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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Hidden Figures

Howdy ladies and gents, its time for my first review for a while in form of Hidden Figures, a film I’ve wanted to watch for months mainly because of the involvement of my girl Janelle Monáe.

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.” What I appreciated about this film firstly was the story, the fact that these events actually happened at NASA was really fascinating, and regardless of how true to life this film was, I found the story to be quite captivating and engaging with all of the drama and segregation the main women faced, but also because of America’s efforts to beat the Russians in the Space Race. And while some of plot points and scenes play out in ways you’ve seen before if you’ve seen a drama based on true events, tis film was still very effective in its direction and execution of its themes and emotional content. As for the performances they were all really impressive. Firstly you have Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe who played Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Each of these characters were smart, had very specific skills and had an uphill battle trying to follow their dreams, while Johnson was the primary focus of the film, I was also very intrigued and interest in the lives of Vaughan and Jackson too. Henson was really good especially during one specific speech, Spencer was as great as she always is and Moná, she was lovely and acted with such flair and conviction. I also really loved Kevin Costner in this film, Kirsten Dunst showed a different side to her than I’ve seen in the past which I liked, Jim Parsons who I don’t like in The Big Band Theory was actually tolerable/pretty good here, also Glen Powell was likeable and Mahershala Ali was really charismatic and charming too. Oh and the soundtrack crafted by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch was really good, the original songs were super catchy and film score was also solid. In conclusion Hidden Figures was a really lovely film, it was very insightful, emotional and humourous with great performances, awesome music and an uplifting tone. I was so glad I got to see the film in my local cinema and I would highly recommend it.

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

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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Zootopia (Zootropolis)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I’m finally getting around to talking about the latest film from Disney; Zootopia (aka Zootropolis for us over here in the UK). I’ve been looking forward to this film for a while since I heard a lot of good things about the footage shown at D23 last year, and thanks to Cineworld and their early Unlimited screenings I’ve gotten to see the film a little earlier than its eventually release a few weeks from now.

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So the story goes down like this:

“In a world where animals have adapted to the world like humans, Judy Hopps is bunny who has dreamed of being a police officer since she was young and when she finally reaches her goal things don’t initially turn out the way she’d hoped. However when a big case comes her way, she must form an unlikely alliance with a crafty fox named Nick Wilde to uncover the mystery of her case and prove herself as a true enforcer of the law.”

Zootopia’s story represents Disney at it’s best with a tale that was familiar, yet fun, hilarious and heartwarming. One of my favourite aspects of this film was that it was able to strike that balance between being funny and serious, the sense of humour and timing of the jokes whether they’re physical or verbal, they’re done here so well. When the film wasn’t being light and funny, it did touch upon themes of prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes, and it was handled with such realism and felt very relevant to present times. This story felt like classic Disney with all the standard codes and conventions you’d expect with certain character and story beats, but with some modernization that made the film feel even fresher than previous Disney films especially with the use of technology and dialogue. I was surprised by how much this film got me emotionally, there were some absolutely delightful and joyful moments in this film, but then there were some super emotional and heartbreaking moments that resonated with some of my life experiences that reminded me of why I love Disney films so much.

The cast was all great in their roles. Ginnifer Goodwin was incredible as Officer Judy Hopps, this character was so tenacious, upbeat and relatable that she was easy to root for and I loved her backstory and journey throughout the film. And Jason Bateman was also awesome as Nick Wilde, Nick was cool, slick and had a way with words, but beyond his external demeanour was a much deeper character who was just as relatable as Judy. Together Judy and Nick had some wonderful chemistry and some of their more dramatic scenes together were some of my favourite parts of the film. Idris Elba was badass as Chief Bogo, this guy was really good and Elba really excelled in this role where you could feel his charm, intensity and personality through this character even though you couldn’t see his face.  J.K. Simmons was great as Mayor Leodore Lionheart, much like Elba, Simmons’ voice added an extra layer of awesomeness to the character and made them more engaging. Jenny Slate did was a wonderful job as she was both cute and funny as Dawn Bellwether,  Tommy Chong and Octavia Spencer were good as Yax and Mrs. Otterton, and Nate Torrence was just lovely as Officer Benjamin Clawhauser, because he was so bubbly and funny. Shakira was also fun as Gazelle, Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake were great as Bonnie and Stu Hopps, Alan Tudyk had some great moments as Duke Weaselton, Maurice LaMarche did very well as Mr. Big and Raymond S. Persi had some of the best moments as Flash.

