Tag Archives: Kelly Macdonald

ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Swallows and Amazons (2016)

Howdy ladies and gents people, time for another single paragraph review and today I’ll be briefly talking about the 2016 version of Swallows and Amazons.Now I wasn’t overly interested in watching this film, however, the story in the trailer had my attention and so did Kelly Macdonald because she’s awesome (both in acting and beauty), so with some free time I decided to give the film a watch.


The story can be described as the following: “This film follows the holiday adventure of the Walker children in the Lake District. They want to camp in an island in the lake. However once they get there they find out they’re not alone and have to battle two other children for control of the island. However there are also other mysterious and dangerous elements at play in the background which will affect the children as time goes on.” Now I was surprised by how much I liked this film, it wasn’t amazing, however, there was a lot more to it than I expected. I really liked how the film was able to the capture the joys of youth, and having adventures in the outdoors, but was also able to incorporate some more serious story elements too. I knew the story involving Jim Turner and the mysterious agents going after him would be something to look out for, but I didn’t expect it to be as sinister as it was and I found it fairly intriguing once the mystery surrounding Turner came to light and you found out what kind of person he was. Besides the story, the Walker children really were a stand out aspect for me. Early on their personalities and group dynamic is established and over the course of the film you really start to care about these children and their pirate-based adventures. Of the Walker children my favourites were Dane Hughes and Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as John and Tatty Walker. John was the oldest and so he had to carry a lot of the responsibility when it came to talking care of his siblings but also making the tough decisions with his interactions with others, and I liked Hughes’ performance. But it was Allen who I really liked, Tatty was so sassy, confident and downright cute, and she had a lot of the best lines and moments with her siblings too. I also liked the Seren Hawkes and Hannah Jayne Thorp who brought a lot of humour and fun as Nancy Blackett and Peggy Blackett. With the adult actors I really liked Rafe Spall as Jim Turner/”Captain Flint” as Spall’s performance was very intense and engaging, Andrew Scott once again played a role I’ve seen him in before, but was he was good as Lazlow,  and Kelly Macdonald was lovely as Mrs. Walker, the role didn’t require anything dramatic, but Macdonald handled her material very well. Plus as a fan of Harry Enfield (from his sketch TV shows) and Jessica Hynes (from Spaced)I liked them as Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. Oh and I don’t know who did the soundtrack, but I REALLY liked it, it had such a lovely sense of adventure, was uplifting and during the certain boat sequences it amplified the action on-screen very well.

So that was my review, have you seen Swallows and Amazons and if so what did you think of it? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

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Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews


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Brave Review

Good day to ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another film review and this review will be on the latest animated film from Pixar, Brave.


Now as I said in some of my previous blog posts Brave is a film I have been interested in watching for quite some time, I think it was purely because it was very different-looking Pixar film when compared to their other films like the Toy Story films, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles or Up. Also with a lack of prior knowledge about this film it got me excited and curious to what the end result would be. So is Brave good? Heck yes, however it is not the next great Pixar I was hoping for.

As for the story of Brave it goes a little something like this:

“In the film, set in the Highlands of 10th-century Scotland, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late.”

As Pixar’s first fairy tale it was pretty good. However I feel like Brave had a great concept that just wasn’t fully executed properly and what I mean by that is in the trailers we see that Merida is strong individual who just wants to live her life her own way and when she breaks tradition eventually she’ll have to do something that will test her as hero and undo the mistakes she makes. And the set-up for that in the film is great, everything in the first half of the film is incredibly well-done with genuine drama, emotion and humour. It ticks all of the right boxes and looks set to be another Pixar classic, however when you find out what happens in the second half of the film and the plot continues from there, the film’s awesome factor just drops significantly. It’s like the filmmakers had this great idea and if they followed through in a more adult fashion could it would have been brilliant, however the way the plot developed after the set-up just didn’t do it for me. Though Brave’s story still gets its main themes across in a great way talking about courage, communication, doing what’s right and the bond between a mother and daughter.

When it comes to characters everyone is wonderful, so let’s start with the main heroin, Merida voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald. She was awesome, Merida is a character that all young people can relate to, she’s adventurous, a free spirit and has a likeable personality, however she’s trapped by royal laws and tradition. So you can’t help but love her when defies tradition and stands up to her herself in front of her mother, she’s such a badass. Macdonald brings her A-game to this role and she was wonderful and I am so glad they got an actual Scottish lady to voice Merida too. Also Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor was utterly wonderful, though she did come across as a very cruel mother because of the rules and regulations that she kept in place for her daughter, you could see that she was a concerned mother who only wanted the best for Merida and Thomas done a great job and her accent was good too. And Billy Connolly as King Fergus was really awesome, he was the more relaxed parent of the two who let Merida live how she pleases and he had some very funny scenes in the film too from the way he is around his family to the way he acts around the other clan members. All the rest of the other cast members were great too.

Still from Pixar's Brave

Here you can see Pixar balanced the detailed yet caricature styled for their characters in Brave.

