ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – A – A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Bruhl, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe

 

Plot: A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror.


Tagline – Inspired by true events

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burn

 

Story: A Most Wanted Man starts in the aftermath of 9/11, intelligence agency around the world are trying to stay on top of all known terrorists, with Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) following a Chechen immigrate in Hamburg with his team, leading his German team on tracking his known connections, before the US get involved with Martha Sullivan (Wright) checking on the investigation.

When attorney Annabel Richter (McAdams) uses her contacts with bank manager Tommy Brue (Dafoe) to help Karpov become a resident of Germany, Gunther continues to watch over to see if he is a threat even with the added pressure of America.

 

Thoughts on A Most Wanted Man

 

Characters – Gunther Bachmann is the German agent that is tracking known terrorists, his team has connections and keeps eyes on most of the suspects with their latest one being one wanted worldwide, he must figure out if this man is a danger or not. Martha Sullivan is part of the American team searching for the terrorist, she is trusting Gunther to do the right thing only she isn’t sure what he is going to do. Annabel Richter is an attorney that is trying to help the suspect get into Germany, she is just doing his job using her connection to help make his move go smoother. Tommy Brue is the bank manager that has been dealing with multiple nationalities through the years, he gets involved in trying to get the transfer of money done.

PerformancesPhilip Seymour Hoffman in the leading role steps into the German character with ease, showing the composure to take his character to be the standout of the film. Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe fill the supporting roles well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the German and American intelligence agencies as they are trying to figure out if an immigrate is a potential terrorist suspect, both sides have difference of opinion on what is true and they must try to stay ahead of each other the best they can. This story does try to come off like an intense spy thriller that seems to get bogged down too easily, by making everything seem like it is just an everyday incident, this does move at a slow pace which only brings down everything because they do just seem to pick a random person, that could have reason to suspect from the early point in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows how the authorities operate to try and tackle potential criminal actions, it does show that they could be above the law at times too.

SettingsWe have the German backdrop for this movie, showing how they are planning to operate to keep tracks on terrorists.


Scene of the Movie –
Pick up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just seems dull.

Final ThoughtsThis is a spy thriller that never seems to get going, it tries to play along with the idea that we are building, but we soon lose the attention because it is more of a political spy thriller over anything going on thriller.

 

Overall: Slow burning thriller that just doesn’t get going.

Rating

 

 

Harrison Ford Weekend – Morning Glory (2010)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Morning Glory starts as we follow Becky (McAdams) a new producer dreaming of one day going to the next level, when she believes she is about to get the senior producer role she finds herself losing her job instead. Not one to give up on her dreams to searches endlessly for a new job in the business and it is Jerry Barnes (Goldblum) that gives her a chance to work on saving the fourth best morning news station Daybreak.

Wanting to make an impact Becky fires the demoralising anchor, Becky must find a new anchor and her choice is going after News Icon Mike Pomperoy (Ford) who is under contract but doesn’t want to work. Becky must find a way for Mike to work with her current anchor Colleen Peck (Keaton) while making new friends with fellow producer Adam Bennett (Wilson) offering up a potential love interest.

 

Thoughts on Morning Glory

 

Characters/PerformanceBecky is an ambitious young woman desperate to make a career in producing the news. She gets her chance working on the lowest rated show and must use all of her good spirit and ideas to make the show climb the ratings, all while dealing with her own personal life that she has given up making her career important. This is a brilliant character because it shows how people can put their career before their own lives which is why this is something we have seen before but always good to go back too.

Mike is the difficult anchor to work with, he used to be a draw in the news reporting world but isn’t interested in working on anything he doesn’t think is news worth, he makes the job as difficult as possible for Becky by doing the bare minimum. Colleen is the seasoned anchor that is happy to take a chance on the wild stories that can bring in the ratings. Adam is the love interest for Becky as well as being involved with Mike before so he can give Becky advice when it comes to handling him.

Performance wise, McAdams is great in the leading role, not playing it overly funny which is how you can judge the whole cast, Ford does enjoy this role because it is different to the rest of his normal action material.

StoryThe story following a career driven woman following her dream putting everything she has into making it happen against all the odds if something that is fantastic to watch because we all like to enjoy watching someone reach that goal. Sure, most of this film does go around in the cycle you would expect but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side is on the main story which I think works because it isn’t the most important part of the film, the comedy comes when needed without being a constant attempt at laughter.

SettingsThe settings for this film are mostly inside the news studio which shows how close everyone must be to work together. This helps us see how the tension looks between the characters.

Final ThoughtsI wasn’t expecting too much from this film going in, mostly because of the genres but in the end, I found myself enjoying everything as it was unfolding.

 

Overall: This is a good comedy drama that is worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Cillian Murphy Weekend – Red Eye (2005) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay) Carl Ellsworth, Dan Foos (Story)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson, Jayma Mays, Angela Paton

 

Plot: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.


