ABC Film Challenge – Random – X – X+Y (2014)

 

Director: Morgan Matthews

Writer: James Graham (Screenplay)

Starring: Asa Buterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann

 

Plot: A socially awkward teenage math prodigy finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.


Tagline – True genius comes from opening your heart

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Drama

 

Story: X+Y starts as we meet the social awkward Nathan (Butterfield) whose father is killed in a car crash when he is young, his mother Julie (Hawkins) has struggled raising him with his awkwardness but with former prodigy and now teacher Martin Humphreys (Spall) who helps develop his own skills in maths to get to the level to compete in the Olympiad.

Qualifying Nathan finds himself going to Taiwan to compete for Britain with fellow gifted children from around the UK, guided by Richard (Marsan) in the competition. To help with learning the new country the British team is paired with the Chinese team, this gives Nathan a chance to learn a new culture with a new friend Zhang Mei (Yang). The trip teaches Nathan to open up more in his life, while back home Martin learns to stop make the excuses about his failures to perform in the Olympiad that he failed in.

 

Thoughts on X+Y

 

Characters – Nathan is a social awkward teenager, he has autism which makes it difficult for him to interact and has a gift for numbers. When he gets invited to join the British Olympiad team he must learn a new culture, meet new people and come out of the shell he is in. Martin Humphreys is a teacher that mentors Nathan, he once competed in the Olympiad but didn’t succeed, Nathan gives him hope to carry on his depressed life with his own sickness. Julie is the mother of Nathan, she has struggled with his disability but does the best she can to give him the chances he deserves. Richard runs the British team, he expects to win sometimes putting too much pressure on his team. Zhang Mei is the Chinese competitor that befriends Nathan showing him even after the troubles he has people will open up to him, she also must deal with the pressure of competing for Uncle.

PerformancesAsa Butterfield is great in this leading role, not over playing his characters condition. Rafe Spall gives us a performance that is filled with the regret his character is feeling through the film. Sally Hawkins shines in the supporting role as the supportive mother desperate to connect with her son. Jo Yang connects with Asa’s character perfectly giving us a moving supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows how one teenager must learn to open up when it gets a chance to compete in a maths Olympiad, he has always struggled with social sides of life but uses maths to escape. Watching a story that shows the struggles of a teenager to find his place while still dealing with his own grief of losing a parent, that gets that chance to meet new people to open the world up for him is something we all like to enjoy.

Drama/RomanceThe drama comes from the troubles Nathan has been through and must learn to move on from, the key comes from the romance side of the film opening his eyes to the world.

SettingsNathan has lived a closed life, when he opens up to more by the travelling he becomes more open to everything in life being able to see things from other people’s point of view.


Scene of the Movie –
The competition in Cambridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We focus on moments of problems the other British team have but we don’t see enough of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that surprised me a lot, I enjoyed nearly every moment of the film and believe it is one I would be recommending in the future.

 

Overall: Delightful little drama.

Rating

 

 

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Great Expectations (2012)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: David Nicholls (Screenplay) Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Toby Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, William Ellis, David Walliams, Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter

 

Plot: A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic story

 

Story: Great Expectation starts as we meet the orphaned boy Pip, living with his sister and brother in law Joe (Flemyng) a blacksmith raising Pip to be his assistant. After Pip learns of a better life he dreams of becoming a gentleman in London after spending time with Miss Havisham (Carter) and her own orphan Estella.

Now a young man Pip (Irvine) gets to move back to the city after an unknow inheritance, so leaving his family and friends behind, Pip gets to start on the road to becoming a gentleman. Pip finds himself needing to learning the hierarchy of the wealthy as he also wants to know who gave him the chance to become one of the gentlemen of the city and even after his childhood sweetheart Estella (Grainger) returns to his life, love takes over his life.

