Tomb Raider (2018)

Tags

, , , ,

tomb

Lara Croft is a name that many know, she is the biggest female lead in a video game and redefined gender in games by showing a different interpretation as to what women can do. The success of the Tomb Raider games led to them being adapted to the big screen with Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara from 2001-2003. This latest recreation of the games brings us Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth, The Danish Girl – in which she won her landscape-1516294151-tomb-raider-2018Oscar for Best Supporting Actress) as the new Lara. Lara is seen as somewhat of a sex symbol – often given a lot of unnecessary close up angles focusing on her tight clothes – but in this new age of equality and women in power, the new Lara is rightly portrayed as being a strong role model for women. She is determined to make her own way in life – not relying on her Father’s fortune, she is beautiful but this isn’t focused on, you come out the film wanting to have her tough attitude and kick-ass qualities rather than wishing you had her body and looks.

Her character is very relatable – she works as a bike courier in London, with little money and a firm belief that her missing father of seven years isn’t dead. When Lara comes across her father’s last works she believes she knows where he might be and so sets off in search of him. She is heading for a mysterious Island off the coast of Japan where legend has it the tomb of Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to hold the power of life and death, is hidden underground. To reach the tomb Lara faces many obstacles – some in the form of challenges as she attempts to navigate her way through Himiko’s many forms of magical defence, and some through Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins, Sons of Anarchy) the leader of an expedition to locate the tomb funded screen-shot-2018-01-18-at-12-05-28-pmby the company Trinity who wish to take Himiko’s power for themselves.

Alicia Vikander is brilliant as Lara, she easily takes us through so many different emotions as we see her struggle to accept her father’s death and then her determination to find him even when she ends up in situations that are clearly out of her comfort zone. She is shown as being strong from the start as she battles in a boxing match, so her fight scenes later in the film are completely believable. Alicia is naturally beautiful but the decision to dress her appropriately means that we focus more on her character than we do her body, making her all the more relatable. Alicia is by far the stand out of the film, she completely holds her own amongst the rest of the male dominated cast, and at no point is there the option of being rescued by a man. She is a strong independent woman who can look after herself, which is great to see and stays true to the games. There are also moments where we see her vulnerability though – in the loss of her father, and when she kills for the first time. It is here we are reminded that she is just a young girl, giving us a raw glimpse into her real self and really forging a connection with her character.

20180205082308433506_watermark

Visually, Tomb Raider is fantastic! The action sequences are fast-paced, tense and dramatic creating some incredible scenes. The film starts off slow as we are given the background to Lara’s life but once the story gets going the pace quickens. The end sequence in the tomb is incredibly tense as more and more obstacles get in the way of Lara’s escape and the special effects get even better.

Overall, the new reboot of Tomb Raider is good but unfortunately the story line isn’t all that entertaining. It takes quite some time to really get going and just when it does the pace slows again until towards the end when everything seems to happen all at once. Alicia is the only good thing about the film, her portrayal really is brilliant and the end leaves the film open for a sequel so I hope the plot is better in that one as I’d like to see more of her in this role!

Advertisements

Red Sparrow

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

red_sparrow

When Ballerina Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games, Passengers) suffers a leg injury thus ending her career, she is forced to start working for her Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts, The Danish Girl, Far From the Madding Crowd) in order to keep paying for the treatment her ill mother needs. Vanya sends her to ‘Sparrow School’, a Russian Intelligence service that teaches them how to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Dominika’s first mission is to target American CIA agent Nate (Joel Edgerton, The Great Gatsby, Black Mass) but soon it becomes clear Nate has a mission of his own and when the two collide it threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

180220171418-red-sparrow-jennifer-lawrence-exlarge-169Based on the book of the same name by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow is the first film directed by Francis Lawrence after his success with The Hunger Games. Here he brings us a tense, thrilling and at times incredibly violent spy film. It has received a lot of bad reviews from critics but I thought it was fantastic! There are so many twists and turns throughout the plot, and at over two hours long this helps keep you gripped so you don’t even notice the length of the film. The story line is so different from anything else out right now, the concept of the ‘Sparrow School’ is sick and twisted, and there are some scenes which are hard to watch due to the sadistic nature of the teaching – but it all fits perfectly within the story and shows us the hardships Dominika faces and the lengths she will go too in order to escape.

Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic in this role. We see her portray Dominika’s initial shock atabda6e5d-0c96-49de-ab08-83828d798aee-redsparrow her new life and the resolution that she must ultimately play the game better than others in order to survive. You are rooting for her character the whole way through as she faces constant danger and works out just who she can actually trust. Dominika is forced to take on a hardened exterior – as taught at the ‘Sparrow School’ – but we get to see her true vulnerability when she is with her mother Nina (Joely Richardson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 101 Dalmations), who is the reason she must win the game and escape.

red-sparrow-joel-edgertin-copertinaJoel Edgerton’s character Nate has his own mission to complete but with the arrival of Dominika things start to get complicated for him. He realises the potential she has as a spy and sets out to recruit her to their side, but first he must get her to trust him. The relationship between Nate and Dominika is completely believable. After the horrors she has faced, Dominika is unsure if she can trust him but Nate only has good intentions towards her – something she is not used to. Compared to the friendship slowly formed between these two we have the contrast of Dominika’s relationship with her Uncle Vanya. Matthias Schoenaerts gives us a character who is incredibly hard to read, on the surfacetmp_ytrlgf_f14c56a9abe18b2a_red-sparrow-df-30889_rgb he is the Uncle only looking out for his Niece, but there is an underlying quality which slowly reveals itself to show us a man who is only out for himself. It’s clear that Vanya is the true villain of the film but his mind games with Dominika keep us guessing as to his next move.

Overall, Red Sparrow is a really great film. It’s one that had us talking all the way home and will most likely be on our minds for days to come. The thriller aspect is brilliantly done and though throughout the film there are some incredibly violent action scenes – of which only a few I could actually watch! – these are expertly placed to match the tension ensuring you are kept on the edge of your seat for the entire film.  The ending as well is so cleverly done, you definitely won’t be disappointed! One I would really recommend you see – so long as you’re not squeamish!

I, Tonya

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

8094_5922

I, Tonya follows the true story of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie, Suicide Squad, The Legend of Tarzan), the competitive ice skater who rises amongst the ranks at the US Figure Skating Championship. From Portland, Oregon, Tonya doesn’t have the class or grace wanted by the skating community and therefore faces a lot of restriction growing up even though she is by far the best skater. Despite ultimately garnering some success in figure skating: being national champion, a world championship medallist, an it2Olympian, and being the first American woman to complete a Triple Axel in competition – a very hard move to accomplish – she is arguably best known for her association to “the incident”: the leg bashing on January 6th 1994 of her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. Nancy, unlike Tonya, was everything that the figure skating community wanted in their representatives. Her association to that incident led to Tonya being banned from competitive figure skating for life. I, Tonya takes us through Tonya’s life – her introduction to skating to her rise to an Olympian and her ultimate downfall as her only passion in life is taken away from her. Based off interviews and testimonies from the Kerrigan scandal, director Craig Gillespie recreates some iconic real life moments and merges the acting with interview style scenes to create a mockumentary style of film. Nominated for three Oscars (Best Actress – Margot Robbie, Best Supporting Actress – Allison Janney, and Best Editing) and with Allison Janney already winning a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her role, I, Tonya has become one of the favourites of the awards season.

