Home Again

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Newly single Alice (Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line) moves back home to Los Angeles with her two daughters, and whilst adjusting to her new life she finds herself inviting three young guys who are struggling to break into the film industry to live in her guesthouse. There are two narratives in this film, Alice as she home-again-bigattempts to find herself again, and the three guys, brothers Harry (Pico Alexander) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) and their friend George (Jon Rudnitsky) who are on the path to getting their film created. When the lads move in with Alice the two narratives entwine creating laughter as well as some emotional and moving scenes.

I love Reese Witherspoon, she has starred in so many brilliant films of all genres but here she goes back to her rom-com roots, a role that she is so great at! Reese has a natural talent when it comes to comedy and there are plenty of scenes which will make you laugh out loud. She also has a way of making you instantly love her characters, and Alice is no exception. It is clear from the beginning that Alice is sub-buzz-27107-1504802931-1struggling as a single mum settling her girls into a new school whilst at the same time getting her business up and running. When she meets the lads the age gap between them gives plenty of comedy as Alice attempts to hide her age but can’t resist the mothering instincts towards them!

The three lads themselves also have very lovable characters, the relationship between them is sweet and you find yourself feeling every moment of their roller-coaster as they desperately work to get their film recognised. Pico Alexander as Harry brings the eye-530776candy, there’s no denying his good looks, and his infatuation with Alice is completely believable – at forty one Reese still looks incredible! Nat Wolff is perfect as the youngest of the three, it’s clear that Teddy looks up to the other two and values their advice but he is often caught in the middle trying to clear the air as Harry and George differ when it comes to professional decisions. George is the calmest of the three and is the one Alice turns to the most for help and advice. Jon Rudnitsky (a stand up comic in America) knows all about comedic timings and so helps execute a lot of the jokes.methode2ftimes2fprod2fweb2fbin2fc241d7e2-a454-11e7-9cc3-a3b3c6cd90b8

Overall, Home Again hasn’t had many good reviews – and so we went in with very low expectations – however, it’s actually a really lovely film. The narrative is simple but it’s filled with so many lovely feel good moments. Every character is played brilliantly from the supporting cast – including Michael Sheen (Passengers, Underworld), Candice Bergen (Miss Congeniality, House) and Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones’ Diary) – to the main four. There hasn’t been a light-hearted romantic movie for a while, so it was nice to just sit back and enjoy a simple film with the girls. It’s definitely one you can enjoy over and again, it’s a shame that it hasn’t had much publicity over here so unfortunately a lot of people are missing out on what is a really enjoyable film!

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The Mountain Between Us

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The Mountain Between Us is lead by two brilliant actors – both British might I add! – Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. They play Ben and Alex, two strangers who are involved in a tragic plane crash and must forge a connection in order to survive in the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain where the plane fell. After a few days hiding out in the remains of the plane they realise that help is not coming and so they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness in order to find help. Along the way they push one another to endure and discover strength they never knew possible.

mv5byza1zdvln2mtoti1os00yjq3ltg2nwitmgi3ntq5ywfkmzvhxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndg2mjuxnjm-_v1_sy1000_sx1500_al_Idris Elba is a firm favourite amongst the public for his roles in TV dramas The Wire and Luther, so it’s great to see his talents on the big screen. His character Ben is a surgeon – which comes in handy when Alex hurts her leg due to the crash – and he is the slightly guarded character compared to Alex’s natural curiosity and chattiness. It’s clear that he is unwilling to talk about his personal life but as a friendship between the pair slowly begins to form we eventually find out his secret. Idris is excellent in this role, it is easy to see him as a leading man and his relationship with Kate both on and off screen is completely believable.

Kate Winslet has always been a favourite of mine, of course most commonly known forthe-mountain-between-us her role in Titantic, and here she is again acting in a survival film! Her character Alex is a journalist who was on her way home for her wedding. Out of the two characters it is Alex who is determined to move from their initial landing spot, even with an injured leg, and Ben reluctantly agrees. Kate’s character is instantly likeable and the two strangers show a lot of care for each other from the beginning which only grows as the film goes on.

