A Quiet Place (2018) Review

The Office US star John Krasinki teams up with his supremely talented wife Emily Blunt (i.e the Krunts) in this horror/thriller from last year. I missed the cinematic release but once I saw it on Netflix I immediately put it on the list as I had heard plenty of good things.

From the start of the film you are given everything you need to know about A Quiet Place. This film is intense, the stakes are high and the characters we are following are rarely, if ever, safe. This tension is created with that shocking opening and held perfectly throughout what’s an incredibly well-directed debut for John Krasinki.

He gives his best on-screen performance at the same time as his first directorial showing and does a great job of both. Considering how much I love the office and the countless hours I’ve spent watching Krasinki in that show, to be able to say he disappeared into this role is quite something, although partial credit has to go to the beard.

Emily Blunt plays his wife, who is trying her best to keep the family together and functioning in the hopeless world they inhabit. She brings vulnerability to the film but still has that determination to carry on. There is one particularly horrific situation she ends up in that you will know if you have seen the film, that she is superb in and I was hooked through the entire sequence.

Horror/thriller movies often lose my attention when they are filled with obvious jump scares and grotesque images just there for the sake of grossing the audience out a bit. A Quiet Place uses its clever premise of a world where sound is the enemy to create tension. I found myself not wanting to move or make any noise myself throughout the film because I was so engrossed in the film and that’s one of the biggest compliments you can pay to any film.

If there is a weakness in the film, it’s probably the children. I don’t think the reasons they make some of the decisions they do is fully explained and this led to some eye rolling for me at times. The actors themselves are solid as far as child actors go, just the motivations weren’t there for me.

A Quiet Place is the best horror/thriller I’ve watched in recent years. The excellent premise is intriguing and the small focused lens on a few characters is compelling throughout. It’s a relentless experience, and the use of silence is excellent. I was thoroughly impressed by Krasinki’s directorial debut. He continues the trend of a comedic actor turning into a Horror thriller director, started by Jordan Peele with Get Out, both of them getting me into this genre a lot more than any other films have managed.

Good: The Krunts are both great, the premise is brilliantly utilised and you’ll find yourself sneaking around the house afterwards.

Bad: I personally could have gone for more explanation of what happened in the world, and the children make some dumb movie decisions.

9/10 – A Quiet Place is a film to shout about, but you won’t want to.

Assassins Creed (2016) Review in time

Having adored the last Assassins Creed video game, when I saw the movie on a streaming service I decided to jump in and see how the film turned out. I hadn’t heard good things from when the film was released and I never got round to seeing it in cinema’s, but I always hope for a film to be good. 

I loved the director and actor combo of Justin Kurzel and Michael Fassbender (as well as Marion Cotillard) work on 2015’s Macbeth. A film that was true to the Shakespeare story but with some really stylish action that promised much for this more action heavy film. I will go in-depth on my thoughts of the action later, but I was expecting some great action at the very least from Assassins Creed.

As a fan of the games, I know the lore and long running story behind this film, and that did help me to understand some parts of the film. It did make me think that someone watching this with no prior knowledge may think it’s a bit over complicated and there may be a lot of unexplained plot points and information that would be really useful to the viewer. The film has several easter eggs and hints at the franchise’s gaming heritage, but it never commits fully to that lore and there are no name drops for franchise icons Ezio or Altair. They are hinted at, in one particularly odd scene specifically, but it feels like this film is set in the world as well as separate from it, as no game has mentioned any of the events that take place here as far as I am aware.

Fassbender is in the lead role, and is fine. Which I think is a good word for every performance in this picture. Nobody stands out, everyone is just playing the part they’re given and doing what they can with some questionable dialogue. Nobody feels fully invested in their role and that disappointed me a little, as I felt there was a lot of potential with the cast they put together for this one. Cotillard and Jeremy Irons have an interesting dynamic that is touched on but then falls into the generic roles of the sympathetic villains daughter and the irredeemable evil man.

The lack of meaningful character development we do get with the main character, Fassbender’s Cal Lynch, doesn’t seem to go anywhere and then magically something clicks and he’s a new man. I know video games have had some ropey character development in them over the years, but this script doesn’t give anyone enough to really go on an arc that is worth watching.

