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QUICK REVIEW: The Finest Hours

Howdy people, feels like ages since I’ve done a film review fresh from the cinema, but since my plans got changed last night I had some free time and decided to check out The Finest Hours. Now this was a film I was looking forward to because of not only the amazing true life story it was based on but also because of the cast. I saw the reviews were okay, but I still wanted to see what it was like for myself, and that I’ve seen it I’m ready to pas judgement!

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So the story can be described as the following:

” The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.”

So here’s the thing about The Finest Hours, it was great when it was primarily focused on the seaman of the oil tanker and their attempts to survive and the eventual rescue mission conducted by the Bernie and his crew. I really did enjoy the moments with the crew of the SS Pendleton, their situation was very scary and dangerous and this film did well to illustrate tension, fear and hopelessness within the crew members but also demonstrate the near impossibility of their survival. But when the story was shifted from the sea to Miriam and her ongoing concerns for her fiance or anything going on with the characters on land, that’s when the film got uninteresting. Near the start of the film we get to see the start of Bernie and Miriam’s relationship and it was cute and fine, but unfortunately as the film went on it became more of a hinderance on the story than a compelling part of it. And while I understood the need to show the story from the perspective of the friends and family of the men stranded at sea, it wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped and a fair amount of the story felt a little formulaic when it comes to these “based on true events” kind of film.

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As for the cast they were pretty solid but there were performances that stood out more than others. For me the stand outs were Chris Pine as Bernard “Bernie” Webber and Casey Affleck as Ray Sybert. These two characters are given the most amount of screen time and have the most engaging and relevant effects on the story, plus their performances were really solid. I enjoyed the tenacity of Webber, while Sybert’s knowledge and level headedness in the face of adversity was nice to see. As for Holliday Grainger as Miriam Pentinen Webber, I did enjoy her performance as she was cute, yet determined and concerned for her fiance, but unfortunately the character became more annoying than anything else. I also enjoyed Ben Foster as Richard Livesey, John Ortiz was good as Wallace Quirey and I really liked Graham McTavish as Frank Fauteux, and it was good to see Keiynan Lonsdale from The Flash in this film as Eldon Hanan. And finally it’s always good to see Eric Bana around and while he was decent as Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff was alright

The presentation was one of the stronger elements of this film. Visually this film looked great with an awesome sense of scale, good lighting and detail for the action sequences when the ship was falling apart or when the rescue boat was pushing through the crashing waves of the ocean. And the film score by Carter Burwell had some moments of beauty in some of the dramatic or uplifting scenes, but I felt like it wasn’t dramatically well-matched with what was happening on-screen of numerous occasions.

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In conclusion The Finest Hours was decent film with good special effects and solid story material out at sea, however, with too much time dedicated to Bernie’s fiance and a lack of emotional depth, it missed the chance to be more than an average historic film.

Rating: 6/10

So have you seen The Finest Hours and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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LATE REVIEW: Cinderella

Howdy ladies and gents time for a review I’ve been meaning to get done for almost two weeks! I am of course talking about Cinderella. Now I’ve been intrigued about this film since Kenneth Branagh was attached as director, and since I saw the trailers my curiosity grew and grew. I wasn’t sure if this film would be for me, but after I heard the positive reviews, I knew that this film had to be seen. So I avoided reading many reviews and only got around to seeing the film today. So was it good or not? Well read on and find out.