The vast majority of the film is shot on location and there are some pretty epic wide shots of the two figures stranded in the middle of the snowy mountainside. Due to all the snow you can really feel the coldness coming off the characters and their struggle to keep themselves moving onward when everything is so bleak around them. The scene of the plane crash itself is brilliantly shot, there’s enough to give you a real sense of panic as the two characters realise what is happening but it cuts right before impact so you are left in suspense as to who survives. There’s also a few dramatic scenes of one or both of the two falling down the mountainside to a cliff edge or dropping into ice cold water unexpectedly to keep you on your toes!the_mountain_between_us_review_idris_elba_kate_winslet

The story line is of a classic survival film and the ending is very cliche but Idris and Kate tell it very well. You are rooting for their characters to survive and though it sounds quite bleak the film does include some humour. The absolute stand out of the film though has to be the pilot’s Labrador, the only other survivor of the crash, who the two characters 171004_browbeat_mountainbetweenusdog-crop-promo-xlarge2keep with them on their journey. In nearly every scene, this dog is bounding through the snow, tail wagging and clearly having the time of it’s life!

Overall, The Mountain Between Us is a beautifully told story of survival. Kate and Idris were the perfect roles for the film and they work together brilliantly, creating characters that are believable and likeable. Although classed as a romance it’s not overly romantic, it focuses more on the survival aspect and the dangers the two face on their journey down the mountain. I would definitely recommend this film though as I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Goodbye Christopher Robin

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Everyone knows the name A.A. Milne and if not they certainly know all about Winnie the Pooh. Generations of children have been brought up on those stories and have owned the toys generated from them – I still have my Winnie the Pooh collection having never been able to throw them away! The stories themselves are much loved but the origins of where A.A. Milne got the inspiration for them was unknown. Goodbye Christopher Robin delves into Milne’s life and shows how his relationship with his son, Christopher Robin, helped to create a worldwide phenomenon.

goodbye-christopher-robin-5Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, American Made, Harry Potter) takes on the role of Milne and gives an exceptional performance. It’s clear from the start – through flashbacks bursting into the everyday – that Milne is suffering from his time serving in WW1, and adjusting back to everyday life as a well-known playwright is difficult. Domhnall plays this perfectly, there is a real vulnerability to his character whenever he is transported back to the front line due to loud bangs – which makes his distance from his son understandable. Milne clearly doesn’t have any real relationship with his son so when they are left to fend for themselves for a few days they use the time to form a bond and from this Winnie the Pooh and all the other characters are created. Domhnall is a brilliant actor and has slowly made a name for himself, his role as Milne will certainly cement him amongst other great actors. His portrayal is instantly likeable as well as believable and you are taken on a real journey of emotions.

hbz-margot-robbie-christpoher-robbin-1497555159Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Legend of Tarzan) is Daphne, wife of Milne and mother of Christopher, who comes across as being quite cold, only showing love to her son on rare occasions. If this is the truth then Margot does a great job at depicting Daphne! Kelly Macdonald (Brave, Harry Potter) is Olive, young Christopher Robin’s nanny and she gives an exceptional performance. Her love for the boy is evident and you can clearly see Olive biting back her thoughts as the treatment from both parents to young Christopher is severely lacking in care and attention. She forms a very close bond with Christopher – which is true to real life as we are shown at the end pictures of the two of them with the information that they remained close until her death years later228330120-2.

The real stand out from the film though is the young Christopher Robin, played by Will Tilston in his first role. His performance is outstanding from such a young lad, every emotion is clear to see from the love towards his nanny to his yearning for some kind of relationship with his parents. It helps of course that he has the kind of face that everyone falls in love with instantly! Will Tilston will definitely be a name to watch out for in the future after this performance.

 

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Overall, Goodbye Christopher Robin is a beautiful family film, there are moments of joy and laughter but ultimately it’s quite a sad tale of how the creation of Winnie the Pooh came about and the subsequent consequences its fame brought onto the young, real life, Christopher Robin. The opening sequence has you close to tears within minutes and the ending will most definitely have you crying! It’s a very well made film and the acting throughout is fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend it to all, and now I know the backstory to one of my favourite childhood books it brings a different feel to them and makes them all the more special.