The other side of Fassbender’s role, as Spanish assassin Aguilar, is intriguing, but that is it. We don’t learn anything about him, why he does what he does, except from a cursory line thrown in to explain why he is who he is. From then he has action scene after action scene, with no explanation or motivations given for why he is doing what he is doing. For me this films divided and broken by the jumps between time, even with action scenes cutting between the two.

The biggest departure from the lore of the AC games is the way the Animus is shown. Every incarnation to date has been a headset or a table you lay on and essentially view through the eyes of your ancestor, with no physical interaction in the current day. For some reason, the film makers behind this film decided to scrap that, and put Michael Fassbender on a giant arm that flings him about as he is living through the eyes of his ancestor Aguilar. The decision to cut between this and the historic time just did not work at all for me.

The action scenes, and there are plenty, are all well shot and in particular the hand to hand, blade to blade combat in ancient spain is brilliant. however we rarely get an entire sequence of action without being shown that Cal is doing it on the giant arm at the same time. The film constantly reminds you there are no stakes here, it’s just a video essentially. That, combined with the complete lack of character development for our ancient assassin make every action scene feel hollow, no matter how cool it looks.

Assassins Creed is a brilliant premise, one ripe for the picking of any film maker to produce gold with. But for god sake, commit to it. We have 100s of hours of games and stories, all set in ancient history. Over the years the modern-day side of AC has largely become a side plot, with 99% of the games being set in the chosen historic setting. For three games we learnt about Ezio, and was hooked on his story, all whilst there was some side stuff happening with Desmond that nobody really cared for. This film should have learnt from the AC games, and whilst it’s clearly inspired by them, I can’t help but feel they missed the mark this time round. There is so much potential here, but I am not sure any studio will attempt it after this mess.

Good: Some cool action, Excellent landscape shots, and PARKOUR!

Bad: Throwing away a premise with so much potential should be enough to put the script writers and directors in movie making prison.

3/10 – One of the most disappointing films of the 2010s.

 

Blade Runner 2049 – Review in time

I have no affinity towards the original Blade Runner. I understand the story and the Replicant/Human questions posed at the end regarding Harrison Ford’s character, but I decided to go into Blade Runner 2049 without watching the original again, to see how the modern version stood up on its own. 

Straight away, you can tell this film is beautifully crafted. Every shot dripping with the sci-fi noir style the original film is so celebrated for. Everything looks futuristic, but used, and this aesthetic creates some truly gorgeous shots throughout the entire movie. Every set, costume and light are perfectly placed, meaning this film should be watched on as big and as high-resolution a screen as you can. Accompanying the opening shots, after the text has explained the current timeline and the Human/Replicant relationship, we get the first hit of the powerful score this film has. Hans Zimmer’s touch is distinctive, and its perfect for this style of movie.

There is a word I have used a lot already, style. Blade Runner is incredibly stylistic, at times leaving the beautiful shots and sets on-screen for 10-15 seconds uninterrupted for you to soak it in. This choice of editing makes the film feel very slow, very deliberate. It’s a story about a replicant, Ryan Gosling, who is carrying out his duty as a “Blade Runner”, investigating the cases of old replicants who need to be shut down. We follow every step of this investigation, being shown rather than being explained to. This would normally make the film a little harder to follow, but I found it relatively easy seeing as the film isn’t subtle with how it handles the clues dropped along the way. For me the slow pace is a hinderance here. In moments I felt there should have been an impactful reveal, the slow unveiling of the secret meant the effect was lost on me, allowing me to already be piecing together the next step of the story, or just thinking about something else entirely.

The film reminded me in some ways of the first time I sat down to watch The Godfather. Both films are clearly brilliant examples of what filmmaking can be, but compared to most modern cinema, they are painstakingly slow. This is as much a criticism of these films as it is of modern cinema, and how today’s audiences are accustomed to the quickly edited, fast pace modern movies with less time for the film to slowly stroll from point A to B. If you can appreciate the slow canter the film plods along at, the story keeps you invested all the way til the end, and doesn’t necessarily answer all of the questions, in line with the 1982 film.