Oh and the presentation was AMAZING! I don’t know how Disney have kept doing it, but with one of their new films come out, they find a way to up themselves when it comes to the visual side of things with insanely good CGI and art direction. This film’s locations, lighting and weather effects looked so real that if you took the animals out of the equation it would look pretty close to a live-action film. And speaking of the animals of them were uniquely crafted little such great attention to detail with the hair, facial and body movements, and I liked how the animators were able to make these humanoid characters retain all of their animal-like qualities. And the film score by Michael Giacchino was very nice and the song “Try Everything” by Shakira was really catchy too.

At the end of the day with Zootopia, Disney are still teaching life lessons and providing audiences young and old with entertaining material which is topical, lighthearted, emotional and funny. I cannot recommend this film enough as it may be my favourite Disney film in recent memory and I can’t wait to see it again.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen or are you going to watch Zootopia? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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I Feel Good In This Get On Up Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I’ll be talking about Get On Up, a film I have been eagerly anticipating as of late. I wasn’t initially fussed about another biopic, however since the main star, Chadwick Boseman became part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently I knew that I had to give this film a watch, especially because of the buzz that was coming from America. So does this film meet the hype or not? Well read on and find out.

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The story for the film can be summarised as the following:

“A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.”

I thought the story was pretty good, what we got was a film documenting the major points in James Brown’s life from childhood to the early 90’s. I thought it was interesting to see the Brown go from strength to strength to become to the person who he always wanted to be through, talent, luck and help from his friends. The film didn’t shy away from the dark side of James Brown’s life in show business and his personal life too. Overall the story was an enjoyable and engaging one with go piece-to-camera moments that make you feel like you’re part of the action. If I had to fault the film I would say that the story here felt like it omitted certain details of Brown’s life, especially when it comes to his family and because of the time jumps between years it felt like there was so much more that could have been explored. Plus since the film was non-linear and hopped forward and backwards throughout Brown’s life, sometimes it was easy to lose what time period you were in or feel like there wasn’t enough time to take certain things in.

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When it comes to the cast they are very nice, but this is Chadwick Boseman’s time to shine as he just kills it as James Brown. Now I liked Boseman in 42, however his acting talent is just one another level in this film. My god, Boseman is just on fire as the godfather of soul. The man struts, dances and talks in a way that embodies the legendary artist. I’m not a Brown expert, but it felt like Boseman took on the role with such care, charisma and tenacity that you forget that he’s even there, just the subtle mannerisms are well-done and my god Boseman dances so well too. What a don! The other strong performance came from Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd, Ellis played the role of Brown’s long-term friend and music colleague. What’s interesting about Byrd is the fact that he was Brown’s back and respects his musical talents, however he also has aspirations of his own and sees that when Brown is in the wrong. I also loved seeing Dan Aykroyd as Ben Bart, just seeing Aykroyd in a substantial role for the first time in ages was a great feeling. Viola Davis as Susie Brown is pretty good, while Octavia Spencer as usual does a fine job as Aunt Honey. I also enjoyed seeing Craig Robinson in a more serious role as Maceo Parker, while Jill Scott was almost unrecognizable and good as Deidre “Dee-Dee” Jenkins. I liked seeing Lennie James (from The Walking Dead) as Joseph “Joe” James and finally Brandon Mychal Smith did a fine job as Little Richard.

And then there’s the music, damn, if you’re not in the mood to dance during this film then there is something wrong you because it is badass. This film is pretty much a best of collection of the most classic James Brown songs and I was loving every minute of it. While I’m not the biggest Jame Brown fan, I’ve known of his music since childhood and several of his songs make me feel joy and happiness in ways that cannot be put into words, and this film had SO many good jams. The highlights for me was hearing “Super bad” and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine“, the former being one of my favourite songs of all time. The soundtrack by Thomas Newman is also very nice and dramatic too.

