First Man (2018)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Josh Singer (Screenplay) James R Hansen (Book)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

 

Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


Tagline – Experience the impossible journey to the Moon.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: First Man starts as we see how Neil Armstrong (Gosling) can solve problems in flight with one of his test mission to the limits of the atmosphere going wrong before he saved it, we meet his family wife Janet (Foy) and children Richard and Karen, we see how they suffered a tragic loss of young Karen, which drove him to apply to become an astronaut.

We follow the astronaut training program which showed Neil’s abilities to solve problems even after seeing his friends around him lose their lives to the pursuit of space. We follow up to the legendary mission he will always been known for as he was the first man to walk on the moon.

 

Thoughts on First Man

 

Characters – These characters are and were real people, Neil Armstrong is always going to be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon, we see how this shy man managed to overcome his own personal tragedies to achieve this as we see how he reacts and deals with everything that gets thrown at him until he made history. Janet is his wife, she also suffers through the tragedies, she will give Neil all the support he needs to make sure he will keep his promises to come home, we mostly watch how she must keep the life for their children normal and calm. Edward Higgins White is one of the fellow astronauts, one that becomes close friends with him through the training and the program, he is the one that will offer a shoulder if Neil ever needed it. We meet many famous names from the astronaut programs each gets there moment, we know Buzz Aldrin was onboard Apollo 11 and of the other big named astronauts we know Jim Lovell from the Apollo 13 mission.

PerformancesRyan Gosling gives us a magnificent performance as the icon of astronauts, he shows us how shy, timid and genius Neil was, never making him a cocky man, this simple performance makes you understand each emotion he is going through. Claire Foy sets away from the small screen to give us a flawless performance as the wife who must remain strong, but dealing with anxiety of the unknown through each mission. The rest of the cast are great through the film, each actor gets to pay the respect to the man they are performing as.

StoryThe story here follows Neil Armstrong’s life from 1961 to his moon landing in 1969. We do have plenty of interesting aspects to his life, be it the battle to remain strong after his daughter’s death or the feeling of proving himself worthy of being part of the astronaut program. While these are all wonderful to watch, they do feel like they are being told, like, this is what happened here, then this, then this and so on. It never feels like a smooth story and the movie does make out that Neil was an excellent astronaut, but terrible PR man, he didn’t do anything stupid or risky, he lack charisma that other astronauts had, he was just the right choice for the job. The biggest warning you must have before going in, is that this does follow his life over the space program, yes, we do have parts of the space program and they are the most entertaining parts, but we also follow his life away from this.

Biopic/History8 years in the life of the most iconic man to go into space, we see his lowest point in his life, to the crowning achievement, nobody can ever take away from him. The history side of the film shows us the key moments in the space race, if you know the basics you will know these moments.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings brilliantly, be it the world around the space race, or the cockpits the astronauts get rammed into with little space for any freedom on these deadly missions.

Special EffectsThe effects are mesmerizing, when we are in space we are left stunned by the beauty of the views these men had. The film is also used to make it feel like it is shot for the same time the events took place.


Scene of the Movie –
Apollo 11

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many close ups.

Final ThoughtsAs a space race fan this manages to shed new light on the man who made history, it gave us brilliant performance, effects and shows us there was more behind the man than just the icon.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

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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

 

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Characters)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks

 

Plot: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Breath-Taking Movie

 

Story: Blade Runner 2049 starts as we learn how the Nexus models of replicants are no more, Niander Wallace (Leto) has developed the new models to continue the slavery needed for humans but these all obey, Officer K (Gosling) is one of the models a new Blade Runner hunting down the original replicants that have been able to survive past their expire dates.

K’s latest case takes him to Sapper Morton (Bautista) living well off the grid as a quiet gardener, but he tells him about a miracle he will never understand. K starts to investigate the mystery with his Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) supporting the investigation but Niander Wallace has his best agent Luv (Hoeks) also looking for truth which involves searching for Rick Deckard (Ford)

 

Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

 

Characters – Officer K is a replicant upgrade that tracks down the Nexus models, he is the smart figure that we need to see in an investigation movie but in his free time he has a relationship with his artificial life Joi. K gets drawn into an investigation to find the answers to what could be a miracle in the modern world and his cases takes him all over America. Niander Wallace is the man that has been making the new replicants that obey, his genius has saved the planet but when he learns about the miracle he knows it can take his creations to the next level. Luv is the main employee of Niander’s chasing down K looking to take advantage of the miracle, she is deadly killing anyone who gets in her way. Rick Deckard has the answers to what is behind the miracle but we don’t meet him until late into the movie. Joi the artificial intelligence that keeps K company who constantly is looking for a way to become real.

