Category Archives

    Film Reviews

  • All
  • Film (Re)View – The Mummy

    ‘Death is the doorway to new life. We live today. We shall live again. In many forms we shall return.’ Egyptian Prayer of Resurrection.

    ‘The past cannot remain buried forever.’ Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe)

    Two great quotes from what I felt was a really great movie. I went with three other people and it would appear I may have been the only one who enjoyed it; the others found it ‘just weird’. Did I enjoy it because I ‘got it’, because I’m weird too? Perhaps.

    This is the first of Universal Studios’ revivals of the classic horror movies from the 1930s/40s era, under the banner of The Dark Universe. Others, confirmed so far, will be Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man.

    So, yes guys, this is a HORROR movie. I think once you wrap your head around that, other things will fall into place.

    This was an excellent version of an age old tale. Is it based in truth? I don’t honestly know. Nor do I care, as it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the film one iota. Why? Because the filmmakers had succeeded in suspending my disbelief and creating scenarios and events that I believed could happen in this world they had created. This is the big thing. If you do not get your head out of the real world, you will hate this movie. You have to get your head in the space of a world where ancient egyptian princesses are unearthed and spells are broken, bringing them back to life to wreak havoc.

    Sophia Boutella was phenomenal as The Mummy. She had the right mix of sex appeal, power and strength needed to seduce people and bend then to her will. She also had vulnerabilities, which all ‘monsters’ need to have. She was portrayed in a very three dimensional way and created empathy within me as I watched her plight.

    Tom Cruise must have had one too many Red Bulls before doing this movie. He never stopped! I’m not a Cruise fan, but I was impressed with his performance in this movie as, for once, he had left his ego at the door and portrayed a very funny and likeable rogue with a soft heart. His softer side was evident by the twist at the end of the film.

    I feel Annabelle Wallis was dealt a raw hand. She was supposed to be a highly intelligent and well regarded doctor and yet they portrayed her as a stereotypical weak female, always needing Tom to save her. Shame on you filmmakers!

    My favourite character, I have to say, was Russell Crowe’s performance, not as Dr Jekyll, but as Mr Hyde. He carried off that cockney accent and bad boy attitude so well. I can’t wait for his film and hope he reprises the role.

    The Mummy is certainly an action packed, face paced, heart pumping film, full of unexpected chuckles as well as the right amount of terror and horror not to have me rolling my eyes.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a watch.

  • Film (Re)View – My Cousin Rachel

    I must confess that I have never read this intriguing novel by Daphne Du Maurier, although it is on my bookshelf now! The trailer certainly sold this tale of intrigue, deception and perhaps murder.

    From the start, I found this film to be thoroughly engaging, although I did want to give Philip (Sam Claflin) a good slap for being so naive and stupid, but then I had to step back and wonder if this is what all young men of 25 were like back in the 19th century. He behaved like a lovesick teenage girl and the annoying part of it was that no one, not even his guardian, never mind is lawyer, had the guts to step up and stop him. 19th century manners and all that have a lot to answer for!

    The image that is spun of Rachel before you meet her, is that of a deceptive and manipulative woman who will stop at nothing to get her hands on the family fortune, thanks to his Uncle Ambrose’s letters. These sent Philip into a tailspin and sent him on the warpath. When we actually meet Rachel, she is completely different from what we expect (and Philip) and this acts to disarm us. Is this intentional or is it all a ruse? We are told that Ambrose died of a brain tumour, which sent him mad. Is this true or is this a lie, as Philip believes, to some extent, throughout the story?

    Rachel is a strong, independent, outspoken, sexually free and confident woman; something diametrically opposed to the norm in the 19th century.

    I liked Rachel. She never strayed from who she was and she certainly never asked for any of what was bestowed upon her. Is this down to her feminine wiles or down to a hot-headed young man?

