James Bond Weekend – Die Another Day (2002)

Director: Lee Tamahori

Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese

 

Plot: James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul, who is funding the development of an international space weapon.


Tagline – Events don’t get any bigger than..

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weakest of Brosnan’s Bonds

 

Story: Die Another Day starts as James Bond (Brosnan) is captured by the North Korean army, he is tortured for 14 months before getting traded back for brother of man he was training to capture Zao (Yune). Taken off duty, James goes solo in search for Zao, which sees him meet Jinx (Berry) who is on her own secret mission against Zao.

The investigation leads James towards the diamond trade, with Gustav Graves (Stephens) becoming the main focus of the investigation, Gustav has a huge reputation and soon James gets close to learn what his master plan is all about.

 

Thoughts on Die Another Day

 

Characters – James Bond finds himself captured in this outing, tortured for months for information, never giving up any secrets. Once he is traded, he is taken off active duty, but wants to go in search of the man traded for him, it shows him working more covertly trying to take down Gustav, who he believes will lead him to his target. Jinx is the mysterious stranger that James meets on his mission, she is on her own mission against Zao. Gustav Graves is a diamond mogul that has risen to fame with a brand-new secret project in the works, this has captured the attention of James who is in search of his secret. Miranda Frost is the PR woman for Gustav, she is also undercover from MI6 one of her first missions.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan does everything right in his role, he never looks out of place in what would be his final outing. Halley berry brings us a much strong American performance which was needed after the last film. Toby Stephens makes for a basic Bond villain, he does have to play a slightly more complicated role than we have seen before. Rosamund Pike does the best she can with her role, she does get a fight sequence though.

StoryThe latest adventure of James Bond takes things to a darker tone than before, because we see how he is captured and held for a long period of time, no easy escape meaning he will need to figure out how to get his payback once he is released, which sees him hunting down a diamond mogul. This does continue our trend of James needing to work with someone to stop the villainous plan, everything tends to play out as you would imagine, with the only part that feels fresh being the idea that James isn’t easily freed from his captive state.

Action/AdventureThe action here is mixed to say the least, when we have the practical action this is entertaining and even the best scenes in the movie, when we get to the CGI moments it is horrible to watch.

SettingsThe film does return to the exotic location with Cuba and Iceland being the stand out locations of the film.

Special EffectsThis is the first Bond film where the effects need to be discussion because we have some of the worst you will ever see in any film, the tidal wave scene and the invisible car just look pathetic.

Scene of the Movie – Ice car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That Tidal Wave.

Final ThoughtsThis is another film in he Bond franchise that just doesn’t deliver, it has some entertaining action sequences, but the CGI moments almost make moments laughable.

 

Overall: Disappointing Another Day

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopics – U – A United Kingdom (2016)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert (Screenplay) Susan Williams (Book)

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto

 

Plot: The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.


Tagline – The true story of a love that shook an empire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

 

Story: A Untied Kingdom starts in 1947 England where Prince Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) of Bechuanaland (known today as Botswana) is in England studying law, he meets file clerk Ruth Williams (Pike) and the two fall in love.

With tension between Bechuanaland and South Africa high the idea of the soon to be King marrying a white woman would be unheard off. The British government doesn’t want him to become king and Seretse own family don’t want him to become king if he stays with Ruth. With the racial divide still going strong, Seretse pushed for equality over anything else, so he can unite his kingdom when he becomes king.

 

Thoughts on A United Kingdom

 

Characters – Seretse Khama is the prince of Bechuanaland he has been studying law in England to prepare for his time as king, he falls in love a white woman in Ruth Williams which throws tensions from his family, government in the air and to prove his love is more important than his traditions and bring the equality between the races together. Ruth Williams is an English clerk whose family has been working to teach Christianity to Africans, she meets and falls in love with Seretse and goes against everyone else’s desires and marries him. Rufus Lancaster is the British liaison in Bechuanaland who leads the opposition from the land, which only shows us just how the English were over controlling.