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford lead the show, and both are genuinely brilliant. Gosling’s journey throughout the story changes the character’s perspective on everything, and seeing him try to process the events unfolding makes for compelling viewing. Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard from Blade Runner, giving a great performance even in the relatively short time he is on-screen for. Jared Leto and Sylvia Hoeks play the antagonist roles, and whilst the former is solid and clearly at home playing an eccentric genius, the latter really shines in her role. Often butting heads with Gosling and his superior (played by Robin Wright), she is both intimidating and at times sympathetic.

Director Denis Villenueve is responsible for two of my favourite movies in recent years, the tense Sicario and the intriguing Arrival. His take on this franchise he attempts to show again he is the master of tension building and enticing the audience with threads of story. For the most part he succeeds, but this film felt slower, and dragged a little more than those two previous efforts.

Blade Runner 2049 is an acquired taste. Lovers of the previous film will likely adore this, and haters are inevitably going to hate. For me, sitting on the fence as I was, it sits somewhere between director Villenueve’s last two efforts. If you have a spare 3 hours and want something to really engage with, Blade Runner 2049 might be for you, but as I have said for all of Villenueve’s films, be prepared for what you’re getting into. In a world where big budgets mean plenty of action, quips and stunts, Blade Runner 2049 is a big budget film of a different kind.

Good: Excellent filmmaking on show, everything is truly top-notch. Performances, cinematography, set design all excellent.

Bad: Slow pace grinds to a halt at times, and I found the story to be a little bit predictable at times.

8/10 – It’ll be tough to replicate this… 

The last Villeneuve movie I reviewed I promised to get better on the puns, I am sorry for failing you all.

Deadpool 2 Review

Deadpool is back and this time he has a bigger budget. I loved the first one, and I’ve always loved the character from the comics. Could lightning strike twice for the Merc with a Mouth?

Well to be honest the entire review could be the first line I wrote. “Deadpool is back and has a bigger budget” pretty much sums up the films feel, more of what you had before in a more extravagant presentation. The film even leans into the joke of it repeating some moments which I always find funny. Deadpool is joined again by Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and this time Domino and Cable are brought in.

The main attraction, as it always should be in this film, is Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. He is born to play this role and clearly loves doing it. The fourth wall breaks are plentiful and the consistent wise cracks always add humour to every scene.

Deadpool 2’s jokes have a great success rate for the most part but there’s a few that fall a little flat, particularly one they call back to re: Dubstep which would have been funny 10 years ago. There is some really great humour though, and if you enjoyed the first film this has more of that same flavour of humour spread heavily throughout.

Josh Brolin, who is having a great couple of months after his starring role in Infinity War as Thanos, is intriguing as Cable. The relationship between him and Deadpool is great in the comics, and there are moments in this film that capture that quite well. I think him being introduced into the Deadpool world is a great move and whilst I don’t think he could carry a film on his own, a Deadpool and Cable team up movie would be really fun. Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, is an interesting addition whose superpower is Luck. It sounds very odd to read it but when you see how they use it in the film, it provides some of the most memorable action scenes in the entire film.

Deadpool is an odd movie, in that the plot isn’t the reason you’re interested in watching, both this and the previous film both rely on the character himself being entertaining enough to hold the audience’s attention. Of course there is still a story, and Deadpool 2 has arguably a more interesting and involved plot than the first, but in all honestly it could be anything, as long as Deadpool is being given the opportunity to shine. Well almost anything.. see X-men Origins: Wolverine.

The action scenes feel more epic in scale, and the additional budget allowed for this after the success of the first film shows in these moments. Deadpool’s wit and sarcastic humour making them all a little more entertaining than your standard action scene. There isn’t so much a stand out action scene as there is just a lot of great moments spread through the film, which serves to make the film feel like its moving a long at quite a good pace.

You could watch a double feature of Deadpool one and two and if you cut out the credits of Deadpool one, it would easily pass as one 4 hour-long film. There isn’t a great deal new besides the introduction of Cable and Domino, but the fresh batch of jokes and slapstick comedy provided by the titular character make the film just as enjoyable as the first one.

Good – More Deadpool, which is fantastic if you enjoyed the first one. Cable and Domino bring something a little different just to make things a little more interesting.

Bad – More Deadpool, which is terrible if you hated the first one.

8/10 – I really enjoyed the first one, so I really enjoyed this one too. 

