RSS

Tag Archives: Keira Knightley

ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Collateral Beauty

Now this was a film I was super excited about way back when the first set pictures were released with Will Smith and Helen Mirren, I was just giddy and intrigued to see another dramatic film with Smith and the incredible cast… However, I saw the trailer, and I wasn’t impressed, in fact I was underwhelmed. And then, when I found out the actual premise of the film online and how it was different from what the trailers was selling you, I was quite annoyed. So I felt like I was going to skip the film after the mixed reception I saw from the US release, but I thought “Screw it, let’s give it a shot.”

collateral_beauty_poster

The plot can be summed up as the following: “Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” Now I heard this film was either underwhelming or just downright bad (especially from what I’ve recently read online), so I expected the worst, but I walked out of the film liking it more than I expected. I feel like this film had some interesting elements with the story and characters, but the execution was messy and questionable. Mourning the death of a loved one is something we all deal with in different ways, some harder than others, and I felt for Howard played by Will Smith, and could understand the difficult situation that he put his co-workers/friends in. However what Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) do in this film to their supposed friend is some of the most crafty and terrible things you could do to someone who is grieving. I would have liked more a focus on Howard and less on his coworkers lives because I feel like they took the focus away from Howard which was the most interesting part of the film. At several points I questioned the moral and ethical integrity of the people in this film, and while the film tries to present both sides of the argument for why certain plot elements transpire in the way that they do, and some people do present some logic as to how and why what these people are doing to Howard is wrong, its like the characters just give in and you as the audience still don’t buy into it because at the end of the day what Howard and his coworkers did was still wrong. I feel like the performances from the cast ranged from good to questionable, I liked Kate Winslet as Claire and Michael Peña as Simon I tought was good with the dramatic material, Edward Norton had some bad material to work with as Whit, while Keira Knightley as Aimee/”Love”, Jacob Latimore as Raffi/”Time” and Helen Mirren as Brigitte/”Death” did fare better in their roles though Knightley had some questionable scenes too. The best material comes from Will Smith as Howard, Smith delivers a performance that mainly relies on his physicality, facial expressions and little dialogue, but he was really good and his dramatic chops were put to good use in my opinion. And finally Naomie Harris as Madeleine was also quite good, I predicted how she would factor in the film early on, but she was one of the better actors in this film and her scenes were quite engaging. In conclusion Collateral Beauty was not the train wreck I expected and there were small moments of drama and emotional material that worked for me, but is a film that was predictable, had too many convenient moments and feels morally and ethically wrong with a conclusion that doesn’t feel entirely earned, but I didn’t hate the film so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

So have you seen Collateral Beauty and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TAKE TWO! Begin Again

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to a new series I’ve been wanting to try out on this blog for a little while entitled “TAKE TWO!” where I take a look a film I haven’t seen for a while and see if it still holds up, and today’s choice is Begin Again.

begin_again_poster4590

Now for those not aware, Begin Again was this delightful little film from 2014, musical focused drama where the two main characters played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo both from two different areas of the music industry team up to create a unique album recorded in public locations all over New York City. When I saw it in the cinema I really liked it, I was pleasantly surprised as wasn’t sure what to expect but mainly wanted to check it out because of the reviews and Mark Ruffalo’s casting, but it was one of my favourite films of that year. So when I watched Sing Street not too long ago, I wanted to rewatch this film to see how it compared to director John Carney’s latest film, but also see if the story, characters, music and enjoyment level held up. And you know what? It does!

begin-again3236

One of the reasons I loved the film before and now is because its suck a feel-good film, and while there’s a focus on the drama and heartache, there is so much happiness, humour and joy that shines through the story, characters and music. What I liked about the story that is that its heartfelt and covered relatable issues like love and loss, the highs and lows of life, taking chances, forging new connections and following your dreams in the face of adversity. I also love the cast, everyone involved does a great job of making you care about these characters, you invest them and see their talent, strengths and flaws, unique qualities and personal drama and they work really well just as individual but also together because that’s where you’ll get a lot of enjoyment in this film. If you had told me back in my teens that I’d ever enjoy a film with Keira Knightley in it then I’d say you’re insane, but here she surprised me a lot, she was tolerable and dare I say likeable and I enjoyed her performance a lot. But then there’s Mark Ruffalo who was just incredible, he was very versatile, charming, charismatic and fun. This was I think the first film that introduced me to Hailee Steinfeld and she was really good too, I mean everyone’s great from Mos Def to Catherine Keener and CeeLo Green and James Corden were especially fun too. But I also have to mention Adam Levine, mate, I LOVE that dude’s voice, have done since the Maroon 5 days back in 2004. And even though I’m not overly keen on his band’s sound these days, his performance in this film reminds me of why I fell in love with his voice way back when as he still sounds incredible.