 

Thoughts on Great Expectation

 

Characters/PerformancePip is a young man who dreamt of being a gentleman in London, but achieve this he must learn a new way, forget his past and even find himself wondering about who put him in a position of power while dealing with love. Magwitch is a prisoner that Pip helped at a young age and a man that comes back into the life to learn the truth about the past. Miss Havisham is a lonely woman left heartbroken after being conned and left at the alter, she has been teaching Estella about the ways of the man, teaching her to never love. Estella is the young woman that Pip falls in love with when they are children and no as adults doesn’t believe she has a heart even though Pip wants to love her.

Performance wise, we have a very impressive cast that all give us wonderful performances fitting into the period piece that this film is.  

StoryThis is one of Charles Dickens classics tales and one I was unfamiliar with, so I thought I would give it a go. This story shows the social hierarchy during the early 19 century, this is one that has forbidden love, revenge and a position of what would be the right thing in life. I do feel this is one story people should be enjoy even if this might not be the best version.

RomanceThe romance side of this comes from Pip falling for Estella and is left wondering if he could fall in love during a time when status would put people together.

SettingsEach setting makes us believe we are in the time the film is set whether it be the small marsh like area of the city of London.

Final ThoughtsClassic story and one that goes in a direction you could only find yourself wanting to know more about.

 

Overall: A must watch for classic literature fans.

Rating

 

 

The Shape of Water (2017)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay) Guillermo del Toro (Story)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

 

Plot: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


Tagline – Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Beautiful

 

Story: The Shape of Water starts as we follow lonely mute woman Elisa (Hawkins) who works as a janitor in a secret government facility with her trusted friend Zelda Fuller (Spencer), Elisa’s silence helps the government know the secrets won’t get released with only her neighbour Giles (Jenkins) being anyone outside of work for her.

When a new creature Amphibian Man (Jones) is bought in with strict security officer Richard Strickland (Shannon) as the facility looks to experiment on the creature. When Elisa strikes up a friendship with the creature, she will do anything to make sure he stays alive and safe once the facility decides they want to examine his organs.

 

Thoughts on The Shape of Water

 

Characters – Elisa is a mute lonely woman that works as a janitor and only has one friend in her personal life. When a creature gets bought into her facility she sees the loneliness he is feeling and wants to save him, believing it to be her purpose. Amphibian Man is a creature taken from his home to be experimented on by the Americans, he is lonely and finds communication from Elisa comforting in his captivity, even though he is highly dangerous to anyone who gets too close. Richard Strickland is the man in charge of the operation with the creature, he wants to do harm and tries to intimidate the people who don’t want to follow his orders. Giles is the trusted neighbour that Elisa turns to for help, he is similar to him with his loneliness in the world too, while Zelda is the one co-worker that Elisa has to turn to and the one that translates her sign language. Dr Hoffstetler is the man that doesn’t want to see the creature hurt, for science and his true alliance in the world.

PerformancesSally Hawkins is fantastic in this role, her emotions are shown in every movement and expression on her face in a role with no words. Doug Jones has spent his career performing the odd roles being able to transform himself, this is his biggest and easily his best role to date. Michael Shannon in the villainous role shines just like we know he can every time. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the casting wonderfully playing the supporting roles just how they need to be.

StoryThe story follows unusual attraction, finding someone that accepts you to make you feel safe and how government will do anything to learn from an unknown creature. This is both magical, tragic and special from start to finish. Each side of the story shows how different people didn’t fit in during the early 60s and just how love truly works. This is an original story that plays on as many different emotions as it possible can.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThis is an adventure like never before, it shows the risk taken to do the right thing for love, which helps play into this unlikely love story that captures you from the first moment, showing just how love can change you in a second. The fantasy elements are full blown what you would have come to expect from a del Toro movie now, both magical and fantastical.

SettingsThe settings keep everything safe, we have a faceless city with a secret facility which works because we wouldn’t have this facility in a big city.

