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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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QUICK REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, time for another film review and today I’ll be reviewing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Now I’ve liked this film series, but in recent times I really haven’t liked the hype its acquired over the last year or so which has deterred me from wanting to see this finale, but since I had mates that wanted to see it last night I decided to check it out.

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The storyline for this film is as follows:

“As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.”

I thought the story was good and pretty intense. Much like the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films, Mockingjay – Part 1 was the set up and Part 2 is the all-out action pay-off finale. This film takes all of the foundations of the last film and uses it to great effect here. Here the focus of the film is on Katniss and her mission to take out President Snow, and within this main plot there is all of drama. What surprised me about this film was how blunt and brutal it got, there was loss, deception and mind games, and unforeseen revelations that changed your views on certain characters. Oh and the film was very tension-heavy with you always wondering how much worse or dangerous things could get and man they got dark pretty quickly. I think it was the way death was unexpectedly dropped on people in certain scenes which really caught me off guard, and while some of it was shocking, it was meaningful and gave the film higher stakes. I will admit that this film had some pacing issues and some of the story choices toward the third act I didn’t agree with, but the main issue I had regarded the ending. Man, Mockingjay – Part 2 had the same issue that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King did; it didn’t know when to end! I could have counted at least 3 times when the film could have stopped, but nope, it just kept on going and I understand that certain plot elements needed to be concluded but damn, that was a little too much and some much time could have been shaved off for it.

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As for cast they were great, though some returning characters don’t get as much screen. Firstly Jennifer Lawrence does well for her final appearance as Katniss Everdeen, I dunno how but Lawrence happened to balance being beautiful and super talented with her acting skills in this film, and I believe that it is Lawrence that elevates this character while on-screen as Katniss, while still courageous, was also quite bland and unlikable at times, I know she went through hell, but this was the one time I didn’t really feel like rooting for her. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark was great too, his character has developed so much since the first film and he certainly had his moments to shine, he went from someone who really had no business being on the side of the allies to being a very interesting, dramatic and useful member in times of need. Liam Hemsworth was once again as Gale Hawthorne, his character had a fair amount to do and I liked his scenes with Katniss (even if she was still stringing him along like before). Donald Sutherland as President Snow was good too, still as mean and crafty as ever, Snow once again proved why he was such great villain for Katniss to take out. Julianne Moore had some really good moments as Alma Coin and I appreciated her character more this time around. And even though several of my favourite characters got a lot less screen time, I still appreciated the moments with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, my man Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Mahershala Ali as Boggs, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinkett, Natalie Dormer as Cressida and the all but too brief appearance of Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.

 

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As for the presentation it is pretty good. Visually the film was very impressive with good action sequences that had several standout moments, some good cinematography, good CGI and lighting too. I also liked James Newton Howard’s soundtrack for the film as it was suitably dramatic, subtle and intense when it needed to be.

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In conclusion The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a good conclusion to this series, it has a great deal of action, drama, conflict and resolution, and good performances from the cast involved. I wouldn’t this film was a completely satisfying ending considering some of the plot points, character choices and dragged out ending, however for what it was, it was solid.

Rating: 7/10

So what did you think of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2? Was it a satisfying conclusion or was it not what you wanted? And how do you feel it compares to the previous films? Whatever your thoughts, drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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SUPER LATE REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, time for another film review and this one, this one is important because I’m finally going to talk about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of this film series, but it has grown on me over time especially after Catching Fire, I was meant to see this film within a week of its release, but then work and waiting for my sister to watch it with me delayed my screening for AGES. I mean I saw the third Hobbit film before this and that is just mental to me haha. I knew I had to see this film at some point, so I went to see it after work yesterday and now I’m ready to pass judgement, finally.

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The storyline for this film is as follows:

“The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.”

I thought the story was pretty great, it was a very different kind of film when compared to the previous two. There is no Hunger Games, so now we have what could only be described as Capitol vs. the districts of Panem. Here we have President Snow, a man determined to keep the districts in order and take out anyone looking to start a rebellion and on the other side there is Katniss, the symbol of hope to the districts and the one who is willing to do anything to get justice. This is a film about power, who has it and how is it handled. There is drama, deep emotions, and crazy mind games being played. If I had to fault the story I would say that it felt a bit slow at times, but otherwise it’s fine.

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As for cast they were all very good. Firstly Jennifer Lawrence is still killing it as Katniss Everdeen, I think this is the role where we can see the most from Lawrence in terms of acting. In this film Katniss is a scarred and fragile individual, she is haunted by her past, longs for Peeta’s return and has to find the strength to be the face of the uprising against the Capitol . The woman has to deal with so much and Lawrence’s performance is stellar and nothing short of amazing. Liam Hemsworth was cool as Gale Hawthorne, this character has always been sidelined and has never had that much to do in these films, but Gale’s presence has risen since the first film and he’s right in the center of the action this time around and I was happy with that. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee was great, it was odd seeing Hoffman acting knowing that he’s passed on, but I think it made me love him more. Heavensbee is smart and knows how to make things work in his favour, he is also very funny and confident. Also Julianne Moore as Alma Coin was good too, she is a woman ready to start the rebellion and unite the districts, however she wants to handle it properly and has the right tools at her disposal.