 

Lady Bird Review

Lady Bird did, for a time, maintain a perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that kind of hype led me to have quite high expectations for the film. I knew nothing about the film, beyond its name and that it was about a girl. I had no idea about the tone or themes of the film and was intrigued to learn what all the hype was about.

At its core Lady Bird is a story about a girl coming of age, and the relationship between her and her mother through this tough time. As with most teenage girl coming of age stories, there is a love story element, but the film doesn’t focus on that aspect. In fact it almost refuses to focus on any one element entirely, and instead shows you various different moments in Ladybird’s life and expects you to keep up with the pace and quick editing.

It is a shorter film, coming in at just over 90 minutes, but it packs in a lot in that time. This is excellent film making, with scenes often starting midway through a conversation but still giving enough context to allow us to keep up with what’s happening. Writer and director Greta Gerwig deserves a lot of praise for this and deserved her nomination at the academy awards, she possibly would have been my pick for best director if I was a voter myself.

The girl we follow, and the titular role, is played by Saoirse Ronan. Don’t worry, I have no idea how to pronounce that either. She is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast, with the mother Marion played by Laurie Metcalf and love interest Danny being particularly strong. Every character feels believable, meaning it feels very real and raw, and you find yourself hooked on the story.

I think this is a bit of a frankenstein movie. Part dark comedy, part Romance, part coming of age, and part drama, it manages to make it all work and this results in the film having something for everyone. You follow Ladybird on her journey growing up and all the questions teenagers face, without falling into the traps of cliché. Again it all feels very real, coming across as a look at a bunch of real people who just happen to be on film.

It is so honest and true to life that it may not have that escapism that some desire in their movies. I know some people want to be taken on a journey and allowed to forget the ups and downs of real life. Ladybird is not that kind of film, and there are several moments that you watch unfold which are directly relatable to things you will have experienced in your own life. I can only imagine this applies even more if you’re a girl who grew up in the early 2000s, especially at a catholic school similar to the one in the film.

Given the hype after its rotten tomatoes score, I think Lady Bird is still a surprising film that will really give you food for thought. Excellent performances and great direction combine to make this one of the best of the years oscar contenders, It may have been beaten to the Best Picture gong by the fantastical Shape of Water, but Lady Bird’s realistic story holds its own regardless.

Good: An accurate portrayal of life, without becoming too cheesy or cliché. Greta Gerwig’s direction and Saoirse Ronan’s performance elevate it beyond others in the coming of age genre.

Bad: Maybe a little too realistic for those that want an escape.

9/10 – Excellent film, I feel unlucky not to win any awards.

I,Tonya Review

I, Tonya tells the story of US olympic ice skater Tonya Harding and her life, and the build up to the famous incident with Nancy Kerrigan. As this all happened in 1994, when I was a 1-year-old boy, I do not remember it happening but I believe it was quite a big news story at the time. 

As someone who had little knowledge of her story, I have to say i found myself hooked on this film from early on, with a very interesting storytelling style that really lent itself to keeping the viewer engaged. Switching back and forth between interviews and the events they are discussing proved to be a very entertaining way to view this specific story and credit has to go to the Director Craig Gillespie for that.

Allison Janney plays LaVona (Tonya Harding’s Mother), and immediately stands out from early in the film as an entertaining but deeply flawed person. Despite playing such a despicable character, and this film really does portray her as that, you can’t help but enjoy the way Janney plays the character. Straight away this highlights the biggest strength of this film, the performances.

Janney is in good company in playing the supporting roles, alongside Winter Soldier actor Sebastian Stan as Tonya’s first husband Jeff and Paul Walter Hauser as the ignoramus bodyguard Shawn. They all do great work, Janney in particular shining and deserving that oscar nomination for her supporting role, but there is no doubt who the star of this film is. Margot Robbie proves beyond any doubt (If there was any) that she is much more than just a pretty face.

Margot carries this film with so much charm, intelligence and drive that you can’t take your eyes off her performance. Whether she’s dancing around an ice rink, arguing with her mother, or crying in the mirror putting on her make up, the film contains several scenes that give her the opportunity to shine, and she takes every one of them. I haven’t seen every performance this year, but from what I have seen she has to be favourite to pick up a statue for best actress this weekend at the Oscars. Take nothing away from Sally Hawkins and Frances McDormand in their films this year, but nothing has come close to this performance for me except Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, and even he is second best in my mind.