Special EffectsThe effects used through the film keep everything looking fantastic through the film, nothing seems to look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Bathroom flood.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I actually think this is flawless.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, if has heart in every scene and just makes you feel on edge to just where it will go.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 10 Midnight Horror – w Delta z (2007)

wazDirector: Tom Shankland

Writer: Clive Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Melissa George, Ashley Walters, Tom Hardy, Paul Kaye, John Sharian, Selma Blair, Sally Hawkins

 

Plot: A calculating killer coerces a detective to pay for his previous mistakes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Horror

 

Story: w Delta z starts as a rookie detective Helen Westcott (George) get her first crime scene where she works with seasoned veteran Eddie Argo (Skarsgard) who knows the streets like the back of his hand. When the bodies start piling up the detectives figure they are after a serial killer who is carving WAZ into the bodies.

When Eddie learns that it is Jean Lerner (Blair) behind the crimes it becomes clear who he is targeting and why in what is a careful thought out revenge on gang led by Pierre Jackson (Hardy) who brutally attacked her years before. The race is on to stop the body count getting to high but the truth will come out.

W Delta z is a crime horror thriller that follows the lines of the ‘Saw’ franchise but having a killer that pushes the limits of what a body can handle. For the crime side and revenge side of this movie this is all very effective on the negative side we just don’t get enough suggestion of anyone else’s involvement as we learn the killer very early. While the film is very bloody most of these does happen off camera which does help with us trying to deal with the horror involved. This is a dark story that can be enjoyed by the horror fans out there.

 

Actor Review

 

Stellan Skarsgard: Eddie Argo is the seasoned detective that has to work with the rookie tracking down a serial killer, it isn’t long before he learns of his previous connection to the killer. Stellan is good as the grizzled older cop.

Melissa George: Helen Westcott is the rookie detective thrown into this new case with a new partner. She has to learn about the departments secrets to uncover the truth about what is happening. Melissa is good but sadly falls to just a supporting role in the second half of the film.

Selma Blair: Jean Lerner was a victim of a horrendous home invasion gang rape attack that has been planning her revenge on everyone involved for years. Her plan is to put each person involved in the attack through the same decision she had to face. Selma makes for a great villain in the horror genre unlike many we have seen before.

Tom Hardy: Pierre Jackson is the leader of the gang who did the attack, he is psychotic with how he picks acts willing to shot first killing anyone who gets in his way. Tom is solid in this role which is only a supporting role before he became a bigger name.

Support Cast: W Delta z has only a couple of other important characters who are victims of the killer as well as police involved in the original crime.

Director Review: Tom ShanklandTom gives us a very dark crime horror that does come close to matching Seven and Saw.

 

Crime: W Delta z follows our detectives looking for a serial killer that is also out to get revenge for a crime they were a victim off.

Horror: W Delta z gives us a serial killer that doesn’t know when to stop until they get everything they want.

Thriller: W Delta z keeps us guessing to where the story will end up going by throwing us straight into the first murder.

Settings: W Delta z makes each scene feel gritty from the wrong neighbourhood showing what the killer sees as the low-lives who are her victims.
Special Effects
: W Delta z had great effects when it comes to the body horror going on through the film.

Suggestion: W Delta z is one for all the horror fans out there to watch, if you were a fan of Saw or Seven this is for you. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Killer’s motives.

Worst Part: Not enough mystery about who the killer is.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too:

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: Would you kill the one you love to save yourself from death?

 

Overall: Twisted, gritty and dark crime horror film

Ratingcard

 

 

Godzilla (2014)

logoDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Max Borenstein (Screenplay) Dave Callaham (Story)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Carson Bolde, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathain

 

Plot: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

 

Verdict: Great Monster Movie

 

