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Tenet Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I return with another review of a film I have been very curious to check out for a while in the form of Tenet via my podcast Film Focus.

A couple days I took my first trip back to the cinema for the first time since March to finally check out Tenet; the latest film by Christopher Nolan. Now I’d been looking forward to this film since the teaser trailer came out and was immediately intrigued and engaged by the crazy imagery and cast members involved. So is this another great film for Nolan’s filmography? Well, check out this spoiler-free review to find out.

Anyway here’s the review:

If you haven’t checked out my podcast before you can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

So have you seen Tenet and if so what did you think of it? Did you love it or dislike it? And did it meet or exceed your expectations? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2020 in Film Reviews, 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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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!

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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).

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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.

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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. 😀

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

 

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Feel The Thunder In This Thor Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, its film review time once again and with the release of Thor: The Dark World just around the corner I thought I’d give you my thoughts on its predecessor, Thor. Now I’m just gonna say this upfront, I love this film, I saw it 5 times in the cinema! If that doesn’t say enough about my love for this film, then let me elaborate in this review. So here we go!

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So story-wise the film is about our main character Thor, god of thunder who happens to defy the rule of his father, Odin and because of his defiance Odin strips him of his powers and banishes him to Earth. While banished, his evil brother Loki takes over their home and has some questionable dealings with the enemy known as the Frost Giants. Over the course of the movie Thor has to learn the lesson of humility to gain his powers back through his interaction with humans and stop Loki from causing havoc to the world of Asgard.

The story is pretty good overall, though it has problems. The film deals with cause and effect, redemption and change, honour and family, and these issues are tackled in a thoughtful and spectacular fashion. I loved the focus on the relationships between Thor and Loki, and Thor and Odin, at the end of the day this is a film about family ties and how important they are. In addition to that I really liked the dialogue too, how it had a very Shakespearean vibe and there were some really beautiful, humourous and memorable lines. Obviously there were a great deal of aspects from the comics that were changed and for better or worse they’re now part of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I believe most of the updates feels realistic, fresh and approachable for by both comic and casual audiences. That being said there are problems with the story in terms of pacing, uninteresting scenes on Earth when related to Asgard and obviously the not so believable relationship between Thor and Jane, which was materialized over a few days rather than a longer period of time. But other than those issues its impressive how the filmmakers crammed several years of comic book history is into this film.

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As for the cast who’re all really great and add a lot of realism to this sci-fi/god-like story. Let’s start with the Asgardians. Firstly Chris Hemsworth is fantastic as Thor, he does a great balancing act between being larger than life, arrogant and aggressive, but also adds subtly, charm and drama to his performance.And then there’s Tom Hiddleston who does an equally great performance a Loki. This adaptation is more reletable because he is misunderstood and misguided, that in turn makes us feel for him and come to terms with his transition into darkness and evil. Hiddleston added some more remorseful aspects to the character and his transition to evil is portrayed well, though I wish he’d been a bit more sinister, but otherwise he was fabulous. Anthony Hopkins as Odin was as expected really cool, Odin was such a strong, imposing, yet caring character and I loved his speeches and aura. Hopkins already had the tools to portray the character effectively and he was so cool. The Warriors Three (Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun) played by Ray Stevenson, Joshua Dallas and Tadanobu Asano were delightful, they were all interesting, quirky and pretty awesome on and off of the battlefield. While I primarily know about them from Hulk Vs. Thor and my Wikipedia research, overall they seemed to be depicted pretty well though I wish they had more screen time.

Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif was great too, she was gorgeous and knew how to handle herself in battle, again like The Warriors Three I wish she had more screen time but she was still fun to watch. Idris Elba as Heimdall was very good too, I really wasn’t sure what to expect because this was very far removed from Elba’s standard line of work, but he did well, though some of his words were a bit hard to comprehend at times. Rene Russo as Frigga did a nice job well in the film too, although she was severely underused and I wish she’d had more screen time. Okay, now let’s talke about the human characters. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster was decent, Jane was good for the first half of the film and had nice chemistry between her and Thor, however I didn’t buy into her like her relationship with Thor. Firstly I find it hard to believe that someone as pretty as her would find it so hard to find love, and secondly I the time that she and Thor spent together was FAR too short for her to go from an infuation to all out love, more time wasneeded for that relationship to grow as it kind of felt forced towards the end of the film. Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig was pretty good too, can’t really fault him. And Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis was good too, she had some funny dialogue and was also very beautiful. 😀 And finally it was so great to see Clark Gregg back as Agent Coulson, he had some great scenes and dialogue and by that point he’d definitely become more of an interesting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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When it comes to the presentation of Thor it is pretty good. Visually the film was very pretty with lovey art direction,good CGI, great costume design and nice cinematography. The visual effects were handled by BUF and Digital Domain, and they crafted some great gorgeous stuff, from the space worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim to the Frost Giants, Destroyer Armour and battle sequences, it was pretty awesome. The travelling sections via the Bifrost Bridge is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen on-screen for some time (the first time it’s like, “Wow! FRIGGING AWESOME!!”). That being said the world of Asgard seemed a tad empty outside of the main hall and one had to wonder where all of the residents were haha. There also seemed to be a lack of sharpness and clarity in certain sections and I feel a studio like Industrial Light & Magic would have been a better choice for tackling the VFX, but still overall the film looked good.