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In conclusion Get On Up is a pretty good biopic with a strong central performance, an intriguing look into James Brown’s life and has a beautiful selection of music. While there is certainly story aspects that are left out and some similarities to 2004’s Ray which I couldn’t separate while watching the film, that being said, this film is a good time and I would recommend it especially for fans of Brown’s music.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of Get On Up? And if you’re a longtime fan of James Brown do you feel like this was an accurate portrayal of his life of do you feel like it was missing something?

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

 

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Fruitvale Station Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for a new film review and today I’m finally getting to review a film that us UK people had to wait a whole bloody year for; Fruitvale Station. Now I heard SO many good things about this film and how Michael B. Jordan deserved Oscar nominations for his performance and I was so hyped to see it, but there was one problem. ONLY AMERICANS GOT TO SEE THE FILM. And for the longest time I thought us UK film goers would never have the opportunity to see this film, luckily I was wrong and it finally showed up in the cinema this month on a very small release window. So what’s the film like? Well read on and find out.

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So the story can be summarised as the following:

“The purportedly true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.”

The film is primarily Oscar’s story and it is a very engaging and there is one of multiple emotions to be felt throughout. While the film is fairly serious, there are moments of beauty and humour which are very nice too. But the real reason this film sticks in my mind is because towards the latter part of the film starts get to get dark and raw. This film is intense and I was feeling strong and intense emotions here. What makes this really hit home is the fact that this stuff actually happened. I remember the days of racial profiling and police brutality, but seeing it portrayed in such a raw and in-your-face manner makes for an emotional response. The film doesn’t hold back and uses its archive footage well along with its filmed material too. I was repulsed, disgusted, happy and saddened by this film and the fact that it made me feel all these emotions is a testament to how good it is. By the time film ended I was in pieces, I was almost shedding and felt completely heartbroken, but it was that ending, it was done nicely.

The cast do a great job in the roles and what I love is the fact that all of them have a great repore with each other which makes for a realistic portrayal of family and friendship. Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant III is simply fantastic in this film. I was already a fan of this man before this film, but I was surprised how deep into the role he got as I never saw him as an actor, but as Oscar Grant, a young man who’s had issues and is just trying to sort his life out. Also since we see life from Oscar’s perspective and get attached to him and all of the people around him, you get to see all the different sides of him. Jordan’s acting is so good, it is very raw, intensive, subtle and playful too, the dude is very versatile. Octavia Spencer as Wanda Johnson is incredible too. What I love about Wanda is the fact that she knows her son, his good points and his faults and she loves him but also knows that she can’t always take his word as truth. Spencer is so good in this role, her performance is so beautiful and carefully handled, it is impossible to not get attached to her character.

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Melonie Diaz as Sophina Mesa is also very good, you can see that Sophina cares for Oscar but because of his past actions and his lying nature that she’s finding it hard to stay with him. Diaz handles her material well and she is very believable in her role and definitely knows how to get an emotional response from you when it counts. Also Ariana Neal as Tatiana, the daughter of Oscar and Sophina is very good too. I mean most kid actors suck, it’s a fact, but Neal is so good and her portrayal of being a young, happy and smart girl is very realistic. Ahna O’Reilly as Katie is nice in the film too, her character adds some light-hearted fun to the film. And lastly Kevin Durand as Officer Caruso and Chad Michael Murray as Officer Ingram are very good in the roles, they really sold me on their aggression and disrespectful nature, it was actually kind of hard to watch.

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In conclusion Fruitvale Station is an incredible film, it not only has a superb central performance from Michael B. Jordan, but it also has an interesting and engaging story to tell that will engage you on the deepest level because of its sense of realism and drama. I can easily say that if this film had come out last year in the UK it would have easily been in my top five films of 2013, fact. It is not a happy film, that’s for sure, but you would be doing yourself a disservice not to see this film.

Rating: 8.5/10

So what did you think of Fruitvale Station? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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