ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Y – The Young Victoria (2009)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Julian Fellowes (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong

 

Plot: A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.


Tagline – She was the queen of an empire, but her heart belonged to one man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: The Young Victoria starts as young Victoria (Blunt) has been guarded from the world, knowing she will be next in line for the throne, Sir John Conroy (Strong) has been trying to get her to sign a regency order, meaning he would become king until she came of age, only for Victoria to refuse. We follow her 17th year as she starts meeting suiters for her husband, Belgium’s Prince Albert (Friend) being the prime candidate.

When King William (Broadbent) dies, it places Victoria in the position of Queen of England, Lord Melbourne (Bettany) must try to guide her in the decisions that she may face, while Victoria and Albert stay in contact through letters, that shares their love.

 

Thoughts on The Young Victoria

 

Characters – Victoria was raised to become Queen one day, forced to follow strict rules including walking down stairs holding somebody’s hand and sharing a bedroom with her mother. She is always under pressure about signing a regency, only to refuse because she knows that one day she will become Queen, she wants to make her rule, her own, which sees her wanting to pick her love, instead of following the rules the rest are trying to place for her. Prince Albert is the son of King Leopold of Belgium, the two fall in love and know that their union will keep the countries together stronger. Lord Melbourne is the advisor to Victoria, he has his own agenda which he wants to put into place, making him a danger figure in her connection to the common people of England. The Duchess of Kent is the mother of Victoria, who has been following the rules to protect her daughter and stuck following whatever John Conroy says.

PerformancesEmily Blunt shines in this leading role as the young Victoria, she brings the grace and determination to change the country through with her performance which you could believe the real Victoria doing to Britain. Rupert Friend as Prince Albert is wonderful too as he shows us the one person that would truly stand up against the Queen as many others would be in fear of her. Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson round off the main cast as they both are great in their roles through the film.

StoryThe story follows the firs year that Queen Victoria was on the throne, we see how she had to learn quickly with how the politicians would try to sway her, meet a husband and try to help sort out a country with big divides between the upper class and the lower class. We see that even at a young age she was able to make these decisions to bring Britain forward and mark herself down as one of the most important leaders the nation ever saw. After becoming a fan of The Crown this was an easy story to step into as smaller moments made sense, if you don’t know certain historic rules the Queen must follow, you might not get why certain scenes in the film happen.

Biopic/History/RomanceThis movie shows us how important Queen Victoria’s reign was, we might only follow around a year, but she wanted to start making changes early on which will later become her legacy, the romance that she goes through shows how the Albert came into her life and showed her, they could rule together if they challenged the rules they believed to be wrong.

SettingsEach setting used in this film feels like the true settings we would see the royals living in, each one shows just how they could be living in the upper class, with the set design showing the beauty within the buildings.


Scene of the Movie –
The ride around town which changed everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have certain rules that never get explained, which people might not understand.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot biopic that shows us the first year’s reign of Queen Victoria, the difficulties she faced and how she overcame them all.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama.

Rating

 

 

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Ron Perlman Weekend – Blade II (2002)

Director: Guillermo del Torro

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay) Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan (Characters)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kirstofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires.


Tagline – One Man Still Has The Edge

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Blood-Soaked Sequel

 

Story: Blade II starts as a new breed of vampire Nomak (Goss) hunts down vampires for feed, meanwhile Blade (Snipes) has unfinished business with the vampires, he wants Whistler (Krisofferson) back after he was turned and taken from him. Once Whistler is saved, Blade returns him to the human form with his new assistant Scud (Reedus).

When the Vampire council approach Blade to help them stop the Reaper strain Nomak is carrying, Blade must team up with the Blood Pack led by Nyssa (Varela) and including Reinhardt (Perlman), Snowman (Yen) and Chupa (Schulze) to put aside their difference to defeat the newest enemy to them both.

 

Thoughts on Blade II

 

Characters – Blade, daywalker, the half human, half vampire is continuing his battle against vampires, but this time he learns of a new threat the Reapers, who are deadlier than any vampire he has face, so he must unite with the vampires to defeat them. Still as deadly as before, with sword or guns, no vampire can just defeat him. Whistler returns only this time Blade must help him to recover, which leaves us wondering which side of the battle he will be on through the movie. Reinhardt is a member of the Bloodpack, he is the one that hates working with Blade, his sworn enemy for years. He shows his discontent while be one of the best soldiers in the unit. Nyssa is the daughter of Damaskinos, a pure blood vampire and leader of the Bloodpack, she becomes a Love interest for Blade in a strange turn of events. Scud has filled the Whistler role for Blade in his hunt, he creates the weapons needed to defeat the enemies while mostly being a slob for the most part. Damaskinos is the leader of the vampire council, he brings the rivals together to try and end the war. Nomak is the reaper terrorising the streets, he is the first of his creation and now deadly to anyone who he infects.

