Writer: Tony Kushner, Eric Roth (Screenplay) George Jones (Book)
Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Hanns Zischler, Ayelet Zurer, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz
Plot: Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.
Tagline – The world was watching in 1972 as 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. This is the story of what happened next.
Runtime: 2 Hour 44 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Tense True Story
Story: Munich starts in the aftermath of the tragic events of the Munich Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Arabic terrorists. The Israeli prime minister isn’t taken what happened to her men lightly, she assigns a team led by Avner (Bana), with Steve (Craig), Carl (Hinds), Robert (Kassovitz) and Hans (Zischler) to eliminate everybody involved in the terrorist action.
The mission will take the team around Europe as they track down each and everyone of the people responsible, we see the obstacles they found along the way, but ultimately to complete their mission.
Thoughts on Munich
Characters – Avner is the special agent in the Israeli government, he is assigned to lead the retaliation against the people responsible for Black Sunday. He must leave his pregnant wife behind to go on this mission, a mission which would be his first, as he hasn’t been in the field before. He is left making the difficult decisions on the mission, to keep the men in order. Steve is the member of the team that has the most experience in the field, he does question Avner’s choice as leader, though he will follow the orders for his country. Carl is another member of the team, he does seem like the mot educated of the team. Robert is assigned to be the explosives expert, his bombs often fail, because of his own training which is about disarming them rather than making them. We see the characters that are the connections, the people that authorise the vengeance, each character is based on a real person involved in this.
Performances – Eric Bana is the star of the show here, he is put through the widest range of emotions when it comes to everything his character goes through. Daniel Craig leads up the supporting cast we, showing he was always going to be more than just James Bond. Ciaran Hinds is the ever-reliable supporting cast member that never once looks out of place. the whole cast is wonderful through this film, bringing the complex number of characters to life.
Story – The story follows the aftermath of events of the Black Sunday tragedy, which sees a group of Israeli soldiers look to get vengeance on the men behind the terrorist attack. We get to see how the operation was handled, the hunting of the terrorists, with the different hiding places around Europe. This does show how a country was left in mourning after the tragic events, how they went about changing this, fixing this, so they weren’t considered the weaker nation in the war within the country. We mostly focus on one man who was seen to have been put into a world he wasn’t prepared for, one where he would have to do things he wasn’t trained for, to protect his home land.
History – This is a moment in history that shocked everybody, we see how the people in the government went out for their own revenge.
Settings – The film does take us around Europe as we see where the terrorist were hiding out after their actions.
Final Thoughts – This is a brilliant look at one of the most secret missions of revenge after one of the darkest days in Olympic history.
Overall: History revenge.
Writer: Menno Meyjes (Screenplay) Alice Walker (Novel)
Starring: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Willard E Pugh, Akosua Busia, Desreat Jackson
Plot: A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.
Tagline – It’s about life. It’s about love. It’s about us.
Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Color Purple starts when teenage Celie Johnson (Jackson) who gets sold by her abusive father who has given up their child before giving her to Albert (Glover) who was interested in her younger sister Nettie, stuck having to help raise his three children in 1909.
With Celie (Goldberg) now grown up, she is still living with the abuse, she sees the eldest child Harpo get married to Sofia (Winfrey) who won’t take any sort of abuse, this shows Celie that she can fight back against Mister’s behaviour. We continue to see the years of household abuse that Celie lived through due to her husband and seeing the different people that comes into her family life.
Thoughts on The Color Purple
Characters – Celie Johnson was abused by her father, who fathered a child with her, one they gave up, she is sent to marry Albert and help raise his children, she is constantly abused by him who doesn’t want to let her have her own life, she sees people come and go from her life including Sofia and Shug, both offer her a new way of looking at life too, we follow four decades of her abuse which keeps her in maid like conditions in the home. Albert is the man that takes Celie to be his wife after his first wife died, he wants someone to raise his kids and do the housework for him, not letting her communicate with her sister and even meeting other women on the side. Shug Avery is one of the ladies that Albert starts sleeping with, he even lets her stay at their home, she is a singer and entertainer that isn’t going to let any man walk over her, she helps Celie breakout of the shell, even tempting her to leave. Sofia becomes the wife to one of the children, she won’t let any man or woman of any race walk over her and gets tired of how Harpo treats her, she does have a better chance of life than Celie and tries to prove to her she can have more, but at a cost.