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Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark was good, this time he was after seemingly being dead, the man arose and starts to talk in defence of the Capitol and is asking Katniss and the people of the districts to start down. Hutcherson plays a different kind of character this time round, but it definitely makes him a much more interesting person. Donald Sutherland as President Snow, what a beast. Snow’s always been a douche, a clear villain who never liked Katniss and the courage that came with personality and since the last film he has gone to great lengths to break the spirit of not only Katniss but also the people of Panem. The man is ruthless, calculated and a lot sorts of mean and Sutherland is just perfect in this role, I loved his performance. Elizabeth Banks was lovely as Effie Trinkett, she has such a wonderful energy and persona that makes her fun to watch whenever she’s on-screen. Natalie Dormer was good as Cressida, I was surprised about Dormer’s role in this film as it wasn’t what I expected, however I thought she was fine. Woody Harrelson still does a good job as Haymitch Abernathy even though he was in the film a lot less than before. Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair is good too, while Stanley Tucci did a good job as Caesar Flickerman, I just wish there was more of him.

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When it comes to the presentation it is pretty good. Visually the film looked good with nice cinematography, a dark colour scheme and detailed CGI, and the action, even though it was in a smaller amount, was cool when it showed up. Also James Newton Howard’s soundtrack is very nice and really comes into play when the emotional moments come into play.

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In conclusion The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a good film, in fact I would say it is a great film. There isn’t that much action and the pacing felt a bit slow at times, however this film makes up for that with its intriguing plot elements and great performances from the cast involved. I can now say that I’m excited to see how this film ends next year.

Rating: 7/10

So what did you think of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1? And how do you feel it compares to the last two films? Whatever your thoughts, drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀

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

 

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Twister Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for an unexpected film review as today we’ll be going back to 1996 with the film Twister. I remember this film from childhood and since it was on TV tonight I thought I’d watch it and then review it, so let’s get started.

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The premise for this film can be described as the following:

“Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.”

Now this is a film I remember from my childhood and have seen a good few times over the years and to this day I still like it. The plot is serviceable. You have your main set of storm chasers running after tornadoes mixed in with rival competitors and another story element involving the two main characters who have history that will need to be sorted over the course of the film. Its nothing you haven’t seen before, it’s also cheesy and a  bit cliché with dialogue and character development, but for the most part it works, sure there’ll be times where you question the realism of what’s happening but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter that much. I also think there’s something about disaster films from the 90’s with crazy action sequences that makes smile. This film in some ways reminds me of Jurassic Park, they are obviously two very different brands of film, however there are some subtle similarities like:

  • The way Jurassic Park made dinosaurs cool, this film made tornadoes cool
  • Has that 90’s kind of look and feel
  • Is the kind of film that could only work in the 90’s (as I don’t think it would be effective today, take Into The Storm for example)
  • There are those small signs before danger approaches, in this film you have wind chimes and TV’s losing their signals before Tornadoes hit. In Jurassic Park you had large sounds, shaking water and small tremors that gave you an indication that a Tyrannosaurus Rex was coming

When it comes to the cast they’re pretty good and this film is notable for my introduction to actress Helen Hunt and actors Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman, a fact I never realised until now haha. Firstly there’s Helen Hunt who is as Dr. Jo Harding, I think Hunt was great, she’s this obsessed meteorologist with issues from her past conflicting with her current line of work and of course when Bill comes into play, that changes things too. Then there’s Bill Paxton who does a great job as Bill Harding, Bill is a weather reporter and former storm chaser, he’s trying to move on with his girlfriend but as fate would have it, things don’t go his way and he ends up finding his way back to Jo because of the tornadoes. Paxton and Hunt have good chemistry together and you can tell that they have ‘will they or won’t they’ attitude about them even if you know how it will play out. And then there’s Jami Gertz as Dr. Melissa Reeves, gosh, I don’t know how I forgot about how dull, petty and annoying this character was. I guess you’re meant to feel for her because she’s Bill’s fiancée and gets thrown into Bill’s old line of work which totally catches her off-guard and with Jo she clearly feels threatened. Gertz does her best with her material, however she wasn’t that engaging to watch really.

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Cary Elwes is good as Dr. Jonas Miller, Elwes the role of bad guy as he and his group of rival storm chasers go out and try to outdo who Bill’s group through corporate sponsorship and using their own version of ‘Dorothy’ (the idea for which he stole from Bill). Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as Dustin ‘Dusty’ Davis, he’s this hyperactive member of the storm chaser group and the most notable other character in the film. The guy’s carefree, humourous and totally charismatic, its one of Hoffman’s stranger roles but I love his energy and his character really reminds me of myself haha. And then there’s everyone else, they’re all secondary characters and while their performances are good, since they’re not as developed as the main cast you can’t really get attached, that being said, you do get a sense that Bill and Jo’s storm chaser group are a tight collective of people, a family unit who care about each other and are after the same goal.