Margot Robbie is fast becoming the actress of the moment and her portrayal of Tonya Harding only cements that. Margot seamlessly moves from acting with others to talking mv5bnmvhngq1nzetymyyyi00ytuxltk4mdmtmdzjotyznda2mzmwxkeyxkfqcgdeqxrzdgfzawvr-_v1_into the camera – something director Craig slots in for all his characters throughout the film. She shows us Tonya from the age of 15 through to 23 when the incident took place, and again in her 40s when she talks us through the key moments in her life. Margot shows us this tough girl who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself when it comes to the judges marking her down due to her class, but also someone who just wants someone to love her. She is shown going from an abusive relationship with her mother to an abusive relationship with her husband. Margot works brilliantly alongside Allison Janney (The West Wing, Mom), there are some fantastic scenes between the two of them and Allison shows why she has rightly won her awards so far as she portrays the hard-faced mother who believes she is only doing the best for her daughter. She explains in an interview with a parrot on her shoulder – taken from 3-lavona-golden-allison-janney-and-her-pet-bird-in-i-tonya-courtesy-of-neon_wide-3b46f2857bb49ba892b76a8240f8180d6c8e3b94-s900-c85real life! – that Tonya only achieved when she had someone telling her she couldn’t do it, therefore she took it upon herself to talk down to her daughter, and even paid someone to shout abuse at Tonya before a big competition.

It’s no surprise that Tonya is desperate to leave home, and so moves in with her then boyfriend Jeff (Sebastian Stan, Captain America, The Martian) but their relationship soon turns abusive but as Tonya explains to us, her mother loves her and is abusive so Jeff must love her too. Sebastian is great as Jeff, a man who is besotted with his wife but can’t handle his emotions. The two have a rocky marriage and it is Jeff’s desperation to keep Tonya that the idea for “the incident” occurs. The plan was to send death threats to Kerrigan to put her off her game, but somewhere along the line paths were crossed and Kerrigan was subjected to her knee being bashed in. Tonya and Jeff denied all knowledge, and we see Jeff becoming more and more desperate as he tries to hide the fact he was involved at all. Sebastian and Margot are great together throughout, nintchdbpict000372486441and as Tonya’s life starts to unravel, Margot gives us an emotional performance ensuring that we feel every bit of her pain as she is told she can never skate professionally again.

Visually I, Tonya is fantastic! As a film about ice skating there is rightly a lot of skating involved, I don’t know how much of it Margot actually does but there are only a couple of moments when you can tell it’s not her skating (getting Margot’s face CGI’d onto a spinning ice skater is understandably tricky so we’ll forgive them for that!). The decision to split between interview style scenes and the drama keeps the film light and entertaining – though “the incident” is rightly taken seriously – there are a lot of humour moments too, mainly from Allison Janney and her portrayal as LaVona. The film ends with clips from the interviews used for inspiration as well as a video of Tonya Harding herself performing one of her routines, reminding you that though the events may seem far-fetched it all actually happened!

i-tonya-movie-review-728ce1ad-2321-4711-b7bf-007fd76de53b

Overall, I was very surprised at how good of a film I, Tonya is. I’d seen the trailer a few times and thought it looked interesting, but being too young I don’t recall any of the events it tells, so I mainly went because I love Margot and Allison as actresses and because it has received a lot of hype these past few weeks. I would really recommend it, you don’t have to have an interest in ice skating to enjoy it, the way the whole film has been put together in a mockumentary style means that it is very different to other films out at the moment and makes a nice change from the usual biographies made. It also stops the film from being heavy-going but does it in a way that you still understand the subject matter is being taken seriously. All the cast involved do a fantastic job, creating a very enjoyable film!

 

Black Panther

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

au_rich_hero_blackpanther_1_3c317c85

When his father dies, T’Challa becomes the new King of Wakanda – an isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of a mistake made by T’Challa’s father, as well as from factions within his own country. T’Challa must fight to prove his worthy to rule at the same time as trying to save his country from being dragged into a world war and compromising their invisibility from the outside world.

trailer_master-960x540Black Panther has had the world on its feet, it is the most talked about film right now. This is down to the fact that it is the first Marvel Comics film to be entirely led by a black cast, in fact there are very few white characters at all! Being a Marvel film, it is full of action sequences and it’s great to see that the women characters are just as capable of holding their own amongst the men. This film concentrates on empowerment, from the black community to the women, it gives out a really powerful message that they are not to be underestimated, and I think it is this message that has really touched so many people and given it the response it has had.