    You may wonder why I pose so many questions, yet this is exactly what the film raises – questions – but not in an annoying way. The questions it raises are there to make you ponder and chew over various scenarios. The ending is also a huge question as, while we never truly know Rachel’s motivations, it doesn’t leave us stamping our feet and demanding more.

    As a writer, I found this tale broke many of the no-no’s in writing, the prime one being leaving your audience wondering. I didn’t feel cheated by this tale. I found it engaging, captivating and mysterious. I am now intrigued to see how far from the book it diverged, given the cast weren’t allowed to read it before filming……intriguing, is it not?

  • Film (Re)View – Wonder Woman

    I was not disappointed. Gal played a strong, resilient and determined young woman who was decisive and not easily swayed by the views of others. She stood firm on what she believed in and I respect that. This shone through into a very believable character and one whom you rooted for all the way through. Even through heartbreak she stood strong and tall, harnessing the raw power of her emotion to defeat her enemy.

    An excellent script and henec storyline, with only a couple of flaws in my book. Ares, the God of War; a man who when defeated would bring the end to all wars………given this film was set in the Great War (WWI), I think it was a glaring mistake to say that destroying Ares would end all wars, as we know this not to be true. The other ‘mistake’ is one I called out in King Arthur – a fight scene which is clearly a computer animated game scene. This, for me, is a big no-no. Animate where you need to – in an animated film, but don’t insult our intelligence and try and be clever. This is people fighting, so make it real!!

    Rant over.

    As a writer, I feel the filmmakers succeeded in creating a believable world and, within that world (war issue aside, as it is still our world), they created characters and a storyline that slotted in perfectly. Ticked all the boxes and well worth a watch!

  • Film (Re)View – King Arthur

    Sticking with believability, the early scenes with the rogue mages and the godzilla sized elephants didn’t ring true, as Ritchie had failed to build a supernatural world of giant monsters that we could accept by suspending our disbelief. This flaw turned me cold as it is a huge no-no.

    Arthur’s story was good and even the modernism of language and wheeling and dealing worked for me (although my friend would vehemently disagree).

    The main issue I had with the film was Arthur. I just didn’t like him, engage with him or anything. He was portrayed as arrogant and self involved, cocky and disrespectful. Basically, he possessed all the bad traits a man can possess. Not a good image for a hero.

    The other huge flaw was the fight scenes. A couple of them actually looked like computer game footage and this turned me completely off. Animation where animation fits; real people where real people fit.

    This film could have been so much better. It came over as a medieval gangster film which it most definitely should not be. That’s not to say I didn’t like it; it just could have been far better.

  • Film (Re)View – Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

    It is circa 21 years after the last one and Will and Elizabeth have a son, Henry, who is hell bent on breaking his father’s curse (on the Flying Dutchman). To do it he needs a map, which no man can read, to find the Trident of Poseidon.

    Cue Carina Smythe, an astrologer, horologist and, hence, assumed witch, who has a diary given to her by her father which, when the Blood Moon rises, will reveal the way to the Trident.

    When Captain Jack trades his beloved compass (which takes you to your heart’s desire) for a bottle of booze, Captain Salazar (and his ship and crew) is freed. Salazar is a Spanish military captain who basically cleaned up the seas of pirates until he was outsmarted by a very young and newly made Captain Jack, who trapped Salazar and his ship in the Devil’s Triangle. Now free of the Triangle, they want Captain Jack and the compass to find the Trident, to break the curse (of Devil’s Triangle).

    Paths cross and entangle as everyone is out to double cross everyone else, including Barbossa, whose ship Salazar takes over in his hunt for Captain Jack.

    Carina steers a restored Black Pearl, following the map laid out in the stars, to successfully find the Trident.

    Curses are broken and Barbossa, recently revealed as Carina’s father, sacrifices himself as he takes out Salazar to save the others.

    Resolutions:

    1. Jack has his beloved Black Pearl back and a full and adoring crew.
    2. ALL curses are broken.
    3. Will Turner, and the Flying Dutchman, are now free.
    4. Will is reunited with Elizabeth.