PerformancesDavid Oyelowo is wonderful in the leading role, showing us once again that he can lead any movie he wants too. Rosamund Pike shines to showing everyone that she can handle to calm roles after the psycho ones in Gone Girl. The rest of the cast are wonderful even if the British characters are as stuck up as you would imagine them to be.

StoryThe story follows the lives of King Seretse who marries an English white woman which puts the balance between the racial tension in his home land and British rule. We learn a lot from this movie, because we see how the country was being controlled from outside forces that only saw them as a piece of land. There is a lot to take in and the history lesson about this union that created a chance in the land.

Biopic/RomanceWhat King Seretse and his wife Ruth achieved for Botswana was incredible and this shows us how their love drove them to achieve this change.

SettingsThe settings show us the high society British look at an African country that was following its own traditions to become the independent from this style of rule.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech to the ‘tribe’ as the British called them.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing the English were this shallow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how the world was once ruled by people who believe they are in the right to control countries affairs and how their union would change everything.

 

Overall: History is always worth learning.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – The Negotiator (2018)

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Khalid Benchgra, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge

 

Plot: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.


Tagline – The Americans want to keep their secrets. The Israelis want to raise the stakes. He only wants to save a life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes  

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels it Should

 

Story: The Negotiator starts as we see American Diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) involved in a tragic event in Beirut. Walking away from this career, he is dragged out of retirement when his old friend Cal (Pellegrino) is taken hostage by the Israelis.

Mason working with Sandy (Pike), Gary (Whigham) and Donald Gaines (Norris) must enter negotiations to free Cal without a body count in a high-tension situation in Beirut.

 

Thoughts on The Negotiator

 

Characters – Mason Skiles has been working in a diplomatic position for years, until a tragic event sees his wife killed in Beirut, he steps away from that world, living a business life back in America. He gets pushed back into the field when his friend is kidnapped and one of his former connections is the prime suspect to everything going on, he must use his connections to try and get a peaceful end to the situation. Sandy is the connection that must keep an eye on Mason, she is considered the skirt that will entertain the America to keep him there, she has her own connections though and will be the one that is happy to let Mason off his leash. Donald Gaines and Gary Ruzak are both involved in the operation with their own agendas coming through.

PerformancesJon Hamm in the leading role is the strongest part of the film as he has the most about his character who has been through the trauma and must use this mission to redeem himself.  Rosamund Pike struggles to make the impact you feel her character is meant to, while the rest of the cast just don’t get the time to make any sort of impact.

StoryThe story follows a negotiator that has walked away from the diplomatic position only to be forced back into the field to help his old friend who has become the latest kidnapping victim by terrorist group. This tries to create the same sort of atmosphere as the true events that went on during the Beirut problems with the Israeli terrorist groups that were at war with the Americans, we struggle to get sucked into the movie because the tension is never given to us enough to make us become interested in what is happening to the characters. the one that does have an arc is Mason which gets glanced over more than anything as we try to show him in the middle of a situation he knows how to play, though he isn’t meant to be in control of.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film struggles to come through as strong as it should because of the lack of tension in the film, while the stacks are high, nothing seems in any way out of control.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings being used in the streets of Beirut which does show us how much trouble the city was in during the terrorist attacks.


Scene of the Movie –
The deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The political side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak tension based movie that just never hits the levels it should do like many of the films in this genre.

 

Overall: Just not on the strongest levels.

Rating

 

 

Hostiles (2017)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Scott Cooper (Screenplay) Donald E Stewart (Manuscript)

Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Land, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.


Tagline – We are all… Hostiles.

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Riddled Western

 

Story: Hostiles starts in 1892 when Army Captain Joseph J Block (Bale) is assigned to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) and his family back to their land so he can die in his home territory, he is reluctantly to do this mission because of his battles with the Cheyenne, but threaten with court martial, he puts a unit together including Master Sgt Thomas Metz (Cochrane), Corp Henry Woodson (Majors), Lt Rudy Kidder (Plemons) and others.

