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  • Film (Re)View – Kong: Skull Island

    To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but I did. I didn’t expect it to be any good, but it was.

    A ‘scientist’ – John Goodman – wants to go to Skull Island, the last uncharted territory on earth. He says it is for geology, but it is to actually to look for ‘monsters’.

    Kong makes an appearance early on, as a way too large protector of the animals and indigenous people from the prehistoric reptile like creatures which prey on them.

    He destroys the helicopters and kills half the team and so the mission ends up being about getting back to the rendez-vous point on time, to meet the extraction team.

    With the help of a US airman shot down there 28 years earlier, the team succeed, even though Samuel L Jackson and his men tried to thwart them at every step with their ‘kill it because we don’t understand it’ attitude (so typical of many people).

    Kong, as always, is a loveable giant that you end up feeling sorry for.

    As a writer, the film succeeded in keeping it real (Kong’s size and how he survived aside) in an unbelieveable world. This is paramount if you want to keep your audience engaged in your story.

  • Film (Re)View – Logan

    Logan’s last stand and what a stand it was. RIP Wolverine. RIP Professor Xavier.

    A thoroughly engaging movie, completely different from the previously fantastical X-Men movies. It shows us life after mutants have been exorcised. Logan is a chauffeur, earning to try and save for a boat to take him and Xavier to sea….forever. They live in an abandoned factory with Xavier restricted to an overturned water tower (due to his mind magic). They are both looked after by an albino seer.

    Soon plans are derailed when a young girl, bred in a lab where they made mutants, is thrust into their lives. She is a wolverine made from Logan’s DNA. Logan must save her and her friends, as well as protect his mentor.

    An extremely bloody and violent film, yet you don’t see this as you are shown a man who is dying, yet driven by his moral code to protect and do what is right.

    A moving and heart-breaking film which showed me, as a writer, how characters can and should change over time, just like we do.

    Johnny Cash on the soundtrack was an added bonus!!

  • Film (Re)View – A Cure For Wellness

    I am not even going to write much, except to say that it is about taking the waters, which don’t make you younger, but actually lead to your death.

    It is 2.5 hours of my life that I will never get back!!

    It was dull, slow, way too long, didn’t make sense and, when Jason Isaacs peeled his face off to reveal putrid slime, well…..that just finished it for me!

    To write horror you need to create a world which is believable, as you are asking your audience to suspend their disbelief. This FAILED!!!

  • Film (Re)View – Hidden Figures

    All three had children, worked long hours and were either single mums or had men who didn’t always understand and support them, but they soldiered on, even through the black/white divide within NASA, to succeed.

    It was belief in themselves and support of each other that enabled their success, in the face of discrimination and adversity, ensuring they became the FIRST in some areas, but highly senior and successful within NASA.

    Again, I feel this film should be shown to kids, to show them what a hero/role model actually looks like.

    As a writer, this film highlights the importance of having engaging characters whom your audience can identify with and root for.

  • Film (Re)View – Hacksaw Ridge

    The true story of Desmond Doss who, due to a violent childhood (almost killed his brother, beaten by his father, stopped his father killing himself) turned to religion and became a pacifist.

    Despite this, he enlisted in WWII, to serve his country as a medic, but refused to bear arms. Even though he was mercilessly persecuted by his platoon, he stuck to his beliefs and, with the help of his father, won the right to enter the war unarmed.

    ‘In a world so bent on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem so bad to want to put a little piece of it back together.’

    Pushed to the brink of defeat and annihilation on Hacksaw Ridge, Doss didn’t retreat, instead spending a whole night rescuing fallen men – 75 in all, including 2 Japanese, who didn’t survive.

    He wanted to save lives, not take them, and he went from being a pariah to a hero, so much so that the survivors would only go back to Hacksaw Ridge a second time if he went too. They won, but Doss was wounded.

    Desmond Doss is a real hero and he is the role model kids should be shown today, not these untalented reality TV idiots.

    What a phenomenal man and an inspiration. Life is life, irrespective of colour or battle.

    An added touch, at the end of the film, was an interview with Desmond Doss himself, which was very moving.

  • Film (Re)View – Sing

    It all ends in disaster and the truth comes out. Buster, ashamed and defeated, hides in his friend’s pool house.

    The film, though not as funny as many animated films, like La La Land, is a message to us all about not giving up on our dreams. Each of the cast dreams of being a singing sensation and Buster of having a successful theatre. Even through lies, deception and disaster, the group pull together, knowing that the only way for their personal dreams to come true is by helping each other.

    For me, it is a film highlighting success through unity, not singularity. Support of fellow dreamers is often the key to your own success.