    And, everyone lives happily ever after……..yes, Henry and Carina fall in love (eye roll!!)

    My only criticism is that  neither Jack, the pirates nor Elizabeth Swann had been aged to reflect the passage of two decades. Jack and the pirates can argue various curses, but not Elizabeth. Shame on you Disney!

    As a writer, if you write a series, your final volume MUST tie up all storylines and leave no loose ends. I feel this film did that, hence my opinion it is and should be the last one.

  • Film (Re)View – Sleepless

    Superb cat and mouse story of how seriously an undercover operation can go horribly wrong.

    Vincent Downs (Foxx) has lost his family (divorce) due to a two year undercover op. He is Internal Affairs and is undercover trying to weed out corrupt cops. When they steal the wrong man’s cocaine stash, they bring the wrath of the Novak’s (drug family) down on them. Downs’ son gets kidnapped as leverage.

    The trouble is, Bryant (Monaghan) is also investigating corruption and believes Downs is the bad guy and finds and hides the drugs that he needs to get his son back!

    Fast paced, action packed and with a huge body count, the film has a surprising twist. After believing the corruption has been quashed…….the DEA soon prove otherwise!

    As a writer, the pace action and content of this film were in balance and kept you on your toes. I didn’t see the twist coming, but I also did’t feel it was the right twist, as it left the story unresolved which is a big no no!

  • Film (Re)View – The Promise

    A heartfelt and harrowing tale of the invasion of Armenia by Turkey in WWII, and the senseless destruction of so many lives for no other reason than being on the wrong side.

    The love story between the three leads is so very sad and something many of us can identify with, as Chris is in love with a woman who no longer loves him. Ana and Michael, torn apart by the war, are brought back together in horrific circumstances.

    The ending, though heartbreaking, is probably the simplest and best, from a writer’s point of view, otherwise you are into the whole love triangle issue and who will win. It isn’t good to leave a story unresolved as it leaves readers unhappy and dissatisfied!

  • Film (Re)View – Unforgettable

    What a fabulous edge of the seat, nail biting thriller! Even though it reminded me of Single White Female in its very dark and menacing undertones, I felt this was an excellent film.

    A held together Heigl plays an ex who feels she deserves another chance and, beneath her benign and friendly exterior, lies a malicious woman, determined to get her family back.

    Dawson, the soon to be new wife, is the only one shown this side of Heigl, and her fiance refuses to believe the truth until it is almost too late.

    As a writer, this film took me back to the days of Hitchcock and highlighted the power of suggestion – showing the audience things the characters do not know, making them root for the characters. This creates suspense and this is critical to a thriller.

  • Film (Re)View – Their Finest

    It highlighted the reliance placed on women during the war and the underlying fear that men held of being replaced.

    It was a tale of thwarted love as well which, although a shocking scene, highlighted the fragility of life during this time and how people had to live for the moment – something we pay thousands to learn how to do today – because they never knew how many moments they had left.

    As a writer, it was fascinating to see the inner workings of a scriptwriting department at this time – being given a one line idea or a news piece and having to make a film out of it. I wonder if it is still like this……how exciting!!

  • Film (Re)View – The Boss Baby

    Thoroughly enjoyed this kid’s film with adult subtext (required), about a baby sent to a family to stop the next puppy being released, as it would wipe out babies due to there not being enough love to go round.

    Mum and Dad work at Puppy Corp and Boss Baby works at Baby Corp. He was chosen for management and not a family due to his lack of baby skills. He is kept young due to special formula he drinks from his bottle.

    A hatred between Tim (Older brother) and Boss Baby soon becomes an alliance as they want the same thing – for Boss Baby never to have come. Needless to say, it doesn’t end that way.

    As a writer, this film, through its simplicity, illustrates the critical parts to a good story – a plot, characters to relate to, a problem that needs resolving, characters who grow and change and a satisfactory resolution.

    Plus, it made me laugh out loud in places – a very rare occurrence!!