T’Challa is played by Chadwick Boseman, who gives a very good performance as the new King who must prove he is worthy of ruling. He is shadowed by his father’s reign so must already prove he is capable of following on, whilst making his own mark as King. Chadwick portrays this brilliantly, you can see the struggles he faces as a new ruler, as well as his determination to prove his place. He faces challenges from all angles but like a true ruler only shows his weakness to those he trusts. These include his mother, his sister (Letitia Wright) – who is in charge of advancing Wakanda’s technology – his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave), and the head of his army Okoie (Danai Gurira). All of which are very strong females and aren’t afraid to stand up to T’Challa and lupita-nyong-o-black-panther-ht-mem-180111_4x3_992voice their opinions, but at the same time show a lot of respect for him as their new King. Nakia and Okoie are involved in a lot of the physical fights throughout and there isn’t a moment where they need to be saved by the men – instead they fight their own way through to the end – which as a women is brilliant to see, particularly as they are also portrayed as beautiful and intelligent, given us characters to look up to and respect.

Black Panther is different from other Marvel films in that the enemies aren’t really all that villainous . You don’t feel an intense hatred for them, in fact there are moments you actually feel a little sorry for them. This would be my only criticism as Marvel films are all about the enemies attempting to take over and normally there is a stand out character for you to go against, and Black Panther lacks this. The first of the enemies is Ulysses black-panther-movie-watch-reasons-01-480x320Klaue (Andy Serkis, Star Wars) who is a wild character and has some hilarious lines! The second enemy is Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan, Fantastic Four, Creed), the childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake (hard to explain without giving away a plot line) and his character is the one you mostly feel sorry for. His anger and determination to overthrow T’Challa is fuelled by his childhood hardships, and Michael gives a great performance throughout really drawing on those feelings.

Overall, Black Panther is a very good film. In terms of all the hype surrounding it, it is blackpanther59e4d0531eba6-180b3a6a-af62-4529-9a0d-7bd863f15cc6definitely more about the casting and the characters they portray than the actual story line, which lacks a little but the film as a whole is still brilliant to watch. It is full of action sequences as well as humour and emotion. All the characters are very well rounded and you connect to them all. The whole cast is excellent, as well as the names already mentioned the film also includes BAFTA Rising Star Daniel Kaluuya and Martin Freeman (who unfortunately has a very annoying fake American accent which distracts me every time he speaks!). The CGI is excellent throughout and really enhances each scene, particularly the action sequences. I saw the film in IMAX 3D, and whilst it was impressive I don’t think it really enhanced the film so seeing it in regular 2D won’t be a disappointment. A great watch overall, one I’d recommend even if you’re not a fan of superhero films.

The Mercy

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

image

Based on the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) and his solo attempt to sail round the globe without stopping. This attempt was a part of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race and it’s completion would make the winner the first person ever to achieve this feat. Donald decides to take on the challenge and ropes in local business man Mr Best (Ken Stott, The Hobbit, Fortitude) to fund his mission – with the promise of the money back when he wins – and local journalist Rodney Hallworth (David Thewlis, Harry Potter, The Theory of Everything) to work up support and sponsorship. Donald’s wife Clare (Rachel Weisz) and the mother of his three young children, is supportive but clearly doesn’t want him to actually go through with it.

the-mercyWith the deadline to set off rapidly approaching and the boat nowhere near ready, Donald is forced to ask Mr Best for more money. In order to cover his back Mr Best agrees under the condition that if Donald doesn’t complete the race his business and house will go to Mr Best. Backed into a corner, Donald signs, and therefore when the last day to leave arrives and his boat still isn’t fully ready, he is forced to set off for the sake of his family and their home. Naturally Donald quickly runs into trouble as his boat struggles to stay together and it becomes clear to him that he won’t be able to complete the race. He is then faced with a difficult decision, if he goes back he loses everything but if he continues he is likely not to survive. Donald decides he has no choice but to lie. He sends messages home claiming to be further along than he is, generating lots of attention as he notches up incredibly fast times. As his popularity grows and more and more contestants are taken out, Donald becomes a firm favourite to win, but after nearly 9 months alone at sea his mental state has deteriorated and he knows he won’t be able to lie to everyone when he returns.