Wind River

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Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) stars as Cory Lambert, an experienced animal hunter who is called in to help the FBI when a Native American girl is found dead on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Cory’s skills as a hunter prove vital in the search for the killer as the surrounding winter landscape is new to FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen, Avengers: Age of Ultron – and little sister of Mary-Kate & Ashley!). thumbnail_6425

Wind River is a murder mystery thriller and it certainly has you hooked from the start as a lone girl runs barefoot through the snow at night, clearly running for her life. The cinematography throughout is fantastic with some eerie scenes, like this opening, that really sets the tone for the film. Immediately you want to know what happened and as the film progresses details of the murder slowly start to be revealed. We also find out that Cory is hiding a painful secret of his own that makes his connection to the case clear and why he is so determined to find out the truth.

Jeremy Renner is great as Cory, there is a real sense of sadness behind his character, and methode2ftimes2fprod2fweb2fbin2f3e2dae22-93d8-11e7-a2ce-ce94682a575dwhen we find out his secret – in a beautifully acted scene – our understanding of him deepens. As a hunter he is used to working on his own so when partnered up with Jane there are initial clashes, but it is not long before a friendship of sorts is created. Elizabeth Olsen is perfect in this role, her character is flown in from Vegas to this little reservation in the middle of nowhere which is covered in snow. The reactions from the locals to this out of place agent immediately makes her want to prove them wrong, and when the FBI refuse to send backup Jane becomes determined to solve the case with only the help of Cory and the town’s small team of law enforcement. Elizabeth is instantly likeable in this role, she creates a character that isn’t afraid to hold her own amongst the men but also lets us see her vulnerable side. Together Jeremy and Elizabeth have a great wind_river_-_catpartnership, their characters work perfectly on screen and it is easy to see the friendship forming between them as the film progresses.

The murder mystery element of the film keeps you gripped throughout, and though classed as a thriller it’s more in the sense of keeping you guessing as to the murderer rather than being scary – which was great for me as I’m not a fan of horrors! The truth is revealed in a very clever way – just before Cory and Jane figure it out we are seamlessly windrivercover-0taken into a flashback of the events (it’s hard to describe just how seamlessly without giving anything anyway, but trust me it’s good!).

Overall, Wind River is a very good film. It’s gripping, brilliantly acted and full of tense moments as well as fast-paced action scenes – there’s something in it for everyone. Initially unsure of the film, due to no promotion for it over here at all, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s quite a serious film, due to the nature of the story line, but it’s certainly enjoyable.

Logan Lucky

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Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) stars as working class Jimmy Logan, a doting father to his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) with ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes, Dawson’s Creek), but when Bobbie Jo announces she and Sadie are moving across the state line Jimmy comes up with a plan to get the money needed to fight for his parental rights.

The plan is to attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina – a logan_lucky_3_758_426_81_s_c1racetrack in which until recently Jimmy had been working construction at. With detailed knowledge of the area Jimmy believes he has what it takes to pull it off but he can’t do it alone. Therefore Jimmy pulls in his brother Clyde (Adam Driver, Girls, Star Wars), his sister Mellie (Riley Keough, Mad Max – and Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) and local bomb expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig, James Bond). Trouble is, Joe Bang is currently serving time so Jimmy’s plan to rob the racetrack must also include the escape and return of Joe without the authorities realising.

Logan Lucky is filled with a cast of big names – which is surprising as its had hardly any promotion over here – but due to the cast and their brilliant acting abilities, this film saves itself from being a flop. The story line surrounding the heist is very unbelievable but because you are invested in the characters you totally believe their actions. It helps 17-logan-lucky-w710-h473that the script throws in a mix of funny, serious and tense moments as the plan gets underway, giving the film the perfect mix of tension and comedy.

Channing Tatum is great as Jimmy, you can really see the special connection he has with his daughter which fuels his desperation to get enough money to fight for her. Adam Driver brings the majority of the laughs as his character struggles to go along with his older brother’s wild plan, and alongside Riley Keough as their sister, the three make a brilliant trio.

logan-lucky-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000Daniel Craig gives a very different performance to his usual suave Bond character, instead he has a bleached blond crew cut and is covered in tattoos. Daniel is a great actor though and pulls off the bad boy image perfectly. His character is also one of a trio as it’s not long before his two brothers are pulled in to help too. These are played by Brian Gleeson (son of Brendan Gleeson) and Jack Quaid (son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid), who are the ultimate stereotype of what you think American rednecks are like. Altogether the 6 characters are the least likely to be able to pull off a heist successfully and therefore it’s not surprising that they Film Review Logan Luckyface many challenges along the way.