Story: We start by follow a group investigating a collapse at a mine leading us to see how something big was there. Next we meet our hero who works at a nuclear power plant who has worries about seismic activity around the plant and while a team investigate the power plant has a breech leading to his wife dying. Fast forward 15 years and he is still trying to figure out what caused it, while his son has joined the armed forces and has a family of his own. After our hero gets arrested his son has to fly to Japan to bail him out and in the end joins the investigation to what caused the evacuation. Our hero gets bought into what was once his place of work only to discover that it has been taken over where a creature breaks out of its hiding causing the military to come in to try and stop it. They have to stop the Muto creature before it causes more damage around the world. The powers that be in the military have to let the battle between the creatures and Godzilla happen before it is too late.godzilla

Godzilla is one of those all-time classic monster movies and it is always been down to the beliefs in Japanese culture and after the 1998 film we never saw even a mention of those said beliefs. This time we go back to square one and focus on the idea that Godzilla could well be the saviour of the human race against other monsters. The basic film plays out very easily to follow adds in plenty of conspiracy theories ideas which keep things ready for any potential sequels. The only thing that really annoyed me was the fact Ford just happened to always seemed to be in the right, well in his case wrong place at the time to be involved with the next mission without actually being on active duty. In the end it is a very good story that will be easy to follow for all the fans and pays a lot of respect to the source material. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Ford Brody son of Joe who has grown up to start his own family as well as being a solider, he gets caught up in the middle of his father’s theories and has to face off against both the creatures while trying to get back to his family. He ends up getting caught up in every single mission against the creatures. Aaron does a good job but ends up looking like a very standard solider instead of an over the top action hero, which was good. (8/10)

 ford

Bryan Cranston: Joe Brody seismic expert working on a nuclear power plant, who is trying to investigate why a seemingly identical activity happening but after his wife is killed during the attack he becomes a conspiracy nut. He ends up being correct about what is being hidden and helps offering some of the answers to the government’s problems. Bryan does a good job in the role but I feel we could have seen a lot more from his character. (8/10)

joe

Elizabeth Olsen: Elle Brody wife of Ford who has spends the first half of the film looking after their child while Ford is trying to get back home. She does a good job but really doesn’t end up doing anything to help the story only offers motivation for Ford. (7/10)

 

Ken Watanabe: Dr Serizawa the man trying to understand the creatures and after years of asking questions he might final understand what is happening, and has to race to stop them spreading all while believing that Godzilla will stop the other creatures. Ken does a good job but ends up coming off as a stereotypical character. (7/10)

 dr

Sally Hawkins: Vivienne Graham assistant who tries to help protect the people from what is happening but it is up to her and Dr Serizawa to get the message across to the trigger happy Americans. Sally does a good job in the supporting role but fails to really make an impact. (7/10)

 vivine

Support Cast: Each member of the supporting cast adds to the story as it unfolds giving information to our main characters.

 

Director Review: Gareth Edwards – Gareth shows why he got picked to direct this by showing his brilliance at masking the idea of monsters instead of just having over the top battles. (9/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action going on during the film even with a lot only showing the aftermath we have plenty to enjoy too. (10/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing on what will happen and where it will happen next. (9/10)

Settings: Each setting selected adds to the story as we see the destruction being created by the creatures. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Brilliant special effects used to create the creatures and the destruction made. (10/10)

Suggestion: This is one of the block buster that has to be watched because it is near perfect for a modern monster movie. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Godzilla final fight.

Worst Part: The very end is a bit cheesy.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final fight.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It has one being talked about.

Opening Credits Rating: The opening credits fill us with backstory on how the nuclear tests had been causing mutation. All good for helping explain the idea of how a ‘Godzilla’ like creature could appear. (10/10)

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: I would expect it to get some Special Effects nominations.

Box Office: $525 Million

Budget: $160 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Tagline: The king arrives

Trivia: Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe,Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were all Gareth Edwards’s first choice for their respective roles. According to Hawkins, “He comes from the performance first, rather than how it looks. I never expected I would be cast in a film like this – and that’s all thanks to Gareth. His cast is really unusual and interesting and people you wouldn’t normally see in this type of film, and I hope it makes for a different type of monster film.”

 

Overall: Monster Movie That Salutes Its Source Material

Rating 90