Colin Firth is exceptional in this role, you can really see Donald’s determination to take mv5bmjqxmzg1mzy3n15bml5banbnxkftztgwnjk5ntayote-_v1_sx1500_cr001500999_al_part and then his apprehension as it dawns on him he has gone too far to back out. The scenes of him at sea are so realistic and emotional as he becomes desperate, and coupled with flashbacks of his life with his family makes for an emotional watch. Colin is an incredible actor and really leads this film, he was the perfect choice for the role. As was the casting of Rachel Weisz, her portrayal of Clare is perfect, she is the ever supportive wife but isn’t afraid to voice her concerns. With Donald’s departure, Rachel really shows Clare’s continued worry as she struggles to keep the family afloat and becomes desperate for any contact or message from her husband. There is an incredibly emotional speech from Clare towards the end of the film, which Rachel puts her all into and brought a tear to my eye! By the end of the film you are so invested in this family and so the final scenes are all the more moving.

methode2fsundaytimes2fprod2fweb2fbin2f0c2bbf88-0bfe-11e8-b553-b6f31437c43bVisually, The Mercy is excellent. There are some incredible shots of Donald at sea – although some scenes may make you feel a little sea sick! Filmed actually at sea, and not with a green screen, really brings the realism and a great decision by director James Marsh (The Theory of Everything). The use of flashbacks is also a brilliant decision, it means we quickly get into the sailing part of the film and where the story really takes place, but the slow pace at sea is broken up as we are taken back to the fast pace of the preparation to leave and really keeps the film’s momentum going. It also reminds us what Donald has left behind and therefore triggers so many of his decisions whilst at sea.

Overall, The Mercy is a really good film. I wasn’t sure what to expect, not knowing the story of Donald Crowhurst, but Colin Firth gives a brilliant performance and has you gripped throughout. The supporting cast are all excellent, David Thewliss and Ken Stott in particular as the leaders of Donald’s home support, and Rachel Weisz as the wife and mother left behind. I would really recommend this film, it’s an emotional watch and doesn’t have the ending you would want but being a biography this just makes it all the more real.

Darkest Hour

Tags

, , , , , , ,

fid17838

Within days of becoming Prime Minister in the early period of World War 2, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight) faces the tough task of deciding whether to explore a negotiated peace treaty with Hitler and Nazi Germany, or stand firm and fight for the freedom of the UK. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

3040658Nominated for 6 Oscars (Best Makeup/Hairstyling, Best Picture, Best Actor – Gary Oldman, Best Cinematography, Best Costume & Best Production Design) and with Gary having already won Best Actor at the Golden Globes, Darkest Hour has a lot of attention right now. I love Gary (he will forever be Sirius Black from Harry Potter to me and therefore always have a place in my heart!) and here he is literally unrecognisable as Churchill due to the extensive costume he wears to turn him into this well-known character. It’s no wonder Gary is tipped to win an Oscar as his performance is outstanding, everything from his mannerisms to his clear torment as to which path to follow regarding the UK’s future, has you mesmerised. There are an awful lot of speeches made throughout this film but every one made by Oldman is full of passion and has you listening intently to every word.

It’s also no wonder that the cinematography has been picked up for an Oscar nominationlead_960 too, it was something that I myself noticed as being excellent throughout! There is a great usage of different camera angles – often moving along with the characters – so we see all sides to the drama unfolding. There are also lots of extreme close ups on faces, particularly Winston’s, showing every emotion and making everything tense and dramatic. You can really feel the build up to Winston’s decision and the feelings of those around him, so much so that it’s like you’re right there with them.