Also starring in the film are Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) and Hilary Swank (P.S. I Love You). Hilary shows up towards the end and was definitely a surprise to see but her arrival signals a turn in the story line and yet another challenge put towards Jimmy and the gang.

Overall, the story line is very far-fetched but in a way that’s what gives Logan Lucky a certain charm. It’s definitely not the best film ever made and at two hours long it gets a little boring towards the end but when the heist is actually taking place it has you gripped. There’s a few laughs throughout and a great cast which redeems the film a lot but it’s probably one you’ll easily forget about. Also some of their southern accents don’t quite match which gets a little grating by the end.

American Made

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Tom Cruise tells the true story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who finds himself working for the CIA flying guns from Mena, Arkansas to Central America in order to provide reconnaissance towards the burgeoning communist threat there. However it is not long before Barry is offered another proposition, to fly drugs back from Central America, earning as much as $500,000 per flight, for three Colombian men who would go on – with Barry’s help – to become the wealthiest drug lords in history. Barry understandably is now living the dream, he has so much money he is literally burying it in the garden, but soon his life smuggling contraband in and out of America starts to catch up on him and he is left fighting to keep himself and his family safe.

thumbnail_26361The story line itself is very interesting, it’s certainly one which is crazy to believe actually happened and Tom Cruise plays the part very well. However the film was a little boring for me, there was just a lot of stuff going on and it was hard to keep track of who he was actually working for. Plus there’s no background to Barry as a person, the film goes straight into him being recruited by the CIA so you don’t really form a connection with him at all. The only redeeming quality about the guy is his clear love for his wife and children and as the danger of his actions starts to hit home his thoughts continuously go to them and their safety. Tom Cruise does a very good job though, the role isn’t as action packed as his previous films so you get the chance to see his acting abilities more, particularly when things start to spiral out of control you can really see Barry’s desperation start to take over.

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Barry’s wife is played by Sarah Wright (Parks & Recreation) who does a great job at the role of housewife who lovingly follows Barry until the end – even when the truth of his work is revealed. Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter, About Time) is the CIA agent who recruits Barry, his role is strange as you never fully believe he is who is says he is. At times he is fully on Barry’s side and at others it is like he is deliberately trying to trap him. Jayma Mays (Glee, Heroes) has a very small role too, and I mean small, she’s literally in it for all of 5 minutes.

Visually, the film is full of great cinematography, there are plenty of americanmade-tom-cruise-1-hero-croppedflying scenes where we’re given birds-eye-views of landscapes as well as close-ups inside the planes. The shots are cut together to keep the action fast-paced and to keep the story flowing which helps a lot with the tension and drama that builds throughout.

Overall, American Made is a good film, it just wasn’t for me personally. I think if you’re more interested in the drug cartel and the politics in America during that time then you would find it very interesting. The only redeeming feature for me was the fact it’s a true story, but what Barry went through is so far-fetched it’s almost unbelievable!

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal) is Michael Bryce, a former Triple A bodyguard based in London, who due to the unfortunate death of a client, has hit hard times and is now struggling to be taken seriously as a bodyguard. Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Kingsman) is Darius Kincaid a hitman serving time in Manchester Prison who becomes a key witness in the case against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman, Harry Potter, Child 44), the former President of Belarus who is on trial for crimes against humanity. The case against Dukhovich isn’t going well as any witness’ testifying against him keep mysteriously disappearing, therefore it is down to Kincaid’s testimony to make sure Dukhovich is imprisoned. Interpol arrange for Kincaid’s journey from Manchester to Amsterdam – where the trial is taking place – but moments into the journey they are ambushed by Dukhovich’s men, making it clear that there is a mole within Interpol. Agent Roussel (Elodie Yung) who was leading the Interpol group is forced to put Kincaid under Bryce’s care. Not only is there history between Roussel and Bryce but there is no love lost between the two men either. The story continues with the men having to put their differences aside and make their way to Amsterdam all the while being pursued by Dukhovich’s men.hitman2

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is actually a very good film (I won’t lie, I was only initially attracted to the film because of Ryan Reynolds!) but both Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson are brilliant actors and know how to work comedy naturally into action films. There are some fantastic one liners and some genuine laugh out loud moments. The partnership both on and off screen between the lead men is clear to see, making their dialogue natural and believable. Both characters, though ultimately doing the same line of work, have very different approaches to their jobs and this is evident throughout as the two men clash over how to tackle every obstacle thrown their way. Ryan’s character Bryce is sensible and only resorts to killing if absolutelyhitmans-bodyguard-880x320 necessary. Kincaid on the other hand will shoot first and deal with the consequences later. Both actors play their roles perfectly, and it’s not all about the action, there are some more emotional scenes from the pair as various secrets are revealed, making us understand their characters better and forging a connection with them.