Now one best things about Brave is the visual presentation, it is simply flawless. Everything looks so beautiful, so detailed, so full of life and vivid in colour. Having the film set in a place like Scotland was a great choice, it allowed for some really detailed and realistic art and animation. The level of realism that Pixar achieve in this film is ridiculous to the point where it looks almost completely real especially with scenes in the forest. Also the art style is pretty darn impressive too. It is quite different from Pixar’s previous work, it seems like artist’s have found a way to blend realistic human features with the more cartoon-styled characters they are known for. I love the design of the characters they are still very animated and quirky, but are more grounded and realistic which I believe works well.

Another great thing about Brave was the soundtrack done by Patrick Doyle. I think he is becoming one of my new favourite film composers because his work of recent has been very good. Doyle compliments the beautiful visuals with an authentic-sounding soundtrack with beautiful instruments and with the contributions from Julie Fowlis, Mumford & Sons and Birdy, it makes a great soundtrack.

In conclusion Brave is a very different kind of Pixar film, with the use of a fairy tale-styled story and a real world location in the form of Scotland, Pixar have gone further than before and delivered a very beautiful-looking film, with a lovely soundtrack too. However the film as a whole just isn’t as strong as some of Pixar’s previous work, it had a great premise and the set-up was good, but the story overall just didn’t have the pay-off I had personally hoped for. That doesn’t mean this film is bad by any means, by all means go out and watch Brave, it’s a great film for the children.

Rating: 7

Well that’s my review of Brave, hopefully you enjoyed reading and drop me a comment and let me know what you thought of the film. Until next time ladies and gentlemen, peace out. 🙂


Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews


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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Brave

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another blog post 😀 As you may have seen I have a done a series of blog posts on video games I am looking forward to in 2012 and as much as love video games I believe that there is a great deal of films coming out this year that deserve to be highlighted. So with that in mind this blog post will be the start of a new set of blog posts talking about the films I’m looking forward to in 2012. And today we’ll be starting with a really interesting one, it’s the upcoming Pixar film Brave.

Now in a way I’ve been following the progress of Brave for a while now, but at the same time unlike previous Pixar films where I do my research beforehand, this time around I know next to nothing. So in a way I find having no prior knowledge about a film really exciting and it makes me even more curious as to what the end result is. Now as far as I know this film has been in development for a few years now, since around 2008. The reason I say that year is due to the fact that around the time WALL-E was coming out I was looking into the future films that Pixar were going to work on and this film was listed under the name “The Bear and the Bow” but there wasn’t that much information back then because the film was in very early pre-production, but as time when on I always checked back on what would be next big projects that Pixar and Disney would be working on.

Just looking at this screenshot from the first trailer, you wouldn’t think that this was from Pixar would you?

Now one of the main interesting things about this film is the setting and overall tone when compared to Pixar’s previous films. I mean the Brave takes place during the 10th century in the highlands of Scotland. Also something to take into consideration is the overall look and art style which is quite different from Pixar’s work, the level of detail and realism that Pixar have put into the human characters, locations and animation is quite incredible. Everything has a real earthy feel to it and while in the trailers the film retains some of those quirky/ funny moments that Pixar are known for, the film also seems to have an overall darker and realistic tone which is quite apparent from watching the latest trailer. It’s a big contrast to a lot of Pixar’s previous films which really demonstrates that they are an animation studio capable of variation, change and evolution. One of the things that stand out to me is the location of Scotland, the environment is very different from the city locations that have been in films like The Incredibles, Up and the Toy Story trilogy. And it shows Pixar continuing to advance and try out new locations and settings like the nature-based world of A Bug’s Life or the space-based setting of WALL-E. As for the story, just have a read of this official synopsis:

“Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord MacIntosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.”

From reading that story synopsis the film sounds pretty intriguing and with Brave being Pixar’s first fairy tale it’ll be interesting to see where they take it and whether it’ll be on par with any of Disney’s previous work of the past and let’s not forget all of the fairy tale films that’s come from other animation studios like Dreamworks and other animation studios.

Still from Pixar's Brave

Here you can see a much more detailed yet ‘Pixar’ styled set of characters for the film Brave.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the film when the first trailer came out, I mean all we got from the film was that it was going to be set in Scotland, the hero of the film was going to be a female and that she was an archer. Though the trailer did showcase some impressive visuals and had a tone that really set itself apart from other Pixar films. But the problem was that the trailer was too much of a teaser and told us nothing and that’s why the film fell off my radar of interest. However with the latest trailer really grabbed my attention, take a look below:

I believe it gives us as a better look into the film and what to expect. And I found this scene to be pretty tense and really awesome too. Before seeing this trailer I was wondering what kind of heroin Merida (the lead character) would be, however after seeing this I can see now that she isn’t just a generic wannabe hero, she has a personality and she comes across as pretty badass. Defying the law, defying her parents and standing up for herself, that is totally awesome. And it’s no surprise considering that Merida is voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald and I’ve seen her work in Boardwalk Empire and she was awesome in that so I’m super excited for what she’ll bring to this film. Overall I have a lot of hope for this film, it is the first original Pixar film in 3 years, it is also the first Pixar film with a female lead character, it is set it a real location and again has a completely different tone when compared to other Pixar films and it seems to show Pixar’s evolution as an animation studio, willing to try new things and not be afraid to be more than it can be. Only time will tell if Brave will be a good film or not, guess we’ll have to wait until June to find out.

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Films, Media


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