As for the presentation, its pretty good. Visually the film is good, while the CGI may have aged quite a bit, for a product of the 90’s it looks pretty good and does the job when it comes to the tornadoes and destruction. As for the action I believe that they are still awesome as there are moments of genuine danger, thrills and memorable sequences which are both cool, absurd and lacking in realism especially that great moment when Bill and Jo drive through the house that got dropped on the road. And then there’s the soundtrack by Mark Mancina and Eddie Van Halen, while it does come across as a bit over-the-top and cheesy with the choir-like vocals, at the same time it feels pretty epic. In addition to that there’s all those cool songs included in the film, most dominantly of course is “Human Beings” by Van Halen, a song I’ve always remembered since childhood and still like the sound of.

In conclusion Twister, after all these years is still a good time. It is nothing overly amazing, but for a disaster film of the 90’s with all its cheese elements it still holds up rather well. The action set pieces are still pretty impressive, the cast led by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are fun and the music is kick ass. Maybe I’m a bit biased because of the nostalgia factor, but I reckon that if you haven’t seen this film then check it out, it’s silly but fun.

Rating: 7.5/10

So have you seen Twister and if so what do you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see you on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

Okay, time to talk The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a film I’ve been both excited for and not overly interested in at the same time! Now the first film was decent, wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t amazing either. It did rather well, and after X-Men: First Class it made Jennifer Lawrence come across as not only a bankable star, but an actress who had talent. For all its success the film had its criticisms. some thought the film was too long, others said the violence wasn’t enough, some just called it a Battle Royale rip-off and other fans of the book just slated the film for the changes made to the books. Anyways that was last year, Catching Fire is now. Does this sequel entertain or not?  Read on and find out!

The storyline for this film is as follows:

“Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.”

I thought the story in that film was pretty good and had a lot of depth to it. There was a lot more fleshing out of the world that these characters reside in, we saw more of the other districts and see how the events of the last Hunger Games affected everyone. Nothing gets easier and complications begin for not only the main characters but for everyone. There’s a difference in the air and themes of love, sacrifice, revolution and war are explored in a great way. What I really liked was how Katniss’ actions in the last film carried over into this one, where she has become a symbol of hope and the people from the other districts and cause them to slowly revolt which in turn creates problems for President Snow who sees her progress and wants her to be eliminated. Overall the story was just much more involving, dramatic, believable and cohesive than the first film.

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When it comes to the cast they’re all very good at bringing life to these characters and their definitely the film’s highlight. Firstly Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen and Lawrence is just so good as the character now. This time Katniss has to deal with the events of the last film which have taken their toll on her mentally and emotionally and you get to see that through Lawrence’s fabulous acting skills which are easily the highlight of the film. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark is a lot better in this film than before, the material the actor is given makes his character a little more interesting and less of a weakling. Donald Sutherland is once again is wonderful as President Coriolanus Snow, I like how his outward persona is so calm and authoritative, however behind the scenes he is quite sinister and really wants to control everyone with an iron fist. Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne is back and is given more to do which has made his character more likeable and fleshed out, Hemsworth’s moments are more interesting this time around.

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Woody Harrelson is totally awesome as Haymitch Abernathy, he was one of my favourite characters in the last film and here he returns with that mixture of seriousness mixed in with dry humour. Elizabeth Banks is still as kooky, high-spirited and fancy as ever as Effie Trinket, she gets a little more screen time and actually feels a lot more developed as we see more sides of her personality. Lenny Kravitz is still as cool as ever as Cinna, the man who stood by Katniss’s side, makes amazing clothing and looks at things from a realistic perspective. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee is the new dude who overseas the games and is in alliance with President Snow to take out Katniss. He has new tactics and plans that make him a person to look out for and Hoffman as ever is great to watch on-screen. I also liked performances from Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, and Jeffrey Wright as Beetee Latier is great, he plays this interesting returning winner and I liked his smart and funny personality and it makes a MASSIVE change from the douchebag character he’s playing in Boardwalk Empire. And lastly Stanley Tucci is still amazing as Caesar Flickerman, the charismatic TV presenter that covers all the major happenings related to the Hunger Games.

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As for the presentation it is notably better. First and foremost the most immediate difference is the lack of shaky cam in the action scenes. I watched the previous film the night before and the lack of shaky cam was incredibly noticeable and to be honest the film is a hell of a lot better for it. Action in general is just shot and staged a lot better with more convincing GCI too, it was delightful. Just wish there was a bit more violence (I am a junky for violence lol). Also the soundtrack by James Newton Howard is also a lot better too, it had a better emotional connection and better presence and the good themes that were used in the last one have returned too.

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In conclusion The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a lot of fun and a lot better than the previous film. There is a better direction in place than before and the story, characters and action was much deeper, dramatic and better executed than before. Unlike the first film which was just decent for me,  I just felt more invested in this one and I really liked it. While it wasn’t by any means one of my favourite films of the year and I had hoped for a bit more action, otherwise this is a film I would recommend highly.

Rating: 7.5/10 (A much better and dramatic sequel)

So what did you think of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? Did you find it better than the first or did you like the last one better? Whatever your thoughts, drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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