Along the way the party stumbles upon Rosalee Quaid (Pike) whose family was butchered by a tribe leaving her three children including a baby dead, Joseph offers to take her on the journey as she has nothing left. The journey will take them through dangerous territories where Joseph must learn that the battle between man isn’t as simple as he once thought it was.

 

Thoughts on Hostiles

 

Characters – Captain Joseph J Blocker is a legendary soldier that’s reputation is respected, he is assigned a mission he has no interest in, being forced to escort a Cheyenne Chief home or face consequences including losing his pension. He is the best translator and knows the best paths, making him the best man for the job which will see him face his toughest mission yet. Rosalee Quaid saw her whole family butchered by a tribe invading her home, broken she is alone until the party discover her and take her on the journey. She learns that not both sides of the party are evil, just the human kind. Chief Yellow Hawk is one of the leaders of the Native American people, he is known for his blood lust, but near his death bed he shows Joseph are not as evil as the people believe showing he is against some of the natives and their actions too. We do get to meet plenty of different soldiers with different opinions on the mission which only make things more difficult along the way.

PerformancesChristian Bale in the leading role is brilliant showing he can take on nearly any role, he has the permanent look of reluctance on his face while showing us he can make his character do the right thing. Rosamund Pike is wonderful too as the grief-stricken mother and widow that gets to learn to live again on the journey. Wes Studi continues to show us just how us just he is the go-to guy for any Native American character. The whole cast is great through the film without putting a place a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us how the two rivals through a war that must put their difference aside to go through dangerous territory where people from both sides can come to kill them. This story shows how the battles through America built divides that caused extreme behaviour and just how being more restrictive could be a smarter answer. The journey shows how the two sides learns to work together and that they do want the same thing in life and the blood shed isn’t the best answer. The pace is surprisingly great because it will never go too slow for the 2 and half hour runtime. We learn a lot about how to treat people here as we are nearly the same.

Adventure/WesternThe adventure takes the party across America which shows the different style of mindset across the country. The western themes are heavy through the film which brings back the old way of life in America.

SettingsThe settings look beautiful which show us how the countryside in America was one of the most amazingly visual location in the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not fully understand the distance needed to be travelled.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good modern era western that shows the final few moments on the old west where differences needed to a side their problems to make the future.

 

Overall: Enjoyable western.

Rating

 

 

Anthony Hopkins Weekend – Fracture (2007)

ractureDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers (Screenplay) Daniel Pyne (Story)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton

 

Plot: An attorney, intent on climbing the career ladder toward success, finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Courtroom Thriller

 

Story: Fracture starts when Ted Crawford (Hopkins) finally challenges his cheating wife Jennifer (Davidtz) about her affair before shooting her, Ted is a genius so he has been planning this for a while now and has come up with the perfect cover as the man who she was having the affair with is a negotiator for the LA police department Rob Nunally (Burke).

We got onto meet Willy Beachum (Gosling) who is a high rising lawyer working in the District Attorney Office under Joe Lobruto (Strathairn) who doesn’t think Willy should take his new job offer.

When one of his final cases see, Willy having to go against Ted the two find themselves having to go face to face in the courtroom as Ted decides to represent himself. What looks like an easy case soon becomes Willy’s biggest test of his career against one of the smartest men on the planet but who will come out on top?

Fracture is a crime mystery thriller turned cat and mouse style courtroom drama which follows the genius trying to show off against a young hot shot lawyer, sure we have seen this before but the fact we 100% know how guilty Ted is really tips the scales here. The case does take a few twists and turns along the way but it is the lengths that Willy will go to win this case against his own career.

The cast shine with Hopkins versus Gosling is delightful to watch whenever they go against each other on the screen. The supporting cast really don’t get the chance to shine like the lead two which does disappoint in places.

 

Overall: Courtroom thriller that does it’s best to keep us guessing without that final punch needed.

Ratingcard