Tagline – Fear Takes Flight

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Red Eye starts with workaholic hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is returning home after a family funeral, she meets a charming co-passenger Jackson Rippner (Murphy) for is heading to Miami for business. Once the flight is in the air, Jackson who just so happens to be seated next to Lisa reveals his business, the flight takes a twist for Lisa.

Jackson wants Lisa to move an incoming politician from one room to another, or he will kill her father Joe (Cox), Lisa is left in an impossible position of trying to stay ahead of Jackson’s plan and not leading a politician to their death.

 

Thoughts on Red Eye

 

Characters – Lisa is a workaholic hotel manager that is has a fear of flying, who is travelling home after a funeral, she has remarkable calmness through stress related issues in life, knowing how to deal with difficult clients the best way. She has full say on everything going on within the hotel with her regular clients trusting her completely. Jackson Rippner starts off a kind friendly man, willing to step up where gentlemen might not, he is seated next to Lisa on the plane, where he shows his true colours as part of a terrorists that need Lisa to move their target. He remains calm through each of her attempts to not follow through knowing just how to get the job done. Joe is the father of Lisa, he has been remodelling his home, always there to support her, he is just going about his evening through the film. Cynthia is the slightly ditsy receptionist that Lisa supports with the difficult decisions she is going through at the hotel.

PerformancesRachel McAdams in the leading role breaks away from the known romantic comedy roles she had been doing before this film, she proves she could be a genuine star in the thriller role, Cillian Murphy continued to make a name for himself in this role, where he plays the disturbing lead villain who becomes even more frightening within the final act. Brian Cox is one of the more underused talents in the film, while Jayma Mays brings quirkiness to her role.

StoryThe story is kept very simple, a man forces a hotel manager to change an appointment mid-flight and if she doesn’t, he will have her father killed, this becomes a cat-n-mouse style story about both trying to stay ahead of the other. This simplistic side of this story is what makes it standout because the stakes are placed on the table early and the idea that she has no easy escape proves just how difficult her job is going to be. It does keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see just what will happen next and isn’t afraid show moments of brutal looking injury. The idea the target it a political figure helps increase the stakes too.

MysteryThis is a mystery that will keep us guessing to just how they will get out of the situation, how far Jackson is willing to go and if there is any other motivation in his plan.

SettingsMost of the film takes place onboard the plane, it shows just how difficult escape is going to be for Lisa and how she has little option to help Jackson.


Scene of the Movie –
The pen.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had an idea to about who the political figure is meant to be, how much he could change certain issues in America.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable thriller that you will see, it has two brilliant led performances and will keep you guessing through the film, just what will happen next.

 

Overall: Tense, atmospheric thriller.

Rating

 

 

Disobedience (2017)

Director: Sebastian Lelio

Writer: Sebastian Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Screenplay) Naomi Alderman (Novel)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Bernice Stegers

 

Plot: A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.


Tagline – Love is an act of defiance

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long and Dull

 

Story: Disobedience starts when photographer Ronit Krushka (Weisz) returns to her Orthodox Jewish community after her father’s death, she isn’t remembered by the community after her past, she stays with Dovid Kuperman (Nivola) and his wife Esti (McAdams) as they experience the grieving process together.

Once back together Ronit and Esti’s love is reignited their position in the community as Esti is now in respected member of the community, teaching the next generation, following the rules of the faith, can they be together or not.

 

Thoughts on Disobedience

 

Characters – Ronit is a photographer that was shunned by her religion because of her attraction to a woman, she returns after her father dies and sparks between her and Esti start again, she hasn’t followed the traditions like Esti and doesn’t mind being out of place with the rest. Esti settled down and started following the rules of the faith, the return of Ronit lets her experience a love she hasn’t dealt with in years. Dovid is the husband of Esti, one of the most respected of all of the community, he is strictly following all the rules of the faith.

PerformancesWhile he performances are good for the most part with Weisz and McAdams being the true stars, even if they don’t make us become fully engaged with their characters.

StoryThe story here follows two women who are in love, one has been banished from the community, while the other put her love aside to follow the traditional faith of everything. we follow how they get a second chance and how the lives will be thrown upside down for going against their religion. Sure this is a solid enough story about going against the normal, but the pacing is so slow and not much truly goes one through the film

RomanceThe romance of this film shows us just how difficult falling in love can be, if it is against the faith others will judge you, this is important to see how it is dealt with but not the most interesting when it comes to actual romance.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings that the community would be in and how together the people would be in everyday life.


Scene of the Movie –
Nearly getting caught.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films which I feel with split the audience down the middle, some people will say it is important others will say it is boring, like myself.

 

Overall: Too long and not interesting enough.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,

 

Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Date Night Sorted

 

Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.

 

Thoughts on The Notebook

 

Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background

s.

Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.

 

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.

 

Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.

Rating