PerformancesWesley Snipes will always be remembered for this role, it is his most iconic and the one the fans enjoy watching. Here he does everything needed to continue making it people’s favourite. Kristofferson on the other hand does feel like he is mailing it in for the most part. Ron Perlman does the best to try and steal the spotlight bring the few moments of humour to the film. Leonor Varela is good as the only major female character in the film and does have a good opening fight sequence with Blade. Luke Goss is good as the villain showing us the sympathetic side and the brutal side of his character. The rest of the cast are good through the film.

StoryThe story puts our hero Blade needing to team up with his enemy to take on a new enemy, this does work because we didn’t need to see Blade just take on more normal vampires, we needed to up the stakes and the new breed does this. We also get the tension between the two sides with the common enemy, needing to trade secrets to make things happen. We must remember this is a comic book movie, so we need things to be farfetched at time too. We have the traditional twists you would come to expect at times too.

Action/HorrorThe action is fun, we have great fighting sequences, but certain moments feel like a video game. The horror uses the vampires for the blood filled violence moments in the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the dark underworld you would imagine vampires would live in, the new breed in the sewers shows us how they are starting at the bottom looking to raise to the top too.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills are good throughout, the effects for the fight scenes are at times seems poor CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
Sewer invasion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Donnie Yen’s characters death, wasted opportunity.

Final ThoughtsThis was a fun comic book action horror, we get plenty of blood flying around with plenty of kills going on which will keep the fans happy.

 

Overall: Great sequel for an iconic character.

Rating

 

 

Valkyrie (2008)

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Terrence Stamp

 

Plot: A dramatization of the 20 July assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Hitler during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Thriller

 

Story: Valkyrie starts in the middle of World War II, outspoken German Colonel Claus Stauffenberg (Cruise) is assigned duty in Tunisia where he gets injured. Back in German Major General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh) has been working on a plan to assassinate Hitler and ending the war.

When Henning’s latest choice fails, he gets his fellow General Friedrich Olbricht (Nighy) to recruit a new member to this secret group and Claus is that man. We follow as the plan to assassinate Hitler comes together with espionage between the ranking officers, secret meetings and changes in potential candidates.  

 

Thoughts on Valkyrie

 

Characters/PerformanceColonel Claus von Stauffenberg is the soldier injured during the war and now he is the man with the plan to assassinate Hitler. Major General Henning von Tresckow is the officer that brings Claus into the circle as he wants to find the end of the war. General Friedrich Olbricht is the handler of Claus in the ranking side of things but off the books he must follow the instructions of Claus. The characters are all based on real people all involved in the real assassination attempt on Hitler.

Performance wise, well first we need to address that this is an English-speaking movie about what is happening within German during the war so we need to look past that when judging these performances of Tom Cruise who is good showing he can do serious movies over action sequences. Nighy, Branagh and Wilkinson are all great through the film as are the rest of the cast.

StoryThis is a look at a moment in history that many people don’t know about, we all know how World War II went and the bigger events, but looking at the story of a revolution within the German army to stop Hitler ending the war. The amount of people that would risk their lives to stop Hitler but the weak point here is we know the truth that it failed.

History/War Looking in the history of World War II we get to learn about a smaller detail which get covered up because they were failed missions to end the war and this gives us that story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the image of war time Germany with little issues with the look of the sets.

Final ThoughtsNice look into history about a moment that could have changed the end of the war forever.

 

Overall: Historical film that does show us a moment of great risk that ended in failure.

Rating

 

 

Jungle (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: Justin Monjo (Screenplay) Yossi Ghinsberg (Book)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Lily Sullivan, Joel Jackson

 

Plot: A group of friends join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be.


Tagline – Nature Has Only One Law – Survival

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Story

 

Story: Jungle starts as we follow Israeli young men Yossi Ghinsberg (Radcliffe) as he spends a planned year travelling, finding himself in Bolivia meeting Marcus (Jackson) and Kevin (Russell) two fellow travellers. When they meet guide Karl (Kretschmann) he offers to guide them through the jungle, which the three accept as an experience they couldn’t refuse.