I, Tonya moves along at quite a speed for the most part, and teases you through the first act with hints at what we know is coming later in the film. Once we get to the “Incident” the film slows a little, and it does seem to go in circles for a brief period where you are waiting for the next event to move the story along. Other than that the only other minor gripes I had with the film is that we are asked to buy Sebastian Stan and Margot Robbie as 15 year olds, and there is one particular moment when a heavy metal song is playing and it was a complete mismatch to the scene and took me out of the film for a second.

The film is thoroughly entertaining, funny, informing, and by the end of the film, emotionally taxing. You will feel for Tonya Harding despite the film acknowledging her flaws. It paints a vivid picture of a person with a very specific goal, to be an olympic gold medalist in ice skating, and how the circumstances she found herself in affected that goal.

Good – Every performance in this film is great, with Margot Robbie showing she’s among the best actresses in hollywood today. Also has some great comedic moments, and tells its story brilliantly. It was also written by a guy named Steve Rogers, and stars Bucky Barnes, a bit of trivia for you comic book fans to appreciate.

Bad – That Heavy metal song, and Knee Injuries. I have one at the moment, so it’s a particularly sore spot for me.

9/10 – I, Margot Robbie, Shall win an oscar this year. 

 

 

The Shape of Water Review

Coming from the guy behind Pan’s Labyrinth and the director of the stylish Hellboy films, The Shape of Water was always going to be a bit of a weird film. Would that weirdness be too much or could Guillermo Del Toro deliver a film that really lives up to all the hype, and there has been a lot of positive talk coming out of last years film festivals and its US release last December.

The first thing to notice about The Shape of Water is the slightly steam punk, early 1900s style the film is shot in. The attention to detail to make everything look just right is astounding given the relatively modest budget. This combined with a score that compliments every scene perfectly make Shape of Water a treat for people who study the filmmaking process.

You are introduced to Elisa, played by the fantastic Sally Hawkins who is a mute character, and the idea of focusing a modern film on a mute character is bold, but it pays off big in the film. It may be simply because you have to focus more on the characters face and actions when they can’t speak, but something about her is captivating.

Alongside her is Richard Jenkins, playing her friend Giles and it’s through his eyes we see a lot of the film. He is excellent and his relationship to Elisa helps to endear her even more to the audience. Also on Elisa’s side is Octavia Spencer as co-worker Zelda, who comes across as someone who always has Elisa’s back, even when she probably should stay out of it. You really feel there is a connection between each of them and Elisa, and that is a theme that repeats itself throughout the film.

On the other side of the film is the daunting and relentless Col. Strickland, play by Michael Shannon as only he can. He plays this role so well, his piercing eyes and unnerving voice lend themselves perfectly to being the antagonist of a film that has so many sweet characters. What makes him even more compelling is the way we get a glimpse of his motivations, and that they don’t necessarily come from a bad place. The way the film is put together, he is very clearly the closest we get to a “Bad guy”, but there is a little more there than just a standard angry antagonist.

The thing pitting Shannon against Hawkins and her friends is the amphibious man played by the perennially unrecognisable Doug Jones. There is an argument that he is the Andy Serkis of the practical make up world. Doug Jones has played an alien in Star Trek, Abe Sapien in the Hellboy Franchise, and now with the Amphibious man in this film he has perfected the technique with a character that doesn’t even speak. Of course a lot of credit goes to the incredible make-up effects that makes him look so otherworldly, but the nuance of his performance really sells the connection between him and Elisa.

That connection between the two may not work for every viewer, and there was times for me when I wasn’t sure. By the end of the film those concerns were gone and I bought into the fantastical nature of the film. The Shape of Water features some of the best performances of the year, and it is easy to see why it received so many nominations at the Oscars this year. If you buy into the world and the story, The Shape of Water delivers a story that at its heart is about the sweeter parts of the world and the connections between them.

Good: Incredible Performances, a very sweet and endearing story, and a beautifully made film from the cinematography and the costumes, to the score and everything in between.