    It’s about standing up for what you want and not giving up – Johnny’s and Ash’s stories highlight this, with Johnny standing out as he stood up to his thug of a father.

    Cartoon or not, it is a message to us all to not give up on our dreams because, if we work hard enough, they can come true.

  • Film (Re)View – T2 Trainspotting

    Anyway, I am older, wiser and more broad-minded now, plus I have a great deal of respect for EM, JLM and RC. Also, their interview on Graham Norton sold the film to me!

    I wasn’t disappointed overall; it was a very good film and you didn’t need to have seen the first one, due to the cleverly interwoven flashbacks.

    It is an interesting take on life and the human condition, and shows how people who start out from the same base can have very different lives, depending on their strength of character.

    Renton left Edinburgh and made a life for himself in Amsterdam. He only returned home after a heart attack and his life fell apart. The question is, would only one of those events have brought him back? The sad thing is that he was soon dragged back into the old ways and it kind of flew in the face of his positive attitude at the start of the film.

    Sickboy is running his Aunt’s now down and out pub and is engaging in various nefarious activities, as well as having a bad cocaine habit. The film also hints at his impotence, given his ‘girlfriend’, whom he pimps out, he has only slept with once. Is the fact he’s stayed, the reason he hasn’t done anything worthwhile with his life?

    Begby is in prison – no surprises there – where he has spent the last two decades festering and plotting his revenge against Renton. Again, this shows the aspect of the human condition lacking the ability to change. The part that annoyed me the most was him, initially, trying to force his son into a life of crime, maybe because he wasn’t smart enough to want better for him. What didn’t ring true for me was that no one came looking for him after he escaped. This wouldn’t happen and his wife’s house would be the first port of call – shame on you, Mr Boyle!

    Foe me, it was Spud’s journey that made the film. Suicidal at the beginning because, despite his best efforts to make a life – job, wife, son – he lost it all because, underneath it all, he is still a junkie. It was Renton’s return that literally saved Spud’s life and his advice to ‘obsess’ about something else, which got him off heroin. With Sickboy’s girlfriend, Veronica’s, encouragement too, he wrote down his stories from their life together. At the end, it hinted at a rosy future for Spud and a positive reconciliation with the love of his life.

    The film implies that there is no escaping where you come from, no matter how hard you try, which I disagree with.

    Aside from the prison break incident, the only other thing ‘glossed’ over was the loss of the money (again) or weren’t they aware of it?

    I did thoroughly enjoy the film and it is certainly left open for a 3rd instalment.

    As a writer, this film highlighted the need to ensure your story is believable and has no unresolved issues which could leave your reader dissatisfied.

  • Film (Re)View – Manchester by the Sea

    Cleverly written to gradually reveal what has happened to Affleck’s character to turn make him so self destructive and unwilling to take on a teenage boy.

    His backstory is heartbreaking and his fear of being responsible for a child is palpable.

    For me, this was a very heartfelt and moving film, albeit there was way too much swearing and it was way too long. It also ended too abruptly, leaving things unresolved, which is a big no-no.

    As a writer, this film brought home the need to finish a story adequately (Passengers was another film which didn’t finish properly – it was rushed) and to ensure the story has pace, to stop readers getting bored!

  • Film (Re)View – Split

    His character had 23 personalities and, in the film, he showed mainly 5 of them, as well as his ‘real’ persona (several others came out as he was unravelling). Each personality was a completely different type of person – 9 year old boy, woman, gay man, OCD man and the BEAST.

    When he morphed into the Beast, he morphed into a larger stronger person, proving the doctor’s theory that each personality has a different physiology. The trouble was, the film only really showed this with the Beast, making it a tad ‘unbelievable’, especially when he scaled the walls more adeptly than Spiderman!

    For me, as a writer, this film was a huge inspiration for me to tune in more to the voices in my head.

    Some actors struggle to pull off one personality, never mind multiple. To play all those different people….well, hats off to you, Mr McAvoy!

  • Film (Re)View – La La Land

    This, for me, was a light-hearted musical with a message for us all, especially us dreamers.

    At first I was cringing, just a little, seeing this as a cheesy attempt at a modern day Grease, but it soon had me hooked and took a serious look at what happens when you follow your dreams. On top of this, there are two people, in a relationship, each with their own dreams to follow; each going in different directions, bringing on that heart-breaking conversation about whether one of them gives up their dreams or whether they go their separate ways.

    There are many times in my life I’ve put aside my dream for my relationship; none of which have lasted.

    La La Land, for me,  told me never to give up on my dreams. I can assure you, I never will.