5491973The film is significantly led by Gary Oldman but the supporting cast is almost entirely British and full with familiar faces – it’s particularly nice to see a lot of our TV stars making it on to the big screen. Kristin Scott Thomas (Only God Forgives) is Clemmie, Churchill’s long-suffering wife. There are some very sweet scenes between the two, it’s clear they love each other very much but Clemmie knows she will always come second to Winston’s real love of politics. Winston’s immediate circle is made up of: Elisabeth (Lily James, Cinderella, Baby Driver) as Winston’s new typist, John (Joe Armstrong, Robin Hood), Sawyer (Philip Martin Brown, Waterloo Road) and Sir Anthony (Samuel West, Mr Selfridge). All brilliant actors and bringing Winston different angles when it comes to important decisions. These are just the characters we see the most, the rest of the cast includes so many other recognisable faces, making up a fantastic supporting cast.ac10-jan-film-still

Overall, Darkest Hour is a brilliant British film, it does centre very much on politics – there’s a lot of concentration needed to keep up! – but it’s also filled with moments of humour, love and sadness. It’s also very interesting to see the pressures Winston faced when it came to this huge momentous decision. After all, if he had gone the other way our lives would be very different today! Definitely a must see and I hope Gary receives the recognition he deserves.

The Post

Tags

, , , , ,

post

With two Oscar nominations (Best Picture & Best Actress – Meryl Streep), filled with a cast of greats including Streep, Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys and Alison Brie, and directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is the most talked about film right now. It follows the true story of when American military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) realizes the depths of the US government’s deceptions about America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and takes action by copying top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. When Washington Post owner, Kay Graham (Streep) – who is still adjusting to taking over her late husband’s business – and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) discover Ellsberg and the complete copy of those papers their plans to publish their findings are put in jeopardy with a Federal restraining order that could get them all indicted for tom-hanks-meryl-streep-the-post-inline-zoomContempt. Now, Kay must decide whether to back down for the safety of her paper or publish and fight for the Freedom of the Press.

Filled with references surrounding that time in history, The Post is probably better suited to Americans and those with an interest in American history as a lot of it went straight over my head. Due to this the film was a little hard to follow and frankly I found the whole thing quite boring which should not have happened considering the huge cast involved! Tom Hanks was great, his character is clearly driven by publishing exciting stories so when they get their hands on the papers he is determined not to be intimated by the Government and fights for it to be published. You can really see this passion in his character and therefore Tom stood out the most in every scene.

You can’t deny that Meryl is a good actress, and here she has some great speeches of the-postdialogue but unfortunately there’s just nothing behind those speeches – whether this is actually a true representation of Kay Graham I don’t know, (in which case Meryl did a fantastic job!) – but it was all just words and in Meryl’s monotone voice it sends you to sleep! There were constant references of how Kay’s father overlooked her to take over from him, instead giving it to her husband, and therefore giving the perception to the board members that she wasn’t good enough to now be in charge. This would have been such a great angle to further explore, giving us more of a background and a connection towards Kay, but instead it’s glossed over so we hardly see the struggle she would have gone through as the first female newspaper publisher.

2018-01-19_lif_37806342_i1It takes some time for the film to really get going and it’s only really at the end when Ben and his team are racing to get all the information needed from the Pentagon Papers ready for press that night – all the while fighting their legal team to let them print it in the first place – that you get a sense of just what the team have their hands on. There are some great shots of the process of printing the newspaper too – but the fact that I was more interested by this than the rest of the story says something!

Overall, I was very disappointed by The Post. Maybe it had just been hyped up too much, or I don’t know enough about American history to really follow everything going on, but I felt that with such a big cast of names it would be a lot better than it is. I certainly don’t understand how Meryl got an Oscar nomination and Tom didn’t, specially as Tom drives this film and I personally think gives a far better performance than Meryl. The story line is interesting and Spielberg could have created a fantastic film with it but sadly this is not the case.

Downsizing

Tags

, , , , ,

mv5bndyxndq5otyxov5bml5banbnxkftztgwotcyodkxndm-_v1_uy1200_cr6906301200_al_

Matt Damon (Bourne Trilogy) stars as Paul Safranek, an occupational therapist who, along with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids) decide to follow the latest craze and “shrink” themselves to four inches tall. This latest procedure is sold as a way to help save the planet due to the small amount of waste produced from being smaller. It also gives individuals the chance to get more for their money and live a better, more luxurious lifestyle. The first part of the film introduces us to Paul and Audrey, showing their lack of money and therefore their initial interest in ‘downsizing’, we also see the different reactions from everyone as this procedure becomes more worldwide – there is downsizing-matt-damon-kristen-wiig-1200x520naturally a lot of criticism, with one character asking if smaller people should still have the same rights as regular people. We then see Paul and Audrey going through the procedure – but Audrey backs out at the last moment leaving Paul to continue alone. The rest of the film then follows Paul as he adjusts to his new life. Unfortunately this is where the film becomes incredible boring and all very strange. None of it really makes any sense, there’s no real story line to it we just follow Paul as he meets new people, and frankly it all becomes a little weird.

