Cillian Murphy Weekend – Anthropoid (2016)

Director: Sean Ellis

Writer: Sean Ellis, Anthony Frewin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Anna Geislerova, Sara Arnsteinova, Hana Frejkova, Sean Mahon

 

Plot: Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.


Tagline – The Only Thing More Terrifying Than the Leader of the SS Was the Operation to Take Him Out

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting History Lesson

 

Story: Anthropoid starts as two soldiers Jan Kubis (Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Murphy) return to Czechoslovakia on the brink of World War II, to complete a mission known as Anthropoid, which will see them plan the assassination of SS General Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich is one of the three main men behind the Final Solution, which was used to form the Nazi movement through Czechoslovakia, he is hated in the country.

With the location of Heydrich known, the men must work on a plan, which will see them place themselves in a situation which could change history as they know it.

 

Thoughts on Anthropoid

 

Characters – Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik are both soldiers on a secret mission, they must sneak into the country to assassinate Heydrich third in line to the Nazi party. They must work around the town never looking out of place being strangers there, to prepare for a moment that could change history. They do try to blend into the background, not drawing attention to themselves to get their mission done. We do meet couple more characters including Uncle Hajsky who gives them shelter as they work on their mission. We do also meet love interests which will see the men put the mission in danger.

PerformancesJamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy take the leading roles, they both do a solid job as you can see them working well together on the mission, they can both hit higher levels though, which is a disappointment. Nobody makes the impact they could do through this film, with the subject being look at.

StoryThe story follows a secret mission of two soldiers who plan to assassinate one of the high ranking members of the Nazi party, we see how they plan comes together and just how much the people involved are willing to risk to end the executions of the innocent in their country. This is an interesting story, one that would be considered important because it is an important part of the pre-world war II events. It does show how the people were already starting to become scared of what might happen to them, what they would be willing to risk stopping it and just how much sacrifice was put into the events.

Biopic/WarThe biopic side of this film comes from seeing the risk the people involved took to try and stop one of the highest ranking men in the Nazi party, this also uses the war elements to show us just how people were being treated through World War II.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action in Prague, where the events of the assassination attempt took place, the age for the scenery looks the most accurate for the time the film is set.


Scene of the Movie –
Church defence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It never feels as intense as it could or should be.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting history lesson, it shows the events of an attempted assassination of one of the Nazi’s most villainous men.

 

Overall: Interesting, but not intense enough.

Rating

 

 

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Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Director: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) Michael Crichton (Characters)

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, DB Wong, Rafe Spall

 

Plot: When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.


Tagline – Life finds a way.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gigantic Disappointment

 

Story: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts when the island the dinosaurs lived in Jurassic World is going to be wiped out by the volcano on it, the government are figuring out the morale side of whether to help the dinosaurs or let nature wipe them out once again with the help of Ian Malcolm (Goldblum).

Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell) a former partner to Richard Hammond wants to rescue the dinosaurs and leave them on a safe island, he brings in Claire (Howard) and Owen (Pratt) to achieve these, with his associate Eli Miles (Spall) running the operation. Things don’t go to plan and it becomes clear that human desires have become the project and creating a new killer dinosaur is what is the most important part of the mission and now Owen and Claire must save the day.

 

Thoughts on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

Characters – Claire is now working as a campaigner to save the dinosaurs from there next extinction, she has a small team and the connections to get her voice heard, she must connect with Owen again to complete the mission and do the right thing to make up for her mistakes from the previous film. we see her make difficult decisions, but otherwise she doesn’t have anything standing out about her character. Owen is back, mainly because he is the one that can track down Blue (the raptor), he knows how the survive dinosaurs, using their strengths to help him in difficult decisions, he is your standard hero there to save the day figure though. Ken Wheatley is the hunter sent to bring back the dinosaurs, he doesn’t seem very smart or like he has ever hunted before, he also collects the teeth, sadly this character is rubbish compared to the hunter in Jurassic Park The Lost World, who at least knew this would be a test of his skills. Ian Malcolm, gives a speech, don’t sell us on a movie if that is all her does. Benjamin Lockwood is the man trying to save the dinosaurs, he once worked with Hammond and wants the same for the remaining dinosaurs. Eli Miles runs operations for Lockwood, he has set up the mission to be what he wants it to be. The rest of the characters include the comic relief in Zia and Franklin, mostly misses, the Maisie the annoying kid and Dr Wu returning even though we knew in the last film what his game now is.

PerformancesWell the performances, this should be interesting, Pratt once again shows he needs good material to shine, he doesn’t give us a memorable moment in the film, Howard also struggles to make her character as strong as it should be follow the events of the first film. My score for Goldblum is low because he is only in one scene. Ted Levine looks the part of the clumsy hunter, Rafe Spall does a good enough job in his role, while the big name actors will be getting paid well to move onto their Oscar related movies.

StoryThe story will clearly have the similarities to The Lost World, we know the park has been destroyed the dinosaurs still live and what to do with them next is the question. The reluctant party return to do the right thing only to be betrayed, check and the second half of the film takes place on the main land, check. While I will stand up for the ideas in the story, because we know much like in ‘Alien’ that humans will want to weaponize and profit from anything that can be seen as more dangerous than what they have, it is tried, tested and works.

The idea that nature is destroying the island feels like it could have been a movie on its own, it is the best part of the story and ends with one of the best scenes in the Jurassic franchise. The problems start when you see the thrown in backstory characters, the paths going down man’s obsession with hunting and third act twists that make little impact in the movie.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action should be breath taking, we have an island being destroyed, which we saw in the trailer, the dinosaur moments should be amazing, they are forgettable, sadly the action just fails to feel the tension required. The adventure seems to have been sucked out of the film too, everything on the island felt like it was played out in fast forward skipping the true amazement of what was achieved. The sci-fi side of the story shows the use of dinosaurs and as we have ran out of ideas again, making a newer deadlier one.

