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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns

Howdy ladies and gents, for the first time in a while I’m doing a written review and I just wanted to share my quick thoughts on Mary Poppins Returns as I saw it today and wanted to talk about it. 🙂 So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “Set in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film, it sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning after a family tragedy.” So as someone who only saw the original Mary Poppins in full earlier on today (which held up fairly well I might add), I was very curious to see how this sequel would pan out, and I thought this was as a nice little sequel. The film certainly had a lot of similarities to the original in terms of the story structure and some of the problems that the main characters faced, and by the time the film concluded, a lot of the issues were resolved in quite an easy and familiar way. That being said the film did look very nice with great set design, clear, bright and distinctive visuals that call back but also expand upon the original. It was especially strange to see how much larger the exterior locations were from the original and the sense of realism due to the London locations. The soundtrack was nice and some of the new songs were pretty catchy, I also really liked the choreography of those dance scenes especially with the lamplighters who had some impressive stunt work. And the cast was solid with the performances from Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw and Lin-Manuel Miranda being especially strong and memorable. Blunt is one of those women I will watch in anything and she did very well in this film, she emulated all of the core traits of the character from Julie Andrews nicely, Whishaw who I have liked since Skyfall is pretty good in most films and I think this may be my favourite performance because of how much emotional turmoil and struggle his character went through, and finally Miranda was essentially Bert from the first film, but he was very fun, charismatic and was probably my favourite person in the film. So in conclusion, while Mary Poppins Returns, isn’t as good as the original and felt a little too familiar to its predecessor when it worked, it worked quite well and as someone who isn’t overly keen on musicals, I enjoyed it.

So have you seen Mary Poppins Returns and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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REVISITED: Doubt

Good day to you ladies and gents, and welcome to another review in the REVISITED series where I’ll be reviewing films I haven’t seen for a while and see if they still hold up since or not. And today’s review will be of a film I haven’t seen for a few years, Doubt.

Now I remember renting this film from Blockbuster back in 2010 during my film discovery phase in college doing media production, and I remember once it was over I was really impressed with the film overall but was deeply unsettled. And that is a feeling I have never forgotten. So after getting into films a heck of a lot more since I was 20, I wanted to rewatch this film and see how it was, and in all honesty, I feel about the same, both impressed and disturbed. Even as I type this review, there’s a feeling in my heart and a bit of tremble in my movements because this film affected me so. Straight from the beginning you know something is off, there’s a smell in the air, but you don’t know what it is just yet, however, once certain plot points and character motivations and suspicions come to light, then things get intriguing. What we have is a very horrible situation with the priest and a child, and the head nun trying to ascertain whether something indecent has happened or not. The situation is shrouded in mystery, allegations and hearsay and because there’s no clear evidence it makes it makes for some awkward and intense moments throughout. As the film progressed, I felt more and more troubled and just goes to show well this film was crafted, there is a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the tone, dialogue, pacing and ambivalence of this situation, and it felt very realistic in the way certain situations were set up and the complicated battles that followed between the priest and head nun. I liked how not only the cinematography helped accentuate the uneasy nature of the plot (especially with Dutch angles), but also how the weather played a big part in elevating the mood from being calm to being quite ferocious. The performances in the film were fantastic, this was the first serious film I’d seen both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep in and both of them impressed me greatly. Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius is this very strict and scary principal who doesn’t seem too likeable at times, but because she’s so mean it does lead to some funny moments, but beyond her surface level, she does care about the kids and does not let unjust things happen under her watch which makes her very crafty, tenacious and more aggressive. Streep is magnetic and acts with style and finesse, but also a great level of intensity, and it was this film that made me understand why Streep is talked about so much in the film community. Not to be outdone, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn is a kind and warm, and yet at times he seems off and untrustworthy, and there are times when he shows a darker side which is very creepy and unexpected. Hoffman’s performance is very captivating as he handles every situation with subtly and dangerous levels of realism, and along with Streep, they have some powerful scenes together. Amy Adams is also really great as Sister James, she’s a cute and kind-hearted soul who wants to believe in the best of people but has reason to doubt the priest. And finally, there’s Viola Davis who plays a significant role as Mrs. Miller and good gravy that woman can sell anything because her acting is that good, such power and sincerity. Overall Doubt is an incredible film with great direction performances and a solid and haunting film score from Howard Shore.

So have you seen Doubt and if so what do you think? Also if you’ve seen it more than once does it hold up better, worse or the same as before? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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