Bad: Not a film for the masses, as I can see some casual movie fans not enjoying the strangeness of the story, other than that, there isn’t much wrong.

9/10 – Fantastic film, but I am still not sure what shape water is.

Darkest Hour Review

Darkest Hour is a character study based on legendary English leader Winston Churchill, in particular focusing on the early part of his tenure and the way he tackled the divide between his own war cabinet about the soldiers in Dunkirk. Gary Oldman is unrecognisable in the trailers and was nominated for best actor hours before I saw Darkest Hour.

There isn’t really anywhere else to start except with Gary Oldman in the lead role. He completely transforms into Churchill, and his performance has everything you’d want from a character like this. He has all the gravitas and commanding presence you’d expect from such a revered figure, but Oldman shows the vulnerable side of the man, which is something we rarely hear about.

Gary Oldman is incredible and is head and shoulders ahead of any performance I’ve seen in any film that qualifies for this years Oscars. In fact this is one of the best performances I’ve seen in a few years, and for me, would have won Best Actor last year over Leonardo DiCaprio had they have been competing. I haven’t seen Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread, or any of the other nominees for best actor, but if any of them can compete with Oldman this will go down as one of the greatest years for the best actor category.

Aside from Oldman, the supporting cast all show up and give stellar performances, in particular Lily James (Cinderella, Baby Driver) standing out as Churchill’s typist. Kristen Scott Thomas doesn’t get a lot to do as Winston’s wife Clemmie, but the little she does have is powerful, and you get the point that Churchill is a man who sacrificed a large part of his family life for the job he has always wanted. This points to the fact that the film hints that Churchill is far from perfect, but he was exactly the person for what his country needed at the time.

The movie is fully focused on Churchill and there is not much else the film explores. Not to say there isn’t enough in that story to be interesting, but I do feel like the stakes of the situation in Dunkirk and Calais are lost a little due to the fact we hardly see anything from that area. There is one scene that gives us a little connection to the conflict, but mostly we are just given names and numbers for the soldiers in need of rescue. What I think may have helped is to make the film 10 minutes longer, maybe cut out 5 minutes of war cabinet chat, and put in a little sub plot of the soldiers on the front line to show the effect of the decisions being made in the war rooms.

One of the reasons this stuck out to me is that Darkest Hour made me want to watch Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The film is like the perfect build up to that film, giving it context and meaning that I can only imagine adds to the experience of watching Nolan’s film. I haven’t seen Dunkirk yet, but Darkest Hour has given me more motivation than ever to watch it, which is a really odd effect for a film to have. I think as a double feature, the two films would enhance each other, but without the action side of Dunkirk, Darkest Hour just misses that connection to the front lines.

The other odd thing, not necessarily negative, is the score for the film. I enjoy the score, the music itself is great and fits the film well. However there is times when the score is used when I think it should have been held off and it distracted from the dialogue happening on-screen. The best scores are the ones that you remember how to hum, but don’t notice it at all during the actual film.

Good: Gary Oldman’s performance is the reason you go to see Darkest Hour, and he delivers an incredible showing that is likely to bag him a gold statue. The subject matter is incredibly interesting and the fact it’s all based closely on real events adds to the intrigue of the film.

Bad: The only real negatives I had is there not being anything to really show the ramifications of the decisions as mentioned above, and the slightly intrusive score hold back this really great film from being one of the best.

8/10 – One Legendary Oldman

All The Money In The World Review

Ridley Scott takes a step back from making sci-fi films like The Martian and Alien, and takes a crack at a story based on real life events. With a lot of drama during production with Christopher Plummer coming in to replace Kevin Spacey, and Plummer’s scenes being filmed in just 2 weeks, I was surprised to see the level of praise this film was getting. 

Starting off with that aforementioned replacement, I have to say I am astounded how well Christopher Plummer’s scenes are integrated into the film, and the performance given by the veteran actor. I don’t know what Kevin Spacey’s performance would have been like, but its hard to imagine anyone being able to deliver better than Plummer does. The buzz around his performance is completely warranted and the fact he filmed it all in 2 weeks just adds to the astonishment. In a time when method actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman take months and months working to perfect a character, there’s something unusually refreshing about an actor just turning up on day one and performing excellently despite the lack of preparation.