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The story goes like this:

“A girl named Ella (Cinderella) has the purest heart living in a cruel world filled with evil stepsisters and an evil stepmother out to ruin Ella’s life. Ella comes one with her pure heart when she meets the prince and dances her way to a better life with glass shoes and a little help from her fairy godmother of course”

I thought the story was very well done. While I wasn’t sure if I would like this film, I knew if anyone would make this film interesting it would be Kenneth Branagh, I liked his work on Thor and while Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was less than stellar, Branagh brings the right sense of wonder, magic and humour to this film and I noticed some similarities to Thor when it came to the focus on characters and themes of family and succeeding in the face of adversity. There is also a lot of heart to be found in this film, there are some fairly unsettling and tragic moments in this film, they are short, but they are apparent and in addition to that there’s moments of joy and  awe, and they are handled well. Another thing that stood out was how the director and writers handled death, it is a key element of the story and it is done with such care and attention and isn’t overplayed, it leaves an impact and that’s what mattered. What the film does the best is that it tells the same story you’ve known since childhood, and it hits all the key notes, however, it is changed just enough to be different. There are new elements added to Cinderella, the prince and the step mother’s backstories and more information the world these characters inhabit. These changes are subtle, but rather than taking away from the film, it builds upon the narrative and adds layers. And unlike Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent that really missed the mark and tried to hard to reinvent what was the norm, Cinderella embraces its origins but changes things up in smart and interesting ways.

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As for the cast, they were really good. Firstly Lily James as Ella/Cinderella was brilliant. This version of the character isn’t helpless and boring, there are layers to her. From a young age she is taught to be kind and have courage, and you can see that in her throughout the film, Ella is incredibly kind, strong-willed and has a great level of endurance to deal with all of the loss and suffering in her life. You can relate to her and want her to succeed because she is such a positive beacon of light in the darkness around her, and James plays the character really well. Richard Madden as Prince “Kit” Charming was also very good, this character could have easily been as bland as the orignal, but he was fleshed out a lot more with more insight into his life and having a greater focus on his attraction to Ella because of their first encounter. Madden brings a lot of charm, wit and weight to the character and together with James, the two of them have great chemistry and their scenes are some of the most beautiful moments in the entire film. Cate Blanchett was fine as Lady Tremaine, this character had a bit more layers, she wasn’t mean for the sake of it, she had a reason for it. Tremaine was incredibly bitter, mean and unfair and Blanchett did really well with the role, at times she was bit over-the-top, but you could tell she was having fun with the role.

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Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother was good too, this character was playful, eccentric, but also logical to. This is standard Carter fare, she’s played quirky characters like this before, but luckily this was one of the better performances where she was genuinely fun and humourous. Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger as Drisella and Anastasia were suitably funny and had good scenes together. Nonso Anozie was really enjoyable as Captain, as Kit’s right hand man her provides moments of humour and advice for Kit. Stellan Skarsgård as The Grand Duke was cool, I wasn’t sure what to expect but his character was a little different and devious and Skarsgård was good in the role. Derek Jacobi as The King was quite nice too and had some good scenes with his son. Hayley Atwell as Cinderella’s Mother was delightful, she was kind, bright and incredibly positive, while Ben Chaplin as Cinderella’s Father was very good, he was light-hearted and lovely man.

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When it comes to the presentation it is excellent. Visually the film is beautiful, there is a great sense of awe and wonder created through the wonderful art direction, vivid colour palette and use of CGI for the magic-based sequences. The visual effects were great, so crisp and full of detail and the cinematography was really good especially in the ballroom dance and the escape from the ball sequences. I also have to add that the ballroom dance was beautiful, from the beginning til the end, it was gorgeous, the dance was wonderfully choreographed and had a whimsical charm to it. This film also feels huge in scale thanks to the scenes in the forest, sweeping landscapes, and scenes inside and out of the prince’s castle. I also really liked the costumes, not only for Cinderella’s main dress which was very pretty and detailed, but also for everyone else as it felt like a live action version of the animated version. Oh and the music from Patrick Doyle, SO good! I loved Doyle’s previous collaboration with Branagh on Thor, and here he brings an even higher level of intensity. This film score hits with impact in the action sequences and is so touching in dramatic moments with Ella alone or with her parents or when Ella and Kit were together.