But on top of all that you have the music, and that is the soul of this film. This film really is about the music. Carney does a great job of making the music in this film, whether it is original or well-known, an integral and enjoyable part of this film. It feels like a celebration of music and makes you appreciate the art of creating music from the lyrical content to the creation of new sounds to way it can affect people emotionally. The use of popular artists like Stevie Wonder, The Walls and Frank Sinatra is great and further illustrates the film’s appreciation of music and its varied sounds, but the original songs are also great too, they quite varied, but are also catchy, personal, beautiful, joyful and some can even an emotional response from you too (I know it did for me). Even though a lot of this music isn’t my usual cup of tea, because of the way it’s presented in the story and the emotional content that’s tied to the musicians as they play, there’s a deeper level of appreciation for the songs, plus it also helps that the songs are wonderfully crafted and feature really good instrumentation as well as vocals. All of the songs have a sense of beauty, depth, wonder and emotion which you can hear in the lyrics and instruments. “Lost Stars” whether you’re talking about the Knightley or Levine version, there’s something about that song that gets me right in the soul every time I hear it, the same rule applies to “Like a Fool” which just hurts me when I hear those lyrics, but it’s so good at the same time. But then you have the sound of pure happiness with “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home (Roof Top Mix)” which sounds and feels SO good, and just seeing such a varied amount of people come together to create such a great sound in a unique setting makes me so elated that its hard to describe.

So yeah if you couldn’t tell already I really enjoyed Begin Again and it definitely falls into the department of films I can watch over and over and never be bored with and if you haven’t seen it I imply you to do so because it is really fun and the music is great. And if you’ve seen the film already let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, until next time, laters! 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Film Reviews, Music, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

QUICK REVIEW: Everest

Howdy people of the internet, time for another film review and today I’ll be talking about Everest. This was one of the films I highlighted in my films to look out for in 2015, but at the time there was no footage on show, but after I saw the trailer last month I knew it’d be something I had to see in the cinema. So after seeing it last night I’m ready to pass judgement!

everest-poster02

The plot can be summed up as the following:

“On the morning of May 10, 1996, climbers from two expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.”

The story was pretty good. The film basically deals with man vs. nature, death, fighting against overwhelming odds and the power of the human spirit. I thought that the film did a great job at highlighting how difficult of an undertaking it was to scale the famous mountain and showing of Everest as a character itself, a force of nature of that could not be taken lightly. I liked how there was the inclusion of humour and banter between the characters, but I also liked how the film didn’t shy away from the darker side of thing with the elements of danger, fear and despair, and man when the shit hits the fan it hits hard. There were a lot of scenes that are hard to watch with some of these characters, and it also didn’t help that I have fear of falling off of cliffs (yeah, I’m serious), and just Gravity and All Is Lost beforehand, this film perfectly realises one of my main fears of death in a realistic and scary manner.

everest-film-9poko

The cast did a pretty good job in their roles, though some stood out more than others. Jason Clarke was really good as Rob Hall, his character his confident, heroic and has to deal with so much drama and chaos, and Clarke really sold me on his material. Josh Brolin was one of my favourites as Beck Weathers, he was a character I got attached to and Brolin did a great job with his material. Jake Gyllenhaal was awesome as Scott Fischer, I liked his charisma and energy. Also John Hawkes was really good as Doug Hansen, Michael Kelly gave strong performance as Jon Krakauer and Sam Worthington did well as Guy Cotter and this was the first film of his in a while or maybe ever where I liked his performance. I also enjoyed Emily Watson’s performance as Helen Wilton, Keira Knightley as Jan Arnold, Robin Wright as Peach, Elizabeth Debicki as Dr. Caroline Mackenzie and Naoko Mori who was just so cute and lovely as Yasuko Namba.

3051060-poster-p-1-everest-movie

When it comes to the presentation it is truly the highlight of the film. Not to detract from the characters or story, but this is the area of the film that you’ll remember the most after it ends. Visually the film is incredible, the cinematography is great offering various shots and angles of the mountains so that when these characters are climbing and moving at these high altitudes, you can see and feel it. Also the visual effects are stunning and very realistic, the depiction of the mountains are done with just the right amount of scale, detail and clarity, and when the action is going down its pretty hardcore and in 3D the experience is enhanced just that bit more with the extra depth of field too. The sound design is also good with the all of the emphasis on the wind, thunderstorms, movement through the snow or crunch of movement when freezing over being felt throughout. Also the film score by Dario Marianelli is very good giving us a strong, powerful and emotive soundtrack that hit all the right beats and there is one great moment in the film where the music just swells and gives off this incredible sense of determination and satisfaction.