Considering the cast includes two comedy greats (Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis), and ofteakjaabzyc53zlgsxit’s classed as a comedy, I was under the impression that the film would use humour to show the smaller people adjusting to their new lives – yes there are a few funny lines of dialogue, but I definitely wouldn’t sell it as a comedy! The writers were obviously going for a more satirical stance but this film could have been really funny if they’d tried. There is barely any difference in how Paul lives his life now he is small – other than he can afford to live in a mansion – and their community is built within a special enclosure so after a while you forget that these people are any different as there is no interaction with them and the outside world.

27-downsizing-w710-h473Kristen and Jason have relatively small parts, with Matt Damon taking the lead. Matt is a great actor but I feel slightly less towards him now after enduring this two hour film. Christoph Waltz (Spectre, Django Unchained) also stars as Dusan Mirkovic who spends his new life throwing notorious parties and is the one who introduces Paul to Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) a Vietnamese political activist who was jailed and downsized against her will. Ngoc shows us the other side to ‘downsizing’ and proves that there are different classes even in this new world.

Overall, I wouldn’t waste your time watching this film, it’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back! There are a few moments of humour but certainly not enough to class the film as a comedy, it’s also apparently a sci-fi but other than making the characters small there’s no element of science-fiction at all! It’s an incredibly weird film that feels like it’s never going to end, which is a shame as the premise of ‘downsizing’ could have given a very entertaining film if written differently.

All the Money in the World

Tags

, , , , , ,

all_the_money_in_the_world

John Paul Getty founded the Getty Oil Company and at one point was named the richest man in the world. It’s because of this title that Getty’s 16 year old grandson John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in 1973 and help captive for five months. His mother, Gail, received a call demanding $17 million for his release and immediately went to her father-in-law for help, but he refused stating: “I have 14 other grandchildren and if I pay one penny now, then I will have 14 kidnapped grandchildren”. After four months of beating and torture, the kidnappers decide to get serious and cut off one of Getty III’s ears, sending it to a local newspaper. After this, Getty took the kidnapping seriously and allthemoney1agreed to pay but only after cutting a deal and bringing the ransom down to around $3 million.

All the Money in the World is a biography – directed by Ridley Scott – depicting this moment in time. We start with the kidnapping (led by a voice-over of Getty III) but soon go back in time to give us a brief background of Getty’s rise to wealth, Getty III’s childhood and the relationship between Grandad and Grandson. These flashbacks are interspersed with real time and so things get a little confusing at times, but once the background has been revealed things become clearer. Getty is played by Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) – although his part was last minute after Kevin Spacey was dropped due to certain allegations, resulting in a complete re-shoot of the film. Plummer’s portrayal of Getty shows him as a cold-hearted man who’s only contribution towards helping his grandson is to hire ex CIA spy Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon) to assist Gail (Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain, Manchester by the Sea) in her search. Together Chase and Gail attempt to track down the location of Getty III whilst all the time fighting Getty to get him to pay the ransom. d7e0e99e312c449600d38bdeb536930bc49504e0

Michelle Williams is a great actress and her portrayal of Gail shows a mother desperate to save her son, going to any lengths to ensure his release. It’s clear she doesn’t understand how Getty can so easily dismiss her pleas for help and as the audience we side with her immediately and will her to continue fighting for the money that Getty so clearly has. Wahlberg has done his fair share of biographies recently, but here his role isn’t as important as that of the Getty family’s. Instead he supports the leads and is there to keep the investigation moving forward as he hunts down clues as to who and where the kidnappers are.

charlie-plummer-in-all-the-money-in-the-worldGetty III is played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) and he does an excellent job at playing the frightened 16 year old. The poor lad can’t understand why his grandfather doesn’t pay up immediately and with no communication from the outside world – apart from with his kidnappers – he has no idea what efforts his mother is going to in order to save him. When it comes to the cutting off of his ear, Charlie does a fantastic job of showing us the fear and desperation of this young lad. I personally couldn’t watch the scene, but am told that you see more of the faces of those around the procedure than the actual cutting itself.