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The action sequences in the film was handled in an effective manner too, with most characters getting decent screen time. The action was shot wonderfully with lots of quick cuts and a variety of camera shots. I loved how Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir was depicted as it demonstrated a lot of different techniques especially with the spinning attacks which I wasn’t expecting to make it into the movie at all. The lightning effects were good and even Thor’s flying ability looked well portrayed too. Loki’s action on-screen was pretty good with a lot more physical combat with a staff, though I wish he had done more magic-based attacks. Everybody else have good fight scenes from the Warriors Three to Sif, from their battle with the Frost Giants to the attack on the Destroyer Armour. One thing that does bug me is the fact the first battle with the Frost Giants is the best one and everything that follows afterwards never quite reach that same level of greatness. Also the soundtrack crafted by Patrick Doyle was pretty great, it epic, dramatic and can go from being really powerful to being quite small and emotional. It really elevates whatever is happening on-screen and hits all the right notes for all the key scenes

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So in conclusion I liked Thor a lot, it was a grand film with a good story, great characters, good action and a decent soundtrack. While there are some notable problems with the story, pacing and action, the film laid out the groundwork for these characters and other comic aspects to be incorporated into the sequel. Kenneth Branagh must be commended for taking what seemed to be an impossible task and making it feesable for comic book fans and casual audiences. A lot of people hate on Thor but I reckon its one of the better Phase 1 films, I recommend it and I can’t wait to be blown away by The Dark World (hopefully)!

Rating: 8/10 (It really was one of my favourite superhero films of recent years)

So what did you think of Thor? Whatever your thoughts, drop in the comments below and come back to this blog in the next few days for my review of Thor: The Dark World! Laters yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Tom Hiddleston Talks Branagh/Taylor and Potential Thor 3

Hi peeps of the internet, more news has been put on the internet for me to talk about, so I’m gonna talk about it. Ah yes more news on Thor: The Dark World from our favourite man Tom Hiddleston. and as per usual superherohype provides the following article:

“Tom Hiddleston has been one of the most vocal members of the Thor cast when talking about the upcoming sequel, Thor: The Dark World. The actor has spoken about most topics presented to him and today, in an interview with Huffington Post, he talked about the difference between Kenneth Branagh (director of Thor) and Alan Taylor (director of the sequel Thor: The Dark World).

“Ken established the tone, so we’ve taken the baton and kept running. Alan Taylor is fantastic, one of the men responsible for ‘Game of Thrones’ which is so of that world, a very grounded, gritty, earthy world where warriors and swords and monsters and magic all meet, so his experience of that has given him a fantastic take on the whole world of Thor.
 
He was refashioning those archetypes in space. We talked about King Lear and that kind of dynastic drama, about succession, with somebody at the top of the tree, and somebody else due to succeed the throne, there’s always a wrestling if it’s father and son… it’s all very dynastic.”
 
So was he anxious about having a newcomer step onto the sequel instead of Branagh? “I went to a summer screening of a Marvel short film. Ken came and so did Alan, it was very clear how much mutual respect between them and I thought, ‘ok, it’s going to be fine.’”
 
Filming on Thor: The Dark World has only a few weeks remaining before it wraps and Hiddleston won’t say if they’re already talking about Thor 3.
 
“These kind of films, not to get too heavy about it, all depend on the financial success of the one before, so we’ll have to see.” 

In Thor: The Dark World, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all. It’s slated for a November 8, 2013 release.”

It’s good to know that Alan Taylor has been having a good effect on the progress of the second Thor film and it’s also good to know that Kenneth and Alan are cool with each other with the transition of one director to another on the same film series. I’m also interested to hear what Tom had to say on the next instalment in the Thor series, I thought that next one would be automatic, but he does bring up a good point about the financial side of these big budget films; if a film doesn’t make enough money then it doesn’t really warrant a sequel. So let’s hope that Thor: The Dark World is a badass film that makes loads of cash so we can afford to see more of these characters in another adventure.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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