In conclusion Everest is definitely more effective with the spectacle than anything else. While I did enjoy the characters and the story, there are a few familiar narrative elements that hold this film back from being more. That being said, I believe that this film should be watched just for the visual experience on the biggest screen possible.

Rating: 7.5/10

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

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Imitation Game Quick Review

Howdy ladies and gents time for a late film review in the form of The Imitation Game. Now I was meant to see this film sooner, but life got in the way and since it was still playing in my local cinema I had to see it. Generally I’m not into films related to war just because it isn’t my cup of tea, that being said this film’s story looked interesting, plus Benedict Cumberbatch was in the film. As an avid fan I have to see whatever film he is in, regardless of the subject matter. So is it any good? Well read on and find out.

the-imitation-game-poster04

So the story can be described as the following:

“Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.”

I thought the story was surprisingly engaging, dramatic and full of tension and mystery. All I can say after watching this film is I wouldn’t want to work in MI6, so much secrets and lies! That’s a lot of what this film is about; secrets and lies, so much deception and secrecy involved in what Turing and his co-workers were involved in, it led to so much trust issues, pain and suffering. Sure it was for the better good but in the end victory did not come without sacrifice. I don’t know how accurate this is to the actual events that took place, but it was interesting to learn about the interception of German messages and the crafting of early computers.

When it comes to the performances, they were all pretty good from everyone involved but it is definitely Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing who stands above the rest. This must be Cumberbatch’s best performance to date, the man is incredibly versatile and totally inhabits the role of this odd, yet brilliant man who doesn’t have the best of social skills, but has the talent necessary to be an asset to MI6. Keira Knightley was also good in this film as Joan Clarke, a smart individual who is the only person who understands Turing. Knightley is quite good and she’s actually tolerable which makes her decent in my book. Other great performances come from the lovely Charles Dance as Cdr. Alastair Denniston, Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, Allen Leech as John Cairncross, Mark Strong as Maj. Gen. Stewart Menzies and Rory Kinnear as Detective Nock.

the-imitation-game02

In conclusion The Imitation Game is a very compelling and interesting film with a good story, a wonderful soundtrack and an incredible central performance form Benedict Cumberbatch. For fans of Cumberbatch it is a must-see film.

Rating: 8/10

So The Imitation Game, have you seen it and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo, laters! 😀

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Begin Again Review

Howdy people of the internet, today I return with my review for the film Begin Again. Now I had no intention of watching this film until my auntie told me that she really liked it, so I decided to give it a chance and saw it on Thursday. So what did I think of it? Well read on and find out!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bd/Begin_Again_film_poster_2014.jpg

When it comes to the story it goes like this:

“Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.”

The story on display here is a very good one that is delightful, heartfelt and engaging throughout. While the film is primarily about people and their relationships with music it is more than just that. It feels like a film that is celebrating music in general, like its emotional powers, the in which it connects us and the way it can change the mood or atmosphere of any place depending on what music is being played. You can tell that the filmmakers are fans of music as there is a great sense of fun and playfulness, but also a level of realism and insight into the ups and downs of making it in the industry as a successful musician. Also thankfully I love how the film didn’t fall into the trap of having a generic love story approach with the main characters too.

On Location For "Can A Song Save Your Life?"

As for the cast they were all really good and were a joy to watch. Let’s start with Keira Knightley as Gretta. Normally I can’t stand Knightley, it is something about her face that just puts me off and in general the roles she plays are never that engaging or fun, but in this film she was actually tolerable. This is the first film I can actually stand her character in because her character, Gretta is just a normal human being who has dreams and aspirations but is also fragile and has experienced heartbreak. She’s headstrong, smart and surprisingly cool. And then there’s Mark Ruffalo who is in top form as Dan Mulligan. This is a man who has vision, he knows music and has had massive success in the past, however he isn’t in tune with what is going on in the music business today, he’s a bit of drunk and has issues with his ex-wife and distant daughter. He does come across as a bit pretentious but he is also very passionate and likes to take chances on things that he thinks will work. Together Knightley and Ruffalo have amazing chemistry together, they seem totally natural and fun together like they’ve been friends for ages and it makes for some very special and lovely moments on-screen.