The action scenes are filmed brilliantly and there are plenty of different sequences to keep the film moving, from car chases to stairwell fights there is something for everyone. Rated 15 the violence is a little gory so if you’re squeamish maybe look away for a few minutes!

CRM_6874.NEFThe supporting cast is full of some brilliant characters, Gary Oldman is unrecognisable as Dukhovich, Richard E. Grant (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) has a very small role as one of Bryce’s clients but the stand out is Salma Hayek (Ugly Betty, 30 Rock) who plays Kincaid’s very unhinged wife Sonia. Sonia is herself serving time in prison in Amsterdam and is incredibly fiery 4fe81761384e45dee14b3973f73d1b5bd3e38ad5ec670a608628f026ff7b94c7towards not only her poor cellmate but towards Kincaid himself and even the prison guards. Her scenes definitely bring the most laughs and her dysfunctional relationship with Kincaid is shown to us through flashbacks. Salma and Samuel are great opposite each other, what’s very sweet though is that though Kincaid is this notorious killer he is brought down to earth by his love for his wife. This continuous declaration of love is what ultimately bonds the men as Kincaid strives to help Bryce sort his estranged relationship with ex-girlfriend Agent Roussel.

Overall, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a surprisingly good film, the inclusion of the romantic side in Kincaid means that it’s not just another all-action film. The pairing of Reynolds and Jackson is perfect, two great actors doing what they do best by combining action and comedy. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a fun, dramatic and very enjoyable film, there are twists and turns throughout and each character is portrayed brilliantly. If you can stomach a bit of gore I would definitely recommend this!

Atomic Blonde

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Undercover MI6 agent Lorraine (Charlize Theron, Mad Max) is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to partner up with David Percival (James McAvoy, X-Men, Atonement) and investigate the murder of a fellow agent as well as recover a missing list of double agents. Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool) who is a stuntman/actor as well as a director – this shows in the quality and realism of the fight scenes – David cleverly uses a lot of greys and dark colours to represent the Cold War surrounding the actors but throws in a lot of neon lights to contrast with this and keep an 80s vibe going. This vibe is beautifully thrown in your face throughout by the very impressive 80s soundtrack featuring the likes of George Michael, Queen, Depeche Mode, The Clash, David Bowie and New Order.

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Rated 15, Atomic Blonde is incredibly graphic with its violence. There are some pretty gruesome fight scenes including a few where blood splatters fly onto the camera lens. I had to look away a couple of times as it was all very realistic – the image of a set of keys going through a man’s cheek is one that will take a while to leave me! What I did like though was how Charlize’s character Lorraine was often the one initiating the fights and she certainly did not hold back. Her character is very hardcore, she comes across cold and distant to others but there are moments when she is alone that this exterior slips and we see a tired, bruised and vulnerable woman. These moments humanise her and make her more likeable. Charlize is great in this role, she is totally believable and gives off a quality that makes you aspire to be like her in atomicblonde-1280w-1496702129156_1280wcertain ways. Of course the fact that she is incredibly beautiful (even whilst fighting) also helps!

James McAvoy’s character David is the total opposite to Lorraine, and the two of them struggle to form a partnership, with David often setting Lorraine up and resulting in her having to fight her way out of situations. They both have the same goal but very different ideas of how to get there. James McAvoy is again totally believable in this role, his shaved head and dodgy clothes gives off the air that Berlin is his city and he knows how to run it. The intrusion of Lorraine displeases him and James and Charlize work perfectly together to show this distrust throughout.