Overall, All the Money in the World has a great cast that all do excellent jobs but for me there was something missing. At over two hours long the film drags a little and there’s nothing in it except the ear cutting that makes it tense or thrilling. Before and after that scene it’s just a lot of talking, with great emphasis on the fact that Getty was refusing any money (and in the end only agreed to give a small amount because he found out he could avoid tax on it!). The story itself is fascinating but unfortunately the film doesn’t have enough in it to really grip you.

The Greatest Showman

Tags

, , , , , , ,

maxresdefault

The Greatest Showman is the latest Hollywood blockbuster to receive critical acclaim across the world. The American musical biopic follows P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), the man who invented show-business and the circus as we know it. Orphaned and penniless, Barnum rises above this to open the first entertainment show introducing extraordinary never-before-seen acts to the public. Not everyone agrees with these acts being in the public eye though and Barnum, plus his collection of “freaks”, must overcome backlash and abuse in order to continue living a better life and bring entertainment to those who want it.

mp0lq5amolcb6snf04reThe cast is filled with great names and they really bring the energy throughout. Hugh Jackman in the lead is perfect, he gives out a determination to succeed and improve his life for himself and his family. Therefore it’s easy to see how his character gets swept up in the adoration he receives from the public and inevitably loses sight of what he was actually wanting to achieve. Hugh is a great actor and you will quickly fall in love with his portrayal of Barnum. His relationship with Michelle Williams (Suite Francaise) who plays Barnum’s wife Charity is sweet and clearly full of love. Childhood friends – even though her family forbid it due to Barnum being working class – their love led them to running away and this love carries them through all the ups and downs that follow.487677_145

Zac Efron (a personal favourite of mine) is back in a musical role – forever known for playing Troy Bolton in High School Musical! – here, he is Phillip Carlyle, a playwright who Barnum convinces to join in his venture. Upon meeting, Phillip falls in love with Anne (Zendaya, Spider-man Homecoming) an African-American trapeze artist. She returns the feelings but being a white man and a black woman their relationship is forbidden. Both Zac and Zendaya play this really beautifully, their scenes together are touching as the two try to suppress their ddvk-yw0aaeqzudesires for one another and follow social expectations.

Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train) is Opera singer Jenny Lund who Barnum brings into his show in order to attract a higher class of audience. However her arrival proves a distraction for Barnum as he focuses all his attentions onto her and loses sight of his family and the other performers. Rebecca is great as Jenny and gives one of the more powerful musical performances of the film with the song Never Enough – think along the lines of Elsa’s Let it Go from Frozen – although Rebecca doesn’t actually sing it in real life, the stunning voice belongs to Loren Allred.

The musical performances are incredible throughout, every member of cast really throws themselves into them and this creates a powerful watch. The stand out song of the film is This is Me, which is an anthem for all those who feel like they are different. The songs are all fantastic – written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, who won Oscar’s for their work on La La Land – they fit perfectly within the story and are incredibly catchy, I actually bought the soundtrack right after seeing the film and now have it on repeat!

01-the-greatest-showman-hugh-jackman-vogue-september-issue-2017

Overall, I’m going to put it out there and say that The Greatest Showman is possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in a while! Everything about it is mesmerising, from the story line to the musical numbers to the costumes and brilliant acting…I couldn’t fault it! Definitely a must see, it’s family friendly and the catchy songs will be stuck in your head for days to come. I’m actually itching to see it again it’s that good! A great film to start the New Year with and one which is bound to win many awards in the coming weeks.