Adam Levine as Dave Kohl, Gretta’s ex-boyfriend is also pretty good, to a degree I almost didn’t recognize him throughout the film because he didn’t seem like his ‘Maroon 5 front man’ kind of self, but I guess that’s a good thing. His acting was serviceable and as usual his singing is impeccable and it was only at those moments when I remembered him as the main guy from Maroon 5. James Corden as  was surprisingly nice and tolerable Steve, Gretta’s best friend. Now I don’t hate Corden but sometimes I do find him to be a bit insufferable, however here he was actually fun and did get me smiling on occasion because of his character’s dialogue. Hailee Steinfeld does well as Dan’s daughter, Violet Mulligan and the appearance from CeeLo Green as Trouble Gum was totally cool as he was just cool, quirky and hilarious as he seems in real life. And lastly both Mos Def as Saul and Catherine Keener as Miriam brought a lot of interesting elements to this film as their respective characters.

???????????

And then there’s the soundtrack which features a collection of established music and original material by Gregg Alexander and holy man, it is amazing. Not since Inside Llewyn Davis have I been this engaged with the audio side of a film. Genre-wise while this film contains various types of songs from Stevie Wonder to Frank Sinatra, the original pieces of music are more a little more radio friendly. I’m not too good with identifying certain genres of music but a lot of this material had a pop/funk/folk kind of feel as separate and crossed over songs and it is the way in which it is executed, it sounds so good. Now while the music that style of music that Gretta does is not really my kind of jam normally, here in this film I really liked it and at several points during the film I kept saying to myself, “I’m gonna have to get the soundtrack for this film.” Honestly, it is that good.

can-a-song-save-your-life01

In conclusion Begin Again is a smart, realistic and heartfelt film that I had a better time with than I ever could have imagined. This is just a feel-good film with some really good acting, absolutely amazing music and beautiful sense of pride. I would recommend it purely based on how fun it is, even if you’re a bit sceptical, give it a try.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Begin Again and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review. Laters! 😀

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review

Alright time for my Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit review, my first new film of 2014! Now this is a film I’ve been looking forward to for a while now since the time I saw the first trailer. While I know nothing of the history of the character or adaptations that have come before, I liked the tone of the trailers and the cast involved so I hoped for something good. So what’s the end result like? Well read on and find out!

first-poster-unveiled-for-jack-ryan-shadow-recruit-145628-a-1380749887

So the story involves a young covert CIA analyst called Jack Ryan, who uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

The plot of the film is pretty good and has some unique traits, but for the most part it was just decent. The film starts out interestingly enough with Jack Ryan’s history, but it does take a little for the film to get going and find its feet with the main plot involving. What I like in any thriller is when they’re really smart but the film kinds a way to make the viewer understand it too so you don’t feel like you’re on the outside or just feel like an idiot. In this film there’s a lot of smart talk, but it just went over my head, felt like technical jargon that only smart people would comprehend. Annoyingly I had hoped for more, considering the history of this franchise I feel like it could have been the next Bourne series if handled correctly (obviously not that high in calibre but still good enough to be its own unique brand of spy/action thriller).

jack-ryan01

As for the cast they were good, but some were better than others. The best person in this film by far is Chris Pine as Jack Ryan. He commits to the role and you believe in his character and it is nice to see him in something that isn’t Star Trek, that being said there were moments where I gone Captain Kirk vibes from him. Anyways, Pine fits well into an action role like this and I think if this film is the start of a new series and he could grow into the character and make it his own in future instalments. Kevin Costner is also good as Thomas Harper, Costner works well in an authoritative role and was funny, cool and I’d like to see him in more police/FBI kind of roles. Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin is where characters start to get a bit iffy. I love Branagh both as an actor and director and I can see what he was going for in the role and sometimes he achieves being cold, intimidating and passive-aggressive, but other times his villain role seems a bit forced or generic. At points in the film I like I wanted the villain to be Mads Mikkelsen, but as Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, now that would have been awesome. But the weakest person in the main cast is Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller. I don’t what it is about this woman, but I don’t like her, i never have. Her facial expressions are weird and awkward, her acting in this film isn’t that convincing at points, I wasn’t keen on her character very much and I feel like Cathy could have been played by anyone because there wasn’t much chemistry going on with Knightley and Pine.

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUITjack-ryan04

Presentation-wise things are okay, but nothing to write home about. The fights, shoot-outs and driving sequences are good, but I have been spoiled with better in the past. But there is one cool-looking explosion which was nice, I like me some nice explosions. 🙂 The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle is definitely different from a lot of the other work he has done and it has some nice moments here and there, but it isn’t nearly as memorable as some of his previous film scores.

In conclusion Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a decent action thriller which has some interesting ideas, nice moments of action and a great central performance from Chris Pine. The problem is that I wanted more, and I felt like if the script and story were a bit more complex, the action set-pieces were more memorable and if some of the cast members had been switched around this film could have been so much better. I think the work people will take away from this film is “average”. It is worth a watch, but if you have high expectations just lower them a bit.

Rating: 6.5/10 (It was good, but nothing special)

So what did you think of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Until the next time people, laters. 😀

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: