with both Max and Jacob trying to bait each other into making mistakes so they can finish the rivalry, but not everything is what it seems because Jacob is also investigating what happened to his own son. Max also learns of a deeper conspiracy from within the force that he can finally put a stop to but and what cost, he must work with Jacob as they both untangle the conspiracy and discover the truth.

Welcome to the Punch ends up copy all the clichéd ideas that we are used to seeing the criminal film world. We have two enemies having to team up to solve a bigger crime even if they have personal problems with each other. I am going to end up on a rant with I would like to apologise before hand. Why is it we only meet the characters that are on the wrong side of the law, we could have a few false leads with actual good cops. I am tired of only getting introduced to the villainous characters. I have to say I am disappointed with the final film because in the end it just feels like all the rest we have seen before. (/10)

Actor Review

James McAvoy: Max is the detective that has been hunting down criminal Jacob and just when he thinks he has him captured he gets shot letting Jacob escape. Once he has recovered a sudden injury leads to Jacob getting returning to city where Max finally gets a chance to settle the score with Jacob. James continues his dive into the violent movies with this one but ends up give us a solid performance. (6/10)max

Mark Strong: Jacob is the criminal that shots Max as he escapes but when his son is injured he has to return to the country to find out what happened to him. This puts him back n Max’s radar but he also discovers that there is other people out to get him now. Mark fills the villainous role but in the end turning ally, he ends up giving us a performance we know he can give us. (7/10)jacob

Andrea Riseborough: Sarah is Max’s partner who ends up having to work with him to catch Jacob but this could make or break her career in the police department. Andrea does a solid job in the supporting role. (6/10)

Daniel Mays: Nathan is the lead detective who blames Max for the escape even if it means Max might have been right. He doesn’t let Max have a chance to redeem himself but is force to let Max handle the potential return of Jacob. Daniel gives us a performance you would expect from him in a criminal based film. (5/10)

David Morrissey: Thomas is chief of police making the final decisions on any police matter but is running low on patience with the Max over the situation. Why do people cast David in a shady role when we know he will become a villain. (6/10)thomas

Support Cast: Welcome to the Punch has a supporting cast that does end up filling the generic criminal world characters.

Director Review: Eran Creevy Eran gives us a traditional criminal conspiracy world film but never really ends up reach the potential it could have. (5/10)

Action: Welcome to the Punch is filled with over the top gun battles but doesn’t really end up being anything special. (7/10)

Crime: Welcome to the Punch puts us into the criminal world and nearly everyone is on the wrong side of the law. (9/10)

Thriller: Welcome to the Punch tries to keep you guessing but because you meet only villains you don’t have much to work out. (5/10)

Settings: Welcome to the Punch uses London as the main setting which works for the idea because London makes for an iconic setting for a criminal film. (8/10)

Suggestion: Welcome to the Punch is one to try but really wasn’t something I really enjoyed. (Try It)

Best Part: Final shoot out.

Worst Part: Lack of originality involved in the story.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final sequences.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline:  A Stunning, Intelligent Thriller

Overall: If you want to see just another criminal world film this is for you but nothing new here.

Rating 50