Performances – Whoopi Goldberg gives us a truly fantastic performance that is up there with the very best by anybody in acting history. Danny Glover gives us a truly evil father figure that makes you hate him through each action he puts Celie through. Oprah Winfrey is stunning too, showing us how somebody can recover from being broken and Margaret Avery is wonderful through the film too.
Story – The story follows the life of young teenage girl Celie over four decades of her life, from her forced marriage and years of abuse that she suffered at the hands of the men in her life during the early 1900s. This movie shows us just how a woman was held back from her life by her controlling husband, Celie doesn’t seem to ever get mistreated by any white Americans, which is only seen against Sofia, showing that the world may have changed, but it hadn’t moved on with the acceptance of women in the family household, we do see how some of the other women do get their freedom, but due to the abuse Celie struggled to get that freedom. We don’t seem to focus on any of the real-life events which could have been going on at the same time, which might only continues to show how little Celie was allowed to see more of the world. The struggles that she goes through are very real and one that nobody should have ever seen put through.
Settings – The film does use the settings wonderfully to show how even after the end of slavery, not everything was equal when it comes to living conditions the character find themselves in. the farmhouse and open countryside, show the opposite of the peace Celie was living.
Final Thoughts – This is truly a wonderful film that must be watch by all, it brings us a truly brilliant story, stunning performances and a reflection of life.
Overall: Easily in Spielberg’s top five films.
Writer: James V Hart, Nick Castle, Malia Scotch Marmo (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Books)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott
Plot: When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.
Tagline – What if Peter Pan grew up?
Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Fun-Filled Fantasy
Story: Hook starts as we meet businessman Peter Banning (Williams) who has started over working leading to his children become distant, his wife Moira (Goodall) forces him to visit his Granny Wendy (Smith) in London for Christmas, where she sees how much Peter has changed since his childhood of never wanting to grow up.
Captain Hook (Hoffman) takes Peter’s children, which sees Peter needing to be pushed into returning to Neverland, a place he has long forgotten about, with Tinkerbell (Roberts) taking him there only for Hook to be left disappointed by the man Peter has become, Tinkerbell has three days to restore Peter’s faith in Neverland to save his children.
Thoughts on Hook
Characters – Peter Banning is a lawyer that has been neglecting his family, his Grandmother sees him losing his young heart that made her take him in, in the first place, Peter must confront his past to save his children from his old nemesis Captain Hook in Neverland, a place he has long since forgotten about. Peter has become everything he once hated as a child and shows how at times parents can get buried in their work. Captain Hook has been waiting for the day Peter Pan returns, he is left disappointed when he does return a shell of the boy that left, giving him three days to prepare for a battle, while having his own plan to get revenge on Peter. Tinkerbell comes to Peter to bring him back to Neverland, she helps transform him back to his original self, while showing him what he is still fighting for.
Performances – Robin Williams was a great choice for this role, he gets to manages the serious adult side of everything as well as the playful side of Peter Pan with ease being able to swap between the two whenever he needs to. Dustin Hoffman as the villainous Hook has great enjoyment in this role where he does get to play along with his character. Julia Roberts does all she needs to do without being as involved as the lead too.
Story – The story follows an older Peter Pan that must return to Neverland to save his own children after his old nemesis Captain Hook takes them there. This spin on the Peter Pan story is a wonderful on because see Peter grown up becoming everything he promised he wouldn’t shows us just how difficult being an adult can be, you will turn your back on parts of your childhood become what you once feared. This was always the meaning behind Peter Pan in the first place, finding an escape from the busy lives, now an adult must use this to save his own relationship with his children and family, which is what is important in life.
Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy – The adventure side of the film takes Peter to Neverland to relive moments of his childhood in a fantasy battle against pirates with fairies on their side. We do get elements of comedy, but even Robin Williams is held back from going into his full routine like we saw in Aladdin.
Settings – The film uses the same settings that we know from Peter Pan, the London setting might well be a more modern one, but Neverland hasn’t aged a day since Peter has left.
Final Thoughts – This is a magical version of Peter Pan’s adventures showing how life can change for adults who never thought they would be when they were children.
Overall: Magical adventure.
Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch
Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.
Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.
Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Incredible Story
Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.
When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.
Thoughts on War Horse
Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.
Performances – The performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.
Story – The story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.
History/War – The history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.
Settings – The film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.
Final Thoughts – This is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.
Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.