PerformancesRyan Gosling is fantastic in the leading role of this movie showing he can carry a blockbuster just as well as an indie movie. Harrison Ford returning gives us a chance to see him back at his best which is why him returning to his popular films is working in recent years, here to hope for a good Indiana Jones sequel. Jared Leto is great when we see him but I do wish we had more scenes with his character. Sylvia Hoeks is the true surprise package here and she is fantastic in all her scenes and being an actress, I hadn’t heard of before she proves she could be in many leading roles to come. Ana De Armas is also great in her role stepping away from the normal for what I know her for in horror to be the ones that wants to survive. The cast has plenty of big name actors from different years they are all great through this film.

StoryThe story here is an investigation into what happened after the original movie, yes, it is 30 years later but the moments we learn off from the investigation explain how this moment is the answer to the power struggle being played for by this investigation. We can look past just the investigation though because we have K’s quest to understand one of his memories, Joi’s desire to be real and Niander’s mission to hold the key to making replicants in a more efficient way. The positive if that the story is told in a linear pattern because we could have easily jump around the time line for this film but it is simple to follow as you are left to guess just what will be happening next.

Sci-FiIn a world of replicants, other worlds (though we don’t go or see them) where humans have all but destroyed Earth, this movie couldn’t be anymore sci-fi even if it wanted to, a near perfect use of the sci-fi elements.

SettingsThe world created is visually stunning, be it the tight compact living spaces or the open land destroyed by war, each setting will take you breath away with the visual look of everything.

Special EffectsThe special effects are easily the best any film will use this year, they are truly amazing whether it be the world creating or how Joi blends into each scene she is in. this is a treat on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Deckard’s introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels very long.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best visual movie of the year, it has wonderful performances from everyone involved, a story that keeps you guessing, the only down side is the run time which you do feel even when you are engrossed into the story.

 

Overall: Stunning visual movie that will take your breath away.

Rating

 

 

La La Land (2016)

lalaDirector: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

 

Plot: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Fairy Tale of the Big City

 

Story: La La Land starts as we see aspiring actress Mia (Stone) dreaming off getting out of her coffee job and becoming a star, even if she keeps getting rejected in her audition. We also meet Sebastian (Gosling) a jazz musician who is one of the final lovers of the original art in a world that is modernising the style forgetting the magic jazz had on people.

When the two keep clashing it starts with a case of try to get one over each other between the two before it turned into flirting and sparks fly. Both searching for a way to make their dream come true they both take different paths to find it motivating each other two rise to the occasion. This is all singing, all dancing road to following your own dreams.

 

Thoughts on La La Land

 

StoryThe story here shines through as it pushes you to follow your dreams and not want to let them become compromised for anything. We see how both motivate to chase the dreams which are both old fashioned in the modern world of both Hollywood and Jazz. I did like the style of the story telling going over the four seasons showing how times in the relationship are changing. The story will leave you with a smile on your face.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy going on in this movie is placed just when you need it without taking over the film. The main attraction of this film is the romantic angle which feels fresh and modern with everything that happens. The musical side isn’t as heavy as I was expecting but has all the elements of beautiful songs fitting each situation.

Characters/PerformanceMia represents all the aspiring actresses that struggle to get that first role that could make them, Sebastian is a musician that dreams of being able to listen and play the purest form of jazz, both these characters could easily be relatable if you are a fan of the subjects the way they are. Emma Stone gives what is easily her best performance of her career and I feel is also above Gosling who again is also brilliant. When you consider the supporting cast we don’t get enough from them to reach the levels of these two.

SettingsThe backdrop of Hollywood makes this film feel like the fairy tale Hollywood can be for anybody dreaming of making it in the city of dreams.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the films of the year, original, feel good and charming, one that everyone can enjoy.

 

Overall: The true film of the year contender.

Ratingcard

 

 

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