ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – P – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Director: Angela Robinson

Writer: Angela Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton, Monica Giordano, JJ Field, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, and his polyamorous relationship with his wife and their mistress who would inspire his creation of the superheroine, Wonder Woman.


Tagline – Ever wonder?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lots of Science, Not Enough Wonder Woman

 

Story: Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman starts as Professor William Marston (Evans) is explaining the motivation behind the Wonder Woman character to Josette Frank (Britton) and the rest of the board. We dive back to 1928 where William a Harvard professor along with his wife Elizabeth (Hall) who selects Olive Byrne (Heathcote) to help with the latest research project.

The research includes studying relationships and social commentary with the idea to help create the lie-detector and only ends up help create the comic book character we know after going for a forbidden relationship.

 

Thoughts on Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman

 

Characters – Professor William Marston is telling the story about his creation of the Wonder Woman character which takes us back to his time at Harvard where he was creating the lie-detector, he has a wonderful relationship with his wife that the two often search for more in love. Elizabeth Marston is just as educated at William, but doesn’t get the accredited title, she is fighting for this right while exploring the research they are working on together. Olive Byrne is the student the two take a liking to, they invite her into their research before getting involved in an even more complicated and forbidden relationship.

PerformancesLuke Evans in the leading role as the storyteller going on to show us just how desperate he is to succeed in his field. Rebecca Hall as the movement supporter shows strength throughout too while Bella Heathcote is great too turning from innocent to forward thinking woman as the story progresses.

StoryThe story follows William Marston, the man who created the Wonder Woman character and his unconventional relationship with his wife and mistress. The story here does have serious pacing issues because we spend well over half the film focusing on the build up to the relationship between the three and not enough time focusing on the creation of Wonder Woman, sure parts of the film are surrounding the ideas of Wonder Woman, but watching the fight to create and continuing publishing the comic book icon would have been a lot more interesting to watch.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film does show how William Marston went from Harvard professor to comic book creator of one of the most iconic characters in comic book history.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the different time period from the late 20’s to the mid 40’s, nothing looks out of place for what we are telling, though we do jump the timeline quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rise of Wonder Woman.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much time building the relationship.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that shows us just how the character of Wonder Woman came to life, it shows the unconventional relationship the creator had with his wife and lover which saw them shunted in life but did end up bring the strongest female comic book figure to life.

 

Overall: Strong but misguided biopic.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – C – Christine (2016)

Director: Antonio Campos

Writer: Craig Shilowich (Screenplay)

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J Smith-Cameron, Timothy Simons, Kim Shaw

 

Plot: The story of Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s TV reporter struggling with depression and professional frustrations as she tries to advance her career.


Tagline –  In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first… Christine.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Lead Performance

 

Story: Christine starts as we enter the 1970s television studio, where Christine Chubbuck (Hall) works, she keeps her stories to her determination on how she wants things to be and is eager to get to the next stage of her career. She is happy to question decisions and has a crush on the lead anchor George (Hall).

With the struggles coming through strong, we do see how Christine pushes to get her stories air time, but it will always be her last story that people will remember her for.

 

Thoughts on Christine

 

Characters – Christine is an ambitious reporter that is always looking to forward her career, she can become difficult to work with, because of her search for perfection and by taking on the newest stories, her own personal problems with start to come through. George is the lead anchor on the network, he is filled with confidence believing he is the star of the show. Michael is the station manager that deals with Christine’s ideas while trying to put the stations on the map with higher ratings.

PerformancesRebecca Hall gives her best performance in this film, she is the most interesting part of the film as we see how she handles the problems she is going through. The rest of the cast are good and know not to take control of the scenes because the story is about Christine, not them.

StoryThe story here follows Christine, her career in television reporting, her personal problems both physical and mental ones which drove her to the shocking moment she will be remembered for. The problem with the storytelling process is slow because unless you know the outcome, you will feel like nothing much is happening, because we are only interested in learning Christine’s story and that is by seeing the motivation which lead to the end.

BiopicThe film follows Christine’s life in the news business and how her personal life affected her own decision as she couldn’t handle the pressure of everyday life.