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In conclusion Cinderella was a lot better than I expected and I ended up really enjoying it. This film tells the same classic and conventional story, but makes a few subtle and necessary changes for the story to feel fresh, modern and fun. The cast is wonderful, the presentation is great and everything comes together in a satisfying way. As a man at the age of 25, I take pride in saying go out and see this film, it may be aimed at children but l liked it a lot. Things are looking up for Disney’s future live action adaptations.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen Cinderella and if so what do you make of it? How do you think it compares not only the 1950’s version, but the other live-action Disney films? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Great Expectations Review

Howdy people and welcome to another review, today’s film was one I heard a fair deal about online but wasn’t really interested in until I found myself at the cinema needing something to watch in my spare time. So I went into Great Expectations with no expectations and no knowledge of what I was in for and in the end the film ended up being very nice, but not mind-blowing.

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The premise for the film involves a humble orphan named Pip who suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. The film has a very interesting story to tell, not only with its central story about Pip, but also the people around him. The people he meets along his journey from childhood all have interlocking storylines and it’s surprising to see the way in which they come together and cross over. Most of the characters have relevance to the plot and it was nice to watch. I thought that film’s themes of love, betrayal, happiness and despair was displayed very well and I also loved the dialogue, it was well-written and made for some great monologues. There were moments where the film did slow down and its focus on certain areas of Pip’s gentlemen lifestyle was a little boring to watch, I was only mainly interested in the story surrounding Pip and Estella, and thankfully that key element works well.

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Now let’s talk about the characters of the film starting with Jeremy Irvine as Pip. I thought he was pretty good; I liked how he portrayed the change in his personality from being a poor man to being a gentlemen. He handled the role well, though there were moments where I found his character really annoying and whiny because of his actions after becoming gentlemen. Holliday Grainger as Estella was great and I love how she came across as this beautiful woman who devoid any emotion because of the way in which she was brought up. There was a lot of mystery behind her character and it was interesting to see her want to return Pip’s feelings of love, but couldn’t. I have to say that I really liked Pip and Estella more as kids than their adult years if only because of their budding relationship and lack of complexity when compared to their adult counterparts, thankfully Toby Irvine and Helena Barlow do well as the young version of Pip and Estella.

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And there’s Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, I thought she was lovely as this strange, older woman left in seclusion who interacts with Pip and Estella. I thought Bonham Carter’s performance was intriguing, engaging and at times quite humorous too. It was interesting to learn of her back story and how it made her who she is and how that in turn effected how she brought up Estella. Ralph Fiennes as usual turns a great performance as Magwitch. His character had one of the best introductions to a film I’ve seen for a while and I liked how his character linked into the plot and how he was connected to Pip. Fiennes accent in this film was probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve heard him use, and while this wasn’t my favourite film I’ve seen him in I still enjoyed his performance. Also Robbie Coltrane was pretty good as Mr. Jaggers, I found him to be mysterious and partially untrustworthy even when he was helping Pip with his gentlemen lifestyle, Coltrane played the role well and I liked his role in the film.

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The presentation of Great Expectations was pretty nice, I liked the camera shots used and the use of colour looked washed out, mundane and dark look to it which made the film feel eerie and mysterious. Also the soundtrack was decent too, nothing too memorable but worked in key scenes between the main characters. Now in the reviews that I read there’s been a number of comparisons between this film and the BBC TV serial that came out last year. Most critics say that the TV version is superior to this film; even my sister said that she’d seen the TV version and loved it. Since coming to uni I don’t really watch TV because I don’t have one, so I can’t compare the two versions of Great Expectations, however I can see that this film is missing that special dramatic element that would have elevated it to a magical level.

In conclusion Great Expectations was a great film with solid performances, a strong story and wonderfully powerful themes throughout. The film really shows how powerful love is, how it corrupts people and how far some will go for the people they care for. Unfortunately it didn’t reach that heartfelt level I had hoped it would, Silver Linings Playbook touched my heart and I had hoped that this film would do the same, but it was held back by a slow story, a little bit of annoying moments and missing that “special” element. Though I still think this is worth a watch.

Rating: 7.5/10

That’s another review sorted, leave me some comments about the film in the box below and I’ll see ya on the next review. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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