The way the story is told takes us back and forth between the present day where Lorraine is being interviewed about her mission and the past, the mission itself. Leitch cleverly flits between the two times and often imposes the different scenes on top of each other so we slowly fade between the two (an aspect I particularly liked). It also keeps the mystery/thriller genre going as we try to piece together what is happening.hero_4102_fpf_00241rv2

The supporting cast includes some well known names and faces who all give excellent performances. It was great to see two British actors known more over here for TV shows getting decent roles on the big screen. Eddie Marsan (Little Dorritt, Sherlock Holmes) is Spyglass, an informer seeking safety on the other side of the Wall and Toby Jones (Dad’s Army, The Hunger Games) is Eric Gray, one of the men interviewing Lorraine. Another star who is slowly making a real name for herself is Sofia Boutella (Kingsman, The Mummy) who plays French agent Delphine who forms a close relationship with Lorraine.11-atomic-blonde-w1200-h630

Overall, Atomic Blonde is a very good film. It is filled with superb – if gory – action scenes and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing (although I did predict quite early on one of the big plot lines). The only thing that lets it down slightly is the ending is a tad confusing, I can’t say much without giving anything away but we came out the film not entirely sure what had happened! On the plus side though the soundtrack really is fantastic, so definitely go and see it for that alone!

Dunkirk

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The world has been patiently waiting for the release of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk – his first movie based on a historical event – and finally it is out, with a range of exceptional reviews to follow. I don’t think we were ever taught about what happened at Dunkirk, but the events are still well known anyway. Here Nolan takes us right into the action that occurred over the course of a week when thousands of British soldiers were trying to get back home. Nolan cleverly splits the action between three places, the land, the sea and the air and each place runs on a different time scale. The action on the land takes place over the course of a week, the sea a day, and the air an hour. We are taken to and from each setting and get to see how the three connect to each other. Dunkirk is filled with characters and yet Nolan doesn’t give us any background information to them – with the majority we don’t even learn their names – however this just highlights the action taking 25-harry-styles-dunkirk-w710-h473place and is true to real life, because in reality none of these men would have stopped to have a chat, their focus was solely their own survival.

Visually this film is superb, particularly the scenes in the air when the spitfires are flying around. We are shown wide angle views of the planes chasing each other as well as camera views from inside the planes themselves. Some of these shots really are spectacular and I would love to know how they filmed them. Equally the scenes on land and at sea are also brilliantly done, the aerial shots of the thousands of men lining up on the beach of Dunkirk waiting to be picked up really brings home the realities of how many men were involved in what was a relentless attack. What dunkirk-8makes this film so good is the fact that Nolan doesn’t concentrate on showing us shots of men being killed, the focus is on the men’s continuous desperation to stay alive and get themselves home. This decision stops the film from being overly gory but that doesn’t mean that the thousands of deaths that occurred aren’t touched upon, because it is still very much shown. As well as wide shots there are plenty of close-ups, particularly on the faces of the soldiers. There are also some harrowing shots underwater as the men struggle to survive yet another attack from the enemy.

bb-t2-0044Hans Zimmer brings the soundtrack, and my goodness what a soundtrack! This film is carried by the continuous score that Hans brings. It is relentless much like the attacks the men faced over and over again. The tension throughout the film is heightened by the score and together it creates a dramatic watch from start to finish.

Dunkirk is full of well known names and faces, and even though we are told little about each of their characters we are still drawn to each man and feel every emotion that they go through. There is no real main character but the one we follow the most is played by Fionn Whitehead in his first major film. He has very few lines but he is brilliant at showing us the exhaustion and desperation that he feels, as does Aneurin Barnard (War & Peace, Cilla) another soldier – with even less dialogue. christopher-nolans-dunkirk-imax-poster-croppedThe two meet on the beach at Dunkirk and are drawn together, tackling the following challenges by each other’s sides. Later they are joined by a third soldier played by Harry Styles (yes the lad from One Direction) and who is surprisingly not a bad actor. Harry has more lines than I thought he would but if the rumours are true, Nolan had no idea who he was when he was cast so his role has nothing to do with the fact he was in one of the biggest boy bands of all time. A lot of attention was drawn towards the film purely because of Harry’s casting but if that means that more youngsters go and see the film then it’s good as they should be learning about what those poor soldiers went through.

Up in the air we have Tom Hardy (Inception, Mad Max, Peaky Blinders) and Jack Lowden (War & Peace) as Bodega Bayfighter pilots. Tom Hardy spends the entire film in his spitfire so unfortunately we don’t get to see much of his lovely face. On the sea there is Oscar winning Mark Rylance (BFG, The Bridge of Spies) who plays Mr Dawson – the only character we really learn anything about. Alongside his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Peter’s friend George (Barry Keoghan) the three take their boat and sail to Dunkirk to help rescue the soldiers. Along the way they pick up a stranded and shell-shocked soldier played by Cillian Murphy (Inception, Peaky Blinders). Their journey shows us how the home front were just as determined to help the war effort, risking their lives to save the men fighting for their country. The final big name is Kenneth Branagh (Wallander, and Director of Cinderella), as Commander Bolton who oversaw the evacuation of the soldiers from the beach. Every character is well acted and this includes the hundreds of extras used to portray the soldiers. You really feel a connection to these men and spend the entire film willing for their survival.screen-shot-2017-03-29-at-7-06-42-pm

Overall, Dunkirk is most definitely a must-see. It’s not an easy watch due to the nature of the narrative; and the constant tension as each narrow escape from death is faced with yet another, means you don’t fully relax until the end! However Christopher Nolan has managed to pull off a film both visually and emotionally gripping. It really is an epic film and I’d recommend you see it on the biggest screen possible to fully appreciate the cinematography and visual effects. Definitely one I’ll be watching again, and hopefully it will be used in schools to teach future generations about the horrors that unfolded during that week. Dunkirk will certainly stay on your mind for a while after watching it and it brings a powerful sense of respect towards the soldiers as well as the home front who all ultimately just want to get those men home to safety.

 

The Beguiled

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Directed by Sofia Coppola (Maria Antoinette, The Bling Ring) and starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, The Beguiled looked to be a good film. The story follows Nicole as Headteacher Miss Martha at a girls’ school in Virginia, where due to the Civil War there are currently only 5 students – the eldest being played by Elle Fanning – and one teacher, Kirsten Dunst as Edwina. The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union Soldier, Corporal McBurney – Colin Farrell, leads to jealousy and betrayal amongst the women as they fight over the Corporal’s attention.

The BeguiledThe story line looked to have a great potential and with the film being sold as a Drama/Thriller, I was very intrigued. However there was little promotion for the film over here, even though the cast are top actors, and now I know why…

Unfortunately The Beguiled really doesn’t have a lot to it. The story line is slow, and quite frankly nothing really happens until the last twenty minutes or so and then it just gets plain weird. There are a lot of scenes in which there are no dialogue, just shots of various characters doing activities – sometimes having no real importance to the plot – and whilst these shots are visually stunning, the film is filled with far too many of them so the beauty of them gets taken away as we are1omd2thvnoxklulkckn2xtg shown yet another misty shot of some trees.

I honestly don’t know why this is being classed as a thriller, there is nothing remotely thrilling about the entire film! The opening scene has a slight horror feel to it as we see a young girl picking mushrooms in the woods, with the music and the way the camera follows her giving the sense that someone is going to jump out at any second…but that is literally the only time you will be on the edge of your seat. The rest of the film you will probably be looking at your watch hoping it’s nearly over, or else trying to make sense of what is supposedly going on!

360132_068The dullness of the film has nothing to do with the cast, who all make a good go at their roles. Colin Farrell is delightful as the wounded solider thrown in amongst the women, but then I can never resist an Irish accent! Nicole Kidman pulls off the strict but protective headmistress, keeping the young girls in check but always having their best interests at heart. Kirsten Dunst’s character is the one that really catches the Corporal’s attention (not entirely sure why as she doesn’t smile during the entire film), and Elle Fanning, as the oldest student and desperate for male attention, sets her sights on the Corporal and will stop at nothing to claim him for herself.

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The Beguiled could have done with delving into the characters a bit more, showing us the different women’s attractions towards the Corporal instead of merely hinting. We are shown enough to get the general idea but then something will happen to make us question what is actually going on. Maybe this is the ‘thrilling’ part of the film, maybe we aren’t supposed to really know what everyone is feeling, but to be honest it just makes you lose interest in the film.

Overall, The Beguiled is definitely not one I’ll be seeing again and isn’t one I’d recommend. Honestly haven’t a clue what the film was really about, and things only got going towards the end and even then the story line went off into a totally different direction and everything went a bit mad. Yes there are some lovely shots of the country and thankfully the film is only 90 minutes but it’s not worth the bother even for such a great cast!