SettingsThe settings bring us into the correct time era, the 1970s which shows how the lives of these characters would be operating in.


Scene of the Movie –
The therapy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The impact just doesn’t hit hard enough with the slow build.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most shocking moments in television history, it shows the pressure people can place on themselves to become the stars they are today.

 

Overall: Nice, but not spectacular biopic.

Rating

 

 

Dorian Gray (2009)

Director: Oliver Parker

Writer: Toby Finlay (Screenplay) Oscar Wilde (Novel)

Starring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Fiona Shaw, Emilia Fox

 

Plot: A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.


Tagline – Forever Young. Forever Cursed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre

 

Story: Dorian Gray starts as Dorian Gray (Barnes) himself arrives in CGI London, I mean London around the 1800s to return to his childhood home. Dorian gets to mingle with the high society members including Lord Henry Wotton (Firth) as he learns his place in London.

Henry takes Dorian under his wing and with a portrayed showing his youthful looks offering him the desire to remain that way we see the world Dorian has been guided into by Henry. Dorian becoming his own man uses the painting to keep his aging while he remains young and becomes the womanising machine around town, but there is always a consequence to this.

 

Thoughts on Dorian Gray

 

Characters – Dorian Gray is the young man bought back into London, he starts full of innocence but after being guided down certain paths he changes becoming a man that has his youth preserved in a painting that has swapped with his physical body. Lord Henry Wotton is the high society man that takes Dorian down the darker paths, first for his own entertainment but soon fuelling his own jealously.

PerformancesBen Barnes is good as Dorian Gray the forever youthful looking and enjoying life forever. Colin Firth is the gentleman figure here being the mentor and easily being the highlight of the film.

StoryThe Dorian Gray story is a well-known story of the man that never ages while his painting showed the age and harm his body has taken as it slowly starts to consume him. The origin of this does lack the fantasy you would imagine it having and does just feel like a simple look at how high society believed they controlled London. While the story may well follow the original material well it does need some evolution to make the story compelling to the modern audience.

Fantasy/ThrillerThis should be a fantasy filled moment film but we lack anything past the concept of what is happening to Dorian.

SettingsThe settings are old London which look completely fake through the whole sucking us out of the location for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are a let-down in the most part disappointing on nearly every occasion through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lacks the final punch.

Final ThoughtsThis should be one of the greatest gothic stories you will ever see, but it lacks all the effects, twists and storytelling to make it.

 

Overall: Disappointing all around.

Rating

 

 

Frost/Nixon (2008)

frostnixonDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay) Peter Morgan (Play)

Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones

 

Plot: A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Compelling and Fascinating Drama

 

Story: Frost/Nixon starts going through the historical events behind Richard Nixon’s resignation after Watergate. With his resignation, British journalist David Frost (Sheen) sees it as a chance for a rating winning interview by hosting an interview with Richard Nixon (Langella). We follow how Frost turns to John Birt (Macfadyen) to secure the interview with Nixon letting Swifty Lazar (Jones) handling it from his end.

Frost must find a way to get funding and the interview put on air with James Reston Jr (Rockwell) and Bob Zelnick (Platt) joining his team to make this happen as we see how this side understands just how important this interview could be for America.

We follow the lead up to the series of interviews that have been pre-agreed subjects with only one of the four being open to the Watergate incident, this becomes a battle between the two men to get the first punches in seeing how each other will react to either question or answer.

 

Thoughts on Frost/Nixon

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters in this story they are all based on real people with former President Nixon and David Frost being the ones we get to connect with most, the background staff on each side have different opinions on how the interviews and research goes is show brilliantly.

Performance wise Langella and Sheen give arguable two of the best in leading performances of any pairing of modern cinema, they carry this film with their compelling performances. When you dive into the supporting cast Rockwell, Bacon, Platt, Macfadyen or Hall they are all great too not overshadowing the lead pairing.stars

StoryConsidering this story we must look at the deeper story before the events of the film, you do need to understand the basics of the Watergate incident to understand just how important this interview actually was. The build-up itself to the interview shows how much is at risk and seeing how both sides tried to keep one step ahead of the other is captivating throughout.