Plummer isn’t alone in his excellence, with Michelle Williams excelling in her role as the desperate mother of the kidnapped boy. She was in the last movie I reviewed, The Greatest Showman, and seeing her solid performance there backed up by this one really shows her diversity and talent. I found myself engaged with her struggles and cheering for her to find a way to get her son back. Her son is played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) and I have no previous experience of this guy but he plays it well, even if there isn’t a great deal for him to do except look sad and be beaten by his captors.

Mark Wahlberg is also in two films in cinemas at the moment, this film, and the comedy Daddy’s Home 2. I don’t think these two films could be more different, and it’s good to see Wahlberg taking on more serious roles. He gives the best performance I’ve seen in a while from Marky Mark, and it’s good to see him continuing to mix it up between comedy, action and serious roles. The real stand out of the film to me is the french actor Romain Duris, who plays kidnapper Cinquanta. For me his arc is by far the most interesting, going from a confident, intimidating kidnapper to a sympathetic ally over the course of the film. I haven’t heard much buzz about him but I thought he gave a superb performance, even if it didn’t quite match the efforts of Christopher Plummer.

What you may have noticed here is this review is all about the performances of the actors. That is, quite simply, because that is what this movie is 100% focused on. There is no action, no comedy and no real twists throughout the film. It does toy with you, and the script is written to try to tease you with different potential outcomes but the strength of All The Money In The World is in the performances director Ridley Scott manages to draw out of his cast.

The film plods along quite evenly for the most part, although there is easily around 30 minutes I felt could have been cut out. Once we get into the story and figure out where the plot is going, the film kind of stands still and catches its breath for a bit before anything else exciting happens. This slight dip in engagement wasn’t too much of an issue as I was still interested in what was going to happen and there is one particularly difficult scene to watch that really kicks you back into gear for the final act of the film.

The Good: This is chock full of some excellent performances from a few members of the cast, and the story is intriguing even if it does feel stretched over the 2 hours.

The Bad: As i said there is still some fat that could have been trimmed from the film, and the plot is pretty simple. It’s the Characters you stay for.

8/10 – Christopher Plummer masterclass. 

The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman stars Hugh Jackman among a few other recognisable names and is based around the rise of legendary entrepreneur P T Barnum. I love Hugh Jackman (albeit mainly as wolverine) and was curious to see him in a different role to what I’m used to, so I went into the final movie I am seeing that was released in 2017 quite optimistic.

What should be stressed is that The Greatest Showman is not a biopic. Anyone going into this film expecting a faithful telling of P T Barnum’s life is going to be disappointed. I don’t know much about the man himself so for me I just wanted an entertaining film with some good songs like the trailers promised.

In terms of the music, the movie certainly delivers. The songs from start to finish are catchy and upbeat, giving a real feel good factor during the singing and dancing scenes. These scenes, whilst entertaining on the whole, don’t feel like the characters are signing them in the actual scenes. It isn’t the case in every scene but in a few songs it felt a little like a music video rather than a musical. This is the only complaint I have regarding the music in The Greatest Showman. Whether its Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron or any other character leading the way, they got my foot tapping throughout the film.

Hugh Jackman’s charisma is the driving force behind the film and the producers and director must be very glad they got such a talented actor take on the role and bring it to life. Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya are the main supporting cast and each of them give decent enough performances, but never threaten to steal the film from Jackman.

That films main story is a pretty standard rags to riches story just wrapped in a 1800’s aesthetic. This basic plot does just serve as a vehicle to get to the next song, and there’s at least one song where the song doesn’t quite match the tone of the particular moment we are in. I get the feeling from other reviews from people who may know more about P T Barnum, and from what I gather there is a much more complicated and interesting story to be told by a film based on him. What The Greatest Showman delivers is a generic fun musical without the depth that some might have hoped for from the source material. The musical numbers justify going to see the film, but don’t go expecting much beyond that.

The Good : Musical fans will undoubtedly get a kick from the musical elements of The Greatest Showman, and Jackman is so magnetic on-screen he will satisfy any fans of his.

The Bad : Generic plot and the more emotional moments not really hitting let the film down. Also some of the worst CGI in recent memory, like full on Playstation 2 graphics on show.

6.5/10 – The slightly above average show!