SettingsThe have two main settings, the island for the first half of the film which I personally feel could have been the whole film, the second half is centred around the mansion which sucks all the life out of the ideas created.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are flawless with the dinosaurs coming to life in the magical way we know.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment on the island, bought a tear to my eye, such a poetic and beautiful shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bloody kid.

Final ThoughtsThis was a giant disappointment for me, the two stories feel like they could have been separate films, the characters feel dull and lifeless and by the end you will be asking if you actually want to see more.

 

Overall: Just a let down for me.

Rating

 

 

James McAvoy Weekend – Atomic Blonde (2017)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay) Antony Johnston, Sam Hart (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, James Faulkner, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgard

 

Plot: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining at Best

 

Story: Atomic Blonde starts with history about the bringing down the Berlin War being different to how would be it would be led to believe, so we follow Lorraine Broughton (Theron) a British spy being debriefed by Eric Gray (Jones) and Emmet Kurzfeld (Goodman) on just what happened with her latest mission.

Lorraine’s mission is to locate and extract Spyglass (Marsan), she must work with local spy David Percival (McAvoy) to get around Berlin as we learn about the web of conspiracies she must take on.

 

Thoughts on Atomic Blonde

 

Characters – Lorraine Broughton is the British spy, drop dead gorgeous and deadly when it comes to combat, she can handle herself in any situation which makes her a deadly weapon looking to bring down the truth in Germany. David Percival is the partner Lorraine and the man in the know in German, he has researched the area but we sense something not quite right about him, much like Lorraine does. Spyglass is the man that is being extracted with the answers that could end the cold war, Emmett and Eric are both the CIA and MI6 agents that are learning just what went wrong on this mission.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is our kick ass lead in the film, she handles herself in combat and looks sexy along the way. James McAvoy continues to show strength in the supporting roles where he must be over the top at times. Goodman and Jones are perfect choices for the office like roles in the film and they are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a special agent going to Berlin to discover who the double agent is while getting the only person with the information out of Berlin but not everything goes to plan as we are thrown into a world a spies and double crossing. By telling us the most part of this film in a report style story takes away the peril our lead is ever in and by having the number of twists we do it sometimes comes off slightly short.

Action/MysteryThe action sequences are the highlight of this film, we have three main one where we see just how exhausting they are one Lorraine. The mystery is here as we wonder just who the double agent it even if things seem clear from the start.

SettingsMost of the film is set in Berlin which fits the time for the setting and the tension is created with the world where people are on edge.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when it comes to the kills and is only used sparing which works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Single Shot Escape

That Moment That Annoyed Me Time jumping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good little action film that hits all the marks, it entertains while it does become complicated at times.

 

Overall: Entertaining Action Film

Rating

 

 

The Snowman (2017)

Director: Tomas Afredson

Writer: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J.K Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Clayton, Toby Jones

 

Plot: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.


Tagline – Soon the first snow will come, and then he will kill again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Twisty Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Snowman starts as we meet alcoholic detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) a once great detective that is lacking the motivation because of the lack of murders and his break up with his long-term girlfriend Rakel (Gainsbourg). He gets a new member of his team Katrine (Ferguson) who has embraced the latest technology in police work and the two start an investigation into a missing woman.

The two have very different backgrounds and the story does jump back to a previous serious of crimes that were being investigated in a different part of Norway, but as the women continue to go missing we are thrown a list of different suspects and mixing this with the personal backgrounds of the two characters we wait to see who the killer is.

 

Thoughts on The Snowman

 

Characters – Harry Hole was once one of the best detectives in Oslo, his cases have been studied be the candidates in the academy, but he has fallen on bad times with a drinking problem and a relationship ending. When the case does come up he is still the first man selected to lead the investigation, this is where we get to see his true skills. Katrine is a rookie that transferred to the department, she uses the technology to make the work easier but slowly we learn about her past and her reasons for being transferred to this department. Rakel is the ex-girlfriend of Harry who they still remain close due to Harry building a relationship with her son. Arve Stop is a political figure running the campaign to get Oslo the Winter World Cup, he does become one of the many suspects. We do meet at least a total of 6 potential suspects which could all have motive for the crime which is nice, but this also means we don’t focus enough on the mind games between the killer and Hole.

PerformancesFassbender is great in the leading role, giving us what we would expect from him without reaching his best of the best level of ability. Rebecca Ferguson is good too, she doesn’t steal the spotlight like she did in Rogue Nation but shows she does have more to her in ability wise. The rest of the cast do well with what they have to work with, even if they don’t get enough screen time to make the impact they could.

StoryThe trailers made this out to be a true mind games based serial killer versus cop movie, this is in fact a lie, we have the slow processes of trying to solve who could be behind this with plenty of suspects along the way. The tease with the note does feel confusing though because it sets up the mind games but doesn’t seem to follow through on them. We do have a lot of side stories going on including Harry’s relationship with Rakel and her son, Katrine’s past and just who is Arve Stop, which doesn’t help us focus on what should be the biggest factor the killer.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crimes do look horrific when we see the full effects of what the killer is doing and his weapon of choice is fresh and terrifying at that. The mystery does keep us guessing through the film but the lack of final punch takes away the horror for me.

SettingsThe settings make this film look beautiful, we have stunning shots of the Norwegian snow cover countryside but once we are in the big cities it all looks the same.


Scene of the Movie –
First learning of the killer weapon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was confusing to figure out if the characters were Norwegian or what.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it does keep us guessing but it does get confusing trying to balance too many side stories, unlike Wind River which deals with the problems head on.

 

Overall: Good but not great snow flake.

Rating