Biography/HistoricalLooking at this pivotal moment in both Richard Nixon and David Frost’s lives is what makes this hit on every level because one risked everything to make the truth came out while the other risks everything to be put back in the positive light of the country.

SettingsEach setting used through the film make us feel like we are part of the theatre experiences which is how this story first got told, we do get to see how the time in question would have looked in each and every scene.genre

Final ThoughtsLooking at history this event is one of the most impactful moments in American history and this shows just how it was finally exposed.

 

Overall: This is a must watch for all the film fans out there.

Rating

 rating

 

The Gift (2015)

logoDirector: Joel Edgerton

Writer: Joel Edgerton (Screenplay)

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps, Adam Lazarre-White, Beau Knapp

Plot: A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Tension Filled Thriller

Story: The Gift starts with Simon (Bateman) and Robyn (Hall) moving back to California for Simon’s new job, they find the perfect house with stunning views of the neighbourhood. While being out and about in the town shopping Gordo (Edgerton) approaches them because he is an old friend of Simon’s from school, trying to get to get a chance to get to know each other again the couple swap numbers and think nothing more of the meeting.

Things start getting strange for Simon & Robyn as Gordo continues to give them gifts but we learn that Simon isn’t really as close to Gordo as Gordo believes. When Simon finally tell Gordo to leave the couple alone things take a turn for the worse when Gordo steals their dog and has been lying about everything he has told them or is there more to the story.

The Gift is a revenge thriller that has that constant feel of tension, we don’t have anything over the top happening though, which isn’t a bad thing because when certain films go over the top we end up feeling slightly left think that couldn’t happen. The scariest part of this film is that it could very well happen and until the final moment nothing that happens comes off remotely unrealistic. This is what drives the story to the levels it reaches and shows just how you need to learn to be careful what you do in your life.

Actor Review

Joel Edgerton: Gordo nicknames Gordo ‘the Weirdo’ who comes back into the life of an old school friend Simon, but he starts giving them gifts and appearing at the house when Simon isn’t around trying to become friends with Robyn. He starts acting strange with all his action but realizes he has come too far he decides to apologise for his action before everything gets out of control again. Joel gives us a great performance where he doesn’t do too much creepy but still ends up coming off creepy.gordo

Jason Bateman: Simon moves along with his wife to California to start a new job, he tries to be nice to Gordo but soon gets tired of him appearing in his life and asks him to leave because he knows they were never really friends in the first place. Jason gives us a good performance playing a complete asshole through the film.simon

Rebecca Hall: Robyn is the working from home wife of Simon who also suffered a miscarriage before they moved to California, she tries to be friendly with Gordo because she never knew anything about the previous history between Gordo and Simon. Rebecca gives us a good performance of a lady struggling with idea of potentially being watched.robyn

Support Cast: The Gift has a supporting cast that mostly includes the people filling in the stories about what happened and showing us what Simon really is like.

Director Review: Joel Edgerton Joel gives us a tense thriller that keeps us guessing from start to finish creating great atmosphere throughout.

Mystery: The Gift keeps you guessing to what really happened in the past with Simon and Gordo.

Thriller: The Gift keeps you wondering just what is Gordo’s point in his gifts until we learn the truth we just don’t know how far it will go.

Settings: The Gift has most of the film happening in the family home which shows how easy it is to potentially get stalked there.
Special Effects: The Gift doesn’t really use special effects because everything is mind games really.

Suggestion: The Gift is a film that should be watched this year, it will surprise a lot of people with how simple the idea is. (Watch)

Best Part: The idea is so simple and effective.

Worst Part: If you are expecting scares you will be let down.

Favourite Quote: GordoYou think you’re done with the past, but the past is not done with you.

Believability: What happens in this could easily be a story we all could see happening.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Shutter without the ghosts.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $27 Million

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: Not Every Gift Is Welcome.

Trivia: As he wanted to focus on directing, Edgerton filmed his own scenes as Gordo two weeks into shooting and completed them in seven days.

Overall: Tension is the name of the game and it hits on every roll of the dice

Ratingcard