When Marcus becomes injured and unable to walk, the group must find another way out of the jungle, which involve heading down the river on a raft. This causes the group to split up with Karl taking Marcus back by foot, while Yossi and Kevin head off further into the jungle. Once the friends hit some strong rapids, the two becomes separate and now Yossi is alone in the jungle.

 

Thoughts on Jungle

 

Characters – Yossi is the Israeli backpacker that in Bolivia heads off into the jungle with newly found friends, when he gets separated we follow his epic battle to survive the wilderness in the harsh environment where he must learn to survive. Kevin is the American photographer that joins on the adventure through the jungle hoping to get some breath-taking shots, he does get them but does find himself alone once he gets split up from the rest of the group. Karl is the guide that knows he way through the jungle, he takes the injured Marcus back to safety leaving the other two to fend for themselves.

PerformancesDaniel Radcliffe is fantastic in this leading role, he continues to push himself away from the Harry Potter films with another challenging role which pushed to the limits. We have a good supporting cast who all perform well, but they don’t get much time to be anything but good.

StoryThe story follows Yossi incredible story of survival when he got lost in the Bolivian jungle. It starts out as an innocent trip in the jungle, but soon turns into a nightmare, this is based on the book by Yossi, so, well you know how it is going to end, but seeing what he goes through is hellacious to say the least. If you want to see a story of one man’s desperate battle to survive then this one will be for you to enjoy.

Action/AdventureThe action adventure side of the film shows just how much Yossi must do to survive the situation he finds himself in and just what he must do to survive.

SettingsThe film is set in the jungle, which makes perfect sense, we get to see just how real the experience would have been for Yossi, we even get the moments of beauty he was searching for.

Special EffectsWe have a mix of effects here, the practical ones that Radcliffe goes through, but the strange vision sequences don’t seem to click well enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Head Bug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It needed more in the endurance.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has a brilliant performance from Radcliffe who goes through a hell of a lot. It does feel slightly long in places though.

 

Overall: Radcliffe Shines.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

resDirector: Alexander Witt

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris

 

Plot: Alice awakes in Raccoon City, only to find it has become infested with zombies and monsters. With the help of Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, Alice must find a way out of the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Bloodier Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Apocalypse starts above ground in Racoon City going on with their normal days like nothing has happened but below ground the Hive is reopened and the infected are released upon the city with the important members of the Racoon City board evacuated including Dr Ashford (Harris) but his daughter Angie (Vavasseur) gets lost in the panic.

13 hours later the dead running riot in the city as we meet Jill Valentine (Guillory) the tough and sexy cop with a near perfect shot looking to follow the rest of the city in their evacuation. Here we continue to get introduction to characters including picking up Alice (Jovovich) right where we left her last time, we also get to see rescue team member Carlos Olivera (Fehr) in his example rescue methods and Major Cain (Kretschmann) who is leading the evacuation.

When the infection reaches the gate, Major Cain closes the gates forcing the people stuck inside Racoon City to fend for themselves against the infected. Joining forces Alice, Jill, Carlos and other survivors must locate Angie to rescue her from what is coming to Racoon City, with time counting down the infection spreading this is a race against time for Alice and the survivors with the Nemesis program activated.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Apocalypse

 

StoryJust continuing the story is all this franchise needed, because the first film we get the introduction to the virus now we get the full outbreak starting City wide. We have the same basic story going on though, a group of survivors trying to survive all be it in a bigger world from a deadly infection of zombies that continue to track down enemies. We are left to see our heroes take on bigger enemies as we learn how deep the corruption in Umbrella really is which opens the doors to bigger sequels.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger while over the top with bullets flying everywhere which is similar to how some people would be playing the game, the horror is based on the zombies and is main survival horror again all good. Both works well for what this film is trying to be.

Characters/PerformanceAlice returns with all the fighting skills learnt from the first film and more as the true icon if the franchise. The inclusion of Jill Valentine is big for the fans of the games as it marks the first character from the source material to join the franchise. The rest of the characters are good even though they are generic with the main villain becoming something we will get used to through the series of films.

The performances are all good with Jovovich showing her action skills throughout the film as she makes this her own franchise. I do think the rest of the cast all do a good job throughout the film even if some of the smaller roles are slightly over the top.

SettingsHaving the film set in Racoon City works because we slowly build to a bigger infected world and get to have bigger action spectacles.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault the special effects in this film, bigger, bloodier but more realistic than first time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bigger sequel that is an proper easy to watch film for all that enjoy switching their mind off while watching films.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Ratingcard